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Thread: Weekend Commentary - "I Have Rights !"

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    Default Weekend Commentary - "I Have Rights !"

    This guy Jonah Goldberg certainly isn't pulling any punches this week !!!! I almost choked when I got to his 'living Koran' analogy.




    "by Jonah Goldberg
    August 05, 2005, 7:40 a.m.
    “I Have Rights”
    You’re in with the wrong crowd, Mohammed.

    When Ramzi Mohammed, one of the failed bombers in the second wave of attacks on London, was surrounded by representatives of the decadent, infidel West, he didn't shriek, "Allahu Akbar!" and throw himself at his captors in a suicidal lunge for martyrdom. No, instead he whined, "I have rights! I have rights!"

    I was willing to bet we'd be arguing about this odd plea for weeks. One side would complain, "Can you believe the chutzpah?" The other side would applaud how even alienated Islamic youth have learned to respect the majesty of our criminal-justice system.

    Of course, I'm squarely in the "Can you believe the chutzpah?" column. Murderous goons like Mohammed tempt God's wrath to the point of assuming the form of human lightning rods when, the moment they get caught, they suddenly stand firm on the principle that everyone be treated with dignity.

    But the shocking part was that the tidbit vanished almost without comment. A couple of my colleagues at National Review noticed, but that was about it. The "I have rights!" hissy-fit wasn't even mentioned in the news pages of the New York Times.

    If hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue, then Ramzi Mohammed has paid his weight in gold. Would a terrorist in remotely similar circumstances think to come out with demands for due process from the Saudi or Iranian police? Would the appropriate authorities under the Taliban quickly holster their guns the moment a suspect invoked his Miranda rights?

    Now, some overly pedantic types might say, "Shows what you know! Islam has a very rich tradition of human rights."

    To which I might reply, bully for Islam. The French have an ancient tradition of military bravery, but what have they done for me lately? Traditions are only impressive or useful if they actually shape conduct in the here and now. And in the here and now, the ideal states these nutjobs glorify have a much more vibrant tradition of cutting off heads, stoning women, and jailing nonbelievers simply for nonbelieving. If the Koran recognizes civil liberties, they must be using a "living" Koran in places like Saudi Arabia, the way we've got a "living" Constitution here, because the ideal societies of the Bin Laden crowd aren't sticking much to the original text.

    But this raises the real significance of Mohammed's "I have rights!" tantrum. A sizable faction of the Islamists aren't so much pro-Islam as anti-Western.

    Consider Hussain Osman, another of the alleged conspirators, Osman spent his youth as an enormous fan of all things American. "He had a fixation with America," his girlfriend explained, particularly with hip-hop. The Somali refugee went to the discos all the time and "worshipped" Tupac Shakur, the murdered rapper and son of a Black Panther. Now, it should be made clear that Mr. Osman is what some experts in the field call a "moron." Explaining to Italian authorities that he "preferred" not to be extradited to Britain — isn't that special? — Osman insisted that he was no "terrorist." After all, "We didn't want to kill, just sow terror."

    But idiots are often very useful in illustrating the appeal of fascistic cults. Intellectuals are too good at covering their real psychological motivations with verbiage. It turns out that the famously "homegrown" terrorists of the London bombings were much more like John Walker Lindh or even the Patty Hearst types of the 1960s and '70s. Radical chic may be as a big a part of the story as radical Islam.

    We've always understood this was the case to a certain extent. Osama bin Laden's prattling about the Crusades, for instance, merely shows how poisoned Islamism is by Western Marxism and anti-imperialism. Muslims used to brag about winning the Crusades. It was only after the West started exporting victimology that Islamic and Arab intellectuals started to whine about how poorly they'd been treated.

    To a certain extent, radical Islam in Europe has taken the place of third-world Marxism — hardly a big leap when you think about how many Vietnamese "revolutionaries" were trained in Parisian salons. It's all about fighting capitalism, American "imperialism," modernism, etc. Marxism no longer provides a workable model, but the Islamists think sharia might. At the same time, like fascism and Communism before it, radical Islam provides a sense of purpose and meaning for losers and misfits who blame their misfortunes on "the system" (variously defined as the ruling class, the Jews, the capitalists, Col. Sanders, etc.). In this sense, Islamism is less about religion than ideology, and less about ideology than it is about alienation and low self-esteem.

