My life is 'on hold' for the near future as my lady went into the emergency room last night with what has turned out to be a minor heart attack.
I can comment here and there, but will be unresponsive to emails and posts at any of my sites in something approaching a timely manner. Possibly not at all.
My thanks in advance to well wishers.
The Land of Grey now takes my attention for a fight against those in the Shadows.
This post will be removed when I can return to a regular schedule. That may be tomorrow or it may be for an unknown period.
26 September 2006
My life is 'on hold' for the near future as my lady went into the emergency room last night with what has turned out to be a minor heart attack.
22 September 2006
This past week has seen a coalescence of religious thought that is remarkable for its happening and for its instantiation. It is remarkable because it is a call for dialog and open understanding of grievances and admitting to past mistakes. It is even more fully fascinating is that it was not just a single sect or type within larger community, but multiples of them that stood up in support of the original speech.
Let me interject here that I have no stake in any religious viewpoint as my personal beliefs are not defined by anything I have run across in my life. But I do see and understand the multivariate views of religious outlook and find much that is both commendable and questionable in *all* religions. But I honor each individual their dedication and devoutness to understand the larger Universe around them.
That speech, of course, was that by Pope Benedict XVI and was addressing the Islamic world as well as the Christian in its outlook but in a message to SCIENCE! Yes, folks, the Pontiff was addressing science in this message at the University of Regensberg on 12 SEP 2006. A few have picked up on *that* fact, but also set it aside for the supposed 'dig' at Islam. The context of the preceding paragraph was one that looked to the University of Bonn and the fact that it was quite unique in that the department heads were actually held accountable not only to their departments but to each other and the entire student body. He explains it thusly (any bolding is mine):
The various chairs had neither assistants nor secretaries, but in recompense there was much direct contact with students and in particular among the professors themselves. We would meet before and after lessons in the rooms of the teaching staff. There was a lively exchange with historians, philosophers, philologists and, naturally, between the two theological faculties. Once a semester there was a dies academicus, when professors from every faculty appeared before the students of the entire university, making possible a genuine experience of universitas - something that you too, Magnificent Rector, just mentioned - the experience, in other words, of the fact that despite our specializations which at times make it difficult to communicate with each other, we made up a whole, working in everything on the basis of a single rationality with its various aspects and sharing responsibility for the right use of reason - this reality became a lived experience.Here the barriers between the great parts of learning of mankind were broken down regularly and continuously so that all of them could come into harmonious contact with each other. Problems were brought up and redress by ALL departments was sought as no particular area of learning was seen as the sole and only solution to such problems that arose. Arts, sciences, humanities and religion were all thusly held accountable for the woes of the University and the entire student body. This is what used to be known as a 'collegial atmosphere' in which NO part of the student body, no department, no mere fragment of the University as a whole would attempt to hijack the entirety of learning. I am sure that they had protests and such, but in that atmosphere the topics of those protests would be examined by all parts of the entire spectrum of learning. The concept here is the civility to let others express themselves, discuss their viewpoints, examine the concepts being put out and come together for a common expression of the University. My guess would be that if they 'agreed to disagree' that the University would NOT back any single viewpoint and let the students and each member of the faculty 'figure it out for themselves'. And discussions would not *stop* until such point as that common civility was reached. The next section points this out and the general foundation of the University and its belief structure:
The university was also very proud of its two theological faculties. It was clear that, by inquiring about the reasonableness of faith, they too carried out a work which is necessarily part of the "whole" of the universitas scientiarum, even if not everyone could share the faith which theologians seek to correlate with reason as a whole. This profound sense of coherence within the universe of reason was not troubled, even when it was once reported that a colleague had said there was something odd about our university: it had two faculties devoted to something that did not exist: God. That even in the face of such radical scepticism it is still necessary and reasonable to raise the question of God through the use of reason, and to do so in the context of the tradition of the Christian faith: this, within the university as a whole, was accepted without question.So even those radicals who denied God had their voice, but the over all communion of the community was not perturbed by them as the community 'agreed to disagree' with them and kept to their faith and outlook. Christianity, as seen via this viewpoint, accepts questions about the universe and the nature of God to better understand the works of that Being. And it was clearly understood that those that differed would get hearing within context of Christianity and that, as good Christians, they would examine these ideas and see how they fit within the foundational structure of their religion.
As the Regensberg meetings is a larger gathering of all the various forms of Christianity, and this is but one piece of the larger whole, the concept of being able to accommodate those with different belief structures and viewpoints, even to those who had NO religion to speak of is clearly heard and demonstrated. The Pontiff, by equating his Bonn experience with this set of meetings is clearly giving voice to a more collegial interplay of ideas that has open-ness and civility within its confines: that which can be common should be Stated and adhered to and that which is not common can be disagreed with in private without becoming disagreeable in nature.
