Jihad Watch Board Vice President Hugh Fitzgerald discusses the increasingly common misapprehension that Hamas, once in power, will moderate:
This business that Bush has been repeating, of how the responsibilities of rule will likely lead to a “moderation” of Hamas” views can only be uttered by someone ignorant of history, and ignorant of a Total System. Sane people, Western man for example, even Western Political Man, is used to the give-and-take of compromise. One says “No New Taxes” and we read his lips, but new taxes is what we get. Another says “we will transform Social Security,” but fortunately, given that particular person’s ideas, it does not happen. Horse-trading goes on. Those who are American, in particular, are used to the various limits on power — the system of federalism that divides power among sovereignties (so that one school district may assign Great Expectations and the next one, Garfield the Cat), and the famous checks and balances that every schoolboy learns about. And compared to European societies, the role of ideological clash is limited — both parties accept, a bit too readily, the Gospel of Economic Growth in a way that would do the author of “Acres of Diamonds” proud.
With this kind of background, how could Bush conceivably understand fanaticism? Or not fanaticism, but merely a belief-system that is both a Complete Regulation of Life and a Total Explanation of the Universe? How could he understand, given his limited understanding and experience, and his own comprehension of the word “religion” — a word which evokes such automatic respect in so many — could he begin to understand the “religion of Islam,” for the word “religion” does not fit the case of what is in fact a religio-politico-geopolitical system for organizing all of life, invididual and collective? And the very idea of the “nation-state” means little to the Believer, for Islam is all about the collective, not the individual, but the collective is always the universal trans-national community of the Believers, the umma al-Islamiyya, to which one’s exclusive loyalty as a Believer is owed. The world is divided between Believers and Infidels; the most distant Believer is owed a greater loyalty, by the good Muslim, than the Infidel next door.
How could he, Bush, or Rice, or all the others not fall for what they”re being told by so-called Muslim “reformers”? They”re being told that at least Hamas is not corrupt, so give it a chance, at least the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is not corrupt, so Egyptian “reformer” Saad Eddin Ibrahim reassures us (see David Brooks’s recent column, not for his confused interpretation of facts, but for a few of those facts) and so he, Saad Eddin Ibhrahim, is sanguine about their rise. But Saad Eddin Ibrahim is a Muslim, and we are Infidels; our interests differ. He wants less corrupt government within Egypt. We want an Islam that is less of a threat to us, in our lands and around the world. He does not wish to divide and demoralize the camp of Islam. He does not wish to keep the Muslim presence in Infidel lands to a minimum. Why should he? But we do. Of course all those Muslim “reformers” never did mind Islam as much as they should, for if they did, they would have gone the route of the full apostates — Ibn Warraq, Ali Sina, Azam Kamguian. And they haven’t. In talking to Infidels, they continue to deny the tenets, the attitudes, the atmospherics of Islam. Some because they really dismiss the views of the primitive Muslims who are so unlike themselves — but so much more numerous. Some out of embarrassment or filial piety. Some out of a fatal inability to cut the cord with Islam, and to think that the phrase “I’m a cultural Muslim” will be enough to cover their case, and to justify themselves to all concerned. But not any more. Infidels need the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about Islam.
Think of all those nice Iraqi exiles who assured us that we would be greeted as liberators and there would be no problem. Even Bernard Lewis, who relies for insight and inside dope upon all those nice, Westernized, attractive Muslim informants, could confidently predict in print (in 2002) that if the Americans were to liberate Baghdad, the joy that would be expressed would make the celebrations that had taken place previously in Kabul “look like a funeral procession.”
So now Bush is gradually sliding into the line that they will all be too busy jockeying for positions, and divvying up the non-civil service positions to wage jihad. After all, aren’t all countries sort of, kind of, the same? Iraqis will be too busy running for dog pound manager, board of aldermen, court officer, elevator inspector, the whole Mayor-Daley or Tammany Hall works — because in the end, according to the sentimental and the terminally simple, basically People Are the Same the Whole World Over.
