Monday, March 03, 2008

NATO's Secretary General warns Wilders about Islam film

The BBC said NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffe was worried his troops would be endangered if a Dutch MP released a film criticizing the Koran. Jaap de Hoop Scheffe spoke after of demonstrations protesting the film in Afghanistan. "If the [troops] find themselves in the line of fire because of the film, then I am worried about it and I am expressing that concern," he said in a television interview. The BBC reported that there was pressure in Afghanistan to suppress the film.

On Sunday, hundreds of Afghans took to the streets in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif to protest against the film. Demonstrators burned Dutch flags, and called for the withdrawal of Dutch troops from the Nato force. The demonstrators say they will step up their protests unless the Afghan government expels the troops.

In an earlier post I remarked how extraordinary it was that Geert Wilders -- or for that matter any artist with a word processor, chisel or paintbrush -- could now create the equivalent of a functioning physical threat from craft materials. Geert Wilders is actually threatening to write something about Islam, a menace so great that the Secretary General of NATO feels it appropriate to worry about the release of a frickin movie. From now it is no longer necessary to bother acquiring diesel fuel and fertilizer to extort concessions. Just threaten to write a novel about Mohammed unless your demands are met and they will be met.

In the context of today's lunatic culture of political correctness disagreeing with Islamic doctrine is like threatening to set off ton of high explosive buried under the business district of Amsterdam. And what is being held hostage isn't a collection of buildings or individuals but the core political and cultural values of the West itself.

Suppose Wilders relents. What will the next demand of the Muslim demonstrators be? The extradition of Ayaan Hirsi Ali? The suppression of Fleming Rose? The arrest of Mark Steyn? The execution of the long-delayed fatwa upon Salman Rushdie, who, let's not forget, wrote the Satanic Verses. There was a time when all of these suggestions would have bordered on the ridiculous. Are they so ridiculous today?

Yet suppose Wilders goes on to release his film which he claims will show the Koran is "an inspiration for intolerance, murder and terror"? Are fears that Dutch interests will be endangered justified?

You betcha.

Wilders already lives the life of fugitive. He has been living under police protection since director Theo Van Gogh was killed by an Islamists in 2004. He is hiding for his life in the heart of Europe. So what's Wilders got to lose? His freedom?

For decades the nostrum of cultural self-flagellation seemed to work so well it seemed self-evident that more was better. It's easy to think that trends are forever linear; that the moment never comes when you run out of space to run, money to bribe or that the n+1th step behaves in a radically different way from nth. But it happens. The West is at that point.

The old certainties are gone. Whether Wilders is suppressed or goes forward is in some sense immaterial. Events have crossed over into new territory where survival is a function of the speed at which you learn.




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53 Comments:

Blogger buck smith said...

Great Post W. In my browser (IE7) the words "physical threat from craft materials just" do not show except on the post comments page. Probably some turf wars between google and microsoft. If only the jihadis would restrict their fight to free enterprise.

Back to your post, it underscores a point I made to my brother - Many of the criticisms of the effort to put democracy in Iraq, the backwardness of the people, their tendency toward authoritarianism and sexual, racial, ethnic and religious bigotry are more true of Afghanistan than Iraq.

3/03/2008 06:54:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

Where, oh where to begin. Shall it be with the Stockholm Syndrome, in which Islam's hostages begin to identify with their tormentors so much that they align with the enemy?

Or should it be with a case of "punishing the victim", whereby Geert Wilders—now under 24 hour guard—is the one being blamed for his legal exercise of free speech?

I say we begin with reading Islam the riot act. As in:

ANY MORE OF THIS CRAP AND ENTIRE MUSLIM CITIES GET TURNED INTO RUBBLE.

There are limits and ALL of them were reached long ago. Long before the 9-11 atrocity and not much after Iran's seizure of the American embassy.

The farce is over. Enough of these charades. Islam must be made to face the sour notes of its own music. Let THEM march to the awkward cadence of their militant parade. Let THEM pick their way through the ruins. ENOUGH!

3/03/2008 07:47:00 PM  
Blogger Fat Man said...

Now why would an army commander worry about rioting Muslims (is that a oxymoron?). After all the men under his command are armed and trained to defend themselves and make mincemeat of their attackers. Or have the Dutch become complete cowards? Unable to muster even Dutch courage any more.

3/03/2008 08:10:00 PM  
Blogger j- said...

*I say we begin with reading Islam the riot act. As in:

ANY MORE OF THIS CRAP AND ENTIRE MUSLIM CITIES GET TURNED INTO RUBBLE.*

My idea after 9/11 was for the President to show up on TV, with a hat full of slips of paper. He explains to the world that the slips contain the names of capitol cities in the Muslim world, and the next time a Westerner is killed by a Muslim during an act of terrorism, he will draw one of the slips. The city on that slip will be vaporized. Then he invites the Muslim world to discuss this "offer".

As for Wilders, he should just release the movie onto the Internet right now.

The first time any mob rages about it, send a Predator their way--that includes mobs in Berkeley.

3/03/2008 08:20:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat@hotmail.com said...

The current world conflict is just as likely to upend the current state of Western society as it is to change Islamic culture. This is the unrecognized strategic dimension of the War on Terror.

The War on Terror's other face is the struggle for the soul of the West. It can't defend itself without engaging in an internal conflict. When the planes slammed into the World Trade Center it should have been apparent to any thinking person -- and I think it was obvious to honest men on the Left -- that the airplanes were fueled by more than kerosene and Islam. They had arrived on the wings of the entire postwar leftish storm.

Because the domestic stakes of the War on Terror are so high -- even in Israel -- there's a great incentive to temporize and finesse the solution. Western society is really hoping the problem will go away.

Maybe it will. I believe the problem is nonlinear and it may clear up like acne in a teenager after a certain number of years. But then again it may not. It could take a darker, more tragic turn.

The really scary thing about the Wilders case is that nobody is in control. Not even Wilders.

BTW, I hope I've fixed the IE7 problem.

3/03/2008 08:31:00 PM  
Blogger Storm-Rider said...

Failure to defend yourself, your family, your neighbor or your country is an immoral act of cowardice, stupidity or self-loathing. European and American Leftists are a combination of all the above, and they have become, along with America's Islamist enemies, the enemy of liberty its self.

3/03/2008 09:03:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

I'm sorry, but the idea that we should threaten to incinerate cities at random as a deterrent to future terrorist attacks is mindblowing in its stupidity. It's not clever, it's not funny, and it's not helpful. There are only two possible diagnoses for the brain who would spend time on a blog typing that trash: it's close to alcohol poisoning, or it's about three weeks away from finally getting that learner's permit.

I'm all in favor of diabolical, but Jesus Christ guys. The destruction of Muslim cities just because we're angry! doesn't even have the intellectual height to ride the tilt-a-whorl.

3/03/2008 09:35:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Makes ya sorta wonder just how many bullets NATO still has, and just how well-trained their "troops" really are.

And why America is still affiliated with such a panty-waisted group.

