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Robert Fisk: ‘The Middle East Is Not a Complex Place’

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Posted on Sep 26, 2008
AP photo / John Moore

Editor’s note: After far too long a wait, we’ve unearthed parts 3 and 4 of this interview, which continues to enlighten.

The acclaimed journalist stopped by our offices this week, where he told Truthdig Editor Robert Scheer that the Middle East is a lot less puzzling than it’s made out to be: “It’s we who are there, not the other way round. ... It’s not our land. It’s not our religion. Our soldiers are in the Muslim world and they should not be there.”

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

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Part 4:


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By Lou, October 24, 2008 at 6:48 pm Link to this comment

Yes please, I’m also anxiously awaiting those final two installments…

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By Senhal, October 11, 2008 at 9:01 am Link to this comment

Yes, where’s the final parts? I’ve been checking daily for them. It’d be great if we could see them soon (please!).

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By Gadir, October 10, 2008 at 8:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Great,....how can I get part 3 of this wonderfull interview.

Regards

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By Folktruther, October 4, 2008 at 2:50 pm Link to this comment

You are quite right, Sepharad, I don’t believe you.  Israel IS the chief agent responsible for the Palestinian’s oppression, as the whole world acknowledges.  Your comment is just a soft form of Aipac, etc.

Inherit, since your racism against Muslims is more explicit, you are less dangerous than Sepharad.  I am perfectly willing to acknowledge that Saudi Arabia is a horrible power system, largely supported by the US for over a half century.  Sudan is a new enthusiasm generated by the discovery of oil in Dafur and the China connection to it.  So what?  Israel is still an apartheid state.

Your support for the Muslim countries that Israel supports, and supports Israel, is touching, but wouldn’t fool a knowledgeable child.  Calling the military regimes of Turkey and Pakistan Democracies would go over big in the NYTimes, but not outside the US.  And most people know that Israeli agents are in Kurd Iraq.

The most poisonous aspect of the whole affair is that Zionist racism dovetails with American racism to fuel the fraudulent War on Terrorism.  By a Terrorist is meant anyone opposing US or Israeli imperialism, and by Democracy is anyone supporting it.  Or a Moderate if they are obvious dictators.

However, as the US loses power in the world arena, and the American people understand how Zionism has hijacked American policy, the weakening of Israeli power will continue, and unless it actually supports a real Palestinian state, which is unlikely with people like you supporting it, the Israeli state will be destroyed.  As it deserves to be.

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By Sepharad, September 30, 2008 at 11:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Folktruther—final continuation

Of course I don’t support murderous oppression of anyone, especially not of people like Fadel who are doing well to have educated themselves, and are trying to make sense of a situation that has no logic of its own, just one huge cultural/political trainwreck. I don’t know Fadel’s personal history, but I do know that for several generations now that the children of Palestinian refugees (and children in other Arab countries) have been taught hate, falsehoods, and what is valued as willingness to martyr oneself. Also, Palestinians are not stupid: they see how Arabs in Israel live, they see everyone but themselves integrated into society, and are pressured to believe tht the only way to redeem their lives and their dignity is—to stay where they are, not make real homes, send their children to die as martyrs. If the Arab governments cared anything at all for the Palestinian refugees they would long since have integrated them into the many Arab societies on vast Arab land. But they need a red flag to wave when the focus shifts even for a second on the poverty Arab masses suffer while their rulers live large. Even the holy Arafat took Fatah money to support his wife Suha in Paris in style.

Israelis do not like to be attacked, have their buses bombed and their children murdered. They have acted with more restraint than any other country in the world would under similar circumstances. The government is not perfect, they make mistakes, there are many many Israelis who spend their time and risk their lives trying to bring something better for their children and the Palestinians’ children, who certainly deserve much better. My relatives in Israel have all served their country and been active in Peace Now and projects to integrate economically with the Palestinians. Of a very large family, only one is still alive, a cousin, and not one of them died a natural death.

I don’t think anything can be truly changed until both sides teach their children to seek out the truth of their situations and to see one another as human beings, not enemies, not demons, but human beings with families who love them, bodies that bleed. If this seems like Naziism to you, Folktruther, you have led a very cushy and sheltered life. Because on my maternal side, most of our family went up the chimneys in WWII, we were NOT taught about that as young children, not until my parents believed we could understand what had happened. Personally, I believe the punishing Versailles treaty set the situation virtually begging for a Hitler to arise. I wish the German people of the day had taught their children tolerance of difference but that wouldn’t come till later, some say too late. I do not think that the Palestinians are in any way being “punished” for things the Nazis did, but are caught in a situation where there is little tolerance for people who are different, where greedy Arabs and big oil rule. I don’t believe that Israelis are llcapitalizing on the Holocaust (though “Never Again” is certainly a healthy reaction): Israelis are a different kind of Jew. Some of the elderly who were involved in the Holocaust, also some of the Jews who lived in Arab countries all their lives, tend to be much more cynical re peace between Arab and Jew in two states, side by side. I think it may be possible, given a bit of luck and the right politicians on both sides, but starting with young children is vital to any longterm peace, and why should my kids be any different? Some day, I hope Fadel can get back on his horses and ride. Horses are much more trustworthy and generous than most people, and you can’t ride without absorbing some of that. He and I have both apparently spent a lot of time with horses.

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By Sepharad, September 30, 2008 at 11:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Folktruther—continuation 4

Despite all the corrupt bs that left Arabs and Jews stranded in 20% of the land once available to them ... despite the fact that the cultures of the incoming Zionists of the 19th and early 20th centuries were quite different from those of the Arabs AND different from those of the Jews who’d been living in Arab Palestine for so long that their cultures had become more Arabic than Jewish ... and admitting that there were many wrongs done on both sides (Jews buying land from Ottoman government and absentee Palestinian landlords, then planted themselves in the houses of Arab; Arabs who pretended friendship but instead attacked and murdered some of these strange, pushy Euro people ... I believe we might have achieved a peaceful mode of cooperating if it had not been for Europeans—and Arab elites—who suddedenly discovered the presence and significance of oil. Oil caused Arab rulers sitting on top of huge reserves to see the possibilities of great wealth if only it didn’t have to be shared with their people. (The old “me and my brother against the cousins, us and our cousins against the tribe, me and our tribe against the world” code was sufficient justification to say “screw the masses, we’re going to keep our oil wealth.” All they had to do was toss a few red herrings to keep the masses distracted from their own best interests. (Sound familiar, followers of election ‘08?) This of course required making the Palestinian refugeees a permanent feature on the landscape, easy to whip up sentiment against the Zionist entity. This was aggravated by the refuges pouring in from Hitler’s (and the French amd Polish peoples) scorn. They had been denied entrance to every country on earth, including the US, and, fresh from horrendous situations in which survival was usually the main problem, and so were more inclined to meet scorn with scorn, violence for violent treatment, and the Arabs were poor and proud and like their Semitic cousins natural born fighters.

