March 15, 2007

What would Gandhi...

... have thought of Daniel Pearl?

51 comments:

Jennifer said...

Wait, Gandhi encouraged passive resistance for Indians but collective suicide for Jews? How does one decide whether you are entitled to civil disobedience or whether you must throw yourself off a cliff?

BSC said...

Gandhi was right on the one issue he had control over, namely the independence of India. On everything else, from WWII to exconimics, he was wrong.

Gandhi won on India because in taking on the British, he was taking on civilized men. He was demanding something very simple -- that the British live up to their own ideals (in the same way, at its heart, MLK was asking Americans to live up to our own ideals).

Had Gandhi found himself facing a Nazi or Japanese army in 1942 in India, he would have lasted maybe 10 minutes.

Sigivald said...

More importantly, who cares what Gandhi would have thought?

The man's was a bastard, and his sort of moral posturing, as bsc mentioned, is utterly irrelevant in any context not involving a thoroughly civilized opponent.

(For that matter, what about Fabrizio Quattrocchi?)

Freder Frederson said...

The man's was a bastard, and his sort of moral posturing, as bsc mentioned, is utterly irrelevant in any context not involving a thoroughly civilized opponent.

To call the British "thoroughly civilized" is laughable. They were perfectly capable and willing to brutally suppress insurrections and rebellions in the colonies when it suited them. Remember, they invented the Concentration Camp (and actually coined the term).

The Drill SGT said...

“The Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher’s knife,”

I think the better approach was posited by an Israeli after the war. As I recall, it went something like:

"The Holocaust would not have happened if Jews throughout Europe had been prepared to meet the Police or Wehrmacht at his front door with a knife or a pld pistol. It was the futile hope that all would be well and they could not really be taking Jews to death camps was what doomed our people"

Passive resistance would work against Brits. Active resistance was needed against Nazis.

Henry said...

To call the British "thoroughly civilized" is laughable.

As civilized as anyone, I would say.

The Nazis were less so.

AlphaLiberal said...

Ask yourselves why they chose yuesterday, of all days, to drop these transcripts. A little diversion perhaps? From the Justice scandal and the DoD admitting our armed forces are now occupying a nation in civil war.

Supposedly this guy was in charge of 29 plots AND he killed Daniel Pearl.

Well, I guess if he says it, it must be true. torture is such a reliable technique, after all. (that was sarcasm)

reality check said...

From Thompson's article, The so-called peace movement certainly has the right to make Gandhi’s way their way, but their efforts to make collective suicide American foreign policy just won’t cut it in this country.

The peace movement is not Code Pink. Code Pink is not the peace movement.

Regarding Gandhi, the internet seems to feel that Martin Luther King said,

Liberation Magazine (October, 1959)

Here one must be clear that there are three different views on the subject of violence. One is the approach of pure nonviolence, which cannot readily or easily attract large masses, for it requires extraordinary discipline and courage. The second is violence exercised in self-defense, which all societies, from the most primitive to the most cultured and civilized, accept as moral and legal.

The principle of self-defense, even involving weapons and bloodshed, has never been condemned, even by Gandhi, who sanctioned it for those unable to master pure nonviolence.


It is so easy just to ask questions and never have to answer them. You have condemned other academics for this practice.

What do you think Gandhi would have thought of Daniel Pearl?

Hoosier Daddy said...

Ask yourselves why they chose yuesterday, of all days, to drop these transcripts.

Do you think anyone really cares? Seriously, ask anyone on the street about the 8 fired attorneys and you'll get the proverbial deer in the headlights look.

"eight attorneys we're fired from Justice? You don't say...hey, you won't believe who's claiming he's the father of Anna Nicole's baby!!"

More than likely, they won't care about this guy either and probably wonder why he's still wasting our oxygen.

AlphaLiberal said...

Glenn Greenwald, bless his soul, notes that the right wing is voicing support for KSM's plans to murder Jimmy Carter.

I've long thought that many of America's right wing exremists share many things in common with muslim extremists. Intolerance for freedom (abortion, dress, music, arts, speech) a propensity for violence (Tim McVeigh, anthrax mailings, invading and occupying countries that never attacked us, etc) and a demand that the rest of society live by their religious doctrine.

chickenlittle said...

