Be what you would seem to be - or, if you'd like it put more simply - never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise. --- Lewis Carroll
This 8th article in the long-running buggy series on Robert Pape's Dying to Win is something of an interlude, although an important one. It responds to some requests sent by buggy visitors asking that prof bug, to the extent possible, lay out and analyze what he thinks are the underlying ideological beliefs and convictions that have motivated Pape's arguments and theoretical work in his book. Happy to respond here to those requests.
But note. To do so at this point is to interrupt the logical order of the current buggy series --- which has been probing Pape's efforts to test the soundness of his nationalist theory of suicide terrorism by statistical means (logit modeling), a task that has already required a good 4 buggy articles. No matter. The requests make sense; they deal with a weighty topic; and they deserve a response. Then, too, what harm can ensue if we hold off a few days before plunging back into the miasmic depths of Pape's statistical marshland? None, no? On the flip-side, there are lots of solid reasons to peek into the dark mental basement and sub-structures that underpin Pape's worldview and theoretical understanding of international life . . . just as they do, it's clear enough, his current whitewash job of Islamist extremism and the ways in which it has held a near monopoly-role in the outbreak of suicide terrorism since 1980.
Just to clarify in passing for the umpteenth time, note how silly and stupefying that Pape apologia is:
- Even in his own very flawed table 1 on p. 15 of Dying to Win, that Islamist dominance emerges with clarity despite his efforts --- highlighted in the previous buggy article --- to conceal its blatant pre-eminence with a tricked-up presentation of the data. For the make-believe Pape table --- with its remarkably flawed data and mirror-illusion presentation that conceals the dominant role of Islamic groups in suicide terrorism --- click here for comparison .
- Specifically, once his mirror-tricks are grasped and ignored --- (see the corrected Pape table that follows in a moment or two) --- you find that a good 13 of the 15 suicide terrorist groups active in the world between 1980 and the end of 2003 were Islamic. (These numbers and the percentages, note quickly, include four unnamed Islamic terrorist groups attacking Israel not referred to by Pape anywhere in the table: Islamic Jihad, Fatah, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and Forces of Palestinian Popular Resistance; and a fifth --- yes, only one overall Islamic group on a very very conservative count by prof bug --- for "Iraqi" rebels, whose religion Pape claims to be in the dark about, the poor fellow . . . though he is very certain that the death-dealing Kaboomers are all Iraqis.)
One of the non-Islamic groups, the Sikhs in India, carried out a total of 1 suicide attack. Yes, exactly 1; no more. And the other--- the kill-crazy Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, led (in Pape-speak) by altruistic freedom-fighting nationalists --- happen to operate in near-identical ways to a fanatical religious cult . . . not that Pape's later mirror-tricks in chapters 8, 9, and 10 would ever let unsuspecting readers know that. Even then, despite the intervention of the Indian army on the side of the Tamil Tigers' enemy --- the government of Sri Lanka --- the Tamil Tigers have never carried out a suicide or any terrorist attack on Indian soil . . . this, mind you, even though there are Tamil-related ethnic Hindus in southern India itself. (For a much more profound, up-front analysis by a specialist on the region and ethnic conflict there, see Michael Roberts, "Tamil Tiger "Martyrs": Regenerating Divine Potency? Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, (Nov-Dec 2005), pp. 493-514. Not yet available online.)
- In short, even in Pape's bleached, excuse-making data-set, Islamic suicide terrorist groups amount to 88% of the total ---13/15.
Corrected Tables Added /2005
"Can you do addition?" the White Queen asked. "What's one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one?" "I don't know," said Alice. "I lost count." --- Lewis Carroll
- Add in the proper number of such suicide terrorist groups operating between 1980 and 2003 ---21 more, all Islamist --- and the percentage rises to 34 of 36 or 94.4%. The buggy table that catches all 210 of these Islamist groups, including double-counting of Hezbollah and GIA (Algeria) when they attacked civilians or tried to in two different countries each, is also reproduced just below. By contrast, though suicide terrorist attacks were launched against China in 2002 and Turkey in 2003 --- most likely by radical Islamist groups --- prof bug excluded them from the table, not being able to pin down the groups' identities with certainty.
With, surprisingly, some free-time on his hands, prof bug now offers a corrective of Pape's extravagantly error-riddled data-set for suicide terrorist groups active between 1980 and 2003.
SUICIDE TERRORIST GROUPS OMITTED BY PAPE, ALL ISLAMICUntitled Document
|Date ||Terrorists ||Religion ||Target Country ||#Attacks ||#Killed & Wounded |
|1982? ||MKO, Iranian Mujadeen* ||Islamic/Marxist ||Iran ||2 ||dozens killed |
|1994 ||MKO ||Islamic/Marxist ||Iran ||1 ||hundreds |
|1981 ||Egyptian Islamic Jihad ||Islamist ||Egypt ||1 ||1 k (Pres Sadat); 12 w |
|1983 || El-Dawa ||Islamist ||Kuwait ||1 ||? |
|1985 || El-Dawa ||Islamist ||Kuwait ||1 ||? |
|1995 || Egyptian Islamic Jihad ||Islamist ||Pakistan ||1 ||16k; 60 w |
|1992 ||Hezbollah ||Islamist ||Argentina ||1 ||29 k; 242 w |
|1994 ||Hezbollah ||Islamist ||Argentina ||1 ||85 k; 300 w |
|1994 ||Anser Allah ||Islamist ||Panama ||1 ||21 k; |
|1995 ||GIA: Armed Islamic Group (Algeria) ||Islamist ||Algeria ||1 ||42 k; 265 w |
|1994 ||GIA ||Islamist ||France ||1 ||aborted plane bombing of Eiffel Tower 2 |
|1995 ||Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya ||Islamist ||Croatia ||1 ||? |
|1997 || Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya ; Jihad Talaat al-Fath. ||Islamist ||Egypt ||1 ||62 k; 19 w |
|2201 ||Jaish-e- Muhammed, ||Islamist ||India ||1 ||? |
|2002 ||Al Qaeda ||Islamist ||Tunisia ||1 ||19 k |
| 2002 || Jemaah Islamiyah ||Islamist ||Indonesia (Bali) ||1 ||202k; |
|2003 ||Jemaah Islamiyah ||Islamist ||Indonesia ||1 ||12k; 150 w |
|2002 ||Al-Qaeda linked Somalis ||Islamist ||Kenya ||1 ||13k; 80 w |
|2003 || MILF: Moro Islamic Liberation Front ||Islamist ||Philippines || ||21 k; 150 w |
|2003 ||GIMC Moroccan Combatant Group ||Islamist ||Morocco ||1 - 5 ** ||45k |
|2003 ||Several Sunni &Shiite Suicide Groups ||Islamist ||Pakistan ||3 ||? |
|2003 ||Islamist Radicals ||Islamist ||Turkey ||3 ||50 killed, 700 wounded |
|2003 ||Al Qaeda Linked Groups ||Islamist ||Saudi Arabia ||1 ||34 killed |
|Ansar al-Islam, Ansar al-Sunna 2 ||Islamist ||Kurdish & Shia Iraq ||2 (Feb, March 2004) ||290 killed, 500+ w |
* Entries for MKO added after a google search on January 13, 2006, when it finally dawned on prof bug as he was puttering around on the pc that this murderous Marxist-Islamist group of anti-regime terrorists --- who killed thousands of citizens and officials of the terrorist-supporting, semi-totalitarian regime of fervent Shiite hardlines mullahs --- had been busy Kabooming there in the late 1970s and 1980s. The exact date of two separate suicide attacks on Teheran mosques isn't clear from this source, but it is an outstanding analysis of the MKO's terrorism and history: click here for Michael Rubin's up-to-date analysis. The suicide attack in 1994 killed most of the Iranian cabinet and dozens of parliamentarians.
** Simultaneous kaboomings, 5 in all. How would Pape have counted these, one attack or five? (depends, apparently, on whether they were Islamist terrorists or not).
1The GIA-hijacked French passenger plane was intended to assault the Eiffel Tower full of tourists, but when the French pilots faked an emergency landing in Marseilles, the plane was stormed, and the terrorists were arrested. It was this fake landing that led bin Laden to conclude later that the 9/11 hijackers needed to take control of the planes and fly them into their targets.
2 These two Kurdish Islamist groups did not carry out suicide terrorist attacks until February 2004, first against Kurdish moderate political parties and then against Shiites, even as they also started Kabooming in Turkey about the same time. So are we being unfair? No, not really. Consider that the first suicide attack came on February 1st, a mere 32 days after Pape stopped his contrived data-collection, and he was no doubt busy writing his book ms. at the time . . . too busy to notice these suicide attacks or bother rethinking his theory. Then too, let us not forget, Pape claims on p. 99 that his logit model entails a mighty "predictive model" that enhances our confidence in the predictive power of his theory.
Some Useful Comments
There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.
--- Benjamin Disraeli
* First off, note that separate suicide terrorist campaigns carried out by the same Islamist terrorist group are distinguished only if the target-country had changed . . . the case of Hezbollah, for instance, a pioneer suicide-terrorist group. Pape, by the way, can't even get Hezbollah's continued suicide attacks on Israel after 2000 right --- and for, apparently, the same reasons: by June of that year, Israel had withdrawn from all of Lebanese territory as part of what Prime Minister Barak thought would be a comprehensive peace settlement signed with Yasser Arafat at Camp David in July, with President Clinton the mediator. Hezbollah's continued terrorist attacks on Israelis --- whether direct or through Islamic Jihad (another Shiite terrorist group funded and supported by Syria and Iran) --- would, you see, contradict his theoretical claim that suicide terrorism is prompted by democratic military occupation.
Come to that, as the 2nd table shows, Pape can't bring himself to note how Hezbollah carried out two attacks on Argentine soil in the early 1990s. The last prof bug checked, it was about 14,000 miles away from southern Lebanon, but hey, that would be a clever way to protest possible Argentine occupation of Lebanon in the future, no? In any case, as we'll see in a moment or two, Pape seems to share Islamist views that Jews everywhere --- even 14,000 miles from the Middle East --- are part of a global movement to crush Arab nationalist freedom.
