Monday, October 23, 2006

From Kabul to Paris

Michael Scheuer formerly of the CIA, who together with John O'Neil (his counterpart at the FBI and deceased at the WTC attack) was one of the pioneers at tracking the al-Qaeda in the 1990s  writes in the Jamestown Foundation about how the resistance to the Karzai government is growing in Afghanistan. In an article at the Jamestown Foundation on Oct 17, Scheuer said: "From all observables, the Taliban insurgency is spreading from its deeply rooted base in southern and southeastern Afghanistan to provinces in the west and east." The main drivers of unrest are 1) the narrow political base of the Karzai government; 2) the traditional antipathy of Afghans to foreign presence, such as that supporting Karzai; 3) the lawlessness fueled by the opium crop; and 4) the fiasco in Pakistan. The Pakistani problem is most interesting because except for Bill Roggio, the troubles in Pakistan's west have largely been ignored by the press, maybe because they are not in Iraq.


The Afghan government and some Western officials have condemned Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's peace deal with the Pashtun tribes in the country's Waziristan region as being intended to strengthen the Taliban. The reality, however, seems to be that Musharraf made the deal because his army's presence in the tribal lands had become unsustainable politically. In addition to suffering heavy casualties in fighting Pashtun tribes, the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Waziristan—heavier casualties than those sustained by the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan—the Pakistani army's "invasion" of the province smashed Islamabad's 50-year-old modus vivendi with the tribes to live-and-let-live and brought the area to the verge of civil war. In making peace, Musharraf did what he had to do by choosing to protect Pakistan's political stability and geographic integrity over continuing an armed intervention that threatened both and which would ultimately be feckless because of the U.S.-led coalition's failure to defeat the Taliban and control the Afghan countryside. There is no question that the Taliban is stronger because of the deal—if for no other reason than the safe haven it provided—but so is Pakistan's political stability, which was being undermined by the radicalizing impact that the army's incursion had on the country's powerful pro-Taliban and pro-al-Qaeda religious parties

One of the side-effects of trouble in Pakistan is a possible danger to Britain, which has enjoyed "historical links" with the subcontinent. ABC News reported on Oct 20:

Security officials in Britain say the United Kingdom is now Al Qaeda's main global terrorism target. Officials are not talking publicly but they have spoken to some journalists in the UK, delivering the message that Britain is the main target for a resurgent Al Qaeda. Top security officials in Britain reportedly believe that Pakistan remains a crucial Al Qaeda base, despite efforts by the government there and US intelligence agencies. Because of the many social and historical links between Britain and Pakistan, there are supposedly many men born in the UK volunteering for attacks. Officials are quoted saying Al Qaeda sees the UK as a massive opportunity to cause loss of life and embarrassment to the authorities.

Just a few hours ago, Sky News published an interview with a Taliban commander in Pakistan who stated his intention to attack Europe. Iraq is mentioned — of course — but not as the casus belli, simply as another theater in a larger campaign.

A Taliban commander has told Sky News that the militants are for the first time plotting to attack Westerners in Britain and the rest of Europe. ... Referring to Tony Blair and George Bush, Mullah Amin said: "It's acceptable to kill ordinary people in Europe because these are the people who have voted in the Government. "They came to our home and attacked our women and children. "The ordinary people of these countries are behind this - so we will not spare them. We will kill them and laugh over them like they are killing us and laughing at us." He said Taliban fighters were learning from the Iraq insurgency in their use of remote-controlled bombs, landmines and suicide bombers. He said: "They are our best tactic."

And the casus belli isn't about Afghanistan the nation-state at all either; nobody is fighting for the political independence of a country in the Western sense. It about the clash between the sacred space of Islam with the secular space of Europe. Two-tour Afghan veteran British Army Major Jamie Loden wrote a 25,000 word master's thesis on "The Need For An Ideological Response To Islamic Extremism", described in an interview in the Guardian.  Major Loden understood that there was a large element of infidel versus believer in the whole mix; that events in Helmand province and "Leicester and Bradford" were inextricably related.

He talked to me about the radical thinker Sayyid Qutb, about shariah law, about the difference between Shia and Sunni jurisprudence. Having addressed Islamic extremism through the library and through the bullet, he believes that US and British strategy is wrong from the foundations up. "You can improve homeland security from a purely physical point of view, you can increase security at airports, but that isn't exactly addressing the issue. Yes, it's making terrorist attacks harder to conduct... It's not addressing the rationale for it."

The west had to give more support and publicity to Muslims who were trying to reform Islam from within, he said. The implications of extremism spread way beyond the Middle East. He talked of the notion of "sacred space", the notion that land conquered by Muslims in God's name must remain Muslim and, if lost, recovered. "That means Spain, bits of France... all over the place." Loden said there was a more risky interpretation of the sacred space doctrine which said that land where Muslims had a political majority was actually Muslim land. "So when you have the debate in Leicester and Bradford about separate education, separate areas of the town, you know, communities being allowed to apply their own law - then you are in fact going down a fairly dangerous path."

