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Monday, January 30, 2006

The Legacy of Jihad

Via Powerline:

All Jihad All the Time
What Andrew Bostom's "The Legacy of Jihad" tells us about the history of Islam.
by Dean Barnett
IN THE WAKE OF THE 9/11 ATTACKS, President Bush famously referred to Islam as a "religion of peace." To display solidarity with this notion, politicians of all rank in both America and Europe hurriedly made their way to the nearest mosque to show that, in spite of the destruction of the World Trade Center, they bore no animus to Islam.

Andrew Bostom, a Rhode Island based physician, had a different reaction. Until September 11 Bostom had been completely absorbed in his medical career. Afterwards, he began a singular effort to learn as much about Islam as possible.

The results of Bostom's study have recently been published in book form. The Legacy of Jihad, for which Bostom is both editor and a contributing writer, studies jihad from the 7th century to the present day. It is a thorough work; hardly an act of offensive jihad in the last 1,300 years has escaped Bostom's scholarship.

It's a disquieting read. Counter to President Bush's simplistic characterization of Islam as a religion of peace, the truth is far more nuanced; parts of the Koran call for peace, other verses have a decidedly different tenor.
Bostom's experience is one that some of us can relate to. Without knowing the man I can already guess he has been labelled a vile bigot racist Islamophobe. What fascinates me is that even after 9/11 and in spite of the ongoing Islam-related violence around the world I still run into so many people who remain oddly incurious about the source of all the animus. Of course many people think it's quite clear: in the past the US shamelessly exploited the Third World and propped up horrible dictators there, and today we torture Muslims and piss on their Koran while we wage an arrogant unilateral imperialistic neocon war of whim. So convenient it is for these "patriots" to project their own anti-military, anti-corporate, anti-Bush motives on the enemy that they completely misunderstand what really motivates the Jihadis.

I admit it's not easy. First you have to overcome the politically correct Western education that has taught you that all religions are equal. Equally bad. "Religion, don't you know, is something that generally only stupid people fall for. It generally causes violence. Especially Chrisitanity. Look at the Crusades, the Inquisition. QED." Then you have the contemporary Western apologists for Islam, including many politicians and Middle Eastern studies professors, who from their positions of authority and expertise lecture on the loving tolerance of Islam. "There shall be no compulsion in religion." Yet we see, time and again, people shouting "Allahu Ahkbar!" as they blow themselves up or hack some defenseless hostage's head off. Those of us who note that the common thread is Islam are heckled for our ignorance. "You must not have read the Koran. Or you read it wrong. How many Muslims do you know?" Well. It turns out I don't know any Nazis, and I haven't read Mein Kampf, but I'm pretty sure Nazism was a bad idea.

Not all people have the capacity to question their deeply ingrained (dare I say brainwashed) principles of moral equivalence, or to withstand the slurs and intimidation of the intellectual elite. The easiest way to find that strength is to bypass these psychological obstacles and investigate Islam and Jihad for yourself. You still trust your own judgement don't you? Well go ahead and read the feel good pap intended for infidels. Maybe you've already read some. Well don't stop there. Read books like "The Legacy of Jihad". Read what Muslims say to other Muslims when they think infidels aren't listening. Dig deep enough and you'll find that Jihadi hatred of the West is based on its infidelness. Jihadis resent the West's involvement with their countries and their leaders because it pulls them away from true Islam. "Let not believers take infidels for their friends rather than believers." Infidels don't have to occupy their Holy Land - they never have. Turns out it's enough just to do business, to put the words and pictures and ideas of the disgustingly corrupt and degenerate infidel culture in front of Muslims. That is our crime.

Muslims believe that the Koran is the literal word of Allah, and it is blasphemy to question its infallibility. Which is strange because it often seems to contradict itself. Apologists like to quote the warm fuzzy side of any contradiction. They don't want infidels to know (or don't know themselves) that Islamic scholars have long used the idea of abrogation to resolve the contradictions. Unfortunately for infidels, the contradictions are usually resolved in favor of the message Mohammed gave in his later, less warm and fuzzy days.

