Jihad Watch Board Vice President Hugh Fitzgerald discusses the wrongheadedness of the current establishment approach to Islam and terrorism:
The most acute criticism of Bush and Rice and Company comes not from the silly who oppose them for being too tough, but from those who have taken their true measure: self-satisfied, obstinate, ignorant of Islam and hence of the full scope of the menace of Islam, naively believing that “a prosperous Iraq is a peaceful Iraq” (is a “prosperous Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar” a “peaceful” Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, in the only way that matters to us — i.e., not promoting Jihad elsewhere in the world?), or that Iraq could conceivably serve as a model for other Arab states. For god’s sake, how could a Shi’a-dominated regime, as any future Iraq (if Iraq continues to exist as a single country) would necessarily be, conceivably be found appealing to Sunni Arabs, who will never forgive this blow to their pride — that the despised Shi’a, the nearly-Infidel Shi’a, the “Rafidite dogs,” which is what the Wahhabi Muslims consider the Shi’a, and not only Wahhabis — how could they possibly regard Iraq as a Model?
And if they cannot regard Iraq as a model, and if a “prosperous Iraq” is not necessarily a “peaceful Iraq,” then why are we still there, when an Iraq that decomposes into its constituent ethnic and sectarian components, at each others’ throats, is far more likely to occupy Arab and Muslim attention, serve as a fault line for Sunni-Shi’a hostility and even open warfare, and use up resources — men, materiel, money — on both sides, as Sunni and Shi’a states try to help co-religionists within Iraq? It would even be the cause of unsettlement wherever there is a substantial Shi’a population that dares to assert or defend itself against the Sunnis, as in Bahrain, Yemen, Pakistan, or the Hasa province of Saudi Arabia.
The war in Iraq right now is madness — not madness the way Cindy Sheehan and her equally mad followers think it is, but madness nevertheless. And the madness comes from people like Rice and Bush, who are incapable of making sense, for example, of what is happening in France over the last week and more, or in Holland, or all over Europe, or in Indonesia, or in Bangladesh or Pakistan or Kashmir. They only know one thing — or rather they only know that they have to stick, because they do not have the mental flexibility not to stick, to the original phrases and goals. They know that they have to stick to these goals and phrases even if they make no sense if the menace is not poverty, not unhappiness, but the ideology of Islam.
And it is the ideology of Islam. It is not merely a “war on terror.”
Is there not a single member of either party who will correctly analyze the situation and call not for “cutting and running,” but for a husbanding, rather than a squandering of resources, and an intelligent withdrawal from Iraq? Oh, phrase it as “now that the second set of elections has been held and the Iraqis have been trained, and will be expected, and are ready, to defend themselves.” Of course it will break down into Kurd against Arab, Shi’a against Sunni militia. Let it. Pretend you had no idea that would happen, that you are “deeply disappointed that the Iraqis were not able to settle their differences. We removed that terrible regime, and did this and did that — list of people captured or killed, schools and hospitals and electricity grids built or repaired, and so on. Now it is up to the Iraqis themselves.”
Sighs of relief from the intelligent. Sighs of slight panic from the left, as its call for “getting out of Iraq” is being met, but not for the reasons it hoped, not in the spirit it hoped. Sighs of — well, enough sighs. Now let’s figure out how to check the various instruments of Jihad, beginning with Da’wa and demographic conquest of Western Europe, and leave the Sunnis and Shi’a to slug it out — or not — in Iraq.
And without those American troops held hostage in Iraq, stronger measures against Iran can now, at long last, be taken.
But with Bush and Rice not only mouthing nonsense, and what is worse, actually possibly believing their own nonsense about Islam, there is no hope. It will be the mixture as before.
The interests of Infidels, and those of the most secular of those who remain Muslims, diverge. It is foolish, it was foolish, for the Administration to lobby for Turkey (Bush’s call to Karamanlis, Rice working the phones and roping in whomever she could — Richard Perle et al. — to help out). It is foolish to try to recreate the Western world in the Middle East. There isn’t time, there isn’t space. If the year were 1800, and there were not tens of millions of Muslims already in Europe and trillions of dollars flowing into the coffers that feed the Jihad, then we might take as our century’s project, Reforming Islam — though it is still entirely unclear just how this could or would be done.
Some say throw out the Hadith, all of them. Others say throw out the Hadith and the Sira, so that the example of Muhammad is no longer. And then they talk, for all the world like little Luthers and Calvins and Zwinglis, about an Islam to be based on “sola scriptura” (for an example of this, see the Turk Mustafa Akyol). But for god’s sake, the Qur’an itself has everything in it to make an Infidel’s blood run cold — and where do the Mustafa Akyols of this world think the Hadith and the Sira come from, if they were not teased out of, weaved out of, the whole cloth of the Qur’an? The Qur’an itself splits the world uncompromisingly between Believer and Infidel, and the Qur’an as the Word of God is unlikely to have an editorial pen taken to it any time soon. The most authoritative Qur’anic commentators more than a millennium ago wrote “Stet” and there was “Stet”; the Gates of Ijtihad swung closed with a thud. Islam cannot be reformed, but only constrained.
The effort must, bleakly, be to constrain it. And those who cannot face this must not be taken as our guides in the formulation of policy.