There was much foreign activity from those days on, Russians arming Nasser’s Pan-Arabist armies, Britain and France ... you surely know the modern history of Palestine/Israel. And of course during the Catastrophe or the War for Independnce, depending whose perspective you are borrowing, the Arab countries expelled 900,000 Jewish citizens who also became refugees like the 800,000 Palestinians displaced—driven out by Israeli forces or persuaded to leave by the Mufti. Arab League’s Iraqi delegate called it a “population exchange.” But somehow the Palestinian refugees never got those abandoned Jewish houses, somehow they never were able to make lives for themselves or were allowed citizenship anywhere but in Jordan, and Ben Gurion refused to let any Arab who had left during the war to come back after 6 weeks had passed. And what else could anyone do except demonize the other side, making it esier to fight and maybe kill The Other. Religious fundamentalism and craziness got the bloody ball rolling and no one has quite figured out how to stop it.  (continued)

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By Sepharad, September 30, 2008 at 11:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Folktruther—continuation 4

Despite all the corrupt bs that left Arabs and Jews stranded in 20% of the land once available to them ... despite the fact that the cultures of the incoming Zionists of the 19th and early 20th centuries were quite different from those of the Arabs AND different from those of the Jews who’d been living in Arab Palestine for so long that their cultures had become more Arabic than Jewish ... and admitting that there were many wrongs done on both sides (Jews buying land from Ottoman government and absentee Palestinian landlords, then planted themselves in the houses of Arab; Arabs who pretended friendship but instead attacked and murdered some of these strange, pushy Euro people ... I believe we might have achieved a peaceful mode of cooperating if it had not been for Europeans—and Arab elites—who suddedenly discovered the presence and significance of oil. Oil caused Arab rulers sitting on top of huge reserves to see the possibilities of great wealth if only it didn’t have to be shared with their people. (The old “me and my brother against the cousins, us and our cousins against the tribe, me and our tribe against the world” code was sufficient justification to say “screw the masses, we’re going to keep our oil wealth.” All they had to do was toss a few red herrings to keep the masses distracted from their own best interests. (Sound familiar, followers of election ‘08?) This of course required making the Palestinian refugeees a permanent feature on the landscape, easy to whip up sentiment against the Zionist entity. This was aggravated by the refuges pouring in from Hitler’s (and the French amd Polish peoples) scorn. They had been denied entrance to every country on earth, including the US, and, fresh from horrendous situations in which survival was usually the main problem, and so were more inclined to meet scorn with scorn, violence for violent treatment, and the Arabs were poor and proud and like their Semitic cousins natural born fighters.

There was much foreign activity from those days on, Russians arming Nasser’s Pan-Arabist armies, Britain and France ... you surely know the modern history of Palestine/Israel. And of course during the Catastrophe or the War for Independnce, depending whose perspective you are borrowing, the Arab countries expelled 900,000 Jewish citizens who also became refugees like the 800,000 Palestinians displaced—driven out by Israeli forces or persuaded to leave by the Mufti. Arab League’s Iraqi delegate called it a “population exchange.” But somehow the Palestinian refugees never got those abandoned Jewish houses, somehow they never were able to make lives for themselves or were allowed citizenship anywhere but in Jordan, and Ben Gurion refused to let any Arab who had left during the war to come back after 6 weeks had passed. And what else could anyone do except demonize the other side, making it esier to fight and maybe kill The Other. Religious fundamentalism and craziness got the bloody ball rolling.  (continued)

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By Sepharad, September 30, 2008 at 10:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Folktruther—continuation 1

Though I’m (almost) sure you aren’t going to pursue it, study Islamic history, including the Koran, the Hadddith (sayings of the Prophet), the life of Mohammed (suggest the one by the French author Maxime Rodinson), the medieval era writings of Ibn Khaldun in his “The Muquaddimah” (considered to be the greatest Arab historian by many Arabs), material on the Crusades (both Arab and Western historians), the history of Islam in Al Andalus (again using Arab and Western sources), and the history of the Reconquista and El Cid.

You also should study Jewish history as it’s entwined with Islamic history, but I doubt you’re interested in learning anything about the background of Jews who return to our homeland—where, by the way, there have always been Jews. Even the efficient Romans couldn’t murder all of us. If I’m wrong, say so and I can recommend some books, but don’t want to waste the time if you aren’t interested.

Some excellent overviews of the Middle East are written by some Western scholars—esp. Bernard Lewis, who has great respect for the Islamic cultures in which he spent most of his life, and the late Marshall Hodgeson at the U. of Chicago, who wrote several huge volumes called “The Venture of Islam”—dense and not as well-written as Lewis, but also acclaimed by Eastern and Western scholars alike. Same is true of Efraim Karsch’s “Islamic Imperialism: A History”, praised by Arab scholars for rejecting the prejudices of Islamophobes while dismissing condescensions of Westerners who see Islam as hapless, no identity or direction of its own but as pawn of the West.  You’ll also need to read up on the Euro Imperial period, on the postWWI carving up of the defeated Ottoman Empire, mainly by the British and French who by this time understood the value of oil. (In the British Museum library you can read all the relevant British stuff that went on in Palestine, and also access the Ottoman archives now declassified to see precisely what land transactions were made with Jews in the early 19th through the end of WWII.) Or you could read the book “From Time Immemorial” by Joan Peters (Harpers, 1984, now in its 11th or 12th printing): she was an American human rights activist who went to work in the Palestinian camps in Lebanon during the civil war, had questions about where some of the aid flowing in from the West was going, and ended up spending two years on a book based on the Paestinian predicament and the state of Israel, discovering deeper, more realpolitik policies forced on the Palestinians by other Arabs, covering the British handing over 80% of Palestine to a Hashamite king for wartime services rendered, leaving the Arabs and Jews of the Palestine Mandate with a tiny sliver of land, wholly inadequate. The Hashemite king Faisal welcomed the Zionists next door, expecting the contact to help his kingdom develop economically. (He was murdered by Islamic extremists while entering a mosque to pray.) Churchill was a pro-Zionist; David Balfour of the Balfour mandate simply wanted Jews settled anywhere but England. Relations between Arabs and Jews in the 19th-century then early 20th century are detailed in numerous books by people who were there. More books exist re the Mufti of Jerusalem who was a pro-German, hosted by the Gestapo in Germany for much of WWII in turn was well dcompensated for his unstinting efforts to wreck the Zionist project. Whether the Mufti or the Nazis was more anti-Semitic I can’t say. In terms of the Arab-Israli relationship, the Mufti did far more damage than Hitler, and considerably more than the British who preferred the charming Arabs to the blunt Jews and so armed and trained the Arab legions, collected and locked up guns from the Jews then stood by Arabs attacked under-armed Jews. Then they were shocked when Jewish terrorists such as the Stern gang blew up British targetrs.

