Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Europe and Muslims: The shrinking pool of neutrals 

Via Power Line, we learn that support for Palestinian Arabs among Europeans has declined.

New public opinion surveys conducted among "opinion elites" in Europe show that support for the Palestinians has fallen precipitously, according to a leading international pollster, Stan Greenberg, who has been briefing Israeli leaders on his findings in the past few days. There has not necessarily been "a rush to Israel" but there has been a "crash" in backing for the Palestinians, he noted.

Greenberg, a key pollster for president Clinton who also worked with former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak, conducted the surveys for the Israel Project, a US-based non-profit organization devoted to educating the press and the public about Israel.

Greenberg told The Jerusalem Post that the shifts in attitudes reflected in the surveys were so dramatic that he "redid" some of the polls to ensure there had been no error.

He singled out France as the country where attitudes had changed most dramatically. Three years ago, 60 percent of French respondents said they took a side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and of that 60%, four out of five backed the Palestinians. Today, by contrast, 60% of French respondents did not take a side in the conflict, and support for the Palestinians had dropped by half among those who did express a preference.

The linked Jerusalem Post article, which is filled with all sorts of nuance about post-colonialism this and imperialism that, proposes that changes in European public opinion derive from developments in Israeli and Palestinian politics. Bizarrely, neither the article nor the quoted pollsters so much as speculate whether last November's "youth" riots had anything to do with the shift in public opinion in France. I suppose even Israelis have tunnel vision, or perhaps their leaky politicians want to claim credit for a public relations victory among European "elites."

In any case, John Hinderaker makes the critical point:
It seems safe to assume that if "opinion elites" are turning against the Palestinians, the broader public is already there.

Meanwhile, a "brigade" of British Islamists has travelled to Iraq to fight with al Qaeda.
Senior security sources say leaders of the Iraqi insurgency have set up a “foreign legion” composed entirely of westerners to fight alongside the insurgents in the war against British and American forces. Some are preparing to carry out suicide attacks while others have received basic combat training for attacks on western troops The so-called “British brigade” is said to be operating under the direct command of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq. Members of the unit are thought to be in the Sunni triangle, a combat zone and Al-Qaeda hotbed west of Baghdad.

The flow of "volunteers" from Western Europe is allegedly increasing because of growing "resentment about American and British policy and scandals such as the mistreatment of inmates at the Abu Ghraib prison."


War polarizes nations, tribes, ideologies and sects that do not initially participate. As a multinational war matures the pool of neutrals shrinks, and both sides grow in size. This has happened in the counterinsurgency being fought against the global Islamist insurrection. The war rages and spreads from one theater to another, and people who might have ignored it decide that they can no longer. Volunteers travel to Iraq and strap on a bomb belt. Canadians wonder about the enemy in their midst. The Saudis turn from subsidizing al Qaeda to hunting it. The French begin to reconsider their assumptions about the Palestinian Arabs. The pool of neutrals shrinks, and the armies get bigger.

Western opponents of America's combative foreign policy regard many of America's troubles as "blowback" -- our enemies today are the result of our aggressive tactics in the past. Most of these Western critics fail to see, though, that blowback goes both ways. A great many of the neutrals have taken our side because our enemy is, from first to last, appalling. Still, despite all the evidence, the Western chattering classes do not understand that in the polarization of war, everything is blowback. See Christopher Hitchens latest (also via Power Line):
There is no respectable way of having this both ways. Those who say that the rioters in Baghdad in the early days should have been put down more forcefully are accepting the chance that a mob might have had to be fired on to protect the National Museum. Those who now wish there had been more troops are also demanding that there should have been more targets and thus more body bags. The lawyers at Centcom who refused to give permission to strike Mullah Omar's fleeing convoy in Afghanistan—lest it by any chance be the wrong convoy of SUVs speeding from Kabul to Kandahar under cover of night—are partly responsible for the deaths of dozens of Afghan teachers and international aid workers who have since been murdered by those who were allowed to get away. If Iraq had been stuffed with WMD warehouses and stiff with al-Qaida training camps, there would still have been an Abu Ghraib. Only pacifists—not those who compare the Iraqi killers to the Minutemen—have the right to object to every casualty of war. And if the pacifists had been heeded, then Slobodan Milosevic, the Taliban, and Saddam Hussein would all still be in power—hardly a humanitarian outcome. People like to go on about the "fog" of war as well as the "hell" of it. Hell it most certainly is—but not always so foggy. Indeed, many of the dilemmas posed by combat can be highly clarifying, once the tone of righteous sententiousness is dropped.

