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Why the Iraqi Uprising? (Good article)
| By Robert Spencer
Posted on 04/06/2004 4:36:30 AM PDT by bogdanPolska12
As of this writing, several Shiite areas of Baghdad have declared themselves free of the American occupiers, and Shiite cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr appears to be in command of an army made up of thousands of Iraqis (including some Sunnis), with backing from Iran. American forces are facing their worst crisis since the toppling of Saddam.
If Al-Sadr prevails, Iraq or the portion of it that he rules will be governed by Islamic law, like the Islamic Republic of Iran. This prospect doesnt seem to have dampened his popular appeal in Iraq, despite the fact that in Iran itself the mullahs are trying to stifle a formidable democracy movement.
How could Al-Sadr have developed such a commanding movement? What happened to all the Iraqis who were supposed to be thirsting for democracy?
The problem is not only that Iraq has no democratic tradition. President Bush has pointed repeatedly to the examples of Japan and Germany after World War II: two countries that had no democratic traditions, and where plenty of naysayers were predicting that democracies couldnt be established. They were wrong then, he says, and theyre wrong now.
But after World War II, both German National Socialism and the State Shinto that gave rise to Japanese militarism were dead ideologies. An open Nazi in 1946 Berlin wouldnt have made many friends; likewise, after Hirohito declared that he wasnt really a god, it would have been tough to carry on his struggle. But the radical Islam of Al-Sadr and others like him has not been discredited in Iraq or around the Islamic world today. Far from it.
It is likewise out of focus to assume that Al-Sadrs movement takes its impetus simply from the resentment that any occupying force will arouse in a proud people. Here the Presidents analogies are helpful. After World War II, long-standing hatreds were overcome by overwhelming empirical evidence of American good will, reinforced daily in Germany and Japan. Not that all was smooth sailing from the beginning and even Hollywood noticed. Humphrey Bogarts little-known Tokyo Joe records a largely forgotten period of postwar Japanese history, during which the American occupying forces were viewed with considerable suspicion, as well as overt and covert opposition from groups that couldnt get over thinking of them as the enemy. But eventually this melted away.
So far Western largesse has not generated this good will in Iraq, but maybe it will, given time. After all, the occupation of Japan lasted for eight years. But to say that radical Islam has not been discredited is the same as saying that political Islam is still potent, and that we ignore it at our own peril. Yet despite daily confirmations of this from around the globe, American officials have remained reluctant to acknowledge that Islam has any political dimension at all. When National Guardsman and Muslim convert Ryan Anderson was arrested in February on suspicion of trying to pass information to al Qaeda, a Guard spokesman, Lt. Col. Stephen Barger, was asked about his religion. He answered: Religious preferences are an individual right and responsibility, and I really cant get into it.
Yes, but religious preferences are not solely an individuals business; Barger should have known better or been allowed to speak honestly about what he knew. From its inception, Islam has presented itself not just as a religion in the Judeo-Christian sense of the term, but as a comprehensive set of laws for the ordering of society, including political life. Pious Muslims generally believe these laws to be the laws of Allah himself, and therefore immediately superior to any societal structures arrived at through elections: you dont vote on the law of God.
Secularism entered the Islamic world only as a Western import, and has always encountered considerable resistance on Islamic grounds most notably from radical Muslim theorists who laid the intellectual and theological groundwork for todays jihadist terror groups. The Egyptian Sayyid Qutb, executed by the strongman Nasser in 1966 as a threat to his relatively secularist regime and revered by radical Muslims around the world today as a martyr, heaped contempt on Western notions of freedom as illusory. True freedom, he insisted, could come only from obedience to the laws of Allah, not from the constructs of the secularists, which were ipso facto idolatrous and it was every Muslims duty to wage war against these idolatrous regimes until Allahs laws were obeyed.
Al-Sadr is proceeding from the same assumptions. Until such assumptions are taken seriously, there will be more and more Al-Sadrs.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and the author of Onward Muslim Soldiers: How Jihad Still Threatens America and the West (Regnery Publishing), and Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Questions About the Worlds Fastest Growing Faith (Encounter Books).
TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: alsadr; iraq; robertspencer; secularism; uprising
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To: bogdanPolska12; Ragtime Cowgirl; MeekOneGOP; MJY1288; Grampa Dave; knighthawk; kaiser80; SAMWolf; ..
ok im off to do some things. Hope you guys have a great day, I will be back later. I will be writing new article this time dealing with Kennedy and other lefties lies.
Iraq will be a democracy. It will be a free and prosperous country. Then the rest of Arabic regimes will fall and will become free and prosperous too. It will be in this decade.
How is your daughter? Many people on that thread would like to know.
posted on 04/06/2004 6:52:29 AM PDT
(Become a monthly donor on FR. No amount is too small and monthly giving is the way to go !)
My thoughts on the matter are FAR from politically correct.
During WWII, we had to BEAT and POUND and BOMB THE HELL OUT OF our enemies to get them to give up their murderous ways.
Islam is no different. Taking out the leadership (be it terror masters, dictators, or theocrats) is not the way to win this one. In order to win, we are eventually going to have to resort to carpet bombing civilians and targeting mosques.
There. I said it.
When they realize that their bloodthirsty god will not even protect their most holiest of holies, they will begin to doubt their cause. When they see their homes and children burn like paper, they will know that it was their fanatical devotion to a bloody, intolerant, fascistic religion that brought about their ruin.
Only then will there be a peace that is acceptable to all parties, when the fighting spirit of Islam has been ground into dust.
But I am afraid that nothing short of a terrorist nuke detonated in the heart of an American city would bring our people around to realize the stark truth about this war. We have become too nice for our own good.
posted on 04/06/2004 7:36:31 AM PDT
(Service and Glory!)
To: Dubya's fan
I thought it was an illegal militia uprising.
posted on 04/06/2004 8:29:45 AM PDT
To: bogdanPolska12; All
Breaking news! Heavy fights in the "polish zone", air support in use. 3 polish soldiers injured. Source onet.pl
posted on 04/06/2004 8:40:19 AM PDT
Marines are moving in. Polish forces are involved....developing
posted on 04/06/2004 9:01:32 AM PDT
(God has granted us liberty, and we owe Him courage in return)
It's too bad your right on this one. It took not one atom bomb, but two before Hirohito decided he was not god any more.
Western civilizations, especially current Judeo-Christian cultures always try to spare innocent civilians, unlike both Germany and Japan who raped and murdered the populations they invaded.
They will not give up until the mosques with the perpatrators of this murderous islam message are destroyed. The murderers and where they are are simple, they are quite vocal about it. But we are too nice for our own good. We do not yet realize WWIII started in with the first World Trade Center attack in 1992.
posted on 04/06/2004 9:05:53 AM PDT
Hey CG, for some reason link doesn't work, but to answer your question, no doubt about it. We have to put pc out the door and move fast and hard. That is why I love Patton speach to his soldiers.
My daughter temperature went down from 100 to 99, yesss. She is fine now. My mom and my wife keep eye on her check her temp every hour. We treat them all the same, but you know grandparents:}}}}}}}
WW III started in 1979 when the Iranians took Americans as hostage. It was then and there that Muslims declared war on Western civilization.
posted on 04/06/2004 9:30:15 AM PDT
(I think it takes a big dog to weigh a hundred pounds!)
Then what we should do is take all the women and children out of Fallajuh, leaving the men inside. Make sure nobody goes in or out. Drop MOAB after Daisy Cutter after MOAB on the city. Ask them "where is Allah?"
posted on 04/06/2004 9:32:35 AM PDT
(I think it takes a big dog to weigh a hundred pounds!)
posted on 04/06/2004 11:10:32 AM PDT
(God has granted us liberty, and we owe Him courage in return)
I don't want pc in this. I want attitude that Patton had, that is why I always love to read his speach in England.