(continued)

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By Sepharad, September 30, 2008 at 9:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Folktruther—I don’t expect you to believe me—I think your mind has been closed for a very long time— but the Israelis are NOT the ones most responsible for the suffering of the Palestinians. Just one small facet: If you were paying attention during the second intifada, you might have noticed that there were dozens of joint economic projects underway between Israeli Arabs, Israeli Jews, and Palestinians on the West Bank, the sort of projects that aren’t just do-goody things but the kind that make a longterm difference in terms of a decent income, dignity, a real life instead of that hellish limbo so many Palestinians are kept in. During the intifada, many of these people engaged in joint ventures, on the West Bank and in Israel, wherever their projects were or took them, were executed as “Collaborators” by militants. Officially, they were seen as helping the Zionist enemy and were killed (often along with their Arab and Jewish Israeli colleagues). This was not revolutionary justice: it was a coordinated attempt to keep Palestinians from finding a different way to make a life.

You’d have to read a lot more than you probably want to to understand what has gone into the making of the grotesque situation Israelis and Palestinians have faced, and continue to face.  What you are looking at now, today, had its origins centuries ago. There are many many books written by Arabs and Jews that provide insight as well as fact; there are also books that while being presented as fact could most accurately be described as “the Palestinian narrative” or “the Zionist narrative.” You have to learn to tell the difference so you get a true look at a situation that I suspect is not as simple as you like things to be.   

I don’t know how you make your “folk truth” theories, but you haven’t learned a thing. There are many people like me, and like Fadel, who would appreciate outsiders to make an effort get off their soapboxes and, even if they can’t DO something constructive, at least make the effort to understand the dynamics, the dangers, the possibilities of the situation in the too-many-times promised land.

(continued)

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By Inherit The Wind, September 30, 2008 at 7:26 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther, September 30 at 10:33 am #

Sepharad- From your liberal cultured approach to respecting other ethnicities, one would never know that you support the murderous oppression of the Palestinian people, and people like Fadel.  This is a much more insidious form of the Zionist racism of ITW, and thus a much more dangerous one.

Teaching your children multi-culturalism while the Israeli power system starves Palestinian chlidren, tortures Palestinian prisoners, blows up Palestinian homes, and destroys the Palestinian economy, is much more poisonous than Windy’s outright racism against Muslims.  It is the same type of culture that led the Germans to play Mozart and Back while exterminating inferior peoples.  I find it contemptable.
************************************
Ah Volk, you are so presumptuous in your assumptions!

For example, describing my “outright racism against Muslims.”  On what do you base that?  On the fact that I view Moslem extremist fanaticism with the same disdain that I view Christian fanaticism (like Sarah Palin’s) and Jewish fanaticism (As in the folks who think Netanyahu is soft)?

Isn’t it obvious that I exclude non-Arab Moslem nations, in general from my condemnations?  Why? Because many of them have functioning democracies—albeit dealing with the same Moslem extremists.  Turkey and Pakistan (now again a democracy) come to mind.  The Kurdish self-government in the north of Iraq is an oasis of peace and a MAGNET for Arabs from the south who only want to live in peace.  BTW, Kurds are Moslems, too.

Do I hold the Iranian Islamic Republic in disdain? Sure! Despite their hating the Taliban, they function quite similarly.  They toyed with democracy but have killed it again, in part, in reaction to Bush. Iran was a real treasure, and can be again. Even under the tyrannical Shah the people were progressive and multi-cultural.

Yet, in the Arab world, there is only one functioning democracy: Lebanon. Another garden destroyed. Why? Syria is terrified of having an effective democracy next door.  “Hey! If they can live and prosper in freedom why can’t we?”  Forces in Lebanon, funded from the outside, want to ensure there’s no democracy there.

Is Iraq a functioning democracy?  Hardly, or at best, barely.

How about the Palestinians?  Well, I honestly believe they have a shot at democracy, but if Hamas runs things it’s clear they’ll end up as another dictatorship.

Also, Volk, you have dodged and insulted your way to try to avoid dealing with the two most repressive regimes in the region: Sudan and Saudi Arabia?  Why will you not acknowledge their tyranny and racism?

You see, Volk, I’ve known folks like you all my life.  Why not admit what political system you advocate?  It certainly isn’t Western capitalism and democracy. Funny thing: It’s totally incompatible with the religious dictator system rising in the Middle East.

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By Folktruther, September 30, 2008 at 11:33 am Link to this comment

Sepharad- From your liberal cultured approach to respecting other ethnicities, one would never know that you support the murderous oppression of the Palestinian people, and people like Fadel.  This is a much more insidious form of the Zionist racism of ITW, and thus a much more dangerous one.

Teaching your children multi-culturalism while the Israeli power system starves Palestinian chlidren, tortures Palestinian prisoners, blows up Palestinian homes, and destroys the Palestinian economy, is much more poisonous than Windy’s outright racism against Muslims.  It is the same type of culture that led the Germans to play Mozart and Back while exterminating inferior peoples.  I find it contemptable.

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By Sepharad, September 30, 2008 at 12:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Leefeller—For someone who says he’s not familiar with Middle Eastern culture you certainly have a good eye for the best of it: Hafiz and Rumi are both wonderful, profound Sufi poets and, for me, excellent antidotes to the hate swirling around the Middle East. Your suggestion that elementary schools teach us about other cultures is just the opposite of naive—early childhood is the only point from which to begin explaining to our children that there are many cultures, and that though we are all human beings we aren’t “just the same” (except in the most basic aspects , e.g., wanting to protect our loved ones), and that being different is not necessarily bad—but something we have to take into account when dealing with people whose way of looking at the world is quite different than our own. We don’t have to agree on everything, just cooperate with each other to whatever extent doesn’t diminish us as individuals or compromise our own culture. My best friend grew up on a kibbutz where they had friendly relations with a nearby Bedouin camp. One day a Bedouin man offered my friend’s father seven camels in exchange for her as a wife. Her father said that he was honored, but that his daughter would not be worth seven camels as she would make a very poor Bedouin wife, being stubborn, argumentative, and generally given to terrible behavior from the Bedouin point of view; these were traditional Bedouin. The truth delivered respectfully made it possible for everybody to stay friends, they still are, and many of the same families live in the Jezreel Vally. When my husband and I go to Israel this fall we’re bringing some pottery and jewelry made by my friend for that Bedouin and his wife.   

In this country, we—especially on our leftish extremes—tend to assume everyone in the world thinks and feels just like we do except they’re probably not as well off. That’s only partly true—everyone loves their children and wants a better, safer life for them. Beyond that, however, are some pretty basic differences, and it’s not our business to change what other people think is important to them. We just have to know what is different and act accordingly.

