What does the proposed “war on militant Islam” consist of?

Andrew McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor who writes occasionally at National Review Online, says we’re not in a “war on terror,” but in a “war on militant Islam,” and evidently feels that he’s saying something very groundbreaking thereby. But what, after all, is he really saying? Here is a letter I wrote to him about it:

Dear Mr. McCarthy:

With endless apologies for sounding so illiberal, you argue that we are in (or should be in) a war with militant Islam, not a “war on terrorism.” Fine. This is an important point you’re making. But that leads to the “therefore” question: Therefore, what? In the end, after running on at great length, all you say is that we should distinguish between moderate Moslems and radical Moslems and favor the first and marginalize the second. Fine. But what does that mean? What does the war against militant Islam consist of? Other than calling for the continued prosecution of a handful of terror-supporting Moslems in this country, you don’t say. In fact, in your reliance on “moderate” Islam as the cure for militant Islam, you’re still living in the same liberal escapism that your entire article is supposedly rejecting.

Stephen Steinlight in his recent talk at CIS said this about “moderate” Islam:

[The] ex-chief rabbi of Britain, Rabbi Sachs, … was asked the question, is there such a thing as a moderate Muslim? And he said, well, I thought I had found one, and I went to him and I thought I’d just pose one question, and I posed the question, I said, do you accept the legitimacy of the government of Spain? He said, of course not.

The point is that there is no moderate Islam. Yes, there are Moslems who are personally less aggressive, more peaceful, just as there are Communists who are personally affable. But Islam as such stands for jihad, just as Communism as such stands for the expropriation of private property. Which means that the only way Moslems can become truly “moderate” is to cease being Moslems in any real sense.

Along with your distinction between moderate Islam and militant Islam, your only other proposal is the dead horse of “assimilation.” You write:

It’s not enough to deplete the militants’ assets. We need to defeat their ideas, and that means marginalizing their leaders. That means talking about how Islam assimilates to American ideals and traditions.

You’re still assuming—just like a liberal—that ultimately Islam is assimilable to America, once we weed out those bad militants. Apart from the falseness of the assimilationist hope, you still don’t say what weeding out the militants means. Are you willing (as I’ve proposed at FrontPage Magazine) to end mass Moslem immigration to America? Are you willing to deport all resident aliens who support militant Islam? Are you willing to deport all naturalized citizens who support militant Islam? Are you willing to call for universities to shut down jihadist student organizations? Are you willing to shut down Wahhabi mosques? If you’re not willing to do at least some of these things, then you’re not talking about war, you’re talking about … talk.

Lawrence Auster

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 03, 2004 09:55 AM | Send

McCarthy is an example of what I was talking about in my FrontPage article when I said that even the most hardboiled among us only stand for “assimilation,” and for managing (rather than ending) the threat of domestic terrorism.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on June 3, 2004 10:46 AM

I am afraid that talk is all that we will receive on this account for many years. The vein of liberalism, which cannot accept actual differences not only among and between individuals, but between cultures and civilizations, simply runs too deep in the minds of even those who profess to be conservatives. I suspect that only a serious awakening of religious belief, embracing the historic religious and cultural patrimony of Christendom will suffice to overcome the delusions of liberalism, and its manifest refusals to confront reality as it is.

Posted by: Jeff M on June 3, 2004 1:15 PM

Even when facing Jihad, liberals cannot give up two fantasies: moderate Islam and assimilation.

Even in right-liberalism’s own terms, assimilation is a complete farce. There can be no assimilation unless multiculturalism and its attendant series of ethnic preferences are utterly abolished. Since neocons caved on racial preferences and multiculturalism a year ago, assimilation is a very dead horse indeed.

I expect that to admit there is no such thing as moderate Islam would explode one of right-liberalism’s core doctrines - the propositional nation theory. The truth is just way too uncomfortable to face.

Posted by: Carl on June 3, 2004 1:34 PM

A person who believes we should let everyone in the world including Moslems enter America en masse and destroy us as a nation is a “liberal.” A person who believes we should continue letting mass Moslem immigration into this country while we try to “assimilate” the Moslems is a “conservative.” A person who believes we shouldn’t be admitting Moslems into this country at all doesn’t even exist on the political map.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on June 3, 2004 1:50 PM

“A person who believes we shouldn’t be admitting Moslems into this country at all doesn’t even exist on the political map.”

This is just one manifestation of our dilemma. During the 2000 campaign, I went back and read about the 1980 Reagan-Carter race. The GOP took a stance they wouldn’t dare take now. They were proudly conservative in 1980, very defensive in 2000. They had become “compassionate conservatives.” Remember the 2000 GOP Convention? What do you think it’s going to be like this year?

A couple of years ago, some GOP consultants said they wouldn’t dare use the Willie Horton ad again. Nor would they have adds opposing racial preferences. What was standard-issue conservatism is becoming (if it isn’t already) beyond the pale.

This is how liberalism continues to advance. They intimidate the right, who promptly caves in. They move this way from issue to issue.

Posted by: David on June 3, 2004 2:51 PM

Mr. Auster writes:

“A person who believes we shouldn’t be admitting Moslems into this country at all doesn’t even exist on the political map.”

Of course in all probability a majority of Americans support this proposition.

