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Ch. 1 - The Riddle of the Enemy 
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Post Ch. 1 - The Riddle of the Enemy
This thread is for discussing Chapter 1 - The Riddle of the Enemy. You can post within this framework or create your own threads.

Chris O'Connor

"For Every Winner, There Are Dozens Of Losers. Odds Are You're One Of Them"




Sat Jul 03, 2004 9:50 am
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Post Fantasy ideology
I think that the concept of fantasy ideology is interesting and helps shed light in the Arab mentality. Harris unfortunately does not spell out what the fantasy ideology of the Muslim world actually is. Here is what I consider it to be:

- All ills affecting the Muslim world (corrupt repressive governments, poverty, immorality) are caused by the West and especially the United States.
- The West seeks to humble and subjugate the Muslim world.
- The Israeli occupation of Palestine and the existence of Israel are in insult to all Arabs. They are only possible because of US support.
- Islamic culture is superior to all others. Islam is destined to be a world power.

One should also add the tendency to believe sometimes extreme conspiracy theories: after 9/11 some in the Arab world were suggesting that the attacks were really the work of the Israelis. More recently in Muslim parts of Ethiopia the rumor emerged that polio vaccines provided by western countries were doctored to cause infertility in an attempt to eliminate Islam. That caused immunizations to stop and a surge in polio cases.

A change in foreign policy aiming to change the attitudes of the Arab world towards the West and possibly reduce terrorism will have to work in this irrational environment. That makes it much more difficult to be effective.




Mon Jul 05, 2004 10:40 am
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Post Re: Fantasy ideology
Another form of fantasy ideology could be:

-The "west" thinks that we can do no wrong.
-The "west" has found the best form of civilization and those who do not agree with how we want things to be are people who hold 'fantasy ideologies'.
-The entire 'muslim world' is working under this 'fantasy ideology'

While I think that the radicals of any religion are the true danger to world peace, I do not hold specific grudges against Islam. There are good and bad in all lands. And do not forget how many contributions the arabic civilization has made to Western Civilization.

We must be careful not to judge through the lense of ethnocentrism, for that is what we are accusing the 'other side' of doing. Two wrongs...

Mr. P.

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Mon Jul 19, 2004 11:11 am
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Post Re: Ch. 1 - The Riddle of the Enemy
Harris states at the beginning of this chapter that:

Quote:
If you are my enemy, it is unlikely that I will...learn to see things from your point of view.


He attributes this to lack of sympathy or misplaced sympathy: Either we do not care or we try to interpret the actions of others through our personally biased lens.

As an example, he uses Montezuma's acceptance of Cortez as a prophesied coming of Quetzalcoatl, the 'white skinned god'.

It is implied by using this example that we suffer from the same liability as Montezuma. I think this is like comparing apples to oranges, because of the availability of information in our world compared to that of Montezuma and Cortez.

The information may be available, but is it used? Montezuma could not have researched Cortez or his culture, so had no way of even knowing that he should understand it. The majority of 'us' just simply do not care enough to do the research, so I think we fall into the 'misplaced sympathy' category. Or, we just do not care enough to even bother. We just accept what we are fed by our 'leaders'. It is not us, so it must be them.

This is a dangerous way to go about life in this modern world of ours. It leads to the tragedies we have witnessed in Hitler, Saddam Hussein and even the interment of Japanese Americans during WW2.

As I have surmised throughout the early chapters that Harris oversimplifies the issues surrounding our current world situation, reducing matters to 'fantasy ideology'.

Were the attacks of 9/11 simply a fantasy of the enemy? A grandiose delusion of grandeur? I think not. America was not a 'prop' in some delusion. Harris states that the targets were not militarily/strategically significant. The targets selected, contrary to what Harris suggests, were valid targets of war, Clausewitzian war.

