Thursday, February 07, 2008

Stereo vision

The dismissal of Major Stephen Coughlin from his position as a specialist on Islamic law and Islamist extremism to the Joint Staff became a hot topic on the blogosphere. His dismissal was blamed on his criticism of the official strategy that Islam was the 'religion of peace' and seen by some as censorship. Coughlin has since been reinstated, a positive development, not because it necessarily endorses Major Coughlin views but because it makes the issues he raises officially thinkable. To see why let's go back to Coughlin's unclassified thesis at National Defense Intelligence College, which says "it is the conclusion of this thesis that Islamic law forms the doctrinal basis for the jihadi threat that can only be understood through an unconstrained review of the Islamic law of jihad."

Coughlin repeatedly hammers on one theme: that Islam includes a body of law -- law as valid as any law can be -- that binds all faithful Muslims to a program of conquest and to resist all attempts to roll it back. He makes a scholarly effort to establish this obligation is rooted in mainstream, not variant Islam. He argues that current US doctrine refuses to incorporate this fact, preferring to assume that Islam itself is neutral in the War on Terror when this assumption cannot be supported by any reasonable reading of the texts.

Whether or not an explicit attitude towards Islamic doctrine has any practical effect on fighting Islamic terrorism is a question has been discussed in earlier posts. But the question of how to think about the issues Coughlin raises creates thorny issues. While it is certainly conceivable that Islam itself is hostile to Western civilization any official acknowledgment of the possibility would be politically explosive. So Coughlin's questions are examined in a parallel process. The concept, familiar to programmers, happens when multiple threads with different code executes on the same data. In this case official strategy is "constrained" -- as Coughlin puts it -- to process Islamic doctrines with a 'politically correct' algorithm. Meanwhile the same texts are examined around the water coolers, the Internet and behind unofficial closed door sessions in Western society in an unconstrained way. Two modes of thinking on the subject of Islam execute simultaneously with potentially undesirable results.

Parallel processing, following the analogy, has known pitfalls. Their outputs may clash when they attempt to merge. Or the conclusion of one thread pre-empts the other by finishing ahead, the so-called 'race condition'.

Whether or not Coughlin is substantively correct, his dismissal would have driven one thread underground, possibly producing the Western equivalent of taqiyya, an Islamic doctrine in which Muslims are allowed to lie in the interests of expediency. A Western taqiyya might produce a situation where Western politicians said one thing while their publics tacitly thought another. That would produce a climate of total deceit which would doom rather than facilitate any reconciliation.

Despite Coughlin's reinstatement the condition of mutual taqiyya may still be substantially in effect. The ideas contained in his thesis have achieved wide currency on Internet forums and similar venues, where they constitute a parallel thread of their own. Liberal society has probably tried to subconsciously manage this process through speech codes, "hate crime" legislation and similar mechanisms. But it is not a very good method and society will probably acquire a split-level character to some extent.

All the same, Coughlin's return to the Pentagon means his ideas can be examined openly in the free market of ideas. That is much healthier than banning cartoons or using Human Rights Commissions to persecute journalists who examine these issues. A world which forbids the clash of ideas makes a clash of men much more likely.


Blogger Unknown said...

Misguided Pentagon officials, including Mr. Islam and Mr. England, have initiated an aggressive "outreach" program to U.S. Muslim groups that critics say is lending credibility to what has been identified as a budding support network for Islamist extremists, including front groups for the radical Muslim Brotherhood. The money quote from the Washington Times article.

The tenets of Major Coughlin's paper on the self destructiveness of Western policy makers failure to see jihad for what it is are not news to anybody who has taken the time to read a chronological Koran and the biographies of Muhammed. What is surprising, and continues to surprise, is the hostility of jihad's victims to confronting Islam's plainly stated supremacist ideological commands.

If you are a regular run-of-the-mill Westerner then to every Muslim of the Koran and the Haidith your fate is conversion, apartheid, or death. No exceptions. You can deny it but your denial does not deter for one second the planning of the folks at the Muslim Brotherhood.

Maybe someday Islam will split into Medinan Islam (spiritual) and Meccan Islam (hostile) but it's not the obligation of the West to be willing victims while we wait around for this unlikely possibility.

2/07/2008 06:11:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

To me, even more important than the dismissal of Coughlin (and subsequent reinstatement) is the appearance of what appears to be a radical Muslim in the highest seats of DC power, with the ear and trust of an important policy maker in an institution tht is supposed to be PROTECTING me.

