Thursday, June 28, 2007

Bruce Bawer on Bill Moyers

Ah, so much to do, so no posting, but I hope to do this once a month from now on.

Recently Bruce Bawer appeared on Bill Moyers’ show on PBS. You can find the link from Bawer’s blog. It was a surprisingly sympathetic interview; I expected Moyers to hammer him, to express skepticism of his book, all the sorts of things you expect from public television on any anti-jihad subject.

At one point, Moyers talks about a ‘paradox’ that we cannot allow Muslims in Europe and the West the tolerance to ‘be who they are’ and ‘do their own thing.’ (I cannot remember the exact quote, but that’s close enough.) The trouble with Moyers’s observation here is that there is no paradox; he is failing as so many do to make a distinction between public and private life, and the Muslim colonies that are being built in the West. He seems to subscribe to the idea that there is such a thing as group rights, which is nowhere to be found in Enlightenment ideas that undergird all of Western society.

I’ve written before: Any Muslim who wants to keep his religion in his private life only, as a matter of his private conscience, then I’ll have no problem with him. Any Muslim who wants his religion to extend beyond that, so that Islam becomes the law, the government, the constitution, the design of society, is someone I cannot live on the same planet with and breathe the same air. One of us will kill the other.

Tolerance, Mr. Moyers, means I tolerate your private life, your private property. I cannot tolerate, even a little bit, the intrusion of Islam into public life. Islam is an imperial religion, born in conquest, and it makes imperial demands. Islam is going to have to discard these imperial demands to fit into the West. Everyone, everyone, has to subscribe to a plural, secular society and government, like it or get out.

Also, I also cannot tolerate the idea of ‘group rights.’ Islamic society means that the individual rights of non-Muslims, women, and children can be violated in ways that no Western society can tolerate. We cannot in any way, Mr. Moyers, let them ‘do their own thing’ when it comes to the way they treat women, children, and non-Muslims. Sometimes the argument is brought forward that the ‘group rights’ of Muslims somehow trump the ‘individual rights’ that are guaranteed to every citizen, that we have to overlook things like forced marraiges because their rights as a group need to be respected, we have to let them ‘be who they are.’ There could not be a more anti-Western idea, that somehow the rights of an individual can be cast aside to satisfy the needs of the group—that’s called the tyranny of the majority, go look it up. Every Muslim woman living in the Netherlands, for example, needs the absolute protection of her rights, regardless of custom or religion, that every other Dutch citizen receives. There’s no ‘paradox’ here.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The IDF question...

I don't understand the IDF. Their strategy makes no sense to me. It seems that they are only making military decisions, purely decisions of what to blow up that might have some military value, as if this were some abstract war game exercise. They don't seem to have the slightest damn clue about the political aspect of what they're doing. Targets are struck that only anger all the Lebanese, hurt all the Lebanese, without much consideration of who is Hezbollah and who is not. And those strikes have a minimal damage to Hezbollah.

I would have drawn a line on the map and said, this is Hezbollahstan, this is Lebanon. Lebanon won't be harmed, but Hebollahstan we're going to destroy. Everyone would have known what the political stakes are. I wouldn't have struck anywhere in only enrages Israel's possible allies. Plus, this 'airstrikes and artillery' strategy stinks. I know they want to keep the casualties among the IDF to a minimum, and they're afraid of a reprise of 1982. But this just makes no sense, because it doesn't do much hurt to Nasrallah, gives him major propaganda victories, and screws Israel's diplomatic options.

Why not wait a week before striking, to try to engage the Lebanese government and any available opponent of HA? Let them know, either you send the soldiers back, or help us fight HA, or else. I think alliances could have been formed, and if the Lebanese refused to help fight HA, then they would have been culpable and Israel would have had political cover to strike anywhere they wanted.

There is such tremendous hypocrisy amongst all the critics of the IDF, though. Words get thrown around, like genocide and war crimes, and ruthlessness and savagery, that are just so much bullshit. People who hardly blink at the crimes of the Janjaweed, who hardly make room on their newspapers for the crimes of the Sudanese, can't stop yowling when Israel kills a few hundred Lebanese in a war they didn't start. HA is a civilian army, with no clear distinction between civilian militia, soldiers, and citizens. They use civilian towns to launch attacks deliberately in order to create dead children, which they use as propaganda. Dead children are part of the HA war plan. They want their own kids to die to use as weapons against the Israelis. You can see this in Nasrallah's attitude towards the Arab kids he murdered in Nazareth. They're martyrs, so it's no trouble that they're dead. Don't worry about it. HA is a death cult.

Ask yourself this question: If we let Saddam out of his cell and gave him control of the IDF, and told him 'Destroy Hezbollah' then how long would HA last? A month? So let's stop the B.S. about how Israel can't defeat them. They could do it easily, but they're restrained by moral considerations.

