Sunday, August 13, 2006

CAIR upset about "Islamo-Facist" categorization

CAIR is upset that Bush is associating terrorism with Islam. Now Bush isn't saying Muslims are Terrorists. He suggests terrorists are Muslim by using the word "Islam" (Islamofacists is the term they were upset about in the latest round of whining) when he describes the people we are fighting. And why not? The people we are fighting do it all the time.

Somebody please try to make a serious argument otherwise.

Remember what the real definition of terrorism is -- don't let the innane cries of "all war is terrorism", "all violence is terrorism" get in the way.

Terrorism is a tactic which consists of deliberately targeting a civlilian population with violence & death in order to accomplish some typically political goal.

There are no Baptists or Catholics or Buddhists or Hindus blowing themselves up in marketplaces and places of worship. Nope. Pretty much nobody but Muslims.

Ah ... but MOST Muslims are peaceful you say. First -- that's beside the point. Are the terrorists Muslim, or are they not? Their names, their language, their quotes of justification from the Quran -- all more than suggest they are.

Second -- I'm still waiting for the resounding condemnation from this peaceful majority of Muslims around the world. The silence continues to be deafening. The fact of the matter is the "Peaceful" Muslims -- while they don't seem to be actively engaged in violent jihad against us -- are nonetheless all to eager and quick to rationalize, act as apologists for, and otherwise justify the actions of those who are.

15 comments:

Tom Leith said...

"War is the exercise of force for the attainment of a political object..." - someplace in War & Peace

If you are right about what terrorism is and Tolstoy was right about the link between politics and war, then the bombing of Dresden and Tokyo (not to mention Hiroshima and Nagasaki) by the USA 60 years ago was terrorism.

The notion of terrorism seems to include the idea of a non-state actor. Otherwise we call it a war crime, but only for the side that loses.

t

Terror-Free Oil said...

FNC, 8/14/6 Islamofascist CAIR Doesn't Like the Term "Islamic Fascist" - video

FNC, 8/12/6 CAIR Terrorist Apologist Blames Israel - video

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Phil said...

Well, ok, Tom, so it's not perfect. It does need some work. It's certainly better than "all violence against anyone other the West" which is how especially the lefties like to define it.

I suppose everything, ultimately, is a political object, even if that political object is the survival of your own culture or country.

I guess we can separate terrorism from war crimes if we want to, the only difference might be, as you point out, being the non-state vs state actor. But those lines, anymore, are getting very, very fuzzy.

As for Dresden, there are arguments for or against... you might read this part of the Wikipedia article on it. Hiroshima and Nagasaki are more difficult to defend from terrorism charges by my definition above. Notable difference between those two events, and say, firing rockets indiscriminantly into Israel or flying planes into skyscrapers is the relative moral attitude of the perputrators.

One attitude is characterized by reluctance. Truman agonized over the decision to use the bombs on those cities. We even dropped leaflets ahead of the attacks warning people to leave the cities. Also notable, America's & the Allies response, in general, was not celebration of the dead. As a matter of fact, it was then and remains to this day something we retain a lot of rightful sorrow over. Quite the opposite.

Compare that to the Islamofacist terrorist attitudes, who hold no such reluctance and take great joy in the deaths of the civilians they kill, feeling, in fact, that it is God's will that they kill them and that they will be rewarded by him for it.

I think that has something to do with it, too. But it makes it real hard to sum up in one catchy sentence.

Tom Leith said...

Oh I see. Since "there was no agreement, treaty, convention or any other instrument governing the protection of the civilian population or civilian property" there was therefore no objective criteria by which to judge the morality of an action.

B.S.

The claim that it was OK to level Dresden and kill its factory workers because it is "an important industrial centre" recognizes essentially no limit on what constitutes a combatant.

Next we'll be bombing farmhouses because farmers grow food that feeds workers in "important industrial centres" and the armies they supply. Or maybe we'll just bomb their barns and say to ourselves they should have know to build their houses farther away from those legitimate military targets.

A great deal of what the Allies did during the great wars of the 20th century were crimes against humanity. The fact that we feel bad about it and do it anyway only makes it worse.

t

Phil said...

That is, in fact, what the islamofacists argue -- it was ok that they killed civilians in the WTC on purpose because they supported the financial machine that is America. Of course, they didn't care one way or another and they still don't -- they have become adept at using our own introspection against us. The most important thing was that it be spectacular and be caught on the morning news.

