What's All This Then?

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

So this crazy man kills thirteen American servicemen in a murderous rampage and the two extremes of left and right wing punditry seem to want to spend more time arguing about what to call the event than the event itself. It certainly wasn’t surprising to learn of the knee jerk right wing reaction - of course concentrating on the man’s religion and leaping to the conclusion that this was an Islamist terrorist attack. I was more surprised - or perhaps I should say disappointed - at the left’s caution not to jump to conclusions - a reasonable reaction but sounding a little too much like a defense of this traitorous madman.

Although I don’t particularly want to join the chorus from the right, I think it’s pretty clear what happened here. Just as the bombing of London buses and trains in 2005 was the work of British born punks who believed that their country was at war with their co-religionists and whose loyalty to their religion was greater than that to the country of their birth - so did American citizen Major Nidal Hassan consider the United States his enemy.

I would suspect that our friends in Israel were not at all surprised at what happened at Fort Hood. . The large Arab and Muslim population of Israel is not expected nor compelled to be part of the Israel Defense Force and to fight against the country’s Muslim enemies. They are fully aware of the divided loyalty of Israeli Arabs - in may cases not really divided at all - more supportive if their Muslim brethren than of their country. It really isn’t that surprising that the influence of religion - in my view a totally irrational influence - is greater than the influence of national loyalty. Think about it for a minute. How do you think American Jews would react if for some reason the United States went to war against Israel? Of course that’s about as likely as a 90 degree temperature in Chicago on Christmas day - but I put it forth as an illustration of how citizens can be torn between loyalty to faith and to country and can sometimes be so torn as to make irrational choices,

I am no expert when it comes to the Muslim fait, but I would venture to guess that adherents fall into three broad categories. There are those who are truly religious - who believe in God - or their version of a God - but who aren’t influenced by their religion to the point of acting against their own best interests. Think of the millions of American Christians who go to church on Sunday - or on most Sundays. Believers - but not crazy believers. Most Muslims probably fall into this category of deists.

Then I would suspect there is a large group who acknowledge their religious heritage and who are comfortable with and participate in ritual but who really don’t believe in an all powerful deity or in a "prophet" of that deity or in an "after life." Not unlike, I would suspect - a good many people who call themselves Christians or Jews because that is their heritage - not because of any decisions they have made about whether or not the religion that has been passed on to them makes any sense.

And then we have the third group of which Major Hassan is a member. I’m not sure that anyone knows how large this group is - but there is more than ample evidence of what they believe and what they want to accomplish. They are the Islamic crazies who believe that non Muslims are infidels and killing them is "God’s work." They can be found all over the world, in theocracies and democracies and they don’t seem to be too hard to identify. In England and in Europe, their denunciations of everything that the British and the Europeans have held sacred for centuries, rings out daily from the pulpits of their mosques. Or may it’s called something else. Do mosques have pulpits? Whatever. It’s taken a long time but the Brits and Europeans are beginning to wake up to the danger in their midst.

For years , hatred of "infidels" was preached from London’s Finsbury Park Mosque before Abu Hamza al-Masri was arrested. Supposedly it’s a more "peaceful" place today. But I wouldn’t want to live next door. In Europe there is the warning voice of Dutch politician Geert Wilders whose views on the dangers of Islamic extremism can be read here.

The problem may not be as great in the United States, but it is beyond "political correctness" to assert that it doesn’t exist - just as it is irrational to assert that all Muslims represent a danger to the body politic. There are nut cases in other major religions but while the rhetoric may be frightening, particularly of some evangelical Christians, it is less likely to express itself in acts of mass murder. There has been the occasional Israeli orthodox Jew opening fire on groups of Palestinians just because they are Palestinians - and the occasional Christian nut case who thinks he is doing God’s work by killing people who he perceives to be breaking his version of Christian law - but he Muslim nuts are in a class by themselves and we have to be prepared to deal with the madmen in our midst who look upon the rest of us as infidels.

Of course Muslims are not automatically a threat to the nation just because of their religion and we need to be careful not to listen to right wing extremists who try to tell us otherwise, But we have been presented with more than ample evidence that belief in some aspects of that religion can precipitate acts of madness. I’m not sure what action can be taken to protect ourselves from Major Hassan types that may be lurking out there that wouldn’t violate the rights of American citizens - but doing nothing is also not an option. At the very least we would do well to look at what has been happening in England and in Europe and heed the actions of the British and the words of Geert Wilders if we ever hope to prevent future occurrences of this kind of horrendous act.

As to whether or not Fort Hood was a terrorist act - it would seem to me that acts of terror are designed to instill fear in the general public. Major Hassan’s act was more of the ritual suicide of a self perceived warrior in a war being conducted by his fellow nationals against his co-religionists.

The Major had apparently made it clear that he loved death more than "we" love life. If that is the case, I would hope that every effort is made to keep him alive and that people like me be allowed to visit him in his hospital bed or jail cell every day of every year he’s incarcerated and yell into his ear "You ignorant twit. There is no "Allah." He is a figment of your Muslim imagination. There is no paradise with dozens of virgins waiting for your arrival. There is just death and oblivion.

"Paradise" is the world of worms and maggots that will consume your putrid flesh. I wish them bon appetit.

Thursday, November 12, 2009
While I am temporarily absent from my own blog…..

