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And to think, you pay not only a TV tax so that ARD can show this stuff, but also a religion tax so that these guys can spout this nonsense on TV. What a country!

Btw, isn't it ironic that Germany has a religion tax and not the US? Could you imagine what would happen if someone tried to impose such a tax in the US? Yikes!

Regarding Crusades and such, you forgot to remember the conquest of Spain (which was Arab) completed in 1492, or the arrogant crusader rebuff at Vienna in 1683 (which was by all rights Ottoman), or the crusader conquest of the moslem lands of Serbia, Bulgaria, and Greece in the 19th century. Not to mention the 1000 years of arrogant opposition to the God-given rights of the Moslems, first Arabs then Turks, by the infidel Byzantines. These constant provocations and arrogant denials of the rights of Moslems by Christians claiming "rights" (hah!!) must stop!

No cheap excuses, gentlepeople! It took the work of generations to put the 'Great' in Great Satan, and I for one am proud of my forebears.

Ray
>> These constant provocations and arrogant denials of the rights of Moslems by Christians claiming "rights" (hah!!) must stop!


You forgot: Columbus was a Muslim,, too!

Take, for example, the 1786 meeting in London of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja, the Tripolitan ambassador to Britain. As American ambassadors to France and Britain respectively, Jefferson and Adams met with Ambassador Adja to negotiate a peace treaty and protect the United States from the threat of Barbary piracy."

"These future United States presidents questioned the ambassador as to why his government was so hostile to the new American republic even though America had done nothing to provoke any such animosity. Ambassador Adja answered them, as they reported to the Continental Congress, "that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise.""--Joshua E. London at National Review

Somehow this doesn't surprise me, considering that the last time I was in Germany the churches were being used as poster boards for anti-American political placards. Somehow I don't think that's quite what Christ had in mind when he drove the money changers out of the Temple, but, then again, I'm not a Christian. What do I know?

The memory of the people is long, is it, Pastor Mueller? If that's so, then apparently they're suffering from amnesia concerning a few incidents that predated the Crusades. You see, Pastor Mueller, the "Moslem" countries weren't always Muslim at all. Syria, Egypt, Turkey, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Albania, among others, were Christian countries. And how is it, Pastor Mueller, that these countries became Muslim? Hint: It wasn't because they so admired the peaceful nature of Islam. No, Pastor Mueller, they, along with Spain, were conquered by invading armies. Evidently, it eventually occurred to a few Spaniards that the stories their mainstream media were telling them about the "religion of peace," were not entirely accurate. They fought back, and reclaimed their country after centuries of struggle. This, too, was referred to at the time as a "Crusade." Since all "Crusades" were evil, Pastor Mueller, don't you think you should call the Spanish Prime Minister right away and arrange to have his country handed back to the Muslims?

Forgive, my ignorance, Pastor Mueller, but why is it that the conquest and forced conversion of Christian countries, including what is now Israel, was "legitimate," and the continued occupation of those countries "just," whereas the efforts of the Christians to reclaim their territory, countries that had been Christian for centuries prior to the Muslim conquest, was "evil" and "wrong." Tell us, Pastor Mueller, exactly how many years after the seizure by force and subsequent occupation of Palestine by invading Muslim armies did it take for that seizure and occupation to become "right" and in accordance with Christian teachings. That's a question of some interest to us Americans, Pastor Mueller, as we note with some chagrin that you continue to bitch about the European occupation of our country by force. Let's see now, about 500 years after the Muslim conquest of Christian countries, that conquest had become "good," and the attempts by the Christians to reclaim their territory "evil." Hot dog, Pastor Mueller! It's been over 500 years since Columbus landed. How dare those evil Indians complain. Why, it's positively un-Christian. Are they trying to start a new "Crusade?"

It happens that the national religion of Iran was not always Islam, either, Pastor Mueller. At one time, it was Zoroastrianism. We will give you 20 guesses to find out why it is that Zoroastrianism is not quite as dominant in Iran today as it once was. Odd, isn't it. In the case of Iran, Orwell was right. They now love Big Brother.

Martin Luther must be rolling over in his grave.

"Correct me if I'm wrong"

OK. First, ARD is not funded by taxpayers. As a media critic, you should know at least that. Second, you only pay church taxes if you are a member of that church. Otherwise, zero.

Note from David: Wrong. Non church members pay church taxes if they are employed in small jobs ("400 Euro jobs"), where taxes are deducted automatically. Also, for certain types of pensions ("Altersteilzeit"), church taxes are collected from non-church members as well. Finally, the German state pays the "wages" of Bishops, etc., as a result of a centuries-old contract. It's financed from the general tax funds.
Glad I could help you out.

Third, he didn't say that "everything bad" is the West's fault, but that the West has its own share on its bad image among Arabs. As for the crusades, I remember GWB having mentioned them occasionally...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Afghanistan, Iraq, Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo have not brought a single big fish... Okay, Saddam, but what has this guy to do with 9/11?? Besides, don't start with body count. Obviously far more Arab people have been killed afterwards.

The fight song from my alma mater:

From the halls of Montezuma To the shores of Tripoli' ,

We fight our countrys battles In the air', on land, and sea.

And I really don't know what kind of German elite you are referring to criticizes support for Israel. This is, in its truest meaning, politically incorrect.

@MoreHonestThanLife

Dear MoreHonestThanLife, I don't know in which world you are living in but in my Dimension ARD is funded by taxpayers or do you really think that the few ads run on ARD and the ZDF are financing theses channels. The GEZ fees that are collected each quarter year are nothing else than taxes just covered in another wrapping.

MoreHonestThanLife said:

"Correct me if I'm wrong"

"OK. First, ARD is not funded by taxpayers. As a media critic, you should know at least that."

OK. You are wrong.

First, I'm not a media critic, but I do know that ARD is indeed funded by taxes. In my book, that makes it taxpayer funded.

"Second, you only pay church taxes if you are a member of that church. Otherwise, zero."

Um, I'm not sure what your point is here. I said there is a religion tax (a "church tax") in Germany and you basically reiterated my point. There are, of course, all sorts of conditions and exceptions, and you can avoid the tax by officially declaring yourself an atheist; otherwise, it gets taken out of your paycheck just like all the other taxes (unless you are part of a "community," or church, that collects it directly -- in which case, you get a bill in the mail from the church after they look at your tax records to see how much you make).

"Third, he didn't say that "everything bad" is the West's fault, but that the West has its own share on its bad image among Arabs."

Yeah, well, if that bad image is due to something that happened 400 years ago, I think it's time to get over it and get a life. That's irrelevant, at this point -- not unlike blacks in the US holding me responsible for slavery.

And, as Helian pointed out, it's a bit disingenuous for Ahmed to yell at Johnny for retaliating when Ahmed hit Johnny first.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Afghanistan, Iraq, Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo have not brought a single big fish... Okay, Saddam, but what has this guy to do with 9/11?? Besides, don't start with body count. Obviously far more Arab people have been killed afterwards.

MoreHonestThanLife?

This is a great example of what the GEZ buys you.

James W. said:

"MoreHonestThanLife?

This is a great example of what the GEZ buys you."

Good point. I overlooked the following quote by MoreHonestThanLife:

"Correct me if I'm wrong, but Afghanistan, Iraq, Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo have not brought a single big fish..."

Again, you are wrong. For starters, ever heard of this guy, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed?

"Okay, Saddam, but what has this guy to do with 9/11?? Besides, don't start with body count. Obviously far more Arab people have been killed afterwards."

Obviously far more Arab people have been killed afterwards?

After what?

And how is it "obvious"?

MoreHonestThanLife says: "Correct me if I'm wrong, but Afghanistan, Iraq, Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo have not brought a single big fish... Okay, Saddam"

Well, it depends on who's defining "big fish", I guess. Looks to me like progress is pretty darn good.

http://www.defendamerica.mil/iraq/iraqi55/

>>"And I really don't know what kind of German elite you are referring to criticizes support for Israel. This is, in its truest meaning, politically incorrect."

But of course, MoreHonestThanLife, what was I thinking?? All of the German elites have been completely unreserved, unstinting, and steadfast in their support of Israel.

Helian,
I guess it depends on who's defining "elite" after all. And who's defining "support for Israel".
And then what I was talking about is criticizing other's support for Israel, as I was referring to DS who far up at the main entry of this thread, used exactly this point to add tne reproach of antisemitism or at least anti-Israel arguing, which DS unfortunately couldn't anyhow construct from priest Mueller's speech.
What I was *not* talking about is every single guy stating at all times "Whatever the current policy in Israel is, we believe they are completely right and we won't offer a single piece of advice." It's called freedom of speech. And if you start to define pensioned priests that occur occasionally on TV as "elite", well, then be it.

Btw, it also ends up defining "political correctness". In Germany, support for Israel is part of PC (and I'm completely fine with that). (More, I somehow cannot imagine that "Death to Israel" outbreaks are considered PC in America.)

Scott H,
indeed depends on defining "big fish". Looks like most, if not all of this list are "big fish" around Saddam and the Baa'th party. But then, linking those guys to 9/11 is a popular myth, which even GWB now denies to have ever openly stated. The Baa'th party is a secular party, very repressive for sure, but this repression included any islamistic outgrowths as well as legitimate democracy movements

James W,
*obviously* far more civilians, most of which probably Arabs, but quite some Afghani too, have been killed as a collateral damage of the so-called war on terror, that is, to be exact, after 2001-9-11. But I'm not saying this to outweigh the 9/11 victims, just saying that having your relatives killed does not help in improving your image of the US.