3/03/2008 09:40:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/03/2008 09:40:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

threaten to incinerate cities at random as a deterrent

Isn't that the deterrent Nixon and Kissinger were working on with China? To make the Chinese think Tricky Dick was so insane tht he would do ANYthing, and absolutely at random?

Seems to me it worked pretty well with the Chinese, and God knows, our current tactics of being civilized, more or less law abiding, and warmly understanding aren't working.

I could get behind a little insane nuking just for the psychology, never mind the payback anger.

3/03/2008 09:43:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Aristides -- what is your objection to promising massive retaliation?

Certainly the West since 1979 has not found anything that has worked to deter mass casualty terror attacks OR terror attacks aimed at curtailing Western freedoms. Theo Van Gogh, Pym Fortune, Rushdie's translators, publishers, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, etc. Along with Embassy seizures and hostages, torture, mock executions, the like.

There are no rules. Islam itself has established -- there are no rules. No safe havens. No place in the planet safe from Muslim terror.

IMHO it would be humane and save hundreds of millions of lives if not a threat but a demonstration were made. Simply bomb Iran, hitting Regime wealth centers such as Mullah owned hotels, shrines, factories, malls, etc. along with the only gasoline refinery, various infrastructure, etc. Do it without warning. A shock.

Make it clear to all in the Muslim world that the US and Western red lines have been crossed. That the future that NATO fears: some artist or someone says or does something, a Western city goes BOOM! need not happen because everyone in the planet understands -- this far and no further.

Otherwise as Wretchard says, you give up all control over events. You simply drift until a Western city dies (or several) and it's a war of survival. With US, French, perhaps British nuclear arsenals killing about half the World's Muslims.

You're still in Hillaire Belloc land. "Whatever happens, we have got, the Maxim Gun, and they have not."

Well, they've got it now. Time to figure out if we want to surrender to Sharia or will draw obvious red lines to prevent drifting into killing hundreds of millions of people.

3/03/2008 09:46:00 PM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

The NATO Secretary General has a better chance of success pleading with Wilders not to "provoke" the killer bees than he does begging the killer bees not to swarm. Always easier to beg the rational and compassionate to "avoid confrontation" than to expect the easily provoked to control themselves. It is so politically incorrect and culturally insensitive to hold Muslims to some ethnocentric standard of "civilized" behavior.

They're going to find reasons to be enraged and riot and kill regardless of what we do. I've had it with walking on eggs. Let THEM worry about US for a change.

Let Wilders show his movie, though the heavens may fall.

It pains me to be in opposition to CJTF-82 on this. They really are Good Guys, but they're acting globally while thinking locally on Wilders.

3/03/2008 10:07:00 PM  
Blogger Nomenklatura said...

Wretchard is right when he suggests that this is all about an internal Western conflict.

If one Western government were credibly able to announce it would respond to an attack with all of the force at its disposal then Muslims would instantly retreat. The threat would vanish overnight, because Muslims would restrain their own young men out of fear, and instantly give them up when necessary. A small minority are willing to die attacking the West, but most of them aren't.

In this respect we are around that time in the 1930's when Hitler was allowed to reoccupy the Rhineland totally unopposed. He demonstrated that he was resisted by words and nothing else, and much of the world took note and slid either into the neutral column or onto his side. Any serious military response at that time would have blown him away with few casualties, it's quite likely that nothing more than a demonstration would have been necessary, but he was allowed to proceed unchallenged and in response his appetite increased by leaps and bounds. This is where radical Islam finds itself today, restrained by no more common sense than Hitler had, and encouraged onwards by the response of many in the West.

No Western government though is credibly able to announce it would respond with all of the force at its disposal, because it would instantly be subjected to unrelenting attack from a section of its own citizens and global disapproving alliance of other Western and non-Western countries. It seems the only thing the whole world can agree on is that a Western country forthrightly defending its citizens would be a bad thing.

Unfortunately the most likely result appears to be what it was in WWII - a devastating conflict, begun only after many of the West's current advantages were frittered way and at least some Western communities overrun, and in the end in more economic disruption and loss of life than just about any other imaginable scenario.

It seems to take a cataclysmic and near final defeat before Western countries can assemble a national effort to defend themselves. All the lessons of WWII have been forgotten. Perhaps next time around (if we are granted such a thing) we'll take the trouble to build and staff a better education system.

3/03/2008 11:24:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

One interesting aspect of all of this is that we all now have a strategic weapon against the followers of Qutb (whether Sunni or Shi'ite). The next time there's a major terrorist attack, one can let out a barrage of snide remarks about Islam. Or even nastier, one can communicate in a manner that avoids being overtly anti-Islamic while also being carefully designed to hurt the feelings of Islamists. (This can be done, but most people don't know how to do it.)

None of the artwork so far has really been all that shocking, and there are many things that can be depicted about Islam (but haven't) that can shock Muslims to the core. There's an interesting dynamic -- the more Muslims get wildly upset at any perceived provocation and the more often terrorist attacks occur, the more effective artwork becomes as retaliation against everything the Islamists do.

The artwork controversies feel like a cat and mouse routine against a modern day Gestapo.

3/04/2008 12:34:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

I can understand a private art gallery owner's unwillingness to put himself and his business out front as the icon of steadfastness - but that is the military commander's job - it is the only reason his job exists!

Jaap de Hoop Scheffe is a coward. He should resign immediately and put a bullet through his brain.

3/04/2008 12:44:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Ot:
Nuclear Powered Mars Rover

Spirit and Opportunity spent a lot of time grinding holes in rocks that turned out to be not that interesting. MSL can short-circuit that time-consuming process with a high-intensity laser, which can vaporize a spot on the surface from a distance of 30 feet. The closest thing to a science-fiction-style ray gun, the target will give off a gaseous plasma that an instrument called the ChemCam can quickly scan before deciding whether to go in for a closer look.

3/04/2008 04:02:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

High estimates of consanguineous marriages
have been reported in various Arab countries:

54% in Kuwait
29-50% in Egypt
52% in Saudi Arabia
51% in the United Arab Emirates4
50% in Jordan
15% in Lebanon
40% in Yemen

3/04/2008 04:07:00 AM  
Blogger Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

"If the [troops] find themselves in the line of fire because of the film, then I am worried about it and I am expressing that concern,"

Americans, Brits, Aussies, Canadians, and (probably) the Indians would consider it a great opportunity to "find themselves in the line of fire" from these savages. Frankly, so also might the French.

Return fire would be withering and decisive. Double tap the tangos and MoveOn[dot-org].

Most western Europeans are a lost cause. Hungarians, Poles and (big maybe) not so much the Turks. We are already beginning to see the alignments emerging for the next Great War.

The Anglosphere, including India, augmented by Japan will confront Islamism and China, who will be deploying the Muzzies as useful idiots. In that scenario the worst position becomes that of Russia, caught between Islamist expansion from the southwest and Chinese occupation of its far east.

Looking back half a century from now 2001 will probably be seen as the end of the old "postwar" period. In any case we currently live in a period eventually to be designated as "pre-war."

