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Liberal Myths about Radical Islam [Interesting Read]
Townhall.com ^ | March 26, 2007 | Dinesh D'Souza

Posted on 03/27/2007 7:18:23 AM PDT by upchuck

As the Pelosi Democrats attempt to steer the debate on Iraq and the war on terror away from President Bush's approach, it is useful to examine the premises behind the liberal Democratic understanding of the war on terror. So far the Democrats have been successful in faulting the president's admittedly-flawed approach. But there is no advantage in trading one bad model for another. Here, then, is my critique of some of the major elements of the liberal explanation for "why they hate us."

They're very upset at us for the Crusades: James Carroll’s recent book Crusade, portrays the Crusades as a horrific act of Western aggression that still shapes the military thinking of America's leaders and inspires outrage in the Muslim world.

Is it reasonable to think that Muslims today are genuinely outraged about events that occurred a thousand years ago? Let us remember that before the rise of Islam, the region we call the Middle East was predominantly Christian. Inspired by Islam's call to jihad, Muhammad's armies conquered Jerusalem and the entire Middle East, then pushed south into Africa, East into Asia, and north into Europe.

Rallied by the Pope and the ruling dynasties of Europe, the Christians attempted in the eleventh century to recover the heartland of Christianity and to repel the irredentist forces of Islam. The Crusades were important to Europe because they represented a fight to recover Christianity's holiest sites and also because they were part of a battle for the survival of Europe.

By contrast, the Crusades have never been important to the Muslim world. Muslims were already in control of their own holy places in Mecca and Medina. Not once did the Crusaders threaten the heartland of Islam. From the point of view of Muslim historians, those battles were seen as minor disruptions on the periphery of the Islamic empire.

In summary, the Crusades were a belated, clumsy, and defensive reaction against a much longer, more relentless, and more successful Muslim assault against Christendom. The striking aspect of the liberal critique is that it stresses the horrors of the Crusades while virtually ignoring the Islamic jihad to which the Crusades were a response. Even if liberals detest the Crusades, however, there is no good reason for many of today's Muslims to care about them, and there is no evidence that they think about the subject at all.

They're angry about colonialism: Many on the cultural left, like the late Edward Said, attribute Muslim rage to the still-fresh wounds of Western conquest and subjugation.

But America—the focal point of the anger of radical Muslims—has virtually no history of colonialism in the Middle East. If the Filipinos or American Indians were launching suicide bombers in New York, their actions could perhaps be attributed to a reaction against colonial subjugation. But until the Bush administration ordered the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq in the aftermath of 9/11, America had never occupied a Muslim country. This was not for lack of opportunity. After World War II, America could quite easy have colonized the entire Middle East, but never even considered doing so.

America's record is one of opposing British and French colonial initiatives, and of encouraging the European colonial powers to withdraw from the Middle East. So Muslim hostility to America has to be explained by factors other than colonial occupation in the Middle East, since prior to 9/11 America has no record of colonial occupation in the Middle East.

They're angry because American actions have killed so many Muslims: Actually America has actively fought on the side of Muslims in several recent conflicts. During the 1970s the United States supported the Afghan mujahedin and their Arab allies in driving out the Soviet Union from Afghanistan. In 1991 the United States assembled an international coalition of countries, including many Muslim countries, in order to drive Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait and restore the sovereignty of that small Muslim country. Later in the decade, President Clinton ordered American bombings and intervention to save Muslim lives in Bosnia and Kosovo.

True, many Muslims hold America accountable for Israel’s bulldozing of Palestinian homes and Israeli shooting of stone-throwing Palestinian youths. And Muslims frequently deplore the civilian lives lost in the American invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. These deaths, however, are small in number compared with the devastation that other invading armies, including Muslim armies, have wrought through the centuries right down to the present day.

More recent Muslim wars, such as the Iran-Iraq war, have also produced unbelievable horrors and casualty lists. Over the eight-year period of the Iran-Iraq war, for instance, between 500,000 and 1 million Muslims were killed. Islamic radicals know all this, which is why one cannot find in their literature the kind of indignation over America's killing of Muslim civilians that one routinely finds in liberal magazines, radio shows and websites.

My conclusion is that the main reasons leading liberals give to explain the antagonism of the Islamic radicals toward the United States and the West are false. Consequently we should be skeptical of liberal solutions such blocking additional troops, or squeezing funding, or calling for a precipitous withdrawal from Iraq. These "solutions" reflect muddled thinking about radical Islam, and they are likely to produce results far worse than the situation as it is now.