As for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, I would call him a next to big fish at most. Read this for a start: http://www.saag.org/papers7/paper620.html and http://www.cooperativeresearch.net/essay_pf.jsp?article=essayksmcapture. But be it. So great. America managed to get hold of a single "big fish".

@Scott H
@Helian

>>"Third, he didn't say that "everything bad" is the West's fault, but that the West has its own share on its bad image among Arabs." >Yeah, well, if that bad image is due to something that happened 400 years ago, I think it's time to get over it and get a life. That's irrelevant, at this point -- not unlike blacks in the US holding me responsible for slavery.

If they are holding you, Scott H, responsible personally, they are for sure wrong. But they would be right to be in favor of affirmative action, because historical injustice has consequences today, in this case statistically less chances in life due to being part of a historically (until the 1960s!) marginalised group and due to still existing racism. Another question is whether Muslims in the NE/ME suffered so much from colonialism (also not 400 years ago!) that they are right to morally refer to this historical injustice and whether this injustice was really injustice, given the imperialistic character of Arab and Ottoman monarchies.

In any case, Helian's account of the crusades is a little bit over-simplifying and his glorification of the Spanish reconquista surely misleading in many respects (for example what happened to the Jews afterwards?). Just think of the notorious papal call to arms in a time when there was no real danger from the muslims or the fact that some of the crusaders killed thousands of German jews and sacked the (orthodox) Christian Constantinople on their way to the Holy Land. But - contrary to other parts of the world (Africa and Latin America, in particular) - European aggression and colonialism against the Muslim world might indeed be excused as a reaction to hundreds of years of Muslim imperialism.

Nevertheless I think it's beneath any intelligent person in the West to counter the historical claims of today's Muslim fanatists and its sympathizers (like B. Mueller) by glorifying Western religious fanatism in the times of the crusades and the reconquista. You can make an easy point but you probably lose the game in the end, because you are becoming the mirror image of your enemies.


MoreHonestThanLife: You said "Afghanistan, Iraq, Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo", you're the only one linking that with 9/11 (well, you and the MSM), even though ostensibly you deny it. GWB denies openly saying that because, well, he never said it. Sometimes one can try and be too nuanced, by reading your own prejudices into things that never were. What GWB did say is that Saddam had links with terrorists, and to refute requires a major reality distortion field.

"Nevertheless I think it's beneath any intelligent person in the West to counter the historical claims of today's Muslim fanatists and its sympathizers (like B. Mueller) by glorifying Western religious fanatism in the times of the crusades and the reconquista."

First, I don't think anyone is glorifying Western religious fanaticism -- in fact, quite the opposite. Second, I think you'd have a hard time finding many in the West who could even tell you about the Crusades, much less discuss the subject intelligently.

"You can make an easy point but you probably lose the game in the end, because you are becoming the mirror image of your enemies."

And, so, we've come full circle. This is exactly what the radical Muslims do *not* want.

"As for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, I would call him a next to big fish at most. Read this for a start: http://www.saag.org/papers7/paper620.html and http://www.cooperativeresearch.net/essay_pf.jsp?article=essayksmcapture. But be it. So great. America managed to get hold of a single "big fish"."

We're not "fishing" anymore - that was the post 1993 WTC bombing approach that netted us the blind Sheik - the biggest "fish" from that attack ( meant to topple one tower into another and kill 50,000 btw )

The new strategy is to drain the swamp and ALL the "fish" ( aka- AQ ) will die

It may upset you that we have taken this approach - that our previous fishing worked just fine - but I disagree

But you don't see the problem even today - and likely you never will

@Scott H

>>"You can make an easy point but you probably lose the game in the end, because you are becoming the mirror image of your enemies.">And, so, we've come full circle. This is exactly what the radical Muslims do *not* want.

Sorry, I don't understand: You think the Muslim fanatics wouldn't like us to become Christian fanatics? Or the opposite?

>>"Nevertheless I think it's beneath any intelligent person in the West to counter the historical claims of today's Muslim fanatists and its sympathizers (like B. Mueller) by glorifying Western religious fanatism in the times of the crusades and the reconquista. You can make an easy point but you probably lose the game in the end, because you are becoming the mirror image of your enemies."

Exactly where in my post did I "glorify Western religious fanaticism," Christoph? Are you suggesting that the mere recitation of certain historical facts is "beneath any intelligent person" if you happen to find those facts uncomfortable? If certain religious or ethnic groups use "history" to cultivate a cult of victimization, do you find it "insulting" and "tasteless" to point out that those religious or ethnic groups weren't always victims, but were, in fact, aggressors and oppressors? Should certain historical facts be suppressed, if they happen not to fit your political agenda? Failing any demonstration on your part of where I have actually "glorified religious fanaticism," that would seem to be the case. I can only reply that I beg to differ with you.

Turning to something completely different, check out this story on CNN's site. Notice that the last paragraph reads, "After Israel pulled out of Gaza last year, Palestinians burned down a synagogue." As most of David's regular readers are probably aware, the MSM commonly reserves last paragraphs and sentences for editorializing zingers that fit its political agenda, for readers who happen to be too dense to absorb the proper propaganda dose from the main body of the article. This bellicose punchline was no accident, my friends. It would seem that the CNN sheep have bleated a loud, angry "ba-a-a-h-h-h" at the wolf! Could it be that a few of the editors have actually been shamed into this rather extreme bleat by the public response to their abject failure to report legitimate and important news in the face of Islamist intimidation? Could it be that it has occurred to them that it is not necessarily in their best interests, as journalists, to allow representatives of alien cultures to move in and dictate to them the limits of freedom of the press in their own countries? You never know, miracles can happen. If so, could the editors of SPON be far behind? If anyone notices an incident of the SPON dhimmis "sassing back" to the Islamofascists, I would be grateful if they would post it. I promise not to hold my breath.

*obviously* far more civilians, most of which probably Arabs, but quite some Afghani too, have been killed as a collateral damage of the so-called war on terror, that is, to be exact, after 2001-9-11. But I'm not saying this to outweigh the 9/11 victims, just saying that having your relatives killed does not help in improving your image of the US.

Aaahh, now your point has become clearer to me. Well, I look at this differently. What about pre-9/11 Afghanistan and Iraq? I’m sure you don’t want to wrap your argument around the peaceful kite flying scenes in Fahrenheit 9/11. Do you? What about the peaceful soccer games that the Taliban organized? Ooops, no wait, those were executions…silly me. You see, replacing the Hussein and Taliban regimes with peaceful democracies will go a long way in improving the image of the US…albeit a very difficult job that will take years if not decades. The killing, torture, rapes, and oppression of those regimes will no longer exist. Of course, we must be successful, and we are not getting much help from our “friends” in the msm and on the left.

BTW, this is a war on terrorism, and SH is one of the worst terrorists. As far as his involvement with 9/11, there are no known DIRECT connections that I’m aware of; however, there are numerous connections between Iraq and Al Qaeda (too lengthy to list here). This article by Stephen F. Hayes lists many of these connections (he also wrote a book called “The Connection” which is well documented.):
http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/005/804yqqnr.asp

Another book that looks into the myth that “there is no connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda” is “Disinformation: 22 Media Myths That Undermine the War on Terror” by Richard Miniter. Again, he points out numerous documented connections. If you can read these articles and books and still come away unconvinced, then, I believe there is nothing that anybody can tell you that will change your mind.

I personally find it difficult to believe that SH and AQ, all of a sudden, decided to go separate ways on the planning, financing, and execution of 9/11. If I’m wrong about SH and 9/11, I won’t lose any sleep over it. SH has enough blood on his hands.

@Helian

>"Failing any demonstration on your part of where I have actually "glorified religious fanaticism,"

I referred to this passage in one of your postings: "No, Pastor Mueller, they, along with Spain, were conquered by invading armies. Evidently, it eventually occurred to a few Spaniards that the stories their mainstream media were telling them about the "religion of peace," were not entirely accurate. They fought back, and reclaimed their country after centuries of struggle. This, too, was referred to at the time as a "Crusade."

In particular the sentence "They fought back, and reclaimed their country after centuries of struggle." seems to me an anachronistic glorification of the reconquista, not a recitation of historical facts. It's not that simple in my opinion: First, the premodern kingdoms - Muslim or Christian - should not be seen as kind of modern national states with citizens proud of their nationality and keen to free their homeland from foreign oppressors. These are just modern concepts that don't fit into the description of those times. (For most of the people it wasn't important who ruled them, and Muslim rule in Spain was a relatively good time for the common people, and, as I said before, in particular for the Jews.) Second, the "Spaniards" (better: the aristocrats of Germanic descent) reclaimed their country, yes, but what was the price for humanity? Inquisition, conquista of South America with the development of "blood-based" racism etc. I certainly do not want to justify historical Muslim imperialism or today's Islamofascists, but we should better know the facts of Euro-Arab history in which not all was black and white.

>"If certain religious or ethnic groups use "history" to cultivate a cult of victimization, do you find it "insulting" and "tasteless" to point out that those religious or ethnic groups weren't always victims, but were, in fact, aggressors and oppressors? Should certain historical facts be suppressed, if they happen not to fit your political agenda?"

I understood very well that yours was a polemic against the cult of victimization this pastor adheres to. And I don't find it "insulting" or "tasteless" to point to facts if they are really facts. I'm not quite sure whether I have a "political agenda" in regard to these issues, but - to make my favorite point again - we won't win the war against Islamofascism when we try to conceal or belittle the darker aspects of Western history and today's power projection. Strength derives from honesty, not polemical onesidedness.

