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Monday, March 13, 2006

Robert Pape's Whitewash Work and Intellectual Betrayal in Dying-To-Win Examined: 10th Article in a Series.





Today's buggy article, the 10th in a long-running series on Robert Pape's blunder-ridden book, Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism --- a work that has caused a big splash (mainly in the usual suspect circles) --- continues our analysis of its numerous foul-ups: a teeming multitude of goofs, errors, flaws, make-believe data-sets, tangled logic, and a silly and garbled misuse of logistic regression.

From start to finish, these thronging foul-ups infest the book's data, analysis, and theoretical work. They shoot up and multiply in every direction; they swarm through the pages in bevies of mangled arguments, both quantitative and qualitative; they're so numerous and so varied that, in the end, you're left in a state of topsy-turvy wonder . . . Pape, in prof bug's view, winning the prize hands down for god-awful scholarly pishposh --- at any rate outside the circles of shallow, self-righteous, and barely literate post-modernist theorists.


INTRODUCTORY COMMENTS

What About the Big Splash the Book Has Provoked?

That's an easy question to answer: its favorable reception has been limited to three circles of critics, readers, and commentators: in particular, among left-wing critics of the War on Terrorism, on the xenophobic, isolationist right-wing of the Republican Party, and in power-realist circles that dominate much of American international relations theorizing. Small wonder for the brisk hand-clapping in these circles. The wonder would be that the book's botched, special pleading --- AKA arguments backed by mangled and specious data from page one on and ending with a plea for appeasing the "legitimate" grievances of wronged suicide terrorist zealots --- wouldn't evoke a jubilant response in those circles' activist, disgruntled members.

Among other things, to return to Dying to Win, Pape --- besides whitewashing and covering up the near-monopoly of Islamic terrorist groups in suicide attacks between 1980 and the start of 2004, on which his book focuses --- unfolds a series of rippling criticisms of the Bush (and Blair) policies in the War on Terrorism. Simultaneously, it argues for tête-à-tête negotiations with al Qaeda's mass-murderers and the desirable need by us to appease their alleged legitimate grievances . . . these al Qaeda chaps, after all, to use Pape-speak, really only poor oppressed nationalist leaders, who, in more Pape-hokum, are really pretty admirable community-minded altruists like the other suicide terrorist groups he analyzes . . . exactly 2 in a cover-up data-set of 15 suicide terorist groups, the 13 others all Islamic.

Three Sidebar Clarifications Are Needed Here:

1. No, prof bug didn't vote for George Bush either in 2000 or 2004, both for reasons of domestic and foreign policy differences. And though he has been critical of the way the Iraqi occupation has been handled by our government, he still supports the original invasion and hopes it will work out. His chief reason: he's an avid supporter of the US government under any President pushing an agenda of American ideals --- support for human rights, democratic change, and international cooperation --- in foreign policy except at times when significant national security interests require some concern for the trade-offs and hence the need to moderate or even suspend the policy

There aren't many such occurrences.

An example of moderating or suspending the policy for strict, dire security interests: an alliance in all but name with Maoist and Post-Maoist China in the 1970s and 1980s aimed at the common Soviet enemy.

By contrast, the protection of Arab dictators since 1945 as something in our long-run interest has been a disaster . . . for us first and foremost, and for Middle East change and peace. Among other things, prof bug would have liked to have seen us move directly toward Baghdad in the Gulf War of 1991, which was opposed by the power-realist managers that dominated the first Bush administration's policies . . . no matter how many Shi-ite and Kurdish rebels were betrayed by us in the process. And almost 6 decades of coddling these double-dealing Arab dictators --- interested primarily in staying in power and milking their populations by means of their gangster-like states and tribal-clan dominated patron-client networks, not to forget huge oil revenues in some countries --- produced exactly what?

Well, no end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; and a disastrous effort to win over the chief gangster-terrorist of the PLO, Yasir Arafat, to a compromise peace --- Arafat, meanwhile, amassing a family fortune of billions of dollars bilked from foreign aid; and growing anger and resentments among alienated intellectuals and crackpot semi-literate imams and other religious ignoramus-fanatics; and , the capper, the emergence of radical Islamo-Fascist terrorist groups that included the 9/11 massacres in New York and Washington. But hey, power-realists, right-wing xenophobic isolations, and angry left-wing America-Is-Always-Wrong Bush-haters are convinced that if only we had continued taking the same poisonous coddling-medicine --- except after 9/11 in horse-doctors' dosages --- the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the world would be far far better off, and especially if we followed Pape's advice, chatted nicely with the ruthless terrorist leaders who hate us from top to bottom (as we did nice-guy Yasir Arafat, invited to the White House by Clinton more times than any other foreign statesman), and showed what good-fellows we were by appeasing their slews of "legitimate grievances" against us.

Only the US intervention in Iraq has, for the first time in decades, unfrozen the disastrous Arab status-quo and --- turbulence and all --- open up the possibility of long-run desirable changes.

2. Power-realists, for what it's worth, have spawned some different theoretical thrusts over the decades, but all of them take for granted that war and conflicts are inevitable in international life and regard the pursuit of idealism in foreign policy --- read: American ideals --- as foolish and calculated to backfire and worsen things, if not producing outright disasters . . . including the creation of inevitable counter-balancing coalitions of other powerful states.

So what explains repeated American efforts since 1918 to pursue, repeatedly, various ideal-marked policies . . . starting, at the end of WWI, with Woodrow Wilson to create the League of Nations and a Just Peace, later FDR's creation of the UN, Truman's Marshall Plan, Carter's Human Rights campaign (later implemented by the Reagan administration in Latin America and the Philippines), the New World Order of George Bush senior, and the attempt to transform the dictatorial states of the Middle East in democratic directions? American arrogance and hubris, that's what. Again and again, power-realists of all sorts have watched with dismay the pursuit of these ideals, condemned them, and predicted disaster after disaster.

The outcome?

Surprise! Surprise! For nearly a century now, exactly the opposite of realist predictions. Despite certain setbacks in a complex world of violently clashing ideologies --- including the sudden emergence of radically new, mass-murdering totalitarian states like genocidal Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Miitarized Japan on one side and the Soviet Union, Maoist China, Pol Pot's Cambodia, North Korea, and the same evil ilk on the other --- American power, influence, and ideals, far frrom producing disasters as realists have predicted, have continued to expand and multiply globally. It all leads to you to wonder what is needed to bring the various versions of power-realism into line with hardhead realities?

Nor were new, ruthless, genocidal totalitarian states the only radical challenge to American power and influence in the 20th century. After 1945 there was also the danger of nuclear war. For nearly five decades in the nuclear age, successive American administrations not only won the Cold War, but kept the conflicts with the horrendous "evil empire" of the Soviet Union --- a term used by that great American idealist, Ronald Reagan, which Wilson, Franklyn D. Roosevelt, and Harry Truman would have never hestiated to invoke too --- from ever reaching the stage of great-power nuclear war. And what did power-realists and their new bedfellows on the left since the Vietnam war predict? Nuclear catastrophe, that's what. And not just because there were huge deployments of the nuclear weapons on both sides in the cold war, but because of continued innovative nuclear doctrines by the US and a deliberate shift to the offensive, ideologically and militarily, in the Reagan period . . . one more example, it was argued by both alarmed groups, of the "arrogance of American power and hubris" --- or dangerous self-delusive ideals and rhetoric.

Reality, needless to add, turned out differently. As usual, the alarmists proved wrong.

3. A key academic book that brought the two camps together --- managerial power-realism and left-wing liberal views of America-as-Evil --- on crux-issues regarding American foreign policy's "deadly idealistic influences" if pursued by military means appeared at the end of the Vietnam War, Theodore Lowi's End of Liberalism. Among other things, it featured a key chapter entitled "Making Democracy Safe for the World" --- get it? the inversion of Wilson's slogan in 1917-1918 --- with, so Lowi argued, the American pursuit of democratic ideals abroad leading invariably to exaggerating both the threat from Communist totalitarianism and the urgent need to deal with it firmly.

The outcome here? Once again, nonsensical tosh in academic and activist circles.

