Thursday, December 07, 2006

Absolute Authority

It seems the Minneapolis Six claims of being guilty of nothing more than flying while Muslim are somewhat, shall we say, disingenuous.

Which is the word used when prizing civility over accuracy.

While the details of the incendiary Imams behavior make for revelatory reading, this probably deserves more detailed explanation:

Here's what the flying public needs to know about airplanes and civil rights: Once your foot traverses the entranceway of a commercial airliner, you are no longer in a democracy in which everyone gets a vote and minority rights are affirmatively protected in furtherance of fuzzy, ever-shifting social policy. Ultimately, the responsibility for your personal safety and security rests on the shoulders of one person, the pilot in command. His primary job is to safely transport you and your belongings from one place to another. Period.

The Captain's absolute authority derives from long maritime custom. It is also embodied in the Federal Aviation Regulations:

FAR 91.3 The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft.

While US Airways conducted an investigation -- a good thing, in that it revealed the true nature of the Imam's behavior -- there was never any possibility that the airline could ever apologize or be held in any way liable for the Captain's decision: it was his alone, and the company has absolutely no recourse in the matter. So long as 91.3 remains on the books, nothing CAIR, or the ACLU, will change that fact.

It isn't wise to annoy the Captain.


Blogger Brit said...

You can't run a ship of the line, or indeed an aircraft I suppose, as a democracy.

The flpside is that the Captain takes the stick if it all goes wrong, since even if it wasn't his fault, it's his fault.

December 08, 2006 1:18 AM  
Blogger Peter Burnet said...

Skipper, do I detect a note of residual anger that they abolished flogging?

December 08, 2006 4:48 AM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

I've followed this from the point of view of how it got reported.

If we can trust the Washington Times version that it was a publicity stunt -- and I am agnostic about that -- then the MSM that I serve got hoodwinked, showed itself disinclined to probe deeply, and leapt to the default conclusion -- anybody who complains about honkies is presumed correct.

This is as good an example as we have got of the alternate universe of news reporting.

If the Washington Times version is more authentic, it also raises big problems about Brit's version that beer-swilling, cricket-playing Muslims (or, less snarkily, those who piously protest their commitment to democracy) can routinely be taken at face value.

December 08, 2006 8:40 AM  
Blogger Brit said...

They're good people; they're crap Muslims. So what?

Before 9/11 turned Muslims into a newspaper issue, we didn't have a Muslim community in Britain.

We had a Pakistani community, and an Indian community, and a Bangladeshi community.

Those were the days.

December 08, 2006 9:03 AM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

They don't seem to be very good people, if you're talking about the imams. They may be -- they insist they are -- pious Muslims.

A commenter at Tim Blair's place summed it up trenchantly: The only good Muslim is a bad Muslim.

Take out the 'only' and I understand that to be your view.

December 08, 2006 2:56 PM  
Blogger Brit said...

My view is that we've only started defining a whole mass of different people (with whom we've happily intermingled for some generations) by their religion since we became physically frightened of a lunatic fringe movement.

December 09, 2006 2:19 AM  
Blogger Brit said...

We have such a person on here regularly, though he doesn't say much about it.

December 09, 2006 2:20 AM  
Blogger Peter Burnet said...

a)...they're crap Muslims.

b)...since we became physically frightened of a lunatic fringe movement.

Compare and contrast.

You may start the!

December 09, 2006 4:37 AM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

Skipper, do I detect a note of residual anger that they abolished flogging?

No, just profound disappointment.

It is fiendishly difficult to rig a plank at 35,000 feet.

December 09, 2006 7:44 AM  
Blogger Brit said...

Swilling beer makes you a crap Muslim. It does not make you a bad person.

Most good human beings are crap at their religion - it's the essence of humanity to be a bit crap.

However, while hijacking planes obviously makes you a bad person, I don't think it makes you a good Muslim, whatever Skipper tells us about the Koran.

December 09, 2006 8:14 AM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

Well, according to the 'good Muslims,' hijacking planes does make you a 'good Muslim.'

Not for me to say they are wrong, is it?

By the way, you are there and I'm here, but I question whether before 9/11 Britons thought of immigrant Muslims as 'Pakistanis,' 'Bangladeshis,' etc.

In David Lodge's 'Nice Work' (the best of his novels up through 'Therapy,' I haven't read the latest ones), he never mentions Muslims, not Pakistanis, Bangladeshis etc. He calls these immigrants 'Asians.'

December 09, 2006 10:19 AM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

From an interview with the head of al-Jazeera:

Interviewer: But instead (suicide bombings of Jews) are a praiseworthy act?

al Jazeera: When the country is occupied and the people are being killed by the enemy, everyone must take action, even if he sacrifices himself in so doing.

Interviewer: Even if in so doing he kills iinnocent civilians?

al J: That is not a Palestinian problem, but a problem of the Israelis.