The idea of trying to "reform Islam" has been taken up by some of the most influential politicians in Britain. Home Secretary John Reid warned that the the UK risks losing the "battle of ideas" with al-Qa'eda.

The Government needed to do much more to win the "battle of ideas", Mr Reid said. The meeting came as ministers — including Jack Straw, Ruth Kelly and Phil Woolas — started to take a much more aggressive stance against radical Islam. Ministers have told The Sunday Telegraph that 30 terror plots are being investigated and that 1,500 young Muslims — many more than previously estimated — are suspects.

A key government weapon in the struggle to win hearts and minds is the decision to fund covertly an Islamic website appealing for moderation. A classic of New Labour terminology, it is called the Radical Middle Way. Government documents disclose that the site is "run as a grassroots initiative by Muslim organisations". However, it has "most of its financial backing from the Foreign Office and Home Office". The site uses video and podcasts to spread an "alternative message" to young Muslims. Some content is available through the iTunes website with no indication that it is effectively an arm of Government. Around 100,000 CDs promoting moderation have also been funded and distributed free to Muslim students as an "antidote", apparently, to the jihadist CDs circulated at universities and colleges.

The Sayyid Qutb cited by Major Loden was an Egyptian Islamic scholar who visited America in the late 1940s on a scholarship and was utterly repelled. He concluded that unless Islam fought the West, it would be destroyed. He anticipated Reid's program and rejected it; what is "reform" to Reid would be an assault in Qutb's eyes. Qutb's conclusions became the basis for al-Qaeda's belief in the global battle between Islam and the West, a process described in Lawrence Wright's The Looming Tower. (BTW, Austin Bay and I interviewed Lawrence Wright for Pajamas Media and you can listen to the interview here) The situation in Afghanistan puts Iraq in its true perspective: it shrinks it to simply one battlefield in what has become a global war. Recently the UK Times described the growing realization that terrorism was already in the UK; already a component of the landscape in part due to the collision between the "sacred space" of Islam and the secular space of post-modern Europe. The solution advocated by some to the problem is to make the secularism mandatory. Religion was to be banned from public life altogether and tolerated only if it consented to be a harmless superstition, remembered on occasions like Halloween or Friday the 13th.

“Religion and politics is the issue of the next 50 years,” says the historian Michael Burleigh, author of the newly published Sacred Causes: Religion and Politics from the European Dictators to Al-Qaeda. “The closest parallel with the situation in Britain now would be the conflicts between Anglicans and Puritans over religious ‘enthusiasm’ in the 17th century.” ... The Church of England may be benign but its establishment encourages other, more extreme, religious groups to demand the same privileges, rights and favors of the state.

The only equitable answer, say the secularists, is to turn the way of France and America and cleanse public life of all contact with faith and superstition. ... Professor Richard Dawkins, champion of Darwinism, has been spurred by the rise of religious fundamentalists to write The God Delusion, an “attack on God in all his forms”. Dawkins wants to take religion not just out of the state but society — and his book has become a bestseller. “If this book works as I intend,” he writes in his preface, “religious readers who open it will be atheists when they put it down.” ...

The rise of Muslim populations in Europe cannot be ignored. A recent study in America showed that conservative minority religious groups tend to outbreed the primary population. Islam is set to form an ever-increasing part of the European religious mix. And, as Muslim extremism, it is challenging a culture that, in Britain, has been formed by pragmatism, custom and a certain quiet acceptance that some things are best left undiscussed. The multiple current crises are applying crushing pressure to the great British muddle. Hardline fundamentalists on both sides are busily constructing barricades. Hard questions are being asked of us all.

According to this thinking, the Church of England cannot be benign enough to escape its fundamental guilt. Guilty while kneeling. But part of the problem is that the discussion is not wholly objective. Secularism itself has at least once in this century taken on the trappings of a religion. Karen Armstrong, quoted in the 5th page of the UK Times article, notes this explicitly: "There have been five major missionary movements in the world — Christianity, Marxism, Islam, Buddhism and secularism. Secularism can be as lethal as any religion. Our society is very secular but, in the Middle East, where modernism is new, secularism is seen as lethal and invasive." Sayyid Qutb would probably agree. Al-Qaeda's ideology was precisely a Muslim response to the perceived menace of secularism during its heyday in the late 1940s. Proposals by European "intellectuals" to banish Christianity and Islam would probably founder on the objection that the priests of one sect — namely Marxism and secularism — should not have the right to outlaw the votaries of other rites. In other words, any solution to remove "belief" from public life is itself be founded on a normative belief. But embracing this contradiction is easier than to accept the alternative proposition that politics and society have historically been not only about systems of belief but about the dominance of one system of belief over another. That all wars are ultimately wars of religion. Viewed in this way, the debate over banishing "religion" in Britain is really the old one of avoidance versus confrontation in another guise. We twist and turn in an effort to avoid the War, but attempts to define the War out of existence may ultimately be unsuccessful.