Posted by: Mik on June 3, 2004 2:52 PM

By my and Mik’s logic, a majority of Americans don’t even exist on the political map. But isn’t that the standard liberal view? In 1992 the New York Times said that the then President Bush was returning illegal refugees to Haiti in order to appease “the farthest far right.” But since the Gallup poll had said that 67 percent of the American people agreed with the Bush administration’s policy, that meant that in the Times’ view of the world two-thirds of the American people are on the farthest far right.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on June 3, 2004 3:15 PM

What the United States (and all of Western Christendom) needs is religiously conscious Christians - and Jews - who can see the Moslem threat to the West in its true - religious - dimensions. This is about more than equal rights for women. Declining to see and resist the whole threat guarantees defeat.

Christendom has been losing its faith for centuries, but I think it is only since the later 20th century that Westerners have so lost their faith that they cannot recognize a religious threat for what it is. In the United States those (Jews and Christians alike) who have forced official secularization on America through their mendacious “separation of church and state” misinterpretation of the First Amendment have contributed mightily to our weakness. Liberals’ projects always fail, so their efforts to make the world safe for their secular libertinism have left America open to an alien religious infiltration that is far less tolerant of their obsessions than the Christianity they so despise.

Andrew McCarthy’s column is a good example of how gelded we are before the Prophet’s scimitar. McCarthy is not - at least in official terms - a liberal. A presumably patriotic (federal prosecutor), probably church-going (I would guess RC, based on his name), self-identified conservative writing in America’s leading conservative publication can only respond to the Moslem threat by defaulting to the liberal fantasy that we can assimilate any number of anybody. It is a fair bet that Mr. McCarthy is thoroughly indoctrinated in the propositionalism and American exceptionalism that makes admitting that there are people in the world that the United States cannot assimilate an admission of national failure. The notion that America should not have to attempt to assimilate infinite immigrants - should send them home so we can keep our home - is an idea he cannot conceive.

Maybe Mr. Auster’s letter will help McCarthy think the inconceivable. HRS

Posted by: Howard Sutherland on June 3, 2004 3:19 PM

I cannot understand those who talk about “moderate Islam” as if it some sort of separate ideological denomination within Islam. The fact is that the Koran calls for Jihad, as do the Hadiths. The Hadiths of Sahih Al-Bukhan devote a whole chapter to Jihad, specifically, the violent kind. One tale in his work, but i don’t believe from that chapter, just kind of sets the tone: It is the story about the three Islamic killers of a wealthy Jew who come to Mohammed with a moral delima: who among them should get his treasure? Mohammed, wise as ever, looks to see which knife has food particles on it and decides that the abdominal thrust should get the booty.(booty being another important subject in the Hadiths)

The Koran of moderate Islam and Hadiths of Moderate islam are the same books as those of the Militant Islam. So,in my view, the only way to identify a moderate Moslem from a militant is that he does not want to make Jihad against the West- today, anyway. I am not aware of any Islamic group that rejects any saying in either the Koran or Hadiths. I know the Institute for the Secularization of Islam is trying ,but I don’t see how you keep the books, but reject the words. Is anyone aware of any such islamic groups?

That may be why the President always has us just at war with an activity, not soldiers of an ideology. I have always thought his mantra that the reason the terrorist “hate us” is because they are jealous of us was the most insulting, rediculous story I had ever heard. Is Osama jealous of our bicameral legislative system, perhaps our division of power concept? Perhaps he is just can’t stand those Federalist Papers… W completly ignores the ideology of Islam.
As far as I can tell, notwithstanding Turkey, Islam has no use for democracy, since Islam is already a totalitarian system.Why won’t the President just tell the public the truth?
Sorry for getting long winded, Mr. Auster

Posted by: Robert Cox on June 3, 2004 8:19 PM

Mr. McCarthy’s article was one of the most thoughtful I have seen from an American about Islam, not that I endorse all that he says or his verbosity. To the point, he thinks there is a moderate Islam, and he might be right. There are many kind, sweet Islamic people no doubt closer to God than I. Yet an important practical issue he does not address is whether you can base a moderate religion on the TEACHINGS of a HUMAN BEING that believed in putting infidels to the sword and in other sorts of EVIL. Make no mistake here; Mohammed proposed evil, unless one disbelieves in Christianity and Judaism. McCarthy ignored or failed to think of this issue (perhaps for good reason). It is possible for such a moderate religion to prosper, and we have the Mormon religion as an example (though Mormon prophets are not nearly as evil as Mohammed).

I suppose the main issue is whether we Christians and Jews want to endure a potentially long war against Islamic terrorism instead of repatriating Ann Coulter’s “hard-working, god-fearing, peace-loving” moderate Islamic people, who admit they very likely can’t change their dominant militant elites, to the custody of the elites whom they are cowering from instead of facing down as the West faced down those such as Stalin, Hitler, the Huns, and the Pharaoh?

I admit the task is awful for the moderates, but we should not make THEIR problems ours; they NEED NOT remain a part of the same family, if family is to have meaning. Of course Jesus commands us to help one another, but only a moron takes this to the extreme and makes us slaves.

Posted by: P Murgos on June 3, 2004 11:28 PM

Mr. Cox asks: “Why won’t the President just tell the public the truth?”

The answer, Mr. Cox, is that President Bush is a liberal. To admit the truth about Islam, even to himself, undermines the dogma of his core belief in the idea that all people and all cultures are interchangeable, and that America is a propositional idea that can take root in the sands of Baghdad just as well as it took root in Philadelphia in 1776. Admitting otherwise opens the door to uncomfortable truths that he (and other liberals) simply cannot abide.

Posted by: Carl on June 4, 2004 12:40 AM

Mr. Auster’s letter to Mr. McCarthy is perfect. I’d be interested to read Mr. McCarthy’s reply, if any.

