« This little [leftist] piggie... | Main | Weekend Caption Contest™ Winners »

"You gotta study and understand who you're up against"

Alan West speaks such truth here... such truth... beginning at about the 1:37 mark:

He's running for Congress in Florida.

Now more than ever, America needs men like this in leadership.

Crossposted at Brutally Honest.


TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
/cgi-bin/mt-tb.cgi/38866.

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference "You gotta study and understand who you're up against":

Comments (58)

America NEEDS this man in W... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

America NEEDS this man in Washington!

I will be contributing to his campaign, and supporting him in every way I can.

This brave man put the lives of his men WAAAAAAY ahead of his career while he was in Iraq. He wound up having to retire...but his men LIVED!

God bless Colonel West!

I have tremendous admiratio... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

I have tremendous admiration for people who have such a great command of history.

I don't know anything about... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

I don't know anything about the man himself or his record, but the warped, paranoid, one-sided views he espouses here are exactly what this country does NOT need.

Look, ancient and medieval cultures spread through conquest. So dredging up the ghost of Charles Martel does little to address the issues of today vis a vis Islam. Islamophiles would cite the Crusades, etc., as evidence to counter his examples, so that it becomes a game of "Who's the Agressor?" Fruitless blame-slinging.

I also think it's a little cowardly to have a reporter toss this dude a softball question so that he can argue with an ABSENT Helen Thomas. And a little arrogant of him to imply that those who have a different view aren't displaying "principled leadership." Just saying.

Bruce, they wont kill you l... (Below threshold)
ck:

Bruce, they wont kill you last no matter how much groveling you do.

Keep telling it like it is ... (Below threshold)
SillyPuddy:

Keep telling it like it is Alan.

Yes, bruce the muslims woul... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Yes, bruce the muslims would try to cite te crusades as a justification for their aggression. You of course would lack the knowledge to question why Europe would find the need to defend itself from muslim invasion all the way through the 17th century.

So with 100 years of our revolution muslims were still trying to conquer Europe. Some would argue that they still are.

Your argument is that radical islam is OK because everyone does it. You're an ass for thinking that they care if anyone else did anything. They want to do what they do because their religion commands it.

Oh, and please specify all the Christian military victories that occurred before AD312 when Constantine converted. I have the following listed:


And as for Helen Thomas not being there, she was probably better represented by her absence. She certainly would have seemed more intelligent by not actually haven spoken.

Islamophiles wo... (Below threshold)
Islamophiles would cite the Crusades
Which were a response to the Muslim conquest of the Holy Land...
There you go again, jim. Mr... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

There you go again, jim. Mr What-You're-Really-Saying spouts off again to tell me, IN OTHER WORDS, what I mean.

I'm pretty sure that I never said "radical Islam is OK because everybody does it." Or anything equivalent. Wait, let me scroll back up and check.....

Nope. Not there. Who's an ass?

I guess your point about Constantine is that, up until 312 CE, Christianity was spread through means other than conquest. Am I right? Kind of like how Islam spread to sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, by means other than conquest?

See, though, Jim, we're talking on a blog comment section. Wizbang probably wouldn't appreciate me appropriating all their bandwidth to give a seminar on Early Christianity/Early Islam, so I generalized a bit by saying "ancient and medieval cultures spread through conquest" Got a problem with that?

As for my "lack of knowledge," that's rich coming from a guy whose "study of Islam" consists of repeated viewings of that DVD that came in the Sunday paper a couple years back. Which, apparently, is where this Congressional candidate got his schtick.

Seriously, I don't understa... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Seriously, I don't understand why you guys find these answers so appealing. Maybe because they're simple.

Here's the problem. Pretending that every conflict from 622 AD to the present is the result of the same set of factors is to absolutely trash the details of history. There is no single, unified, absolute version of Islam, so the argument that "Islam is the main problem" falls way short.

The details matter. Islam is practiced and understood differently by different groups of people around the world. While people from Morocco and Indonesia are nominally Muslims, this does not mean that they act and think the same--even if they share the same book. Any scholar of religion knows that religious texts and ideals are often interpreted in different ways. Check out the history of Christianity, which has some pretty different versions around the world. That's kind of the nature of religion, especially religions that are so widespread.

If Islam is the main problem, then why is the US trying to work with Iraqis, and Afghanis? Many of them ARE Muslims after all. Can anyone answer that? I would love to see an answer to this one. Is the US trying to convert Muslims? Is that what GW Bush was advocating? Is that what Obama is pushing for? Hardly.

Blaming "Islam" as a whole is stupid. There are 1.3 billion Muslims in the world, and they are not all out to destroy western civilization--no matter what Colonel West argues. Islam is a concept, a religion. I have said this a ton of time around here before, but blaming Islam as a whole for terrorism is about as useful and accurate as blaming "Christianity" for colonialism. The key is looking at how certain people take certain ideals and use them for political agendas. People did all sorts of things in the supposed name of Christianity, but that does not mean that all Christians were somehow to blame. That's making history and politics far more simple than they ever were.