It is the awareness of the potentially bottomless nature of the conflict, not only in Afghanistan but throughout Europe, that has driven public officialdom into the unprecedented use of euphemism. It talks about the danger in hushed tones in the hopes that it will go away. For example, civil unrest threatens Paris, according to the Telegraph but the mysterious insurgents cannot be identified as anything other than "youths".

A gang of youths forced passengers off a bus in a Paris suburb yesterday before setting it alight and then stoning fire fighters. The attack - which happened in broad daylight on Sunday - is the latest in a string of similar disturbances in housing estates surrounding the French capital. They come amid rising tensions as the anniversary approaches of widespread rioting and car torching that forced France to declare a state of emergency last October. ...

Police chief Jean-Francois Papineau said the bus attack in the southern suburb of Grigny, in the Essonne region, was “a planned ambush”. He said: “The bus was forced to stop at a road block at around 2pm. “Two youths then entered the back of the bus to clear passengers before dousing it with petrol and setting it on fire.” The blaze gutted the bus and spread to four parked cars. M. Papineau said around 60 youths were involved in the attack. One was arrested. There were no injuries. Earlier in the day there had been sporadic fighting between young men and gendarmes in the area.

Commentary

After Sayyid Qutb was scandalized by Harry Truman's America he was later brutalized by Gamal Abdel Nasser's prisons. It may have been the low cut dresses of American women that first planted the seed which was to grow into al-Qaeda's ideology but it was the blood shed by Marxist torturers that watered it. Qutb and later Osama bin Laden saw Marxism and secularism as agencies of the Devil; but to destroy them it was first necessary to destroy the world's system administrator: the USA. One of the real ironies of the War on Terror is that the most hated targets of al-Qaeda, the culturally liberal — the gays, feminists, entertainers, civil libertarians, artists and novelists — are its most vocal critics. It is only slowly dawning on al-Qaeda's pet hates that the Global Jihad is exactly about them and their whole belief system. Salman Rushdie knows it; Sayyid Qutb knew it. Some parts of Europe are beginning to know it; most will never admit it even to the second the blade is drawn across their throats. But the second greatest irony that the surviving non-Muslim believers in Europe — the Christians, Buddhists and Jews — have not only had to bear the intellectual brunt of defending liberalism up to now, but are now being asked to give up the public profession of their own faith in order to preserve it.

This essay began in Afghanistan and finished up in Paris. It is only right. All consciousness lives on the edge of the ocean of faith and of doubt. We can flee from Iraq, but perhaps we can never fly from ourselves. Our hearts shall never rest until it rests or flees — from Thee.

40 Comments:

Blogger summignumi said...

Christianity is the only faith that will allow other non violent religions and secularism to coexist, That’s why America is like it is now, Christianity is the religion that can defeat Islam not Atheism or any other and until the left joins Christians (I won’t hold my breath) Islam will continue to win and possible reach the tipping point of no return, As no house divide can stand neither can the left win while fighting the right nor the Christian fighting both Islam and the left. Being a Christian means the point of no return is the return of Jesus; it is a real dilemma for Christians to want and stop Islam as they maybe/would be working against Gods plan.

10/23/2006 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger charlotte said...

It may have been the low cut dresses of American women that first planted the seed which was to grow into al-Qaeda's ideology...

Those dresses are even better with cross necklaces nestled in cleavage.

...the debate over banishing "religion" in Britain is really the old one of avoidance versus confrontation in another guise...

Exactly. Further, a Secularist diktat would only strengthen belief and practice among the orthodox and fundamentalists- there's nothing like persecution to deepen faith and cement underground community ties. Muslims and Islamists, especially, would be emboldened to grow in numbers and resist the godless westerners. Muslim women would still be baby breeders who raise their children to submit to imams in hiding and patriarchy. A demographic tipping point would not be avoided, only delayed and then exaggerated.

Zero tolerance needs to be applied to the politically, violently religious, not to the faithful who live peaceably in secular states without special accommodation.

10/23/2006 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Secularism itself has at least once in this century taken on the trappings of a religion.

One must be careful not to overstate the case against secularism. Secularism is merely the absence of religion. It does not, by itself, imply the types of secular certainties that you and Armstrong call potentially "lethal."

One can be secular without subscribing to a narrative of essence and determinism. For instance, I don't imagine a war will ever be fought to promote the Anthropic Principle.

What you fear--what is, in fact, fearsome--is nihilism, not secularism. The latter is a necessary, not sufficient, cause of the former, but that is all it is. They are not equal.

