Tom Friedman has an op-ed in the NY Times today about the dangers of Arab men from the “Arab street” going underground into terrorist cells, which he labels the “Arab basement.” He makes some good, simple points (that have been made many times before and seemingly need to still be repeated for those who don’t yet get it), but also seems to fall back onto the root causes argument:

So what to do? The only sensible response is to defeat those in the Arab basement, who are beyond politics and diplomacy, while at the same time working to alleviate the grievances, unemployment and sense of humiliation that is felt on the Arab street, so that fewer young people will leave the street for the basement, or sympathize with those down there — as millions of Arabs do today .

I disagree with this contention that our efforts at economic/humanitarian aid will keep more of them from going underground. Per Den Beste’s capable summing up, I’m of a mind that those more negative aspects of Arab culture will continue to cause their men to lash out, and that those same cultural elements will make any economic reform/aid pointless as long as they are in place .

But the Arab states have a huge role to play too. You cannot seal the door between the Arab street and the Arab basement without addressing the reasons for Arabs’ backwardness and humiliation cited in the U .

I see this statement as being at odds with the previous one. I would like to see an argument that details how one could go about getting rid of those destructive cultural elements with the kind of aid Friedman seems to be referring to, for by their very nature those cultural cancers seem to become emboldened to more violence and aggression by any kind of action that is short of force, or the very credible threat of force .

Overall, the piece isn’t bad at all. But I have to take issue with Friedman’s term, “Arab basement.” These people are going “under” the “Arab street,” so let’s call it a name that both keeps the original metaphor intact and more appropriately sums up their moral character. I suggest we call this phenomenom the Arab sewer.

And Al Qeada and its ilk are sewer rats, needing to be hunted down and exterminated.

last update : 26-5-2018

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