“You exterminate them, and you leave behind smoking building and crying widows.”

Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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62 Responses

  1. Chris says:


  2. Kimmi says:

    Muslims are the New Jews.
    The new alliance will be sealed with blood.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Kimmi says:

      @kimmi, no they aren’t. They are receiving much more political support and sympathy from the Far and Center Left in Europe than the Jews ever did for one thing.Report

      • Kimmi in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Cite your sources, please. I’d wager when the Jews were assassinating and terrorizing the Russian leadership, that they were pretty popular in Europe. But I’ve studied more Russian History than that period of French, so if you’re right, I’d like to see it.

        The left wasn’t the Alliance I was speaking of, and is in fact immaterial to the discussion of a rightwing alliance between the “ultra” Christians and Jews.Report

  3. Creon Critic says:

    Well, it could end in merciless ridicule. Here’s a much praised response from JK Rowling,

    I was born Christian. If that makes Rupert Murdoch my responsibility, I’ll auto-excommunicate.

    The Spanish Inquisition was my fault, as is all Christian fundamentalist violence. Oh, and Jim Bakker.

    And others’ twitter responses along those lines,

    As I was born in Australia can I apologise for inflicting Rupert on the world

    Maybe all Australians lovely but until we recognise and destroy the growing pus sore that is @rupertmurdoch we must be held accountable.

    I’d like to offer an apology on behalf of us all. Murdoch’s comments don’t represent the views of mainstream Rupert community


    Via, http://www.vox.com/2015/1/11/7527945/j-k-rowling-had-the-perfect-response-to-rupert-murdochs-anti-muslimReport

  4. j r says:

    Tod, broadly I agree with your take on this issue. There is no war of civilizations. There is not great religious war between Islam and Christianity. At least so long as we don’t go making one.

    That said, Steve Emerson’s comments fall into the category of ‘a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing.” Sharia patrols are a real thing:


    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1tEpjmFH9g&w=560&h=315%5D

    The relevant conversation ought to be how we deal with extremists. Contrary to Ralph Peter’s eloquent suggestions, I’d say that he has it exactly wrong. It’s time to call of the War on Terror and start addressing this mostly as a criminal justice matter. And to the extent that foreign policy has to play a role, that policy ought not be enacted at the barrel of a rifle.Report

    • Kimmi in reply to j r says:

      In Israel, the law doesn’t stop the Jewish Modesty Patrols. Even when they get violent.Report

    • Tod Kelly in reply to j r says:

      @j-r I agree with your assessment of the relevant conversation we should be having.

      As to the issue of Sharia patrols, however, I confess that it trips the same bells for me as the news stories about “wilding,” the Knockout Game, and flash mobs. Has it ever happened? Yeah, probably. Is it an epidemic that that MSM refuses to cover? Eh, call me dubious.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to j r says:



      I offer this not to forgive violence done in the name of Islam or to criticize Judaism. Rather, to simply point out that haters gonna hate.Report

    • j r in reply to j r says:


      In pointing out Hasidic modesty squads as BSDI, you are implicitly supporting the idea that Jews and Muslims are on different sides (although I assume you are being tongue-in-cheek). I have a different conception of sides. There are extremist and authoritarians who want to tell the rest of us what to do. And there are people who are content to live and let live.

      And @tod-kelly, I point that out not because I think this is proof of some liberal media conspiracy to coddle Muslim extremists. I point it out, because the only difference between the Sharia patrols in London or the Jewish Modesty patrols in New York and the Sharia patrols in Raqqah or the modesty police in Tehran is that the United States and England is that we have a political and social commitment to liberalism. It was not always this way.Report

      • Tod Kelly in reply to j r says:

        Got it. In which case, again, I am in 100% agreement.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to j r says:


        Sorry, I had a response typed to this that disappeared into the ether of my phone.

        Anyway, yes, my “BSDI” comment was indeed tongue in cheek but nonetheless poorly thought out. My apologies.

        The crux of my point was in the “Haters gonna hate” part, which was both joking and serious. And you summed it up well: the Modesty patrols or Sharia patrols are more alike than they are different, despite whatever frictions exist between the umbrella faiths they lay claim to. If you are trying to impose your believes on others through force, violence, coercion, or the threat of any of those, you are on the wrong “side”.Report

      • Kimmi in reply to j r says:

        So does Israel. Your freaking point?

