Sunday, October 30, 2005

And the Lying Continues

The future head of the Anglican Church, Price Charles, fights for Islam:
The Prince of Wales will try to persuade George W Bush and Americans of the merits of Islam this week because he thinks the United States has been too intolerant of the religion since September 11. The Prince, who leaves on Tuesday for an eight-day tour of the US, has voiced private concerns over America's "confrontational" approach to Muslim countries and its failure to appreciate Islam's strengths.
Of course, President Bush has nothing but praise for Islam. Clearly Charles has been hallucinating or falling for anti-American bigotry. In actuality, this line of attack is meant to be pre-emptive. Before Mr. Bush, or more likely another leader, identifies the threat of Islam, the apologists are yelling “anti-Islam” to solidify our current blindness. This is an attempt to close people’s mind and inculcate a positive prejudice before they critically examine Islam.

Might I suggest that Price Charles take a tour of Continental Europe to confront the hate and bigotry against America?

The Lying Continues

Once again, our representatives in Washington have cancelled a scheduled hearing on Saudi Arabia and its role in spreading fundamentalist Islamic hate. Those who harbor terrorists are as guilty as terrorists? I remember hearing those words once upon a time. How about those who create the terrorists in the first place?

Let’s hear the truth about Saudi Arabia! We, in the blogoshere, are aware of the problem. Months ago, I’ve suggested we change our relationship with the evil kingdom. The first step involves exposing the truth. Even if we continue to deal with Saudi Arabia, we should not lie by commission or omission. It may take time to form a consensus about the best course of action but we must face the truth.

As of today, our cowardly representatives in Washington lie. Yes, lie is the appropriate word for willfully evading and deceiving our country to the nature of this problem. The truth will require making tough decisions. And this may be painful to the American consumer in the short run and thus painful to the American politician. But when we are sending men and women into battle, the least we can do is to ask the American people to endure a measure of financial hardships as we disengage from supporting an enemy. The fears over such a course of action are overblown. But we should be willing to take steps even as we fear it will be painful.

The media, on the other had, is obsessed with comparatively minor matters. Apparently, we need to expose and micro-examine the testimony of someone called “Scooter.” Might I suggest we expose Saudi Arabia and the jihadist movement first? Should we not do something about those people who hate and want to kill us? My patience has run out; our politicians and the press are failing us. Let's hold them accountable.

Update (10/31): We are once again blinded by our own lies; with eyes closed we eagerly train and educate our enemies. (Hat tip: Mustang.) Deception is not a practical road to victory. We don’t fool them; we fool ourselves.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Today’s Round-Up

In case you or someone you know thinks multi-culturalism is a benign concept, read the truth on 6th Column.

Gates of Vienna raises the key issue in clear terms: how do we define the enemy and what do we do about them? For further thoughts on this issue, see 6th Column.

Gandalf” has a lengthy article on Ottoman rule and it’s oppression of Christians.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Time to Act in Afghanistan

Afghani writer was jailed for being critical of Islam. In a serious blow to the future of liberal democracy, Afghanistan has now eliminated any discussion of substantial reform. Unless the Coalition acts to put pressure on Karzai, we should distance ourselves from his regime. If the intention in Afghanistan and Iraq was to move beyond immediate self-defense and invest for the long-term by supporting the ideals of freedom, we’ve failed to convey what freedom itself actually means. We’ve seen far too little intellectual effort to insure that freedom of speech and freedom of religion are the core elements of the new regimes. Both of these are extremely important.

Freedom of speech is vital to the debate of ideas for a functioning democracy. Freedom of religion is equally important. It is not a superfluous notion of a by-gone era. It goes to the core of an individual’s being. If the individual is to be respected, his most precious thoughts, beliefs, and values must be freely chosen, his character has to be cultivate through exercising his liberty and living his beliefs, and finally he has to be able to proudly express his being without fear of retribution. These may be religious; or they may be one’s philosophy, way of looking at the world, or innermost core values.