@Helian,

“The Baa'th party is a secular party, very repressive for sure, but this repression included any Islamist outgrowths as well as legitimate democracy movements”

Persons and groups of people are what they do. The Baath party was not a political party. They weren’t out getting votes, printing books of political theory, winning elections. They were a racketeering and organized crime syndicate. His favorite movie was The Godfather. He even liked the fat pinstripe suits of 1930s gangsters. There are pictures of a birthday party for one of his ladykiller sons where they are both wearing hats with Al Capone written on the headbands. The only and soul purpose of the Party was to insure its survival and the enrichment and pleasures of its members, of which they were fairly successful, although not as bright as the Syrians, or else Saddam could still be power to day if he and his henchlings weren’t such backwater, ignorant flatland drunks. Meyer Lanski, they were not.

Furthermore, the last few years, the supposedly secular Saddam was co-opting on the language and clothing of the competing crime organizations of the Islamists. The posters of him had a Islamic Bling style to them. The Elvis sunglasses were my favorite. I wonder what spinners and rims would look like on a tinted windowed, armored Mercedes? On the other hand, maybe he was just getting older and wanted to get right with Allah and I should respect that and lay off.

Na, fugehdaboutit!


"For most of the people it wasn't important who ruled them, and Muslim rule in Spain was a relatively good time for the common people"

Ah, I think the polling data is a little weak on that. Maybe I haven't seen the latest Zogby/CNN/Economist from the their secret time machine. Somehow the idea of a bunch of pointy shoe people waving swords telling Spaniards they can't drink doesn't sound too popular. Nor turning your country into a Islamic/Catholic weapons training ground for the next couple of hundred years sound pleasurable for average hard-scrabble dirt farmers. Of course pre satellite dish days were pretty boring so, who knows, maybe it was entertaining so long as the other village over the hill got it, and you and your kith and kin could creep down at night and round up a stray sheep or two.

@Christoph

>>"In particular the sentence "They fought back, and reclaimed their country after centuries of struggle." seems to me an anachronistic glorification of the reconquista, not a recitation of historical facts. It's not that simple in my opinion:..."

I'm sorry to hear that you consider simple statements of historical facts "glorifications" unless they're hedged about with all sorts of caveats that reflect your preferred spin. Next time I mention anything historical, I'll consult your lawyer first and have him write a disclaimer for me. It does seem to me that discussion of history will become rather tedious if it can no longer be done without attaching long laundry lists of historical footnotes to guard against any suspicion of "oversimplification" or glorification. Regarding the specific instance of "glorification" at issue, I must beg to differ with you. The people who fought back against the Muslim invaders were not "aristocrats of Germanic descent," but rulers of petty Christian kingdoms that survived in the north of the country. The people who made up the great bulk of their armies were certainly local people. The occupiers they fought were not local, but were either Arabs or north Africans, depending on the dynasty in power at a given time. Thus, it is a simple fact that they took back their country. It is also a simple fact that it took them centuries to do it. I'm sorry if simple facts appear to be "glorifications" to you, but that's your problem, not mine and not history's.

>>"For most of the people it wasn't important who ruled them, and Muslim rule in Spain was a relatively good time for the common people" (Christoph)

>>"Ah, I think the polling data is a little weak on that. Maybe I haven't seen the latest Zogby/CNN/Economist from the their secret time machine. Somehow the idea of a bunch of pointy shoe people waving swords telling Spaniards they can't drink doesn't sound too popular. Nor turning your country into a Islamic/Catholic weapons training ground for the next couple of hundred years sound pleasurable for average hard-scrabble dirt farmers." (Carl Spackler)

Exactly! It seems that your caveats, disclaimers, perspectives, and footnotes all oddly support a single political agenda, Christoph, namely, your own. I rather doubt that the common people were particularly enthralled by the centuries of constant warfare among scores of petty states that followed the Moslem conquest and continued for centuries. I rather suspect that most of them would have rather preferred the relative order and calm of the Visigothic kingdom that preceded the conquest, or the united kingdom that followed it. Indeed, by your own standards, your comment amounts to a "glorification" of the invaders. Far from being one long period of remarkable advances in science, medicine, literature, and culture, for most of its history, Muslim Spain was moribund and backward.

The rest of your "enlightening" caveats, which you infer add "balance" to the interpretation of history, all oddly seem to lean in a similar direction. For example, you tell us that the Muslim period in Spain was a particularly good time for Jews, without mentioning that Jews in north Africa under Muslim rule were commonly segregated into walled ghettos where they were locked in at night, and suffered ostracism, humiliation and heavier taxes than the Muslims for the privilege of practicing the faith of their fathers. You tell us about all the terrible things that happened after the reconquest of Spain, but fail to mention the equally terrible things that happened as a result of the original conquest. You tell us that strength derives from honesty, not polemical one-sidedness, and then replace what you apparently consider "dishonesty" with polemical one-sidedness of your own.

In a word, you can't refrain from treating history as a morality play rather than a collection of facts. You share that problem with Pastor Mueller. His one-sided "history lesson" clearly revealed his own political agenda. When I pointed out a few facts that don't quite agree with his neat arrangement of history according to "victims" and "oppressors," you accused me of "glorification." I'd say the sort of "balance" you want to restore speaks volumes about your own political agenda, Christoph.


There is no shortage of useful idiots like Cristoph in the West who decry the "degradations and injuries that the Christians and the West have visited upon the Islamic world over many centuries".

Cristoph, kleiner, what about the "degradations and injuries" propagated by Islam? I never hear any mention of that. My country, Romania, was roughly 500-600 years under the oppression of Islam through the Otoman empire. It ended in 1878. Do you know what 600 (six hundred) years means ? Centuries in which tribute was paid, peasants were murdered and children were taken away and transformed into soldiers.

What should today's Romanians do, by your and Pastor Mueller's logic ? I guess murdering every Muslim in sight would be acceptable, after all the centuries of unjustice and subjugation. It would be a justified action, right ? Will I personally get a pass if I cut down a Muslim at a kebab place ? After all, many of my ancestors became kebabs themselves at the hand of Muslim conquerors. By the same logic, there are countless other countries who would have historical reasons to hate their neighbors. Should they also go to war and avenge the past ? When does it stop; does it ever stop ?

Where does this criminal "understanding" of Muslim fanatics come from ? My strong conviction is that behind the talk of "understanding" lies a deep fear of the untamed fanatical hordes. The Romanians have a saying (funny thing, apparently from the times when they were subjugated by Muslims) - the sword doesn't cut the bowed head. I believe my ancestors were quite optimistic about that, we have seen in modern times that the fanatic Muslim sword does cut the bowed head without remorse.

Cristoph, I have absolutely no foolish desire to avenge my ancestors. I also don't want to hear how you justify and excuse the wild hordes. I don't need amoral people like you and Pastor Mueller to tell me what to believe, which parts from history to read and which to ignore in the name of "understanding". I will be a multiculturalist when my multiculturalism will be returned, or at least when it will not be despised as weakness. Not one second before. I have no respect for your opinions or for what you are. I respect people like you only because you happen to be a living creature, nothing more, nothing less.

Sorry I mismatched some of the names in my previous response. But it seems like I'm not the only one (Carl Spackler thought my Baa'th party statement was from Helian, which must have pissed the latter) I'd like to suggest a clearer page layout so everybody can see that the author name comes _after_ the statement?

OK, back to topic.
@ Carl, 5:37 PM: I'm by no way insisting that Baath is (or was in the last decades) a political party in the western sense, or that it was democratic. But you know, there are one-party dictatorship systems in the world (and there have been, like in Nazi Germany) This kind of party is still called a party. My point is that it was not an islamistic party and that it saw islamists as opponents, which they were in fact. As for Saddam's language and style, I guess neither you nor me speak enough Arabic or are close enough to the Iraqi society to deduct anything serious from it, let alone political constellations.

@ James, 5:15 PM: Yes, what about pre-9/11 Afghanistan and Iraq? Do I really have to rehash the old story of 80's America supporting Taliban and Saddam with huge amounts of money, and special military know-how? And no, I haven't seen Moore's Fahrenheit movie yet. Maybe I should just for the fun of it, cause your descriptions sound interesting.

@ Oh Eric, 2:18 PM: No, I'm not the "only one linking that with 9/11". Read 2 year old postings on Pro-American.com and similar... no, actually, just read the last paragraph of "our friend DL"'s _lead_ posting in this thread. "Correct me if I'm wrong but I seem to remember 2,800 people being murdered in New York City and Washington DC prior to Afghanistan, Iraq, Abu Ghraib, and Guantanmo."


@Christoph: Here's the part I have heartburn with:

"Nevertheless I think it's beneath any intelligent person in the West to counter the historical claims of today's Muslim fanatists and its sympathizers (like B. Mueller) by glorifying Western religious fanatism in the times of the crusades and the reconquista[...]"

Are you saying that the Muslim claims cannot be countered? Are you saying that they have such moral weight that we must kowtow to their version of what happened 400 years ago? Or are you just saying that engaging in a historical pissing match is a pointless exercise? Me, I don't need to play history trivia with any Muslims because I reject the moral legitimacy of their historical claims out of hand. For them to claim that stuff that supposedly happened to their supposed ancestors centuries ago is directly responsible for them not having their 72 virgins -- and for them to go further and say that I bear direct responsibility for it because my supposed ancestors were directly responsible for what happened to their supposed ancestors, and therefore I am directly responsible for their not getting cake on their birthdays -- well, frankly, my gut reaction is "Grow up!"