In some Middle East countries, unfortunately, early education includes teaching children that Western ways are wicked and stupid (can’t argue with all of that!) and non-Muslims and the Jews of Israel especially are an enemy because though they are perhaps Semite cousins they are not Moslems and thus are usurping a land that was once theirs but, since Arab Moslems have also lived there, it is part of Dar al Islam, period.

But if we all taught our children to respect other cultures from very young ages on, it would be a lot harder for governments to demonize people they want to attack oor to persuade us to support this out of fear rather than reason. 

Of course we should never allow sharia law to replace our legal code and standards—in a country as based on immigration as ours is, our social values would soon be swamped. Perhaps Obama, if elected, will bring a little more light and a lot less heat to his foreign policy decisions.

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By Leefeller, September 29, 2008 at 7:16 pm Link to this comment

Shephard,

Must admit my ignorance on Middle Eastern Culture, but have enjoyed “The Gift” by Hafiz, I find his work very profound.  You know this may be naive, but if our elementary educational system taught more on the Middle East and other peoples in the world, we may have a better understanding with maybe a potential for less war?

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By Sepharad, September 29, 2008 at 4:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Inherit the Wind—Thanks for reminding everyone that there are good people everywhere. Basic enough, but almost always overlooked on TDs threads. Generally agree with most everything you say, but Fadel Abdallah has no choice but to react as he does because he sees his Islamic culture as being misunderstood in many side-swiping ways which become, over time, cumulative. And once formed, impressions die hard. I only say this because you are one of the most fair-minded and most widely read people on the TD threads, and because as a secular Zionist I tend to react harshly (just like Fadel) when I read posts that portray Israelis as generally oppressive brutal people trying to destroy the long-suffering Palestinians. Fadel probably hates Israel as much as do most people on TD, but he’s NOT an anti-Semite and we do have a couple things in common—mainly an admiration for the long-lost culture of Al Andalus, and love of horses.

In general, what Fisk had to say was interesting—considering that he has spent much time in the Middle East and written many “thick books” on it—but if his main impression is that the Middle East is not a complex place then a lot of his time there has been misspent.

There are probably thousands of thick books on the Middle East (I have at least 450 or so on the shelves—not counting the Israel-oriented ones which number about 200). The best ones, no matter who writes them, are praised by both Western and Middle Eastern scholars and, further, by scholars who do not invariably praise one another. (E.g., if Noam Chomsky, Tariq Ali and Edward Said all like the same book it might be mere mutual ideological reinforcement unless people like Fouad Ajami and such non-ideologues as Bernard Lewis, Amos Oz and David Fromkin also agree on the value of its research.) Fromkin’s book the “the Great Game: The Peace to End All Peace” is such a book, but perhaps the best and less familiar is Efraim Karsch’s “Islamic Imperialism: A History”, appreciated equally by Amir Taheri(”... rejects the condescending approach of the apologists and the hateful passion of the Islamophobes…”), Hazhir Teimourian (”... an impeccable history of how the Muslim mainstreatm has betaved towards its neighbors..”) and Miriam Shaviv (”... turns on its head conventional wisdom that the Arab world is a perpetual victim—whether of Western foreign policy or of its own incompetence…”).

The fascinating minutiae of the Islamic past—such as the fact that the great Salah-ah-din was a Kurd, not the model for Pan-Arabism as many make him out to be—are worth knowing.

Before commenting too harshly on anyone’s culture, it’s wise to read something non-political that derives from that culture—e.g.,
“Night & Horses & The Desert”, an anthology of classical Arabic literature, edited by Robert Irwin. And if you think you hate Zionist propaganda, read Jerusalem-born Amos Oz’s essays “The Land of Israel” (just as good as his amazing fiction).

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By Kwagmyre, September 29, 2008 at 4:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sepharad states:
“Kagmyre—You can’t make a case for any American politician quaking in their boots lest they incur—what was it you said? “the wrath of the Zionists?”—because there are only five and a half million Jews in the U.S. (MOST of whom are not Zionists) whereas there are roughly ten million Middle Eastern non-Jews in the U.S. (some Moslems and some not, Arabs, Turks, Iranians, and Balkan-area Moslems).”

The point I was making was that Obama knew for his own political “survival” that he had to take into account the influence of a group like AIPAC and what he PERCEIVED to also be a general Jewish perception of him as being anti-Semitic were he to side with the Palestinian position.

This BTW doesn’t mean I don’t support him but I would be disappointed if he winds up elected and then commits himself to the same unbalanced view as every previous administration since the state of Israel came into being.

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By Sepharad, September 29, 2008 at 3:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Kwagmyre—You can’t make a case for any American politician quaking in their boots lest they incur—what was it you said? “the wrath of the Zionists?”—because there are only five and a half million Jews in the U.S. (MOST of whom are not Zionists) whereas there are roughly ten million Middle Eastern non-Jews in the U.S. (some Moslems and some not, Arabs, Turks, Iranians, and Balkan-area Moslems). Earlier this year, the editor of a large Islamic newspaper in Detroit said, on NPR, that American Jews have lost influence because the numbers have changed. Even the total number of Semites and non-Semite Moslems is statistically minimal compared to Euro-Anglo Americans, African-Americans, Hispanie Americans, Native Americans, Chinese and Japanese Americans and the huge ethnically-mixed category (which is where I would fall if I were not a secular Zionist myself). Flip-flopping is that politicians DO: of course they don’t want to get caught obviously pandering, and to be fair only a fool would never change their mind about anything despite new information or evidence to the contrary.

I was a firm Hillary supporter but am doing what I can to support Obama because while I think his foreign policy and McCain’s are pretty much the same, his economics will HAVE to do more for poor unemployed, poor workingclass and slipping middleclass than any continuation of Republican policies. Oh—when McCain said he would fire the head of the SEC I thought “Well, that’d be a good idea—if the President could do that, which he or she can’t.” How would you like to wake up with a President who doesn’t even know what he can and can’t do? With a vice president who doesn’t even know what she should, or why, or how?

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By Inherit The Wind, September 28, 2008 at 7:46 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, September 28 at 5:19 am #

  Inherit The Wind: ‘… I guess you put me in my place!  I MUST hate people with Arabic names—that’s why I’ve donated to the campaign of and plan to vote for a guy named Barack Hussein Obama—because I hate Arab names….Typical of your pretzel-logic. ...’

I don’t think Fadel actually reads much of the material here.  He appears to believe it is his duty to discover messages which are superficially critical of Arabs, Islam or Muslims and attack them on P.C. grounds.  In spite of the claim of a PhD, I notice the attacks are fairly fact- and logic-free.  You’re not going to get much of a game from him.

***************************

According to Fadel, you and I are supposed to be the same person.  But I can’t even pronounce your handle, nor do I have ANY clue what it means…
So either I’m a really whacked-out disassociative schizo, or ....

Fadel is just throwing crap against the wall to see what sticks, as usual.  Republican tactic.

