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Westerners Who Support and Justify the Iraqi Resistance:

Thanks to some search of my own, and posts from others, here are some: Recently reelected Member of Parliament George Galloway, author, former Cabinet Secretary, and recently reelected Member of Parliament Clare Short, filmmaker Michael Moore, cartoonist Ted Rall, British and Australian journalist and filmmaker John Pilger, Canadian author and journalist Naomi Klein, and the World Tribunal on Iraq, whose statement was signed by several apparently notable people (including the somewhat ambivalent Nobelist Arundhati Roy and Vagina Monologist Eve Ensler) and was endorsed by, among other things, several European academics and a Spanish judge. There are quite a few considerably smaller journalists that people pointed me to, as well as some Socialist and Green writers and activists (see links in the recent posts and comments on this thread).

These people deserve to be condemned, and I'm happy to do so. What fraction of public opinion do they represent in the West (whether Europe, America, Australia, or other relatively Western countries)? I can't say, but when politicians such as Galloway and Short make statements, and get reelected after making them (despite how incendiary the statements are), that's good reason to think that at least some voters — quite likely not even a majority in their district, but a substantial number — endorse their views. Likewise, while I'm hesitant to infer much from comments by random posters on various Internet fora, the presence of those comments, coupled with the views expressed by more prominent people, suggests that there is a considerable number of people who take this position.

In the past, I've criticized Klansmen, neo-Nazis, and anti-abortion terrorists. Are there vast numbers of such people, or even of their sympathizers? I should hope not. Do American political leaders endorse these people? I don't think so. Should they still be condemned? You bet. Likewise with those who support and defend the Iraqi insurgents.

I've now spent far more time on this subject than I should have, given the press of real business. I hope to give it a rest. But it struck me as important to defend the legitimacy of the condemnations I was voicing, and to respond to the denials that there are indeed considerable numbers of people out there who merit such condemnation.

MA:
(Reposted with edits)

Professor, you started this thread by voluntarily choosing to propagate rumors about personal life of Steven Vincent - there it is, #9 in your index. You did not know Vincent, did you, and your opinion about his personal life should be none. And if you hear or read other people's opinions about the same, what is honorable or kind about passing the rumor along? It is printed, so what: let people learn it, but not from you.

You wanted a civilized way to point out some people that express certain opinion you disagree with. Maybe this is honorable and kind. I doubt it, but it is just me. You wanted a short list, and you got it; good for you. Vincent's murder should not have been even a preamble to this cause of yours.
8.15.2005 3:50pm
frankcross (mail):
I think you're right about Europeans. I suspect the severe reaction was the use of the general term "Westerners" as including Americans, where the position is much rarer.

There's another problem with the NRO argument, though. The US military forces have inadvertently killed many innocent Iraqis. Sometimes not inadvertent. Over 20 soldiers, I believe, have been charged by the military with homicide. Backing the US military does not imply backing the homicides it has committed.

Now, I find it difficult to defend the Iraqi insurgency at any level. But those who do needn't defend or have their position necessarily associated with the Stephen Vincent murder.
8.15.2005 3:53pm
Steve:
Prof. Volokh appears to be taking a position on this issue that many advocate we should follow with respect to Iraq: "Declare victory and get out." I congratulate him on his victory.
8.15.2005 3:56pm
Jimbeaux (mail):
I'm not sure one can "propagate rumors" simply by repeating conclusions in news stories contained in several major daily newspapers. Just my opinion.
8.15.2005 4:02pm
Public_Defender:
Others are right that Volokh has still not responded to the criticism that he and Taranto passed on rumors about dead man's alleged infidelity to make his point. That's unseemly at best.

But what's really interesting is to compare the list of nobodies and has-beens (and a filmmaker and a cartoonist) to Crooked Timber's list of prominent Republicans, including current elected officials and high-level members of the Bush administration, who say that criticizing the president's policies is the same as supporting the terrorists.

Volokh and Taranto are criticizing strawmen. We on the left are criticizing demagogues in positions of power.

And this brings me back to my condemnation of Republicans who drink puppy blood. Are there vast numbers of such people, or even of their sympathizers? I should hope not. Do American political leaders endorse these people? I don't think so. Should they still be condemned? You bet.
8.15.2005 4:07pm
Justin (mail):
"These people deserve to be condemned, and I'm happy to do so. What fraction of public opinion do they represent in the West (whether Europe, America, Australia, or other relatively Western countries)? I can't say, but when politicians such as Galloway and Short make statements, and get reelected after making them (despite how incendiary the statements are), that's good reason to think that at least some voters -- quite likely not even a majority in their district, but a substantial matter -- endorse their views. Likewise, while I'm hesitant to infer much from comments by random posters on various Internet fora, the presence of those comments, coupled with the views expressed by more prominent people, suggests that there is a considerable number of people who take this position."

Ah, so there's no witchhunt, eh? Taking some off-handed, often failing to come close to supporting their tactics or anything remotely abhorrant, and not only putting the albatross of treason on them but a "considerable number of people" within the anti-war set of people in the West (oooh, I wonder if I'm one of those people. Let's see if I float!) isn't a witchunt???? REALLY??????? Shame. Shame. Shame.

