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As an American Atheist, I am disgusted by the 9/11 coloring book

The Christian Science Monitor has just posted an article titled “As an American Muslim, I am disgusted by the 9/11 coloring book“. It’s hard to believe someone considered this pile of violent jingo to be an appropriate subject for a kid’s coloring book.

“We Shall Never Forget 9/11: The Kids’ Book of Freedom,” was just released by Wayne Bell, publisher of Really Big Coloring Books Inc. in St. Louis. It begins with big graphic black-and-white drawings of bin Laden plotting the 9/11 attacks, then shows the burning towers, the hunt for bin Laden, and ends with a Navy SEAL shooting bin Laden as he hides behind a woman in Islamic garb.


Being the elusive character that he was, and after hiding out with his terrorist buddies in Pakistan and Afghanistan, American soldiers finally locate the terrorist leader Osama bin Laden. Children, the truth is, these terrorist acts were done by freedom-hating radical Islamic Muslim extremists. These crazy people hate the American way of life because we are FREE and our society is FREE.

Remember, kids, if you draw the effect of those bullets hitting the bad man, use your Scarlet crayola if you think there should be arterial spray!

You know, I think I’m disgusted by this as a human being; it doesn’t matter what your beliefs about religion are, this is simply the glorification of bloody violence.

Comments

  1. ImaginesABeach says

    Do not read the comments on that story. Damn few of those peaceful, loving Christian commenters see anything wrong with a coloring book for children being full of violence, as long as it is directed at ebil Muslims (and of course they are all ebil).

  2. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    Well, American society is obviously not FREE!!!!11!121 of bigotry and indoctrinated hate, but I’m sure authors of that particular coloring book consider that a good thing.

  3. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    ImaginesABeach,

    Do not say things like that. Of course I went to read the comments the moment you said not to do it. My breakfast is threatening to make a reappearance now.

  4. Fred says

    Haven’t seen the book, but I’d guess it has the Muslim-terrorist-commandeered-planes going into the towers. Maybe also people jumping out of windows. Would pictures like that be any less objectionable that the picture of the gun pointed at Bin Laden hiding behind one of his wives?

  5. says

    Obviously, the navy seals tested their gear the following way:
    They took a fabric hat and a helmet and threw them down the Eifel Tower. On the ground, the helmet shattered yet the hat was intact…
    But no, the man who shoots the eebil muzlim looks exactly like the characters on toy adventure sets.

    It’s disgusting and appaling. There’s whole generation that will have to overcome the myths of their childhood.

  6. Esa Riihonen says

    The most interesting thing about the picture is that the artist has not even tried to give any hint of OBL presenting any threat against the soldier(s).
    I don’t shed a tear for this monster, and of course we already knew it before, but what is shown here is plainly and simply a straight murder.

  7. defides says

    Not to mention the fatuous explanation for why terrorists hate America. If America was free, but spent the last 60 years minding its own business, it would have been given a pass.

    It’s because it has exercised every fibre of its being to further its interests – particular in the matter of oil – in every corner of the globe regardless of whatever collateral damage may be sustained by the citizens of far-flung countries. Even now there are many Americans who see nothing wrong in bombing the shit out of countries who’ve offended them, and it wasn’t that long ago that its President demonstrably thought the same way.

    Just like Britain before it, America is reaping the whirlwind of being a colonial power for nearly a century.

  8. Athena_Tam says

    I remember my history teacher telling me that they almost didn’t teach her about the holocaust when she was in HIGHSCHOOL because they thought it was to graphic, and somebody thinks that this book isn’t too graphic for CHILDREN? When did America go crazy again? Or has half of it always been crazy (and insensitive)?

  9. captainahags says

    I can’t believe they’re still using the “They hate us for our freedoms” meme on the right. . . I have trouble wrapping my head around the fact that they’re so thick that they don’t understand that our continued meddling in the Middle East is what makes people hate us, not that we have freedoms (which have been under constant assault since 9/11, ironically enough).

  10. says

    From the comments on the original article:
    Of course Muslims were killed in the attack (the 19 pigs to be sure) but it was not directed at them…it was directed at America, against Christians (AKA infidels), and against our great free republic. It was an act of hate toward me, my family, and my beliefs.

  11. =8)-DX says

    Mainly it is a glorification of REAL, RECENT violence. Fictional depictions of violence, which is not so harmful and can serve as an emotional realease, that’s something I think can be endorsed.

  12. says

    Oops, pushed publish instead of preview…

    So, I’ll try again, please ignore the above #11
    ….
    Of course Muslims were killed in the attack (the 19 pigs to be sure) but it was not directed at them…it was directed at America, against Christians (AKA infidels), and against our great free republic. It was an act of hate toward me, my family, and my beliefs…..
    I’m sure that’s a great comfort to those people and their families. They may be dead, but at least their beliefs were not attacked.


    Had the book not included the term “extremist”, it would have been designed to offend, but it is accurate and helpful….
    Yes, sure. Absolutely accurate. Helpful for what exactly?

    This poster goes on and on about the importance of the constitution to finish with this little gem:
    Most families today don’t even take time out of there busy lives to connect with there children. Or one better is when was the last time you sat down, and read the Bible, or what ever other text to your child. Do you go to church on a regular basis, do you do good things for your church and community as a family. These are values that I was raised up with, and I’ll be damned if anyone can take this away from me. My way of life now is of two simple rules, My God comes First, and My family comes second. Mess with my God or my family you will have Hell to pay. …
    Yes, that sound really freedom-loving.

    And the pinnacle of tolerance:

    I really dont care what some muslim thinks is offensive. What I find offensive is that they come to this country, walk around with their faces covered up, insist on us pandering to them, request sharia law, and act upset when their false book the unholy quran (or however its spelled) gets burned like the trash that it is….
    Clearly, offense is only wrong when one is at the receiving end…

  13. Aquaria says

    I’m not clicking on the link. I’m scared that they have photos from Americans torturing and humiliating Iraqis in Abu Ghraib who had nothing to do with 9/11, and assuring us it wasn’t torture, just the wonders of “enhanced” interrogation.

  14. I'mthegenie!Icandoanything! says

    I’m disgusted, but that’s merely my normal state whenever anything to do with today’s USA is the topic.

    We still have many, many fine points and many more fine people, but there is no nation more likely to disgust me than the one I was born in, since we have not a single excuse, yet endlessly are told by the most evil and stupid of us how exceptional we are.

    President Obama! Do even a quarter of the things you promised us, and do them with tempered, courteous strength!

  15. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    Giliell,
    You missed this little gem:

    Please exercise some of your acceptance and recognize that Christian Americans are the victims and not Islam.

    by the same commenter who gave us the 19 pigs. You know, just so that we’re clear about who is really being mistreated here. *sarcasm*
    He was also generous enough to mention a few little blotches on the peaceful and loving history of Christianity, like the crusades and the Balkins[sic].

  16. says

    You know, I think I’m disgusted by this as a human being; it doesn’t matter what your beliefs about religion are, this is simply the glorification of bloody violence.

    QFT.

    Thank you, PZ, for taking the right position on this.

  17. elfsternberg says

    I’m repulsed by this, but I’m especially repulsed because the artist has gone out of his way to replicate a myth. There is no evidence that Bin Laden used anyone as a human shield.

    Oh, and Esa? That was what the soldiers were told to do: kill Osama Bin Laden. If you voted for Barack Obama, recall that during his 2008 campaign he explicitly promised that if he knew where Osama Bin Laden was, he would send troops in with orders to kill, even if the country where OBL was hiding was nominally a “friendly.” He did exactly what he said he would do.

    The orders were explicit: Osama Bin Laden was to be killed unless he “conspicuously surrendered.”

    Why are you surprised?

  18. Chris says

    That’s America for you,buckets and buckets of blood with pitchfork and torches galore.But if there were somehow an overly curvaceous woman drawn in that panel,THAT’S what people would be bitching about.

  19. says

    heh yeah nice violent killing colouring book..lets see how much they’d love a colouring book that showed the reproductive system ..le sigh

  20. Tigger_the_Wing says

    That is one horrific book.

    Aimed at children?!

    I was driving across England on my way to visit my new grandson (a week old) when the news of the first collision was on the car radio. Which packed in within the half hour, so I had no more news until I arrived at my destination; by which time the second tower had been hit and everyone was in shock.

    Number 1 Son and I visited New York just fifteen months afterwards, and my sister, her husband (both Muslim) and their friends and family were still in shock.

    I think that remembering the tenth anniversary is very important.

    But children of an age that loves colouring books (IME 2-7) weren’t even born at the time.

    This is propaganda in its vilest form. The remembrance should have nothing to do with glorifying violence, still less with indoctrinating a new generation with bigotry.

    Is this book going to be part of a series of colouring books about terrorist attacks in the USA? I wonder how they’ll treat all the other (Christian) terrorist attacks, such as the Oklahoma bombings?

  21. Valis says

    I read an account by Joe Lieberman of what happened, after he was shown the video of the raid. The way he told it OBL was captured, hands cuffed behind his back, and then he was executed. This account very quickly vanished from news sites. So draw your own conclusions.

  22. Shriketastic says

    My friend, who is a Marine, came away with a much different feeling from that picture;

    “What the fuck is he wearing? That is sure as shit not a Navy SEAL. Who the fuck has that kind of gun? This shit is retarded.”

