Last Friday’s open-forum post, Confronting the Enemy, provoked a lot of interesting commentary. People argued and disagreed, yet remained civil, which is always a prerequisite for a good discussion.
The theme questions of the topic were “Does violent jihad represent the essence of the religion of Islam?” and the corollary “Is the existence of the ‘moderate Muslim’ possible?
We’re all on the same team, but different people are proposing different strategies for the game. Some favor a Hail-Mary play (peggy); some want to throw a bomb into the end zone (El Jefe Maximo); others want to hand off to the fullback and bust a hole straight down the middle (Bill and Heloise).
I’ve divided the different strategies into three broad groups: Moral High Ground, Divide and Conquer, and Fierce Guard Dogs. Cato, who inspired the thread but didn’t contribute, is most definitely a Moral High Ground person. Some of the commenters didn’t seem to fit in any of the groups, but those I could classify are listed below:
|Moral High Ground||Divide and Conquer||Fierce Guard Dogs|
|Clouse||Jesse Clark||El Jefe Maximo|
And now for some samples from the three groups.
Moral High Ground
|The truth is our greatest weapon. We should only resort to other means if our free speech to protest against islam were threatened by the powers that be and then it is our right as citizens to fight those powers. The average muslim person should never have to worry about our intentions towards their persons or families or property or businesses or prayer centers as long they abide by the laws of our land.|
|If we keep to the high ground, we should with time be able to turn things around. The first idea we must get across with meticulous care is this: It is possible to oppose islam without bearing hatred towards all those who believe it and everyone should be able to freely and openly dispute the ideas and beliefs of others by right as long as they dont call for violence against the other group in an indiscriminate way that would hurt peaceable folks.|
|A big problem with islam and muslims is that they do not understand this. They equate open rejection of their beliefs as hatred and bigotry mainly because their own leaders encourage them to do so by their example. But coming as they do from their original environment which is devoid of the hurly-burly of true democracy and liberty, they are easily mislead to shut their ears to the “bigots” who dislike all muslims and are encouraged to dismiss all criticism of their religion as ignorant. If we happen to think that islam is the worst idea for a religion there ever was but have no inclination to hate those who believe in it then we have to distinguish ourselves from the true haters by our conduct, by our charity and hospitality towards all.|
|I have no fear of islam being able to win the battle of ideas once it ceases its current childish and violent tactics. It is easy to see which side has formed a successful civilization from its internal resources and which side will have to be forced by pressure from without to behave in a civilized manner.|
|If Islam is inherently bloodthirsty, and Christianity not— so what? Whether the distributions of killers and lovers among adherents are titled “devout” or “lax” matters little, because the distribution curves will remain largely the same despite the titles.|
|So the answer to Islam is not peculiar to Islam— and probably not particularly profound.|
|What has worked in the past to allow man to crawl out of his filthy hole for a few fleeting moments? We are fortunately living in the greatest example in history.|
|Work to create environments where people can take charge of their own lives. Free markets. Political participation.|
|Will this “reform” Islam? Or will it merely precipitate the conversion of quite a few muslims to the more sanity-friendly Christianity?|
|Either way, I think it doesn’t matter. For the outcome will be the same.|
|There are peaceful moslims. In the main, they are peaceful, secularist and law abiding where ever they live. Among them live the enemy, using these peace folks as a shield and cover. They are usually careful to not expose themselves even to their neighbours. The problem with islam is being able to discern the friend from the enemy. Here is where it is the responsiblity of the moslims to police themselves and be law abiding by turning in those among them with the intent of breaking our laws. This should already be in place, and sadly I don’t think much of this is happening yet. It is with apprehension that I see our moslims being taken down in this country whether they are innocent or complicit if we suffer another bad attack. As posted above, telling the truth, shining the light in dark places and straight line communications should be our first line weapons of choice against those who use islam as their reason for total control globally.|
Divide and Conquer
|I think it’s also important to understand all of Islam. This is not just some great monolithic religion in which all its believers adhere to the same tenets. It is as divided as Chrisitanity or Judaism.|
|There is more division than just Sunni and Shi’a, and there is more than just the Qur’an. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of Hadith out there. Moderate Muslims accept only a few (by comparison) to the more radical and fundamentalist groups, who accept great numbers of Hadith as accurate.|
|There is not just one Sahri’a. There are four. Four seperate schools of thought on how to apply Islamic Law. They range from the moderate and quite liberal Hanafi to the radical Hanbali, which states that the Qur’an must be applied without interpretation or question. There is no reason, or ‘ijtihad’ to be made in discerning the law, as there is in the other three schools. Hanbali is the source of the Wahhabism the so often makes headlines. Yet Hanbali is followed by less than 5% of all Muslims worldwide.|
|And I haven’t even begun to talk about Sufism.|
|It is important to not see Muslims as homogenous. Yes, there is an extremely violent sect of Islam. Yes, we need to completely annihilate them before they annihilate us. But the moderate Muslims should not be viewed as accessories to their crimes. If we are to defeat our true enemy within Islam, we will need their help.|
|Now it is true that some muslims are peacable enough. Yet it has to borne in mind that some very peaceful muslims, to the utter surprise and shock of their friends and family, have become shaheeds. There is also demographics to consider. Muslim representatives will always use muslim numbers to extract further dhimmification.|