We can now safely add Volokh to the list that of prominant Republicans who without any real justification casually toss the mantle of treason on the other side. Theat Eugene Volokh lacks the need to identify them to any real degree is beside the point. Any anti-war person who speaks their mind is immediately under suspicion of being a witch.
8.15.2005 4:16pm
Challenge:
Public Defender, give it a rest. You can't even concede Michael Moore's comments were cheering on the Iraqi Insurgency. You pitifully responded that Michael Moore was hoping that few Americans were killed when he explicitly said MORE Americans would have to die so the Iraqis and God could forgive us.
8.15.2005 4:17pm
Choosing Sides:
Isn't this entire discussion just an extension of the flawed idea that you are either with "us" or against "us?" Many here surely believe that the insurgents have some justifications for fighting the U.S. (even Bush acknowledges that). We may disagree with the extent of those justifications, but it would be foolish to argue that there is no basis for their cause. Most all of us (but for the almost non-existent set of people the OpinionJournal article really described) disagree with the methods used by the insurgents. Similary, people here can look at the U.S. and disagree with the methods that it has used in the war (torture, etc.). There are a range of viewpoints, but it is foolish to reduce them into simple categories like: Insurgent Supporter and U.S. Suppporter.

Any discussion that seeks to remove nuance and instead pretend that their are just two (intellectual) sides to this war is doomed before it begins. Volokh's focus on line-drawing never really escapes this problematic because it leaves the core binary assumption intact. At best, it creates a false sense of nuance through minor variations, but it doesn't properly reject the core argumentative fallacy of "two sides." Ultimately, it relies on an assumption that is only supported by blind ideologues with neither conscience nor intellectual honesty.
8.15.2005 4:23pm
jallgor (mail):
Choosing sides - phrases like "justifications for fighting" and "basis for their cause" are what get some people including myself so upset. To say the insurgents have a justification or basis for this fight is to lend support and legitimacy to what they are doing. They have "reasons" for fighting but none of them are justified. Let's examine them; a) they are bathist Sunni's who wish to return one of their own to power, or b) they are Shiites who want to get rid of the US presence so they can install a theocracy, or c) they are criminals who generally want to benefit from lawlessness and anarchy, or d) they are foreign fighters who are following AL Queda (and therefore hope to install a Wahabist theocracy in Iraq), or they are some combination of the above. Oh, and throw an irrational hatred of Israel into that mix anywhere you like. Anyone who believes these are "justifications" for what the insurgents are doing needs to be condemned.
8.15.2005 4:49pm
Choosing Sides 2:
A simple thought experiment (or two) shows why the efforts to collect various nuanced schools of thought into ready-made categories is silly.

Imagine the insurgents did not kill civilians. In fact, imagine they didn't kill anyone at all. Instead, they just exercised civil disobedience and laid before U.S. army vehicles (ala Tiananmen square). Does that make there cause more or less understandable? If you answer "more," then I think you are confusing those who understand their cause with those who agree with their methods (which is the virtually non-existent group). If you answered "less" or the "same," then you are an ideologue (with whatever good or bad springs from that label).

Now, imagine that the insurgents are entirely composed of people taking up arms to protect their homes from unknown invaders (ala stopping an invasion from outer space). They don't know the U.S. is the enemy. Does that make them more or less understandable? If you said, "more," then I think you are guilty of presuming U.S. purity and failing to recognize that sometimes both parties can be in the "wrong" (albeit to different degrees). If you answered, "the same" or "less," then see above.

Similar experiments can be constructed to show more nuance than you are creating. Worrying about giving someone "legitimacy" or lending "support" is a recipe for intellectual dishonesty. If truth isn't a guiding force to debate and instead allegiance is the motivator, then no meaningful discussion can be had.
8.15.2005 5:18pm
SteveMG (mail):
Professor Volokh:
Thanks for taking on this unpleasant task. Your detailed explanation as to what you were seeking should alleviate any but the most zealous that this was not a "witch hunt" since, as you have demonstrated, there are indeed witches.

As with our condemnation of Klansmen or supporters of anti-abortion violence or whatever element that embraces violence to secure political goals, we need to voice our opposition to the disgraceful individuals you document as having expressed support for those terrorists in Iraq killing innocent Iraqis (and other nationalities).

Well done.

S.M. Galbraith
8.15.2005 5:41pm
steveh2 (mail):
"whatever element that embraces violence to secure political goals"? I'm afraid you'll have to be more specific. I mean, wasn't our invasion of Iraq the use of violence to achieve a political goal?
8.15.2005 5:55pm
Lollius (mail):
A quibble.

There were, in fact, witches. Not, I'll grant, any witches actually guilty of all that was alleged -- not least because most of the charges were impossible, I would argue, though that's a matter of faith -- but there were "witches." Many people did magic-related things that others categorized the same, or nearly the same, as witchcraft, such as alchemy, certain kinds of medicine, divination, and the like. A very few others either claimed or may actually have believed that they were capable of witchcraft, perhaps because of mental illness, fraud, or sharing the same superstitious beliefs in the power of their curses as their accusers. A more "substantial" number, no doubt, would have supported or at least justified the behavior of witches.

In any event, however small the handful, there were some who were "guilty" of being "witches" -- to the extent that one can be guilty of a crime that cannot be actually committed, only believed in and/or confessed to.

