Islam and the Bane of a Nation: Part II – Islam at the Gates

 

Islam and the Bane of a Nation:  Part II – Islam at the Gates 

Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals engendered by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. 

James Madison

As I sit here and write this post on October 18, 2010, we are quickly approaching that faithful day when self-described small government conservatives are about “take our country back” from the progressive, big government statist who are determined to run every aspect of our lives.  The problem with this idealistic notion of small government types rescuing us from the Obama progressives with the vote is that there no simpler way to be a big government toady  than to support the progressive neoconservative agenda of nation building.  With that factor considered, there are far too few real small government conservatives to ensure the right candidates are sent to Washington and the state houses.  To completely dismantle and rebuild not only a system of government, but also the business, cultural and religious institutions of a far off nation is a task nothing short of monumental.  This is to say nothing of the growth of government at home that always accompanies such an overseas mission, as it becomes necessary to finance and support such an operation as well as keep in line and monitor those who don’t approve of such government action. 

Leviathan projects such as these are not the designs of true, small government conservatives.  The neoconservatives rank and file voters are whistling past the graveyard when ignoring their own adherence to a collectivist model of social control.  There is no invisible hand in play when building a nation, at home or abroad; there is no individual will, there is nothing but the iron fist of the ruling elite who know better than you how a society should be organized.  On top of the necessity of the big government apparatus needed to build a nation in a Western image, there is another dichotomy that is often left unconsidered by war supporters.  Professed conservatives believe in free market capitalism, yet there is no single greater destroyer of capital than war and there is nothing free about forced economic conversion under the threat of a JDAM.  Buyers and sellers have a hard time meeting for the purposes of commerce and trade with B-2s and Predators circling overhead.  Talk about decisions made under duress!  These antithetical notions are lost on far too many professed conservatives.  Before this type of conservativecan save this country from statism at the ballot box, they must first be saved from their own inconsistencies or we are doomed for more of the same just under a different banner of the duopoly.  I warn readers, that the editorializing is about to get fairly thick, if you could not already tell. 

When I last left this topic the nation was in the wake of the “Mosque at Ground Zero” controversy.  Since that time, there has been a plethora of new Islamic based controversies culminating in the recent weeks with the heightened terror alerts because somebody in Pakistan was planning to kill you, or so alleges the CIA after dropping bombs from drones on Pakistani civilians.  There is no way to analyze topics such as the destruction of personal liberty and economic prosperity in a vacuum, yet this is exactly the mode of operation taken by the neoconservative polity.  Every mainstream neoconservative talk show host on the radio could be a carbon copy of one another when talking about the war on terror.  How well they can talking about the war without a mention of the liberty, the growth of the Big Brother security state, war debt and dead and then switch to the imposition of the state and loss of liberty when talking taxation (which is going toward the same budget deficits).   When a person of a Constitutional, libertarian background attempts to discuss this topic with their supposed allies in the voting booth and liberty groups, there are a number of things he or she can expect to encounter, outside of the notable conservative paradoxes mentioned above.  As discussed in part one, these usually fall under two broad categories of ad hominem or in what I call the “Islam is evil” argument.  Both of these arguments are easily refuted using sound reasoning.  Both of these arguments are based in emotion, not logic.  Often cited elements within the “Islam is evil” argument are demonstrably inaccurate to boot.  As for the ad hominem attacks, these are the first line of defense used to avoid a substantive and honest look at the prudence of our foreign and domestic policy as it pertains to the Muslim world. 

Many people who find themselves at The Liberty Voice’s website are undoubtedly tea party supporters or members, as am I.  To test the validity of my claim that ad hominem attacks are a major part of the war support repertoire, simply try and have a discussion about the Global War on Terror’s assault on personal liberty at your next tea party meeting and observe how many people will immediately call you a liberal, a terrorist sympathizer, an America hater, a pacifist or some derivation far more cutting.  This phenomenon is so well known that the Nazis in the 1930 and 1940 used this feature of human psychology as a weapon against the masses.  These internal biases are easily exploited by “The Big Lie” as explained by Herman Goering while on trial at Nuremberg on April 18, 1946. 

“Why, of course the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don’t want war; that is understood.

But after all, it’s the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it’s a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship.

Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger. It works the same way in any country.”

