Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Face of the Enemy

With yesterday's AOTW, I brushed upon a problem that we tend to forget (and most people tend to forget when the threat is not imminent) in our daily wallowing in other issues which, while important, are meaningless if we are destroyed.

That problem is an unrelenting enemy: Islam and its militant followers.

Now before you argue the points about the value of any religion, I will concede that point in most cases. But when a religion is designed to be intertwined with politics, rather than existing with a clear demarcation from government as we have here, moderation and peaceful coexistence become difficult, if not impossible. I'm going to try to clarify this:

First of all, I am willing to admit that, in our history, we have allied with those who would become our enemy to fight the war we were in. In WWII we joined with the Soviets to defeat the Nazis. After this, we sought allies of every stripe to fight the Soviets in the Cold War (which includes our fights in Korea and Vietnam). In the 80's, Iranian terrorists were our greatest Middle East threat, so we provided assistance to Iraq. We've fought them twice since then. And in other parts of the Islamic world, we were assisting freedom fighters in Afghanistan to push out the Soviets. They became the Taliban, and primary enablers of Al Qaeda. Then there's the Arab-Israeli conflict. Need I dive into that mess?

The result of this is that the lines of right and wrong and good and evil have been blurred, mostly for the right reason, but with messy results.

So that brings us up to today's mess and today's enemy: Al Qaeda, and their associated terrorists who use Islam as their justification for eternal total war.

So let's start with that religion of peace, Islam, because while there are millions of otherwise peaceful Muslims, the religion itself is not by design. And considering that the religion and the state are not separate entities in any Islamic country, but are unified to various degrees. This means that an attack on one Islamic country becomes an attack on Islam. And personal choices made by millions of citizens that are an affront to Islam become a reason for a country to condemn us.

The fact is, until the religious/political movement of Islam begins to shift from the intertwined domino model to a form that truly respects those who have not submitted their will to Allah, this war will not end.

So we face several problems. The first is on the domestic front. We can't stop the spread of Islam here, because we are Constitutionally prohibited from doing so. While this in itself is good, we can only attack the enemy when they leave the realm of religion and make with the politics or, at the worse, terrorism. In the past couple of weeks, our post-9/11 FBI has been successful in defusing threats of terrorism. This effort cannot and should not abate. Ever. Because our enemy will not yield.

Second, the war must continue overseas. I won't scream about where we should or shouldn't attack (I leave that to the commanders on the ground). But I will say we need to figure out what it will take to win, then do it. No politics, just hunt down and kill terrorists.

Third, when dealing with potential terrorist (Islamic) countries (Iran, most significantly), we need three categories. First, those countries who are "allies" (because Islam and freedom are not compatible), we need to stay away, only dealing with them out of necessity, leaving the human rights issues to the UN. Second, the ambivalent countries should be treated similar to our allies (limited contact), with increased scrutiny until we can determine their status. As for our enemies, we need to come at them with a coalition of countries to pursue diplomacy, while also pointing lots of weapons at them and drawing a line in the sand. And if and when they put one toe over the line, we start blowing shit up.

However, and fourth, invasion must be an absolute last resort. With few exceptions, most of the Islamic countries will become more hostile, even if we remove an unpopular government. Iraq and Afghanistan have shown us the challenges in doing this, and those were governments the people hated. Compare that with Iran, which is "democratically" elected, with a ruling religious class.

This stems from the fact that, unlike a fight between Judeo-Christian-oriented countries (us, Europe, for example), there is a clash of culture that aggravates the conflict beyond. Add to that the militant nature of Islam, and an invasion of a unified Islamic country is an invitation to make the streets rivers of blood. Instead, we deal with them as we dealt with the last absolutely resolved enemy we fought: Japan. The lesson we taught them at the end of WWII was that we could, and more importantly would, absolutely destroy them without sacrificing millions of our own people. With Islam, that lesson must be taught.

Now before anyone starts screaming that I'm talking about genocide or threatening to blow up civilians, I am talking about it. With a major caveat, that is. Our last resort must be destroying a country completely (turning Iran into a sheet of glass, for example), but we can do massive damage without civilian casualties. But with an enemy who will use civilians to protect their weapons, we must make it absolutely clear that we will, if necessary, kill civilians to take out their weapons. They do not hesitate to target civilians (9/11). We must overcome that aversion.

