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February 28, 2007

Is Islamofascism a Legitimate Threat to Liberty?

by Stephen Littau

In my recent post about Michael Charles Smith, I received a response from a reader by the name of Carl Deen regarding my support for the war against terror Islamofascism (Not the war on terror. Terrorism is the method the Islamofascist uses to accomplish his political-religious goals). I think his challenge is worth a post of its own so rather than responding in the original post, I have decided to answer him here.

Deen writes:

Let’s see if I understand the author. Without provocation, much like Germany did to Poland, the USA invaded Iraq, a country that was no threat to us; however, because, we did, we cannot admit our mistakes and withdraw. I suppose, by that reasoning, we must stay there forever at a cost of $500 billion and the lives of several hundred solders a year.

According to the author, Islam is a threat to us; therefore, we must attack and meddle in their affairs. It doesn’t occur to the author that if you attack and meddle in their affairs, you make more enemies than if you leave them alone.

Oh, I forgot; they hate us for our freedoms. Therefore, by using the war as reasons to turn the USA into a police state, they will stop hating us because we will have lost our remaining freedoms.

Was Iraq a threat to the United States?

First of all, the comparisons of the U.S. to Nazi Germany are getting very tiresome. Whatever ‘atrocities’ the U.S. has committed pale in comparison to the Holocaust. I also reject the premise that Iraq was no threat to the U.S. Regardless of whether or not Saddam had WMD, he was a threat to the U.S. Saddam did in fact invade Kuwait in the early 1990’s to steal the Kuwait’s oil. Had Saddam been allowed to proceed, there would have been national security threats as well as economic threats to the U.S. and the world.

When Saddam surrendered to the international coalition, there were certain conditions that he agreed to so that he could continue to be in power. Among those conditions were that he was not to reconstitute his WMD program and was restricted from flying in the ‘no fly zones.’ To enforce the agreement, coalition fighters patrolled the no fly zones from the time of the surrender to the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Saddam routinely fired with anti-aircraft weapons on the coalition fighters patrolling the no fly zones, directly putting the lives of U.S. and coalition pilots at risk. These attacks were provocative acts of war.

Let’s also not forget that Saddam attempted to assassinate former President Bush. Regardless of how you feel about President Bush, he was a president of the United States. An attack on the president—any American president is a provocative act of war against the United States.

And then there were the families of the suicide bombers who Saddam paid to spread terrorism throughout Israel. Sure, he was not paying suicide bombers to make attacks in American cities (as far as we know anyway), but this still proved that he was not above such tactics. Though the 9/11 commission found no links between Saddam Hussein and the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, the commission did find that attempts were made between Saddam and Bin Laden to form an alliance. Their ties however, were non-operational. Had Saddam been as far along in his WMD program as most of the world’s intelligence agencies and world leaders had thought, it is not out of the realm of possibility to believe that those ties could have eventually become operational making it possible for Islamofascits to gain access to this material and carry out an attack on the U.S. Based on Saddam’s track record (his use of chemical and biological weapons on his own people, for example), there was no reason to believe that he did not have WMD. U.S. intelligence had underestimated Saddam’s progress in his WMD programs in the past. If left unchecked, he would have.

Whoops! We were wrong, time to go?

We can debate whether or not the invasion of Iraq was justified and can even argue that preemption is a bad military philosophy. Fine, that’s fair. A case could be made that other outlaw regimes such as Iran or North Korea posed a greater security threat to America. But right or wrong, we have troops in Iraq right now as a direct result of that philosophy. What possible good can come from surrendering and allowing Iraq to become quite possibly the largest hotbed of Islamofascism? If we leave Iraq in its current state, I am absolutely convinced the Islamofascists will follow us home. We also have a responsibility to the Iraqis to leave their country in a better situation than we found it. If we leave now, there will likely be a humanitarian disaster and the blood will be on our hands for allowing it.

I do not believe that our troops should stay in Iraq forever but I do believe they should stay until the Iraqi government is stable enough to handle the violence by itself. I also believe that our government should put more pressure on the Iraqi government to make this happen. Rather than a time table, there needs to be reasonable benchmarks that should be met before a pullout should occur. Hopefully, there are people in the Pentagon much smarter than me who can determine what these benchmarks should be.

