Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Monday, May 30, 2005

"The Enemy's Gate is Down"

Via Chapomatic, take the time to read this most excellent essay from Orson Scott Card on the nature of the war we're fighting... you'll be glad you did. Excerpt:

"Muslims in Muslim countries can dish it out, but they can't take it. They had no problem expelling all the Jews from their countries in an ethnic cleansing every bit as vicious as anything the Spaniards did in 1492. They desecrated Torahs left and right. Nowadays they blow up babies and call it a heroic act, because they were Jewish babies.
"But let somebody start a rumor that somebody dunked a Quran in the toilet, and they go insane and riot and kill people."


This being Orson Scott Card, he includes some stuff on Mormons, but that's not the reason I linked it. He points out that Islam has produced great leaders in the past, but what passes for Islamic leadership now has gone in a direction that protects their own interests at the expense of societal development (check out these poll results from the "Arab Street").

Here's my theory on the whole thing: Yes, Islam was once a vibrant religion, and created a "modern" society out of desert nomads in a single generation. But honestly -- can anyone come up with anything useful that Islamic society has produced in the last 500 years? (Algebra was before that.) They didn't even invent suicide bombing... (not that that's useful, although I do have to give them credit for coming up with the concept of using suicide bombers against undefended inanimate objects). James Michener, in "The Source", said that the Arab armies couldn't win a war (in this case, the Israeli War of Independence) because of the nature of their society -- if a supply column leaves Cairo headed to the front, supplies would never reach the troops; it'd be sold off to the commander's relatives before it even reached the Suez. A religion that teaches that everything that happens is because of God's will eliminates the needs for its' followers to even try anymore -- "hey, I didn't invent this new item because God didn't want me to". "If God had wanted me to show up for work, I would have." "I can base a large part of my economy on selling pirated software because God would stop me if it was wrong"... (I'm thinking Malaysia here). Now, I'm not saying that all Muslims are like this, but there are enough that it forms a critical mass that changes the nature of society, and we have seen the results. America hasn't quite reached the point where it has the stomach to fight the type of war that you need to against an enemy like this (I can just imagine them laughing their asses off: "We cut off our prisoner's heads and put it on the Internet, and they respond by apologizing for pulling frat stunts on our guys. What a bunch of wimps!") I don't know what it would take for America to realize that it'll require the same kind of national will (in a different type of war, obviously) to defeat this enemy as it did for the last fanatically-religious enemy with no concern for personal survival that we fought... Imperial Japan. Now, the Japanese are among our strongest allies. I hope that in sixty years we'll be able to say the same thing about Islamists... but I don't think we will...

Going deep...

10 Comments:

Blogger James said...

I'm dazzled, conflating Arabs with Muslims in toto (the largest Muslim population happens to be in Indonesia), and categorizing Muslims as an enemy we need to rally against --- who are we at war with here, the Muslim world or a few fanatics? Odd ...

Now as for:

"Muslims in Muslim countries can dish it out, but they can't take it. They had no problem expelling all the Jews from their countries in an ethnic cleansing every bit as vicious as anything the Spaniards did in 1492. They desecrated Torahs left and right. Nowadays they blow up babies and call it a heroic act, because they were Jewish babies.
"But let somebody start a rumor that somebody dunked a Quran in the toilet, and they go insane and riot and kill people."

Well, I suppose it's an interesting essay if you're into silly rants with little historical accuracy. To keep it simple I'll simply point anyone interested to James Reston's "The Warriors of God" where there's not only a fascinating story overall regarding the Crusades (let's see, the Christians invaded the Middle East and went to war with the Muslims, killing hundreds of thousands, and that was BEFORE the Spanairds got into the swing of things), but a fairly accurate historical background on Islam in general, specifically the fact that Muslims by and large, to a FAR greater degree than Christians, were very tolerant and accepting of Christians and Jews in their midst. The Christians, on the other hand, made a point of killing anyone who didn't believe as they did and the Spanairds were hardly the ones with the most blood on their hand.

