Sunday, April 23, 2006

Words Written In Self-Defense

[UPDATE: Dear Post-Postmodernist Reader - Some background on this (very long) post, below. It is my last email response to a (now-ex) LLL friend who "fired" me after a long and contentious exchange of emails in which I was asserting that Islam is not just a religion, but a totalitarian political ideology, one that unlike Nazism, or Communism, and one that, in the hands of militants, poses an existential threat to Western Civ. Originally, I just copy/pasted this email you are reading, but in reading it back myself, in the naked context of a blog entry, I've decided to insert a context clarification: Please bear in mind that my original statement to him about the probability of the WOT ending horrifically with millions lost on both sides was made during a series of emails about 1) Ahmadinejad calling for Israel to to be wiped off the map and threatening to unleash 40,000 terrorists against the West if his covert nuke facilities are attacked; 2) "The Islamic Thinkers Society" chanting about mushroom clouds over Israel while standing outside of the Israeli Embassy in NYC; and 3) after discussing the implications of Seymour Hersh's book, The Samson Option. - The Ed.]

Dear D_____,

Well, you've reallly seemed to make a full and convincing argument to yourself that debating with me is a complete waste of your time, because I am a "child" with "not good" intentions who desires the "genocide"
of every Muslim on Earth.

That must feel good. No more of those stupid emails with all of those referenced hotlinked facts and tightly reasoned arguments that just don't fit into the version of reality that You Know Is The Truth. Ahhhh, much better. As Homer Simpson would say, "Mmmmmm... donuts....harhgharhghahrhargh."

Speaking of food, let's pick the low hanging fruit, out of your inaccurate vitriol, first:

"It continues in
sending me a document that you say was "written six
months before 9.11" when it has the date "10.03.2001"
written on it."

Actually, before I get to this... I know you are bright. As you've told me, you were advanced for your age and could have graduated early etc. As could have I. But -- getting to the "who's being childish, here?" point -- you should note: I've never, ever, in the hundreds of emails we've exchanged before this instant response to your (latest) ad hom attack, EVER have launched ad hom attacks on you. Have you noticed that? "Gee, WordWarp never gets really angry or calls me names, weird!" Please admit just this, if only to yourself.

Even in the last meltdown we had, try to remember how diplomatic and cordial and good-humored I remained despite your vitriol. I never lashed back, never stooped to ad homs and name-calling. Remember? Is that the mark of a child? No.

You impute bad motives to me. You say that you think that I do not have good intentions. This is not correct. My motive in this whole multi-year dialogue of ours has been this: After seeing your blog, and the quality and purity of your thought -- and esp. the intensity of your convictions -- it was, and remains, my goal to "turn you" -- to present enough refutatory (word?) evidence so that you, like I, would become an liberal apostate, a heretic, willing to try to convince other True Believers on the Left, where I used to reside, that, given 9/11, that maybe Bush is not the problem here. That maybe militant Islam is, and will continue to be, the problem, and that it poses an existential threat not just to Western Civilization, but to global peace and well-being.

You are always looking for ill-motive in me, but it is not there. I know that I told you that one of my central concerns is that if there were a catastrophic WMD attack, here, or elsewhere, that it might cause global financial collapse, and that, being as my 75-year old mother depends, solely, on the income from her securities -- which only remain "secure" and viable in a world without WMD attacks, her very existence would be threatened. It doesn't get more personal than that. I know for a fact that I have also pleaded with you to acknowledge the vast ripple effect that a WMD attack would have on the world economy. Guess what (as I know I've said before), if the shit goes down, the poor around the world will feel it the hardest. You think life is hard in Indonesia now? Wait until all of the factories are completely *idle* -- then what do you think will happen?

Do you remember what life was like in the weeks and months after 9/11? The global economy SHUT DOWN. Sort of. But if nukes go off in NYC, or London, or Tel Aviv..., it will shut down for real. This must not be allowed to happen. Period.

You ascribe genocidal intent to me -- I know you dashed off your several thousand word email in an emotional forty minutes, so I'm willing to cut you some slack, but really, this is what you wrote:

"The end result of all this childish thinking has ended
up, in your case, to be an endorsement of ethnic
cleansing. Your argument can be distilled down to the
call for the deaths of 100 million Muslims. And you
still think this is a serious argument. I don't think
genocidists are serious people. Dangerous, yes, but
not serious."

Here is what I actually said:
"This war is going to go on for most of this century, you do realize that, right? Before it's over, western cities will be gone, and probably 100 million plus Muslims will be dead. But Western Civ will survive. I hope."

Where exactly did I call for their deaths? Your mischaracterization of my words is slander. Read it back. What you said I said is NOT what I said. There is a difference between a person predicting, woefully, what they fear might happen, and a person ADVOCATING the same, and if you cannot distinguish the difference, perhaps you shouldn't consider yourself as smart as you so plainly do. Honestly, a fucking apology is in order.