The targets were: The Towers, not a mere symbol of, but a center of our economic structure; the Pentagon, do I need to elaborate?; and it has been suggested that the White House was also a target. As we can conclude, the targets can be considered very major to our very way of life...not trivial by any means. And, can anyone remember how we all felt on that days and still feel? Every time I see a low flying plane, I stare at it until it is gone from view.

Maybe the attacks did not totally destroy us physically, but mentally they had a toll. What we must remember as well is that these attacks were the first successful attack on our soil. Terror has been a mode of operation for how long? To say that these attacks are simply wish fulfillment on a tragic level is to minimize the deaths of all terror's victims. Our lives are changed and we let 'them' do this to us. How? There is talk of postponing elections, there is the Patriot Act, Pre-Emptive War...whats next?

Clausewitzian war is about achieving political gain according to Harris, but are not ideological gains relevant as well? Just because these individuals who commit terror are not traditional nation-states, as Harris seems to think is necessary for considering this a traditional war, does not mean goals consistent with traditional war are not associated. Does anyone deny that certain nation-states are supporting these terrorists? Can it be that this is simply a new tactic used by traditional players? Did not the American Revolutionaries fore-go tradition battle etiquette and resort to guerrilla warfare? Did this not help us succeed against the superior English forces?

We do not understand the enemy because we do not want to realize that they are not playing by our rules...and why should they? But it is far from a fantasy. Harris assumes that we are buying into his thesis and all explanations come from that. Far from an honest assessment of the situation.

He concludes that since this is all a fantasy, there is no need to look for the 'so called 'root' causes of terrorism in poverty, lack of education...'

How crass. Are we to discount these examples as irrelevant? Does not education set us free? As Diogenes said: 'The foundation of every state is the education of its youth'. How true. Education subjugates ignorance, which is where all this terror comes from.

Mr. P.

The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.




Mon Jul 26, 2004 8:21 pm
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Post Re: Fantasy ideology
mp says:

Quote:
Another form of fantasy ideology could be:

-The "west" thinks that we can do no wrong.
-The "west" has found the best form of civilization and those who do not agree with how we want things to be are people who hold 'fantasy ideologies'.
-The entire 'muslim world' is working under this 'fantasy ideology'


You are absolutely correct that those could be fantasy ideologies - in fact, for some individuals they undoubtedly are. There are those who support western secular democracy and all of it's attendant ethics without really understanding any of it; for them, being part of the culture that put men on the moon and defeated fascism is enough to prove their way is inherently superior.

However, you don't really see a lot of that in the west. There is certainly provincialism and patriotism (especially here in America) but you very seldom see westerners acting out grand "us vs.them" dramas. When they do they tend to be shunned by the mainstream, not embraced by it (Timothy McVeigh is an excellent example of this).

Now there are a lot of people - like me - who really do in fact believe the west has come up with the best form of civilization so far (not the best that is possible, just the best the human race has yet produced). But whereas those in the depths of fantasy ideology require no evidence to support their position - their superiority is divinely mandated - I do require proof that the way we do things is empirically better. And I believe I have such proof.

I don't really want to create a list of all the things about our culture that work, and all of things about theirs that don't. Suffice it to say that standard of living, technological achievement, human rights, military strength, and scientific advancement have been championed almost exclusively by the west for the last three centuries. No one is saying that other cultures cannot compete with our system, only that they have not done so in the modern era.

That, for me, is enough to prove that we're doing something - many somethings, in fact - a hell of a lot better than they are. Not because our skin is lighter or our brains bigger, but only because we've adopted a system that values innovation, liberty, and the rule of law to a far, far greater degree than theirs does. Anyone can do it ... but it happens to be the west that actually did so.

Quote:
While I think that the radicals of any religion are the true danger to world peace, I do not hold specific grudges against Islam. There are good and bad in all lands. And do not forget how many contributions the arabic civilization has made to Western Civilization.


I don't think Harris was insinuating there isn't "good and bad in all lands". In fact, he goes pretty far out of his way to say it's not all Arabs (nor all Muslims) that are to blame for the extremist's fantasy ideology. He clearly states that it is a minority who are engaging us in this war.