        I’d say the state sanctioning of modesty police is more troubling.

        Then again, a friend of a friend got arrested for pissing in a lake down near DC, so… we have our modesty police too. Our modesty police arrest people differently if they’re men or women, of course.Report

  5. Burt Likko says:

    I’ve roughly a dozen Muslim clients. The one I’ve spoken with since the murders in Paris is as appalled as anyone. “I’m kind of glad they all got killed,” was his general sentiment. “You don’t want to wish for anyone to die, but them…” He shrugged. The subject had ceased to be interesting. He saw no need to apologize for or distance himself from the actions of criminals simply because they claimed to have a common religion with him. Nor did I see a need for him to do so.

    I guess, though, until and unless each and every Muslim in the United States says “I disavow those murders,” the bozos like the ones discussed in the OP will be unsatisfied. Probably not even if that were to happen: the goalposts would move, and now the Muslims would not have disavowed the violence sincerely enough.

    People need to learn how to govern the output of their amygdalas.Report

    • James Hanley in reply to Burt Likko says:

      Until this moment, I realize, I hadn’t even thought of bringing it up with any of my Muslim friends, because I have no doubt about their response, and saying something might feel like talking to one of my black friends about the latest gang shooting, as though I’m talking to them about because of their religion or race and putting them on the spot because of that connected identity, however much I don’t mean to.

      If they have any interest in talking about it, I’m sure they’ll broach the subject.Report

  6. James Hanley says:

    I think it’s appropriate to remember that even George W. Bush, despite his incautious use of the word “crusade,” was explicit that we were not at war with Islam.Report

  7. Saul Degraw says:

    Well this is a general problem with extremists, isn’t it? There is a smallish subset of radicalized Muslims that is willing to commit all sorts of violence and atrocities in the name of their brand of Islam and nothing in the world seems to quell or stop them. There are political-economic angles as well with a lack of economic opportunity for Muslims in many European countries and generations of being stuck in slums and still being seen as more Muslim or Algerian than French.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Silly, @saul-degraw You want to address the underlying issues as a political/policy level? How’s that going to poll?


    • LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      There is no evidence that political-economic conditions are leading to the radicalization of European Muslims. Muslims in the United States, Canada, and Australia are not that well incorporated into the body politic of those countries but seem much less prone to the radicalism of European Muslims. They are wealthier though.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to LeeEsq says:

        “They are wealthier though.”

        That would be the economics. IIRC they are also much more educated and were generally university graduates before coming to the U.S.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to LeeEsq says:

        @saul-degraw, American, Canadian, and Australian Muslims are much less politically integrated than European Muslims. There are many more Muslims in elected office in Europe in the UK or France alone than they are in the United States, Canada, and Australia combined. There are probably more Muslims involved in the pop cultural scenes of Europe.Report

      • Alan Scott in reply to LeeEsq says:

        @leeesq , I very much doubt that the Muslim populations susceptible to radicalization give much of a damn about how many Muslims are members of the legislature. All the Muslim members of France’s Parliment aren’t able to do anything about the Hijab law, while US courts would toss it out in an instant despite the lack of Muslim Judges. Children of immigrants in France and Germany grow up as non-citizens, but jus soli is observed in US and Canada.

        Radicalization will always be a question of how may doors get slammed in people’s faces because they’re the wrong race or wrong religion. How many people with personally miserable lives can blame that misery on the establishment, or on “western culture”–whether they’re right or wrong in apportioning the blame.Report

      • Chris in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Wealthier, have higher employment rates, aren’t as segregated, don’t have visible political parties built basically around the idea of getting rid of them, and so on. Your examples are pretty good evidence against your conclusion and for Saul’s.Report

      • Glyph in reply to LeeEsq says:

        don’t have visible political parties built basically around the idea of getting rid of them

        Could this be the good edge of the two-edged sword of a two-party system – that neither party can get super-xenophobic, if it wants to win elections?Report

      • Chris in reply to LeeEsq says:

        The radicalization in France isn’t a Muslim thing, though. Granted, the radicalized youth or almost exclusively Muslim (ignoring, for the moment, the nationalists), but they share more than just their religion. They’re not more than a few generations from immigration from the same part of the world (North and sub-Saharan Africa), they grew up in the poor suburbs, they have few employment opportunities, and they understandably feel marginalized. They’re easy pickings for groups who want to exploit dissatisfaction, alienation, and uncertain identities.