More generally, Pape's starry-eyed apologia for this radical Shiite terrorist group, along with Hamas, has to be read to be believed. You'd come away never knowing, for instance, that both terrorist movements were largely created, funded, and bolstered by Syria and Iran . . . two terrorist-supporting states that foster such terrorist groups for their own state-purposes. We'll take up Pape's gushing laundry-job on their behalf later in this buggy article . . . specifically in Part Three. Nor would you ever know that both terrorist organizations are explicitly committed to destroying Israel as a sovereign state, but why should Pape bother to delve into such irrelevant detail when he's busy doing 4th dimension theorizing and outer-space logit modeling?
* Note next that the buggy revisions for table 1 not only corrects the deceptive presentation by Pape on p. 15 of Dying to Win, but also some astonishing data-defects. We just mentioned Pape's cockeyed handling of Hezbollah . . . still very active, by the way, in Israeli Kaboomings contrary to any of Pape's analysis or data-sets! As for the Kashmir Islamist terrorists, it turns out that getting accurate information that clearly distinguishes between mass-murdering terrorist attacks and the suicidal variant carried out in either that country or in India itself is hard to get, despite prof bug's looking at several sources for about a half-hour's search on google. Still, as the corrected data and more accurate presentation show, 13 of the 15 suicide groups in Pape's Table 1 --- all active in attacks between 1980 and the end of 2003 --- were Islamic in nature.
*Shift attention now to the buggy table. Note the astonishing omissions in Pape's table --- a good 21 in number, all of them without exception Islamic terrorist groups. Are the omission deliberate? Maybe, but who can say sure? Possibly Pape himself couldn't tell us even if we coaxed him onto a shrink's couch for a few sessions. People's motives in doing all but the simplest things are usually complex, not simple and straightforward; and self-delusion is common.
One thing for sure: intentionally or not, Pape's extravagantly botched data-sets in several of his chapters --- especially 1, 6, and 7 --- add up to a laundry job that might be the envy of Swiss bankers who maintain secret accounts for the world's assorted gangsters, dictators, terrorists, corrupt miscreants, and anal-compulsive tax-evaders. Between 1980 and 2003, there were 36 total suicide terrorist groups active in the world, and 34 of them were Islamic.
* The closest that Pape comes to catching some of these suicide terrorist attacks, at any rate after 9/11's attacks, is in table 9, which is found 40 pages further on in his book (p. 55). And what does he do with the few overlapping cases there? He claims that all of the countries attacked --- Pakistan, Turkey, Indonesia, Tunisia, Morocco, Indonesia, and Kenya --- were all considered allies of the US in the War on Terrorism by bin Laden, and hence he labels them --- wrongly --- under the misleading title of "Al Qaeda vs. United States and Allies Since 9/11."
For one thing, table 9 says nothing at all about the 10 Islamist terrorist groups active before the attacks on New York and Washington D.C, all of them Kabooming Islamic countries except for Argentina and India. For another thing, we have no idea how closely linked any of the terrorist groups that carried out these attacks were to al Qaeda. Pape may think this --- his mind seems to crackle with special-pleading thoughts --- but prof bug's table omitted a suicide terrorist attack on China in 2002 precisely because the security authorities in that country never fully identified the attackers or their group-affiliations.
Very likely, though, the terrorist groups involved were Islamist.
* More strangely --- but apparently very much in line with Pape's built-in prejudices --- Pape lists as the "Victims' Identity" of the attacks on two synagogues in Istanbul that month "9 Jews". That's it. Not "9 Turkish citizens" or "9 Turkish Jews", but "Jews" --- a view of Jews world-wide that is hard to distinguish from radical Islamists' paranoid-charged conspiratorial views, or for that matter Nazi views too . . . Jews a rootless cosmopolitan people even if those in Turkey had lived there several hundred years. Pape, as we'll see later today, is usually cagey in keeping his prejudices and pro-Islamist views under wrap, but here he lets the cat out of the bag as blatantly as he could. How would he react if a group of enraged American Jews attacked a Muslim mosque in, say, Detroit to protest a Hamas or Islamic Jihad suicide Kabooming in Tel Aviv? Would he create a table labeling the victims "9 Arabs?"
Compare Pape's little slip-up with bin Laden's views expressed in late 2003 on the World Jewish-Conspiracy:
The Jews are leading you astray under the illusion of democracy, to attack our religion at the expense of our blood and our countries...you have fallen victim to money and assets and to those who control the media, among them Jews, who push you to fight us at your expense and at ours in a conflict that does not concern you. Bush acts at the behest of the Zionist lobby who put him into the White House, and is interested in the military destruction of Iraq and in its oil.
Or consider what a Saudi cleric said in 2002, capturing what 60% of Arabs believed about the 9/11 attacks as well --- that they weren't carried out by Muslims, rather by a Jewish-led US cabal (Gallup Poll of 9 Arab countries in the winter of 2001-2002:
"I don't believe that the attack on America [on September 11th] was perpetrated by bin Laden or the Muslims. I think differently. I believe it was a scheme. What is happening now is a continuation of an ancient attack. It is a continuation of the Jewish deception and the Jewish-Zionist wickedness which infiltrates the U.S.... I am surprised that the Christian U.S. allows the 'brothers of apes and pigs' [meaning the Jews] to corrupt it. [The Jews] have murdered the prophets and the messengers. [The Jews] are the most despicable people who walked the land and are the worms of the entire world. They are all evil. And why? Because they are deceiving and plotting aggressors..."
* Then, too, since dozens of countries world-wide are linked to the US war on terrorism --- if not necessarily supporting the military intervention in Iraq --- al Qaeda or its affiliates or imitators abroad could attack any of them, and Pape would then no doubt lump the attack under the same heading in an updated table 9 for a 2nd edition of Dying to Win.
The table's catch-all nature of diverse Islamist terrorist groups is all the more a mirror-illusion job for another reason: Pape, as we'll see later today, applies absolutely no reality-testing whatsoever to al Qaeda's or any radical Islamist group's subjective worldviews, and so any country on the globe that these terrorist groups Kamboomed would have to be dubbed a US ally, either formally or informally. And of course, since all extremist Islamist groups worldwide --- not just terrorist ones --- see Jews in paranoid-fantasy ways as all-powerful descendants of "apes" and "pigs" who deserve to be slaughtered, Jews killed anywhere around the globe would also be seen by al Qaeda and others of likeminded niceties as "allies of the US".
* It gets worse for Pape's make-believe data-set and the theory and statistical work based on it.
A suicide bomber killed about two dozen people and wounded dozens more in Guilin, China in October 2002, but Chinese authorities have never indicated the group to which the bomber belonged. Still, here's another non-democratic country that was targeted by suicide Kaboomers that Professor Pape --- who likes to boast when he is on TV that his group at the University of Chicago has the largest data-base for all suicide attacks since the late 1970s --- somehow managed to overlook. And just three months after Pape's wildly botched data-gathering of suicide terrorism came to an end --- December 31, 2003 --- Islamist suicide-bombers carried out an attack in the capital city of Uzbekistan . . . another Islamic authoritarian regime.
But then if he did have to take note of them --- which he didn't --- he'd no doubt hide them away in table 9 on p. 55 too . . . China and Uzbekistan also allies of the US in the War on Terrorism. When you get down to it, other than Iran, Syria, Cuba, and North Korea, it's hard to find any country world-wide that either doesn't support the US in a variety of UN votes going back to 9/11 on fighting suicide terrorism, or is neutral . . . most of the UN members falling into the former category.
* Note, finally, that except for Hezbollah and Jaish-e- Muhammed, all the omitted Islamist terrorist groups in the 2nd buggy table attacked civilians and security forces in non-democratic countries . . . . a statistical trend that collides head-on with Pape's theoretical claims as well as his Hall-of-Illusions data-set that he himself coded and compiled in chapter 6 for logit modeling. Remember, by self-organizing his data-set that way, Pape ruled out by definitional-fiat any attacks on non-democratic states . . . a nifty way to salvage a nonsensical theory by statistical means, always assuming you can get away with it.
The Outcomes of These Corrected Data and Proper Presentation?
Instead of the original and flagrantly misleading cover-up in Pape's table 1, p. 15, we now find that there were 36 Islamic groups active in suicide terrorism, not just 7 that appear in his original presentation. With only two other groups not Islamic in that category --- the Tamil Tigers' LTTE and the Sikh's BKI (with 1 suicide attack to its credit) --- we now find that Islamic dominance soars to 34 of the 36 total . . . or 94.4% of them.
We also found something else that crashed pell-mell into Pape's botched or doctored-up stuff. Specifically, Islamic extremist groups attacked more non-democratic Muslim states than democratic military occupiers --- a trend that emerged early on in the 1980s and has intensified since 2003. It's the major reason why Muslim countries fear Islamist extremists more than Western and other non-Muslim countries --- a finding brought out in a recent Pew Organization Global Attitudes Survey reproduced in Part Two here, along with some other attitudinal matters that are also at loggerheads with Pape's Alice-in-Wonderland theorizing and predictions.
And Prof Bug's Conclusion?
Never in a long scholarly career has he seen such extravagantly botched, fiddled, or misused data . . . especially in connection with what is supposed to be a theoretical breakthrough and its alleged causal pathways submitted to statistical testing. Yes, never. No exaggeration
Let's put this judgment in nutshell-terms. When you go to a used car lot, a good guide should always be Caveat Emptor!
--- Buyer Beware
! --- lest you be suckered. When you read Pape, it's no less important that you be guided by Caveat Lector
! --- Reader Beware
! --- lest you . . . well, you get the idea, no?
One Further Point.
Some of the buggy analysis here is largely conjectural, and in the end all of it is a matter of personal judgment on his part.
Still, there's more than enough evidence in Pape's Dying to Win
and his other writings to hope that the analysis unfolded in this buggy article isn't wholly subjective, that instead it's pretty accurate --- with Pape's worldview turning out, in the end, to be an uneasy, oddball mix of
- Managerial power-realism in international relations theory that exudes contempt for the US's recurring pursuits of democratic change and other ideals abroad;
- Plus much blame-America for its off-putting-hubris-and-hypocrisy on the world-scene that will provoke, sooner or later, catastrophe for us;
- And, to complete the psychic jumble, certain standard-model left-wing pieties and ostentatious bull-shitting empathy with all the alleged victims of America's overweening power and callous indifference to others world-wide . . . an ideological medley that would be reflexively understood and appreciated with huge satisfied nods-of-their-heads by chronic readers of, say, The Nation.