"Morehonestthanlife" and Christoph... "WhatDoIKnow" has it exactly right.

This discussion is about what Burkhard Mueller said. And what he said was inexcusable.

To harken back to the Crusades AT ALL is utterly preposterous. The details of who did what are irrelevant to the fact that the Muslims invaded Spain and were eventually thrown out. That is a basic historic fact that can't be disputed. But it's also irrelevant.

The BIG PICTURE here is that the Muslims need to grow up and GET OVER the Crusades.

Cousin Dave... your comment was posted at the same time I was writing mine. Great minds think alike, eh? :D

WhatDoIKnow

Yes. It went on and on. Not just in Romania. Countless European Christians, likely millions, ended up as slaves in the Muslim world over a thousand year period. And not just in the middle ages. Italian slaves in 1480 when they took Otranto. Austrian children led back as slaves after the siege of Vienna in 1532. French slaves in 1543, when King Francis I let the Turks control Toulon. They raided the nearby villages, and actually had a slave market in Toulon. The Serb and Greek boys handed over for centuries to become janissaries. The slaves taken on the coasts of Iceland and Ireland as late as 1627. There were even Americans. Read James Riley's 1817 account of his ordeal as a slave in North Africa. All forgotten now. The drops that brought the cup to overflowing indeed. I share your disgust.

@Helian

Okay, let's try without polemics. I don't try to play a "morality play" (nice word) and I don't have a political agenda on this subject. But I think it's important to understand reality (history and today). So some reactions to your points:

>When I pointed out a few facts that don't quite agree with his neat arrangement of history according to "victims" and "oppressors," you accused me of "glorification." I'd say the sort of "balance" you want to restore speaks volumes about your own political agenda, Christoph.

I really did not want to defend Mueller's neat arrangement of history according to "victims" and "oppressors". To the "balance" I want to restore and your opinion that I follow a certain agenda I'll come back in a moment. Here I just want to say that I discussed critically whether today's Muslims can morally refer to colonialism and I only mentioned that there were indeed undoubtedly some victims of Western oppression and aggression (Africa and Latin America). Do you think this last point is an example for a biased political agenda? (If so, it would really be historical blindness and dishonesty.)

>It does seem to me that discussion of history will become rather tedious if it can no longer be done without attaching long laundry lists of historical footnotes to guard against any suspicion of "oversimplification" or glorification.

I find serious search for knowledge not "tedious". I understand that one feels the need for some strong opinions or oversimplifications for polemical purposes when it comes to the Muellers and Mullahs of this world, but it's counterproductive to utter them in a blog like this one, because the Muellers and Mullahs don't read it and you therefore just popularise dubious views of history, although you seem to be a person that knows quite a lot about history (given other postings of you, more than I do). It's sad when people who can do much better and be inspiring, waste their time with cheap polemics and windmill fighting.

>Regarding the specific instance of "glorification" at issue, I must beg to differ with you. The people who fought back against the Muslim invaders were not "aristocrats of Germanic descent, but rulers of petty Christian kingdoms that survived in the north of the country"

And their ruling classes were, as far as I remember from school, of Germanic descent (with the exception of the basques), but maybe this is just the German way of teaching history, so let's forget it. (But, didn't you write about the Visigoths? Who were the forefathers of these petty kings? No Visigoths, but Romanized Iberians/Hispanics? I'll have to check that.)

>The people who made up the great bulk of their armies were certainly local people.

There were a lot of mercenaries in the long years of the reconquista that, by the way, cannot be reduced to warfare and heroic struggle against invaders and oppressors. That's just the founding myth of modern Spain.

>The occupiers they fought were not local, but were either Arabs or north Africans, depending on the dynasty in power at a given time.

There were Jews, Hispanic people and Arabs/Berbers (living in Spain for generations) fighting on one side, and members of all groups on the other side. You mix up nations and feudal systems (and modern warfare and medieval guerilla), that's your anachronism. And that's not a footnote, but an essential! The whole "we Christians against Islam"/Crusade idea was developed quite late in the reconquista.

>Thus, it is a simple fact that they took back their country.

Who owns the country in a feudal system? That's also an essential! But you are right in some respects: there were quite a lot of free communes in Spain.

>It is also a simple fact that it took them centuries to do it. I'm sorry if simple facts appear to be "glorifications" to you, but that's your problem, not mine and not history's.

These were not centuries of war, and especially not of a war along the strict line "Islam vs. Christianity". If you take the study of history serious, please take into account: The views you reproduced are not "simple facts", but oversimplifications or, worse, the ideological fabrications of the most Catholic rulers of the Spanish kingdom. I think, most historians think that the study of history is all about what you call "caveats, disclaimers, perspectives, and footnotes". History should not be a servant for our political agendas today, I think we agree on this.

>I rather doubt that the common people were particularly enthralled by the centuries of constant warfare among scores of petty states that followed the Moslem conquest and continued for centuries. I rather suspect that most of them would have rather preferred the relative order and calm of the Visigothic kingdom that preceded the conquest, or the united kingdom that followed it. Indeed, by your own standards, your comment amounts to a "glorification" of the invaders. Far from being one long period of remarkable advances in science, medicine, literature, and culture, for most of its history, Muslim Spain was moribund and backward.

The Visigoths, that had a material culture I really adore - like I do with Al-Andalus, to be multiculturally correct ;) - had also their internal conflicts and later some Visigoth/Christian rulers sided with Muslims to fight other Christian rulers. And I doubt that the expulsed Jews, for example, preferred the united kingdom that followed: It was religiously even more intolerant than the most fundamentalist Muslim rulers in Spain. Please, check your facts! I don't glorify the invaders, but it's a fact that the early Al-Andalus was a milestone in European and thereby also in Western history. I know that after this early period things worsened a lot, but "backward" is a strange word, if you compare it to the Christian kingdoms in Spain where there was also light and shadow and to many other areas in Christian Europe in these times.

>The rest of your "enlightening" caveats, which you infer add "balance" to the interpretation of history, all oddly seem to lean in a similar direction. For example, you tell us that the Muslim period in Spain was a particularly good time for Jews, without mentioning that Jews in north Africa under Muslim rule were commonly segregated into walled ghettos where they were locked in at night, and suffered ostracism, humiliation and heavier taxes than the Muslims for the privilege of practicing the faith of their fathers.

There was segregation of Jews in Muslim North Africa, but in the way you describe it not during the height of Al-Andalus. And I was talking about the situation in Muslim Spain, compared to the one later (under the rule of the most catholic). I know there used to be very aggressively antijewish and antichristian fundamentalist dynasties in the Muslim world too, also in Spain, and I know that non muslims were (at least formally) second-class citizens everywhere in the Muslim wordl, but again no reason for the "The West is the best" ideology here: Think, for example, of what was done to Jews in Germany during some crusades (if you allow me to count Germany as a country of Latin christianity to the West in this respect). And those "walled ghettos" were invented in Venice as far as I remember.

>You tell us about all the terrible things that happened after the reconquest of Spain, but fail to mention the equally terrible things that happened as a result of the original conquest.

"As a result" is not very exact. What do you refer to?
During the Muslim conquest of the whole south of Spain only very few of those "terrible things" happened that even happen in wars where peace-loving freedom fighters fight against Saddam Husseins. As far as we know: Collateral damage very low during the conquest. (In fact many people in the Visigoth lands greeted the Muslims friendly, because of the economic decline of their society and some also because they thought that the Muslims were less heretical than the Catholics and Islam more similar to their own kind of Christianity than Catholocism.) For quite a long time after the conquest, Al-Andalus was one of the most civilized societies in Europe's premodern history. I think no serious historian would doubt that, even if he sees this time not as a Golden Age, as some people incorrectly do. Afterwards more and more terrible things happened, caused by Muslim fanatic rulers, separatism, eternal warfare between the kingdoms (again no strict line "Muslim vs. Christians").
And my main point was that the cost, humanity had to pay for this united and Catholic Iberian kingdom, was much too high: The birth of modern racism, after the concept of "pure blood" was established to make even converted Muslims and Jews to second class citizens, and the conquest and colonization of America, something you would probably also classify as an aggression and oppression, or not?
btw, you know the dozens of classifications for "interracial" humans in the Spanish colonies in Latin America? and its consequences for Latin American societies today? Now, we would have to talk about Morales in Bolivia, but I better stop now, because most people here probably think he's the reanimated spirit of Uncle Joe.

@WhatDoIKnow

>There is no shortage of useful idiots like Cristoph in the West who decry the "degradations and injuries that the Christians and the West have visited upon the Islamic world over many centuries".

That's not a citation of mine!!!

>Cristoph, kleiner, what about the "degradations and injuries" propagated by Islam? I never hear any mention of that. My country, Romania, was roughly 500-600 years under the oppression of Islam through the Otoman empire.

>Großer, to whom are you talking? Do you speak to yourself? Read my postings, for example, the passage on "Ottoman imperialism", and then have kebab and relax.

>Cristoph, I have absolutely no foolish desire to avenge my ancestors. I also don't want to hear how you justify and excuse the wild hordes. I don't need amoral people like you and Pastor Mueller to tell me what to believe, which parts from history to read and which to ignore in the name of "understanding". I will be a multiculturalist when my multiculturalism will be returned, or at least when it will not be despised as weakness. Not one second before. I have no respect for your opinions or for what you are. I respect people like you only because you happen to be a living creature, nothing more, nothing less.

