Skip to comments.Liberal Myths about Radical Islam [Interesting Read]
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 Carrolls 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 Americathe focal point of the anger of radical Muslimshas 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 Israels 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. DSouza is the Rishwain Fellow at the Hoover Institution.
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. DSouza is the Rishwain Fellow at the Hoover Institution.
Apparently Dinesh doesn't know any Muslims. At all. Because this is hands down the dumbest, most inaccurate statement I've read all month.
Feel free to offer some evidence for your claim.
Your ellipses are well placed.
Having dealt with quite a few Muslims in various fora, I assure you they DO think about the Crusades. Quite a lot, actually.
Collectivists of a feather. Dihad. Taqiyya.
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.
That's because they were driven from Europe. They hate losing.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Perfect! Kinda like liberalism :)
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.
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.