From this backgrounding he then proceeds to the highly contentious section and is doing so within the context of collegial discussion and manner. This is something that more actual Colleges and Universities might want to *try* and require that even vocal majorities not be given over-riding reign upon the student body, but that discussion should represent the highest interplay of the entire spectrum of human affairs. I do digress, but this needs be addressed by the Western World, which is another reason the Pontiff is bringing it up: Where does the modern University system get off by enforcing those standards which require discussions to be curbed and not to be subject to open discussion? This is a sharp and *implicit* statement without being stated in an *explicit* fashion. If you mouth the ideals of 'open discussion and fairness' then *practice it* and do not let campus political correctness mavens hijack the University to their 'speak nothing unallowable' creed.
Now for the next paragraph which I will reproduce in full:
I was reminded of all this recently, when I read the edition by Professor Theodore Khoury (Münster) of part of the dialog carried on - perhaps in 1391 in the winter barracks near Ankara - by the erudite Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam, and the truth of both. It was presumably the emperor himself who set down this dialog, during the siege of Constantinople between 1394 and 1402; and this would explain why his arguments are given in greater detail than those of his Persian interlocutor. The dialog ranges widely over the structures of faith contained in the Bible and in the Qur'an, and deals especially with the image of God and of man, while necessarily returning repeatedly to the relationship between - as they were called - three "Laws" or "rules of life": the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Qur'an. It is not my intention to discuss this question in the present lecture; here I would like to discuss only one point - itself rather marginal to the dialog as a whole - which, in the context of the issue of "faith and reason", I found interesting and which can serve as the starting-point for my reflections on this issue.And we see here how the Pontiff examines this collegial interplay idea and the backing of it. We also have here a similar discussion between a besieged Emperor with an individual educated in the religion of those doing the besieging. The Pontiff is *not* bringing up the entire and problematical 'can of worms' between the faiths of Christianity and Islam. He is using the resoning perspective upon it and seeing what that will lead him to. From the basis of his foundational beliefs he is willing to enter dialog and discussion with someone NOT of his belief system and think about what they have to say.
His Holiness then goes on in his review of this series of discussions:
In the seventh conversation (διάλεξις - controversy) edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the holy war. The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: "There is no compulsion in religion". According to the experts, this is one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur'an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the "Book" and the "infidels", he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness, a brusqueness which leaves us astounded, on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached". The emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. "God", he says, "is not pleased by blood - and not acting reasonably (σὺν λόγω) is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death...".That is a very pointed paragraph in many ways. It is foundational to Christianity that those who have not come to it openly cannot practice it: understanding and accepting Christ is something done with open heart AND open mind and the closure of either is the beginning of Evil. Coerced conversion is mere brutality and threat and has no part of the understanding that each individual must come to so as to reconcile themselves with God. Submission is NOT acquiescence, only external gesturing to appease those imposing tyranny. That was summed up by Kahlil Gibran and repeated with variations by the survivors of the Nazi concentration camps:
“You may chain my hands, you may shackle my feet; you may even throw me into a dark prison; but you shall not enslave my thinking, because it is free.”And it is through that freedom that each must accommodate themselves with God, not through submission via the sword. The Pontiff then continues with this wonderful paragraph, which is so very pointed towards those who close their minds to reason, refuse to hear denunciations, and continue to carry on attacking others that do not believe as they do:
The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature. The editor, Theodore Khoury, observes: For the emperor, as a Byzantine shaped by Greek philosophy, this statement is self-evident. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality. Here Khoury quotes a work of the noted French Islamist R. Arnaldez, who points out that Ibn Hazm went so far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God's will, we would even have to practise idolatry.This is something that needs to be addressed by Muslims the world over. This cannot be done from outside of their community. The Pontiff addresses this very clearly, openly and without rancor or hatred in the following:
At this point, as far as understanding of God and thus the concrete practice of religion is concerned, we are faced with an unavoidable dilemma. Is the conviction that acting unreasonably contradicts God's nature merely a Greek idea, or is it always and intrinsically true? I believe that here we can see the profound harmony between what is Greek in the best sense of the word and the biblical understanding of faith in God. Modifying the first verse of the Book of Genesis, the first verse of the whole Bible, John began the prologue of his Gospel with the words: "In the beginning was the λόγος". This is the very word used by the emperor: God acts, σὺν λόγω, with logos. Logos means both reason and word - a reason which is creative and capable of self-communication, precisely as reason. John thus spoke the final word on the biblical concept of God, and in this word all the often toilsome and tortuous threads of biblical faith find their culmination and synthesis. In the beginning was the logos, and the logos is God, says the Evangelist. The encounter between the Biblical message and Greek thought did not happen by chance. The vision of Saint Paul, who saw the roads to Asia barred and in a dream saw a Macedonian man plead with him: "Come over to Macedonia and help us!" (cf. Acts 16:6-10) - this vision can be interpreted as a "distillation" of the intrinsic necessity of a rapprochement between Biblical faith and Greek inquiry.Notice the viewpoint of the Pontiff on this? To speak one must have will and thought and reason. Thus the silence *before* the Word is the time of reasoning OF the Word. The Word itself is the reasoned action and has meaning in being spoken and implications by being spoken: this is not the natterings of Chaos or the changing of the Void with a sea of the impossible possibilities. Reason is given into that silence before the Word and the decision to speak the Word then accepts the Destiny that comes thereafter. By speaking and silence thereafter the light of Reason is brought upon the Creation so that contemplation of the outcome of the Word can be sought.