3/04/2008 04:50:00 AM  
Blogger davod said...

Wilders may have put an arrow in the quiver of the ratbags but the NATO Chief has released the arrow.

What a moron. Of course the film may give the ratbags another reason to kill all infidels, not just NATO soldiers, who at least have weapons to defend themselves.

3/04/2008 05:36:00 AM  
Blogger rab said...

The formation of a Geert Wilders Foundation whose purpose is to fund nascent movie makers
around the world might help to put some light on this festering boil.

3/04/2008 05:39:00 AM  
Blogger Storm-Rider said...

"Looking back half a century from now 2001 will probably be seen as the end of the old "postwar" period. In any case we currently live in a period eventually to be designated as "pre-war.""

Well stated.

When hard times came my Appalachian grandfather would say: "lay your ears back." It will soon be time for that.

America will again have to defend her life and liberty through struggle and sacrifice. My dad did so on the island of Saipan in WWII - here we go again.

Land of the free - home of the brave - God bless America.

3/04/2008 05:41:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Do we *have* to go "over there" to defend America's life and liberty ... again?

Especially since "over there" has been so relentlessly anti-American for so long, and so proactively eager to roll over and give up.

3/04/2008 06:13:00 AM  
Blogger Henry said...

"If the [troops] find themselves in the line of fire ..."

That's an odd statement. Aren't the troops supposed to be in the line of fire? What difference does it make why they find themselves there?

3/04/2008 06:36:00 AM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

It is another in a long stretch of clear, sunny mornings. A mild breeze rustles the Opium poppies in fields carpeting the plains beyond the city limits. Savoring the morning, Proud Afghani men sit around their breakfast tables, reading the daily newspaper or sipping cafe au lait while listening to Afghani Public Radio's version of Morning Edition. Suddenly, one is brought up short by an article about Geert Wilders' plans to release a film that disrespects the Qur'an and thereby the entire Muslim Faith.

Growing increasingly exercised as the report continues, the Afghani finally bangs his fist on the table top, making the wives twitch and the children drop their toys.

"Put away the Legos, my children!" He seethes. "No more stinking Dutch-designed educational playthings for My Kids!"

"But Dearest," intones wifey #2, "Legos are from Denmark, not Holland..."

"Oh, well," says the deeply offended and visibly agitated Afghan head of household, "I'm going to have to write a SEVERE PROTEST to the newspaper's Public Editor."

Frowning, he sips again at the aromatic cup.

"And I can tell you, it's NOT going to be PRETTY!"

-----

Of course this is absurd.

I'm trying to imagine how a mob can be inspired to assemble in "the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif to protest against the film."

Presumably it is not because they are voraciously scanning the daily news from around the world, but because they have been shouted at by their local Imam during their visits to the mosque.

Anyhow, it is insane that such a contemptible excuse for a leader should be allowed to stay as administrative head of NATO for another instant.

3/04/2008 08:22:00 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

"If the [troops] find themselves in the line of fire ..."

Henry said: "That's an odd statement...."

I agree, but it seems to me to be a way of avoiding the unmentionable fact of who would be firing at them.

3/04/2008 08:35:00 AM  
Blogger newscaper said...

Nahncee,

About Tricky Dick playing "crazy"...

In 1984 as an AFROTC college student we took a field trip to Wirght-Patterson AFB (the big AF museum & engineering shop). In the Officers Club I was chatting with a retired missileer (Minuteman) who swore that once, in the early 70s they had everything powered up and the keys in the cosnole ready to turn.
Liquor powered BS? Who knows?

I copied a comment I mad in a prior post that seems totally relevant here (don't know how to link to a particular comment):

"Proportionality" is somewhat overrated. While one wants to limit risks of escalation, OTOH too much proportionately only encourages the other side increase the frequency if not the intensity of their attacks because they think they can finesse the blowback.

The occasional "disproportionate" response is the only cure to this.

An example closer to home, sometimes with my son misbehaving serially, I have to go a little "disproportionate" with the discipline. Why? Sometimes he has to be reminded who's boss. The too predictable nature of completely measured proportionality leads him into thinking he can control the situation (and me) by stopping right at the limit of escalation, or trying to lawyer his way out of the situation. Sometimes you ave to be a bit unpredictable to break the impasse.

Apparently, its the same at the international level.

According to the evolutionary psychologists, hairtrigger senses of "honor" in systems w/o a strong rule for all, served a similar purpose -- people behaved about giving offense if they weren't sure at what point they might get a challenge to a duel, or an immediate attack.

UPDATE- being the crazy guy no one dares cross, whether feigned, or for real, is the same strategy in more radical form.

3/04/2008 08:37:00 AM  
Blogger Benj said...

Doubt bloggers here need to hear from more hard liners. But if you do: Here's the best...Mark S. stole an angle (on the issue of sovereignty) from this piece on the Danish Cartoons..
http://www.firstofthemonth.org/archives/2006/02/weapons_of_crit.html

Wretchard's posts here (and his regular attacks on multiculturalism/PC modes) reminded me of a piece by an author who looked back on 9/11 "five years on." I'm cutting and pasting excerpt below. The author, Leroy Searle, shares certain clarities with Wretchard (ah, those unities again) but takes it all in a rather different direction...

In the West it is possible, and indeed inevitable, to treat the Bible “as literature,” and to put the stories of Moses and Abraham, David and Solomon, Job and Jonah, in the same frame of reference with Homer, Virgil, Dante, and Herman Melville, for example. In all these cases, we would say the problem is interpretive, not “religious”: anyone who actually reads all those astonishing stories about Abraham hardly needs to be told that it is worth a very long seminar to unravel what they mean. But what is immediately different about the Qur’an is that the stories are not there in any obvious way, but the lessons to be learned from them are repeated over and over, in an Arabic so melodious and metrically enchanting that the chief concern is to memorize them so as to insure absolute and literal fidelity to what they command.

It is, in this respect, next to impossible to think of the Qur’an “as literature,” but not out of keeping to think of it as literary criticism, of a particularly self-convinced and dogmatic rhetorical character. It is the ultimate form of cultural studies, in the sense that having seen the true shape of virtue, it thereby knows the enemy and how to harry him and exhibits the will to stay exactly on point for as long as it takes. And make no mistake: the Qur’an, so regarded, is not an exercise in the teasing out of ambiguities, but puts Cliff’s Notes to shame for telling you, exactly and emphatically, what is good and what is not, what to do, what to pay attention to, and what to think. So viewed, it is entirely beside the point for educated Westerners to appeal to Islamic moderates because insofar as they are “moderate” (as we understand that word), they are not following Islam. Period.

I

But throughout all of the modern, post-Ottoman contacts with the West, this does not in any way deflect the shrewd recognition that if you want to pull the Western chain, simply demand absolute toleration and respect, in its Western sense, for Islam because it is a religion. It is exactly parallel to the same move in identity politics when one plays the race card, the gender card, the group history card, and so on, to exonerate irresponsible behavior because the curtailment of it would be an infringement of the right to respect and undisturbed self-determination. We should not be surprised that no irony is perceived, in such a framework, when anyone who criticizes, doubts, or even represents the Prophet mimetically, from Danish cartoonists to the Pope in Rome, is straight away singled out for exorcism, torture, or death. Religious toleration as a civil principle means that a Mosque can be built in any Western city—but the very idea that a Catholic church should be built in Mecca or Medina is an abomination.

I must confess that more terrifying to me than the image of those two giant aircraft smashing into the World Trade Center towers is the endless footage of little boys in Madrassas, everywhere in the world of Islam, memorizing the Qur’an, with their heads bobbing in unison under the tutelage of a kindly master. “Qur’an” means to chant; “Islam” means obedience. We, in the middle of the Protestant way, may find ourselves shocked by the ending of Dostoevsky’s “The Grand Inquisitor” in The Brothers Karamazov, when the Messiah, returning, is sent away after he kisses the Inquisitor, just as we may be vexed by the image of the Inquisitor averring with utter conviction that people will give up their freedom for a crust of bread. In our time, we know that it doesn’t even take that: give them the promise of certainty and they will suffer hunger and thirst and embrace death itself with a sense of ecstasy and release.

Memorizing the Qur’an is a way to not read it, to not notice that this is exactly its promise, to be able to tell you what to think, what to feel, what to do and believe, inculcated by the rhythmic power of repetition. When read along with the Al Hadith, the real comfort of the Qur’an lies in knowing already that all your questions have been answered authoritatively somewhere. Among Christian sects, only the Mormons come close to this degree of sublime certainty, that if you do what you are told you will surely inherit not only heaven’s graces, but all the property (and all the women) you could ever dream of desiring.

What happened to Islam on 9/11 is that it came to a possible threshold of critical self-knowledge. What moral image of heaven could survive if it takes an atrocity of this magnitude to prove it? So why should we think that such a shock could be compassed and assimilated in five years when it has taken the West well more than a hundred times that long to learn that lesson, and only one September morning to show its vulnerability? What happened to us was the brutal unmasking of the fact that the values of which we have been so confident, shared by George Bush and virtually all his domestic critics, concerning the rights of individuals, of the pure good of democracy and the value of justice in a civil society, are not in any way subsistent Platonic Ideas, truths or forms, that everyone, pointed in the right direction and using the right methods, will inevitably discover and embrace.

No: moral values are fragile constructions of the imagination that have to be rebuilt in every generation. When they falter and fail, there is no excuse for despair in face of the need for unflinching criticism that might enable us to re-imagine and revitalize them. Even when a President with undoubted sincerity starts off with the mission of taking democracy to Iraq, hoping for a domino effect, actual accountability to what the values of democracy practically entail quickly sloughs away in the escalating need to combat terrorism. If we don’t stop doing this, and more particularly, stop this president from doing it, not only will we not prevail, we will not deserve to prevail.

On both sides, possible thresholds might create the conditions for a rebirth of genuine and generous criticism that truly is reciprocal. But the weight of circumstance and the pressure of history may be against it. It would require a new address to the idea of academic freedom, of the need to protect the venues for free and open examination of conflicting ideas. That it has not yet happened is not merely the result of a flattening out of critical journalism, but within the institutions of the West, political, religious, and academic, a pervasive hardening of battle lines and shoring up of dogmatic ideologies that tend to paralyze the ability to imagine not only anything genuinely new, but to admit where and when and how we have been wrong.

In my own professional field, this exaggerated spirit of dogmatism has taken the ironic form of the codification of the idea of rights and the respect for difference onto what almost amounts to chantable slogans and repeatable commonplaces pertaining to gender, race, and class, conjoined with the relentless critique of the evils of Western capitalism and political hegemony. The hounds of the Right see this as Anti-American, which sets them hankering for a purge of the universities that are just too leftist and full of Democrats—thereby insuring that they too will succumb to being Anti-American in actual fact.

The problem with the progressive critique of American hegemony is not that it is false, but that it runs the daily risk of ignoring how the ideal of social justice takes shape in the first place. It is not as a matter of theory or correct critical doctrine, but a question of imaginative assent to the insights that poems and stories can show us. The idea of social justice may arise anywhere, but it can thrive only in a climate of imaginative freedom, where reading and writing are neither censored nor taken for granted. When I say that all Justice is poetic justice, I do not mean to demean it or ironize it in the least: The core idea of justice waits upon those shocks of recognition in which one is at last, through thoughtful language, able to see the other as oneself. When any theory becomes altogether confident of its own virtue, its virtue is already lost.

III

In a particularly telling case, not only the Western academy but the world of Islam has taken the lesson of Edward Said’s magisterial study, Orientalism, to show the injustice of Western representations of the (middle) East, by indicting the arrogance, the injustice, the thoughtlessness, and the pervasive incivility of such attitudes as are right there on the surface in remarks to Parliament Said quotes at the opening of his book, by Lord Balfour, warning Parliament about the problems to come from the world of Islam.. Said executes a masterful taking down of Balfour’s arrogance, but in the end, he misses the uncomfortable truth Lord Balfour enunciated: that for hundreds of years (and arguably continuing to this very day), the principal if not the only form of institutional governance in the Middle East has been despotism.

We simply have not measured to ourselves, as the world of Islam has not yet measured, the practical and imaginative consequences of the fact that the sacred text, when treated as final and fixed, simply cannot anticipate what history will do. The truth articulated by Lord Balfour is not a criticism or even a slight against Islam. It is but the recognition that the Qur’an does not include any explicit notion of a civil society, focusing instead on the universal community of believers, or Ummah. Like the ideal of Athenian democracy, conceived as impossible beyond the scope of 2000 souls, the social order imagined in the Qur’an is familial, tribal, local; and the extrapolation to a collectivity depends fundamentally on the replication everywhere of the same practices, the same verses in Arabic, giving the same generally sensible and decent advice.

Early on, the fact that the Qur’an itself did not address many forms of social conflict feeds directly into the traditions of the Al-Hadith and related responses concerning what the Prophet is reported to have done, said, or sanctioned, which open up an arena for practical jurisprudence that has served sufficiently to keep the idea of Ummah alive—but never well enough to lead to any sense of sustainable, normal politics. In some ways, the deeper problem is that if all sovereignty is under God’s keeping, the very idea of “normal politics” is sacrilege. The end of the Ottoman Empire and the more or less arbitrary partitioning of the Middle East by Western powers, however, left not even a stable structure of despotisms to attend to the routine functioning of cities, towns and villages. Neither the Qur’an nor the apparatus of Shari’a law have much to say about how to keep the electrical plant operating so that when you turn on the switch the power comes on, or how to structure contracts for selling oil to the infidels or set up a bank to manage the profits, and so on, ad infinitum.

