An Explanation for Monday’s Suicide Bombing in Moscow

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russian.tank.jpg
(Photocredit: Lorenzo Bonosi’s Photostream)
Suicide bombers from Lebanon, the West Bank, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Chechnya have two things in common: they are Muslim and they live under occupation.
University of Chicago Professor Dr. Robert A. Pape, who has assembled a comprehensive database of every (or nearly every) suicide bombing since 1980, has been the most prominent proponent of the view that it is occupation, not religion, that is the single most important motivating factor for suicide bombers.
As Pape explained at a recent New America Foundation forum,more than 95% of suicide bombers come from countries under occupation.
In today’s New York Times, Pape and his colleagues at the Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism, ask “What Makes Chechen Women So Dangerous?”
The article pieces together a narrative of Chechnya’s recent history that pinpoints the Russian occupation as the proximate reason for Chechen suicide attacks – including Monday’s bombings on the Moscow metro.
Pape and his colleagues conclude that

Still, the picture is clear: Chechen suicide terrorism is strongly motivated by both direct military occupation by Russia and by indirect military occupation by pro-Russia Chechen security forces. Building on the more moderate policies of 2005 to 2007 might not end every attack, but it could well reduce violence to a level both sides can live with.
Because the new wave of Chechen separatists see President Kadyrov as a puppet of the Kremlin, any realistic solution must improve the legitimacy of Chechnya’s core social institutions. An initial step would be holding free and fair elections. Others would include adopting internationally accepted standards of humane conduct among the security forces and equally distributing the region’s oil revenues so that Chechnya’s Muslims benefit from their own resources.
No political solution would resolve every issue. But the subway attacks should make clear to Russia that quelling the rebellion with diplomacy is in its security interests. As long as Chechens feel themselves under occupation — either directly by Russian troops or by their proxies — the cycle of violence will continue wreaking havoc across Russia.

The full article can be read here.
– Ben Katcher

Comments

108 comments on “An Explanation for Monday’s Suicide Bombing in Moscow

  1. UtopiaNow says:

    James said: “Israel is bad news, …the whole show is based on theft
    and murder and deception. And Rupert Murdoch can’t cover for
    them forever”.
    I don’t think is has anything to do with religion.
    The key is the “media narrative” protects the wrongdoers along
    with their shills…thus the strife continues unabated.
    Perhaps following the money might be insightful. Who really owns
    the media?
    I suggest research the secret Bilderberg Group and The Council on
    foreign relations.

    Reply

  2. nadine says:

    “Perhaps, but we’re still talking about a tiny country. Land hardly
    makes a difference. And now there is the missile threat to contend
    with. Land–at least not the amount of land we’re talking about–
    doesn’t provide a buffer much against missiles.”
    That’s true in both directions, Sweetness. But then, that is what the Camp David negotiations proved to Israelis in 2000 – this isn’t really about land.
    Had it been about land, the Taba Accords – 95% + swaps to make 100% – would have been good enough to be entertained seriously, to generate a counter-offer. Instead, Arafat broke the deal over ‘right of return’.
    That’s when Shlomo ben Ami and other Israeli doves figured out that it was really about never agreeing to any deal that left Israel standing. Only if they can promise that Israel will turn into Arab Palestine and the Jews will be driven out or put in their place, only then can they do a deal. That’s why there is no peace.
    That’s also why the Israel peace camp dissolved, as Dan Kervick is quite unable to figure out.

    Reply

  3. Sweetness says:

    Nadine: “You cannot found a national security policy on the
    assumption that your enemies will remain incompetent forever.
    Had the Jordanian army been halfway competent, they could have
    cut Israel in half in their initial attack. Nine miles wide at Netanya.”
    Perhaps, but we’re still talking about a tiny country. Land hardly
    makes a difference. And now there is the missile threat to contend
    with. Land–at least not the amount of land we’re talking about–
    doesn’t provide a buffer much against missiles.
    Peace is the only answer with any future. I sincerely hope the
    parties can reach it.

    Reply

  4. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Your operating assumption seems to be that the Israelis are so all-powerful that they have no real security fears, even though they are sitting on a postage stamp of land in an Arab sea”
    Actually, Nadine ignores that that seems to be Israel’s “assumption”. Its wrong. Practicing self destructive arrogance and murderous and inhumane policies, while surrounded by a people they despise and routinely malign, abuse, oppress, and discriminate against is hardly rational. Were it not for America’s hammer of military superiority that is constantly poised to strike in Israel’s “defense”, (thats a joke), Israel woulda long ago been paid back in kind for its crimes and abuses.
    The times they are a changin’, Nadine. Your despicable scripted justifications are no longer the only available narrative, and the young American Jews are beginning to see the light. The bought and paid for whores in DC may still stand with you, but if you lose the American Jews, you’ve lost your nation. Like you say, you’re surrounded. And you can only shit on, murder, malign, oppress and discriminate against a people for so long before they band together to put an end to it. I’d say Israel is about to the end of its rope.

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  5. nadine says:

    Nadine, but what of the fact that those “indefensible” borders WERE
    defended quite successfully? (Sweetness)
    You cannot found a national security policy on the assumption that your enemies will remain incompetent forever. Had the Jordanian army been halfway competent, they could have cut Israel in half in their initial attack. Nine miles wide at Netanya.
    I see my 12:56 post fine.

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  6. Sweetness says:

    Is Steve using “white out” on Nadine’s 12:56 post?
    Or is it just my screen?
    Nadine, but what of the fact that those “indefensible” borders WERE
    defended quite successfully?

    Reply

  7. nadine says:

    Yes, Dan, they would like more of the stateless land that used to be part of the Mandate of Palestine so they are at less risk the next time they get attacked from it. If you want to call it “Arab land” or “Palestinian land” let them negotiate a border. But that’s exactly what they refused to do — even when Olmert offered them a capital in East Jeruslaem and 100% of the WB with minor adjustments. If land was the issue, that would have been sufficient. But land is not the issue, despite all the squawking.

    Reply

  8. Dan Kervick says:

    OK, Nadine, so Israel wants to annex additional Arab land so that their country won’t be so narrow. Correct?

    Reply

  9. nadine says:

    “Lets cut to the chase: are you saying that if Israel established a border on the pre-1967 line, they couldn’t successfully and rather easily defend it?”
    Yes, I’m saying that. Those are not defensible borders. I don’t think you can ever have examined a map to say that. You think it’s “easy” to defend borders that leave your country nine miles wide at points? when surrounded by suicidally-hostile neighbors who won’t even recognize your existence?
    Your operating assumption seems to be that the Israelis are so all-powerful that they have no real security fears, even though they are sitting on a postage stamp of land in an Arab sea. This is not remotely realistic. Israelis are anxious for recognition and peace because their security fears are real; but not eager to cut their own throats out of fear.

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  10. Dan Kervick says:

    OK, Nadine, you can keep fighting the war against the ghost of Nasser and the United Arab Republic.
    Lets cut to the chase: are you saying that if Israel established a border on the pre-1967 line, they couldn’t successfully and rather easily defend it?
    And are you saying that Israelis actually *don’t* just want the land in Judea and Samaria, and *don’t* just want to take all of Jerusalem?
    I talk of cutting to the chase because I have gone around in these circles for several years now with Israel’s deputized global sob patrols. And I have found after one hacks through the usual thickets of noisy kvetching and excuses, and the gripes about what some Arab did back in 1933 0r 1946 or 1971, they usually settle down eventually and just admit they want the freaking land.
    It always starts with “How dare you say that awful thing about us just wanting to take the land?!” and ends with “Sure we want the land! Why shouldn’t we take the land?!” This is the standard comedy act of Israel’s noise machine.
    It’s interesting how focused Israelis get on whether or not Arabs “recognize” them. My feeling is that a lot Israelis have a terrible internal complex about their own legitimacy. They don’t seem to believe in it completely themselves. Maybe it’s those old second and eighth commandments, who knows? But maybe that’s why they are so obsessed with extracting verbal recognitions of legitimacy and formulas of submission from Arabs. Maybe if the Arabs all say the right words some day in unison, Israelis will believe those words themselves. But until then, why don’t they just focus on establishing a defensible border that the international community will accept, and leave it to the Arabs to work out for themselves what they do or do not say?

    Reply

  11. nadine says:

    “”No Arab state recognized the Green Line as the border while Israel was inside it …”
    So what? Almost every UN Member state has recognized the existence of the state of Israel.”
    Swell, recognized by everybody but the heavily armed neighbors…that’s a recipe for stability…NOT. Nasser announced he intended to destroy Israel on May 26. He planned the attack on May 27 but something the Soviets told him made him hold off. On June 4th, the Israelis pre-empted and the rest is history (per Michael Oren, Six Days of War).
    You would have been rooting for little Israel against all those Arab states back then, like all the lefties did. None of those Arab states has gone away and they still get a BIG vote in what happens. They just switched from outright war to proxy war, so you think they’re not there anymore. Nobody is so easy to fool as someone who wants to be fooled.
    “And following the 1967 war, a clear international consensus emerged in support of a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 border. If the Israelis wanted to seize the diplomatic high ground and put those Arab states into a state of untenable diplomatic isolation, all they had to do was get behind the international consensus and take unilateral steps to make it happen.”
    The consensus was for a NEGOTIATED settlement that returned land to Egypt, Jordan and Syria, who all refused to negotiate. Resolution 242 has nothing about Palestine in it. “get behind international consensus”? lol, what’s that worth? nothing then or now. There was an international consensus that the Serbs shouldn’t massacre Muslims in Srebenica; how much was that worth? it would have been worth even less to the Israelis. Protected by an international consensus, what a bad joke.

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  12. Dan Kervick says:

    “Somehow, you managed not to notice …”
    So Nadine, you would say the Palestinians pushed the Israelis out of the Sinai and Lebanon?
    “No Arab state recognized the Green Line as the border while Israel was inside it …”
    So what? Almost every UN Member state has recognized the existence of the state of Israel. And following the 1967 war, a clear international consensus emerged in support of a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 border. If the Israelis wanted to seize the diplomatic high ground and put those Arab states into a state of untenable diplomatic isolation, all they had to do was get behind the international consensus and take unilateral steps to make it happen.
    Instead they decided to spend 40 years importing more immigrants and stealing more land into which to pack those immigrants.
    The security argument for expanding the buffer against Arab armies by occupying Palestinian territory doesn’t begin to provide a justification for colonizing it. The expansion of Israeli territory and Israeli households only creates a demand for an expanded buffer of well. And the specter of dangerous Arab armies became mostly moot following the agreements with Jordan and Egypt. And yet the colonization continues. This isn’t security strategy. The Israelis are just common thieves.
    But Americans have to deal with the blowback from your avarice. I have come to loathe the whole Middle East and don’t intrinsically much care what happens to it anymore. Just keep us out of your stupid wars.

    Reply

  13. nadine says:

    Israelis say the Palestinians want to push them into the sea. Some do want this and some say so. But Palestinian rejectionists never succeed in pushing the Israelis even one millimeter in the direction of the sea, while Israelis push the Palestinians further toward the Jordan every day as the gobble up more Arab land.
    Somehow, you managed not to notice a) the Sinai withdrawal b) the Oslo Accords c) the Lebanon withdrawal d) the Gaza withdrawal. Lots more than one millimeter involved. Israeli occupied territory has shrunk by two-thirds since 1980, yet you insist it has expanded.
    This is what I mean by saying that your judgments lack all context and are wacky.
    “And they would also have won the world’s overwhelming approval for unilaterally and pro-actively implementing the spirit of UN 242, and calling their days of conquest to a close. Even the recent Lebanon war would have been viewed in an entirely different light if it were a purely defensive operation, and not just one skirmish in a long and ongoing war of Israeli conquest….And they would also have won the world’s overwhelming approval for unilaterally and pro-actively implementing the spirit of UN 242″
    Now you have descending into outright lunacy. No Arab state recognized the Green Line as the border while Israel was inside it – that’s what the 1967 war was about, remember? Destroying Israel while it was still inside those 9 mile wide borders, which were the armistice lines of 1949, unratified by any treaty. If Israel had been so stupid as to withdraw unilaterally to the Green Line, the Arabs would have accepted the kind invitation for a do-over on the war. As it was, Israel offered to withdraw in exchange for a peace treaty, and got the three No’s of the Khartoum Conference of 1967: No Recognition. No Negotiation. No Peace.
    I begin to see why you cannot see the current situation in any context: you don’t know any history either.

