In the Age of Bush and Podhoretz, unchallenged nonsense reigns supreme
Last week at AEI a panel discussed Michael Ledeen’s new book about Iran. James Woolsey was there and in response to an Auster-like question skeptical of democratizing the Muslim world, forcefully stated they can do it just as the Germans and Japanese did, etc. He said 60 percent of the world’s countries today are democracies and quoted a scholarly book supporting his view. I didn’t catch the author’s name. Saw it on C-Span.
Was it Woolsey who said it’s like Germany and Japan?
Yes, he used them as illustrations. He said that many stated after WWII that Germany and Japan could not be democracies, and they were proved wrong. He also said many said other countries that have since become democracies could not do so, and they have been proved wrong. And so it will be proved true of the Muslim Mid-East, he said. I think he noted some local developments in Afghanistan—development
I’m just appalled. I thought Woolsey was relatively sane as war supporters go.
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How can these people go on year after year using these off-the-wall analogies of Iraq to Germany and Japan, two countries that were utterly destroyed and defeated prior to being reconstructed and democratized, and no one stops them? How can they get away, year after year, with their other illogical and ridiculous slogans?
If this country were mentally alive, every time the neocons uttered such nonsense, people would jump down their throats until they stopped saying it. But no one cares any more. There’s no common society to care about, so there’s no common truth to care about. Every group has its own truth, just as every group has its own culture. In multicultural America, the neocons have become like blacks. Just as no one bothers refuting the nonsense that comes from blacks about white discrimination causing all their problems, no one bothers refuting the nonsense that comes from neocons about how we can democratize Iraq just as we democratized Germany.
- “If we don’t fight them there, we’ll have to fight them here.”
- “Iraq’s problems are overstated, since things are going well in most of Iraq.”
- “Iraq’s problems are overstated, since mistakes are made in all wars.”
- “Iraq’s problems are overstated, because we forget the terrible losses we took in the Pacific in World War II.”
- “Iraq’s problems are overstated, since it took a long time for America to achieve democracy.”
- “Iraq’s problems are overstated, because people keep forgetting our great three-week victory in 2003.”
Maureen C. writes:
Germany was pacified after WWII not only because it was exhausted militarily but also because it already had been exposed to centuries of Christian Protestant ethics, which prepared the ground for democracy. Japan was pacified not only because it was exhausted militarily, but also because it had Buddhist and Shinto roots—compatible with the tolerant principles of democracy.
Woolsey’s presumption that there can be a comparison between Germany and Japan and Iraq shows a lamentable lack of understanding of the role that religion plays in the Islamic and Orthodox worlds. Just because Europe and the U.S. have diluted their fervor for Christianity to the level of watching the Crystal Cathedral on Sundays doesn’t mean that the Mediterranean and Balkan Muslims and Christians aren’t prepared to die and kill for their religions.
History proves that Islam cannot become democratic, because the Koranic principles of jihad, polygamy, dhimmitude and Sharia Law are incompatible with democracy. Islam’s support for polygamy is incompatible with common decency. Woolsey is ingenuous to presume that Muslims want to become like us, that is, to reject Islam. The only so-called Islamic democracy, the one in Turkey, has endured 80 years because of the iron control of the secular Turkish military. Eventually Turkey, too, will revert to type—the way Iran did in the 1980s.
Culture and religion aren’t things that can be battered into shape to conform to Western fantasies of the way the world should work—even by pouring more soldiers into Iraq, .
Kristor L. writes:
The only way we could possibly reconstruct Muslim societies the way we did with Japan and Germany is—at the minimum—to decimate their cultural institutions the way we did with Japan and Germany. At the end of WWII, the Japanese and Germans were starving for years. We immolated their cities the way we did with Carthage. We destroyed several entire generations of their men. This utterly broke their spirit, crushed their morale, shook their world to its roots. That was the only reason we were able to domesticate them.
To domesticate a wild beast, you must break its morale. The only way we could turn the Muslims into democrats is to destroy Islam as a cultural phenomenon.
Right. And, since destroying Islam as a cultural phenomenon is totally out of the question,—we couldn’t conceive of the thought of doing it, we wouldn’t have the will to do it, and, even if we had the thought and the will, we wouldn’t have the ability to do it—turning Muslims into democrats is out of the question.
Correct. Except that we do have the ability to destroy Islam. We have 6000 nukes, we can destroy anything we want within a matter of three hours or so. Fortunately we are Christians, or at least enough of our parents brought us up as such, so that such an option is (almost) unimaginably evil to us.
Muslims are not thus restrained, and they already have at least a couple nukes. That is why we must sooner or later destroy Islam as a cultural force in some other way: so that they do not provoke us into annihilating them. The horror of having to do so might be part of what was animating Glenn Beck in his exchange with a moderate Muslim, discussed at VFR a few days ago. If the radical Muslims are not restrained, they will force us into annihilating all the Muslims, and sooner rather than later. That would be a lousy thing to carry around with us for the next 1000 years. It could permanently cripple our civilization. Best to avoid it if we can. [LA replies: A very important point.]
OK then: but they already have nukes, so we must domesticate them, must turn them into democrats one way or another. I.e., we must destroy Islam one way or another. So let’s do it the soft way. First Separationism. Then, quarantine Muslims, impoverish them, demonstrate that their society just doesn’t work at all well, compared to ours. Then, as their morale plummets, they may eventually “hit bottom,” as AA puts it, and this may enable them to convert en masse to Christianity, which is really their only hope. It is the only religion out there that is at once easy to join (unlike Judaism), totally captivating to its converts, and that succeeds in making them genuinely better.
This will all work best if we too are converted to Christianity. So we’ll need to deal with Liberalism, and do our best to get the “intelligentsia” to take Christianity seriously again (rather the way Friedman got them to take capitalism seriously again). None of this will be easy, but it is doable. Churchill and Reagan were both voices crying in the wilderness for many years, until at last they prevailed. Geopolitical sea changes are possible. Let’s just hope that it doesn’t take a catastrophe like the fall of France to wake up the liberals.
To prevail, all we need to do is keep speaking the truth. It may take a long time, but it will work. Indeed it must work. If we have got hold of some truths, and we stand by them faithfully, we simply must prevail. For truth is immensely strong, and falsehood weak. If we keep speaking the truth, then sooner or later we will make it an unavoidable factor of the public discourse. If we keep throwing the black snake on the table, no one will be able to speak out about anything, unless they reckon with it.
This all means that part of our mission must be to make the destruction of Islam conceivable, first to each other, then to the world at large. And it is conceivable, for the same reason that the fall of Roman Africa, Syria and Asia to Muslims in the span of 100 years is now conceivable. We must think in centuries, as our enemy does.
Kristor’s policy basically comes down to Separationism plus Conversion to Christianity Separationism is of course short-hand for rollback, isolate, and contain Islam, destroy any dangerous Islamic regimes that arise, and leave Islam without any hope of regaining external power. So Kristor’s idea is to relegate the Juslims to such a hopeless condition, because of their adherence to Islam, that they give up Islam for another religon. This Separationism plus Conversion to Christianity is a variant of the policy of Hugh Fitzgerald (the separationist who angrily denies that he is one), which is Separationism plus Kemalism.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 17, 2007 06:39 PM | Send