Would Pape fully agree with our argument? No way. Would that surprise you? When you get down to it, there are very few people in the world free of self-illusions and other self-deceptive mental defenses and able and inclined toward honest introspection.
Do you know anybody like that? If so, count yourself lucky.
That said, prof bug needs once more to underscore a point of importance at the outset here: however much he believes that he has touched on some key underlying stuff jostling about in Pape's mental world, the opinions and judgments he comes up with are, in the end, a matter of his own personal interpretations, nothing else. And so, he will be more than happy to admit error and post corrections prominently here should anyone who knows Pape well come up with convincing evidence to the contrary.
PAPE'S WORLD VIEWS AND FOLLIES
"Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
--- Lewis Carroll
The Buggy Articles To Come
Agreed: a strange way to begin some comments about Pape's mental outlook and theoretical approach to international relations and how they seem to have animated his . . . well, wrong and garbled analysis of suicide terrorism and the whitewashing apologia for the dominant role of jihad Islamism in its outbreak and spread since 1980. Still, don't fret here. There's a reason for beginning this way, something you'll see in a moment or two.
As things are shaping up, a 9th buggy article will be needed to complete our close-up dissection of Pape's statistical work, after which a 10th article will bring the Pape-series to a close . . . or so prof bug hopes. That final article, as things are also emerging, will likely be of particular interest to buggy visitors.
Focused on Dying to Win's
7th chapter --- which unfolds an extravagantly long and bungled effort by Pape to prettify bin Laden, al Qaeda, and radical Islamist fundamentalism --- the buggy analysis in that forthcoming article will seek to highlight the swarms of howlers and snafus that crowd in and mar almost every point in the Pape-argument; it will show, in the end, that Pape's work adds up to an elaborate laundry-job . . . a spun-out sequence of special-pleading and excuse-making for vicious, hate-filled Islamist cutthroats and terrorists. Is this an exaggeration? No, just the opposite. Reading Pape's Chapter 7, you'd never remotely know that the fear of these kill-happy jihadists frighten the Muslim populations of several Arab and non-Arab countries --- Indonesia, Pakistan, Turkey, Jordan, and so on --- even more than they have the Russians, West Europeans, Americans, and other Western countries . . . at any rate down through last spring (2005), since which time, possibly, the suicide assaults in London during July might have closed the gap between at least European and Muslim-majority outlooks here.
Note that these opinion-findings were set out in the Pew Global Attitudes Survey published last summer and were cited in the previous buggy article. Note too, though, that Pape manages to goof up even on the simple task of predicting the thrust of these trends in global opinion even though they were already under way and increasingly evident while he was probably still writing the final draft of Dying to Win.
You Want Evidence?
Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.
--- Niels Bohr
Here's the evidence, and if it has a familiar look, that's not coincidental --- just the opposite. The Pew Global Attitude Survey results were set out in essentially the same manner in the 6th buggy article, and as you saw there, you can see again what happens: in blunt terms, Pape's special-pleading, error-riddled arguments in Dying to Win
leave him wandering deep in left field . . . or maybe, when you think about it, on some other planet that's millions of miles removed from the realities back here on earth. In particular, he says categorically in his last chapter --- finished, remember, most likely in late 2004 or on into 2005 --- that the effort of the US and its military allies has been disastrous for our country in the war on terrorism . . . not least because our military policies and promotion of regime-change in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere have increasingly, dangerously, won support among Muslim populations for bin Laden and suicide-terrorist reprisals.
Oh? Actually, the Opposite Is the Case
Start, as a memory-jog here, with how the first Pew table captures the realities on earth, not those imaginary ones unfolding in a Pape-land of bogus tables and long dark statistical nights: click here
for the source
Now shift attention and look at this table:
The Outcomes of Both Tables?
- As you can see from both tables, the fears of Islamist extremism held by Indonesians, Pakistanis, and Turkey --- 230 million, 180 million, and 80 million in population respectively --- actually exceeded those held in the leading non-Islamic countries . . . at any rate, down to through the end of spring 2005 and hence right before the two attacks by Islamist terrorists on London subways in July. Since then, other polls show a swelling tide of growing apprehension all over Western Europe.
First and foremost, notice that there's a built-in collision between these Pew survey results and Pape's wonderland view of things.
Again and again in Dying to Win,
Pape refers either explicitly or by clear inference to Islamic suicide-terrorists in wondrous pomaded ways. From his lofty perch, they don't loom as homicidal mass-murderers full of raging hatred and urges for slaughtering their own paranoia-projected enemies --- above all Jews, America, America's democratic allies, infidels, moderate chicken-hearted Muslims, and the Muslim Trojan-Horse rulers in power. What's more, their younger volunteer Kamboomers aren't confused young men and women with anguished identity-problems; no, far from that, they're really a pretty good crop of decent and admirable chaps who turn out to be first and foremost community-minded altruists and nationalist freedom-fighters, and if they've had to resort to self-Kabooming while bombing others, it's been done reluctantly and only out of desperation . . . the only way, they've been convinced, to lift the boot of democratic military oppression and free their compatriots for robust national self-determination.
Huh? Pape really believes this? Exactly what compatriots in Iraq --- a small percentage of the Sunni population, itself only about 15-20% of Iraq's 25 million people --- are the Kaboomers speaking for so that they can be free for national self-determination?
Yes, there's no conjecture here. Pape doesn't beat around the bush with these assertions. Dying to Win
seems preoccupied at times with this view, and if you doubt it, get hold of a copy, turn to pages 187 to 198, and have a ball reading.
Sure, Pape's not yet certain whether bin Laden is a Saudi nationalist freedom-fighter, or a Persian-Gulf nationalist, or an Arab nationalist, or a Muslim freedom-fighter and nationalist on a global scale, but no doubt in time he will put us wise here. In the meantime, you can believe him if you want, just as you can believe that his nationalist theory captures the dynamic forces that have been propelling suicide terrorism world-wide for 25 years now and been carefully tested for statistical reliability as shown on p. 99 and in fn 43 on p. 294. Somehow, though --- to judge from these opinion trends in the Pew Global Attitudes Survey --- the vast majority of Muslims don't see vicious Islamist cutthroats through a Pape Lala-Land lens.
How odd, no?
Pape has assured us that his data-sets show that the suicide terrorists operating after 1980 enjoy widespread, ever expanding community-support; and maybe, when you think about it, on parts of the University of Chicago campus that's true. Not, however, in the Muslim world itself.
More Pape Wonderland Stuff
"It's all make believe, isn't it?" --- Marilyn Monroe
Pape's wondrous inability to get things right --- even when they're unfolding under his nose --- runs on and on, and as you'll eventually see for reasons that directly derive from his substructure ideological view of the world.
- Contrary to his claims in the last chapter about how the US and its allies, Western and Muslim, are losing the war on terrorism, consider the marked decline for suicide terrorism in Muslim countries in the course of just one year . . . remember, their attitudes all probed before the suicides attacks in Egypt last July (2005) and later in the fall in Jordan.
And finally, just in passing, consider these bits and pieces of evidence that don't settle down properly in Pape-land either.
- Start by wondering how, if Pape is right, a good 11 million of Iraq's 15 million voters went to the polls on December 15, 2005 --- including an overwhelming majority of Sunnis --- despite the constant suicide attacks Kabooming around the country the last two years . . . or is it just a matter of time before the duped populace wakes up and starts showing brisk eager support for the altruistic Kaboomer-leaders acting in their name against democratic oppression?
- Then, too, look at how a political ferment has been set off by the American-led invasions and destruction of vicious totalitarian governments in Afghanistan and Iraq: Syria has been forced out of Lebanon, Syria's terrorist-supporting dictatorship has been censured even by the United Nations (!), Iran's terrorist-supporting Holocaust-denying mullahs in control there look more and more like criminal maniacs every day, Libya's crackpot ruler has thrown in the terrorist-ruined towel, the Gulf States and even Saudi Arabia --- Saudi Arabia!!! --- are now allowing women to vote in restricted ways and are now promising more ambitious enfranchisement of men and women alike, Egypt has held a half-way free election for the first time in its history, Algeria has destroyed a ruthless Islamist terrorist movement (ignored by Pape despite massacring tens of thousands of civilians with the preferred use of bayonets, knives, and bombs) and, along with Morocco and Tunisia, has been moving in a more and more friendly Western-direction.
More Evidence: Another Table of Islamist Terrorist Groups
- Somehow, too, Pape --- the careful, quantitative scholar --- doesn't appreciate the volatility of popular opinion attitudes. He trots out an older Pew Global Attitudes survey to show how the Muslim masses disapprove of the US, big time. That was in 2003. Pape, who didn't finish writing his final draft probably until the end of 2004 or early 2005, once again went quickly plop with his silly and jumbled predictive powers . . . this, mind you, despite his remarkably touted nonsense on p. 99 as to how his 2nd logit-model's results undergird his nationalist theory with statistical wonder-making, an assertion that he has recently affirmed anew on national television. Now shift your attention away from Pape's intergalactic predictive-jaunts and back to the planet earth.
What reality do we find at work here?
Simply said, the US is at a high-time mark in the last 20 years right now in Indonesian and Pakistani public opinion, the populations of these two countries alone adding up to about 30% of the number of Muslims world-wide.
You want more evidence of Pape's incompetence as a theorist and applied statistical researcher?
Well, shift your attention now to the "predictive side" of Pape's work. Recall that on p. 101, after running his poorly estimated, poorly interpreted logit model on what prof bug does not hesitate to call a phony data-set --- the model's results mediocre at best, even aside from the whitewashed data-set itself --- Pape, the Alice in Wonderland of quantitative scholars (if not the Mad Hatter himself), claims that his "findings give us confidence that future cases are likely to follow a similar pattern
" in the future: that is, suicide terrorist groups have nothing to do per se with radical versions of Islam, and that religion itself matters only secondarily in all suicide terrorist groups active between 1980 and the end of 2003 . . . yes, all 2 of the 34 Kabooming groups that weren't Islamic in one sense or another. Somehow Pape's predictions went astray immediately afterwards.