Mr. McCarthy is in a difficult position (thank you, Mr. Auster!). If he fudges, he will be branded a hypocrit or a wimp. If he sides with Mr. Auster and me on closing the mosques (I differ with Mr. Auster in that I believe ALL mosques should be closed throughout the U.S., NOT just Wahhabiist ones, sending a somewhat chilling message to people practicing Islam here. The REAL chiller would then, in my ideal wishing world, be a lie test for all legal Arab residents and Arab citizens).

Of course, Mr. McCarthy will never side with us on these “radical” steps. As some VFR folk have suggested somewhat resigningly in recent past, it will take another devastating attack—perhaps a dirty bomb destroying a section of an American city—before Americans are willing to go to those lengths, and that is most unfortunate. We have traditionally not been proactive in war—we’ve often “waited to be attacked” before acting. 9/11 seems a long, long way off and many people seem to forget we are in a struggle for our own survival.

The talk by Bush and the Bushies about “democratizing the Arab world” and “freedom for all peoples of the world” are really buzzwords and phrases for sending our boys to places other than where they are needed—on our Southern Border. Bush cannot admit that his “open borders” position these past 3.5 years have made us vulnerable to attack. His removing the crucial word “crusade” from quoting Ike’s famous WWII speech to placate the Saudis and other Arabs shows what kind of a leader he is. Ronald Reagan would never have changed a word of that speech, nor I believe would have Harry Truman. Those two presidents told it like it is.

Posted by: David Levin on June 4, 2004 3:06 AM

Mr. Levin mentions President Bush’s significant omission in his Air Force Academy graduation speech (I’m glad I didn’t have to sit through it…). In his message to the Allied Expeditionary Force on D-Day, General Eisenhower said his command was embarking on a “Great Crusade.” Whether by accident (cluelessly accepting what his speechwriters set before him) or by design (his usual pandering; to anti-Christians - who by definition include Moslems - in this case), Bush has given the church-state separationists I castigated above another victory in their anti-Crusade to purge Christianity from our historical record. The omission is not accidental, as Bush quoted the sentences that immediately precede and follow the Crusade sentence verbatim.

To perpetuate the myth of constitutional separation, or perhaps out of semi-conscious animus against the American past (that, among other things, produced the Bush clan), the commander-in-chief deliberately misquoted a famous American commander and president to a captive audience of Air Force officers and their families. How many of the new Second Lieutenants Bush misinformed are likely to know that he falsified history to them? This may look like a small omission - to me it is a Kerry-class lie, and for no better reason than the Democrat has for any of his whoppers.

Christians and conservatives (I hope there is a lot of overlap) should blanket the internet with comment pointing this out. Although it is a matter of one sentence, it shows pretty clearly which side of our domestic culture war Bush really is on. More to the point of this thread, it shows that Bush has no idea how to fight the war against jihad, because he is incapable of understanding the war we are in. I don’t believe there is any atrocity Moslem terrorists could commit that would make liberals like our president understand it. HRS

Posted by: Howard Sutherland on June 4, 2004 8:46 AM

While Bush’s elision of Eisenhower’s speech was objectionable, it was not totally without excuse. Here’s the first sentence of Eisenhower’s statement, which Bush left out:

“You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months.”

One could argue that that sentence was not directly relevant to Bush’s point about the eyes of the world being on you, so it was not terrible of him to leave it out. After all, when we quote something, we quote the parts that are of interest to us. We’re not obligated to quote everything. Yet I’m still bothered by it. For Bush to have quoted Eisenhower’s stirring address: “‘Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force,” and then skip over the immediately following sentence, was not right. (And if Bush feels it’s not right to use the word “crusade,” perhaps he ought to insist that Moslems forever drop the use of the word “jihad.”)

By the way, the other night there was a re-broadcast of a 1964 interview (filmed over six days in August 1963) of Gen. Eisenhower by Walter Cronkheit about the Normandy invasion. They started at Eisenhower’s old headquarters in England which was still there with its maps and everything, and then headed over to the Normandy beaches, Point du Hoc, St. Mer d’Eglise. Eisenhower, then two and a half years out of the presidency and in his early ’70s, was in fine form, knowledgeable about all aspects of the battle, authoritative in his demeanor, and yet, in the best Anglo-American way, unpretentious and matter-of-fact even as he’s describing these huge events that he was in charge of. To see the general who had been in command of this mighty battle visiting the battle field and giving his own account of it was a magnificent experience.

What Bush said:

“On this day in 1944, General Eisenhower sat down at his headquarters in the English countryside, and wrote out a message to the troops who would soon invade Normandy. ‘Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force,” he wrote, “the eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.’”

What Eisenhower said:

Transcript of General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Order of the Day (1944)

“Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!

You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hope and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is will trained, well equipped and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely.

But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!

I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!

Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.”

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on June 4, 2004 9:15 AM

There is no excuse, and Mr. Auster doesn’t really offer one for President Bush. We need to be unrelenting (but not ad hominem) in our criticism of the president. He is not merely a false-friend of any form of American traditionalism, he is an active enemy. Anything he does that we can use to help others see that is fair game. I am sure that plenty of thought, coherent or not, went into what is a deliberate and misleading omission. In addition, when could the Crusade analogy have greater resonance than now? HRS

Posted by: Howard Sutherland on June 4, 2004 9:39 AM

It is more than a little ironic that Eisenhower was willing to characterize a massive defensive-offensive as a “crusade” when the enemy was NOT Moslem; but now that the enemy IS Moslem, Bush is unwilling to use the word. The latter is a classic case of a liberal avoiding at all costs using the most straightforward, appropriate term simply because to do so would imply a discrimination that must be asserted by force, and yet that must be denied even as it is asserted.

