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Why We Will Never See Democracy in the Middle East
ABC News ^ | September 11, 2006 | Steven Pressfield

Posted on 10/08/2006 7:11:46 AM PDT by Axhandle

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To: Sender

You hit upon a good point. To extend it: Much of the problem in the middle east is caused by the fact that "islamogovernments" seek to project their brand of rule across political boundaries. Until political boundaries are respected, the middle east democracies will not take hold and establish liberty, because they will be continually challenged from the outside. Leaders like the ayatollah in iran - can't remember his name - who is calling for separation of religion and state could go a long way toward making political boundaries real, which would protect the budding democracies.


51 posted on 10/08/2006 8:57:11 AM PDT by gotribe (It's not a religion.)
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To: Allegra

The arrogant Lefties made this same old, tired argument during the Vietnam war. Americans fall for it everytime.


52 posted on 10/08/2006 8:58:17 AM PDT by FlingWingFlyer ("Today we march, tomorrow we vote!" The illegal aliens won't be "staying home" on Nov. 7th.)
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To: FlingWingFlyer; Allegra
Another arrogant Liberal "intellectual" who thinks "little brown people" are too stupid to understand the benefits of democracy and freedom.

I don't see how "little brown people" got inserted into the argument - race baiting is usually a tool of liberals.

In any event, many cultures are just not set up to handle civilized government beyond dictatorships. Africa is a good example, what it the ratio of thriving republics to corrupt regimes?

Like it or not, tribalism and Islam are big deterrents to any sort of democratic government. That is why the Isrealies are thriving and the rest of the middle east is pretty much in the 14th century - even with oil money.

The author is correct, if it had been written by Rush then you'd be praising it and rightly condemning the savageness of Islam.

Acknowledging the accuracy of the article doesn't mean you're a defeatist or want to cut and run. All it means is that trying to turn Iraq into a US-like republic is not the way to go. There are many other alternatives.

53 posted on 10/08/2006 9:05:16 AM PDT by JeffAtlanta
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To: Allegra

"About 66% of the eligible population voted."

And tribalism was thus mortally wounded.


54 posted on 10/08/2006 9:05:16 AM PDT by reasonisfaith (Leftists will never stand up like men and admit their true beliefs.)
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To: Axhandle
Extremist Islam is merely an overlay (and a recent one at that) atop the primal, unchanging mind-set of the East, which is tribalism, and its constituent individual, the tribesman.

The problem if MidEast tribalism is no secret, but the significance of Islam in this myopic writer's view is misnderstood. Far more than a "mere overlay," it is the glue which keeps the tribes in place as the intermediate source of social control. Without the pre- and pro-scriptions of Islam, the tribes would be easy prey to westernizing influences, and would soon have only nominal, vestigial control. It's one thing to hold out against Alexander's army. To resist the blandishments of materialistic Western affluence is a horse of a different color entirely. Only a super-ordinate set of sanctions such as provided by islam make it possible.

55 posted on 10/08/2006 9:07:22 AM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: Axhandle
Extremist Islam is merely an overlay (and a recent one at that) atop the primal, unchanging mind-set of the East, which is tribalism, and its constituent individual, the tribesman.

The problem of MidEast tribalism is no secret, but the significance of Islam in this myopic writer's view is misnderstood. Far more than a "mere overlay," it is the glue which keeps the tribes in place as the intermediate source of social control. Without the pre- and pro-scriptions of Islam, the tribes would be easy prey to westernizing influences, and would soon have only nominal, vestigial control. It's one thing to hold out against Alexander's army. To resist the blandishments of materialistic Western affluence is a horse of a different color entirely. Only a super-ordinate set of sanctions such as provided by islam make it possible.

56 posted on 10/08/2006 9:07:47 AM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: JeffAtlanta; FlingWingFlyer
The author is correct, if it had been written by Rush then you'd be praising it and rightly condemning the savageness of Islam.