After 9/11, we tend to forget that the initial focus of Al Qaeda was the presence of Western infidels in Saudi Arabia; to which the Saudis responded by giving barrels full of money to support Wahhabism, one of the principal sources of Islamic fundamentalism. Prior to the current war in Iraq, one primary shaping fact of the region was the war between Iraq and Iran, itself rooted in the unresolved and possibly un-resolvable hatred between Sunnis and Shi’ites for which there is still nothing even resembling a plausible solution. So too, the extravagant rage against Israel over the dispossession of the Palestinians takes shape in the shadow of the injunction of the Qur’an against Muslims fighting other Muslims and thereby stalls or complicates any clear analysis of the actual conditions of state power in Egypt, in Syria, in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Sudan, and so on. They deal with us only in the language and the actions of violence, with a rhetoric of hatred that is over the top, but the terrible truth is that they cannot, and have not been able for centuries, to deal with each other. The fact that the invasion of Iraq was not welcomed with wreaths of flowers, hugs and kisses for liberators, could only have surprised a moron, for the broad movement toward strict Islamic governments, from Iran to Indonesia, has unfolded at the perpetual brink of civil wars needing very little to break out into blood baths.

When the planes struck, it may be that the wisest course of action for the United States to take would have been to create a massive program of fellowships and scholarships, for any person seeking a university education, to come to here to study and live in safety, without anyone messing with their religion or anything else, not to study engineering and business and health care, but history, music, poetry, philosophy, to see that it is, in fact, possible to change one’s mind without savaging one’s ideals.

It might still be possible, but it would be a fool’s message to suggest that it will still be possible five years from now, if we stay on the idiotic and uncomprehending course that we have followed for the last five years.

What remains is for us resolutely to call in question that day five years ago, to stop thinking about its meaning for us, as if we were its only or even its primary victims. And as perverse as it may sound to suggest it, we will get to that meaning only when we fully imagine it as a day that called Islam into question, and as such indelibly marks out a huge tragedy for the Islamic peoples of the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia stranded in misery with only a memory of past glory to comfort them. The contract in the Qur’an for the certainty of heaven went down irretrievably with the towers, but we keep on asking ourselves if we are safe, or even safer. That question is the profoundest insult to the people, the men and women and children of Islam, for whom there is absolutely no safety and no hope whatsoever, whether we drop bombs on them or they set booby traps for our troops and blow up each others homes’ and even their holiest shrines.

They desperately need our help, not in the condescending mode of pity or the delusory medium of charity, but open and honest help, mainly in the mode of forbearance, to get through the intellectual and moral devastation that 9/11 represents for them. There is nothing we can do directly to tutor them in how to carry out a reformation that is their only remaining hope, for this is the modernization that simply must be accomplished within Islam, by Islamic thinkers and writers and scholars. We need to listen to them. But it simply cannot be done if they are denied even that modicum of safety reflected in electrical systems that work, buses that run, schools with doors and windows, drinking water that does not kill their children and sicken their cattle, and dwellings sufficient to guard their sleep. Above all, it cannot be done if every night carries the terror that the Americans or other Muslims are going to blow them up.
On the day in question, it became inescapable that any other course of action, in the world of Islam, by Muslims, will surely bring on a conflagration sufficient to destroy everything they have, leaving not just their hope for heaven in the ashes. For us, any further escalation of war that truly will make it global is an action that perhaps only we have the means to pursue, but doing so will destroy everything honorable that we think we are, or have ever hoped to be.

3/04/2008 08:41:00 AM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

By the way, Obama Hussein Tabula-Rassa says his ATHEIST mother met and married a Muslim, who later left her with the child. She then married ANOTHER MUSLIM, who was sufficiently well off to send the young Hussein to a Muslim private school for several years for an education that MUST be presumed to have left him with a viewpoint that at the very least is profoundly prefigured as a Muslim worldview.

Yet the mature and politically astute Obama has somewhere along the line become Christian, despite having a mother described as Atheist, and two male parents who were Muslim.

Go, as they say, figure.

3/04/2008 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

Benj, thanks for the encyclopedic and eloquent quote. It would be nice to know who said that, and where.

But the thing that is finally unsatisfying is that all that eloquence and carefully constructed thinking is overturned somewhere in a sneaky switch. The extended argument neatly describes how the Qur'an substitutes rote memorization for thought, and asserts (I suspect rightly) that the faithful of Islam are the appropriate ones to refashion Islam toward rationality, not we outsiders.

But then the writer reverts to a fundamentally anti-Western hypothesis that we have no right to use violence to defend ourselves or to force Islam from its relentlessly eschatological course.

"What remains is for us resolutely to call in question that day five years ago, to stop thinking about its meaning for us, as if we were its only or even its primary victims."

This is bullshit in every sense of the word --- fecal matter, the residue of incomplete digestion, saturated with festering infectious pathogens, to be stepped around and removed from the path.

I've lived on a ranch, and used cow patties for frisbees in my time.

But I knew enough to wash my hands before dinner.

3/04/2008 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger Benj said...

Maybe I can get the author (Leroy Searle) to respond. It's funny, though. I hear you re mixing up those who were burnt to death with those undergoing crises of faith. Doubt there's a moral equivalence there. But conside, for a sec, what if you've carried on your life with a sense that you were heaven-bound and suddenly got an inkling that it all might, well, ashes? It's not like losing your brother (I hope!), but it's not nothing...As for the Reformation - David Warren (who's anything but a softie when it comes to the Islamic threat) posted an interesting piece about a year ago on the Islamic clerics who basically said the Pope was on the One. I've cut and pasted it below. Oh yeah - one more thought. I remember W.'s response when his pop congratulated him when Saddam was captured. Bush Sr. said (reportedly):"It's a great day for America" - W. answered: "It's a greater day for Iraq." Both were right.

October 24, 2006
Thanks to the Pope, Now We're Talking
By David Warren

An extraordinary thing happened a week ago. Thirty-eight Muslim scholars and chief muftis, from across the Muslim world, jointly replied to the Pope's speech at Regensburg (and more have associated their names with this document, since). It was presented to the Vatican's envoy at Amman; the full text in English is available through the Islamica magazine website, the Catholic website, Chiesa, and elsewhere. I look through the list of signatories, and they are a "who's who" of the learned leaders of a faith that has always aspired to be led by its most learned.

One of the points the Pope has made, about the difficulty of engaging in dialogue with Islam, is to know who speaks authoritatively for it -- as, for instance, the Pope can speak for Catholic Christians. The document answers that question. In effect, the signatories reply, "Here we are." Here, for Muslims as well as Christians to read, is an authoritative contemporary statement by men who DO speak for Islam. Not for "moderate Islam", whatever that could mean, but for the living religion itself. And they speak in forthright contradiction of the welter of idiotic fatwas issuing from Afghan caves, the Sunni Triangle, and the North London Central Mosque.

And the significance of what they said went beyond -- far beyond -- being a formal reply to the Pope's remarks at Regensburg. Truly with reason and restraint, they defend the honour of the Islamic faith as it has come down through 14 centuries of interpretation and experience -- that faith in its breadth, and not in the narrowness of postmodern psychopaths, trying to reconstruct the conditions of 7th-century Arabia.

