Tuesday, May 31, 2005

A Question of Loyalty

 
In last night’s post, a comment by loyal reader truepeers invited such a long response that it has become a separate post.

* * * * * * * * * *
Truepeers — I think you may be missing the point.
     I don’t think we have to accept our enemies’ terms of engagement. Why should we define our fight in terms of their lunacy? Our enemy should be defined as anyone who would use or support violence against us…
I am in agreement with you. But it is extremely important not to look the other way and say, “Oh, no, we’re not at war with Islam, we’re at war with terrorists” if, in fact, Islam has decided that it is at war with us. It’s not yet clear that this has happened, but we should always be on the alert for it, because it may yet happen. If people who devoutly hold the Islamic faith decide that, according to their own religious precepts, they have to support the jihadis against the West, then we will be at war with Islam, whether we will it or not.

It’s not yet clear because the average devout Muslim, heretofore peaceful, has not declared himself clearly on the topic. With luck it may never come to that.
     Beyond this, I don’t think we have to declare a war against Islam…
I am not talking about our declaring war. I am talking about who declares war on us.
     When you write, “According to Auster, because the scripturally-based tenets of their religion require them to have no loyalty except to Islam, and to wage jihad against the infidel whenever circumstances permit, serious Moslems are not capable of being loyal Americans, or, indeed, loyal citizens of any nation except the Caliphate of the True Faith”, I just shudder because this is what many have wrongly said and still say about Jews, Japanese-Americans, etc.
You’re right, which is why it is so hard to look at the possibility. But it is extremely important to consider it — if it is, indeed, impossible for a devoutly observant Muslim to be loyal to any polity save the Caliphate, then it would be foolish for the West not to observe this fact and take it into consideration.
     Islam does pose a problem of loyalties, no doubt about it. So does Judaism in the Christian context. But we cannot know the solution for one and all. When discussing a religion, there is no objective truth. We must locate the religious in the (etic/emic) terms of an interaction between our own religious perspective - our own understanding of what religion is - interacting with those of others. We must attend to what Muslims in America think their religion is about, not only what we or Islamicists think.
With all due respect, we do not have to do this. We only have to determine whether they consider us their enemy, and act accordingly. But determining this is difficult, and it may not become clear for a long while yet.
     A big part of the problem, let us remember, is our own liberal elites who need a reality check and we can’t expect Muslims living in the west to share in that reality check until it comes perfectly ok, for example, for security personnel to engage in religious or “racial” profiling. When we make clear the terms of the fight - and they must be our terms - we can then truly ask are you with us or against us, and then respond accordingly. We cannot start the fight by making blanket statements about a war against Islam. Not simply because we might not win or because it would be unfair to many Moslems. It is not for us to decide what is inherent in or essential to that faith. Despite its anti-historicism (the eternal and uncreated Koran), it and its members have a right to live in history with the rest of humanity. We can only respond to unacceptable violence, wherever it comes from, and we might start with our own loony western foes of the marketplace.
We are in agreement here. But, if we are to fight this war effectively, and prevent the deaths of thousands or millions of additional innocents, we must anticipate unacceptable violence as well as respond to it. If we are only reactive, we will sustain more casualties and fight for a much longer time.

In order to be proactive, we will have to destroy the politically correct shibboleths which hobble us so severely. One of them, a companion to the “religion of peace” meme, is that “we are not at war with Islam”.

I submit that we do not yet know whether we are at war with Islam. And until we do know for certain, it would be extraordinarily foolhardy to foreclose the possibility.

38 comments:

LHM said...

I submit that we do not yet know whether we are at war with Islam. And until we do know for certain, it would be extraordinarily foolhardy to foreclose the possibility.

I would submit to you that we are.

I hope to fully address the issue in the very near future.

Baron Bodissey said...

Well, Expat, you have more guts than I do! By uttering such rank heresy, you risk calling down the wrath of the cognoscenti upon your head.

Redneck Texan said...

With all due respect Baron, what exactly would it take for you acknowledge Islam is at war with us?

Or I am somehow missing your point?

If your point is literally that WE are not at war with Islam, then your point is taken as accurate.

But surely you believe Islam when it tells us IT is as war with us.

Do you foresee a day that we can peacefully co-exist with Islam?

The spreading of our values is a direct threat to the relevance of the Islamic Clergy within their culture. Our reluctance to accept the fact we are at war with them is a cornerstone of their strategy.

The majority of adherents may in fact be capable of peacefully co-existing with us, but I submit that they are irrelevant to the issue if they are not willing or capable of reeling in their violent brothers.

Islamic Terrorism is being stoked from the Clergy, and their strategy is to capitalize on our self-imposed reluctance to attack them directly in their Mosques andholy shrines.