Very simply, we have seen the dangers that a movement based on fanaticism can do, from every political stripe. The wedding of government, fundamentalist religion, and absolute commitment cannot be defeated by the rules of gentlemanly combat, and mutual understanding. And as history has shown us the path to peace is through the lands of the militant.


Toad734 said...

But you do realize that the Republican party has been hijacked by the fundamentalist conservative right who literally think Jesus is going to start Armageddon soon, that Obama is the anti-Christ and show up to rallies with misspelled signs and fire arms. Sure the Christian religion is much more evolved than Islam in that it has an extra 600 years on that religion. But you take Christianity back about 600 years and that puts you a bit after the 2nd crusades, right at the inquisition and plundering and genocide of the new world and right before witch burnings. These were all dictated by the church and the leaders of Christianity. So, terrorism, torture, the quest of global religious domination...Does that sound at all familiar to you?

That being said, as you fear Islamic fundamentalists I fear religious fundamentalists of any kind as they are both just as dangerous. Sure, maybe the Christians haven't hijacked a plane and fly it into a tower but they are starting to use violence and intimidation as a threat and even though they usually end up committing mass suicides amongst themselves, they are still dangerous and very capable of another Oklahoma City.

The bottom line is that fundamentalism and politics is alive and well in this country as we speak. They have declared war on rationality, science and facts. We know by looking at the Middle East what the leads to and you are the one who votes for them.

Patrick M said...

Toad: Other than getting my sideways reference to fundamentalist kookiness in this country, you miss the point overall. With the few obvious exceptions, kooks in this country are not trying to pull off mass killings.

For some half-assed reason, you're trying to equate the radical elements of the GOP, and the GOP at large with fucking Islamic terrorists? Are you cracked?

You miss the obvious danger if you're trying to equate past sins of Christianity with the current threat:

With Islam, there is no differentiation between the Church and State, and no reason to accommodate those who do not submit to the rule of Allah, His prophet Muhammad, and His Word, the Quran. As a people and a country, there is no Christian holy war. Islam is as much a threat to your way of life as it is mine.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

Actually, Patrick, most Judeo-Christian religions are overtly or covertly anticipating the Great and Glorious Day when they will rule the country.

Or have you not seen the Quiverfull people, who are busy breeding like lab rats in the hopes of spitting out enough babies to place an absolute and unshakable majority of themselves into Congress?

Do you not remember enough Catholic history to recall that Catholics were widely feared and hated as traitors (how many Catholic presidents have we had, hm?) because Catholics, traditionally, bear first allegiance to the Pope, before a country? And that Catholics were feared by their Protestant neighbours as infiltrates working towards a Papal world takeover?

And let's not even start on the Jews, who have their own theocracy in Israel, which we so piously support.

I'm not supporting Islam per se. What I am saying is that you cannot draw the black and white lines you've drawn.

Eastern religions, mine included, could give a flying shit in a tornado about politics for the most part. But the Judeo-Christian world, historically, and this includes Islam in my book, has always been about 'my way or the highway' and that means getting the government to back you.

In this country, despite all the screeching about it being 'a Christian nation' the founding fathers were irreligious enough to know that it would be a good idea to keep church and state seperate. This does not stop the masses from doing their best to get in under the carpet as they can.

And religious violence is perpetrated by members of not just Islam.

I'm just saying. I'm not even getting into the rest of your post because I feel like you got off the gurney right in the beginning with this one.

Patrick M said...

Saty: If you feel like I got off the gurney right in the beginning, then I don't think I can explain how damned wrong you are.

Toad734 said...

Ya, there are plenty, probably most, Christians in this country who want to put God into the schools, on our currency,make the 10 commandments US law, etc. If they had their way, we would be living under a theocracy. I don't even think thats a minority.

Most Muslims aren't trying to pull off mass killings either. I was hanging out with two Muslims all last night, neither tried to kill me. There are about a billion Muslims in this world and there are how many terrorist attacks each year??? Well, How many terrorist attacks were there each year before the Bush years??

And you can look at Northern Ireland, Croatia/Serbia/Bosnia, the ETA of Spain and parts of Africa and obviously Oklahoma City and know that Muslims aren't the only terrorists in the world.

Its why I say all religious funamentalism should be kept in check.