Alpha Lib: while the 'confession' may have been from long ago, the transcript as I understand it was from an event on Saturday. Three working days to transcribe, review and release the docs is reasonable, given the source. Are you saying the timing of the hearing itself was politically motivated?

AlphaLiberal said...

hoosier daddy claims America doesn't care about corruption in America's Justice system:
Do you think anyone really cares? Seriously, ask anyone on the street about the 8 fired attorneys and you'll get the proverbial deer in the headlights look.
Wow. You sure have a low opinion of your fellow Americans. Or you live on a dead end street.

I've encountered a lot of people talking about this.

But, the hatred for Americans is another thing most American right wing extremists share with the muslim extremists. They hate you if you're a liberal, if you're from the northeast, if you're an environmentalist, if you oppose the ongoing Iraq occupation (which the overwhleming majority of Americans do), if you're gay, if you're a Democratic voter (most Americans are, now, and were in 2000), etc, etc.

If I cared enough, I could make a long list of Americans hated by the right.

Thanks for pointing that out. Not saying you're one of those, mind you.

johnstodder said...

Ask yourselves why they chose yuesterday, of all days, to drop these transcripts. A little diversion perhaps?

Meaning what, we should ignore them?

This "control the narrative" obsession of the left blogosphere is starting to get creepy.

AlphaLiberal said...

chickenlittle, I don't know. But I'm suspicious. The Bush Administration has long ago lost all claim to a benefit of a doubt.

It's funny how much credibility the right puts into statements from al qaeda. Nothing they say should be taken at face value, either. Of course this asshole wants to inflate his worth and shield others stil at large.

Like when you guys listen to al qaeda in Iraq. What, you never heard of Tokyo Rose?

The Mechanical Eye said...

This "control the narrative" obsession of the left blogosphere is starting to get creepy.

See also AlphaLiberal's desire to denounce everyone around him, claiming the entire right-wing (all of it!) wants Jimmy Carter assassinated. It's a weird way to make an argument.

DU

Joe said...

If Gandhi said that, then he was an ass.

Seven Machos said...

Alpha Liberal: You are losing it today. Not a good showing at all. Remember, this is a hot medium...

Al Maviva said...

Alpha Liberal... why did you make that argument just now, when we were having a productive discussion of Ghandi? Was it to divert our attention from the success thus far of the Baghdad surge, or the increasing clarity of the bankrupt Democratic Congress?

Say what you will, but I question the timing...

Justin said...

AlphaLiberal said...

I've long thought that many of America's right wing exremists share many things in common with muslim extremists. Intolerance for freedom (abortion, dress, music, arts, speech) a propensity for violence (Tim McVeigh, anthrax mailings, invading and occupying countries that never attacked us, etc) and a demand that the rest of society live by their religious doctrine.


As do many of America's left wing extremists. Intolerance of differing opinions (global warming, Iraq war, Bush is evil), a propensity for violence (environmental terrorism, supporting America's enemies) and a demand that the rest of society live by their religious doctrine (in this case, liberalism). And they have their share of hatred too. They hate you if you're conservative, if you live in a small town, if you're not college educated, if you're Republican, if you voted for Bush, if you don't hate Bush with the same intensity they do, if you support the war in Iraq, etc.

All three groups share two things in common: they are extremists, and they do not represent the groups they claim to.

JohnAnnArbor said...

What, you never heard of Tokyo Rose?

Actually, I have. She was an American caught in Japan during the war. She could have had an easy time by just giving up her American citizenship, but she did not, and for that she was forced to make broadcasts. She was only prosecuted later when some prick reporter brought it up over a decade later, implying she was of much worse affect than in reality. The Allied prisoners that helped write her broadcasts were not charged. She was pardoned by Ford.

reality check said...

Based on my reading of the MLK text on the net, I gather that Gandhi would have said it was okay for Pearl to give KSM a boot to the head, if there was anyway for Pearl who was being held captive to react in any manner whether it was non-violent OR violent.

Really, your question just begs reality.

