Existential Threat, Radical Appeasement
It is not hard to find Leftist articles telling us the Muslims hate us because of our actions. (Random pick from yesterday: Prescribing World Terrorism, by Eric Margolis.) This idea, that Muslim rage is fueled by “Western imperialist aggression” meted upon Muslims, is so commonplace on the moonbat side of the blogosphere that I now hardly consider it worthy of mentioning (but see Herbert E. Meyer’s recent article on The American Thinker for a well-considered write-up). I have, however, found an article written from the self-blaming, appeasing point of view that is significant and worthy of a post of its own: US Role in Islamist Terrorism, on Antiwar.com, by Ivan Eland. The title may make it look like another one of those “our bombs made them hate us” articles, but inside there lurks a new and important kind of argument: the existential argument. The argument that says the mere being of US troops on non-Muslim lands is fueling their hatred. First quote:
To fully understand Islamic terrorism, one needs to understand what triggers this extraordinary rage. And throughout history one factor stands out above all else: the occupation of Muslim land by non-Muslim forces.
This is something else, beginning with the word, “land”. This isn’t the usual talk of bombs and projectiles and body counts; it’s about mere existence. The argument is reinforced the deeper we go down the article:
There is much the United States could do to defuse the problem, and a good place to start would be by removing land-based U.S. forces from the Persian Gulf.
Even Osama bin Laden claims he attacks the United States primarily because of its military presence in the region. Other reasons, he claims, are secondary.
This, never mind that the writer approaches it from an entirely erroneous point of view (appeasement), is perfectly true: the weapons of the non-Muslims, whether American or Soviet or Israeli or anyone else, are only a secondary affront; the real red rag in front of the Muslims’ eyes is the idea that parts that once were under the rule of Islam are now under non-Muslim control, with a non-Muslim presence in them. A core issue, an issue which makes the post-colonial rantings of other Leftist writers sound childish in comparison. Eland sees the truth on that matter. He writes also:
Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza after the 1967 Six Day War and its military interventions in Lebanon triggered similar reactions, as did the U.S. military presence in Lebanon in the early 1980s. Indeed, it’s fair to say that Israel’s very existence—a non-Islamic state in land claimed by the Muslims—is part of the same pattern, as is the U.S. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. [Emphasis mine. —ZY]
An accurate perception. Military intervention, “Apartheid Wall”, checkpoints and all that yang are not, and never have been, the issue—from the start, indeed from the beginning of the 20th century, the disproportionate opposition of the Muslims to the peaceful and most un-colonialist-like Jewish acquisition of land cannot be explained except by the idea, a basic Islamic tenet, that Islam is programmed for perpetual gain of land and against the smallest loss of it. The demand of the Muslims, in all times, has been nothing less than the demise of all non-Islamic polities on earth. Gains for shariah could be postponed in the case of lack of feasibility, but losses of shariah-governed lands had to be countered immediately.
Eland sees the truth of this existential struggle, but if he reacted to it the way any sane, self-preserving non-Muslim would, he would be on our side, and I would not be writing this piece. Instead, he reacts in precisely the wrong way, counseling appeasement:
Only by minimizing the permanent U.S. military presence in Arab and Islamic lands can we hope to stem anti-U.S. terrorism.
A half-truth can be worse than a lie. Eland has half of the truth in that he perceives Muslim enmity to be rooted in the issue of governance over lands, and not in military actions against them. But he is missing the other half of the truth: the vision of Islam is not limited to the Middle East or to any of the lands now currently under Muslim rule. The vision of Islam is not limited, period. He shows his error near the beginning of his article:
From the time of the Crusades, the pattern has been consistent.
Like all of this article, that sentence is a maddening combination of deep insight and sheer blindness. The deep insight is that of winding the clock back to far-off ages, something that many on the Left refuse to do because (in ironic Occidental snobbishness) they do not imagine people could retain the memory of events so ancient. And he shares with me the emphasis on Muslims rather than Arabs, a necessary step if one is to succeed in understanding the current global conflict. But he does not go far enough in riding the Wayback Machine: he neglects to go further beyond the Crusades, back to the beginning of it all—to the 7th century CE.
Go to the beginning of the 7th century and you will see two kingdoms locked in combat: the Christian empire of Byzantium, and the Zoroastrian kingdom of Sassanid Persia. The Land of Israel, Syria, Egypt, Lybia and the Magreb were all Christian lands, part of the Eastern Roman Empire; and Mesopotomia and Persia boasted of a history and culture already stretching back more than a thousand years. Then, in the 30’s of the 7th century, Arab bedouin tribesmen, motivated by the religion of Islam, took it all: the Byzantines were left with Asia Minor and the Balkans, whereas Persia fell whole to the invaders, whose religion, heritage and values they subsequently imposed upon it, in what was one of the most egregious acts of cultural imperialism in all of history.
The attacks, invasions and conquests were unprovoked; under the standard Leftist “tit-for-tat” view, they would have to be on the side of the Crusaders, excusing the Crusades as blowback for the Islamic aggression of the 7th century. But it would not fit the agenda of allying with the Muslims to defeat the hated white, capitalist, Bible-believing (et cetera) West. So Eland does as he must in order to prevent cognitive dissonance, and avoids going any further than the Crusades, thus securing their place as the first instance of Western aggression toward Muslims in his narratives. But that is not the truth.
Spain sheepishly withdrew its troops from Iraq after the Madrid terrorist attack of March 2004. Surely, pace Eland, this should have been the end of all Muslim enmity toward Spain? Ah, the difference between what we wish and what really is… No, Spain has not been freed; of the rallying cries for jihadis worldwide, less known than the “Palestinian” cause but no less real and significant, is the call for “liberating Al-Andalus from the infidels”. Al-Andalus is the Arab, Islamic name for Spain. What was once brought under Islamic rule, say the Muslims, is to stay there, and to be prevented from being taken away by the non-Muslims; and what has never yet been under Islamic rule is to be brought under it eventually. The goal of Islam is world domination. “Islam will dominate”, say the signs.
The existence of any land in the world not under the rule of Islamic law is the one and only root cause of Muslim rage. Entitlement to the whole world is that which, when deprived of it, the Muslims react in anger. Reasoning is not possible here, only resistance, resistance by those who know the whole truth and wish to preserve their freedom intact. The alternative is, at best, dhimmitude—an apartheid system where non-Muslims are second-class subjects constantly at the mercy of their Muslim overlords.
The lesson learned is that empire does not enhance security—it undermines it. U.S. power on Islamic soil is especially problematic.
Only a few changes are needed for the truth: “The lesson learned is that caliphate does not enhance security—it undermines it. Islamic power on non-Muslim soil is especially problematic.”
To use a Leftism in an appropriate place just for once: to resist is to exist.
[UPDATE, Wednesday, July 11, 2007, 14:17] Ivan Eland is not a left-winger but a paleoconservative—a member of the Old Right, remnants of the bad old party of Charles Lindbergh. That I could mistake him for a Leftist is testimony to today’s shift of isolationist, appeasement-supporting and fascist-sympathizing positions from the Right to the Left in the West. My thanks to Jason Pappas for the correction.