Before this war is done, the pool of neutrals will be smaller still.


By Blogger M.A., at Tue Jun 06, 12:45:00 AM:

Shorter Christopher Hitchens: Only pacifists care about the murder of brown people.

Shorter TigerHawk: Europeans are coming around to a position on Israel that resembles the position of American Jewish liberals; therefore, Europeans clearly agree with my "Invade countries for no reason and kill more brown people" platform.

Because really, it's all about killing teh Muslims, or, failing that, getting teh Muslims to kill each other. And if success is defined as "a lot of dead Muslims," then Iraq is a smashing success for the Bush Doctrine of Hatin' the Brown People.  

By Blogger quantum, at Tue Jun 06, 02:56:00 AM:

Who let the moonbats in?  

By Blogger Sissy Willis, at Tue Jun 06, 08:04:00 AM:

Sententiousness can occur at any time, as M.A. clearly demonstrates. Thank you, dear TigerHawk, for that wonderful word. I confess I had to look it up to distinguish it from the more familiar tendentiousness and was not disappointed:

Sententiousness (sĕn-tĕn'shəs)

3.a. Abounding in pompous moralizing.  

By Blogger Sissy Willis, at Tue Jun 06, 08:09:00 AM:

Whoops. Shoulda proofread more carefully. Definition is for the adjective, sententious, rather than the noun (washes paw).  

By Blogger Cardinalpark, at Tue Jun 06, 08:42:00 AM:

"foreign legion"

I LOVE it! This is precise and powerful evidence of the virtue of placing our active military in hot spots in the middle east. It serves as a flytrap, a killing magnet, for militant muslims who would otherwise do us harm on our turf.

This is the best empirical evidence that our complex approach to the war on terror is working. That, and the fact that we have had no significant attacks on our homeland since 9/11.  

By Blogger M.A., at Tue Jun 06, 09:02:00 AM:

That, and the fact that we have had no significant attacks on our homeland since 9/11.

Homer: Not a bear in sight. The Bear Patrol must be working like a charm.
Lisa: That's specious reasoning, Dad.
Homer: Thank you, dear.
Lisa: By your logic I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away.
Homer: Oh, how does it work?
Lisa: It doesn't work.
Homer: Uh-huh.
Lisa: It's just a stupid rock.
Homer: Uh-huh.
Lisa: But I don't see any tigers around, do you?
Homer: Lisa, I want to buy your rock.
-- The Simpsons

Anyone who thinks that the absence of successful Islamic terrorist attacks proves that Bush is doing a bang-up job is like Homer -- buying a stupid rock. By that standard, Clinton was the world's greatest anti-Islamist leader from 1994 onward.

What it actually proves, of course, is that Islamic terrorism is not a major threat to America, and conservatives who freak out over terrorism are simply cowards, akin to Homer's panic over bears.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jun 06, 10:27:00 AM:

What an idiotic post by ma. There were a whole series of escalating attacks under Clinton, you idiot!  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jun 06, 11:39:00 AM:


I won't object if they kill you first.  

By Blogger Assistant Village Idiot, at Tue Jun 06, 01:34:00 PM:


Don't confuse proof with evidence. There is seldom proof of anything in human affairs. But evidence can be considered, and one interpretation or another considered. Because history is not repeatable, people do not claim that attack/no attack is "proof" of anything. It is however evidence.  

By Blogger Georgfelis, at Tue Jun 06, 03:33:00 PM:

HTPLL rating of M.A. = 37 points. Come on M.A, you can do better. (see georgfelis.blogspot.com)

I think what we are seeing is the increasing realization by nations that they must either stand against terrorists, or slowly prepare to become dhimmi, slave subjects to Islamic masters, and see their children becoming Janissaries. Smart people learn from other people’s mistakes. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana  

By Blogger M.A., at Tue Jun 06, 04:26:00 PM:

I don't see how the lack of successful terrorist attacks is even "evidence." At best it demonstrates that Al Qaeda is not particularly strong and that 9/11 was a lucky break (in part due to the Bush administration's lack of interest in preventing terrorism). The relative weakness and lack of success of Al-Qaeda is a clear demonstration that the threat of terrorism has been overstated by cynical politicians and paranoid, cowardly conservatives, and inflated by the conservative, pro-Republican bias of the MSM. Luckily, America is returning to a pre-9/11 mentality, where the threat of terrorism is put in its proper perspective: something to be guarded against, treated as a law enforcement issue (since that is what terrorism is and always has been), and not a cause for insane racially-tinged paranoia or unprovoked invasions of other countries.