Since your question is so outlandish, my thinking is this. When asked what about a captive, bound prisoner, what should they do when someone tries to cut their head off, Gandhi would have replied thusly:

"How come Professor Althouse is NOT discussing the Alternative Minimum Tax and her interest in it and her badgering of the Democrats about it two months ago? I think that Althouse could discuss how her very own non-violent protests of the AMT have actually worked wonders, and thought I am dead, I wish she would blog about it. (And when she does, she could discuss the current state of what the Democrats are doing about Don't Ask Don't Tell.) But if this were a movie, I would suggest to Pearl that he magically free himself from his bonds ignore the guns pointed at him and jump 10 feet in the air and give KSM a boot to the head."

Joseph McNulty said...

Oh yes, I can remember the last time I sawed off the head of a liberal, just like Danny Pearl. I spend most of my day filled with rage and hate for liberals even though I used to be one. After all, the right is so hostile to liberals and personal freedom (unless you want to smoke or drink or eat transfats or buy a fur coat), that we have not had 30 years of careless sex and abortions. And never mind that we have to allow in 20 million Mexican immigrants because our major indigenous population growth STOPPED when abortion became legal. And don't tell me about the slippery slope. We haven't gotten closer to euthenasia and assisted suicide in the last 30 years. If you don't believe me, just ask Terri Schaivo's parents. When the Islamists take over, and impose Koranic morality on all you freedom-loving liberals, you will see who really hates freedom. I take no joy in this; in fact, I am trying my best to rouse sleeping liberals. It is not hate to point out that termites are eating the house. The first response is that they are NOT eating the house. That is termiteophobia, speciest, and demonstrates bias. Then, we will have to hear for 20 years that we caused this by cutting down the forests, because all the termites wanted to do was to eat. You call this a house? It should be destroyed because if was placed on the migratory route of the golden shrew. Maybe some people like having termites. What right do we have to decide that we should survive, but the poor termites must perish? Oh go ahead and cut his head off for "casting corruption on the earth."

AlphaLiberal said...

This guys says:

See also AlphaLiberal's desire to denounce everyone around him, claiming the entire right-wing (all of it!) wants Jimmy Carter assassinated. It's a weird way to make an argument.
Please consult a dictionary. I said "many" and you think it means "all."

Those words are different.

johnstodder said...

Re: Glenn Greenwald's post

This is a supreme example of not seeing the forest for the trees. Greenwald is acting as if the world should be surprised there are dumb right wingers.

But where does he address the overall import of what KSM said? Rather than jumping all over some moronic commenters on "Little Green Footballs," an obnoxious site that is barely worth looking at, where is his acknowledgement of the real significance of KSM's mentioning his desire to murder Carter?

It's so strange -- mysterious and disquieting -- how for some bloggers, everything is about partisan advantage. Why isn't Greenwald and his ilk saying what any reasonable liberal should say, which is: "What kind of depraved, sick, evil person would want to murder Carter, a peacemaker? This shows Islamists are a serious threat to everything we on the left stand for, just as they are a threat to all Americans. We might disagree with our partisan foes on a lot of things, but on this, we have no choice, we have to jump into this fight, 100 percent."

Jimmy Carter might be misguided, but he puts himself out there, going into dangerous areas to pursue his causes. Doesn't Greenwald care about what might happen to him?

Instead, he whines about whether Howard Kurtz is going to write a column someday about Little Green Footballs. How pathetic!

AlphaLiberal said...

I always heard conservatives were so hardworking. But you guys are too lazy to go over to Little Green Footballs to see the many comments from wingers chearing on KSM's plans to murder an American (Dmeocratic) President.

From leading American conservative Ann Coulter (headliner at CPAC) to KSFO (SF) to the wingers in the comments, American conservatives routinely call for Americans they disagree with to be bombed, hung, or otherwise murdered.

All I'm doing is mentioning what they say. If you're offended, I suggest you take it up with those saying the words, not the person reporting them.

It's very much part of the stock conservative rhetoric these days.

reality check said...

Uh, KSM doesn't seem to have said anything new here. And he does claim to have been tortured.

Ya know how all those people are saying that when you torture people you get unreliable answers from them? Yeah, so it's not really clear what KSM is actually responsible for. For that, I blame the incompetent Bush Administration.

I am glad to hear though that KSM was the second gunman.

AlphaLiberal said...

johnstodder, thank you for your thoughtful comments.

I agree, people shuld not be tarnished by anonymous blog comments.

