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Poisoning Islam

It's one of the stock phrases we hear all the time in America's dealing with the Muslim world: we must not provoke them. Our actions energize the radicals, and serve as recruiting tools. When we do things like invade Iraq or Afghanistan (overthrowing brutal regimes that killed a lot more Muslims than we have, by the way, but you don't hear that mentioned), we're playing into the terrorists' hands. When we imprison and interrogate suspected terrorists and extremists, we're giving the bad guys their most potent recruiting tool. Air strikes that kill terrorists (and, occasionally, the innocents they so much enjoy hiding behind) merely lead to more extremists. And so on.

It seems that, in some folks' eyes, nothing we've tried will actually reduce the general hatred levels of the US in the Muslim world, and everything we do either inflames or empowers them.

So maybe it's time to try some new tactics -- and some of my time spent away from here is paying off.

I enjoy getting into tussles on other blogs. I've found it refreshing to occasionally venture out as a reader, challenging authors on their home turf (as well as their supporters), where I don't have the advantages and responsibilities of being "the editor." I like to think it helps me keep my edge.

One such place is Outside The Beltway, and one of my most frequent sparring grounds is in the postings of Doug Mataconis.

On one of Doug's recent articles, commenter "Boyd" (who is an old friend of Wizbang's, I believe) put forth a rather novel notion that really got me thinking:

I was pursuing a thought exercise on this subject earlier today. Is it possible that driving fanatics to these insane extremes is actually a good thing, in that it drives them out into the open to the point where the sane among them begin to separate themselves from the nutjobs, ultimately marginalizing them to the point that they're ineffective?

Again, this is just a thought exercise, not a call for more of Jones' own version of insanity.

I've previously used medical metaphors for Islam. For example, the notion that "once a land is Muslim, it is Muslim forever" fuels a lot of Islamist imperialism for "restoring the Caliphate." It's what is behind the Temple Mount situation -- where Jews are forbidden from entering their holiest site because after they conquered it, Muslims built two mosques atop its ruins (and now the Palestinians are busily trying to eradicate any signs that the site ever had anything to do with Jews.

In that sense, Islam is the real-estate version of herpes -- once a land has been infected with the "Muslim virus," you can't ever get rid of it. It can be controlled, but never ever cured.

Likewise, as I read Boyd's notion and considered it, it occurred to me that what he is discussing is a socio-political form of chemotherapy.

In chemotherapy, the patient is very carefully and very deliberately poisoned. But the poison is targeted -- it is intended to kill the disease before it kills the patient. It's a brutal treatment (it usually makes the patient feel considerably worse than the disease has up to that point), but it can be very effective.

To extend the model, if we -- as a people, not as a nation, exerting our individual rights to act and not doing so as an official government policy -- were to start committing more and more and more deliberate, targeted acts of blasphemy against Islam, such as burning Korans, drawing cartoons of Mohammed, decorating Korans with bacon, making provocative films about Islam, and so on, we will anger much of the Muslim world.

But the ones who will be most angered will be the extremists, who have shown that they can be triggered into fits of frothing, homicidal madness quite easily.

So, the theory goes, the non-radical Muslims will look at their psycho brethren and say "whoa, dude, way to overreact. I guess these guys really are dangerously crazy!" and stop supporting them -- even tacitly. They will not like the provocations we inflict, but they will not see it as justifying the extremists' homicidal rages that most often end up killing more Muslims than us <i>kafir</i>. And that just might lead to the moderate Muslims finally triggering the centuries-overdue Islamic "Reformation."

Would it work? I dunno. But nothing else we've tried so far has worked, and this notion, as James T. Kirk would say, "has the advantage of never having been tried."

And it's not like the extremists could hate us any more than they do now. So, what the hell? Why not? Anybody got any better ideas that we haven't tried already, and failed with?

Thanks for the idea, Boyd. Your little thought experiment just might be more valuable than you thought.