    Reply

  14. Carroll says:

    Happy Easter!
    More huff and puff or not?…ask Col Lang
    Semp Semper Tyrannis
    (A Committee of Correspondence)

    Reply

  15. Dan Kervick says:

    “Dan, I wish you judged the Palestinians by their deeds as you say you do the Israelis. Instead, you never seem to pay any attention to what they say or do. This deprives your judgment of Israeli deeds of all context and renders them wacky and useless. ”
    I do pay attention to what the Palestinians do, nadine. They mostly lose more territory. Palestinians fight to get back land that was taken from them; Israelis fight to take more land. Both sides have used a combination of legitimate and cruelly illegitimate tactics in their fight. But my sympathies naturally fall with the conquered rather than the conquerors.
    Israelis say the Palestinians want to push them into the sea. Some do want this and some say so. But Palestinian rejectionists never succeed in pushing the Israelis even one millimeter in the direction of the sea, while Israelis push the Palestinians further toward the Jordan every day as the gobble up more Arab land.
    If Israel had decided to establish and police a firm border along the Green Line at almost any time since 1967, they would have little trouble making it stick and defending it. They could have built a fence on that border – not deeper into Palestinian territory – and their security challenge would consist only in the need for an occasional cross-border foray, such as they took the other day in Gaza, to knock out a rocket base.
    And they would also have won the world’s overwhelming approval for unilaterally and pro-actively implementing the spirit of UN 242, and calling their days of conquest to a close. Even the recent Lebanon war would have been viewed in an entirely different light if it were a purely defensive operation, and not just one skirmish in a long and ongoing war of Israeli conquest.
    And by establishing a border, the Israelis might also have avoiding creating the morally brutalized and militarized quasi-fascist culture into which they sink further each day. They might also have thought better of importing a bunch of poor and land-hungry ex-Soviets, whose version of “zionism” is of a decidedly less idealistic, more thuggish and avaricious variety.
    As it is, the bulk of Israel’s current security challenges are of their own making, and spring from their insatiable desire for land and conquest.
    But my sentiments and sympathies matter little. What matters is forcing an end to the conflict. And bringing an and to this grossly asymmetric conflict has little to do with the militarily impotent Palestinian Arabs, no matter what the latter say or don’t say, no matter whether they are peace-seekers or rejectionists. It only has to do with reining in the militarily powerful and expansionist Israelis.
    A grossly asymmetric conflict calls for a very asymmetric focus among foreign observers.

    Reply

  16. Cee says:

    [NEWS?ANALYSIS] Did the ‘Black Widows’ carry out the attacks on the
    Moscow metro?
    The death toll has risen to 39, and the number of wounded is 70 in
    the aftermath of two deadly attacks on the Lubyanka and Park
    Kultury metro stations in Moscow on Monday morning.
    While the attacks have lead to debates over security weaknesses,
    most of the discussion has focused on citizens with Caucasian
    roots. Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) announced that the
    twin attacks were carried out by two female suicide bombers of
    Caucasian descent using a total of six kilograms of TNT.
    Authorities are searching for two women of Slav descent and one
    male suspected of assisting the bombers.
    Until the November 2009 terrorist attack on the Nevsky Express,
    terrorist attacks had been confined to the Caucasus since 2004;
    between 2000 and 2004, nearly 1,000 innocent Russian citizens died
    in dozens of bloody attacks. Chechen women whose husbands had died
    in conflicts had formed a terrorist group known in Russia as the

    Reply

  17. Cee says:

    Rule out nothing.
    Chitigov

    Reply

  18. nadine says:

    questions, I offer this Israeli chart of suicide bomb attacks, successful and unsuccessful, from 2000 to 2008, for your Nate Silver inspired contemplation:
    http://www.theisraelproject.org/atf/cf/%7B84DC5887-741E-4056-8D91-A389164BC94E%7D/SUICIDE%20BOMBINGS16032008.JPG
    The chart goes a long way to explain why Operation Defensive Shield and the Security Fence project happened when they did.

    Reply

  19. nadine says:

    “Also during that time, the Israeli left has all but disappeared. Israeli society is increasingly racist and sectarian. Its newer, more thuggish immigrants and arrogant and zealous young people lack the idealistic and cosmopolitan utopian liberality of some of its earlier immigrants. The country increasingly looks like one big tea party.” (Dan Kervick)
    You notice the Israeli Left has disappeared but don’t stop to consider there may have been a reason for that…such as Arafat’s response to the the offer of the Taba Accords, which was a terror war. Instead you conclude the Israeli Left just woke up one day and decided to become right-wing racists for no particular reason.
    Dan, I wish you judged the Palestinians by their deeds as you say you do the Israelis. Instead, you never seem to pay any attention to what they say or do. This deprives your judgment of Israeli deeds of all context and renders them wacky and useless.

    Reply

  20. nadine says:

    “Also during that time, the Israeli left has all but disappeared. Israeli society is increasingly racist and sectarian. Its newer, more thuggish immigrants and arrogant and zealous young people lack the idealistic and cosmopolitan utopian liberality of some of its earlier immigrants. The country increasingly looks like one big tea party.” (Dan Kervick)
    You notice the Israeli Left has disappeared but don’t stop to consider there may have been a reason for that…such as Arafat’s response to the the offer of the Taba Accords, which was a terror war. Instead you conclude the Israeli Left just woke up one day and decided to become right-wing racists for no particular reason.
    Dan, I wish you judged the Palestinians by their deeds as you say you do the Israelis. Instead, you never seem to pay any attention to what they say or do. This deprives your judgment of Israeli deeds of all context and renders them wacky and useless.

    Reply

  21. Sweetness says:

    Carroll: On the contrary,..what I am actually saying it that yes, definitions of treason need to be update. Not just in the case of Israeli adherants but also in because of the profilitation of foreign lobbies and activist and also because of practice of former politicans becoming lobbist for foreign interest.
    SN: I don’t have any problem with tightening laws and regs surrounding lobbying of all kinds. I do think there will be a problem if you try to restrict the ability of Americans to petition their government–especially if you try to use the law to dictate public or foreign policy or to call certain policies “unAmerican” or “traitorous.”
    Carroll: Conflict of interest, undue influence and treason need specific definitions of each for seperation…where it regards actions of elected officials.
    SN: I have no problem with clear definitions. Specifying too much, however, can make laws and regs pretty useless and kick up more political conflict than they resolve.
    Carroll: As it is now, among congress, no one is held accountable for anything. A serious revamp and some enforcement might make them think twice.
    SN: I’m not an expert, but it strikes me that the problem is not with the definitions as it is with the people charged to uphold the law. In Harman’s case (as you depict it), she was guilty. Bush and Gonzo DECIDED not to prosecute. That’s why she wasn’t held accountable. Nonetheless, Pelosi is so beholden to AIPAC that she kept Harman out of the Intel spot.
    More broadly, you can’t eliminate the need for political action by changing laws or regs or definitions of “treason.” AIPAC and friends engage in political action and organizing. Those who disagree with them need to do the same. That’s why I give to J Street.
    The point is not to say that the big bad all-powerful AIPAC is too strong for us so let’s change the (constitutional!) definition of treason so we can put them in jail or get them to register as a foreign agent (even though they are supported by member Americans just as the NRA is supported by member Americans)…
    …but rather to use our political clout and will and organizational abilities to oppose the policies that AIPAC espouses.
    Carroll: I am not surprised you don’t agree because specific definitions of these acts might step on the toes of your political goals.
    SN: You are the one who’s trying to bake your views of what is kosher and what isn’t into the laws of the land. Not me. And you’ve been grinding this axe for a LONG time.

    Reply

  22. Carroll says:

    “Carroll: But suppose another scenario where Jane had promised Lockheed to intercede in some case the Justice department had against it instead of a case where a Lobby asked her to intercede in a case of alleged spying by employees of lobby for a foreign country?
    Undue influence, conflict of interest, treason?
    These are questions that need to be settled by new definitions and laws.
    SN: Hard to see where this other scenario gets you. Undue influence, conflict of interest, treason would all seem to have pretty different definitions. You seem to want to mush them together, I guess to suit your political purposes.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    On the contrary,..what I am actually saying it that yes, definitions of treason need to be update. Not just in the case of Israeli adherants but also in because of the profilitation of foreign lobbies and activist and also because of practice of former politicans becoming lobbist for foreign interest.
    Conflict of interest, undue influence and treason need specific definitions of each for seperation…where it regards actions of elected officials.
    As it is now, among congress, no one is held accountable for anything. A serious revamp and some enforcement might make them think twice.
    I am not surprised you don’t agree because specific definitions of these acts might step on the toes of your political goals.

    Reply

  23. ... says:

    questions quote “The fact is that political culture is an internal process, Israel is a relatively young country and is going through that process.” mimicking south africa doesn’t look like much of a healthy process questions…. murdering off the mandela’s by saying they are all terrorists won’t work either…. israel needs to grow up fast instead of relying on apologists and the stupidity of usa foreign policy…

    Reply

  24. questions says:

    I don’t think “appeasement” is the right word, especially with its connotations….
    The fact is that political culture is an internal process, Israel is a relatively young country and is going through that process. The US started in the 1770s and 80s, fought a major civil war in the 1860s, and still has a few secessionist-fantasizers floating around, armed and loopy. We haven’t entirely included our whole population within the domain of full citizenship, and who was it who just came out with an essay suggesting that we dump birthright citizenship and move to parental-citizen citizenship? (conservative, WaPo, maybe??) So there’s some debate about this one even.
    ****
    On the idea of building and maintaining a balance via an opening to Iran, I think that I have much less faith in the Iranian gov’t than you do. Maybe I’m a victim of a wicked propaganda war but I don’t think that Iran is going to do anything that the US actually wants such that there’s a balance to build or maintain. Iran seems to have its own projects in mind, seems to want to export itself regardless of US preferences. So I guess I’m a little confused about the notion of balance here.
    On containment, after the fall of the Shah, I think containment is the right word. Sorry if I left the impression that the Shah was “contained” — more that Mossadegh’s leftist nationalization of the oil industry was contained out of existence. (If I have this right.)
    On Palestinian/West Bank institutions, I’ll have to hunt around for the references I saw. It didn’t sound to me at all like what you’re describing, but I could be wrong about that. The police seem to be a mixed bag of doing Israel’s work and actually policing. I posted a link about this recently. Probably policing is generally stuck with a mixed task like this anyway. Think about any typical urban police dept in the US — there’s always a racial/drug war side to things as well as a community empowerment side. Any cop is doing both simultaneously. It’s a tough job to uphold order when order has been co-opted by the elite. But disorder harms the bottom of society more than it does the elite, so though the tension is real, social order does have an up side.
    The real question is whether or not the institutions that both serve the elite and manage to keep some kind of order can eventually be stretched to serve everyone. This is a long term process dependent on enlightened laws and courts, not something that’s going to be done in time for the very next round of negotiations.
    I think the thing I least understand is what anyone thinks would happen if Israel were dumped (if that were even politically possible.)
    You seem to see “balance” which I don’t entirely get. Others seem to see an end to terrorism (which I think Pape disputes, but I’m not positive). Others think it’s just good not to spend money, but don’t seem to worry that the status quo might continue.
    What I see is regional instability with countries jockeying even more for power, influence, export of ideology, massacres, more weapons (if that’s even possible), more panicky lock ups of dissidents and so on. It’s not that these things are absent now, but an intensification of them would seem to be something to avoid. I’m not a trained ME analyst, so I could just be reading the whole thing wrong, but at any rate, this is my reading of it.
    Iran doesn’t, in my understanding, merely sit within its borders quietly enjoying the spring weather, the birds, the rain, the mild air. Rather, it seems intent on regional influence in ways that might be counterproductive to stability. Maybe they can’t declare an analogue to the Monroe doctrine of hemispheric hegemony, but they can certainly fund destabilization and be a beacon shining on a hill or whatever for a brand of fundamentalism that runs counter to self-determination (and isn’t it Palestinian self-determination we’re supposed to be after in the first place?)
    So, again, I don’t think we get to the goals from the means outlined here. Iran isn’t the source of self-determination. Pulling back isn’t the end of terrorism or the beginnings of self-determination. Sudden change doesn’t bring about stability.
    On Israel, I don’t grant them a moral high ground and I don’t think they need to do much of what they do, but I think that the fears are deeply felt, partially real, and if what we want is kindness towards the Palestinians, then we need less fear rather than more. Your point about how we’ve been doing this for all these years already (appeasement) probably needs a Nate Silver-inspired chart that compares Israeli right-left moods to numbers of suicide bombers, rockets, and crazed ex-Soviet immigrants. And probably the guy who announced the most recent building (Yishai??) should be graphed against Marxists in his constituency. There can be parts that, working independently, make a crazy whole that looks conspiratorial but isn’t. Or they can be part of a whole. Hard to tell from where I sit.
    At any rate, I think it’s really important to trace all the possible systemic effects that arise from a fantasy.
    (A quick example, off topic at one level, but perfect on another — when we CONSERVE ENERGY by using less, turning off lights, or whatever, we free up money that we then use…on more things that consume energy. So we just move the energy use from leaky windows to video game systems or whatever, we don’t actually “save” anything. (Got this point from a HuffPo comment section recently.) Looking at the system, umm, systematically, is really important. Sometimes the best things to do are the least obvious.)
    With the system-read in mind, what happens if we go for stability or balance (whatever that means) in the most direct way possible — we take 75% of the stuff from Israel and spread it evenly over the rest of the ME countries — what does this do to the relationships among the ME countries? To the extent that there’s anti-US sentiment, does it enrage people further? Does it open space for more jockeying because suddenly the rules have changed? Does weakening US support for Israel really balance anything, or is “balance” a dynamic process or a background condition that takes care of itself as long as there’s continuity? I think “balance” is one of those words to watch carefully. It sounds good, but may be deeply problematic.
    Ok, I really do have to stop rambling in non-essayistic/scroll up read a paragraph out of order and respond in no particular order… And get back to my so-called life.
    Thanks again for the civility and the opportunity to think in full paragraphs and not in expletives! This is definitely my favorite part of this blog and I am ever grateful to Steve for the bandwidth and to those who have patience for length and randomness.

    Reply

  25. Dan Kervick says:

    Questions,
    A few scattered responses:
    There are indeed attempts to put in stability-inducing structures in Palestine. These attempts, as far as I can tell, consist in (i) an effort to build a favored, west-loving Palestinian plutocracy or oligarchy that will trade everything else away for personal enrichment and the ownership stake in a prosperous

    Reply

  26. questions says:

    Dan,
    Re Iran, you mention a “new Cold War policy of containing” it –I’m not sure what’s new about this policy, though. It’s been in place since, I dunno, Mossadegh or so?
    I think there’s a fundamental issue in IR that we never quite seem to grapple with. We can admit at times that nation building really doesn’t work very well, that we don’t really have much ability to manipulate other countries into behaving in ways we like, but then we try all over again and again to do this.
    We’re not going to make Iran do what we’d like it to do by dumping Israel or by “de-exceptionalizing” our relationship with Israel anymore than we’re going to make Israel give the Palestinians what we want them to give.
    We installed a guy in Iran whom we liked after uninstalling a guy we had problems with. The blowback was enormous. We supported a guy we wanted in Iraq until we uninstalled him. The result was blowback on a pretty massive scale. We help prop up the Saudi regime. Pretty ugly, too. And on and on.
    When I argue against strategy occasionally, it’s in part because we have had strategies of containment, and strategies of trade and strategies of sanctions (unless these are tactics in some other strategy….) And in seemingly every case, we don’t entirely end up with good healthy stable happy nations around the world.
    What makes a nation stable is internal legitimacy, rulers who take the good of the people to be their central task, basic regional stability so that invasion is unlikely, and resource access. Toss in internal institutions that function, along with whatever else seems relevant.
    When we pick one or another country to “friend” as if that very act of friending were transformative, would alter balances of power in our favor somehow, would deny the fact that the rulers don’t have the good of the people as their central motive, then we’re not going to get much out of the act of friending.
    Israel may be internationally fucked, and Israel may be wicked, inhumane, apartheid in its structure (I don’t tend to think apartheid is the best metaphor, but it’s in the general vicinity of things)– BUT Israel’s internal politics are well within what produces long term stability. The external stuff is not yet worked out, though, clearly, and the “demographic bomb” could cause internal problems eventually without significant shifts in internal policy.
    Think about the other countries in the region and tell me if any has the same kinds of stability-inducing structures? The Saudis and Egypt seem to have major problems with long-term stability; they rest on nasty regimes that don’t seem to have the good of the people at heart.
    My reading of the West Bank suggests that there are actual attempts to put into place institution-building. Hamas doesn’t seem to be there in Gaza.
    Iran is in flux and the crack down on the dissidents, the basic unhappiness with the current government, Ahmadinejad’s insanity (in my view at least) — not a good long term BFF.
    The point of all of this digression into theories of nation building is that there seems to be an underlying hope that if we Dump Israel Now ™, we will magically have Arab and Persian BFFs who will look after our interests and, presto magico, we will no longer be threatened by terrorists or by anyone else.
    I honestly don’t think the Israel-problem ™ is the cause of the mess in the ME. I think the problem is more fundamentally related to internal political structures in each of these countries. A dollop of post-colonialism, a bunch of history of strong-arm rule, a cup of religious tension, a pinch of resource extraction…. Pretty soon you have deeply unstable regimes held together by velcro and guns. Sooner or later, the system will break down.
    If I’m right (and that’s a big “if”), then the real risk in the area is anything that speeds up change and increases instability such that the pressures blow up. What the region seems to need instead is a slow, generational shift in political culture, an eased move towards internally legitimate modernization. One day, Saudi women will be able to drive. One day, Iran will ease up on the religious pressure. One day, income distribution will shift…. As these things happen, and as institutions develop in place of autocracy, nations in the region will find actual stability instead of forced but false stability.
    Putting all of this together then, I don’t think “Israel-fatigue” ™ is a great motivation for just doing something in the ME. I don’t think that we’ll get what we want from giving in to inclinations to pull back. And if the real goal is some kind of Palestinian human rights recognition, then what we really need to push for is Palestinian institution-building so that Palestinians have a government that takes to heart the good of its own people.
    Machiavelli’s prince knows that stability matters above all else and he knows that stability comes from having the people’s good as the central cause of a state, and having enough support in the region and enough domestic power that you can’t be undermined from within or without. Israel has a percentage of this down. I’m not sure I see much of this anywhere else in the region. Republics are sound, autocratic principalities are not.
    We should be asking what we’re doing to make the world safe for internally legitimate republics to bloom. This, of course, is not the neocon project of invading and imposing republics on other countries. Internal legitimacy and the good of the people are the central features. And since the people of a nation have to people the institutions, have to learn bureaucratese, have to reject corruption, have to build and work and integrate, any kind of external imposition is going to fail.
    Our goal in the ME, then, should be to induce stability, encourage institution-building, and to give space and time to nations to figure out what works for them. The most destabilizing features seem to be resource extraction, manipulation of internal politics, and perhaps the arms trade. These are the underlying causes of troops in the area, and then there’s the beginning of Pape’s research.
    There’s really no magic solution for the tensions. The process of working out power relations internally and internationally is, well, a process.
    When you post about setting up new alliances to balance older or existing ones, I start to get nervous. When you sum up the internal Sunni/Shia relations as if they were stable when in my limited reading they have been used in a dynamic process of political manipulation, I wonder. And when Iran is characterized more as a US-perception issue than as an internally unstable regime still working out its own kinks, I think that you’re more fatigued than anything else.
    Again, thanks for the genial and discourse-oriented tone! And now, it’s back to work for me.

    Reply

  27. nadine says:

    “I don’t think that the result you want, a legit Palestinian state, is likely to happen via the means you have chosen — defunding Israel, or imposing some version of sanctions. I think that Israelis are more concerned with security issues than this would suggest, and I think that world-wide sanctions would harden the Israeli right. I also think it’s worth thinking about what aid to other countries really cashes out to. It generally has very little to do with those other countries.
    If you want this Palestinian state, then, and a lefty Israel, you may actually have to feed the security beast so that the left can emerge. People turn rightward when they feel threatened. A US pullback, then, is more likely to cause problems that you don’t want than it is to solve them. Something about the left hand’s stealing from the right occurs to me.” (questions)
    Sensible summation, questions, which is rejected by the whole Left at the moment, who don’t think the Israelis have any legitimate security concerns. Or that the Palestinians have any responsibilities whatsoever, like ending their civil war so that they have a leader who could negotiate on their behalf. No, to hear the Left you would think we had entered on bilateral US-Israel negotiations; look at Tom Friedman’s latest thumb-sucker, which didn’t even mention the Palestinians, as if they weren’t a party to the talks.
    Obama’s entire mental model of the Mideast is bass-ackwards. So his actions will produce the opposite result to what he wishes to produce. All he done since he took office is prevent new negotiations and spark an “Obama intifada” Did he intend this? Of course not, his plan was to waltz in and create Mideast peace by virtue of his presence.
    Even now he cannot seem to understand that the Palestinians do not want to negotiate, run from the table every chance they get, so it is they who must be pressured if he does want negotiations to happen. Abu Mazen has quite openly said this is his policy (i.e. no negotiations, just collect concessions), and Obama still doesn’t get it. He is stuck on stupid.