And while I do not hold specific grudges against Islam either, one would be a fool to ignore that it is specifically Islamic terrorism we're facing. There are not Zoroastrians or Hindus blowing up buses in Israel, embassies in Africa, and skyscrapers in America. It was not a Shinto group who bombed the trains in Madrid, nor was it Catholics who ran a raft of explosives into the USS Cole. Muslims perpetrated all of those acts - fanatical Muslims, yes, but Muslims just the same - and that fact must be a consideration in our efforts to defeat our enemy.

Quote:
We must be careful not to judge through the lense of ethnocentrism, for that is what we are accusing the 'other side' of doing. Two wrongs...


I'm the first to agree that ethnocentrism is bad; it not only leads to prejudice, it can also cause you to badly underestimate a genuine enemy. But you seem to be advocating cultural relativism here, which is even worse than ethnocentrism (in the same way that lazziez-faire capitalism is bad, but not nearly as bad as totalitarian communism). Some cultural standards are inherently better (more valuable) because they encourage institutions like liberty or compassion or critical thinking. Others are not so valuable, and some just downright suck. They don't suck because "they're different than mine" or because "I find them offensive", but because they create massive suffering, impede innovation, or do any of a thousand other things that have been shown to cripple a civilization.

Open mindedness is a great - nay, essential - thing, but as a blogger I know once said: A man who insists on seeing every side of an argument might just be trying to keep from having to take any side of that argument.

I have some responses to your follow-up post, too, mp, but long-winded as I am they will have to wait.


S

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Thu Jul 29, 2004 3:04 pm
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Post Re: Fantasy ideology
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Now there are a lot of people - like me - who really do in fact believe the west has come up with the best form of civilization so far (not the best that is possible, just the best the human race has yet produced).


I do not disagree with you on this, but those who feel their way of life is better than ours will find all the proof they need to back that up as well. Just as you accept your evidence, so do those that disagree. It is all relative after all. There is probably no evidence that would sway your conclusion that our civilization is the best to date, but would make a strong case to someone of different persuasions.

Quote:
I don't really want to create a list of all the things about our culture that work, and all of things about theirs that don't. Suffice it to say that standard of living, technological achievement, human rights, military strength, and scientific advancement have been championed almost exclusively by the west for the last three centuries. No one is saying that other cultures cannot compete with our system, only that they have not done so in the modern era.


But do we take into account all the conquest the 'west' has undertaken? Did this inhibit other civilizations from prospering? This is an actual question to you (and all) and not a disguised argument.

Quote:
I don't think Harris was insinuating there isn't "good and bad in all lands". In fact, he goes pretty far out of his way to say it's not all Arabs (nor all Muslims) that are to blame for the extremist's fantasy ideology. He clearly states that it is a minority who are engaging us in this war.

And while I do not hold specific grudges against Islam either, one would be a fool to ignore that it is specifically Islamic terrorism we're facing. There are not Zoroastrians or Hindus blowing up buses in Israel, embassies in Africa, and skyscrapers in America. It was not a Shinto group who bombed the trains in Madrid, nor was it Catholics who ran a raft of explosives into the USS Cole. Muslims perpetrated all of those acts - fanatical Muslims, yes, but Muslims just the same - and that fact must be a consideration in our efforts to defeat our enemy.


I take Harris a little differently. I am not accusing him of wholesale ethnocentrism, but I tend to think he oversimplifies too much.

As for it being Islam, yes I agree...but it is just the latest craze in the religious crusade. My point is that this is yet another example of religion causing grief for the world.

Quote:
Open mindedness is a great - nay, essential - thing, but as a blogger I know once said: A man who insists on seeing every side of an argument might just be trying to keep from having to take any side of that argument.


I am confident that I do both. At least I try. If one does not understand all side of an argument, there is no way to make an honest, fair choice. I am not exonerating any party in this current debacle. But I know that if it comes down to it, I know where I would stand.