Like I said, a quibble.

More substantively: I trust your intentions. I do not trust Taranto's. Lie down with dogs, and people are liable to suspect you have fleas.
8.15.2005 6:10pm
Steve J. (mail) (www):
HEY! You left out this guy:

'Good and honest' Iraqis fighting US forces
By Phil Sands, Staff Reporter
Published: 9/6/2005, 06:25 (UAE)
LINK Tikrit
A senior US military chief has admitted "good, honest" Iraqis are fighting American forces.
Major General Joseph Taluto said he could understand why some ordinary people would take up arms against the US military because "they're offended by our presence".In an interview with Gulf News, he said: "If a good, honest person feels having all these Humvees driving on the road, having us moving people out of the way, having us patrol the streets, having car bombs going off, you can understand how they could [want to fight us]."
General Taluto also admitted he did not know how many insurgents there were. "I stay away from numbers how can I quantify this? We can make estimates by doing some kind of guesswork," he said.
He added: "Who knows how big these networks are, or how widespread? I know it's substantial enough to be a threat to the government and it will be for some time."
8.15.2005 6:12pm
Siva Vaidhyanathan (mail):
Eugene:

I think you are wrong about Naomi Klein. The NY Sun story does not use complete quotes, which makes me think the "reporter" did not take notes or record the speech. It's not a reputable paper.

Here is what Klein really says (from a different speech, but one she makes often):

http://www.inthesetimes.com/site/main/article/2103/

"The future of the anti-war movement requires that it become a pro-democracy movement. Our marching orders have been given to us by the people of Iraq. It's important to understand that the most powerful movement against this war and this occupation is within Iraq itself. Our anti-war movement must not just be in verbal solidarity but in active and tangible solidarity with the overwhelming majority of Iraqis fighting to end the occupation of their country. We need to take our direction from them.

Iraqis are resisting in many ways—not just with armed resistance. They are organizing independent trade unions. They are opening critical newspapers, and then having those newspapers shut down. They are fighting privatization in state factories. They are forming new political coalitions in an attempt to force an end to the occupation.

So what is our role here? We need to support the people of Iraq and their clear demands for an end to both military and corporate occupation. That means being the resistance ourselves in our country, demanding that the troops come home, that U.S. corporations come home, that Iraqis be free of Saddam's debt and the IMF and World Bank agreements signed under occupation. It doesn't mean blindly cheerleading for "the resistance." Because there isn't just one resistance in Iraq. Some elements of the armed resistance are targeting Iraqi civilians as they pray in Shia mosques—barbaric acts that serve the interests of the Bush administration by feeding the perception that the country is on the brink of civil war and therefore U.S. forces must remain in Iraq. Not everyone fighting the U.S. occupation is fighting for the freedom of all Iraqis; some are fighting for their own elite power. That's why we need to stay focused on supporting the demands for self-determination, not cheering any setback for U.S. empire.

And we can't cede the language, the territory of democracy. Anybody who says Iraqis don't want democracy should be deeply ashamed of themselves. Iraqis are clamoring for democracy and had risked their lives for it long before this invasion—in the 1991 uprising against Saddam, for example, when they were left to be slaughtered. The elections in January took place only because of tremendous pressure from Iraqi Shia communities that insisted on getting the freedom they were promised."

This is not support for violence. It is support for Iraqis who wish the US troops would leave. Is this the same thing?
8.15.2005 6:27pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Choosing Sides 2: Imagine the insurgents did not kill civilians. In fact, imagine they didn't kill anyone at all. Instead, they just exercised civil disobedience and laid before U.S. army vehicles (ala Tiananmen square). Does that make there cause more or less understandable?

Well, first, I don't think the thought experiment is very realistic. One cannot separate out the means and ends for terrorists. The car bombings in Iraq are not merely means to an end (such as getting the U.S. out.) They're ends in themselves - to create terror.

That having been said, supposing I grant your premise. The answer is "the same." Nonviolent means for evil ends are no more understandable or admirable. A person willing to peacefully protest to (say) bring back Saddam Hussein is not more understandable or reasonable.
8.15.2005 6:44pm
Choosing Sides 2:
But what of a person willing to peacefully protest to fight an invading army? Or one seeking a government other than that sought by the U.S. (but not Saddam, since no one is really fighting to bring him back)?

Of course, means and ends are related (just as Shin Fein and the IRA were related). However, it is a completely consistent intellectual approach to oppose both sides in this war. That would be the default view of a pacifist. And it is a possible view for anyone who is anti-colonial or anti-imperialist. Further, though I may want the U.S. out of Iraq in a general sense, I may recognize that doing so is not a good option right now. People who want to frame things as Surrender v. Victory, Appeasement v. Invasion, US v. Them are either narrow of view of intentionally distorting the debate about terror and Iraq.

In the end, I can say, I don't support the terrorists in Iraq even after having said I agree with them on many issues. I can also say, I don't support the U.S. in its invasion of Iraq even though I agree with it on many issues. Trying to frame the debate into "camps" and "sides" is problematic and is a disservice to intelligent discussion.
8.15.2005 6:54pm
=0=:
Found some!

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2005/6/18/161016/461

My favorites:

"Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is."