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  28. ... says:

    AIPAC: We make sure that pro-Israel candidates

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  29. Sweetness says:

    Carroll writes: When does “Lobbying” become something close to or actually treason…or acts against the welfare of the country whether in current law or not? Acts that would be seen as traitorous by your average citizen or reasonable people.
    SN: Well, here’s the definition in the Constitution: “The Constitution of the United States, Art. III, defines treason against the United States to consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid or comfort. This offence is punished with death. By the same article of the Constitution, no person shall be convicted of treason, unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.”
    Carroll: I have long said the US needs to update and refine it’s definitions and laws regarding treason to encompass today’s political realities.
    SN: Change the definition based on how the wind is blowing? Not a good idea for all kinds of obvious reasons.
    Carroll: But suppose another scenario where Jane had promised Lockheed to intercede in some case the Justice department had against it instead of a case where a Lobby asked her to intercede in a case of alleged spying by employees of lobby for a foreign country?
    Undue influence, conflict of interest, treason?
    These are questions that need to be settled by new definitions and laws.
    SN: Hard to see where this other scenario gets you. Undue influence, conflict of interest, treason would all seem to have pretty different definitions. You seem to want to mush them together, I guess to suit your political purposes.
    I’ll skip some of your timeline for simplicity’s sake…
    Around Oct 2005: An NSA wiretap picks up a phone call between Harman and a “suspected Israeli agent,” discussing the quid pro quo involving Rosen, Weissman, and the intel chair job. (A different report suggests that the wiretap was carried out not by the NSA, but by the FBI, as part of the Rosen-Weissman probe.)
    SN: Don’t we have to SHOW that the spy was a spy? Maybe I’m old-fashioned that way.
    Carroll: Soon afterwards: Justice Department lawyers read the transcripts of the call, and decide that Harman has committed a “completed crime,” meaning they thought evidence existed that Harman had tried to put the scheme into motion. The government lawyers are prepared to open a case on Harman, involving FISA-approved wiretaps.
    SN: Seems to me that if they feel a “completed crime” has been committed, they have a case. There’s no need to redefine “treason” for political purposes.
    Carroll: * Several months before Oct 2006: Haim Saban, an AIPAC supporter and major Democratic fundraiser, calls Pelosi, lobbying her to reappoint Harman as the top Dem on the intel committee. (By this time, the Democrats appear likely to retake the House, meaning the job at issue is chair of the intel committee.)
    * Oct 20, 2006: Harman hires top Washington lawyer Ted Olson, in response to a report by Time magazine about the Justice Department probe of the alleged Harman-AIPAC quid pro quo, and about the Saban-Pelosi call.
    * The following week: Several major news outlets report that, according to DOJ sources, the Harman probe is dormant and didn’t turn up evidence of wrongdoing.
    * Dec 2006: Pelosi announces that Rep. Silvestre Reyes will chair the House Intel committee, disappointing Harman.
    * April 2009: In response to the CQ story, Harman denies contacting DOJ on the AIPAC case, but not that the conversation with the “suspected Israeli agent” occurred.
    SN: Sounds to me that, despite all the huffing and puffing by Harman, AIPAC, and Saban, Pelosi DENIES Harman the spot.
    In all of this, it strikes me that Harman may have acted unethically, or even illegally, but didn’t commit treason, unless your definition of treason is what any “reasonable” person thinks treason is as long as what they think agrees with what you and your cohorts think treason is.
    A real good reason not to change the definition.
    I don’t think most “reasonable” people would regard Israel as an “enemy” (though I suspect you do) or think the US and Israel are at war.

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  30. questions says:

    Dan, many thanks for the response. I’m not ignoring you, but I am really busy for a few days. If I get a chance to reply tomorrow morning I will.
    The defacto annexation, yes. Is it a security response? Probably it’s really mixed the way that any state action is. There are real security concerns, real domestic politics, real gaming to be in a position such that a negotiated settlement whenever it happens works more for Israeli preferences than not. In short, kind of what would be expected.
    I think the humanitarian issues are so universal in the region that choosing any country to be BFF is going to be morally fraught.
    But, really, I do need to get work done…. I will think and write soon. And again, thanks as (almost) always for the civility. Around here, that’s really something.

    Reply

  31. Dan Kervick says:

    Hello questions, just a few comments on my lunch hour:
    Whether pro-Israel lobbying in the US is special in some way

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  32. famously frugal says:

    “What Makes Chechen Women So Dangerous?”
    ALMOST every month for the past two years, Chechen suicide bombers have struck. Their targets can be anything from Russian soldiers to Chechen police officers to the innocent civilians who were killed on the subway in Moscow this week. We all know the horror that people willing to kill themselves can inflict. But do we really understand what drives young women and men to strap explosives on their bodies and deliberately kill themselves in order to murder dozens of people going about their daily lives?
    Chechen suicide attackers do not fit popular stereotypes, contrary to the Russian government

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  33. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Further excerpt from above….
    But canceling all US tax exemptions for major charitable Jewish Agency feeder funds until Israel takes the necessary steps toward peace wouldn

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  34. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Obama Can Stop Funding Illegal Settlements
    Pull the Jewish Agency’s US Tax Exemption, and the Settlement Problem Goes Away
    by Grant Smith, April 02, 2010
    President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Secretary of State Clinton have been uncharacteristically frank about how illegal Israeli settlements obstruct prospects for Middle East peace. General Petraeus went even further, advising a reluctant Congress that Arab perceptions of one sided US support for Israel actually harms US national security and endangers troops. It is now time for President Obama to cut off hidden US funding

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  35. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Blablahblah……”
    Questions, Dan just demonstrated to you how to actually SAY SOMETHING in moderately lengthy essay/comment.
    You should try it sometime.

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  36. questions says:

    Follow Rian Fike on Fla. teachers. Likely effect on elections there.
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/4/2/853340/-The-fight-for-education:-Its-everybodys-business.

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  37. questions says:

    OT, Arne Duncan must go!
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/4/2/853433/-Ravitch:-A-new-agenda-for-school-reform
    Hire Diane Ravitch now that she’s thinking clearly!

    Reply

  38. questions says:

    Nate the Great strikes again!
    “Far more likely, however, is unconscious bias: how hard do you push back and cross-check your assumptions when you initially come up with a research finding that you “like” (or one that you don’t like)? This kind of bias, almost by definition, is very hard to avoid, and potentially threatens the work of virtually every social scientist, not just de Rugy.”
    And….
    “This is a sticky (albeit common) problem. The best way to handle it would probably be to make several different specificiations of the model and to publish them explicitly. If you have five different model specifications, all of which have roughly the same explanatory power, publishing only the one that you most like can potentially reflect bias.”
    http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2010/04/veronique-de-rugy-responds-to-critique.html#comments
    (link to comments, scroll up for the source.)
    Read fivethirtyeight every day!

    Reply

  39. questions says:

    Thanks for the response.
    I don’t feel like I have a bee in my bonnet, though I think the way that THEBOOK has been taken up is very problematic. And I don’t think that its lionization is deserved. The sense of beleaguered exhaustion that Walt’s posting here showed suggests that a lot of people have had huge problems with the book, so I don’t think I’m off in lala-anxiety land whilst you remain cucumber cool. But enjoy your cool anyway.
    (And just to defend myself…I did not feel like I was hit by a truck, but I did have the sense that they wanted to overwhelm readers with a litany of anecdotes, and whenever I see long lists of anecdotes in writing, my first response is to get out the red pen and start crossing off the overkill. But again, you kept your cool. And you didn’t have much of a response and you buried the book in a box. I, on the other hand, haven’t had time to bury it yet, since I only recently picked it up. And since it’s been taken up around here, it’s more embedded in daily life for me, and indeed, since I read a fair amount about Congress, it’s also in dialogue with other books for me. But I’m glad you’ve found a good box to bury it in.)
    Does the book advance conspiracy theories? Well, yes, yes, and no. No, in the sense that it doesn’t call them conspiracy theories, but yes in the sense that it differentiates Israel even as it denies the differentiation — over and over again. And yes in that it’s been taken up by vast numbers of conspiracy theorists. If your book can be taken up by nuts, then maybe you didn’t do your best to communicate clearly.
    The book’s key thesis is more like: there’s a right way to do foreign policy and a right ME policy to adopt and somehow domestic pressure is illegitimate, especially when the pressure actually works, and most especially when the pressure works to create support for Israel. Distortion of the truth is at the heart of the book.
    I don’t think that the result you want, a legit Palestinian state, is likely to happen via the means you have chosen — defunding Israel, or imposing some version of sanctions. I think that Israelis are more concerned with security issues than this would suggest, and I think that world-wide sanctions would harden the Israeli right. I also think it’s worth thinking about what aid to other countries really cashes out to. It generally has very little to do with those other countries.
    If you want this Palestinian state, then, and a lefty Israel, you may actually have to feed the security beast so that the left can emerge. People turn rightward when they feel threatened. A US pullback, then, is more likely to cause problems that you don’t want than it is to solve them. Something about the left hand’s stealing from the right occurs to me.
    Regarding Iran, I’m out of my depth, but I would guess from my limited understanding that we’re not really likely to have a great relationship with them, even without Israel on our side. That is, Israel could simply go away, but that wouldn’t change the US/Iran history in the least, and there’s not a lot of trust for some reason….
    If reality comes back, what then is a reasonable set of policy points? We’re obviously not dumping Israel, we’re not likely to have a mutually satisfying relationship with Iran (too much domestic political mileage from overheated rhetoric on both sides), too many interests satisfied by the current situation, and likely, and actual security threat to Israel under many versions of a US pullback.
    So, again, what does evenhandedness look like, and more, in the absence of even the possibility of “evenhandedness” what would you recommend?
    For sure, the Saudis are problematic. But the domestic balancing they have to maintain to keep from crashing and burning suggests to me at any rate that a little competition could be a very bad thing indeed. Domestically, an unpleasant place, the export of nuttery is deeply problematic, not much to love there. But sometimes stability is worth the price because instability can be utterly horrific in its consequences.
    I’m no expert on Sunni/Shia issues, but I think they play a big role you have left unmentioned. You also seem to reject the dual containment idea in favor of strengthening and Iran/Iraq alliance (is an alliance possible, or would it merely be Iranian domination, religification, and squishing of the Sunni population in Iraq?)
    I’m unsure that what you want is reachable via the means you set up, and I’m even unsure if what you want is, ummm, what you want (in that “be careful what you wish for” sense of having a hard time wishing with wisdom).
    EVERYone wants a peaceful happy just world in which there are no nukes and we all love each other. But the barriers, both institutional and political, are huge. And I don’t see anything in your posting above that would actually move the barriers.
    You have noted on occasion that you don’t understand what I write, so thanks for taking the time to decipher my post and my concerns, and for composing a response.

    Reply

  40. ... says:

    good post dan k.. thanks.. the naysayers will be here shortly…

    Reply

  41. Jackie says:

    Dan at 1:04 am,
    That is really good! How long have you thought about this dilemma? I really appreciate this your post.
    Jackie

    Reply

  42. Dan Kervick says:

    Evidently the W&M book made much more of an impression on you than it did on me, questions. It has put a real bee in your bonnet. I bought the book when it came out and read it; and it now sits in a box in my basement along with several dozen other political books I bought and read during the Bush era.
    I see the book as just one writing in a broader genre of writings that share a family relationship: They take a more skeptical view of Israel, and the very cordial and supportive US relationship with Israel, than is customary among most US opinion leaders; and they similarly take a more negative view of the extent and impact of pro-Israel lobbying and activism in the United States than is customary among opinion leaders.
    The book

    Reply

  43. JohnH says:

    Call it what you will, a cabal or a shadow elite. Fact is most Americans are totally unaware of the machinations going on behind the scenes–the massive PR effort behind Israel’s favorable image, the intense lobbying, the ruthless character assassination of anyone opposing them. Of course, this is not unique to Zionists. Big tobacco did the same for years. And most big industries and political parties do the same routinely today.
    That said, some of us find it to be beyond the pale that America would go to war on behalf of cabals or shadow elites. And, worse yet, most folks still can’t say with any confidence why America spent a $Trillion or more in Iraq, even though we’ve had seven years to puzzle over it. However, most would agree that the whole adventure was a total fiasco. I would add that it appears to have been concocted by a bunch of psychopaths not particularly concerned about the national interest or accountable to anyone. And, far from being chastened, they have the chutzpah to foist a repeat on us in Iran!
    So anytime folks like W & M expose the inner workings of such a diabolical system to us ordinary mortals, I say, “Bravo!”

    Reply

  44. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Considering events of the last month or so, anyone questioning the unduly powerful and damaging influence AIPAC has on American foreign policy, our politician’s loyalties, our global reputation, and our national security, is either a liar, or a blithering idiot.