They are telling us Islam is at war with the west...I tend to believe them. And those that are telling me Islam is not, are not the ones who are attacking us, they are just providing support to those who do.

I have no faith in moderate Islam suddenly gaining the upper hand on the Radical wing. And I dont think we will ever live at peace with Islam until we overcome our reluctance to attack Islam directly by name, like it does us.

Right now I believe we are just beating around the Bush and pinning our hopes on political reformation when the underlying religious based hatred will still manifest itself as a free democratic vote.

What percentage of devote Islamics would you suggest harbor religious based ill will towards us Baron?

Baron Bodissey said...

Whoa, Texan, calm your bucking bronco! You and I are on the same page.

I try to be temperate in my rhetoric for two reasons:

1. Intemperate rhetoric tends to get people killed. Ask Theo Van Gogh.

2. The jury is still out on the status of the "moderate Muslim".

The fanatic Muslim has made his intentions known. The moderate Muslim has remained mostly silent. I have my doubts that he will ever come down on our side of the fence.

My point is that it is virtually impossible, due to the omnipresence of PC cant, to say publicly, "Yes indeed, we may be at war with Islam." If someone as sensible and non-PC as Orson Scott Card can put out the "we are not at war with Islam, only with terrorism" line, then the PC infection is indeed widespread.

Redneck Texan said...

I never doubted we were on the same page Baron.

So how can we possibly set the stage here for sufficient unity to address the underlying truth?

I reckon we are going to have to let Radical Islam do our unifying for us, in that way they do so well.

Its a shame isn't it, that we are too divided to publicly acknowledge the truth? And that its going to require many more dead Americans before the threat will become universally clear.

This enemy has carefully studied our divisiveness, and has molded it into a weapon to use against us. Attack in the name of your God, then scream persecution if counter-attacked. Its a successful MO that has served them well in the past. I guess we are just too proud to admit we are being played for fools.

Baron Bodissey said...

Texan, I'm afraid that you may be right, that it will take many more dead American civilians before it becomes politically possible to do the things that must be done.

The first task is to change the rules of the debate, so that it becomes possible to say publicly things such as, "Islam is not a religion of peace; it is a religion of war" and "We are at war with Islam" without automatically being ruled out of bounds.

As Jinderella has said, ...an Evolutionary Stable Strategy (ESS) is a strategy such that, if all the members of a population adopt it, no mutant strategy can invade. Consider that Islam had 1400 years to evolve a stable strategy set. The selective advantage that gives Islam such an edge, is the "uncreated, revealed Qu'ran", which enforces the uniform adoption of the strategy set.

...one can easily find elements of the strategy set; fierce punishment for dissent, establishment and maintainance of a slave class (XX beings), obedience to clerical authority, loyalty to one's own kind, promulgation and spread of Islam, the immutabilty of the Qu'ran, etc
.

And also, I think the ferocious punishment in Islam for any sort of defection is one of the strongest stable strategies of the Islam ESS.

Their MO, indeed. If only our MO were as stable, or as strong.

Yashmak said...

For followers of history, the discovery that we are at war with a religion would be an extremely depressing one.

Trying to wage war against an idea is invariably counterproductive, and virtually always unsuccessful to boot.

Chistianity's own past is a perfect example of this, emerging stronger than ever after an extended period of brutal oppression.

I have to ask myself why so many of the readers here are so eager to come to the conclusion that we ARE at war with Islam, a religion that's even more fractious than Christianity's many sects. I can't help but reach the sneaking, and depressing conclusion that many are seeking justification for bigoted feelings about Islam they have held dear for some time.

Dymphna said...

For followers of history, the discovery that we are at war with a religion would be an extremely depressing one.

Ummm...which history books have you been reading? Religious wars are quite numerous. Just aggression and migration with a holier-than-thou face.

Trying to wage war against an idea is invariably counterproductive, and virtually always unsuccessful to boot.

Tell that to the East Germans and to those who are free from Communism, and those who fought against slavery, and those who are currently fighting *for* liberty -- a mere idea whose time has come. Tell it to the Marines and the Jews.

Chistianity's own past is a perfect example of this, emerging stronger than ever after an extended period of brutal oppression.

Being a Christian, I am painfully aware of the oppression, often brutal, done in His name. Ask the Irish, held in captivity for so long by a a bunch of Bishops. In fact, ask all of Ireland, poisoned as it was by the Christian Jansenists.

I have to ask myself why so many of the readers here are so eager to come to the conclusion that we ARE at war with Islam, a religion that's even more fractious than Christianity's many sects.

Islam is an amateur when it comes to fragmenting into sects. There are hundreds of Christian sects just in the American south. There are factions within factions, within fragmentations...read up on the Great Awakening back in the 19th century.