        In the age of the internet, when Islamic extremists utilize social media heavily for recruitment, that’s a dangerous recipe. France and German citizens are going to Syria and Iraq in high numbers. UK citizens too. Though the U.S. has a handful of its citizens fighting with IS a well, so it’s not like we’re not producing radicals.Report

      • Chris in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Glyph, I hadn’t thought about it, but that makes sense. The accepted wisdom is that the two party system results in mostly centric, which should definitely mean not crazy nationalist, politics. The xenophobia we sometimes see on the American right is pretty mild relative to what they have over there and mostly reserved for the primaries and small, really red districts. Or Texas.Report

      • Glyph in reply to LeeEsq says:

        @chris having thought about it some more, the more likely commonality is that Canada, Australia and America are also newer nations made up of immigrants themselves (often, the people their “parent” nations didn’t want – parent nations that are ALSO telling new immigrants they don’t want them either).

        Still, I generally hate the two-party system, and am always looking for hidden silver linings to convince myself it’s not as bad as I think it is. So I’m counting this one.Report

  8. greginak says:

    Shorter Tod: Conservative militaristic, violent rhetoric unchanged.

    Yeah i know some people don’t like the “shorter….” Feel free to mock me.Report

  9. Kolohe says:

    One, you accept that you are in a war. Two, you name the enemy: Islamist terrorists. Three, you get the lawyers off the battlefield and out of the targeting cell. You accept there will be collateral damage, and do you not apologize for it, you do not nation build. You don’t hold — try to hold ground. You go wherever in the world the terrorists are and you kill them. You do your best to exterminate them, and then you leave, and you leave behind smoking ruins and crying widows. If in five or ten years they reconstitute and you have got to go back, you go back and you do the same thing and you never never never send American troops into a war you don’t mean to win… Be as merciless as the enemy, if you’re not willing to do that, they will win.

    The funny not haha thing is, this is the Obama doctrine, except the administration does use lawyers and sometimes apologizes.Report

    • Chris in reply to Jaybird says:

      Wow, and the first comment, back then. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

      I condemn guilt by association, or collective guilt, universally!

      Now can we actually talk about the subject at hand, and avoid a conversation about something someone else said 5 years ago about something else?

      I mean, it wasn’t so long ago that this drum was being beaten so loudly that we went to war against one of the more secular Muslim countries because they were Muslim, and that’s who the terrorists are. But someone else said something about something else a few years ago, and that shouldn’t get a pass. Right now, or at least last week, mosques were being attacked in France, because of this. But someone else said something about something else a few years ago, and that shouldn’t get a pass.Report

      • Chris in reply to Chris says:

        This is harsh, I know, but damn that’s annoying. I mean, maybe you have a reason other than a gratuitous “BSDI!” But if so, it escapes me entirely. It just looks like gratuitous “BSDI!”Report

      • James Hanley in reply to Chris says:

        Maybe Jaybird was just saying “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”?

        Are you sure you’re reading him charitably? Did you even consider the question of whether you were reading him charitably?Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Chris says:

        Oh, it wasn’t a “BSDI”. For the record, if I were going to go for a “Both Sides Do It”, my emphasis would have been in the use of violence instead of speech when one is offended. (“It should be pointed out that the majority of French people did *NOT* attack a mosque!”)

        If anything, I’ve been musing on the circumstances under which we are willing to say “Those People Need To Do A Better Job Of Distancing Themselves From Extremists!” and the circumstances under which we are willing to say “Man, I Just Know That The Backlash Against This Non-Representative Act Will Be Awful.”Report

      • Chris in reply to Chris says:

        True enough, I suppose. In the wake of clinic bombings, you don’t hear about churches being shot up.Report

      • kenB in reply to Chris says:

        In the wake of clinic bombings, you don’t hear about churches being shot up.

        yeah, why bother inspecting yourself for potential cognitive biases when you can find some folks on the other side that are worse?