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  45. questions says:

    It wasn’t preemptive, it was, ummm, post-emptive (sorry!) The LRB piece generated a lot of criticism and they responded to that criticism in the book. But the criticism was made for some actual good reasons.
    I have been over the concept of THELOBBY so many times I’m not going to do it again. The criticism is valid, their scholarship is on the weaker side.
    I have posted about numerous problems with the conceptual underpinnings of realism, with the notion that there could be a “correct” foreign policy, so that’s not worth going over either.
    So, if they have the read of Congress wrong, and if the theoretical underpinnings of their view are also off base, there’s not a lot to love about THEBOOK.
    And then, on top of it all, they tack on endless backtracks about how lobbying is normal, there isn’t a cabal, the money doesn’t actually matter, and so on. The backtracks make it clear that they’ve been stung by their critics and they had to address the strongest of them.
    Once you get rid of cabals and abnormal lobbies and once you realize that realism has some serious conceptual problems, you don’t have much of a book left.
    The remaining thesis has to be something like: W and M think that Arab countries in the ME should get lots more attention and military support and even though the money we send to Israel doesn’t matter that much to us, we could cut that back, and even though everyone spies, Israel also spies so we should send more weapons to Syria and/or Lebanon and/or Jordan…. Or something like this.
    What really is “fair minded” treatment? What really would it mean to be less sweetheart-ish towards Israel? Any concrete suggestions?
    Which deals do we nix? What replaces those deals? What sorts of political changes do we make regarding congressional districts and jobs?
    Remember, given that they are realists, they don’t really care about humanitarian concepts, and as I quoted, they like “dual containment” which is, of course, a nasty business.
    And just for the record, what does anyone else here think about dual containment of Iran and Iraq?

    Reply

  46. ... says:

    dan k- i think the idea is to put everyone on the defensiveness… these fanatics are typically offensive, or borderline terrorists… talking or writing about them is like walking on a mine field…

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  47. Dan Kervick says:

    Sweetness, I don’t see that W&M have a lot of “acolytes”. They didn’t say anything that a lot of people didn’t already believe, and I doubt they changed many minds one way or another. Because they were fairly prominent FP academics, their willingness to put their thesis out there probably helped add a layer of respectability to the thesis, and open it up to fuller discussion, which is probably the main reason the book has been a lightning rod for intense and emotional criticism.

    Reply

  48. Dan Kervick says:

    questions, I thought W&M laid it on a bit thick with the apologetic passages, which seemed redundant given the body of their arguments, and overly concerned with pre-emptively soothing the very frangible sensibilities of their opponents.

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  49. Carroll says:

    Perhaps we should begin addressing the bottom line in the whole W&M and AIPAC and related discussions.
    That being ..when does “Lobbying” become something close to or actually treason…or acts against the welfare of the country whether in current law or not? Acts that would be seen as traitorous by your average citizen or reasonable people.
    Let’s use Jane Harmon since she was actually caught dead to rights, and also include the Bush Justice Department who let her off for another quid pro quo.
    I have long said the US needs to update and refine it’s definitions and laws regarding treason to encompass today’s political realities.
    But suppose another scenario where Jane had promised Lockheed to intercede in some case the Justice department had against it instead of a case where a Lobby asked her to intercede in a case of alleged spying by employees of lobby for a foreign country?
    Undue influence, conflict of interest, treason?
    These are questions that need to be settled by new definitions and laws.
    TMP timeline…
    Around Oct 2005: An NSA wiretap picks up a phone call between Harman and a “suspected Israeli agent,” discussing the quid pro quo involving Rosen, Weissman, and the intel chair job. (A different report suggests that the wiretap was carried out not by the NSA, but by the FBI, as part of the Rosen-Weissman probe.)
    * Soon afterwards: Justice Department lawyers read the transcripts of the call, and decide that Harman has committed a “completed crime,” meaning they thought evidence existed that Harman had tried to put the scheme into motion. The government lawyers are prepared to open a case on Harman, involving FISA-approved wiretaps.
    * Soon after that: Then-CIA Director Porter Goss reviews the transcript of the call and signs off on the Justice Department’s FISA application. Goss also decides he’s required to notify then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Pelosi, of the impending probe, since it involves a sitting House member.
    * Soon after that: Then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales short-circuits the investigation, saying he “needed Jane” to publicly support the administration’s warrantless wiretapping program, which was now, finally, about to be exposed by the Times. Gonzales told Goss that Harman had helped persuade the Times to hold the earlier story on the program (a claim Times executive editor Bill Keller today appeared to deny, though his statement was narrowly worded), and could serve as an important public defender of the program.
    * Dec 16, 2005: The Times breaks the warrantless wiretapping story.
    * Dec 21, 2005: Proving Gonzales right, Harman issues a statement on the wiretapping program: “I believe it essential to U.S. national security, and that its disclosure has damaged critical intelligence capabilities.”
    * Several months before Oct 2006: Haim Saban, an AIPAC supporter and major Democratic fundraiser, calls Pelosi, lobbying her to reappoint Harman as the top Dem on the intel committee. (By this time, the Democrats appear likely to retake the House, meaning the job at issue is chair of the intel committee.)
    * Oct 20, 2006: Harman hires top Washington lawyer Ted Olson, in response to a report by Time magazine about the Justice Department probe of the alleged Harman-AIPAC quid pro quo, and about the Saban-Pelosi call.
    * The following week: Several major news outlets report that, according to DOJ sources, the Harman probe is dormant and didn’t turn up evidence of wrongdoing.
    * Dec 2006: Pelosi announces that Rep. Silvestre Reyes will chair the House Intel committee, disappointing Harman.
    * April 2009: In response to the CQ story, Harman denies contacting DOJ on the AIPAC case, but not that the conversation with the “suspected Israeli agent” occurred.

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  50. Sweetness says:

    Dan writes: “There are no conspiracy theories or “conspiracy-
    like” anecdotes in the W&M book. Almost everything they
    describe in the book is perfectly legal lobbying activity, a point
    they make incessantly, and have made again and again in
    response to sloppy critics and emotional readers who persist in
    attributing. Some of the lobbying activity is very public; some
    not so public. That’s also no different than lobbying activity in
    general.”
    Since I have not read their book, only articles, it’s probably
    dangerous to comment. But what strikes me as confusing–and
    you allude to this–is that all kinds of people draw very different
    conclusions from their book than what WM SAY they mean.
    So, while they say over and over that AIPAC is a lobby like other
    lobbies, only more effective, many WM acolytes (see upstream
    for just one example) conclude from this that AIPAC is not at all
    like other lobbies; that, in fact, it engages in traitorous,
    unAmerican activities; that it was “responsible” for our invading
    Iraq; and that it should be forced to register as a foreign agent.
    Misreadings of their book shouldn’t be laid at the feet of the
    authors. And perhaps we can say that misreadings of this book
    are INEVITABLE given the highly controversial nature of the
    debate and the strong emotions and potentially high stakes
    involved.
    OTOH, if misreading is rampant (on both sides of the issue!), it
    does make one wonder about the text and the authors’
    intentions–to some degree. It isn’t hard to make a text
    suggestive in various ways without stating something outright
    and without having to take responsibility for it.
    The use of questions instead of statements…or quoting what
    others have said or been quoted as saying…are two obvious
    examples of this. You put the idea in the reader’s mind without
    making a claim. The whole birther campaign is a crude example
    of this: “We’re NOT saying Obama isn’t an American. We just
    want the question settled.”
    Now, I’m not saying that WM are using these techniques-:)…

    Reply

  51. Carroll says:

    Posted by frenchconnection, Apr 01 2010, 4:46PM – Link >>>>>>>>>>
    LOL…well dude, I’am not a dude, I’am a ‘dudette’ I suppose, or whatever the current hood slang is for a female not a male.
    How dare I compare LaFayette to the Taliban?
    How dare you make up such shit that I compared the two? Hummm?
    Show me where I said that…hummm…come on put up or shut up…as ‘they’ say.
    Where did I actually justify any of it?…although I could justify some terrorist no doubt.
    If you’re just bored and want to type, address someone else’s post…preferable one that you can read correctly. Making up something another poster said just so you can have something to respond to or some hobby horse to ride is stupid.

    Reply

  52. questions says:

    And given that I quoted substantial chunks of the book and replied to the quotations, I don’t think I was imagining things.
    So go ahead and quote right back to me from your well worn, dog-eared, post-it noted copy! Because of course you have one or you wouldn’t be telling me I’m imagining things based on the word “undertones.”
    Connotation. Connotation. Connotation.

    Reply

  53. questions says:

    No, Dan, not elusive undertones. The book runs through, in just about every chapter, anecdote after anecdote, the total effect of which is suppose to feel something like being hit by a truck. Then, at the end of every chapter, they have one of those **We don’t mean to make you feel like you’ve been hit by a truck** apologies.
    They do this over and over. They present material gleaned using fairly poor social science methodology. They tell incomplete stories, they leave out contexts that help convey meaning. They talk about disproportion and distorted policy. Then they toss in a few words about text book American politics as an afterthought at the end. Then it’s a new chapter and they do it all over again.
    Maybe when you read it, you didn’t see it that way. I’d like to know what your response was as you went through it. Did you not think that all the apologies were tacked on? Did you really find it coherent and methodologically sound? Did you compare it to other works on Congress? Did you really think that their argument was well-grounded on solid scholarship?
    Let me know. I’m curious since you seem to be so taken with the book/THEBOOK.
    And since I took the time to give a real time report as I was reading a major chunk of the book, I’d hope for at least a few minutes worth of reporting in return??

    Reply

  54. frenchconnection says:

    caroll
    never said “machine guns”. They carry automatic rifles similar to the ones the US uses in combat. And they are good marksmen. Check “vigipirate” on the net.
    they are popular, the French don’t see their army as a threat. We feel protected, and if those guys wouldn’t be there, there would be a demand. We have currently 300 islamists in jail. 90% of them were arrested in possession of prohibited weapons or explosives. Last one who was attested in my hometown (not Paris) had 2 AK47 and C4. Barely a line in the local newspaper. It’s policy. Nobody here feels living on “red alert”. Compare with the US where Fox and other medias go frantic if the FBI arrests a Muslim in possession of a firecracker.
    Or go nuts at the mere idea Gitmo inmates could be transferred to a high security prison on US soil.
    How dare you compare LaFayette to the Talibans or similar ? The French brigade in Afghanistan is called “Task Force Lafayette”. Besides LaFayette, Rochambeau and De Grasse didn’t come to America to blow up American civilians to battle the British “occupiers”. They fought them in regular battles. Their ideology wasn’t religious or “down with the state” or other libertarian/teabag/militia redneckery.
    Yes they were wealthy, but so were Washington, Franklin and Jefferson. But they didn’t preach undiscriminate violence. My point was that the assessment “it’s the poor that have no other option than terrorism” is a strawman. Plenty of resistance movements (actually a majority) have fought with other means than terrorism, even if the struggle was armed. All that depends on the ideological leadership.
    Dude, you have a pretty mixed set of values

    Reply

  55. Dan Kervick says:

    Ah yes, those elusive “undertones”. The imaginative reader’s excuse for saying that what a writer really means is different from what they actually said.

    Reply

  56. JohnH says:

    Nadine says, “To a jihadi there is no distinction between the political and the religious.” Kind of like the Jewish State of Israel, huh?
    As usual, Nadine again shows her ignorance by saying that suicide bombings in Pakistan are not related to occupation because Pakistan is not occupied. However, much of the Northwest Frontier Province is being occupied by Pakistani forces, who are considered outsiders in the area.
    Like I said earlier, those who try to dismiss outside occupation as a cause for suicide bombing do so because they wish to absolve themselves (US and Israel) of any responsibility and to assuage their consciences for the awful things that are being done in their name.

    Reply

  57. questions says:

    Dan, the undertones in THEBOOK are all about disproportion and inappropriateness. I posted numerous quotations to which I took exception, so I’m not doing that all over again. They give no numerical context for dollars spent or outcomes granted except when it seems to bolster their case. They leave out context, they select…. The book is not good scholarship, it’s anecdotes strung together into a book length manuscript.
    Maybe you just so totally agree with the conclusions that you don’t worry so much about the method, but the method is deeply problematic. And the rhetoric is being walked back, big time.
    The places in the book where they walk back the whole “cabal” thing are pasted in. They are marked by sudden changes in tone and topic, and are there solely because they got nailed repeatedly for the original LRB version. Fact is, their rhetoric leads to charges of cabalistic thinking because it’s in the rhetoric in the first place. They didn’t think through quite what they were implying. And now Walt is easing up on this stuff and pushing “shadow elites” instead. I may have to read this one too, though I’m pretty uninterested in shadows. I think you can get to many of the same places by just describing institutions and the people who people them. And you can leave out a lot of undertones and suggestions and insinuations.
    Clearly, Dan, the what you pulled out of a close reading of W and M isn’t what I pulled out….