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By SamSnedegar, September 28, 2008 at 7:38 am Link to this comment

I’d comment, but there is nothing on which TO comment: the “piece” is totally BLANK, including the “print” option.

Evidently Truthdig is so proud of the intervies that it won’t even share it with us.

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By Anarcissie, September 28, 2008 at 6:19 am Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind: ’... I guess you put me in my place!  I MUST hate people with Arabic names—that’s why I’ve donated to the campaign of and plan to vote for a guy named Barack Hussein Obama—because I hate Arab names….Typical of your pretzel-logic. ...’

I don’t think Fadel actually reads much of the material here.  He appears to believe it is his duty to discover messages which are superficially critical of Arabs, Islam or Muslims and attack them on P.C. grounds.  In spite of the claim of a PhD, I notice the attacks are fairly fact- and logic-free.  You’re not going to get much of a game from him.

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By Kwagmyre, September 27, 2008 at 11:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Robt. Fiske is right on the money of course.  Maybe all we can hope for is that Obama *might* be the first step in the right direction but with this direction taking endless generations to finally accomplish. 

Interesting to note(which wasn’t pointed out in the interview)was that when in conversation with a Palestinian spokesman, Obama gave the impression that he would pursue a more pro-Palestinian position and hence a more balanced policy were he elected and then after flip flops and abandoned the ship, much to the great disappointment of this Palestinian.(illustrating once again, that American politicians dare incur the wrath of the Zionists at their own peril).

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By Inherit The Wind, September 27, 2008 at 8:15 pm Link to this comment

I am pleased that I have put you to task though I didn’t address you directly. So, I am wondering whether you are one and the same person as BigB and Anarcissie? Or, perhaps you just happened to be part of the same gang of bigots whose members always have a knee-jerk reaction to my Arabic-Muslim name and to the fact that I have more courage than you when I write under my real name and I dare to encroach on your false comfort zone, challenging your ignorance, stereotypes and myths.

Despite all the advantages that the Internet provides for people to have constructive and informative exchanges, I just discovered that one of its big disadvantages is that many people like you pretend to have gotten bigger balls than what they really have or what they never had!

Despite your favorite style of getting into hairsplitting, I am going to follow the wise advice of the enlightened Paolo and not give you the pleasure of responding in kind and giving you more attention and time than you deserve!

********************************************

I guess you put me in my place!  I MUST hate people with Arabic names—that’s why I’ve donated to the campaign of and plan to vote for a guy named Barack Hussein Obama—because I hate Arab names….Typical of your pretzel-logic.

As for thinking I’m two other people: Well, usually Multiple Personality Disorder is personal, not projected on to someone who disagrees with you. I don’t even recognize those two other peoples’ names.  You should consider professional advice on that crippling paranoia.  I always LOVE how a tin-foil-hatter always, like clockwork, starts claiming the various individuals dissecting his swiss-cheese arguments, then claims it’s really one person posting as 3, of course with the intent of slandering him.

I’ve been accused of being the same person as Cyrena (????), Lefty, now these two, and at least 2 others. I expect to be accused of being Outraged, Frank Cabot, but probably not PatrickHenry or Robert.

Actually, Fadel, I believe you’ve accused me of being multiple posters before!  But I don’t remember who it was—maybe Lefty?

You wanna put your real name up on the Internet, go ahead.  I’m not willing to do that—I KNOW there are a lot of people crazier than me out there.

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By Fadel Abdallah, September 27, 2008 at 7:52 pm Link to this comment

By Inherit The Wind, September 27 at 4:06 pm #
==============================================
I am pleased that I have put you to task though I didn’t address you directly. So, I am wondering whether you are one and the same person as BigB and Anarcissie? Or, perhaps you just happened to be part of the same gang of bigots whose members always have a knee-jerk reaction to my Arabic-Muslim name and to the fact that I have more courage than you when I write under my real name and I dare to encroach on your false comfort zone, challenging your ignorance, stereotypes and myths.

Despite all the advantages that the Internet provides for people to have constructive and informative exchanges, I just discovered that one of its big disadvantages is that many people like you pretend to have gotten bigger balls than what they really have or what they never had!

Despite your favorite style of getting into hairsplitting, I am going to follow the wise advice of the enlightened Paolo and not give you the pleasure of responding in kind and giving you more attention and time than you deserve!

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By Inherit The Wind, September 27, 2008 at 5:06 pm Link to this comment

(1)

Every time I read a piece of ignorant encroachment upon history by people who don’t have any sense of history, I feel like taking my PH.D. Degree in history and ripping it to pieces out of anger and disappointment for a discipline that can be easily prostituted by anonymous claimers to knowledge.
*********************************************

Start with your own posts, Fadel, and shred that “PhD” (Stands for Piled Higher and Deeper).  What you don’t know about history is mind-boggling.

************************************************

For your history 101, you should know that the Middle East is the cradle of human civilization, long ago before there was anything called white America.
*************************************
But those great civilizations of the Nile and the Tigris/Euphrates were decidedly NOT Arab cultures.

Also I’m sure that the Chinese and Indians, not to mention Meso-Americans would disagree.  Their ancient civilizations were TOTALLY isolated and developed separately from the ME.
*******************************************

The Middle East people are more decent than your perverted concept lead you to believe.
*****************************************

That’s no revelation.  There are good people everywhere, even in Israel. Stop implying they are the ONLY good people, and that there are no bad people there.
****************************************

It is in fact the other way around that the Middle Easterners get contagious bad diseases since colonial white Europeans and Americans came to the area as marauders occupiers and established a permanent base of their evil in the colonialist state of Israel.
***********************************************
This is the biggest piece of fantasy and historically totally inaccurate.  Contacts between the cultures go back over a thousand years and the diseases flowed two ways.  Leprosy and Plague flowed from the ME to Europe, not the other way around.  Fadel also ignores the fact that present-day Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia were all part of France until the ‘50s—yet, to him, only Israel is the source of “contamination”.  Of course, that’s due to Fadel’s visceral hatred of everything and anything Jewish.
*********************************


For America history 101, you should remember how white Americans, representing the scum of Europe, came as marauders occupiers and annihilated the natives.

*************************************************

Again, Fadel is flat-out wrong.  Only Georgia was a penal colony.  The rest were fleeing repression—unless, of course, “scum” means anyone who doesn’t want to live under tyranny, (like most of the ME does, but Israel doesn’t).  Maruders? No.  Invaders and settlers would be far more accurate.

Plus, of course, Fadel is unaware that different nations came to the Americas in different ways for different ends.  The Spanish came for gold and conquest.  The French came for conquest and expansion.  The British came for commerce and settling.