I don't agree and no, I wouldn't give a rat's who wrote the article. I dispute crap like this all the time, regardless of who's spewing it.

But then again, I'm not some bearded intellectual with leather patches on my elbows.

I'm just some red-blooded American who's been working (and observing) in Iraq for nearly three years. What do I know?

57 posted on 10/08/2006 9:12:26 AM PDT by Allegra (Super Elastic Bubble Plastic!)
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To: bert
It is my thought that the movement to cities and growth of cities will overcome the tribal allegiences that are territorial. Fathers and uncles are tribal, sons and cousins in cities pay lipservice. Grandsons forget about it altogether.

I think you are right, that urbanization weakens tribalism by replacing its allegiances with other forms of social organization that work better in non-rural, nonagrarian economic settings.

58 posted on 10/08/2006 9:16:43 AM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: JeffAtlanta
I don't see how "little brown people" got inserted into the argument - race baiting is usually a tool of liberals.

Exactly! When someone shoots flaming arrows at me as liberals tend to do, I shoot flaming arrows back. Water balloons just won't cut it. I'm a firm believer in fighting the enemy where they want to fight. Taking the "high road" is for sissies and usually will cause you to get your ass whipped. Had this article been written by Limbaugh, the lefties would have been screaming that "Middle East" is "code" for "little brown people." The DemocRATS RIGHT NOW are accusing us of killing "little brown people" with our war on terrorism. Learn a little sarcasm. It comes in handy when fighting the war against liberals.

59 posted on 10/08/2006 9:18:05 AM PDT by FlingWingFlyer ("Today we march, tomorrow we vote!" The illegal aliens won't be "staying home" on Nov. 7th.)
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To: stylecouncilor; windcliff

Values vs blood, ping.


60 posted on 10/08/2006 9:21:59 AM PDT by onedoug
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To: Allegra

Ditto!


61 posted on 10/08/2006 9:25:22 AM PDT by FlingWingFlyer ("Today we march, tomorrow we vote!" The illegal aliens won't be "staying home" on Nov. 7th.)
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To: FlingWingFlyer

Are you here, too?


62 posted on 10/08/2006 9:28:07 AM PDT by Allegra (Super Elastic Bubble Plastic!)
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To: Allegra; JeffAtlanta

Begs the question, would Rush write something like this? I don't think so.


63 posted on 10/08/2006 9:37:49 AM PDT by Valin (http://www.irey.com/)
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To: Valin; JeffAtlanta
Begs the question, would Rush write something like this? I don't think so.

I don't either. I think Jeff was trying to imply that we're all a bunch of locksteps who can't think for ourselves..

These lefties accuse us of that and then blindly gobble up all the lies the media feeds them. Go figure.

64 posted on 10/08/2006 9:44:41 AM PDT by Allegra (Super Elastic Bubble Plastic!)
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To: hinckley buzzard
First, when people argue that the people of the Middle East have been doing things some way for thousands of years, I have to say, Oh really? How many thousand year old people live there? They are not the same people. So, this is a lame-brained, illogical argument.

Second, I doubt the frequent assertion that urbanization will promote democracy. In America, it is the urban centers that are controlled by machines, bosses and the maffia.

Tribalism is evidence of a lack of central control. You can trace the development of the French state from the time when Hugh Capet only controlled the Ile de Cite to the time of the Sun King who entertained the aristocracy at Versailles through a system of mutual agreements between the king and local vassals.

If you know that story, then you can understand how a national system is being developed similarly in Afghanistan and Iraq and Karsai, Maliki, and Musharref are now negotiating with recalitrant chiefs.

65 posted on 10/08/2006 9:47:16 AM PDT by ClaireSolt (Have you have gotten mixed up in a mish-masher?)
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To: Allegra
I'm just some red-blooded American who's been working (and observing) in Iraq for nearly three years. What do I know?

By that logic you also know more than George Bush about Iraq because you've been on the ground longer.