    Reply

  58. Pahlavan says:

    These Chechen terrorists took over a school in Beslan and took 1000 people for 3 days, before Putin’s dispatched his tanks to storm the school.
    It’s now 5 years later, and the same group is now referred to as the “Muslim Chechen terrorists”!
    Our tax dollars hard at work!

    Reply

  59. Carroll says:

    Posted by frenchconnection, Apr 01 2010, 2:28PM – Link
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>
    1) oh pleeezee.
    2) machine guns?..in a subway crowd?…their regular weapons aren’t enough or they aren’t good enough marksmen with a pistol? that kind of over the hilt firepower “protection’ is a recipe for a disaster.
    3) evidently you miss the assassination snark
    4) my sympathies for you having to live in a constant state of red alert.
    5) rich, well educated people can see themselves as politically oppressed or occupied or in fact just be incensed at some injustice, and because their wealth gives them move around freedom and they might see what the less educated masses don’t see or aren’t in a position to do anything about.
    The US revolution caught the imagination of wealthy and educated Lafayette if you remember.
    So that comment makes no sense in relation to what I said.

    Reply

  60. Dan Kervick says:

    Sorry, I’m at work and I’m writing too fast.
    I wrote:
    “That’s also different than lobbying activity in general.”
    Which should be:
    “That’s also no different than lobbying activity in general.”

    Reply

  61. Dan Kervick says:

    “who persist in attributing”
    should be
    “who persist in attributing assertions to them that are not found in the books.”

    Reply

  62. Dan Kervick says:

    There are no conspiracy theories or “conspiracy-like” anecdotes in the W&M book. Almost everything they describe in the book is perfectly legal lobbying activity, a point they make incessantly, and have made again and again in response to sloppy critics and emotional readers who persist in attributing. Some of the lobbying activity is very public; some not so public. That’s also different than lobbying activity in general.
    Their whole point is that this activity is very *influential*, as lobbying goes, and that, in their own value estimate, it has lead to the pursuit of some policies that are *not in the US national interest*. Maybe those claims are true; maybe they are false. But neither one is a “conspiracy theory”.

    Reply

  63. Paul Norheim says:

    And now, Ladies and Gentlemen, a big applause to
    Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, Avigdor Lieberman, and
    Ehud Barak, acting as as The Persecuted Bulldozers!
    I’m glad the Russian leadership at least refuse to
    play the same role, knowing that even the Israelis
    have a hard time selling tickets to this
    vaudeville.

    Reply

  64. questions says:

    Quick thing, though I swore off it for the rest of the day — I can quit anytime I want to! It’s easy, I do it several times a day….
    Anyway, to Carroll, sorry, THEBOOK is full of conspiracy-like thinking. They “walk” it back in every chapter and then bombard with conspiracy-like anecdotes. They married two books together, the one they wanted–full of anecdotes trying to be systematic all about how disproportionate the pro-Israeli pressure is, and then the second one which is a walk back in the face of a ton of criticism they took for the first one.
    There’s still a lot of problems with a notion of a “shadow elite”, but the very explicit distancing of cabalistic and conspiratorial thinking is to be welcomed. And to do it without any shadows or elites or groups would be even nicer!
    There are serious problems with direct democracy that have been pointed out of the centuries. The biggest, to my mind, is a lack of separation between legislative and executive functions. Kant and I think Rousseau both get at this.
    The answer to direct democracy is, of course, republicanism (small r) — representatives put the distance between the executive and the legislative and thus guarantee separation of powers. Very good.
    Sadly, representation brings in the problem of, well, representation. Suddenly, a legislator is BOTH himself and the other, has both private interests and public interests, has to separate those powers and not be himself insofar as he’s a legislator.
    In an elected representative system, there’s more! There are constituents who vote and who don’t. Who make getting re-elected easier and who don’t. Whom do you represent? There are national issues, local issues, international issues, global issues, environmental issues, economic issues. There are noisy wide awake constituents, sleepy constituents, some in vegetative comas as it were, and some waiting to be awakened by an ISSUE. What the fuck is a legislator to do?
    Into this system come W and M and they think they know exactly what a legislator should do. Why, there’s a clear and natural and correct policy regarding Israel, not a political preference based on all the pressures representatives deal with.
    Fact is, W and M have the basics wrong. It doesn’t take shadows, elites, cabals, conspiracies or anything else, no violations of Occam’s Razor or anything even remotely in that direction. And, in fact, there’s no distortion or disproportion. There are pressures and there are preferences, and the legislators enact those very pressures and preferences.
    Should one wish to change policy in a representative system, one must change pressures and preferences. There isn’t a right answer, a right policy, a clear set of interests.
    So, Carroll, indeed W. is walking back one of the two books encapsulated in that one volume.

    Reply

  65. Dan Kervick says:

    There is nothing in Walt’s recent piece that is inconsistent in substance or tone with Walt’s book. It is only inconsistent with kneejerk projections many people still insist on placing on the book, especially people who haven’t read it.

    Reply

  66. frenchconnection says:

    @caroll
    France has military personel patrolling subways, stations, airports and other sensitive places (like major turist attractions) since 9/11. They are mostly combat troops of various units, inclusive the Foreign Legion. Their weapons are loaded and their ROE are the same than in Kabul. They have search and arrest right, with the caveat that they must turn the suspect to a civilian law enforcement representative as soon as possible. They are greatly appreciated by the population. When a major terrorist attack occurs the alert level is increased, even if the bombing is not done on French soil, which means that we vary from “lower red” to “upper red” all the time. Crimson level (which could imply curfew) hasn’t be reached up to today.
    Of course the risk that a Chechen Black Widow blows herself up in Paris is very little. But an increased deterrence is useful in case ANOTHER TYPE of creep goes and blows him/herself by imitation or inspiration. So the NYPD reaction is correct specially in a town martyrised by the sole foreign terrorist attack on US soil so far (if you don’t count the Canadian burning of the Capitol 1812).
    The rest of your comment is unbelievable :
    so according to you it’s OK to kill a politician “to make a statement” as long as you don’t kill civilians (which is an oxymore anyway)? The corollary to that would be then, that it is PERFECTLY OK to kill police or military, as long you don’t kill civilians ?
    The truth is that terrorism is EFFECTIVE because it causes great civilian damage using elusive means. If terrorists attacked military facilities only, they would be rapidly subdued, that’s why they don’t, unless the military has become too weak. Terrorism forces democracies to turn their passive arsenal of coercion into an active one, bedding for mistakes and “overkill”, to destabilize society and transform it into a dictatorship, which in its turn “legitimizes” even more the use of violence from both sides.
    how can you be so naive, Caroll ?
    finally
    “most often the politically oppressed and occupied…”
    wrong. Those might be te “expendable material”. Most leading terrorists, at least on the ideological/executive leadership side come from wealthy, educated families. It applies so well to Bakunin (a noble) who founded modern anarchism, Jabotinsky the revisionist zionist that founder Irgun or of course OBL.

    Reply

  67. nadine says:

    questions, I would add that Pape’s theory is being blown to bits (pun intended) in the many attacks that Pakistan has suffered. Pakistan is neither occupied nor particularly democratic.
    Suicide-bombing has simply become a weapon of war for radical Islamists (and yes, it’s 99% Muslim, pace the late Tamil Tigers). It was first okayed as a special exception for the sake of killing the Jews, but whatever happens in the I/P conflict becomes a kind of dress rehearsal for conflicts in the rest of the Muslim world.
    I notice Walt is now trying to walk back the cat: Conspiracy thinking? Oh dear oh dear, I never meant to truck with conspiracy thinking.
    He is affecting surprise at the reaction to his book. Just because he defined “the Israel lobby” as anybody who, in his opinion, ever held a “pro-Israel” position, thus creating a virtual lobby that covered the political waterfront; which he then declared omnipotent as some element of this “Israel lobby” was sure to be pleased whatever happened. Now he claims he never meant to insinuate there was a conspiracy. O-kay.

    Reply

  68. nadine says:

    “Generally, according to the data base of “315 separate suicide terrorist attacks between 1980 and 2003, 301, or 95 per cent, were parts of organized, coherent campaigns, while only 14 were isolated or random events. Nine separate disputes have led to suicide terrorist campaigns….” (39)” (Pape, quoted by questions)
    questions, I don’t have a problem with this. The non-sequitur occurs when you say, it’s an organized campaign, THEREFORE the motivation is political and not religious; the reasons must be nationalist, regardless of what the perpetrators say.
    To a jihadi there is no distinction between the political and the religious. The religious motives are dominant and the political program is quite vague; they want the caliphate restored and have declared this or that place “emirates” as their power allows. This is why I asked, “Were the Crusades launched for nationalist motives?” to try to point out the absurdity of concluding that an organized campaign must have nationalist purposes.
    “Think about it– every religion forbids suicide.”
    Not anymore; this is the innovation of Islamic suicide terror. Widely influential clerics such as Qadarawi have given their fatwa blessing to suicide-bombing in service of jihad. Inside the Muslim world, the chief objection seems to be the number of Muslims getting killed by suicide bombers. You really can’t find objections to the practice when infidels are offed.

    Reply

  69. ... says:

    Paul Norheim, Apr 01 2010, 3:29AM
    nailed it…

    Reply

  70. Carroll says:

    I see in response to the Russian bombings Bloomberg has the NYPD in the subways with machine guns….no joke, carrying machine guns.
    Has Bloomberg fallen for the conspiracy theory that hordes of the Russian Black Widow bombers are going to invade NY?
    I have to say that although I agree it is most often the politically oppressed and occupied who turn to bombing, they are not effective. If you’re gonna kill a bunch of people to make a statement and cause chaos you should be aiming for the politicians responsible not powerless civilians.

    Reply

  71. Carroll says:

    Posted by questions, Apr 01 2010, 9:41AM – Link
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephen-m-walt/emshadow-eliteem-march-to_b_521255.html
    Walt restatement on conspiracy theory. Maybe he sees the disservice THEBOOK has done in its language?! One can hope. And he’s pushing “normal” institutions, some private discussions, and normal institutions. Why didn’t they push it the first time around, with a whole bunch of data? They could have made a far better case for themselves, disarmed the crazies from the get-go, and maybe done something actually helpful. Do they only now understand what their rhetoric made possible?
    At any rate, I’m happy to see the emphasis this way. And I’d love to see a data set on congressional votes….
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Walt isn’t walking back anything, he never suggested ‘conspiracy’ in his book.
    He said the same thing he said in the article you linked.
    Which is that there are groups and individuals, quite public, that work together to advance policies and agendas. They discuss their plans agenda both “in private” and ‘in public’.
    The only possible reason I can think of for why you constantly try to link the label “conspiracy” to the Lobby or the Neo’s is because you want to present these groups or individuals as somehow “benign” and a good outcome of democracy instead of the ‘perversion’ of democratic rights that they actually are or you want to link it to the crazies who are abducted by space ships to try and discredit those who do recongize the cabals, flex nets or the shadow elites or etc.. Just are you constantly want to pretend that the Jewish Lobby is just an other lobby like the NRA, instead of a Unregistered ‘Foreign’ lobby.
    Call them cabals or networks or flex-nets or The Shadow Elite or whatever. It actually doesn’t matter what they are called, they are what they are. Either you don’t understand what you read or you are as usual pushing your convoluted style of propaganda.
    “In her new book Shadow Elite, Janine Wedel offers a better way to think about the phenomenon of private political collusion. Wedel devotes one chapter of the book to the “Neocon core”, which she portrays as a network of well-connected and like-minded elites operating in several sectors of society simultaneously. Not only could the neoconservatives plan campaigns privately, but they could lend each other mutual support at key moments, and mobilize activity in several sectors of society (i..e., government, academia, media, business, etc.) at the same time. There is nothing unusual or “conspiratorial” about such behavior; on the contrary, Wedel argues that what she calls “flex-nets” (a term connoting the flexible professional identities of many members of these networks) are increasingly prevalent in a number of different issue-areas.
    This approach avoids the distorting language of “conspiracy” or “cabal”, with all the negative (and misleading) connotations that such terms contain. At the same time, it helps us see how relatively small groups of people can exert enduring influence in different policy domains, even when their past advice has proven to be disastrous. If well-connected elites are largely insulated from failure, and if ordinary citizens are unaware of the different connections and interests that bind key elites to one another, then the public (and even some policymakers) cannot accurately evaluate their advice or exclude them from power. If Wedel is right, the growing prominence of these “shadow elites” may be undermining the accountability that is essential to a healthy democracy.”
    This piece originally appeared on Stephen Walt’s blog for Foreign Policy magazine.
    Linda Keenan is the editor of the Shadow Elite column.