Posted by: Matt on June 4, 2004 10:09 AM

I was trying to find some excuse for it, but it’s really contemptible. Bush makes himself look cowardly even as he’s trying to look brave. He’s willing to invade and conquer Moslem countries, but he’s not willing to quote Gen. Eisenhower saying the word “crusade.” He’s not afraid of war, but he’s afraid of words.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on June 4, 2004 10:14 AM

Maybe underneath this is another reason “whither Iraq”? Iraq was actually the only non-Moslem regime in the region that was cooperating with “terrorists”. So attacking Iraq specifically rather than Iran or Saudi Arabia or Syria was a way of saying to the world - and to our own national conscience - “see, this is about ‘terrorism’ not about religious discrimination against Islam”.

That isn’t to suggest that this was an overt reason in some conspiratorial meetings of the war cabinet; but the fact that it was not an Islamic state may well have made Baghdad a more palatable target than (e.g.) Damascus.

Posted by: Matt on June 4, 2004 10:21 AM

Oh, I think it would have been highly impolitic to have used the word ‘crusade’ in reference to our expedition in Iraq. However, if President Bush was aghast at the word, rather than carefully mincing around it he should have found some other address to quote. It’s the mincing that makes it seem contemptible.

Or did sly Dubya fully expect the full passage to turn up in the press anyway?

Posted by: Shrewsbury on June 4, 2004 10:42 AM

Mr. Shrewsbury writes:

“did sly Dubya fully expect the full passage to turn up in the press anyway?”

Bush is a good poker player. IF he KNEW the full passage himself, very likely he had expected that. But he probably didn’t read the original address.

Posted by: Mik on June 4, 2004 1:02 PM

I know I have said in the past that GW Bush is sly (I also said he isn’t very smart), but I don’t think he is as sly as Shrewsbury suspects.

Bush was doing what comes naturally to Republicans: preemptively making grovelling concessions to non-Republican-voting groups that are primed to take self-righteous offense at anything a Republican says. Since they are non-Republican-voting, why bother? I suspect MiK is right, and Bush did not know what Eisenhower’s message actually said. In this case, though, ignorance affords the president no defense. HRS

Posted by: Howard Sutherland on June 4, 2004 2:35 PM

Furthermore it’s so dumb. Even if you accepted the premise that we shouldn’t say anything to offend Moslems, the word “crusade” obviously has its own meaning that goes beyond the original crusades of the Middle Ages: “a crusade against drugs,” “a crusade to save the environment,” and so on. Is the word “crusade” now going to be eliminated from the English language? That is the miserable, sniveling, contemptible message implied in Bush’s deletion of Eisenhower’s sentence.

By Bush’s standard, we should never do anything if anyone anywhere might possibly be offended at it, even if there is no rational basis to be offended. For example, we should eliminate the word “niggardly” from the English language because some ignorant person who is looking to be offended might be offended at it. We should never compliment a woman’s looks, or open a door for a woman, because some women are offended at that.

I can’t get over the irony that Bush, with all his Texas Ranger toughness (I mean the policemen, not the sports team), is such a weenie. But, after all, he did tell us from the start that he’s a “compassionate” conservative, didn’t he? This is an example of what he meant.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on June 4, 2004 2:45 PM

And this is an example of why inclusion is suicide. If you include Moslems on an equal basis in your society, then you’ve got to eliminate everything from your culture that offends Moslems, including the word “crusade.” If you include homosexual couples in the institution of marriage, then you’re going to have to eliminate the words “husband” and “wife,” because homosexual couples would be excluded by those words. And of course, that’s just the beginning of what you’re going to have to give up.

In the first article I wrote about multiculturalism, in National Review in 1989, I saw that multiculturalism is not just a “problem,” but something leading to the end of our nation. I said:

“Since ‘European American’ culture is by definition exclusive and oppressive, it obviously cannot co-exist with the oppressed cultures that seek equality with it until it has been stripped of its hypocritical pretensions to universality and legitimacy—i.e., until, as a national culture, it has ceased to exist.”

[“The Regents’ Round Table,” NR, December 8, 1989]

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on June 4, 2004 3:01 PM

While the “sensitivity” that presumably caused Bush 41.1 to omit Ike’s reference to the “Great Crusade” disgusts me, it should be pointed out that there are other, good reasons for avoiding the term. For one thing, it offends Orthodox Christians as well as Muslims…and it’s bad luck! Doesn’t anyone recall that the original crusades failed? The Crusades were a disaster, undermining the Byzantine Empire instead of saving it, as Pope Urban had intended.

Posted by: Alan Levine on June 4, 2004 4:22 PM

“But, after all, he did tell us from the start that he’s a “compassionate” conservative, didn’t he?”

I have been wondering for a long time: Has anyone read Marvin Olasky’s book, “Compassionate Conservatism”, and compared it to the actual policy proposals of George W. Bush? Is the problem inherent in the book and its ideas, or is Bush 41.1 implementing something entirely different?

Posted by: Clark Coleman on June 4, 2004 5:51 PM

Srdja Trifkovic has an interesting commentary on the Chronicles website about Bush’s speech given at the Air Force Academy. In addtion to pointing out the mis-quote of Eisenhowers’s D-Day address, he remarks that Bush’s constant harping about the war being waged upon “terrorism” is the equivalent of Churchill or Roosevelt declaring that we were going to fight a war against “blitzkrieg.”