Who is this Islam person, who are the people vouching for him, and how can we prevent people like him from taking over our government, bypassing the election process?

2/07/2008 06:30:00 AM  
Blogger buck smith said...

In some ways the point Mr. Coughlin argues is irrelevant. Islamiic jurist surely have significant latitude in interpretation as Western ones do. So it is a choice. And if they hew to the path Mr. Coughlin describes, it will likely result in the destruction of Islam. As explained by our host in the Three Conjectures.

2/07/2008 06:43:00 AM  
Blogger slimslowslider said...

"who are the people vouching for him"

Van Vann Diepen & Thomas Fingar (former german translator for the army), the iran enabling NIE authors, may be amoung the whos

2/07/2008 07:02:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Islamic jurist surely have significant latitude in interpretation as Western ones do. So it is a choice.

That is the prevalent attitude among policy makers that Coughlin's paper knocks down. Jihad is an absolute Islamic obligation to convert, enslave, or kill non-believers when the opportunity exists to do so. It is part of Islam's DNA and cannot be excised without creating something other than Islam.

Ratzinger addressed the same attitude at Regensburg when he challenged Western intellectuals with the Socratic admonition that they should consider that they don't know as much as they think they do. Civilizations are built on ideas. When Western policy makers act on the assumption that everybody else in the world (Islam) thinks the same way they do about God, justice, and civil life they are abrogating their historical obligations.

2/07/2008 07:35:00 AM  
Blogger MEANA55 said...

I don't much like the multithreading join analogy because the Political Correctness "thread" is not so much a thread as it is an invariant. PC doesn't do anything except establish limits that declare vast swaths to be out-of-bounds. In doing so, researchers are prohibited from following evidence into these forbidden zones.

Speaking of forbidden zones, my take is that Mister Islam cannot let Major Coughlin speculate on why the human doll was built to say, "mama," because that line of inquiry will undermine the dogma that Mister Islam knows to be false. My big question: In light of Major Coughlin's reinstatement, how are they going to dynamite the caves now?

2/07/2008 07:39:00 AM  
Blogger jj mollo said...

The theory that Islam is locked into Jihad is refuted by the extant variation of Islam. Moreover, jihad is not one of the Five Pillars. Sufism, for instance, emphasizes spiritual aspects and considers warfare to be the "lesser jihad". Likewise, warfare cannot legitimately be waged between Islamic countries, and yet it has been. There is flexibility, and the ability of inspired believers to find new dimensions of flexibility is almost limitless. Note also that many other religions are equally adamant about the need for spreading the faith. Evangelism can be very insistent, and religious people of all stripes are seldom loathe to prescribe government policy advancing their causes.

2/07/2008 07:56:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Coughlin's paper is a scholarly work. As such it is well documented and heavily footnoted with reputable Islamic sources to support the thesis that violent jihad is an obligation of all Muslims.

If you want to refute his argument then please do so, but how about enough intellectual honesty to address the issues which have been raised instead of analogizing into absurdity.

2/07/2008 08:18:00 AM  
Blogger Eric Norris said...

"While it is certainly conceivable that Islam itself is hostile to Western civilization any official acknowledgment of the possibility would be politically explosive."

This is where we are exactly.

If we suppose that Islam, as an ideology, is inimical to Western Civilization, then our options for dealing with Islam suddenly become severely limited. Distinctions between forms of Islam become cloudy. Borders dissolve. The public perceives a threat. We make arrangements to deal with that threat. And we ask ourselves: what do we do to protect ourselves—short of total war?

In the meantime, the press continues its paternal posturing as our protector. Perhaps the Pentagon public affairs office is plagued by doubts. The professor bends over whenever he can. The politician frowns upon unpleasant facts. And people of good conscience continue to love their neighbors as themselves—even more than themselves. And so the thinking goes, as long as we can afford the luxury of thought.

As long as nobody we know gets hurt.

2/07/2008 08:55:00 AM  
Blogger Storm-Rider said...

Islam should be viewed like the nutrition pyramid. At the top is jihad holy war; which at this time in history, represents asymmetrical offensive warfare, terrorism and assissination. In the middle is Totalitarian Sharia Law which is supported by the political, legal and religious leaders in Islamic countries, and whose aim to impose Sharia on all non-Muslim countries. At the broad base are average Muslims, most of whom I believe only wish to live their lives, raise their children and worship in the Islamic way.