-Governor George W. Bush (R-TX)

"Explain to the mothers and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter have to give up their life?"

-Sean Hannity, Fox News, 4/6/99
8.15.2005 6:55pm
jallgor (mail):
Choosing sides 2 - as to your first proposition, if people were engaging in civil disobedience in Iraq to promote any of the current goals of the insurgents (and as I noted in my prior post I believe all of those goals to be abhorrent) then the fact that they weren't killing people to advance those goals would be a relief but it would not make me find those goals any more commendable. I don't think this makes me an idealogue. I not only comndemn the insurgents' methods I also condemn what they stand for. And to use Eugene's comparison are klansmen any less odious if they never resorted to violence?

For your second proposition, I reject the whole premise because you have described the insurgents as "defending their homes." Of course that scenario is more understandable but its also pure fiction. I don't think it presumes U.S. purity to state that the U.S. is not threatening Iraqi homes or livelihoods. If the domestic insurgents' goals were admirable they would be engaging peacfully in the political process, period.

Anyone who takes the positon that they understand and sympathize with the insurgents' motives but abhor their methods is no less odious than someone who says they agree with neo-nazis or the clan but just wish they would be peaceful about their beliefs.

Now if you had argued that my first post did not accurately describe the motives of the insurgents that would be someting else. I have yet to hear, however, someone articulate an "understandable" reason for this insurgency that didn't sound a lot like the left's usual criticism of America and sound very little like the rhetoric that is actually coming from the insurgency.
8.15.2005 7:14pm
Burner of strawmen:
Prof V. -

Fine, there are people who "support" the "resistance" in Iraq. The original story was still a non-sequitur and a strawman.

It's like telling the story of Pvt. Lynndi England and saying "Those Westerners who side with the 'US Army' against the fallen Iraqi Republican Guard and its allies are defending the equivalent of the famous torturer Dr. Josef Mengele."
8.15.2005 7:29pm
jallgor (mail):
"In the end, I can say, I don't support the terrorists in Iraq even after having said I agree with them on many issues."

What issues do you agree with the terrorists on?

"However, it is a completely consistent intellectual approach to oppose both sides in this war."

True, but in my mind anyone who "opposes" the U.S. side (now that the invasion has already taken place) has no good argument on their side. What possible gain could come from the U.S. being defeated in this war? If the answer is, "it'll teach us a lesson" then you are with the likes of Michael Moore.
8.15.2005 7:31pm
Steve Smith (mail) (www):
Just to see how vigorously the blogosphere would act as a self-correcting mechanism, I decided to check to see if one of the examples listed above, Clare Short, actually "supported and justified" the insurgents. This is what Ms. Short wrote recently:

"Let it be proclaimed without qualification: the messianic millenarianism of Osama bin Laden is a form of fascism that has no place in any society that believes in or aspires to freedom.

But we need to think more ambitiously still. The objective should be to get an international consensus, including the leadership of the Muslim and Arab world, which places all attacks on civilians and non-combatants in a war situation beyond the pale. We have, fortuitously, a series of opportunities to advance this seemingly simple, but until now impossible agenda."


With the right amount of dowdification, you can prove that anyone supports the terrorists. This topic is really beneath VC.
8.15.2005 7:54pm
relativism (mail):
"These people deserve to be condemned, and I'm happy to do so."

Some of the views expressed by the dissidents referred to are along the lines that the US is an aggressive nation which must be discouraged from invading small nations for domestic political reasons. If this habit is confined to small nations then the damage does not affect the US, it only devastates little places far away. This obviously does not matter. However if the US is not discouraged from this practice then eventually it may, through an excess of hubris, attack larger nations and eventually bite off more than it can chew and result in further actual damage to the US mainland. This would be catastrophic, and so must be prevented at all costs.

Obviously many of these apparent dissidents are motivated solely by concern for the welfare of the US, thus it is shortsighted to castigate them. These people are your friends.

Alternatively you could grow a thicker skin, read up on your John Stuart Mill, and tolerate criticism.
8.15.2005 8:44pm
random (mail):
By "anti-abortion terrorists", I guess we mean Eric Rudolph. Who else?


What is the reason to lump "anti-abortion terrorists" in with the others, i.e. what is the principled reason for censure?
8.15.2005 9:07pm
Steve:
A number of abortion doctors have been murdered over the years by abortion foes; you could find the names with a quick Google search, I reckon. Whenever such a murder occurs, the act is inevitably applauded by a small number of extremists. And there are certain anti-abortion groups which arguably condone, if not outright advocate, violence against clinics and abortion providers.
8.15.2005 10:26pm
random (mail):
That is simple murder, not terrorism.

Again, what is the principle for condemning these actions?


Specifically, Eugene should support his reasoning.
8.15.2005 10:31pm
Eli Rabett (mail):
Rudolph et al are terrorists, their stated aim is to close the clinics by driving everyone away. Sorry the mote is in your eye.
8.15.2005 11:00pm
dunno:
Thank heavens. Professor Volokh's "I have in my hand a list of 5.7 names" thread is coming to a close. Maybe one day he can explain to us all what good such a list is. Its benefit to society, so to say.