"The fact that we feel bad about it" doesn't make it worse -- the fact that we did it anyway strongly suggests that we recognized that it was not a zero-sum equation -- that the very shape of the western world hung in the balance, and we had just finished a period of having our asses handed to us when we got there to defend it. Our way is better than the ways of the Axis powers, whatever our flaws.

I think what the article says about the agreements and proportionality of it have to be taken in an historical context as well. To judge it by today's standards is a bit unfair. The way mankind has looked at war (well, the way Western Civilization has looked at war) has evolved immensely over the years -- to the point that our reluctance to accept civilian casualties as even a side-effect of war allows our enemies today to fight us essentially by not fighting us, and even killing civilians amongst them themselves because they know "we" (or at least half of us) will second-guess ourselves and ask ourselves if "we" are not "causing" our enemy to kill civilians in their own population. And it works.

In the war we fight today, our lack of ruthlessness may yet end up being Western Civilization's undoing. The Islamofacists are counting on it.

Phil said...

Besides what I have already said, the article doesn't stop at "there were no international laws against it" -- as a matter of fact, the only thing to that effect was that "it should be bourne in mind" while considering the case. The article then goes on to discuss the reasons the Allies gave as arguments against the Dresden bombing being a war crime. The initial statement wasn't the argument, it provided some context to the arguments that were about to be presented. A backdrop if you will. To read the first paragraph and dismiss the whole piece it as an invalid argument is to knock a strawman down.

Civilian deaths, in general, are abhored by the West, and incidents such as Dresden, Hiroshima, & Nagasaki stand out precisely because they are stark anomalies considered against the backdrop of what one expects from Western Civ.

So the question is -- and the point of the post in the first place, is what makes us different than "the terrorists"? Either you're making a moral equivalency argument (we're just as bad as "they" are, so who are we to fight?) that just doesn't pass the smell test. So I came up with a quick and dirty differentiation, which in general covers the difference. The west is not perfect and there are plenty of evil westerners, many of whom comitted war crimes. But it is not the norm, it is not the entire strategy, and events like Dresden, Nagasaki, and Hiroshima came about as extraordinary solutions to extraordinary problems -- which the West has rightfully backed away from after the circumstances settled and the smoke cleared. In fact, one might even argue that they helped to fuel our unprecedented efforts (and success) at finding ways to make war that minimize civilian casualties -- and we STILL seem to come out on the losing end of the propaganda wars on this.

If you don't think we're different, then you might be more at home at the Daily Kos -- I know these arguments would be welcomed there. But I know you and I really don't think you'd be at home there at all. If you do think we're different, let's hear your argument.

Tom Leith said...

> That is, in fact, what the
> islamofacists argue

Yes, Phil -- they learned the concept of Total War from us. This is the condition to which we had "evolved" in the mid-20th century. Regressed is more like it: Total War would have been unthinkable after about the fifth century up until the seventeenth at least.

> the very shape of the western
> world hung in the balance

Nonsense.

Germany was on the ropes when Berlin and Dresden were destroyed; less than three months before Hitler killed himself and the German generals surrendered. Italy was already out of the picture.

A month before the a-bombs were dropped, Japan was clearly prepared to negotiate terms, and the Allies knew it because the Japanese codes had long since been broken by the Allies. So when the agonizingly moral Truman said "we would've had to invade the mainland" it was a half-truth at best. There is a Yiddish saying "A half-truth is a whole lie". The only reason to invade would've been to secure an unnecessarily unconditional surrender.

I am not saying there is a moral equivalency between the tactics of the Islamofascists and the Western Allies during the 20th century -- I am saying we have behaved much worse, our feelings about it notwithstanding. Pope Pius XII told us we were doing wrong then, and Pope John Paul told us we are doing wrong now, and for the same reasons then as now.

BUT!!

Contrary to some lefties, it does not follow from our former bad behavior that we should not today defend ourselves, or that every war is wrong. Only that we must not repeat the errors of the past.

In war, it is not enough to not target civilians. This we have not (yet) done in Iraq, and rightly. But non-combatant civilians should be protected even if the enemy combatants deliberately put them in harm's way. When we target the combatants with bombs, and when civilians we know are there get killed we tell everyone how bad we feel, but blame it entirely on the enemy. We evidently don't feel bad enough about it to find some means to defeat the enemy that does not use bombs. This is wrong.