Brief Defense of Secularism to follow:

There may be a God, sure. But it is not the looming, promiscuously active Patriarch of scripture. It is something we can't understand, a something rather than a nothing, which, upon distinguishing itself from the eternal abyss, started and carried forward an intricate play of separateness, directionality and momentum that led to us, here, now.

There are many ways to take this "secular" fact in. Nietzsche saw an inevitable nihilism and posited human excellence as the replacement for the discarded absolute, a return to, in his words, Master Morality. He saw Christianity as an insidious force, infecting the masses with the morality of mediocrity--where domination itself is adjudged guilty and despicable, and pity is the highest emotion of man.

Schopenhauer embraced pessimism. Kierkegaard embraced the irrational suspense of the ethical. Heidegger embraced, first, radicalness towards one's own thrownness, then sublimation into one's historical facticity. Camus embraced an optimistic absurdity. Sartre, believing a tabula rasa fell out of the absence of essence, felt nauseous, thought hell was other people, and struck out on a quest to champion a Marxist morality of mass movement and social activism.

But these are all reactions to incomplete and inadequate knowledge about mankind and the human condition. As such they are already anachronisms. For instance, Marc Hauser has conducted experiments that make a compelling case for a moral grammar, a universal intuition that is found in all ages, religions, and cultures. So right there we've refuted both Nietzsche's thoughts on Christianity and Sartre's lack of essence. Christianity becomes just another "linguistic" manifestation of our deeper, innate moral intution, with its own variform dialect and diachronic evolutions. Sartre may be right that we can choose our orientation towards a particular language, but he is wrong when he implies that we can rid ourselves of the fundamental grammar altogether. Only psychopaths (moral anomalies) can do this, and it is not by choice. This is why, instead of armies of aspiring ubermenschen, we have the phenomenon "secular moralist", which is a normal human being who intuits a moral standard but cannot articulate it with any real rigor. It's like a child who never learned to speak; his thoughts are disordered and overwhelmed by feeling, which makes his judgments more or less spontaneous and unreflective. When you see a secularist emote morality, this is what is happening in his mind.

So in closing (I've let this run on too long), secularism is not the boogie-man you make it out to be. For starters, it is, ultimately, the correct posture for one to have towards religion (this is not a statement about effect, it is a statement about truth; it may very well be that a religious conviction is more beneficially consequential than a secular one). The danger is derivative, just like it is with religion: what certainties do you fill it with, and what prescriptions and justifications do you derive.

10/23/2006 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...

Wretchard,

Great minds think alike:

Today you wrote:

It is the awareness of the potentially bottomless nature of the conflict, not only in Afghanistan but throughout Europe, that has driven public officialdom into the unprecedented use of euphemism. It talks about the danger in hushed tones in the hopes that it will go away. For example, civil unrest threatens Paris, according to the Telegraph but the mysterious insurgents cannot be identified as anything other than "youths".





Yesterday I wrote in the comments to "The Fire This Time:"

Last year during the riots in the banlieues I was struck by how the media avoiding using not only the terms "Islam" and "Muslim," but tried as much as possible to avoid in any way particularizing the participants, except to insist they were "youths."

When the media avoid saying something, it usually means there is a truth in what is unspoken that they would rather not confront. But what is that truth, precisely?


I'm not serious of course. There's only one great mind on display in these pages, and it's not mine!


;-)


Jamie Irons

10/23/2006 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...

Aristides,

You wrote:

For instance, I don't imagine a war will ever be fought to promote the Anthropic Principle. ...

Of course, as you well know, Ari, if such a war were ever to be fought, it would be precisely because we live in such a universe that its physical constants (like the fine structure constant and the charge on the electron) and so on, purely by chance, happen to be set at values which make such a war not only necessary, but inevitable!

;-)


Jamie Irons

10/23/2006 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

Christianity is the only faith that will allow other non violent religions and secularism to coexist

Oh, really, that must be why we see quotes like this:

"I want you to just let a wave of intolerance wash over you. I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good...Our goal is a Christian nation. We have a Biblical duty, we are called by God, to conquer this country. We don't want equal time. We don't want pluralism."--Randall Terry, Founder of Operation Rescue, The News-Sentinel, Fort Wayne, Indiana, 8-16-93

10/23/2006 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

teresita -

Randall Terry is a nut rejected by the masses. Amahdinejad is a nut embraced by the masses. Zarqawi was a nut embraced by the masses.

Moral equivalency is preposterous in such a comparison of religions. And, those Western secularists, led by secular Jews, who do wish to destroy Christianity do so at their mortal peril considering the religion that will triumphantly move in and replace vanquished Christianity.

All the lovely secular Lefts ideals - multiculti, women's rights, gay rights - will be crushed under Sharia and Dhimmitude.