He is right about one thing, though. If you believe that a witch hunt is absurd only because there are no witches in the world, then this is no witch hunt. But there are communists, and it seems that the distinguished First Amendment scholar has climbed squarely on the shoulders of the late junior senator from Wisconsin, and there is no getting him to budge. Terrorists, like communists, are terrifying indeed.
8.15.2005 11:13pm
random (mail):
Getting an answer to this simple question should not be so hard. Second attempt and already off to ad hominem attacks and circular arguments.

Again, what is the principle for condemning these actions?
What is the principle in lumping anti-abortions "terrorists" with the others?

A stated aim? This needs a citation.

"Terrorism" also needs a definition. Otherwise all violence is terrorism.
8.15.2005 11:14pm
random (mail):
Hmmmmmmmmmm,

No answer.


Eugene, this was the whole point of "condemnation"--to have a principled reason for the censure.

If you cannot say just why something is wrong or bad, then you are just expressing an opinion of what you like ... and you know what they say about opinions.....


I'd wager that when it comes down to it, not too many great "thinkers" here could paste together a coherent fundamental principled rationale about why "anti-abortion terrorists" are wrong, that is, if they even exist -- no word on that one either. Yet, you have an unconsidered opinion.

Not much great thinking there.
8.16.2005 1:09am
Steve:
"They're not terrorists, they're just people who happen to murder in the name of a particular ideology." I think we may have another name for your list of apologists, Prof. Volokh.
8.16.2005 4:08am
jallgor (mail):
Random,
What the hell are you rattling on about? You haven't gotten a response from anyone because nobody feels the need to explain why people who kill abortion doctors are bad. Are you honestly asking someone to explain why they codemn this sort of thing? If you don't want to call them terrorists, that's fine. We'll call them evil-people-committing-murder-to-further a-political/religious-cause. Is that better?
8.16.2005 10:14am
DK35 (mail):
Well, as a current law student, I have to wonder why I am bothering to spend the money when a Professor such as Mr. Volokh is clearly unable to understand that extreme assertions such as his should only be uttered when buttressed by facts.
Mr. Volokh has offered no facts whatsoever for his assertions that the above mentioned people "support or justify the Iraqi resistance." Has he uncovered wire transfers? Did any of these people lift up a gun?
All that these people seem to be doing are protesting the decision by the Bush administration to violently unseat the leader of Iraq and then proceed to subsidize war profiteers such as Haliburton in attempts to "rebuild" Iraq. Volokh has failed to provide any convincing theory or rationale for "condemning" people who express their opinions.
I am certainly not going to fall into the trap of "condemning" Volokh (whatever that means). In fact, Mr. Volokh has every right to his opinion That does not mean, however, that I respect his intellectual capabilities. Let's hope that the law school faculty search committees in future will search for, and find, more reasoned applicants.
8.16.2005 12:49pm
Carol Anne:
A working definition of "terrorism:" (1) Violent acts intended to harm or kill parties who have no direct authority to change the policies or practices the perpetrator find offensive; (2) the intent to terrorize a population (and their political leaders) as a means to an end.

Specifically, a guerrilla attacking opposing military force is not "terrorism." The targets are armed and (presumably) able to defend themselves.

Specifically, murder of a doctor who performs abortions is a criminal act under current law. On the other hand, bombing a clinic populated with staff, patients, seekers of information about abortion and neighbors of such a facility is terrorism, because some (or all) of the people killed or injured are not necessarily performing the act (or even supportive of it) deemed offensive by the perpetrator.

Suggest improvements, please.

Finally, I can agree with a terrorists' values or beliefs without necessarily condoning or supporting their particular means. If I happen to agree with prohibition of abortion, that does not constitute agreement with every method used to achieve that goal. Similarly, with "insurgents" in Iraq: If I can understand, or even agree with, the viewpoint that people might prefer to evict foreign occupiers in favor of some form of self-rule (even under a governmental system of which I would not necessarily approve), that in no way implies that I approve every method used by some to achieve that goal.
8.16.2005 3:06pm
Carol Anne:
(Addition to above, which I forgot to append):

It certainly does NOT imply that I "want America to lose."
8.16.2005 3:08pm
hg wells:
I thought it was an interesting, even admirable, exercise on the part of Prof. Volokh to test his impression that a certain viewpoint existed by asking for specific cited examples.

The problem is deciding what comprises supporting or justifying the Iraqi resistance. I presume Michael Moore has not wired money to the resistance; however, his claim that they are equivalent to the American Minutemen and that they will win, I would call support and justification. And remember, Michael Moore is not a fringe extremist. His film was lauded by millions of people and he was invited to sit next to Jimmy Carter at the convention.

However, many people who oppose the war fall into a grayer territory that while they are careful not to root aloud for the Iraqi resistance, their position is strengthened by the successes of the resistance and weakened by the successes of the coalition and the emerging Iraqi state.

One of my anti-war friends confided to me that, although he knew it was wrong, he found himself hoping that the US would lose and lose badly in Iraq. I appreciated his candor.
8.16.2005 4:10pm
variable (mail):
What the hell are you rattling on about? You haven't gotten a response from anyone because nobody feels the need to explain why people who kill abortion doctors are bad.

It is clear. I suspect that no one has a good rational reason for either condemning one thing or the other. I suspect that they have no basis for judging good from bad.

