“Middle East expert Martin Kramer suggests that Pape’s theses may be comforting to Western readers who want to believe that if only the United States were to pull its military forces from the Persian Gulf and if only all occupation in the Middle East would end, that there would be no more suicide bombings.” — from this article
This is exactly what successive Israeli governments have done — none as horrifically as the present government, of course — in believing in negotiations, and Israeli concessions, and Israeli silences about Israel’s legal, moral, and historic claim, and Israeli silence, or still worse wilful ignorance, about the texts, tenets, attitudes of Islam that explain the war against Israel. That war has no end, has no “solution,” but can be contained, if only the Israeli government, and other Infidel governments, see things aright and do nothing to encourage Arab and Muslim triumphalism, do nothing further to whet, not sate, Arab appetites, and recognize the grim truth that it is not through concessions, but only through overwhelming, implacable superiority in power, and especially military power, that the Arabs and Muslims will, most unwillingly, most begrudgingly, and, as they see it, “temporarily,” accept the situation. But if they are given further concessions, resulting in further Israeli weakness, they will never acquiesce, never accept even “temporarily” the existence of Israel.
The peace can be kept, but only if Israel recognizes the peace-keeping will be done on the basis of the Arab and Muslim acceptance of the principle of “Darura” — Necessity. (Google “Darura” for more.)
And just as in Israel, in the United States, and in many other Infidel lands, those who have a duty to instruct and protect others would much prefer to believe that the menace comes not from those who understand Islam, but who “misunderstand” it, or who take an “extreme” rather than perfectly orthodox view of its teachings. They have convinced themselves that Muslims have a discrete and legitimate list of complaints, and if only we meet them half-way, and show that we are willing to recognize and meet those complaints, all manner of things shall be well. And since we have it in our power not to change Islam, it is comforting to believe, to convince oneself to believe, that it is not Islam’s texts and tenets and attitudes that explain the Muslim sense of grievance — a grievance that we do not everywhere give in to their demands — but rather something else, such as Israeli behavior, or our behavior, or the French laic state not permitting hijabs, or the inability, apparently, of every Infidel land to integrate its Muslim population even though it somehow manages to do so with its Buddhists, its Hindus, its Confucians, its Bolivian Indians, its everyone-but-Muslims.
So we assume, without naming it, the endless Infidel Man’s Burden. We take their demands, and their assurances that if “only” this happens, or that happens, all will be well. There is no evidence of this. All the evidence goes the other way. In the long history of Israeli military victories, and of Israeli concessions matched by nothing on the other side at the negotiating table, and of every single treaty between Israel and the Arabs sooner or later being breached, in major part or wholly, by the Arab Muslim side, there has never been an example that supports this apparently endless faith — by Bush, by Rice — in negotiations and “treaties.” They have never heard the word “Hudaibiyya.” They have never read Majid Khadduri’s “War and Peace in the Law of Islam.” They are under the innocent impression that the basis for Western treaty-making — Pacta Sunt Servanda (Treaties Are To Be Obeyed) — is not a Western, or at least non-Muslim, principle, but a universal principle. They are quite wrong, and quite ignorant. And apparently those to whom they go, or upon whom they rely, for advice on Islam are also ignorant. Or perhaps they are deliberate apologists for, collaborators with, the forces of Islam. Such, certainly, is how one would describe John Esposito, or 90% of the members of MESA Nostra, the “professional organization” for academics specializing in Islam and the Middle East.
And besides, when the party being asked to make tangible sacrifices is not you, your country, but tiny Israel, which has no choice but to be a part of the West, to be a loyal ally, it is easier to ask for those concessions. It is easier to put pressure, easier to overlook the claims, legal, moral, and historic, of that tiny ally. It is easy to believe, to allow oneself to believe, those smiling daggers-and-dishdasha Arabs, hawks on hand, offering their fabled luxe (paid for by oil revenues, not by hard work) to a most impressionable Westerner taking “a leadership role,” and confusing wealth with real power to him at some “desert ranch.” (The wealth is not the result of an industrious, and entrepreneurial population, but merely reflects an accident of geology.) And it is they who have told Bush that “if he pressures Israel enough,” then “after that peace treaty is signed” all kinds of good things will happen. You”ll see. Trust us. It’s all so obvious. It’s all so ludicrous. It’s all so infuriating.
Good God. It’s all so absurd, and all so obvious.
And it is the same with the robert-papes of this world. They haven’t studied Islam. I doubt if Pape has ever read ten, much less a few hundred, of the hadith. I doubt if he understands the role of Muhammad as exemplary figure, uswa hasana, al-insan al-kamil. I don’t think he has thought much about what it must be like to have the Qur’an as the source of authority, supplemented only by the hadith and Sira. I don’t think he quite grasps Islam, or possesses the imaginative sympathy (in its etymological sense) to realize what it is like to grow up within a society suffused with Islam, a society that is in which almost nothing else really matters. I don’t think he takes ideology seriously, for he is an American. He believes, in the end, that ideas don’t really matter. He believes that with the curious fervor of those who do not recognize the Marxism-cum-Free-Market-Fundamentalism that is the American ideology, the one which believes that everyone in the world is motivated by economics (so that “prosperity” or “employment” would remove the menace from Muslims), and that the “Free Market” is the answer to everything, no matter how complicated the question might be.
He’s a dope with a doctorate. He’s not the only one. They”re all over the place.