I can't help but reach the sneaking, and depressing conclusion that many are seeking justification for bigoted feelings about Islam they have held dear for some time.

My animus against Islam comes from: (1). reading the Koran and the Sunnahs (now there's some good beach books), (2) informing myself of the religious and cultural practices of current-day Muslims, especially their treatment of women, and (3)my determination not to become a dhimmi.

What you see as long-held bigotry is your illusion. I never paid much attentiont to Muslims one way or another. It is only in reading their primary sources that I became appalled and determined they weren't going to get a firm foothold here.

What you call my bigotry I call my determination.

Read the book, Yashnak. Give me three good reasons why a religion that preaches hudud should be permitted to flourish in this democracy. What a vile view of the worth of humanity.

Lisa said...

How are Americans to convince Muslims around the world that they are NOT fighting a neo-Crusade when so many Muslims living in the West are absolutely certain that they are?

Just as an example: This article, "With Us or Against Us": It really is a Crusade was linked to by an Australian Muslim convert who noted: On why the 'war on terror' is really a crusade in every meaning of the word.

If even American Muslims think that the US is involved in a "crusade" against them, what is the US to do to convince them otherwise? Or can they even be convinced?

Redneck Texan said...

Yashmak reveals the problem with:


I can't help but reach the sneaking, and depressing conclusion that many are seeking justification for bigoted feelings about Islam they have held dear for some time.


You see the fact that Islamic cultural warriors have been waging a bloody jihad against us for 25 years, is superseded in his mind by the fact that we are all just bigots who want to see Islam as evil.

Our enemies have no better ally than Yashmak. His kind figure prominently in our enemy's plans.

And even if he is correct, does that mean we should not point out the evils incorporated into Islamic doctrine and point to the actions of its adherents. If we do, we risk being labeled as bigots.

With the natural human emotion of bigotry being something I am supposed to be ashamed of I guess.

Its another nuance of the "Its our Fault" train of logic.

Yashmak said...

Ummm...which history books have you been reading? Religious wars are quite numerous.

I didn't mean to imply that they aren't. My point was simply that historically, religious wars have accomplished little except for breeding long term animosity between cultures. I said the discovery that we're in such a war would be depressing.

Tell that to the East Germans and to those who are free from Communism, and those who fought against slavery, and those who are currently fighting *for* liberty -- a mere idea whose time has come. Tell it to the Marines and the Jews.

Indeed. I should have clarified my statement. The East Germans did not ask for communism. The slaves didn't ask for slavery, and for the most part, the Iraqis and populations in other nation in which our soldiers are engaged in the struggle did not ask for the oppressive regimes they were saddled with. By 'fighting an idea', I was referring to trying to combat an idea which has the fervent support of the area's population. . .in this case, Islam.

Also, I was not referring to oppression BY Christians in my comment, I was referring to oppression OF Christians. . .by the Romans for instance. Christianity emerges stronger than ever. Religions often thrive under pressure, and there's little reason to believe this wouldn't be the case for Islam as well.

I am well aware of the variety of religious sects in Christianity, of the Great Awakening and the Reformation. I brought that up because there is a similarity between Christianity and Islam in this area, and to indicate that in the same way you or I would not want to be attacked because of the actions of one (or a few) of those sects, I feel it is wrong to make sweeping statements about the religion as a whole based on the actions of one (or a few) of theirs. `

I have read the Koran in its entirety, as well as the Bible, and a fair variety of the texts of the world's other major religions. Where we differ, is that I find things in the Bible that are no less appalling than things found in the Baghavad Gita, in the Koran, you name it.

What you see as long-held bigotry is your illusion. I never paid much attentiont to Muslims one way or another.

Perhaps you'd see things differently if you had. Take the opportunity to talk about your concerns with a local Islamic clergyman. It may not change your mind, but an open mind is always thirsty for alternative views.

Baron Bodissey said...

Texan -- also look at Lisa's argument: If even American Muslims think that the US is involved in a "crusade" against them, what is the US to do to convince them otherwise?

If the focus is on how Muslims in America (or elsewhere) feel about us, then we will never prevail in this conflict.

It matters not a whit what Muslims anywhere think about us kafirs. We must do what is necessary to win the war that has been launched upon us, regardless of the opinions of those who are at best lukewarm to our value system.

If that ruffles the exquisitely sensitive feathers of Muslims, then so be it.

Their attitude towards Jews and Christians offends me.

truepeers said...

Lisa, if you will accept a link to a Catholic journal, here for your consideration is The Real History of the Crusades

Yashmak said...

is superseded in his mind by the fact that we are all just bigots who want to see Islam as evil.

