As in, paying attention to what they are saying. I’ve seen quite a few gratuitous and incorrect “Nazi” charges around here lately, but this post by an anonymous Republican in the State Dept. does an admirable job of incorporating some actual lessons from WWII and applying them to our current situation with the Islamists:
Thursday, January 27, 2005
The New Mein Kampf: Zarqawi Speaks
One of the most common observations about World War II was that if only Western leaders had heeded what the National Socialist Worker’s Party and its leader Adolf Hitler were saying, they would have known of the grave danger facing the world. After all, it’s not as if the Nazi Party or its frenzied Fuhrer tried to hide what they were about.
On the contrary, in speech after speech, newspaper after newspaper and book after book, Hitler and other senior Nazis laid out in some detail their plans for European domination, the destruction of parliamentary democracy and the elimination of the Jewish people.
Visit any museum of tolerance or Holocaust memorial and you’ll find amble prose lamenting the fact that Western leaders failed to heed the clear warnings, failed to understand that these apparently crazy people meant exactly what they said and said exactly what they meant. Exactly because they were reasonable, honorable men, people like Prime Minister Chamberlain were unable to comprehend that buffoons with dangerous ideas could actually be serious about what they intended.
The result was a wholly preventable war that took the lives of tens of millions of people. Today, a similar bunch of madmen are stating clearly what they intend. And, sadly, except for the President of the United States, most Western leaders are again pretending that barbarism does not exist.
Now, as then, their lack of imagination, empathy and understanding will end up costing us a price in blood we could well avoid.
The Source of Islamic Terrorism
Experts on Islamic Terrorism–from former high USG officials like Richard “Bush is Personally Responsible for 9/11” Clarke to pundits like Thomas Friedman of the NY Times–are roughly divided in half between two schools of thought on Islamic Terrorism. The first group, the “Muslim Rage School,” believes that the source of Islamic Terrorism is the wide-spread anger in the Muslim world directed at the West and at Israel. For partisans of this school, US policy towards Israel and the Palestinians, US support for despotic Middle Eastern regimes, Western economic outperformance of the Muslim world and anger towards US responses to the 9/11 Attacks, all add up to one thing: a seething mass of justifiable rage that presents itself, though a minority of those affected, as radical Islamic Terrorism.
The Muslim Rage School has attracted theorists as ideologically opposed as Edward Said and Bernard Lewis, and is by far and away the dominant school of thought among experts on the topic. (This school is well on display in this month’s issue of The Atlantic, a fact which we will delve into in much greater depth this weekend, circumstances and consular emergencies permitting). As a rule, this school’s policy preference for defeating Islamic Terrorism is to reduce the generators of the anger. Thus, the US must bring and end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, atone for past actions against the Muslim world, and generally radically change its long-standing foreign policy towards the Middle East. Only then will there be peace.
The second school of thought, the Clash of Civilizations School, argues that the source of Islamic Terrorism is the Muslim world’s seething hatred of the fundamental values of the West, and, since the U.S. is the standard-bearer for the West at the moment, especially those of the United States. Adherents of this school, like Victor Hanson and most neo-conservative thinkers, argue that the value system of modern Islam produces a culture that is violently at odds with Western values and, because of this, it wages asymmetric war against the West when and where it can.
We don’t have to tell you which side of this debate we are on. Since the first, early, little-noticed reports of Islamic radicals slitting the throats of Algiers girls who dared to wear blue jeans appeared in our local paper in the mid-1980’s, and certainly since the Islamic Republic of Iran’s call for the death of British author Salman Rushdie, it has been crystal clear to us that we are facing an onslaught from a culture violently opposed to our most cherished values.
This, however, remains a decidely minority view. Most people either cannot or will not believe that they have enemies. (To quote Rich Lowry’s famous quip about President Clinton, we don’t have enemies, just people we haven’t properly apologized to). It’s much, much easier to point to the failure of the Oslo/Madrid/Quartet III Subsequent Agreement as a cause of terrorism than to believe that there is a culture of billions out there that wants your blood and the blood of your children.
Because, damn, what reasonable person wants to believe that?
The Zarqawi Audiotape
On January 23, Jordanian terrorist leader Al-Zarqawi released an audiotape regarding the upcoming elections in Iraq. Zarqawi is, of course, a very important terrorist leader and the undeniable head of the jihadi insurgency against the Allawi Government and its American allies. Which is why the audiotape is of vital significance.
Here is a major Islamic terrorist leader, telling us in his own words, directly, what he believes, what motivates his fight, and why he wishes us dead. And what does he say?
"The speaker said democracy was based on un-Islamic beliefs and behaviors such as freedom of religion, rule of the people, freedom of expression, separation of religion and state, forming political parties and majority rule.
He said that freedom of expression is allowed “even cursing God. This means that there is nothing sacred in democracy.” He said Islam requires the rule of God and not the rule of “the majority or the people.”
Let’s break that down:
Freedom of Religion: The most basic, most cherished of our freedoms is a gigantic affront to the jihadis since there is only one God and only one religion: that which they say exists. Because we are free to worship as we choose, they wish us dead.
Rule of the People/Majority Rule: The basic tenent of Democracy, that the will of the majority carries sovereignty, is inherently offensive to the jihadis. Only the “Rule of God” (meaning the rule of people like Khomeni, Zarqawi and Bin Ladin) will be allowed. All other states must perish.
Freedom of Expression: The very freedom of our minds arouses murderous hatred in the mind of the jihadi. Our ability to express ourselves, to debate, to argue, to agree, to disagree, is an affront to God in their eyes. Under their rule, no one will be allowed to express anything but Islamic thought.
Separation of Religion and State: There can be no secular state, since we are ordered by God to live under his laws. Thus, all secular states are inherently God-less and must be destroyed.
Formation of Political Parties: Our right to associate with like-minded individuals is nothing more than a sign of our decadence, our distance from God. Anyone who takes place in the democratic political process, even good liberals, are evil and deserve to be decapitated.
This is the word directly from an Al-Queda leader. Notice the complete lack of the usual grievances about Israel, about Western colonialism, about the inequity of our bargaining position in the oil market. No, instead we are told directly that we are to be killed because of who and what we are, because of who and what we believe.
What Is To Be Done?
Dear readers, the Zarqawi tape should (but won’t) end the debate between the Muslim Rage School and the Clash of Civilization School. Like the Nazis before them, the Islamists are telling us without mincing words exactly what they think of us and what they have planned.
We hope we will not strike you as illiberal when we admit that we felt it was a grave, near-fatal error for the West not to declare war against Iran when it, as a state, threatened to kill a Western author. Because until they know that our most cherished values, like freedom of speech, are as important and meaningful to us as their Koran is to them, and that we are just as willing to kill and to die to protect them, we will be on the defensive.
In the long run, we have hope. Because, like the Nazis before them, the Islamic leaders keep ruining the efforts of Western appeasers and cowards by continuing to bluntly state the bloody obvious: that they want to kill us and destroy our way of life.
We can fight them now, or we can fight them later, but, eventually, fight them we will. And I wouldn’t bet against us.