Monday, May 02, 2005


To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail. To a man who has expertise on the Middle East, every American political debate gets pigeonholed into a specious analogy with Islamic fundamentalists. That is, Juan Cole is back with another post in that vein (as we've seen before):
What has the Algerian Civil War of the 1990s got to do with the dictatorial way the US Senate Republicans have begun acting with regard to judicial appointments? The war pitted secular and religious forces against one another, killing over 100,000 persons in constant village massacres and urban assassinations over more than a decade. One of the extreme religious factions, the Armed Islamic Group (French acronym GIA), became angered at US and French support for the secular-leaning military government.
* * *
In essence, the "large" and diverse Republic of the United States with many unsubdueable factions is being reduced to being no different from the small and regimented demagogic "democracies" that Madison feared, dominated by a disciplined, majority faction.

In other words, the United States of America is on the verge of looking an awfully lot like Algeria did in fall of 1991, when the Islamic Salvation Front was poised to exercise a tyranny of the majority in that country.
Having an up-or-down vote on judicial nominees = a civil war that killed over 100,000 people. Such a comparison refutes itself.

Next up: Why the No Child Left Behind legislation is exactly like the massacre at Sabra and Shatila.

UPDATE: Iraqwarwrong also noticed the Algerian analogy, and has even posted an email from Juan Cole about it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That left wing idiot lawyer (Leiter) thinks that your use of the "=" means you don't understand that this is an analogy.

Any response to his mindless literalism?

8:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's the real set of comparisons:

A society with simple majority rule = the situation in Algeria tha sparked the civil war. (uncontestable)

The forcing through of Bush's nominees = symptomatic of a society with simple majority rule by one party. (you might contest this)

A symptom of simple majority rule does not equal majority rule itself -- it's just one possible aspect. Of course it's ridiculous to say that a simple up-or-down vote = civil war. But that's not the argument.

10:01 AM  
Blogger Stuart Buck said...

Well, it's just as ridiculous to say that (a) an up-or-down vote on judicial nominees (which is what has occurred for almost all judicial nominees throughout our history), leads to (b) simple majority rule, which in turn leads to (c) something like the Algerian civil war. The connection between (b) and (c) is particularly overstated.

11:50 AM  

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