Silly question hit for six

giuliani01.jpgOn the day after murderous terrorist suicide bomb attacks on the UN headquarters in Baghdad and a bus in Jerusalem, I can’t think of anything more appropriate than to reproduce without comment (except the headline) the following extract from Andrew Denton’s interview with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani on Monday’s Enough Rope program on ABC TV:

Andrew Denton: Is part of the challenge also looking at the reasons why America has generated so much hate?

Rudy Giuliani: Um, I don’t think the terrorists can be dealt with by saying, “Somebody’s generated hate,” so that it somehow justifies or explains why people will blow up a building with thousands of innocent people. There’s a level of irrationality and viciousness to that that can’t be dealt with by trying to put the responsibility on the victim. I think”¦in fact, I think, because we did that with terrorism, we helped to create it. Because we took on a sense of guilt about terrorism which really belongs to the terrorists, not the victim, we helped to create terrorism.

Terrorists do what they do for a specific purpose. They want to further some goal, let’s say a political goal. And what civilised society should do is make that a bargain or make that a decision that should be deterred. In other words, they shouldn’t be successful. And what we had been doing was we had been making it successful.

The attack on the Israeli team at the Munich Olympics was way back in 1972. By and large, very often terrorists weren’t prosecuted or arrested, and when they were, they were released, and then their cause was taken seriously by the international community.

So terrorists were taught, “It works. Kill a lot of innocent people and somebody will say, ‘Gee, you must really have a justifiable cause, and the person you attacked must have done something horrible to create this.'” Maybe the answer, like the answer with Hitler, is it really wasn’t a justifiable cause.

There is no justifiable cause for killing innocent human beings, much less significant numbers of innocent human beings. You’ve got to stand up to it. You can’t let that psychological battle have the victim all of a sudden take on the guilt for the atrocious acts of the perpetrator.

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
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pm
pm
2022 years ago

Hi,
Ken love your blog, keep up the great work. I think to be fair to Andrew he was bowling long hops down the leg side. I think he expected the question to be hit out of the ground. Which it was.

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2022 years ago

Ken,
It seems to me that most people are making the wrong conclusions about 11/9.

The people who perpetrated this outrage were not irrational,mad nor extremists.
They were people who in the main were avid students of the Koran and simply acted on it.
They were killing people for Allah and because of this would go directly to paradise.
Whilst it must be admitted their interpretation of the Koran is in the minority this does not make it wrong.
When someone studies the Koran they are told almost every day that Jews are evil and will be destroyed on the last day ( and remember which nation has gives the most financial and other support to Israel) and that the Western world is totally christian ( so for example Madonna is a good example of christian decadence!).
The muslims that were killed were not real muslims because they were working in the US.

Thus it becomes much easier to understand the hate such muslims have towards the US.
This does not justify the hatred it merely makes it easier to understand.

What worries me is that I suspect this islamic belief will increase given recent events.

mark
2022 years ago

Y’could make similar comments about the Bible, Homer.

But I’m not about to go on a killing rampage, and neither, I suspect, are you.

Anthony
Anthony
2022 years ago

Actually Homer, I believe the Koran has little to say about the US, or the status of Muslims who work there.

Ron Mead
Ron Mead
2022 years ago

“Whilst it must be admitted their interpretation of the Koran is in the minority this does not make it wrong.”

I can but shake my head.

Gummo Trotsky
2022 years ago

Ron,

A minority interpretation of the Koran can no more be deemed “wrong” than a minority interpretation of the Bible (or even an out-of-date sixties Presbyterian interpretation).

Mark Upcher
Mark Upcher
2022 years ago

I think it was a clumsy question, but behind it is an important issue on how the US has conducted foreign policy. This issue was raised in some quarters before September 11 – not all on the left(see, for example: http://www.cato.org/pubs/fpbriefs/fpb50.pdf).

Terrorism cannot be justified in any way – and the terrorists should be punished – but an issue that needs to be addressed is how do we go about minimising its occurrence in the first place.

Mork
Mork
2022 years ago

Of course an interpretation of the Koran can be considered “wrong”. You might need a line or two to explain what you mean by “wrong”, because it has a few possible meanings in the context (morally wrong, an incorrect comprehension of the meaning of the words, etc.), but if you can’t use the word here . . . what the hell can you use it for?

Gummo Trotsky
2022 years ago

Mork,

Given that the context is likely to be one in which you are trying to argue that your interpretation is a correct interpretation of the words which leads to a morally right conclusion, there’s an obvious circularity and futility in bringing forward another interpretation which makes the same claim. The issue could only be decided by appeal to evidence outside the sphere of Koranic (or Biblical) interpretation or by a process of persuasion, in which the use of the word “wrong” might well be counter-productive.

mark
2022 years ago

I think Gummo’s being relativist (postmodern?). How can one interpretation be more valid than another?

I’m interested that Homer cautions us not to think of OBL’s interpretation of the Koran as “wrong”, which presumably means the bloodthirsty Amerikillers are following the true Word of God and the various peaceful hordes are just misguided in refusing to go out and blow up a few buses. A scary thought, indeed. If the Good and Proper Interpretation of the Koran leads to such evils, what does that mean for the “sibling” holy works, the Bible and the scriptures (Torah?)? Do the similarities lie amongst the same parts?