The Pontiff then cites that this Reason and the Word speak in a voice of the Deific set apart from all other Deities. It is simple in its statement but complex in the enaction of it. That simplest of mysteries that is formulational to the Abrahamic religions is given with the meaning of that single word: "I am". By setting itself apart via the use of the Reason given by the Word that means Existence, this religion needed to find a way to still *exist* even when pressed by other religions around it that did *not* express that simplicity. That is the nature of God: Reason to Exist. When a religion steps away from that and allows the Deity to give rise to contradiction and Chaos, Reason is lost and so is the point of existing.
To speak with Reason one must have Restraint upon themselves and understanding of their actions and be willing to be held accountable for them. This clear and unmistakable synthesis is something that Judaism and Christianity hold as foundational underpinnings of the Universe. We are the creatures of creation and God is held accountable and TO that Word of Creation. Our hard job is to UNDERSTAND that single Word and learn exactly what it means, even if latter teachings contradict what we find. The Reason the Universe is here is so that we may understand its Glory and the Word behind it, even when what we learn requires us to rethink later verbiage given and find continuity in harmony with the whole of Being around us.
This is actually quite a harsh indictment not only against Islam, but to ANY that decide that the later words given override the first Word of Reason. If there is contradiction between the outcomes of the first Word and later teachings, the first Word is Primary: we must accept the universe as it IS not as we are taught it to be. In that acceptance we can come to greater harmony with All of Creation given from that Word. This is the contemplative Silence after the Word, no matter how much else is spoken, that Word was the stepping from the Cross Roads of unreason and chaos to open up the vistas of the Light and the Dark and the Waking and the Dreaming. That Word of Reason is given to us so that this new vista will allow us to understand it in its entirety.
Consider this first Word to be the Constitution for the Universe. If later words given contradict how the Universe actually IS, then those words must fall by the wayside for this Universal understanding. Because of the nature of that Word and great actions it gave rise to, it is the Primary Force of the Universe. If later words contradict that Word, then there must have been some failure of communication somewhere as the single Word speaks clearly and unequivocally by all that Exists. For THAT is the meaning of the Word: "I AM".
And the reason this is given in an address to Science? The Pontiff is clearly stating that the Will of God is something that can be reasoned WITH. He is not going to let science over-ride the traditional teachings of the Church. The Church, itself, is an institution that needs to bat ideas around for a few centuries before it can come to some sort of conclusion on things, especially those that would hurt the overall community of believers if not given in a way that formulates the spiritual being of man with the understanding of the Universal. Science, however, by asking direct questions OF creation and accepting those answers are finding out the nature of the Word and THAT is seen as just as spiritual, just as meaningful and just as valid as the spiritual approach on its own. They must work together, especially when the findings of the Word directly contradict what is taught as the later words given by the Deity. The Deity does not lie, but humans are often poor vessels as translators for things they cannot comprehend. The role of the Pontiff is to reconcile Reason with Faith and form a continuity that is unbroken so the entire glory of the Universe may be manifest for EVERYONE to see.
