Still At War, Like It Or Not

Wars don't disappear because you refuse to acknowledge them.

It's hard to know what adjective to use to describe last week's worldwide Muslim barbarism.

Was it "shocking"?  In order to be shocked by yet another round of riots and murder by yet another mob of Muslims, you'd have to have been living on Mars for, oh, the past couple decades.  Muslim barbarism such as men raping women so they'd be willing to become suicide bombers is so ordinary, so common, so expected, that it's no longer shocking.

Was it "horrifying"?  The dictionary tells us that horror is an intense feeling of fear, shock, or disgust.  We've ruled out shock.  We, of course, are disgusted, but apparently our national and global leaders aren't, since they aren't doing anything about what is under longstanding international law an act of war against the United States.

A nation's embassy is sovereign territory of that nation; invading it by force and murdering ambassadors and other American citizens is an act of war  just as surely as if Muslim mobs rampaged across the Rio Grande and started shooting up Texans.  Oh, but that was just an unruly mob of random citizens?  Wrong: Libyan security officials led the mob to where they'd stashed the ambassador "for his safety."

How about fear?  Now we're getting somewhere, but not anywhere productive: as surely as night follows day, the usual accusations of "Islamophobia" or an irrational fear of Islam are being thrown around.

Yes, a phobia is a fear, but an irrational one.  How is it possible to have an irrational fear of Islam?  If you were afraid that Muslims were really space aliens in disguise here to suck out your brains, OK, that would be Islamophobia, an irrational fear.

There's nothing irrational about fearing for your life when, in point of fact, rampaging mobs of Muslims are murdering innocents the world around.  There's nothing irrational about worrying for your country when, in point of fact, Muslim leaders of Muslim countries have called for the total and complete end of American civilization for years now and take every opportunity to bring that day closer one corpse at a time.

The Religion of Peace on parade.

No, the war declared against the West by Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini more than thirty years ago is still continuing on, despite America's steadfast refusal to admit it for what it is.  In a larger sense, though, it's the same war against the forces of decency and civilization declared by Muhammad fourteen hundred years ago, fought by Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours, the Holy Roman Empire at the gates of Vienna a thousand years later, and innumerable battles in between.

For the last few hundred years, the Islamic world has been too weak to seriously threaten Western nations as it did so many times during the Middle Ages.  That doesn't mean the Koran has changed, or the religion of Islam: how many times do we have to see Muslim protesters on the streets of Western capitals holding signs calling for beheadings and butcherings before we'll conclude that, gee, maybe there's something about Islam that leads its adherents to violence?

Could it possibly be the dozens of passages in the Koran calling for every conceivable sort of barbarism to anyone Muslims don't like - not just Jews and Christians, but anyone who rejects immediate conversion to Islam?

We are confronted not by a handful of extremist nutjobs, but by an entire culture containing hundreds of millions of people and dating back a millennium and a half which is inherently, fervently, devotedly opposed to every freedom we hold dear.  No, not every last member of that culture personally lifts a gun in anger, but is that now the definition of a war?  Not every last German toted a rifle in WWII nor every last Southerner in our Civil War, but that didn't make those conflicts any less real or much less deadly.

And what do we do when presented with this implacable foe?  While the very Cairo embassy was surrounded by a howling mob, its pusillanimous residents sent out the most abject, debased Tweet of apology for our First Amendment that can be imagined:

The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.

Awww, did somebody hurt your wittle feewings?  It's time for Muslims to put on their big-girl panties and recite that old playground ditty: "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me."

Are Muhammad and Allah really so weak, powerless, and generally worthless as to be in mortal danger from a two-bit Youtube movie that nobody saw until Muslims themselves started promoting it?  How dare our official American representatives, supposed to be defending the U.S. Constitution, drag it in the dirt this way?

We'd say "What could be worse?"  But we've already been shown what's worse, as the LA Times reports:

Just after midnight Saturday morning, authorities descended on the Cerritos home of the man believed to be the filmmaker behind the anti-Muslim movie that has sparked protests and rioting in the Muslim world.

Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies escorted a man believed to be Nakoula Basseley Nakoula to an awaiting car.

The article was titled "Alleged 'Innocence of Muslims' filmmaker taken in for interview" - just like a news article would refer to an "alleged" murderer or "alleged" burglar.  So now filmmaking is a crime that needs to be investigated?  What country are we living in, again?

There's no other way to describe this than as Glenn Reynolds does at Instapundit:

By sending — literally — brownshirted enforcers to engage in — literally — a midnight knock at the door of a man for the non-crime of embarrassing the President of the United States and his administration, President Obama violated that oath [of office].

