Friday, July 08, 2005

We Are All Infidels: The Question Is Are We Appeasing Infidels with Short Memories?

Of course, all of the double guessing and questioning and finger pointing has begun. They couldn't even wait for the Brits to count their dead and the injured, to count the cost. Of course, not just American Pundits but many in Britain, too. George Galloway said one sentence about the terribleness of the attack and then spent three paragraphs dressing down the British government with his theories as to why such an attack occured.

Of course, it was Brits envolvement in Iraq, according to Galloway. I went to several British blogs and there was a mix of responses. Britain is divided as we are over the whys, wherefores, and how we should respond to terrorist attacks.

I hear already the pundits saying that Iraq, again, was the wrong war and that we should spend our time and resources hardening our security here rather than fight abroad.

For those, like me, who look around, I see that we should be doing both with all speed and vigor. We can do both. Why we question rather either or is more important than the other, I have no idea. In some respects, regarding home land security, it feels quite like that we have settled on a slow, methodical approach hoping to put together something "perfect" as is our want while attempting to maintain our "perfect" freedom, thus searching for ways to achieve this perfect home land security without damaging freedom because we say that it would be a moral victory for the terrorists if we change.

All I've got to say about that is, thank God that our grandparents did not have such foolish thoughts when protecting the homeland from Japanese and German attack. Which reminds me, why is it that we cannot do the same?

I digress. Let's dispense with the Iraq argument. I am not a person that has been saying, at any point, that the reason we haven't been attacked here is because we're fighting them over there. I believe, with all my being, that we have to fight them there, but that we should not expect that it will make us safer in the short run. Fighting Islamists abroad is a long term strategy of denying them territory, bases and attriting their manpower, logistical and financial resources. It does not constrain them from attacking here or in London or in Paris or in any other city around the world.

It is only our vigilance here and in other countries that can protect us.

This is not an either or proposition and I for one cannot figure out how people can make that assumption.

Christopher Hitchens reminds us that the first three British citizens killed in Afghanistan were actually fighting for the Taliban/Al Qaida forces. And, what was the excuse for 9/11 or the first WTC or Khobar Towers or Kenya or Nairobi or the USS Cole? That America was in Saudi Arabia and was confronting an Iraq regime which bin Laden and company considered apostates and a cancer upon Islam. Had Saddam never attacked Kuwait and we, including most of the European nations, never went to Saudi Arabia and removed Saddam from Kuwait, what would the excuse be then? That we supported Israel? That we had companies and infidels in Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain, etc, etc, etc that had businesses there and who lived there? That these societies were being over run by liberal ideas from the west from products, technology and movies that were in opposition to the "true" Islam?

It is a war of ideas and it is a war that, for every idea of why or what we could have done differently, there is never a chance that we would not end up here. Bin Laden was convinced of his ideas and many like him over thirty years ago, studying religion in Saudi Arabia. From there his ideas were re-enforced by Azzam who had been such an idealist for over twenty years, having studied with Sayyid Qutub who was convinced of his ideas 20 years before that who influenced Zawahiri who went to Afghanistan to fight with the mujihadeen and met bin Laden in the 80's and influenced him even more.

Bin Laden is but one. Since the beginning of the new philosophy, the idea of utopian Islamic Ummah began to filter into the Middle East and Islam itself, this war was foretold and has been going on since then in various forms. We here, in the west, simply had bigger fish to fry and paid little attention to it. In our belief of struggles between monolithic states and powers, we determined that such forces as those arrayed against us could not hurt us, thus their preaching and the young men gathering in their mosques and talking in groups were problems for those states they resided in, not for powers such as we.

There is one truth which Osama bin Laden has revealed to us and that is that we are vulnerable to attack from people such as he.

Beyond that, every reason, every cause that they claim is a ruse and a lie, a step on the ladder of existing complaints that allows him to claim some legitimacy among those who, while not agreeing to directly support his violence, believe in his over arching cause and that is that their ideas, culture and faith are under attack and that they will soon not exist in the modern world.

That is the second truth that Osama and his ilk have said and why they are able to influence so many to his concept of war against it. With every advancement the modern world makes in technology, information, manufacturing, transportation and finance, it is inevitable, as it has been for over a thousand years of contact with that culture, that Islam and Arabic cultures will change. Not by purpose or stealthy planning, but simply by being and interacting.

Something that the Mr. Galloway's of this world cannot seem to understand in his bid for internal power within his country using these exact same sentiments to propel him. He is actually part of the problem and not the solution.