In the case of Islamic terrorism, we need to look at the specific individuals who commit these acts, and target specific groups and organizations. There are specific extremist groups that use violence and terror to achieve their political goals. And yes, they use Islam as a means to recruit, and they use it as a means to rationalize what they are doing.

But it is a mistake to assume that these people are representative of every Muslim throughout the world. I don't see why so many people want to believe this--or why they accept hyper-reductionist arguments like the one that Colonel West is promoting. I don't see the use of conflating ALL MUSLIMS with the actions and beliefs of SOME Muslims. It just muddies the whole affair.

Reading history is important. Context also matters. It's fun to draw connections all the way from 622 AD (and it makes for a riveting press conference answer), but it also might make some sense to look a little further into the actual histories, connections, and relationships.

Jeff,"I have treme... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Jeff,

"I have tremendous admiration for people who have such a great command of history."

Is that a great command of history? Throwing around a couple of names and dates in a press conference in 30 seconds and pretending that it's a reasonable answer to a complex question? That's not history, that's called a sound bite.

It's easy to take little bits and pieces of history and draw conclusions that fit a particular agenda. It's a little more difficult to take the time to actually parse out the details without losing sight of the bigger picture.

"Look, ancient and medieval... (Below threshold)
jim m:

"Look, ancient and medieval cultures spread through conquest. So dredging up the ghost of Charles Martel does little to address the issues of today vis a vis Islam. Islamophiles would cite the Crusades, etc., as evidence to counter his examples, so that it becomes a game of "Who's the Agressor?" "

Sounds like you're saying "everyone does it" to me.

And don't presume to tell me where I get my knowledge from. It so happens that I am far more widely read than you think.

But, you know Islam really hasn't been that successful in spreading beyond sub-Saharan Africa. So if you think that conversion of Senegal and Ghana and their neighbors is a big deal then I'm sorry. Islam failed to spread south mainly due to the fact that those countries had alternatives owing to their colonial connections to Europe.

If you actually look into islam in the far east you will see that even Indonesia was islamicized by conquest with the last Hindu kingdom falling in 1520.

So once again we see that you lack knowledge.

Care to try again?

With Islam, you have a doct... (Below threshold)
Mr Evilwrench:

With Islam, you have a doctrine that demands its followers to make war on the non-believer, to convert him or kill him. Those who are not doing this are the hypocrites. It's right there in the book, man, how much more explicitly do you need it explained to you? Christianity tells us the opposite. I can tell you whom I'd rather hang out with, as an atheist. Think about this: look back over the last 10-15 years. Look at all the armed conflicts in the world over that time. Find me one, if you can, that doesn't have Muslims right in there at the root of it. (I'm sure there must be one or two, I just don't know of them). Not all the muslims in the world are terrorists, but pretty much every terrorist right now is a muslim, and that doctrine comes to them from Islam, make no mistake of it. It's not just their interpretation of Islam; I couldn't interpret Islam any other way. You live in dar-el-Islam, the world of Islam, or dar-el-harb, the war zone. There isn't anyplace else.

Ryan A, great posts. You're... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Ryan A, great posts. You're the smartest guy posting here today, including myself.

Jim, read again. I said "Islamophiles would cite the Crusades, etc. as evidence to counter his examples, so that it becomes a game of "Who's the Aggressor."

Now, if I was saying what YOU say I'm saying, I would have written, "What about the Crusades?" See, the above sentence was in the context of my previous one, "...so dredging up the ghost of Charles Martel does little..."

And I apologise for characterising your breadth of knowledge about Islam as limited to that DVD. I should have added that you've obviously also read everything Mark Steyn has ever written on the subject, and are a master at Wikipedia as well.

But you do seem to have a problem with qualifying words, Jim, somehow mistranslating "TO sub-Saharan Africa" as "BEYOND sub-Saharan Africa." Probably part of your gift of explaining what folks are REALLY saying.

And thanks for correcting my mistaken impression that Indonesia was only one of many countries in Southeast Asia. Apparently, the whole region consists of that one country. Much obliged.

Wow Ryan. I'm impressed. ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Wow Ryan. I'm impressed. When did you stop being a liberal?

Libs continually blame Christianity for every negative consequence of colonialization. Libs are always blaming Christians as being a monolithic block that is responsible for racial inequality, sexual inequality etc.

Now that you want to defend islam you are bending on that doctrine? I'm impressed.

With regard to islam today I would counter that people are not taking 7th century islam and using that as a briad brush to characterize islam today. Islam has well over a thousand years of history of using milirtary means to achieve its ends. Unlike Christianity, in islam there is not a distinction between the church and the state. historically, they have been considered one and the same in islam.

While you may believe that there are 'peaceful' muslims who fill the world, that facts on the ground are that while they may be unwilling to resort to violence to achieve the goal of a world dominated by islam, they are also not willing to stand against the achievement of that through the violent murder of millions. Many are willing donors to terrorist front organizations that funnel money to support terrorism. There are those amongst us who would say that the difference doesn't really amount to much.

Remember also that islam teaches that it isn't a sin to lie to nonmuslims. This has been shown rather strikingly with the statements of people like Yasser Arafat to the western press and then their concurrent statements to arabic media. They are quite open about their perfidy. So how do we know if they are being honest about their opposition to radical islam when they refuse to act concretely against it?

