Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Essential Ingredients

     It’s been said often enough already that you can’t defeat an enemy you’re afraid to name. Indeed, you can’t even make adequate provision to endure and survive him. Ayn Rand dramatized the matter beautifully:

     [James Taggart] "What I mean is, there are practical problems to solve, which...For instance, what was that matter of our last allocation of new rail vanishing from the storehouse in Pittsburgh?"
     [Dagny Taggart] "Cuffy Meigs stole it and sold it."
     "Can you prove that?" he snapped defensively.
     "Have your friends left any means, methods, rules or agencies of proof?"
     "Then don't talk about it, don't be theoretical, we've got to deal with facts! We've got to deal with facts as they are today...I mean, we've got to devise some practical means to protect our supplies under existing conditions, not under unprovable assumptions, which --"
     She chuckled. There was the form of the formless, she thought, there was the method of his consciousness: he wanted her to protect him from Cuffy Meigs without acknowledging Meigs's existence, to fight it without admitting its reality, to defeat it without disturbing its game.

     She might as well have been writing about Islam.

     When it comes to the orgy of violence Islam has unleashed upon the world, few commentators are willing to speak of complete, permanent, bounded solutions. Consider, for example, this Charlie Martin article of a few days ago:

     What we want, what we hope might come out of this, is that the other end of the spectrum, the "poor Muslims are just misunderstood, terrorism comes from unemployment or Islamophobia or, God help us, climate change" liberals might get enough focus to realize that RIT might not be, strictly, an existential threat, but it is a profound threat, and the countries that are supporting RIT damn well could be an existential threat. So it behooves us to act like it, and do something about it now before it becomes an existential threat.

     Which means, we need to go back and think seriously about what George W. Bush infamously called a "war on terror."

     I'm one of those people, possibly even the last one of those people, who didn't think that was a bad way to phrase it. It has several virtues: it doesn't align us against the whole Muslim world, all 1.6 billion of them; it is relatively non-interventionist; it's actually a relatively well-focused goal.

     That goal can even be stated simply: to make it completely clear that terrorism is a tactic that never pays off for the terrorists or for their supporters. Religions and ideologies notwithstanding, if we can convince people that the tactic of terrorism is never in their best interest, it will stop.

     Now, Charlie’s a bright guy, as his writings will attest. Moreover, his article does lay out a strategy that would do better against Islamic terrorism than our current, fumbling, half-abashed approach to the matter. But the brightest and most erudite of individuals, if hobbled by an unfortunate premise, will miss essential points even so.

     What are those essential points? Glad you asked:

  • Violence is a core element of the Islamic creed.
  • Terrorism is only one aspect of Islam-powered violence.
  • Religious warriors never accept defeat; they win or they die.

     Those three points indicate that an approach to “Islamic terrorism” of the sort the world currently suffers could be brilliantly effective against terrorism per se without solving the underlying problem.

     Charlie isn’t alone in missing those points. Nearly every other commentator on the subject has missed them as well...many of them deliberately. They’re uncomfortable to face. Their implications are terribly unpleasant. They require Americans to allow that we’ve permitted blood enemies to enter our homeland and settle among us.

     They imply that there can be no complete, permanent, bounded solution to Islamic violence that doesn’t solve the fundamental problem from which the others arise: Islam itself. To that problem there are only two imaginable solutions:

  1. Quarantine: The permanent confinement of all Muslims and all outcroppings of Islam to a designated region which no one is allowed to leave.
  2. Genocide: The elimination of every Muslim on Earth and the destruction of every physical remnant of Islam. This is the “hoof and mouth” cure: If there are no Muslims, there will be no Islam-powered violence.

     Harsh? Yes. But consider the virtues of these approaches:

  • Complete: Either would solve the problem of Islamic violence in toto, rather than addressing terrorism alone.
  • Permanent: Either can be made as enduring as Mankind, though the implementation would be laborious and expensive.
  • Bounded: Either, once implemented, would not require efforts that “go on forever.” Rather it could be completed and left to stand, especially as Islamic societies, if denied access to technology from more advanced countries, are ultimately weak.

     The essential ingredients of Islam:

  • Intolerance of other religions;
  • Conversion by the sword;
  • A mandate from Allah to make Islam the only religion practiced anywhere;

     ...make these approaches the only ones that would work. Of course the bleeding hearts of the world – and there are many among American conservatives, doubt it not – would rail against either one as inhumane. But that’s in the nature of warfare, and like it or not, Islam is at war with the entire non-Islamic world. “Dar al-Harb,” the “House of War,” is the term they use for us.

     He who refuses to recognize a blood enemy will fall to that enemy. The refusal to recognize Islam’s ineradicable hostility to anything other than Islam will allow Muslims to continue to reap innocent lives, including the lives of young persons who seek to leave Islam, for as long as it persists.

     No one likes wholesale approaches guaranteed to result in mounds of dead bodies and oceans of blood. Certainly I don’t. But I like the prospect of a war that never ends – a war in large part being conducted against us within our own borders and with our own resources! – even less.

     (See also this earlier essay, which elaborates on the same subject and the same points.)

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