President Bush declared war on the top of the pyramid of Islam, but not the middle. Mr. Coughlin realizes that we are also at war with Sharia Law; which, of course, is an integral part of Islam. Mr. Couglin is right, and President Bush is wrong. The survival of American Liberty will require the destruction of the top two layers of Islam - the top by military means, and the middle by mostly political action.

When this is accomplished our Liberty will be secured, and the Muslim masses will be freed from the tyranny which hangs over them; and they can then have their needed reformation and enter the twenty-first century with the rest of us.

2/07/2008 09:18:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Islamic law (Sharia) is the constitutional basis of all legal authority in 50+ Muslim countries. There is no such thing as "secular" law that is outside Sharia. Islamic law therefore is a real body of law, with statutes, courts, judges, and prosecutors.

The Egyptian Constitution, for example, states that Islamic law is the principle source of Egyptian Consitutional law and that the specific interpretation of any provision of that law in the Umdat-al-Salik is dispositive of the issue. No Egyptian court can overrule it.

"When Allah and His messenger have decided a matter, no believer, male or female, has a choice in the affair." (Qur'an 33:36). When a Muslim leaves Islam the apostasy is punishable by death under the civil code because because Allah and his messenger have decided that matter. How can the unchangeable lack of personal religious belief in any Muslim country ever be squared with any declaration of human rights?

How does Islam "change" when it is codified into 51 constitutions that cannot be amended? Are the implications of Islam and jihad too difficult to discuss in the public square? Do we all just shut up and hope for the best when President Obama invites the mullahs into the tent?

2/07/2008 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 02/07/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the check back often.

2/07/2008 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Buck smith said:

"In some ways the point Mr. Coughlin argues is irrelevant. Islamiic jurist surely have significant latitude in interpretation as Western ones do."

I agree with Buck Smith. It's my understanding that Islamic Law like the Koran is an ambiguous mish-mash. Pious
Moslems can interpret what ever they want from it depending upon their own agendas.

2/07/2008 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

"When Allah and His messenger have decided a matter, no believer, male or female, has a choice in the affair." (Qur'an 33:36).

Is there anything especially difficult about this sentence? There is no personal interpretation.

Maybe I'm being a horse's ass about this but if people are too lazy to do their own research about Islam they should just shut up.

Here's the link to Coughlin's paper.

2/07/2008 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Peter quoted the following from the Qur'an:

"When Allah and His messenger have decided a matter, no believer, male or female, has a choice in the affair." (Qur'an 33:36).

Peter then said:

"Is there anything especially difficult about this sentence?"

Okay, that's nice. Here's a quotation from the Qur'an that I selected at random:

"[18.21] And thus did We make (men) to get knowledge of them that they might know that Allah's promise is true and that as for the hour there is no doubt about it. When they disputed among themselves about their affair and said: Erect an edifice over them-- their Lord best knows them. Those who prevailed in their affair said: We will certainly raise a masjid over them.
[18.22] (Some) say: (They are) three, the fourth of them being their dog; and (others) say: Five, the sixth of them being their dog, making conjectures at what is unknown; and (others yet) say: Seven, and the eighth of them is their dog. Say: My Lord best knows their number, none knows them but a few; therefore contend not in the matter of them but with an outward contention, and do not question concerning them any of them."

Is there anything especially difficult about this text?

Yeah! I don't have a clue about what was written. Maybe something about "talking dogs". The whole damned Qur'an reads like this.

2/07/2008 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger Storm-Rider said...

I believe all nations, not just Islamic nations, in order to establish and secure Liberty will need to incorporate these self-evident truths into their constitutions and into the consciousness of their citizens:

1. All people are created equal.

2. All people are endowed by the Creator with the unrevokable rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness through their constructive labor.

3. Legitimate government may not grant these rights, only secure them.

4. Legitimate government is of the people, by the people and for the people; and can only have its powers through the consent of the people.

5. It is not only the right, but the duty for the people to overthrow unjust and tyrannical government.

2/07/2008 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger Fred said...

"eggplant" quoted Surah 18:21-22 and asked the question as to what it means. Islamic scholars clarify it by going to the ahadith in order to determine the context of Allah's words, and also to see if the surah and verse are embedded in a context of scripture surrounding it.