Mr. P.



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Thu Jul 29, 2004 3:28 pm
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Post Re: Fantasy ideology
mp said:

Quote:
I do not disagree with you on this, but those who feel their way of life is better than ours will find all the proof they need to back that up as well. Just as you accept your evidence, so do those that disagree. It is all relative after all.


Yes, but the same people who are critical of western culture want at the same time to adopt many of its core values. The desire for human rights and political and economic freedom is widespread even among cultures who see the west with suspicion even hatred. The technology and science of the west is admired worldwide. To me this is an indirect admission that certain basic elements of western culture are recognized as superior.

mp said:

Quote:
But do we take into account all the conquest the 'west' has undertaken? Did this inhibit other civilizations from prospering? This is an actual question to you (and all) and not a disguised argument.


If by prospering we mean improvements in standard of living brought about by technological progress here is my take on it. Civilizations have their ups and downs. Periods of innovation and growth (Renaissance, the golden era of the Arab civilization) are followed by periods of stagnation such as the Middle Ages. The latest western upswing came with the Enlightenment which was followed by the scientific revolution, global expansion and domination (colonialism) and the modern era. That ended independent developments of other civilizations in Africa, China, India and the Americas either through conquest or because diffusion of knowledge from the west was faster than new local developments.

The order of things could have been different with say China hitting upon the same innovations first and exploding into the world while the west was still in the Middle Ages. The west came up with it first maybe because of geographical or environmental factors (like Jared Diamond argues) or because of preexisting cultural conditions or by sheer luck. Now the time scales for these events are of the order of a few centuries and there are no indications that other civilizations were about to see major progress. So in that sense western conquest did not inhibit any imminent developments (not that this justifies colonialism in any way). Other cultures left alone might have come up with modern democracies or science and technology but it would have probably taken a long time.

Edited by: costas v at: 7/30/04 7:23 am



Fri Jul 30, 2004 6:21 am
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Post Re: Fantasy ideology
Quote:
So in that sense western conquest did not inhibit any imminent developments (not that this justifies colonialism in any way). Other cultures left alone might have come up with modern democracies or science and technology but it would have probably taken a long time.


You explain your position very well!

I will just explore just one point as quoted above. Western conquest may not have 'inhibited imminent developments, but could that conquest have circumvented a situation where a change could have presented itself?

Does it matter at all? Is the 'first to grab the ring' entitled to a carte blanche approach at spreading its will?

Mr. P.

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Fri Jul 30, 2004 8:01 am
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Post Clausewitz and fantasy ideology
I have some thoughts about Harris' "fantasy ideology" concept presented in this chapter, but I will post those under the fantasy ideology thread and discuss other thoughts here.

First off, Harris' point about misplaced sympathetic ethnocentrism was good. Ethnocentrism on either side -- seeing the enemy as good or bad -- is dangerous. But I don't think that means we should not spend the time to understand the enemy. As mp points out, we are no longer limited in our access to information as Montezuma was when he faced Cortez. Whether we are trying to peaceably solve the problem, use limited force, or eradicate our enemy completely, understanding him will help us in our objective.

While I'll post my thoughts on the fantasy ideology concept in the other thread, I do think that Harris completely misreads Clausewitz and the way he applies his fantasy ideology concept to 'Clausewitzian war'. In discussing Italian fascism, Harris says:
Quote:
Any attempt to see this adventure in Clausewitzian terms is doomed to fail: there was no political or economic advantage whatsoever to be gained from the invasion of Ethiopia.