But, guess what? It happens to liberals all the time. The most recent example was when some doofuses posted comments on liberal blogs in the wake of the bombing near Cheney to the effect of "nice try."

Right wing and moderate bloggers jumped on that saying liberals are hateful. (Not sure if Althouse was riding that particular bandwagon, but would not be surprised).

The excellent Glenn Greenwald is merely turning the tables. (Although in this case, calls for murder and violence come from Washington Times editors, radio show hosts, and a much wider swath than just blog commenters, as in the liberal case).

Enough. Time to reapply nose to grindstone.

Revenant said...

To call the British "thoroughly civilized" is laughable.

Well, calling ANY nation or ethnicity "thoroughly civilized" is laughable if you take that to mean "never does anything really bad".

Revenant said...

Glenn Greenwald, bless his soul, notes that the right wing is voicing support for KSM's plans to murder Jimmy Carter.

Here's what Greenwald claimed:

commenters at Little Green Footballs have not only expressed surprise, but outright support, for Mohammed's assassination plot against a former U.S. President. They are out in droves expressing sorrow that Al Qaeda did not have the opportunity to carry out its plot.

First of all, Greenwald is -- no surprise here -- lying. Approximately five of the 450+ posts express support for the idea of KSM killing Carter, so Greenwalds claim that "droves" of right-wingers support the assassination plot is unadulterated horseshit.

Secondly, it was obvious that Greenwald was lying even before I read the article for the simple reason that "The Right" is not "The Borg". The entire Right does not nod in agreement with everything every right-winger says.

Thirdly, yes, I know that right-wingers like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter pull the same guilt-by-association crap all the time. So congrats to Glen Greenwald and Alphaliberal for possessing the same level of intelligence and honesty as Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh. Your parents must be so proud.

nvittal said...

I agree - civil disobedience or non-violence protests work in a more democratic, open society or regime than in other models. I don’t think you can have a civil disobedience in Saudi Arabia or China even today in a large scale that Gandhi managed to organize in India under British rule. Moreover, British leaving India had much to do with their WW II losses than agitations in India.

“Thoroughly civilized” English reminds me of highly polished, smooth talking but extremely cut-throat, greedy Corporation who will do anything to achieve the targets as long as it is not ‘caught’ going in an ‘illegal’ way! That’s the best I can say about British rule.

Hoosier Daddy said...

But you guys are too lazy to go over to Little Green Footballs to see the many comments from wingers chearing on KSM's plans to murder an American (Dmeocratic) President.

Well then again you had the moonbats postively despondent that a suicide bomber wasted his shot for 72 Virgins cause he didn't kill an American Vice President.

Neither side has any credibility in my opinion but all we're doing is pointing out the ignorant rantings of idiots who claim to represent liberal/conservative platforms and in reality are nothing more than extremists.

I don't classify myself as right wing but rather as a conservative. While I dislike Carter, I certainly don't cheer on the possibility of him being assassinated. I would trust that liberals with a modicum of class and taste would do the same when idiots claiming to repesent them do the same.

reality check said...

Same intelligence as Ann, who does the same thing in her tête-à-tête with Dr. Helen.

reality check said...

(you must be so proud to be one of her groupies....)

Seven Machos said...

Reality: I am here a lot. I don't agree with Althouse a lot. Am I a groupie?

You are here every day. You don't agree with Althouse a lot. Are you a groupie?

Revenant said...

I don’t think you can have a civil disobedience in Saudi Arabia or China even today in a large scale that Gandhi managed to organize in India under British rule.

Even more amusingly, the same kind of civil disobedience program likely wouldn't even work in *India* today, and certainly not in Pakistan.

Revenant said...

Same intelligence as Ann, who does the same thing in her tête-à-tête with Dr. Helen.

Given your repeatedly-stated opinion that Ann is dishonest and not very bright, that still amounts to a concession that Greenwald and Alphaliberal are behaving in dishonest and unintelligent manner.

(you must be so proud to be one of her groupies....)

Given that I firmly disagreed with Ann in the very Ann-vs-Helen thread you're talking about, I am particularly amused that you'd be clueless enough to call me a groupie of here -- and even more amused that you'd think "you admire a respected law professor!" is some sort of insult.

reality check said...