In particular, less than two decades after Lowi's disaster-predicting book appeared, the Soviet Union disappeared along with the Soviet Empire, while global Communism went into the trashcan of history (though only after mass-murdering well over a 100 million people), Russia and all of the European countries of Soviet imperial rule have become democracies, and so have all the former states that once comprised Communist Yugoslavia . . . American intervention in the civil wars there in 1995 and again in 1999, despite the entirely predictable hokum about invariable backfiring disasters and demented American use of force to export democracy there. For the first time in 1600 years, ever since the downfall of the Roman Empire, all of Europe from the Urals to Britain and Ireland is peaceful and cooperative in non-militarized ways, with the cooperation institutionalized in the EU and NATO . . . the latter an American creation too that has always been more than a limited, realist-based security alliance, and the former in no small ways generated by the Marshall Plan that required West European cooperation for joint administration and by subsequent American support despite misgivings during the reign of Charles de Gaulle in France in the late 1950s and 1960s.

No matter.

Some people never learn from experience. Their minds are closed to reality, like those of all ideologues . . . especially those who think they are knowledgeable and hard-headed about realities --- alias, my reading of them, dude.

And so expect recurring, almost non-stop predictions of disaster to go on emanating from intransigent power-realists, and Republican xenophobes and isolationists, and self-righteous, semi-literate politically correct academics, and angry and frustrated left-wing activists and American-haters . . . not just in the near future, you understand, but on and on into the distant decades.

Including, with near certainty --- note quickly --- the same high-pulsating hokum of the 1980s and early 1990s about American Decline . . . remember it? The inevitable decline caused, first and foremost, by over-expansion on the global stage on the part of Hubris-driven America that will not only produce a powerful counter-balancing alliance and growing anger and resentment among the world's masses, but inevitable economic and military decline, whether relative or absolute. Japan and Germany, back in those days as you might recall, the two new emerging economic hegemons poised to replace American influence and economic clout world-wide . . . yes, believe it or not, both Japan and Germany, two creaking, aging countries who have competed mightily since 1991 to see which could rack up the worst economic performance since the Great Depression. With, wonder of wonders, American per capita income now about 55% higher than German and Japanese levels --- but no matter.

Decline has already made it back into the news, with a Harvard professor, Niall Ferguson, already seeing the US plunging down the chutes into the economic dump, surpassed by a fantasized European Union or India or China or --- who knows? --- Islam-on-the-March.



Back to Pape

Small wonder, in line with these fears of arrogance-driven use of military power in the world --- at any rate, if it's used to pursue ideals and deal with anything less than a direct invasion of American core material interests --- Pape's Dying to Win also argues strenuously against the use of American military power that targets vicious, brutally homicidal terrorist groups on land anywhere in the world. And note.

He argues against its use not just toward al Qaeda's cutthroat paranoids and its Islamo-Fascist affiliates and imitators world-wide --- all of which uses, he assures us in his last chapter, have made us less safe, not more so, since 9/11 --- but also against the quasi-totalitarian Islamo-Fascist states of of Syria and Iran . . . active sponsors of these Islamo-Fascist Fundamentalist terrorists for their own their own state-interests. And yes, no military action against them even if they were to arm themselves with nuclear weapons, never mind. Any such military targeting of their weaponry would invariably backfire, as it has in Pape's mental-world when we've used it in Afghanistan and Iraq.

How strange.

While Pape prattles on in that last chapter with his doom-doom stuff --- including how the use of military force to destroy the Taliban totalitarian-state in Afghanistan and the Baathist totalitarian state in Iraq --- it turns out that his predictions of ever greater hatred and resentment toward the US in the Muslim world and ever greater support for the jihadist terrorists were flatly wrong.

As late as the start of last summer, the Pew Global Attitudes Survey showed that Muslims world-wide were more fearful of growing Islamist extremism than were Americans and Europeans. For the evidence, click here . When you reach that earlier buggy article, note that you can follow another link to an earlier buggy article that shows how the US has never been more popular in the last decade in Pakistan and Indonesia. And note that the growing support in Pakistan --- found last year --- was surveyed before the huge American relief-effort to deal with the recent earthquake disaster in that country.

Never mind. As even the simplest of his predictions have been quickly shown to be false within a couple of months after Dying to Win hit the bookstands last spring, Pape --- full of puffed-up self-importance and delusion --- has continued to prattle on in his self-celebrating TV interviews that we can expect his silly, Simple-Simon logistic regression's frequency distribution (run on an entirely fantasized data set and riddled with sophomoric D- understanding of logistic regression's complexities) to repeat themselves in the future.

Oh sure. And prof bug will be skyhooting at midnight tomorrow in interstellar space along with Elvis Presley and James Dean by flapping his arms energetically and imagining that he's a cross between Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel, Batman, and Clark Kent -in-the-arms of foxy Lois Lane. A manic fantasy you say? Sure, agreed: but then I wouldn't spin it out for 335 pages and call it Dying to Win, lauding the heroic altruism of these oppressed nationalist Kaboomers suffering under American and other democratic military occupation and simultaneously whitewashing Islam's almost total monopoly of all suicide terror groups since 1980.

So What Does the Arch-Whitewasher Propose As --- Get This! --- An Entirely Pap-Based "Strategy for Victory in the War on Terrorism?"

As it happens, Pape --- who kinetically refuses at any point whatsoever in his 335 pages to offer any criticism (AKA reality-testing) whatsoever of any of the jihadist terrorist Kaboomers (on the contrary, good-guy "community-minded nationalist altruists") --- is not only generous with his criticisms of American policies, he is briskly happy in the last few pages to come up with several alternative policies. Specifically, some ongoing negotiations with the cutthroat mass-murdering zealots and a lot of carefully crafted American concessions to satisfy their numerous legitimate grievances towards us --- the USA, it goes without saying, the great power responsible for most of them ---will in Pape-think do the trick to bring us VICTORY IN THE WAR ON TERRORISM (Pape-language) . . . along with some toughened border and immigration policies, a long-run move toward energy-independence, and the protection of Persian Gulf oil resources by sea-based means if the oil flow ever stops in the interval.

Surprise! Surprise!

Pape isn't at all concrete here.

He doesn't tell us why, even if we appease the various jihadist terrorist groups --- dozens of them --- they wouldn't start kabooming us and others the second we used his brainy sea-and-air power to liberate the oil wells that the terrorists have seized them. No matter. Pape, to repeat, no master of logic and consistency, calls his crafty, castle-chasing scheme a New Strategy for Victory in the War on Terrorism . . . victory, please note, Pape's hoopla term for disguising appeasement of brutal mass-murdering Islamo-Fascist haters of America, American values, the West, and infidels everywhere --- but especially the alleged Jewish world-wide conspiracy that has stage-managed, in the words of no less a "widely respected Muslim statesman", the former quasi-dictator of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad (whom Paul Krugman defended immediately afterwards as a particularly responsible leader) who . . .

at the annual Summit of Islamic Countries in 2003's late Fall, remember, --- 57 in all --- asserted, to one and all with high-pounding applause amid a standing tribute to his "candid" remarks, that Jews rule the world. Yes, all the despotic gangster heads of dozens of Muslim states (save for secular Turkey) rose to their feet at the end of his Nazi-like conspiratorial explanation of why Islamic countries are so backward in economic development, technology, science, knowledge, and military power, and greeted his candor jubilantly: "We are," Mahathir said . . .

" up against a people who think. They survived 2,000 years of pogroms not by hitting back but by thinking. They invented socialism, communism, human rights and democracy so that persecuting them would appear to be wrong so that they can enjoy equal rights with others."

Mahathir, emboldened by the ecstatic look apparently on the dimwit faces of his assembled fellow Islamic dictators, went on to say that . . .

"I will not enumerate the instances of our humiliation," Mr. Mahathir said. "We are all Muslims. We are all oppressed. We are all being humiliated. . . . Today we, the whole Muslim [community], are treated with contempt and dishonor. . . . There is a feeling of hopelessness among the Muslim countries and their people. They feel that they can do nothing right." He added: "Our only reaction is to become more and more angry. Angry people cannot think properly.

So Jews rule the world, pulling strings everywhere . . . the essence of all modern Jew-hating racism, however it's served up: whether by Nazi Social-Dawinian pseudo-biology, Fascist fears of Jews who control socialism, communism, capitalism, liberalism, and what have you, or crackpot, semi-literate imams, sheiks, publicists, intellectuals, dictators, and terrorist leaders who either embrace Islamo-Fascist Fundamentalism or (in the case of most Arab dictators) manipulate it demagogically to divert attention from their gangster-like kleptocratic rule that has produced bankruptcy, resentment, and bewilderment among their countrymen.