Somehow our confidence isn't bolstered this way. Whatever confidence we might have had in Pape's work collapsed with the error-riddled table 1 on p. 15 of Dying to Win
, with the collapsed remnants than blitzed nuclear-like as the pages after that rolled on from one drifting dreamland to another. Here, for instance, are 14 terrorist groups banned from Britain after the terrorist attacks in London last July (2005), and though you might probe into each and every one for a long long time, you won't find any new Sikh or Tamil Tiger groups on that list. Note that this list is not exhaustive. A lot of the Islamist suicide terrorist groups slaughtering Kurds, Shiites, and Sunni Arabs in Iraq --- all community-minded altruists in Pape-speak with ever increasing support from their fellow national compatriots --- aren't easy to label, though some clearly are linked one way or another to al Qaeda.
14 Terrorist Groups Banned from Britain
in October 2005
Actually, Pape's incompetence doesn't end with these flagrant howlers. As you might recall, he's covered his behind by contrary claims on p 101 that his statistically tested nationalist theory might not actually prove a good guide to the future . . . this qualification, you understand, coming on top of claims on p. 99 that his logit model tested the theory's predictive value with wondrous results. So we have a theory that is wrong, based on what in prof bug's view are phony data-sets that amount to a laundry-job, tested wrongly by a poorly estimated, poorly interpreted logit model, that is supposed to enhance our confidence in the theory's causal pathways and predictive power . . . only we shouldn't, pace Pape, be surprised if the theory proves wrong on all scores in the future. As, come to that, it clearly has.
And Just in Case You Want More Data-Based Evidence,
Consider the 2005 Freedom House Survey of Freedom in the World, which looks not just at political freedom, but the quality of civil liberties and legal rights and now, fortunately, also the status of women. In doing so, Freedom House uses a variety of indicators, and while they aren't faultless and neither is the data-collection and analysis, they're better than their equivalents elsewhere. Fortunately too, the work and analysis depends a lot on the advice of various scholars whose clear-headed thinking towers above Prof. Pape's and his 16 research assistants and 20 expert scholarly readers . . . the latter maybe in a comatose stage when they read Pape's manuscript.
Here is a pertinent summary from Freedom House's initial introductory essay in the Survey:
Gains in Freedom
This year's survey registered modest trends in improved civil liberties in the Middle East and North Africa specifically, and in Muslim majority countries in general. While Muslim majority countries constitute 24 percent of the world's states, they accounted for over a third (9 of 25) of the states that made measurable progress this year, mainly as a result of improved civil liberties. This trend was matched by growing discourse in many Islamic states about the need for political reform, as well as growing attention to the absence of fundamental rights for women in many Islamic--and particularly Arab--societies.
While in Iraq, progress toward stability and the creation of civic life was stalled by a brutally violent insurgency that increasingly made targets of innocent civilians, the survey reflected modest, but positive, trends in the Arab countries of the Middle East and North Africa. Although no Arab country gave evidence of improvement sufficient to merit a status change, modest gains were registered in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Qatar. In Egypt, the civil liberties score increased from 6 to 5 because of greater civic activism, particularly by women's advocacy groups. Jordan's civil liberties score increased from 5 to 4 because of improvements in women's rights and press freedom. In Morocco, the civil liberties rating improved from 5 to 4 due to the adoption of one of the most liberal family codes in the Arab world. Qatar's civil liberties rating increased from 6 to 5 on the basis of improvements in academic freedom. It is noteworthy that the gains in the Arab world were concentrated in the civil liberties area; many of the changes stem from increased civic activism, which is factored in along with governmental actions and policies in overall evaluations. No country in the Arab Middle East has yet adopted significant liberalization of its political system.
Other majority-Muslim states registering gains included Malaysia, whose political rights rating improved as a result of more openly contested national elections. Comoros saw increased political contestation in its national legislative elections. Niger saw both political rights and civil liberties improvements due to increased representation of minorities in government and because of efforts to improve the status of women. Turkey's civil liberties strengthened due to the passage of another round of major reforms this year, including a complete overhaul of the penal code that makes it much more democratic. The Turkish government also increased civilian control of the military and started broadcasts in minority languages, including an increase in Kurdish language broadcasting. As Turkey awaited a decision concerning its consideration for European Union membership, the severest forms of torture decreased, and there were other improvements in human rights practices. In Afghanistan, reasonably free and fair presidential elections led to improved political rights despite obstacles to open contestation in regions where violence remained a significant factor.
You Want More Evidence: Latest Opinion Poll Results in Pakistan and Indonesia
These two countries, remember, are by far the largest in the Muslim world --- 160 million in Pakistan and 230 million in Indonesia, and once again they reveal what by now is old hat: there's been a big improvement in both Pakistani and Indonesia mass attitudes toward the US in the last year. Specifically,
"Released today, the poll commissioned by the nonprofit organization Terror Free Tomorrow and conducted by Pakistan's foremost pollsters ACNielsen Pakistan shows that the number of Pakistanis with a favorable opinion of the U.S. doubled to more than 46% at the end of November from 23% in May 2005. Those with very unfavorable views declined to 28% from 48% over the same period. Nor is this swing in public opinion confined to Pakistan.
A similar picture is evident in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation. Again that's largely because of American generosity in the wake of a natural disaster. A February 2005 poll by Terror Free Tomorrow showed that 65% of Indonesians had a more favorable opinion of the U.S. as a result of American relief to the victims of last December's tsunami. If these changes in Pakistan and Indonesia influence thinking in other countries, then we could be looking at a broader shift in public sentiment across the Muslim world."
Our Buggy Summary-Judgment?
None of these and other dominant trends in the Muslim world --- I mean none! whether on the opinion level or in governmental circles --- square with Pape's pessimistic views as he expresses them so confidently in his last chapter . . . this, despite the remarkable statistical outcomes he reports on p. 99 that are supposed to underpin his predictive powers. No surprise here, is there? The deeper you read into Dying to Win, the more the argument seems driven by a mishmash of hard-boiled power-realism, pleas for appeasing vicious enemies of this country, and reflexive left-wing views of the United States in world affairs . . . at least so prof bug believes.
Can we validate this buggy judgment? Yes, or so prof bug thinks --- and will now try to show.
AN ELABORATE APPEAL FOR CONCESSIONS AND OTHER APPEASEMENT
"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less." "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things." "The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master—that's al
The fiascos that hound Pape's predictive powers regarding future public opinion trends in the Muslim world after 2003 pop up, recall, in his book's very last chapter, and aptly so.
Well, you see, by then Pape's intellectual crash in Dying to Win is doubly on display, and for once, his argument lets slip to glaring light the mix of ideological bias and moral thrust that has been at work throughout the book, but in veiled smokescreen ways. In that chapter, to put this in plain English, Pape's worldview turns out to ripple with an intellectually and emotionally charged credo that blames the United States for what happened on 9/11, just as it entails the policy-need for us to offer up numerous concessions and other forms of appeasement to Islamist terrorists as the only sure-fire way for Americans to buy their security in the future. Continue following the Bush-path in the war, by contrast, and Pape implies we'll face catastrophe . . . not just more suicide attacks, but nuclear-armed suicidal terrorism. Follow the enlightened Pape-way, though, and we will coax and ear-stroke our vicious, fervent enemies into pacific withdrawal by means of steady appeasement.
True, nowhere does Pape actually use that term --- not that this should astonish us. For obvious reasons, appeasement is a taboo-word these days thanks to a disaster-marked history the last 75 years that shows what actually happens when democratic countries set out to appease vicious, ideologically extreme enemies: whether Nazis, Fascists, Japanese militarists, non-Japanese militarists, Soviet Communists, Chinese Communists, Pol Pot Communists, unregenerate Palestinian leaders like Arafat, and . . . well, dare buggy prof say the word? Islamist extremists of all stripes.
So, to no one's surprise, Pape cleverly avoids the taboo-word. He pumps the handle of appeasement with hyperkinetic energy all the same . . . or so it seems to prof bug.
Tag-on observation, added January 9th: Spain's appeasement of Islamist terrorism --- which was initiated by the current Socialist government the second it came to power after the Madrid bombings in March 2004 --- is fully in line with Pape's sagacities, and the consequences are . . . well, what any of us might have predicted if we weren't skyhooting like Professor Pape in some celestial wonderland where Islamist terrorists are reasonable community-minded altruists fighting only for national freedom from democratic oppressors. Click here for an up-to-date analysis of the Spanish repercussions.
The Point Clarified
Agreed: to catch on to Pape's abracadabra-Weltanschauung, it takes a careful reader a few chapters of hard-slogging and iterative data-checking through the thickets of his entangling tables, theoretical alchemy, voodoo data-sets, and statistical mirror-illusions and incantations --- not to forget the undergrowth of the footnotes and appendixes at the back of the book that have to be hacked through --- before luminous insight and comprehension begin firing up in your brain. From that point on, you can see them all plainly reflected on every page . . . all those trademark-giveaways of the Pape-philosophy and its litany of dogmas and credos about the world. Seen in this incandescent light, the need for appeasement of Islamist terrorists has been the point and purpose of Dying to Win from the word go . . . the logical outcome of his strained, off-the-wall nationalist theory of suicide terrorism and careless or mirror-trick data-sets. Or so, to repeat, prof bug claims. What's more, seen in that lucent light, the reasons why Pape's flawed data-sets from p. 15 on --- table 1, you'll recall --- point directly to democratic military occupiers as the inevitable target of all suicide attacks that Pape (wrongly, blatantly incorrectly) insists his table 1 uncovered between 1980 and 2003'd end.
Seen in that light too, what appears to be utter poppycock now takes on a special role in the Pape argument.
Take case 58 in Pape's make-believe data-set that is run on his logit models as it's set out in Appendix III of Dying to Win. It deals with --- hold onto your chair now, you might fall over in shocked laughter! --- "Native Americans vs. United States", coded 0 for years of violence, 0 for rebellion, 0 for suicide terrorism, "traditional vs. Christian" for religious difference, and "native languages vs. English" for linguistic difference. Come on, did you miss that military occupations in the 1980s and 1990s? Weren't you reading the absorbing reports tucked away in the appendixes of the Nation on the occupation . . . especially in those issues that were devoted to the equally wonder-making theoretical work of Edward Said on Orientalism and the Muslim and Arab worlds.