Thank you Juan, it worked. Ok, here is what I think;
"There's truth to that, but in a real sense it may also be true that for this war to really end (without our defeat) then Islam may have to be shattered" - no other way, I agree, Muslims have to face a fact, they can not live like this, then condemn one thing but not suicides bombers, or murders done in Iraq or other parts of the world.
Juan, there is so much on it, would you like to post it, that article is absolutely awesome.
To: CGVet58; Ragtime Cowgirl; MeekOneGOP; MJY1288; Grampa Dave; knighthawk; kaiser80; SAMWolf; ...
You guys will love this. I removed email, but if you want to check it go to my web site and go to guest list, scroll down and you will see that.
Monday April 05, 2004 02:41:15 GMT
You freepers are pretty kooky. But keep on posting. Yours is excellent fodder detaling the nature & thinking of the extreme right.
To: bogdanPolska12; All
below is the original link and text of the Stephen Den Beste's article. I suggest going to the actual link; Stephen has other hyperlinks throughout the article which you won't get here on my reposting. Besides, Stephen is an excellent writer who has other insights worth reading and mulling over: http://denbeste.nu/cd_log_entries/2002/03/DefeatingIslam.shtml
(Captain's Log): Since September, it's been politically necessary to cast this war as not being against Islam, but rather as being against Muslim extremists. It's not the overall religion we fight, but rather the fundamentalists.
There's truth to that, but in a real sense it may also be true that for this war to really end (without our defeat) then Islam may have to be shattered. You can describe that process in various ways, such as "Islam needs to go through its own equivalent of the Reformation", but what it amounts to is to change it on a deep level. It will have to become tolerant, cosmopolitan. It will have to give up its belief in inerrancy and universality.
We've had to do that before; it occurred to me a couple of days ago that there is a moderate similarity to the defeat of Japan.
Japan had a deep cultural ethnocentrism. Its religion told it that it was favored on earth; and its emperor was called the "Son of Heaven" because he was directly descended from God. In the 13th century, it had been saved by a heavenly miracle, the kamikaze.
The Mongols had conquered all of Asia at break-neck speed and had created the largest empire in the history of the world. Korea and China had been taken and the Mongols had moved deeply into Indochina. Only Japan held out, and in 1274 Khublai Khan created a fleet to send 40,000 men to conquer Japan. But the fleet was largely wiped out by a Tai fun, and Japan was saved. In 1282, Khublai Khan put together an even larger fleet intended to send 140,000 men to Japan (an invasion force larger than the one which landed at Normandy). It was the largest invasion fleet in history before World War II, and it, too, was destroyed by a Tai fun. That was the kamikaze, the "wind of the gods". Japan had been saved by divine intervention. The Mongols never tried again.
In all of recorded history before the 20th century, Japan had never been successfully invaded or conquered, partly because of the intervention of the Gods, and partly because of the clear superiority of its culture, especially its martial tradition. But by the late 16th century, Europeans were beginning to meddle in Japanese society big-time; Christian missionaries were spreading foreign ideas, and European traders (primarily the Portuguese) were becoming a major commercial influence. Western weapons, especially muskets, were being introduced in quantity, which was changing the traditions of war. Japan was not unified; it was "interesting times" and the culmination of the process was the military triumph by Tokugawa Ieyasu, who established the Tokugawa Shogunate.
Ieyasu was one of the greatest men in history, and like all great men who are not living gods, he was both magnificent and terrible, as were his sons and grandsons and many of his descendants. Tokugawa Hidetada and Tokugawa Iemitsu stamped out Christianity. Then they sealed up the island and forbade all foreigners from even entering except at one specific port where they were closely guarded. Muskets were outlawed and the caste system was hardened. It became illegal for anyone except the Samurai to bear weapons. For 250 years, Japan sealed off the world.