And of course, they are responsible for all of Islam's swarming multitudinous troubles: economic and technological backwardness that grows more backward daily, poverty, and high-pulating levels of unemployment especially among shiftless and angry young men ---- the major source of recruitment for Islamo-Fascist movements, just as their non-Islamic equivalents were for European Fascism in the 1930s. Not to overlook, you understand, the worst literacy levels in the world aside from Turkey's and Indonesia's, and a radically dysfunctional education everywhere (with the translation of foreign books by the 300 million Arabs for a 1000 years now less than what Spain with 40 million people is treated to annually, yes annually), and breathtaking ignorance of secular knowledge among the semi-literate or totally ignorant Muslim masses. With, to boot, the existence everywhere in the Muslim world of tribal-clan dominated patron-client networks, whose high-energy croynism ensures that all major institutions will be monopolized by mutually back-scratching incompetents in all top positions. And, of course, on a psychic level, pulsating, kinetically charged rage born of anger, frustration, resentment, and rampant envy all connected to a paranoid conspiratorial understanding of the world . . . Jews, yes all 14 million world-wide, pulling strings everywhere to conspire and undermine the glories, power, wealth-making, knowledge, and responsible government in 56 Islamic countries.

Little wonder then that 60% of the Arabs surveyed in a Gallup Poll in early 2002, months after 9/11's massacres, were convinced that no Muslims were at all involved. With, needless to add, ignorant, hateful imams, Sheiks, publicists, journalists in the controlled media, intellectuals, and dictators quickly willing, demagogically, to exploit this crackling paranoid style and rage for their own ends, encouraging the rumor that several thousand Jewish employees in the World Trade Center were informed by the global Conspiratorial Cabal-in-Charge to stay home on September 11th, 2001.



Of course, don't expect to find any of this in Pape's apologia-tract --- an elaborate con-job cover up of Islamo-Fascist Fundamentalism's almost total monopoly of suicide-terrorist attacks since 1980, and little else. Expect instead to find more whitewash stuff about the raging Jew-hatred in Islamo-Fascist Fundamentalist circles, and you know what? Not a word about it in Dying to Win; nope, not a peep from Pape except in one brief instance . . . mentioned in a couple of moments, with the usual thick brush-work of whiteout stuff. There are absolutely no entries in Dying to Win's lengthy index --- the only praiseworthy thing in the con-artist cover up book --- for either anti-Semitism or Jews.

Well, what should we expect from Pape next?

A work on the Nazi system using new Mad-Hatter data-sets, mindless logistic regression, and no reference whatever to Jew-hatred and the Holocaust? Or maybe a searching study with 16 new research assistants and 20 more crony chums reading a brilliant new manuscript of Stalin's push to create a just, stateless society, populated by wonderful New Men and Women . . . with no reference to the Gulag system and of course no reality-testing of Stalin's mind-set, a big NO NO method used in slippery ways throughout Dying to Win, the pace-setter here. Or possibly an intensive set of interviews with Fatah members and magical let's-pretend data-sets based on them --- with ludicrous reports of logit modeling that test statistically to a third decimal-point proving, with a projected frequency distribution of 95%, what a wonderful, honest, and altruistic leader Yasir Arafat was . . . the man dedicated to seeing that each and every penny of foreign aid, well over $10 billion, went into the hands of his needy people?

As they say, you pays your money and you takes your choice.



Consider anew the Disney-like Studio treatment of Hezbollah. For Pape, it's strictly a good-guy nationalist cause, led by the usual community-minded altruists striking out at their oppressors who never, ever, carried out at least one and probably two suicide attacks in Buenos Aires, Argentina several thousand miles away from Israel in the 1990s. But of course the main targets were Argentine Jews, and hence Pape can't be bothered to list this as a new "campaign" in his imaginary data-sets. Then, too, another Islamo-Fascist terrorist group carries out suicide bombings in Turkey, but no matter --- Pape can't be bothered to list it honestly either, noting instead that the targets weren't Turkish citizens or even Turkish Jews, but "Jews". Why not be upfront, Pape? Why not be more explicit instead of using cagy omissions and stereotyped language and say what you think of Islamo-Fascist views of a world-wide Jewish conspiracy out to get Muslims everywhere.

Pape does refer once, in passing, to an al Qaeda fatwa that refers to enemies of Islam --- read: Jews and Americans --- and the duty of Muslims everywhere to kill these fiends everywhere. And Pape's take on this fatwa? Surprise again! . . . fully in line with his bleach-job work. If al Qaeda were genuine about its Jew-hatred --- which Pape disguises as "Israeli-hatred" --- it would, Pape says, have beem Kabooming in Israel too . . . something he observes, as he wrote his final manuscript in 2004 and maybe into 2005, that hadn't occurred.

The reality?

Pape --- sloppy as ever with his facts and data, or just engaged in more con-artistry cover up lies --- seems not to have noticed that

1) al Qaeda carried out punitive terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens in Kenya back in 2002;

2) that al Qaeda was busy in the 1990s fighting in Afghanistan with the Taliban and planning its operations elsewhere, with Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah, and yes, Hezbollah and other more shadowy groups busily Kabooming against Israelis from 1995 on, but that al Qaeda terrorists began operating in 2004 on attacks against Israelis in the Sinai Peninsula ;

3) that in the same month, August 2004, al Qaeda's No.2 leader --- Ayman al-Zawahiri --- urged Muslims to attack Israeli, Western, and Asian interests and citizens around the world, especially in Egypt:

4) that, more recently in December 2005, al Qaeda's chief hit-man and terror group in Iraq --- Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's --- publicly claimed responsibility for a missile attack fired from Southern Lebanon at Israel.


'It's the era of Muslim resistance, after the (Arab) governments submitted to the Zionist occupant. We should learn the lesson of Chechnya, Afghanistan, of Iraq, of Palestine," a voice attributed to Zawahiri said on a tape aired by Al-Jazeera on October 1. "Don't wait for the American, British, French, South Korean, Hungarian and Polish forces to enter Egypt, the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen and Algeria to start the resistance," the speaker added. "We should start the resistance from now."

5) that the links between Hamas and al Qaeda in Gaza and the West Bank started most likely in 2000, and have expanded rapidly since then.


 

Question: Is This A Fair Summary of Pape's Arguments?


Yes, stripped to their bones, it's fully so in prof bug's view . . . just as, in this lengthy series on Pape and Dying to Win, all his analysis and views are strictly his own.

Specifically, Note Once More That . . .

even while Pape ---who apparently sympathizes with the causes of the various suicide terrorists groups while carrying out his laundry-job work, refuses to apply any reality-testing to the world-view of al Qaeda and the other homicidal jihadist groups: never mind any criticisms of it and their subjective understanding of the world --- is very generous with his use of reality-testing as he understands it of US policies in the War on Terrorism, and no less generous in spinning out a string of concrete criticisms and recommendations. Not a word, mind you, about their paranoid, fantasy-laden Jew-hatred of Nazi-proportions or their jihad-inspired hatred of others: Christians, Hindus, animists, Buddhists and the existing Muslim leaders in virtually every Islamic country, seen as apostates, little more than American Trojan-Horses . . . not to forget the jihadist contempt for the "chicken-hearted" Muslim masses who have to be indoctrinated and rallied to the jihadist cause of restoring Islam's rule, power, and influence around the globe.

Nor a word, either, to go on, about bin Laden's viciously frenzied, moonstruck projections and megalomania --- the community-minded, altruistic leader of al Qaeda convinced, as an earlier buggy article noted with strong evidence, that he is the new Islamic Prophet through whom Allah speaks directly.



You want evidence? Here it is.

Unlike the shifty bantamweight apologist Robert Pape, Jerrold Post --- a man of scholarly weight and now a professor of psychiatry and political psychology at Georgetown and the author of five books put out by university presses as well as the founder of the Political Psychology Association world-wide --- has interviewed dozens of terrorists first-hand, including several would-be suicide-attackers who were captured before they carried out their mission, and he hasn't any doubts that bin Laden is a megalomaniac with a direct line to Allah, following Allah's orders to kill the infidels and restore Islam to its religious purity and political power and dominance globally.

In a few moments, we'll cite a quote from bin Laden to exactly that effect, and then Post's psychiatric commentary. For those who would like to read Post's entire article later on, click here for the bin Laden quote and Posts' interpretation.  