We all are because we are all infidels, even Muslims living here because they have foresaken their true identities to live in a liberal, western country and, no matter how hard they try to insulate themselves, much as the Amish have done, they cannot stop the change that occurs within their own centers of culture. It is the inevitable effect of cultures coming into contact with each other. Bin Laden and his ilk understand that and that is why they make no bones about attacking even Muslim areas and Muslim people.

We cannot change who we are. The modern world cannot simply pull back and never interact with Islamic nations or nations with Islamic populations again because it is simply impossible to do so. We cannot change that which physical, political and cultural evolution has taught us and that is that less advanced cultures always succomb to some extent to more advanced cultures. The advanced culture may be changed somewhat by the interaction, or take on some aspects, incorporate parts of language and customs into it, but it is inevitable that it is the less advanced culture that changes the most.

That is why Islamists are fighting and killing. In essence, we are at war because we exist.

I have yet to understand if this is too complicated a proposition or too simple a proposition for people to understand. Particularly those who consistently insist on withdrawal from these areas militarily. Even if such a thing occured, we would still be there with information, communication, commercial, financial and transportation resources, not to mention human interaction. From the perspective of bin Laden, Zawahiri, Azzam, Qutub, Baqri, Qardawi, their culture would still be under attack, even if it was passively and they would still seek to attack those infrastructures that supported such endeavors.

This is not about the west or truly liberal cultures and government alone. Every time a Muslim in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain or Qatar buys a Mercedes, a computer, connects to the internet, drinks a Pepsi, buys Channel clothing or Gucci sunglasses, listens to a CD of Three Doors Down, watches a bootleg movie of Chocolat, flies on British Airways or Air France to a European destination for vacation, smuggles in a Playboy or alcohol, smokes a cigarette, every time a western idea is voiced by a Muslim, a Muslim woman goes to work, every time these things occur, the utopian Islamic Ummah that these men long for gets further away and their own faith is tested.

This is the cause of jihad, whether you call it holy war or an internal personal struggle to find God and define personal faith, it is the same for these men.

Our Muslim brothers and sisters in the United States and other liberal countries are also in danger from these same men (and women) because they can never fully live the idea of the perfect Islamic Ummah while they reside here and there outside of the secure confines of this imaginary utopia.

Thus, we must recognize that we aren't "all Americans" or "all British" or "all French" when we are attacked, but we are all infidels.

Tomorrow, if we threw up our hands and conceded to leave Iraq and Afghanistan, a month or three or twelve from now they will demand that we leave Qatar, Kuwait and environs there about. They will demand that we leave there, not just militarily, but in any way or concept that we exist there. And, should we not give into these demands, they will then claim this as the cause du jour for another round of attacks. Should we give in then, the next will be demands that we leave Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philipines, any where we are that Islam exists as well.

Without a doubt, these same questions about the correct response to these attacks will plague us then as they do now and we will argue these same points with the same short sighted, short term memory that we have today.

We are all infidels. The question is, are we appeasing infidels with short memories?


Anonymous said...

People seem to forget that it was Christians
who blew up the Federal
Building in Ok. City killing and injuring many people.

And that it was another Christian who blew up abortion clincs, gay bars & the Olympics in Atlanta, Ga. Acts which also killed and injured.

Neil C. Reinhardt

Anonymous said...

And I would
enjoy yourblog more if you did NOT underline every word.

Save it for the really important words.

(As I can not, with my WebTV, underline, I use capital letters to do that.)

Kat said...

Neil, answering your comments backwards, I'm not sure what browser you're looking at this from, but the only things that appear "underlined" are the links to other blogs or websites. If you are seeing all words throughout the post underlined, please let me know as it may be your browser settings and there is a way to combat this.

On the "Christians" blowing things up, I don't forget that either. One thing that came forward from these activities is that the greater community quickly recognized that this was a danger to them and to their cause. Of course, there are crazy bastards in every community which is why I note that our Muslim communities are in danger as much as we are since one to four individuals can decide that any and all of us, regardless of our original faith, are targets.

It's a message that needs to get out through all communities.

Reminds of when the Aryan Nation said they were going to come and set up a central office in the KC areal. Soon as the news was out, people started getting organized to combat it. Subsequently, the Aryan Nation decided that the area was inhospitable.

This is how all communities have to work, not just against terrorism, but any extremism or even criminal gangs, drugs, etc.

In this case, I focus on extremist Islam because, unfortunately, in the last three decades, its killed more of our people than crazy little wannabes like Eric Rudolph, thus, to me it represents a larger threat and deserves more resources. Particularly when the ideology, unlike Eric Rudolphs, is becoming a standard to radicalize whole populations, internal and external.