Mork
Mork
2022 years ago

So, that’s postmodernism? Here’s me thinking it was obfuscation! Back to Academy for me!

(By the way, if you read into this post an instruction to slaughter infidels, you are wrong . . . on many levels. Which is an extreme example of the point I was trying to mkae, I know . . . )

Gummo Trotsky
2022 years ago

No Mork, I just read it as a simplistic refusal to follow my (short) argument. Which incidentally has nothing to do with post-modernism either but the uselessness of the notion of “wrong” in an argument where there are no external criteria of what is “right” and what is “wrong” but the issue is to be decided by reference to the very things you are arguing about in the first place. Nothing relativist about this idea, nor is it a particularly obscure or complex one.

Mork
Mork
2022 years ago

Oh, what the hell. Go ahead and slaughter infidels. See if I care.

craig
craig
2022 years ago

I’ll tell you what’s silly Ken.

The premise that Muslims carry out acts of terrorism because we’re good and they’re bad.

Mork
Mork
2022 years ago

It seems to me that one of those judgments is irrelevant and the other is self-evident.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

Burrowing around in sacred text interpretation is a monumental waste of time in itself, let alone trying to categorise it on a “good” or “evil” scale. The sooner we accept that “truth” is self-evidently not available through someone else’s Revelation, the better off we’ll be. The only way to get to Truth is through Reason – and the results of that tend to be a bit less than watertight to say the least.

I assume that Denton put the question for two reasons:

1. It’s become an article of faith for the liberal innerurbanati to wear said question as a badge of honour; i.e. the uttering is far more important than the response. It self-proclaims an open-minded, thinking product of post-modernity. A person who attends arthouse movies, reads Chomsky and dines at funky Surry Hills eateries. An open-minded person who knows more than most about acquiring Australia Council grants. Lest we were in any doubt, Andrew is such a person.

2. It’s controversial. Giuliani presided over the immediate aftermath of 9/11 and his opinion here might be assumed to be self-evident. Denton’s modus operandi is to put his “guests” under a microscope and pull various extremities off until he gets big ratings out of them. This is particularly the case with ‘weird’ people: Rivkin, Debbie Harry, Chopper Read” and much less the case with like-minded people – Russ Crowe springs to mind. He was out-fellating Parky on that outing.

Andrew wanted to reveal the RWDB inside Giuliani but he just ended up exposing himself – not a pretty sight.

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2022 years ago

The problem of interpreting the Koran is which Mohammed you read, the Mecca or Medina. Thus one advocates killing your enemies and another doesn’t. ( Read 8.68 against 2.216)
Then you need to go to the traditions.
It has nothing to do with post-modernism simply on what emphasis you wish.
It is also interesting the Koran says very little of the great Jihad ( which is personal) but quite a lot of the Lesser Jihad (Which is the one we hear about).

I can’t think of another religion off the top of my head where you can kill a person who has done nothing to you on behalf of God.

Again the major point most of the 11/9 crowd were avid students of the Koran who embraced killing all those people because they were killing them on behalf of Allah. ( The thinking being the muslims who worked their were not muslims since they were working in the decadent west and they are taught to hate the US almost from the first ‘class’ in school.)

It is unlikely most muslims read the Koran in their mothertongue ( it is in Arabic as in heaven).

The major question is if they do will they still embrace Islam or leave it as Ibn Warriq ( admittedly who is quite anti-Islam) believes?

Gummo Trotsky
2022 years ago

“I can’t think of another religion off the top of my head where you can kill a person who has done nothing to you on behalf of God.”

Pope Urban II had no such difficulty, Homer.

Ron Mead
Ron Mead
2022 years ago

And the Spanish Inquisition. And Stalin et al. (communism had its God after all). But to be fair Homer did use the present tense.

Jack Strocchi
2022 years ago

Ld Ken.

Excellent post that speaks for itself.
Once you grant moral legitimacy to Fundamentalist Terrorists, you have more than half way lost the battle.
FT’s use evil means in the pursuit of an impossible goal.
This puts them outside the realm of civilised debate.
The US’s response to this situation may be wrong-headed, but, as Dr Knopfelmacher used to say about Communist Revolutionaries, it is never in principle wrong to violently oppose Fundamentalist Reactionaries. That type of social system is a centre of extreme political malignancy which should be treated as a cancer on the Body Politic.
The Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan is an existenc proof of that proposition.

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2022 years ago

Gummo,
Let us be generous and say these people were christians,which part of the bible did they get this from?
err none.

I was talking of people believing and acting from a ‘sacred text’. Sorry for the confusion.

mark
2022 years ago

Let us be generous and say the Pope (as a position) is Christian, Homer? I think I speak for all Catholics when I say: Jesus fucking wept! I’m guessing you spent many a Sunday School learning about the “whore of Babylon”. But please, think a little before you repeat such “Catholics are not Christian” twaddle.