He uses this example to demonstrate that the fantasy ideology cannot be understood in Clausewitzian terms. "The conquest was not the means to an end, as in Clausewitzian war" (Harris). The problem here is that I think Harris is confusing American utilitarian ends -- an objective economic or political gain -- with Clausewitz. Clausewitz does not require this type of end. In fact, he is completely silent on the nature or origin (or good sense) of the fundamental policy. For Clausewitz all that matters is that war is "...an act of force to compel our enemy to do our will" (Clausewitz). Harris himself states that Italy invaded Ethiopia "...because the fascist fantasy ideology required Italy to conquer something." Clausewitz clearly understood that conquest, in and of itself, was a reason that nations went to war, he simply allowed a wider latitude of policy possibilities so that his theory on war was more inclusive of non-territorial war aims.

The reason I find this important is that Clausewitz does provide a useful framework to understand and judge the current situation. Harris seems to be trying to throw-out that framework so as to create his own new one. Whether Al-Qaeda or the war on terror can be analyzed from a Clausewitzian perspective remains to be seen, but clearly the total war of WWII definitely falls within Clausewitz's theory whatever the fundamental character of fascist Italy was or was not.

Harris then goes on to claim that the 9/11 attacks do not fit within the Clausewitzian framework.
Quote:
9/11 was not an act of Clausewitzian terror -- that is to say, terror used as a strategic weapon for the sake of its psychologically debilitating effect on the American people.

But here is Harris' problem: he can only see the 9/11 attacks as Clausewitzian if they fit within an strategic plan meant to strike at us directly. His reasoning follows that if they don't, they are pointless in a rational sense, and therefore are an irrational act.

Yet earlier, Harris himself argues, "...the purpose of 9/11 was not to create terror in the minds of the American people but to prove to the Arabs that Islamic purity, as interpreted by radical Islam, could triumph over the West" (emphasis added). In another place he states, "The terror attack of 9/11 was not designed to make us alter our policy but was crafted for its effect on the terrorists themselves and on those who share the same fantasy ideology." He goes on to say when talking about the collapse of the Twin Towers, "What better proof could there possibly be that God was on the side of radical Islam and that the end of the reign of the Great Satan was near at hand?" All of these things strike me as rational goals, from the Al-Qaeda perspective.

The problem that Harris seems to be having is understanding the stage of the Al-Qaeda position. When a new political movement starts in the United States the activists do not go to Congress immediately and try to get a law passed; they first attempt to gain more popular support. If the above is true, is it not possible that Al-Qaeda is attempting the same within the Islamic world?

Clausewitz said:
Quote:
We see, therefore, that war is not merely an act of policy but a true political instrument, a continuation of political intercourse, carried on with other means... The political object is the goal, war is the means of reaching it, and means can never be considered in isolation from their purpose.

Just as the activist is carrying on "political intercourse" when he tries to enlist more support, if Al-Qaeda is trying to increase its support, is it not doing the same by "other means"? And even more so if they are trying to prove to the rest of the Islamic world that God is on their side?

To say this is part of a fantasy drama is absurd. If Harris would have read his Clausewitz more carefully, he would have seen how true this is. Clausewitz lists patriot spirit, enthusiasm, fanatical zeal, and general temper among his "principal moral elements" of an army and nation. Moral forces and effects are listed by Clausewitz as the "first property" in formulating a theory of the conduct of war. For Clausewitz, these 'moral forces' and popular support are just as important, if not more so, than striking at the enemy.

The reason that I think this is important is that Harris, by claiming that Clausewitz's theory does not apply to 9/11, is therefore able to say that we should not look for the root causes. He is able to throw-off the Clausewitzian axiom that "...means [war] can never be considered in isolation from their purpose [the political object]". The implications of this are staggering. It means that we are force to fight a reactive war against an enemy that has no purpose other than violence, as if we are fighting some sort of psychotic. This would not be as troublesome if there were just a few psychotics, but in this case there is an awful lot of them. To what degree does this plunge us into some sort of ruthless, undirected violence ourselves?