The goal of the Jihadis is to crush the infidel, not to tolerate him. They don't make any secret of this, though they don't particularly care enough to write letters to the editor of the New York Times thanking them for keeping a leash on the NSA and CIA. The Jihadis are totally preoccupied with unbelievers, polytheists, and apostates. It is completely about religion for them, and not in the way of peace and love that most non-Muslims may assume. Jihadis are not like the ordinary "militants", "insurgents", or "guerillas" the press has conditioned us to associate with secular struggles for power. They are mujahideen, or holy warriors. They fight for a way of life, not a mere religion. They seek to gain power where they do not already hold it, and to wipe away all that is not Islam where they do hold power.

The difference between Islamist moderates and extremists is patience. Even ignolamists (to coin a phrase) know that anything perceived to go against Islam is to be feared and avoided because it will "create extremists". That's a major boo boo. "We'd better not try to keep them from getting nukes. Why? Because they might nuke us. If we just bide our time the moderates will eventually moderate. Or something." When you know what actually motivates the Jihadis you aren't afraid to piss them off or make more of them. You realize that their idealogy is already out there metastasizing. The only sane thing civilization can do is confront it.

For Clooney fans this may all seem too complicated. "Isn't it George Bush and the corporations who are evil?" OK. If you investigate Islam and you still want to delude yourself that corporate greed and presidential overreach are a bigger threat, then by all means go ahead. It's a free country, at least as long as you and brave patriots like you can fight off Bush's police state. Of course if you didn't have such opinions, or have come to change them since, then you may now understand the sense of betrayal and dismay I feel at the false guilt of the useful infidels who bin Laden counts on to undermine their own way of life.

The author of the Bostom book review, Dean Barnett, also writes at SOXBLOG. His wit, insight, range of topics, and output far exceed mine. Scanning back I found this apt observation:
If they read the papers and watch the newscasts, our Jihadist foes will doubtlessly get the wrong opinion of the American people. They will wrongly conclude that the American people are obsessed with the niceties of wire-tapping and torture, completely unaware that the overwhelming majority of Americans is entirely indifferent to the rights of suspected and/or actual terrorists.

There should be no mistake about the following - if there is another attack on American soil, especially one involving WMD, the demand from the American public will be for blood and lots of it. But do our enemies know this? Are they deceiving themselves into thinking that America will react like the Daily Kos, John Kerry and the New York Times almost unquestionably will – blame Bush first, respond later?

That is the real disservice such entities are doing America. It’s not that they are traitorously providing aid and comfort to the enemy. It’s that they are giving the enemy false hope.

And the results of that may be tragic.


Blogger flippityflopitty said...

If we consider Islam as the problem - how can we ever expect to eliminate it - its a movement that grows stronger with our growing offense towards it (having a Star Trek flashback...).

If we consider jihadis the problem - how far do we take the bloodlust in eliminating the movement (i.e., people that offer aid & comfort).

If there is a WMD strike on US soil, both Bush and jihadis will pay in kind. The level of restraint in retaliation will be based on global opinion to the chagrine of rapturists. Despite what the experts say, a US strike will fulfill the jihadis wish list - significantly erode western idealism and democracy. This is why I want the congress to reign in Bush. Contradiction? Not at all. Under the existing surveillance program, how difficult would it be to send coded messages through non-jihadis inside and outside this country? They would literally have to monitor every non-caucasian in the USA and then decipher the chatter.

The only saving grace is that even the most sophisticated planners are plagued by blunders and blunderers - hopefully that is enough.

Then why not? Because if the congress does not challenge overreaching (stressing overreaching as a potentiality not fact) executive power, if they do not demand some type of objective oversight (other than DOJ) to domestic spying (that according to Bush isnt happening), we begin (again emphasize begin) eroding the fabric of this democracy (or representative republic if you prefer).

This is not a ten year or even fifty year assault on western civilization - the jihadis are (and know how to be) patient. It may take 200 or 300 years for islam to infiltrate every second and third world nation, that is if we manage to avoid or survive mutual annihilation.

1500 years later islam is still a growing force despite its unchanging dogma. Christianity fell prey to secularism and communism is hanging around thanks to a billion plus chinese.

Sadly the one glimmer of hope is Hamas. But they shine like a black hole right now. I suspect Isreal is going to be the center of controversy before the year is out.