Note Quickly Though
Whatever else you can say against Robert Pape, he at least expresses himself in readable English.
Whereas if case 59 were added to Pape's data-set used for logit modeling --- called "Edward Said vs. the English Language" --- it would be likely coded this way: "1 million-plus" for slaughtering the English language, "40" for years of violence done to English expression, "40 " again for years of vicious rebellion against clarity of thought, ordinary syntax, and sentences that happen to be shorter than 193 words, "DUMMY variable" for knowledge of the Middle East, and . . . well, for linguistic difference between English and Said's weirdo junk-store language, prof bug's SPSS program couldn't code it.
As the poor SPSS program strained and over-exerted itself while trying to calculate "infinity" as the code-entry for linguistic difference, it nearly exploded prof bug's advanced 3700+ AMD 64 bit computer chip --- with the entire pc soon shaking and shimmering like Little Richard high on one of his songs and something else --- and the poor prof had to rush headlong out of his study and across the gardento shut off electricity to the entire house. Otherwise, the entire neighborhood looked like going the way of the victims who were haplessly targeted by one of Professor Pape's desperate but nationalist freedom-fighting altruists out to rid their compatriots of democratic military oppressors.
Back to Pape's Appeasement: a Specious Set of His Cautions?
Pape, take note, warns us in his last chapter that we need to be careful how we negotiate and tailor our concessions when we deal tête-à-tête with bin Laden and the other terrorist leaders of his ilk.
Still, . . .
there's no two ways about it: we will either have to meet their "legitimate" grievances with adequate concessions or we will face disaster, and the sooner we realize this, the better off we'll be. For that matter, he hints --- doesn't say so explicitly in his wiggle-room ways --- that justice also demands that. No surprise here. Bolstered by contrived data-sets and naive statistical work, the whole drift of his nationalist theory has aimed at showing how al Qaeda, bin Laden, and its Islamist affiliates and imitators world-wide are not manned by zealous jihadists or paranoid vicious sociopaths who crave vengeance against imagined turnip-ghost oppressors, but rather another cluster of selfless, remarkably dedicated freedom-fighters who are willing to die for the sake of liberating their suffering compatriots from the oppression of American power and its multiple Trojan Horse Muslim rulers operating on a global scale for the United States and its western allies.
Selective Reality-Testing a la Pape
More to the point, Pape never once criticizes any of the tenets, dogmas, credos, and what-have-you that lead bin Laden and the other ruthless jihad-terrorists to see things this way.
Reality-checking isn't his scholarly duty, you see; and though he's prompt to apply it to the fallacies and wrong notions afoot in Bush and other American circles --- Chapter 12 of Dying to Win is replete with such criticisms --- he shows remarkably self-restraint when setting out their "altruistic" and "nationalist-inspired" views of the world and their oppressors.
Their oppressors, as it happens, are us. They hold us responsible for all the multiple self-made troubles that beset almost all the Muslim countries world-wide: economic backwardness, technological backwardness, rule by corrupt dictators and their crony networks, a lack of a strong work ethos, no legal system other than in name, and --- the jihadists' second-to-the-last calamity for Islam --- its lack of power, prestige, and glory, the exact opposite condition that true-believing ardent Muslims expect to have happened, what with the intimate links between the origins and spread of Islam from the 7th through the end of the 17th century by military-led imperial conquest.
The latter, to repeat, is the second most powerful grievance and resentment in the jihadist mental outlook.
Their Number One Bogeyman Grievance?
That's easy to pin down. It's the marked disappearance in their view of purity from daily Islamic life world-wide. . . this vanishing-act itself, in turn, the root-cause of the backwardness, decline, and decadence Islamist extremists see all around them in Muslim societies.
We have, of course, a pretty good idea of what a purified Islamic country would be --- not that Pape ever lets us in on this historical reality: Taliban Afghanistan, whose leader, Mullah Omar, was benighted by bin Laden just before the 9/11 attacks as the new caliphate-in-waiting who will take control the moment the suicidal-terrorist sweep away the impurities and decadence of Muslim life for which, of course, we are held responsible. . . the US, Jews, Jews who control the US, US western allies, and the biggest of their detested oppressors, the Muslim apostates and heretics put in power by the West and maintained there by the US. And of course if Taliban Afghanistan isn't quite on the books, there's Wahabbi Saudi Arabia or Sharia-government genocidal Sudan as models to be emulated.
One way or another, though, the jihadist world-view boils down to holding Americans as the turnip-ghost cause of Muslim woes, weakness, and decadence on a global scale.
Is this also Pape's own view?
Who can say? He's too cagy to let us know with certainty.
Instead, he falls back on an intellectual ploy: he refuses to apply any reality-testing to these worldviews that are rife in Islamist extremist circles world-wide. You understand, he doesn't mind applying corrective views when it comes to American policymakers and their duped allies abroad and doesn't hesitate from Pape-Planet to tell us how calamitous their behavior has been, but nowhere does he say anything critical about the brutal, kill-crazy views held by the bin Ladens of the world, big or small. Instead, he leaves the crackling hate-filled prejudices of these malevolent mass-murderers totally intact. That's how they view things, see. And it's up to us to appease their grievances or face disaster.
Understand that, Pape lets it be known, and all good things will soon follow.
Who Does Pape Remind Us of Here?
Well, shut your eyes, and you could easily imagine that you're drifted back into the miasmic mists of appeasement circles that flourished in Britain, France, and the United States during the late 1930s.
. . . Pape, the power-realist with isolationist tendencies and a blame-the-US bent, reminds us of no one so much as E.H.Carr . . . a prominent British International Relations theorist of that period at Cambridge University and likewise a thoroughgoing power-realist with an unconscious moralizing bent. Carr's book, The Twenty Years' Crisis
which appeared in the summer of 1939, set out an elaborate, half-disguised plea for seeing Hitler and the Nazi leadership as also reasonable but frustrated nationalists, who had bundles of legitimate grievances against the Western democracies and their dominance of the existing global status-quo. Satisfy those grievances, Carr argued from various angles, and war would be avoided. Otherwise war was inevitable, and the powerful British and Americans would be particularly to blame.
Not to worry though.
Like Pape in his view of bin Laden and Islamist terrorists, Carr was convinced that Hitler's rhetoric and blustering behavior were all for show. Power-realists, you see, are like that. On their view, only the realities of power and security matter in IR. Nothing else counts. The rest is only rhetoric, ideological claptrap, and fist-pounding for effect, and so when you offered concessions, you could count on the other's grievances diminishing while their willingness to compromise --- strike mutually satisfying bargains --- would build and swell
As it happened, Carr became a specialist on Communist Russia, and he showed in his writings after 1945 that he hadn't learned anything from World War II itself. His realism now extended to embrace the Stalin system almost wholesale, regarding which he wrote several volumes of history full of data and special-pleading arguments like . . . well, you know who by now. The more Stalin killed, the more elaborate Carr's rationalizations became. In the end, the stuff on Stalinist Russia boiled down to Carr's admiration for the mass-murdering dictator and a windy apologia in defense of him and the Soviet totalitarian system.
Power-Relists Are Usually Like That
They believe that their theories cut niftily, with quick, no-nonsense dexterity, to the very core of life in international relations --- whether between states or peoples and terrorist groups.
Ideology matters very little, domestic political systems make no difference; rather, only power and a quest for it and security count and really animate organized groups . . . whether territorial states, empires, or terrorists leading ethnic or national minorities. Everything else besides power, security, and quests in international anarchy --- no legitimate, effectively institutionalized government prevails in the international realm, and never has globally
--- is so much smokescreen stuff, mental make-believe tricks like extravagant rhetoric, table-pounding gestures, tough-guy huffing-and-puffing, and circus-and-bread showmanship in diplomacy to control the restless masses at home. What's more, not only does constitutional and effective democracy make no difference whatever to the long-term thrust of a state's foreign policy, but worse yet, democratic leaders are particularly prone to self-deception --- conditioned as they are by the domestic political process to mouth repetitive and flowery ideals that are a cover for power-and-security quests and anyway induce other peoples and governments see us as hypocrites.
What ensues for power-realists? Well, you've probably guessed it by now.
Quite simply, understand these powerful and timeless dynamics in international life, and you simultaneously understand how clashes are inevitable, aggravated by certain built-in deformities in international anarchy --- information gaps, ethnocentric subjectivity, collective action problems, inability to make binding commitments, the troubles that hinder the start of cooperation among states, even allies, and even more hound its continuance over the long haul --- yes understand all this, and the invariable flux and change that mark the rise and fall of great powers, and you can understand, among other things, what really motivated Nazi Germany, militarist Japan, and their allies in the run-up to World War II or the Soviet Union and its Communist allies in the Cold War, and how --- to get down to specifics --- their clashes with the rich, powerful, status-quo democracies should be properly managed.
By negotiations, concessions, and mutual give-and-take, but without any effort to throw doubt on their leaders' ideologies or the political systems they live by..
And something else follows. The aggrieved powers on the rise --- these days, the altruistic, national freedom-fighting terrorists who Pape believes he understands perfectly --- are the underdogs and weaker parties, and it's incumbent on the rich powerful states to take the initiative and begin the offer of concessions that will, by responding to at least basic grievances, coax and soothe the challengers and eventually lead them to appreciate the give-and-take necessary for a live-let-live set of policies to guide them in a turbulent world. Hitler, Chamberlain was convinced after Munich, was such a man you could trust. Japanese militarists --- whose army ran amuck in Asia, killing tens of millions (a figure hardly even known in the West) --- could similarly be trusted to negotiate seriously in the summer and fall of 1941. Stalin was another basically sound policymaker: you could deal with him and his successors too, just as you could with Mao and Pol Pot and others . . . if only you understood the need to negotiate and take the lead in give-and-take by giving and giving.
