Thursday, August 21, 2003

holy shit (now updated for her pleasure)

Remember my "paranoid thought" a couple days ago, about Muslims planning mischief in Korea?

Read this and tell me I'm not on to something.

This is how Islam makes a name for itself in the world. The terrorists don't seem to care, and neither do Muslim moderates. How do you dialogue with such people?

*** *** ***

Some Islam-related links...

A Beliefnet article about progressive Islam.

DUdu casts doubt on how well things are going in Iraq. Interesting to match DUdu up against Chief Wiggles.

Opening paragraph of this article:

As you read this another act of sabotage is being considered, planned or carried out, another "improvised explosive device" is being planted, another 18-year-old American kid from some town you never heard of is staring out into the pitch-black desert night straining to see what is or is not staring back at him, another Iraqi family is sweltering through yet another broiling late summer day with no electricity to ease the sting, another 18-year-old Shia from some town you never heard of is contemplating jihad against the American infidel, and another American family just opened their front door to two military officers in their class A's, there to tell them that Johnny wont be coming home.

The writer's post-war concern for the plight of Iraqis is touching. While I was against the war, and see the "moral" justification for it as doubtful (I've argued earlier that I find the "national self-interest" argument to be more honest), I agree with those who say that liberal concern for the plight of the Iraqis was largely absent as the pre-war rhetoric was intensifying. Liberals were apparently forced to toss aside their previous argument about the human cost of sanctions, having to change from "down with sanctions!" to "keep sanctions in place!" because the war plan (and Bush) represented the greater evil.

I consider that hypocritical.

Not to say I think the hawks were right on this. I dislike the so-called moral justification, which to my mind can't stand alone as a reason for going to war in Iraq. And I'm holding the current project to a high standard. We have to find WMDs (and I think we will, eventually, even if it turns out they've floated across Iraq's borders). If we don't, we lose way more than diplomatic capital. We also have to go all-out with nation-building, since that's the project we've chosen for ourselves. Change in Iraq, to be worth anything, has to be fundamental, down-to-the-roots deep. I have my doubts that it's going to be that deep, but I think we have to pull for this effort all the same. Does that sound conflicted to you? It should: I'm honest enough to admit I'm human.

The DUdu author argues against the "Flypaper Strategy":

Their contention is a simple one: the continuation of combat in Iraq is - contrary to popular wisdom and all supporting evidence thereof - beneficial to the United States and its interests. They claim that by engaging not only the Iraqi insurgents but also by drawing other militant Islamic warriors into the Iraqi theater we are not only fighting these people in a site of our choosing but by their very presence in Iraq they are not free to wield their wickedness elsewhere. It was David Warren, writing in his Essays On Our Times website, July 5, 2003, who gave this line of thinking its nom de guerre: The Flypaper Strategy.

This thoroughly repugnant term, which has been picked up by other conservative writers - Andrew Sullivan in particular - directly implies that the soldiers of the American Armed Forces are the bait to a trap from which our Islamic enemies will enter but not leave alive. President Bush proved that he himself is a big proponent of the strategy with his remarkably ill-considered challenge to "bring 'em on," issued a few weeks back from the safety and comfort of the White House. But where he and all the other adherents to this philosophy have failed is in not asking themselves who exactly in this wretched situation is the spider and who is the fly.

I had a good chuckle at this: the flypaper analogy doesn't include spiders. Idiot.

DUdu continues:

Neil MacFarquhar writing in the New York Times on August 11, 2003, reports, "in much the same way that the Russian invasion of Afghanistan stirred an earlier generation of young Muslims determined to fight the infidel, the American presence in Iraq is prompting a rising tide of Muslim militants to spill into the country to fight the foreign occupier." While it remains highly speculative that the manpower and resources deployed in Iraq by non-Iraqi guerilla fighters/terrorists has left the Islamic militant movement unable to strike elsewhere, it is this kind of reporting that shows that the second tenet of The Flypaper Strategy may actually hold some water.

I have my own doubts about whether a large and diffuse terrorist network is truly going to "concentrate" its resources in constant attacks on US soldiers in Iraq. First, you don't need much more than a rifle to snipe at random soldiers. Materials for bombs are probably all over the place; there's no shortage of supply for would-be terrorists. None of this implies that terrorists are so distracted by our presence in Iraq that they won't/can't plan strikes elsewhere. To that extent, I agree with the DUdu author. But in terms of body count, they're losin' 'em just like we are. It's the "there's just more of 'em to kill" doctrine.

A "female blogger from Iraq" quoted on the DUdu message board says this re: the UN building attack:

You know what? Something like this could never happen to the Ministry of Oil. The Ministry of Oil is being guarded 24/7 by tanks and troops. It has been guarded ever since the fall of Baghdad and will continue under Bremer's watchful eye until every last drop of oil is gone. Why couldn't they have put a tank infront of the UN building? Why? Why? Why? We know the Pentagon's planning has been horrid up until now, but you'd think they would have seen this one coming from a mile away...

Which explains why the oil pipes leading to Turkey were so easily sabotaged. We MUST be protecting the oil above all else! MUST be!

Yeesh. I admit it: maybe being in the situation isn't always a guarantee that your perspective is more privileged. After all, the Shiites calling for US departure are in the situation, and I wouldn't trust their opinion any more than I trust the female blogger's. So you have every right to ask what makes Chief Wiggles more trustworthy to me. The only answer I can give is that this is a guy whose training appears to include the ability to think from a bird's-eye perspective, to see the big picture, instead of doing what the female blogger does when she marvels at her newfound ability to identify gunfire and vehicle noise. The female blogger's doing exactly what an untrained person like me would do in a war: worrying about herself and those close to her, retreating to a narrow perspective. I trust someone like the Chief not to do that, even under heavy fire. I don't blame the female blogger; I'd probably blog about the same kind of stuff if I were in her shoes. But I wouldn't trust me to have a clear(-headed) view of the proceedings.

Meanwhile, in other religious news: an interesting article on Beliefnet about reaction to critiques of Mel's film, and the antisemitism these reactions reveal.

No comments: