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Saturday, June 10, 2006

The Islamic Bogeyman

Free speechSome people think Islam is no threat, or is an imaginary threat cultivated by "Western media commentators", or is a real threat but only because we made them attack us, and therefore they feel "solidarity" with the Islamists.

I am not making this up.

Why We Support Radical Islam [1]: Don't Believe the Media Propaganda
by jo swift at 12:16PM (CEST) on August 2, 2005
Far from being unreasonable fanatics, the terrorists fight for the same things we do. We have a common enemy.

Ian Buruma, writing in the Financial Times, reveals that “suicide bombers and jihadis” are by their very nature unreasonable.

“There is nothing to negotiate with people who wish to kill as many infidels as they can to establish a divine realm of the faithful,” he instructs us. They see “mass murder as an existential act,” he adds.

What source is Buruma drawing on to make these extravagant conclusions? I have been paying attention to this issue as well, and I have seen nothing that would lead me to make similar statements.

Buruma is not alone in assuming authority on the subject of the terrorists’ motivations. Christopher Hitchens, Thomas Friedman, Charles Krauthammer, and any number of other internationally-renowned Western media commentators never bother to offer a source on their unanimous and unquestioned assumptions about Islamist terrorists and what they want and how they intend to get it.

According to the pantheon of Western media commentators, the terrorists are by definition insane, they have no respect for life but rather propagate a “culture of death,” and they seek to convert all of us to their twisted perversion of a religion, or kill us in the attempt.

So goes the story about the Western world’s latest bogeyman. It is repeated by lesser lights throughout our own national media as though received gospel truth.

As such, the terrorists cannot be negotiated with, reasoned with, or compelled to behave. They wish to die, apparently. It’s a scary and compelling picture, except I’ve seen no evidence for it in any books I have read.

How is it, then, that a bunch of white non-Islamic men working in London and New York can come to this definition of the Islamist movement while the bulk of reliable analysis emanating from societies in which Islamism has taken root report almost an entirely opposite picture?
Sources? You could start with the daily reports of Islamist attacks against civilians all over the world via, Jihad Watch, and MEMRI. If you're really serious about understading the "bogeyman" then read Ibn Warraq's Why I Am Not A Muslim. If you haven't read anything else about Islam read at least that one book.

Those of you who have selected denial, time to wake up. The bogeyman has taken Mogadishu.

What’s Going On?
Andrew C. McCarthy, June 08, 2006, 6:01 a.m.
The victory of Islamic militants in Somalia over the warlords (who reportedly had U.S. backing) is about as thorough a disaster as one can imagine short of an al Qaeda attack on the homeland.

At a very basic level, the triumph signals an opening for al Qaeda to set up a reasonably stable shop. The terror network, we know from experience, was far more effective at projecting power when it had a central headquarters. All of the major attacks against the U.S. occurred when al Qaeda had a real headquarters (Sudan and later Afghanistan). Ever since the Taliban was routed after 9/11 and Qaeda’s leadership was chased out of Afghanistan, bin Laden and company have had to scramble—it’s not easy to plot big operations when you have to keep moving just to survive. Do we have the stomach and the resources for a military incursion if that is necessary to stop al Qaeda from establishing a new headquarters? I hope so, but I don’t know.

In terms of giving a real shot in the arm to our enemies, this is a cataclysm. We are now in year five of the war on terror, which we (finally) engaged after 9/11 with the stated purpose of eradicating an organization and ideology that we said we understood could not be reasoned with. To have what is potentially a new terror state arise notwithstanding all that strongly suggests to our enemies that if they hang in long enough, we don’t have the resolve to defeat them, which is what bin Laden has been telling them all along—thus boosting his credibility (and remember: anything that boosts his credibility increases al Qaeda’s ability to recruit and train new operatives).

Finally, the galvanizing role of Sharia courts should not be lost here. This was a revolt centered around Islamic law. Sharia authorities were able to whip up jihadists who have now ousted the warlords (warlords—as the jihadists will tell the tale—who were backed by America). In the new constitutions the State Department helped write in Afghanistan and Iraq, Islam was established as the state religion and provision was made for the influence of Sharia law. Sharia is part of the jihadist problem, and it is mind-boggling, after all this time and burying all our dead, that we could possibly ever see it as part of the “democratic” solution.
I remember at the time thinking, like everyone else, the Somalis obviously didn't want us there. Unfortunately when Clinton pulled the US military out of Somalia he didn't just leave the natives to die. He emboldened the jihadis. The general public did not then understand Islam nor the Islamic component to the events there. The jihadis did. They saw US withdrawal as a sign of weakness. Just as they view the anti-war demonstrations and the pacifist rhetoric of Western leftist politicians as a sign the West has no spirit for struggle and is ready for collapse. The Islamists may be right judging by the thumbsucking, bedwetting, and hand-wringing that goes on whenever the West takes action in its own self-interest.


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