The last sentence is a nice one, thanks. As a multiculturalist, justifying and excusing wild hordes, I don't see myself, and I even hate multiculturalism, because he not only excuses Islamofacism, but in fact sympathizes with it. The Islamofascists don't despise the multiculturalists as weak, but accept them as their ideological allies.

Are you sure you have read my postings???

Best
useful idiot

@Cousin Dave

>Are you saying that the Muslim claims cannot be countered? Are you saying that they have such moral weight that we must kowtow to their version of what happened 400 years ago? Or are you just saying that engaging in a historical pissing match is a pointless exercise?

The claims of the radical Muslims are absurd and they contradict themselves: On the one hand, they are proud that their "supposed ancestors" (nicely put!) conquered great parts of the world, on the other hand, they lament about the crusades.
It's also absurd when people say that Muslim societies were always brutish, nasty, backward etc. and the Christain always (at least slightly) better. That's nonsense, and moreover the West owes a lot to Muslim thinkers, medicine, trade with the Muslim world. (Another thing is that many of the thinkers, traders etc. were not "really good muslims" ;))
To deny these facts, just because of the existence of Islamofascism, would be a counterproductive counter to the claims of the Islamofascists. To deny or ignore the religious fanatism of Christians during the crusades would also be stupid, in my opinion, even in a debate with Muslim radicals.

>Me, I don't need to play history trivia with any Muslims because I reject the moral legitimacy of their historical claims out of hand. For them to claim that stuff that supposedly happened to their supposed ancestors centuries ago is directly responsible for them not having their 72 virgins -- and for them to go further and say that I bear direct responsibility for it because my supposed ancestors were directly responsible for what happened to their supposed ancestors, and therefore I am directly responsible for their not getting cake on their birthdays -- well, frankly, my gut reaction is "Grow up!"

I perfectly agree with these points, but I still think it makes a difference (in international relations, not in personal contacts between people who personally didn't do anything wrong against each other!) whether historical injustice has still consequences for whole populations (as, for example, the indios in the Andes) and whether the crimes happened 400 or 40 years ago. (I don't primarily refer to the Muslim-West-relations here, although the French in Algerie behaved in a very uncivilised way, the West in general concentrated its efforts in the fight against socialist and reformist leaders - ignoring or supporting the islamists - and, before, the Germans during World War II supported the most antisemitic figures in the Near East; to give but just a few examples.) And, one of my favourite points: What's with Western support for Saudi-Arabia and all this lovely kingdoms and chiefdoms on the Arabian peninsula? The one thing I can understand in bL is that he hates these regimes. (Yes, I know and appreciated it that GWEB said something about it in his state of the union address, but I'm still waiting ;) btw: have you ever been on official English websites of these "states"? They don't even hide their fundamentalism.)

@LC Mamapajamas

>This discussion is about what Burkhard Mueller said. And what he said was inexcusable.

Right.

>that the Muslims invaded Spain and were eventually thrown out. That is a basic historic fact that can't be disputed. But it's also irrelevant.

It CAN be disputed, as you can see in my last posting to Helian. A basic historic fact is in my opinion that in general religion is not very important when it comes to politics and warfare. You just need any kind of ideology to murder the people you want to murder and to conquer the lands you want to conquer. But Muslim Spain and the reconquista are not irrelevant when they are used to counter Islamist historical claims.

>The BIG PICTURE here is that the Muslims need to grow up and GET OVER the Crusades.

Do you REALLY think that anyone in the Muslim world (with the exceptions of some sexually frustrated teenagers who look for any enemy in range, professional historians, and, maybe, the Radicals themselves) is really interested in the history of the Crusades? I sometimes ask myself whether any of you here as ever spoken to a REAL MUSLIM??? (Or better: to someone who is so much Muslim as I am Catholic, but happens to come from a Muslim country and give a more objective view.)
In fact, the Islamofascists also just need a justification for their murderous and power ambitions, and it's interesting to see that they don't take the more recent examples of British and French colonialism. Is it only because their main enemies are the US and Israel? Or also because the history of Islamism and Islamofascism is generally not so clear-cut "we against the West" as the Islamofascists like to see it?

Christoph... It CAN be disputed, as you can see in my last posting to Helian. A basic historic fact is in my opinion that in general religion is not very important when it comes to politics and warfare.

OK. Dispute it all you wish. "Indisputable" is a rather harsh term. However, in the Muslim world, religion is a PRIMARY motivator of war. You're upsetting their little applecart if you refute that, you know.

However, I STILL state that the REAL issue here is that the Muslims need to GET. OVER. The. Crusades. Now. Period.

Christophe: Do you REALLY think that anyone in the Muslim world (with the exceptions of some sexually frustrated teenagers who look for any enemy in range, professional historians, and, maybe, the Radicals themselves) is really interested in the history of the Crusades?

Explain in detail that horrified, outraged reaction that Bush received from the Middle East when he stated in a speech right after 9/11 that we were going to have a crusade (lower case, common English useage meaning "endeavor", not a reference to THE Crusades)to end terrorism.

Surely the horror was not over the pledge to end terrorism. It was over the use of the word, "crusade". A word commonly used in US English.

Now, why was that?

Mueller ist an apologist and a dick and that's why he's received a (not particularly nice) email from me a few minutes ago. If anyone's interested in the crusades and why they were undertaken read Robert Spencer's book:

1. http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/0895260131/qid=1139889035/sr=8-6/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i6_xgl/028-6692067-0019733 (Amazon Germany)

2. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0895260131/sr=8-1/qid=1139889093/ref=pd_bbs_1/103-0240947-4279024?%5Fencoding=UTF8 (Amazon US)

Makes for fascinating reading.

uggggh, appeasers of murderers, thugs and tyrants....

"And it has not been made easy for Muslims to recognize the beauty and depth of the Christian religion."

Yes its hard to learn abour Christ because terrible Americans force governments not to tell the truth of Christ and then we "invade for no good reason." Not that Saddam ever allowed terrorist into his nation prior to 9/11 for medical care and free room and board, or paid for suicide bombers insurance. Geesh...

This man is lost. Not been made easy? By who? By the Muslims? To see Christ? As Beautiful? Now who's fault it be? The Islamic leaders? No! The Arab leaders? No!

The Americans? DING DING DING DING!!!!

But America is run by the Zionist!!! So, the problem is Israel! And in the words of Iran's leader we all know what needs to happen to Israel!

Ugggh, what a whining, wimpering blind appeaser. The 12 Apostles would never say such a thing. They would call Mohammad what he was, a false prophet from the desert who was spouting false doctrines about Christ. They would boldly claim that anyone stating anything other than what Christ taught is a false prophet. The Quran denies Christ deity, denies he died on the cross and rose again. The Quran denies much of the Torah. This preacher knows nothing about Islam and its beliefs.

The tyrants, the dictators, the murderous thugs leading Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Hamas, Hizbullah-land and any other LUNA-tic false prophet followers can all go jerk a chain for the largest dump of cow dung since Stalin made the Gulags.

They've spread hate and propaganda daily for 30 years thru their media and now they're trying to do the same in our media, except thru intimidation tactics or BS blasphemy charges! The fact is Islamic nations have printed and artist have painted Mohammad for a thousand years. Even Iran has a picture of him on buildings.

Psuedo-intellectual babble about past historical issues of Crusades which is distorted by masters of propaganda who learned from Hitler and Stalin how to keep telling lies over and over again until the people believe it is Propaganda tactics 101. Christof and others like him bite into it hook, line and sinker.

Christof, you and others need to wake up. You can intellectually rationalize just about any lunacy if you try. Islam was spread by the sword and it knows no other way to exist. It cannot coexist with other religions or other ways of life as it is written in the Quran today. It has always been at war. To deny this is to deny the world is round. The only way for Islam to coexist is for it to change. It would mean actually rewriting their book.

There comes a point when you have to stop trying to rationalize such hatred and say enough is enough. When will you? When they blow up more innocent Europeans and Americans? Certainly you care about an innocent Priest being executed in Turkey more than a cartoon?

Did you not know they ran these same cartoons in Egyptian news in December? Nothing happened! You know why? Because people didn't care! This was a planned strategy to get out the faithful to scare the crap out of Europe. It seems to be working. Oh my gosh, what have we done wrong now?

Lets put things in perspective. 3000 innocent people died in America because why? Please tell me Christof - WHAT AMERICAN IS TO BLAME for 9/11?

On 9/11 they crossed a line, the American shores and I'll not listen to any appeasement by anyone for any reason. If Iran refuses to back off then they'll pay. If you think we in America are going to stand around and wait to be attacked again, you're wrong. Adolf Hitler told the world what he was going to do and then as now, many leaders were in denial. So today we have Iran and what do we hear from appeasers? Denial, ohhhh if only we kiss their butts some more....

Did you know Abbas did his Doctoral thesis at Moscow University on Holocaust Denial? Do you wonder at all why Russsia is accepting Hamas into their cozy confines at Stalin Central? Frankly, I'm sick of the show. It serves no purpose but to delay the inevitable outcome.

The Middle Eastern countries have been spreading terror around the world and against Israel since 1972 after they realized they could not defeat Israel militarily in 1967. The Arabs hate America for this main point(We are the lone nation to stand by them in the UN when all others would not) and have been fighting us with terror offshore killing Americans long prior to 9/11.

Religion of Peace? Religion of Hatred. Its built-in hatred in the Quran. Kill by the sword, convert, pay a tax or DIE! You have no other choice with these blind followers of a false prophet led by the noses by false, corrupt leaders.