Pretty much any armed confl... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Pretty much any armed conflict in Latin America, including the whole FARC-Colombian Government mess, is Muslim-free, Mr Evilwrench. As well as the Congo conflict, which has already cost MILLIONS of lives,and is intertwined with the Lord's Resistance Army terror campaign in Uganda. The LRA is a terror group that claims to be Christian. Shall we blame the Old Testament for those murderers? How about Charles Taylor's greed based terrorism in Liberia and Sierra Leone?

Read the freaking paper every now and then, dude.

No bruce I actually have ne... (Below threshold)
jim m:

No bruce I actually have never read Mark Steyn's books. Try again.

Yes islam did spread partly through trade in SE asia. But you are implying that it did not spread by conquest at all through that region. You are wrong. Furthermore, you are also implying that the tiny states of subsaharan Africa are a real big deal. Sorry, but the geographic area that they represent is really insignificant.

Wow Ryan. I'm impr... (Below threshold)
ryan a:
Wow Ryan. I'm impressed. When did you stop being a liberal?

Libs continually blame Christianity for every negative consequence of colonialization. Libs are always blaming Christians as being a monolithic block that is responsible for racial inequality, sexual inequality etc.

Now that you want to defend islam you are bending on that doctrine? I'm impressed.

Thanks for the response, Jim. Do me a favor and don't assume that you have a lock on my political sensibilities just because you want to place me in the "liberal" camp. I'm not bending on anything--I have made this same argument about Christianity for a LONG TIME on this site, and for the same reason (as an analogous comparison to how many people are butchering the histories of Islam, especially in relation to the so-called west).

I'm not defending Islam or Christianity or anything else. This is a matter of actually looking at history more carefully. I am arguing for the need to look at the actual details of history and contemporary politics. Islam--just like Christianity--has a long series of histories, and those histories don't always add up to one big cohesive narrative.

As for Christianity and colonialism--anyone who takes the time to actually read more about colonialism will realize that there it's a complex story. Placing the blame of colonialism on a widespread religion with many different adherents with many different political positions is nonsense. Sure, you have Cortes on one side. But you have people like Bartolome de las Casas on the other. There are no simple answers. People who take the hundreds of years of colonial history and explain them away as a result of Christianity aren't paying much attention to what actually happened.

"Pretty much any armed conf... (Below threshold)
jim m:

"Pretty much any armed conflict in Latin America, including the whole FARC-Colombian Government mess, is Muslim-free, "

Except of course where it isn't:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/apr/21/iran-boosts-qods-shock-troops-in-venezuela/

Perhaps you should "Read the freaking paper every now and then, dude."

nothing that col. west said... (Below threshold)
clyde:

nothing that col. west said conflicts with what muslim scholers have been writing about for hundreds of years.the facts are available in english translations to anyone who wishes to know what they are talking about.disputing with people who ignore facts is a waste of your time.

Jim, do you believe that ea... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Jim, do you believe that eating shellfish is an abomination? Do you think that adulterers should be stoned to death? Or that women should live apart from men during their periods?

No?

You mean to say that you don't take every word of your Holy Scriptures as literally true, as calls to action, as words to live by? That you even DISREGARD many of the rules set forth in the Scriptures that are the foundation of your religion?

Gee, wonder if any Muslims act similarly.

BTW, Jim, Nigeria, part of ... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

BTW, Jim, Nigeria, part of sub-Saharan Africa, is pretty large. Got a lot of Muslims, too. Ditto Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, etc. Not really "insignificant."

Bruce, you are ignoring my ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Bruce, you are ignoring my point which is that many muslims will not go public with any disagreement with other muslims. In fact here is a strong current in the islamic world that they will lay aside their disagreements and fight against the outsider or infidel. Coreligionists first, the rest of the world after.

It doesn't matter if they personally disagree. They will not put any action behind their personal disagreements with other muslims.

Just keep moving the goal p... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Just keep moving the goal posts. kenya is in east africa.

Go buy yourself a globe.

Sub-Saharan Africa refers to those nations just south of the sahara: Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast etc.

So Iran sends some advisors... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

So Iran sends some advisors to Venezuela to aid in Chavez's mischief-making. That hardly qualifies as "Muslims in the middle of any armed conflict around the world," Jim. I'm pretty sure that the whole FARC mess started long before Iran got involved, if it is, and well before Chavez came to power. So, my admonition to Mr Evilwrench is still valid.

Potayto potahto, Jimbo. I'v... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Potayto potahto, Jimbo. I've heard the term sub-Saharan Africa many times used to refer to ANY country south of the Sahara. And, if it doesn't, that kinda negates your point about Islam being unsuccessful BEYOND sub-Saharan Africa, now, doesn't it? Unless you are arguing that there aren't any Muslims in Kenya.

Bruce, admit it: You said ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Bruce, admit it: You said that any conflict in S america was muslim free, i.e. not influenced in any way by islamic forces. I link to an article in a mainstream news publication and you shift to saying that you meant the whole world.