But more troublesome is that our policy can no longer be rationally directed at an identifiable object. And there are serious dangers in this. For example, let's say that Harris is wrong and that Al-Qaeda's goal was to attack the US and thereby get us to put a large fielded force into the middle-east which would create a large scale Arab flow of support toward fundamental Islam, allow this growing Islamic force to attack our army on their own ground (something they had been successful against in the past against the USSR), create an Islamist movement strong enough to overthrow the governments in the middle-east to establish Islamic theocracies, and unite the Arab world is some sort of revival of the old Arab Empire. Granted this is extreme and far-fetched, but I'm only using it to illustrate my point. In such a case, because we have not looked toward the underlying objectives of their attack, we've played right into their hands.

This is why Clausewitz's framework is so important. Clausewitz's says that war is a paradoxical trinity made up of: primordial violence and hatred (irrational ruthlessness); chance and probability; and subordination to policy (which makes it subject to reason). A theory that ignores any one of these components, according to Clausewitz, "...would conflict with reality to such an extent that for this reason alone it would be totally useless." Yet, it appears that this is exactly what Harris is proposing in his concentration on the first and total denial of the third.

There is a reason and political object of the 9/11 attacks. (Al-Qaeda and the fundamental Islamists have shown their actions follow some rationality with the attack in Madrid to affect the Spanish elections and hostage taking in Iraq to compel allies of the US to withdraw.) By understanding our enemy and determining what that objective is, we are better capable of defeating him and less likely to fall into strategic error ourselves. We cannot ignore his point of view (and thereby be unable to determine his reasons) just because to us it is irrational or crazy.

I'm sorry for quoting from On War so much, but Clausewitz seems to say it so much better. Harris reduces 9/11 and Islamic terrorism to "pointless sacrifice" and hence removes all reason from war and makes it autonomous ruthlessness.
Quote:
First, therefore, it is clear that war should never be though of as something autonomous but alway as an instrument of policy; otherwise the entire history of war would contradict us. Only this approach will enable us to penetrate the problem intelligently.

- Clausewitz, On War




Tue Aug 03, 2004 12:49 am
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Post Re: Clausewitz and fantasy ideology
Quote:
He uses this example to demonstrate that the fantasy ideology cannot be understood in Clausewitzian terms. "The conquest was not the means to an end, as in Clausewitzian war" (Harris). The problem here is that I think Harris is confusing American utilitarian ends -- an objective economic or political gain -- with Clausewitz. Clausewitz does not require this type of end. In fact, he is completely silent on the nature or origin (or good sense) of the fundamental policy. For Clausewitz all that matters is that war is "...an act of force to compel our enemy to do our will" (Clausewitz). Harris himself states that Italy invaded Ethiopia "...because the fascist fantasy ideology required Italy to conquer something." Clausewitz clearly understood that conquest, in and of itself, was a reason that nations went to war, he simply allowed a wider latitude of policy possibilities so that his theory on war was more inclusive of non-territorial war aims.

The reason I find this important is that Clausewitz does provide a useful framework to understand and judge the current situation. Harris seems to be trying to throw-out that framework so as to create his own new one. Whether Al-Qaeda or the war on terror can be analyzed from a Clausewitzian perspective remains to be seen, but clearly the total war of WWII definitely falls within Clausewitz's theory whatever the fundamental character of fascist Italy was or was not.



Excellent summation Mike! I have to be honest and say that I have never studied Clausewitz, but I may have to now. Harris absolutely oversimplifies (I am getting tired of typing that, so I will try to refrain!). He is less interested in educating us and more interested in getting us to buy into his unsubstantiated theories. Propaganda, pure and simple.

Quote:
But here is Harris' problem: he can only see the 9/11 attacks as Clausewitzian if they fit within an strategic plan meant to strike at us directly. His reasoning follows that if they don't, they are pointless in a rational sense, and therefore are an irrational act.