Have I ever said she's not bright? I think you're not bright! But I think everyone agree's she's bright, which is why no one can figure out what her problem is.

reality check said...

I applaud the guts it took you to disagree.

PatCA said...

You question the timing? Eight political appointees fired, when Reno fired all 93 or 94 of them? Or the criticism of our being in the middle of a civil war? Hmmm, I have never heard that astounding allegation before.

KSH said he was involved in many plots, not that he did all of them. Even if he is exaggerating to get other guys off, he's a bad guy. Or do you need to see the pic of him beheading Pearl? But you know that.

It's refreshing to see a little truth about Gandhi. That damn movie sanctified and sanitized him.

Cedarford said...

Alpha Liberal - But, the hatred for Americans is another thing most American right wing extremists share with the muslim extremists.

No, that is hatred of everyday people, not righwingers, for Far Left Americans who happen to be traitors, enemy-lovers, enemy defenders, people like those in the ACLU obsessed with terrorist "rights" - over the right of American citizens to be secure in their own civil liberties. You betcha much of the American people hate you, Alpha Liberal. And seek to absolutely minimize your power and influence and lock you up for giving aid and comfort to the enemy if you go too far. It is a well-founded hatred.

You and your cronies have crawled way out on a limb of enemy loving and support for the "freedom fighters" of radical Islam. It is a limb bound to be sawed off as this war goes on, more infidels are slaughtered, and your sort is tagged with being a 5th Column.

As for Saint Martin Luther King, much of the effectiveness of his pacifism, like with Gandi's, was in the ability to say that the alternative to pacifist people like us is having to deal with the violent people waiting in the wings that only "us pacifists" can control. King directly threatened some towns he went to that if they didn't accept HIS deal, he would move on and "violent radical blacks" just waiting for him to "fail" would move in and cause mayhem. King eagerly expoited the threat of recourse to violence unless his people got what they wanted, and a commensurate "contribution" by city leaders to his groups finances. King was a commendable person in many ways, but he was also an intimidator and shakedown artist that others in the movement learned well from.

It also didn't work with Gandhi, as all the time he spouted pacifism he knew it would be his life to walk unescorted through Muslim held lands in India. And the 1948 Partition in which 3 million Indians and "proto-Pakistanis" were butchered and 7 million ethnically cleansed marks the failure of pure pacifism in the eyes of most Indians.

Nvittal - Moreover, British leaving India had much to do with their WW II losses than agitations in India.

Great point. Scholars of decolonialism point out that colonial empires were untenable in the exhausted nations, rising nationalism inside colonial lands with natives of some to no interest pacifism - and new economic forces that existed after WWII. Gandhi was and his "pacifist power" was peripheral to the real reasons Britain left - the media and a contingent of British do-gooders loved him, but the real decision was by bean counters in a nearly broke UK seeing what the Jewel in the Crown would cost them in years to come..

It didn't work with King's version of pacifism - much the same way - it sounded good on paper, but was ineffectual. Most of the riots and city-burnings happened when he was alive, then a huge outbreak when he was killed (in his name), then all the violence waned off by 1972 due mainly to harder crackdowns on rioters and handing over much of the power structure of cities to black leaders who were well-paid as long as they kept the peace.

Harry Eagar said...

Gandhi was a Hindu nationalist who rated Hindu nationalism above everything else, even the lives of hundreds of thousands of actual Hindus, as he acknowledged that the Partition would result in large-scale communal violence.

Seems to me that if he had taken his own advice toward the Jews, he would have accepted British rule over Hindus as the non-violent alternative.

He was also a sex pervert and a child abuser.

There is not a lot of satisfaction to be had in reviewing the history of the 20th century, but reflecting that the extreme Hindu nationalist Gandhi was murdered by even more extreme Hindu nationalists does provide a certain grim ironic satisfaction.

Ashish said...

What would Gandhi Really Do (as opposed to say)?

Joe Baby said...

reality check said:

But I think everyone agree's [Althouse is] bright, which is why no one can figure out what her problem is.

Ah, just a bias of a different sort.

To armedliberal:

Not sure if you're for, or against hypocrisy. When you figure it out, do let us know.

Fen said...

The excellent Glenn Greenwald...

I think its cute that you prop up Greenwald's name with a descriptive adjective. People with credibility don't require a prefix...

