Inverted Thinking, Logic And The Plague
The incongruity is spectacular. If Saddam Hussein had a nuclear program identical to that of Iran, the entire Iraq war debate would be moot. Nevertheless, here we are, pretending to go through a 'debate' of sorts, over how to handle the Iran situation- as if an Iran with an unfettered nuclear program is a realistic option. Does anyone really believe that a nuclear armed Iran would shut down production of nuclear materials and give up WMD's, even if Israel were obliterated? Does anyone believe that a regime that amputates limbs, stones women to death and executes children, will ever find itself in accordance with the literati in the salons in Paris or on English polo fields? Does any one really believe that Iranian promises not to develop nuclear weapons are sincere? Buy their own admission, Iranian religious fatwas allow for and encourage the use of nuclear weapons against their enemies.
That would be the US and Israel, nations already publicly threatened by Iran.
The Danish cartoon incident caused greater outrage on the Muslim 'street' than did the invasion of Iraq. Those cartoons (distasteful as they were) proved one truth now beyond argument- that for many Muslim clerics and 'leaders,' Islam has now dispensed with debate and discussion in favor of violence as an immediate response. Violence is now an act or response of first resort. In carefully crafted manipulation and deceit, a 21st century 'iron curtain,' with all the darkness that implies, is descending upon the Muslim world.
This is no to imply that all Muslims are violent. Clearly, that is not the case. The vast majority of Muslims are not that much different than anyone else. They work, want the best for their families and would be more than happy to just blend in and participate in our society. Just as clearly, those who speak loudest for Islam and in the name of Islam, are violent. They are the face of Islam today.
Like most Germans in prewar Germany, most Muslims are peaceful. Like the Germans in the prewar period, many succumbed to the barrage of racial propaganda and hatred- but for the most part, they remained peaceful. None of that matters of course, because those who spoke for Germany were not peaceful and no amount of appeasement would change that. Notwithstanding Hitler's pronouncements of, 'All we want is this or that, and no more,' the wiser amongst the Europeans knew differently. It was only the dreamers and fools that were surprised by the evil that was to come. We wrote in Speaking In Tongues And Other Political Realities, that
An enemy is someone with whom we, as individuals and as a community, have fundamental differences. An enemy has values and beliefs, that are very different than out own. An enemy wants to deprive us of our beliefs and values, because that enemy finds our beliefs repulsive or threatening to their own. Enemies will fight to the death, should they choose to engage us or we choose to engage them.
There are people who believe that enemies are opponents- that is, they can reasoned with and rationalized with and common ground can be had. Believing that an enemy can be an opponent is what led much of Europe to appease Hitler, in the beginning. Herr Hitler, it was believed, was after all a European. Surely he could be reasoned with. Surely he would respond to the rational idea that war was catastrophic.
There is one reality that must be dealt with. In dealing with the Islamists, we are not dealing with opponents- they do not share our values and morality. For an Islamist, violence and the threat of violence, plays a leading role in reacting to a provocation and in attempting to extract a desired response. The mere threat of violence unleashed, it is understood, is a blatant attempt to cow civilized society into submission. It worked for Genghis Khan and it is working for the Islamists. One only has to look at the violent responses to the publication of cartoons, to understand the implications.
In western culture and civilization, violence is the option of last resort. The United Nations was predicated on that premise (contrast that with the Arab League's Khartoum Declaration, announced that only violence was to be used in dealing with Israel. No negotiation, no recognition, etc. To this day, Arab violence is the Sword of Damocles hanging over the Jewish state. That hatred is taught in schools and preached from the pulpit). In the Arab and Islamic world, hate and violence are part of every school curriculum.
Iraq was invaded because Saddam ignored international law for over a decade. He invaded two neighboring countries and butchered well over a million people (the final number has yet to be tallied). Had western sensibilities and repulsion to violence not been so great, it is safe to say that many of those million plus victims of Saddam would be alive today.
Muslims have every right to be offended at cartoons they find repulsive and outrageous. Nevertheless, they do not have the right to claim violence as a legitimate response to that offense. They claim to stand for higher ideals, even as Islamic newspapers and media portray other faith in the most obscene and obnoxious ways.
When a Christian of Jew responds to a provocation with violence, we all understand that to be an aberration. Nowadays, when we see radical Muslims reacting violently in the streets, we see that as expected behavior. When we hear that the leaders of Hamas have threatened the cartoonist with beheading, we aren't surprised. When here there are fatwas calling for the death of those cartoonists, we give those threats more than a bit of credibility. The Japanese translator of Salman Rushdie's book was murdered. All that in turn, tars the average Muslim, because in the Judeo-Christian ethic, violence is tolerated (and even mandated) for self defense only. That's it. There is no other reason to kill or threaten another human being.
If violence were an acceptable response to blasphemy or religious insults, the US would have bombed the anti religious Soviet Union to smithereens. If violence were an acceptable response to blasphemy or religious insults, bigotry and hatred, then Israel would have been well within her rights to blow the Arab world into oblivion.
That in turn highlights another reason why present day Iran, under the tyranny of the Ayatollah Khomeini's heirs must be precluded from developing and having nuclear weapons. As long as violence and the threat of violence remains an acceptable part of today's Islam, that cannot be allowed to happen.
To be clear- violence is not a part of the average Muslim believer's experience. The reality is that the religion has morphed into something very dangerous- and another reality is that the vast majority of believers have remained silent, and that silence is the true desecration of Islam- not the publication of a few cartoons.
When the Israelis build a fence to protect themselves from suicide bombers and those who choose to celebrate such events, it can be referred to as an 'Apartheid' barrier. It is a barrier built to keep the institutionalized hate and violence that define apartheid, out of their society. Like the Israelis, all of western culture rejects the apartheid of radical Islamists. Israeli and western apartheid is a reaction to events foisted upon them. It has never been about a particular ideology, bigotry or hate.
Radical Islam, left unchallenged, is the perfect petri dish from which a plague no less dangerous than the Black Death or smallpox will emerge. The world is a living organism, and at some point, when under attack, organisms fight back.
Unimpeded violence will never be assimilated into the organism that is human society and culture. That kind of society died out a long time ago and will not return. Humankind has come to far to accept barbaric and Neanderthal, jungle like behavior as part of our reality. Progress, not regress, is the yardstick. Societies, cultures and religions are judged on what they build and create, not by what they destroy.