One doesn’t have to be religious – and I am not – to understand that the issue is the sanctity of individual life and sovereignty of each individual in his being. The concept of rights is an absolute that says “my person is off limits; I am a human being.” There can be no greater concern than advocating freedoms of religion and speech. Without these freedoms, democracy is little more than a murdering mob trampling others in their path. Without these freedoms, the spirit of democracy turns into the nightmare of totalitarianism.

Nation-building cannot come at the cost of the individual. It's the lesson of the 20th century.

Front Page Magazine - Of Course!

David Horowitz doesn’t back down. Today he boldly puts three articles dealing with the Islamic threat. Frank J. Gaffney Jr. argues that “The Saudis are on the wrong side in this war. As long as that is the case, we must act accordingly.” Daniel Pipes argues that “Accusations of Islamophobia … are intended to silence critics of Islam …” Robert Spencer reports on the Islamic oppression of Coptic Christians – one of the few remaining Christian communities in Northern Africa and the Middle East.

Meanwhile, politicians of both parties are still deaf, dumb, and blind. Newspaper editorials are non-existent. Hollywood refuses to “play into Bush’s hands” and produce movies relevant to today’s crisis. And the universities are busy calling Bush the greatest terrorist in the world. … It going to be a long war.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Confronting Hate

I’ve posted a comment on Roger Simon’s blog about anti-American hate-mongering. Anti-American bigotry is nothing new and has been documented by Jean Francois Revel in his book Anti-Americanism. This hate, of course, says something about them, not us. Here’s what I wrote on Roger’s blog:
One is tempted to dismiss European anti-Americanism as a distasteful remnant of the tradition of prejudice common among Europeans. After all, unlike the Jews, we are not powerless; this hate doesn’t seem as ominous as the anti-Semitism of the 1930s. And the Europeans feel smug in their hatred since the multi-racial country they hate, America, exempts them from the racist label. However, such hate still corrodes the soul; continental Europe is sick.

The dangerous part is that sickness is contagious. Far from innocuous, hatred creates an environment where vicious acts are possible. Fueled by European hate-ideology, dictators and court intellectuals of third-world countries scapegoat America for the intrinsic failures of their own culture. One week before 9/11, this hate reached a climax in the UN sponsored conference in Durban, South Africa.

It is this kind of hate that makes 9/11 possible and acceptable. I've accused the UN of playing a key role in creating this atmosphere of hate. We are far too polite in confronting the hate-mongers when we are the objects of hate. It's time we got some moral backbone and responded with the righteous indignation this hate-movement deserves.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Can We Ignore Islam and Win?

Recently, on Jihad Watch, Hugh Fitzgerald reiterated his viewpoint that we shouldn’t waste resources and manpower in Iraq. Angelo Codevilla also questions whether our administration’s nation-building ambitious are misplaced. I don’t have answers to these concerns; but we should be thinking about the current state of affairs differently. Unlike critics on the left, the above gentlemen are not questioning our honor. But they are implicitly asking if we are too generous or perhaps foolish: could fight the enemy more effectively with less cost? Here is what I posted on Jihad Watch:

I don’t have a battle plan and I’m skeptical of nation-building especially in a country requiring a cultural transformation. And I certainly wouldn’t have picked this place and manner to confront the jihadists. But changing the battle plan requires understanding the war. That education, of which Jihad Watch is a lead player, is a tremendous task.

At present the debate on the war is overwhelmed by those with a different view of Islam and foreign affairs. Without the prerequisite understanding of Islam and its growing influence through out the Islamic world, how will anyone understand the optimal path of action?

There is skepticism by some conservatives of "cultural engineering" from general considerations. However, there is still a failure to appreciate the vast difference between Islam and the West as conservatives, 50 years ago, saw a vast difference between Communism and America. And the far left, in its multi-cultural quagmire, is hopeless.