Dinesh D'Souza's new book The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11 has just been published by Doubleday. D’Souza is the Rishwain Fellow at the Hoover Institution.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: colonialism; crusades; islam; liberalism

1 posted on 03/27/2007 7:18:24 AM PDT by upchuck
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To: upchuck
By contrast, the Crusades have never been important to the Muslim world.... Even if liberals detest the Crusades, however, there is no good reason for many of today's Muslims to care about them, and there is no evidence that they think about the subject at all.

Apparently Dinesh doesn't know any Muslims. At all. Because this is hands down the dumbest, most inaccurate statement I've read all month.

2 posted on 03/27/2007 7:22:00 AM PDT by Steel Wolf (If every Republican is a RINO, then no Republican is a RINO.)
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To: Steel Wolf

Feel free to offer some evidence for your claim.

Your ellipses are well placed.


3 posted on 03/27/2007 7:28:44 AM PDT by lonestar67 (Its time to withdraw from the War on Bush-- your side is hopelessly lost in a quagmire.)
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To: lonestar67

Having dealt with quite a few Muslims in various fora, I assure you they DO think about the Crusades. Quite a lot, actually.


4 posted on 03/27/2007 7:30:04 AM PDT by Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus (A sense of humour is a sign of intelligence. Which is why liberals are so humourless.)
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To: upchuck
My conclusion is that the main reasons leading liberals give to explain the antagonism of the Islamic radicals toward the United States and the West are false.

Collectivists of a feather. Dihad. Taqiyya.

5 posted on 03/27/2007 7:35:01 AM PDT by PGalt
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To: lonestar67
Feel free to offer some evidence for your claim.

For one, my team and I were often referred to as crusaders by Iraqis that didn't realize the 6'4 blond guy next to me spoke perfect Arabic. I've also had some research time on the counterterrorism issue, and you'd be suprised how often the concept of the Crusades comes up. It's at least as common as we mention the Islamic concept of jihad, and probably more so. Bin Laden uses the term in practically every speech he's ever given, and it's widely used in mosques and madrassas as a way of referring to westerners.

That's just off the top of my head, though. I don't have any links handy.

6 posted on 03/27/2007 7:36:30 AM PDT by Steel Wolf (If every Republican is a RINO, then no Republican is a RINO.)
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To: Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus

That's because they were driven from Europe. They hate losing.


7 posted on 03/27/2007 7:37:15 AM PDT by massgopguy (I owe everything to George Bailey)
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To: Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus

No, they say they do, because they too know what buttons to push and when to push them. Playing to the lib press is a proven venue for success.


8 posted on 03/27/2007 7:40:31 AM PDT by Colorado Mike (Lord, help me be the Conservative my enemies think I am.)
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To: upchuck
If muzzies have a problem with the Crusades, that is their problem. Tough. Heck, I'm glad it annoys them. The fact is that islam has been at war with the West since the 7th century. The war continues and should we lose the world will enter a new dark age. I despise their culture and religion and look forward to their ultimate defeat.
9 posted on 03/27/2007 7:45:18 AM PDT by Jacquerie (All Muslims are suspect.)
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To: Colorado Mike
No, they say they do, because they too know what buttons to push and when to push them. Playing to the lib press is a proven venue for success.

Not necessarily. Many of them actually do still rely on the Crusades as a "reason" why it is legitimate to fight jihad and support it now. Granted, their reasoning IS stupid, backward-looking, and self-centred. But for many of them, it is more than just mock offence for media consumption.

10 posted on 03/27/2007 7:45:45 AM PDT by Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus (A sense of humour is a sign of intelligence. Which is why liberals are so humourless.)
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To: Steel Wolf
I suspect a lot of this can be explained by the natural tendency of dysfunctional cultures to reflexively blame others -- on any pretext whatsoever, no matter how silly it may be -- for the failures of that dysfunctional culture. This is what drove many Muslims in Indonesia to blame that catastrophic tsunami in the South Pacific a few years ago -- while apparently keeping a straight face, mind you -- on U.S. and Israeli nuclear tests they claimed were being conducted on the ocean floor.

In that sense, "avenge the Crusades" for Muslims in the Middle East is probably no different than "George Bush destroyed the levees in New Orleans" among Americans like Louis Farrakhan.

11 posted on 03/27/2007 7:51:56 AM PDT by Alberta's Child (Can money pay for all the days I lived awake but half asleep?)
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To: Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus

IMHO This is a learned response, just like the Somali moslims in Minneapolis who are depressed because Israel occupies "their" "holy" places.
You can get angry about anything in the world if you set your mind to it.


12 posted on 03/27/2007 8:17:42 AM PDT by newcthem (Madison doesn't have residents..........only inmates.)
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To: Steel Wolf

I think those are sufficient examples to prove your point. I definitely recall Bin Laden using such references.