But that's a long time, and Western technology moved a long way in that time. In the middle of the 19th century, westerners became increasingly strident in requesting, and then demanding, that Japan open up its society and in particular its markets to western products and western ideas. The Shoguns refused. Still, even Japan had changed in that time. The Shogunate had united Japan and the samurai became less martial, more comfortable, even a bit decadent. The Japanese martial strength was not what it had been. Japan's population rose and a large merchant class developed, which controlled great wealth.
And then in 1853, Commodore Perry sailed an American fleet into Tokyo harbor and told the Shogun that Japanese isolation was at an end. It was, in a sense, the first defeat of Japan by foreigners in its history, and the Shogunate was deeply disgraced by it. There was rising discontent by traditionalists who wanted to restore the emperors to their former state of glory and to redeem Japanese honor, and in 1868 there was a revolution which deposed the Shogun, and gave power to the Emperor Meiji. This is known as the "Meiji restoration".
Emperor Meiji chose (or had chosen for him) to establish a system patterned after that of Queen Victoria. At the time, the British were the most successful imperial power on earth, and the Japanese decided to imitate the best. A civilian government was formed and the Emperor, though having enormous power in principle, largely stayed passive and rubber-stamped whatever his government gave him. His son Yoshihito and grandson Hirohito did the same.
During the Shogunate, all samurai had become retainers of the government and received stipends from tax money. But after the Meiji Restoration, it became clear that this was not economically viable, and the samurai were told that it would come to an end in a certain number of years. The problem is that the samurai largely didn't actually know how to make a living; they were soldiers and retainers of the government, and merchants were a lower caste (although many samurai were actually successful in business by that point.) Some samurai began to threaten a counter-revolution to return to a system dominated by them.
To counter that, the government created an army which included many samurai but which also included many men from other castes. And their leaders created a system of indoctrination for them which borrowed deeply from the Bushido, although in an uneven way. It strongly emphasized duty and obedience but largely left out the principles of noblesse oblige which were also part of the Bushido. Though the men in this army were not, for the most part, samurai, they were told that they had to live as if they were. And this army then defeated the counter-revolution, and firmly established the new government. (One of the reasons why was that the army used modern weapons and tactics, whereas the reactionaries tried to fight according to tradition.)
The new government was made up of realists. They realistically appraised the fact that no amount of honor and martial prowess was going to let men armed with swords and bows defeat westerners using cannons and rifles and steamships. Alone among the nations of the Orient, Japan began to industrialize and to modernize, and in less than 30 years created a modern miracle; they had become militarily equal to western nations, at least on paper. Their industrialization was less impressive and was more fragile than it appeared, not least because it relied almost entirely on imported raw materials. Still, it was far better off than any other nation in East Asia.
As the western nations began to carve up China and to create de facto colonies within its territory, Japan did too. Japan conquered Korea in the 1890's, defeating a Chinese army there, and Japan took control over Taiwan. The Japanese fought alongside the Europeans to put down the Boxer rebellion, and were the only non-white nation to do so. Japan began to think of itself as a Great Power. There was resentment about this in Europe.
It came to a head in 1904 with a war against Russia. Japan attacked and defeated a small Russian fleet at Port Arthur, and landed and fought a relatively inconclusive ground war where the Japanese showed their willingness to sacrifice great numbers of men, albeit largely uselessly.
The Russians then mobilized their entire fleet in European waters, sailed it around Africa and Asia and into the Pacific, where the Japanese annihilated them at the battle of Tsushima.
It needs to be understood that the Russian fleet was in lousy shape to begin with, and it had not survived the transit from European waters well. Its equipment and men were really miserable by that point. Its commanders were just as incompetent as those who commanded Russian ground forces in WWI. And the Japanese fleet was fighting in home waters and were better than had been expected. Still, the Japanese began to think that the same thing might happen to any other Western fleet which tried to attack them.