    Reply

  72. Dmitry Novik says:

    The title “An Explanation for Monday’s Suicide Bombing in Moscow” is absolutely false because there is not any explanation for any suicide terrorist act agains innocent victims of that terrorist act – it is the most dangerous crime against humanity, human rights and civil rights.
    Such false explanation is also the crime against humanity because it by itself tryes to find rational reason for terrorist act for which there is not any rational explanation and/or justification. Period.

    Reply

  73. questions says:

    Sorry I missed the Don Bacon/Bin Laden link connection. My bad.
    I get the feeling, though, that there are some reasonable non-conspiratorial reasons for it all.
    But that’s just me.
    Back to regular life after a morning of fun and games!

    Reply

  74. questions says:

    Then there’s this that gets stuck on “hard evidence” and grand jury involvement….
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article13664.htm
    And one wonders if the language of “hard evidence” is throwing people off. After all, if we don’t define our terms, we get hung up on conspiracy theory far more easily. We find ambiguity when it’s not there, we don’t find it when it is.
    Perhaps Mr. Walt could comment on this one?
    Is it possible that there’s a legal definition for “hard evidence” and reasons for the exclusions and lack of charges and the like? Could it actually be that Bin Laden is really thought to be guilty, but that other things keep him from being charged in absentia for the 9/11 bombings? Hmmm.
    Just think how much people get played by “death panels” and “government takeovers” and “socialism” and government hands off my Medicare… in the health debate, and wonder if maybe you’re being played the same way by “hard evidence” and ummm, really ummmm, bin Laden’s not being on any FBI list (even though it looks like he’s on the regular top 10 now, AND on his very own special terror list…..)

    Reply

  75. sdemetri says:

    questions, read Don Bacon’s post above. He put the same link up.
    No mention of 9/11 in that listing.
    Like I said, derive whatever conclusions you want from the facts.
    Right now the facts support the official narrative much less than
    some other possible explanations. Careful with the conspiracy
    stuff. There’s a lot of it floating around.

    Reply

  76. Dan Kervick says:

    FBI:
    “USAMA BIN LADEN IS WANTED IN CONNECTION WITH THE AUGUST 7, 1998, BOMBINGS OF THE UNITED STATES EMBASSIES IN DAR ES SALAAM, TANZANIA, AND NAIROBI, KENYA. THESE ATTACKS KILLED OVER 200 PEOPLE. IN ADDITION, BIN LADEN IS A SUSPECT IN OTHER TERRORIST ATTACKS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.”

    Reply

  77. questions says:

    And there’s this:
    http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/terrorists/terbinladen.htm
    And this:
    http://people.howstuffworks.com/fbi-most-wanted.htm
    So there’s some stuff floating around that maybe contradicts some conspiracy stuff, maybe??? Maybe??

    Reply

  78. questions says:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/27/AR2006082700687.html
    A little something on the FBI most wanted list….
    And here’s a link to the FBI list itself, unless I’m being scammed, and there’s this face on the top right… Ummmm
    http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/topten/fugitives/fugitives.htm
    And the link DOES say fbi dot gov, doesn’t it????

    Reply

  79. sdemetri says:

    Bin Laden at least three times immediately following 9/11
    denied involvement, well before seeing the advantage it gave
    him to claim responsibility.
    “ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden, the
    prime suspect in Tuesday’s terror attacks in Washington and
    New York, congratulated the people who carried out the deadly
    strikes but denied yesterday that he was involved, a Palestinian
    journalist said.
    ‘Osama bin Laden thanked Almighty Allah and bowed before him
    when he heard this news,” Jamal Ismail, Abu Dhabi Television’s
    bureau chief in Islamabad, said, quoting a close aide of bin
    Laden’s. Ismail said the aide, whom he wouldn’t identify by
    name, called him early yesterday on a satellite telephone from a
    hide-out in Afghanistan.”
    http://www.nj.com/specialprojects/index.ssf?
    /specialprojects/huntevil/osamaa13.html
    “In a statement faxed to the pro-Taliban Afghan Islamic Press
    (AIP) agency, Bin Laden yesterday denied having anything to do
    with last week’s attacks in New York and Washington. “I am
    residing in Afghanistan. I have taken an oath of allegiance [to
    the Taliban's spiritual leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar] which
    does not allow me to do such things from Afghanistan,” he
    claimed.
    “We have been blamed in the past, but we were not involved,” he
    said. The fax, written in Arabic, was sent from a secret location,
    AIP said.”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2001/sep/17/september11.a
    fghanistan2
    “Bin Laden has denied any connection to the attacks, though he
    has praised them. On Sunday, he reiterated his denial in a
    statement read by Qatar’s al-Jazeera satellite television channel.
    “I stress that I have not carried out this act, which appears to
    have been carried out by individuals with their own motivation,”
    read the al-Jazeera announcer from the statement.” Sept 16,
    2001
    Derive whatever conclusions you want from his statements. This
    is what major news outlets reported in the days following 9/11.

    Reply

  80. sdemetri says:

    One of Bin Laden’s original charges against the US related to bases
    on Saudi soil. Guests of the royal family, but from an extremist’s
    point of view an offense.
    As far as Don Bacon’s resort to conspiracy theory, that is a red
    herring. Nowhere is Bin Laden listed on the FBI site for crimes
    involving 9/11. That is no conspiracy theory, just plain fact. A
    government “investigation” full of major inconsistencies is
    acknowledged by several 9/11 Commission lead commissioners.
    That is no conspiracy either, but plain fact.
    POA has nadine pegged. Her own statements bear that out.

    Reply

  81. questions says:

    Don Bacon, religion isn’t absent from Pape’s account. But it’s religious difference that matters according to his data, not any particular content of religious thought. And in fact, because religions all have suicide and murder prohibitions, much effort is given to overcoming religious ideas in the name of nationalist goals and personal and familial suffering.
    So while Nadine is wrong to argue that there’s something about Islam, it would be incorrect as well to say that religion has nothing to do with it.
    People who are not Mulims also blow themselves up.

    Reply

  82. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Actually, nadine, other people don’t think and act as you do”
    Oh, I don’t know, Kotz and Wiggie seem to feel a certain affinity….

    Reply

  83. Don Bacon says:

    Right, nadine, Pape’s seminal work is fictional and the FBI web page is fictional. The only truths are your feelings, which seem to be based on religion, which seems to lead to your feelings that everyone else’s actions are based on religion, and around we go.
    Actually, nadine, other people don’t think and act as you do. What a relief!

    Reply

  84. questions says:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephen-m-walt/emshadow-eliteem-march-to_b_521255.html
    Walt restatement on conspiracy theory. Maybe he sees the disservice THEBOOK has done in its language?! One can hope. And he’s pushing “normal” institutions, some private discussions, and normal institutions. Why didn’t they push it the first time around, with a whole bunch of data? They could have made a far better case for themselves, disarmed the crazies from the get-go, and maybe done something actually helpful. Do they only now understand what their rhetoric made possible?
    At any rate, I’m happy to see the emphasis this way. And I’d love to see a data set on congressional votes….

    Reply

  85. questions says:

    And one more thing…. My first thought upon hearing about the new drill baby drill strategy was that it was drilling around Republican states only! Wonkette confirmed this read with a map!
    I wonder what will happen in those red states when the possibility of off shore drilling in their back yard becomes the possibility of major oil spills and coastal devastation? Tourism, nature, beaches vs. SUVs. And of course, there won’t be any effect for ages as all of this stuff takes forever to do, and the oil will go on the world market and have just about no effect on price…. But now all of this will be debated openly.
    Other analysts have noted that Repubs now have to agree with Obama, but in agreeing, are still disagreeing as Obama “doesn’t go far enough”….
    Fun to watch the positioning! Maybe Palin could interview someone about drilling — maybe Orly Taitz, as she does drill (teeth!)

    Reply

  86. questions says:

    Nadine, in terms of exceptions to Pape’s rule as you put it….
    Please give more detail for all of the hits. The US has troops in Saudi Arabia, and that was the motivation for 9/11. Not Islamism, but actual troops in Saudi Arabia following the first Gulf war.
    Targets in other countries get hit as they are related to various countries. An American embassy that is hit is an American target, even if it’s located in another country. So please specify the targets you’re dealing with. Find links, show what was bombed, who bombed it, and so on. In other words, use data instead of generalizations. Maybe Pape missed a few?
    Oh, and as for whoever above it was who decided that just cuz Pape is at the U of C he’s right… (was there more to the point?), not a good argument. Mearsheimer is at the U of C and Walt is at Harvard, and I don’t think either one is right. And that Kramer guy everyone was bashing some weeks ago? Also at Harvard. Credentials are meaningless. Argument matters. Pape has a good argument. W and M? Not so much. Kramer? Not at all….. So leave the credential war out of it and focus on the texts, the data, and the arguments.
    ***********
    Anyone following the beautiful Palin/Fox/LL Cool J story? It’s BEAUTIFUL!!!! Palin seems incapable of conducting an interview! So they are pulling out moth-eaten data streams from the vault and putting them on “her” “show” on Fox!!!! Toby Keith, too! It’s a fun world sometimes!
    Also, Rian Fike from kos has lots to say about the Florida race, the teachers, the really deep anger directed at the Republicans for teacher bashing, the failure of the Fla. bid for Race to the Top money because of the union bashing. Could be very politically significant and could overwhelm the HCR vote. Interesting how all politics is local! (Even suicide terror seems to be local!)

    Reply

  87. questions says:

    Paul, I’m STILL not done with the Pape book — too busy to devote vast stretches of time to things like this — so perhaps he will get in a read of the I/P issue as a motivator for suicide terrorism, but thus far, it isn’t there.
    Nadine,
    Bin Laden objected first and foremost to US troops in Mecca and Medina/Saudi Arabia. There’s the “occupation” — which Pape has a technical definition for. Occupation includes the loss of governmental legitimacy and control of resources, the presence of foreign troops whose existence weakens the power of the government.
    Pape also notes the importance of religious difference and the need for the occupier to be democratic so that suicide terror has a chance of effectively altering policies in the occupier’s home country. Suicide terror can sway elections, can force the government to alter policies because it puts pressure on citizens who then pressure the government. If the government isn’t open to citizen pressure, then the suicide is fruitless.
    Generally, according to the data base of “315 separate suicide terrorist attacks between 1980 and 2003, 301, or 95 per cent, were parts of organized, coherent campaigns, while only 14 were isolated or random events. Nine separate disputes have led to suicide terrorist campaigns….” (39)
    Clearly you’re not so familiar with the book, as he deals with suicide terrorism around the world. I’m in the middle of the Sikh chapter. Not Muslim! And he has a chapter on the Tamil Tigers — not Muslim either.
    Pape has a broad and data-driven perspective on the issues. He supports the data with historical and causal readings so that it’s not mere correlation he’s dealing with. He gives mechanisms for causation.
    Thus far, the I/P issues are central to… ummm, I/P issues. That is, Israel gets attacked by actual Palestinians who actually feel actually occupied by a democracy.
    Thus far, I haven’t come across any suggestion that the I/P issue draws in suicide terrorists from other and far-flung places. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, but thus far, no evidence for it.
    IF suicide terrorism is indeed a local response to local issues, then the blame-it-all-on-I/P crowd is simply wrong.
    If in the future, the I/P situation becomes an actual motive for people to blow themselves up, then clearly this reading will have to be changed. But as far as I can tell at this point, the self-explosive response to things comes from local issues.
    Think about it– every religion forbids suicide. Every parent raises kids to thrive and live and be in the world. Everyone wants a good life, well-lived. Somehow much of this progression is interrupted by suicide terror. The community has to support it, the parents have to accept it, people have to fund it, train for it, overcome deep horror at their own deaths and the deaths of others. The re-valuation of values is a huge undertaking. Most people aren’t equipped to do this kind of re-valuation without some really massive impetus. I/P doesn’t cut it. Threat to self, life, country, way of being — THAT cuts it. Again, this is all from Pape, not from my imagination.
    Again, I’m not done with Pape (about 100 pages to go), so maybe he gets to this, and I’ll retract the point. But nothing I’ve seen so far suggests that people blow themselves up because of other people’s political disputes.