Or as I like to put it:

Though I heartily enjoy a
Healthy dose of paranoia,
If you're speaking of "Eurabia,"
You're a paranoid crybaby-a.
Though a righty swoons and shimmies,
Fearing the Islamodhimmis,
Lefties know that only clown-folk
Spend their days in fear of brown folk.
If you fear the slowing birthrate
More than warming-of-the-earth-rate,
If you're inclined to always see a
Threat of living in sha-ree-a,
If you're always nailing boards up
Lest they bring the Muslim hordes up,
If you fear a big bad burka,
You're a jerk-a who's berserk-a.
To ask this question I'm empowered:
Why does "right-wing" equal "coward?"  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jun 06, 07:22:00 PM:

I don't see how the lack of successful terrorist attacks is even "evidence."

If the Bush Administration has been doing a stand-up job, then it’s a fair assumption that there would be few or no terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. While you’re correct that it may be weakness of al Qaeda that is the cause of this, you have not disproved the assertion that Bush is doing a good job. The inability to prove works both ways.

At best it demonstrates that Al Qaeda is not particularly strong and that 9/11 was a lucky break (in part due to the Bush administration's lack of interest in preventing terrorism).

Lucky break? Provide evidence that it was ‘lucky’. If you’re going to start pointing out logical fallacies, you’d best be damned careful, for there are many types of logical fallacies.

So again, provide evidence that the attack was ‘lucky’, given your parameters for what constitutes viable evidence.

And while we’re going there, provide evidence that the Bush Administration ‘lacked interest’ in preventing terrorism. Your bar for ‘evidence’ is quite high, so good luck.

The relative weakness and lack of success of Al-Qaeda is a clear demonstration that the threat of terrorism has been overstated …

Being an expert on logical fallacies, why don’t you tell us why the fact that al Qaeda hasn’t pulled off another 9/11 means that it CANNOT or WILL NOT pull off another 9/11. That particular fallacy has a name. Why don’t you look it up.

… by cynical politicians and paranoid…

Pot, meet kettle.

… cowardly conservatives, and inflated by the conservative, pro-Republican bias of the MSM.

Monumentally idiotic, but just for fun, please provide evidence of the pro-Republican bias of the MSM. Evidence is not a bloviator citing another bloviator about Bush Lying because said bloviator said he was lying, I mean something quantifiable and measurable. Should be easy for a towering intellect such as yourself.

Luckily, America is returning to a pre-9/11 mentality, where the threat of terrorism is put in its proper perspective: something to be guarded against, treated as a law enforcement issue (since that is what terrorism is and always has been)…

Is that where America is ‘returning to’? Again, provide evidence. A well-designed poll would provide evidence, I suppose. Good luck.

… and not a cause for insane racially-tinged paranoia …

Pot, meet kettle.

… or unprovoked invasions of other countries.

Technically, the first Gulf War never ended. Terms were agreed upon for the cessation of hostilities. If those terms were ever violated, hostilities could resume if the allies so desired. The U.S. and British, among other allies, chose to resume hostilities.

Are you an idiot? Or just a teen-ager?  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Tue Jun 06, 07:24:00 PM:

It saddens me that people like you vote...  

By Blogger crosspatch, at Tue Jun 06, 08:38:00 PM:

A great many of the neutrals have taken our side because our enemy is, from first to last, appalling.

And that right there is the crux of my problem with the Democrats. They sit there and criticize our operations there while boxes full of human heads are deposited on a city street. They have the gall to call Haditha a massacre of My Lai scale yet are silent on the horrors being waged by Muslims upon Muslims and they would go further as to blame us for it. Excuse me, but George Bush didn't point a gun at someone and tell them to saw someone's head off.

That the left would even begin to utter the words "we are just as bad" shows how completely bankrupt they are of any moral compass. Well, no, the fact that they believe they hold the moral high ground is their final piece of insanity. Hauling kids out of vans and executing them on the spot, leaving piles of heads for people to find ... those are not the acts of a political insurgency, those are the acts of insane homicidal maniacs. Serial killers roving in packs. Those people MUST be hunted down and destroyed.

