Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Whose Fault?

When you start with the wrong premise you never learn. This is the problem with David Frum, the former administration advisor. In a recent article he tries to explain the difficulties with creating a liberal democracy in Iraq. The problem, he says, is Tommy Franks. That’s right, it’s not Arab culture; it’s not Islam’s incompatibility with individual liberty; it’s not the dysfunctional need for Arabs to blame everyone else for their inability to creating functioning and civil societies. It’s Tommy Franks.

This is the David Frum, who in a C-Span promotion of his last book, said that if Muslims won’t create a moderate and tolerant Islam in their countries, we’ll have to create one for them. He suggested we create a progressive variant of this barbaric religious ideology right here in the USA to help transform their religion for the challenges of the 21st century. Right, David, and maybe they’ll also enjoy a few cartoons drawn by my Danish friends ….

Frum joins the blame-America left because he can’t face the inherent deficiencies within Islam and Arab cultures. And he joins Arabs whose reliance on scapegoats is a perennial way of evading of self-responsibility.

25 Comments:

Blogger beakerkin said...

There way be another sad but true part of this story. Most of these states are artifical creation os Sykes Picot. The notion of people identifying with artifical creations may also be unreslistic.

Partition is not an option as Turkey , Iran and Syria will not tolerate a Kurdish state. The Assyrians would also want their own enclaves. Part of me says screw them all and let Kurdistan rise but protect the Assyrians. This is not a realistic option.

i have been reading your blog too much I scored as a Liberterian on one of those quizes.

5/10/06, 12:54 AM  
Blogger Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...

Everyone scores as a libertarian on those quizes, Beak.

5/10/06, 3:44 AM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

Why is it so unacceptable to acknowledge that Islam itself and Arab culture doesn't allow for democracy in the sense that the West interprets that ideal?

Denial never makes a reality go away.

if Muslims won’t create a moderate and tolerant Islam in their countries, we’ll have to create one for them. He suggested we create a progressive variant of this barbaric religious ideology right here in the USA to help transform their religion for the challenges of the 21st century.

Well, that's just stupid! Muslims will cry "Westoxification!" just as Ahmadinejad did as his election platform.

5/10/06, 8:44 AM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

FNC just had a commercial about tonight's O'Reilly Factor and mentioned the firestorm resulting from a statement by a Catholic clergyman. I think that this might be the topic under consideration.

Excerpt:
(CNSNews.com) - Australia's top Catholic churchman is taking flak for a speech delivered in the United States three months ago. Muslims in his home country accuse him of being misinformed about a religion they insist is peaceful.

Cardinal George Pell, the archbishop of Sydney, told an audience of Catholic business leaders in Florida he believed it was vital to read the Koran, "because the challenge of Islam will be with us for the remainder of our lives."

He said 9/11 had been his wake-up call to understand Islam better.

"In my own reading of the Koran, I began to note down invocations to violence," he said. "There are so many of them, however, that I abandoned this exercise after 50 or 60 or 70 pages."

"Considered strictly on its own terms, Islam is not a tolerant religion, and its capacity for far-reaching renovation is severely limited," Pell said. He added, however, that the human factor could also play a mitigating or exacerbating role, and he compared the situations in Indonesia and Pakistan....


You might want to watch O'Reilly tonight to see that particular segment. I rather imagine that CAIR will appear to do rebuttal of Pell's views.

5/10/06, 8:59 AM  
Blogger Cubed © said...

Hmmm... Another instance of the old "cart before the horse" trick, eh?

In what way can the product (the form of government of a state) exist before the means of its production (the philosophy that gives rise to the organizing principles of the state) is in place?

AOW,

Saw that! We'll be watching!

Beak,

There is an interesting bit on what amounts to partition based on who constitutes the majority at http://www.aim.org/media_monitor_print/4537_0_2_0, and it's about our own Southwest/border problems. Interesting.

Sorry about that, but I don't know how to make a hyperlink in a comment...

5/10/06, 2:11 PM  
Blogger Weingarten said...

Jason writes "Frum joins the blame-America left because he can’t face the inherent deficiencies within Islam and Arab cultures."

Always On Watch responds "Why is it so unacceptable to acknowledge that Islam itself and Arab culture doesn't allow for democracy in the sense that the West interprets that ideal?"