Speaking of brains, note that I have never before mentioned my brainy bona fides, or used them as justification for an argued position, because I thought it was both unseemly and irrelevant (stupid of me for assuming there was a mutual respect for brains, which, sadly, doesn't seem to be the case), even though in fact I scored in the 99th percentile on both the SAT and the even more selective LSAT, so forgive me this once for pointing out that, by currently accepted objective standards, I, though with frequent exceptions, being human after all, have a reasoning ability that is close to perfect.

I know you are in the same league. That is one reason I like to argue with you. But, I'll put forth here, I think your pure reasoning ability is hampered by rigid ideological constraints. If presented with evidence that contradicts your set of almost religiously held beliefs, you disregard it, time and time again. Pure cognitive dissonance

Anyway, after this long tangent, let's get back to that low hanging fruit:

"It continues in
sending me a document that you say was "written six
months before 9.11" when it has the date "10.03.2001"
written on it".

Read the fucking document, D_____, (and note that at least THREE independent translations have been done of it already):

Beginning of the translation of page 6 from document BIAP 2003-000654
In the Name of God the Merciful The Compassionate

Top Secret

The Command of Ali Bin Abi Taleb Air Force Base

No 3/6/104

Date 11 March 2001

To all the Units

Subject: Volunteer for Suicide Mission

The top secret letter 2205 of the Military Branch of Al Qadisya on 4/3/2001 announced by the top secret letter 246 from the Command of the military sector of Zi Kar on 8/3/2001 announced to us by the top secret letter 154 from the Command of Ali Military Division on 10/3/2001 we ask to provide that Division with the names of those who desire ***to volunteer for Suicide Mission to liberate Palestine and to strike American Interests*** [asterisks mine] and according what is shown below to please review and inform us.

Air Brigadier General

Abdel Magid Hammot Ali

Commander of Ali Bin Abi Taleb Air Force Base

Air Colonel

Mohamad Majed Mohamadi.

End of translation of page 6"!

It uses the *European* date notation, D_____. Your cognitive dissonance tried to kick out of your brain a PRIMARY SOURCE (you were a history major, right?) that is clearly dated 11 March, 2001, and which calls for SUICIDE volunteers from the Iraqi AIR FORCE to strike American interests, but somehow your brain led you to pick out that one notation in the document -- "from the Command of Ali Military Division on 10/3/2001" -- and interpret that as being from OCTOBER, because, even though all of the other dates in the document were written in European dates, that one interpretation let your CogDis off the hook! HE IS LYING TO ME! THIS CANNOT BE TRUE! SADDAM HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH 9/11! BUSH LIED, KIDS DIED!!!


Okay. Next point. Or have you deleted this email by now? Ducked out? Ouch! CogDis hurts!

The CogDis will continue. Maybe WordWarp isn't the child... maybe I'm calling him that out of PROJECTION because he's TREATING me like a child, talking down to me, scoffing at me, making fun of my logical fallacies! Did THAT thought ever occur to you? Has it occured to you that you scrubbed your ENTIRE comments log on your blog coincidentally within days after I posted a few derisive comments making fun of your poor reasoning? Why did you do that? CogDis? Embarrassment? Did I so wound you to the core? Are you really that soft? Who is the child?

Have you ever taken a good look at your OWN motives when sending a hate mail like you sent to me? That maybe your entire SELF-IMAGE is at stake in trying to refute my points -- that your sense of humor, based on a taken-as-a-given superiority of your point of view, suddenly evaporates when your rigid foundational premises are questioned? There are only three kinds of humor: superiority, incongruity, and relief. My humor mainly comes from the second two. Yours, quite plainly, from the first. You make fun of me, and I shrug it off, and come back with a rejoinder and a refutation. But when I make fun of you, it's a different story. You perceive it as an attack, as emasculating to you, as threatening your deepest sense of self. It is the ultimate unpardonable sin, the worst offensive, the deepest cut and betrayal.

So, after that, anything's fair game, right? And that, I would argue, is why you are so willing to ascribe the worst of motives to me, to accuse me of fucking ADVOCATING GENOCIDE -- because I laugh at your reasoning. "He said this, but he's in favor of genocide, and he's a bigot and a sexist racist homophobe, so I can safely ignore it and sneer at him instead!"

Honestly, that's fucked up. Wake up and smell the CogDis. As Dennis Miller would say, Welcome to who you are.

Okay, let's get on with "Maybe D____ isn't as smart and omniscient as he thinks he is," part trois:

You wrote:
"It continues in saying that stopping
the Millennium bombing was "a lucky break" when the
entire National Security apparatus spent 12.31.99 in a
secure location monitoring events worldwide
(documented in Against All Enemies)."