Yet earlier, Harris himself argues, "...the purpose of 9/11 was not to create terror in the minds of the American people but to prove to the Arabs that Islamic purity, as interpreted by radical Islam, could triumph over the West" (emphasis added). In another place he states, "The terror attack of 9/11 was not designed to make us alter our policy but was crafted for its effect on the terrorists themselves and on those who share the same fantasy ideology." He goes on to say when talking about the collapse of the Twin Towers, "What better proof could there possibly be that God was on the side of radical Islam and that the end of the reign of the Great Satan was near at hand?" All of these things strike me as rational goals, from the Al-Qaeda perspective.



I have said this somewhere before. Let's look at the 9/11 attacks: A major financial ceter was destroyed and major military targets as well...where was that PA plane headed? The Congress? The White House?

To me, these are all good targets for a strike by those without superior capabilities trying to cause strategic damage to a superior nation. And, they DID cause terror. To this day it still lingers...just look at the latest terror warning a few days ago.

Quote:
The reason that I think this is important is that Harris, by claiming that Clausewitz's theory does not apply to 9/11, is therefore able to say that we should not look for the root causes.


This is exactly what he is trying to do. There are root causes, no matter how much one does not want them to exist.

Quote:
There is a reason and political object of the 9/11 attacks. (Al-Qaeda and the fundamental Islamists have shown their actions follow some rationality with the attack in Madrid to affect the Spanish elections and hostage taking in Iraq to compel allies of the US to withdraw.) By understanding our enemy and determining what that objective is, we are better capable of defeating him and less likely to fall into strategic error ourselves. We cannot ignore his point of view (and thereby be unable to determine his reasons) just because to us it is irrational or crazy.


And with this, Harris contradicts himself when he offers this ( I will use your words to reference Harris as I do not have the book here with me):

Quote:
First off, Harris' point about misplaced sympathetic ethnocentrism was good. Ethnocentrism on either side -- seeing the enemy as good or bad -- is dangerous. But I don't think that means we should not spend the time to understand the enemy.


Very well done Mike!

Mr. P.

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Wed Aug 04, 2004 11:54 am
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Post Re: Clausewitz and fantasy ideology
Mr. P,

After reading more of Harris, I'm starting to think I'll be using not only "oversimplification" alot but also, like you said, "unsubstiated theories". In either case, it is a fun read.

Clausewitz is definitely worth the study. On War can get tedious in the later parts as he spends a lot of time in the details of fighting, so skiming in places might be called for. You don't want to skip them in their entirety because there is still good stuff there.