Are you honestly asking someone to explain why they codemn this sort of thing?

Yes, it should be easy. You could have done it rather than complain about the question. I suspect that you don't know.


Carol Anne:

You said, "(1) Violent acts intended to harm or kill parties who have no direct authority to change the policies or practices the perpetrator find offensive; "

This is just simple mindless violence. Why would anyone "terrorize" someone where there is no possible favorable consequence since no causal linkage?


You added: "(2) the intent to terrorize a population (and their political leaders) as a means to an end."

This is a circular definition.




See, I have strong reason to suspect that none of you know the "why" behind the "want".


Eugene, you have brought this up. Therefore you have an obligation to support your thoughts, that is unless you just expected us to take this as an appeal to your authority (or a popularity litmus test).
8.16.2005 5:22pm
variable (mail):
Here is a better concept of terrorism.

It is taking actions that will lead to a politically favorable result by rendering those in a position to take adverse action senseless with fear. It leverages the known effect that random and sharp pain will unhinge otherwise sensible people.

Terrorism works by driving the victims out of their wits. This is easy if the would be targets are already somewhat witless.




Eugene, do you take my point yet?
8.16.2005 5:30pm
Anon.:
DK35, save your money (and the taxpayers' if, God forbid, you are getting any sort of government assistance in paying for your education) and stop wasting your professors' time. If law amounts to anything more than arbitrary rules for the purpose of preservation of power for its own sake, then we would better spend our efforts teaching pigs to fly than making lawyers of those who refer to Saddam's rule of Iraq as "leadership".
8.16.2005 5:59pm
relativism (mail):
Anon.

"lawyers of those who refer to Saddam's rule of Iraq as "leadership"."

I see implied here the interesting proposition that everyone can see it is a waste of time looking at the legality of the former Iraqi regime or the toppling thereof, because it is self-evident that the former was not and the latter was.

I like the implications - we don't need courts or lawyers any more. We just ask a few people nearby what they think, and use that instead of judge's verdicts or opinions. We'd certainly save a lot of money that way. Darn expensive all those judges and lawyers. And to think they are all just completely unnecessary!
8.16.2005 10:18pm
Carol Anne:
variable wrote:

[CAOgdin] said, "(1) Violent acts intended to harm or kill parties who have no direct authority to change the policies or practices the perpetrator find offensive; "

This is just simple mindless violence. Why would anyone "terrorize" someone where there is no possible favorable consequence since no causal linkage?


It is neither mindless, nor lacking in causal linkage.
Vandalism is "simple mindless violence." Drive-by shootings are "simple mindless violence." But, when someone attacks an entire cadre of newly-recruited policemen in Baghdad, do you think the perpetrators have no intent to scare away other recruits from collaborating with the nascent government, or as an implicit attack on the occupying forces?

If you equate the two, then do you have a more constructive definition of "terrorist" to offer?

[CAOgdin[ added: "(2) the intent to terrorize a population (and their political leaders) as a means to an end."

This is a circular definition.


What circularity can you identify? It seems to be that the subject and object of the sentence are different, and verb clause stands alone.

Calling is "circular" without evidence is a "hit-and-run" tactic. I offered it in earnest. I would expect, as a minimum, and earnest counter definition.
8.16.2005 10:32pm
Carol Anne:
variable wrote:

[CAOgdin] said, "(1) Violent acts intended to harm or kill parties who have no direct authority to change the policies or practices the perpetrator find offensive; "

This is just simple mindless violence. Why would anyone "terrorize" someone where there is no possible favorable consequence since no causal linkage?


It is neither mindless, nor lacking in causal linkage.
Vandalism is "simple mindless violence." Drive-by shootings are "simple mindless violence." But, when someone attacks an entire cadre of newly-recruited policemen in Baghdad, do you think the perpetrators have no intent to scare away other recruits from collaborating with the nascent government, or as an implicit attack on the occupying forces?

If you equate the two, then do you have a more constructive definition of "terrorist" to offer?

[CAOgdin[ added: "(2) the intent to terrorize a population (and their political leaders) as a means to an end."

This is a circular definition.


What circularity can you identify? It seems to be that the subject and object of the sentence are different, and verb clause stands alone.

Calling is "circular" without evidence is a "hit-and-run" tactic. I offered it in earnest. I would expect, as a minimum, and earnest counter definition.
8.16.2005 10:32pm
Carol Anne:
(Sorry for the double post; this is a unique bulletin board, and I'm still learning it's ideosyncracies.)
8.16.2005 10:34pm
Carol Anne:
variable wrote: Here is a better concept of terrorism.

It is taking actions that will lead to a politically favorable result by rendering those in a position to take adverse action senseless with fear. It leverages the known effect that random and sharp pain will unhinge otherwise sensible people.


At a minimum it is "...taking actions that the perpetrator hopes will lead..." Clearly, some responses to terrorism are contrary to the terrorists probable intent.

Then, "...rendering those in a position to take adverse action senseless with fear." I would submit that the victims are more likely rendered "senseless with fear," and that "those in a position to take...action" are more likely to take advantage of countermeasures, and the benefits of more deliberation to arrive at decisions. Yes the "...random and sharp pain will unhinge..." the victims...but the victims are just the medium of the message, and the message is aimed at cooler heads.