  23. Esa Riihonen says

    elfsternberg
    Did I say I was surprised because OBL was ‘executed’ that way – not at all – I was just surprised that this was so blatantly shown in the picture. Immediately after the event at least, the media was filled with some bullshit about him aiming or even shooting with a Kalashnikov to justify the killing.
    And no, I didn’t vote for Obama – I’m not from the USA.

  24. Nomadiq says

    Yeah I agree with #10. This mantra of “They hate us because of our freedoms” is bullshit. Its simply made up and has no baring in truth from anything modern Islamic terrorists have ever said. It creates a false dichotomy of “Freedom loving versus freedom hating” people.

    Perhaps the more relevant dichotomy is “People who think its OK to manipulate children with propaganda and those who don’t”. You’ll also find true respecters of freedom don’t and can be found on both sides of the false dichotomy.

  25. peterh says

    Words fail – but I’ll have a brief go: terrible, disheartening, ugly, superficial, unrepresentative, despicable. And most of the other descriptives posted above.

  26. Thomathy, now gayer and atheister says

    Also disgusted. (But why do I even have to voice my disgust?)

    Tigger_the_Wing @ #23, you make an excellent point about the age of the children who would be doing the colouring. Not only is the book completely ahistorical propaganda aimed directly at children who couldn’t hope to comprehend 9/11, these are children who weren’t even alive when it took place. That seems particularly pernicious to me when I think of the fact that even a child of <4 wouldn't necessarily even have known about the events at the time that they occurred, let alone comprehend those events.

    It seems that a rather horrid myth is being propagated and reinforced in a segment of the American population. And it's been but nearly ten years to day? That's quite the short time frame for a myth to spring up. I'm actually reminded, as an outside observer to the events (I'm not American), how I took for granted the actualities of 9/11 and the subsequent invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq until I was confronted, not shortly after the events, with the peculiar American misunderstanding regarding just who the attackers were and where they were from. It seems now those were more the wilfully dishonest inventions of the media for the consumption of a stupid, ignorant and hateful population. Pernicious propaganda indeed.

  27. Tim DeLaney says

    Disgusting beyond belief, not merely the cartoon, but the caption as well. It might not meet the legal defitition of child abuse, but that’s how I see it.

  28. elfsternberg says

    #29: Also, too, did you ever notice that the people who cry “They hate us for our freedoms” are the same people who want to take away a lot of those freedoms: the freedom to practice your religion or no religion without fear of censure, the freedom to say what you want in whatever forum you can without government approbation; the freedom to gather where you will for whatever purpose.

    It’s pure tribalism, Christianity vs. Islam, and nothing else.

  29. says

    Not really on topic, but just wanted to let you know that when reading this post in Google Reader (as I do both your feeds right now), the image text comes up as just another paragraph. I was a little bit confused for a second, as it seemed _you_ were writing the quote from the textbook :)

  30. Roxane M. says

    Of course the book is morally reprehensible, jingoist, and all the rest of it. I would also like to call attention to the poor grammar of the text under the picture of a cowering Osama. Do they really intend for “Being the elusive character that he was. . . ” to modify “American soldiers?”

  31. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    I searched for most popular coloring books on Amazon and We Shall Never forget is number one on the list. Number 1, as in the best seller. It’s also a new release (3rd August) so it is a bit strange that it got popular so fast. It’s either frightening or suspicious. Or both.

  32. pinkboi says

    I’m worried about the brainwashing but there’s also hope that this backfires. How many kids are going to look at that drawing (among others) and think that maybe the way we went about things was fucked up? Even the school bully knows to stop punching when his victim is crying. Here we see our men in uniform about to shoot someone who’s cowering, unarmed. Sure, it’s meant to make him out to be a coward, but doesn’t it do the same to us?

  33. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    How many kids are going to look at that drawing (among others) and think that maybe the way we went about things was fucked up?

    Kids are smart, but I think this time you are giving them too much credit. Or at least to most of them, there are always exceptions. The thing is.. I doubt that parents who would buy books like that would leave it at that and fail to explain everything about those nasty Muslims to the children. Combined with all the talk about patriotism, it all comes together as a pretty well (for certain values of well) put together tool for brainwashing.

    Even the school bully knows to stop punching when his victim is crying.

    You must have known some really nice school bullies.

  34. Anubis Bloodsin III says

    Awww!!!…just good xians being good xians….

    There addiction to Muslim death preferably with as much blood lust as possible has not dimmed much since the Crusades.

    If anything it has increased a few notches, now they have modern tools to spread the joy around.

  35. says

    I really dont care what some muslim thinks is offensive. What I find offensive is that they come to this country, walk around with their faces covered up, insist on us pandering to them, request sharia law, and act upset when their false book the unholy quran (or however its spelled) gets burned like the trash that it is….
    Clearly, offense is only wrong when one is at the receiving end…#13

    You’re vile and I am embarrassed that you are a member of my species.

  36. jheartney says

    Violence porn has been part of Xtian iconography from the beginning. What do you think the ever-present image of the crucifixion is? And of course from very early on there were lurid images and stories about the Xtian martyrs featuring lots of blood and gore.

    The coloring book is clearly aimed at making a buck off of wingnuts and their xenophobic sensibilities. And of course the images contain obvious falsehoods; what would any Xtian propaganda piece be without dishonesty?

  37. Anubis Bloodsin III says

    #14 @ Rasputin

    Rasputin I think you misunderstood the context of the comment from #13

    It was quotes from the original article..see #11

    It also seems that ‘Giliell, connaiseuse des choses bonnes’ is not expressing a personal opinion!

    Quite the reverse methinks!

  38. Brownian says

    These crazy people hate the American way of life because we are FREE and our society is FREE.

    I can’t speak for people outside of North America, but those of us living here who aren’t American look at your imprisoned population, your puritanical laws about sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll, and masses living just short of indentured servitude, and we don’t see a particularly free people or free society.

    Unless ‘free’ in this context means something different, much in the same way that Christians use the word ‘love’.

  39. Sean Boyd says

    The coloring book is disgusting. We’ve had an American Muslim write with disgust about it (at the CSM.) PZ, an American Atheist, has done the same. Any takers on how long it will take an American Christian to do the same? And, assuming one does, how much they’ll lean on the No True Scotsman fallacy in their screed?

  40. Eric Riley says

    Let’s take a look at the picture and ignore, for the moment, the story behind it and who the actors are. What do you see? Who is the hero in the picture? Who is the victim? In any other context, the woman shielding the old man would be considered heroic, the old man is clearly the victim, and the man with the weird M1/SAW hybrid (evidently the artist has no knowledge of firearms) is the ‘bad guy’.

    Do we want to teach that it is ok to become ‘the bad guy’ when someone else attacks you? And if so, how does this agree with our being a ‘Christian’ nation – because that is most certainly not the message in the gospels.

  41. Sean Boyd says

    What message in the gospels do you mean, Eric Riley? The message from Matthew 11, where Jesus tells people who don’t sufficiently kiss his arse that they’re gonna git it? Or how about those rosy promises from Matthew 8 of wailing and gnashing of teeth? And if we depart from the “gospels”, why, things get really happy. Yes, that Xtian bible is practically brimming over with fluffy, happy thoughts, and love and tolerance for all.

    Don’t push the shit notion here that the gospels are all about peace and love. You’re preaching to the wrong choir. If you wish to continue that line of thought, I’m sure a porcupine can be procured for you.

  42. KillJoy says

    Wow.
    And here I thought I couldn’t be any more horrified and disgusted by my fellow americans. I am quite boggled by how any one could think this even remotely appropriate for children. Hooray propaganda.

    P.S. Brownian, after viewing your profile thingy and seeing the bit of paraphrasing from Ghostbusters, I am even deeper in internet love with you.

    Eternally disgusted with the entire human race (except Brownian) I remain;
    KJ

  43. UpAgainstTheRopes says

    @ wicked

    There is one

    from the 70’s and still in print
    And yeah, I’m sure if anyone knew they’d be up in arms

    : )

  44. says

    Unless ‘free’ in this context means something different, much in the same way that Christians use the word ‘love’.

    You should know by now that it does.

  45. Zinc Avenger says

    “They hate us for our freedoms” is true.

    No, not the terrorists.

    The ones who profit from fear hate the few freedoms that remain.

  46. Mattir-ritated says

    I am willing to stop insisting that being a Christian requires that one believe in whichever bronze-age cooties transmission system or genocidal politics or whatever if Christians will stop showing up with the No True Christian™ argument against the loonier strains of their tradition. Just because it’s not YOUR kind of Christianity doesn’t mean it’s not Christian.

    The coloring book is, of course, vile.

  47. Anri says

    pinkboi:

    I’m worried about the brainwashing but there’s also hope that this backfires. How many kids are going to look at that drawing (among others) and think that maybe the way we went about things was fucked up? Even the school bully knows to stop punching when his victim is crying. Here we see our men in uniform about to shoot someone who’s cowering, unarmed. Sure, it’s meant to make him out to be a coward, but doesn’t it do the same to us?

    OT a bit –
    Speaking as someone who was bullied: some do, some don’t. A distrubing number take tears as the sign that things are just getting good.