Ad hominem attacks are textbook logical fallacies that are often used to avoid actual evidence or an honest discussion.  Most ad hominem used when discussing the Global War on Terror (GWOT) are as baseless as the Jimmy Carter labeling anyone who opposes the health care reform bill as a racist.  The personal attacks never have to be supported with evidence; the accusation alone plants a seed of distrust so that any information coming from the mouth of the insulted party is instantly dismissed as the rantings of a loon or a person with a vested interest in the destruction of America.  I’ve searched for ways to prove definitively that I love America to neoconservative detractors when I have this conversation, yet it seems the only criteria for love of country is how many support our troops stickers one has on their car or how many instances of Muslim violence a person can point to in the world.  Being able to break through the wall of personal attacks to even have a discussion on this topic often takes the patience of a saint.  I am the wrong man for the job.  If you are fortunate enough to press on through the name calling and get to a point where you can state your case and lay out your evidence, you will certainly be confronted with the explanation that a vast majority of Muslims by their very nature and belief system are a subhuman species completely motivated by hate and religion.  The war supporters will often confuse stereotyping and guilt by association with personality and criminal profiling.  In the end, you will butt heads with the grandiose notion that your life, liberty and economic stability are under existential threat due to the inherent evilness of Islam.  Islam is at the gates and has come to collapse the West is the simple explanation and part of the pattern of binary logic used by neoconservatives.  You are with us or you are against us, when ultimately the heart of the discussion is about what is the cause and what is the effect and what is best for America.  Has Islam awakened, reemerged, been there all along coveting and plotting and finally grew a wild hair you know where?  Or is this simply a plausible sounding argument, based on emotion which is not at all supported by evidence and reason?  Islam may be at the gates in some regards, terrorism is a threat and a blight, but it is only due to the over expansion and subsequent collapse of the West that we must now face a tactic as old as civilization itself.  The effect is mistaken for the cause in this case.   

In this process of attempting to discuss Islam’s relation to our nation’s economic and Constitutional destruction, you can count on most of your evidence being left unexamined or placed in a vacuum as unconnected or insignificant.  In the event you provide and example that is so well established as to no be ignored, prepare to hear the words “no moral equivalency” often followed with an accusation of bigotry in some way if you dare mention Israel-Palestine in the mix.  Often anti-Semitism charges are volleyed about but forget that the whole idea of “Islam is evil” is a bigoted to the core, and that Palestinians are Semitic people, there will likely be no use in fighting fire with fire on this one.  Once again, moral equivalency is set by whom exactly?  Often it is the first person to utter the words “no moral equivalency” who has decided the justness of a particular course of action.  It seems Bill O’Reilly is one of the final arbiters of the morality of one’s culture.  Well, I should not really signal out just Bill-O in that this is true of a large segment of the mainstream media’s conservative junket.  These people on the airwaves will often tell their audiences that there is no moral equivalency when the CIA stages coups and kills civilians in mosque bombings such as in TPAJAX and there is apparently no equivalency when a drone bombs a funeral as long as it was an “accident” or the CIA says there was a suspected militant in the group.  Never mind the ten militants that one innoccent civilian death will create.  Then it becomes the militants fault for using human shields.  If you do not understand this concept you must be intellectually deficient in some way or you hate America.  Yet, I find it odd that I have asked many conservative friends of mine who support the war what they would do when China runs our economy and drone bombs your family?  Not one has answered they would readily submit to the new yoke and wave the flag of the foreign ruler. 

Mind you, that usually the defenders of the state war propaganda will never seem to catch on to things such as the CIA has claimed to kill the same top commanders of Al Qaeda multiple times or that there is never any proof given that any of the people killed were terrorists.  The statement alone by the Federal spokesman repeated in the media in justification of such an operation is the proof.  If the government’s track record on accurately identifying this invisible enemy is as good as their record on Guantanamo detainees or weapons of mass destruction we are very bad off.  In fact, it is the military brass who has admitted to killing a large number of people who were not threats or completely unarmed.  This of course includes Reuter’s journalists which were the subject of a Wikileaks disclosure and women and children in the night (which was subsequently covered up).   The reason none of this is relevant and you hate America is simple to the neoconservative, “collateral damage.”  Dropping fliers explaining why your family member is about to be killed and your home destroyed is of little consolation to occupied Muslims of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan and beyond but it must do wonders for the conscious of Americans.  Apparently all one has to do is warn of an impending murder to have their hands washed clean if you are an American, yet when an Islamist releases a tape warning Americans an attack is coming this is an act of terror.  When I point out that there is no such thing as accidental invasion (a nation deliberately moves troops into a theater of war), there is no such thing as an accidental cover up or that I could find no mention in any moral code of collateral damage, specifically what is referenced as the basis for American morality, the Christian Bible, all I usually hear is crickets in response.  I was raised Catholic and never heard Jesus speak of collateral damage in all my years of Sunday school or in the Beatitudes.  It is possible I suppose it was buried somewhere in those dreadfully long mass services because I usually was too busy complaining about all the sitting, standing and kneeling to hear every word.  If I am so lucky to get this far in any conversation the response it is usually, “war is hell”, “fog of war” or the inevitable “that was one bad apple” if you point to specific war crimes of U.S. soldiers overseas.  If you dare to use this apple as an example of why these wars are wrong or at least comparable to the actions of Muslims, you will likely find another ad hominem such as “you hate the military, you hippy.”  Do not attempt to question why a small percentage of Muslim extremist can be used as a commentary of an entire religion of 1.3 billion people yet the actions of some of our soldiers in this war can never be used to question the righteousness of our present military campaigns.  That will certainly bring the crickets to the conversation as well.   Noticeably the statement of cause is always missing from the talking points regurgitated by the war loving neoconservatives in office, on the airwaves and around the water cooler.  If you broach this topic when pointing to the Time Square Bomber’s full statement during sentencing and not the out of context garbage nicely parsed in twenty second “news” clips then you are “blaming the victim.”  Suddenly the world’s only military superpower with over 700 military bases around the globe, with combat operations in 75 countries is the oppressed victim in this supposed culture war.  Reagan’s “freedom fighters” battling an expansive empire are now run of the mill murderous sociopaths.  Sociopaths we had such foresight to arm and train.  Sociopaths who have moved from combating one empire to the next.   