The signatories renounced and condemned violence against Christians in the name of Islam. They accepted without qualification the Pope's post-Regensburg clarifications, and both accepted and applauded his call for dialogue. They unambiguously denounced and rejected all terrorist interpretations of the word "jihad"; they insisted on the priority of Surah 2:256 of the Koran ("There is no compulsion in religion"), stating explicitly that it is not obviated by later Koranic passages or Hadiths. They went so far as to aver that the declaration of Jesus in Mark 12:29-31 expresses the essence of all Abrahamic religion -- Muslim, Christian, Jewish.

That is Mark's version of the Gospel message that there are "two great commandments". The first is to love God with all thy heart and soul and mind; and the second, to love thy neighbour as thyself. (And please, secular humanists, note the order in which those commandments are always given: first God, then man.)

The signatories agree with the Pope that the dialogue between Christianity and Islam must be founded in reason. They admit, just as Christians admit, there are limitations to human reason, for what is divine goes beyond what humans can know. But what is divine is not incompatible with reason, and within the sphere of human relations, between peoples who do not confess the same faith, reason is the only sound guide.

This does not mean that violence is forsworn in all circumstances. As the Muslim signatories note, Jesus himself violently turned the moneychangers out of the Temple precincts. But reason itself determines when violence is the only appropriate defence against unreason.

Islam is thus, in the words of 38 of its most qualified living exponents, not merely "a religion of peace", but more essentially a religion of love -- of love, from and for the one God we all worship; the one true Lord we know by His works, and who is Love in all His actions. For what is done in hatred cannot be done in God's name, and will always be false religion.

Now take this in. In a moment of increasing worldwide violence and tension, Pope Benedict XVI issued a call, echoing his predecessor John-Paul II, for a real dialogue between religions at the highest level of reason. And authoritative spiritual leaders of the Islamic umma responded favourably to this, and declared, in a fine, noble, and open spirit: "Let the dialogue begin!" This is news of very great significance. It should have been the top headline in every newspaper in the world.

But our media -- West and East -- report this, when at all, as some kind of sidebar on the terror war; as if the Muslim leaders had merely accepted an "apology" from the Pope for having hurt some Muslims' feelings.

This is why we have religions. Because journalism cannot tell us what we need to know.

3/04/2008 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger LarryD said...

nahncee: Do we *have* to go "over there" to defend America's life and liberty ... again?

Color me primitive, but I believe in engaging the enemy before their main forces get here.

I know, a lot of the Europeans aren't worth it, but we won't be doing for them.

3/04/2008 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

I mean, seriously Benj, let's look at the absurd assumptions in this paragraph exerpted from the writer you quoted:

"When the planes struck, it may be that the wisest course of action for the United States to take would have been to create a massive program of fellowships and scholarships, for any person seeking a university education, to come to here to study and live in safety, without anyone messing with their religion or anything else, not to study engineering and business and health care, but history, music, poetry, philosophy, to see that it is, in fact, possible to change one’s mind without savaging one’s ideals."

For such largesse to be possible --- that is, in order for the United States or ANY country in the West to be able to create those fabulous fellowships and safe scholarships for Muslims to come here and reside in safety from the religious police of their own culture --- first, there must be a substantial number of Muslims brave enough openly to commit that apostasy; they would have to make arrangements by applying for grants and fellowships and suchlike.

Imagine the local post office crew chatting among themselves... "Hey, Sayeed. It looks like Omar finally got his reply from the infidel USA Come-to-Amerique-to-dishonor-your-faith Scholarship Program. You wanna call the Apostasy Guardians, or shall I?"

Secondly, and far more importantly, the only way we can offer and sustain such scholarships and fellowships --- for protected study which, let's recall, is intended to fundamentally undermine the absolute control Islam exercises over its faithful --- is by using the full military apparatus of the West to guard against the well-demonstrated fanatical aggression of Jihadist Islam, which has fourteen centuries of well-documented world-wide slaughter as its tradition.

The writer is clearly insane. You can't deal with Jihad by offering it a fer-Pete's-sake undergraduate degree program in Western Studies! In any case in most Left-dominated Western academies that has become a poisonous chowder of post-modern deconstructionist anti-Western Piss-on-the-dead-White-Male-lying-bastards inchoate Stalinist indoctrination tutorials.

Jeez. That just tells'em they're absolutely justified in sawing our necks.

3/04/2008 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger Storm-Rider said...

benj says: "In the West it is possible, and indeed inevitable, to treat the Bible “as literature."

Leftist, atheist tripe. The Bible is the inspired word of God. There are certainly different ways for rational people to interpret the Bible, and there are parts of the Bible that are metaphoric, and there are sections which are relevant only to an age gone by; but I'm afraid Mr. benj you will have to take the other path with your socialist friends on this one - I'm not with you, nor the vast majority of Judeo-Christian America.

benj says: "No: moral values are fragile constructions of the imagination that have to be rebuilt in every generation."

Leftist, atheist tripe. Moral values are irreversable, universal and established by God - you can start with the ten commandments. It will always be wrong to murder for example - this is not a fragile construction of the imagination that will need to be rebuilt in every generation.

benj: you appear to have faith in man only - that will inevitably result in faith in the state as the source of human rights - that leads to Communism or Nazism. Run along benj - keep your atheist faith to yourself.

3/04/2008 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger Barry Meislin said...

File under:

Eurogeist?

3/04/2008 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger Benj said...

Mad Fid - He's "insane" AND "encyclopedic and eloquent"? - A triple threat? Look, Laugh at his outrageous turn (he'd probalby expect that) but tweak his point re the, ah, humanities. Think of all the Docs and engineers out there running with Al Qaeda? Isn't anyone who learns about the, ah, stories of humanity going to have a better chance of resisting Islamist dogma than folks who confuse higher education with technics? (Can't deny that the American U might not be the best source of, ah, humanism but it's pretty clear Searle,has cottoned on the that fact, no?) Maybe you'll agree the war FOR the West must be waged on all fronts!

3/04/2008 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger Benj said...

Stormrider - Are you THAT sure you speak for the "vast majority of Judeo-Christian America?" I speak for myself. That's hard enough. Maybe you should give yourself (and the vast majority of Judeo-Christian America)a break...

Re Humanism - I'm a New Yorker and I can assure you that Divine Justice didn't look to good to us after 9/11. (But then maybe you identified with Falwell?) That sort of certainty produced 9/11. There's a political philosopher named Judith Sklar who boiled this thing down pretty well (as per Kanan Makiya) - She urged us to "put cruelty first" - "To hate cruelty with utmost intensity is perfectly compatible with religiosity..., but to put it first...is a purely human verdict upon human conduct."

If YOU hate cruelty - whoever engages in it - you're on my side (and Jesus's). If not...Limp Along

3/04/2008 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger Storm-Rider said...

Yes, benj, the vast majority of Judeo-Christian America believes in the Bible - and not just as literature.

I'll let the Judeo-Christian Founding Fathers speak for me and the majority of Judeo-Christian America:

".... the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them..."

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness - that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...."