As our leaders proceed as if Islam is benign, success will be limited at best and problems will get worse. It’s at this point that people will seek an alternative viewpoint. It’s important to lay the groundwork for that process. The left is trying to do that by blaming the West for all the problems and hoping when the worse happens to take the credit for an explanation. The alternative is to explain the cultural inadequacies in Islamic countries and the role that Islam plays in creating, sustaining, and furthering the problem. It’s this intellectual battle that needs to be brought center stage in the national debate.

Currently few are doing this. I saw a headline in a conservative magazine saying it was racist to question whether Islam is compatible with democracy. Yet, this should be the question. We should be asking if Iraqis are worthy of our efforts. Will they succeed? Do they have what it takes? Is it Islam that is holding them back or other factors in Arab culture? The onus should be on the Iraqi people. We’ve been more than generous and we should take that for granted.

Too many conservatives are wasting their time fighting anti-Americanism and ineffectively at that. They are defending the administration against the charge that "they lost the peace" as if Iraqis have nothing to do with it. This, of course, is just one example. Not once do conservatives ask: are these people worthy of our generosity? Do they have what it takes to join the fight for civilization? Is their culture and religion a poor foundation for hope? Are Muslims failing?

The focus of the current debate is all wrong (in the mainstream venues.) The growing jihadist movement will not awaken Americans if the proper ground work isn’t set. It will only demoralize us – as the left wants. It’s time to reverse the terms of the debate and that will require an intellectual assault of the driving force behind the enemy: Islam.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Denial: Then and Now

The failure to understand the danger of evil ideologies blinded our forefathers to the totalitarian threats of the 20th century. Today, we are currently in denial about Islam and the re-awakening of the original Islamic spirit. The comparison of our self-induced blindness to that of the mid-20th century is alarming.

I talked about the left’s willful blindness to the horrors of communism during the Red Decade. I’ve also described one eyewitness account of the denial of the Nazi threat. This article describes Stalin’s blindness to the nascent Nazi threat. The author says, “Stalin's failure to prepare his country for war was not due to a lack of intelligence about Germany's plans.” If so, why was he caught so off guard?
If the errors of 20th-century intelligence had anything in common, it was the failure of analysts to set aside their political and cultural prejudices. Intelligence involves three major phases: the acquisition of material, its selection and collation and, finally, assessment and evaluation. How these phases are integrated determines the decisions made in response. Yet all too often, the process of integration incorporates preconceived ideas that bind the intelligence into a straitjacket detached from strategic and political realities. Ultimately, cultural constraints inhibit intelligence far more dramatically than the nature of the regime at hand.

This insight isn’t confined to intelligence. A worldview, or philosophy, is an integrating mechanism that, if it is valid, helps condense and grasp vast knowledge about the world. However, if one’s worldview is dogmatically created despite the facts of reality it will bind one to the rising threats, either completely, or jumble the data to obscure the nature of the evil in one’s midst.

With Islam we can ask if it originated as an imperialist warrior ideology founded by a military leader who conquered, slaughtered and oppressed. Or is Islam a personal religion whose founder just happened to face hostile forces requiring the understandable ethnic cleansing of Medina of Jews and the conquering of the known world by his followers in the decades that followed? And is that an incidental detail that poses no threat of being revived on a significant scale today?

In other words, what is the essence of Islam? What kind of religion was it and is it now? Are any changes substantial or superficial? Are changes fundamental or merely the atrophy of the historical practice? When trying to answer these questions and integrate the texts of the religion with the 14 centuries of historical practice, one has to have some working hypothesis. I generally start with several tentative theories and continually consider which one centers the facts better. As the scale tips, I select the one with the greatest explanatory power.

However, any process of exploration has to start with an open mind. Today, cultural taboos insure a positive prejudice. Tactics of intimidation – racism-baiting – encourage the elimination of critical hypotheses before the facts are considered. Similar to the 1930s we are currently in denial about Islam not by completely ignoring the facts but by marginalizing the important facts, downplaying the significant, and rationalizing our moral equivalence of what is clearly an unreformed theocratic political ideology inimical to individual liberty.