My view is that it is politically incorrect to hold people responsible for what befalls them. Rather we prefer to view something wrong, as not stemming from man's values or actions, but from some external source. Were we to trace the source of aggression to the choices of man (based in part on his beliefs) we would have to face our own fallibilities.

Many have written that people get the government they deserve. A helpful (although not perfect) guide would be that each of us gets the life he deserves.

5/10/06, 3:05 PM  
Blogger Brooke said...

"If Muslims won’t create a moderate and tolerant Islam in their countries, we’ll have to create one for them."

The challenge is getting them to stick with it. Like AOW says, Islam just doesn't allow for it.

Even so, we can't just let them go on doing what they are doing!

5/10/06, 4:03 PM  
Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

Frum is just envious of the money Franks got for his book deal.

Chimperella looked around for someone who would take on this fool's errand and he finally found Franks, a pimp who would take the gig, split and sign a bood deal.

Guy's a true American. Even "Axis of Evil" Frum knows this is a collosal cluster f**k.

5/10/06, 4:06 PM  
Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

AOW, why are you so concerned about the question of whether or not democracy as you understand it can be enforced in the M.E.

They clearly are not interested in what you're selling. Stop trying.

Why not just leave iraq? Because when the occupier leaves the level of insurgent violence generally decreases. Seems like a reasonable strategy since the insurgency has given us two options. Pave the place or leave.

5/10/06, 4:10 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Jason:

And he joins Arabs whose reliance on scapegoats is a perennial way of evading of self-responsibility.

Aren't these people so stupid? They're in denial. BIG time!

Islam and democracy are TOTALLY incompatible. Frum should have learned this by now.

5/10/06, 4:33 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Frum was tough on Franks and I, no doubt, believe it’s time to get tough on Frum.

I tend to shy away from being an armchair general especially one, like Frum, using 20/20 hindsight. I you read Frum’s article he complains that we “went light” using fewer troops than some thought necessary. He seems to forget that it was only prudent to “go light” given that we expected the enemy to use their chemical weapons against our troops. Frum doesn’t even mention this concern in fairness to Franks and, more importantly, in concern for our troops. Apparently, for Frum, policing Baghdad comes before taking prudent measures to reduce our casualties.

Frum’s “boy scout” altruism of putting the enemy first seems to have spread to his recent call for our military intervention in … Darfur (hat tip Solid Surfer.) Obviously, a tragedy is unfolding. I can respect Frum’s concern if he was calling for volunteers for, let's say, the French Foreign Legion. (Remember that movie with Gary Cooper?) But Frum believes our foreign policy should be devoted to saving the world.

AOW: Well, that's just stupid! Muslims will cry "Westoxification!" Indeed, any criticism of their religion as it is will be seen as an attack (Islamophobia) or corruption. Daniel Pipes, who believes in a reformed Islam, gets savagely attacked for his effort. I respect Pipes because he clearly knows the immensity of the task and doesn’t pretend this is child’s play. (PS thanks for the TV tip)

You’re right, Cubed, Frum can’t understand why the cart can’t pull the horse.

I agree with you AW that it is PC to exempt people from self-responsibility … except Americans. Apparently we are to blame to the failure of others. No one can really remove all responsibility from the world and still make recommendations for action and change. Thus, this PC nonsense must be a blame-America philosophy. “If it’s not them and can’t be them, it must be us—we’re the ones with the power.” Of course, Frum believes that and sees our inaction (Darfur) as sinful as our mistaken actions.

Ducky says, “They clearly are not interested in what you're selling [democracy]. Stop trying.” Just when I’m about to agree he adds: “when the occupier leaves the level of insurgent violence generally decreases.” The same old blame-America for the fact that they are killing each other. How about Algeria, Ducky? The French left there decades ago and yet 100,000 have been killed in the last 15 years. How about the Sudan? What about the attacks on Buddhist monks in Thailand? Was that due to Bush’s foreign policy, too? No doubt if we got rid of Saddam, slapped in a new dictator, and left in three months, Ducky and his kind would be shouting how it is our fault that dictators rule the Third World. Damned if we do and damned if we don’t!

5/10/06, 4:46 PM  
Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

Jason, the topic is iraq, not Algeria. The fact that Algeria experienced a civil war is not unusual in Africa. Remeber the millions dead when we installed our boy Seko in the Congo?

Anyway, Algeria is fairly quiet now and Morocco is making genuine progress towards an open culture. It takes time.

