Location: People's Republic of Madison, Wisconsin

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Critique them until they glow

The editorial board of the Badger Herald likes to keep its collective mind open - wide open. How open? Well, last year the Herald regularly handed the microphone over to Fayyad Sbaihat of al-Awda. Al-Awda, which means "the return", is dedicated to wiping out Israel through demographics. Oh, and Sbaihat may also be linked to the terrorist group PFLP. But open-minded folk shouldn't hold a little mass murder against a fellow.

The Herald continues the tradition this summer, publishing an opinion piece by Mohammed Abed, another "Right to Return" luminary. Abed is peddling the standard line that the problem is not with Islamofascism, but with Western imperialism.

Any casual observer of the region will notice that the phenomenon of suicide bombing invariably occurs in or is exported from countries under foreign military occupation, either by the U.S. or by one of its close allies, Israel being in the latter category.

Iran has no shortage of radical Islamic fundamentalists who engage in critiques of the West’s “culture of decadence and moral degeneracy,” and yet no Iranians took up box cutters and turned Manhattan into a living hell.

Whoa! I just learned something. When the Iranian mullahs sent bombers to blow up our Marines in Beirut, they weren't engaging in terrorism. They were offering a critique. That puts a whole new spin on Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. Of course, Iran has be waging a terrorist war against the US for over a generation now, all without any Western occupation whatsoever. But Abed needs to conflate terrorism with suicide bombing, or otherwise someone might notice that the Islamic world has generated all sorts of terrorism without any occupation to excuse it.

Here someone might ask whether Iran's terror war against the US explained by our support for the Shah. That just goes to show that if you're determined to justify terrorism, anything will do. Occupation is just one of many excuses, and if that doesn't work, then it's because of the Shah. Or because we support Israel. Or because we desecrated the sacred ground of Saudi Arabia (by not allowing Saddam's troops to tromp all over it). Or because we protect Salman Rushdie and Ayaan Hirsi Ali. If you hope to achieve peace through retreat, you simply haven't been paying attention.

Since they were expelled en masse from their homeland in 1948, the Palestinians have been engaged in acts of violent resistance to Israel.

So here the "occupation" does not refer to the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It means every last bit of soil on which Israel sits. In other words, as long as Israel continues to exist, Abed can blame all Palestinian terrorism on Western imperialism. Perhaps Ariel Sharon should have consulted with Abed before withdrawing from the Gaza Strip; then he wouldn't be so surprised when Israel gives up the land, and gets no peace in return.

Similarly, the leadership of Al Qaeda is unlikely to persuade well-educated, upper middle-class, successful and socially integrated people like the London bombers to end their lives for the sake of re-establishing the Islamic Caliphate.

Yet, inexplicably, Al Qaeda convinced 19 men (most of them educated and upper-middle class) to commit the 9/11 attacks, all in order to re-establish the Caliphate. To state the blindingly obvious: there was no occupation of Iraq back then. But! But! The US deserved it because... Well, I don't know how we deserved it, but I'm sure that Abed and his friends can come up with something. They always do.

To end terror, the Western powers must reevaluate their policies towards the Islamic and Arab world. The most important change would be to remove any impediments to genuine self-determination, independence and democratization for the region.

I seem to recall that one country in the Middle East was just given its best chance at self-determination ever. Now which one was it? Surely, it couldn't be Iraq. Otherwise Abed wouldn't be using Iraq as an excuse for terrorism, would he?

A greater capacity for inflicting harm carries with it greater moral responsibility. Part of being morally responsible is to realize that the use of means that obliterate the concept of humanity itself renders your ends, even if they are just and good, meaningless.

Translation: Waaa! It's no fair that you have bigger bombs than we do! The terror shills must realize that for all their triumphalism, they wouldn't have a prayer if the West decided to use its full firepower against them. Therefore, people like Abed perform a critical service for the terrorists. They are struggling to prevent the West from developing a righteous fury, which would be fatal to Islamofascist cause. We shouldn't be so open minded as to help.

Update: Remember how I said that someone can always find an excuse for terrorism? Well, I hope you remember; I did sort of pound that point into the ground. Let's pound some more. An Islamofascist has just proclaimed that terrorism would be justified against another famous imperial power: Ireland.

Anjem Choudary, who has close links to the infamous hate preacher, Omar Bakri Mohammed, said the use of Shannon Airport as a stop-off for US warplanes justifies Ireland being attacked.

The solicitor (38) said: "If your government wants to support the atrocities in Afghanistan they can expect some repercussions," and added that Ireland had "opened itself" to attacks from radical Muslims linked to al-Qa'ida.


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