Answer this question. An army is coming to town. You can't fight them, can't defeat them. But you get to choose who they are. Would you choose:

A) The Janjaweed
B) The old Iraqi Republican Guard
C) The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps
D) The Taliban
E) The IDF

If you would choose any other than the IDF, you're insane and irrationally filled with hatred of Jews. If you would choose the IDF, and you're making all sorts of crazy accusations about how the IDF is totally immoral, ruthless, heartless, beastly, Nazi-like, and so forth, then shut the fuck up.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Why are the Islamists in control?

Why is it that the various Islamists have control of the streets in Baghdad? Why are they waging their shadow civil war under the noses of the Coalition and the elected Iraqi government?

I am increasingly depressed by what I read in the Iraqi blogs: everyone who can is running away. The shadow civil war goes on without much interference from the government, with a few exceptions, like the two recent raids by the police on the Mahdi army, with U.S. backup. Zarqawi is dead, but the Mujahadeen Shura Council still controls whole neighborhoods and cities, forcing people to stay inside and give up on life except for mere existence.

I once read an account of the civil war in Bosnia. Croats, Muslims and Serbs all had a common observation: it only took a savage and violent minority to drag everybody into a civil war. Once you've seen a few friends or family members die at the hands of the 'other' you have no choice but to arm yourself and avoid all contact with the 'other' even though y0u may have no common desire for war.

Of course I don't know what the percentages are. How many Shia really support the Mahdi Army? How many only support them out of fear of the Sunni Shura Council, and vice versa, of course, for the Sunni?

When you look at this post by Iraq the Model, you have to think that there must be a significant population on both sides that doesn't want this, but are dragged into it by the thugs. But they clearly have no power, the people writing on these message boards. They are Internet fighters only. The real power lays in the hands of the thugs.

And regarding the recent craziness: how many Lebanese Shia really support Hezbollah, and how many merely have no choice since they live under their rule? Somehow I doubt those Hezbollah fucks tolerate any other kind of political movement in their areas of control. (I should point out here that I make no distinctions between the Badr militia, the Mahdi militia, the Hezbollah militia, and so forth. They're all the same, they have the same methods, same fascist agenda, same sponsor: Iran)

We have a good idea just how many Israelis don't support current policy. That's because they're free to organize and air their opinions. But we have no idea about the Muslim side, except for a handful of English blogs.

The thing that drives me crazy about the situation in Iraq is that the government, which theoretically represents the will of the people, can't control the militias because they don't have a monopoly on force. It drives me insane that we've had three years to build an army and police and this is what we've got to show for it. In three years between 1941-44, the U.S. raised over a hundred divisions. Yet we can't raise six or seven Iraqi divisions to control the country? Why is it that Moqtada Sadr can raise an army of thousands and control huge swaths of urban landscape, but we can't raise a single effective division? One reason I can think of is awful: only his followers are really willing to fight, and all the other Iraqis either won't fight, or support the civil war. I hope the real reason is our simple incompetence in recruiting and equipping and training an army.

Recently I saw that a new Iraqi armored brigade is being formed, using old cast-off Russian tanks and armored personnel carriers! Why? We shouldn't be arming them with old T-55 tanks and expect them to fight, we're just setting them up for failure. The Iraqi people will never have any faith in the government, or democracy, if the streets aren't brought under control.

There is no excuse. The world's superpower should be able in three damned years to build an army that can fight off Moqtada Sadr! He did it rapidly, so why can't we?

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Arab Imperialism, part 2

Since I wrote the last post, I've thought a bit more about the remarkable fact that Islam was born in conquest. Why is this outstanding characteristic of Islam so little remarked upon? Name one other religion, any at all, that was founded, developed and spread widely in the context of imperial conquest. I can't think of any. Other religions had their imperial ambitions and imperial periods, but they always had to wait many centuries before those impulses could be realized in full. No other political philosophy really had its imperial period right from the very beginning. Almost every ideology I can think of had to wait, bide its time, go through a long period of development before it struck for military power...

With the single exception of fascism. Like Islam, fascism only had to wait a decade or two to reach actual political power, absolute power within its own state, followed swiftly by astonishing military conquest. Like Islam, fascism is a powerfully emotional, irrational, mystical, all-encompassing theory of Everything, a dogma that controls minds and states absolutely. The essential political nature of Islam is so widely overlooked. It is not merely just another religion. When anyone criticizes Islam, that person receives an avalanche of crap on his head because to criticize religion is out of bounds. I don't really care about Islam as a religion. If you want to believe that some seventh-century warlord had a chat with an angel in a cave, that's your business. I don't care. It's the political, social and legal theories of Islam that I oppose completely. Islam is not just a religion, it is a theory of government, of society, of law, of everything. That's why it is appropriate to speak of Islamic fascists, or Islamo-fascism.

