Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Islam's Legacy is Constant War
By Alan Caruba
The failed Christmas bomber attack was yet another wake-up call for Americans who have slipped into a self-induced coma regarding Islam’s constant threat to the nation and the West.
Despite the post-9/11 attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq, President Bush and now President Obama have both repeatedly asserted the absurd notion that Islam is “a religion of peace.” It is, in fact, a religion of conquest and one in which the religion and the state are one. To live in a Muslim nation is to live under Sharia law in which conversion to another religion is punished by death.
“When Asia Was the World” by Stewart Gordon is an interesting book about life in Asia during the years 500 to 1500 of the Common Era. “Buddhism and Islam arose and spread along Asia’s far-flung trade routes. So did luxury goods, such as silk, pearls, spices, medicines, glass, and simple things like rice and sugar.”
“Two centuries before Ibn Fadlan traveled (921-922 CE) through this region, the overall borders of the Muslim world had been set in one of the fastest, broadest conquests in human history.”
“Between 630 CE and 680 CE, Islamic armies swept north from Mecca across what is present-day Jordan, Palestine, and Syria and east across Iraq, then fought in Persia and attacked south into Yemen. By 720 CE, Muslim armies had successfully attacked Egypt, North Africa, and Spain and had conquered several caravan cities, Samarkand, Tashkent, Bukhara and Khwarizm. There, however, the conquest stopped.”
As the memoir of Ibn Battula (1325-1356 CE) revealed, “Every king was surrounded by rivals, factions, squabbling nobles, and a necessary but unwieldy bureaucracy. Kings particularly wanted to know about the successful strategies, symbols, and ceremonies in other courts.” In other words, the worlds of these early kings was no safer than our own today when Western leaders must maintain vast intelligence gathering agencies to know what is being plotted in the Middle East and everywhere else in the world.
It is therefore essential for America to be led by a President who understands the threat posed by Islam in general and by al Qaeda’s network in particular, but in contrast to that we have a President who intends to close the Guantanamo detention center for non-state enemy combatants, extend the protections of the U.S. Constitution to admitted terrorists given civil trials instead of military tribunals, and was slow to respond to the Fort Hood murders and the Christmas day attempted airliner bombing.
On such events and attitudes does the safety and fate of the nation hangs.
It is therefore vital that we pay attention to the voices of those who understand that history turns on winners and losers.
“The greatest advantage our opponents enjoy,” writes Ralph Peters,”is an uncompromising strength of will, their readiness to ‘pay any price and bear any burden’ to hurt and humble us. As our enemies’ view of what is permissible in war expands apocalyptically, our self-limiting definitions of allowable targets and acceptable casualties, hostile, civilian and our own, continue to narrow fatefully.”
Peters is a retired U.S. Army officer, a journalist who has reported from various war zones, is widely traveled, and an author of 24 books. He is quintessentially politically incorrect.
Among the obstacles facing the present generation of Americans, as Peters sees them, are (1) “we simply do not feel endangered”, (2) American’s “collective memory has effectively erased the European-inspired horrors of the last century”, (3) “ending the draft resulted in a superb military, but an unknowing, detached population’, (4) Americans have come to believe in a “catechism of bloodless war”, and (5) “we have become largely a white-collar, suburban society in which a child’s bloody nose is no longer a routine part of growing up, but grounds for a lawsuit.”
Americans who passed through our nation’s schools since the 1960s have been neutered because, as Peters notes, “History is no longer taught as a serious subject. As a result, politicians lack perspective; journalists lack meaningful touchstones; and the average person’s sense of warfare has been redefined by media entertainments in which misery, if introduced, is brief.”
“We have cheapened the idea of war,” says Peters, forgetting or never knowing the price paid by previous generations to defend the nation and its principles. “More Americans died in one afternoon at Cold Harbor during our Civil War than died in six years in Iraq. Three times as many American troops fell during the morning of June 6, 1944 (D-Day) as have been lost in combat in over seven years in Afghanistan.”
While President Obama cited Gandhi in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, Peters points out that “Gandhi would not have survived very long in Nazi Germany.”
The President made a case for the necessity of some wars, but returned home to spend three months making up his mind to increase our troop presence in Afghanistan and to then tell the enemy that they would be gone in eighteen months. That is astonishingly stupid and reveals the chasm that exists between Obama’s first year in office and the nearly eight years under George W. Bush in which America was spared another attack.
“The problem is religion,” says Peters. “Our Islamist enemies are inspired by it, while we are terrified even to talk about it.”
History teaches us that Islam has long since plunged those parts of the world over which it holds sway into centuries of backwardness while Europe and the New World grew in power, innovation, and dominance.
My view is that Islam is literally fighting for its life despite the more than a billion who subscribe to it. Far from its earliest years when it championed intellectual inquiry, it now holds desperately to the most primitive control over the lives of its adherents and cannot expect a Reformation such as took place in Christianity.
The wars to defeat it will take a long time, cost many lives, and be worth every dollar and every casualty.