I'm not sure whether he is speaking as an Arab, or as a Muslim, or as both. That's part of the problem: I cannot tell the difference.

Pretty vile, though.

December 09, 2006 2:33 PM  
Blogger Peter Burnet said...

Yes, awful, Harry. Christianity is much preferable. Why, just the other say I heard the president of NBC say that we should all be promoting peace and international law, although it wasn't completely clear whether he was speaking as an American or a Christian. That is always a heck of a problem for us Canadians.

I don't suppose you can give us a link to these theological musings of the head of Al-Jazeera, can you?

December 10, 2006 3:09 AM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

Don;t know how to do links, but I found the interview at Little Green Footballs Saturday. Today, it's also at Tim Blair.

December 10, 2006 11:20 AM  
Blogger Brit said...

Yes, we use the word "Asian" most of the time. That of course includes Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Indians, and as it happens Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and Christians.

But further definitions have always naturally been by country of origin.

Which is exactly my point. It's only since 9/11 that the "Muslim community" has been defined into issuehood.

To the lazy mind, and to the National Front, "Muslim community" is synonymous with "Pakistani-origin", which is nonsense.

December 11, 2006 1:24 AM  
Blogger Brit said...

Harry - you can do links using HTML tags, which are very easy.

In the blogger comments I think you can only use bold, italic and links anyway.

December 11, 2006 1:51 AM  
Blogger Peter Burnet said...


You do understand the reason for that? Just as Larkin announced that sex was discovered in 1963, so Western Islamophobes first figured out each and every pious Muslim is hellbent on world conquest and slaughtering every non-Muslim in 2001. Slow learners.

December 11, 2006 6:19 AM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

Some of us had figured it out earlier than that.

I'm a fan of la longue duree approach. There's no doubt what that tells us.

December 11, 2006 8:31 AM  
Blogger Brit said...

It seems to me that you would turn a battle against a small band of lunatics into a battle with 1.4 billion people worldwide just because you can't accept that few people are as logically consistent as you and Skipper.

December 11, 2006 8:45 AM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

Not up to me. Up to them.

Last night, I was reading Richard Overy's 'Russia's War,' where he quoted some good German as telling Himmler he could not exterminate 40 million Ukrainians.

Maybe not, but it turned out, just a few months later, that you could exterminate or drive away quite a few million Germans east of the Elbe. All of them, in fact.

And they had 'gotten along' for about 7 centuries.

December 11, 2006 11:35 AM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...


While some have accused me of mistaking Star Trek for a documentary about Spock's life, just because you can't accept that few people are as logically consistent as you and Skipper goes a bit astray.

So long as the vast majority of Muslims fail to resoundingly repudiate the nutters, that vast majority, lapsed Muslims all, provide topcover for the True Believers.

Unfortunately, given the presumed basis for Islam, that repudiation appears very difficult without undercutting the whole enterprise.

If there was no potential for the True Believers to get their hands on a nuke, I would be very hard pressed to give the tiniest darn.

December 11, 2006 11:49 AM  
Blogger David said...

So long as the vast majority of Muslims fail to resoundingly repudiate the nutters, that vast majority, lapsed Muslims all, provide topcover for the True Believers.

It seems a little harsh to blame the 1.4 billion because sheer numbers make it difficult to find the 50,000. Most are just trying to keep body and soul together.

December 11, 2006 3:03 PM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

It would be a lot harder for people like, eg Charles Johnson, to depict Islam as a death cult if there were not hundreds of thousands to millions of them out chanting 'Death to . . . '

Like Skipper, if they were just shouting 'Death to Sheikh Yerbooty' I wouldn't get too upset. When they chant 'Death to America' I take it personally.

Is that OK?

Are you suggesting I should ignore them?

It's not as if this is a theoretical discussion about how many angels fit on the head of a pin. I would feel the same if there were no theological component, if they merely hated me because of Coca-Cola.

December 11, 2006 7:14 PM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...


First, "blame" isn't quite the right word: the outcome is as inevitable as it is unintentional.

Secondly, if one presumes that 90% of the world's Muslims live in majority Muslim countries, then (given Pew poll numbers I don't have a link to off hand) something on the order of 400 million have a "literalist" view on the Q'uran.

As Harry asks, why should I not take that personally?

December 11, 2006 7:26 PM  
Blogger Oroborous said...

This may be a bit pedantic, but "turn a battle against a small band of lunatics into a battle with 1.4 billion people worldwide" isn't quite right, because one can't "battle" unarmed people - they can only be slaughtered, which is indeed what will happen if they anger us enough.

Note well that their unarmed status is ENTIRELY OF THEIR OWN CHOOSING. America and Britain have tried for literally centuries to show them a better way, to get their societies to take an interest in learning anything other than memorizing the Koran, but so far, no dice.

December 12, 2006 12:45 PM  

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