His Holiness recapitulates the history of the Reformation and Enlightenment and the changes in religious teachings with the liberalization influences of the 19th and 20th centuries. He looks at some of the major problems of reconciliation in this passage:
I will return to this problem later. In the meantime, it must be observed that from this standpoint any attempt to maintain theology's claim to be "scientific" would end up reducing Christianity to a mere fragment of its former self. But we must say more: if science as a whole is this and this alone, then it is man himself who ends up being reduced, for the specifically human questions about our origin and destiny, the questions raised by religion and ethics, then have no place within the purview of collective reason as defined by "science", so understood, and must thus be relegated to the realm of the subjective. The subject then decides, on the basis of his experiences, what he considers tenable in matters of religion, and the subjective "conscience" becomes the sole arbiter of what is ethical. In this way, though, ethics and religion lose their power to create a community and become a completely personal matter. This is a dangerous state of affairs for humanity, as we see from the disturbing pathologies of religion and reason which necessarily erupt when reason is so reduced that questions of religion and ethics no longer concern it. Attempts to construct an ethic from the rules of evolution or from psychology and sociology, end up being simply inadequate."In this he is quite correct: that ethics do not derive from science but in the understanding of science and man's place in the Universal Whole. Science is not *aimed* at that goal and is ill-suited for it. He recognizes this in the following:
And so I come to my conclusion. This attempt, painted with broad strokes, at a critique of modern reason from within has nothing to do with putting the clock back to the time before the Enlightenment and rejecting the insights of the modern age. The positive aspects of modernity are to be acknowledged unreservedly: we are all grateful for the marvelous possibilities that it has opened up for mankind and for the progress in humanity that has been granted to us. The scientific ethos, moreover, is - as you yourself mentioned, Magnificent Rector - the will to be obedient to the truth, and, as such, it embodies an attitude which belongs to the essential decisions of the Christian spirit. The intention here is not one of retrenchment or negative criticism, but of broadening our concept of reason and its application. While we rejoice in the new possibilities open to humanity, we also see the dangers arising from these possibilities and we must ask ourselves how we can overcome them. We will succeed in doing so only if reason and faith come together in a new way, if we overcome the self-imposed limitation of reason to the empirically verifiable, and if we once more disclose its vast horizons. In this sense theology rightly belongs in the university and within the wide-ranging dialog of sciences, not merely as a historical discipline and one of the human sciences, but precisely as theology, as inquiry into the rationality of faith.And closes later with this passage:
The courage to engage the whole breadth of reason, and not the denial of its grandeur - this is the programme with which a theology grounded in Biblical faith enters into the debates of our time. "Not to act reasonably, not to act with logos, is contrary to the nature of God", said Manuel II, according to his Christian understanding of God, in response to his Persian interlocutor. It is to this great logos, to this breadth of reason, that we invite our partners in the dialog of cultures. To rediscover it constantly is the great task of the university.Science is *not* separate from religion, but is in the process of asking direct questions OF creation. We have to deal with those ANSWERS which are as valid as the Universe and THAT is the Word of Reason spoken by God. When one tries to force unreasonable and unreasoning viewpoints on the actual Universe, no matter how ancient the teaching or viewpoint, it must become reconciled with the actual measurement of the Word in that area. The later words given do NOT override the first Word. And if we cannot understand what was handed to us with later words, it is best to find a way to reconcile them without denying the first Word its Primacy. Mankind, as a tradition bound creature of habit finds *that* hard to do, but necessary.
This understanding, however, cannot come at the point of a sword or by sheer denial of factual information. To do *that* is unreasoning and denying the study of the first Word. By citing the dialog of Paleologus the Pontiff puts forward this construction and gives rise to the furor that followed. Inflicting religion via violence or forced conversion was something that was actually done by the Roman Catholic Church via Divine Right Monarchies. Over time, however, the Church saw its role as taking on the entirety of the physical world in addition to the merely spiritual. This came in direct conflict with the secular rulers that, while practitioners of religion, needed to cope with the actual realities of ruling their lands. When technology allowed for multi-imprint copies of books to be made with high fidelity, the spread of literacy and understanding forced the Church to start having to defend its actions based on the follow-on words given in the Scriptures. The question, then, was not about the primacy of the first Word, but the accountability of the actions of the Church in this realm of the real world. And as movable type and presses spread, the Bible itself was translated into local languages and re-interpreted as the understanding of that Word was spread.
The period of the Reformation, spread of variants of Christianity and the breaking away of secular States from the Church was one of the bloodiest warfare seen in Europe since the last Roman Imperial Armies swept through. These long and variegated struggles brought a small but not negligible portion of the world population to death. Although the Black Plague would be far worse, these losses were wholly and completely attributable to the conflict between the Roman Catholic Church seeking power in the physical realm and the secular States moving from that power to separate understandings of the Word and practice in accordance with those views. Ecclesiastical law saw harsh application for some centuries, but that only served to harden the attitude of the States that were put to such law and widened the rift between the Church and those States. The Peace of Westphalia would finally end that and give unto each State the autonomy of religion and practice.
By giving the citation, the Pontiff has given implication that Islam, in its current formulation, is not only given to actions that are based contrary to Reason, but that it is also in a similar position of the Roman Catholic Church of using secular sympathizers and religious persecution to enforce adherence to belief. One of the major goals of the inter-Faith conferences held by this Pontiff and his predecessors, was to establish dialog on how to adapt faith, in general, to the modern world and ensure that the original, spiritual meaning is kept intact, but releasing destructive notions of temporal rulership and dominance. The vituperation of various Muslims and their temporal death threats are seen as a confirmation that this dialog needs to progress further, but that inter-Faith work has its limitations. Reformulation of Islam must come from inside the Islamic Faith community for it to be valid, and other Faiths can only show what they did to help reconcile themselves with the greater world around them.