The day you wake up Christof and others like you read the Quran to understand Mohammad himself called for beheadings of poets, of innocents, then maybe I'll listen to you. But right now people like you are all blathering on about non-sensical realities that do not exist. Mohammed was a murderer, not a prophet. He was no more a religous man than I am Tarzan of the Jungle. I can talk about monkeys all day, but I can't swing with them. Mohammed could talk all day about spiritual matters, but in the end he was a fake, a rip-off artist of stories from the Torah and Gospels, an illiterate thief, a murderer, a slave trader, who endorsed sexual slave use and chopping off of heads for any who dare to challenge him. Now if people are ignorant enough to follow such stuff in their day to day lives - its going to take a whole lot more to convince them their own leaders are wrong. And its not going to be done with intellectual diatribes about how their feelings must be taken into account for past wrongs.

Tyrants and Kings are using the religion to spread hatred throughout the world. This war was bound to happen tomorrow if not today. These little murderous fiefdoms have existed for a long time because they were insulated, isolationist punks. Now that the modern world is encroaching upon their narrow-minded realities, they're gnashing teeth and howling at the moon like dogs. They have not a clue and apparently did not learn their lesson with Afghanistan and Iraq.

There is no going back. There is no backing down. To do so would be to give up our liberty, our freedoms, and our way of life as we know it.

I'm not willing to do that. But I am more than willing to knock off every single murdering thug leader of these little kingdoms one by one until we free these nations. The nation of Iran is waiting for a revolution. Twenty percent at best are in charge of that country, just like Iraq was with Saddam. The young people of that country are begging for help to overthrow the regime.

Its a long war ahead of us and rational thoughts like Christof's are unfortunately not going to get us anywhere. The time for rational dialogue is over. You better dig in.

@Yeshooron

Wow, what a ranting!

>uggggh, appeasers of murderers, thugs and tyrants....

I'm not appeasing.

>But America is run by the Zionist!!! So, the problem is Israel! And in the words of Iran's leader we all know what needs to happen to Israel!

That's the main point why we have to take Islamofascism dead serious.

>Psuedo-intellectual babble about past historical issues of Crusades which is distorted by masters of propaganda who learned from Hitler and Stalin how to keep telling lies over and over again until the people believe it is Propaganda tactics 101. Christof and others like him bite into it hook, line and sinker.

In case you referred to what I posted about reconqista, it's not a fair judgement. But nevertheless, go on:

>Christof, you and others need to wake up. You can intellectually rationalize just about any lunacy if you try. Islam was spread by the sword and it knows no other way to exist. It cannot coexist with other religions or other ways of life as it is written in the Quran today. It has always been at war. To deny this is to deny the world is round. The only way for Islam to coexist is for it to change. It would mean actually rewriting their book. (...) Religion of Peace? Religion of Hatred. Its built-in hatred in the Quran. Kill by the sword, convert, pay a tax or DIE! You have no other choice with these blind followers of a false prophet led by the noses by false, corrupt leaders.

You are right that the Quran is even worse than the bible and Christian literature in this respect. Nevertheless I have some dim memories from school: of Christianity being the most successful religion among the Roman legions, of "cross and sword" in Latin America and elsewhere, of Europeans arriving as pirates in the Chinese sea, of two World Wars started by the birthland of Luther (the first one by a most Christian emperor, allied with the Ottomans, the second one by someone who thought of himself to be an instrument of God and was revered by the the majority of the Protestant clergy as a truly Christian leader and also hailed by the Catholics), of popes blessing weapons, of catholic and orthodox murderers in former Yugoslavia, of Catholic priest being key players in the Ruandan genocide and so on. Do you think the Christian faith is a religion of peace? If so: Please, wake up yourself!

>Did you not know they ran these same cartoons in Egyptian news in December? Nothing happened! You know why? Because people didn't care! This was a planned strategy to get out the faithful to scare the crap out of Europe. It seems to be working. Oh my gosh, what have we done wrong now?

Friends of mine from Muslim countries who are quite deep into conspiracy theories think that the Iran paid this Danish newspaper. ;)

>Lets put things in perspective. 3000 innocent people died in America because why? Please tell me Christof - WHAT AMERICAN IS TO BLAME for 9/11?

No American is to blame for 9/11, but it would have been better if the US governments would have recognised the Islamofacist danger earlier. They were to busy to win the Cold War.

>Adolf Hitler told the world what he was going to do and then as now, many leaders were in denial. So today we have Iran and what do we hear from appeasers? Denial, ohhhh if only we kiss their butts some more....

I deny nothing what you have said about Iran.

>The day you wake up Christof and others like you read the Quran to understand Mohammad himself called for beheadings of poets, of innocents, then maybe I'll listen to you.

I read it and it's stupid, absurd and disgusting. But, I'm afraid, you will nevertheless not listen to me, because you don't want rational dialogue, but mutual reassurement of you war ideology. Pretty similar to the Islamofascist aggressors, but justifiable because they started the fire. But justifiable doesn't mean: rational, efficient or intelligent.

>Mohammed could talk all day about spiritual matters, but in the end he was a fake, a rip-off artist of stories from the Torah and Gospels,

Nicely put, indeed, but the Christians didn't do much better with the Jewish tradition.

>These little murderous fiefdoms have existed for a long time because they were insulated, isolationist punks. Now that the modern world is encroaching upon their narrow-minded realities, they're gnashing teeth and howling at the moon like dogs. They have not a clue and apparently did not learn their lesson with Afghanistan and Iraq.

Do you also refer to our allies on the Arabian peninsula as murderous fiefdoms? If not: Why not? (Here is your chance: You could be the first freedom fighter on this blog who answers my questions concerning Western support for the fundamentalist hotbeds on the Arabian peninsula and these most democratic regimes that could not exist without the West.)

>I'm not willing to do that. But I am more than willing to knock off every single murdering thug leader of these little kingdoms one by one until we free these nations. The nation of Iran is waiting for a revolution. Twenty percent at best are in charge of that country, just like Iraq was with Saddam. The young people of that country are begging for help to overthrow the regime.

I have the same impression, they would applaud nearly everything less than a nuclear strike. Anyone knowing at least a little bit of how is life like in Iran will understand pretty well (if he's not a Mueller or Mullah himself).

>Its a long war ahead of us and rational thoughts like Christof's are unfortunately not going to get us anywhere. The time for rational dialogue is over. You better dig in.

You seem to think that "among us", we also need no rational dialogue anymore, but only collective warcry-shouting and brains in stand-by modus. Although I enjoyed your posting in a way, we should not forget that reason, with its Hebrew-Greek roots, is the best of the West. You better understand this, before it's too late. If not, you can just go and join the ranks of the Islamofascists, they need people that hate reason.

@Christoph: I think we're drifting a little OT here, but I'm going to address this because I think it's a valid point:

"What's with Western support for Saudi-Arabia and all this lovely kingdoms and chiefdoms on the Arabian peninsula? The one thing I can understand in bL is that he hates these regimes. (Yes, I know and appreciated it that GWEB said something about it in his state of the union address, but I'm still waiting ;) btw: have you ever been on official English websites of these "states"? They don't even hide their fundamentalism.)"

That has bothered me for a while, actually. About eight years ago, the company I was working for at the time hired a lady whose husband was stationed in Saudi Arabia (he was Air Force, as I recall). She told us about the horribly repressive conditions that existed there. All the Americans had to live on the military base at Riyadh, civilian and military; they were not allowed to buy or rent property in the city itself. At certain hours of the day, the entire city was off-limits to Americans and they were confined to the base. Women were not allowed off-base by themselves; they had to wear the hijab and walk behind the men when in town, and of course they weren't allowed to drive cars. At Christmas, they weren't allowed to put up any outside decorations, and they had to use blackout shades to keep their inside decorations from being observed. That's just the beginning; there isn't enough time for me to type it all in.

So why did the West support these governments? Well, we all know about the doctorine of "stability". There were two purposes to this. One, obviously, was to avoid upsetting the Mideast oil supply. Now note that these were decisions made back in the '60s. There was a real threat at the time that, if we didn't work with the existing Mideast fiefdoms, the Soviets would move in and gain a huge strategic advantage over the West. The other was a moral judgement (probably mistaken in hindsight) that stability was better than anarchy for the people of that region. Western leaders looked at the chaos and suffering that occurred in South America and post-colonial Africa in the '50s and '60s, what with the almost-daily coups and revolutions, and decided that even bad governments were better for the Mideast than a perpetual state of chaos.

I'll note that the wheel is turning now. The Soviet Union is obviously no longer a concern. The Cold War doctorine towards the region hung on longer than it should have, much after the threat was over (through both Republican and Democratic presidencies in the U.S.). But eyes are opening now. We no longer have any troops based in Saudi Arabia, for one thing. Yes, it isn't enough. More changes need to be made. People are starting to get over their fear of change per se in regards to the Mideast, thanks in part to the Iraq war which is now producing benefits for the Iraqi people. (Of course, that isn't a done deal yet, but the momentum is going in the right direction.) And I'll note that any arguments that remain in favor of the stability doctorine are primarily being done for Europe's (and China's) sake, since an interruption of Mideast oil wouldn't hurt the U.S. now as badly as the '70s boycotts did. (For one, the Alaskan oil field devleopment was not nearly as far along in 1973 as it is now.)

So I hope this explains that situation a bit. No, it doesn't excuse it; I think everyone has learned their lesson about the stability doctorine, and that's not likely to be repeated in the future. Yes, there is a lot of damage to be undone. But I think that, if you looked into the situation, you might be surprised at who some of the change agents are, and who some of the people hanging onto the old ways are.

