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WHY DO THEY HATE US?

I'm on CNBC's Dennis Miller tonight. If they let me float a segment (that is, choose a topic), like they've let my friend Jill Stewart do — she's also been on more than me, and gotten to hold the chimp, not that I'm competitive or anything — I'm going to talk about the ridiculous notion that instead of fighting terrorism, we should prevent future attacks by sitting down with the terrorists and finding out what they want. Haven't they made it clear enough what they want? They want the entire world to be an Islamic state, complete with Sharia law. I don't think we should want to meet them halfway here.

Speaking of modest dress requirements, I have some Orthodox Jewish friends who don't like it when I wear my usual sleeveless/low-cut tops on TV — sends the wrong message, they say, and I suppose they could be right. But ever since Sept. 11, I've become fonder of anything that offends the Islamofascists. "Step on a crack, break old Hitler's back," kids used to say during World War II. These days I sometimes think to myself: "Dress like a tart, break an Imam's heart."

***

Update: Well I'm back from taping Miller, and did indeed get to talk about the above topic, but wasn't as good as the last time I was on. And I was hoping to get to another topic, CBS's threat to sue the FCC if they're actually fined, but we ran out of time. A Zero Mostel-like comedian named Max Alexander, who was on the Varsity Panel with me, was very funny, though. I wish I'd thought to put pretzels in my pants!

Jason (www):
"sends the wrong message, they say"

don't you dare listen to them. in many ways, said orthodox jewish friends of yours are the terrorists to my own heterosexual wallowing. if you care about me at all, which you may not i'll totally concede this point, you'll seriously consider wearing a bikini tonight. consider it your own way of escalating the war on terror. just think about it....
7.23.2004 12:38pm
Patrick:
The argument shouldn't be whether we need to have a dialog with the terrorists. We can't win them over. But we should be talking more with the moderate Muslims. Once we can win them over and convince them it is in their own best interestes to work with us rather than feel physically and morrally threatened by us, the terrorists are toast
7.23.2004 12:59pm
Morgan (mail) (www):
Hi,

I've never heard the phrase "Step on a crack, break old Hitler's back" before and I'm wondering what it means &what it was used to mean. It's not clear to me whether Hitler had some policy regarding cracks in the street, or what that children's rhyme is a response to. But I'm very intrigued &curious :)

-morgan
7.23.2004 1:14pm
Parker (mail) (www):
I feel that if you do not break the full nudity barrier, the terrorists will have won.

Please be careful holding the chimp, though...
7.23.2004 1:33pm
Sigivald (mail):
Morgan: It's just a reworking of the traditional (meaningless) "Step on a crack, break your mother's back" rhyme.

I agree with Jason's sentiment in the general. A more scantily clad Seipp is a good thing.
7.23.2004 1:40pm
Chris:
Seems like you're setting up a real straw man here. I'd love to see where any halfway-serious commentator has suggested that we "should prevent future attacks by sitting down with the terrorists and finding out what they want." I'd be surprised if anyone has said any such thing.
7.23.2004 2:13pm
Oberon (mail) (www):
"I'm going to talk about the ridiculous notion that instead of fighting terrorism, we should prevent future attacks by sitting down with the terrorists and finding out what they want."

Is that supposed to be sarcastic? Who exactly is saying we should stop fighting terrorism and just sit down with them?
7.23.2004 2:49pm
caocaocao (mail):
It seems that by wearing such shirts you can strike a pose of neutrality, telling both the Arabs and the Jews to go fuck themelves, as well as including the Thais just for the sake of multiculturalism.
7.23.2004 3:00pm
neil:
Way to not let the terrorists run your life. Oh wait...
7.23.2004 3:05pm
jdsholden (mail):
With a few more posts like this, Cathy will surely surpass Cori Dauber and Clayton Cramer as the most inane VC contributor yet. Don't hold back! Go for the gold, Cathy! You could be the Lance Armstrong of crappy VC guest bloggers!
7.23.2004 4:38pm
Dan:
There are two main issues when dealing with terrorism. On the one hand, there are some people out there who are Islamist terrorists. They're trying to kill people and to disrupt societies, and they seem pretty set in their ways. We need to fight them - to capture or kill them &to do what we can to keep them from being effective. Different people may have different strategies for how to accomplish these aims, but I can't think of anyone who has suggested that we abandon this fight and instead sit down and talk things out with them.