*********************
Afghanistan. Hah! Wasn't it just three years ago that the "model Afghan democracy" was being touted and we were all waiting breathlessly for all the women to shed their burquas and Afghans to sign agreements with "America's Special Friend"??

Ah, those were the days of the Decider in Chief...winning against the "evildoers" in his spare time between tax cuts for the wealthy, trillions in new pork, and the Crusade for freeing the noble Iraqi people!

Times sure change...or is it that times only appear to change fast once a finger snap wakes America up from it's ignorant post-9/11 delusions.

Meanwhile, the Decider just concluded his annual Ramadan feast for members of the Religion of Peace...telling his guests that he will never relent until Iraq is free and democratic..

How nice of him. He also said in a recent interview that it is imperative to stay in Iraq because he is certain God meant for people to be free..

10/23/2006 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger Roderick said...

Aristides,

I liked your defense of secularism, well done.

10/23/2006 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger Roderick said...

I have come around to agreeing with those who've said that the U.S. and its allies have used too few troops in their Afghanistan and Iraqi campaigns. I defended the practive of small armies in the field based on historical examples where small armies (Alexander and British colonial wars come to mind) were hugely succesful.

The problem with my assumption is that "post-conquest" dynamics were different in ancient times in particular than they are now. Indigenous peoples of a given "country" or empire didn't usually care as passionately about who their rulers might be. The exceptions would have been the ancient Israelites and fierce, xenophobic hill tribes. Nowadays, a conquering power must expect a post-conquest period of conflict, and must act vigorously and quickly to try to suppress it.

One odd advantage of mostly Pagan times was that pagans did not exclude the possibility that other gods existed, so the passions for defending their particular beliefs did not extend as far as with monotheistic religions that succeeded them. This is not to imply that monotheism has a "flaw," since I don't believe that; I'm simply saying that it arouses fiercer loyalty from the believers. The other factor is the rise of nationalism in causing people to resent intrusion by foreigners.

10/23/2006 12:38:00 PM  
Blogger charlotte said...

This proposal to ban religion seems patently absurd, until you realize the EU kommisars are probably already set to regulate the size, color, weight, provenance and significance of all imported and domestically grown gods and prophets to make them safe for European consumption.

10/23/2006 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger charlotte said...

OK, someone had to post this little bit of John 'Lenin' that's obligatory every 200th comment on right-o-center sites:

"Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace..."

10/23/2006 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Unfortunately, I firmly believe that the only way to "reform" Islam is the same way we reformed the religions of the Nazis and Japanese: kill enough of them so that they look at one another and say "You know, Vern, this ain't working out all that well. Maybe we oughta try something else."

I am reading an excellent book on the B-29 raids on Japan in WWII, and one interesting observation is that the Japanese press swung neatly from saying that the Empire was winning all over the place to decrying the inhumanity of the "US Army Air Force Terror Attacks" when 89,000 people were killed in Tokyo one March evening. They started reforming their religion then.

10/23/2006 01:32:00 PM  
Blogger Captain Ramen said...

Why do atheists feel the need to point to the most absurd examples of christian extremism to try and paint the entire religion that way? For every Randall Terry I can find a hundred christians who are repelled by that statement.

I disagree that 'Christianity is the only faith that will allow other non violent religions and secularism to coexist.' The reason why chstianity is one of the religions where this is possible is because it is about being transformed from within (placing all of your faith in God and receiving a piece of the Holy Spirit within you so that it can grow and change you). Thus it is compatible with a society organized around classical liberal principles.

But one interpretation of Islam can also be compatible. I've heard time and time again the claim Jihad is all about the struggle within one's own heart. O were the adherents of Islam to believe this too! The world would be a much better place.

The greatest threat to our classical liberal way of life is the dark side of religion - the impulse to impose change from the outside-in rather than the individual changing himself from the inside-out.

Fred Phelps may be a seditious piece of shit, but so far he's just a nuisance.

We are in a holy war here. Not a crusade between christians and muslims. This war (and indeed most wars since WWII) is fundamentally about who will prevail: the forces of freedom or the forces of authortarianism? Now it just so happens that most christians and practicing jews, and a few muslims and atheists are on the side of freedom, and most muslims, atheists and a few christians or on the side of authortarianism. Now if you truly feel that the typical American christian is on the same level and scope as one these murderous 7th century cutthroats, then I feel sorry for you. There are but two sides in this war; time to decide which one you are on.

10/23/2006 01:49:00 PM  
Blogger Yashmak said...

I must agree Aristides. Your comment is extremely well written.

The majority of us who are followers of a 'secular framework' if you will, long for a time when all the religions stop their bloody bickering and live in peace with each other. Sadly, we understand that's probably never going to happen.