|There is no need to think of a “war of civilisatations”. A separation is far better and humane then considering Three Conjecture scenarios, just so to prove that all cultures can live together. It is a recognition that all cultures cannot live under the tent of multiculturalism. It is a recognition that some cultures, islam in this case, is not yet ready to embrace plurality and tolerance.In the future that may come about, but in the meantime, the whole excercise is getting fraught with danger for all mankind.|
Fierce Guard Dogs
El Jefe Maximo:
|Given that what you say is correct, I don’t see much alternative to the reimposition of a species of at least indirect colonial control over much of the Muslim world, coupled with mass expulsions or detention of dangerous persons within the west.|
|The main feature would be a type of interdiction or blockade in the form of bans on the movement of persons out of the interdicted countries (i.e. prohibition of passenger air and sea travel), and denial of access to employment, residence and education in the west. Traffic back and forth would be solely financial and commerical. The Muslim world is afforded access to the imports it may need from the west in exchange for access to oil and raw materials, without major movements of population.|
|Some mechanism would need to be in place to adjudicate requests for individualized exceptions/waivers of the ban.|
|Allied to this would need to be a propaganda and education effort — essentially a promise to remove the interdiction/blockade when the Muslim world espouses “civilized values.”|
|All of this administered not by the UN or anything like it, but by a commission directly answerable to the governments of the great powers (i.e. US, Japan, China, India, Europe/(UK seperate?) and probably Brazil).|
|This whole scheme would permit a substantial degree of liberty to exist outside the interdicted area, and for trade and commerce to go on, but would doubtless take a traumatic shock to the west before imposition of any such thing would be considered. Unfortunately, I suspect that our enemies will in time supply the necessary shock. Establishment of this system would require a major war.|
|Essentially, it turns the Muslim world, involuntarily, into pre-Meiji Japan, to enter its Meiji stage, probably on a regional basis, as it shows it can.|
|We need to wake up to the fact that going to war means suspending our “civil rights” and that the constitution is going to be “shredded.” We can comfort ourselves that our citizen volunteers and elected citizens will restore those rights and “tape” the constitution back as good as new after we’ve kicked the enemy’s ass.|
|For all the hand-wringing about profiling and deportations and internment camps, try reading a solid analysis of the Reconstruction after the Civil War. Then come back and tell me that deporting is so horrible comapred to the absolute tyranny, abrogation of the Bill of Rights, and nullity of the constitution that the people of the South suffered under for YEARS. Being forced to vote a certain way or not being admitted back into the union as citizens? Doesn’t that sound like one of the most horrifying crimes that can be perpetrated on a supposedly “free” citizenry?|
|I’ll take internment camps any day. FDR was an ass, but he was right to be cautious with the camps.|
|The icons of islam, beside the koran, are the shrines in mecca of the black metorite and the magic well, zamzam, where believers go on pilgrimage. Their belief is that allah will always protect these shrines. Just today, a muslim said this on Jihad/DhimmiWatch.|
|If the icons are destroyed, then allah is not omniscient and islam has no god. The shock to the mind of the muslim would be so great as to render them inactice or at the least confused and extremely disillusioned, for what is there to fight for now?|
I tend towards the “Moral High Ground” camp, but the “Divide and Conquer” people make sense. Also, my emotions make me root for the “Fierce Guard Dogs.” In fact, looking at them from the Freudian viewpoint, the three categories could be matched up with the Superego, Ego, and Id.
But I’d like to look at what’s politically feasible, and not just at what we wish would happen. Jefe and Bill, I could be with you 100%, but what you’re talking about can’t happen in our current political context.
And the current political context does matter. If we’re going to backseat-drive the auto politic, we have to take into account the road conditions, how bald our tires are, and how many horses we have under the hood. If we have a major terrorist attack next week that kills 100,000 people, the political context changes dramatically. Then the system becomes chaotic, mathematically speaking, and hence unpredictable. All bets are off.
So, if we want to argue, let’s assume the political context stays more or less the same for the next couple of years, i.e.:
1. Terrorist attacks that kill American civilians remain sporadic and minor.
2. The situation in Iraq stays the same, with security improving slowly but steadily.
3. Musharraf manages to stay in power.
4. Boy Assad remains damaged but hangs on in Damascus. The mullahs don’t get any openly revealed nukes. North Korea continues to heel for the Chinese.
5. The lily-livered craven gonadally-challenged cowards in Congress continue their pork-driven profligate ways at least through the 2006 elections.
6. The EU and the UN continue to undermine, anklebite, obstruct, and otherwise interfere with the Coalition.
7. The price of oil doesn’t fluctuate more than 25% in either direction.
8. But the mujahideen continue planning jihad, amassing firepower, and indoctrinating in the madrassas, all funded by the Saudis.
So those are the ground rules. You’re in the Administration making policy, and those are your political constraints. No fair invoking any deus ex machina. What course would you attempt to follow in an attempt to deal with the Great Islamic Jihad?
If you post on this in your own blog, let me know and I’ll link here.
On your marks… Get set… Argue!
JoeC is glad to be a Fierce Guard Dog, and has weighed in on his blog at The Gates of Vienna, Redux.
Thunder Pig has joined the task force with Introducing…Armchair General Thunder Pig?!?
Jesse Clark has his take up at Armchair Generals Conference – WWIV Edition.
I borrowed the graphic at the top of this post from The Virtual Armchair General, which is a site that you’ll want to visit, because Patrick Wilson is the “Exclusive Provider of Unique Wargames and Collectible Miniatures & Accessories.” Right up Jefe’s alley.