Yes, eggplant, the Qur'an is a very difficult book to read, but it still does not absolve the intellectual sloth and egotism of our elites.

I have found peter's comments and zenster's comments about Islam on this site to be right on the money. And it is not just because they are in accord with my views. Again, let me stress the fact that if one has enough motivation one could easily begin reading some of the scholarly works of Spencer, Ye'or, and Bostom and come away with a very good idea of what this monster is like. Then, I would recommend tackling the Qur'an, but be prepared for a slow slog. You will need to read it slowly and only when you have energy, because of the archaic style and lack of narrative structure and focus. I have stumbled on to some essays which describe the likely process by which the Qur'an was assembled and it is no wonder that it is hard to make any kind of linear sense of it. In addition to which one will be stunned by the fraudulence of its claims of sacralization.

I am still reading Coughlin's thesis. It is quite long and I have other irons in the fire to deal with as well. I think Maj. Coughlin is also right on the money. If there are those who consider him amateurish and using his soapbox for feeding bias into the deliberations of policymaking, it is because they have not undertaken the time-consuming and laborious task of getting to know the subject. So, they spin a web of incredible confabulations of a seemingly elegant nature to cover up their intellectual sloth.

I am especially hard, because of my Jesuit background, on religious authorities here in the West who neglect to do this hard, but necessary work. Given that we Christians and Jews are right in jihad's crosshairs, I would think that institutions like the Society of Jesus would have men suited to this task. However, it is discouraging to see how Saudi money has bought off institutions like Georgetown University, and the same institution employing a whore of a rascal like John Esposito, whose wahabbist sympathies are glossed over when the White House and the government consult with him in matters of Islam.

I have wondered what, in the early eighties, would have been Hesham Islam's handlers' motivations for slipping him inside our country and into our military. His early work in the Navy was as a technician on a nuclear powered sub. And then I think: well, the Soviets were patrons of Baathist Iraq. Could he have been a Baath plant to get information for the Soviets? Information they would obtain in order to pay the Soviets for the largesse in weapons, materials, and training that the Saddam regime obtained from the Soviet Union. Sound far-fetched? Maybe, but it sure would be an elaborate and brilliant way to pay the Russians.

And now he is apparently well-connected in The Brotherhood's organizational network. The FBI has stated that Mr. Islam's connections and activities stink to high heaven, and they wonder what could the motives of Mr. Gordon England be. And why would the Bush administration want to see this malfeasance covered up? In reinstating Mr. Coughlin, what are the conditions of his reinstatement? Will he be truly free to pursue his work wherever it leads, or will be on a sort of "probation" subject to the close scrutiny of said spy and his doltish boss? And for some strange reason they don't seem to be too concerned that Mr. Islam is likely a spy for the enemy.

This whole affair, in my mind, raises more questions than it answers.

2/07/2008 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

While it is certainly conceivable that Islam itself is hostile to Western civilization any official acknowledgment of the possibility would be politically explosive.

Whereas any denial of this fact is existentially lethal.

Despite Coughlin's reinstatement the condition of mutual taqiyya may still be substantially in effect.

Considering that while taqiyya is wholly inimical to Western styles of government, it remains a millennia-old institution of Islamic doctrine. Which side stands to benefit most from a "condition of mutual taqiyya"?

Furthermore, the three central pillars of Islamic doctrine are non-negotiable. Namely, jihad, shari'a law and the global caliphate. Yet, it is precisely these three features that are so toxic to the West.

Given that Islam practices taqiyya, how shall the West negotiate a path that circumvents these three devastating Islamic tenets while maintaining its own security?

In short, how is the West supposed to negotaiate over totally non-negotiable Islamic issues even as our opponents utilize taqiyya to their best advantage?

Regardless of how "politically explosive" it may be, the fact remains that "Islam itself is hostile to Western civilization" and no amount of lip service or window dressing will change that. In fact, paying lip service to any supposed compatibility between Islam and the West is just as deadly as trying to dress up Islam as the Religion of Peace. [spit]

One can only hope that Coughlin's reinstatement signals an end to curerent government policy towards Islam, which consists of jamming fingers in its ears and shouting "la, la, la, I can't hear you!"

JJ Mollo: The theory that Islam is locked into Jihad is refuted by the extant variation of Islam. Moreover, jihad is not one of the Five Pillars. Sufism, for instance, emphasizes spiritual aspects and considers warfare to be the "lesser jihad".