This is the point of this post where I give my readers just a little bit of background on myself, because the evolution I underwent in regards to my stances on the GWOT really mirrors what many people I know went through as well.  I come from a family with some military tradition from my grandfather on Guadalcanal to my father as an infantry man guarding the gold (if it is still there) at Fort Knox.  I personally lost a dear friend and longtime roommate in Iraq in 2007.  Patriotism was supporting what my friends were doing in the desert and what our soldiers have done past, present and future.  I was a two time Bush voter and for a long time motivated by emotion and anger over 9-11.  Retribution was justified due to an appeal to anger.  At no point did I really fear for my life from Islam and to this day I still do not fear for my life from Islam.  I did not believe Saddam Hussein was coming to get me or had any ability to get me, yet I still wanted this dictator gone because of my emotions.  I did not believe that some terrorist in a cave in Afghanistan had the ability to steal, develop, deploy a nuclear weapon and no nation currently in the rank of nuclear nations (or potentially could be in that rank) would ever be so suicidial and wasteful to give a terrorist a weapon with the intent to use it on the U.S. or any of our allies.  It did not matter to me the government mining data and watching our every move because that is only going to effect Muslims.  It did not matter to me that the Senate’s Riegle Report stated that the U.S. supplied Saddam Hussein with the means to gas his own people in the 1980s which was a stated pretext for one of these invasions.  It did not matter to me that multitude of surveys which showed the Iraqi’s think they are now worse off because of U.S. involvement.  It did not matter that Saddam was our puppet dictator we used in many instances to destabilize the region or to fight proxy wars with their neighbor Iran.  It did not matter that even the slant drilling technology that caused Iraq to invade Kuwait in the early 1990s may have came from the U.S. and that the U.S. gave Saddam the indication that we would not intervene in any regional oil dispute between Iraq and Kuwait.  Saddam bad, U.S. good, the binary logic of the establishment had me waving my flag as a patriotic American should.  Realizing this is a total suspension of logic was what eventually allowed me to examine things more analytically. 

I never truly gave in to irrational fear, yet I used fear as an argument to cover blind rage.  Rage is not the same as truth.  Despite this, I have personally used every argument emanating from the neoconservative camp in support of the GWOT at one point of time or another.  In the interest of brevity (which at this point has been lost), let’s reduce this to what I see are the most common “Islam is evil” arguments and many open ends will be tied up when disecting these argument one at a time to see if they hold water.  Most of the major examples people use in support of indefinite war and nation building can be found in a handful of themes.  These gems include the state’s talking points about “mushroom clouds” over U.S. cities and ancient caliphates somehow reemerging in the place of modern day nations and major world powers.  This argument often includes the Crusades, Vlad the Impaler at Vienna and Charles Martel at Tours, Jewish genocide, wiping Israel off the map and of course the Eurabia and Creeping Sharia.  A bevy of examples such as wife beatings, honor killings, stonings, virgins, pedophilia, polygamy and apocalyptic prophesy is always sprinkled in.   Personally, I had such a confirmation bias toward all these arguments as a reflex to 9-11 that I went so far as to actually sit down and read the Qur’an so I could pick out every violent verse in the Suras as “proof” of the inherent violence in this religion, culture and society.   You will find the occasional Qur’anic verse to support the overall supposition about Islam and the necessity of nation building wars.  However, if these arguments are boiled down, examined with logic and reason the truth becomes quite different from the conventional wisdom which was handed down on high by establishment messengers.  Since each one of these major arguments in favor of the destruction of our economy and civil rights through undeclared and indefinite wars is a topic unto itself, please stay tuned for the conclusion of this piece in part three, The Collapsing West and Islam’s Advance.