I copied your statement directly from your post. Maybe my computer isn't cutting and pasting correctly, but I'd swear you said "Latin America" in #15. I never said anything about muslims being the cause of every conflict on the globe.

Once again you are aught out and you are shifting the goal posts.

In fact you

Sorry, That should have sa... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Sorry, That should have said that in fact you are saying the Mr evilwrench said that they all have islam at the root and he admitted that there were some.

Frankly I think it is silly to assert that islam is at the root of all armed conflicts. which is why I have not done so.

Kenya is minority muslim.</... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Kenya is minority muslim.

Sorry.

No, you didn't say it, but ... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

No, you didn't say it, but Mr Evilwrench did, and since you seemed to be piggybacking, I addressed you, Jim. Not moving the goalposts at all.

Mr Evilwrench said, "I'm sure there are are one or two." I pointed out several. Hence my snark.

I'm glad we agree that Islam is not the root cause of all armed conflict in the world today, Jim. There are other things we can agree on as well, such as the historical lack of distinction between church and state in most Islamic countries.

Well, except that Turkey, successor state to the Ottoman Empire, has been explicitly a secular state since 1923. And that the Ba'athist Party, which controlled Iraq and Syria for decades, was founded as a secular, modernist movement. And that it is our hope that Western style democracy will take root in Shiite Iraq. Otherwise, what was all our sacrifice for?

But it is true that Islam, as commonly understood, is more than a religion, it's a way of life, a set of rules that the whole community is supposed to live by. But Ryan A has a much more nuanced and accurate interpretation of history than you and Col. West do.

Sorry, but it's my opinion that someone with this monolithic, one-sided, xenophobic view of such an important issue has no place in Government. I, were I a resident of his Congressional district, would not vote for him.

FYI Jim,"Sub-Sahar... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

FYI Jim,

"Sub-Saharan Africa refers to those nations just south of the sahara: Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast etc."

In general the term sub-saharan Africa refers to all of the countries that lie below the Sahara, which separates North Africa from the rest. Kenya is generally considered to be a part of this region.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sub-Saharan-Africa.png

http://worldmap.org/region.php?region=Sub-Saharan%20Africa

http://www.oucom.ohiou.edu/tdi/Topics_International_Health/Dracun_1.htm

The maps do tend to shift around depending on where you look, but there is a general agreement that sub-saharan Africa does not include Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria--on some maps it cuts through Sudan and some others though.

And the US is minority Repu... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

And the US is minority Republican. What's your point? The Muslim minority in Kenya is a pretty damn significant one.

Who's moving goalposts now?

I was originally speaking a... (Below threshold)
jim m:

I was originally speaking about countries where islam is in the majority - where islam was the de facto official religion. So while islam exists in Kenya, it is a minority.

In the majority of cases where it enjoys the de facto status of official religion it has gained control of that country through conquest as was seen throughout North Africa.

The point on sub Saharan Af... (Below threshold)
jim m:

The point on sub Saharan Africa was that those countries were not majority mulsim for the most part. Those that referred to were.

I think that my impression of islam as reasonably nuanced. I recognize that it is not monolithic. However, I also recognize that there are cultural trends within islam that can at times render that fact moot. I think that people who refuse to acknowledge that cultural history are foolishly hiding their heads in the sand.

Where were those goalposts ... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Where were those goalposts again? Damn, they were RIGHT HERE just a minute ago!

Moving the goalposts to any... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Moving the goalposts to any argument that goes counter to Bruce is his usual ploy. By the time it is all addressed and revealed most people are bored with the entire back and forth. So what happens: We see "Bruce Henry" in the comment and pass over it. We know it will be snarky, not directly concerning the post and a slam on the writer. So, why bother to waste any valuble time reading him.

I do know that Bruce is the typical intellectual elitist that thinks most people do not have the capabilities to focus on the "weighty" issues. ww

Well, ya got me on "snarky,... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Well, ya got me on "snarky," Willie. News flash: that's intended.

Maybe you'd like to point out how my contribution to this thread is "not directly concerning the post" and a "slam on the writer."

Oh, and while you're speaking for the Wizbang community about how "Bruce Henry's" comments are passed over and ignored, you might want to clue ol' Jim in.

And I don't think "most people" don't have the capability, Willie. Just you.

Mr Evilwrench in post #12 g... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Mr Evilwrench in post #12 got it right. Anyone can misinterpret any religion and perform atrocious acts. The difference is in what different religions teach. As for the relationship between believers and unbelievers the teachings of Islam are 180 degrees out of alignment with the teachings of Christianity.

That's what Colonel Allen West was trying to get across. If there's a chance for peace with the Muslim world it will only come from leaders who understand Islam and its history. If there is no chance for peace with the Muslim world on terms western nations can accept, that understanding will only come from leaders who understand Islam and its history. Only after we know the correct course of action can we proceed to that goal.

Pretending Islam is not at the heart of the conflict will only lead to disaster.