If we judge it right to invade a country of 10 million people, we need a million soldiers under good conditions (i.e. facing a mostly disarmed Christian population not already on the brink of civil war). If Rummy is at all correct, maybe we could do with only a million under the conditions we actually face. But we can't do with 1/3 of that. If we try, we end up killing a lot of civilians.

None of this is a secret: the war college has taught it as doctrine, and General Powell (and others) argued it before the invasion. If you want to invade a country of 10 million, then raise an army of a million to send there. If you can't do that, don't invade. It is simply false that we had no choice.

But we couldn't raise a sufficient army and we have invaded anyway. And look at our attitude: we substitute bombs for infantrymen because Iraqi civilian lives are much less precious to the American populace than American military lives.

So:

1) In the past, we have targeted civilian populations and infrastructure to break the political will of our enemies.

2) Today, the Islamofacists do the same thing to us. One might say they have learned the finer points from us.

3) We today (so far at least) have not targeted civilian populations because we know it is wrong to do. Or maybe because it looks bad on TV. We incorrectly value the lives of our soldiers more highly than the lives of their civilians, and so use immoral means to attack the combatants. We do not effectively protect civilians from the so-called insurgents we have loosed either.

4) We have targeted the infrastructure on which the civilians depend (twice).

There is a difference between the Islamofacists and us, but I don't think your characterization of the difference is right. How we feel about something matters not a whit.

Although it is objectively wrong to attack civilian populations and infrastructure, they do not know it because their false religion tells them it is actually praiseworthy. One can say that they in their ignorance are not blameworthy when they do so.

Even though we know civilian populations and infrastructure must be protected in war, we take little care to protect civilians because that can't be done from the bomber we think replaces infantrymen. We attack the infrastructure on which civilians depend because, well, I don't know why. We are blameworthy in both.

This IMO is the difference between "them" and "us" -- they do act like Moslems and we do not act like Christians. Instead we act like "Westerners" -- code for "Post-Christians" which is code for "Apostate Catholics". And so I am sure I will not be welcome at the Daily Kos.

t

Phil said...

Yes, Phil -- they learned the concept of Total War from us.

Total B.S. and straight out of the Communist propaganda book. That concept has been around since the beginning of warfare, and was frequently put to use in the past from pre-historic times through the middle ages. Entire villages were frequently slaughterd by marauding armies long before, leading up to, and during the Crusades -- notably by Muslims from the seventh through tenth centuries, and unfortunately too often employed by Christians in the counter-offensive over the next couple of hundred years.

Germany was on the ropes when Berlin and Dresden were destroyed

Yup. They were defeated in WWI as well, but apparently since they weren't soundly squashed, they were back for round two a relatively few years later. Context is important. And Imperial Japan fought us in the same war in the same context. I cannot say I would not have made the same decisions in that time with what they knew and what they experienced.

And hindsight is a luxury we have that they did not. Their most recent hindsight had a lot to do with the rebounding of German aggression.

Then we rebuilt the places we had destroyed, and did not claim their territory as our own. That is pretty much unprecedented.

We attack the infrastructure on which civilians depend because, well, I don't know why.

Well, you might want to ask someone who makes those decisions -- because I'm positive it's not because we hate civilians and just like to blow things up.

We take out infrastructure to aid in the fight. Communications and transportation being #1. Lack of electricity also hampers an enemy in both of these areas. And then -- we put it back as quickly as we can. And we learned from Desert Storm and took out much less in Iraqi Freedom. And again, we are there to re-build.

Phil said...

If you can't do that, don't invade. It is simply false that we had no choice.

Certainly not. We could have just sat back and let Saddam work the system, continue to finance terrorist groups, and waited for a big cloud of anthrax to decend upon New York City or St. Louis one day courtesy of Hezbollah or some other "non-state" actor. Or we could attempt to do something about it. That's certainly a choice.

we substitute bombs for infantrymen because Iraqi civilian lives are much less precious to the American populace than American military lives.

At least we know whose side American military folks are generally on. The day ordinary Muslims stand up to their "extremist" elements and say "enough", I will have more sympathy for them -- and I do have sympathy for them.


We evidently don't feel bad enough about it to find some means to defeat the enemy that does not use bombs.