If we leave them alone, they will leave us alone?

Carl Deen’s suggestion that if America simply pulled the troops out of all of the Islamic countries, the Islamofascists would forgive, forget, and leave us alone is typical of the ‘peace at any price’ crowd. America has made foreign policy mistakes in the past, no question. But does anyone seriously believe that if we say ‘we’re sorry’ the Islamofascists will forgive us? These people haven’t forgiven Europe for the Crusades for crying out loud!

The Islamofascists grudge against the West generally and America specifically is by no means limited to America’s actions in ‘Allah’s land.’ The Islamofascists do in fact hate America and Western culture because its freedoms are an anathema to the teachings of Islam. America is often referred to as ‘the great Satan’ because America is very liberal when it comes to rights of women, the freedom of religion, the separation of church (mosque) and state, and representative government.

Islamofascists are afraid that our ‘decadence’ will spill over into their counties and undermine their precious holy laws. I am aware that it’s not PC to say anything negative about one’s religion but the Quran itself states many times that non-Muslims are to be converted, enslaved, or killed. If you don’t believe me, read it yourself here.

Should we negotiate our way out of this war?

Ever heard that line in the Marine hymn “From the halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli”? The Tripoli part of the hymn has to do with America’s first encounters with Islamofascists- the Barbary Pirates. President George Washington sent Thomas Jefferson and John Adams to try to solve the crisis diplomatically. The pirates refused. Instead, they demanded the U.S. government to pay tribute (ransom) in exchange for promises that they would no longer attack and capture U.S. ships.

The Adams’ administration agreed to play ball (this surely would please the peace at any price Left of today). When Thomas Jefferson became president, he decided to put an end to paying tribute and instead used the full force of the Navy and Marines. As it turned out, force was the only thing that worked against the Muslim Barbary Pirates. After the pirates were defeated, they left American vessels alone and the European nations who were dealing with the same problem followed suit. Our leaders of today could learn a valuable lesson from this experience.

Sacrificing freedom for safety

This of course is a very valid concern. When we trade freedom for safety, we deserve neither. Many of us complain about the so-called domestic spying, warrantless wiretaps, the U.S.A. Patriot Act, and the creation to the Department of Homeland Security. Some reasonable security measures can be taken without sacrificing the freedom of America’s citizens but we all know that government often over reacts and over reaches.

Supposing we pull out of Iraq or go even further and withdraw troops from every Islamic state and the inevitable happens (attacks against American cities worse than 9/11), then what will happen to our freedoms? Let just one nuclear device take out just one American city and life as we know it in America will change forever. Expect martial law to be declared in every metropolitan area in the country and other government actions that will make the Patriot Act look like nothing. This will happen irrespective of whichever political party is in power at the time.

So yes Mr. Deen, I do believe that America was right to go into Iraq based on the intelligence available at the time and no I do not think our troops should stay there forever. Iraq is now a central front in a much larger war against Islamofascisim; a war which will continue as long as there are Islamofascists who intend to destroy our country and our way of life.

Related Posts:
Peace on the Enemy’s Terms
Placing the Blame Where it Truly Belongs
A Treatise on Treaties
Newsflash: War is Messy

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8 Comments

  1. Stephen-

    Much of what you say is true, and Saddam certainly had no moral justification for remaining in power.

    However, I still think invading Iraq was a bad idea: You can’t force people to be free, and many actively resist it (uh, seemingly many Americans, but that’s another story.) My (admittedly secondhand) knowledge leads me to conclude that most Iraqis would rather fight for a return to fascism than for a free state. And even if that isn’t true, I think it is self-evident that the cost, in lives and dollars, along with the distraction from finding and killing Bin Laden, means the downside of the Iraq War has been far greater than the benefits.

    Now, I don’t think we should leave immediately, but I do think if we started by admitting that we didn’t get what we wanted in Iraq, and that we might not EVER get it, then we might be in a position to figure out how to withdraw from Iraq while minimizing the cost to both the Iraqis and Americans.