10/23/2006 02:18:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The battle rages across the Mohammedan Arc.
The NATO commanders are looking to negotiate with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Looking to replicate the Warizistan Agreement the General President obtained with the Taliban, there.

The poppy fields are expanding, funding Mohammedan Operations from Afghanistan to Holland.

Yet, here at the BC the accumulated wisdom debates the ideology of secularism.

Instead of debating the number of angels dance on the head of a pin, you all debate whether there are angels.

While Paris is burning.

No wonder Mr Roggio has the lead story, alone, no one cares to admit the Mohammedan are on the march.
It's not politicly correct, not for either US political faction, left or right.

10/23/2006 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger charlotte said...

Yashmak,

Christians, Jews, Buddhists and (some) Hindus aren't engaged in "bloody bickering" with Muslims; they're engaged in defense, since Muslims are exploding, shooting and beheading non-Muslims and even apostate Muzzies.

Western Secularists are also targeted by Islamist fire. Should we blame secularists for the violence against them?

You might as well pray, I mean, wish upon a star for the abolition of national boundaries to stop "bickering" between nations, when one defends against a transgression or invasion. Sorry, though, that's a religion, too, called Utopian Transnationalism and Moral Equivalence, with high priests like Soros.

10/23/2006 04:10:00 PM  
Blogger Tom Cohoe said...

A society so stupid that it would name the enemy 'religion' rather than 'Islam' is one that deserves to lose this war. At least with Islam, Christians are allowed to live, albeit as a lower class. Christians might well decide to join with the Islamists if it is a choice between second class status or outright intolerance.

The 'secularists' always were the most violent and intolerant of the lot. I guess they see this as their opportunity.

10/23/2006 04:29:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Some proponents of a secular space in Britain argue that secularism actually preserves religion by removing it from the taint of the state. This is secularism as "disestablishment", a la the USA.

But many understand secularism to mean the deligitimization of all "religious" arguments from public life. The problem with this is the widespread existence of religion under other color. One example of a possible nontraditional religion is environmentalism; or Marxism which is widely acknowledged to be a religion and an historically murderous one at that. Can you have a Europe without Greens or Socialists, in other words, to have a European politics without religious parties?

However that may be, I think it is important to recognize that relgion does not only consist of the the familiar monotheisms.

10/23/2006 04:39:00 PM  
Blogger Db2m said...

Hey, all you pompous BC secularists and atheists, what do you plan to be doing 400 years from now?

Laugh, mock, scorn as you please, as long as you please, and then you may go back to rooting for your scrumptious, yet bitter, acorns.

Been there, done that, rescued from that, by the grace of God.

10/23/2006 06:03:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

I agree with ari that honest secularism enables religious tolerance. But secularism puts all (quasi) religions on a level playing field and when one such corrupt religion competes with secularism and forces it's worldview upon the populace, thereby competing as a form of government, secularism is forced to change, take a side - which is its' antithesis - or succumb.

10/23/2006 06:21:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

Hey, all you pompous BC secularists and atheists, what do you plan to be doing 400 years from now?

Sleeping eternally, and providing nutrients for an apple tree. 79.1 years is plenty. Who wants more of this?

10/23/2006 06:41:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

THIS IS A MILITARY PROBLEM.

Oops. Sorry. Caps. Don't know what came over me.

10/23/2006 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

very nice essays though everyone.

10/23/2006 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

We are in a holy war here. Not a crusade between christians and muslims. This war (and indeed most wars since WWII) is fundamentally about who will prevail: the forces of freedom or the forces of authortarianism?

Gosh, freedom or authoritarianism, which side are the xians on? They say no dancing, no condoms, no sex outside of marriage, no two women getting hitched, no abortions, no euthanasia, no booze, no gambling, no shopping on Sunday, no R-rated movies, no criticizing the President, no gay scout leaders, no single-payer health care, fsck the environment, fsck the homeless, assassinate Chavez, no habeas corpus, tap the phones, rendition EPWs, and strip-search grandma at the airport.

10/23/2006 06:54:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

miss t:

Knock yourself out.

It's all out there for you.

& good luck on reaching 79.1

10/23/2006 07:05:00 PM  
Blogger Robert Schwartz said...

Another way of looking at it is that we are now forced to confront the real masters of terror, the regimes of Iran, Syria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and China.

10/23/2006 07:08:00 PM  
Blogger Sparks fly said...

Self is the "god" of the secularists. Self, what a puny god. Who could visit a cemetary and still worship the self? What nonsense.

The Bible teaches that men and women are naturally insane , stupid and evil. Hard heads, hard hearts and stiff necks are the order of the day. Be as a little child and come to Jesus who has paid the price for our sins. HE rose from the dead. It makes things so understandable. How about some joy in the morning! How I long to share with other people who are rapidly running amuck what I have received. It is not easy though.