Realists, as it happens, can even point to a liberal theory of cooperation: how it can actually emerge out of anarchy and eventually prevail if the powerful lead-country will only seize the initiative and begin the initial concessions, followed by a strict tit-for-tat series of iterative give-and-take that will, of course, lead to single-shot defections --- say, World War II or 9/11 on a grander scale again ---but that's international life, and ultimately the "shadow of the future" and the benefits from mutual cooperation in a live-let-live way will prevail
Liberals vs. Realists
Where the realist and liberal reading of these cooperative dynamics differ is on the time-frame.
Liberals hope against hope that the cooperation that begins to emerge can, sooner or later, become more enduring if the powerful states then develop international institutions --- the World Bank, the OECD, the EU, the UN, and so on --- to overcome many of the information-gaps and lack-of-ability to monitor cooperation effectively that prevail in anarchy (the lack of institutionalized and legitimate government on a global scale). Realists believe that's another illusion. Institutions may emerge, but they are there because they can be used by the powerful for their own purposes. Once the distribution of global and regional power begins to shift markedly in the future again --- something inevitable --- clashes between the status-quo and challenger countries over the existing institutional global order will be inevitable.
Here apparently. in a nutshell then, is Pape's philosophy of international life that that runs throughout his appeasement-minded argument and apologia in Dying to Win
from the word go. Is this surprising? To many of you it will be. You've been given a misleading image by the media --- left-wing, dogmatic, and politically correct as most media types are --- of Power-Realism. The truth is, realists aren't war-crazy types, any more than they hunger after power . . . not in the ways at any rate that realism has taken root in the US since the late 1930s and been taught in universities. Far from that, realists believe powerfully in seeing the world in stark, non-illusory ways, in shrugging off idealistic cant, in direct negotiations, and in the need for the most powerful to set the tone and pace of concessions. . . always provided of course that you don't give away the house-mortgage in the process.
Back to Pape: The New Standard-Bearer
I believe that he was really sorry that people would not believe he was
sorry that he was not more sorry. --- Samuel Butler
Pape, in short, emerges as another apologist for vicious kill-mad types, only at the University of Chicago rather than at Cambridge. And like Carr in 1939, he seems to think that he has unique insights into the realities that underpin the superficial huffing and puffing rhetoric of frightening Islamic terrorists --- a core of legitimate grievances that are all directed at powerful democracies that have, wittingly or not, curtailed their nations' or groups' options, aspirations, and justified quest for power, security, and influence.
See Dying to Win
in that light, and what follows?
Essentially this: once you've hacked and hewed your way to the book's end through a tangle of flawed data, misused or outrightly abusive statistics, and a lush horde of theoretical special-pleadings, you find that its underbrush of scattered argument and strewn biases make for a contrived, spun-out journey of excuse-making and cover-up for fanatical terrorist enemies of this country, our allies in the Western world, and Muslim and non-Muslim countries elsewhere. They hate us, they hate democracy, they hate infidels, they revile Jews, they detest Muslim moderates, they want laws that justify beating women and stoning adulteresses, and they relish killing their enemies.
Pape, though, sees none of this. He prefers to eschew all criticism or reality-testing, and prefers to let their own rippling homicidal and paranoid views set the tone and direction of his scholarly argument.
That Much Is Clear in Pape's Work
Whether he himself actually admires bin Laden and these ruthless mass-murdering schemers active in Islamist circles worldwide is less clear.
So far, let us say, he's been more cagy than Carr was --- or maybe just younger and with fewer works to his credit that reveal a consistent, power-realist view of the world. So who knows? In the future, perhaps he'll tread along in Carr's footsteps, writing several more volumes full of howlers, fallacies, and laundry-job excuses for homicidal sociopaths on a vast scale --- these new volumes likewise decked out with bogus data-sets, jumbled thinking, and statistical shipwrecks, just as Carr's multi-volume study of Stalinism boasted footnotes and data crammed to the rafters --- and yet letting slip, sooner or later, what his true feelings about Islamist terrorism really are.
A Query Prompts Itself Here
Which scholar does the following quote from Through the Looking Glass
remind you of?
'Contrariwise,' continued Tweedle dee, 'if it was so, it might be, and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic!' (Alice Through the Looking Glass)
ENTER PAPE'S LEFT-WING PIETIES BY THE BACKDOOR
Is it accidental that the most influential realist theorists since WWII --- George Kennan, Hans Morgenthau, Kenneth Waltz, and yes, a few of their followers at the University of Chicago (one of whom has moved to Harvard recently) --- have been unremitting critics of American "crusading" world-wide for the last 60 years: whether in Asia, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, or now everywhere in the Muslim world?
No, not accidental, and note something funny and fishy here: democratic crusades seemed to have worked spectacularly in Germany and Europe through those 70 years of armed clashes, just as they have worked in Japan and increasingly so in most of Pacific and Southeast Asia . . . as well as in India and maybe elsewhere in Southern Asia in certain countries. Just as, despite all the warnings and fears that Kennan, Morgenthau, Waltz, and their colleagues have repeatedly sounded, the basic institutional and regional order that the US, the UK, and certain powerful US allies created after WWII and again after the Cold War.
Similarly, whatever the shoddy quality of democracy in today's Russia, it is still the same country that 16 years ago had the same nuclear arsenal it does today. Does anyone lose sleep over Russian foreign policies these days? If not, why not?
As for left-wing appeasement or the sort of blame-the-US dogmas that prevail in certain liberal circles here and universally so in the EU media, it's a very different approach to the world than power-realism. Very very
different. It rightly draws the contempt of hard-headed realists and from those like prof bug who isn't himself a power-realist. What is prof bug then?
You want it in a nutshell, no syrupy stuff on top?
OK then: put bluntly this way, he's a democratic-crusader on the global scene whose intellectual roots extend back to Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, and --- more recently --- Ronald Reagan, the most influential US president since FDR and the most successful President diplomatically since Truman. More concretely, prof bug powerfully believes in the desirability and need for continued US initiatives on a global scale, whether diplomatic or military bolstered now and then by interventions against dictatorial enemies of this country and imposed institutional changes in their political systems in a democratic direction. It's been our best success, this combination, ever since 1945. Much to our benefit and the world's, for all the contrary cant and moralizing humbug from the left and the continued cluck-clucking from the realist camp.
The Intellectual Foes of the Prof Bug Position
Left-wingers and the deluded EU-intellectuals and media types hate such democratic crusading by Americans? Good; prof bug is happy to be very remote from their dangerous, appeasement-minded delusions. Hard-headed realists like Kennan, Morgenthau, Waltz, and some of Pape's colleagues at the University of Chicago show contempt for such crusading as well, even if for different reasons? Fine, No Sleep lost by prof bug knowing this.
The fact is that left-wing bellyaching and moralizing cant from Henry Wallace and his admirers and acolytes on --- we're talking about how they started the day after WWII ended and served up their apologia and whitewashing of Stalinist Russia and Maoism China --- have been wrong 99% of the time since 1945, just as power-realist tut-tuts and sterner warnings about idealist crusading excesses have proved wrong a good 95% of the time. The even harder fact is that the US has thrived and prospered since the end of WWII by seizing the initiative wherever it can and pushing hard for democratic change, regional institutional cooperation, and the need for a global economic order . . . backed, where needed, not just by diplomacy and economic instruments, but by military alliances and interventions on a repetitive scale.
As for the realist assaults on US foreign policy --- almost non-stop now since the end of the cold war in 1990-91 --- read on. You'll find that every time a radical departure from the diplomatic status-quo has been undertaken by the Clinton and Bush-Jr administrations, the sky-is-falling-in prophecies start being clucked-clucked with chicken-little fervor --- and you know what? Each time they've been flatly wrong.
Boo-Stuff on a Frenzied Scale Since 1995
The latest self-scare willies that seized hold of both left-wing and power-realist circles, at any rate before the Iraqi occupation, were provoked by --- brace yourself! you might not remember it! --- well, by the expansion of NATO eastward starting in the mid- and late 1990s.
No sooner did President Clinton opt for the expansion in 1995 than the proclaimed policy ignited years of oracular scared-stiff writing about the inevitable disastrous consequences: how Russia would feel threatened and encircled, how the cold war would begin again, how the whole facade of post cold war security would crash to the ground, and other dire the sky-is-falling-in hokum that passes for some overlapping wisdom in the mental worlds of both left-wing and power-realist circles. Later, when NATO moved without any negative fall-out whatsoever to embrace Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland, the hokum --- instead of being subdued --- fired-up several notches in harum-scarum Jeremiads in all the usual-suspect circles, whether realist, liberal, or radical. Not, you understand, that these alarums proved any more accurate than before. Nothing bad happened. No disastrous repercussions ensued at all.
No matter! Never mind! We were just plain lucky, you see.
Oh sure, democracy had been consolidated in those three countries --- but! but! but!
on no account should NATO move to the very edge of Russian borders, or catastrophe would definitively, no questions-about-it finally ensue . . . the newest round of jitters, voiced loudly in the remarkably uninformed dogmatic EU media, setting off predictions that NATO's very existence was in jeopardy, with our weary, worldly-wise European allies a sure-fire bet to distance themselves from this latest folly of American idealism abroad and abandon the alliance as a house-of-plague.
Again, Nothing Bad Happened
Is that a surprise, the total wrongheaded nature of these predictions from the left and out of power-realist circles? About 9/10 of the time, it seems, they are flatly wrong about American foreign policy. Neither sage, Weltschmerz-burdened power-realists nor left-wing piety-embracers ever seem to learn from their failures. Their minds don't work that way apparently. How they work isn't clear, mind you --- except in one respect: their baseline credos and pieties are wondrously insulated from any reality-checking.
It doesn't matter, moreover, which President is in power or what the initiative is: if it shakes up the status-quo and worries either the exponents of managing relations with each and every dictator in the world or, far to the left, the exponents hoping to find ways to erode American influence and power abroad, the members of these groups will start getting the willies, sense hazards and menace in high-pounding manner, and predict that disaster is about to ensue. .
Jump ahead now to 2001 and 2002.