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Comments (26)

No need for you to tussle. ... (Below threshold)

No need for you to tussle. History has provided us with the tactics and the appropriate course of action. Kill them before they kill us. That will provide the impetus for the so-called moderate Muslim - in a religion that shows no moderation - to reform their 7th century practices and join the 21st. Human nature has not changed. Technology has only enlarged the theater in which the barbarians' prey on the civilized world and the latter must realize the existential threat it faces and defend itself.

And it's not like the extre... (Below threshold)

And it's not like the extremists could hate us any more than they do now. JT

That somes up my thoughts exactly. When muslims hate us unconditionally and to the point of wanting us dead, how can we make them "hate" us more or want us more dead? You simply cannot. I don't know the preacher who burned the Koran, but if he was making a point to show how hateful the muslim faith is, he did it. The preacher burned paper, the muslims killed innocents. Nuf said. ww

Your metaphor fails to para... (Below threshold)

Your metaphor fails to parallel exactly as described, but let me get all biological on you. Despite what many perceive, cancer cells are not necessarily dividing faster than normal cells, they just don't die as quickly or stop dividing when they meet resistance (now that sounds more like leftist extremists than Islamic fanatics, but I digress). If you STIMULATE the cancer cells, say with glucose, certain amino acids, or hormones they are dependent on, and cause rapid growth, then give chemotherapy or radiation, you kill a greater proportion of the cells because you have cycled more into the cell phases that are sensitive to the treatment (hmmm, that also sounds like a certain current Presidency and its consequences). However, while this gives the illusion of success by causing a greater cell kill, unless you find a way to get at the cancer stem cells, the ultimate course of the disease and demise of the patient (who has been subjected to an even rockier course) is still certain.

Sorry, JT, but unless you get at the core of the problem, kicking the hornet's nest so you can find more wasps to slap isn't an effective tactic.

Nice idea, but, ... Accord... (Below threshold)

Nice idea, but, ... According to reports of surveys that I've seen, in Egypt (supposedly one of the more 'Westernized' countries) about 80% of the population wants to live under Sharia law, and a similar percentage approves of stoning for adultery. Other statistics are similarly grim.

My concern is then that if the 'body' is so riven with the disease, can the healthy portion actually provide an effective auto-immune response?

(B.t.w., the metaphor of herpes disease does not jump over to the chemotherapy treatment metaphor very well, but I think I get your intent.)

The problem with the "chemo... (Below threshold)

The problem with the "chemo" theory is that, for the most part, the more-moderate Muslims just aren't that concerned by the actions of their radical brethren - and often support them.

Right after 9/11, a local (fairly large) Islamic group put a full-page ad in the paper, explaining that they hoped people wouldn't hold them responsible, and that they were sorry this had happened. Not one word about "the people who did this are horrible people who violated our religion," nothing about any sort of repudiation, and certainly no acceptance of any sort of responsibility to clean up their own religion.

In the last decade, I've seen a lot of people saying "Islam isn't like this." But it's nearly impossible to find someone who will speak out, on their own, to tell the rest of the world that the "bad guys" are just flat wrong, and that their flavor of Islam is wrong in any sense.

The very small handful of actual denials are more than counterbalanced by the 90%+ who will quietly, calmly, let the bad guys do whatever they want without any sort of resistance - and often with active support.

Any time someone from one of the Christian splinter groups does something stupid or evil, there are long lines of mainstream Christians who will speak up against their actions - look at the large number of people who speak against the idiots at Westboro Baptist Church, for example (and they're not even violent, just absolutely rude).

Yup, it's me, JT.A... (Below threshold)

Yup, it's me, JT.

A thought occurred to me as I was reading your cancer/chemotherapy metaphor: once the cancer gets bad enough, it kills the entire host, "good" cells and "bad" cells alike.

I'm not sure that's applicable in the case at hand, or that it gets us anywhere, but it's interesting to contemplate.

Show me a "moderate" muslim... (Below threshold)

Show me a "moderate" muslim and I'll show you a soon to be dead, or at least silenced, muslim. And how many "liberal" muslims are there?