And that would be??? .... sending soldiers into homes of people who may or may not be enablers, sympathizers, or outright un-uniformed cohorts? So we can shoot them instead of bomb them, or choose not to shoot them and be shot in the back, or suicide bombed to death anyway?

Nonsense.

Sad as it may be, we can't allow the tactic of holding civilians hostage to work. What works will be tried again and again until it consistently does not.

This will ultimately lead to rule of the world by the most ruthless of leaders. But hey, a world where people live in fear of being fed into chippers and forced to watch their wives and daughters raped is not so bad. At least we didn't kill any civilians, even unintentionally and grudgingly.

Tom Leith said...

> since they weren't soundly
> squashed, they were back for
> round two a relatively few years
> later

They were soundly squashed, too soundly. Then they weren't treated humanely: the country was bombed, then plundered, and effectively made a colony. We just weren't so efficient about it in 1917 as we were in 1945. The popes warned us about this too.

How you might know the relative frequency of events that might have occurred pre-historically is a little beyond me, and although I dispute very much your contention that Total War was "frequently" used historically, this is beside the point. That we can find examples in history of immoral combat does not justify using it and making a science of it as "westerners" have done these days simply to minimize political risk.

> Sad as it may be, we can't allow
> the tactic of holding civilians
> hostage to work.

Right. When we conquer a country* we must send a sufficient ground force to free the hostages by freeing them instead of by killing them with howsoever much regret. A big enough force that our force is the force to be feared or cooperated with, not the enemy force. Then fight by moral means -- in this case by sending soldiers into homes of people who may or may not be enablers, sympathizers, or outright un-uniformed cohorts, and sorting them out to the best of our ability. Enablers and un-uniformed cohorts are combatants to be captured or killed. Sympathizers and three year olds are not.

If this is impossible for political or logistical or any other reasons, then don't conquer the country. It is wrong under this circumstance to do so -- we'll have to find another solution.

This is a very long way from "don't fight" I hope you will agree. Right behavior for right motivations is what will prevent rule of the world by the most ruthless.

t

*It is a seperate question of what we expect to happen next however we proceed. The Bushmen evidently expect the survivors to become Jeffersonian Democrats. I don't.

Phil said...

So Germany became an American colony?

So how many "Che" T-shirts do you own?

How you might know the relative frequency of events that might have occurred pre-historically is a little beyond me, and although I dispute very much your contention that Total War was "frequently" used historically, this is beside the point.

I will admit, I do not "know" the relative frequency of events in pre-history -- but I do have a fairly high degree of confidence extrapolating what I do know of history and human nature to a time when we were likely less civilized. And the point is, we are not the authors of "total warfare" as you posited in your previous post -- that was my point. How frequently it was used in between 700 AD and 1400 AD has no bearing on my point as long as it was greater than zero, and I assure you it was far greater than zero.

Here's my point... when you need to fight a war, you need to fight it. Politics plays a role in whether or not you can fight it. So you likely have to find a way to fight it in a politically viable way, or you are not fighting a war you need to fight. And when you do fight that war, you need to fight it with both hands, both feet, and all of your teeth. That doesn't mean willfully slaughtering non-combatants for the sake of slaughtering them is ok. You need to be mindful of your soul, but not to fight to win is to prolong the evil.

When you fight wars, innocent people die, especially when your enemy's best weapon is your aversion to killing innocent people and they have no compulsion to avoid it themselves. They have an interest in making sure that it must happen in order for you to get to them. Yes, it is morally incumbent upon those waging war against less scrupulous foes to do what we can to avoid killing innocents, but we cannot let it keep us from fighting them. The resulting world order would be far worse.

If this is impossible for political or logistical or any other reasons, then don't conquer the country. It is wrong under this circumstance to do so -- we'll have to find another solution.

Is it? Well, so say you, and perhaps so says the Pope. I say it's ather easy to make pronouncements about matters over which you have no control. There is no chance that the Pope will be in a position to make a decision to bring about the desirable change in the government of "the conquored". And for us, "conquored" means something far different than "conquored" means for Islamists or Nazis or imperialist powers... that is, actual imperialist powers. Not the ones Cindy Sheehan or Che Guevara says are.

The west is fallible. Christians are fallible. People have done wrong. But -- on the balance, our way is far closer to the ideal, and it continues to get closer to the ideal -- than those we face.

This is a very long way from "don't fight" I hope you will agree.