Not all, or even the majority. But I can't help but suspect it's the underlying motivation for a few here.

And even if he is correct, does that mean we should not point out the evils incorporated into Islamic doctrine and point to the actions of its adherents. If we do, we risk being labeled as bigots.

Absolutely not! Please don't! The very reason I read this site is for additional insight into not only the behavior/laws/society of Islam, but into the Christian reaction to these things as well. If there are Islamic customs that deserve vilification, by all means post them!

truepeers said...

Baron, I don't disagree with much of your response and don't think we are a great distance apart. Still i wonder, from a strategic perspective, what is gained from telling our allies in the ME, e.g. all those Iraqis who are fighting and dieing in the civil war against the Baathists and sundry other fascists, that we are in a war against Islam? True, in the long run our present allies may conceivably turn against us and impose some objectionable theocratic regime. But we cannot fight the whole world of objectionable regimes at once and so we need to choose allies in whom we can invest reasonable hopes and not offend them with intemperate remarks.

In the long run, we are less well served by quibbling over the terms of our fights than by making clear that we are always fighting for freedom. Even if we know in our hearts that we are fighting for a Judeo-Christian civilization, what is gained by making this a rallying cry? Is it not better to leave some things unsaid?

IOW, I would ask who is playing whom, redneck texan? The fact that our PC elites never dare articulate is that the modern western secular multicultural society that they champion (often by pitting the secular against the Judeo-Christian tradition) could only ever have emerged out of a Christian civilization and is in fact a logical extention or form of that civilization. (This PC denial has its undeniable political uses, howevermuch it leads many into spiritual darkness, and to western self-loathing, and is to be criticized for this reason.) Howevermuch Christians are loathe to admit it, western secularism and its free-wheeling marketplace is a worldly approximation of the Christian idea of the kingdom and its call to maximize mutual reciprocity. This is not an argument for the nihilist faithlessnes of much PC, or for libertisism or any of the other faults of secularism, but simply a reminder of the powerful truth of Christianity that has, historically, been followed, perverted, and transformed in various ways...

In this secular kingdom of Christ, the trick is to tell people you don't have to be a Christian to come and trade and live peacefully with us, but you must live under the terms of our free and democratic societies (terms which, we may all forget except in extreme emergency, could only have emerged out of a Christian civilization).

At what moment must we make the religious basis of our civilization again front and center? Privately, semi-publicly - in our education of the young, in our own spiritual education, blogging, etc. - all the time. But publicly, officially, only in extreme emergency. The problem with "a war against Islam" is that it mitigates against our best hope: that people who come out of the Islamic tradition to make their way in the global marketplace can accept, as long as we remain reasonably quiet about its historical basis, the Judeo-Christian basis of democracy and free markets, while remaining, in their private time to engage, if they see fit, in forms of Islamic worship as forms of self-discipline that will help them remain focussed and productive in face of the temptations of market society, democracy, and its demand for the liberation of women, etc. And if some want to interpret Islam as a religion of peace and freedom, all power to them. The fear that "religion of peace" talk only serves the PC resistance to a necessary war has some validity, but as long as we can remain committed to the fight against illegal violence I think it is the better propaganda choice to encourage it, unless and until we are in an extreme emergency.

Clearly there can be no compromise with those who would challenge the Judeo-Christian and secular basis of our civilization as a whole, so why tempt them by putting our fight in those terms? If we do, we are not likely to win converts, apostates, or people who can hold together, however contradictorily it may seem to us, western and Islamic ideas in accomodating themselves to a global civilization in which, at present, the Islamic societies are proving themselves almost completely incapable of competing economically or scientifically. Take away the oil and most of them are basket cases whose only hope, it seems to the radicals, is to destroy the present global civilization and reduce everyone to medieval-type basket cases. I simply cannot believe that in the long run, when the stark choice becomes slowly apparent to more and more, that most Muslims will choose basket case over the many fruits of technological and free societies. That, after all, is why they emigrate to the west, even if many are too stubborn or resentful to fully admit it when they are reduced to driving cab, impressing co-religionists, or what have you. We will only hinder their or their children's likely awakening by talking up a war against Islam.

Precisely we are against the re-imposition of the Caliphate, because we don't believe in any one voice speaking for all of Islam. There is no such legitimate voice; hence there can be no declaration of war on behalf of Islam against us, whatever our real Islamicist enemies say and want to believe. WE cannot be unrealistic about who our enemies are, but we need not play their game. The superiority of our civilization is best defended by never having to insist, too publicly, on its superiority. This on the generally true principle that those who have to claim authority, don't have it, whether they are wannabe Caliphs or Popes.

truepeers said...