There are some Iraq war vets that are running for office but as democrats and critical of the war. Since they have been in Iraq longer than Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld then that must mean by your logic that they know much more than the executive branch about Iraq.

I hope you see how silly your logic is.

66 posted on 10/08/2006 9:51:15 AM PDT by JeffAtlanta
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To: Allegra

I think Jeff was trying to imply that we're all a bunch of locksteps

Obviously he's never come here! :-)


67 posted on 10/08/2006 9:51:49 AM PDT by Valin (http://www.irey.com/)
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To: Allegra

Not now. I was there 1991 and 1992. 1st Armored Div. Wished we had finished the job at that time although the left is now saying we destroyed all the WMDs during that time. I guess we might have done something good afterall.


68 posted on 10/08/2006 9:53:02 AM PDT by FlingWingFlyer ("Today we march, tomorrow we vote!" The illegal aliens won't be "staying home" on Nov. 7th.)
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To: Axhandle

Looks like ABC is trying to kiss-up to the libs after showing "The Path to 9/11".


69 posted on 10/08/2006 9:59:51 AM PDT by CyberAnt (Drive-By Media: Fake news, fake documents, fake polls)
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To: Valin
Begs the question, would Rush write something like this? I don't think so.

Everyday here on FR there are myriad posts about how vile radical Islam is.

James Baker just recently recommended that Iraq be split into three - something I and many other Freepers have been pushing for a long time. I guess now Baker is a left winger.

Again, realizing that radical Islamists aren't ready for a US-style republic isn't some sort of out of the blue revelation - thinking people have known that forever. The same with the tribal africans.

Look how quickly new governments fail in 3rd world countries. They last for a year or so and then someone makes them self president for life.

If you guys would stop being so reactionary on this, you'd realize that we aren't calling for cutting and running. The Iraq war was needed - it's just that aftermath will require a substantial "incubation" period so that the people can get accustomed to a non-theocracy. It will take time and commitment and cutting and running would be the absolutely worst thing to do.

Well actually the worst thing to do would be to install a western style government and then leave a short time later like you guys are apparently pushing. The government would be overthrown in less than a year.

70 posted on 10/08/2006 10:02:41 AM PDT by JeffAtlanta
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To: JeffAtlanta
My logic isn't silly. You're just playing twist-and distort and are probably arrogant enough to think I'd fall for it.

I don't care what your Democrat candidate friends think. The Washington Post, et al, can melt the softer minds, regardless of who they are.

I do know one thing. I know more about Iraq than you do. Even though you might watch and read the news and all.

'Nuff said.

71 posted on 10/08/2006 10:10:08 AM PDT by Allegra (Super Elastic Bubble Plastic!)
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To: FlingWingFlyer

Thank you for your service. You guys did a great job. You achieved the objective - getting Saddam out of Kuwait - and you did it handily. :-)


72 posted on 10/08/2006 10:12:23 AM PDT by Allegra (Super Elastic Bubble Plastic!)
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To: Allegra
I do know one thing. I know more about Iraq than you do.

So you know more about Iraq than anyone that hasn't been physically in Iraq for three years? Have you notified James Baker of this?

Look I'm glad you're there as I sure you're representing our county well, but your logic is fallacious. Like I said, there are anti-war Iraq war veterans that have been in Iraq longer than you have. Does that make their opinion of Iraq superior to yours?

73 posted on 10/08/2006 10:14:46 AM PDT by JeffAtlanta
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To: gotribe

Many of the Islamogovernments speak of the "Islamic Nation" as a whole, as if the entire swath of Arab lands, all the 'Stans, Northern Africa were one big state without political boundaries. Of course, the reality of that happening assumes that all the Islamic "tribes" would agree on one branch of theology and one leader (besides Mohammed, who is busy right now). Maybe the 12th Imam, the Mahdi is who is supposed to bring them all together under one tent. As for political boundaries, ultimately Islam intends to do away with all borders when the entire world submits.