The left makes my blood boil with their aire of moral superiority while they look the other way at the most horrible kinds of acts that one human being can perform on another. The left has completely lost it. They can have absolutely no justification for their position whatsoever. They are just as evil as those who they would aid and abet. What utter fools they are to support such lunacy for their own domestic political advantage.

If (God forbid) we should ever leave before this is done, I would wish Jack Murtha, George Sorros, Nancy Pelosi, and a whole cast of others would go to Iraq and go into someone's home and tell them face to face that we are going to abandon them to these animals.

Zarqawi is does not deserve the status of human being. He should be dispatched with the same concern as one has for an insect.  

By Blogger M.A., at Tue Jun 06, 11:37:00 PM:

Anonymous -- click the link I linked for an essay on recent exmples of the MSM printing false or misleading stories that favor Republicans. Or read Peter Daou. There is no evidence of liberal bias in media reporting (that some reporters vote Democratic is irrelevant; however they vote, their reporting is slanted in a pro-Bush direction); the tone and content of MSM reporting is overwhelmingly pro-Republican and pro-Bush.

Crosspatch - No one, except your friend John Q. Strawman, is saying that we are just as bad. We are merely saying that what the Marines did at Haditha was bad, period. Unlike conservatives, who are moral relativists (excusing bad behavior by the U.S. by pointing out that Saddam was worse, or that Zarqawi is worse, as if such things are relevant to a moral judgment), liberals believe in strict moral standards which should be adhered to, and which the U.S. -- thanks to the Bush Administration's fondness for such immoral policies as pre-emptive war and torture -- has failed to adhere to of late.

Not, of course, that the entire U.S. military is to blame for what a few people did. However, the Bush administration -- the civilian leadership, not the troops -- is to be blamed for starting a war without justification and continuing it for no logical reason (since the Bush administration has failed to define what "victory" would entail, it follows that "victory" is in fact impossible; there can be no victory without an actual goal). The longer the war continues, the more things like this will happen, since such things happen in war; thus, every atrocity committed by individual troops is partly the fault of Bush for leaving the troops there after it became clear that Saddam was not a threat, and that therefore the war was not justified.  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Wed Jun 07, 07:15:00 AM:

Unlike conservatives, who are moral relativists ... liberals believe in strict moral standards which should be adhered to...

With the exception of a few "liberation theology" types, I have never met one serious person on the left who denied he was a moral relativist. But let's test that proposition. If you are who you say you are, then you are unalterably opposed to any classification by race, and agree that racial preferences in hiring, government contracting, college admissions and so forth are immoral.

There has never been, and will never be, a foreign policy that is morally consistent. Nations live in an unregulated jungle, a Hobbesian struggle of all against all. It has been this way since the dawn of the nation state, and it will be that way until its eclipse. That is not to defend any particular act, and I do not defend war crimes.

The argument about press bias is absurdly long. I tend to agree that the mainstream media is not overtly partisan, and that its primary motivation is controversy, rather than any particular political result. However, neither does the mainstream media "look like America." The very fact that it schedules its most important political shows on Sunday morning -- when most Americans are in church -- is powerful evidence that the Washington press corps and most of the rest of the chattering classes do not live their lives around the same values as ordinary Americans.  

By Blogger Georgfelis, at Thu Jun 08, 12:30:00 PM:

Crosspatch had the best description of the opposition we face in Iraq. Serial killers roving in packs. It requires a specific approach to deal with these terrorists, they must not be allowed safe haven anywhere, they must be constantly infiltrated in order to build mistrust within their own ranks, they must be kept unpopular within the country. (a task that they are completing quite well by themselves, by blowing up Iraqi civilians) When confronted, they must be defeated without doubt, either killed (such as Zark just was this morning), or humiliatingly captured (Saddam anyone?). They must not be allowed even the slightest shred of authority, such as being negotiated with, or meeting with congressional delegations. (which the Dems would, if they thought they could get away with it)

The terrorists have absolutely *no* qualms about doing *anything* that will advance their call. They will not have an investigation if one of their ilk kills a few tens of extra civilians, they will not arrest one of their own for bribery, they will not have a trial for which the outcome is not foreordained. (sorry for the double-negative). On the other hand, we are assisting the Iraqi’s with setting up a democratic system, and we “play by the rules”. So who are the moral relativists?  

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