Thursday, October 19, 2006

Glossolalia

I was paging through the TigerHawk site the other day when I stumbled upon a very interesting post talking about the Global War on Terror in a way that made me feel that the author truly understood the issues. There was no mention of Vietnam, so it couldn't be a Democrat, and no weasel words about the President's mistakes, so obviously it couldn't be a Republican running for office:

... Why is it so hard to see the nature of this war?

It should not be difficult to see clearly who our enemies are. Every major Islamic fascist leader has openly identified the United States as their prime target, and repeatedly promises the creation of a new, global, "caliphate" where Islamic fascism will rule mankind. This language comes from both Sunni and Shi'ite fanatics, whether Arab, Persian, Indonesian, American, or British.

We are fighting Islamic fascists in two forms: states like Iran and Syria, and organizations like al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and Hamas.

And yet we are foolishly reluctant to come to terms with this terrible reality. It's an old, sad story isn't it? Over and over again, our enemies announce their intention to attack us, and we refuse to believe them. Hardly anyone took Mein Kampf seriously, and when Nikita Khrushchev pounded his shoe on the table at the U.N., announcing, "We will bury you," it was widely treated as a moment of comic relief. ...

... Paradoxically, when we refuse to criticize anybody, we end up patronizing everyone, which is offensive to everyone and self-defeating. It makes a mockery of freedom of speech, and traps us in the discredited nonsense of moral equivalence. This war is not between two morally equivalent sides; it's a war between brutal totalitarian fascism and freedom. Our freedom, not just freedom for Iraqis and Afghans. We are the fascists’ prime target, and they intend to impose a brutal tyranny on those of us who survive their onslaught.

Islamic fascism is the great test of this generation. When we fail to fully grasp the nature of our enemy and the urgency of our victory, our own people become confused and divided, and the fascists are encouraged to believe that we’re afraid of them. ...

Imagine my chagrin to discover that the author of this sincere, intelligent sounding speech was none other than Rick Santorum. He has, unfortunately, earnedmy reluctant respect, in this regard at least.

Why is it that the people I have so little in common with can be so right on this issue, whereas the people who speak my language in every other way are so pathetically obtuse? I really don't know what I'm going to do here. I simply can't bring myself to vote for this narrow-minded, elitist, moralistic, fundamentalist, anti-scientific, corporate-stroking, monopolist-enabling retrograde. He must be channeling someone.

10/19/2006 10:47 PM

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3 Comments:

At Saturday, October 28, 2006 9:29:00 PM, Blogger Steve said...

What do you make of this JJ?

> ...
> 11) We think that everybody has a
> right to their own point of view, they
> think that that idea is not only
> self-evidently absurd, but evil.
> ...
> 12) Our civilization is destroying
> theirs. We cannot share a world in
> peace. They understand this; we have
> yet to learn it.

The piece kind of threw me for a loop. I asked for the opinion of this guy I know who spent 8 years over there (he left right after Desert Storm). He said it was mostly right.

 
At Monday, October 30, 2006 10:19:00 AM, Blogger mal said...

just because some one is a fool it does not mean they are always foolish.

He is right though. The struggle with fascist Islam (I love that term) seems to boil down to tolerance vs intolerance. It is sad

 
At Wednesday, November 08, 2006 5:18:00 PM, Blogger jj mollo said...

Steve,

It's a fascinating article. I'm inclined to think the guy knows what he's talking about, but remember that these things can change. I've made similar arguments myself. Mal has also shared her experiences, which were not good. It has been that way for a long time, probably since before Mohammed. In fact, we have dealt with the residue of ethnocentric smugness in the US before. Think about the Mafia and the way they used to treat each other, and the KKK of course. The real problem is that these obsolete cultures, once withering on their own, are being pumped up with oil money in the Middle East, money that would have been otherwise out of their reach for precisely the reasons listed. (Ralph Peters once wrote something similar about the reasons that Arab societies are failing.)

There are, however, two ways to make a meme shift. First, we can make a point of winning every aspect of the War on Terror and establishing a democracy in Iraq. I.e., we need to deny the Islamic supremicists every claim and appearance of success. I do believe that it's mostly a matter of choice on our part. People want to be on the winning team and they will gradually adjust their way of thinking as our victory takes on the appearance of inevitability.

The second way is a bit more complicated. The reason many of us are choosing to lose is that an aspect of our memeplex is the respect for diversity. I certainly cherish and support this idea, but we need to make some distinctions. There is a difference between promoting a healthy ecology and encouraging pathogens. The Islamic culture needs to look at itself and recognize that its relative lack of success is endemic. (I realize that any such statement is taken by Muslims as an indication of ignorance and prejudice, but, like Baghdad Bob, they have a particular point of view and a serious constraint on what they can say, or even think about.) Islam has an ailment that it can overcome. The point is that the old ways have been superceded from time to time and place to place, being replaced by a new enlightened synthesis, much as Christianity has discovered Reform. There are plenty of moderate, secular Muslims in the US and everywhere else capable of inoculating the old pathogen. As Daniel Pipes says, radical Islam is the problem and moderate Islam is the cure.

The example of Turkey is convincing to me. Muslims can choose a better synthesis when they want to. Turkey is a modern democracy where fundamentalism is no more important than it is in the US. There are things about Turkey that disturb me, such as denial of past atrocities, hypersensitivity to the Western press, the hovering background authority of the military, the suppression of diversity, the land grab in Cyprus, but in general, it is a center of stability, productivity and peace.

Millions of Muslims do just fine all over the world. These Muslims can make that choice as well.

 

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