SO WHAT?!? Sufism is a negligible portion of Muslims, regardless of whatever stripe they may be. Some 85% of Muslims are Sunni and a huge percentage of those Sunnis are Wahhabist and seek the West's destruction.

This leaves a significant portion of Islam most definitely "locked into Jihad" and in severe need of corrective action.

Storm-Rider: The survival of American Liberty will require the destruction of the top two layers of Islam - the top by military means, and the middle by mostly political action.

Hokay, so how do you propose to scrape away that middle layer of "Totalitarian Sharia Law" when it is almost inextricably intertwined with the bottom layer of average Muslims whom you seem to propose that we should avoid harming?

The top layer? Most definitely kill them right away. The sooner, the better. However, once you proceed any further, much of your target base is intentionally dispersed within the general Islamic community where it both seeks and is given protection by a large number of Muslims.

This is why the West is confronted with the need to apply collective punishment. Before protesting such a notion, please remember that—through terrorism and dhimmitude—Islam epitomizes collective punishment.

Neutralizing that middle tier of shari'a compliant Muslims and shari'a law enforcers is not the West's responsibility. Islam must clean its own house and in no way is it anywhere close to even beginning this arduous and demanding task. Furthermore, the exact opposite is true. As a cornerstone of Islam, shari'a cannot be removed without rendering Islam unrecognizable. Thus, Islam has resisted all attempts at reconfiguration from both within and without. Shutting the door to ijtihad nearly one millennia ago is symptomatic of Islam's calcified nature.

All of this vectors back to the central issue of Islam's fundamental incompatibility with Western liberty. This fact is not just "politically explosive" but physically explosive in how Islam seeks to wage terrorist nuclear attacks against the West.

The fact that unbelievers have not begun to wage total war against Islam in no way alters the fact that Islam has always maintained a policy of total war against the West. It is only a matter for we Infidels to understand this and act upon that knowledge.

Peter: How can the unchangeable lack of personal religious belief in any Muslim country ever be squared with any declaration of human rights?

Quite simply, IT CANNOT.

Islam is one massive violation of human rights and the West's adamant refusal to recognize this fact represents the very WORST sort of hypocrisy. This is the true core of Western taqiyya, our ability to lie to ourselves. It is a far more devastating and lethal dysfunction than Islamic taqiyya in that it undermines our own ability to fight the enemy. Couple this to Islam's use of taqiyya against us even as we poison our own minds with willful lies and we have brewed ourselves a bottomless cup of hemlock.

We must begin using collective punishment as a way of forcing Islam to clean its own house. Increasing numbers of Muslims must die with each new terror attack until they seek out and kill the jihadists in their midst. Massively disproportionate reprisals must continue until Islam purifies itself or is exterminated. There is no middle ground.

2/07/2008 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

The thrust of Coughlin's paper - and the likely reason that the Pentagon bureaucracy was upset with him - is his assertion that policy towards Muslim countries should account for the influence of Islamic doctrine in Muslim culture and on Muslim decision making. Policy made within a Western contextualization that does not account for Islamic influence is more likely than not to be ineffective and generate unintended consequences.

Coughlin has written a comprehensive paper that is well researched, well documented, and heavily footnoted so that anybody who cares to further his research or challenge his conclusions can do so in an equally scholarly manner.

The paper explains in great detail the meaning of jihad within Islamic law and the role of Islamic law in Muslim society. Coughlin explains which parts of Islamic law are subject to interpretation and how the process must be conducted, and which are forever fixed and immutable (Qur'an and Haidith). He also explains how Medina and Mecca contradictions in the Qur'an have been resolved. The last is very important if you want to know when some Islamic apologist is lying and pulling your chain.

For anybody interested in a serious discussion about how the West should interact with Islam, a discussion that has been described as the most important of our time, a valuable resource is available. I hope the adults read it and provide their comments in subsequent discussions.

2/07/2008 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

Fred: one will be stunned by the fraudulence of its claims of sacralization

Supremely well put, Fred. Islam's shameless ability to cloak itself with religious authority almost goes beyond comprehension. Only by allocating it the most cynical and base motives does Islam's internal logic obtain any semblance of structure. So much of Islamic doctrine is in direct opposition to RATIONAL theistic mentation that its presumption to religious status is nothing short of a slap-in-the-face to all other benevolent faiths.

