A comment left by regular reader, Expat, directed us to a piece in the American Thinker, by JR Dunn.
Khrijism and Cultural War, is an interesting and thoughtful look at the way Islam is regarded- and why. …the debate on our relationship on the level of "nuke 'em all" on the one hand or "Islam is a religion of peace" on the other. It never gets beyond those two points. Muslims are either souless, robotic killers or big-eyed PC waifs. There is no third choice, no depth, no knowledge and no understanding- and no sign of interest in gaining any.
Those are fair points.
From that point forward, however, Mr Dunn takes an otherwise superb post and excellent springboard for discussion, down the wrong fork in the road. He cogently discusses religious and political issues that we must face and understand in dealing with the Arab world, but inexplicably, he puts an unnecessary onus on America and the western democracies. He correctly states that
This war is about integrating Islam into the global community. Nothing less will do. Victory can be defined in that way and no other… in adapting their religious life into global norms so that they can deal with the rest of the world… The Jihadis are well aware of this and much of their overall strategy is is designed to prevent any such outcome.
He notes our efforts in the war on terror are bearing fruit- and then notes various jihadi 'psychological victories.' He then squarely places the blame of Muslim rejection of western ideologies and democracy on an intellectual struggle between Islamic world and our own.
The west has made no progress- and applied next to no effort- into putting across its case to the Muslim masses.
We do not concur at all with Mr Dunn's assessment. Our respective analysis diverges from this point forward.
America and western democracies did not have to plead their case to Soviet era commnunism. We do not have to plead our case to communist China and we certainly do not have to plead our case to the Muslim world.
Are there really millions of people in the Muslim Middle East that believe tyrannical and cruel regimes are superior to western democracies? Are there really millions of people in the Middle East, that if given the choice, would choose dictatorial regimes over freedom?
Why did millions of Iraqis turn out to vote, if they didn't want a democratic government? Why are the Iraqi political parties, patching together a government? Why are the only voices of opposition to the formation of an Iraqi government, terrorists?
Mt Dunn says the failure of the west to make the case for freedom and democracy, a 'serious failing' on our part. In fact, we see the most serious failings on the part of much of the Arab and Islamic world.
To presume that we must somehow persuade populations that freedom is better than tyranny is absurd. It presumes that tyranny and freedom are of equal value and standing. In fact, we appear foolish- and weak- when are forced to plead our case. In reality, when we argue the case for freedom as equal to tyrannical regimes, we belittle freedom. A casual observer would ask why we would denigrate ourselves in such a manner.
The more serious question that must be asked is why there are entire Arab populations that willingly embrace the tyranny they know only too well. What kind of dysfunction- and clearly, it is a dysfunction- that might account for a parent relegating their children to a life of misery? Dr Sanity has some answers, in Shame, The Arab Psyche And Islam.
If we are not willing to stand up for what we believe, we should not find it hard to understand how and why we, as a nation, are taken advantage of- and that is exactly what the Arab world is doing.
What kind of impression do we make if we are willing to belittle ourselves to plead the case for democracy over tyranny? That is like lowering ourselves to argue the merits of kindness over evil. You either get it, or you don't- and the vast majority of Muslims get it. The problem is, our detractors are not the vast majority of Muslims- they are those already in power and needing to preserve the status quo, or they are religious fanatics, genies let out of the Arab world bottle that can not be reined in.
In either case, we do not have to 'make our case.' In fact, the more we give the appearance that we are pleading our case, the weaker we look.
Persecuted Arab dissidents do not want to replace one tyranny with another. Muslim reformers, like Ali Eteraz, do not dream of anything but freedom and the liberation of the Ummah.
The beauty of freedom is that we don't care who you are. In Democracies Don't Care, we said that
In fact, the well meaning and overly thoughtful pundits in the MSM, most of the blogosphere and in an the hallowed (if often shallow) halls of academia, have it wrong.
We do not need to assure Muslims that we are caring. We do not need to bestow a status upon Islam that we not bestow upon other religions and other faiths. Muslims are not special and they are not deserving of special status.
Why? Because in a free society, we don't care about your beliefs. We do care about your actions and behavior. You are free to integrate and to assimilate into our society in whole or in part. We really don't care. Do not tell us we need to care about your beliefs and your concerns above all else and above our own beliefs. If you do try to make that assertion, you will soon be surprised at how easily you will be marginalized and resented- not for your beliefs, but rather, for your attempt to jump to the head of line. You are not more important than anyone else.
The strength of the Ummah is that it needs no special treatment to succeed in a free society. Muslims are not impaired or handicapped, nor are they superior to others. As the Ummah- and the rest of Europe- is coming to see, tantrums will in the end, no longer deliver the proverbial 'free ride.' The free ride of cradle to grave welfare benefits has not benefit the Ummah. In Europe, unemployment, lack of education and self imposed ghettos, have only served to maintain the distance between the much of the Arab world and the west. The only difference are the TV channel lineups.
The difference between many Arab and other immigrants and minorities in Europe, is evident and cannot be disguised or swept under the rug. The European reality came about as a result of negotiation.
Freedom is not subject to negotiation. That is the lesson the Ummah must learn, by itself.
Islam has the ability to do just that. All that is needed is the will.
May 26, 2006
Well, here is an all you can buffet for the mind. Settle down, unbuckle your belt and take it all in.
Welcome! Our goal at Winds of Change.NET is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from the global War on Terror that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. Thursday's Winds of War briefings are given by Matt 'Colt' of Eurabian Times.
Well, these guys deliver.SC&A really need to link to WOC more often. There is always good stuff. Really. Friday's are slow, so we will find a reason to link to WOC on Monday.