Now, as to this current dustup with Islam, there has been a slow response from the Christian community that is non-Roman Catholic. That is to be expected with all the divisions and suspicions that are *still* around between the actual organizational structures of the various sects of Christianity, though I would guess it is not all that heartening to Christians that their leadership really is quite sluggish on such things. Thus we have the Archbishop of Canterbury coming out in a way that is as gently pointed as he can make it. From this 18 SEP 2006 IHT article we find the following:
LONDON The leader of the world's Anglicans said Monday that Pope Benedict XVI's controversial remarks about Islam needed to be judged in the context of his record.Here we see the nub of the problem: Islam as practiced in many parts of the world is so thin skinned that mere dust motes puncture the skin and cause the irrational need to make others bleed. The Roman Catholic church has been leading the way amongst Faiths to hold itself accountable for past wrongs, find ways to right them and *continue* finding continuity in their faith. That, alone, is a highly laudable goal and reaching out to help others join the modern age of Faith is even more impressive. Blaming the Pope for bringing up YOUR past misdeeds and threatening because of it demonstrates that the lessons of those misdeeds have not been learned nor even approached.
"The pope has already issued an apology, and I think his views on this need to be judged against his entire record, where he has spoken very positively about dialog," Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said.
Williams, speaking on British Broadcasting Corp. radio, said there were "elements in Islam that can be used to justify violence, just as there are in Christianity and Judaism."
"These religious faiths, because they are held by human beings who are very fallible, can be distorted in these ways, and we all need to recognize that," he said.
"There is always a temptation for Christians to say to Muslims 'I will tell you what your history is about,' just as Muslims sometimes say to Christians. Sometimes they get it deeply wrong," Williams said.
"The example the pope took from the Middle Ages shows in its phrasing how in the Middle Ages people got it wrong on both sides, and Muslim distortions of Christian history are just as laughable as Christian distortions of Muslim history.
"The big question that comes out of this for me is how much are we prepared to listen to the other person telling their story and how much are both sides prepared to be self-critical in discussing aspects of their history that are not pretty and not edifying," Williams said.
From Clarence Page writing in the Baltimore Sun comes this:
We need to have reasoned dialog, not war, between faiths, cultures and civilizations. That puts a burden not only on Westerners to reach out but also on responsible Muslim leaders to step up and show their support for free speech, even when it is provocative and aimed at something so cherished as one's religion.In point of fact the United States has viewed religion as a personal matter that, by enacting its ideals, uplifts all of society. By building on this inter-Faith acceptance and accommodation, the entirety of the Nation is made stronger by it. Unfortunately for Islam to be open to criticism it must open ITSELF to that criticism and admit that no matter how Supreme the Divine actually *is* one is held accountable for their ACTIONS in this life.
That doesn't mean you should bite your lip and remain silent when someone attacks your faith. It means the proper response to objectionable speech is not violence, but more speech. That's how dialog is established and differences are examined in the hope that mutual understanding will result.
Eventually it does. America is hardly perfect, but our hard-won atmosphere of freedom, tolerance and mutual respect, despite our periodic uproars over immigration, has enabled this nation of immigrants to assimilate Muslims and countless other faiths with more visible success than Europe's ethnic hotbeds are showing.
Then we come to Mohammed from Iraq The Model with this:
Ok, let’s suppose the pope criticized the Muslims' way in spreading their belief, can anyone prove that wrong??He then goes on a point by point review of the destruction, carnage, rampage, pillaging, looting, and a literal diversion of a river to make it flow with the blood of those killed... by those forces representing Islam. My highest praise and thanks to Mohammed for starting this dialog in the blogosphere on the english-text side off! I hope we can get reports from the arabic-text side that similar is going on there, too. And he then concludes with this:
This question pushed me to review some recommended books of Islamic history, books that are held high and considered cornerstones in the documentation of Arab-Islamic history. I started to review these books looking for facts as to whether Islam was spread peacefully.
Yes, many entered in Islam voluntarily over history but I want to shed light on a certain part of history when the sword was used. That's the stage that must be studied and revisited. And there must be no shame felt in criticizing or renouncing it if that's necessary and it should not be treated as a divine story that cannot be questioned.
Let's take a look at the campaigns led by the first set of Caliphs who ruled the Islamic state after the death of the prophet and see in which of these campaigns the faith was spread peacefully and in which ones other means were implemented and which of the peoples of the region entered in Islam voluntarily….
Iraq? Persia? Spain? Egypt?
Which of those nations embraced the Islamic call voluntarily?