Nonetheless, I do think that it is a more contemporary training in how to break down the Western system. How can we guilt the West into giving itself up? They know we feel guilty for the crusades.

I tend to agree with other posters that the Crusades were a response to imperial aggression of the Islamic world. Seizure of Jerusalem was an emphatic point of domination. Further seizures in Europe also demonstrated their aggressive practice.

Our responses continue to be rather tame.


13 posted on 03/27/2007 8:18:51 AM PDT by lonestar67 (Its time to withdraw from the War on Bush-- your side is hopelessly lost in a quagmire.)
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To: upchuck

This article further reinforces the point that Islam is mental disease. In the Islamicversion of psychosis, it is perfectly acceptable to conquer any land ruled by the infidels without repercussion or reprisal. However, if the infidel should take the land back, or a bigger, badder infidel come along, then the poor Muslims must stew on, carry grudge, even if it occurred several hundred years ago. Most Muslims see no problem with the Islamic "Crusade" on the Persian, Byzantine and Hindu empires and their subsequent colonization of each. However, when the European infidel arrived to colonize them, well, gosh darnit, they have "grievances", they have been "humiliated", and the only remedy for it is jihad.


14 posted on 03/27/2007 8:36:53 AM PDT by Quick or Dead (Both oligarch and tyrant mistrust the people, and therefore deprive them of their arms - Aristotle)
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To: Steel Wolf
So which is the chicken and which is the egg?

I'd consider it likely that the Crusades references were added on after the fact as a means to marshal the troops.

(Ending slavery came after maintaining the union. Saving European Jewry came after stopping Germany expansionism. I'm pretty confident that stopping Serbian ethnic cleansing came after some very Machiavellian decisions were made in Berlin.)

PS: The few Muslims I know are hard over on US-Israeli linkage and stone silent on the Crusades.

15 posted on 03/27/2007 8:49:01 AM PDT by norton
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To: Quick or Dead
This article further reinforces the point that Islam is mental disease.

Perfect! Kinda like liberalism :)

16 posted on 03/27/2007 9:02:16 AM PDT by upchuck (On March 23, 2007, the U.S. House, led by Nancy "Bella" Pelosi, attempted to surrender via C-Span.)
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To: lonestar67
Nonetheless, I do think that it is a more contemporary training in how to break down the Western system. How can we guilt the West into giving itself up? They know we feel guilty for the crusades.

To an extent, I think this is the case. But, as another poster mentioned, they are a deeply dysfunctional culture. While a more sophisticated troublemaker like Bin Laden may understand the psychological akido involved, the average Muslim doesn't. It's a point of humiliation, a symbol of failure, and an excuse to cling to for their lack of success in the modern world. People latch on to that, especially when confronted with two dueling realities.

Those realities being that Islam is the perfect form of government, religion, and society, alongside the fact that Islam creates poverty, tyranny and intellectual stifling wherever it goes. Simply put, Islam is a disaster in practice, and they don't understand why. The crusades, and by extention, the West, is the scapegoat. *Someone* did this to us. *Someone* is out to get us, which is why things aren't going well.

It's not rational, but it's a powerful emotion arguement, and many contemporary Muslims believe it. Granted, many are obsessed with Zionism, as a specific form of Western meddling, but the concept of Crusaders spoiling the Muslim party are at the base of that neurosis. It's a lot more deep seated, culturally speaking, than the more recent concern of Zionism.

17 posted on 03/27/2007 9:16:47 AM PDT by Steel Wolf (If every Republican is a RINO, then no Republican is a RINO.)
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To: upchuck
Is it reasonable to think that Muslims today are genuinely outraged about events that occurred a thousand years ago?

Political islam is quite modern. They are going after their heretics with a vengeance and every moslem is considered heretical by some other moslem. It might be interesting to watch except that they also want to involve everybody on the planet in their problems.

18 posted on 03/27/2007 9:21:28 AM PDT by RightWhale (Treaty rules;commerce droolz; Repeal the Treaty)
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To: upchuck
Do any liberals even believe there is such a thing as Islamist fascism or extremism? I'm trying to think of names of liberals who have argued against the idea of this. I can only think of Edward Said and Ward Churchill. Can someone think of other names? I'm in the midst of a letter to the editor argument who is fantasizing that if AlGore were president, 9/11 would never have happened, and the problem of anthropogenic global warming would be all solved by now. I know most of the Democrat party is in denial, but I can't think of names. Some of that is I'm just so frustrated with liberal fantasy getting column inches I could scream!
19 posted on 03/27/2007 10:21:01 AM PDT by Excellence (Vote Dhimmocrat; Submit for Peace! (Bacon bits make great confetti.))
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To: upchuck
The West is not perfect, as evidenced by our World Wars etc.. However, the basic, historical thrust in the West has been to increase personal freedom and to encourage individual creativity. Islamic cultures that have striven to maintain a status quo mired in the Middle Ages fell behind and to chose to blame others for the troubles brought about by a failure to embrace modernity.