    And in the meantime, we could start codifying a more rational approach to opposing Islamofascism: one where force may be acknowledged as morally justified, but also one where it is recognized that bombing targets with TV’s, X-Boxes, and similar trappings of consumerism (capitalism) just might be more effective (and less costly).

    Comment by Steve S. — February 28, 2007 @ 4:17 pm
  2. No, “Islamofascism” is not a threat to liberty in America. First, only the government is a threat to liberty in America. Second, there is no such thing as “Islamofascism”.

    How about explaining why “islamofascism” is a threat to America in terms of facts instead of personal feelings and unfounded predictions.

    These Muslim extremists you are so worried about do not have the means to destroy our country or “our way of life” – unless you regard “our way of life” as having some inherent right to occupy and/or meddle in their nations. They do seem to be doing a pretty good job of intefering with America’s interventionism in the Mideast which has gone on for over 50 years.

    Perhaps you should read Pape’s analysis on terrorism that shows the terror stops when invaders/occupiers leave. Perhaps you should also research the liklihood of non-state actors to carry out a nuclear attack. It is almost nonexistent.

    Preventive wars are a real non-starter for me, especially when the psychic neocons who predict the future have never had one of their predictions come true.

    It might also be helpful to revisit the Barbary pirate situation and learn to distinguish between gangsters and people seeking political self-determination. Regurgitating the received wisdom of paid propagandists for the war party is no substitute for rational thought.

    Hysterical fearmongering is the same technique used by anyone who is unable to persuade others through reason and fact.

    Comment by Tom Blanton — March 2, 2007 @ 12:23 am
  3. Steve:

    I agree with much of what you are saying about how America should move forward. Hindsight is 20/20. I once believed the notion that all humans yearn to be free. I no longer believe this. I believe that many humans yearn to be free but I also believe that most people desire to control others. This desire is even stronger than the will to be free. It seems that many of the warring factions in Iraq, with this new found freedom want to subjugate the other factions to their will.

    I also like your thinking about introducing more capitalism into Iraq. We could call it “Operation X-Box”. Actually, I think a lot of these things are happening already. While there are a lot of discouraging things happening in Iraq, its not all bad. There is this wonderful blog called “Iraq the Model” that gives a more complete picture than the MSM is willing to show. ITM gives the good, the bad, and the ugly and has links to other blogs and news sources from people who are actually there. Here is the link: http://iraqthemodel.blogspot.com/

    Tom:

    Where do I start? I respectfully have to disagree; Islamofascism is a grave threat to our liberty. I agree that while our own government is the greatest threat to our liberty, it’s by no means the only threat (unless you want to say that government’s incompetence to protect us from outside forces is also part of the threat).

    There is no such thing as Islamofascism? Where have you been? Maybe I did not do an adequate job of defining the term so here it is:

    The “Islamo” part obviously refers to the religion of Islam. By no means am I saying that by being a Muslim one is an Islamofascist no more than I would say that all Christians believe that Pat Robertson is a bright person. The “Islamo” part is an important description because it identifies the type of fascists we are talking about (if we were talking about Christians who used terror tactics to bring about a government under Christian law, we would rightly call these people “Christofascists”).

    For the “fascist” part, I refer you to the following definition I found at dictionary.com:

    Fascism:
    1.(sometimes initial capital letter ) a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism.

    2.(sometimes initial capital letter ) the philosophy, principles, or methods of fascism.

    3.(initial capital letter ) a fascist movement, esp. the one established by Mussolini in Italy 1922–43.

    The first definition applies with what is going on in places like Iran and is the governing policy of the Taliban. Women are executed for being raped or for being seen in public without a male escort who is a relative. Anything that goes against the ruling party’s Islamic doctrine is in violation of the law. This is fascism—Islamofascism.

    Whether or not I used emotional propaganda arguments or reason and facts, I’ll let the readers decide. You don’t think your side uses “paid propagandists” and “hysterical fearmongering”? I am quite capable of drawing my own conclusions and I suspect that you are too.