I will start from Iraq to state my thoughts about the Islamic invasion of Iraq and I will try to find which statement is closer to the truth; with sword, or through a peaceful invitation?
Anyone with the slightest knowledge about the ancient Middle East knows the enormous difference in riches between green Mesopotamia and the deserts of Arabia. This difference makes it natural to expect that early Muslims who lived in the desert looked ambitiously to the rich lands of their neighbors in Mesopotamia.
I will provide historical texts from some of the most respected books in Islamic history such as al-Tabari, Seerat Ibn Hisham and Tafseer Ibn Katheer. These books show that the questionable motives behind invading Iraq were not secret but were rather mentioned boastfully every time our historians celebrate the achievement of adding Iraq to the young Islamic state.
Now let's see, the chief cleric of the al-Azhar university accused the pope of ignorance about Islamic history, right? Let's hear what another history scholar from al-Azhar said in one of his books about the same stage of Islamic history as the one the pope was referring to.That is the sort of thing the United States is working for in Iraq. Understanding, tolerance, some amount of introspection and a change of viewpoint to help move that understanding outwards. To end the major Islamic portion of the Transnational Terrorist threat this open-ness and understanding must be encouraged and PROTECTED. We cannot force understanding at the point of a gun: to those whining about 'how long it is taking' or 'how much money has been spent' you have YET to put forth ANY option that FIXES THE PROBLEM. Protecting these people until they can hold a mirror up to themselves and say that 'these are problems with our religion and we will join you in ENDING THEM' the entire structure of the Nation State system will be at grave peril from those that openly support destructive religions and give them aid, shelter and violent assent.
Sheikh Khaleel Abdul Kareem in his book "Shadu al-Rababa fi Ahwal al-Sahaba" (first edition 1997) said:
"Did the invaded people take the belief of the invaders voluntarily? What were they expected to do after seeing with their own eyes their men being slaughtered even after they surrendered and raised the white flag? Or when they saw their houses burned down, women taken slaves, belongings purged and taxes imposed, where they expected to keep their religion or move to embrace that of their invading masters to get away from the punishment?"
I believe this testimony which comes from one of al-Azhar scholars is way more critical than the words the pope quoted…
By the way, Khaleel Abdul Kareem was prosecuted more than once but was never pronounced guilty because of his factual and objective approach in which he used examples and proofs taken from the history texts approved by al-Azhar and the like.
His prosecutors backed off when they realized that denouncing him would mean renouncing the history the live by and that's what none of them dared to do.
Some accuse the pope of bad timing but I wonder what is going to be the best time to accept criticism and accept questions? Next year? a decade from now? When?
There will be no such time for our clerics who derive their power from this history, and to them, questioning or criticizing this history is a threat to their holiness and power.
That is a massive part of the problem and has given rise to means and methods to attack Nations and end the Westphalian Peace that has given rise to Nations that can be constituted on freedom, liberty, religious diversity and common justice for all. That greater problem requires a dedication of Citizens beyond all that their governments provide for them... but to get a way to finally end the largest and most violent portion of it, religious dialog and open-ness must be defended.
So that civil dialog and civility may be enshrined, no matter what religion, nationality, race or creed the individual has.
It is unfortunate that those common ideas are uncommon in this day and age, and have so few supporters globally.
21 September 2006
It is fascinating to watch what some folks will confound so as to try and assemble an argument. However, due to the niceties of the modern age, there are many that feel that *anyone* caught in combat is a *legitimate* combatant due to the wonders of the Geneva Convention and should be afforded the rights thereof.
Terrorists, however, do not do things that are accorded to legitimate armed forces of Nation States:
First off they represent no Nation and are not even under mercenary code, pay and line of authority TO a Nation. Yes, Mercenaries are *legitimate* combatants when they make their paymaster KNOWN. Terrorists represent their own organizations which do NOT fall under the Geneva Conventions. I looked at this originally with the SCOTUS ruling, and find their viewpoint to be unsupportable and, in fact, a steep Judicial over-reach of power asserting things that the Nation is signed up to do which neither the Executive nor Legislative have signed on to. The Geneva Convention *framework* is that of State-based actors be they military or civilians. Those are the ONLY distinction the GC makes prior to 1977 and the US did NOT sign on to the 1977 extensions to cover terrorists.
Second, terrorists have NO accountability nor structure under which they may be held accountable nor no Nation that we may hold accountable for their actions. They fall completely outside of the 'non-recognized State' verbiage of the GC in *that* respect, also. So they are not legitimate military and they have no chain of command for accountability. Both of which make them non-legitimate combatants and unable to seek redress under ANY military or civilian part of the Geneva Conventions.