Wed Aug 04, 2004 3:35 pm
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BOOK FORUMS FOR ALL BOOKS WE HAVE DISCUSSED
Sense and Goodness Without God - by Richard CarrierFrankenstein - by Mary ShelleyThe Big Questions - by Simon BlackburnScience Was Born of Christianity - by Stacy TrasancosThe Happiness Hypothesis - by Jonathan HaidtA Game of Thrones - by George R. R. MartinTempesta's Dream - by Vincent LoCocoWhy Nations Fail - by Daron Acemoglu and James RobinsonThe Drowning Girl - Caitlin R. KiernanThe Consolations of the Forest - by Sylvain TessonThe Complete Heretic's Guide to Western Religion: The Mormons - by David FitzgeraldA Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - by James JoyceThe Divine Comedy - by Dante AlighieriThe Magic of Reality - by Richard DawkinsDubliners - by James JoyceMy Name Is Red - by Orhan PamukThe World Until Yesterday - by Jared DiamondThe Man Who Was Thursday - by by G. K. ChestertonThe Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven PinkerLord Jim by Joseph ConradThe Hobbit by J. R. R. TolkienThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas AdamsAtlas Shrugged by Ayn RandThinking, Fast and Slow - by Daniel KahnemanThe Righteous Mind - by Jonathan HaidtWorld War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max BrooksMoby Dick: or, the Whale by Herman MelvilleA Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer EganLost Memory of Skin: A Novel by Russell BanksThe Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. KuhnHobbes: Leviathan by Thomas HobbesThe House of the Spirits - by Isabel AllendeArguably: Essays by Christopher HitchensThe Falls: A Novel (P.S.) by Joyce Carol OatesChrist in Egypt by D.M. MurdockThe Glass Bead Game: A Novel by Hermann HesseA Devil's Chaplain by Richard DawkinsThe Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph CampbellThe Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor DostoyevskyThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark TwainThe Moral Landscape by Sam HarrisThe Decameron by Giovanni BoccaccioThe Road by Cormac McCarthyThe Grand Design by Stephen HawkingThe Evolution of God by Robert WrightThe Tin Drum by Gunter GrassGood Omens by Neil GaimanPredictably Irrational by Dan ArielyThe Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel by Haruki MurakamiALONE: Orphaned on the Ocean by Richard Logan & Tere Duperrault FassbenderDon Quixote by Miguel De CervantesMusicophilia by Oliver SacksDiary of a Madman and Other Stories by Nikolai GogolThe Passion of the Western Mind by Richard TarnasThe Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le GuinThe Genius of the Beast by Howard BloomAlice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll Empire of Illusion by Chris HedgesThe Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner The Extended Phenotype by Richard DawkinsSmoke and Mirrors by Neil GaimanThe Selfish Gene by Richard DawkinsWhen Good Thinking Goes Bad by Todd C. RinioloHouse of Leaves by Mark Z. DanielewskiAmerican Gods: A Novel by Neil GaimanPrimates and Philosophers by Frans de WaalThe Enormous Room by E.E. CummingsThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeGod Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher HitchensThe Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama Paradise Lost by John Milton Bad Money by Kevin PhillipsThe Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson BurnettGodless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists by Dan BarkerThe Things They Carried by Tim O'BrienThe Limits of Power by Andrew BacevichLolita by Vladimir NabokovOrlando by Virginia Woolf On Being Certain by Robert A. Burton50 reasons people give for believing in a god by Guy P. HarrisonWalden: Or, Life in the Woods by Henry David ThoreauExile and the Kingdom by Albert CamusOur Inner Ape by Frans de WaalYour Inner Fish by Neil ShubinNo Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthyThe Age of American Unreason by Susan JacobyTen Theories of Human Nature by Leslie Stevenson & David HabermanHeart of Darkness by Joseph ConradThe Stuff of Thought by Stephen PinkerA Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled HosseiniThe Lucifer Effect by Philip ZimbardoResponsibility and Judgment by Hannah ArendtInterventions by Noam ChomskyGodless in America by George A. RickerReligious Expression and the American Constitution by Franklyn S. HaimanDeep Economy by Phil McKibbenThe God Delusion by Richard DawkinsThe Third Chimpanzee by Jared DiamondThe Woman in the Dunes by Abe KoboEvolution vs. Creationism by Eugenie C. ScottThe Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael PollanI, Claudius by Robert GravesBreaking The Spell by Daniel C. DennettA Peace to End All Peace by David FromkinThe Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey NiffeneggerThe End of Faith by Sam HarrisEnder's Game by Orson Scott CardThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark HaddonValue and Virtue in a Godless Universe by Erik J. WielenbergThe March by E. L DoctorowThe Ethical Brain by Michael GazzanigaFreethinkers: A History of American Secularism by Susan JacobyCollapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared DiamondThe Battle for God by Karen ArmstrongThe Future of Life by Edward O. WilsonWhat is Good? by A. C. GraylingCivilization and Its Enemies by Lee HarrisPale Blue Dot by Carl SaganHow We Believe: Science, Skepticism, and the Search for God by Michael ShermerLooking for Spinoza by Antonio DamasioLies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al FrankenThe Red Queen by Matt RidleyThe Blank Slate by Stephen PinkerUnweaving the Rainbow by Richard DawkinsAtheism: A Reader edited by S.T. JoshiGlobal Brain by Howard BloomThe Lucifer Principle by Howard BloomGuns, Germs and Steel by Jared DiamondThe Demon-Haunted World by Carl SaganBury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee BrownFuture Shock by Alvin Toffler

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