 

PART ONE:
THE CHIEF QUESTION ABOUT PAPE'S BOOK ISN'T WHY IT'S BEEN
FAVORABLY RECEIVED, BUT SOMETHING ELSE


In plain language, are all the bungling louse-ups by the boxcar-load that disfigure Dying to Win accidental, a matter of just careless scholarly work and Simple-Simon incompetence --- and nothing else?

Possibly, But Not Likely

In plain English again, there're simply too many flubs, howlers, and screw-ups for incompetence and slipshod work to be the sole causes at work here. What then?

Well, viewed carefully, the book's repetitive head-spinning errors all hang together. In particular, they reflect a consistent, strung-out pattern of wrong-headed argument ---tersely put, they're the inevitable if unintended spin-offs of a strained, unrelenting effort to whitewash and conceal the near-monopoly of Islamic groups in suicide terrorism since 1980. Another name for such a whitewash-job is apologia, and like all apologia, Pape's arguments reflect conviction, biases, and a thoroughly unreliable use of evidence --- however impressive it might seem on a quick, initial reading.

Even prof bug was taken in initially on his first reading. Click here for his initial reaction, set out in the 2nd article in this long series.

As you can see, the buggy prof was aware in that initial fast-paced look at Pape's book of lots of errors and implausible arguments, but he thought, naïf that he was, that they resulted from questionable interpretations and a careless use of data. In that naive mind-set, he also thought that he was criticizing the work of an honest, truth-seeking scholar --- just erratic and incompetent. Only on a very careful follow-up reading did prof bug alter his view.

Only then did he realize that the astonishingly inaccurate data-sets, all the bevies of blatant omissions, and the shallow and garbled statistical work --- not to overlook the house-of-sands theory based on these Mad Hatter howlers and later case-studies: especially of Hezbollah and Hamas, regarding which it's hard to distinguish Pape's lopsided analysis from sheer propaganda --- did prof bug realize that a consistent pattern of cover-up apologetics was what marked Dying to Win from page one to the end . . . and not just carelessness, misinterpretation, poor judgment, and sophomoric knowledge of logistic regression.

But Note Swiftly

Apologias of any kind --- however sophisticated, and especially when written on behalf of extravagantly vicious causes --- are always vulnerable to devastating criticism.

The reason?

However cleverly these snowjob-apologias might be in deploying a tricky and fraudulent use of evidence, data, and bull-shitting circumlocutions, they still reduce to a brazen defense-of-the-indefensible. If anything, the more vicious and mass-murdering the ideology or group or state being whitewashed, the more vulnerable they are to kinetic exposure as con-jobs. Sooner or later, to get down to cases like Dying to Win), anyone knowledgeable enough who's willing to dig deeply into their specious arguments will uncover the twisted logic, the distorted data, the polemical thrusts, the silly mangled use of statistics, the invocation of a ton of misleading footnote-sources, and the inevitable beating-around-the-bush bull-shitting rhetoric that distinguish them from candid, truth-seeking work. In the process, the frauds and excuse-making that mark these intellectual chicaneries will be fully uncovered and brought to full blazing light . . . not always to be sure, but most of the time. And in Pape's case . . . well, you decide.

For almost two millennia, the worst apologia have been traditionally intended to whitewash the brutalities of certain powerful religions and their often horrendous violence and oppression in the social and political realms. The more men and women slaughtered one another by the millions or tens of millions while invoking this or that religious rationale, the more vindication and clean-up jobs were concocted by shameless apologists to reassure the believers and attract new followers. Then a big change ensued in the 20th century. Extremist, mass-murdering political ideologies --- brutal, totalitarian, or horrendously authoritarian that killed nearly 300 million people according to the best studies --- suddenly emerged, especially after WWI; attracted more and more followers and sycophantic admirers world-wide; and, as their slaughter, wars, and extermination went on, required more and more intellectual cover-ups and excuse-making to rationalize and explain away their monstrous crimes on a new breathtaking scale.

No problem. These radically savage ideologies became surrogate religions for the secular intelligentsia and artists who hated bourgeois society. Intellectuals and others flocked to their defense, spinning out elaborate apologia with high-energy fervor and copious output . . . whole industries of them, much to the delight of the totalitarian ideologues whether on the left or right. Lenin called them "useful idiots."

Lenin's hero and inspiration, Karl Marx, once said in this connection that religion is the opium of the masses.

And you know, from his revolutionary viewpoint --- maybe so. Evangelical religion, after all, had a big impact in both Britain and the US during the 19th and early 20th centuries in moderating the attractions of radical class-warfare socialism . . . though there were several other reasons for this moderation as well. Whatever, the surrogate religions of totalitarian ideologies of the left and right became the new opium . . . the "Opium of the Intellectuals" as a good French writer put it in an astute book back in the 1950s. In saying this, Aron was focusing mainly on his own country, but the betrayal of the left all over Europe and of the right during the interwar period and on the left after 1945 exercised a magnetic appeal to those intellectuals and artists who were alienated in extravagant high-pulsating ways from parliamentary democracy ("talk-shop hooey"), capitalism, and above all bourgeois society and culture.

And Note:

The worst of these fraudulent chicaneries have been all the more dangerous and influential because they weren't written or celebrated in art-work just by clerics or second-rate laymen or even hack writers, but by prominent and often world-famous writers, scholars, philosophers, artists, actors, movie directors, journalists, and scientists --- and both on the left and right, Europe especially crammed with them in the interwar period between 1918 and World War II, but way afterwards as well.

Those intellectual betrayers on the left celebrated, defended, and fawned over totalitarian Communism in a half dozen or more totalitarian places, not to mention swarms of vicious "socialisms" that were spawned in the developing countries . . . Arab socialism, African socialism, Cuban socialism, "true democracy", "the Shi-ite socialist-way in Iran," and so on, with the rulers in charge of these homicidal systems almost always vicious sociopaths or outright megalomaniacal paranoids. But hey! faults and all, at least they were anything but like the detested bourgeoisie families that these sycophantic intellectuals and artists hailed from themselves. Those betrayers on the right were no less fawning and unctuously adulatory. They celebrated, hailed, and marched on behalf of Nazism, Mussolini's Fascism, and Iberian Clerical Fascism --- as well its numerous East European imitators --- and worshipped Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, and a dozen tinpot dictators in the rest of Europe, exactly as those on the left idolized Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Ho Chi Minh, Fidel Castro, and a couple of dozen vicious psychopathic dictators elsewhere in the so-called Third World . . . all of whom, needless to add, were only working to build a new decent socialist society.

Shift Your Mind Back to the Present Now . . .

Yes . . . much nearer to Dying to Win.

Considering these age-old tendencies of true-believing flatterers and zealots to defend-the-indefensible, is it really surprising that left-wing writers, bloggers, intellectuals, scholars, activists, artists, clerics, film-makers, actors, dramatists, and others now churn out constant honey-infested apologia on behalf of Islamo-Fascist terrorists --- the term here, please observe, carefully clarified and illustrated with abundant evidence in the next buggy article --- and see them as the victims of American capitalism, capitalist globalizing forces, American hubris, evangelicals-in-control-of-the-White House, imperial bullying, or (in some circles) Jews, Israel, and Jewish influence and money in American politics? Or in Pape-speak, these Islamo-Fascist terrorists are at bottom only groups of community-minded altruists, nursing legitimate grievances against the horrible oppression of their compatriots by democratic occupiers and hence Kabooming here and there in suicidal attacks only for the goal of national self-determination and maybe the ideal of having their liberated citizens live under the just if strictly applied rule of Islamic law, the Sharia . . . Pape's explicitly stated belief as to what Islamist fundamentalists are after, endorsing the quoted words of "a widely respected scholar", Seyyed Hossein Nasr.

Unfortunately for Pape, his "widely respected scholar" as we'll see at length in the next buggy article --- with other sayings of his quoted at length --- endorses the Islamo-Fascist Fundamentalist credo that Muslims everywhere are obligated, theocratically and morally, to wage jihadist warfare against infidels until they are all either converted to Islam, submit to its rule, or are killed off . . . such use of force, this "widely respected scholar" insists, not even "violence as ordinarily understood." And the only way to ensure that "fallen" man is redeemed from his fallen sinful world.