Third, terrorists have no territory or governance area which may be considered to be a 'State' or 'unrecognized State'. In point of fact they remain anti-State and even when they aim to take over fractions of States that have fallen into disorder it is NOT to establish an accountable Nation State. They wish to act as conquerors, exploit fallen regions, throw them into submission and then attack via terrorism MORE Nations and sub-national fractions in hopes of bringing MORE States down. In doing this they attack the very foundations of diplomacy set up that underpins the entire Geneva Conventions as a WHOLE. Let me make this perfectly clear: terrorists not only stand outside of the framework of the Geneva Conventions, but they stand outside the centuries of diplomacy that make the Geneva Conventions POSSIBLE. They do not seek to be under the Geneva Conventions and given any opportunity to USE them they will do so and further attack the legal and foundational underpinnings of any Nation so unwise as to allow that.
Fourth, terrorists refuse to wear uniforms. This is more than distinguishing marks: it is an attempt to sow distrust and discord within and amongst Nations and increase suspicion of individuals within National populations. In doing this they seek to undermine the Peace of Westphalia which gives Nation States Sovereignty and means of recourse against outside interference and ONLY allows interference from recognized actors that are Nation State bound and accountable. So even civilians of other Nations can be redressed via legal interaction established via diplomacy and held accountable. Terrorists do not DO this and , in point of fact, will use multiple means and methods to cloud and dilute their National origin and citizenship until they can easily claim multiples of them and find the one best suited to their needs of destroying Nations. So, even if looked at as a civilian, terrorists are working to undermine the State based accountability system. When they take up active arms and schemes they are NOT just mere criminals, they are barbarians seeking to inflict as much humanitarian damage, fiscal damage, infrastructure damage, military damage, diplomatic damage and legal wrangling ad infinitum so as to weaken their enemies. All captured training materials from all attacks point to this: if captured they will use the very niceties of legal fiction against the State that captured them so as to continue undermining that State along legal vectors.
Fifth, and finally, terrorists will *not* honor agreements. Any 'ceasefire' is, to them, a mere time to re-arm so as to re-attack later. This has been seen so frequently that it is now something unremarkable to say. This is complete refusal to stand by one's word and NOT attack so as to SEEK a lasting peace. This is using temporary cessation of hostilities to fight again another day. The previous understandings for a 'ceasefire' were to stop such things and seek diplomatic redress for a permanent change so that both sides could be accommodated. The ceasefire with North Korea has not been broken in long decades, although activities like infiltration of spies, kidnapping and the such do go on along with random acts of violence and some sniping, the overall ceasefire has not been broken although both sides have fully re-armed. And diplomatic interaction *still* seeks a permanent solution to the situation. The 1918 Armistice took some time to fully enact and bring all of the issues of WWI to a close in 1923. The way of the ceasefire is to honorably STOP arming for aggressive warfare and negotiate honestly so as to seek long term solutions. By not approaching a ceasefire in this way the terrorists are undermining the very pathway of legitimate warfare amongst Nations and cause distrust to be sewn throughout the entirety of the world that enemies will not honor agreements.
What rules actually govern these individuals that fly no flag, are not accountable to any Nation, will not honor their word, will not keep to honorable captivity and will not consider themselves to be accountable to their captors?
In the United States the law making body is the Legislature: Congress.
The President of the United States has tried to do what any other President has done and apply the Uniform Code of Military Justice, as set by Congress to these individuals. The Supreme Court did not like this, and no matter how bad their ruling is, that puts the ball squarely in the play of Congress once more to figure out.
Congress may do many things, legally, as the framework of the Geneva Conventions does not *apply* to terrorists. They have a free and open hand here to allow the Armed Forces latitude in how they fight, capture and control such individuals. They can deny such individuals the right to the civil legal system as they are non-accountable combatants who disdain being accountable to ANY form of justice. Congress may set up rules of justice to try such individuals and then set up a penalty system for them. Congress can also say: just hold them until they have perished of old age. Congress may say: put them in the equivalent of a Federal 'SuperMax' facility, but give them no leisure pursuits, no call to prayers, nothing but the minimum food and health inspections necessary to keep them alive.
None of those things are contrary to the law.
Congress is not BOUND by the Geneva Conventions and may clearly state what it considers the actual language of the Geneva Convention to hold for such individuals or NOT. And Congress must also keep in mind its ENTIRE suite of irregular warfighting Powers given to it by We the People in this consideration.
Until someone can invent a veridicator that can actually look into the mind of individuals and find if they are telling the truth, there is no way to establish if any of these individuals can be trusted to change their ways.