You have to give Mr. McCarthy a gold star for at least having the courage to name the enemy - something the current resident of the white house is evidently incapable of.

Posted by: Carl on June 5, 2004 3:36 AM

The fact is that what we call a “Moderate Muslim” does exist and is represented by the majority of Muslims we encounter in our daily lives. That being said, a few simple questions to the moderates will quickly reveal that the mindset of most Western “moderate” Muslims is shaped by a distinctly anti-western, anti-reality beleif system. Daniel Pipes had an article expressing a list of questions one could pose to potential immigrants from Muslim countries which could help measure their suitabilty for admission to the U.S.

I have worked with many Muslims and they share a common denominator, an alternate, almost imaginary view of Middle Eastern History and a desire for the U.S. to drop its support of Israel. Isral of course should not even exist.

So moderate muslims do exist, but they are every bit as eager to see an America far removed from it’s current form and transformed into an islamic country. The same is true for Europe, the moderate Muslims are working hard to support France’s secular republic…not. So France is a test case since their populanion dynamics are soon to show the outcome of large muslim populations in Western societies.

Posted by: Anthony on June 5, 2004 1:07 PM

Since they seem to believe the same things as the radicals, could Anthony tells us what makes these “moderate” Moslems moderates?

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on June 5, 2004 1:39 PM

A question that could be added to the litmus test for Moderate Muslims is the one that Mr. Steinlight mentioned in his appearance at the CIS symposium.

“I have a friend and colleague sitting in the audience, Barry Shaquette (ph), who listened to remarks by the ex-chief rabbi of Britain, Rabbi Sachs, who was asked the question, is there such a thing as a moderate Muslim? And he said, well, I thought I had found one, and I went to him and I thought I’d just pose one question, and I posed the question, I said, do you accept the legitimacy of the government of Spain? He said, of course not.”

If they can’t recognize the government of Spain, what on earth makes us think they’d recognize the state of Israel?

Posted by: Carl on June 5, 2004 2:07 PM

Carl asked: “If they can’t recognize the government of Spain, what on earth makes us think they’d recognize the state of Israel?”

Arab Muslim states that have full diplomatic relations with Israel: Egypt, Jordan.

Non-Arab Muslim states that have full diplomatic relations with Israel: Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and two others I can’t find at the moment.

Arab Muslim states that have partial diplomatic relations with Israel: Morocco, Tunisia, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain.

Posted by: Ken Hechtman on June 5, 2004 2:33 PM

I think Carl made an excellent point earlier in this thread about why Dubya cannot name acknowledge an ideological basis for the agression-jihad, but must instead fabricate identities and motives. So we are fighting merely an activity ie. liek the “Blitskreg.” As to who the enemey is or why he is acting, that is left unaddressed. To W. they are only, “doers of evil” Ideology and culture as an issue must be avoided at all costs.
Well, I guess that is not totally true, W has mentioned Isalm in responsee to those who have happened to hit upon a well, suspicious corrolation between thosee making war on us and Islam. But as I recall, according to W, not only is there a “moderate Islam,” but Islam is something called, “a peaceful religion.” It follows then that those who are not peaceful, and maybe even those who are not “freedom loving,” must not be members of the “real Islam.”
Amazing who far one can get by defining a matter into, or out of, existence.

Posted by: Robert Cox on June 5, 2004 3:58 PM

Mr. Hechtman writes:

“Arab Muslim states that have full diplomatic relations with Israel: Egypt, Jordan.

Non-Arab Muslim states that have full diplomatic relations with Israel: Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and two others I can’t find at the moment.”

This is a legalistic answer that doesn’t even fit the question. All Arab and all Muslim states recoqnize Spain goverment at legal level. The problem is in their religous heart they don’t accept the loss of Al Andalus. That is what British rabbi was saying.

Do you really belive that a majority of Egyptians accept Israel existance in their heart of hearts?
Egypt is one assasination or one vote away from becoming a bloody enemy of Israel it has always been.

Posted by: Mik on June 5, 2004 5:32 PM

I thought the question was, “Is it possible for a self-described ‘moderate Muslim’ to publicly recognize the state of Israel?” And my answer is yes, it is possible — not common, but possible. King Hussein of Jordan wasn’t a Christian or a Jew or a Hindu.

Whether they all mean it in their secret heart of hearts is a different question. I suspect many don’t but are prepared to act as though they do. The last time Egypt attacked Israel, I was in kindergarten. The last time Jordan attacked Israel, I wasn’t born yet. Since then they have kept the peace and honored their treaty committments.

How many citizens of these countries agree with their leaders is yet another question. The Camp David Treaty wouldn’t survive a popular referendum, much less a Muslim Brotherhood coup. Jordan has a strong Anti-Normalization movement that opposes relations with Israel.

But if the assertion is that by definition, no Muslim could ever recognize Israel, I don’t need to show a majority of counter-examples to disprove it. I only need to show one. If it’s possible for one, it’s possible for others.

That being said, I also remember Taliban Minister of Tribal Affairs Jalaludin Haqqani’s reaction to being called a “moderate” in the American press. He said, “What in the world is a ‘moderate’ Muslim”? Either you are a Muslim or you aren’t.”

Posted by: Ken Hechtman on June 5, 2004 11:15 PM

Actually, Mr. Hechtman, I was having a little fun with the London rabbi’s comment by recommending the question about Spain be posed first - as any Muslim who views Spain as Dar-al-Islam will certainly reject the idea of Israel.

