prayer won't save them

Tacitus (whose blog has been removed from the firewall blockage, so I can finally renew my addiction to) had an interesting post on the nascent guerilla warfare emerging during the woefully-undermanned American occupation of Iraq. However, the comment thread was shanghied by response to Tacitus' (admittedly tangential) assertion that Arabs are uniquely irrational in a way that other societies aren't. This started with yet another invocation of Hitler, whose name will someday be synonymous with "thing I disagree with" in all human languages and cultures[1]. My own modest disagreement with Tac and his response is in the comments. Tacitus followed this with a somewhat defensive post that recognized that other societies can also be irrational at times. But he's still a bit in the dumps over the latest news from everywhere (which I've had the wisdom to avoid completely. ah, blissful ignorance) :

So it's not like I'm singling out the Arabs as uniquely irrational.

No, just kidding, I am. I mean, cripes, people.

I'm not one to argue with characterizing any ethnic group as irrational - it's the uniqueness of that irrationality that I take issue with. I mean, cripes, people.

UPDATE: Tacitus did take it back, for real, in the comments thread of his post - if I wasn't illiterate in the ways of MT, I'd be able to actually link directly to that retraction. But I never for a moment actually thought Tac believed his own accusation of a unique irrationality - in fact I empathise with the perception of a unique irrationality that always arises in my head when i read about the inane activities of group X. Its a common response and I'm equally susceptible to it. The net effect on me is to make me less willing to read the news.

[1] For a very good discussion on the roots of anti-semitism within Arab culture, I highly recommend this article in Slate by David Greenberg. It's quite exhaustive on the topic. The basic thesis is that anti-semitism is a Christian invention, which was adopted (COUNTER to the teachings of the Prophet SAW and the Qur'an) as a political response to Colonialism and Zionism - the combination of which occurred exclusively in the Arab world. The Persians, for example, did not fall under the sway of these two forces nearly to the same extent, and as such you don't see ingrained anti-semitic attitudes so prevalent in modern day Iran (except when it suits the theocracy's political purposes). It's utterly absent at the street level. Of course, whether the chanting of "Hitler" at some German journalists in Iraq amounts to an expression of this Arab anti-semitism is a completely separate topic, though those who are used to seeing anti-semitism everywhere will surely find it a black and white example.

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