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By Inherit The Wind, September 27, 2008 at 5:05 pm Link to this comment

(2)

**********************************************

You might also want to study a little about your brutal racist history related to slavery and blacks,

************************************************
There’s no question the slave trade was evil.  But it was profitable which is why the Caliphs and Shahs of the East coast of Africa described the slaves they sold to the Europeans as “Black Pearls”.  Arabs were just as guilty of creating slavery in North America as the Europeans. 

Of course progress has been slow but, amazingly, in my lifetime, we are about to elect a Black President—capable, competent, diplomatic and intelligent.  It’s not amazing that he is these things, but that we are so long in recognizing it.
********************************************


and you might need to study a little about your own civil war when three quarter of people perished,

**********************************************
I don’t know where YOUR numbers come from. Certainly 3/4 of the population did NOT die.  Whoever said so is lying and inventing.  Plus, the North were the GOOD GUYS, trying to end slavery and treason.  Condemn US for a civil war?  The ME has been a living, breathing civil war since the days of The Prophet.
*****************************


not to mention your recent bloody history in WWII and there after up to the current evil wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

***************************************

Uh-huh…so…after the US was attacked and had most of our Pacific fleet destroyed by Japan, and after Nazi Germany declared war on the US, we were supposed to say “Thank you , Sir. May I have another?” and do nothing.

Most Americans now oppose the war in Iraq.  Many of us opposed it before it started.  The war in Afghanistan was against the people who attacked us.  Oh! I forgot.  You don’t believe that an organization that has carried out hundreds of attacks attacked the WTC…that one, and that one alone was by the CIA and Israel….I cannot believe I actually typed that because the IDEA is so ludicrous.
***********************************************

Get down of your artificial horse of glory and superiority! If you learn Arabic, then that would be better for you for it will make more civilized and less absorbed in your ignorance and false superiority!!!

*********************************

So….Arabic is somehow superior to all other languages?  Talk about ego and false glory!
I guess you are one of those who advocate the conquest of the world by Islam and forcing us all to speak that “glorious” language.  I’m sure the Persians think Farsi is superior.  The Italians think Italian is best, the Chinese KNOW Chinese is the oldest and subtlest language on earth, and the Mayans in Guatemala have preserved their language and culture for thousands of years.  Arabic is one language. It is a rich language that has given the world much.  But it is only one language, and there are many, many others.

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By Fadel Abdallah, September 27, 2008 at 2:35 pm Link to this comment

By Paolo, September 27 at 11:23 am #

Thank you Paolo for your moral support and advice. It’s nice to know that one can still find real people with real hearts and healthy brains.

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By Paolo, September 27, 2008 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment

Hi Fadel Abdallah,

Regarding your comments on the comments by “Big B”: don’t let folks like that get you down. A bloke like this, who claims knowledge but can’t spell worth beans (even with readily-available spell check), is obviously engaged in self-puffery. Add to that the fact that he can’t seem to express a thought without lapsing into vulgarity, and we see a person simply not worth responding to.

What would you gain by responding? Would it be important to convince a person of this sort of the rightness of your own views? Why would you bother?

By the way, I read your own posts frequently, and appreciate your own point of view. Though I am not a Muslim, I certainly appreciate and respect Islam’s great cultural heritage. I have had many Muslim friends in my 50-plus years, and have almost always found them to be very moral, upstanding, hardworking people.

Remember the sage advice of the prophet Jesus: “Cast not thy pearls before swine, lest thy pearls be trampled underfoot.”

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By felicity, September 27, 2008 at 11:48 am Link to this comment

I did a little homework.  From 1798-1956 scarcely 5 years went by when the Muslin world did not suffer a major assault or encroachment by the West.

From 1921-1958, Iraq had 50 different governments - from 1938 on they were mostly the results of military coups.

And today?  Iraq is being called a Conservative Theme Park - no taxes, no regulations, faith-based initiatives run wild, unfettered capitalism, AK 47’s in abundance, collapsed infra-structure, dirty water, sewage in the streets…

I think the average American, all of us in fact, would have cracked up long ago had we had to experience what the people of the ME, especially noticeable in today’s Iraq, have been going through for centuries.

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By Fadel Abdallah, September 27, 2008 at 10:51 am Link to this comment

By Big B, September 26 at 6:29 pm #

The current state of affairs in the ME can mostly be blamed on western meddling during the cold war in the never ending chase for oil. However the stunted civilization of the ME, like in China, can be blamed on the regions culture of never ending civil war and primative religous fanatisism. Let me explain..
================================================
Every time I read a piece of ignorant encroachment upon history by people who don’t have any sense of history, I feel like taking my PH.D. Degree in history and ripping it to pieces out of anger and disappointment for a discipline that can be easily prostituted by anonymous claimers to knowledge.

Lumping China together with the Middle East as having parallel courses of history is the most egregious offense against the facts and truths of history. I find myself so depressed and devoid of any desire to response for fear that the ignorant ones might be puffed up in their ignorance when they receive some attention.

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By troublesum, September 27, 2008 at 9:24 am Link to this comment

An American reporter working for the msm could spend 30 years in the ME and all he would learn is what he already “knows”: Isreal is the good guy; Arabs are the bad guys.

“If a cow travels around the entire earth, all she will ever see is grass.”
Rumi

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By Anarcissie, September 27, 2008 at 7:38 am Link to this comment

Big B:
‘The current state of affairs in the ME can mostly be blamed on western meddling during the cold war in the never ending chase for oil. However the stunted civilization of the ME, like in China, can be blamed on the regions culture of never ending civil war and primative religous fanatisism. ...’

(Modern) Western interference in the Middle East began around 1800, not 1945, as Britain, France and Russia went about knocking pieces off the Ottoman Empire.  Around 1900, Britain realized oil was going to be crucially important in the 20th century and labored to seize control or at least dominant influence over the oil-producing regions, with considerable success.  After Britain was used up by World War 2 and became America’s dog, the U.S. moved in to take over their interests.  So we are really observing 200 years of imperial adventures, still going on today and planned for an indefinite future.

Religious fanaticism is not particularly an attribute of primitive people.  Rather, it arises when people’s lives have become unbearable, as they often have under to most advanced civilizations.