    Comment by Stephen Littau — March 2, 2007 @ 2:52 pm
  4. Instead of using Islamo-fascism why not call them by what they call themselves: Salafis are the Evangelical Christians (except Salafis kill people) of the Islamic world and one of the sects inside Salafism is the Muwahhidun (the morons who we should be killing first).

    I don’t see how going after secular Baathist and Shiites have anything to do with hunting down and killing all of the Salafis. It is like confusing Liberal Protestants and Catholics with the Army of God (anti-abortion terrorist).

    Comment by uhm — March 2, 2007 @ 6:16 pm
  5. I don’t think our soldiers would be going after the Baathists and the Shiites if they were not planting roadside bombs and killing our troops. The Baathists and the Shiites along with the groups that you referenced are among those who our troops are at war with. Whoever it is who is killing our troops deserve to be hunted down and killed.

    Comment by Stephen Littau — March 2, 2007 @ 6:31 pm
  6. Our soldiers are attacked by the Baathist because of the mistakes our government has made in Iraq by disbanding the Baathist government and allowing the Iraqis to write their own constitution. There are Salafis in Iraq but the Shiite are killing them as well as the Baathist (socialist). We just need to get out of the Shiites way and let their death squads do their job. We are the invader we attacked them. If someone attacked and invaded the US we would be doing the same (if we still have guns). I’d hope we wouldn’t be committing acts of evil against ourselves as the Iraqis are doing. I want our troops out of harms way. It is terrible the enemy (Iraqi Soldiers) is our soldiers best friends during the day then shoots them in the back at night :(

    We lack the political will, leadership and resources to do Iraq right. It would be wiser to move the War on Terror into another theater that is near 100% Sunni with a high concentration of the Salafis power.

    We should have attacked Saudi Arabia. They are funding. Saudi Arabia financed the Salafis so they could spread their stupidity across the globe. I hope this article isn’t right about Bush Administration supporting Salafis.

    Salafis are one percent of the Muslim population. There has to be a better way to kill them all. We need to find a more economically reasonable way to kill them but the war profiteers would be against that. We need to focus on social engineering the disenfranchised Muslims so they can find something better to do than commit terror. We need to figure out what is the best tool for each attack on Salafis and use it (even if it isn’t politically correct). We also need our immigration laws enforced and tweaked unless we want Shariah Law or lose the southwest. It is stupid to allow people in with philosophies of violence against Americans because some fat cats want low paid workers.

    Our soldiers are fighting to protect freedom in this country and we should be protecting the Constitution as bravely as they serve to protect the Constitution. Our soldiers took an oath to protect the US Constitution against foreign and domestic threats. We have an open border, importing gangs left and right. Our government is allowing violent groups to enter this country and the average citizen is being punished with a police state. The only reasonable argument for open borders is so everyone can escape if it comes to that. If an American is labeled as an enemy combatant they lose their constitutional rights. We have allowed our worst due process.

    Comment by uhm — March 2, 2007 @ 10:51 pm
  7. Stephen,

    Where do I start? You assert that “Islamofascism” is a “grave threat” to our liberty. How so? Are you suggesting that a small group of Muslim extremists with miniscule funding, no air force, no navy, can invade America using rifles and home-made bombs and impose Sharia law? This is patently absurd.

    “Islamofascism” only exists in the minds of those propagandists that invented this term and those who have bought into this nonsense.

    The definition of fascism you posted does not resemble the Islam you describe. Fascism is first and foremost an economic system. This is not practiced in Iran or under the Taliban – no more than practiced here in America.

    You assert:

    “Women are executed for being raped or for being seen in public without a male escort who is a relative.”

    This is hogwash and I challenge you to source this information – don’t bother with using Daniel Pipes or Bernard Lewis as they have been discredited over and over for their hysterical fearmongering.

    Women have been killed by members of their OWN FAMILIES after being raped in various primitive regions of various Muslim nations, including Pakistan and India, but this is generally not government policy. The Taliban punishment for being in public without a male escort is generally to whipped with a silly switch – not execution. Again, this is generally something found in primitive areas.

    Back to “Islamofascism” – fascism consists of a vertical command and control system. Islam has no central authority and the fatwas of any particular imam have no significance to those who study under other imams. The whole al Qaida thing is more a state of mind or general philosophy rather than an organized group with a coherent mission statement and common goals.