You could be right about most Muslims not reading the Koran in their first language (Muslims in America and Indonesia, for example… what about Pakistan?), but it’d be a close-run thing. Think, though: how many of us read the New Testament in its original Greek? How many have heard the words of Jesus in its original Aramaic?

As for the part of the Bible telling people to kill, you’re right, there isn’t one (well, some translations include a pesky little “do not suffer a witch to live”, and in fact one very old version I found in my High School library translates that verse as “kill any who practice magic”). However, many have interpreted John to mean that, as loving Christians, they should attempt to introduce as many people to the love of Jesus Christ.

By the sword if necessary.

mark
2022 years ago

Not sure if I agree that Communism had a God, Ron, unless you’re talking figuratively: about a perverted sort of secular reasoning.

Let’s see… there’s Marx, of course. Engels wasn’t really thought of as a god, just a really smart guy. There’s, um… Lenin. And Trotsky. And Stalin. And Mao. And Che. And of course Castro. I have probably missed people out.

So I guess you could say there was/is a Communist pantheon. But even then… I mean, each form of practiced Communism was different (Marxism, for example, has never existed in the real world in its true form), and the “gods” did not cross forms. You would not see a Cuban talking about how wonderful Stalin was, for example.

Ron Mead
Ron Mead
2022 years ago

Nor an Anglican praising the Pope, Mark. So each form of Christianity is different but that doesn’t make it less a religion. As with Communism. And please spare us the old canon about Marxism never being practised. It was, and its demise everywhere except in North Korea and Cuba was simply its reductio ad absurdam. Its fate in these two countries is likewise simply a matter of time.

mark
2022 years ago

“Nor an Anglican praising the Pope, Mark. So each form of Christianity is different but that doesn’t make it less a religion.”

Depends on the Anglican, I s’pose (<looks in Homer’s direction, for no particular reason />). I mean, if the Pope does something particularly praiseworthy (like decides that protecting paedophiles should no longer be Catholic Church policy… ahem), then… okay, I got your point. But I wasn’t arguing Communism wasn’t a religion (your definition of religion clearly allows it, and I’m not in the mood to quibble over that): just that it had no one God (here’s the definitional quibbles again). Instead, it had a pantheon.

Then I thought about it some more, and realised that, with the diverse forms of practiced “Communism”, each with its own heroes — and disdaining those of others — meant that you could consider each hero the leader of their own sect. Does it still mean we’ve got a pantheon, or do we just have many diverse religions, each with their own gods? That’s what I meant.

Ron Mead
Ron Mead
2022 years ago

Interesting points, Mark. Perhaps you could say that Marx was the God and Lenin, Stalin, Mao et al were merely the “Popes” of the different sects.

Gummo Trotsky
2022 years ago

Homer,

Which part of the bible? Pehaps they had the example of 1 Samuel 15 in mind (RSV):

1: And Samuel said to Saul, “The LORD sent me to anoint you king over his people Israel; now therefore hearken to the words of the LORD.

2: Thus says the LORD of hosts, `I will punish what Am’alek did to Israel in opposing them on the way, when they came up out of Egypt.

3: Now go and smite Am’alek, and utterly destroy all that they have; do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.'”

9: But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep and of the oxen and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them; all that was despised and worthless they utterly destroyed.

10: The word of the LORD came to Samuel:

11: “I repent that I have made Saul king; for he has turned back from following me, and has not performed my commandments.” And Samuel was angry; and he cried to the LORD all night.

12: And Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning; and it was told Samuel, “Saul came to Carmel, and behold, he set up a monument for himself and turned, and passed on, and went down to Gilgal.”

13: And Samuel came to Saul, and Saul said to him, “Blessed be you to the LORD; I have performed the commandment of the LORD.”

14: And Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?”

24: And Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned; for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice.

25: Now therefore, I pray, pardon my sin, and return with me, that I may worship the LORD.”

26: And Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you; for you have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you from being king over Israel.”

27: As Samuel turned to go away, Saul laid hold upon the skirt of his robe, and it tore.

28: And Samuel said to him, “The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you this day, and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you.

29: And also the Glory of Israel will not lie or repent; for he is not a man, that he should repent.”

30: Then he said, “I have sinned; yet honor me now before the elders of my people and before Israel, and return with me, that I may worship the LORD your God.”

31: So Samuel turned back after Saul; and Saul worshiped the LORD.

32: Then Samuel said, “Bring here to me Agag the king of the Amal’ekites.” And Agag came to him cheerfully. Agag said, “Surely the bitterness of death is past.”

33: And Samuel said, “As your sword has made women childless, so shall your mother be childless among women.” And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the LORD in Gilgal.

34: Then Samuel went to Ramah; and Saul went up to his house in Gib’e-ah of Saul.

35: And Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death, but Samuel grieved over Saul. And the LORD repented that he had made Saul king over Israel.

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2022 years ago

Gummo,

That was directed at Saul at that time.
O/T is pre-cross. N/T is about the Cross and post-cross. A new covenant. Love your enemies and letting your enemy hitting you on the other cheek!!

You should have paid more attention to your Presby teacher