Saturday, May 19, 2007

"They don't come here to attack us because we're rich and we're free . . . "

I'm undergoing a conversion of sorts right now.

I just finished Mark Steyn's America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It.

Until I read that book, I was firmly in Ron Paul's libertarian/Republican camp. As he said during the Republican candidates' debate in South Carolina,
Ron Paul: They [Muslims] attack us [the United States] because we've been over there. We've been bombing Iraq for ten years. We've been in the Middle East.

I think Reagan was right. We don't understand the irrationality of Middle Eastern politics.

Right now we're building an embassy in Iraq that's bigger than the Vatican. We're building 14 permanent bases. What would we say here if China was doing this in our country or in the Gulf of Mexico? We would be objecting.

We need to look at what we do from the perspective of what would happen if somebody else did it to us.

Moderator: Are you suggesting we invited the 9/11 attacks, sir?

Paul: I'm suggesting that we listen to the people who attacked us and the reason they did it. And they are delighted that we are over there because Osama Bin Laden has said, "I am glad you're over on our sand because we can target you so much easier." . . .

The CIA is correct when they teach and they talk about "blowback."

When we went into Iran in 1953 and installed the shah, yes, there was blowback. The reaction to that was the taking of our hostages. . . . If we think we can do what we want around the world and not incite hatred then we have a problem.

They don't come here to attack us because we're rich and we're free. They come and attack us because we're over there.
He sounds so reasonable. And so "Christian." So "godly." "We need to look at what we do from the perspective of what would happen if somebody else did it to us." --Isn't that how Jesus taught us? "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"?

But Steyn--and now others, as I have begun to read up on this issue--has opened my eyes to see that "fairness" and "reasonableness" and feelings of being "oppressed," etc., etc., have very little, if anything, to do with the kinds of behaviors we are seeing from the Muslim ummah, the Muslim community or "world."

As Brigitte Gabriel states in the long version of the title of her book, "Even after 9/11, there are those that say we must 'engage' our terrorist enemies, that we must 'address their grievances.' Their grievance is our freedom of religion. Their grievance is our democratic process. Islamic religious authorities and terrorist leaders repeatedly state that they will destroy the United States and Western civilization. Unless we take them at their word, and defend ourselves, they will succeed . . . Because They Hate."

Steyn's book has convinced me that Gabriel has a far better grasp of the truth than does Ron Paul. I hope to discuss some of these things in the days ahead.

My problem: I still believe in the Golden Rule. I still believe in non-intervention. But, apparently, I also believe that we ought to "listen to the people who attacked us and the reason they did it" much more closely than Ron Paul seems to have been listening.

As Steyn says, "There's a lot to be said for taking these chaps at their word and then seeing whether their behavior comports."

So what are they saying?
Five days before the slaughter in Bali in 2005, nine Islamists were arrested in Paris for reportedly plotting to attack the Metro. . . . So much for the sterling efforts of President Chirac and his prime minister, the two chief obstructionists to Bush-Blair-neocon-Zionist warmongering since 2001.

In the months after the Afghan campaign, France's foreign minister, Hubert Védrine, was deploring American "simplisme" on a daily basis, and Saddam understood from the get-go that the French veto was his best shot at torpedoing any meaningful UN action on Iraq. Yet the jihadists still blew up a French oil tanker.

If you were to pick only one Western nation not to blow up the oil tankers of, the French would surely be it.

But they got blown up anyway. And afterwards a spokesman for the Islamic Army of Aden said, "We would have preferred to hit a U.S. frigate, but no problem, because they are all infidels."

No problem. They are all infidels.

When people make certain statements and their acts conform to those statements, I tend to take them at their word. As Hussain Massawi, former leader of Hezbollah, neatly put it, "We are not fighting so that you will offer us something. We are fighting to eliminate you." --America Alone, 151; emphasis added

"We're the ones who will change you," Norwegian imam Mullah Krekar told the Oslo newspaper Dagbladet in 2006. "Just look at the development within Europe, where the number of Muslims is expanding like mosquitoes. Every Western woman in the EU is producing an average of 1.4 children. Every Muslim woman in the same countries is producing 3.5 children." As he summed it up: "our way of thinking will prove more powerful than yours." --ibid., 39-40; emphasis added

Back in February 2002, Robert Fisk, the veteran Middle East correspondent, . . . wrote a column headlined "Please Release My Friend Daniel Pearl." It followed a familiar line: please release Daniel, then you'll be able to tell your story, get your message out. Taking him hostage is "an own goal of the worst kind," as it ensures he won't be able to get your message out, the message being--Fisk presumed--"the suffering of tens of thousands of Afghan refugees," "the plight of Pakistan's millions of poor," etc.

Somehow, the apologists keep missing the point: the story did get out. Pearl's severed head is the message. That's why they filmed the decapitation, released it on video, circulated it through the bazaars and madrassas and distributed it worldwide via the Internet. It was a huge hit. The message got out very effectively. --ibid., 151

[T]he Islamists' most oft-stated goal is not infidel withdrawal from Iraq but the re-establishment of a Muslim caliphate, living under sharia, that extends to Europe. --ibid., 38
So if I were to summarize this post: At this time I am far more convinced of Ron Paul's viewpoint with respect to foreign entanglements and non-intervention than I am the majority of Republican politicians' viewpoints. But I am deeply dismayed at Paul's apparent lack of understanding concerning the real issues that confront us. . . .