Bruce,My original ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Bruce,

My original premise still stands. islam did not penetrate central and southern africa in a significant way. Your example of Kenya which I found estimates of anywhere from 6 to 35% muslim does not constitute a majority muslim country. In the North, islam spread by conquest. In Indonesia it spread by conquest. In those significant countries of Senegal and Benin etc it did not spread by conquest so much. I do not propose to make a complete survey, it simply isn't that interesting to me. Suffice it to say that islam has a well proven history of belligerence.

Islam spread into Europe by conquest. South eastern Europe is muslim as a direct result of muslim invasion.

While I never said that it was in the heart of every conflict you said that it was nonexistant in conflict in S America. I provided you an educational link for that.

Yet you have not addressed my comments on islam and how the many abet the actions of the few by their silence.

Jim, I didn't address it be... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Jim, I didn't address it because it's a silly point. There are countless instances of moderate Muslims publicly denouncing violence in pusuit of political goals. Look it up.

You're backtracking on Kenya, too. Qualifiers such as "in a significant way" and "I meant majority Muslim" won't allow you to squirm out of an assertion that Islam did not spread to sub-Saharan Africa, by means other than conquest, no matter how you define "sub-Saharan."

The Iranian agents in Venezuela thing? Your OWN LINK did not assert that they are involved in the FARC conflict in Colombia, simply that they are present in Venezuela. But perhaps I should take a page from your book, Jim, and rephrase: "Pretty much any conflict in Latin America, including the FARC-Colombian government mess, is NINETY NINE PERCENT Muslim-free."

Will that satisfy ya, ya nitpickin' sonofagun?

And while we're talking about who's not addressing whose points, when will you address mine? You know, the one about Christians ignoring some Scriptures and obeying others, just like Muslims do.

Mac,"Pretending Is... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Mac,

"Pretending Islam is not at the heart of the conflict will only lead to disaster."

I have a question for you, and I am not asking to be difficult. Maybe you disagree, but at least hear me out.

Was "Christianity" at the heart of the conflicts and violence that occurred during European colonialism? Or do we need a more thorough understanding of the various politics, decisions, groups, and individuals who engaged in colonialism in order to understand the root causes of the violence, conquest, etc?

In my opinion, blaming the entire religion of Islam for all terrorism is about as useful as blaming all of Christianity for what happened during the colonial era. Important point: not everyone stood up and protested against colonial violence as people like Bartolome de las Casas did...does that mean that all Christians, then, should have been implicated for the actions of, say, Columbus, who certainly claimed to be a Christian? I don't think so.

I think that responsibility should lie with the individuals who commit the acts, and that we should work hard to avoid laying blame where it does not belong. Why? Because it helps to avoid creating an even larger conflict, IMO.

I do not see the use of blaming 1.3 billion people for the actions of a select group of organizations and individuals who use violence, terrorism, and Islamic beliefs toward ideological ends. I think that blaming all Muslims for the actions of SOME Muslims is irresponsible, misguided, and lazy. How does it help anything to place every Muslim--from the US to Ghana to Indonesia--in this category? Because they practice the same religion nominally? That only makes things worse, and it creates further social and political divisions. That's how I see it.

And your views are sensible... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

And your views are sensible and correct, Ryan.

Those expressed by Col. West and certain commenters here are xenophobic, pure and simple, cloaked in a simplistic and incomplete understanding of history.

jim,I thi... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

jim,

I think that my impression of islam as reasonably nuanced. I recognize that it is not monolithic. However, I also recognize that there are cultural trends within islam that can at times render that fact moot. I think that people who refuse to acknowledge that cultural history are foolishly hiding their heads in the sand.

This is exactly the point that I have been trying to address--there is no single cultural history of Islam. This point is illustrated really well if you look at the various ways in which Islam has been incorporated and practiced in different places. The anthropologist Clifford Geertz made this point very well in a book called "Islam Observed" (which is a little old, but it still makes the point). Islam in Morocco, or Ghana, or Indonesia, or Iraq all has certain histories.

The goal is to avoid over-generalizations and stick to specific histories. In this case I would stick to the histories of organizations like Al Qaeda, etc. Islamic terrorism groups should not be conflated with all Muslims--all that does is obscure what we are looking at, and it makes it even more difficult to understand these issues.

The problem IS NOT the whole Muslim world. The problem IS the specific terrorist organizations that use Islam as a primary means of rationalization, recruitment, and power. It is also important that THESE groups (Taliban, AQ, or otherwise) have killed more than their fair share of other Muslims. Clearly there are fault lines and differences...so maybe we should take a little more time to look at those differences. I think it makes sense.

Bruce,"Those expre... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Bruce,

"Those expressed by Col. West and certain commenters here are xenophobic, pure and simple, cloaked in a simplistic and incomplete understanding of history."

I am not really sure what West's motivations are. He provides answers that are neat, simple, and good for short YouTube video clips. But those answers, while politically expedient, aren't really very well thought out. Well, unless West is trying to make things worse.

Basically, West is taking a complex set of issues and saying that all we have to do is blame 1.3 billion people who practice Islam--instead of trying to place blame on the specific groups that are actually responsible for terrorism. Some people think this sounds really convincing. I think that West butchers history and any kind of accurate understanding of contemporary geopolitical issues. His answers to the problem is so overly simplified it's unbelievable. And I think they create far more problems than they solve.