At which point Teddy Roosevelt used one of the most impressive examples in history of a mailed fist inside a velvet glove. He ordered a large part of the American fleet to make a world goodwill tour. This was what became known as the "Great White Fleet", both because the ships were painted white, and because it was manned by white men. It visited many nations, and Japan was one of them. The visit was totally friendly, but the point was obvious to everyone involved: unlike the Russians, the American fleet had clearly been able to reach Japan in first-class condition and was obviously able to fight a war there if need be. And it was larger, more modern and more powerful than the Russian fleet had been. If Tsushima had been fought by the Americans, Japan probably would have lost. The Japanese had been shamed again.
And the shame continued. Japan continued to industrialize and build its power. It did not stay neutral in World War I; it allied with the French and British and sent observers to France, but no troops. It did, however, seize certain German possessions in the Pacific, and was even permitted to keep some of them out of the treaty of Versailles. It also observed the first combat use of air power, and imported planes from France with which to train the beginning of an air force.
After the carnage of World War I, the UK tried to push the world into a naval disarmament treaty. One of the big debates was what ratio of power each of the major nations involved should have as a function of their places in the world and responsibilities. Parity was out of the question. The conference was held in Washington, and the Americans read the Japanese diplomatic codes used to send instructions to their diplomatic teams. The final ratio worked out was 10:10:6:3.3:3.3 for UK:US:Japan:France:Italy respectively. However, the Japanese negotiating position was to hold out for 10:7, to fall back to 10:6.5, and as a last resort to accept 10:6. But since the Americans knew this, they just kept pushing the Japanese until they accepted 10:6, which is how the treaty was written.
And later the Japanese learned what had happened. That was the third time they had been dishonored by the US.
While the Royal Navy was as powerful as the US Navy, the majority of its power was in the Atlantic and Indian oceans. The major foreign power in the Pacific opposing the Japanese was the US, who were not to be trusted. So it's hardly any wonder that the first Japanese attack of World War II was intended to cripple the US Navy.
What the US was facing at that point was an intense Oriental/Japanese chauvinism. Their cultural history was not simply that they were our equals, but that they were our betters. And yet we had showed them up time and again; we were a major threat, and our government in the 1930's was pressuring them to stay home and not move out to the imperial glory that they deserved. Some historians actually date the beginning of World War II to September 18, 1931, when Japan began military operations to conquer Manchuria. By 1937, Japan had begun a war to conquer China, which was an American ally.
The United States took a very dim view of this and began to apply serious diplomatic and economic pressure on Japan to withdraw from China. This would, however, have represented yet another disgrace by the United States, which was not to be tolerated. After the US and the Netherlands imposed an embargo on oil and scrap steel sales to Japan, it could either withdraw, accept defeat and humiliation and second-rate status, or it could roll the dice. So it attacked Pearl Harbor.
Some in Japan believed that this was foolhardy. Most famously, Admiral Yamamoto himself opposed war with the US and warned that it would lead to disaster. But the Navy did not control the government, and the Army believed that Japan could not be defeated. While the leadership of the Army did not believe it was capable of destroying the US, it did believe that it could conquer a huge area and that the US would not be willing to make the sacrifice needed to take it all back and to defeat Japan. Thus with the American fleet destroyed and a large Japanese empire a fait accompli, the US would negotiate and agree to peace. Of course it didn't work out that way, because the Army failed to understand the depth of fury and hatred that the Pearl Harbor attack would raise in the US.
It was never doubted in Japan that the US had the industrial and military ability to defeat Japan. But it was not believed that the US had the will, the willingness to accept losses, to do it. Japan's martial tradition would defeat the US by making the price in blood higher than the US would be willing to spend.
By this point, the Army controlled the nation. The modified form of Bushido originally created to discipline the army in the 1870's had become a national philosophy which equated obedience to the Emperor (and the Emperor's government) as the most important of all things, and death in that service to be an honor. These were not just words; this truly was the culture of the nation. The government had become a military dictatorship, whose primary goal had become to create the empire in Asia that Japan deserved. The early rhetoric about the "Greater East Asia Co-prosperity sphere" really was genuine; the Japanese were trying to appeal to the other Asians on the grounds of loyalty, of working together to expel the white invaders. And in many places, the Japanese were originally welcomed as liberators (e.g. Viet Nam), but that didn't last.