What good has come out of Islam, you ask? Like what sort of question is that? You're making the case that Christianity is the font of all that's good in the world? It's religion that determines progress, as you see it? Whooooooooa ... well, while we're on this line of thought, what good has come out of Africa, India, or China in the last 500 years that bears distinction in your line of reasoning? Not much, huh? Let's go to war with them, too, right?

You need to get a serious grip on your thinking as you're clearly coming across as ill-informed and decidedly racist, and I should hope that this is due to ignorance vice intent.

5/31/2005 7:57 AM

 
Blogger Bubblehead said...

It's interesting, James, that you bring up the Crusades and relative acceptance of other religions, which happened 700-1000 years ago. (Sort of like the algebra thing.) While I understand that Muslims have a "larger sense of history" than we do, at some point I think that it gets a little self-defeating to hold grudges over the course of 30-50 generations. As far as the other areas of the world, at this point none of them are making a point of strapping bombs onto their young people to try to kill us. Most Americans, I think, would be happy with a "live and let live" attitude -- if another culture doesn't continually attack us, we won't attack them. Continuing to bring up historical wrongs really doesn't do anyone any good. Who knows, maybe Europeans could claim that the current natives of Africa are descended from the people who forced their ancestors out of Mother Africa 40,000 years ago, so Western colonization was a justified payback.
As far as "Muslims/Arabs" goes, Wahabism is mostly flourishing in Arab countries, although other places where it's taken hold (Indonesia) also see upticks in violence. While it's politically correct to blame only "Islamists" for the current war, the fact that the rest of their society doesn't denounce their actions very strongly is indicative of the growing malignancy within said societies.
In answer to your first question --I'm afraid that if we don't more forcefully prosecute the war against the "few fanatics", we are in danger of being at war with the Muslim world within a generation. That's something I'd like to avoid.

5/31/2005 8:15 AM

 
Blogger bothenook said...

"in 60 years"... reminds me of an old joke about the young kid asking his dad why there were no arab characters on star trek. dad's reply " because it's in the future".

5/31/2005 2:41 PM

 
Blogger Skippy-san said...

It is a war against Islam whether we like it or not. Until the Arabs do something about this apostate religion and put these guys back in their box, we will be dealing with incidents over and over again.

6/01/2005 7:29 AM

 
Blogger half said...

Here 'ya go James.

http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?click_id=3&art_id=vn20050601065313118C203693&set_id=

6/02/2005 8:29 AM

 
Blogger James said...

Been busy lately so I didn’t get a chance to read your last post and provide comments accordingly. Ok, here we go.

“It's interesting, James, that you bring up the Crusades and relative acceptance of other religions, which happened 700-1000 years ago. (Sort of like the algebra thing.) While I understand that Muslims have a "larger sense of history" than we do, at some point I think that it gets a little self-defeating to hold grudges over the course of 30-50 generations.”

Who’s holding a grudge? You’re making the same mistake ALL over again, treating Muslims as some monolithic culture. Why? Do Christians represent a single culture or group of people? No, they do not, so how in the world is it you can lump Muslims into one group, all of whom seem to carry some sort of grudge? It’s also a tad bit simplistic to tie the actions/efforts of some extremists and whack jobs to the Crusades --- surely, surely you’re better informed than that. This isn’t about a multi-generational grudge, especially when the effectively WON (you may want to look into that, they indeed did kick the Christians out) the Crusade.

“As far as the other areas of the world, at this point none of them are making a point of strapping bombs onto their young people to try to kill us.”

The point was, to segue from my point above, that Arabs do NOT make the majority when it comes to talking about Islam. A few folks reading your blog appear to be made aware of that.

“While it's politically correct to blame only "Islamists" for the current war, the fact that the rest of their society doesn't denounce their actions very strongly is indicative of the growing malignancy within said societies.”