3/04/2008 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

If more people were encouraged to read the Bible as literature then there would likely be more readers of the Bible. That is not a bad thing, and it is certainly not improper in any sense of the word, or the Word, as the case may be.

Christianity as a moral philosophy and as the basis of a just society has been diminished because of the so called modern insistence that all valid beliefs must be based on scientific proofs. Never mind that folks like Dawson could never actually prove that something like love or kindness can be attributed to specific genes. Genetics is scientific sounding, and that apparently can be enough.

We don't require an absolute belief in God to maintain a just society built upon Judeo-Christian values - we need only a public acknowledgment of the possibility of God to validate the social usefulness of an absolute moral standard.

Early Christianity succeeded across cultures because it encouraged any and all intellectual challenges to its truthfulness and met them head on with rational discussion.

3/04/2008 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

Thanks for your patience and resilience. Benj. My outbursts, you must know, are not aimed at you.
Thanks especially for the information on the Islamic scholars and learned ones.

I just wish there were some assurance that the Muslims of the world respect and defer to them.

3/04/2008 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger Benj said...

Mad Fid - No assurances (as you already know). Though I believe there's been some movement here...Amazing how that story re Clerics' response to Pope got no play, no?

THANKS for the shout-out. That's a big UP!

3/04/2008 12:18:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

1942: The Marines on Wake Island radio a defiant request, “Send us more Japs!”

2008: The Islamic Fascists e-mail a non-negotiable demand, “Hire us more Jaaps!”

3/04/2008 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

When the planes struck, it may be that the wisest course of action for the United States to take would have been to create a massive program of fellowships and scholarships, for any person seeking a university education, to come to here to study and live in safety, without anyone messing with their religion or anything else, not to study engineering and business and health care, but history, music, poetry, philosophy, to see that it is, in fact, possible to change one’s mind without savaging one’s ideals.

When are liberals ever going to realize that one cannot buy friends? To expect a massive program of scholarships to warm hearts is at best like expecting to buy love from a courtesan.

It would be worse than useless to invite the next Sayed Kotb into the United States; look at what that foreign student from Hell already did to America after he was shown hospitality in America! If any Muslim anywhere wonders why there is so much hostility toward Islam, he should be told the blame rests squarely on the shoulders of Sayed Kotb and his followers, for they have been so relentless at speading the worst pack of lies imaginable about America. Doesn’t any liberal realize that the man who warned Muslims to learn engineering and business and health care but not history, music, poetry, and philosophy was SAYED KOTB??

And before one acts oh so condescendingly toward those poor pitiful followers of Kotb who have billions of dollars at their disposal, consider that he and his followers set themselves up as a collective deity on this planet, telling all of us that since we can’t supposedly justify our existence we all deserve to be put to death! They murder us for the same reason the Men’s Club from The Stepford Wives murdered women and replaced them with robots – because they can. And to show that they can.

There is no negotiation with the Pharaonic State; it expects total obedience or death. The black mamba doesn’t merely kill for food; it often kills for recreation.

If the Left ever wishes to gain my respect again, it could try following the lead of the Danish Left. Fat chance, though. As it is, I feel horribly betrayed by how the Left reacted to the September 11 attacks and the Afghanistan War (and that was before the Iraq was ever begun!!). That sense of betrayal, of feeling the Left is trying to teach the sheep how frustrated the wolf feels when it hasn’t eaten its supper, has not gone away. If anything, that feeling of betrayal is as fresh now as it ever has been.

3/04/2008 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger Benj said...

The academic left's response to 9/11 and Afghan War was worse than pathetic. 6 years on, though, I'll admit that wound seems less than fresh to me. The various fuck-ups of those in POWER - not relatively marginal "intellectuals" - seem a little more, ah, engaging. Again - think about it when you're feeling self-righteous about Bush-haters. We've got a shot in Iraq BECAUSE the dems beat the repubs like a drum and pushed Rummy OUT!!

3/04/2008 01:09:00 PM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

tell you what, Benj, you think about this: we're only in this mess to begin with because of the Dems.

3/04/2008 01:49:00 PM  
Blogger Benj said...

As per Obama:

"There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq, and there are patriots who supported the war in Iraq.

We are one people…;"

3/04/2008 02:32:00 PM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

.. unlike traitors and useful idiots, who dwell only among the war's opponents.

and please spare us the obama banalities.

3/04/2008 02:36:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

We are one people…;

Kindly do NOT lump me in with Obama's people. I am not a moonbat nor do I suffer from Bush Derangement Syndrome.

One of the things I am very much looking forward to after the next Armageddon / 9/11 Deux (whatever it turns out to be) will be the opportunity to go out hunting Code Pink types, academics, members of the State Department, the Berkeley City Council, and Hollywood's A List.

At that point, I anticipate there may be very few targets left since all of "Obama's people" will have faded into the woodwork, and will either be huddled in their bomb proof basements, or will have seen the light and lost their religion of peaceful multiculturalism.

In any case, I am not of them, and they are most certainly not entities that I would choose to call friends or allies or even, for the most part, sane.

3/04/2008 06:00:00 PM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

NahnCee, unless you are extraordinarily well prepared for TEOTWAWKI I'm afraid you will be too busy surviving to hunt game you cannot eat.

I've heard it said character is who you are in the dark. I sometimes ponder my respect for the law when it breaks down and the forces of order forfeit the field.

I think we need to keep good, fire-proof records to present at their trials before the survivors hang them.

3/04/2008 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

Aristides: I'm all in favor of diabolical, but Jesus Christ guys. The destruction of Muslim cities just because we're angry! doesn't even have the intellectual height to ride the tilt-a-whorl.

Not "just because we're angry" but because, as Whiskey_199 notes: Make it clear to all in the Muslim world that the US and Western red lines have been crossed.

I most certainly DO NOT advocate selecting Muslim cities totally at random. Why bomb some rathole in Algeria when Iran is in dire need of some serious rubble-bouncing? As the ne plus ultra of political Islamic theocracy, Iran's need for payback and regime change goes off of the scale.

NOTE: NOWHERE do I advocate first-use of nuclear weapons. We DO NOT need to use atomics towards this end. It will erode our moral authority and justify terrorist nuclear retaliation. Conventional weapons will attain our goals just fine.

That said, as Whiskey_199 also noted: There are no rules. Islam itself has established -- there are no rules. No safe havens. No place in the planet safe from Muslim terror.

By dint of that, it is incumbent upon us to begin making all Islam feel especially insecure and uncertain. This is why massively disproportionate retaliation is so important. It must be delivered swiftly on the heels of each new terrorist atrocity and directed at the sponsorors of terrorism. This includes Morocco, Lybia, Egypt, Syria, Iran, Yemen, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia plus numerous other Muslim majority nations.

Each new terrorist atrocity should see panic-stricken Muslims quaking in fear waiting for the shoe to drop. Each new massive retaliation should see enraged newly homeless Muslims swarming local mosques and slitting jihadist throats.

This is the only way that Islamic terrrorism will be ended. Only Muslims can sort out who is and is not a jihadi. Only Islam bears the obligation to clean its own house. All we are obliged to do is force Islam's hand and assure our own survival.