74 posted on 10/08/2006 10:40:58 AM PDT by Sender (Error 404: tagline not found)
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To: Axhandle
racist claptrap. Where do these people come from. Its just a matter of history.

Yes, much of the middle east is dominated by tribal societies, but this is because until 100 years ago, these lands were literally wilderness. There is no economy, middle class or independent intellectual class. These things had been on the rise but reactionary Islam has gone back to work crushing them.

When Western Europe was completely dominated by religious rule and serfdom, we called this the dark ages. It took Europe hundreds of years and wars and horror to come up with the Magna Carta, the common law and the concept of individual freedom and freedom of conscience.

These concepts evolved and form the foundation of Western Civilization which has been under assault by all who wish to justify oppression and human suffering as a means to "order."

Nevertheless, people from the middle east come to the west and breath freedom and love it. Their kids, well sometimes they don't appreciate freedom the same.

This person essentially casts folks from the Middle East as lesser human beings who cannot find their way to loving freedom and justice. LAME.

75 posted on 10/08/2006 10:46:35 AM PDT by dalight
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To: JeffAtlanta
So you know more about Iraq than anyone that hasn't been physically in Iraq for three years?

That's not what I said.

I said I know more about it than you do. And I derive that from the assumptions you make. They appear to be media-driven.

I can actually understand. When I'm home on leave and start seeing the news, even I start thinking it looks like a quagmire.

But because I am here, I know better.

By the way, I've been here almost three years...probably as long or longer than those Democrat candidates were here.

76 posted on 10/08/2006 10:55:43 AM PDT by Allegra (Super Elastic Bubble Plastic!)
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To: dalight
people from the middle east come to the west and breath freedom and love it

Of course they do. And if they love freedom they may just have to stay here, because back at their Islamic home state freedom is the opposite of Islam. Now I'm all for freedom and democracy spreading, don't get me wrong. It's just that Islam stomps out freedom and democracy wherever it flares up. The will of the people is not allowed. If it were just a tyrannical government, it would be easier for the people to overturn the status quo but it is a theocracy, and to promote freedom there is asking for the death penalty. From God, so they think. It's a formidable impediment to the spread of freedom.

77 posted on 10/08/2006 11:10:09 AM PDT by Sender (Error 404: tagline not found)
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To: Allegra
I can actually understand. When I'm home on leave and start seeing the news, even I start thinking it looks like a quagmire.

Who said it was a quagmire? Certianly not me. Maybe you are just assuming my beliefs and knowledge because you are frustrated with the general ignorance of the American people about Iraq.

I said the Iraq War was neccesary and that we should not cut and run. I explicitly stated that we should prepare to be there for a while to help incubate a western style government.

The Iraqis are not ready to enter into a full fledged US-style representative republic. They may give it a shot but it as it is too big of a leap and too soon.

We should prepare to be there for a while but if we push for greater partitioning as I believe the president will soon push then it won't be nearly as violent.

If we go straight for democracy then it will fail within a year of our departure.

78 posted on 10/08/2006 11:11:22 AM PDT by JeffAtlanta
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To: Allegra
"The tribalists live out in the more remote parts of the desert. More and more people have been populating the cities over the past couple of decades. The people in the cities tend to be fairly educated and they are embracing capitalism. They are starting to disdain the tribalists."

There is a rather significant flip side to that. Tribalism is also fairly common in cities. I recall attempting to get gas station attendants in Baghdad to maintain order without a platoon of infantrymen doing it for them. Even when we armed them, they were still afraid to impose any type of order because they feared starting a tribal war. That was almost universal throughout much of the city.

While cities have been magnets for educated people (and/or perhaps creating educated people) they are also, as of late, losing educated people due to the fear of violence, since the educated folk are the most able to leave and resettle in a safer locale (like Kurdistan).

