Jihad Watch Board Vice President Hugh Fitzgerald examines the problem at the top:
She’s a striver, is Condoleeza Rice, and never had the leisure to study much outside of her academic area, Soviet studies. And as her appearance last summer on Russian television shows, she never even learned very much Russian.
There are others like her, others who were on the right side, the Richard-Pipes-Adam-Ulam right side, of Soviet studies. But apparently you can’t teach quite a number of these old dogs new tricks. They just can’t be bothered to study Islam. They assume that it really is “just a religion” and that it cannot possibly inculcate what in fact it inculcates — murderous hostility to all Infidels, and a view of the universe that depends entirely on uncompromising hostility of Believers for Infidels, and the need to spread dar al-Islam until it covers the earth. She simply can’t believe that that could be. She has no familiarity with the considerable literature on the subject.
Soviet Communism lasted 70 years, not 1350 years. Soviet Communism could easily be held up to ridicule: its failures were just too obvious. There is not much way, in Islam, to prove to people that the problems of Muslims are the result of Islam itself — at least not as long as no one even points that out, and as long as Infidels continue to supply a kind of indulgent jizya (foreign aid), and as long as Muslims all over the world can get away with — murder, as they do.
It is asking too much, apparently, of too many, to suggest that the ways in which Soviet Communism imposed itself on Russians were nowhere near as effective and totalitarian as the ways in which Islam manages to impinge upon the consciousnesses of Muslims, to hold them in thrall. Even when they have their doubts, they learn to keep those doubts silent, or even when they do not keep those doubts silent, many still insist on defending Islam out of filial piety, embarrassment, or loyalty to the idea of Arabdom, or Uruba. The hold is extraordinary.
Not only Rice, but others should ask themselves why it is that of the 57 members of the Organization of Islamic States, the only one that comes close to democratic ways is Turkey — save for nearly half-Christian Lebanon, which cannot count as a Muslim country, because of the long history of having a Christian majority that ended only recently. Now why should that be? Surely it is a result of Kemalism, of the constraints put on the role of Islam as a social and political force in Turkey and held in place for 80 years. But this is not a question Rice or Bush wish to consider. It is apparently too painful for them to have to deal with the possibility that Islam itself is the irreducible problem that cannot be diminished by the “spread of democracy,” even if such were possible — and it is not. Democracy requires all sorts of things: the idea of the individual citizen, not the member of a group (sectarian or ethnic), the idea of the rule of law, the idea that laws, and governments, obtain their sole legitimacy from the governed, and not from some sacred and immutable text that cannot be modified and that, among other things, approves of slavery, the unequal treatment of non-Muslims, the unequal treatment of women, and the denying to non-Muslim minorities any rights that cannot be taken away. These are not trivial matters. Rice does not know about any of this. She is too busy. And so are others around her. Astonishing that the most powerful country in the Infidel world is now run by people who do not know and will not demand of themselves that they learn, really learn, about Islam. As the example of Turkey shows, even 80 years of determined secularism will not be enough to keep Islam from raising its head, Rasputin-like. It cannot be killed; it can only be contained, and then perhaps chipped away at, or demoralized and divided from within.
The trouble with Rice and others in her retinue is that by being tough on Communism, a good many people think they have already “given at the office.” They think the problem with Islam is entirely manageable — manageable through the creation of “Iraq the Model” (rather than Iraq the place to exploit fissures within Islam) and by steadily forcing Israel to cut off chunks of its own flesh and throw them to the ravenous Muslim Arabs, the shock troops of the Lesser Jihad (that against Israel, as opposed to the Greater Jihad against the entire Infidel world), who will, in Rice’s apparent view, find their appetites sated rather than whetted. This is the kind of policy that only those who have not stopped to study Islam would come up with, or continue to cling to, without even giving other possibilities and other threats (the Islamization of Western Europe comes swimmingly to mind) the time of day.
Relying on the quite changeable Bernard Lewis (who has been known to contradict himself completely about whether democracy and Islam are compatible, based on which policy he feels like supporting at the moment) is better than relying on Armstrong, Esposito, and the membership of MESA Nostra. But let us not forget that Bernard Lewis has again and again revealed that he underestimates the malevolence of Islam — choosing to blame Europe for being the source of Muslim antisemitism, when it was only the source of European-style antisemitism; the Qur’an, the Hadith, and the Sira are full of what may be called Islam-based hatred of Jews, with no need to borrow from Drumont or Alfred Rosenberg.
Please don’t fall back on the late vaporings of Bernard Lewis. He seems determined to defend his own policy prescriptions, which have been based, in the first place, on ignoring the unassuagable nature of Arab opposition to Israel (his great enthusiasm for the Oslo Accords), and on ignoring the model of treaty-making between Muslims and Infidel states: the Treaty of al-Hudaibiyya, which also relates to the Oslo Accords. He apparently believes that Islam and “democracy” are not only not “incompatible” but, as he astoundingly maintained, social mobility in the Muslim lands was greater than anywhere else. He forgot to add that the Paretan circulation of elites depends on one group massacring the members of another group and taking their place after the latest coup in the palace.
Rice either must be ignored or overruled in the councils of power, pushed aside by the more intelligent Donald Rumsfeld — who may also have intelligent generals at his side, no longer willing to see their men and materiel squandered because of the self-assured ignorance of civilians. Rumsfeld may have been part of the problem originally, but now one suspects he could be part of the solution.
Really, one wishes to be kind. But everyone has been treating her with kid gloves. Stop it.