Islam does not have a liberal wing like Christianity and Judaism do. Yes, I expect there are “moderate” Muslims like the late King Hussein here and there, but they are much more difficult to find than nominal Roman Catholics in the People’s Republic of Massachusetts who plan on voting for Kerry, by way of example.

Posted by: Carl on June 6, 2004 12:04 AM

If Islam is un-assimilable to the American culture, and I believe that it is, then we must logically rethink the consequences of the free exercise clause of the First Amendment.

In 1791, the various Christian sects (along with a smattering of Jews) defined the cultural parameters of that time. The non-establishment and free exercise clauses were a sort of truce between the competing sects, assuring that none would have primacy over the other.

While it’s true that one can find an occasional reference to the “Mohammedan” among the Founders’ writings, I wonder how knowledgeable they were about Islam. I seriously doubt any were aware of Wahhabism, which was in its nascent stages at that very time.

In other words, is it time to rethink the First Amendment and protect free exercise for Christianity and Judaism, while leaving other religions at the sufferance of the political majority? Or should the First Amendment continue to protect a religion determined to destroy it?

Posted by: Scott on June 7, 2004 1:33 PM

Interesting post by Scott. If we are to enumerate the specific religions protected by the free exercise clause the list ought not include secular liberalism, it seems to me.

Posted by: Matt on June 7, 2004 1:50 PM

Scott’s examination of the Establishment Clause and what it should protect is good. I don’t know if the Establishment Clause could be used for selective protection - the clause itself only says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” As a starting point, we have to distinguish between what the Establishment Clause says and what the Supreme Court, ACLU, et al., have turned it into: a vehicle for the selective suppression of Christian religious expression.

Maybe the current perverse interpretation could be twisted even further to include suppressing Moslem expression. Whether it reaches secular liberalism at all turns on the definition of religion. HRS

Posted by: Howard Sutherland on June 7, 2004 2:09 PM

The Supreme Court will not be in any way tradtional in the near future unless a miracle occurs, as nearly occurred when Justice Kennedy almost voted against abortion.

Posted by: P Murgos on June 8, 2004 1:02 AM

Scott’s suggestion belies what the First Amendment is supposed to actually do. The Incorporation Doctrine has altered its function, allowing the Supreme Court to impose its perverted ‘interpretation’ (aka rewriting) of the Establishment Clause on the States.

But the First Amendment was never intended to apply to the States. Just reading it in plain English shows that it is only a restriction on what kind of law the Congress can make.

The States themselves could do whatever they wanted, and could tell practitioners of a foreign, pagan religion, “Move along.” Many States continued to have established churches — some more than one.

The Establishment Clause forbids the general government from establishing a “general” church of the United States. But even THAT is being too specific. It says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

By example, if Congress had passed a law ordering the several States to do away with their established churches, that would violate the Establishment Clause — this would be making a law “respecting an establishment of religion.” They cannot legislate in this area AT ALL.

The Establishment and Free Exercise clauses were necessary to accomodate the fact that different States had various Protestant groups, Quakers, Roman Catholics, and the limited role of the general government must needs represent them all to the world.

But with the Federal government, via the Supreme Court, having intruded into the reserved powers of the States, the people have lost local control of their towns and bailiwicks and can no longer determine the character of their neighborhoods.

It is pointless to think in this context that the Federal government is going to ‘fix’ things, and dangerous to concede the kind of power that Scott infers should be given up to it — which it has already usurped to great destructiveness. It’s not supposed to have this power in the first place. The answer lies in (or rather begins with) getting the Federal government out of State and local affairs and restricting itself to those spheres of sovereignty which the States granted it.

Posted by: Joel LeFevre on June 8, 2004 2:30 AM

Combining Scott’s idea, that non-Western religions should not receive protection, with Mr. LeFevre’s reminder that the states can make whatever laws concerning establishment of religion that they want, we can imagine an alternative history in which the states placed such disabilities on Mohammedanism, Santeria, Voodoo, Rastafarianism, and other alien religions that their practitioners would go elsewhere.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on June 8, 2004 3:17 AM

Scott wants to “rethink” the 1st Amendment to exclude Islam, but that isn’t necessary. The Amendment protects *religion*, not political rebellion and certainly not war. It is a mistake to see Islam merely as religion— as any imam will gladly tell you. It is at least as much a political ideology as Communism. We excluded Communists once, and we should have no problem excluding Mohammedans (under the same Act of Congress, even), once we regain the will.

It’s useful to distinguish between “Islam” and “Mohammedanism” here, the former being the religious aspect and the latter the political and military strategies of its founder. (Indeed, one means their submission to God, and the other *your* submission to them.)

Buddhism, Baha’i, and all sorts of other faiths which are solely religion, are safe from us because we are safe from them.

Posted by: Reg Cæsar on June 8, 2004 4:08 AM

Reg has a good point. If a totalitarian ideology and organization has for example, world conquest and wholesale killing or submission demands of non-adherants as part of its basic teaching, and moreover, demands obedience by insisting that God is behind its commands, at what point do you restrain it as a hostile and aggressive totalitarian system? Does a hostile political system get immunity as long as it asserts, “God tell us to do all this.”

What sort of test might one apply to protect religion, but also to protect people against hostile totalitarian organizations masquerading as a religion ot whcih use thier religious component as a tool to compel obedience to its otherwise hostile earthly demands.