Revenant said...

You question the timing? Eight political appointees fired, when Reno fired all 93 or 94 of them?

Um, you're mixing two totally different things. The fact that US attorneys routinely get fired en masse for political reasons doesn't address the question of timing.

Normally, the attorneys get fired whenever a new President enters office, or in some cases after a President is re-elected. The new President has a fresh set of supporters who need to be paid off with jobs.

But firing multiple attorneys mid-term IS very unusual. I don't know that it has ever happened before, although certainly *individual* attorneys have been fired, for strictly political reasons, mid-term (e.g. during Carter's term).

The people bitching about attorneys being sacked over politics can be safely ignored as partisan whiners. The people questioning what those political reasons WERE, on the other hand, may have a point.

Jon Swift said...

Fred Thompson totally kicks Gandhi's ass. He doesn't need to prove how tough he is by knocking down straw men. I'm glad someone is finally taking on un-American Gandhi values.

LetMeSpellItOutForYou said...

If you want a real thorough ass-whuppin', read the late Richard Grenier's extensive review of the film, titled "The Gandhi Nobody Knows." Pity: Grenier would have made a fantastic blogger.

Revenant said...

Thanks for linking the Grenier article. Interesting stuff!

aquariid said...

I think it is likely many would infer from Thompson's references that Gandhi was anti-semitic and supported Hitler because of a shared animosity towards the British. A closer reading of history reveals that Gandhi's position was consistent with an extreme pacifism that advocates self-sacrifice. Regardless of Gandhi's internal contradictions and displays of relative ignorance through out a long and active life it is simply false to say he advocated mass murder. Obviously Code Pink would have been better served to ask "What would Jesus do?"

Grenier's article published by the American Jewish Committee in 1982 would be ignorable if it was the product of one of todays bloggers, just another rant about a popular movie's inaccuracies. Yes, it is full of problematic facts, but it is the opinions that are much better material for provocation.
"IT SHOULD be plain by now that there is much in the Hindu culture that is distasteful to the Western mind..."
I wonder how this article would play to those who are now saying that India is a paragon of western values and political stability, (for the purpose of rationalizing India's acceptance into the nuclear weapons club, and perhaps opening a backdoor for Israel). Maybe it could be used by al Qaeda to recruit Hindus?

LetMeSpellItOutForYou said...

aquariid said: Regardless of Gandhi's internal contradictions and displays of relative ignorance through out a long and active life it is simply false to say he advocated mass murder. But to advocate abject surrender and even mass suicide in the face of Hitler's advances is exactly to advocate mass murder, even if Gandhi had no particular quarrel with Jews. (Nothing in Thompson's piece suggested to me Gandhi was an anti-Semite, BTW, since he gave the same foolish advice to the Brits.)

Gandhi's contradictions were unfortunately not internal as if they were some private quirk, but as external as they come. He was not a consistent pacifist during the violence of the partition, for example. Tagore's judgement that Gandhi's tactics were nonviolent in name only was shared by members of the Nobel Prize Committee, one of the reasons Gandhi never won a Peace Prize. (Such standards went way, way down for Arafat.)

[I]t is [Grenier's] opinions that are much better material for provocation. "IT SHOULD be plain by now that there is much in the Hindu culture that is distasteful to the Western mind..." I wonder how this article would play to those who are now saying that India is a paragon of western values and political stability....

There's no contradiction in praising India's progress, while deploring entrenched, backwards customs such as the caste system (what prompted Grenier's observation) that stifled such progress and extinguished the liberties of untold millions. And Grenier was right: if India is such a wonderful success today, it's to the extent they ignored Gandhi's strong denunciation of technological progress.

Maybe it could be used by al Qaeda to recruit Hindus?

Ha ha, very funny.

DTP said...

Two points: A) Ms. Althouse and Senator Thompson agree readily with no less an eminence than Noam Chomsky that one can only at best consider Gandhi's adherence to non-violence as tactically, not categorically, ethical. Which is why B) in the 1980s, when I was working on Central America issues as a college student, I never referred to myself as a peace activist. I would have been lying; I wanted FMLN to win in El Salvador and I wanted the Sandinistas to kill every last Contra. I don't regret my stand then, just as I don't regret Islamists being killed now.