No, it’s not politically correct to blame “Islamists” (frankly I’m not aware of a difference between Islamists and Muslims, if you know of one that’s authoritative I’d be interested in being pointed to it), not anywhere I read or talk to people. Heck, even Bush made a point of stating that this wasn’t the fault of Muslims, but you seem to have a different line on this. And I’m amazed at your sociological insights, not to mention your lack of appreciation for current events. Many Muslim countries and people have indeed denounced the actions of al Qaeda, and clearly that organization doesn’t speak for the majority of Muslim people in the world. Based on your logic and specious inferences this country should be at war with all Islamic countries by virtue of religious persuasion, and the fact that for whatever reason their people don’t particularly like us. So what you think is “indicative” is hardly anything but your own slanted perspective frankly, and a desire I would guess to make this as simple as possible, something it’s not at all.

6/05/2005 4:02 PM

 
Blogger James said...

“In answer to your first question --I'm afraid that if we don't more forcefully prosecute the war against the "few fanatics", we are in danger of being at war with the Muslim world within a generation. That's something I'd like to avoid.”

Now this is silly to the max. First the Pentagon clearly doesn’t see it that way. Instead of going after the bonafide, totally validated enemies of the U.S. who were parked in Afghanistan we invest God knows what into Iraq. Did anyone doubt that al Qaeda was the immediate threat? Of course Sadaam was a threat --- well, I mean he could have been, might have been, if he had something to threaten us with --- and he did recently re-discover Islam, though that does seem to belie his largely secular proclivities for so many years. But we had to invest over $200 billion, over 1600 American lives, and God only knows how many dead Iraqi civilians to make us even more popular in that part of the world, while the real culprit goes dancing through the hills of Afghanistan and Pakistan, right?

Do yourself a favor, do some reading about Islam, where it’s practiced and what the people are alike. Discover that Whabbism is NOT the only brand of Sunni Islam, discover what Sufism is all about, and on and on. You might learn that what we’re trying to deal with here is infinitely more complex than trying to stop a war with Islam. We’re not at war with Islam, and until you appreciate and understand what that means your perceptions of what we’re trying to do, or should be trying to do, and with whom, are going to consistently be off target.

6/05/2005 4:02 PM

 
Blogger Bubblehead said...

James -- Thanks for responding. "Islamists" is the general term (here's a link to 1.3 million web pages that use the term) used by a lot of people in distinguishing the Wahabi-influenced Muslims who advocate violent jihad against the infidel with the more mainstream Muslims. As far as the monolithic nature of the Islamic world -- yes, I do think that it is more monolithic than the so-called Christian world; for one thing, most governments where the majority of the population is Muslim are much more religiously-oriented that Western governments are. As far as holding a grudge; there are many public comments you can find (Saddam right before the invasion, in addition to Bin Laden) complaining that the U.S. was trying to "repeat the Crusades" or words to that effect. I've never claimed that we should make ourselves popular in the Arab world; I don't think that's possible as long as Israel exists; for now I'd settle for having us feared -- any way that convinces the leaders of the potential suicide bombers that any attack against us will be met with a response that outweighs any benefit they may get from an attack.
I have studied Islam; probably not as much as I should have, but I stand by my statements that I believe there is evidence that the entire Muslim world, not just the Arab world, is headed towards a "clash of cultures" with the West, to their eventual detriment. While it seems like it's only the Arabs who are headed that way now, I've spent some time in non-Arab Muslim countries, and I really couldn't see that much of a difference between what I saw there and what I saw on the Arabian peninsula, in terms of the overall organization of the societies. (Remember, it was a Malaysian prime minister who gave the speech about Jews "ruling the world by proxy".)

6/08/2005 12:39 AM

 
Anonymous formula 1 said...

Really useful data, much thanks for your article.

10/13/2011 1:53 AM

 
Anonymous Joella said...

Really useful info, lots of thanks for your post.

9/22/2012 12:33 PM

 

Post a Comment

<< Home