@Cousin Dave

I appreciate your balanced and historically reflected view and share your hopes as well as your concerns (the ones in regard to the Europeans). And thanks for giving me an important information that I had unfortunately overlooked (that there are no US troops in Saudi-Arabia anymore) - and sorry to all for the postings in which I ranted about not using this for pressure on the Saudis - and also thanks for the description how was life like for US troops in Suadi-Arabia.

I think it's - notwithstanding the really problematic aspects of Islam itself - most important to understand modern Islamic fundamentalism. The Wahabites play a crucial role here as well as the Muslim brotherhoods and NE fundamentalists whose historical (and actual?) connections to German and European fascism and antisemitism are often overlooked. At least in Germany we can read only very little, for example, of the Hamas charter in which - if I can trust online translations into English - is stated: "The Zionist plan is limitless. After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion", and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying."

I see with real horror that Chavez is also playing the antisemitic card (still in the old-fashioned Christian way; murderers of Jesus nonsense, but very dangerous nevertheless) and so I think it's very important that we give the masses in the (formerly called) Third World a real perspective for a better life - and we could do that! - to prevent them to convert to a most terrible mixture of fascism, stalinism and revolutionary nationalism that is already quite popular also in Europe (including Russia).

@Christoph

>>”I find serious search for knowledge not "tedious". I understand that one feels the need for some strong opinions or oversimplifications for polemical purposes when it comes to the Muellers and Mullahs of this world, but it's counterproductive to utter them in a blog like this one, because the Muellers and Mullahs don't read it and you therefore just popularise dubious views of history, although you seem to be a person that knows quite a lot about history (given other postings of you, more than I do). It's sad when people who can do much better and be inspiring, waste their time with cheap polemics and windmill fighting.”

I reiterate that the sentence, “They fought back, and reclaimed their country after centuries of struggle,” is not “cheap polemics,” “windmill fighting,” “oversimplification” or “glorification,” but a simple statement of historical fact. You claim that I can’t state such a fact without hedging it round with all sorts of caveats and disclaimers to give it balance. However, the “improvements” you suggest to the original simple statement don’t really give it balance or elucidate its meaning at all. Your “improvements” all conform to a common paradigm in the interpretation of history, based on the notion that history can best be understood as white American and European aggression against and victimization of other ethnic groups and cultures. This is what I refer to as your “agenda.” Your ideas conform to the ideological boundaries that define a particular “in group” in modern society. As soon as someone touches those boundaries, you react reflexively to defend that in-group’s ideology. My comment about the Jewish ghettoes is a good example. You didn’t simply agree that these ghettoes once existed, and were objectionable. Instead, your immediate, knee-jerk reaction was to claim that white Europeans, in this case the Venetians, had originated such ghettoes. This reflexive stuffing of history into a particular ideological straight-jacket is what you really mean when you claim you want to add balance, and put things in their proper historical context. Far from elucidating or clarifying my original simple statement, your “balanced” additions all make much easier targets as “cheap polemics,” “windmill fighting,” and “oversimplification” in their own right.

To justify this “restoring of balance,” it is necessary for you to create a legion of straw men, and tack the label “Helian” on them. For example, you infer from my original statement that I am claiming that there were not a lot of mercenaries in the long years of the reconquesta. I made no such claim. You infer that I am claiming that the history of Spain can be reduced to warfare and heroic struggle against invaders and oppressors. I made no such claim. You infer that I mix up nations and feudal systems, but, in fact, I can read the details of history as well as you do, and made no such claim. You infer that I reduce Spanish history to a simplistic struggle between Christianity and Islam, but I have never made that argument. You infer that I believe that the Spain of Philip II was more tolerant than it was under the Muslims. Again, how you could make such a claim based on what I actually said is beyond me. For all these imaginery reasons, you claim that you need to restore balance and context. Now let’s take a look at the kind of “balance” and “context” you find it so important to restore.

>>”Think, for example, of what was done to Jews in Germany during some crusades (if you allow me to count Germany as a country of Latin christianity to the West in this respect). And those "walled ghettos" were invented in Venice as far as I remember. “

>>” And my main point was that the cost, humanity had to pay for this united and Catholic Iberian kingdom, was much too high: The birth of modern racism, after the concept of "pure blood" was established to make even converted Muslims and Jews to second class citizens, and the conquest and colonization of America, something you would probably also classify as an aggression and oppression, or not? “

>>” btw, you know the dozens of classifications for "interracial" humans in the Spanish colonies in Latin America? and its consequences for Latin American societies today?”

These are not balanced and objective comments. Rather, they all support the paradigm of evil whites versus the oppressed. Since you put such emphasis on subsequent events in the new world, let me suggest what real balance might look like. Certainly one would not leave out the bloody oppression and exploitation of the indigenous peoples. However, one would also look at the history of the Jesuit regime in Paraguay, where there were certainly selfless and largely successful attempts to alleviate the lot of the Indians. One would consider the conscientious attempts of the Spanish monarchy to enact laws intended to protect the Indians and deter their exploitation. For example, according to laws enacted by Charles V, holders of land grants were bound to protect and defend the Indians living on them. They were prohibited from demanding any personal service from them whatever. Local officials were required to supply the Indians with cattle, seed-corn, instruments of agriculture, and even clothes and other necessities at fixed prices to protect them from profiteers. Personal taxes on the Indians were very low, and those of noble caste (caciques) were exempt from them. In territories where Indians were the sole inhabitants, they were explicitly given the right to self-rule.

On a darker note, one would consider the wall murals left by the Mayas showing bound prisoners with their fingernails pulled out and exhibiting other marks of torture awaiting execution. One would peruse the many independent accounts of pervasive and common human sacrifice. One would not fail to notice the constant and endemic warfare among the Indian tribes, and their inhumanity to each other. One would mention that, at one point in its history, what is now the State of Pennsylvania was ruled by Quakers, who refused to take up arms, even if attacked. The result was the wholesale butchery by Indians of settlers in the western part of the state. Many of these were not defending their own lands, but came from distant regions unaffected by white settlement to join in the mayhem and claim their share of the booty. When they captured whites, they commonly smashed the out brains of babies and small children against trees to avoid delays on the trail. Women and children were murdered indiscriminately. In the East, men were commonly chained to stout logs and were then slowly tortured with fire for many hours until they died.

These, too, are facts. May I ask why you mention none of them in your “balanced” account if you really value historical accuracy? You needn’t fear that your point of view will be neglected in the teaching of history. People with opinions similar to yours like to pretend that they are noble spokesmen for the oppressed, challenging the “ruling paradigm.” In fact, they are the ruling paradigm. History expounded as the struggle of the oppressors against the oppressed is taught in secondary schools in the US as well as Europe. It was certainly taught in my children’s high school. I read their history books myself. Academia is full of people who think exactly like you. Journalists are the worst! I first became aware of this good guy/bad guy rendering of the past in reading their “histories.” I don’t think I’ve knowingly read a history written by a journalist in over 20 years. They are strikingly and uniformly worthless. There is no substitute for reading the source material yourself if you really want a balanced view of history. In my opinion, that is truer now than it ever was before.

In the original context of this thread, I reiterate my original point. Historically, Moslems have hardly been mere victims of oppression and aggression. The lands they occupy now were not originally theirs, but were seized by force. Once in possession of those lands, they enslaved, murdered and exploited the original inhabitants. Those who failed to adopt Islam were subjected to higher taxes, humiliation, exploitation and slavery. This is not the whole story, but is a part of the story that can be no more overlooked than the depredations of the Crusaders or the brutality of the Reconquista.

@ James, 5:15 PM: Yes, what about pre-9/11 Afghanistan and Iraq? Do I really have to rehash the old story of 80's America supporting Taliban and Saddam with huge amounts of money, and special military know-how? And no, I haven't seen Moore's Fahrenheit movie yet. Maybe I should just for the fun of it, cause your descriptions sound interesting.

MoreHonestThanLife, you're pulling my leg now...aren't you? Old story of 80's America supporting Taliban? Old myth you mean. The Taliban was not even formed until 1995! Good grief.

I'm not even going to start with the Iraq thing. Inform yourself first about the history of the Taliban (and the funding of the AFGHAN REBELS--*big hint*) first, then we can talk.

Look, I'm no big history buff, but I've been cramming over the last couple of years so that I know (at least vaguely) what the hell is going on. I'm not qualified to give you any lessons. There are others here at DMK that are much more knowledgeable than I. However, if you want to be taken seriously, then, you at least have to get the basics straight.

This preacher is just peddling reasons for putting our heads on the block. Hell with him. Santiago, y cierra España! is good enough for me.

@Helian

Your children seem to have had leftist/liberal teachers, I had not, maybe this is the reason for our differences in emphasis. ;)

My problem with your statement “They fought back, and reclaimed their country after centuries of struggle,” is not caused by the wish to blame "the Christians". My point is: You create a big "WE", a collective identity called the "the Spaniards", portray them as constantly fighting against the Muslim oppressors and reclaim "their" country. And that might be the case in the latest phase of the reconquista, but definitely not in the earlier phases. The whole warfare on the Iberian peninsula was ideologically framed as a religious war when fundamentalists on both sides - and, yes, starting mainly on the Muslim side - declared it was one. And you deny that you mix up nations with feudal societies, but you continue to defend your sentence that "they fought back (...) and reclaimed their lands", not being interested: 1) who owned the land, 2) that the fighting groups were internally religiously and "ethnically" mixed, 3) in Christian-Muslim alliances between kingdoms, 4) how the Muslims conquered the land and ruled in it the years that followed (repeating that they murdered and did a lot of other terrible things), 5) in the cultural exchange between Al-Andalus and Christian countries that was a blessing for Europe.