Anyway, have a nice day; while it is still called today. This descent is not going to go on for ever.

10/23/2006 11:31:00 PM  
Blogger ignacio said...

My wife (who is French) said last year (about the "youths"): "They're not even good Muslims! They drink alcohol, they smoke hashish all day, they don't pray! The only thing they use Islam for is to fuck with women and look dangerous!"

On France2 TV I can recall seeing it estimated that one in ten "youths" smoke hash every day. Every day.

Sure, there are organizers seeking to exploit the situation. But think of the Black Power movement in the US. It's not exactly analogous, but there are similarities. The Black Panthers never began any real kind of civil war, other than to control and take over drug-dealing in their own neighborhoods. And the Nation of Islam under Elijah Muhammad converted only a relative few.

Of course, if what is going on in the banlieues happened in America, the cops here would use real bullets.

In France they call them Arabs rather than Muslims in common parlance.

All the rap music tends towards: "I would never be a jihadi myself / but I can understand my brothers who go the other way."

I await further developments. I am still curious to see what Sarkozy might do if elected. He was memorably impressive vs Tariq Ramadan some time ago on French TV.

Rubber bullets may be exactly the right response until some policemen are slaughtered. Then we'll see. Or let's see what happens if a bomb goes off on the train between Paris and Marseille.

Remember also there is no American-style freedom of the press.

10/24/2006 03:06:00 AM  
Blogger DaMav said...

The reason we are losing, if that is in fact the case, is that we have not yet begun to fight. I'm not saying that as some sort of bravado but as an observation.

When we stop obsessing about the rights of our enemies and begin actually fighting this war in a serious way, I believe we will make short work of radical Islam.

I'm not talking about "nuking" anyone. Let's start out with the simple things. Instead of arresting those planting IEDs in Iraq, how about we just hang those caught in the act. Instead of negotiating with Al Sadr, how about we put a bullet into him. Instead of a circus trial for Saddam Hussein, how about we just string him up in the public square. Do you realize that many of those killing Americans in the Middle East are detained, placed under arrest, and then turned loose to kill again? What kind of war is that?

Bush's approach to this war has been merciful, humanitarian, and I respect him for that. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to be working very well. The lesson to be drawn from that is not that we have to worry more about Islam, but that we have to worry less -- get it?

It is far more important that we be feared than that we be loved or respected. When we figure that out, the radical parts of Islam will be reduced in stature and moderates can potentially gain the upper hand. Far from radicalizing people, a strong response will discourage radicalization among the sane, if for no other reason than that they fear the consequences of radicalism. And it will encourage the moderates because for the first time some of them will actually think we might be serious about defending ourselves.

10/24/2006 03:13:00 AM  
Blogger furriskey said...

>" And, those Western secularists, led by secular Jews, who do wish to destroy Christianity do so at their mortal peril<"

Is this a satire, or is Cedarford some sort of reborn stormtrooper?

There are some serious attempts to debate a serious issue on this site, but the above, and people referring to 'Mohammedanism' to stir the pot of ignorance, do nothing to advance the argument.

Having said that, I have considerable sympathy with RWE's position. You don't stroke a rabid dog, you put it down.

10/24/2006 04:35:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

The Bible teaches that men and women are naturally insane, stupid and evil.

Maybe men. But women are made in the image of the Creatress, we have inherent dignity and goodness and don't need to be "born again" because we were born fine the first time.

10/24/2006 06:32:00 AM  
Blogger Joe Buzz said...

..and humble.


I agree with damav

10/24/2006 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger Ari Tai said...

The old is new.

Rather than hope for a "radical third way," the government should encourage those in these communities that value life over early death (a certainty on the path we are on today of "please don't make me chose between them and I") will realize that the term heresy applies, and will remove them from their midst. And perhaps as the fascists love death, grant their wish.

10/24/2006 02:53:00 PM  
Blogger charlotte said...

Teresita,

This is your Createstress. Your 6:32 has come to my attention and We are unhappy. Do you realize you're making born-again beliefs look more gender equal than your feminism? How dare you criticize the female-blaming, woman-suffocating pathological patriarchy of fundy Muslim society when you sound like a man-dissing lesbian matriarchist?

I am not an unfair Maker, except when it comes to genetic endowment, birth circumstance, life experiences and death, but, other than that, I am Most Equitable and don't you forget it.

10/24/2006 04:17:00 PM  
Blogger Cornelius said...

RWE,

How do you propose to wipe out enough of the worlds 1 billion+ Muslims in order for them to say uncle?

Germany couldn't wipe out all the Jews in their own country under the most advantageous of circumstances, nor could Rome wipe out enough Goths and Vandals to keep them at bay in a time when genocide was considered admirable, yet you propose we can 'hurt' enough Muslims to make them stop attacking us? Be serious.