Just my take on all this.

Bruce Henry and ryan a...fi... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

Bruce Henry and ryan a...first, get a room.

ryan a, your depiction of Colonel West's answers as "...while politically expedient, aren't really very well thought out." is way past silly. His experience and research versus your belief in Unicorns...I'll take Col. West for my LIFE!

You both seem to believe that CONFRONTING Islam with the cancer that lies within it is a bad thing. That somehow being nice to the man with a scimitar at your neck will make him slit your throat more pleasantly.

R-E-A-L-I-T-Y...that is what Col. West is dishing up. Yes, it clashes with your wishful thinking. TOUGH!

Why do they attack US? ... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:

Why do they attack US?

In 1786, Thomas Jefferson, then the ambassador to France, and John Adams, ambassador to Britain, met in London with Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja, a visiting ambassador from Tripoli. The Americans asked Adja why his government was hostile to American ships, even though there had been no provocation. They reported to the Continental Congress that the ambassador had told them "it was written in their Koran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave," but he also told them that for what they considered outrageous sums of money they could make peace.[22]
Praise be to God, who revealed the Book, controls the clouds, defeats factionalism, and says in His Book: "But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them, seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war)"; and peace be upon our Prophet, Muhammad Bin-'Abdallah, who said: I have been sent with the sword between my hands to ensure that no one but God is worshipped, God who put my livelihood under the shadow of my spear and who inflicts humiliation and scorn on those who disobey my orders.

When the enemy tells you something take them at there word.

Helen Thomas? I thought th... (Below threshold)
914:

Helen Thomas? I thought that hag died right after the civil war.

"When sadistic brutes screa... (Below threshold)

"When sadistic brutes scream out verses from the Koran before cutting the head off a bound and screaming victim, who am I to deny that Islam is a factor? When terrorist leaders tell us time and time again that their Muslim faith inspires them, how dare we not take their word?" -Michael Coren

Justrand,"You both... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Justrand,

"You both seem to believe that CONFRONTING Islam with the cancer that lies within it is a bad thing. That somehow being nice to the man with a scimitar at your neck will make him slit your throat more pleasantly."

You didn't read a damn thing I wrote. I didn't say anything about not confronting the issue. I DID say that we need to actually deal with the SPECIFIC people who plan, coordinate, and carry out terrorist actions, RATHER than telling ourselves that all one billion followers of Islam are the problem. Try actually reading next time.

How is that wishful thinking? Why not actually address the specific problems? Don't try to paint me as some naive hippy. I am not saying that we need to sing campfire songs with AQ and all just get along. I am saying that we need to avoid making the mistake of blaming every Muslim for what SOME MUSLIMS are doing. And we need to go after the specific groups that resort to terrorism.

West is saying that the WHOLE PROBLEM is Islam, and for some reason you think that makes sense. Well, if that's the case--if the whole religion of Islam is the problem--then why is the US trying to work with Muslims? Can you answer that?

"R-E-A-L-I-T-Y...that is what Col. West is dishing up. Yes, it clashes with your wishful thinking. TOUGH"

Bullshit. It's more like West is telling you what you want to hear, period. West is conflating the entirety of Islam with specific political histories. Do you know what that means? It means he is taking ONE MASSIVE subject--the history of Islam, and pretending that it tells one big, easy to digest, cohesive story. That's great, except for the fact that he ignores the details of history and politics.

How is what I am saying wishful thinking? How or why do YOU think it makes sense to blame an entire religion for the actions of particular groups? Why do you think that makes more sense? I would love to hear an answer from you that isn't some knee-jerk reaction. Feel free to explain your position.

One more:"ryan a, ... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

One more:

"ryan a, your depiction of Colonel West's answers as "...while politically expedient, aren't really very well thought out." is way past silly."

Why? Feel free to explain your answer. What makes you think that West's answers aren't politically expedient, and that his reasoning is so well thought out? What have you read that makes you think his characterization of "the enemy" is useful, accurate, and on target? I think he's way off, and I have explained my argument above. Feel free to read it, starting with the colonialism analogy.

"His experience and research versus your belief in Unicorns...I'll take Col. West for my LIFE!"

Why? Because West is wearing a uniform? What--specifically--makes you think his argument makes sense? Why do you think that my argument for blaming SPECIFIC groups of people for their actions is a "belief in unicorns"? As opposed to making one-line quips, I would LOVE to see you explain your position. I think that West's call to blame all 1.3 billion Muslims for the actions of specific networks, individuals, and organizations is insane.

Correction:Should ... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Correction:

Should read: "Why? Because West WEARS a uniform?"

You're asking a lot, Ryan. ... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

You're asking a lot, Ryan. It ain't gonna happen.

Ryan,Was ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Ryan,

Was "Christianity" at the heart of the conflicts and violence that occurred during European colonialism? Or do we need a more thorough understanding of the various politics, decisions, groups, and individuals who engaged in colonialism in order to understand the root causes of the violence, conquest, etc?