No wonder our State Department's stripedy-pants brigade doesn't feel the Constitution is worth defending - their own boss, the President of the United States who we all thought we saw take an oath to defend it, doesn't even trouble himself to obey it!

Our president wasted no time in sending the cops to haul a man out of bed in the middle of the night who'd done nothing more than exercise his First Amendment liberties that thousands of Americans died to defend.  Our president, though, couldn't be bothered to so much as warn our embassies that they were in danger even though we received a warning three days in advance.

Oh, we're at war, all right.  The trouble is, we aren't just at war against Islam.  It's increasingly clear that, if there is to be an America with American values, American freedoms, that respects the American constitution and follows the American political system which supports the American economy and American way of life... we're at war against a lot more than that.  Our enemies within are a far greater threat than our enemies without, because they won't even admit that we have any enemies without.

Read other articles by Hobbes or other articles on Foreign Affairs.
Reader Comments

Very well written, and also very sad.

The DoD has distributed pamphlets among the Armed Forces as to "How Not To Offend Muslims" including not putting your feet up (on a table or stool) in front of them and all sorts of other mindknumbingly-retarded requirements.

September 18, 2012 11:19 AM

WE took classes before going to Vietnam so that we would not offend the Vietnamese people.
It is so ridiculous that one can only shake his head in wonder.
"We're going to this foreign country to kill the people there. We are going to drop bombs on their cities and kill women and children in a most wanton manner, but don't insult them first." The military fools who think they are leaders.
We had - past tense - one man that I know of in the military who was a real leader, and because of it, he was asked to resign. After having rescued some marines that had been taken prisoner. That man is Allan West.
Peace, Robert Walker

September 18, 2012 3:19 PM

time to play Cowboys & Muslims?

September 18, 2012 6:53 PM

The year was 1963, COIN warfare school. The instructors statement re the Islamists and Muslims: "These people are not your friends!"
Believe it.

September 19, 2012 6:07 AM

At least one NYT columnist gets it, kinda.

Look in Your Mirror
If it's wrong to insult Islam, it should be wrong to insult any religion. That doesn't seem to be the case in the Arab world.

It has links to translations of many Arab TV broadcasts which speak of killing non-Muslims.

And, second, before demanding an apology from our president, Mr. Ali and the young Egyptians, Tunisians, Libyans, Yemenis, Pakistanis, Afghans and Sudanese who have been taking to the streets might want to look in the mirror — or just turn on their own televisions. They might want to look at the chauvinistic bile that is pumped out by some of their own media — on satellite television stations and Web sites or sold in sidewalk bookstores outside of mosques — insulting Shiites, Jews, Christians, Sufis and anyone else who is not a Sunni, or fundamentalist, Muslim. There are people in their countries for whom hating “the other” has become a source of identity and a collective excuse for failing to realize their own potential.

The Middle East Media Research Institute, or Memri, was founded in 1998 in Washington by Yigal Carmon, a former Israeli government adviser on counterterrorism, “to bridge the language gap between the Middle East and the West by monitoring, translating and studying Arab, Iranian, Urdu and Pashtu media, schoolbooks, and religious sermons.” What I respect about Memri is that it translates not only the ugly stuff but the courageous liberal, reformist Arab commentators as well. I asked Memri for a sampler of the hate-filled videos that appear regularly on Arab/Muslim mass media. Here are some:

ON CHRISTIANS Hasan Rahimpur Azghadi of the Iranian Supreme Council for Cultural Revolution: Christianity is “a reeking corpse, on which you have to constantly pour eau de cologne and perfume, and wash it in order to keep it clean.” — July 20, 2007.

Sheik Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi: It is permissible to spill the blood of the Iraqi Christians — and a duty to wage jihad against them. — April 14, 2011.

Abd al-Aziz Fawzan al-Fawzan, a Saudi professor of Islamic law, calls for “positive hatred” of Christians. Al-Majd TV (Saudi Arabia), — Dec. 16, 2005.

ON SHIITES The Egyptian Cleric Muhammad Hussein Yaaqub: “Muslim Brotherhood Presidential Candidate Mohamed Morsi told me that the Shiites are more dangerous to Islam than the Jews.” — June 13, 2012.

The Egyptian Cleric Mazen al-Sirsawi: “If Allah had not created the Shiites as human beings, they would have been donkeys.” — Aug. 7, 2011.

The Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan video series: “The Shiite is a Nasl [Race/Offspring] of Jews.” — March 21, 2012.

ON JEWS Article on the Muslim Brotherhood’s Web site praises jihad against America and the Jews: “The Descendants of Apes and Pigs.” — Sept. 7, 2012.

The Pakistani cleric Muhammad Raza Saqib Mustafai: “When the Jews are wiped out, the world would be purified and the sun of peace would rise on the entire world.” — Aug. 1, 2012.

Dr. Ismail Ali Muhammad, a senior Al-Azhar scholar: The Jews, “a source of evil and harm in all human societies.” — Feb. 14, 2012.

ON SUFIS A shrine venerating a Sufi Muslim saint in Libya has been partly destroyed, the latest in a series of attacks blamed on ultraconservative Salafi Islamists. — Aug. 26, 2012.

September 19, 2012 7:03 AM

You have done your homework well!
When we are told that Islam is a religion of peace, we are being lied to. It is a violent, hate-filled religion. They murder their own women and girls. That alone will bring them to an end, but they devastation that will be wrought is appalling. Peace, Robert Walkerr

September 19, 2012 7:20 AM

A little late, but they may be getting it.

Exploiting the Prophet
Christians didn't riot after seeing a photograph of Jesus steeped in urine, so why are Muslims up in arms about insults to the Prophet Muhammad?

For much of the postwar period, it was the secular nationalists in the Middle East who were seen as the extremists, while Islam was seen as a calming influence. That’s why Israel helped nurture Hamas in Gaza.

That said, for a self-described “religion of peace,” Islam does claim a lot of lives.

In conservative Muslim countries, sensitivities sometimes seem ludicrous. I once covered a Pakistani college teacher who was imprisoned and threatened with execution for speculating that the Prophet Muhammad’s parents weren’t Muslims. (They couldn’t have been, since Islam began with him.)

I think a few things are going on. The first is that many Muslim countries lack a tradition of free speech, and see ridicule of the prophet as part of a larger narrative of the West’s invading or humiliating the Islamic world. People in these countries sometimes also have an addled view of how the United States handles blasphemy.

A Pakistani imam, Abdul Wahid Qasmi, once told me that President Bill Clinton burned to death scores of Americans for criticizing Jesus. If America can execute blasphemers, he said, why can’t Pakistan?

I challenged him, and he plucked an Urdu-language book off his shelf, thumbed through it, and began reading triumphantly about the 1993 raid on David Koresh’s cult in Waco, Tex.

More broadly, this is less about offensive videos than about a political war unfolding in the Muslim world. Extremist Muslims like Salafis see themselves as unfairly marginalized, and they hope to exploit this issue to embarrass their governments and win public support. This is a political struggle, not just a religious battle — and we’re pawns.

But it would be a mistake to back off and censor our kooks. The freedom to be an imbecile is one of our core values.

In any case, there will always be other insults. As some leading Muslims have noted, Islam has to learn to shrug them off.

“Why should we feel danger from anything?” Nasr Hamid Abu Zyad, one of the Islamic world’s greatest theologians, said before his death in 2010. “Thousands of books are written against Muhammad. Thousands of books are written against Jesus. O.K., all these thousands of books did not destroy the faith.”

A group called Muslims for Progressive Values noted a story in Islamic tradition in which Muhammad was tormented by a woman who put thorns in his path and went so far as to hurl manure at his head as he prayed. Yet Muhammad responded patiently and tolerantly. When she fell sick, he visited her home to wish her well.

For his time, Muhammad was socially progressive, and that’s a thread that reformers want to recapture. Mahmoud Salem, the Egyptian blogger better known as Sandmonkey, wrote that violent protests were “more damaging to Islam’s reputation than a thousand so-called ‘Islam-attacking films.’ ”

He suggested that Egyptians forthrightly condemn Islamic fundamentalists as “a bunch of shrill, patriarchal, misogynistic, violent extremists who are using Islam as a cover for their behavior.”

Are extremists hijacking the Arab Spring? They’re trying to, but this is just the opening chapter in a long drama. Some Eastern European countries, like Romania and Hungary, are still wobbly more than two decades after their democratic revolutions. Maybe the closest parallel to the Arab Spring is the 1998 revolution in Indonesia, where it took years for Islamic extremism to subside.

My bet is that we’ll see more turbulence in the Arab world, but that countries like Egypt and Tunisia and Libya won’t fall over a cliff. A revolution isn’t an event, but a process.

September 23, 2012 8:57 AM
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