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  88. Paul Norheim says:

    “So now Osama bin Laden is fictional?”
    Uh… I don’t think Don Bacon said that, Nadine.
    According to my impeccable imagination, Don Bacon
    actually said that Israel and the territories were
    occupied by the United States, no, sorry, that
    Osama bin Laden’s grandfather was occupied by the
    United Emirates in a novel written by Dostoyevsky
    after he lost all his money in a casino in
    Casablanca!
    So the big question is: How does Ingrid Bergman or
    Monty Python explain that notable exception to
    Pape’s rule?

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  89. Paul Norheim says:

    “Certainly neither Israel nor the territories are
    occupied by the United States.
    So, how to explain all these exceptions to Pape’s
    rule?” (Nadine)
    Ah, the territories… How on earth can Professor
    Pape explain all these suicide bombers coming from
    the territories into Israel, of all places? You
    certainly nailed it there, Nadine.
    You know, I’ve heard certain rumors that a bunch
    of Islamo-fascists who live in the territories
    have come up with some lunatic conspiracy theory
    that the territories are actually occupied by
    Israel! These fruitcakes even claim that America
    supplies that country with money and weapons!
    Occupied by Israel… unbelievable, isn’t it? But
    so they say… Of course we all know that this is
    merely an excuse, and that the real cause behind
    this otherwise unexplainable hostility is the fact
    that these Muslims actually believe in Allah,
    Hitler, Mau-Mau, Charles Manson, The Protocols,
    Malcolm X, Heinrich Himmler, Jack the Ripper and
    Jihad and all that crazy stuff.
    How can Professor Pape overlook these facts? He
    must certainly be one of these leftists and anti-
    Americans who hate white people and fetishizes The
    Other.

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  90. nadine says:

    Well, Don Bacon, you employ two techniques beloved by the left: argument by ridicule instead of facts, and resort to conspiracy thinking. So now Osama bin Laden is fictional?
    Egypt is not occupied by anybody, and the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic Jihad have used suicide terrorism extensively, inside and outside the country. Jordan is not occupied. It’s been hit. Saudi Arabia is not occupied. It’s been hit repeatedly, and spawned Al Qaeda. Pakistan is not occupied. It’s been hit as well. Certainly neither Israel nor the territories are occupied by the United States.
    So, how to explain all these exceptions to Pape’s rule? What do these places have in common? Well, first they all have rebel groups who really don’t like the rulers of the place, whether or not the US army is anywhere to be seen. Second, there’s another common factor. Begins with “M”. Maybe you can guess.
    Or maybe not.

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  91. Don Bacon says:

    Why is nadine asking who “occupied” Osama bin Laden? Anybody have a clue? OBL is the US bogeyman used to sustain an obscenely costly military corporate welfare program, as well as wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hundreds of billions of dollars, and thousands of lives, against a guy in a cave? You gotta be kidding.
    Actually, the US doesn’t have much on bin Laden. If you go and take a look at the FBI Top Ten Most Wanted Fugitives, you’ll see: USAMA BIN LADEN IS WANTED IN CONNECTION WITH THE AUGUST 7, 1998, BOMBINGS OF THE UNITED STATES EMBASSIES IN DAR ES SALAAM, TANZANIA, AND NAIROBI, KENYA. THESE ATTACKS KILLED OVER 200 PEOPLE. IN ADDITION, BIN LADEN IS A SUSPECT IN OTHER TERRORIST ATTACKS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.
    http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/topten/fugitives/laden.htm
    A suspect. Do you see 9/11 on there anywhere, the event which President Obama mentioned several times in his brief after-dark visit to pump up the troops in Afghanistan recently, telling them that their efforts were needed against that guy in the cave?
    “War is a racket . . .the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.” –Smedley Butler, MajGen, USMC, recipient of two Congressional Medals of Honor

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  92. Don Bacon says:

    AD: “. From a legal standpoint, Russia can no more occupy Chechnya than Canada can occupy Quebec.”
    Perhaps AD is not familiar with the Quebec sovereignty movement (French: Mouvement souverainiste du Qu

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  93. Don Bacon says:

    Professor Pape: “As we have discovered in our research on Lebanon, the West Bank, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and elsewhere, suicide terrorist campaigns are almost always a last resort against foreign military occupation.”
    Let’s see, will I go with University of Chicago Professor Dr. Robert A. Pape, who has headed the Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism, which addresses serious policy challenges related to the principal international security issues facing the United States and the world community. The Chicago Project advances its purpose through three main activities: 1) the collection, maintenance, and expansion of a searchable database of international suicide terrorist attacks from 1981 to the present; 2) the collection and translation of martyr videos from around the world; and 3) support and conduct research projects to help the public and the policy community solve fundamental international security problems,
    or with nadine, whom an Amazon reviewer (Robert Steele) might have had in mind when he wrote, in reviewing Professor Pape’s book “Dying to Win,” –”I will not repeat the excellent listing of facts in the Book Description provided by the publisher–certainly that description should be read carefully. If you are a Jewish zealot, don’t bother, you will not get over the cognitive dissonance. Everyone else, including Muslim, Protestant, and Catholic contributors to Congressional and Presidential campaign funds, absolutely must read this book. There are many other books that support the author’s key premises, all well-documented with case studies and the most complete and compelling statistics–known facts. I am persuaded by the author’s big three:
    1) Suicidal terrorism correlates best with U.S. military occupation of specific countries that tend to be undemocratic and corrupt, where the U.S. in collusion with dictators and one-party elites are frustrating legitimate national aspirations of the larger underclass and middle class;
    2) Virtually all of the suicidal terrorists comes from allies of the U.S. (at least nominally–they actually play the U.S. as “useful idiots”) such as Saudi Arabia, rather than Iran;
    3) The three premises shared by Hezbollah, Hamas, Al Qaeda, the Tamil Tigers, and now the Iraqi insurgency, are all accurate and will continue to be so if the U.S. does not pull its military out of the Middle East, Pakistan, Indonesia, and other locations: . . .”
    Ah, it’s a close call, but I’ll go with Professor Pape.

    Reply

  94. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Actually, Kotz, were I you, I’d be a bit more concerned with your own image than mine.
    To ally yourself with such a consumate liar, propagandist, and bigot as Nadine tells us all we need to know about Kotzabasis.

    Reply

  95. nadine says:

    To be fair, kotz, the abuse came from the usual potty mouthed source, POA, not Don Bacon.
    But I will ask again, who “occupied” Osama bin Laden?
    JohnH, nobody said the Palestinian and Lebanese suicide bombers were robots. I just pointed out that the suicide bombers in the Lebanese conflict were not the occupied, but agents of the occupier.
    Altogether, Pape surveys thousands of suicide bombers throughout the Mideast (and various Western capitals), only some of whom call themselves “occupied”, but all of whom call themselves “Muslim” and “shahids” who are killing and dying for Allah. He then concludes that their motive isn’t really religious. To me, the whole thing sounds like the punchline of a bad joke.
    To a radical Islamist, there is no distinction between the religious and the political. None. But Pape thinks he knows better.

    Reply

  96. kotzabasis says:

    My deepest apologies to Don Bacon. My above post should be addressed to POA.

    Reply

  97. kotzabasis says:

    Don Bacon
    Your abusive response to Nadine clearly shows how rattled you are by her arguments and how completely intellectually disarmed you are to “countercogent” her arguments.

    Reply

  98. JohnH says:

    According to AD’s simplistic argument, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, etc. etc. could not be considered to have been occupied. Maybe not even Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, etc. etc. The main difference here is that Chechnya never got independence after the breakup of the Soviet Union, while the others did.
    BTW I’m amazed that no one has bothered to assert that the Chechen suicide bombers are agents of a foreign power trying to disrupt a vital transit corridor for Russian oil and gas.
    If Palestinian and Lebanese suicide bombers are automatically considered nothing more than tools of Iran or Syria, then Chechen suicide must also be robots working for someone else, too. What BS!

    Reply

  99. AD says:

    It is an extreme stretch to call Chechnya
    “occupied”. First and foremost, Chechnya has been
    part of the Soviet Union for many-many years.
    Legally, it is part of Russia. From a legal
    standpoint, Russia can no more occupy Chechnya than
    Canada can occupy Quebec. It would be much more
    telling if Russian military was NOT present there.
    That there is a separatist movement in a specific
    place does not make that place “occupied”,
    otherwise, we’d be talking about socialist America
    occupying the great nation of Texas.
    The title of the post is rather upsetting. An
    explanation of the suicide bombing is that Chechnya
    is occupied? How profound. Sorry. Please try again.

    Reply

  100. JohnH says:

    Alan K needs to become informed about Pape’s work before he asserts that occupation isn’t behind suicide bombers’ attacks.
    Pape has an extensive database of suicide bombings and the circumstances leading up to them. Most suicide bombers consider themselves victims of outside occupation.
    Those who assert that religious fanaticism is behind them are simply trying to absolve the occupier of any responsibility and assuage their own consciences.

    Reply

  101. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Don Bacon, do you really think nationalism is the only possible explanation for war?”
    I can answer.
    No.
    Until the world is rid of the diseased minds of bigots like yourself, we will be plagued with unneccesary, illegal, and immoral wars.

    Reply

  102. nadine says:

    Don Bacon, do you really think nationalism is the only possible explanation for war? Were the Crusades motivated by nationalism?

    Reply

  103. nadine says:

    oops, I didn’t notice Katcher included Lebanon on his list of occupied reigions…perhaps he has not noticed that the suicide bombers in Lebanona are agents of the Syrian occupiers?

    Reply

  104. nadine says:

    “Suicide bombers from Lebanon, the West Bank, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Chechnya have two things in common: they are Muslim and they live under occupation.”
    And your explanation for the suicide bombers from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Pakistan, and England, that would be… what?
    Who “occupied” Osama bin Laden?

    Reply

  105. WigWag says:

    The problems between Russians and Chechens are not new; they go back more than a century.
    Anyone who wants to understand the conflict better should read the short novel (it

    Reply

  106. Don Bacon says:

    Of course religion sustains many people when they are on a dangerous mission. There are no atheists in a foxhole, the saying goes. But religion is not the reason that they are in a foxhole, or in a suicide belt. That is done for nationalistic causes, and the principal cause in these cases is military occupation.

    Reply

  107. Alan K says:

    Correlation does not prove causation. So while it may be correct that the suicide attacks come from occupied cohorts, suicide bombing has become the preferred method of protest entirely due to the philosophy ingrained in the perpetrators by their religion. (This was also the root cause for the suicide attacks by the Japanese during WWII.) One only has to remember what is announced by the bomber to their victims before he or she detonates their vest: It isn

    Reply

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