Islam was created and developed during the foundation and expansion of the Arab Empire. Empire and Islam go together like bread and butter. It is nearly impossible to separate the one from the other. The Koran, the Sunna, the Hadith, these things were all developed and written and explicated during the times of the empire's establishment and expansion. Of course much of what is in them justifies and encourages imperialism, both in temporal power and culture. That period of cultural and political imperialism, because it was so successful, fostered a gigantic, unwieldy superiority complex. Islam must be supreme, it cannot abide competitors. All others must submit, must accept a secondary position. No permanent co-existence on equal terms is possible.

Of course, the central tenet of multiculturalism is that separate communities will maintain their unique cultures, while accepting the idea of permanent, peaceful, co-existence. This is why the growth of Islamic communities in the West is so dangerous. Islam cannot and will never accomodate the one overriding ideal of multiculturalism. Islam will allow other cultures and other religions, but only under the shadow of Islamic law and power, that is, as dhimmis. Islam will never accept the existence of other theories of government, especially not the theory of secular democracy, with the separation of religion and state. No man-made law can be tolerated; it must be replaced with the legislation of God himself, the shariah.

Of course many Muslims do not wish to live under an Islamic imperial government. Many want Islam to remain a religion of private life, and stay out of government. It is a natural human desire to be free of compulsion, to make decisions and live life freely. The trouble is that their numbers are, I think, smaller than those who want Islam to have, at the very least, a large role in public life and law. I don't see how Islam can ever be content to let go of its stranglehold on temporal power, or how it can ever be convinced to give up dreams of conquest, as it was a religion of wordly power, a religion of the conquistador, right from the very start.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Arab Imperialism

Here's a fun task: sometime sit down and try to make a list of all the people and nations who have not come under attack at some point from Anglo-Saxons. It's not a very long list. So far I've only been able to come up with Mongols, Khazaks, and Uighurs. Perhaps there are some others in the depths of other continents that can't be reached by boat.

As an Anglo-Saxon myself, it's a little difficult to think clearly about the imperial expansions of my conquistador ancestors. I wouldn't be living where I am with the power and wealth my civilization enjoys without it. I'm also in a limbo because I'm from the first generation, back in the 1970s, to get a broader outlook on Anglo-Saxon Imperialism. My parents generation, and all those before, were fed an all-glory, all-the-time version of history, a fierce triumphalism of the English-speaking peoples, How The West Was Won, and all that. Unfortunately by the time I came along, a silly dualism had taken over. Instead of a realistic view of these matters, when I was growing up the dominant view was Those Evil English and their Horrible European Cousins. One would have thought that Imperialism was invented by Europe and the world was a happy place until we came along and oppressed everyone, destroying the happy dark peoples and of course the whole thing started with The Evil Crusades.

My father was outraged by this sudden about-face and so were a lot of his contemporaries. We were revising history and dishonoring our ancestors, blah blah blah. Luckily as I've gotten older I've learned a habit of viewing people as homo sapiens, and not English or French or whatever, and have learned to remember the instincts we all have in common.

Anyway, remember that Imperialism only got a bad rap in the West very recently, within the last few generations. At the beginning of the First World War they still spoke openly of the imperial expansion they hoped to achieve. (By the end, they still sought imperial expansion but had learned to cloak it in public relations b.s.)

What has this got to do with Arab and Muslim Imperialism? The trouble is that hardly anyone recognizes that there is such a thing. Islamic Imperialism somehow gets a pass for the reason that it is sacred history. No one wants to admit how it is that so many formerly Christian lands became Islamic. Where did all the Christians of the East go? How is it that so many Christian nations have disappeared, apparently forever? (And Hindu, and Buddhist, and pagan--pagans are people too, you monotheists out there.) Bad as English conquest and colonization was, we didn't destroy their past and their culture, force them to speak English and face towards London to bow five times a day.

Can Arabs and Muslims ever be honest about the jihad? I don't see that they can. It's been hard enough for the Anglo-Saxons to do it, without the added burden of considering the whole business of empire-building a holy task from God himself. How can anyone critisize Muhammad or the Wrongly Guided Caliphs for their conquests, their murders, their mass murders, their burning, raping, looting, pillaging and mass enslavements? And their forced conversions? I know, I know, Islam forbids forced conversion. Don't make me smack you for stupidity. When the options given the conquered are death, heavy taxes, or conversion, that is what any sensible person calls conversion by force.

Can the Arabs, Turks, and other Muslims ever learn to honestly critisize the Jihad? Is there any way to be clear-sighted when these things are Sacred History? Can anyone say anything true about Islamic Imperialism when they won't even admit that it is imperialsim, and continue to view it as virtuous and holy?