Coming to your next point: the benevolent colonialism of the Jesuits in Latin America, the royal laws to protect the indios, the cruelties of the Maya, the wars and atrocities between Indians: I know all this (with the exception of the massacre on Quakers). I don't think: Indians are good, and Conquistadores and Cowboys are bad. There were, for example, huge differences between Inca and Maya. But what you do with YOUR caveats here, is exactly the same what I did when I pointed to the fact that there was also coming some good out of the Muslim conquest of Spain. Besides the fact that (with the exception of short-lived and failed Jesuit experiments and - please check your facts here: -inefficient royal laws) the Indios fared very bad in the hundreds of years that followed, I just think that the European imperialism is in general more important than the Muslim one. For three reasons: 1) The Europeans (plus Americans) were the winners of the game. They controlled the world when it became really ONE world. 2) They are my folks, and as I said in another posting (in regard to Germany): "Es kehr ein jeder vor seinem Tor, da hat er Dreck genug davor." (Clean up the mess in front of your door, there is enough to be found.) - I know many readers of this blog will, if I refer here to the West in general, see this as typical multicultural liberal self-hatred and so on. But again: Only who can be honest with himself is strong enough to confront his enemies. If he's not able to do that, he's playing the game of the enemy and gives up reason.

Believe it or not: One can see and critisize the crimes of Western Christians and at the same time the ones of Muslims (and if you think this is still really necessary also of Maya). The problem I have with many postings in this blog, is that many of them seem to need a simple "us vs. them" view of the world. Instead oy saying: The Islamofascists are criminals and we all should fight against them, they themselves play the "history vs. history" game. What you, Helian, are doing is comparing "the Indians" (between Yucatan and Ohio) to "the Christians" as well as "the Muslims" to "the Spaniards". When you are able to read the details of history why don't you do it? (Okay, you did it, reluctantly, in your last posting.)

>Your “improvements” all conform to a common paradigm in the interpretation of history, based on the notion that history can best be understood as white American and European aggression against and victimization of other ethnic groups and cultures. This is what I refer to as your “agenda.”

Not exactly. I just think the Euros and Euro-Americans were the most successful of the aggressor civilisations.

>Your ideas conform to the ideological boundaries that define a particular “in group” in modern society. As soon as someone touches those boundaries, you react reflexively to defend that in-group’s ideology. My comment about the Jewish ghettoes is a good example. You didn’t simply agree that these ghettoes once existed, and were objectionable.

I agreed, and think they were objectionable, and just pointed to the fact that you cannot blame early Al-Andalus for walled ghettos that existed years later in North Africa (and, btw, the first ones were originally not planned to be Jewish quarters).

>Instead, your immediate, knee-jerk reaction was to claim that white Europeans, in this case the Venetians, had originated such ghettoes. This reflexive stuffing of history into a particular ideological straight-jacket is what you really mean when you claim you want to add balance, and put things in their proper historical context. Far from elucidating or clarifying my original simple statement, your “balanced” additions all make much easier targets as “cheap polemics,” “windmill fighting,” and “oversimplification” in their own right.

It was no "reflexive stuffing of history into a particular staright-jacket", but just a fact. Do you also count the claim that Christianity has a long history of antisemitism as part of an Anti-Western ideology?

>You infer that I reduce Spanish history to a simplistic struggle between Christianity and Islam, but I have never made that argument.

The sentence you love so much (“They fought back, and reclaimed their country (from the muslims) after centuries of struggle,”) appears to me that simplistic.

>You infer that I believe that the Spain of Philip II was more tolerant than it was under the Muslims. Again, how you could make such a claim based on what I actually said is beyond me.

I asked whether you really think that the expulsed Jews (and, btw, the converted Jews interrogated by the Inquisition) necessarily preferred the new Spanish united kingdom to the kingdoms before. Or is for you only important that the "pure-blooded" Spanish Christians felt better?

>These are not balanced and objective comments.

Although I tried to make my postings a little bit balanced (mentioning also some of the faults of the Muslims), they don't appear balanced to you, because I leave out what you've said before and probably knows and just remind you of what you ignore. You seem to do the same in your last posting with my statements.

>Rather, they all support the paradigm of evil whites versus the oppressed. Since you put such emphasis on subsequent events in the new world, let me suggest what real balance might look like. Certainly one would not leave out the bloody oppression and exploitation of the indigenous peoples. However (...)

The examples you give are really footnotes to the hundreds of years of exploitation and misery. If you should think that the examples you gave morally balance the Iberian colonialism, you must be joking. That's what really frightens me: That the eloquent defenders of Western values, in their legitimate endeavor to counter the Islamofascist lies, develop a kind "sieged fortress" mentality, get blind to any fact that might be used by the enemy for a moral claim: And, THAT's exactly the trap, the Islamofacists and their sympathizers want you to stumble into.

>People with opinions similar to yours like to pretend that they are noble spokesmen for the oppressed, challenging the “ruling paradigm.” In fact, they are the ruling paradigm. History expounded as the struggle of the oppressors against the oppressed is taught in secondary schools in the US as well as Europe. It was certainly taught in my children’s high school. I read their history books myself. Academia is full of people who think exactly like you.

I can very well see the difference between a naive or stupid, "be-balanced-not-accurate" multiculturalist (and even more of a malignant Mueller) to a good historian. There are very good left-wing historians and there are very good conservative ones. I've written in my last posting that I see the polemical context in which you made these unsound statements concerning la reconquista. I appreciate that you talk against this Mueller. But I think, even in the heat of the polemical debate, one should try to avoid too simple statements on "the Whites", "the Spaniards" etc. Good conservative historians also look at details and footnotes of history.

A last question: How were the history books in your school like? All about great men and great ideas make history? (Not to be meant as an insult to you! Sometimes our early experiences are so strong that in the heat of debate they win over our reason. So, I'm just curious...)

PS:

>In the original context of this thread, I reiterate my original point. Historically, Moslems have hardly been mere victims of oppression and aggression.

I agree

The lands they occupy now were not originally theirs, but were seized by force.

I agree, such was life like in premodern times

>Once in possession of those lands, they enslaved, murdered and exploited the original inhabitants.

They exploited and enslaved and murdered some of them, such was life like (not only) in those times

>Those who failed to adopt Islam were subjected to higher taxes, humiliation, exploitation and slavery.

I agree, such was life like (not only) in those times (and was also the case in Christian countries)

>This is not the whole story, but is a part of the story that can be no more overlooked than the
depredations of the Crusaders or the brutality of the Reconquista.

I promise: In my next posting on this subject I will include my best sexandcrimeundertheruleofmuslims stories, and so do you please with your best white Western Christian ones!

@Christoph

>>"Es kehr ein jeder vor seinem Tor, da hat er Dreck genug davor."

>>"Besides the fact that (with the exception of short-lived and failed Jesuit experiments and - please check your facts here: -inefficient royal laws) the Indios fared very bad in the hundreds of years that followed, I just think that the European imperialism is in general more important than the Muslim one."

>>"The examples you give are really footnotes to the hundreds of years of exploitation and misery. If you should think that the examples you gave morally balance the Iberian colonialism, you must be joking."

You claim to be interested in restoring objectivity and balance to discussions of history, Christoph, but, when we push a few of your hot buttons about the history of the New World, etc., you can't help but reveal yourself. You do, in fact, see history as a morality play, and insist on interpreting it according to your own version of morality. These sentences reveal very clearly that, far from being balanced, your version of history is simply an expression of your ideology.

I think you will be able to see this for yourself if you critically analyze sentences such as, "If you should think that the examples you gave morally balance the Iberian colonialism, you must be joking." From this sentence it is clear that you accept a morality, and that you consider it applicable to history. Fair enough, let's get down to basics and see if we can come up with a common basis for even discussing history. I'm not really sure that we can, because to discuss history on your terms, I must be convinced that your version of morality is, at least, logically defensible. If you are going to make judgments based on morality, you must be able to show me some objective basis for that morality. Why is what you consider good really good, and what you consider bad really bad? In the end, that's what it comes down to. If, in the end, what you are saying is that you expect me, or anyone else, to view history in terms of your subjective value judgments, figments of your imagination, as it were, then I can only reply that, in the first place, you have a very inflated notion of the universal applicability of your personal value judgments, and in the second, that you are sadly mistaken. In a word, if you really want to continue with a discussion of history in terms of morality, I'm game. However, you must first explain to me the logical basis upon which you base the claim that one sort of behavior is moral, and another immoral.

>>"A last question: How were the history books in your school like? All about great men and great ideas make history? (Not to be meant as an insult to you! Sometimes our early experiences are so strong that in the heat of debate they win over our reason. So, I'm just curious...)"

You would be very surprised about the way history was taught in my school if you buy into the SPON version of education in America. Baby boomers, of which I am one, tend to be an arrogant lot, with an inflated notion of their own significance. They like to assume that the liberal values many of them espouse suddenly and miraculously appeared out of thin air some time in the mid 60's, when they started to come of age intellectually. My teachers were strongly influenced by the intellectual currents that shaped many of the baby boomers. They were, in general, good teachers, and very open-minded when it came to class discussions of politics and religion. They were certainly nothing like the dour, puritanical leftist moonbats who are so prevalent in our educational system today. Nevertheless, the version of history they taught was far from the "great men and great ideas" paradigm.

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