Posted by: Robert Cox on June 8, 2004 10:09 AM

I’m a non-incorporationist myself, but the Supreme Court is not about to discard this interpretation. That’s why the current vogue for adding unambiguous amendments to the Constitution. The Marriage amendment is this type. It would not be necessary except for the practice of interpreting the equal protection clause so promiscuously.

Since we are currently infiltrated by postmodern deconstructionist types, a movement toward unambiguous legal language is a welcome development.

Posted by: Scott on June 8, 2004 12:45 PM

I appreciate what Scott is saying, but if 100 different problems generate from incorporation, we can’t make 100 amendments to cover each, (while waiting for 100 others.) An amendment that unequivocally reestablished the reserved powers of the States would encompass much more.

The marriage issue is different, in that a corrupt State judiciary has perpetrated the homosexual marriage abomination. The Defense of Marriage Act addresses the spread of this evil, but a Damoclean sword hangs over it with a Federal court standing ready to cut the thread. An amendment for its defense is certainly much needed.

But even that MA case rested on a 1966 Supreme Court ruling striking down the remaining State anti-miscegenation statutes, another case of the Court rewriting the Constitution and usurping the reserved powers.

Posted by: Joel LeFevre on June 8, 2004 6:58 PM

The Incorporation Doctrine is the keystone of the modern liberal state. Its destruction—either through court decisions or a constitutional amendment plainly delimiting the scope of the 14th Amendment—is central to any serious conservatism. 95 percent of conservatives have no idea what the Incorporation Doctrine is. Therefore …

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on June 8, 2004 7:18 PM

I would go further. The 14th Amendment must be repealed _in toto_. Not that it was even legally ratified to begin with, but IT MUST GO.

I have come to believe the same about the 15th Amendment. Both of these must be repealed if this Republic and the race that built it is to survive.

Next, the 16th and (especially) the 17th Amendments ALL HAVE TO GO.

Posted by: Joel LeFevre on June 8, 2004 9:02 PM

I thank Mr. Sutherland belatedly for his splendid critique of Bush’s ursurpation of Ike’s ‘44 speech. I’m a little behind the June 4th, 10:14 AM post by Mr. Auster wherein he states that, in leaving out Ike’s words “Great Crusade”, Bush is

Perfectly said, except I would go a little farther with that idea. I believe that Bush is afraid of how the word “Crusade” in particular will be received by the Arab world and that really, he fears more what ARABS think of him than what his own (American) BASE thinks of him. He knows the base is patriotic and solidly anti-Islamist. Why then is he still so fearful of the Arabs and apparently of the Iranian government? They aren’t voting for him…unless he’s in fact pandering to the Detroit-area Arab Americans, the Houston-area Arab Americans and Fremont, California Arab Americans for votes come November.

I hate to change the subject, but aren’t the Iranians with their clear, burgeoning nuclear weapons program that they have concealed with plants and gardens making Bush and the IAEA and our intel look pretty meak? Only Israel has threatened attacking those facilities. Bush & Co. have talked mostly about “embargos” (which as we know hurt mostly the people of the country and not the leaders). And since when do “embargos” stop Iran from building nukes? I would think that stopping Iran from having a nuke program would be the #1 concern of Bush & Co. After all, Iran has close ties with Al Qaida and Al Qaida has money and Iran needs money.

Two issues I have with Bush are reasons enough not to vote for him and both involve our national security:

1) His pro-invasion, “open Southern Border” program with amnesty thrown in a cynical and all-too-obvious attempt to buy Latino votes, which has been well-chronicled and discussed here at VFR and other sites

2) His “hands off” policy towards Iran. Our planes and forces are right there. How hard would it be to attack those nuckear facilities? Isn’t our intel good enough to knock out what we need to knock out? Or, has Bush promised his friend Putin we won’t touch Iran? Or is Bush still so naiive as to think that Iranian students “who thirst for freedom” will somehow overthrow the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and take over the government there?

I believe it is high time we stop “playing footsies” with the Ayatollahs and I believe most Americans would support such a move—if it were layed out clearly and with the evidence we know apparently have. However, I am not calling for an invasion of Iran. I believe that Israel and other countries have the intel needed to hit those plants where they need to be hit. And I don’t believe that Ronald Reagan would have sat around for 3.5 years as Bush & Co. have done and would have let the Iranians build nukes.

Posted by: David Levin on June 9, 2004 3:57 AM

Mr. Levin has given us two points that call GWB’s commitment to US security into question in his most recent post. I would like to add the following:

3) Continuing the Clinton administration’s sale of military technology to China. (Smart bombs are now made there.)

4) North Korea has nuclear missiles capable of striking the continental US. Additionally, it was named as part of the “axis of evil” by Bush himself. Apart from talking tough, GWB has done zero to contain this menace.

I now frankly doubt that Bush went to war in Iraq over national security. There must have been some other reason, which remains a mystery.

Not only is Bush playing footsies with the Mullahs. He has allowed Iraq to declare Islam as the state religion—which wasn’t even the case under Saddam. It appears that Sharia and dhimmitude will soon be in full force in Iraq, as they already apparently are in Fallujah. The Christian minority is starting to flee the country. Evidently all of the talk about establishing a liberal democracy in Iraq is just that—talk. Here’s an article at Insight on the issue.

Posted by: Carl on June 9, 2004 12:18 PM

If this is true, it is terrible, and would reveal Bush’s policy as a fraud. Everyone should write to Bush about this.