Another reason for being quiet about the religious basis of our conflict is that if the essence of Christianity is an openness to discovery of the mysterious nature of human sinfulness, an openness that depends on faith in personal forgiveness and resurrection, that faith can never be the project of a warring state, howevermuch it may need be defended by such a state from time to time. It must always remain the project of free individuals open to the possibility of free and transforming interactions with all and sundry. Institutionalization tends to pervert Christianity, so when we organize to defend it, it is better to see the task of our political institutions as maximizing human freedom rather than imposing virtues, something our bureaucratic institutions never do very well.

Baron Bodissey said...

Texan & truepeers -- juxtaposing your comments illustrates the problem we are up against: if we are at war with Islam, then what are those brave and dedicated Iraqi men who fight and die alongside our soldiers? Are they the enemy?

If (when) Iran is liberated, we may well face the same dilemma there: many enthusiastic supporters of the idea of liberty who are also Islamic.

But, to use Auster's terminology, are they "serious Moslems"? That is, are they observant of Islamic scripture? If so, how do they view their obligation to wage jihad?

I don't pretend to know the answers to these questions, but I think they are important to ask.

Redneck Texan said...

Thats a lot of word there truepeers, and I found none in there I can disagree with.

Its not like I look forward to openly participating in a religious war, I just think at some point in the future all other PC options will have been exhausted.

I certainly was not raised to hate Muslims. My hatred for them is based solely on their documented actions. They have earned my hatred.

But I agree that western secularism was born from the Christian notion of religious freedom, its the freedom to be non-religious.

But yes, even though America was founded on the concepts of religious freedom, Christian principles have always controlled our actions. We have all inherited the misconception that religious tolerance is a universally positive concept, thats not necessarily the case.

America has never been a war with religion before, most of us refuse to acknowledge the possibility that we ever can be. We want to believe that in all forms religion have a positive effect on humans, and I am sure that was among the last thoughts of many Christian societies around the world that were displaced by Islam's sword.

Islam has gained much global real estate by counting on its adversary not to allow itself to respond in kind until it was too late. You cant blame them for attempting to scale up their past successes.

Every time Islam has come into contact with an adjacent ideology they have conquered it with a combination of brutality and claims of persecution. If we fail to realize thats by design, maybe we are not as superior as we may think.

Luckily Europe stands between us and attempted assimilation. By the time we are ready to admit Islam needs to be targeted directly they should already be on-board.

Baron Bodissey said...

Texan, Europe will be majority Islamic before we fully realize what's happening. By then there will be a huge group of expatriate Europeans in the English-speaking world, telling us, "Don't make the mistakes we did -- kill the monster now, before it is too late for you!"

Read fjordman for more information on the rapid dhimmification of Europe.

Baron Bodissey said...

On-topic opinion from George Galloway, Via LGF:

Mohammad Basirul Haq Sinha: “You often call for uniting Muslim and progressive forces globally. How far is it possible under current situation?”

Galloway: “Not only do I think it’s possible but I think it is vitally necessary and I think it is happening already. It is possible because the progressive movement around the world and the Muslims have the same enemies. Their enemies are the Zionist occupation, American occupation, British occupation of poor countries mainly Muslim countries. They have the same interest in opposing savage capitalist globalization which is intent upon homogenizing the entire world turning us basically into factory chickens which can be forced fed the American diet of everything from food to Coca-Cola to movies and TV culture. And whose only role in life is to consume the things produced endlessly by the multinational corporations. And the progressive organizations & movements agree on that with the Muslims.”

a4g said...

It's hard to argue with truepeers trick of turning taqiyya around on the Muslims, stealthily injecting the deadly virus of Christian ethos directly into the rotted heart of Islam.

After all, more men have fallen to the soft whisper of Christ than the sharp blade of Mohommed. The power of the Christian idea, expanded most frequently by force of argument not arms, is the one thing that the Muslim world knows it has to fear more than anything else.

There is a reason that JPII had such a rich field of martyrs' blood to draw upon in the mass canonizing of "Korean martyrs" and "Chinese martyrs" and "Vietnamese martyrs" from the last centuries; Christians in the far east got their foot in the door and the thugocracies reeled at the power of the sprouting seed. Islam has so far managed to block such incursions; either through the draconian measures of the Saudis or the centuries of dhimmification of the indigenous Christian populations; I'm not sure their efforts from here will be as successful, with the steady drip-drip-drip of democracy and a gentle but insistent pushing from the US.

Still, Baron Bodissey offers the important caveat -- we may not have enough time to make it work. I don't relish the idea of a million American martyrs burnt in a nuclear fire. Nor do I relish the possibility of a more dithering administration throwing away the advances that have been made and plunging us back into a cycle of attacks met with inadequate response.

