Max Boot’s words here in the reliably dhimmi and consistently wrongheaded Commentary illustrate the problem with the enterprises in Iraq and Afghanistan in general: the analysts who pushed for American military action in both had no idea of the nature of Islam, and particularly of the central role of Sharia as a political system within it. They assumed, with titanic ethnocentrism, that the people in Iraq and Afghanistan both desired “freedom” and conceptualized it in exactly the same was as most Americans do.
They further assumed that Islam is a Religion of Peace that could fit easily into the Western-style framework of a Constitutional republic with no established religion. And that assumption led them to the additional assumption that terms current in Judaism and Christianity meant exactly the same thing when used also in Islam.
The conceptual and policy errors that follow these wrong assumptions are endless. Books could be and should be filled with them.
I believe there is just as much nobility to the war in Afghanistan as to the one in Iraq.
I actually agree with Max Boot about that: there is just as much nobility to the war in Afghanistan as to the one in Iraq — i.e., none. They are futile wars with no purpose, no goal, no end in sight.
We are, after all, fighting to make good on our post-9/11 promises to drive the Taliban out of power and establish a representative government in Afghanistan that will not sponsor terrorism or abuse its own people. The Taliban are as cruel as they come and sparing the people of Afghanistan from their misrule is a noble cause. So too is honoring the memory of America’s 9/11 shaheeds (martyrs) — the victims of al-Qaeda and their Taliban facilitators.
These words ring especially hollow in light of Karzai’s repeated threats to side with and overtures to the Taliban. Is there a dime’s worth of difference between them?
But above all, the Americans murdered by Al-Qaeda and the Taliban are not shaheeds. Islamic martyrdom is not the same thing as Christian martyrdom, or even the modern Western secular concept of martyrdom as dying for any cause. Islamic martyrdom is primarily the act of a Muslim who kills and is killed for Allah, as per Qur’an 9:111. Thus while Islamic martyrdom need not always contain the element of murdering infidels that that verse contains, the word is primarily used today in the Islamic world of suicide bombers and others who kill infidels. And no sect or school of Islam would ever call any non-Muslim a martyr.
Thus Boot, in his ignorance and wishful thinking, is essentially equating America’s war dead with mass murderers. It is astoundingly myopic and offensive, but par for the course for the increasingly ridiculous Commentary.