        It’s obvious that American liberals as a rule respond differently to generalizations about Muslims than to generalizations about Christians. It’s easily explainable by the American context, but explainable is not the same as rational. It would be great to see people make an effort to explore how to be consistent in evaluating group generalizations instead of coming up with ad hoc rules for why your opponents are properly typified by their worst elements but your neutral and friendly parties are not.Report

      • trizzlor in reply to Chris says:

        @Jaybird: If anything, I’ve been musing on the circumstances under which we are willing to say “Those People Need To Do A Better Job Of Distancing Themselves From Extremists!” and the circumstances under which we are willing to say “Man, I Just Know That The Backlash Against This Non-Representative Act Will Be Awful.”

        I think this a pretty key point and interestingly framed with the Tiller murder. If you read Hilzoy’s full post, she goes to great lengths to tie the *actions* of anti-abortion activists to Tiller’s murder: picketing outside abortion workers homes, intimidation of workers and neighbors, as well as accusations of child murder and genocide. This draws an explicit distinction between people who share anti-abortion views, and people who use eliminationist rhetoric and actions in support of those views. On the other hand, the tweets by Murdoch and newscasters at FOX is based entirely on shared ideology and not shared actions or rhetoric. As an example, imagine Murdoch identified an Imam with a history of claiming Charlie Hebdo employees were committing the equivalent of genocide, picketing outside their homes, and telling their neighbors that they are murderers. I don’t think people would generally be upset if Murdoch pressed that Imam to publicly distance himself from the Charlie Hebdo attacks. Especially if it was done with the explicit statement that it would be an enormous mistake to conflate all Muslims with this behavior (as Hilzoy did).

        I’ve had some chats with my conservative family members on this topic who strongly tried to convince me that no Muslim organization has denounced the attacks, and that this silence was of great significance. This is such an obvious falsehood that it must be due to a fundamentally different way of seeing the world. My guess is that Murdoch et. al. *honestly* believe that the rhetoric at an average Mosque is equivalent to incitement and eliminationism, and so they see their demand as being entirely reasonable. Since you brought it up in the Tiller post, I’m curious if you also see that relationship. Is the average Muslim as rhetorically linked to the Charlie Hebdo attack as the average Operation Rescue protestor is to the Tiller murder? Is it hypocritical to believe that some groups can be more closely linked to violence than others, and to demand that they do more to break that link?Report

    • North in reply to Jaybird says:

      Man I miss E.D. He wrote good stuff.Report

  10. North says:

    So the right wing mouth-breathers emerge despite my warnings and think it’s a good idea to magnify a scuffle with some Islam abusing cavemen into a civilizational conflict with billions of uninvolved people? Madness! Madness and stupidity!

    I note, with some considerable satisfaction, that the left wing parralells to this idiocy have remained by and large safely contained to the fringes of the net-o-sphere. Proof positive that Liberals and liberalism are nowhere near as far gone as some say.Report

  11. CK MacLeod says:

    The post does a little of the thing that it indicts, since it conflates Peters’ call for ruthless attacks on “Islamic terrorists” with Islamophobia or calls for “religious war.” As @kolohe points out, Peters’ policy, if only a bit more apologetically, is close to Obama administration policy – a fact that underlines also how popular it is.

    The deeper problem is that, even if prosecuting a global religious war against Islam is inconceivable, and wouldn’t be a good idea even if conceivable, there are authentic deeper conflicts between Islam as generally interpreted by Muslims and the liberal-democratic consensus especially characteristic of Western political culture. The political-cultural conflict is at some point also a religious or cultural-religious conflict, even if individual Muslims, Christians, Jews, post-Christians, and many others, in the course of normal life, neither experience nor conceive of nor care about it.Report

    • Tod Kelly in reply to CK MacLeod says:

      I will cop to the fact that Peter’s position is not as blatant as the others, but would argue that you in turn are leaving out that rather important bit where — to my reading, anyway — he seems to be calling for some kind of “bomb them all and let God sort it out” policy.