On balance, it would seem that history favors the side willing to wage total war. The conversation about which God is greater becomes conveniently moot when all your enemies' heads are on pikes.

Still, I wonder if the prerequisite to fighting the war that the good Baron so wisely counsels, is to first win the war of the culture at home. For what has crippled us more in this conflict is not whether or not all or part of Islam is at war with us, but rather the fact that we have so blithely internalized the proposition of secularism that we are not independent actors.

When we fought Japan and Germany, we fought not just their governments, but their populations. We knew as Americans that our nation was a nation composed intimately of us, and that their nations also reflected what was most intimately them. Even for those of us who proclaim our independence and moral agency, it is not often we extend that duty and responsibility to those who live under the thumb of tyranny. In the feeding trough of the welfare state, we have divorced ourselves from the very real responsibility for the rule we find ourselves under. We are no longer owners of the state, we are junkies waiting for a fix. And we extend that exoneration of responsibility to our enemies. We are only at war with Saddam, not the Iraqi people. Its the mullahs, not the Iranians.

Instead, we need to demand that they rise up against their jailers, or perish in their timidity. It is not a happy choice they have been born to, and yet... there they are.

I don't know that we as a people can remember what was once within us.

It made yet take the fall of Europe to wake us from our slumber.

Lisa said...

Well...I guess I was thinking more along the lines that if a large segment of Muslims does think that the War on Terror is a crusade, maybe it is, regardless of the fact that everything is done to avoid that. Many Muslims have this view that "the Christians/the Jews are out to get us" and basically nothing short of converting to Islam will convince them otherwise, especially when so many Muslims and even antiwar people are insisting that the war is a crusade. And they simply ignore all evidence--such as Iraqis expressing enthusiasm for the new government--to the contrary. If you look at a lot of these pious Muslim blogs and stuff, you'll notice that they NEVER report any good news from Iraq or Afghanistan, as that would undercut the whole "the crusaders are out to get us poor Muslims" storyline.

I don't know what should be done about this--maybe nothing.

Redneck Texan said...

Baron your:

if we are at war with Islam, then what are those brave and dedicated Iraqi men who fight and die alongside our soldiers? Are they the enemy?

Has really screwed me up today. I cant fit the honest answer into my agenda too well. I cant believe I have never been asked that before. Thats a damn good question.

No doubt some of those are there because its a job. And some join planning to run away if ever called to fight their tribal brothers. And some are plants from the insurgency. But without a doubt many are there for the right reason, to do their part to secure freedom and security for their nation. A motivation I can not criticize and must respect.

I wonder how far they would go to secure their freedom though. Will they attack the Sunni and Shiite Clergy when they pose a threat to their freedom and security. If somewhere down the road there is a split between Sistani and his elected mouthpieces, say if Sistani starts acting like a 1 man guardian council.....where does their loyalty ultimately lie?

I really do want to find a way for my children to peacefully co-exist with Islam. A resurgence of Arab nationalism would certainly be preferable over elected governments being an extension of the Clergy. As it is now, all these new Democracies will be stocked by the Clergy's men. The people will vote how their cleric tells them to, at least for the initial election cycles I am afraid.

So yes, if those soldiers will take their commander's orders over their Clerics, I would have to say thats a good thing. Please note they did that prior to our invasion. Not that I am backtracking on my support for it, its just the people's inability to actively assist in their liberation has left me with drastically reduced expectations.

If the Middle East could emerge from this experiment a Democratic region where the governments were not afraid to go into Mosques and remove the hate preaching Clerics and their key militant followers.....and kill them to assure the permanency of their removal....I think that would be the best case scenario for world peace.

Keep in mind though that all these newly Democratic nation's populaces harbor unrealistic expectations for Democracy. They are expecting, like the Russian people were, that they are now going to be as prosperous as the west, when their cultural productivity habits have not really changed. Their expectations will almost certainly not be met, and guess who will be there to help them project their failure outward again. The faultless ones with the long beards.

Solomon2 said...

Yesterday I posted an update on Iraq matters in the form of a dialogue at my blog: Why is the U.S. STILL in Iraq? It is a prelude to a post dealing with mostly Islamic matters.

Always On Watch said...

Helping the Iraqis to discover the advantages of democracy and freedom may not work, but what is the alternative? Left to its own devices, Islamists will continue to march all over Western culture.
Also, it was the Islamists who declared the war against Western ideals. Is that declaration not obvious?

Dymphna said...