I wear many hats but history, economics and political observance have always been a passion. I am a graduate of the University of Cincinnati College of Business with a degree in Information Systems and Digital Business with a minor in European History. I work for a small mom-and-pop IT consulting and software design company. We deal in servicing mostly government funded non-profit mental and behavioral health care agencies in the state of Ohio. In this I deal with Medicaid and Medicare funds and have a little insight on the boondoggles of government there. Thankfully the undemanding nature of my daily profession gives me ample time to read and stay aware of our current state of affairs which I find stranger than fiction in many instances. In addition to being in the IT field, I have also been self employed with a small contracting company so I might know a thing or two about the plight of small business that employs 71% of the American workforce. I however don't draw my knowledge from my day jobs, which I have had a few; I draw it from an intense obsession with facts and observation about the world in which I live. I do have formal education in things such as history, economics and finance particularly as it pertains to global issues, but I have come to find much of what I thought I knew from the formalities of a state university I had to unlearn through much time and independent research. I hope you enjoy what I bring you which is not often heard in the mainstream news outlets. I would like to think my own personal editorializing is not only edifying but thought provoking while not at all obnoxious. That last one may be a hard to achieve.

2 Comments

  1. Aceriter

    October 19, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    First, I think the writer could have made his points in half the space used. Secondly, he objects to the idea of people thinking ill of all Muslims when only a handful are actually terrorists.

    But he then goes on to do the same thing to those opposing Muslim terrorists as if they all think alike and have the same philosophical values. But we don’t. I am opposed to Muslim immigration into the USA because they will ruin our culture. But I am also opposed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as being stupid and wasteful. I sympathize with the Tea Party movement, but I do not think like many in that movement, etc, etc.

  2. Andrew McCleese

    October 20, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Thank you for your comment and I would like to take a minute to respond in the interest of an open dialogue about this particular post. As I warned readers in the begging this one was going to be thick on editorializing and absent of any brevity. The reason is quite simple, we live in a world of sound bites and slogans and this particular piece was about the typical ad hominem slogans and retorts any time you attempt to have a conversation on this subject. No matter what you write Aceriter somebody will take issue with it. It will either be too short on specifics or too longwinded. I would rather give too much than too little, it is just my style that is derived from my belief that complex subjects such as the intricacies of foreign policy can not be reduced to simple declarative statements.

    This piece is part of a 3 part series I am writing to address the typical arguments that surface when discussing the role the Global War on Terror and Islamaphobia has on our Constitution, sense of truth and inalienable freedoms. It is a three part piece because this is an immense topic. At no point did I say anything like Muslims have all the same philosophical values and I challenge you to produce any quote such as that. Quite to the contrary, my stance (and this will be discussed in part three) is that Islam is extremely fractured and is not monolithic, there is no uniform thinking among Muslims. Additionally, my point is that many people DO lump all Muslims in one category and I agree completely with your statement that we are talking about a very small group of Muslims who eventually commit acts of violence in the form of terrorism. My direction in this post was to speak to people accustomed to assuming all Muslims are terrorists (or could be), which clearly you rightly do not assume this. Lastly, I would say that nobody I know, and certainly I do not support Islamic terrorism, so anyone opposing terrorism are not relevant in this piece. The people I am addressing are the folks who oversimplify and stereotype, once again, none of this seems to be your mode of thinking judging by your comment here.

    As to your final critique, I was attempting to make clear that there are many, many arguments people use in order to object to Islam as an entity. I listed many of these inside what I am calling the “Islam is evil” argument even though I realize this might be a bit of a misnomer because it would appear as if it is one congruent argument, when in actuality it is a composite of many different types of arguments. You particular concerns will be addressed in part three and are part of the “Creeping Sharia” and “Eurabia” arguments (which are essentially that Islam is advancing at the destruction of other cultures). Since these are long topics, I had to divide these up, but believe me, your argument is nothing new and nothing I haven’t considered and will be addressed in part three as I indicated in the closing paragraph. I intend to use actual statistics and logic to show the myths and hyperbole associated with this concept. That alone could be a whole post unto itself, but if you want a teaser, here is a couple links about how your argument is going to be deconstructed.

    http://www.wilsonquarterly.com/article.cfm?aid=1408

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/article711186.ece

    http://www.newsweek.com/2009/07/10/why-fears-of-a-muslim-takeover-are-all-wrong.html

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/17/opinion/17exum.html?_r=3

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