Does Pape ever read the sources he relies on? Does he know their authors' deepest views? Does he think the rest of us have jelly for brains --- or is he simply engaged in the usual apologetic sly-boots hokum?

 

Come to think of it, prof bug has decided to tack on some supporting evidence right now as to what Pape's Fundamentalist-Thinker-of-the-Month really thinks:

Consider Seyyed Hossein Nasr's' views set out in this illuminating piece , chock-a-block with tortured language and a strained smokescreen analysis of Islam's historical stance on dividing the world strictly into two arenas, one ruled by Islam and the other by infidels with whom Islam is perpetually at war until they are all either converted to Islam or submit to Islamic rule as inferior dhimmis acknowledge such rule, paying special taxes to it, and deferring in all aspects of life to Muslims themselves:

"In conclusion it must be emphasized that since Islam embraces the whole of life and does not distinguish between the sacred and the secular, it concerns itself with force and power which characterize this world as such. But Islam, in controlling the use of force in the direction of creating equilibrium and harmony, limits it and opposes violence as aggression to the rights of both God and His creatures as defined by the divine Law.

"The goal of Islam is the attainment of peace but this peace can only be experienced through that exertion (jihad) and the use of force which begins with the disciplining of ourselves and leads to living in the world in accordance with the dicta of the shar'ia. Islam seeks to enable man to live according to his theomorphic nature and not to violate that nature. Islam condones the use of force only to the extent of opposing that centripetal tendency which turns man against what he is in his inner reality. The use of force can only be condoned in the sense of undoing the violation of our own nature and the chaos which has resulted from the loss of equilibrium. But such a use of force is not in reality violence as usually understood.

"It is the exertion of human will and effort in the direction of conforming to the Will of God and in surrendering the human will to the divine Will. From this surrender (taslim) comes peace (salam), hence islam, and only through this islam can the violence inbred within the nature of fallen man be controlled and the beast within subdued so that man lives at peace with himself and the world because he lives at peace with God." [Italics added by prof bug.]


In case you miss the full thrust of this specious piece of contrived, camouflaged apologia on behalf of Islamic doctrines, read it again but substitute "True Communism" for "Islam" and "History" for "God" and then note the strained effort to justify the use of force as a jihadist duty to spread Islam globally --- which duty also befell all sycophantic Communist followers of Marxism-Leninism or Marxism-Maoism or Marxism-Pol Pot variety to spread its truths world-wide --- you will have a clear grasp of the totalitarian rationalizations that Pape finds are the views of a "widely respected scholar" (Dying to Win, p. 107. Just as Stalin didn't mind killing off tens of millions in his Gulag, or Mao even more tens of millions in his, or Pol Pot a few million here and there, or the existing miscreant-sociopath in North Korea a few million more by starvation, all justified in the name of creating Paradise-on-Earth --- AKA, the New Communist Man --- so "the widely respected scholar Seyyed Hossein Nasr," to use Pape's terms for him on p. 107 of Dying to Win believes it's not only a morally good thing to kill off infidels until "fallen man" has submitted in Islamist ways to God, but --- presumably even if tens or hundreds of millions have to be killed in jihadist manner --- "the use of force is in reality not violence as usually understood."

Cut away all the contrived BS-circumlocutions, and what is this "widely respected scholar" actually saying?

Just this: in his view, Islam morally and theologically obliges its faithful to wage jihadist war against infidels until they are all either converted to Islam, or submit as subservient dhimmis to Muslim rule, or are killed off . . . at which point "fallen man" is redeemed from his evil nature and global peace under Muslim dominance will prevail. In such jihadist warfare, moreover, the use of force for mass-killing isn't "violence as usually understood." How can it be? It's motivated for a Heaven-ordained purpose.

Well, maybe we should be grateful. The "widely respected scholar" who endorses mass-murder of infidels --- presumably non-stop until they are all saved from their "fallen-man" status --- at least doesn't invoke the usual hateful terms "apes and pigs".




Enter Islamo-Fascism: AKA Politically Charged Jihadist Islam on the March

Despite the emergence of radical totalitarian ideologies of the last century, not all religious extremism of a mass-murdering self-righteous sort has disappeared from the long litany of intellectual betrayals and apologia.

There is, of course, only one exception: political Islam, whether in its secular Islamo-Fascist version as in Iraq or Syria or Libya, and Islamo-Fascist Fundamentalism . . . reflected in both certain fundamentalist-controlled states like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and the former Taliban Afghanistan, but also in numerous kill-mad terrorist groups.

What is at stake here?

Essentially, politically inspired jihadist Islam of a doctrinaire totalitarian nature has surged through large parts of the Islamic world and created a clash of civilizations in the Arab countries and elsewhere between modernizers and secular-inclined Muslims on one side and fundamentalist extremists on the other. The latter's political, social, and ideological tone are indistinguishable, save for the radical Islamist content, from the Fascisms that surged throughout most of Europe between 1918 and 1945: the same hatred of bourgeois society, capitalism, material comfort, liberal democracy, moderate socialism, international cooperation, and globalizing trends . . . with the same paranoid-charged scapegoating of Jews and the Anglo-American countries (the US now seen as controlled by Jews), the same powerful high-pulsating sense of being oppressed by conspiratorial forces controlled by these demons, and same fascist glorification of war, terror, and heroic self-sacrifice in the name of a millenarian apocalyptic showdown between the true-believers and the rest of the world.

Most of the apologia come out of the Middle East, Iran, North Africa, and a few Asian Muslim countries, as well as from the enraged imams and other semi-literate types in Europe . . . but especially since 9/11's massacres, there are more and more voices on the left, bereft of their socialist utopian fantasies, to rush to the defense of the politically enraged, chiliastic jihadists, defended in these apologetics as the misunderstood victims of evil American power, disruptive globalizing forces, Israeli Nazism, and at times a cabal of neo-conservative Jewish conspirators.

In prof bug's opinion --- and here, as in all these buggy articles dealing with Pape's Dying to Win, he has been expressing only his own views (backed, he hopes, with convincing evidence) --- Pape's book falls into that category of apologetics . . . all this, mind you, even if he adds a power-realist version and is not necessarily anti-Semitic or a believer in conspiracies. A whitewash job of apologia Dying to Win happens to be all the same . . . full of distorted data, circumlocutions, and lopsided polemical arguments disguised in social science language, the book ends up as not just wrong-headed or even bone-headed, but a spun-out defense of the indefensible.

   

PART TWO:
CONSIDER ONCE MORE SOME HARD-HEADED BUGGY CORRECTIONS OF PAPE'S FANTASY-LAND DATA-SETS


Earlier buggy articles unbared and analyzed some of the more egregious laundry-job use of data in Dying to Win, starting with chapter one, and what follows is just a repetitive, fast-moving summary of the worst of its intellectual sleights-of-hand:

1. Take Pape's initial data-set, laid out on page 15 of chapter one. Recall, from earlier buggy analysis, his initial cover-up presentation --- dubbed by prof bug as a deliberate Hall-of-Mirrors distortion of the basic data that underlie all of Pape's later arguments, data-sets, and statistical work. Dig deeply, strip away and ignore the presentation of the data, and you'll find that the near-monopoly of Islam emerges with a certain clarity --- 88% of the suicide terrorist active between 1980 and 2003's end, the period on which Pape focused his research --- or a good 13 out of 15 suicide terrorist groups that exist in that table.



Note the stress on "stripping" away the cover-up.

(i.) Thanks to Pape's Crazy-House mirror-presentation of the data in that table 1 on page 15 of his book, it's virtually impossible to detect them at a first reading of Pape's initial table in his book on p. 15. Click here for the Hall-of-Illusion distortions that conceal even these numbers, with a flagrantly misleading stress on distinctive suicide terrorist campaigns as the organizational device for the table . . . even if the same terrorist group was attacking the same target population again and again, with the campaigns frequently offered by the terrorists in order to gain a breathing spell, nothing else. Why are different campaigns even singled out? Prof bug's answer: they have one virtue only, helping to conceal the near-monopoly of Islamic groups even in Pape's own camouflaged presentation.

(ii.) The same sort of trickery mars the fifth column that stresses the number of attacks.