    One kid at our middle school required several rounds of reconstructive orthodonic surgery after getting tossed down a long flight of concrete steps. But hey, the kids that did it got their comeuppance – a 5-day suspension.

    What’s sadder is that this is far from the worst story that could be told here on this subject, I’m certain.

    That being said, I understand what you’re saying. Just remember: god’s always on the side with the biggest guns.

  48. Lyra says

    Matthew 5:43-48

    New International Version (NIV)

    43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

    So much for that, eh? And I’m sure that these are the same people who rush to cite Romans 1:26-27 when they see a homosexual couple in a long term, loving, committed relationship. *snort*

  49. says

    If it was right to assassinate bin laden then why not george bush? Bush killed a shitload more innocent people. Teaching children to be total fucking hypocrites is gross.

  50. Ophelia Benson says

    To reiterate what Roxane said (@ 37) – it’s not just a sick drawing, it’s illiterate as well.

    Being the elusive character that he was, and after hiding out with his terrorist buddies in Pakistan and Afghanistan, American soldiers finally locate the terrorist leader Osama bin Laden.

    That sentence is imbecilic in its badness.

  51. says

    I let someone who wasn’t aware of the context glance at the picture. Their response

    “Why is a Muslim woman protecting Santa from being shot by a murderous fly fisher in Light Yagami’s bedroom?”

  52. says

    “Why is a Muslim woman protecting Santa from being shot by a murderous fly fisher in Light Yagami’s bedroom?”

    Most epic comment here! /geeksquee and off-topic

  53. David says

    Anyone know if this is the same Wayne Bell who is responsible for WWIV, the old-school BBS system?

  54. Richard Braverman says

    ..
    ..
    How about being disgusted because the the story we have been given is a total LIE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    ..
    9-11 = Israel.
    ..
    ..
    Try digesting that factoid.
    ..
    ..

  55. Brownian says

    Try digesting that factoid.

    Holy fuckck!!! my eyes are3 open!!! thanks 4 freeing me from beeing one of the sheeopl!

    Fuck off, moron.

  56. UpAgainstTheRopes says

    @Richard Braverman

    9-11 = Israel

    You’re not right, you’re not even wrong

    9-11 = -2

  57. Shadow says

    The whole concept is disgusting. As others have noted, is is propaganda, designed, I suppose, to desensitize future generations against “The Other” as depicted by the “righteous.”

    The kind of parent who’d give this to children would also give the kid a Krystalnacht tea set, I suppose. Maybe a Hiroshima night light?

    The parents getting these are truly sick.

    Just sayin’

  58. julian says

    It’s nice (not) to see attempts to desensitize our youth to killing the great many enemies of our nation are very much present in today’s America.

  59. Thomathy, now gayer and atheister says

    @ #37, I imagine that the previous page adds context to that sentence so that ‘[…] he was’ is connected with Bin Laden, rather than being an incorrectly conjugated verb phrase modifying ‘American Soldiers’. Still, it reads awfully.

  60. Audley Z. Darkheart OM (OS), purveyor of candy and lies says

    9-11 = Israel.

    I, uh, wut? I thought that 9/11 was an inside job– you know, the CIA and whatever other boogeymen you morons like to prattle on about.

    It looks like you’ve turned the conspiracy theory up to 11. Thanks for the giggle, now kindly fuck off.

  61. 'Tis Himself, pour encourager les autres says

    Really Big Coloring Books Inc.

    Publisher of many sophisticated conservative political treatises.

  62. j r says

    At first I thought it strange that they showed the Seal murdering a defenseless OBL, but I guess they want to show the little children that it’s OK to murder defenseless people as long as they’re Muslims, or even worse, freedom-hating radical Islamic Muslim extremists. Not only that, they’re “crazy people.”

    Proof that we don’t live in a free society: If we were the government would not be telling us all the time how ‘free’ we are. It would be obvious.

  63. Michael S says

    * I know it’s tempting to mix up a comment or idea with personal exhibition, but it doesn’t help either kind of statement.

    If you need to tell everyone online who and what you are, use your social networking account for that.

    If you need to tell everyone who or what you are to make them listen to your ideas, you’re talking to the wrong people.

    * [As a white, male, student, … , humanist, …. My favorite movie is Blade Runner.]

  64. kermit says

    Should I assume that the Exceptional Country Religious Right hate the Muslims for their freedoms?

    Someone upthread indicated that the shooter in the coloring book should be wearing a crucifix. Nope. Medieval Europeans may have been Papists, but Real American True Christians don’t wear crucifixes. They might wear a Christian flag as well as a USian flag on their military or paramilitary uniform, however.

    And no, this book won’t warp kids’ minds. They’ve already been warped by trying to understand why getting eaten by a lion should give them hope. As a former baby Southern Baptist, I can remember being told that I should be feeling the most surprising emotions under very peculiar scenarios, then being told to feel guilty for not having the right feelings. Instead of learning to feel real guilt and pretend to myself to feel those other emotions on cue, I just felt angry and stopped telling people what I felt. (I also stopped telling them what I thought, but that was a no-brainer.)

  65. Brownian says

    * [As a white, male, student, … , humanist, …. My favorite movie is Blade Runner.]

    I don’t understand what the ellipses mean. Is that some sort of group? What does that mean? Should I be worried that my girlfriend tells me she’s “going to work up a sweat on the elliptical machine” and comes back breathless and sweaty?

  66. peterh says

    I think the ellipses were irony flags. I take Michael to mean those things he pointed out are (for the purposes of threads such as these) truly not worth the time taken to point them out.

  67. Brownian says

    I think the ellipses were irony flags. I take Michael to mean those things he pointed out are (for the purposes of threads such as these) truly not worth the time taken to point them out.

    Thanks. Would have been nice if you’d told me that before I stormed down to the gym and caused a big scene.

  68. Craig McGillivary says

    By the way Bin Laden did not hide behind a women. That was put out by the White House and then later retracted. It was a deliberate effort to create a myth.

  69. SD says

    Ah yes, violent colouring books published by the same people who are constantly screeching about violence in movies, books and videogames… Just remember kids, it’s not mindless violence if it’s directed at the right people.

  70. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    I am saddened. And disturbed. And disgusted.

    And I am angry that the right wing uses the tenth anniversary of a crime to continue to feed the mythology surrounding the attacks.

    As some of you know, after the attacks I was sent down to New York City as a Security Specialist (2) (a job I normally perform at forest fires and hurricanes). I was stationed at the Javitz Center providing support for the search and rescue teams. Because I was an easterner (one of the few in the security branch), I ended up being the designated driver for my SECM when he needed to go anywhere (he was an LEO but wasn’t wild about driving in New York City (and I don’t blame him)).

    I found myself down at the World Trade Center site about a dozen times. And I still have nightmares.

    Does this colouring book show the grey dust attaching itself to the hardhats of all the workers? Grey dust which included the human remains of the murdered?

    Does this colouring book have the smell of burned metal, decomposition and burned plastic that permeated everything? A smell I still experience in nightmares? A smell that is triggered by a dead dear by the side of the road?

    Does this colouring book show the ambulance crews waiting in vain for any survivor? Or the tears of the handlers of the search and rescue dogs at the futility of the search?

    Does this colouring book have even a glimmer of the truth? Of the human toll? Not just the thousands of victims in the United States and the surviving families, but the million or so Iraqis who have died because of our insane invasion? Or the tens of thousands of Afghanis? Or does it focus only on the pain of the good white American Christians?

    The snuff pornography, peddled to children, will achieve exactly what it is meant to achieve. It is not an honest evocoation of actual history; instead, it is a craven attempt to emotionally scar young children, to scare them, to frighten them, and to become emotionally invested in the use of violence to assuage that fear. After all, the frightened children of today are the scared shitless voters of tomorrow — voters who will gladly vote for those who promise safety in simplistic binary solutions.

    I have not thrown away the hardhat I wore when I was in New York City. The grey dust is still there. I’m not sure why I still have it (it’s not even up to code for fires anymore). Then again, I haven’t been able to throw away the smells or images, so I guess it almost makes sense.

    The smell, whether it is the smell of burnin brakes and decomposing animals on the highway, or the olfactory hallucination of a nightmare, is, to me, the smell of insanity, of fundamentalism, of hate, of binary solutions, of simplistic religious solutions.

    I wonder if the smell is in the colouring book?

  71. Cassius Corodes says

    The idea that OBL and his ilk hate us for our freedom is not incorrect. They hate that we don’t knuckle under to their Islamic BS, they hate that women are allowed to go around free and they hate the way we are allowed to say whatever we want about Islam.

    I’m disappointed that many people here honestly think our foreign policy has any relevance to OBL and his actions. If you read the (main stream no less) press in the arab world you will quickly notice that it only tangentially resembles reality with everything from shark attacks to birds flying overhead being “revealed” to be US and “Zionist” plots. And this is even before you get to extremist news sources. We could be angels (and by no means we are) and it would make absolutely ZERO difference to OBL and his group’s opinions.

    So while there is general good in trying to be better in our approach to foreign policy – the idea that we just need to be better and islamists et al would not attack us is just silly. Look to the people that such extremists idolise – hamas, hezbollah, MB, iran – we are immeasurably better than those – and we treat arabs better than they do! So if they actually cared about reality they would be flocking to the US even with our patchy record.