No, I have not expired and I have not resigned from the blogosphere. My prolonged absence has been due to logistical and physical problems. The logistical problems will be solved in the near future with the installation of a home network - but the physical problems will have to run their course. Of interest is the most recent physical problem - that of a lens inserted in my right eye following cataract removal more than 20 years ago that slipped out of place a few weeks ago. Surgery to move it back into place was unsuccessful, so a new lens was inserted, requiring major manipulation of the eye and deeply embedded stitches, resulting in temporary legal blindness in that eye which, combined with 20/50 vision in my left eye, has made reading, writing and using the computer extremely difficult to say the least.

The eye is slowly healing and when full vision returns I will try to catch up on a whole heap of commentary rattling around in my head. Meanwhile, here is a commentary received from MIDEAST ON TARGET that I think you will find interesting in the light of the Fort Hood massacre - one of the topics on which I will make comment when I return. The author is Yisrael Ne'eman and he calls the commentary HUDNA AND THE CEASE-FIRE

"Time and again we hear of the lessening of hostilities in Afghanistan , Pakistan or wherever and the possibilities of a cease-fire when battling radical Islam. The Islamists break down into two types, the non-state actor Islamic fundamentalist groups such as al-Qaeda, the Moslem Brotherhood and its Palestinian wing Hamas and the fundamentalist regimes such as Iran . The dominant Western policy towards all is one of engagement and conciliation or conflict resolution. Liberal democracies as a rule believe in compromise and mutual understandings with the enemy, especially when the price of victory appears costly. Hence there are constant efforts at attaining cease-fires as the first step towards conflict resolution and engaging in one form or another of a peace process.

Westerners, whether liberal/conservative, left or right, project their own humanistic values on their adversaries, believing that "reasonable" people will accept peace with mutual recognition and respect. The first step in doing so is in arranging a cease-fire, this coming about when the Islamists are losing badly enough to agree to such an arrangement. Technically accepting the halt to hostilities is where the supposed "confluence of interests" ends as the West looks forward to resolving "outstanding differences" and the acceptance of the rights of all sides to exist side by side while the totalitarian Islamic fundamentalist adversary sees the cease-fire in the understanding of a "hudna".

Islamists arrange hudnas when holding the short end of the stick and certainly when facing defeat. The hudna allows time for rearming, retraining, reloading and finally reigniting the conflict at the time and choosing of the Islamic side despite any previous agreements concluded with the enemy. A hudna is only a short term tactical move in the military strategy leading to the ultimate victory of Islamic hegemony world-wide. Hudna or an Islamic cease-fire is not part of any "peace process" but rather an integral, indivisible part of a "war process".

There are Western policy makers who are aware of all the above but find a way out by insisting on what is known as "deterrence" whereby the Islamist side will accept a status quo cease-fire (and even possible negotiations) because they fear the consequences of continued military actions. The gap in thinking between the West and the Islamists comes about when the latter pours virtually all their efforts into rebuilding its military strength to the detriment of everything else. To the Westerner this appears "insane", certainly if one thinks like him and prefers to arrange an end to the conflict.

Sanity is often subjective and dependent on societal values and understandings. An Islamic agreement to a hudna does not imply the Islamic side is deterred, the new offensive is only delayed. In the Islamic fundamentalist world of the Moslem Brotherhood and the Khomeinist Iranians (Pres. Ahmedinejad & Co.) any hudna is "delayence" (a term developed by Elliot Chodoff) until the timing is deemed correct for a new offensive against the West or any other non-Islamists. And as for sanity, Islamists do not consider it rational for there to be a multi-cultural pluralistic world since the only truth is in their understanding of Islam. Projecting their own understandings of conflict on their enemies they fully expect the West to battle them to the same absolutist end and therefore do not believe in the i dea of a cease-fire for conflict resolution but see such explanations as a ruse. They know for sure that the only interpretation of the cessation of hostilities can be a hudna where one side must eventually claim total victory.

The West believes it can buy time and work towards peace with a halt in battle. The Islamists agree to the buying of time but only in the service of final Islamic domination. Hitler was delayed in the 1930s but never deterred. He explained his ultimate objectives of conquest and never veered from them. Stalin too was only delayed, was never defeated and died before he achieved his final objectives. Later Soviet regimes accepted a mutual deterrence with the West after the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Each time Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia did come to the negotiating table they left having absorbed other nations under their wings such as Czechoslovakia (1938) as concerns the former and swaths of Eastern Europe (despite the Yalta Agreement) when referring to the latter. The West acquiesced, fearing conflict and thereby sending a message of weakness and encouraging the other side to continue its policy of aggression.

Throughout the history of Islam there have been neighbors with whom Moslem rulers have struck deals for a cessation of hostilities. Some regimes did not appear intent on forcibly spreading Islam as a final objective. This is not the case with the 21st century Islamist movement of the Moslem Brotherhood and Shiite Iran. They are much more comparable to the extremist Islamists of yesteryear such as the Wahhabists in Arabia in the 1700s or Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia of the recent past.

Only when the West has a full understanding of the meaning of hudna will it be able to overcome the lure of arranging a cease-fire with those seeking its ultimate destruction. Only then can the alternative be seized and a strategy towards victory over such oppression be implemented."

Thought provoking to say the least…