Nomenklatura: If one Western government were credibly able to announce it would respond to an attack with all of the force at its disposal then Muslims would instantly retreat. The threat would vanish overnight, because Muslims would restrain their own young men out of fear, and instantly give them up when necessary. A small minority are willing to die attacking the West, but most of them aren't.
[Emphasis Added]

This is the BOTTOM LINE. Somebody please tell what other way there is of forcing Islam to police itself, not to mention clean its own house. Quite clearly the penalties have been nowhere enough to bring this about as of yet.

The time has come to ratchet up the cost of doing business for the terrorists. Islam must understand that its continued existence relies upon abandoning violent jihad against the Infidel or it will be allowed to sample such a policy of all out aggression for itself.

Again, as Whiskey_199 noted: it would be humane and save hundreds of millions of lives if not a threat but a demonstration were made.

Much like the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the lives saved will far outweigh those lost. Before this is over, it is a certainty that several million Muslims will die. Either as an opening volley of Total War to extinction against the Muslim world or as a swift and decisive demonstration of Western resolve to nip Islamic jihad in the bud. Which would you rather see?

Benj: (Quoting David Warren) The signatories renounced and condemned violence against Christians in the name of Islam. They accepted without qualification the Pope's post-Regensburg clarifications, and both accepted and applauded his call for dialogue. They unambiguously denounced and rejected all terrorist interpretations of the word "jihad"; they insisted on the priority of Surah 2:256 of the Koran ("There is no compulsion in religion"), stating explicitly that it is not obviated by later Koranic passages or Hadiths. They went so far as to aver that the declaration of Jesus in Mark 12:29-31 expresses the essence of all Abrahamic religion -- Muslim, Christian, Jewish.

What reason is there to believe these "38 Islamic Scholars"? Ever since Islam's inception "dialogue" has meant one thing: HUDNA.

What's more, all peaceful gestures notwithstanding, in this reply to Benedict do you see any renunciation of taqiyya or kitman? No? Guess why?

To condemn taqiyya and kitman would make these 38 clerics BLASPHEMERS. For the EXACT SAME REASON, we have ABSOLUTELY NO WAY of trusting a single letter or comma contained in that reply. It is MEANINGLESS because Islamic doctrine completely neutralizes even the most sincere and apparently genuine effort at conciliation.

Only when such clerics predicate their attempts to coexist with FLAT-OUT criticism of Islamically sanctioned perfidy as their foundation will there be even the most remote possibility of believing them.

Myself, I am am beyond all possibility of believing ANYTHING that issues forth from Islam. It is far too evil and willing to indulge in the very worst sort of atrocities for whatever reason strikes its fancy. Islam must be dismantled and left to swirl in the toilet of history's failed ideologies.

3/04/2008 07:38:00 PM  
Blogger j- said...

*I'm sorry, but the idea that we should threaten to incinerate cities at random as a deterrent to future terrorist attacks is mindblowing in its stupidity. It's not clever, it's not funny, and it's not helpful. There are only two possible diagnoses for the brain who would spend time on a blog typing that trash: it's close to alcohol poisoning, or it's about three weeks away from finally getting that learner's permit.*

What pleasant terms do you use to describe the brains of those who have given us our current and recent policies vis-a-vis terrorists and their supporters?

What terrorists rely on is, well, terror. You don't know when or where they will strike, thus you live in fear of them. You don't think they're successful at all? Just look around you. Many in the West idiotically ask "What did we do to anger them? What can we do to make them stop?"

What's the logical response? If it works for them, it'll work for us. Be even more terrible! The beauty of drawing cities out of a hat is its randomness!

*Why bomb some rathole in Algeria when Iran is in dire need of some serious rubble-bouncing? *

You wouldn't bomb some "rathole", you'd bomb the CAPITOL. Algeria would be one of the targets because its full of terrorists and terror supporters and such a target would certainly inflame some debates and passions in the Muslim world, wouldn't it?

*NOTE: NOWHERE do I advocate first-use of nuclear weapons. We DO NOT need to use atomics towards this end. It will erode our moral authority and justify terrorist nuclear retaliation. Conventional weapons will attain our goals just fine.*

Muslim terrorists have upped the ante from suicide-belts to jet planes as missiles. Why should we not respond with a similar rise in violence? One cruise missile doesn't work anymore and the Left would scream bloody murder the minute one bomber pilot was taken captive, so boomers it is.

3/05/2008 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger Storm-Rider said...

"Muslim terrorists have upped the ante from suicide-belts to jet planes as missiles. Why should we not respond with a similar rise in violence? One cruise missile doesn't work anymore and the Left would scream bloody murder the minute one bomber pilot was taken captive, so boomers it is."

Yes, boomers it is! The Empire of Japan upped the ante on American Liberty on December 7, 1941, and we re-upped the ante at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. The precedent for nuclear first strike in self-defense was set in 1945. Let the enemies of our God-given Liberty live in terror.

3/06/2008 01:52:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

j-: You wouldn't bomb some "rathole", you'd bomb the CAPITOL.

And your point is?

Muslim terrorists have upped the ante from suicide-belts to jet planes as missiles. Why should we not respond with a similar rise in violence?

I think carpet-bombing an entire MMM (Major Muslim Metropolis) represents a sufficient escalation in reprisal to get our point across.

Please present a concise argument for using nuclear weapons when none are needed. Make sure your explanation accounts for the random distribution of fallout and other radioactive debris into surrounding non-Muslim countries.

Storm-Rider: The precedent for nuclear first strike in self-defense was set in 1945. Let the enemies of our God-given Liberty live in terror.

While your sentiments are entirely understandable, conventional weapons will just as easily instill uncertainty and panic in our Muslim enemies plus they will do so with far fewer complications. Additionally, not using nuclear weapons avoids numerous other problems in terms of contaminating oil producing regions that might otherwise crash the world economy and niggling little issues like that.

Nuclear weapons need to be retained as a hole card just in case any doubters remain. To use them now would be like bringing your queen into play in the very opening moves of a chess game.

3/06/2008 06:30:00 PM  
Blogger Storm-Rider said...

Good points Zenster.

I'm not saying we need to use them now, I'm just making the case that at some point it is moral to use them in self-defense, as was the case in WWII. It is in fact immoral not to use nuclear weapons under some circumstances - as was the case in WWII.

Had we not bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we and the Japanese would have faced the greatest military/civilian debacle in history. Conventional warfare for the invasion of the main Japanese islands would have resulted in millions killed and tens of millions maimed and injured.

Also, remember that Japan was hard at work developing biological weapons of mass destruction which they would not have hesitated to use on our military forces and on our cities at home. Our use of nuclear weapons brought to an end their WMD program and was an act of just war.

I'll also admit that this subject is personal to me - after surviving the battle of Saipan, my father was stationed on Tinian where the Enola Gay was based and where those missions originated. He would have been in on the invasion of Japan, and by statistical reckoning, he would have likely been killed there in conventional combat.

3/06/2008 07:33:00 PM  

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