Nothing is said by Pape, for instance, that these "successful" attacks might be due largely to incompetent intelligence and security operations on the part of the target country's government. Israel, a big exception here, has been particularly successful in thwarting planned suicide attacks --- 105 out of 109, for instance, in just the first six months of 2004. . More generally, between the start of the new Palestinian uprising in September 2000 and the late summer 2004, Palestinians launched 540 suicide attacks but 405 were halted or destroyed one way or another as they unwound. What ensues? Quite simply, what we're interested in is not some phony camouflaged category of "campaigns", or even attacks (unless the category included frustrated attacks), but rather suicide terrorist organizations and --- given the denial that Islam figures prominently in suicide terrorism since 1980 --- their religious affiliation.



(iii.) The numbers and the percentages in a corrected buggy table, note again, 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. A stricter counting of Iraqi suicide terrorist groups --- including those crammed with the leadership and ranks of Abu Musab Zarqawi, the Al Qaeda point-man there, and his Foreign Legion Muslim terrorist sidekicks --- you'd easily find a dozen or more organized groups engaged in repetitive suicide and non-suicide attacks. Zarqawi's group alone was estimated as of March 2004 --- in the midst of which data, Professor Pape was no doubt writing his final manuscript version --- to have killed 700 people alone in Iraq, not that Pape seems to have cared, busy as he was puzzling over the greatest scientific riddle of the 21st century: the religion of the strictly "Iraqi" Kaboomers.

(iv.)Small wonder for our scholarly colleague's self-confessed bafflement.

If Pape were to list all the Iraqi Kaboomer groups and their religion, the accurate data would be strictly at odds with his strained, unrelenting apologia: there have been more than a dozen of them --- probably far more, though identifying them all has been difficult for intelligence agencies on the ground, never mind what the media have reported. Then, too, not all the best organized would be composed of just Iraqis unless Pape were to concede that al Qaeda is not a nationalist group in any sense of the term, but rather Pan-Arab and even Pan-Muslim . . . and hence also at odds with any meaningful definition of nationalism.

As for the poor Professor Pape's puzzlement over the religion of the Kaboomers there, click here for prof bug's helpful list of possible candidate-religions, his favorite none other than a Meshuga Mob of Manic Mass-Murdering Malibu Sun-Worshippers . . . their wonderful vacation at a chic Club-Med in the middle of the Iraqi desert brusquely interrupted in late March 2003 --- the rays there just un-be-liev-able, dude --- by droves of US helicopters and bombers, leaving them stewing, determined to get revenge on the US imperialist sun-robbers.


2. Even then, once you shatter the Crazy-House cover-up in his initial data-set, Pape's table 1 that shows 88% of the suicide terrorist groups --- or 13 out of 15 on a very conservative count --- is ludicrously error-riddled.

Specifically, as prof bug found in only a few hours of research using Google, our statistical wonder forgot to count another 21 suicide terrorist groups actively Kabooming between 1980 and the start of 2004--- or 36 in all, and guess what? Thirty-four of them happened to be Islamic: 94.4%. For the corrected buggy table again, click here .

3. Of the two non-Islamic suicide terrorist groups in this list of 36, note further one of them, the Sikh BKI, committed exactly one suicide attack in India, no others anywhere. The remaining group, the largely Hindu-cultist Tamil Tigers of the LTTE in Sri Lanka, was far busier Kabooming there, to be sure, but note: they never attacked anyone outside that tiny island country . . . even in the ethnically Tamil areas of mainland India itself. No, not one attack in India despite the Indian army's vigorous participation for a lengthy period in trying to help the Buddhist-dominated Sri-Lanka democratic government contain or crush the LTTE terrorists.

Needless to add, Pape's analysis of the LTTE's ideological base turns out to be notoriously wrong too, a point that an earlier buggy prof article noted. Its weird ideology and cultist hierarchy operates like a frenzied religious sect, right down to kidnapping and indoctrinating young boys into the lavish use of suicide terrorism as heroic martyrdom --- the brainwashed youth, when older, forming the hard-core of the Black Tiger suicide units.

But note. Even a crazed psychopath like Abu Nidal and his Palestinian terrorist group, active in the 1970s and 1980s and killing or wounding 900 people in numerous terrorist attacks in 20 countries --- which was fanatically Marxist in thrust --- never resorted directly to suicide terrorism, unless you want to count calculated attacks on Rome and Viennese airports in the mid-1980s in which it was clear many if not all the attackers would be killed in the resulting shoot-outs. In that case, they fit Pape's own description of suicide-terrorism --- deliberate suicide or engaging in terrorist attacks with a high likelihood of being killed --- and so the number of groups in the corrected buggy table would rise to 37, 35 of which would be Islamic or a good 95% of the total.

Whatever, whitewash-indulgers world-wide, whatever their specialty, will no doubt admire Professor Pape's initial table on p. 15 that almost succeeds in its bleach-out work.


4. By omitting these 21 suicide terrorism groups, all Islamic in religion, Pape also produces a misleading theoretical focus when he sets out his nationalist theory of suicide terrorism. More specifically, a doubly distorted focus: his theory stresses that religious differences between the suicide terrorists and the target government and population are one of the two defining traits of such suicide attacks; and the targeted countries and their governments have all been democratic. That's wrong on both counts, and blatantly so.

As the corrected, conservatively counted buggy table shows, most of the targeted countries between 1980 and the start of 2004 were Islamic; the suicide terrorists themselves were Islamic; and the governments were dictatorial systems with the exception of Turkey.

5. If you look at the pattern of suicide terrorism since the start of 2004, the targeted countries and governments --- all attacked by Islamic terrorists --- have overwhelmingly been Islamic and authoritarian too: Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Yemen, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon (the terrorists killing politicians and others there inspired no doubt by the Syrian government), Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Turkey, and Uzbekistan . . . only three of which governments have been democratic according to Pape's criteria (competitive elections): Iraq for less than six months, Turkey again, and Indonesia for a little more than a year. Add in Britain, Spain, Russia, and India, and you still find that the vast majority of attacks have been against Muslim countries and governments . . . and sometimes, too, as in Pakistan, against the tiny Christian minority there.

6. As for an even worse botch-job of data-analysis and the extravagantly misleading claims that Pape postulates on its basis, see this table in chapter 7 about al Qaeda suicide bombers and Pape's eye-popping inability to ever check his sources . . . no doubt brought to him by the broom-and-shovel graduate research assistants, all 16 of them acknowledged in Dying to Win as indispensable to his analytical catastrophe. click here

7. Then there's Pape's crudely constructed data-set of 58 cases, which he himself created --- coded, classified, and used as a sample-selection for his logit modeling in chapter 6 --- and is disfigured by flaws galore too. Specifically,

  • Pape resorts to a definitional fiat that further whitewashes the near-monopoly of Islamic terrorist groups in suicidal attacks after 1980, a nifty trick if you can get away with it. What he does is restricts the cases to democratic "military occupations" of foreign populations or restive minorities at home, when in fact most of the governments attacked between 1980 and 2003 were Muslim authoritarian dictatorships.


  • He uses very coarse categories for defining "democratic", "military", "occupation", "violence", and "rebellion" that are blatantly ambiguous if not just wrong in several cases.


  • It never arouses his curiosity that though there are religious differences between some Catholigc guerrilla and terrorist groups on one side and secular-Protestant and Hindu-dominated occupying governments on the other, the Christian groups have never resorted to suicide terrorism. Nor, save in one instance --- the Tamil Tigers --- have any of numerous Hindu groups done so either.


  • And, to compound matters, Pape strews about a variety of strained cases that are not just extravagantly ambiguous, but dismayingly dubious . . . all this while ignoring some solid cases like the Mexican government's military occupation of Chiapas. By democracy he means "competitive elections" for high office, but somehow Mexico's elections in the 1990s and early part of this decade don't qualify for entry into Pape's notoriously whitewashed data-set.


And there are other howlers. Consider prof bug's favorite head-spinner, Case 58. It pits Native Americans and their "traditional religion" against the military occupying Christians of the American government . . . this, you understand, even though there's no rebellion Pape can find here or any violence that he can cite in the relevant columns, or for that matter any years of variation on these scores in his Extra-Galactic data-set. The sample selection itself, so Professor Pape says --- wrong as ever --- should be regarded as equivalent to the entire universe of suicide terrorist attacks between 1980 and the start of 2004.

Our Curiosity Whetted Here

All of which leaves you wondering what this blatantly non-occurring Rebellion/Violence that pitted nativist traditions against fundamentalist fanatics might actually be.