    This is just one reason why poverty is such a silly explanation for terrorism. Most of the 9/11 attackers, like the London bombers, were squarely middle class, and the leadership of al Qaeda is downright wealthy. My guess is that most of these losers would be miserable living in the utopia they're fighting for. And should it ever arrive, they shouldn't bother replying to the knock on their door by yelling, "I have rights!" Their kind of people don't bother knocking."

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    Default Re: Weekend Commentary - "I Have Rights !"

    Would you or anyone else here know what penalty Ramzi Mohammed would suffer under Shari'a(Islamic Law)? I'm curious what would happen to him in Iran, Saudia Arabia, or another Islamic country.


    PhaedrusZ

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    Default Re: Weekend Commentary - "I Have Rights !"

    Quote Originally Posted by PhaedrusZ
    Would you or anyone else here know what penalty Ramzi Mohammed would suffer under Shari'a(Islamic Law)? I'm curious what would happen to him in Iran, Saudia Arabia, or another Islamic country.


    PhaedrusZ
    In Iran he would have been given 30 lashes and hung by the neck on a crane for all to see.

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    Default Re: Weekend Commentary - "I Have Rights !"

    Wrong TL. I would have preferred that local police be allowed to free up 2/3rds of their manpower which must ostensibly be committed to searching grandmothers from Wisconsin, businessmen from Chicago and professional athletes from Detroit, and exotic dancers with cup sizes in the second half of the alphabet for that matter, in order to also legally search unemployed male 'students' from middle eastern & north african countries. I would have preferred that the police dep't then use that freed up manpower to follow up reports of 'suspicious activity' from neighbors etc. which are now 'farted off' due to conflicting priorities and limited manpower resources. Had such follow-up investigations of 'suspicious activity' reports occurred in London, it's distinctly possible that the tube bombings would not have occurred !

    I would have preferred even more that the DHS had outright hired new federal agents for Homeland Security duties, rather than 'subcontracting' state and local police. 'Subcontracting' has led to a great deal of blurring of distinction between the legal search powers of local cops in investigating a civilian crime, versus the vastly wider legal search powers of a federal agent investigating an enemy of the United States. 'Subcontracting' has also led to a great deal of blurring of distinction between the rights of a civilian arrested for commiting a civilian crime, versus the 'rights' of an enemy of the United States arrested during time of 'war'.

    And before you bring it up, yes I'm totally prepared to accept the increased risk that a Wisconsin grandmother or Chicago businessman might get through with a bomb in their shopping bag or briefcase, versus the likelihood that searching every single backpack of male 'students' from middle eastern and north african countries will prevent a future terrorist bombing !
    Last edited by Melonie; 08-08-2005 at 02:14 PM.

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    Default Re: Weekend Commentary - "I Have Rights !"

    Calling somebody a racist hardly addresses the point that started the thread, Tigerlilly. In fact, it evades it.

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    Default Re: Weekend Commentary - "I Have Rights !"

    Quote Originally Posted by Melonie
    And before you bring it up, yes I'm totally prepared to accept the increased risk that a Wisconsin grandmother or Chicago businessman might get through with a bomb in their shopping bag or briefcase, versus the likelihood that searching every single backpack of male 'students' from middle eastern and north african countries will prevent a future terrorist bombing !
    "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little safety will deserve neither and lose both."

    Benjamin Franklin

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    Default Re: Weekend Commentary - "I Have Rights !"

    One might consider that if we surrender all of the rights and values that we are ostensibly fighting to save (one of which is, as it happens the Miranda in the U.S., and another of which is that idea of racial equality, whether or not it is imperfectly carried out) in order to fight then one isn't really fighting for anything. If one argues that we must fight the terrorists to stop the Western world from becoming like the like (for example) Saudi Arabia, then perhaps we have to acknowledge and celebrate the differences that we claim to want to protect. Just because they can legally stone people in Saudi Arabia doesn't mean that we ought to do it here. And - just a note - Saudi Arabia is not at war with anyone. Saudi Arabia is on very friendly terms with the U.S. and the U.K.
    I have taught that the sky in all its zones is mortal and its substance was formed by a process of birth

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