Islamofascism will fall into the trash bin of history. However, the amount of devastation that will be necessary to eradicate this disease is dependent upon Muslim leadership. We will be fighting, largely as a result of the Left's machinations, radical Muslims long after the Bush (43) administration is gone.
20 posted on 03/27/2007 10:29:22 AM PDT by PerConPat (A politician is an animal which can sit on a fence and yet keep both ears to the ground.-- Mencken)
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To: PerConPat
correction: Islamic cultures that have striven to maintain a status quo mired in the Middle Ages fell behind and chose to blame others for the troubles brought about by a failure to embrace modernity.
21 posted on 03/27/2007 10:36:43 AM PDT by PerConPat (A politician is an animal which can sit on a fence and yet keep both ears to the ground.-- Mencken)
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To: Jacquerie
I despise their culture and religion and look forward to their ultimate defeat

I'll second that! All cultures and religions are NOT equal, despite the bleatings, wailing, and gnashing of teeth amongst the libs.

22 posted on 03/27/2007 10:45:29 AM PDT by Sicon
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To: upchuck
Actually, most of these things do bother Muslims, but I think Dinesh has a point that they are not the root cause of the instability in the region or the prevalence of fascism there.

IMHO, the underlying cause is the culmination of centuries of decline of the Muslim world versus the West, beginning in the 18th Century and continuing to the Turkish defeat in WWI and later carving up of most of the Middle East into British and French colonies. Fascist groups, some emphasizing Islam, others more secular, formed to resist colonization and to fill the power vacuum left by the Turkish retreat. The Arabs hadn't governed themselves for four centuries by this time.

This is why OBL dreams of reestablishing the Caliphate, which symbolizes this decline. The Turks took the title of Caliph, head both of the faith and government, from the Arabs and then the last Turkish Caliph was deposed after WWI. There hasn't been a Caliph since.

The solution, IMHO, is not just to fight the islamo-fascists, but even more important is to get the Arab world plugged into the global community and economy so they will feel part of the modern world and not estranged from it.

23 posted on 03/27/2007 10:56:09 AM PDT by colorado tanker
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To: colorado tanker
The solution, IMHO, is not just to fight the islamo-fascists, but even more important is to get the Arab world plugged into the global community and economy so they will feel part of the modern world and not estranged from it.

I agree. It is also absolutely essential that the entire Muslim world understand that terrorist acts undertaken in the name of Allah will result in massive and unrelenting retaliation. The Left is doing the Muslim cause a grave disservice by sending the message that this might not be the case.
24 posted on 03/27/2007 12:12:05 PM PDT by PerConPat (A politician is an animal which can sit on a fence and yet keep both ears to the ground.-- Mencken)
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To: PerConPat

The American left has added years to this struggle by encouraging our enemies to think we're getting tired of it already. The European left seems intent on committing suicide.


25 posted on 03/27/2007 12:25:06 PM PDT by colorado tanker
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To: Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus

Muslim thinking about the Crusades is based on Democrat liberal fantasies about the Crusades. Keep in mind that these are the same Muslims who kill in the name of cartoons.


26 posted on 03/27/2007 1:07:07 PM PDT by Louis Foxwell (here come I, gravitas in tow.)
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To: Amos the Prophet
Yes, but that's because they actually take the cartoons seriously!
27 posted on 03/27/2007 1:10:04 PM PDT by Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus (A sense of humour is a sign of intelligence. Which is why liberals are so humourless.)
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To: Steel Wolf

OBL consistently refers to Westerners as "Crusaders." He has many deficiencies, but his ability to speak to fellow Muslims in terms that resonate is not one of them. I'm not saying that most, or even many, Muslims sit around and mull over the Crusades all day; Americans don't spend all day every day contemplating 9/11. After all, folks of any faith spend most of their day with jobs to do, families to raise, other things to deal with. But if Osama uses that language, it must have some currency, because while he might be evil, he ain't stupid.


28 posted on 03/27/2007 2:14:55 PM PDT by ReignOfError (`)
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To: upchuck

mudslime = a sore ass loser who's pissed that anybody (even a 1000 years ago) dared to stand up their death cult "religion". FUCK THEM !


29 posted on 03/27/2007 2:32:10 PM PDT by texson66 ("Tyranny is yielding to the lust of the governing." - Lord Moulton)
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