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By Purple Girl, September 27, 2008 at 7:23 am Link to this comment

We would never have ignored the lessons of the ‘70’s once we hit the ‘80’s. When Ronny was handing out Campaign Buttons there must have been a “Mister Natural” Acid Blot Hit attached.
Big 3 kept kicking out the lead Sleds, until the Japanese Kicked them in the teeth a few times- then they switched to ‘Fuel efficient aluminum Coffins on Wheels’ for ablink of an eye- model year like 87-88?Then slapped a new body style on and Called it a SUV.Same Gas Guzzling POSs!
Had Carter not been INTENTIONALLY UNDERMINED BY REAGANS FIENDS WITH IRAN CONTRA, We would have stayed away from dealings with the Saudi’s, and refused their invitation to come play Scapegoats for their oppresive and abusive Caste Ssytem.
We would have actually encouraged the innovation like the Electic car, Solar energy and Conservation. But NO the Boys Rigged that one-  Politically assasinated Carter to pull it off. this is Why ‘Rovian Tactics’ I find to be Credit where it is NOT DUE!
Carter told US to consolidate Trips, Turn down the Thermostat, put on a Sweater..Ya think he would have made the same fucked up decisons which got US in problems to begin with…Hostages, Highjackings, Suicide bombings, Odd/Even Day fill ups, Lines around the Block….He was not only trying to get US out of that predestine Mess- he was trying to avoid it in the future too!
so when you want to Blame Someone for the Entire Economic and International Political melt down we are now in the midst of be sure to THANK REAGAN and puppet masters- Baker, Cheney, Rummy Wolfie and, of course can’t forget Mr. Keating 5/Oil’s Whore, McCain!

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By Leefeller, September 27, 2008 at 6:27 am Link to this comment

troublesum,

Actually post debate, they actually talked about the elephant in the living room. 

Obama’s, pandering to the military complex his status quo on world affairs provided old views on the Middle East.  His soundbite comments on Georgia were disappointing.  Changes in world affairs are foreseen to be business as usual.

Keeping the wars and bull pucky ongoing, change will not be in direction but who is in the driver seat. 
Sounds like peace is off the table, peace not in my lifetime.

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By jackpine savage, September 27, 2008 at 5:31 am Link to this comment

Big B,

You’re giving far too much credit to the reformation.  It existed in conjunction with other historical situations, but it did not set Europe on the path to exiting a dark age.  And it produced plenty of wars of its own.  It also introduced a whole new category of fundamentalist Christianity (like the Puritans…or the Massachusetts Taliban if you like, who came here not for freedom from oppression but for the freedom to oppress).

I won’t disagree about the monotheism of the Near East, but i’m still bitter about the Christians burning the Library of Alexandria.

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By marcus medler, September 27, 2008 at 1:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think of the song; Love Hurts—but the refrain after this eye opener for me and my fellow sensitive countrymen is;  Truth Hurts! The question for the professional journalist Jingoist that cast a blind eye is; How can you sleep at night? shame on you. Thank you for this interview. I feel pain but also a chance to listen to a reporter who understands that we his reader are blind and need his sight. I think that was once a fundamental principle in Journalism 1.

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By cemmcs, September 26, 2008 at 7:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“because you’re down here.”

I’m not sure how you know that but it’s very easy to believe.

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By Big B, September 26, 2008 at 7:29 pm Link to this comment

The current state of affairs in the ME can mostly be blamed on western meddling during the cold war in the never ending chase for oil. However the stunted civilization of the ME, like in China, can be blamed on the regions culture of never ending civil war and primative religous fanatisism. Let me explain..

The ME was one of the most technologically advanced civilizations on the planet in the seventh century of the modern era. Then, like in europe and the mediterranian, the people turned to a hokey new, single deity based faith. The accompanying era of never ending war led to the dark ages all over the known world. We christians eventually pulled our heads from our asses, and thanks to the protestant reformation, admitted that the earth was indeed round, and that the laws of physics existed. Then, while we western europeans began exploring the world, meeting strange exotic people, and killing them, and raping the land of it’s riches and starting the industrial revolution, the people of the ME sat in their tents, milking goats, opressing women, and bowing towards mecca a dozen or so times a day. They built nothing!

Forward to the 20th century. During WWII the ME became a strategic hotspot when the allies spent the first two years of the european theater keeping Hitler from the vast oil deposites of the ME. Of course, after the war the US and britain set up puppet sheikdoms and started pumping black gold. At this point, most of the people of the ME were indeed still milking goats and bowing to mecca(a LOT)But now both sides of the cold war were arming this region to the teeth, hoping that those “animals” would spend all their time fighting the jews and each other, while the west pumped all the oil it wanted with impunity.

But then the people got tired of being oppressed by illegitimate western backed regimes, and formed “terrorist” groups to throw out the “infidels”.

And thus we are stuck with the ME of today, filled with poverty stricken, uneducated religous maniacs who just want us to go away and leave them to manage the 16th century on their own.
We should grant them that freedom!
Take the guns and dishwashers away from them, and make them evolve BY THEMSELVES! Just like we did, they will eventually figure out that god doesn’t mind airplanes, womens rights, and soap.

We have already screwed up Africa, Central and South America. Lets give the ME a chance. They may just embrace the 21st century!

Now if we can only get our own fundamentalist assholes out of the 1700’s.

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By troublesum, September 26, 2008 at 6:55 pm Link to this comment

Fisk was right.  In the debate they are talking about the ME but it is like Isreal does not exist.  They will not talk about the elephant in the living room.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, September 26, 2008 at 1:05 pm Link to this comment

Actually, my sources tell me that the cradle of civilization is near Harrisburg, PA, north, about 13 miles, on I81.  Few know this.  There’s some concern that if it gets out, everyone will flock there and start digging.  They don’t want that.

If you say you learned this from me, I’ll deny it.

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By troublesum, September 26, 2008 at 11:35 am Link to this comment

I think there are more Americans who do understand the people of the ME than Fiske and others realize.  It’s just that the news we get is so entirely managed by Washington that we rarely see what is happening there on a daily basis.  During the Vietnam war it was the sight of American soldiers generally terrorizing the civilian population on the news every night which turned the public against the war.  If the same thing happened with Iraq and Afganistan, the troops would have been brought home a long time ago.  Americans do not like injustice either and if we knew what was going on in our name things would change.

I remember hearing Fiske’s reports on democracynow as the bombs were falling on Bhagdad during the “shock and awe” phase of the war.  Anyone who followed his reporting form the ME in the lead up to the war knew that Iraq had no WMD’s.  When Americans were thinking that the war would be over in a few days, he was reporting that American forces were going to run into stiff resistence from people who didn’t want us there and that the war would be prolonged.

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By Bill Blackolive, September 26, 2008 at 10:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Fisk is too reasonable for US politics and the schizoid US citizens who vote for these schizoid carpetbaggers.  Hu hum.

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By David Michael, September 26, 2008 at 10:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

After having spent the past four years working in the Middle East (Turkey and Jordan), it’s obvious to me that it is the USA on a quest for oil and expansion of empire. History is repeating itself here, taking up where the English Empire left off.  But…it’s not about instilling democracy, it’s about expanding the territory of American Corporations.  Been like this since the days of Teddy Roosevelt.  Hasn’t changed much.  Use the US armed forces to make sure the US Corporations hold sway over much of the world. 

Think this election is about Obama and McCain…guess again.  This is about the “Power beyond the Power”. If the US would dismantle it’s bases overseas and leave the area, the world would have a better chance at peace. World instability is not caused by the Arab world but by the US presence in the Arab world. Seems everyone gets it (Europe, MIddle EAst, Asia, etc) except the American public. Wonder why we have 42,000 lobbyists? Eisenhower said it before about the Military-Industrial Complex.  As one of our most distinguished Army Generals said(two Medals of Honor), “War is a racket”.