No sooner did the Bush administration come to power and argue that the ABM Treaty --- which legally had a clause built into its early 1970's agreement that it could be renounced by either the US or Russia --- needed to be abrogated than the same chorus of alarmed squawks and distressed funeral-songs began again. Arms control would be destroyed; the Russians would start building new nuclear offensive weapons, but move to a hair-trigger launch-on-warning posture; Russia and China and all the disaffected powers-on-the-rise or all those others on-the-way-down would combine and forge a mighty world-wide coalition against this latest round of American lunacy. By then --- remember, 2002 or so --- if the sky hadn't caved in and sent all the Chicken-Littles world-wide rushing for treatment at the nearest cardiac-ward, it was apparently only because the human-species was once again lucky to have escaped disaster by the skin-of-its teeth . . . in fact, the luckiest species ever since dinosaurs self-destructed 50 million years ago, their disappearance not due to a meteor crashing into the earth, but --- so prof bug has recently heard --- to early-stage literacy when they produced some tiny-brain post-modernists and went extinct soon afterwards from boredom and raging disbelief when they read the poppycock.
Then, too, everyone knew that Yasser Arafat was indispensable to managing relations with the Palestinian Authority, and hence when the Bush administration announced in June 2002 that it would no longer deal with him whatsoever --- that he had lied to Bush personally and repeatedly reneged on commitments --- the jointly shared chorus of disbelief and moaning lamentation was lifted to new levels of agitation . . . especially in
In the EU Media in the Western Half of the Union?
Consider its distraught distempers of the era 1991 to 2002.
Over and again, specializing as its members do in an unbroken string of poll-parroting nonsense about the world --- which includes the wonders of sluggish or stagnant government-dominated economies, the inlaid harmony of post-modernist multiculturalism and its agile ability to assimilate all immigrant communities just like magic, and oppositely, the fury-inducing idiocies and catastrophes that are built into American capitalism, the dog-eat-dog nature of American life, the reckless idiocies of American foreign policy, and the threat and horrors of American-led globalization (with lavish hints voiced openly by 2002 of a Jewish cabal in charge of them all) --- the EU media pundits, from the North Pole to the Mediterranean, had lathered themselves up into the usual blinding froth of pc-pieties and pc-delusions about NATO, NATO expansion, the ABM Treaty, Russian reaction, Israel, Yasser Arafat, and the Bush administration. By 2002, the only question that seemed to perplex foreign observers of these journalistic Wrong-Way Corrigans was who had emerged as the No. 1 Villain in their Valhalla of bad-guy countries: Israel or the Jewish-led America.
Or maybe it was supposed to be both reckless countries together . . . a view that was reflected, believe it or not, in public opinion surveys that were taken in the EU in late 2003. Yes, Israel loomed no. 1 as the greatest threat to world peace! A good 59% of EU respondents thought so. The US ranked right below it as the 3rd greatest threat in the view of 53% of the respondents. Click here
for a buggy analysis and links to the polls.
Well, Gosh! Who Couldn't Be Sympathetic to the EU Plight?
Just imagine the frenzies caused by the spectale of this gun-packing due on the world scene . . . so so different from European honest-broker, post-modernist diplomacy!
When you get down to it, which peoples could be more different from the EU populations in the West than the Israelis and Americans, both of whom exude a powerful high-pulsating sense of patriotism? Both countries, too, are stubbornly bent on defending themselves with energy and military action against their self-declared foes, if need be by unilateral action; both refuse to emulate EU sagacities and tie their national governments and freedom-of-action to the cadaver of a regional system of cooperation in foreign and defense like the EU that resembles nothing quite so much as the Holy Roman Empire; and both, finally, thanks to these virtues, have a thrusting sense of national purpose and willingness to act on it.
Enter the Iranian specter. Those of you worried about the Iranian nuclear spectacle --- not to worry: the EU big countries are right on top of the problem. For over a year now, they've in off-and-on tête-à-têtes with the reasonable but slightly difficult leaders in charge of that country, and sooner or later --- maybe, say, by the next Y-2 Millennium Scare --- a mix of sustained ear-stroking and 48 million warnings about economic sanctions will produce the desired results and the Iranian government will renounce its nuclear weapons ambitions.
Prof Bug's Prediction Here?
The easy part is the inevitable failure of EU diplomacy. As far as prof bug can tell, it's never succeeded anywhere on anything since Franco-German cooperation that dates back to the 1950s, though it does produce mighty huffing-and-puffing pronouncements at EU Summits again and again. Only slightly harder to predict is this: American intelligence and target-location capacities will help the Israelis destroy the Iranian nuclear programs in a pre-emptive strike . . . followed by the usual outrage of cries and protests in the halls and auditoriums of the certifiably fair-and-square and above-all-suspicion United Nations. With, to be sure, great relief voiced sotto-voce in all the governments of the world except North Korea.
What could be worse than that? At which point, possibly, Professor Pape will have published his next book on how to achieve Victory in the War on Nuclear-Proliferation to the Oppressed Governments of the World.
A Question Follows:
Have US military interventions against our foes always worked?
No, Vietnam was the biggest folly of all --- for reasons that we won't go into here. Click here
for an earlier buggy article that delves deeply into that war. For all that, Korea has worked out, NATO has worked out, Reaganite activism has worked out (including the attack on the "evil empire" that sent realists like Kennan into frothing disbelief), Kosovo and Bosnia worked out, and so --- if we don't lose our nerve --- will the interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq. It's when left-wing idealists take control --- Carter in the late 1970s and Clinton in dealing with North Korea and the Palestinian terrorist-leadership --- that we suffer the most, just as the failure to march to Baghdad in 1991 and oust Saddam Hussein left the mess for us to deal with in 2003.
If, then, left-wing delusions and pc-hokum have been wrong or disastrous 99% of the time, and power realist hard-headed jeremiads have fizzled out into fretful fatuity 95% of it, consider the actual US diplomatic record since 1945. On prof bug's view, our successes tower above our failures and setbacks.
The vigorous mix of American idealism, democratic crusading, and high-energy diplomacy and military action where needed have worked out effectively a good 75-80% of the time. Considering what international life is like, that's an outstanding achievement. If you doubt this, ask yourself this question: where, right now, are the powerful Nazis, fascists, militarists, Communists, Baathists, and other demonic enemies of this country and its closest allies these days? In the trashcan of history, though with hundreds of millions of deaths on their hands before the lids crashed on them thanks mainly to American garbage-collection on a grand scale.
The Current Threat and Pape's Pieties
Now we face a ruthless, ideologically extremist threat once more --- radical jihadist Islam. And Pape, for once, is right: the greatest danger is that they will find or create and use weapons of mass destruction when they can.
He's disastrously wrong on almost all other counts: wrong above all to urge us to disengage from Afghanistan and Iraq. No need to elaborate more. By now you know where, to use some current student-talk, prof bug is coming from. Where, though, does Prof Pape come from?
Well, from power-realism as we've noted, but also ---
There Seems Simultaneously To Be
Another undercurrent sloshing around in the darker recesses of Pape's mental basement. Possibly --- and yes, this is speculative --- Pape, who probably grew up in the Vietnam era, has been infected to one degree or another by the raw reflexive hatred for American democracy and capitalism that have flourished in pc-strongholds throughout American academia since then. If that's excessively put, then simply say that he's been infected by the no less reflexive blame-the-US drum-beating in those strongholds. Hard to know for sure. Hard to know even less than for sure.
One thing Prof bug is pretty sure about, though, is the opposite of Pape's beliefs on display in Dying to Win
Democratic crusades and energetic diplomatic and military actions to sustain them remain our best hope as guidance-bearings through a turbulent international order . . . always turbulent it's true, and always full of conflict too, but doubly dangerous now when the equivalents of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and the other paranoid megalomaniacs of the Fascist and Communist eras have been defeated, only for their successors in the guise of bin Laden and other ruthless, cutthroat Islamist megalomaniacs to take their place with weapons of mass destruction lurking nearby.
Backdoor Stuff Repeatedly Sneaks In
And then there's the recurring thrust on half-lit display throughout Dying to Win
that reveals his pc-pieties when it comes to the alleged victims of American oppression world-wide, whether directly trammeled by the US jackboot or indirectly under the thumb of the US's robotic stand-ins around the globe . . . especially, in his book, in the Muslim countries. Not that Pape ever descends from his scholarly perch to let us know this directly. It just comes splashing out again and again --- on almost every page and sometimes repeatedly --- however much against his will to keep it under flaps.
And so in Pape's Never-Neverland, Hamas and Hezbollah aren't in large part creations of their patron-states Syria and Iran, nor the former a spoiler of Israeli-Palestinian peace-talks under Oslo.
No, can't be. Can only be a spontaneously created group of morally reluctant but altruistic terrorists who were determined in the mid-1990s and later to end Israeli imperial oppression with a little calculated strategic Kabooming. Likewise, Hezbollah is another nationalist group of social-service providers who, from time to time, very reluctantly have to Kaboom other Lebanese and the usual democratic-suspects, plus France once, into oblivion. And of course, while reluctantly blasting them apart --- their ingrained moral restraints pulling hard the other way (so says Professor Pape) --- Hezbollah's altruistic freedom-fighters haven't been at all influenced by 1400 years of Shi-ite traditions of martyrdom. Funny thing, though, the Ayotollah Khomeini --- the revolutionary dictator who overthrew the corrupt dictatorial Shah's regime in the late 1970s and instituted a totalitarian system based on purified Sharia --- issued one clear call for martrydom and killing infidels after all . . . the killing made every Muslim's duty, whether Shiite or Sunni:
"Islam makes it incumbent on all adult males, provided they are not disabled or incapacitated, to prepare themselves for the conquest of other countries so that the writ of Islam is obeyed in every country in the world.. .. But those who study Islamic Holy \War will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world. . . .
Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those who say this are witless.
Islam says: Kill all the unbelievers just as they would kill you all! Does this mean that Muslims should sit back until they are devoured by [the unbelievers]? Islam says: Kill them [the non-Muslims], put them to the sword and scatter [their armies]. Does this mean sitting back until [non-Muslims] overcome us? Islam says: Kill in the service of Allah those who may want to kill you! Does this mean that we should surrender [to the enemy]?
Islam says: Whatever good there is exists thanks to the sword and in the shadow of the sword! People cannot be made obedient except with the sword! The sword is the key to Paradise, which can be opened only for the Holy Warriors! There are hundreds of other [Qur'anic] psalms and Hadiths [sayings of the Prophet] urging Muslims to value war and to fight.