There are reasons for conflict and violence apart from religion, but that does not exclude religion as a reason for conflict. The fundamental teachings of Christianity do not call for or even support violence. Even in the OT there is no general call to war against nonbelievers. That's not true of Islam. It's an error to think that Christianity and Islam are equivalent in terms of violence and treatment of nonbelievers.

I do not see the use of blaming 1.3 billion people for the actions of a select group of organizations and individuals who use violence, terrorism, and Islamic beliefs toward ideological ends.

So who is advocating blaming all Muslims? Certainly not President Bush during his tenure nor even Obama. It's true that most Muslims do not support violence against nonbelievers and peaceful relations can exist between western cultures and such Muslims. However, it's also true that violence against nonbelievers seems to be a fundamental teaching of Islam, and as we saw on 9/11, it only takes a few such believers to draw the world into conflict. We see the same thing in the middle east. Decades of peace negotiations are brought to nothing by the violent actions of a few Muslim fundamentalists.

The part you are missing is that Muslim fundamentalists believe they are obeying the true teachings of Islam and unlike the majority of Muslims, they have the dedication and courage to follow those teachings. Yes, economic and political factors exacerbate the conflict between western society and Muslim fundamentalists, but the root cause is still the teachings of Islam.

Some Muslim scholars dispute that the teachings of Islam support violence against nonbelievers as it's practiced by those we call terrorists. Western leaders who understand Islam might be able to promote such teachings to end the assembly line that produces those we call terrorists.

Pretending Islam is not at the heart of the conflict will only lead to disaster.

I did not hear Col West bla... (Below threshold)
John:

I did not hear Col West blame 1.3 billion muslims I heard him say know your enemy, if you don't believe that radical Islam is the enemy then I guess you disagree with him.

I think all this comparing Christans and Muslims and the cursades and all that is a distraction. What I believe is that there are elements (not insigificant elements) of the Muslim faith that are dangerous today, VERY dangerous. I also don't see a majority of supposed non violent muslims taking control of their religion and stomping out the lunitics. There are in this country a few lonley Muslim voices that will denounce death threats to Trey Parker and Matt Stone, or the killing Van Gough etc. but they are pretty damn lonley.

Mac,As usual, I th... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Mac,

As usual, I think you and I actually agree in many ways, and sometimes argue about the details or where we focus.

"The fundamental teachings of Christianity do not call for or even support violence. Even in the OT there is no general call to war against nonbelievers. That's not true of Islam. It's an error to think that Christianity and Islam are equivalent in terms of violence and treatment of nonbelievers."

I agree with you about the fundamental teachings of Christianity. But there is more to it. What also matters is how the Church--the religious and political leaders that had power and control of the church--put their power to use. Christianity was most definitely used as a rationalization for brutal violence in the Americas and elsewhere, and this was done by so-called Christians, regardless of what their book said or did not say. What matters, to me, is less what the books say and more how people use those words to justify or rationalize certain actions. "Christianity" was not to blame for colonialism, because it is a concept, a religion that had and has many different adherents.

In the same way, I would not blame "Islam" for what we are seeing today--I don't think that Islam is THE CAUSE, but I do think that it's a tool that people use for ideological ends. Islam, as you have already pointed out, is understood by different people in different ways. And this is CRITICAL to keep in mind, IMO. My argument is that we need to focus less on the tool (Islam itself) and more on the specific groups and organizations that use that tool for hatred and violence.

"So who is advocating blaming all Muslims? Certainly not President Bush during his tenure nor even Obama."

I would argue that Col. West is doing just that--he treats "Islam" as the root problem, and therefore implicates any and all Muslims. And yes, you're definitely right that Bush did NOT resort to blaming all Muslims for the actions of a few--and this is why some of the responses on here are kind of surprising. I think that West provides quick, easy, simple, and misguided answers that for some reason people find appealing.

"It's true that most Muslims do not support violence against nonbelievers and peaceful relations can exist between western cultures and such Muslims."

Then we're agreement here also.

"However, it's also true that violence against nonbelievers seems to be a fundamental teaching of Islam, and as we saw on 9/11, it only takes a few such believers to draw the world into conflict."

I think you make a good point here--that it only takes a few of these kinds of believers to create some pretty serious conflicts. I also think it's important to remember that these radical Muslim groups terrorize non-believers AND other Muslims as well.

"We see the same thing in the middle east. Decades of peace negotiations are brought to nothing by the violent actions of a few Muslim fundamentalists."

Another point that I agree with.

"The part you are missing is that Muslim fundamentalists believe they are obeying the true teachings of Islam and unlike the majority of Muslims, they have the dedication and courage to follow those teachings."

I am not missing that at all. I think you are right on the mark in saying that there are Muslim fundamentalists who think they are the only true Muslims. They absolutely believe in what they are doing, and they use religion and ideology to recruit, gain support, and increase their power. They are absolutely using Islam as a tool for violent political purposes. Again, let's not forget that these groups have not shied away from killing other Muslims. To me, paying attention to these factions, rifts, and difference in practice is pretty important.

"Some Muslim scholars dispute that the teachings of Islam support violence against nonbelievers as it's practiced by those we call terrorists. Western leaders who understand Islam might be able to promote such teachings to end the assembly line that produces those we call terrorists."