Monday, May 01, 2006

Shi'ite Arabs of Iraq

Since I wrote a post complaining about the Sunni Arabs of Iraq, in which I compared them to the racist whites of the post-Civil War South and compared the Sunni terrorists to the Ku Klux Klan, it’s only fair to point out the abysmal failures of the Shi’ites.

I do not know where the idea came from that Shi’ites are allies of Uncle Sam. Before the rise of Al Qaeda, almost every major terrorist attack and a host of minor ones were carried out by Shi’ites, mostly by Hezbollah and the Iranians. (The only major terrorist attacks I can think of that were carried out by anyone else were the bombings by Libya.) Why did anyone think that the Iraqi Shi’ites would be our friends? Especially, why did anyone think it wise to ally with Iraqi Shi’ite political parties that spent the Saddam years in Iran?

The Shi’ite political parties are all Iranian-trained, -armed, and –financed terrorist organizations. They all have private armies that are the real law in much of Iraq. The police seem to be mere adjuncts of the Shi’a thugs. They carry out organized campaigns of assassination against anyone who opposes them, and are now rounding up Sunnis at random for torture and murder. I doubt they’ve managed to kill any actual Sunni jihadis, mostly they kill ordinary people, like the pet shop owner I recently read about. Unfortunately I can’t remember the exact link, but the thugs, most likely the Mahdi Army, took this Sunni man who raised pet birds right out of his shop, and he turned up dead with holes drilled in him. His Shi’ite friends tried to stop them but were threatened themselves. He was a man who raised nightingales for a living, but the mere fact that he was Sunni got him murdered.

Read Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. The same thing that happened in Iran has happened in Iraq: Islamic fascists have taken over by the simple methods of murder and terror. The first blog posting I ever read was Salam Pax’s last, where I first learned of Moqtada Sadr and the Mahdi Army. They are thugs, thugs, thugs, he wrote. Help us, he wrote. They are, but we haven’t. America fights Sunni terrorists to help Shi’ite terrorists hold on to political power.

Maybe I’ll write soon about the Kurdish political parties, which are basically the Sopranos and the Corleones fighting to see who’ll own what turf.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Denmark Forever

I haven't said anything about this issue because it has been flogged to death, but there are several things I've come to doubt about the Great Danish Cartoon Blasphemy:

1. The people who keep calling for "dialogue" and "mutual respect and understanding" and similar phrases are simple-minded. Their knee-jerk calls for round-table yip-yap imply that there is some conflict to be worked out, some deal that can be negotiated or compromised, some misunderstanding that can be cleared up. But there is nothing to misunderstand. There can be no halfway measures here and there can be no mutual understanding. Free speech in the Liberal West is non-negotiable. Punishments for the imaginary crime of blasphemy in Totalitarian Islam are non-negotiable. There is nothing to talk about. The only options are victory for Free Speech or for Sharia Law. There are people in the West who, while they mean well, cannot understand that some things cannot be solved by open-hearted discussion. Imagine if you will, some of these people calling for "mutual respect and dialogue to solve our problems with the National Socialist German Workers Party" and you'll see how pointless such friendly chitchat will be with the Islamic Fascists. Try to sit down with Moqtada Sadr and come to a mutual understanding about blasphemy and see how long you live.

The values of the West and the values of Political Islamists are mutually incompatible, and the differences between them can only be solved by blood and iron.

2. The moderate or free-thinking Muslims who claim not to understand why the various newspapers felt it was necessary to do this. They're "offended" because the cartoons are racist, or paint all Muslims as terrorists, or whatever. First, Islam is not a race. Second, the bomb-turban cartoon doesn't necessarily imply that all Muslims are terrorists. I see it as pointing out that Islamic terrorists are only imitating the violent career of Muhammad, who was a warlord and terrorist and assassin himself. If you are a Westernized Muslim who does not understand why the cartoons were posted, dig up poor old Theo Van Gogh and he'll explain it to you. Or dig up Asma bint Marwan. Or the Banu Qurayza. Or if you can locate Ayaan Hirsi Ali, she'll explain it all for you.

3. The "spontaneous" protests stink of rent-a-mobs. For example, does anyone believe that the Syrian protests that lead to the destruction of embassies were not orchestrated? No one so much as spits on the sidewalk in Syria without the secret police noticing, so how did a mob manage to destroy those embassies and the Syrian police state not be involved?

4. The selective outrage of the Muhammadan Fascists. Did any of them protest four years ago when the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem was occupied by jihadists and hostages were held? Wasn't this a blasphemy against one of the prophets of Islam?

Quote for this Post: "I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: 'O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.' And God granted it." -- Voltaire