      And while I have the same issues with Obama’s policy that Kolohe does, I would think that you of all people would realize that an official policy where we both say and probably do make some attempt to eliminate/minimize collateral damage is not in fact that same as officially announcing to the world we don’t care about it and refusing to minimize it. To conflate the two is tempting, since I think most of us here are uncomfortable with the current policy. But one is still not the other. And though I’d want a foreign policy expert to chime in, I suspect the latter could be also be taken as a declaration of war against whatever country we were bombing.Report

      • greginak in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        There is a superficial similarity to what Peters said and O’s policy. But is Peters saying that what we are doing now is just fine and dandy or do we need to go harder, more aggressive, more bombtastic? He wants more and harder military action then now. Yeah the policies sound the same but he wants, like almost all of the R’s, far more splosions and less talking with Iran and less “appeasement” whatever that happens to mean today.Report

      • CK MacLeod in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        @tod-kelly As for exactly what Peters is saying, or how his policy prescription whatever it is would be formulated and implemented, it’s impossible to say. He seems to be asserting the existence of some kind of middle ground between “proportionality” and its criminalized opposite, with the main difference being what we say about it.

        Seems a bit nutty, if not necessarily very chewy. Still, I think one reason that we get so much seepage of volatile warlike substances is that there are disconnects and disconnects-based-on-disconnects all round. The popular felt certainty that there is a religious-cultural conflict, that it matters very much and explains many things, and, most important, that it has a side we are morally obligated to defend at some point, even to the death, reduces the believability of leaders and right-thinking intellectuals who insist that there isn’t one, or that it can and should simply be set aside.Report

      • Kolohe in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        It has long been the case that the Obama that resides in various Derpers’ headspaces bears little resemblance to the real-world Obama (to borrow a phrase from the Unqualified Offerings boys and girls)

        But that has also long allowed Obama administration allies and other neutral observers to let the administration off the hook by merely attacking the zaniness of the Derpers Du Jour, free of analysis of the underlying premises. (and especially how close Obama administration policies are to some Derper wish list items)Report

    • CK MacLeod in reply to CK MacLeod says:

      (meant to say Peters’ policy was LESS apologetic than Obama’s but otherwise similar)Report

  12. Mike Schilling says:

    The great thing is that the Prime Minister didn’t feel there was any reason to be polite. He literally said “This guy is clearly a complete idiot.”Report

  13. Damon says:

    I think there are a couple of things going on here, some that surely remain unsaid as well. First the obvious.

    There’s a lot of tension in the west from the influx of Muslim immigration….

    They are “foreign”, in both appearance and practices. Looking different from the rest of the group makes the locals suspicious and skittish.

    Second, a lot of western countries may have allowed more immigrants into their countries that a lot of the residents might have wanted. You see this in protests in Germany recently and in our own “dialogue” over the last decade or more. (I say that in quotes since we’ve never really had a political discussion about immigration and who we want to be allowed to come in or not. Politicians talking past each other don’t count)

    Third, birth rates. The western white population is on the decline and the immigrants who are moving in are having lots more than replacement levels of children. Folks see this and wonder where “their country is headed”. They are in fear of losing political power, jobs, and being on the receiving end of discrimination.

    I don’t think we’re in a war of religion or cultures…yet. And regardless, it won’t be a war. More of a political change as those new muslin immigrants exert more and more political pressure to get results they want from the western democracies-just like we’re seeing with the Latinos here.

    America IS an empire and the american public needs to decide how we’re going to go about either 1) ensuring it’s continuation or 2) how we’re going to end it. That’s not something that a lot of people think about, and that’s one reason everyone gets wishy washy about torture and our foreign incursions. They like to think of us as the shining city on a hill and not think about all the dirty work that goes into keeping that city safe. In a lot of ways, the only real way to preserve an empire is to do exactly what the OP name says: No prisoners. No mercy. Kill ten of theirs for each of our one. Poison the well, salt the earth. “Terror must be maintained, or the Empire is doomed.” The question is, is that, as a society, what we want? If not, what do we want and how do we get there?Report

  14. Lyle says:

    Let me put a question. In many respects are the folks different from those who were radicalized to participate in the Spanish Civil War? In particular the republican side there? History seems to show a lot of angry young men going to Spain to assist in the fighting. Of course part of this was tied to the historic move of some young men to revolution starting at least in 1848. Of course these folks were fighting the facist side in this war, but still it was foreigners going to fight in a war their country was not directly involved in.
    It should be noted that the fighters were fighting for a different sort of society than the one that existed, and indeed the communist ideology was very close to a religion at that time.Report