What they don't need are a few hundred thousand Americans with no clear mission stomping around making bad situations worse.

Darfur is also a classic example of gathers vs. farmers. You put a religious label on it because you put one on everything apparently. Dumb.

What about Hindu violence against Muslims in India? I know, in your limited world vision Islam is always the aggressor.

Damn you sure can back peddle when it comes time to take a look at what a bunch of useless grunts our forces were in iraq. That sure came to nothing.

Here's your economic thought for the day Jason:
Human beings may not be good enough for socialism, but we're not smart enough for capitalism, either.

Pay attention to the second clause.

5/10/06, 4:57 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Nice try Ducky but 30 years of slaughter in Iraq is par for the course for Islamic and Arab dictatorships. The fact that we are over generous in trying to keep the Iraqis from killing each other is no reason to assume our effort isn’t honorable. Prudent? That’s another matter. Nevertheless, we can achieve modest goals and avoid the bloodbath that would result from your policy of sudden withdrawal. And even though it’s not our responsibility to stop bloodbaths, defeating Sunni jihadists and positioning ourselves to deal with the Iranian threat are worthwhile.

Oh, yes, I know Islam isn’t the only evil in the world. There’s still communism: that ominous relic, North Korea, still haunts the Pacific Rim.

5/10/06, 5:15 PM  
Blogger unaha-closp said...

AOW: Well, that's just stupid! Muslims will cry "Westoxification!"

JP: Indeed, any criticism of their religion as it is will be seen as an attack (Islamophobia) or corruption.


This is weird. As far as I could tell both of you have always been in favour of defining the positive nature of Western modernity and its benefits and advantages. Such an approach would lead to the Muslims living in Western societies seeing the positive nature of these ideals. This will differentiate (Westernise) them wrt their old country, serf like co-religionists. David Frum suggests differentiating Islam as practiced in the West from that of the East through education and your approach is to differentiate the West from Islam through eductaion, his and your approaches seem very similar.


IMHO to make education work needs some things to happen:
- Direct investment (by probably the state) in a school of Islam compatible with Western ideals. France is trying this, but Anglos will not accept this approach.
- An education initiative to strengthen secular Western values in wider society, similar to what you have seemed to be advocating.
- Elimination of competitive schools of purity funded by the Islamic thugocracies, including Saudi Arabia that spends 4x as much on wahabist missions than the USSR spent on spreading communism. (Preferably by crippling their ability to fund these schools by eliminating the source of their wealth.)

5/10/06, 7:18 PM  
Blogger kevin said...

Why does someone have to be at fault?
Saddam worked very hard to paint himself into the corner he's in and he deserves every bit of it. If democracy doesn't work out in Iraq, it will still be better off than the Saddam/Uday/Quesay situtation they were in. Americans can be proud of that. No more gas attacks on the Kurds, no more invasions of Kuwait and Iran. The world is a better place than before the war.

5/10/06, 9:31 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Thanks for the tip, AOW. Bostom was awesome.

5/10/06, 10:23 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Unaha, Frum is advocating a simplistic activist program. I’m describing the threat of Islam and the prospects for long term change. The first step of change is facing reality and that means describing the harsh reality about Islam—not creating fantasies about an hypothetical Islam-lite.

Education is laudable if there were knowledgeable people qualified to engage in such an endeavor. I proposing that we educate the American people about the threat. The idea that Americans will educate Muslims about a religion that they do not have the slightest idea doesn’t sound like a winning policy.

But I agree with Kevin and mentioned above that there are important achievements of our removal of Saddam and our current investment in Iraq. Some have taken Bush’s aspirations and declared anything less than utopia a failure. Bring stability, engaging the Iraqis in the fight of Sunni jihadists, and positioning our troops to the west of Iran are all worthy achievements. That it is not perfect for Frum reflects what we have to work with in Iraq. It’s been far more successful than I originally would have thought (but that isn’t something that I’ve written about.)

5/10/06, 10:34 PM  
Blogger unaha-closp said...

The first step of change is facing reality and that means describing the harsh reality about Islam—not creating fantasies about an hypothetical Islam-lite.

It also means addressing what your American ideals are - free, equal, independent or hospitable, friendly, sharing or whatever. To resolve to do anything about Islam you need to have a general base of Americaness.

5/11/06, 1:32 AM  
Blogger unaha-closp said...

Forget that comment, maybe you're right. Americaness/westerness is too mixed up to define.