Here's a citation, from our pals at NBC:

"NBC News decided to take a close look at what happened four years ago. Was the bomb plot foiled by an alert White House or by an alert agent on the front lines?

“His story didn’t make sense to me,” said customs inspector Diana Dean. Now retired, Dean was working the border that night. On a hunch something wasn’t quite right, she questioned Ressam and asked him to pop his trunk. Inside were big bags of white powder that were first thought to be drugs.

But that night, drug tests came back negative. When investigators looked further, they found timers and realized the powder was explosives.

Dean said, “My heart dropped right into my toes when I realized what it was.”

She says no one had told her anything about being on alert for terrorists.

“I don’t recall any specific threats," she added. "I don’t recall anybody saying watch for terrorists.”

Customs officials confirm that no alert had gone out to the field.


Almost done.

You wrote:

"considering I lived for the first
16 years of my life with thousands of ICBMs pointed
directly at my skull."

What do you think I was doing at the time? I actually did duck and cover drills -- did you? I marched against the VN war when i was TEN FUCKING YEARS OLD, pal. Was that childish of me? And, at the price of incredible internal family strife, I refused to register for Selective Service in 1980 when I turned 18. Did you? Or was it non-required by then? If so, you didn't have to make the choice. I did.

Bear this in mind: the closest you've ever come to even CONCEDING a point is to say "Great Mencken quote." You know that I am not stupid.  I provide you with links to evidence when I make a point.  Are you EVER going to become intellectually flexible enough to absorb contradictory data?  If not, you have some real self-inspection to do.

Okay, that's enough.  I've had five bourbons, and am violating the don't write emails when drunk rule as it is.  Believe it or not I still think that I can change your mind.  And I still value your friendship.  And I still think that by changing your mind I might change other people's minds.  And I think that really needs to happen.

You owe me an apology for suggesting that I am in favor of genocide.   That is not true, and you know it.



Blogger Dan M said...

Yes, if you suggest that before this war ends, that it will take an ominous turn, well nigh apocolyptic, you're apt to find all kinds of ad hominems tossed your way.

By the way, I wouldn't mention participating in anti-Vietnam war rallies, it wasn't anything to be proud of.

During the war, there wasn't any refugee flight. But after "victory," one could not say the same, now could one?

11:10 AM  
Blogger wordwarp said...

I just wrote a response to this, but it does not seem to be showing up. Ugh. Must have done something wrong. At any rate...

Point taken. But remember the name of the this blog: I am a recovering Leftist, a fully-degreed Marxist.

After 9/11, I, like Charles -- and to be honest, partially because of Charles -- my politics changed. I remember when someone wrote the first Anti-Idiotarian Manifesto and thinking "that's it! that's exactly it!" My friends on the Left were not nearly as receptive, as it turns out, and, unfortunately, I have lost a lot of them.

As to protesting in Viet Nam marches when I was ten. I was ten. And my super-cool 17 year old brother took me to them. I also stuffed envelopes for McGovern. Our family dinner table (like many), was nightly arguments between my father and my brother, and my brother seemed to be the one who was right.

You are right about getting ad homs for suggesting that the WOT might end horrifically. But similarly, you should see the effect when you say, "The Left has never really comes to terms with what happened after we pulled out of Southeast Asia. The Communists killed two million people, and another five hundred thousands died in boats trying to get to America." Perhaps you already know what happens. There is a nanosecond of silence before the hate-rage starts.

Thanks for the comment! My first!

12:43 PM  
Blogger yochanan said...

I was against the viet nam war until i saw the real genoicde commited by the communist butchers

I was wrong but then i was a young punk at the time. I now know better.

12:44 PM  
Anonymous John K said...

Interesting post...It sounds very much like the reaction i get whenever our extended family begins talking (at my prompting) about world events. The majority of the family, being liberal leaning, gets their information from the local paper, nightly news & the front page of When information is presented, they're not really concerned with the validity of the the data, its always just a right wing information conspiracy. If it doesn't fit into their neat little worldview, Bush is making it up.

It's so frustrating to deal with supposed adults that act like children in this way, especially since it to their dentriment.

It was great to read your background, we are the same age and went through the same world events. I considered myself a liberal from the beginning of having any type of political opinion until roughly the middle of the Clinton years. Didn't have anything to do with Clinton, it was more an accumulation of putting some years on the body and being part of history rather than just reading someone's version of it. Put in a nutshell - "Learn to differentiate between how you would like the world to be and how the world actually is".

2:14 PM  
Blogger wordwarp said...

John K - thanks for the kind comments. Please feel free to AIM me at this screenname anytime - I need to replace my lost LLL friends with new anti-idiotarian friends!


2:44 PM  

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