Monday, December 26, 2005

"What we’re doing now may be the only way to prevent all out war between Islam and EVERYONE else"

According to Sharon Lapkin, "Everywhere in the world, Muslims are in conflict with their neighbours." It certainly does appear that way, no?

This letter from a soldier puts it well (via Willisms):

I am a member of the United States’ much maligned military. I spent seven years in the Army and the last five years in the Air Force Reserves. In the Army I was a Patriot missile man. Now in the Air Force I am an Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician (Bomb Squad). All twelve years of my service I have been on active duty (thanks in part to 9-11). I have been I’ve spent most of my adult life, in one way or another, working in the Middle East (6 deployments). The reason I mention this is that I want my pedigree fully understood. I’m not some armchair quarterback, and my involvement with the Middle East is not shallow or purely academic. I have taken the time to study the Arab region and the Muslim culture. I even learned Arabic.
Now that I’ve established some background, let me say that which the PC crowd won’t say. Folks, the culture and religion in question is hostile. The individual’s are often sweet and well meaning people. Some would bring credit to any group or situation they could be placed in. The overall society however, is as poisonous as a pit viper and twice as touchy. I’ve sat back and watched as academics and media people have apologized over and over again for the Muslim culture. Saying repeatedly “Islam is peaceful” and constantly rehashing the “Jihad is spiritual struggle” meme. This is categorically false. The “Jihad of the spirit” many apologists refer to is a late Sufi tradition, extremely rare and often discredited among “mainstream” Islam. To put it in perspective, Sufis are as rare in Islam an 7th day Adventists are in Christianity. Probably more so.

Having stated all that, let me tell you about the Islam that I have witnessed. On my first deployment in 1994, while eating at a café in Riyadh, I saw a woman beaten and dragged away from her children on the street. What was her crime? After a very careful inquiry, my friends and I learned that she was selling souvenirs without her husband present. Her three small children were left to cower on the street in tears. We were nearby for almost an hour; we wanted to help, but were unable to. Both because we were advised against it, and for fear that the Mutawa (religious police) would take us in as well. The woman’s husband never showed. On another deployment in 1995, also in Riyadh, I saw a Saudi man beat a Pakistani nearly to death for the crime of being hit by the aforementioned Saudi’s Mercedes. I watched the accident and the subsequent beating. The Saudi was clearly at fault for the accident. When the aforementioned Mutawa showed, they hauled off the Pakistani to an unknown fate and sent the Saudi man on his way. In case you didn’t know, Pakistani’s and members of other poor Muslim countries are often recruited to work in Saudi Arabia as indentured servants / slaves. The conditions they live in and treatment they receive are appalling. I could go on, there were other incidents that I observed, both more and less disturbing. I have observed similarly jarring incidents in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. From conversations with other servicemen I can tell you such incidents were not unusual or even rare. Call them “cultural quirks” if you will, but I was raised to know right from wrong when I see it.

All of the “little” incidents I witnessed or heard about, pale into insignificance compared to what I observed and learned about during my time in Baghdad. On a visit to rid a small village of UXOs (Un-eXploded Ordnance), I had a conversation with a man who lost most of his family to one of Saddam’s Gas attacks. By most let me clarify by saying that only his sister and three cousins survived. By the time I met him, he’d already lost one of those cousins to a bomb set by Zarqawi’s group. Later, during one of my longest duty days (38 hours), I had to conduct a post blast analysis where an IED had gone off. The only victims were two Kindergarten aged girls. One of their little shoes (blood stained) was still at the scene when we arrived. I had to watch my friend’s stricken face when he realized that what he thought was a component of the device revealed itself to be a little girls’ tooth. Ansar Al Islam claimed responsibility for the bombing. It was not the only such incident. One of the other incidents I helped investigate was the grand opening of an elementary school. A device with approximately 10lbs of explosives was detonated during the opening ceremonies. The vast majority of the crowd consisted of children and Iraqi civilians. Thankfully the only injury was a scraped elbow received by a soldier knocked from his vehicle. I will not speak of the atrocities I heard about that were committed by the Taliban. They literally give me nightmares, and I do not wish to pass them on. As with the “minor” cultural incidents in the preceding paragraph, there is much more that I could mention. I hope my point is made. DO NOT fall under the spell of the apologists for Islam. The Islamic people need to be held accountable for their actions. Ideally, they should police themselves and purge the radical elements from their society. Personally, I believe that is unlikely to happen, except possibly in Iraq where they have suffered so much at the hands of the radicals. The long on the short of it is that there is a reason why most of the conflicts occurring around the world involve Islam in some fashion. I encourage anyone and everyone who has read my words to look into this for themselves. Read deep enough and you will see that I am at least partly correct. As I said, I am hardly neutral.

Right now, my colleagues throughout the military are fighting and dying to provide Iraqis with a chance to improve the Arab culture and bring democracy to a region that desperately needs it. I believe that democracy is the only thing that can “tame” the Islamic cultures of the world. What we’re doing now may be the only way to prevent all out war between Islam and EVERYONE else. I wish others could see the war in Iraq and Afghanistan in that context.

Anyway, now that my probably incoherent rant has come to a close, I can only say that I hope someone out there listens. With or without WMD’s, going into Iraq was the right thing to do. Facing down and destroying “Islamofascism” on our terms, is the only way to deal with it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The bit about the Saudi beating up a Pakistani is probably because a Pakistani is MUCH lower in status compared to a Saudi. Partly because the Saudi is white and rich. Its not right, but that is the way of white supremism.
In Islam, everyone is equal. However, there are many who claim to be muslim but act otherwise. Eg: Hitler was a Christian. But his actions were anything but Christian. (You don't see people claming all christians are anti-jewish)
Please keep in mind that hypocrites and white supremists exist in the Muslim Society as well as in the Western Society.

11:15 AM  
Blogger dw said...

I don't see any other 'societies' cutting school-girls heads off or blowing up children. This post was not about race. It was about a culture that is sick. Hitler did it so that makes it ok? That's the best you can do? You are putting our society on par with one that stones women for being unfortunate enough to be raped. Try to imagine that for a second. Your post, "that is the way of white supremism," demonstrates that you are a racist. And your moral equivalency is vulgar.

9:31 AM  

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