In my opinion, I believe that recent history demonstrates (in Israel, in the Middle East, in the U.S, in Britain) more resolve to defy the expressed objectives of the terrorists.

And, in any event, suicide bombers—one of the popular means of terrorism—are an inherently self-limiting population. As they don't get their objectives met, they'll have a harder time recruiting...and suicide bombers don't procreate after they've demonsrated their commitment.
8.16.2005 10:46pm
Carol Anne:
variable wrote: Here is a better concept of terrorism.

It is taking actions that will lead to a politically favorable result by rendering those in a position to take adverse action senseless with fear. It leverages the known effect that random and sharp pain will unhinge otherwise sensible people.


At a minimum it is "...taking actions that the perpetrator hopes will lead..." Clearly, some responses to terrorism are contrary to the terrorists probable intent.

Then, "...rendering those in a position to take adverse action senseless with fear." I would submit that the victims are more likely rendered "senseless with fear," and that "those in a position to take...action" are more likely to take advantage of countermeasures, and the benefits of more deliberation to arrive at decisions. Yes the "...random and sharp pain will unhinge..." the victims...but the victims are just the medium of the message, and the message is aimed at cooler heads.

In my opinion, I believe that recent history demonstrates (in Israel, in the Middle East, in the U.S, in Britain) more resolve to defy the expressed objectives of the terrorists.

And, in any event, suicide bombers—one of the popular means of terrorism—are an inherently self-limiting population. As they don't get their objectives met, they'll have a harder time recruiting...and suicide bombers don't procreate after they've demonsrated their commitment.
8.16.2005 10:46pm
random (mail):
Like so many, Carol is defining the concept by the judgment of consequence.


Use deduction instead. Terrorism is a mechanism of politics, not a moral label. It has meaning only in its action, not its intent, e.g. Boooooo!

Scared? Still hear?

Hmmm, I guess I would not make much of a terrorist. At least, not by a proper definition of the term.
8.16.2005 11:33pm
Anon.:
relativism, the illegitimacy of the former Iraqi regime is clearly implied in my previous comment, but nothing in my comment addressed the legitimacy of the action to remove the regime. Perhaps you are assuming that ANY action to remove an illegitimate regime is necessarily legitimate. If so, then I can understand why you draw the second implication; however, I did not (and do not) make such an assumption. A separate case for the legitimacy of the invasion may certainly be made, but it is not to be found in my comment, which responded only to DK35's ludicrous assertion that the former regime was legitimate.

We may take notice of the illegitimacy of the Saddam &Sons' rape and murder enterprise. The fact that the former Iraqi regime maintained its power through brutal coercion is not an open question. Applying the very fundamental principle of popular sovereignty to that fact leads to one conclusion on the question -- that the regime was illegitimate. If DK35 really thinks that Saddam was entitled even to a presumption of legitimacy, the bar and the public would be better off if he found another calling. The world needs ditch diggers, too.
8.17.2005 10:43am
Anon.:
relativism, a further point, just in case the obvious fact of the former Iraqi regime's illegitimacy won't sink in without a reminder that the question was indeed resolved by the appropriate process. Those "few people nearby" weren't actually nearby -- they were in Washington, D.C., serving as elected members of the Senate and the House of Representatives. But then, who needs representative government to make decisions when we have law students and perhaps a few lawyers who think no question is resolved until a judge says it is?
8.17.2005 11:33am
DK35 (mail):
So, I guess I am being "condemned" because I "realy think that Saddam was entitled even to a presumption of legitimacy."

Do I think that Saddam would have received a majority in a democratically elected vote in Iraq? Probably not. Do I think that George W. Bush received a majority of the vote in 2000? Definitely not. But nonetheless, both led countries. Do I personally approve of either leader? No. And (lest you think I'm just some liberal who won't let go of the 2000 debacle), let me ask you why, if the question of the leader's "legitimacy" is cause enough for war, do we not invade every country that currently does not have a leader who is in place through a fair democratic election? Why are we not, for example, invading Saudi Arabia? North Korea? etc.

Now, here are some tougher questions. Do I think that the majority of Iraqis approve of the US presence in Iraq? Probably not. Do at least some of the people in Iraq lashing out violently against the US military, as well as innocent Iraqi citizens, honestly believe they are doing so for the sake of the survival of their religion or culture? Yes. Do abortion clinic bombers, gay bashers, etc. act out of similar motivations. Often, yes. Do I personally approve of violence in general as a method of solving problems? No.

Life is complicated, people. Those on the Professor's "list" are pointing this out. I, for one, doubt that any of them are happy with the violence. I could be wrong, but I do note that all of them have spoken out much more strongly against violence, if only through their opposition to US military force. If Professor Volokh has any hard facts that any of those people are truly "supporting" the violence, or even justifying it (in the sense of saying that the violence is good or even necessary), I would like to see some facts. Otherwise, the Professor is just another intellectually dishonest ranter who, of course, has every right to rant has much as he wants. I do not "condemn" him, I only point out the intellectual dishonesty.
8.17.2005 2:21pm
Anon.:
DK35, I'm not condemning you; I'm just trying to spare you unnecessary humiliation. If you can't tell the difference between leading with the consent of the governed (your own ridiculous non-acceptance of the 2000 election doesn't render the election illegitimate), and ruling by coercing the governed, or if you are utterly confused, as you appear to be, when faced with a very easy question that requires you to determine whether a particular circumstance is a sufficient condition to an action or only a necessary condition to that action (I'll give you a 50/50 chance to get it right: illegitimacy of a regime is ____________ to justify removal of the regime from power), then do yourself a favor and drop out of law school now.
8.17.2005 7:54pm
relativism (mail):
Anon.