On the other hand, there are lots of people who are not Islamist terrorists but who may become Islamist terrorists. These are the people who can be won over by American policies. The fear is that they will instead be won over by the terrorists. America needs to show to them that it is not the enemy of Arabs and Islam and that the terrorists do not represent their cause. We should be concerned about doing things that piss off the "Islamofascists" because these things may also piss off other Muslims and encourage them to support the terrorists or to become terrorists.

Matthew Yglesias makes a similar point, a bit less tactfully, here.
7.23.2004 4:46pm
spencer:
She does realize that stepping on a crack didn't REALLY break Hitler's back,right?
7.23.2004 4:51pm
spencer:
And how many 'Islamofascists' actually watch Dennis Miller? Are THEY the ones that make up his .1 share?
7.23.2004 4:54pm
Gomez:
I'm with jdsholden. Cathy, you're hot, and I love your cleavage as much as the next guy. But this post reads a bit, well, frivolous.

Instead, maybe you should entertain us with your thoughts on whether there's a libertarian qua libertarian foreign policy. Or, if that's too heavy, perhaps you could just describe to us the underwear you're wearing right now.
7.23.2004 5:21pm
susan:
For ample evidence there are people who would rather talk to the terrorists rather than kill them (i.e. the "root cause crowd") Mark Steyn has helpfully compiled a big archive of examples on his website. Not surprisingly, most of them are European journalists.
7.23.2004 6:02pm
j (mail):
Come on Cathy, don't you realize that there is a large population of Muslims out there that would love to help America- but, if they see a scantily clad woman on American TV (especially one expressing *gasp* her own opinions) they will dedicate their lives to our destruction.

Besides, your plan to appear on tv clearly violates the zero aggression principle. The most fundamental right is the right to property. In Islamic countries, women are always a man's property. Remember, we can't judge their culture because all political systems are equally worthy (except for American democracy, because it lets *ugh* redneck fundamentalist Christians vote). Since your appearance on TV (if seen in Iran) might encourage women to rebel against their rightful owners, you're clearly initiating agression against those poor moderate Muslims. You harlot, you.

I love Volokh with comments. It's like DU, except instead of seething self-important liberals, you have seething, self-important libertarians. Plus the added bonus of watching libertarians try to interact with *gasp* a girl.

Please keep on posting, Cathy.
7.23.2004 6:14pm
susan:
Too funny, J. Yes, libertarian males talk big, but in real life they're a sexually nervous group. I've noticed when the rare woman strays into their territory and makes a calm but sexually assertive comment, they can only respond in crude come-ons or lofty dismissals.
7.23.2004 8:41pm
Jason (www):
lol. susan you have me questioning my libertarianism.
7.23.2004 9:23pm
Gomez:
Crude come-ons? I don't understand, Susan. By the way, are you wearing a thong?
7.24.2004 12:52am
Edward Lee (www):
Seems like you're setting up a real straw man here. I'd love to see where any halfway-serious commentator has suggested that we "should prevent future attacks by sitting down with the terrorists and finding out what they want." I'd be surprised if anyone has said any such thing.

I'd bet Noam Chomsky has said things to this effect, and many Europeans consider him a real authority on foreign policy.
7.24.2004 1:37am
Fûz (mail):
Crappy VC guest-blogger? Bullshit.

I stayed up just to watch the Varsity segment. Cathy had the most gravitas of the whole panel, including host Dennis himself.

And yes Cathy, you're hot.
7.24.2004 2:25am
Garry McMinds (mail):
"Seems like you're setting up a real straw man here. I'd love to see where any halfway-serious commentator has suggested that we "should prevent future attacks by sitting down with the terrorists and finding out what they want." I'd be surprised if anyone has said any such thing. "
Caught a little of one of the current 15 minuteteer's - the "anonymous" CIA author - on Chris Matthews last night. From what I heard, he's proposing skipping the negotiation phase and adjusting US foreign policy to accommodate the perceived wrongs of the jihadists.
7.24.2004 2:36am
jdsholden (mail):
Wow. More gravitas than washed-up comic and failed sportscaster Dennis Miller! Who would've imagined that such a thing were possible? Not I.
7.25.2004 5:38pm
jdsholden (mail):
Hmm ... more gravitas than washed-up comic and failed sportscaster Dennis Miller? If that's not damning-with-faint-praise, I don't know what would be.
7.26.2004 2:00pm