You can't kill enough Muslims to solve this problem. That isn't to say you can't keep the problem at bay by killing many Muslims, but the ultimate solution is NOT a military one. Any one with a rudimentary grasp of history knows this.

10/24/2006 05:59:00 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Teresita:

Please cut the cr*p. In two ways:

One, please put the Naomi Armitage avatar back up. It was actually much better.

Two, painting Christianity with a broad brush as a cheap rhetorical device to draw a moral equivalency with Wahabism and the Salafis is intellectual three-card monte. Digging up Randall Terry as an example of Yer Typical Redneck Bush Loving Krishchenn is intllectually dishonest, and you should be ashamed of yourself for propping up that nutcase as an eminent member of my faith.

It cheapens the argument, and avoid what Wretchard is trying to get at. Are you simply trying the tired old "pox on both your houses" argument?

Sorry, but while Pat Robertson strikes me as a craven, dishonest bigot who despises you, but would love you (but not your "sin") if you donated 10 grand to his Church, the jihadi would behead you for who you are, not caring about your devotion to some "Creatress".

I don't accept your attempt to strike a moral equivalence between Christianity and Islamic Fascism based on the example of Randall Terry. It's a dishonest argument. Period.

The thing is, sometimes you write so well, and then, BAM!, it's as if Cindy Sheehan showed up or something. Oh well....

10/24/2006 06:15:00 PM  
Blogger Dave H said...

Cornelius, the Muslims must take care not to make it a necessity for the West to destroy them. I think you are quite wrong it could be easily done without technically using WMD.

Probably the reason it is not applied one country at a time is Oil. The main country that needs this treatment right now is of course Iran and the price of oil is their real shield. Maybe North Korea could serve a useful purpose as an example of what can be done.

Nobody in USA government has the stones to do it without a radical provocation, but Muslims would do well to reflect on what a combination of total destruction of infrastructure and isolation would do. WMD would be regarded as a blessing, as they were to the Japanese in 1945.

10/25/2006 08:25:00 AM  
Blogger TonyGuitar said...

I will resist saying this is a compilation of both valid and nebulous ideas because the charge then is, Ok, you do better.

My 4WD view is this is the most valuable part. . .
========
**One of the real ironies of the War on Terror is that the most hated targets of al-Qaeda, the culturally liberal — the gays, feminists, entertainers, civil libertarians, artists and novelists — are its most vocal critics.

It is only slowly dawning on al-Qaeda's pet hates that the Global Jihad is exactly about them and their whole belief system. Salman Rushdie knows it; Sayyid Qutb knew it. Some parts of Europe are beginning to know it; most will never admit it even to the second the blade is drawn across their throats.**
========

For those who are pressed for time, there is a brilliantly clear paper penned in the early 1900s by Churchill that clarifies the need to hold and expand the rights of westernized, democratic freedom minded people in Iran, Afghanistan and Iraq.

There are many there who hate fundamentalist Shia law. They, better than most, know what a prison it is.

Osama, in his recent warnings message did say the heaviness will come down in Iraq and Afghanistan to start with.

Obviously, they want to clear their own *house* before they move to * our house *.

Logically we must really put our shoulder to it and remove Muqtada Al-Sadr and his black bands running about kidnapping and lopping off heads of non-payers.

For Pakistan and Musharraf explained in a nutshell by a Captain*s commentor. To save you the archive search, find it at:

Anchorpin.Redpin.com

Become an instant Pakistan guru, and check the Quran thumbnail reference too. Its a good source of *religion of peace ammo*; verse and number. = TG

10/25/2006 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger TinkersCuss said...

Europe is facing another holocaust - one that will dwarf the last one. I cannot predict who will do the killing, and who the dying. Currently the odds favour the older/native inhabitants, but fifty years from now the polarity may have switched. Nevertheless, it is coming.

Do I have much empathy? Why should I? You arrogant European bastards have brought this upon yourselves. Whether secular or religious, you worshop at the altar of the state - seeking its "help" for everything that you imagine ails you. It's a Faustian bargain under the banner of "free lunch".

Kill or be killed - and to hell with the state.

10/25/2006 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger still realizing said...

There is only solution to the problem; Stop funding the Islamic Jihadis. That is, stop paying for oil. Islamic states that do not have much oil do not make trouble in the world. One way to stop paying is to develop solar power. This invention is not quite ready to replace gasoline. The quicker solution is to just take the oil fields.

Separate the oil and the oil money away from the Mullahs and the grasp of Iraqi insurgents and we won't care what they do. And if the insurgents knew that taking over Iraq still wouldn't get them the oil then the insurgency would dry up.

The cost of rebuilding some pipelines and wells, and of moving some populations, is less than the US is spending on the Iraqi war.

Oh, and yes, don't let the Iranians near the uranium mines, either.

10/25/2006 05:13:00 PM  

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