A4g--

Eloquent. I printed it out. You probably have a calling, boy. Not that's it's one you're gonna want to respond to.

truepeers said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
truepeers said...

a4g, we may yet have to suffer a terrorist nuke. But the reason the Judeo-Christian tradition has done so well is that it is incredibly patient. Short-term quibbles over sacrificial victims/heros, or the idea that wars against the infidels will be rewarded by God with worldly victories, is not its game. It's the long-term moving beyond all that that is its serious interest. Arguably, Christianity was not very seriously Christian for its first 1500-1600 years. And Jews, of course, are forever awaiting the Messiah.

So, I return to the theme that whatever war must be fought, it is not best considered as a J-C war, but rather a war for the freedom with which the promise of the J-C tradition may be one day matured. To my mind, that will not be a happy utopia without human conflict, but it may well be a world in which war between states and terrorism is no longer tolerated and practised if we can learn to see that such violence is no longer acceptable and must be ruthlessly put down by the leaders of the democratic and free market world, precisely because conflict and resentment is inevitable and the weapons of war and mass destruction are becoming too readily available to the terminally resentful terrorist.

The problem with so many of our PC elites is that they don't take their own resentment seriously as an object of intellectual inquiry, so they are unable to account for and protect against the resentment that motivates terrorism; instead they construct delusional fantasies of "root causes". Where there is delusion there is inevitably unexplored resentment. That's the Judeo-Christian message I think.

You also make an interesting point about how we distinguish our fight against governments from our erstwhile fights against peoples. You blame this on the welfare state attitude. It is interesting that many on the left would assume that tyrannies and the welfare state are opposites and that if tyrannies were to become welfare states, taking care of all their children, they would not have the internal tensions that get mediated by turning internal conflicts and attentions towards an external scapegoat, the Great Satan. There is something to this argument and yet there is also much in your idea that welfarism and tyranny go hand in hand once you cross a certain line of excess welfarism. Any ideas on how we can better explain to our welfarist friends this problem?

StoutFellow said...

The problem with Islam is that it is not simply a religion. It is at once both a religious and political ideology, i.e.

prescriptions for behavior with regard to the Deity, rules of law for government (Sharia) and a mandate for world

domination to be achieved by the sword if necessary. In short, Islam is really short for Islamofascism. It expresses

itself as a totalitarian Theocracy (Iran, Afghanistan under the Taliban), has a natural affinity for similar political

thinkers href="http://wordofmessiah.org/husseini.htm"> (Nazis anyone?) , and was founded by a mass-murderer,

pedophile, 7th Century War Lord (not an ad-hominem attack, just stating the facts). To believe that one can be a Muslim

and only practice the Islam part of the religion and not the Fascism part is naive. The analogy would be for a Christian

to practice Christianity by ignoring all the words of Christ except where he quotes Old Testament doctrine.

If you don't think that it is a matter of trust, as Baron argues, then answer the following question:

What have the ideological descendents of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem been doing in

the United States
for the past 40 years?

Over the last 40 years, small groups of devout Muslim men have gathered in homes in U.S. cities to pray, memorize the

Koran and discuss events of the day.

But they also addressed their ultimate goal, one so controversial that it is a key reason they have operated in secrecy:

to create Muslim states overseas and, they hope, someday in America as well.

Baron Bodissey said...

Stoutfellow has a good point. Islam bears more resemblance to a utopian political ideology than to a religion; Communism and not Christianity. With Bin Laden, I suppose, being the structural equivalent of Lenin, and al Qaeda the Bolsheviks...

RWE said...

Perhaps another thought experiment is in order here. Inagine we are at war with a group of people who are genuinely insane, as in nuts, whacko, round the bend, their Happy Meal is missing all its fries. Unfortunately there are far too many of them to just lock them up, so what do we do?
It is not that we have not faced nuts before. The Nazis were certifiable, the Bushido Code Japanese 3 sheets to the wind even without saki. But these hypothetical nuts are so far gone that they are too crazy to even be able to build jet fighters, aircraft carriers, and the like.
So what would we do - differently? That is, as opposed to fighting someone like, say, the Soviets, who, for all their didectic materialistic babble, were just easily understandable thugs out looking for a opportunity for a easy snatch and grab operation.
How do you fight genuine incapaciating insanity, so far gone that they think that the best thing one can do to serve God is committing suicide while blowing up dozens of their own people in one of their own holy places?
Any ideas? Their lunacy is a fact.

truepeers said...

rwe, the only way to fight suicidal lunacy is to do 1)everything possible to protect yourself, including preemptive actions; and 2)patiently begin a fight to put positive, realistic models before the people that the lunatics are also addressing. That is why a war fought in the name of freedom and democracy is so important, and those westerners who would deny our capacity for building virtuous models for others to emulate are so evil and dangerous. "Bushitler" is not simply a slur, but an act of evil.

RWE said...