  72. says

    Cassius Corrodes, how can you even suggest that it doesn’t have to do with American foreign policy? Even if that isn’t the full story, are you honestly suggesting that America’s presence and involvement in the Middle East has nothing to do with America being a target?

    are you that blind to how the rest of the world views the US that you choose to believe America is the shining beacon of freedom and tolerance and that’s why it was attacked? Wow…

  73. Cassius Corodes says

    Kel: /1st Para/ – Sort of; the US is a target because everyone has heard of it, everyone knows its the biggest thing around, and you get good street cred for attacking it. Paranoid delusions provide the other side of the motivation.

    /2nd Para/ – Please don’t do the whole you don’t agree the US evil therefore you believe its a saint. I’ve said in the comment several times that its not perfect. I’ve recently parted company with the left in foreign policy matters largely over the, in my view, the unreasonable perspectives it has on the US and the Islamists.

  74. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    Cassius Corodes:

    Could it be that people really do get pissed off with the US when we, consistently, tell other countries what their foreign policy should be? or tell them what kind of government they should have (usually supporting dictators becaause they are anti-communist or (more recently) supporters in The War On Terror? Or send in the troops to protect the investment of US companies? Or have one standard of human rights for our ‘allies’ (the ones who do what we tell them to do) and another standard of human rights for our ‘enemies’? Or overthrow a popularly elected government because we don’t agree with the outcome? Since before the Second World War, United States foreign policy has operated on the idea that we have the right to tell other countries what they can and cannot do, but they are not allowed to criticize the United States.

    And now my piss-poor writing will be totally misinterpreted by someone.

  75. Ing says

    Sort of; the US is a target because everyone has heard of it, everyone knows its the biggest thing around, and you get good street cred for attacking it. Paranoid delusions provide the other side of the motivation.

    Just like how, at a party, everyone will know the name of the guy who takes a dump in the punch bowl

  76. says

    Cassius, i’m not turning it into a dichotomy, just trying to point out to you that your account is idealised nonsense completely unsubstantiated by any evidence. Why did Bin Laden turn on the US only in the aftermath of the gulf war? ‘They hate our freedom’ is propaganda with no empirical basis. And, unfortunately, plays into the mindset that made the 2nd Iraq war such a disaster.

    As Scott Atran points out, the motivation is not religious in nature.

  77. Cassius Corodes says

    Brother Ogvorbis: Well lets be fair – how many countries do we tell what their foreign policy should be? And I mean tell – not suggest or complain about when they do something we don’t like (after all others do this as well).

    We have engaged in regime change in a few countries after ww2 – and I agree that this is very crap foreign policy. This has hurt us badly in the long run – especially in the case if Iran.

    Unless you are in the blood for oil camp I don’t think there are really any post ww2 examples of protecting US companies investment with the military.

    “Or have one standard of human rights for our ‘allies’ (the ones who do what we tell them to do) and another standard of human rights for our ‘enemies’” – Well there isn’t really any solution to this problem, and I think you will find that no other country does any better either. At the end of the day you have to work with shitty regimes – but at the same time we didn’t get in the way of the fall of Mubarak most recently or the anti-dictatorship revolutions in Asia in the 80s and 90s.

    “Since before the Second World War, United States foreign policy has operated on the idea that we have the right to tell other countries what they can and cannot do, but they are not allowed to criticize the United States.” – I don’t think this even approaches fairness. Almost everyone including yourself at one point has criticised the US, and there’s no shortages of countries who do so. The US certainly hasn’t done anything against even a fraction of them.

    My point is however, that despite the fact that there are real issues with US foreign policy you will find that extremists are too busy with imagined or unreasonable ones to even address real ones. Hence my belief that the view that goes “if only we were better people wouldn’t hate us or attack us” is wrong.

  78. Cassius Corodes says

    As an addendum to my previous comment I should add that while the US has made some bad decisions regarding regime change it has also made very good ones – particularly in its contributions to the downfall of the Soviet union. People in eastern Europe (minus Russia) are very pro US as a result. I should also mention here Libya as well as the most recent example.

  79. Ragutis says

    What a horrid bit of propaganda. With Huckabee’s revisionist history cartoons and Texas’ recent curriculum changes, it’s pretty clear that a deliberate long term strategy of the Wrong Right to brainwash a generation is underway. I’ll be sure to mention this the next time I hear someone talking about the (select one)liberal/gay/atheist/feminist/environmentalist agenda.

    I have got to get my ass in gear with the school thing. The future here is a bit looking scarier every day.

    Ing, your comment @ #70 gave me the best laugh I’ve had in several days. Thank you, I needed that.

    It’s OK, Brownian. If your girlfriend strays, you know you can get all the gay sex you want from the men and women of the Hoarde.

  80. Cassius Corodes says

    “Why did Bin Laden turn on the US only in the aftermath of the gulf war?”

    This is exactly my point. The US comes to the defence of an Muslim Arab country that is being attacked by another Muslim Arab country and its somehow the bad guy in the eyes of other Muslim Arabs. What is the correct choice here? Let Kuwait get annexed? Then people complain that the US didn’t intervene and save all those people.

    If you want a recent example of this see the NATO involvement in Libya. The US seems to get blamed for both doing something and not doing something.

    “‘They hate our freedom’ is propaganda with no empirical basis.” – You will find that the issue of women being free is a big talking point for Islamists. Freedom of speech is hated when someone says something bad about Islam – i.e. what happened when that preacher burned the koran or the cartoon nonsense. Can you tell me that these are not legitimate examples of hating us for our freedom?

  81. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    As Scott Atran points out, the motivation is not religious in nature.

    I don’t think Atran points this out so much as he alleges and asserts it. He seems to have a really high-strung interest in denying the religious motivations or justifications of terrorist acts. Certainly the US’ imperialist activities have an effect on these actions, and those who ignore that and claim it’s merely and only that “Muslims” “Hate our freedom and our lack of submission to Allah” are being foolish. But it’s equally stupid when people like Atran work so hard to deny that religious/theological motivations have anything whatsoever to do with the desire to kill infidels. Um, yeah, they do. If not as a causative factor (for the sake of argument) then certainly as a powerful motivator and infinitely convenient justification that isn’t available to those who don’t have a “religious mission” to fall back on to justify their murder.

  82. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    Well lets be fair – how many countries do we tell what their foreign policy should be?

    Well, just nine years ago, when France did not support our decision to invade Iraq, the US right wing had an anti-France wankfest. Remember what happened to French Fries?

    And I mean tell – not suggest or complain about when they do something we don’t like (after all others do this as well).

    We didn’t like President Mossadegh of Iran initiating diplomatic relations with the USSR and replaced him with Shah Rhesa Pahlavi (I’ll be coming back to Iran). Prince Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia tried to be neutral during the Vietman War so we bombed the shit out of them, invaded, and then left the Cambodians to the tender mercy of the Khmer Rouge.

    Unless you are in the blood for oil camp I don’t think there are really any post ww2 examples of protecting US companies investment with the military.

    Um, Iran and US oil companies? Or how about Guatemala (United Fruit Company?), in which we initiated a 36-year civil war because the legally elected Guatemalen government wanted to end UFC’s extra-territorial legal rights. Those are just two off the top of my head.

    Well there isn’t really any solution to this problem,

    Yes, there is. And Jimmy Carter tried it in the late 1970s (and got a rash of shit from the right wing), expecting all nations to live up to the United Nation’s Declaration on Human Rights — not just the USSR, but all nations. And he had the radical idea that we should set an example in the United States.

    I don’t think this even approaches fairness.

    If anything, I have understated United States foreign policy in the Cold War era. The United States routinely dictated foreign policy to client states — not suggestions, we told them what their foreign policy should be and if, like Iran or South Vietnam, they wanted to try something different, we changed their government. Even today, large nubmers of Americans, and an even larger percentage of our elected and appointed government officials view any objection to United States foreign policy as one step short of war. Venezuela and France are two which come immediately to mind — they don’t toe the US line so they are lambasted in speeches and the press. And people really do notice this shit.

    The US certainly hasn’t done anything against even a fraction of them.

    Your view of 20th century world history is quite shallow and uninformed. Guatemala, West Germany, Japan, South Korea, South Vietnam, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Italy, the Soviet Union, China, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Zaire/Congo, Mozambique, etc, etc, etc, have, in one way or another, been victims or US foreign policy. And many of the interferences have made things demonstrably worse for the citizens of those countries, often by supporting dictators who were much closer to Mussolini’s Italy than anything the United States claims to stand for.

    extremists are too busy with imagined or unreasonable ones to even address real ones.

    And is it inconcievable that our long history of interference in the governments of other nations makes those imagined offenses so much more believable? That our blind support of Israel’s displacement of the Palestinians has made just about any lie about the US quite believable? That our actions in Cambodia show just how much we are willing to do when we don’t agree with a nation’s foreign policy? Of course there are some bizarre conspiracy theories out there regarding what the US is trying to do, most of them absolute bullshit. But, given our history, what do we expect?

  83. Ragutis says

    “Hoarde”?

    When you can’t decide which homophone is the correct one, boys and girls, just mash ‘em together! Too bad I didn’t stick a w in front, it would have been a hat-trick.