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By mendez, September 26, 2008 at 10:08 am Link to this comment

Not that I believe a whit about God or flags or any other kind of symbolism for humankind, but it strikes me that what we are getting, as U.S. citizens, is exactly what we deserve.  Few of us are willing to face up to what we have done to the Muslim world and so we believe what makes us feel good. Bank and economic failure will just be the first sign of what is in store for us as the rest of the world will pounce on anything to pay us back for the garbage we have brought to them.  It matters neither which loser is elected as they will have no control of what is happening to our once proud nation.  Until we hit bottom, there will be no trace of sunshine again.

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By mendez, September 26, 2008 at 10:00 am Link to this comment

Mr. Scheer’s knuckles on his right hand appear to be badly bruised.  I am curious how he did that?  He seems pretty mellow but it would not surprise me these days if he tried to take out a wall or a cop.

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By Anarcissie, September 26, 2008 at 9:55 am Link to this comment

Fadel Abdallah: ‘It sees you have a perverted understanding of the Middle East and your own superior Western white history. You should not be making this stupid and racist statement about Middle Easterners whom you think bring Americans and Westerners contagious diseases.

For your history 101, you should know that the Middle East is the cradle of human civilization….

I said nothing about anyone’s race; if there is racism present, it’s yours.

As for the cradle of human civilization, a dubious distinction in my opinion, the question isn’t what it was 5000 years ago but what it is now.  You can blame that on imperialism if you like—I would—but regardless, a vast expanse of military dictators, corrupt governments, imperial adventures, warring tribes and fanatical religious cults doesn’t appeal to me.  The Middle East has come a long way from Al-Ghazali and Harun al-Rashid, almost all of it downhill.  Are you really going to argue with that?  It’s seems to me I’m only reciting what Arabs and others caught in the area say about it themselves when they’re not reciting religious or political propaganda.

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By P. T., September 26, 2008 at 9:22 am Link to this comment

The U.S. elite puts much effort into trying to convince the public that the problem is Islam, not U.S. imperialism or Zionist expansionism.

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By Maria, September 26, 2008 at 9:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

1. Oil.
2. Weapon production and distribution.
Because the oil and weapon businesses are so profitable, the wars are going on and the innocents suffer.
The democratic institutions malfunction. The last resort is to publish and follow the main financial beneficiaries of the wars - the young Blairs, Bushies, Cheneys, Feifs, Yoos, and such. Either they give back the ill-got wealth or must be treated as heirs of criminals

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By Fadel Abdallah, September 26, 2008 at 9:12 am Link to this comment

By Anarcissie, September 26 at 5:56 am #

One becomes like those one fights against.  So, if the U.S. stays in the Middle East long enough, it will become like a Middle Eastern country and our armies will be right at home.  Let’s see: we already have quite a few Fundamentalist jihadis, although they aren’t Muslims—yet.  Our government does seem to be turning into a financially and morally bankrupt dictatorship.  All we need to do is learn to speak Arabic.  Insh’ Allah….
=================================
It sees you have a perverted understanding of the Middle East and your own superior Western white history. You should not be making this stupid and racist statement about Middle Easterners whom you think bring Americans and Westerners contagious diseases.

For your history 101, you should know that the Middle East is the cradle of human civilization, long ago before there was anything called white America. The Middle East people are more decent than your perverted concept lead you to believe. It is in fact the other way around that the Middle Easterners get contagious bad diseases since colonial white Europeans and Americans came to the area as marauders occupiers and established a permanent base of their evil in the colonialist state of Israel.

For America history 101, you should remember how white Americans, representing the scum of Europe, came as marauders occupiers and annihilated the natives. You might also want to study a little about your brutal racist history related to slavery and blacks, and you might need to study a little about your own civil war when three quarter of people perished, not to mention your recent bloody history in WWII and there after up to the current evil wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Get down of your artificial horse of glory and superiority! If you learn Arabic, then that would be better for you for it will make more civilized and less absorbed in your ignorance and false superiority!!!

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By Mayponce, September 26, 2008 at 9:12 am Link to this comment

Great interview. I’d never heard of Fisk, it’s nice to see I’m not the only one who’s come to the right conclusion about the Middle East and American global hegemony.

I’d like to see and hear more from him on TD.

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By msgmi, September 26, 2008 at 9:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A speedy victory is the main object in war. If this is long in coming, weapons are blunted and morale depressed. If troops are attacking cities, their strength will be exhausted. When the army engages in protracted campaigns, the resources of the state will fall short. When your weapons are dulled and ardor dampened, your strength exhausted and treasure spent, the chieftains of the neighboring states will take advantage of your crisis to act. In that case, no man, however wise, will be able to avert the disastrous consequences that ensue. Thus, while we have heard of stupid haste in war, we have not yet seen a clever operation that was prolonged. for there has never been a protracted war which benefited a country. Therefore, those unable to understand the evils inherent in employing troops are equally unable to understand the advantageous ways of doing so.

Words of Sun Tse, Chinese Warlord of common sense rather than gut feelings.

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By Hammo, September 26, 2008 at 7:26 am Link to this comment

There are progressive and unconventional concepts about using constructive “soft power” in the world, including the Middle East and elsewhere.

Some are explored in the article:

“Transcendent warfare: Human consciousness the key?”

Joint Recon Study Group
Sept. 11, 2008

http://jointreconstudygroup.blogspot.com/2008/09/transcendent-warfare-is-human.html

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By Anarcissie, September 26, 2008 at 6:56 am Link to this comment

One becomes like those one fights against.  So, if the U.S. stays in the Middle East long enough, it will become like a Middle Eastern country and our armies will be right at home.  Let’s see: we already have quite a few Fundamentalist jihadis, although they aren’t Muslims—yet.  Our government does seem to be turning into a financially and morally bankrupt dictatorship.  All we need to do is learn to speak Arabic.  Insh’ Allah….

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By Leefeller, September 26, 2008 at 6:32 am Link to this comment

Comprehensive discussion supporting suspicions we all have had about the Middle East, verified by Robert Fisk,  I respect Fisk’s perennial grassroots knowledge. We will never see this kind of interview on the talking heads. Interesting interview, thanks Robert Scheer. 

Most interesting was his comments suggesting whoever wins president, will not make any difference on Mideast Policy.

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By MajMike, September 26, 2008 at 6:19 am Link to this comment

Talk about history repeating itself, ignoring Vietnam and the Middle East, we see the same thing going far back into time.  When Southern Civil War soldiers were asked why they were fighting the North, they almost never said slavery, or states rights, an overwhelming majority simply replied “because you’re down here.”

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