No, they aren’t. What goes into their brains, what they learn from birth, what imbues every conversation, what is their source of inspiration, the supplier of all historical and literary and personal allusion? What offers the model of the Perfect Man? What ties people down to a past, both real and mythical, so that what happened in 622 or 628 or 632 or 661 A.D. may be more important than what happens today? Imagine if Western leaders and peoples kept referring to what happened in England in 632, or in France, or Italy, or the United States, and that this haunted them, this divided them, this was realer than real to them.
There is a failure of intellect. There is a failure of effort. There is a failure of imagination.
The whole business of these Hamases and Muslim Brotherhoods coming to power, and then being “modified” by the new tasks, shows the usual ignorance of history. When the Ayatollah Khomeini came to power in 1979, he had time to set in motion the killing — first of members of the ancien regime, and the heads of the Jewish and Baha’i communities, and then to continue, with Judge Khalkhali distinguishing himself. He had time to pass laws. The very first law was that reducing the marriageable age of girls to nine years old (Query to Bush and Rice and David Brooks and Tom Friedman and every commentator in America: Why nine years? why not eleven, or thirteen?). And for 27 years, despite having to fight off the aggression of Saddam Hussein in an eight-year-long war, and despite the killing within the country (that aged couple, for example, of celebrated intellectuals, who were decapitated and their heads carefully placed at opposite ends of their mantelpiece, a little touch for friends and family of the murdered), and the murders of enemies in Paris and elsewhere, there is no sign that the regime is weakening. Ahmadinejad won overwhelmingly. And though to listen to some (e.g. Michael Ledeen) one would think that the regime is about to topple any minute, it’s nonsense. It is the corruption of the Muslim clerics that has aroused opposition, but not, among the Iranian masses, the Islamic basis of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Indeed, Ahmadinejad was the successful mayor — a can-do mayor, a Giuliani-Stratton kind of mayor — of Teheran, which is why he was elected. Not appointed — elected.
There are so many examples of a totalitarian regime that comes to power and, if it is not sufficiently opposed, within and without, proceeds by degrees to do exactly what its leaders say. Hitler did carry out what he set down in Mein Kampf. The surprise was that it was a surprise. Mussolini, after the March on Rome, after coming to power, did not disband the Fascists. He did not cease to kill opponents (Matteotti, the fratelli Rosselli), or force them into exile (the young Pertini, in southern France). He had time to drain the Pontine marshes, time to improve agriculture, time to invade Ethiopia, and still had time for Fascism, Fascism, Fascism. He still had time for the leggi razziale, and still had time to meet with Hitler at the Villa Madama, and still had time to enter World War II.
And the Japanese Kodo-regime did the same.
Even in the New World, we have examples that perhaps Bush can understand. There is Fidel Castro. Oh, he spoke at the Harvard Law School Forum (outdoors, in back of the Coliseum) in 1959. Funny. A crowd-pleaser. But what happened? For 47 years he has ruled Cuba, and made it not nearly as severe as the Soviet model, because he lacked the resources — but still, it has been for many a close-to-unendurable 47 years. And then there is Chavez, the dictator in the making, propped up by his oil wealth, as Castro was propped up by Soviet aid. Would Bush, for whom the examples of the Nazis and the Fascists and Iran may just be a little too distant, possibly grasp that the same argument is used about every totalitarian regime in the making, at the early stages?
And could the Infidels begin to grasp that “reform” will always, in a Muslim country, assume a Muslim form? Could they grasp that it will require a “return to Islam” or “more Islam”? Can they understand that whatever this means for the local Muslims — it may indeed mean, for a while, less corruption — for Infidels it means something quite different?
We are not, we Infidels, here to make the world wonderful for Muslims. We are here to protect ourselves from the Jihad that is not tangential but central to Islam. We must, therefore, engage in acts of mass pedagogy so that the still largely uninformed Infidels, wherever they may live, will grasp the significance of what is contained in Qur’an, Hadith, and Sira, and will find out what Muslim conquest of non-Muslim lands always meant for the conquered non-Muslims.
If our current leaders are not up to this, they must be pushed aside. Someone has been consistently misinforming Bush about Islam — for example, that someone who gave him Sura 5.32 to read, but failed to inform him about Sura 5.33. Or was Bush himself attempting to mislead the American public, by such selective and misleading quotation? One would like to know who is learning what, and who is teaching what, about Islam, at the highest levels of government.
Or is no one learning anything? Is it all on a wing and a prayer?