Sunday, August 21, 2005

Lying About Islam

Often, I’m asked how we should fight the Islamic threat that currently takes the form of jihadist violence and terrorism. But the fact of the matter is that I don’t have anything significant to contribute that’s not already said elsewhere and with greater knowledge. Playing armchair general isn’t particularly productive; and I know my limits.

However, there are two important matters missing from our current policies that I stress. The first: understand the enemy. Face the fact of Islam’s role in the motivation and justification of the enemy’s goals and methods. The second: understand our moral superiority and greatness. Our morale is undermined by 5th columnists are on a crusade to damn our values, policies and actions as inherently evil.

What we currently lack is a propaganda war – one that properly vilifies the enemy and extols our superiority.

What we see is the opposite. Instead of facing the nature of the enemy, our side is praising the enemy’s ideology, Islam. We all remember how our President called Islam a religion of peace that is hijacked by a few extremists. This, of course, is a lie. However, both parties are involved in this lie. Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon, President Clinton’s advisors, in their book, The Age of Sacred Terror, praise Bush’s diplomacy as follows (page 40):
There is no gainsaying President Bush on this account. He said what needed to be said, held tight the ties that bind America to important allies, and reaffirmed tolerance at home. And, in fact, after the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in East Africa, the authors of this book helped draft similar language that President Clinton used to describe the perpetrators of that atrocity. “I want the world to understand that our actions today were not aimed against Islam, the faith of hundreds of millions of good peace-loving people all around the world, including the United States, ...”
Benjamin and Simon, however, understand. They continue:
But neither President’s necessary and useful political speech should obscure the realities of September 11: the motivation for the attack was neither political calculation, strategic advantage, nor wanton bloodlust. It was to humiliate and slaughter those who defied the hegemony of God; it was to please Him by reasserting His primacy. It was an act of cosmic war. … Only by understanding the religious nature of the attacks of September 11 can we make any sense of their unprecedented scale and their intended effects.
The authors continue and succeed in explaining the religious roots of the contemporary Islamist movement.

However, a lie has its cost, and continuing this lie on a sustained basis is undermining our resolve, blinding us to the greater threat, creating intellectual confusion, and dissipating any moral clarity.

I’ve written about the Saudi threat and discussed ominous developments in Pakistan. We are all aware of the Iranian threat and the Islamists attacking Israel. We might also remember that fundamentalists would have come to power in an election in Algeria if it weren’t for the military. This movement isn’t a few Muslims confused about their religion. It is a broad worldwide Islamist movement driven by internal developments in the Islamic world. Thus, our actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, while praiseworthy and noble, do not diminish this movement.

The lie will backfire. As people become aware of this movement, the 5th column will argue that it was only a few hijackers but now we’ve inflamed the whole Islamic world. Let’s get this straight: Islam is inflaming the whole Islamic world. Neither Bush nor Clinton created Islam. Nor did they create the Islamic Revival, which is an indigenous movement in several countries that is now fueled by Saudi oil money.

This is not the end of act one, this is not even the beginning of act one, this is only the prologue. We need to understand this movement if we are to deal with it effectively. Knowledge is the first step.


Blogger Always On Watch said...

Have you seen the article below?

8/22/05, 8:54 AM  
Blogger LA Sunset said...

"What we currently lack is a propaganda war – one that properly vilifies the enemy and extols our superiority."

We can't have that as long as groups like CAIR are empowered to silence their critics, through manipulation, threats, and intimidation.

8/22/05, 9:27 PM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

Jason, you touch on some major themes here. Why am I so concerned about Islam? It's not just bombs and terrorism. The deeper reason is that I, like you, sense a fundamental threat to our civilization and its values. The imposition of sharia (which may happen in Europe through sheer numbers) would be spiritually suffocating, just as communism was. I am not speaking from the point of view of a Christian, which I no longer am, but from the point of view of a humanist and an individualist, which I equate to the best of Western civilization, starting with the Greeks. This too is 'religious' in its own way. It has to do with the fundamental quality of life. Our greatest weakness is that we have become superficial about such things. We have lost our heart, and we may lose our freedom as well.

8/23/05, 8:57 PM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

"But the fact of the matter is that I don’t have anything significant to contribute that’s not already said elsewhere and with greater knowledge. Playing armchair general isn’t particularly productive; and I know my limits."

Oh, something else, Jason. Don't be too humble. This is a good blog, and you still have your heart! :-)

8/23/05, 9:11 PM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

Good points Benjamin; I think Islam is in opposition to core values of Western civilization going back to the Hellenic humanist tradition. I should write more on that.

I keep saying that we need to focus on the threat of their mindset and worldview while reaffirming our tradition and achievements. It's times like these that motivate taking stock of our tradition, appreciating it anew, and breaking out of our complacency.

8/23/05, 9:54 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

Benjamin Orion is correct when he says "Don't be too humble. This is a good blog..."

And so is LA Sunsett about the matter of CAIR. If Islamists take the media, we'll all have to go underground. And I think that the blogosphere may also be at stake. There's much censorship of the Internet in Saudi, regardless of the server used. For example, in Saudi, Jihad Watch cannot be accessed, even with a Yahoo server.

8/24/05, 9:31 AM  

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