Thursday, August 17, 2006

Dreher's Warning

Rod Dreher is not a "pacifist" in the WOT. But he has an understanding which eludes the Bush Boyzzz.

What is starting to unnerve me is the sense that the wheels are coming off, and nobody knows how to put them back on. This confidence game the Republicans are playing is an insult. No, it's far worse than that: it's dangerous, because they seem to believe that all they have to do is keep banging away on the public's fear that the Democrats would be worse, and all will be well for them. It reminds me of Rep. Mike Pence's moronic quote from earlier this year: "The best thing we have going for us is the Democrats. We may be the party of Big Government, but they are the party of Really Big Government."

Well, that's strong talk from a columnist. What's the origin of his angst?

National Review editor Rich Lowry whispers sotto voce that Bush might have led us all into another Vietnam. This is not, of course, a fresh observation. What's new -- and significant -- is who's saying it.

Yah, well, Rich Lowry...what does HE know?

Maybe it's related to this:

Over on The Corner, Andy McCarthy and my friend John Podhoretz have been fighting over democracy, terrorism and Islam. I really do think Andy slam-dunks it in this posting, in which he says those (like President Bush) who insist that the problem in the Arab Muslim world is a lack of democracy are dangerously fooling themselves. They can't wrap their mind around the idea that millions of people would voluntarily choose to live as they believe God commands them.

Over lunch with a business-friend, this was broached. While it is clear that ALL people can understand and live within a functioning democracy-based political system, it is NOT clear that all people are religiously conditioned to do so. In the West, Aristotlean concepts of government were effectively blessed by a religion (Roman Catholic) which values each individual person's rights in the very broad sense. This allowed the Magna Carta and its 500-year-later offspring, the US Constitution to actually work. (Let's not quibble about smaller issues, please.)

But the Mohammedans do not "need" nor necessarily "want" democracy--rights of individuals under the Shari'a do not occupy the same space as they do under Christianity, broadly speaking.

More from McCarthy:

What is variously called "radical Islam," "militant Islam," "political Islam," "fundamentalist Islam," "Islamo-fascism," etc., is not a fringe cult. It is a highly developed system the history of which traces back centuries and which counts among its adherents many highly educated, highly intelligent people. It rejects fundamental premises of Western democracy — indeed, it blames Western democracy for the ills of the world.

Now, here's what you don't seem to get: it's not just terrorists who believe this. The terrorists are the ones willing to fight over it, but there are tens of millions who agree with their beliefs and aims even if they are not willing to kill to see them actualized. That is why terrorism is not irreconcilable with democracy, but Islam may well be. [Read that line again...]

You can keep pretending, if you'd like, that the problem here is "tyranny" and "terrorism" and that things would turn around if only we injected a little freedom into the equation. But that is not going to deal with the "root cause," and it is not going to make Muslims like you better (as we are seeing in Iraq on a daily basis).

You insult these millions of Muslims profoundly because the logic of your argument is that no one who was truly free would choose the life they sincerely believe God has commanded. You are stuck in a pre-1979 mindset which refuses to acknowledge that a religion-based revolution is possible, and that the millions of people are freely choosing a belief system that opposes Western democracy.

I'm not going along. I've spent lots of time with our enemies and I respect them. That's why I know they have to be defeated, not courted.

This IS the problem with the "One World" Globaloney crowd whose most vigorous proponents happen to be members of the Bush family (but they are hardly alone...) They don't GET it.

Just as a reminder:

Over the past few decades, studies have shown again and again that Americans tend to have a poor grasp of history. In fact, the scholar Christopher Lasch once wrote that Americans love nostalgia, because we see it as a form of entertainment. But we dislike real history, because real historical facts are inconvenient. ...

Catholics who do know history may remember the following: Islam has embraced armed military expansion for religious purposes since its earliest decades. In contrast, Christianity struggled in its divided attitudes toward military force and state power for its first 300 years. No “theology of Crusade” existed in Western Christian thought until the 11th century. In fact, the Christian Byzantine Empire had already been resisting Muslim expansion in the East for 400 years before Pope Urban II called the First Crusade — as a defensive response to generations of armed jihad.

Much of the modern Middle East was once heavily Christian. Muslim armies changed that by imposing Islamic rule. Surviving Christian communities have endured centuries of marginalization, discrimination, violence, slavery and outright persecution — not always and not everywhere; but as a constant, recurring and central theme of Muslim domination.

That same Christian suffering continues down to the present. In the early years of the 20th century, the Muslim Ottoman Empire murdered more than 1 million Armenian Christians for ethnic, economic, but also religious reasons. Many Turks and other Muslims continue to deny that massive crime even today. Coptic Christians in Egypt — who, even after 13 centuries of Muslim prejudice and harassment, cling to the faith — continue to experience systematic discrimination and violence at the hands of Islamic militants.

Harassment and violence against Christians continue in many places throughout the Islamic world, from Bangladesh, Iran, Sudan, Pakistan and Iraq, to Nigeria, Indonesia and even Muslim-dominated areas of the heavily Catholic Philippines. In Saudi Arabia, all public expressions of Christian faith are forbidden. The on-going Christian flight from Lebanon has helped to transform it, in just half a century, from a majority Christian Arab nation to a majority Muslim population.These are facts. The Muslim-Christian conflict is a very long one, rooted in deep religious differences, and Muslims have their own long list of real and perceived grievances. But especially in an era of religiously inspired terrorism and war in the Middle East, peace is not served by ignoring, subverting or rewriting history, but rather by facing it humbly as it really happened and healing its wounds. (Abp Chas. Chaput of Denver) HT: Bonfire of the Vanities

"Education in History" in all the admirable colleges tends to characterize the Crusades as some sort of "Catholic jihad," and as a result, many students dissociate these wars from their real roots: they are religious wars and result from a religious weltanschauung.

The Bush Administration's insistence on 'democracy' is a fool's errand.

Ironically, GWB retracted his spot-on definition--Islamic Fascism. Let's hope that he regains that understanding and then re-formulates his raison d'etre for having the troops in Iraq.


Billiam said...

As far as History goes, I agree. It needs to be taught more than it is. It also needs to be taught without a political bent, and with all the warts in plain sight. What's the adage? "Those who forget the past are bound to repeat it"?

Anonymous said...

You make some extremely important points in this post, ones that are amazingly absent from mainstream reporting and analysis. Until America's leaders and citizenry understand what we're dealing with, finding a defense against militant Islam will elude us.

Dad29 said...

Thanks--but most of the points were quotations of others' thoughts.

It is true that defining the enemy is critical to winning a war.

That's the point I hope the Administration gets.