  84. says

    To be fair to Scott Atran, he has the training in anthropology and has done much empirical research himself. It’s a bit hard to just wave his opinion away as mere assertion without good reason to think so.

  85. Ragutis says

    with everything from shark attacks to birds flying overhead being “revealed” to be US and “Zionist” plots.

    That’s crazy. I wonder, what on earth could make them so suspicious of us?*

    Conspiracy theories are crazy the world ’round, but I think it’s fair to say that the west, and recently us in particular have done much to establish the foundation of distrust that the nuts and extremists alike build their paranoia and propaganda upon.

    * Does that really sound that different from what we’re hearing from much of the Right here in the U.S. or european nationalists like Geert Wilders?

  86. Cassius Corodes says

    Ragutis: “Conspiracy theories are crazy the world ’round, but I think it’s fair to say that the west, and recently us in particular have done much to establish the foundation of distrust that the nuts and extremists alike build their paranoia and propaganda upon.”

    That you think so is what I think is the really crazy part. We (the left) have lost our ability to see shit clearly. We have become so introspective that we blame the bad characteristics of others on ourselves. Its like saying that “yes 9/11 truther/ faked moon landing/ NWO/ conspiracies are crazy but I thinks its fair to say that /US Govt/NASA/UN have done much to establish distrust”. Its just insane ramblings of crazy people and any tangential resemblance to reality is purely coincidental.

  87. julian says

    I think it’s fair to say that the west, and recently us in particular have done much to establish the foundation of distrust that the nuts and extremists alike build their paranoia and propaganda upon.

    That doesn’t excuse any of the behavior we’re seeing. Especially on the local level where it’s used by nationalistic groups to discredit political enemies and reinforce tyrannical policies. For example, the French and English may have made few friends in Africa, but once you have homophobes arguing homosexuality was imported by the West and incompatible with being a true African, it’s pretty clear whatever ‘we’ have done to them is just an excuse for their bigotry.

  88. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Kel:

    To be fair to Scott Atran, he has the training in anthropology and has done much empirical research himself. It’s a bit hard to just wave his opinion away as mere assertion without good reason to think so.

    Um, yeah. And to be fair to me, I’ve read some of Scott Atran’s work and I paid attention to his debate about this issue with Sam Harris a few years ago. It’s a bit hard to just wave my opinion away as mere idiocy and unfamiliarity without good reason to think so.

    So, um, thanks.

  89. Ing says

    Yeah I wonder where they got the idea that gay was so bad. Couldn’t be those meddling missionaries could it?

  90. Ragutis says

    Except the U.S. gov’t does NOT have a history of faking major scientific accomplishments, or attempting to create one world government, or murdering thousands of it’s own innocents for political gain. Other countries’ innocents, on the other hand… It DOES have a history of meddling in the affairs of brown peoples with things it wants, and giving Israel billions of dollars and lots of stuff they use to kill Muslims with.

    All I’m saying is that I can see why the west is distrusted by many in the Middle East and that that distrust can easily evolve into paranoiac fantasy or be manipulated into extremism. I don’t know why thousands, maybe millions of USAians think the gov’t has E.T. and his hooptie hidden in the NM desert. There’s no good reason. But a middle eastern yokel thinking that that bird that’s been circling overhead for awhile might be a spy drone…

    BL didn’t give a shit that we let our women drive, that banks charge interest, that we set our slaves free and even let them vote nowadays, or that we can criticize our government, buy semi-automatic weapons, or get raging drunk listening to rock music while eating a ham sandwich.

  91. says

    I’m not waving your opinion away as mere idiocy, I’m asking just what is it you find wrong with Atran’s research and arguments? If you can’t articulate why Atran is wrong, then how am I to know whether you’re coming from a sound empirical foundation?

    Is that a good enough reason, Josh?

  92. Revyloution says

    What I find especially disturbing with the image is the correlation with Osama and a large reading library behind him. Am I just paranoid, or is the illustrator trying to associate being literate with being anti-american?

  93. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    If you can’t articulate why Atran is wrong, then how am I to know whether you’re coming from a sound empirical foundation?

    Is that a good enough reason, Josh?

    Gimme a break. You strode in and asserted Atran had “pointed out” things as if they were utterly uncontroversial. You didn’t “demonstrate” anything; you certainly didn’t expand on Atran’s research to back up why you thought he was right.

    So why are you castigating me? I didn’t do or say anything different from what you did, yet you’re acting like you’ve proposed some treatise, and backed it up with data, that I’ve refused to address. Why? Kel, you didn’t articulate why you thought Atran was right. Why are you holding me to a different standard? Why are you acting as if the burden of proof is entirely on me, and not at all upon you, to justify my views of Atran’s work? I have to believe you recognize that’s unfair.

    Yes, if we’re going to have an in-depth and informed conversation about this, it’s incumbent on me (and you) to go back and read the work we’re debating. I freely concede I haven’t done that, and that I’m relying on my memory of what I thought of Atran’s work several years ago. I know that’s not good enough for a robust conversation, but I wasn’t claiming to be ready to have one tonight.

    You’re in exactly the same boat. You didn’t cite any more data than I did. Really, go back and read what you wrote-I’m not misrepresenting.

    So why do you think you get to chastise me? I’m baffled.

  94. julian says

    Yeah I wonder where they got the idea that gay was so bad. Couldn’t be those meddling missionaries could it?

    We may have brought this brand of bigotry with us (and we might continue to advance it through our Churches) but it’s not what’s motivating them. We’re stand-ins for whatever ills they view their society as having even ones we had absolutely no hand in. We’re rhetorical tools and boogeymen sleeping under their beds.

  95. julian says

    Am I just paranoid, or is the illustrator trying to associate being literate with being anti-american?

    Probably just a very lazy artist with no knowledge of the outside world so he defaulted to the kind of bedroom he’d seen on sitcoms growing up.

    Still, I’d never put anything past a propagandist.

  96. Therrin says

    Cassius Corodes,

    I like how you skipped over Brother Ogvorbis’ essay that contained meticulous details about the history of US involvement in foreign countries’ governments, and instead answered a post that followed it.

    ..

    Ok you got me, I lied. I didn’t actually like it.

  97. says

    Josh, why I used Atran was that he’s studied the matter as an anthropologist – he’s put the hard yards in looking at the motivations of terrorists. In other words, he’s done the work that we as empirically-minded individuals should be looking to. So dismissing him off-hand seemed odd, so asking why shouldn’t be out of place.

    Why I personally think it’s got very little to do with religion is the symbolism of the attack. The targets where very specifically chosen – the pentagon wasn’t exactly a religious symbol…

  98. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    So dismissing him off-hand seemed odd, so asking why shouldn’t be out of place.

    You continue to be offensive and wrong. You decided I dismissed him off-hand. Just because you thought so. Not because you knew whether I’d read him. You were wrong. Even after I told you I’m somewhat familiar with Atran’s ideas, you persist in this.

    You didn’t offer any more justification for the credence that you put in Atran than I did in my skepticism of him, but you decided I was the stupid one who dismissed him without reason.

    And you wonder why I find that insulting and anger-making.

  99. says

    Take all the offence you want – it’s not like being familiar with an argument means I should just take your word for it that it’s bad. I’m familiar, for example, with the arguments concerning a historical Jesus, but if I phe I find them all mere assertions, it wouldn’t seem unreasonable for me to articulate in what way. As I explained, I cited someone who has done research on the topic at hand. Why that person’s research is inadequate or wrong is something that can’t really be articulated by claiming a familiarity with the argument.

    Is getting indignant the new black?

  100. says

    Or to put it another way. Imagine talking to creationist who dismissed your argument where you cited something Dawkins said. And when asked how the point Dawkins was making was wrong, the creationist claims to have read Dawkins and was already familiar with that argument and that it was idiotic to think otherwise. And when it’s pointed out to the creationist that Dawkins is an expert in that field so it’s not too much to ask why Dawkins was wrong, the creationist continues to complain about how offended he is that his familiarity with Dawkins argument is being ignored.

  101. Cassius Corodes says

    Brother Ogvorbis: For the sake of brevity I will refer to your replies by /para N/.

    /Para 1/: To me this is perfectly fine. Someone does something someone doesn’t like – they protest and express their indignation. Much the same way you didn’t like that they did it so you refereed to it as a “wankfest”. Alls well.

    /Para 2/: I mentioned Iran as a legit example of crappy foreign policy – we are in agreement here. As for Cambodia, we disagree: While they were ostensibly neutral they allowed their country to be used as a supply route and the Viet Cong took advantage of their ability to retreat unmolested into their country. As for the Khmer Rouge, I don’t even see you logic there, that had nothing to do with the US.

    /Para 3/: As before with Iran. Admittedly I know little about Guatemala – the wiki page on UFC is a bit more cautious then your statement, but I am happy to concede that point.

    /Para 4/: There is not much here to argue against. JC did not change foreign policy significantly on any respect so I don’t know how you can make that statement. As with all presidents he talked a good game (see obama) and made a few nice moves and then it soon became all too hard. He had no trouble being nice to the Saudis or the Chinese.

    /Para 5/: You are exaggerating. As for being lambasted in the press – well so what? You think the French and Venezuelan press are all happiness and sunshine towards the US? If its good for the goose its good for the gander.

    /Para 6/: I would urge you to read what those imagined offences actually are:

    http://www.memri.org/subject/en/80.htm

    And importantly what people in the middle east do about them. As for what do I expect – that the people there get their shit together and come and sit at the adults table. And for people to stop making excuses for them not doing so.

  102. Cassius Corodes says

    Brother Ogvorbis: Apologies – I’ve skipped over para 6 – my previous reply actually refers to para 7 in this place.

    /Para 6/: I would love to know specifically how the people of West Germany, Japan, Italy, the Soviet Union, China, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Bulgaria have been harmed by the US. I’m quite frankly surprised you would make that claim.

  103. julian says

    As for what do I expect – that the people there get their shit together and come and sit at the adults table.

    It’s incredibly condescending to demand a whole region of different peoples, most who don’t have so much as a guaranteed safe walk to work, ‘act like adults.’

  104. cassius corodes says

    julian: Actually I would say its incredibly condescending not to.

    Also, Since when do most people in the middle east not have a guaranteed safe walk to work? Outside of the common dangers in the rest of the world what are you referring to here?

  105. McCthulhu is taking ∞ to eat all the pi says

    This on the day I heard some dotard berate (over his cellphone at my kid’s playpark) the DirecTV customer support lady for not carrying the 3Angels Broadcasting Network? Don’t you people know that the network will be carrying an important message sometime in the coming weeks about the return of Jesus?!!?!111!11?/11;one!?questionmark?

    If I didn’t have my little girl with me I would have meandered over and quizzed him on why, if his deity is all powerful, that he would need a churchy network that DTV doesn’t even want to carry to send a message to humanity about his return. The simple lapse in logic in just that single instance of religious blather shows what is wrong with religion. It’s for very, very stupid people. Very likely the kind of gun-toting rednecks that thought the above image appropriate for a children’s colouring book.

  106. StevoR says

    ..I’m disgusted by this as a human being; it doesn’t matter what your beliefs about religion are, this is simply the glorification of bloody violence.

    Hmm.. The glorification of bloody violence seems to be an inherently very common and long accepted human trait.

    This looks like a kids factual colouring-in-history book. You could argue, I guess, that it has a political slant of some kind a bias towards, well the good guys rather than the Terrorists as you’d expect. But I’m not sure I see any problem with that.

    It’s not factually wrong and not telling or showing lies.

    Meanwhile in all the Jihadistans of the Muslim world, the notorious anti-Semitic Tsarist forgery ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ is a best seller and countless mosques and madrassas preach hatred aginast the Great Satan (America) and its allies esp. the Lesser Satan Israel. Countless spittle flecked imams shriek that all Americans and Jews are pigs and dogs and tell outright vile anti-Semitic and racist lies all day every day. The Arab world idol worships the Homicide-Suicide Bomber “Martyrs” and says they’re rewarded in Allah’s Paradise of sexual and gastronomic gluttony for blowing up innocent people on buses, in markets, in restaurants and everywhere else.

    All the above stuff done by the Jihadistanis of the wanna-be Global Caliphate disgust me as a human being a heck of a lot more than this colouring in book. Doesn’t that disgust y’all more than this one too – and, if not, why not?

  107. Ewan Macdonald says

    Why is there so much self-flaggelation on this thread from the Americans? Yes, the “they hate our freedoms” argument is base, silly and simplistic. But there’s a worrying amount of the flip-side as well, which is that the USA somehow “had it coming” – that an atrocity like 9/11 was simply the outcome of the imperialist project. You could make that argument if you want – but that should not in any way excuse the atrocity or those who carried it out, and under no circumstances should it shift the blame onto anyone else.

    It’s wholly depressing to see other causes, too, excluded from the discourse quite simply because “we had it coming.”

  108. Brother Ogvorbis says

    /Para 2/: I mentioned Iran as a legit example of crappy foreign policy – we are in agreement here. As for Cambodia, we disagree: While they were ostensibly neutral they allowed their country to be used as a supply route and the Viet Cong took advantage of their ability to retreat unmolested into their country. As for the Khmer Rouge, I don’t even see you logic there, that had nothing to do with the US.

    Cambodia (read Sideshow by Shawcross) tried to remain neutral. Sihanouk believed that taking sides in the war (stopping the North Vietnamese Army using supply lines in Cambodia would have been tantamount to a declaration of war on North Vietnam; stopping South Vietnam and the United States placing special forces to inderdict those supplies would have been the same towards South Vietnam) would be national suicide. When he was overthrown (with CIA help) by Lon Nol, who effectively declared war on the communists, the US bombed and invaded Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge took over. And the troops trafficking through Cambodia were not the Viet Cong — the Viet Cong were domstic terrorists/freedom fighters in South Vietnam. The North Vietnamese Army (NVA) were the ones moving through Cambodia.

    /Para 3/: As before with Iran. Admittedly I know little about Guatemala – the wiki page on UFC is a bit more cautious then your statement, but I am happy to concede that point.

    You mean you admit that I actually know one thing? I’m impressed.

    /Para 4/: There is not much here to argue against. JC did not change foreign policy significantly on any respect so I don’t know how you can make that statement. As with all presidents he talked a good game (see obama) and made a few nice moves and then it soon became all too hard. He had no trouble being nice to the Saudis or the Chinese.

    Carter did attempt to change United States foreign policy and one of his unsung successes was holding the USSR to task for human rights violations when they sent dissidents to psychiatric hospitals for treatment (Russian writings gives a great deal of credit to Carter for exposing the hypocrisy of the Soviet system (oddly, US historians ignore it. hmmm)). Carter did attempt to pressure the Saudis, and the Israelis, into paying attention to human rights. He failed, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t try.

    /Para 5/: You are exaggerating. As for being lambasted in the press – well so what? You think the French and Venezuelan press are all happiness and sunshine towards the US? If its good for the goose its good for the gander.

    No, I am not exagerrating. Look at the televised speeches by elected politicians and political appointees accusing the French of coddling terrorists because they questioned our determination to invade Iraq no matter what. The US press mirrored that. As for the Venezuelan and French press, what, they aren’t allowed to criticize the US, but we can criticize their foreign policy? A little consitency, please.

    /Para 6/: I would urge you to read what those imagined offences actually are:

    http://www.memri.org/subject/en/80.htm

    And importantly what people in the middle east do about them. As for what do I expect – that the people there get their shit together and come and sit at the adults table. And for people to stop making excuses for them not doing so.

    Of, for fucks sake. I already wrote that there are some absurd conspiracy theories out there about the United States. And I already wrote that they are, for the most part, bullshit. My point was (and I think I reinforce it above) that the United States has earned a reputation as an international busybody determined to help nations even if we destroy them in the process.

    Then you continue to show historical ignorance by writing:

    I would love to know specifically how the people of West Germany, Japan, Italy, the Soviet Union, China, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Bulgaria have been harmed by the US. I’m quite frankly surprised you would make that claim.

    The only way you could be surprised if you are either ignorant of modern world history or have bought into the ‘America can do no wrong’ revisionism of modern conservative historians.

    West Germany:

    Use of the CIA to infiltrate and monkeywrench multiple left of center to leftist political groups, including incitement to crime.

    Japan:

    Encouragement of the developement of labour unions, then using the occupation force to forcibly dismantle and restrict the unions once they started to actually act like unions.

    Italy:

    Interference with the policies of the Italian government through bribery in order to limit any possibility of land redistribution to the sharecroppers.

    Soviet Union:

    Funding nationalist and religious underground movements and anti-communist partisan armies, many of which used terrorism (most notably in the Ukraine) to further their goals.

    China:

    Prolonging the civil war by supplying surplus weapons to the nationalist army, and many of those weapons were used in population suppression operations by the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army.

    Poland:

    Encourging dissent through monetary and moral support and then, when things began to heat up, backing off and leaving them to the tender mercy of the Red Army.

    Czechoslavakia:

    Encouraging dissent through monetary and moral support and then, when things began to heat up, backing off and leaving them to the tender mercy of the Red Army.

    Bulgaria:

    Assassination of reformist leaders, interference in the immedieate postwar elections (which discredited the centrist parties and made the communist takeover even easier).

    And these are off the top of my head. And right now, I’m trying to think of any country in the world in which the United States has not, in some way, meddled, and I’m at a blank. Unless it is Canada?

  109. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    It’s wholly depressing to see other causes, too, excluded from the discourse quite simply because “we had it coming.”

    No one here, least of all me, thinks that the only cause was ‘we had it coming.’ That is bullshit and a rather typical authoritarian binary conclusion (either it is all our fault, or it is all their fault). There are many factors, including the failure (sometimes with our help, sometimes with the help of the Soviet Union, sometimes on their own) of many governments in the Islamic world to effectively promote the welfare of their own peoples. My lists of the misdeeds of the United States in the post-World War II era was in response to a specific comment. Ineffective governments tend to breed violence — sometimes directed out, sometimes directed inward — but a denial that US policies influenced the choice of target is bizarre.

  110. Ewan Macdonald says

    Of course it’s not a binary situation. If I implied that it was I apologise. It is a very complex situation, but there is one very simple aspect to it: the 9/11 attacks were completely inexcusable, and no mixture of freedoms and foreign policy would have justified them.