Make no mistake that other religions once enforced by violence that their's alone was the One True God. Save Islam, all of them have long since renounced such an unworthy installation of faith. Islam alone continues to seek forceful conversion despite the utter abhorence of such a notion to much of this world's Infidel population.

There is little irony in how taqiyya-practicing Islam encourages false adoption of its faith in those it subjugates by force. There is a core of duplicity resident in those who impose by force and whom are imposed upon by force that at once makes Islam both a lie and farce.

In its purblind and violent proselytizing, Islam neither perceives nor cares what an abject mockery is made of its message or image. Under less forceful circumstances—like that of Sun Myung Moon's self-proclaimed messianic status—such sanctimonious blathering is merely amusing or offensive. When thrust upon entire populations at sword-point it becomes—not just repulsively disgusting—but worthy of scorn and violent opposition.

2/07/2008 01:13:00 PM  
Blogger Clioman said...

There are no moderate muslims...only backsliders. We reply upon their impiety at our peril.

2/07/2008 05:32:00 PM  
Blogger Whiskey said...

I agree with Zenster and would add that the threat of acknowledging that Islam = Jihad is to PC.

PC empowers a lot of people who would be otherwise useless "priests" such as humanities professors, various "activists" and other hangers-on of the leftist stripe having their hand in the public till in one form or another.

Saying what Islam is, really would threaten the "priests" and they would rather die by the sword than be poor.

That's the entire history of Leftism right there.

Of course, if we do acknowledge it other than making various Leftists priests poor, Wretchard, there is not much bad.

The natural policy is to whack Muslims. Early and often whenever they get out of hand. Which is, most of the time. Keep having "the Maxim gun" with technological advantages.

2/07/2008 07:57:00 PM  
Blogger Pax Federatica said...

Zenster: Increasing numbers of Muslims must die with each new terror attack until they seek out and kill the jihadists in their midst. Massively disproportionate reprisals must continue until Islam purifies itself or is exterminated. There is no middle ground.

This points up one key difference between Islam and most other major religions. Most faiths seek to balance people's well-being in this life with their place in the afterlife. Not so with mainstream Islam - it's all about getting your ticket to paradise, the 72 virgins and all that. The quality or duration of your Earthly life is pretty much irrelevant. Therefore, to Islam's "true believers", Zenster's drastic approach would give them no incentive whatsoever to mend their ways. But it would show us, once and for all, how many rank-and-file Muslims really are "true believers". Not all that many, I suspect.

2/07/2008 08:16:00 PM  
Blogger OmegaPaladin said...

It is quite easy to sit at your computer and state that Islam is the true threat and the enemy. It's entirely another thing when you rely on the middle east for your oil and have troops working closely with Muslims. What would we be doing in Iraq under this interpretation anyway.

Sharia law is not compatible with freedom - only a fool would question this. Theocratic dictatorship is its end goal, and we should oppose wherever we can.

2/08/2008 12:37:00 AM  
Blogger TM Lutas said...

Neither the original article nor any of the commentary has grasped the fundamental horns of the dilemma. Major Coughlin might have but I'm doubtful. Not having plowed through his entire thesis, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt for now.

The USA rests on the bedrock premise that we will not go to religious war, ever. Once we do, the inexorable logic of the common law system which highly values precedent will implode the 200+ year agreement of religious tolerance. We will tear ourselves apart a hundred times worse than Bosnia.

The battle that so many point to may very well be necessary but the US, as a political entity, is fundamentally unsuited to leading it. All it can do is impose its military will and empower those who are willing and capable of doing it to do it in relative safety. The US' role of "biggest tribe" in Iraq, providing a force that none dare fully take on is only a prequel for the same role throughout the world.

The papal demand for reciprocity, mosques in our lands in exchange for churches in yours is not an unimportant side battle. It is a more central front than Iraq in the long war to end this threat so well described here.

If people can abandon Islam, they will. If tribes (first world tribes as well as third world ones) can accept christian along with muslim members as "us", Islam is finished.

The US military will play a vital role, but only one that will limit the violence of the muslim reaction to christian evangelization. Many of our losses in this world will not be military but clerical. We are going to have to accept that or trade in the 1st amendment and with it the US system.

The politicians are not such fools as that, at least the present crowd. They're tap dancing and playing for time in order to avoid the end of the republic. In that I wish them much success.

2/15/2008 09:53:00 PM  

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