Well, it doesn't sound a very long way from "don't fight". "We'll have to find another solution" sounds like, "well I don't know what it is we should do, but it's NOT this, so we should do .... ???????" Which amounts to ... nothing.

Patton wasn't perfect either, but I'm a fan of the saying

"A good plan implemented today is better than a perfect plan implemented tomorrow."

And one of the basic reasons that is true is -- as far as perfect plans are concerned, tomorrow never comes.

The Bushmen evidently expect the survivors to become Jeffersonian Democrats.

They did. They probably don't anymore. They may have set the bar too high. And maybe they didn't. I don't expect them to, either. But I still hope, for their sakes and for ours.

Tom Leith said...

> So Germany became an
> American colony?

That was the idea. Didn't work out.

> So how many "Che" T-shirts
> do you own?

Name calling. How very original. Only one for each of your John Birch buttons.

> I do have a fairly high degree of
> confidence extrapolating what I
> do know of history and human
> nature to a time when we were
> likely less civilized.

Good job then that you did not continue in science. "Confidence extrapolating" indeed. Your confidence is unjustified.

I think you have drunk the progressivist kool-aid. Who says that humanity was less civilized in pre-history or in early history than it is now? Darwin? George Bernard Shaw? Gloria Steinham?

> "well I don't know what it is we
> should do, but it's NOT this, so
> we should do .... ??????? Which
> amounts to ... nothing."

Only for unimaginative neo-McCarthyites who want to dismiss a discussion by name calling does it amount to "nothing". Fortunately, you have me, and had you been paying attention, you would have seen that I have given already one answer to this question of what to do, given that "conquer Iraq" was the right thing to do in the first place. Not that there aren't others.

> [you] have to find a way to fight
> it in a politically viable way,
> or you are not fighting a war
> you need to fight.

No. You are fighting a war you do not need to fight if it is politically infeasible to fight it in a moral way.

Without comment on the justice of the war overall, it is being pursued by immoral means because these means are the only politically viable means. It represents a colossal failure of leadership to either convince the followers to fight in a moral way, or to have the humility to reconsider whether the war needs to be fought, or needs to be fought just now. This danger of proud or incompetent leadership is why Congress is supposed to declare war.

As for your strawman argument, funny you should bring up Patton. I wonder what he'd say about a stupid plan implemented today. Which is what we've got.

To sum up: you say we are morally superior to Islamofascists because we feel bad when we kill non-combatants and they don't. I ask about the reason we feel bad, and answer that it is because the standard of human conscience is careful protection of non-combatants, not a kind of indifference towards them. And therefore when we behave indifferently, we are morally inferior to Islamofascists because we have chosen to do what we know is wrong and they haven't chosen to do what they know is wrong. The flip side of this is that when we behave according to our standards, the standards of Christendom, we are morally superior to Islamofascists because we choose to do what we know is right, and it truly is right. I hope that we can begin to behave according to our standards again. There can be no peace ("tranquility under conditions of justice") unless we do.

t

Phil said...

Name calling. How very original.

I didn't realize I was operating under an originality constraint. I was actually making a subtle point, which is was borne out by the reference to the war reparations article on the attempt to get Germany to pay war reparations after WWI. An ineffective effort at crime & punishment distorted to charges of "plunder" and imperialism (especially when the reparations were pretty much never paid anyway) is excactly the kind of damnation you hear all the time from the the Anti-America crowd. That crowd is led and largely funded by the World Workers Party (that would be the Communist Party) -- just check out the organizers of these huge rallies, be they for illegal alien amnesty, anti-war, anti-semite, or "pro-environment". They foot a big chunk of the bill and do a bunch of the organization, then let anybody sharing their common cause (bring down "Imperialist Amerikkka") do the rest of the work. Just sit back and watch the cameras roll. And you see a lot of Che t-shirts at those rallies. It ain't because he was a capitalist.

Only for unimaginative neo-McCarthyites...

Speaking of name-calling .... ;-)

"Confidence extrapolating" indeed. Your confidence is unjustified.

So say you. But it doesn't matter.

As far as pre-history goes - once again, it's beside the point. Just focus on the years 700-1300 AD in Southern Europe, Northern Africa and the Near/Middle east -- that should suffice, not that it didn't occurr elsewhere. We did not "teach" the world all-out warfare. It has been around for a long time, and it has never been our modus operandi. It may have been employed, justifiably or not, from time to time -- but it's not what we do, generally -- and even if it ever was our modus operandi in the past (which it never was) we have clearly gone out of our way to correct that today.