Our blindness will continue to diminish, in our minds, the growing threat of the Islamic revival. Daily jihadist violence is summarily dismissed or blamed on our foreign policy. Fear of criticism grows with every atrocity as the chorus of “don’t over generalize” becomes “don’t judge.” With each new inconvenient fact about Islam, attacks on our values and traditions become more virulent to maintain the moral equivalence. The truth further recedes as the blindness is solidified into a dogma that no one dares question.

It is the 1930s once again; not much has changed – only we are less innocent today.

Monday, October 17, 2005

The Saudi Imperative

A recent article reminds us that Saudi Arabia remains the center of the Islamist problem. They fund the movement and provide its ideological rationale. We’ve talked about this before and suggested a change in policy.

Let’s remember that not only have we exempted Saudi Arabia from our criticism but we materially aid her. We provide Saudi Arabia with its defense without which it would not exist.

As a sponsor of this terrorist country what would happen if they initiated or funded a nuclear terrorist attack? Clearly the country nuked would need to respond with a counter attack. We have wedded ourselves to a chief sponsor of terror. If the Bush Doctrine isn’t going to be a joke, it is imperative that we end our relationship with this evil kingdom and stop selling-out our principles, honor, and safety.

Update1: Let the good folks at Gates of Vienna spell out the Saudi threat in today's article. A musts read!

Update2: AOW continues to expose Saudi activities in the USA.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Are Conservatives Waking Up?

Jack Wheeler, talking before Accuracy in Media on C-Span, discussed why the left-liberal can’t be trusted with defense: their deeply held fear of envy leads them to policies of appeasement. They are constantly apologizing for our achievements and virtues. Feeling fundamentally unworthy inculcates in the left-liberal feelings of guilt for our wealth given the vast poverty in the world. This guilt leaves left-liberal open to moral blackmail by those that envy our success, blame the West for the world’s problems, and demand constant self-sacrifice. (If you don’t subscribe to Jack’s e-zine, catch him on the C-Span replay and see what you think.)

Jack suggests we hold our head up high and make the appropriate moral judgments of others:
We need to go on the moral offensive. The moral currency of Islam is debased. Islam is infected with a moral virus that has rendered it a morally inferior religion as it stands in the world today. It no longer deserves our respect and if Moslems want our respect back they must earn it by disinfecting their religion of moral poison.

Such a moral offensive requires moral confidence. Not only are liberals are incapable of moral confidence … they are terrified of it …

The good news is that some conservatives, like Jack, talking before mainstream conservative groups are raising the important moral issues of the day instead of getting sucked into the moral relativism and politically correct taboos that makes others – including most intellectual conservatives magazines – unable to address today’s greatest threat.

Here’s another good sign that conservatives are starting to wake-up. I recently received a subscription-offer to the venerable conservative publication Human Events that included a bonus of Robert Spencer’s Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam and the Crusades. Spencer has had trouble keeping his book on the National Review online book service after complaints by the Saudi-funded group, CAIR. At least some mainstream conservative organizations are starting to look beyond the clichés about Islam.

Finally, even the President is starting to talk differently. His past method of dealing with the Islamic threat failed to convey the fact that this is a broad ideological movement. Instead, like President Clinton, his misconceptions about Islam have allowed the public to believe we are chasing a small criminal group aided by one or two rogue states. I’ve talked about the consequence of this misconception. It’s finally become obvious to the administration that the public is confused and disillusioned over the execution of the war. A large part is the failure to convey the nature and extent of the threat.

This President isn’t suited to an intellectual fight that requires extensive explanation of ideas, refutation of criticism, and fire-side chats. However, had fellow conservatives undertaken such an intellectual assault as they did during the Cold War, the President would have been able to cash-in on the groundwork without playing the central role in the education of the public. It is here that I believe conservatives have fallen down on the job. Last year I’ve written extensively on this issue. Thus it is good to see some signs, noted above, that conservatives are waking-up.