Jay, if you have the courag... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Jay, if you have the courage of your convictions, of deliberatly blaspheming Islam, in order to enlist the support of moderate muslims, I suggest you stage your bookburning of Korans ..in downtown Kabul, and see the reaction?

Would it work? I dunno.

I do! I can´t wait until the GOP regains the presidency, from ·irreponsible· Obama and tries to implement some of your wilder ideas in the Middle East, that have the dubious advantage of never having been tried.

for the most part, the m... (Below threshold)
jim m:

for the most part, the more-moderate Muslims just aren't that concerned by the actions of their radical brethren - and often support them.

Cirby has the measure of it. The so-called moderates are not moderate because they believe that we infidels are OK and that there are many ways to God like the lefty idiots here believe. These so-called moderates think that we are all infidels deserving of punishment and even death for disobeying allah.

The difference between the moderate and the radical is that the radical is willing to actually do something about it. The moderates just don't want to make waves. They will sit quietly by and hate us in their hearts and when some lunatic slits our throat they will praise allah, dance in the street and pass out candy. That's the real mainstream of islam.

Imagine walking through a f... (Below threshold)

Imagine walking through a forest and coming upon a dangerous animal that, for whatever reason, is bent on attacking you. Would you:
(a) try to fight back -or-
(b) submit, lest your resistance upset the OTHER violent animals in the forest

In our Alice in Wonderland world we are being told to choose (b)

By not doing things that of... (Below threshold)

By not doing things that offend extreme Muslims...they are in fact controlling what others do, putting fear into them..which is what they want.
I am all for respecting religions and others beliefs,(however I have no respect for this so-called religion-I have mee moderates and I was not impress with them either.) People have been making fun or insulting Christ (my belief)and the way I figure...he'll take care of them if need be. I don't go crazy about it, if anything I feel sorry for them and yes it does annoy me...but to go out and kill people for this...no way.
Extremism is not normal in anything!

This was a convenient excus... (Below threshold)
retired military:

This was a convenient excuse for people looking for excuses. Our current PC climate provides our enemies plenty of excuses to do what they want while our hands are tied so as to not offend them.

have you never seen YouTube... (Below threshold)

have you never seen YouTube? This sort of thing is already happening all the time. It just doesn't get on TV.

I donno, somehow honor rapi... (Below threshold)
Constitution First:

I donno, somehow honor raping, homosexual stoning and beheadings offend me, so what about my feelings? Are they chopped liver? When you accommodate someone and they turn around only to demand twice as much from you the next go-round, it kind of makes you question your initial assumptions of fairness. Radical Islam is not about fairness, it's about submission, it's time over-due to stop pretending this is a kindergarten spat. This is submit or die, of course I don't expect Liberals to comprehend such nuanced language. (I don't expect Liberals to comprehend much of anything beyond their own ideology). I think it long over-due to stop worrying about injuring the feelings of the Dark Ages-Death Cult. Don't like it? Beautiful! Now I Know how to really piss 'em off! Koran, shotgun; some assembly required, pull!

Hey Jay Tea,It wor... (Below threshold)

Hey Jay Tea,

It works!! You "smoked" Crickmore right out of his lurking. I imagine some of his posse'll be by presently to do likewise.

Steve gets the "he just don... (Below threshold)

Steve gets the "he just don't get it" award.

Steve, I'm talking about exercising my American rights, and by that I'd have to exercise them in America. I would never do that in Pakistan; they have different laws, and I would respect those laws. Here in the US, I'm free to do whatever I like, such as putting a bacon smiley on a Koran (see above link).

And if people in Pakistan don't like that, fuck 'em.


I was talking about Afghani... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

I was talking about Afghanistan with our little satrap, Karzai not Pakistan.
Jay, I have great sympathy with your point of view. if you burned both the Bible and the Koran your point might be valid, but rather than cancel each other out would I`m sure be doubly ill received. I don`t know the solution. I suppose continue to surround the problem with mealy mouth phrases and terminate every speech with God bless America ou Alah Akbar or praise the tooth fairy..see the problem! You would alienate most of the universe.

Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbe... (Below threshold)

Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, whatever, Steve -- the point is the same: I wouldn't do it in any other nation.

And why would I want to burn a Bible? I already know that I can safely piss off Christians without putting my life at risk. It would prove nothing.

Hell, I've pissed off Catholics on quite a few occasions, and no one's threatened me for that.


Have you heard 'Islam means... (Below threshold)

Have you heard 'Islam means peace'? That is a lie. 'Islam' is an Arabic word that means 'submission' Submission of Muslims to Allah and submission of non-muslims to muslims.

Islam presents itself as a religion but its goal is to rule this world. Jihad. A holy war. The destruction of the seperation of church and state. The end of free speech. The implementation of Sharia law in western countries and the Jizya, a tax placed on non-muslims to show their inferior status or 'submission' It is one of the injunctions of the Koran that muslims must fight to spread Islam.

Islam is not a religion. It is a political ideology.
It demands your respect but it has no respect for you.

Burning the Qur'an and othe... (Below threshold)

Burning the Qur'an and other intentionally offensive, gratuitous acts are counter-productive.

Full and open discussion...whether on blogs, spoken and written commentary or making honest, accurate movies, which fully depict Muhammad's actions and words, or documentaries such as Geert Wilders Fitna, which expose the violent, intolerant Qur'anic injunctions 'moderate' Muslims wish to ignore are not only appropriate but badly needed.

The reason there are no 'liberal' Muslims is because Islam does not allow for liberality to develop, there's little to no 'wiggle room' in interpreting what Mohammad intended. The Qu' ran and Hadiths are quite specific and cover every aspect of daily life and philosophical positions.

'Moderate' Muslims are simply Muslims who ignore the strictures of their religion out of a lack of devoutness.

The simple truth of the matter is that Islam cannot reform, nor can it be reformed and remain Islam.

The reason that is so is because Islam's theological foundational premises cannot withstand reform, because to remove the misogyny, repression and violence that is inherent to Islam... inescapably requires rejection of Islam's two most fundamental tenets; the Qur'an's authorship (directly dictated to Mohammad by God through the archangel Gabriel) and Mohammad's status as the 'final' prophet.

To 'reform' Islam, the premise that the Qur'an is God's direct and specific 'instructions' must be rejected.

For if the Qur'an is God's words directly transmitted through his archangel, they like God are perfect and cannot be revised by any man...for every man's understanding is imperfect and thus less than God's.

Islam's tenets are of 'whole cloth', one must either swallow the whole premise or reject it out of hand. It allows for no compromise because if the Qur'an's divine authorship is rejected, which is inescapably necessary for reform, its theology collapses.

For Islam, 'reform' is a mortal threat.

Even if only subconsciously, Muslims understand this and that is why there is such a disproportionately violent reaction to any criticism of Islam.

Jay, I may once have sugges... (Below threshold)

Jay, I may once have suggested you shove something up an orifice. I can't recall.

Thanks Geoffrey, and Jay..h... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Thanks Geoffrey, and Jay..here are some amusing satirical points, you may want to bring up, but not in Pakistan, unless you want to be murdered by some "carpet chewing...

"carpet chewing," Steve? Wh... (Below threshold)

"carpet chewing," Steve? Why should I worry about getting killed by lesbians?

SCSI, if you did, I either deserved it or shrugged it off. I don't recall issuing any fatwas on you...


I would eat a mountain of b... (Below threshold)

I would eat a mountain of bacon and then use as many korans as I can get my greasy hands on to wipe my ass afterwards...with all due respect...

Lets see what happens to th... (Below threshold)

Lets see what happens to this "preacher" and Ann Barnhardt for burning a book. If for some reason they are killed HERE IN THE USA, then it is time for a purge - either by our government or..................?? Pack 'em up or pack 'em out.

I received a comment about ... (Below threshold)

I received a comment about one point on another forum: What holy site are Jews not allowed to enter? Would Jews actually be praying anywhere except the Western Wall, or was this shorthand for denial of access to archaeological sites?

On the other topic, would a bonfire of the Korans make good bait?






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