Which brings me to the last piece....

To sum up: you say we are morally superior to Islamofascists because we feel bad when we kill non-combatants and they don't.

I think this is a big part of the misunderstanding. That basically flips what I am saying on its head. I say it is not our modus operandi to kill non-combatants, and that is because we "feel bad" and not the other way around. We "feel bad" because of our collective moral conviction, it does not make us moral. It is a symptom of that conviction, not the source. Unfortunately, the choices are not always as clear-cut as we would like them to be. That is why there is such a term as "the lesser evil".

With terrorists, the modus operandi is pretty much the opposite. The whole strategy revolves around killing ... usually quite randomly (and this is key to the strategy) ... civilians. Not civilans that happen to be near a military target. People eating in a restaurant -- people in a movie theater, or a shopping mall, or waiting in line for a job. Or riding their bicycles down the road. They are the intended targets precicely because they feel safe -- and they are never to feel safe. This should eventually cause political instability as people demand protection from the government that is pretty much impossible for it to give. Then the party doing the killing presumably steps in and takes advantage of the instability in the form of formenting a revolution. That is what terrorism is all about. And there is a huge difference between us and them on this point.

And that's all I was trying to say in my very simplified "definition" you took issue with in the first place.

Tom Leith said...

I am saying it is not feelings, but behavior that matters; that the difference between our behavior and theirs comes mostly from a difference is technical means, is not huge in principle and has not been for at least three generations as a matter of policy. One is justified to ask, after generations, what our ideals are. I think the answer is found in the 1-1/2 million abortions procured here each year.

To refuse to damn what is damnable is contrary to justice. When America does something damnable I will join in the damning of the thing regardless of who else damns it and trust in the good sense of patriots to ignore disaffected children who do not love her culture.

Our ideals are dying, and since this country was founded on nothing but ideals, it means our country is dying, our very culture. It will not be saved by consoling ourselves that we feel bad when we participate in the murder. Brutus felt bad when he murdered Caesar, but that did not save him or Rome.

The last thing I will have to say about this I did not write. This is from Chesterton's 1901 essay Chesterton's essay A Defense of Patriotism.

What we really need for the frustration and overthrow of a deaf and raucous Jingoism is a renascence of the love of the native land. When
that comes, all shrill cries will cease suddenly. For the first of all
the marks of love is seriousness: love will not accept sham bulletins or the empty victory of words. It will always esteem the most candid
counsellor the best. Love is drawn to truth by the unerring magnetism of agony...


t

Phil said...

I am saying it is not feelings, but behavior that matters;

And I will reiterate that this is not contrary to what I am saying. Let go of the "feelings" thing. "Feel bad" is a term you introduced - not I, distorting what I was giving as the probable reason we do not tend to engage in such behavior as justification for doing it at all. Never my intent -- it is not what I said. It is also not central to what I am saying, merely a supporting detail.

I am saying our actions are different, restrained by our convictions -- you are arguing that they are not. You support your belief that they are not by pointing out abberations in our behavior, while I maintain that similar actions are not abberations on their part but in fact, the way they do business every day. It constitutes most of their offensive strategy.

... by consoling ourselves that we feel bad when we participate in the murder.

Once again mischaracterizes what I am saying by flipping the argument on it's head. See above.

Our ideals are dying, and since this country was founded on nothing but ideals, it means our country is dying, our very culture.

On this we solidly agree. Solidly. I am trying to engage in a fight for it, as I believe you are. The battles we have picked seem to differ.

When America does something damnable I will join in the damning of the thing regardless of who else damns it and trust in the good sense of patriots to ignore disaffected children who do not love her culture.

As well you should. The whole thing about Communists and Che came from two distortions I believe you made about the U.S. of A. which are at best distortions. One was that the U.S. of A. (and perhaps Britian as a cohort) "taught" the Islamists total warfare. (see Genesis 34, paying particular attention to vs 21-29... and the Albigensian Crusade for two quick examples -- it should not be difficult to find similar examples of Muslims doing the same thing, both earlier and later, long before Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue, much less the Declaraton of Independence, or, say, WWII) The second was that we plundered Germany and had imperialist motives or designs. These arguments are not helpful to defending our culture, our country. We have plenty of dirty laundry to deal with without buying into distortions and outright un-truths.