"your own ridiculous non-acceptance of the 2000 election doesn't render the election illegitimate"

A careful reading of DK35's post does not show any "non-acceptance". He did say that dubya did not get a majority of the vote in that election, but that is a matter of record, and not a particularly alarming fact, because democratic elections often get won on as little as 25% of the vote.

Reading between the lines of DK35's posts, it looks like his disapproval of dubya (sorry, I mean your illustrious president) stems more from GW's penchant for bad war choices than election results.

So on this sample of one, I would say DK35 should continue in law school.

A tip, Anon. If you focus on the arguments and avoid trying to attack the person, you have a better chance of appearing rational. We are all pretty irrational when it comes down to it, our task is to fake it.

Of course, the previous para is attacking the person. Sorry.
8.17.2005 9:38pm
Carol Anne:
variable wrote: <i>Like so many, Carol is defining the concept by the judgment of consequence.</i>

If you can't read, don't post. I defined the concept through <b>intent</b>. My examples point out some consequences. (Incidentally, my name is "Carol Anne"; should I call you "var?")

<i>Use deduction instead. Terrorism is a mechanism of politics, not a moral label. It has meaning only in its action, not its intent, e.g. Boooooo! </i>

Whether it's a mechanism of politice or morality is for others to decide. I define it as an <b>intent</b> and as <b>behavior</b>. (Can one be a terrorist by belief in the concept without actually <i>doing</i> anything? How would you know?)

<i>Scared? Still hear? </i>
Scared of whom, or what? I'm not scared of opposing opinions, whether ill- or well-formed. I would hope, in fact, that you might provide me with information so sound that it changed my mind...but that hasn't happened yet.

And, yes, I'm still listening. Or present. Whichever you meant.
8.18.2005 2:46pm
Carol Anne:
variable wrote: <i>Like so many, Carol is defining the concept by the judgment of consequence.</i>

If you can't read, don't post. I defined the concept through <b>intent</b>. My examples point out some consequences. (Incidentally, my name is "Carol Anne"; should I call you "var?")

<i>Use deduction instead. Terrorism is a mechanism of politics, not a moral label. It has meaning only in its action, not its intent, e.g. Boooooo! </i>

Whether it's a mechanism of politice or morality is for others to decide. I define it as an <b>intent</b> and as <b>behavior</b>. (Can one be a terrorist by belief in the concept without actually <i>doing</i> anything? How would you know?)

<i>Scared? Still hear? </i>
Scared of whom, or what? I'm not scared of opposing opinions, whether ill- or well-formed. I would hope, in fact, that you might provide me with information so sound that it changed my mind...but that hasn't happened yet.

And, yes, I'm still listening. Or present. Whichever you meant.
8.18.2005 2:46pm
Anon.:
Relativism, why so thin-skinned on behalf of fellow-traveler DK35? His stream of consciousness ramblings about both W and Saddam "leading countries" etc. weren't silly enough to steer your protective inclination toward someone more worthy?

You anti-war advocates would probably help your cause a great deal by weeding out the really offensive and just plain lame arguments offered on your behalf. Supporters of the President's Iraq policy have managed to do this -- for example, the offensive and counterproductive rantings of a nutjob like Tancredo are widely condemned among those who believe we're doing the right thing in the middle east (sure, a few fellow nutjobs cheer him on, but hardly anyone in a position of responsibility). But it seems that anyone opposing the President's policy, regardless of how morally repulsive, illogical or obviously disingenuous that person's positions, is at least tolerated, if not embraced by those in the anti-war echo chamber.

Being more selective will reduce the volume within, causing an interruption in the illusion of strength and virtue, but it might actually result in a few people outside paying attention. Don't you think your cause would be better off without those who suggest, even by implication, that Saddam was the legitimate government of Iraq, or those who argue that if every illegitimate regime is not also invaded, we cannot have been justified in invading Iraq? You should try this, even though it may require near sacrilege on your part -- disregarding Mill's commandments. But consider that its purported adherence to Mill's injunction has given the "anti-war movement" a defining down of deviancy manifest in the frequent defense of the crocodile that would, if given the chance, eat you last.
8.18.2005 7:20pm
relativism (mail):
Anon.

"Relativism, why so thin-skinned on behalf of fellow-traveler DK35?"

Thin-skinned?!! I just looked in his post for evidence of your "ridiculous non-acceptance" and found none. I don't think that amounts to thin-skinned. Unless we were trying to sling mud, but we wouldn't stoop to that, would we Anon.?

A great deal of rhetoric in your last post, but difficult to pin down anything the intellect can really deal with. "Offensive and counterproductive rantings" pretty well sums it up. Try and calm down a bit, and spell out your arguments with some semblance of logic and evidence.
8.19.2005 2:34am