In the end, Japan was crushed. And the US had to pay a terrible price. As did, indeed, the UK and Australia and New Zealand and especially China, of course, but if the US had given up and made peace with Japan, the others would have been helpless. It was the willingness of the US to pay the price it did which doomed Japan.
Japan has not fought a war since 1945. Japan is fully integrated in world culture now. But to make that happen, it was necessary to terminate (with "extreme prejudice") a martial tradition extending back a thousand years. It wasn't enough to defeat the nation militarily; it had to be defeated in spirit. It was not enough to occupy the nation; its people had to actually give up.
It took a direct order by Emperor Hirohito to make it happen. After Hiroshima and Nagasaki, he finally bestirred himself and ordered a surrender. And with that, the entire martial tradition shattered like broken glass. The influence of the samurai on Japan was destroyed forever, and Japan is now ruled by its merchants, as are the Western nations.
It took a crisis of faith; it required the people of Japan to believe that they were defeated. They had to give up a thousand years of cultural chauvinism, to accept deep within themselves that their culture was inferior in practice, and had to be replaced.
Much of Japanese culture survives; their traditional arts are preserved and honored, for instance. But all that remains of the bushido is "Iron Chef"; it is no more relevant to modern Japanese culture than is the chivalry of the Knights of the Round Table to modern British culture. It is now little more than nostalgia.
Which brings me back to the present: what we may ultimately be fighting against this time is a cultural chauvinism just as deeply ingrained in the Arab nations as the samurai tradition was in Japan, which is just as deeply offended by us as were the Japanese.
Will that mean that we will have to shatter them just as badly? I hope not, but I fear it to be so. The parallels are not exact, but there is the same feeling of entitlement to domination, the same feeling of being shown up by foreign dogs. In the case of Islam it is much worse; it's not just that their extremists believe that Islam is entitled to rule the world. Their religion tells them that God Himself has said they will. And yet, secular western nations keep defeating them. For hundreds of years they have been in decline. They keep being shown to be second (or third) rate compared to the accomplishments of cultures who do not follow Islam.
To the extremists, the western nations and in particular the United States are not just threats; they are blasphemy. For them to exist and to do what they do, the Q'uran must be wrong. But it is the Word of God and cannot be wrong, hence it is the duty of extremist Muslims to defeat, to completely destroy the heathen and to establish the Islamic utopia on earth that the Q'uran promises.
I happen to be an atheist but I don't intend to impose atheism on anyone else. My nation is secular and democratic, but I don't think that as a matter of principle we should go out and force the world to become democratic and secular or die at our hands.
On the other hand, I do believe that my system, while imperfect, is still better than any other known one, and in the long run I think it will dominate the world. I think this will be a good thing.
I, too, am a cultural chauvinist. I feel no shame in that. But I'm not militant about it, and I'm willing to tolerate other chauvinists as long as they don't become militant. This war was thrust upon us by militant Islamic extremists, whose belief system cannot tolerate mine to exist.
For my system to continue to exist, theirs must be changed. This is not a war of faith on my side, it's just a practical necessity. They need not give up Islam, but their fundamentalism will have to be destroyed. Islam must become tolerant, because as long as it is not we will continue to have wars with them.
Many Muslims are already tolerant. But many are not, and there is a major core of the faith of Islam which is not.
That is also what existed in Japan going into World War II, and to ultimately pacify Japan it was necessary to completely gut its culture and rebuild it according to our desires. There have been few nations as radically changed in such a short time as Japan between 1946 and 1951, when the occupation officially ended and a formal peace treaty was signed with the new government of Japan.
I fear that before this war ends we shall have to make changes as radical to the majority of Islamic nations, especially the Arab ones. I fear that, because I don't see how this war can end if we don't, unless we are defeated. We can't merely defeat them militarily; I think we have to break their spirit.
posted on 04/06/2004 12:15:00 PM PDT
(God has granted us liberty, and we owe Him courage in return)
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