As for embracing capitalism and disdaining capitalists, how do we measure this or at least infer that it is happening? I thought capitalism was being embraced pretty well in 2003 when the streets were gridlocked with vendors, but this hasn't quite panned out the way that we were hoping. It's not a rhetorical question, as I openly admit that I don't know the answer - can we measure/infer this right now? If so, how?

79 posted on 10/08/2006 11:24:20 AM PDT by Axhandle
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To: Sender

Islam has had periods of relative freedom and enlightenment and other periods of repression. So has Christianity.


80 posted on 10/08/2006 12:20:35 PM PDT by dalight
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To: dalight

True, Christianity had it's crusades and inquisitions as well. Islam though is unique in teaching not to have Others as friends, but rather only to invite the Others to submit, and if not, to make them slaves or dead. At least in this modern world, Islam is alone in such intolerance.


81 posted on 10/08/2006 1:04:42 PM PDT by Sender (Error 404: tagline not found)
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To: Axhandle

Never say "never." But the problem is that you can't reliably produce democracy in countries that don't want it.


82 posted on 10/08/2006 1:06:42 PM PDT by x
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To: Sender; dalight
Here is an interesting article on the subject.
83 posted on 10/08/2006 1:11:55 PM PDT by Axhandle
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To: Valin

bump read later.


84 posted on 10/08/2006 1:29:29 PM PDT by CPT Clay (Drill ANWR, Personal Accounts NOW.)
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To: Sender

It's just that Islam stomps out freedom and democracy wherever it flares up. The will of the people is not allowed.


Bring Them Freedom, Or They Destroy Us
Real Clear Politics ^ | September 20, 2006 | Bernard Lewis

(snip)
General Bonaparte--he wasn't yet Emperor--proclaimed to the Egyptians that he had come to them on behalf of a French Republic built on the principles of liberty and equality. We know something about the reactions to this proclamation from the extensive literature of the Middle Eastern Arab world. The idea of equality posed no great problem. Equality is very basic in Islamic belief: All true believers are equal. Of course, that still leaves three "inferior" categories of people--slaves, unbelievers and women. But in general, the concept of equality was understood. Islam never developed anything like the caste system of India to the east or the privileged aristocracies of Christian Europe to the west. Equality was something they knew, respected, and in large measure practiced. But liberty was something else.


As used in Arabic at that time, liberty was not a political but a legal term: You were free if you were not a slave. The word liberty was not used as we use it in the Western world, as a metaphor for good government. So the idea of a republic founded on principles of freedom caused some puzzlement. Some years later an Egyptian sheikh--Sheikh Rifa'a Rafi' al-Tahtawi, who went to Paris as chaplain to the first group of Egyptian students sent to Europe--wrote a book about his adventures and explained his discovery of the meaning of freedom. He wrote that when the French talk about freedom they mean what Muslims mean when they talk about justice. By equating freedom with justice, he opened a whole new phase in the political and public discourse of the Arab world, and then, more broadly, the Islamic world......
See reply #9 Click on link for more.


85 posted on 10/08/2006 2:25:38 PM PDT by Valin (http://www.irey.com/)
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To: Axhandle
( http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0814/p01s01-woiq.html ) I'm sure the details will prove fascinating, but the upshot of what she has learned is that the Islamists are - gasp! - different from us! Furthermore, I believe that she's beginning to suspect that they are really not very nice people.

OMG! It's a good thing I'm sitting.

86 posted on 10/08/2006 2:28:30 PM PDT by Valin (http://www.irey.com/)
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To: MNJohnnie

"Nonsense as usual. All ready have it in Iraq and Afgainistan."

Don't agree with the article but I wouldn't hardly call what these two countries have Democracy. Long way to go on that account.


87 posted on 10/08/2006 2:29:16 PM PDT by Gone GF
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To: Axhandle
I thought capitalism was being embraced pretty well in 2003 when the streets were gridlocked with vendors, but this hasn't quite panned out the way that we were hoping.