Possibly, who can be sure? --- it was reported in the University of Chicago campus paper, and only there, regarding a tiny group of Moral Majority revelers who were on a drunken evangelical jaunt through the Mid-West between 1980 and 2003 and lost all their dough at a local Indian Casino one night near Professor Pape's home. Following which, roiled by their losses as the Chicago cub-reporter may have written, the penniless evangelists ended up throwing their Bibles at the croupiers on duty while yelling a few nasty remarks at them and the bar-tender . . . a near, if non-occurring Violent Rebellion between traditionalist Christians and Native-American Medicine-Men that forced the bewildered Indian owners and their Mafia-advisers just in from Vegas to hurriedly summon a couple of local Indian deputies, Twinkie bars in hand when they rushed into the Casino, who fortunately put an end to this nascent civil war before it reached the stage of suicide-terrorism and thereby added to the luster of Professor Pape's logit model's predictive success-rate --- in any case, of non-occurring suicide terrorism even if his triumphs on this score are overshadowed by the more agile of Professor de Stapler's 16 gyrating Southern Beauty research-assistants.

Let's take the analysis here a stage further. Assume, for the moment --- if Pape can fantasize, so can prof bug now and then too, right? --- that this brouhaha between sorehead Moral Majority types and a couple of overweight, drowsy Reservation cops was the source of Professor Pape's case 58. In that case, then prof bug has to chime in swiftly and note something in honor of Native Americans. After all, it's prof bug's own grandfather who was made an honorary Chieftain in the Chippewa nation early in the last century: yes, no bull, the swearing-in ceremony duly photographed, gramps in full Indian head-dress and paint, in the far wilds of North Wisconsin where he had opened a small store whose customers were Chippewa peoples and Swedish immigrants and where dad was born.

Thus qualified, prof bug is happy to testify here in print that that this vicious non-occurrence of suicide-terrorism in the Cook County area of North Illinois near Professor Pape's home during that 23-year period on which Pape has focused his con-work stuff --- which pitted the fanatical non-hooded mob of 6 Moral Majority poor-losers against two bewildered croupiers, their Indian bosses, three pot-bellied Mafia advisers, and a couple of Twinkie-gobbling Indian Reservation-Deputies who pointed their Twinkie-bars menacingly at the sore-head gamblers before they were escorted from the casino and sent packing --- had nothing to do with his honorary blood-brothers rolling in the dough further to the north in their lucrative Casino in the state of Wisconsin these days.

 

PART THREE:
PAPE'S CONFUSIONS ABOUT RATIONALITY IN PART I AND III OF HIS BOOK


In parts I and III of , Pape focuses on the motivating forces that impel the action of individual suicide terrorists: why they join terrorist groups, why they can be mobilized and indoctrinated by the leaders, why the leaders are in charge of the suicide groups, and why individuals will gladly sacrifice themselves in terrorist actions to carry out the groups' objectives by attacking the religious enemies that dominate the oppressive "democratic" occupying powers of their compatriots.

All this analysis by Pape in these parts is shallow and confused --- methodologically and in terms of psychological insight. How much is due to Pape's theoretical commitments to strategic rationality as the dominant influence in the behavior of suicide terrorists, or to his incompetence, or to his whitewash thrusts, isn't clear to prof bug. Most likely, Pape himself couldn't tell you. He's not, to repeat what was said in earlier buggy articles, a person given to honest introspection of his own views and outlook . . . at any rate, to judge by his witless TV appearances and personal puffery in them. No matter. What is clear here is his spun-out confusion between two kinds of rationality in these parts of his book, itself hinted by it's sub-title: Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism .

The Sources of Confusion

Four stand out:

(i.) The confusion derives from Pape's blatant failure to distinguish between instrumental and substantive rationality . . . the latter often referred to as "value-laden" or "value-oriented" rationality, the term that best describes its use by the great German sociologist, Max Weber, a century ago.

(ii.) Substantive rationality refers to the ideas, beliefs, and values (and norms) that constitute a world-view or ideology, a psycho-cultural matter that is either internalized through early socialization processes and reinforced over time, or is changed by means of indoctrination or sudden personal revelation of a transforming sort.

Take George Bush and bin Laden.

Both were rich playboy types, Bush a self-made victim leading an aimless life full of drift, alcohol, and drugs, and bin Laden a shiftless playboy with no profession, career, or life other than that of an extravagantly rich, luxury-oriented existence. Bush, by means of a sudden conversion, became a born-again Christian, his whole life suffused by his new religious outlook ever since. Though we know less about bin Laden's earlier life, we know that he too, at some point, became a born-again Muslim, dedicated to fighting Islam's evil enemies starting in his active role in the Afghan resistance to the Soviets and Soviet-backed government in that country, then moving on to create al Qaeda as the precipitating spark of Islamic revivalism, purity, and power globally by means of terrorism. By contrast, most Communists, Fascists, Nazis, Islamo-terrorists, al Qaeda hit-men, and tens of millions of others in the middle-levels of the hierarchies in these groups have usually adopted their ideological outlook and become committed, fully devotional activists only after intensive exposure to the organized group's activities and ideology, including various degrees of indoctrination by the already existing true-believers.

(iii.) Instrumental rationality has nothing to do with substantive rationality. It's a form of means-ends activity that can be set in motion by any motivating forces --- greed, naked self-interest, group-pressures, patriotism, respect for authority, or true-believing religion or ideology. Characterized by an effort to calculate the options in any situation of action, it refers to an individual who, in idealized ways, seeks out good information on the options, is able to rank them according to how each will further a given end being sought, and chooses the option that, given the individual's risk-propensities (which vary considerably), promises to maximize the probability of achieving that given end. Lots of analysts talk, ideally, about the use of "subjective probability" estimates here.

(iv.) Enter strategic interaction, the basis of game-theory. It expands instrumental rationality by noting that a rational individual --- seeking a taken-for-granted end --- is aware in laying out options and selecting the one that promises to maximize the gains sought will have to take into account that he is interacting with other individual actors, whose own behavior to maximize their own interests rationally will influence his own choice of means and probability of success. The individual actors, note quickly, do not need to be human beings. They can be organized groups, political parties, business firms, military organizations, and nation-states . . . not to forget terrorist groups like al Qaeda.

To Repeat, The Two Kinds of Rationality Have Nothing in Common Other than Sharing the Same Noun

When it comes to instrumental rationality, which megalomanical leader of mass-murdering totalitarian movements and nation-states didn't behavior instrumentally to achieve his evil goals: Hitler and his Holocaust, organized by carefully thought-out factory-like murder on a vast scale, bureaucratically administrated; or Stalin and his Gulag system; or Pol Pot and his indoctrination camps filled with suspect bourgeois counter-revolutionaries by the million, chained up there and tortured after he and his crazed Communist terrorists emptied all of Cambodia's cities; or Mao and his forty-year struggle to achieve Communist victory in China and then his various campaigns to reshape a country of a billion people, right down to the Great Proletarian Revolution and mass-famine?

Would we regard their substantive belief-systems "rational" and not evil?

 

Either unaware of the distinction between these two kinds of rationalities or simply ignoring it except in a very superficial and garbled way as we'll see, Pape doesn't once refer to substantive rationality and absolutely refuses to apply any reality-testing to al Qaeda's and other Islamo-terrorist group's homicidally charged core ideology and motivating-values, including their political-religious goals other than to talk loosely and glibly in chapter 7 that these are no different from those of the Hindu LTTE and the Sikh BKI.

All suicide-terrorist groups in his view are motivated strictly by limited nationalist goals of "self-determination" for their oppressed compatriots, with the leaders of those groups community-minded altruists, nothing else. It's all superficial and terribly garbled in Pape's work.

 

Another Huge Deficit In . . .

Pape's superficial and confusing use of rationality immediately ensues.

Tersely put, he's unable or refuses to distinguish between a terrorist leader and major associates who are either

1) rational, realistically oriented individuals in substantive and psychological terms, or

2) resentful, hateful, and vindictively motivated paranoids, or

3) crackling megalomaniacs, or

4) fanatically activated zealots, or

5) indoctrinated members of the rank-and-file who, among other things, find their own cause and meaning, thanks to indoctrination, in projected racist fantasies and desires to strike out at the enemy and kill them


For the Islamist terrorist groups that have a near-monopoly of suicide terrorism --- 95% of the total (not that Pape's book remotely reveals the truth here) --- the evil enemies of true Islam are Jews, Jew-dominated America, Israel, American-run globalization, the Western world, other infidels like Hindus and Buddhists and pagans and so on . . . along with the apostate Muslims in power right now, plus, if need be, the chicken-hearted Islamic masses until they are mobilized and indoctrinated to rally to the radically extremist religious ideology of al Qaeda and its affiliates and like-minded imitators world-wide.