I agree with you, and I think that you are making a different argument that many others who are posting here. I also think that your point moves beyond some of the rhetoric of Col. West.

Thanks for your responses Mac. As usual you provide solid points.

John,"What I belie... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

John,

"What I believe is that there are elements (not insigificant elements) of the Muslim faith that are dangerous today, VERY dangerous."

I agree with you there, 100 percent.

"I also don't see a majority of supposed non violent muslims taking control of their religion and stomping out the lunitics."

Let me ask you this. How would you suggest mainstream Muslims go about eliminating highly dangerous, heavily armed, violent, extremist, and murderous members from their so-called ranks? If the most powerful military in the world is having a tough time rooting out groups like AQ, how do you suggest that the Muslim on the street in Indonesia or Pakistan goes about taking care of these folks? With protests and banners? By "renouncing" them? Really? Now whose being naive?

I do think that there could be a more vocal opposition from political leaders in the Muslim world (especially in Europe, the US, etc). Definitely.

But it's also important to actually pay attention to the voices that are speaking out, and maybe give them MORE attention. To me it makes sense to highlight those who are speaking out, and also to highlight the fact that most Muslims are not associated with the actions of groups like AQ. Playing the blame game--especially when people don't have a damn thing to do with these groups--isn't going to help.

I have not seen anybody ref... (Below threshold)
Brad:

I have not seen anybody refute this: "the Koran DOES instruct a muslim to act like a terrorist, the Bible does not"
Yes, people who claim to be Christians have done bad things, but it is contrary to what the Bible teaches.. Muslims on the other had are just committing voilent acts because they are told to do so from their "holy word"

You claim that just a small minority of muslims commit such brutal acts, but if you dig a little deaper into the countries that are controlled by muslims i think you would find you are incorrect on how they treat non muslim people.

Also, how many muslim charities do you find that help non muslim people or non muslim interests? that should tell you what they think of you.

A question was asked as to why we are allies with some muslim countries, Three reasons:
1) Oil (whether you like it or not, we need it so don't complain.. winters get awfuly cold with out it.)
2) Some people feel that it is possible to trust a muslim.. and if we are nice to them, they will be nice to us.. but, that is a Christian teaching, not a muslim teaching.
3) Politicians, like Jimmy Carter, have motives.

Interesting observations, t... (Below threshold)
John:

Interesting observations, the moderate muslims out number the radicals by a large number but yet are totally powerless to control them. So either they are not a small minority as is claimed or they are so ruthless and dangerous that the overhelming majority of moderates are helpless to stop them. And our position is to what, leave them to the mercy of these people.
I don't mean to over simplify but I really do find the argument that the moderates have no ability to control their religion and free it from the terrorist not compelling.

John,"I don't mean... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

John,

"I don't mean to over simplify but I really do find the argument that the moderates have no ability to control their religion and free it from the terrorist not compelling."

That's not what I was saying--or at least not what I meant to say. I definitely do not think that moderate Muslims are powerless. At the same time, I certainly do not think that all Muslims who disagree with these extremists have equal ability and power--some communities are living in a more immediate threat than others. But overall I agree with you that a HUGE part of the solution has to come from the Muslims themselves.

This is ultimately why I am making my argument. Since there are in fact many Muslims who disagree with these things, we have to work hard to avoid conflating them with the extremists. That's why I think it's important to avoid just blaming "Islam" which implicates ALL MUSLIMS, and instead focus on specific organizations, etc. To me that leaves more room for building alliances across the board in order to deal with these terrorist groups.

Anyway, thanks for clarifying this point. I think your rebuttal was certainly warranted.




Advertisements









rightads.gif

beltwaybloggers.gif

insiderslogo.jpg

mba_blue.gif

Follow Wizbang

Follow Wizbang on FacebookFollow Wizbang on TwitterSubscribe to Wizbang feedWizbang Mobile

Contact

Send e-mail tips to us:

[email protected]

Fresh Links

Credits

Section Editor: Maggie Whitton

Editors: Jay Tea, Lorie Byrd, Kim Priestap, DJ Drummond, Michael Laprarie, Baron Von Ottomatic, Shawn Mallow, Rick, Dan Karipides, Michael Avitablile, Charlie Quidnunc, Steve Schippert

Emeritus: Paul, Mary Katherine Ham, Jim Addison, Alexander K. McClure, Cassy Fiano, Bill Jempty, John Stansbury, Rob Port

In Memorium: HughS

All original content copyright © 2003-2010 by Wizbang®, LLC. All rights reserved. Wizbang® is a registered service mark.

Powered by Movable Type Pro 4.361

Hosting by ServInt

Ratings on this site are powered by the Ajax Ratings Pro plugin for Movable Type.

Search on this site is powered by the FastSearch plugin for Movable Type.

Blogrolls on this site are powered by the MT-Blogroll.

Temporary site design is based on Cutline and Cutline for MT. Graphics by Apothegm Designs.

Author Login



Terms Of Service

DCMA Compliance Notice

Privacy Policy