    Various al Qaida type groups, which are Sunnis, have different political goals and have different strategies for achieving their goals. They seek self-determination as do most people. One does not have to agree with these religious fanatics to understand what their motives are.

    However, consider that the U.S. has been meddling in the Mideast for over 50 years and have made many enemies in the region for no particular purpose that benefits the average American – in fact this meddling has cost Americans a great deal over the years for little benefit.

    It is hardly surprising that the enemies we have made in the Mideast wish to do us harm and wish us to leave the region. I have no interest in propping up the House of Saud, or the leaders of Jordan or Egypt, just as I had no interest in propping up Saddam during the time he was an ally of the US.

    We have tried to play both sides of the Israel/Palestinian struggle and have done a horrible job bringing stability to that conflict. Israel, with the world’s 4th largest army, is quite capable of taking care of itself. As many Israelis will tell you, a political solution is required – not a military solution as envisioned by the Likud and their supporters in the Bush administration.

    I would suggest that you quit listening to the neoconservative hawks and talk radio shock jocks and do some real research into the matter before you promote an endless war against “Islamofascists”.

    I agree that the comparisons of the US to nazi Germany are tiresome – so are the comparisons of Iraq and Iran to nazi Germany.

    If Tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.
    - James Madison

    It would be a shame if this foreign enemy was one that poses no existential threat to the US

    Comment by Tom Blanton — March 4, 2007 @ 9:51 pm
  8. Some nice posts here. Enjoyed reading them.

    Years ago I lived in the Middle East, saw the perennial Israeli-Arab conflict first hand and experienced both cultures on the street level, unencumbered by a military uniform or haircut. To stay alive, I often had to pass myself off as a Canadian. Luckily, few Arabs have a knowledge of where Jasper, Alberta is and no one checked passports, and that I had spent some time in Jasper so knew the place. Once, I knew a moment of sheer terror when an Arab street merchant, after I got something from him, said “Good-bye, my American friends.” All on that street were Arabs. It was a long street. He had alerted them that Americans were in their midst. I might not have made it to the end. I kept my cool, though, and returned to that shopkeeper, stood before him, and pointed out rather forcibly that I was a citizen of Canada from Jasper. Whether I convinced him, and them, or not is an open question, but it worked enough so that both I and my girlfriend then (she was Jewish) made it out of there with our throats uncut. Such is their hatred for the red-white-and-blue.

    I remember how a commentator said during the Vietnam war that we were fighting to give a society freedom that did not even have a word for it in their vocabulary. We are doing it again in Iraq, for whatever dubious notions Bush gave as a reason for the war. Middle Easterners think so much differently than we do. They have no consciousness of freedom such as we know it. They cannot possibly understand this thing called liberty or a constitution. Instead they have a memory tens of thousands of years long and a complex social and political system of allegiances, family, honor, religions, revenge, tribal customs and hierarchies, and so on. It is the reason for the sunni/shiite rivalry, and the rest of the confusing medley of factions fighting each other.

    Our neo-cons greatest mistake in Iraq was to think that our armies could blast a few tyrants out of the way and then they would be free. Bush/Cheney, have this city on the hill attitude about it. They got caught. Over 3,000 of our soldiers and counting have died. Incidentally, Iraq has some untapped oil that our companies greatly need to make more billions at our expense; halliburton needs more taxpayer dollars to rebuild the place, despite its tendency to misplace billions of dollars for nothing done.

    They also know that Saddam was once our ally, that we supported him, and old Rummy even shook his hand.

    The rightwing argument about islamofacists coming over the Atlantic in waves to destroy us is completely absurd. As someone here said how can they. They can hurt us once in a while when we let our guard down such as the horrific and unimaginable bungling of 9/11. What will destroy us more is the corporate practice, backed by this current administration, of shipping all of our jobs, our manufacturing, everything to countries for the cheap labor and governments that have little compunction about killing restless and underpaid laborers. That will destroy us first, not to mention our own greed.

    Comment by Watercloset — March 5, 2007 @ 3:49 am

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