Compare Pape's confusion and shallow understanding here with Jerrold Post's first-hand knowledge of suicide-terrorists, whose insights, remember, have been derived from extensively interviewing dozens of captured ones. As for his insights into bin Laden, they aren't, of course, derived first-hand, but they were formed by years of his work as a CIA analyst focusing on the man's personal history and behavior. He's a man of scholarly weight and careful use of evidence, gathered in many instances first-hand. Pape, by contrast, is a bantamweight ignoring crucial conceptual distinctions, confusing instrumental and substantive rationality, forcing the latter into a straight-jacket of frazzled thread, using warped and whitewashed data, and straining desperately to fit everything into his cover-up theory.

 

Back to Jerrold Post

In his article linked to earlier --- "When Hatred Is Bred in the Bone: Psychocultural Foundations of Contemporary Terrorism" (July 2003) --- Post quotes and analyzes bin Laden in the article.

"While not a religious authority, Osama bin Laden is known for his piety and has been granted the title "emir." Like Khomeini, Osama bin Laden regularly cites verses from the Koran to justify his acts of terror and extreme violence, employing many of the same verses earlier cited by Khomeini. Consider this extract from the February 1998 Fatwa, Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders, World Islamic Front Statement: In compliance with God's order, we issue the following fatwa to all Muslims :

"The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies—civilians and military—is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy mosque [Mecca] from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim. This is in accordance with the words of Almighty God, "and fight the pagans all together as they fight you all together," and "fight them until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in God."

"We—with God's help—call on every Muslim who believes in God and wishes to be rewarded to comply with God's order to kill the Americans and plunder their money wherever and whenever they find it."

As Post observes here,

"Note that it is not Osama bin Laden who is ordering his followers to kill Americans. It is God! Osama bin Laden is the messenger, relaying the commands of God, which are justified with verses from the Koran. The author discussed this language with a moderate Muslim cleric, who indicated that bin Laden's words were blasphemous, that bin Laden was speaking as if he were the new prophet, and was the authentic interpreter of the Koran. He emphasized that many of the actions for which bin Laden found justification in the Koran were in fact prohibited by the Koran."




Judge for yourself now. Which analyst --- Pape or Post --- seems to have the most insight into the world-view, psychological motivating forces, and personality-structure of bin Laden: with Pape seeing only a rationally motivated and altruistic nationalist in bin Laden and Post noting the rippling megalomania of bin Laden's mental make-up and personality?

Another Paranoid and Hateful Call to Kill Billions of People If Need Be: the Ayatollah Khomeini.

Note that bin Laden's megalomaniacal homicidal urges aren't unique among the head leaders of Islamo-fascist movements. Recall in this connection the summons to jihadist mass-murder of the Ayatollah Khomeini that an earlier buggy article quoted at length.

"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" and explicitly, even if he uses bull-shit circumlocutions, invokes the theocratic and moral obligation of all Muslims to wage war against infidels until they are all either converted to Islam, submit to its rule, or are killed off --- not that such mass-murdering use of force, this "widely respected scholar" assures us, has anything to do with "violence as ordinarily understood."

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.

 

PART FOUR:
OUR CONCLUSIONS


Pape's Whitewash Work Has Doubly Busy On These Counts

Pape, you understand, leaves you totally in the dark about Khomeini's viciously paranoid call to mass-murder of billions of people, if need be, and bin Laden's own paranoid-infested megalomania . . . not to mention the obsessive scapegoating and fears of 15 million Jews world-wide that have been inculcated in the minds of apparently hundreds of millions of Muslims world-wide . . . thanks to the persistent religious indoctrination by hateful semi-literate imams, the use of a controlled media in the Muslim world by the Arab and other Islamic dictators to divert attention from the poverty, economic backwardness, and luxury-loving heads of patron-client hierarchies that determine almost all advancement, career-wise and in wealth-making everywhere in the 56 Muslim countries, and the average Muslim whose literacy and secular knowledge world-wide (aside from the well-educated, overwhelmingly moderate and integrated Muslim community in the US) are about the worst on the globe --- with the Arab countries having lower levels of literacy than even much poorer Tropical Africa and the 350 million people in them translating fewer books from abroad over the last 1000 years than Spain does each year now for its 40 million peoples. Even Greece, a country with 10 million people, translates 150 books per capita for each book now translated yearly in the Arab world.

Then, too, let us not forget the hateful, Nazi-like TV dramas rife in the Arab media, plus all the cartoon books and outright Nazi propaganda for sale everywhere in Muslim-owned bookstores and newsstands world-wide. All of these crude, semi-literate works of hateful, semi-literate zealots and governmental hacks continually depict Jews as powerful devilish conspirators and the evil blood-sucking enemies of Islam, who are responsible for Islam's backwardness and ills --- the latter due to Jewish control, allegedly, of globalizing forces and all alternative ideologies --- and who, therefore, should be killed as a preliminary to Islam's restoration to glory, power, and global triumph.

Are Pape's failure to deal effectively with these Hitlerian calls to mass-murder of the infidels on a vast global scale due, we ask one more, to just incompetence and ignorance or to his whitewash urges that march through almost every page of Dying to Win? And once more, prof bug wonders whether Pape himself --- who comes across in his TV interviews as a shallow, self-satisfied type --- could even tell you for certain.

There Are Other Let's Pretend Data and Use of Them

These aren't, of course, the sole make-believe data-sets that disfigure Pape's work through 335 pages of substantive argument, 26 tables, a few wacko charts (such as showing how 3 out of 38 Hezbollah Kaboomers in Lebanon add up to 71% on p. 205), slews of Simple-Simon statistical snafus, the lavish use of splattered Mad-Hatter logic, and a belief that a wiring diagram with inverse arrows found in chapter 6 is a powerful theory of how suicide terrorism's causal pathways unfold in some scientific manner . . . not to forget three misleading appendixes, several hundred footnotes, an index, and an acknowledgement of all the donkey-work performed by Pape's 16 admirable research-assistants and 20 scholarly readers of his manuscript.



Hmmm, the readers . What explains their slipshod work?

Some possible explanations: they're either backslapping chums who didn't want to criticize all the pretended data-sets and blunders in manuscript; or were excessively pie-eyed from too much Bourbon or dandelion wine when they looked at it; or are as markedly incompetent as Pape, unless unless they willingly participated in the cover-up; or were just indifferent to the howlers and screaming apologetics --- damn Pape, why did he pick on me. Ok, Ok, he read my ms. last year, and I guess I gotta reciprocate but what a pain-in-the-ass it all is --- and pretending to read the snow-job stuff while actually playing Hopscotch with the six-year old kids out on the sidewalk in front of their domiciles. Or was it shooting marbles for dough?

Oh well, what the hell . . . when you're very busy like Professor Pape sweating 5th-Dimension Alternative-Universe statistics and appearing regularly as a low-grade celebrity on TV --- strictly 2nd-Banana stuff --- to tout the wonders of your Black Hole counting system and sophomoric Simple-Simon logistic regression modeling, you don't have time to tap effectively that unparalleled data-base on all suicide attacks that Pape claims his university keeps safely available for accurate scholarship, or learn more than first-quarter levels of logistic regression, or even divide 3/38 properly, or distinguish between instrumental and substantive rationality, or spend a dozen or pages showing you how ancient the roots of suicide terrorism are, only to tell you on p. 101 that "suicide terrorism is a relatively new phenomenon", or come up with a last-resort explanatory variable for logit modeling --- crudely categorized as "concessions" to suicide terrorists by governments at the bottom of p. 99 --- and not mention it again until a dozen or pages from the end of the book except in a table with the tiniest fonts ever found in recent publishing history on p. 100, or come up with the most fraudulent table of all on pages 110 and 111 --- using it for some contorted statistical testing that shows how al Qaeda bombers didn't hail in some statistically sound sense from Islamic countries with strong fundamentalist movements --- only to get the whole thing garbled by completely misinterpreting one case, Morocco, or --- well, why go on?

By now, prof bug is only repeating himself, no?