Things have actually changed a lot in the last couple of years. I got here in January '04 and have watched the Iraqis grow in learing how to do business on a global scale. Of course, after years of isloation due to the sanctions, we've had to teach them, but they're eager learners. In my capcity of managing subcontracts and purchases, I deal with local merchants and contracting companies every day. They have really come a long way.

I haven't met an Iraqi yet who disdains capitalism. In fact, I have to tone them down sometimes and cheerfully remind them that we are the world's capitalists and don't try to pull any funny stuff on us. ;-)

A journey of 1,000 miles begins with one step and they've taken many steps in the nearly three years I've been here.

I see progress.

The media and the liberals see quagmire.

88 posted on 10/08/2006 2:53:16 PM PDT by Allegra (Super Elastic Bubble Plastic!)
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To: Axhandle

P.S. Thank you for your service. I appreciate each and every one of you.


89 posted on 10/08/2006 2:55:47 PM PDT by Allegra (Super Elastic Bubble Plastic!)
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To: x
But the problem is that you can't reliably produce democracy in countries that don't want it.

I think when you get at least 66% of an eligible voting population out to the polls under mortar fire and threats of death, they want it.

(LOTS of air activity in Bahgdad at 1 a.m. I wonder what's up?)

90 posted on 10/08/2006 3:10:31 PM PDT by Allegra (Super Elastic Bubble Plastic!)
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To: Axhandle
The writer has discovered what was once generally referred to as Orientalism in British and American writing.

Nothing new here, except for modern readers unacquainted with the classic literature on the subject.
91 posted on 10/08/2006 3:22:58 PM PDT by George W. Bush
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To: Sender
Not really defending Islam as such. Just saying that a modern reinterpretation much like what has gone on in Christian and Jewish circles would allow Islam to rise above these very difficult passages.

Ultimately, its the compulsion part of Islam that is its greatest evil. This is why the Pope challenged it directly. But its not only compulsion to accept Islam but more important, compulsion to remain that is antithetical to Western concepts of individual freedom of conscience.

92 posted on 10/08/2006 5:03:51 PM PDT by dalight
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To: Valin
Not nitpicking. The idea of democracy is why you are paying more and more for national (rather than federal) government. The idea of democracy is what makes the idea of illegal aliens using mob power in the streets of America seem acceptable to them, and makes this generation weak in our response to such. The idea of democracy is what makes us weak in our response to activist judges who respond to public opinion instead of the laws enacted by our elected representatives. Not nitpicking at all. Why are these nations, where we are doing nation building, adopting (with our blessing) unstable parliamentary forms that respond to mob opinion and violence rather than republican systems that are strictly guided by the rule of law? These things are not nit picky.
93 posted on 10/08/2006 9:41:38 PM PDT by Free Baptist
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To: The Hound Passer
The irony here is that while the author is trying to be non-judgmental, he is basically saying mid-easterners are mentally incapable of democratic government.

First, I do not think Steven Pressfield is a "anti-west leftwinger" or even sounds like one. True he is dealing with broad, sweeping impressions born of his research in this area.

The pattern in the mid-east is for a King or Tyrant to overwhelm the tribalism of the peoples which constitute his domain. When that king is gone, the feuding factions reemerge. And I think we see that now in Iraq.

The tribe, it seems, is alway at war. And its sense of justice seems unlike that of the Hebrew or Christian eye-for-eye varity (a good thing--it introduced equity into law).

I'm not convinced that efforts to democratize will necessarily fail. Can the tap roots which feed tribalism be cut? Real Islam will continue to keep these people in this bondage, in my estimation. Western cultural influence might produce another Turkey. However, the greatest threat to tribalsm is Christianity.

94 posted on 10/09/2006 4:25:41 PM PDT by nonsporting
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To: nonsporting
Interesting article here (that I just posted) that discusses this a little bit. Replace "tribe" with "kin" and it's basically what the article discusses.
95 posted on 10/09/2006 8:13:40 PM PDT by Axhandle
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