  111. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    Ewan:

    And I am not trying to imply that United States actions justify the crime. I wrote it right in the paragraph you answered: United States actions influenced the target selection matrix (among other things) but did not cause the event. Why is this so hard to understand? I am not fucking blaming the United States for the terrorist attack. Really, I am not. I answered a comment which posited that the United States had done nothing to (in the minds of the terrorists) make it a target. I disagreed and, when challenged, provided numerous examples. This does not mean that I am blaming the United States for the attack. If I appear to have done so, I apologize, that was not my intent.

  112. David Tyler says

    Almost as disgusting as the execution scene is the repeated use of the word FREE. Has everyone forgotten that congress took away many of our rights and put them in government safekeeping with the Patriot act. Obama allowed it to stay in place. To glorify the killing of an unarmed man in the name of freedom is obscene.

  113. Ewan Macdonald says

    Brother Ogvorbis:

    I know you’re not. When I made my post I was referring in the main to posts 8 and 62. Your input hasn’t been of the simplistic kind at all, and it’s been very interesting to read.

  114. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    Ewan:

    Sorry for the overreaction. About 2/3 of USAnians see any hint that the US has ever made any kind of a mistake as treason and I have a bit of a Pavlovian reaction when I hear anything that even hints that the US is never at fault.

  115. Ewan Macdonald says

    No problem. It’s an emotive issue.

    I moved to the USA from the UK over a year ago and if it’s any consolation this kind of “my country right or wrong” stuff happens back home as well.

  116. Cassius Corodes says

    Brother Ogvorbis:

    /para 1/: Sorry but doing nothing about an army using your territory to run supplies is the quickest way to get into a war. And apart from being in the same sentence you still haven’t explained how the US caused the Khmer Rouge to take over.

    /para 2/: That’s some pretty weak examples. He took the USSR to task for human rights violations? Tried to pressure the saudies? What a hero. That’s basically the token effort that every president makes before they are faced with the reality that they have to work with bad people.

    /para 3/: I still don’t understand the point here. People in the US disagreed with the French et al. and they said so. So what? As for the press comment – I’m not sure where you get the idea that I think its a bad thing – I’m saying its fine and an example of the reverse happening.

    /para 4 – end/: All I can do is highlight your response as an example of the kind of thinking that has made me disenchanted with the left in regards to foreign policy.

    To illustrate take your response with CHZ:
    “Encouraging dissent through monetary and moral support and then, when things began to heat up, backing off and leaving them to the tender mercy of the Red Army.”

    Here we have the horrible Americans going so far as to give money and moral (of all things!) support to pro-democracy groups and then are blamed when the commies ruthlessly crush them. Are the US supposed to start WW3 instead? Or perhaps not support the pro-democracy groups in the first place?

    And to clarify (seems I have to do so once every comment) I don’t think the US is perfect or does no wrong. What I don’t like is that many people on the left have abandoned reason and any sense of fairness when it comes to judging the behaviour of the US. Some are so eager to see the US as evil they don’t let facts get in their way. I would instead suggest that its has been the most moral superpower of all time, and its impact on the world has been overwhelmingly positive.

    To bring this back to my original point for context – no US foreign policy does not relate to OBL and co. actions. If they made a reasoned assessment they would have come to the conclusion that the US helps their people. Instead they live in a fantasy world were all their faults are blamed on Jews and the US.

  117. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    And apart from being in the same sentence you still haven’t explained how the US caused the Khmer Rouge to take over.

    The Khmer Rouge occupied a political vacuum which was created by the overthrow of Sihanouk by Lon Nol with the aid of the CIA.

    That’s some pretty weak examples. He took the USSR to task for human rights violations? Tried to pressure the saudies? What a hero. That’s basically the token effort that every president makes before they are faced with the reality that they have to work with bad people.

    They were steps in the right direction. And I did point out that he failed. What else do you want?

    I still don’t understand the point here. People in the US disagreed with the French et al. and they said so. So what? As for the press comment – I’m not sure where you get the idea that I think its a bad thing – I’m saying its fine and an example of the reverse happening.

    Our politicians and officials have carte blanche to criticize the foreign policy of any nation on earth, and we do so constantly. But if another nation criticizes our foreign policy, they become our enemy. You are missing my point completely.

    Are the US supposed to start WW3 instead? Or perhaps not support the pro-democracy groups in the first place?

    If we know that we will not support the logical conclusion of rebellion then supporting them was wrong. Just as it was wrong to support the Kurds and then pull the rug out from under them in the 1980s.

    What I don’t like is that many people on the left have abandoned reason and any sense of fairness when it comes to judging the behaviour of the US. Some are so eager to see the US as evil they don’t let facts get in their way. I would instead suggest that its has been the most moral superpower of all time, and its impact on the world has been overwhelmingly positive.

    And yet when I cite specific examples, examples you asked for, you wave them away as weak, or an over reaction, or insert a false binary solution to show that the US has done no wrong. I do not see the US as evil. Evil is a religious term with as many different definitions as there are believers. I do see the United States as a potential force for good in the world. However, our foreign policy history since World War II ended has been one of blind support for anti-communist (in many cases fascist) dictators, blind support for the rights of US corporations in foreign lands, and multiple cases of support for insurrection only to pull the rug out from under them in return for a concession (see, for example, the Hungarian uprising).

    As for overwhelmingly good, your notion of good scares me. And it should scare every person in another country who we decide to ‘help’. And no, I am not going to list them again as you will wave them away as inconsequential as they do not conform to your view of the United States. If you decide to actually start dealing with reality and looking at the history of the world with an open mind, you may see where I am coming from. As long as you see history as a political statement rather than a study of facts which lead to a conclusion, there ain’t much I, or anyone else can do, to help you.

    Good bye.

  118. Cassius Corodes says

    Brother Ogvorbis: “Good bye”

    Thank you for the discussion and I appreciate the time you have put into making your arguments, even if I disagree with most of them.

  119. says

    @139 – I would instead suggest that its has been the most moral superpower of all time, and its impact on the world has been overwhelmingly positive.

    Whoa.

    Did you need some righteous Angels to hold the banner of American Exceptionalism a little higher?

    America’s empire, like every other empire before it, is immoral, unjust and rapacious by definition.

    Approved history (as opposed to actual history) is supported by a courtier class of academics and journalists. The function of the courtier class is to justify and interpret the actions of the bloodied fist of empire into a palatable dross for easy consumption by the masses.

    Are you interviewing for the job?

  120. Czarownik says

    @131: There is a saying among canadian economists: ‘When the US has a cold, Canada sneezes’. US policy is canadian policy except in extreme cases (like the Second Irak War, ‘l’exception qui confirme la règle’). We are just as much a satellite of the US as the eastern bloc was to Soviet Russia.

  121. lordsetar says

    Czarownik #143: Uhh, no, not really. We are NOW because our government is pretty much imported wholesale from the US and the media is too blind (*cough*centralized and bought off) to be anything but amazingly friendly to them.

    This is a marked contrast from the policies of old. Canada has, historically, been much more left-leaning than the US has been at the best of times.

  122. Czarownik says

    @lordsetar: I meant mostly on foreign policy. On home policy, you are right. There is a reason the US never quite trusted Canada during the cold war, we were a tad bit too socialistic for the rest of America.

    On that note, I wish to apologise to the rest of the pharyngulites for getting out of thread.

  123. M says

    Well… I can’t say I’m bothered. Because this is what islamic fundie guerilla’s actually DO. Including the late Bin Laden himself.

    Fundies are trash far as I’m concerned and islamic ones are amongst the particularly fine examples of why I think this.

    Although I guess maybe I am a little bothered, because I’m not so fond of the american warmongers either, especially since the one that monger the hardest are the disgusting chickenhawks. AND the ‘war on terror’ is very clearly the ‘war for oil’.

    Actually to be honest, makes you think they kinda deserve eachother.

  124. StevoR says

    @10. captainahags :

    I can’t believe they’re still using the “They hate us for our freedoms” meme on the right. . . I have trouble wrapping my head around the fact that they’re so thick that they don’t understand that our continued meddling in the Middle East is what makes people hate us, not that we have freedoms (which have been under constant assault since 9/11, ironically enough).

    Gee, how dare we stop all the surrounding Jihadistans from wiping Israel, the worlds one and only and tiny, Jewish state off the map and committing yet another genocide against the Jews?!

    How dare we “meddle” by supporting Israel’s right to exist and to exist in peace able to defend itself from their constant insane attacks?

    How dare we intervene to save Arab lives from their own dictators and even whole Arab nations from being invaded ad occupied by other Muslim Jihadistans?!

    (Eg. saving Kuwait from Iraq and Libya from itself.)

    That “they hate us for our freedoms” meme exists because its largely true.

    Islam is an overgrown death cult that wants to impose itself on the rest of the world.

    Why do they hate us?

    1) They hate us because we let women drive and talk and appear in public in whatever clothes they wish rather than clad head to toe in burkas. Because we give our women rights and opportunities while they keep women enslaved as second-class citizens who don’t even have equality before the law.

    (& can be genitally mutilated, raped by their often far older husbands – usually married sight unseen and without the bride having any input in their marriage partner – and beaten and “honour murdered” by their families with impunity.)