Well, that is all quite true - peers. But it seems to me that there should be a way to use the fact that are adversaries are among the coherently challenged against them. Displaying the fruits of rationality, democracy, and capitalism is sure a good way, in the long term anyway, to win the war.
But that won't work with the real head cases. While I have a feeling that the terrorists are essentially putting the Iraqi people through a training course on How to Get Really Pissed at Your Neighbors, and that will probably pay off big time in the future, I think that we should be able to make better use of the fact that our adversaries have the the tactical mentality of Kamikazies and the strategic outlook of lemmings.

Greg said...

Baron, Dymphna, et.al...
Great discussion going here, I live and learn.
I have no answers to questions asked, but strongly agree with A4g:

Still, I wonder if the prerequisite to fighting the war that the good Baron so wisely counsels, is to first win the war of the culture at home. For what has crippled us more in this conflict is not whether or not all or part of Islam is at war with us, but rather the fact that we have so blithely internalized the proposition of secularism that we are not independent actors.

Necessary as waging and winning the external portion of this war may be, regardless of the ultimate designation of the enemy (and I strongly agree that the enemy will be self-identified), we will have lost all if we fail to win the internal culture war. That will only happen, IMHO, when the great majority of Americans can identify as Americans first, and act accordingly.

Dymphna said...

we will have lost all if we fail to win the internal culture war. That will only happen, IMHO, when the great majority of Americans can identify as Americans first, and act accordingly.

There is nothing like an external enemy to help your identity begin to cohere. Americans have very definitely turned thumbs down on any "world court" ... or even global ecology. And rightly so. The more local, the better.

Read that Rand report. You'll be cheered for days.

We are winning against the Ward Churchills; they're just louder and uglier. And the children on campuses can't be taken seriously. The ones without trust funds go get jobs eventually and their point of view changes.

As the mystic said, "all will be well, all manner of things will be well, all will be well." And ol' Julian wasn't just whistling in the dark.

Engineer-Poet said...

Redneck Texan writes:

"western secularism was born from the Christian notion of religious freedom, its the freedom to be non-religious."

That's not a Christian notion, it's an English/European one born out of centuries of internecine warfare over matters of faith; you may notice that it didn't get as far as Orthodox Russia.  Wars over the correctness of various stripes of Christianity led to the supra-Christian notion that Church and State should be separate so that people wouldn't take up arms over religion.  Ironically, some preachers want to take up arms to make the USA a Christian nation... somewhere, Santayana is chuckling sadly.

Secularism grew out of Christianity in much the way that chemistry grew out of alchemy (and at about the same time).  Alchemy is now superceded, discredited and of historical interest only.  It's interesting to note that the threats faced by secular society over the last century came out of religious or quasi-religious dogmas:  National Socialism, Marxism, Islamism.  One dead, one dying, one still in play.

Engineer-Poet said...

Greg writes:

"That will only happen, IMHO, when the great majority of Americans can identify as Americans first, and act accordingly."

I shouldn't need to point out that the urge of some people to equate Americans with evangelical Christians is both a serious obstacle to this national identification and strengthens the crusade idea in the ME.  The jihadis have a mental model of the crusader; an Ayn Rand or Robert Green Ingersoll would just mystify them, perhaps until it was too late.

As an agnostic and skeptic who was raised to be an evangelical (I think it was the chatechism lecture from the book-burner that soured me), I'm telling you that you have to broaden the tent, get rid of litmus tests and drop the sectarian lingo before you can get everyone you need on board.  You're going to sap your strength if you alienate allies to strengthen your personal religious identity.

Those cafeteria Christians who think that Matthew 6:05 is ucky are part of the problem.  If this is about liberty, it's for everyone who shares the values of liberty; that is the only language you should be speaking.  Public displays of religious conformity and their implicit coercion and divisiveness are characteristic of this enemy.  If you become them to fight them, you've already lost.

Baron Bodissey said...

Poet -- That's not a Christian notion, it's an English/European one born out of centuries of internecine warfare over matters of faith.

But it's also a Christian idea, developed in Europe; I discussed this in The Invention of the Individual. The words of Christ implied that each man stood in individual relationship to God, directly answerable to his Maker via his conscience. "This individual, in unmediated communion with God, possesses those natural rights which were recognized in the Declaration of Independence. He is granted these rights by his Creator, and they cannot be taken away by men."

This peculiar strain of Christian thought emerged in the Scottish Enlightenment and passed to the American colonies. The fact that it has been cut off from its Christian source and exists independently now does not deny its Christian origin.

The liberties we have taken for granted for so long were hammered out by Christian theologians and philosphers, sometimes at the cost of their lives.

But I do very much believe in a secular state. Since we are not all Christians, nor are we required to be, it is essential to have a theory and practice of politics which does not involve religion.