However, there is a lack of hard facts in this article which makes me a little doubtful about the article. Worse, some of the facts presented are way incorrect. For example, it says that there “were” (it’s not clear why it uses the past tense) 2.5 million Assyrian Christians in Iraq, which would mean that over ten percent of the population is Christian. But according to two sources I looked up, at least 95 percent of Iraq’s population is Moslem, meaning tha non-Moslems could only add up to 1.25 million. According to the Encyclopedia of the Orient, there are 1.3 million Christians in Iraq, or 5.2 percent of the population.



Posted by: Lawrence Auster on June 9, 2004 12:44 PM

Evidently, obtaining a reliable estimate of the Assyrian population is fairly difficult since Saddam’s regime forced them to register as either Arab or Kurds. Here’s a WSJ article that gives a little background: http://www.opinionjournal.com/taste/?id=110003917

It’s also possible that the figures for Iraq and Syria (which also has an Assyrian minority) have been conflated.

Posted by: Carl on June 9, 2004 2:02 PM

I was under the impression that many years ago—even centuries ago—the Assyrians were wiped out. Then, about 4 years ago, I was contracted to do an event given by…American Assyrians!!

Can Mr. Auster or Carl tell me a little about this supposedly vanished Middle East tribe?

Posted by: David Levin on June 9, 2004 10:54 PM

Don’t know anything more. You could do a google search for: Assyrrians Iraq Christians and see what you come up with.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on June 9, 2004 11:08 PM

David, I think the WSJ article I linked above gave a general overview of who the Assyrians are along with their division into Nestorian Christians, Chaldeans (Eastern rite Catholics), and the Yetsi, a syncretistic religion loosely based upon Judaism.

In thinking about it, the Bush administration’s apparent betrayal of Iraqi Christians is quite consistent in terms of its overall policy within this region. The Bushites have tacitly supported the Islamist government of the Sudan in its campaign against the Christians in the south. Likewise, there has been only the mildest of pro-forma complaints about the horrendous persecution of Christian minorities in Pakistan and Egypt. While Bush may be quite adept at spouting Evangelical Christian jargon (as was Jimmy Carter), he’s quite happy to consign his fellow believers to lives of Dhimmitude and worse at the hand of his “religion of peace” pals at the end of the day. Let’s not forget the ferocious condemnation he made of the ongoing practice of enslaving Sudanese Christians during his great African tour a year ago. (A speech I must have missed.)

Posted by: Carl on June 10, 2004 1:58 AM

I thank Prof. Auster for his suggestion, which I took. Once when I was in junior high school, I did a report on the Assyrians. The book I used as a reference said that that culture, that people had been “wiped out”. Obviously, there has been some revisionism and probably for good reason—we have learned a lot more about history since ‘62.

Here are four links—the first, being my favorite—to the subject of the Assyrians. Evidently they were NOT “wiped out”:




www.assyrianchristians.com/ commentary_eventful_sunday_may_3_04.htm

Posted by: David Levin on June 10, 2004 2:15 AM

Mr Levin wrote: “After all, Iran has close ties with Al Qaida and Al Qaida has money and Iran needs money.”

I wonder about this. Most claims of the Iran-Al Qaeda link trace back to Debkafile and I don’t believe everything I read on Debkafile. When they’re right, they’re right two weeks ahead of the straight press, but they’re not always right.

Al Qaeda and most other Wahabis don’t accept Shias as fellow Muslims. Al Qaeda has killed Shias in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. The March bombings of Shia processions in two Iraqi cities was synchronized with a third attack in Pakistan. For that matter, Iran nearly invaded Afghanistan in 1998 when the Taliban sacked an Iranian consulate and murdered 9 diplomats. There are a few people in the Taliban and Al Qaeda who oppose this kind of sectarianism. Mullah Mansour, the Taliban commander in Operation Anaconda, dedicated the victory to “everyone who makes the Kalima” (all Muslims, Sunni and Shia). That was a deliberate slap in the face to the sectarians. But people like that are definitely in the miniority.

As far as the money goes, Iran is a nation of 75 million people with a GDP of $500 billion. Al Qaeda was never even rumored to have cash reserves of more than half a billion. Since we started freezing their accounts, they stopped keeping large cash balances. Three years ago they talked like the Wobblies (turn of the century anarchist union famous for saying, “Our treasury is in our supporters’ pockets.”)

On prominent Assyrian Christian the Insight article didn’t mention is Tariq Aziz, the former Baathist foreign minister and vice-president.

Posted by: Ken Hechtman on June 10, 2004 8:59 AM

My understanding is that the modern Assyrian Christians are just the survivors of the traditional Syriac Christian community of the Near East, with very tenuous, if any, relations to the ancient Assyrians. If the modern ones haven’t been wiped out, it is no thanks to Muslims of the region, who have been relentlessly hostile to them. I understand, however that the ones who have migrated here have supplied a formidable organized crime element in Detroit.

Posted by: Alan Levine on June 10, 2004 11:26 AM

By the time of the Christian era, The Assyrian empire, and even any Assyrian identity, had been gone for over 600 years. In fact, even by the early fourth century B.C., the Assyrian capital of Ninevah was ruins and had been utterly forgotten, even by the people in the immediately surrounding country, as you can find out from reading Xenophan’s marvelous account of the Greek mercenaries’ adventures in escaping from Mesopotamia. They come upon a vast ruin, many miles in extent, and no one living nearby knows what it is or has a name for it. It was only modern historians who understood that the ruins were those of Ninevah.

However, I do think the Assyrian genome survives. Look at the bas reliefs of the Assyrian emperors, with their incredibly fierce, cruel looking faces. You can still see those strong fierce lines in the faces of some modern Iraqis.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on June 10, 2004 11:35 AM
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