    2) They hate us because we don’t stone or hang homosexuals and allow sexual freedom and tolerance to reign. Iran has no gays according Ahmadinejad – because any that he finds there are killed.

    3) They hate us because we allow free speech incl. speech against religion. Like cartoons and koran burnings and novels such Salman Rushdie’s ‘Satanic verses’ being published.

    4) They hate us out of sheer furious envy because we in the civilised Western world are successful and have achived great things where their Islamic barbarism has consistently failed to deliver them any quality of life or record of positive achievement as they are held back by their own superstitions.
    They hate us because we can drink alchol and eat pork and do all these Allah “forbidden” things happily and go unpunished and happier for it.

    5) They hate us, most of all, because we’re non-Muslims, we refuse to submit to them, to bow down and grovel before their ugly moon god elevated from their former stone age pantheon and turned into an “excuse” for all their murderous savagery.

    When it comes to Islam and the world’s Jihadistans the political Left is sadly deluded by moral relativism and political correctness and has been fooled into tolerating what shouldn’t be tolerated while the political Right has it, well, right. ;-)

  125. StevoR says

    @15. D9000 : 1 September 2011 at 7:12 am

    because we are FREE and our society is FREE.
    … Free from what?

    To a a childhood rhyme I read somewhere :

    “America’s a free land,
    Free without a doubt!
    If you haven’t any money
    Then you’re free to go without!”

    The USA and Western world generally isn’t perfect sure. Yes, we’ve made our share of mistakes (incl. foreign policy ones)and got our share of problems.

    No organised religion is perfect – Christianity has a pretty terrible record in some areas such as Creationism, the anti-abortion whackjobs, Perry & Bachmann’s fruitloopery, etc .. – but Islam is far worse in terms of its brutality and doctrinal nastiness and that cannot be denied by any reasonable, unbiased people.

    Compare and contrast :

    Catholics won’t allow a woman to be Pope.
    Muslism won’t allow them out of the house with male jailors.

    In the West people get stoned then committ adultery.
    In the Jihadistans people committ adultery then get stoned.

    Christians went to war in Afghanistan and fought for revenge for 9-11.
    Muslim Jihadists declared and created those wars by their actions on 9-11.

    American & Israeli troops are known to accidentally cause “collateral damage” fighting in self defence and regretting it.

    Muslim Jihadists deliberately and without regrets set out to kill the maximum number of innocent people they possibly can.

    There’s no moral equivalence there. There are very big and significant differences.

    We *are* the “good guys” in this global struggle and the Jihadist terrorists are the “bad guys.” No ifs , no buts or excuses, that’s just the reality.

    Whether some on the Left for whatever warped reasons of their own accept that reality or not.

  126. julian says

    That “they hate us for our freedoms” meme exists because its largely true.

    Actually it exists because it’s an easy way to inflame the public and create a sense of justification for the violence we’re using. Saying the enemy hates us for who we are sounds pretty old school political rhetoric if you ask me.

  127. SallyStrange says

    Mmm, yes. “They” hate us because we’re TOO AWESOME.

    We’re not assholes. There’s no need for us to change anything about ourselves.

    ^^^^^
    Sarcasm, duh.

    For my part, I tend to focus on the foreign policy aspect of wondering why America has been targeted because:

    a) Evidence shows that the “they” who hate us are a minority in Islamic countries

    b) “We” have some level of control over our foreign policy, unlike the actions of terrorists

    c) The foreign policy explanation has better predictive power

    Are people really citing Iraq War 1 as primarily a “defense of the Kurds” action? What bullshit. That’s precisely why “they” get pissed off with us: Spend a few decades arming Saddam and encouraging his violent tendencies against his neighbors, then change our minds abruptly and violently suppress him, impose sanctions, and kill millions of innocent Iraqis in the process. Then lie and claim it was all for a noble cause.

    If our freedoms were the main motivations for “their” hatred then Canada should be a bigger target than the USA.

    Seriously, just uttering phrase, “why do they hate us,” is an exercise in xenophobia, othering, and jingoistic nationalism.

  128. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    Islam is an overgrown death cult that wants to impose itself on the rest of the world.

    You know that if you change the subject of that sentence it still rings true?

    USA wants to impose itself on the rest of the world.

    But US totally has everyone’s best interests at heart so the rest of us should be grateful for their imposition… er, generous advice and instructions because the helpless rest of the world obviously can’t figure anything out by themselves.

  129. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    In your compare and contrast, you seem to be interchanging Catholics and Christians and Americans and the West a lot. But I guess it’s all the same as long as big bad Muslims are on the other end of the scale.

  130. says

    Trying to decide if it’s more or less offensive than the “Colour the 90s” colouring in book I picked up for 5 bucks a couple of months ago. It’s also a toss up as to which is less tasteful- the 90s one did let your colour in Bill and Monica in the Oval Office.

  131. says

    I believe the consensus of intelligence is that the current wave of extremists and combatants are motivated by vengeance that has religion glommed onto it rather than by religious zealotry.

    It’s the difference between “These people are of the devil and must be destroyed” and “Those bastards killed my siblings and parents, they are clearly of the devil and must be destroyed!”

  132. acronymjim says

    Cassius@139:

    “no US foreign policy does not relate to OBL and co. actions.”

    That’s twice you’ve made that assertion. It’s wrong. OBL himself explicitly cited U.S. foreign policy as the reason for Al-Qaeda terrorism.

    Here’s the Wiki link with citations.

  133. Cassius Corodes says

    acronymjim: Did you actually read the article you linked. It gives three main causes:

    1. “Sanctions on Iraq” – this is what OBL says: “despite the great devastation inflicted on the Iraqi people by the crusader-Zionist alliance, and despite the huge number of those killed, which has exceeded 1 million” and “the greatest mass slaughter of children mankind has ever known”.

    If you agree with those descriptions then there is nothing further do say. OBL lives in a fantasy world.

    2. Presence of U.S. military in Saudi Arabia – again OBL: “for over seven years the United States has been occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places, the Arabian Peninsula, plundering its riches, dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorizing its neighbors, and turning its bases in the Peninsula into a spearhead through which to fight the neighboring Muslim peoples.”

    Same as above.

    3. Support of Israel – again OBL: “[T]he aim [of the United States] is also to serve the Jews’ petty state and divert attention from its occupation of Jerusalem and murder of Muslims there. The best proof of this is their eagerness to destroy Iraq, the strongest neighboring Arab state, and their endeavor to fragment all the states of the region such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Sudan into paper statelets and through their disunion and weakness to guarantee Israel’s survival and the continuation of the brutal crusade occupation of the Peninsula.”

    Again as above.

    So I will say again. No, the US foreign policy has nothing to do with OBLs action. The fantasy world which OBL and co. live in is the reasons they target the US.

  134. acronymjim says

    “The fantasy world which OBL and co. live in is the reasons they target the US.

    Really? I thought you thought is was because they hated our freedom.

    Did you read my reply at 157? Your statement remains factually incorrect.Regardless of OBL hyperbole, fantasy, or the Arab version of Fox News “looking through the glass darkly”, OBL cited U.S. foreign policy.

    You’re assuming I agree with OBL on all points, which is also factually incorrect.

    However, it’s interesting you quoted OBL’s citation of U.S. military bases in Saudi Arabia. The Army moved all its bases and equipment to Qatar in 2003.

  135. acronymjim says

    Just to clarify, if you’re assuming I agree with Bin Laden’s anti-semitic hyperbole, I don’t. But his base arguments are/were all part of U.S. foreign policy; i.e:

    1. Sanctions on Iraq
    2. Presence of U.S. military in Saudi Arabia
    3. Support of Israel

  136. cassius corodes says

    acronymjim: He didn’t cite US foreign policy unless you think his points of view accurately reflect the effects US foreign policy – how is this difficult to understand?

    Its as if I mentioned that I hate Spanish people because they eat the organs of children on their naval ships; to which you would reply that I hate the Spanish people because of their navy!

    The fact that OBLs commentary happens to mention US foreign policy is his deluded rants does not mean that his actions are in response to real US foreign policy.

    As for your no doubt witty mention of hating our freedoms – I have given plenty of examples where this is the case. If you take the time to read my comments as I have yours you would see that.

    Not sure what the military bases part has anything to do with anything.

  137. says

    It just goes to show that some elements of U.S. society haven’t evolved developed beyond the buck-toothed ‘yellow menace’ in their political thinking. Except where’s the “all Germans are stony-faced Storm Troopers” version? It’s all racism and religious xenophobia. Pink-skinned co-religionists get a ‘bygones are bygones’ pass. What idiot published wrote that piece of shit anyway? Maybe it’s a vanity press project, I hope?

    The same Americans who expect Iraq should just forget about a hundred thousand civilian casualities inflicted by “our boys overseas” are intent on making the deaths of about 2500 (Associated Press estimate) into an annual orgy of patriotic sentimentality and further xenophobia.

  138. says

    Qatar is still on the Arabian Penninsula. The US still intervenes in local politics, supports repressive regimes. As much as I think bin Laden was a nutcase, his points about US foreign policy in result don’t seem to be too far from observable reality.

  139. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Oh please, my friends and I were pretending to play with guns at 4 years old.

    Only a giant dumbfuck would make that myopic connection.

    Enter KingUber

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