5/11/06, 7:48 AM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

UC,
As far as I could tell both of you have always been in favour of defining the positive nature of Western modernity and its benefits and advantages. Such an approach would lead to the Muslims living in Western societies seeing the positive nature of these ideals.

But is that method working? Are Muslims in the West leading the way to the reformation and secularization of Islam? One Muslim who visited Beak's blog said something like this: "I love the freedom here in the United States. But shari'a law is better." Also, several members of the governing cabinet of Hamas were educated right here in the United States. Those are just two specific examples to illustrate the problem of which I'm speaking.

Also, I'd like to point out that many who carried out the 9/11 attacks and Londonn bombings had enjoyed the advantages of the Western way of life, yet consciously rejected that way in favor of the higher jihad (self-sacrifice for Allah). Eternal considerations trumped temporal ones, and our secular society has problems with understanding that mindset.

Not Without My Daughter, both the book and the movie, points out that Westernized Muslims can revert to fundamentalism when they return to their homeland.

We're kidding ourselves if we think that we can make Western "missionaries" out of devout Muslims. We're also kidding ourselves if we think that introducing Western democracy into Muslim countries is a cure-all; the underlying ideology will trump our efforts, IMO.

5/11/06, 7:59 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Always said:

Not Without My Daughter, both the book and the movie, points out that Westernized Muslims can revert to fundamentalism when they return to their homeland.

We're kidding ourselves if we think that we can make Western "missionaries" out of devout Muslims. We're also kidding ourselves if we think that introducing Western democracy into Muslim countries is a cure-all; the underlying ideology will trump our efforts, IMO.


Not Without My Daughter higlighted the problem so accurately.

I have myself witnessed this phenomenon first hand. I have witnessed many Muslim students raring to come to the West to enjoy sex and alcohol (and often drugs, too). They enjoy a year or two studying in the West, leading their debauched lives, then return to their native Saudi Arabia (or other Gulf country), and within a short time, they start to grow their long, Islamic beards, clip their moustaches in the manner of their prophet, and start being altogether 'holier than thou'.

Wallahi, the metamorphosis is then complete: They have reverted to type!

5/11/06, 10:02 AM  
Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

"The fact that we are over generous in trying to keep the Iraqis from killing each other is no reason to assume our effort isn’t honorable."

Quite the altruist aren't you? That seems very inconsistent Jason. Unless you can prove that Iraq was a threat you have some 'splaining to do.

And the only ones that don't have to move in pretty mysterious ways to demonstrate a threat are the pure haters. But maybe you have a unique position.

The killing was over when we went in. The Iran/Iraq war that we helped stir up, the civil wars...they had taken their toll and subsided. The killing in Iraq now is just sensless carnage that we have helped stir up.

You sound like Al Pacino settling with the five families in the Godfather. That seems to be your idea of peace. Fine, just don't parade yourself as anything but a barbarian like those you decry.

5/11/06, 10:29 AM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Unless you can prove that Iraq was a threat you have some 'splaining to do.

Saddam was obviously a threat by his very nature. There’s no doubt about it. That he might have paused for a moment doesn’t negate that he is the same vicious dictator that he’s always been. Taking Saddam out was a respectable and prudent option.

You remind me of the school principal who hires a pedophile while explaining to the PTA that he hasn’t molested anyone this week. C’mon.

There are no disembodied actions. Actions are a result of an entity’s nature. In the case of human beings that means an individual’s character. We know who Saddam is, what he’s done, and what his aspirations are. I can’t even imagine how someone could doubt that Saddam is a dangerous person.

5/11/06, 2:30 PM  
Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

Why don't we take out the Uzbekistan dicatator? We were propping him up there for a while and have gone on to strengthen his grip. Human rights watch considers him a greater human rights abuser than Hussein ever was.

Again, you pick and chose like an altruist, Jason. The poor Iraqis just touched your bleeding heart so we had to invade and get a bunch more killed. Is that how the logic works?

Absolutely insane and your lack of logical consistency would offend that old shrew Ayn Rand.

5/11/06, 2:36 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

You’re right that Saddam’s nature needs an extensive exposition and it isn’t only his being a dictator. However, such an analysis applied to Saddam and Ahamedinejad would show why it would be altruistic to liberate Uzbekistan or Darfur in lieu of destroying the regimes of Iraq or Iran.

5/11/06, 3:59 PM  

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