2/07/2006 10:39:00 PM  
Blogger Tanstaafl said...

We cannot fear to face down what is wrong, no matter how many stand for wrong. Since Islam sprang into existence the non-Muslim world has been back on its heels. It's time for civilization to say "enough".

The Jihadis are not as clever as you think. At least some of us who were asleep have woken up. 9/11, 3/11, and 7/7 were strategic blunders. For them. The fight they spoil for is coming anyway. The sooner it comes the better for us.

After the WMD strike all this handwringing about FISA is going to look more than foolish, it will be seen as a deep betrayal. Civil libertarian extremists have built a sand castle and the tide is coming in. They can move up the beach or get washed away.

We must take action, not lament the futility of what we might do to protect ourselves, or worry how it might offend those who threaten us. Waiting or appeasing this threat has already been demonstrated not to work.

2/08/2006 08:59:00 AM  
Blogger flippityflopitty said...

Then Jihad fulfills one of its goals. To bring down the infidels and their civilization. We cannot suggest a war with Islam will be quick and decisive, nor suggest it can be won without impact to our society.

To ensure national security - complete and resolute - one cant banter about civil liberties. The government must rule with a strong (if not iron) hand, must be free from the bureaucratic chains and must be vigilant in pursuing and detaining any individuals or groups suspected of planning, organizing or implementing crimes against our government, especially with regards to national security. Including those who give aid or comfort to the enemy. If necessary the executive must consolidate more power to minimize the impact of bureacracy from the other branches of government in a time of war.

I for one dont want to live in a society under those conditions. Even prisons seems to have breaches in security - and a lockdown on the united states with our swiss cheese borders and security issues will successfully do one thing - oppress the people, reduce their representation and lead us down a path which will be far more difficult to change then the actions that lead us there.

The Bush Admin runs the country - lock, stock & barrel - unfettered with control of the House, Senate and now judiciary (4 liberals, 4 conservatives & 1 moderate). There is no reason the Admin could not approach Congress and adopt changes to effectively deal with terrorism and protect civil liberties. Furthermore, there is nothing stopping the Admin from breaking the laws - if they firmly believe it is in the best interest of national security - why not risk punishment (if you get caught) from an appreciative public. The Kennedys wiretapped everyone and their mothers, it was found to be unconstitutional and I dont recall reading about any impeachment hearings or arrests related to that. Iran-Contra ended up with...?

Either the Admin really cannot control their people (hence all the damn leaks), they are leaking with purpose or they are doing things that are so questionable even their cronies are having a tough time with it.

There is always a way to do this within the law. We cannot and should not allow precedent be set for an executive power that is not checked by the two remaining branches. For 3 years the admin has been stretching the limits of executive power with the only check being the DOJ - Alberto Gonzalez. We (meaning our reps) cant even be briefed on how far they stretched due to national security concerns.

All I am looking for is a FISA-type oversight for domestic spying. You could even setup a temporary warrantless surveillance for 15-30 days while the panel is reviewing the evidence - followed by a required formal request for a warrant. After 30 days if you cant prove the need - poof! shut it down.

I recognize the need. I understand it is a changing world and the existing laws and constitution dont account for these changes (oops - I guess Im no constitutional constructionist). But I find the tact of the Admin disturbing. If one affirms to preserve, protect and defend the constitution (that includes the Bill of Rights) - one cant disregard sections regardless of the reasoning, even at the risk of national security. The Bill of Rights is meaningless if some constitutional rights are more important than others.

2/09/2006 09:48:00 AM  
Blogger Tanstaafl said...

You fear Bush tapping your phone? Rove knowing what you looked at in the library? 'Bert coming to pull you out of your home in the night and throw you in Gitmo? For real?
The Jihadis at least really are coming. Their infantile mob rage and depraved suicide bombs are already shaking the West's foundation. They won't be satisfied if you decide to surrender. And under them you for sure won't get the civil liberties you value so highly.

As for rearranging the FISA deckchairs, is it more of this kind of oversight you crave? We can't trust a twice elected chief executive to do his Constitutional duty, but we should trust a single unelected judge to make laws up as she pleases?

2/11/2006 07:31:00 PM  

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