Does all this mean that Islam is a religion that prevents men from waging war? I spit upon those foolish souls who make such a claim."
The Source Here?
The source of this Khomeini altruistic freedom-fighting nationalist statement to "kill all the unbelievers" all in the "service of Allah?" Well, you can probably find it easily on the web, but prof bug picked it out from Amir Taheri's book Holy Terror: Inside the World of Islamic Terrorism
(1987), p. 35
Naturally, though, these blood-curdling counsels of the Ayotollah --- whose every word was and is still regarded as holy holy holy in Iran --- have nothing to do with the fact that 34 out of 36 suicide terrorist groups operating between 1980 and 2003 were Islamic. We have it from Professor Pape, no way! Impossible! Runs contrary to the mediocre results of Professor Pape's 2nd logit model!!!
And it goes without saying that Professor Pape --- whose knowledge of Islamic fundamentalism seems to be limited to the introductory chapters in a couple of anthologies (cited by Pape on p. 105 of his book) --- has greater insight into the jihadist suicidal traditions of Islamic martyrdom (whether Shiite or Sunni) than Khomeini, no? How do we know? Because two pages later Pape cites "the widely respected scholar Seyyed Hossein Nast" who argues differently, though along the way Professor Pape forgets to mention in that book by Hossein Nast the "widely respected scholar" regards the West as "evil." Then there's Amir Taheri himsef. Emerging as a well-known commentator in the West after fleeing the totalitarian nightmare of Iran --- he has been, among other things, the editor of the French quarterly "Politique internationale" and the author of nine books on Islam and the Middle East, for which work he has won some deserved awards. Still, he's a fool when seen in the murky light of Pape's dreamland world . . . more specifically no doubt, a dupe of the silly and shallow Bush-Blair view of Islamist extremism too.
For what it's worth, prof bug quickly adds that Pape's fanciful snow-job stuff about Islamist fundamentalism --- including the radical version he later refers to "Salafism" --- will be dealt with at length in the 10th buggy article, though it will also be delved into here too in a minute or two. In the meantime, for an up-to-date analysis by a RAND Corporation specialist on both active terrorism and support for it in the wide Islamic fundamentalist world, click here
More Pape Omissions
Before we leave Pape's Alice-in-Wonderland treatment of Hezbollah and Hamas, note in passing one more point that he also forgets to mention in dozens of pages: both terrorist groups were partly created and have been lavishly sponsored by both Iran and Syria --- themselves two terrorist-supporting states run by cliques of power-grabbing, power-expanding dictatorships bent on doing all they can to torpedo any Israeli-Palestinian accord . . . directly or through their surrogates on the ground, which now includes Islamic Jihad in the West Bank and Gaza.
Oh, and yes, nowhere in his book's kid-glove treatment of these two terrorist movements does Professor Pape bother to tell us that both terrorist groups are formally and explicitly dedicated to destroying Israel's existence as a state.
Pape's Left-Wing Pieties Jostle and Then End Up Reinforcing His Hard-Boiled Realism
In case Israel were destroyed, the hard-headed realist side of Pape would likely say in prof bug's view, so what?
Similarly, if Hezbollah carried out a couple of suicide terrorist attacks half way around the world in Argentina and rid Buenos Aries of an unsightly Jewish Cultural Center and killed and injured a few hundred of its citizens, all you have to do is read Professor Pape's illuminating study of suicide terrorism to know that it never, ever, took place.
Nor Is That All: Pape's Snow-Job Apologia and His Left-Wing Cant
If Hamas emulates Hezbollah and institutes some imagined return to Sharia law that sends out thuggish Vice and Purity Squads to whip and manhandle women without proper garb or institute stoning for adultery --- maybe full-tilt so the accused woman follows in the wake of the Kaboomed victims or just with few 5-pounders heaved her way followed by a wrist or two slashed off, and at the same time oppress civil rights, kill or keep infidels at bay, and even acquire nuclear weapons ---- what the hell, who are we to say no? It's none of our business, see. And what's more, they'll have no reason to attack us if we keep it that way, just as, pace Pape in the last chapter, al Qaeda won't have any incentive to attack us either if we apply this logic wholesale to the Muslim world . . . and in any case, even if Pape concedes bin Laden and the other community-minded leaders of al Qaeda and their associates do want to go on Kabooming us, not to worry too much. No need to.
" In some ways, you know, people that don't exist are much nicer
than people that do." (Lewis Carroll again)
Or as Pape puts it on p. 125, their movement "might well simply collapse" if we play it cagey like in Pape-ways, withdraw militarily from the entire Muslim world, stop trying to push for internal changes and reforms, stop worrying about Islamist fundamentalism --- itself shown to have no strong ties to al Qaeda? Shown by whom? By our statistical wonder Prof Pape himself, that's who --- our careful quantitative scholar testing for the ties in another . . . well, flagrantly bogus data-set, which relies on one case, Morocco in part two of the table 13, pp. 110-11, to demonstrate that the alleged ties prove to be wholly imaginary under the stupefying scrutiny of our selfless statistical scholar.
The outcome? Well, believe it or not . . .
Once Again, Reality Trumps Pape
at Pape's goofed-up table that appears in two parts . . . Pape emerging, by now, as bumbling Mr. Magoo of quantitative botch-jobs
Before we delve into this swampy mess, a word or two about Mr. Magoo and Pape's uncanny resemblance to him, perceptually speaking (maybe intellectually too, come to that).
Once again, Pape's botched statistical work looks to prof bug like the bumbles and fumbles of a statistical-spouting Mr. Magoo, the hilarious cartoon-character For those of you lucky enough to have seen the side-splitting cartoon series, Magoo was chronically unable to see anything or anyone proper, bolstered by a mulish refusal to admit to anyone --- least of all himself --- that he badly needed glasses. In the upshot, as he stumbled around the house or out in public streets, he was as liable to confuse his young nephew in a raccoon coat with a wild Grizzly as he was to think that a striped tammy-cat was an escaped tiger from the local zoo. Every time he proved wrong, and yet he kept plugging away. That's the key, mulish wrong-headedness and a total incapacity to get things right. Reminds you of who exactly?
And Now Throw Out A Rope and Onward Into the Swamp!
Assuming you're still afloat, concentrate for the time being on part two of the table.
It's there that Pape claims to be showing that, statistically viewed and tested, there's no correlation between known al Qaeda Kaboomers on the one hand and any countries with strong Salafi (read: radical Islamist) influences where they grew up at some confidence-level he hasn't deigned to tell us about. Leave aside the Magoo-like goofs in that 2nd part's data. Even with the distorted data intact, the claim that Pape makes here is extravagantly hard to fathom . . . yes, even for those of us who know statistics decently.
To make sure prof bug's not exaggerating, here's the strained and oddly cryptic explanation --- found, as usual, tucked away in a footnote on p. 297 --- that Pape sets out to clarify his reasoning on p. 111. As you hack and hew your way through it, you wonder what he was dreaming about when he wrote it.
"27. To be clear: At most, al-Qaeda suicide terrorists are twice as likely among Sunni Muslim populations that have been influenced by Salafism than from other Sunni populations. However, they are ten times more likely among Sunni Muslim populations from countries with an American combat presence and twenty times more likely among Salafi-influenced Sunni Muslim populations from countries with an American combat presence than among Sunni Muslim populations in their countries. This means that American combat presence on the Arabian Peninsula increased the expected number of individuals willing to carry out an al-Qaeda suicide attack against Americans, such as the September I I attack, from ten to twenty times. Assuming that the number of suicide attacks is directly proportional to the number of individuals willing to execute them--a reasonable assumption, since the number of suicide terrorists per al-Qaeda attack has varied only within a narrow range and has been as small as one-then increasing the number of suicide terrorists by a given factor (ten to twenty times) will increase the number of expected suicide attacks by that same factor (ten to twenty times)."
Got that? If you do, you win the buggy first-prize: your picture exhibited on the buggy site --- next to Mr. Magoo's if you prefer, or alongside Professor Pape's if you are self-sadistic --- provided you send in an intelligible translation of his garbled enigmatic claim.
In the meantime, we have to turn once again our attention to the Magoo-like feint-and-fudge stuff in Pape's data as laid out in part two of his table. Guess what? Every two of the three countries there that he claims have no strong Salafist movement happens to be wrong . . . but especially the key country, Morocco. It supplied 12 of the alleged 18 al Qaeda Kaboomers, or so Pape insists in Appendix III, and yet it had no strong radical fundamentalist movement. Huh??? Back here on planet earth, it turns out that one of the two or three largest Salafi-influenced fundamentalist movements in the 21 Arab countries exists in Morocco . . . 4 million strong in a population of 30 million!
Note for his absurd space-based statement, Pape relies on a book published in 1993, nothing else . . . and apparently wrong even at the time. For a reality-based view full of insight by a French scholar, click here.
What Can You Say in the End?
Probably this. To judge by Dying to Win's
astonishing voyages into fantasy-orbit, Pape's mental world emerges in prof bug's opinion as a motley mess of contradictory assumptions, moralizing beliefs, hardboiled realist theorizing, and left-wing credos that go without questioning and seem to underpin his apologia for ruthless Islamist terrorists. How much the resulting mess in his book derives from Mr. Magoo-like naiveté, funny fumbles, and perverse stubbornness on the one side --- and how much from other motives on the other side --- is something nobody can say, and probably not Pape himself. He's a man, to judge by his TV appearances, not much given to candid insight and introspection into his own mind . . . or so it seems to prof bug.
So then, when all is said and done, what can we infer --- or to be more accurate, what can prof bug say by way of his own personal interpretation of Pape's underlying assumptions, beliefs, and moral axioms that he sees at work in Dying to Win
Well, simply this: in his opinion, it's an odd, off-the-wall mix of hardboiled realism and softheaded credo-stuff that seem to jostle for priority in the dimly lit substructures and basement of Pape's mind, no?--- all the credo-crap, moreover, of the sort so beloved by the inveterate readers of The Nation
and on display there from 1945 to 1991 during the Cold War too. And alas, all too familiar for those of us who have lived through the last 40 years of weirdo intellectual life on our country's
Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end; then stop.
--- Lewis Carroll