Check out Volokh. He's got a great, sharp blog that is really contrarian in the world of blogs. This guys presumes you're smart!
Samizdata is smart. These guys are as close to ideologues as you're going to get. Agree or not, you wiil think.
Now, we are also going to recommend Pesky Apostrophe. She's a lefty, sometimes abrasive, occasionally shallow, but always smart- you know, like the the rest of the blogoshere. We like Pesky because she'll talk to you, engage you and won't piss on you in an argument. That's a rarity on the left. She'll deny it of course, but she knows better.
Kind of like the righty's that defended Tom DeLay.
Anyway, we like her and our taste is exquisite.
The Barking Dingo is another left blogger that we are fans of. He's sharp, bright and despite being a lawyer, is an overall decent guy. He's fond of saying that the differences between liberals and conservatives aren't as great as the fringes would have you believe.
The fact is, take away the blowhards and it's clear he's right.
May 26, 2006
'I declare the war is over!' Well, if Shrinkwrapped says so, there must be something to it, right? Rarely does a post deliver the knockout blow in the last few words. SW's post does just that. It's short, sweet and neat- kind of the like that favorite melody that you hum incessantly.
Dr Sanity's Another Day, Another Principle, is a post that extols the words of what must be her lost twin, Charles Krauthammer. She drives home Dr Krauthammer's point:
Krauthammers suggests that we not fall into this obvious trap–unless one condition applies. We should look the international community if the eye and state that sure, we'll go into negotiations with Iran–but only if you publically pledge beforehand, that the failure of any unilateral talks with this lying and deceitful regime will immediately lead to united military action by the international community.
Barring that kind of pledge, what possible advantaage would there be in our sitting down with Iran? Ahmadinejad will simply use such negotiations as a platform for showing off his pseudo-macho contempt for anything the U.S. does.
That's a good point. The object of real negotiation is to negotiate- not to provide a platform for a racist, bigoted lunatic. For the 'can't we all get along crowd,' this Iranan dissident put it best.
After a few years of Zacharias Moussaoui, we submit the American people have had enough lunacy.
On a happier note, we are pleased to announce that Dr Sanity has failed the 12 step lyrics avoidance program. Her latest addition to the Crackpot Hymnal is here- and it really is funny.
Finally, Maxed Out Mama is in rare form. Who could resist a post called, It Ain't Over Till The Fat Kennedy sings. Be sure to read Friday Follies. A lawyer gets beat up.
Can it get any better than that?
May 26, 2006
The Anchoress has written a rather thoughtful post, Madonna And DVC And Why I don't Care. It is a thoughtful, wry and piquant, if you read between the lines.
We will present some selected quotes later, but for now, let's just say The Anchoress is bored with it all. The 'in your face' antics and shock shtick have become predicatble. Like the fate of the walleye or bass in the Saturday fishing show, or what will come to pass when the pool boy rings the doorbell in a porn flick, we are boring of the inevitable and same outcome.
There's a reason Madonna goes by the name Madonna and there's a reason she uses religious imagery in her show. Like a McDonald's quarter pounder, we know what we will get- predicatbility. It isn't fine dining, for sure, any more than Madonna is 'art.' As had been said for years, Madonna, like McDonald's, is about extraordinary- and successful, marketing. Instead of burgers and fries, she's pitching S&M and religious symbols as expressions of phallic pathologies.
It's just business, of course. After all, when she isn't on tour, articles about Madonna extol her new found religious and moral sensibilities and her devotion to home and hearth. Read the rest of this entry »
May 26, 2006
PRAGUE, May 26, 2006 (RFE/RL) — A court in southern Russia today sentenced the only known survivor among the Beslan hostage takers to life in prison.
The chief justice of North Ossestia's Supreme Court said Nur-Pashi Kulayev deserved the death penalty — which had been sought by prosecutors. However, Judge Tamerlan Aguzarov said he could only impose life imprisonment due to Russia's moratorium on capital punishment.Kulayev was found guilty on all charges, "including hostage taking, terrorism, murder, attempted murder, possession of firearms, murder, and attempted murder of law enforcement officers," RFE/RL Russian Service correspondent Dzerassa Byazrova reported from Vladikavkaz.Deputy Prosecutor-General Nikolai Shepel said today that he was pleased with the verdict, saying it corresponded to the "gravity" of Kulayev's crimes.
Guilty Of 16 Deaths
The sentence was the climax of a highly emotional, yearlong trial.
Kulayev was part of a group of 32 Chechen separatists that took 1,300 pupils, teachers, and parents hostage in a school in the southern Russian town of Beslan in September 2004. After three days, the siege turned into a bloodbath that killed 331 people, more than half of them children.
Judge Aguzarov found Kulayev guilty of taking hostages, taking actions resulting in the deaths of the captives, and inflicting material damages of 34 million rubles ($1.3 million).
Aguzarov also said that Kulayev detonated a bomb that caused physical harm to hostages and government troops. The judge held Kulayev responsible for the deaths of 16 hostages whom militants executed on the first day of the crisis.
Citing witness testimony, Aguzarov rejected Kulayev's claim he had been forced to participate in the hostage taking and that he neither threatened nor harmed any of the captives.
No Forgiveness From Victims
Black-clad mothers of the victims crowded into the court to hear the verdict read. Some held banners reading, "There is no forgiveness of the authorities who let Beslan happen." Others held photos of tanks and dead children.
Some survivors and relatives claim that many deaths resulted from troops firing at the school, leading to a fire that caused a roof to collapse.
Some of the victims' families tried to attack Kulayev as he was being led out of the courtroom.