Congress may even set up a due process procedure to turn them into slaves as is granted by Amendment XIII. Yes, we need NOT kill them to recognize their inhuman nature and actually make some use of them to any that would dare take that step. It is not uncivilized by the Constitution if due process procedures are set up for same. Such as was done in ancient times with individuals who were uncivilized and not safe, so is still available to the Union to this very day. It was written that way so as to remove *racial* slavery, but a poison pill to the South to leave open due process slavery. And it left open that pathway to punish those too horrible and too inhuman in their crimes that mere death would not sufficiently address.
You tell me.
We can remove their identity as a PERSON via legal means and still fully uphold the Constitution. That can make them a SLAVE.
That is dehumanizing in the most possible way, to make someone who *must* obey on pain of death *anything* they are told to do so long as it does not harm any *person*. Slaves in that instance are not *people*.
Do we have an understanding, now, of where torture falls in the spectrum of what Congress may do?
So, if Congress gives all sorts of nice and legal recourses so that terrorists can stymie our legal system, throw courts into disarray, and otherwise remove any prospect of getting information from them, there is one, final, recourse that all Armed Forces since the beginning of combat have.
It was typified by the Raven Banner of the Vikings, but also held true for many other emblems and banners and insignia of certain kinds of warfare. It is the flag of no surrender to be given or accepted. 'You return with your shield or on it', as the Romans put it. Those that refuse to be held accountable as legitimate soldiers have always had a special designation on the battlefield:
You only capture a spy if you think they have any INTEL value at all. And if Congress eliminates *that*, then there is no value to them whatsoever.
By giving captured terrorists lots of recourse off the battlefield, there is only one effective recourse to them ON the battlefield.
They give us no quarter on or off the battlefield and will attack us at all fronts.
As they ask for, so shall they receive.
No quarter asked for.
Slavery doesn't look so bad now, does it?
20 September 2006
The United States has identified the main source of Taliban funding from Afghanistan: opium poppies.
Some intrepid individuals want the US to *pay* for the opium and take it off the market.
As the United States has an ingenious method of agriculture that subsidizes farms that are not economically productive in the US, I look the following happen:
1) From the Farm Subsidy Database we get this amazing fact: In the year 2004 the US spent $12.525 Billion on farm subsidies of which $0.548 Billion went to disaster relief.
2) Most illegal immigrants come into the US to work as farm labor.
3) The US, by its subsidies is subsidizing illegal immigration and encouraging non-economically viable agriculture.
4) Large Agribusiness has eaten up the family farm in America.
The conclusion is that the US Government is subsidizing illegal aliens to work on farming in the US.
I propose that this be eliminated and the funds sent to Afghanistan to fund their agricultural system so we can pay nice, legal foreigners to do something worthwhile.
We can have the USDA and USArmy Corps of Engineers work with local tribes to set up a farm database and get each farmer who wishes to be subsidized to come in and register for the program. They will delineate their farmland on aerial photos or on maps and then have a squad of engineers go out to do a GPS ground truth survey.
Each farmer will be told that they will get a stipend to NOT GROW OPIUM POPPIES or any illegal plants or raise illegal animals. This will be checked out by remote sensing and UAVs of much older style that will fly low and slow overhead once a week. The USDA will do spectroscopic analysis to ensure that no poppies are grown there. Anyone that *does* grow illegal plants will be visited by a MOAB or FAE bomb upon their fields and be immediately put on a Most Wanted list of Taliban supporters.
Tribal leaders will be given to understand that the income sent to these farmers is contingent on no longer supporting the Taliban. It will be suggested that they keep a better watch out in their areas and report suspicious movements.
The Taliban will either have to try and subvert entire tribes, in which case their NEIGHBORS will report them or outbid the US or use force on farmers to actually grow opium.
I think that $12 Billion can go a LONG WAY to ending the Taliban without harming US agriculture in the slightest save to REFORM IT.
I do not see much good in money spent on inefficient agriculture in the US and see worlds of good in forcing the Taliban to get into a bidding war or use outright force against the farmers of Afghanistan.
Once the funding supply for the Taliban has dried up and Afghanistan is no longer making opium, then we will see just how *insurgent* the Taliban can be. Five or ten years of this and Afghanistan will be a leading agrarian Nation in Asia. All of that for what we currently squander on *cheap food* that is destroying the Nation. And it has ZERO budgetary impact.
Free traders should love this as it puts the US Agribusiness on an even footing and forces it to be competitive.
Capitalists should love this as it gives a major chance to SELL more goods to Afghanistan.
The military will get some USACE overhead, but with USDA help they will get it down to a bombing mission every couple of weeks and informing the Afghani authorities of who is Most Wanted.
The US may pay some small price in food for this, but I have this strange feeling that we can find other Nations willing to export goods to us at a lower price to replace those lost by local production.
This may start drying up the illegal immigrant problem, which is a *problem* not a cause to wish more to come to the Nation. That is no loss to the United States.
Congress will have a fit. It is an election year. Perhaps they can be informed that ending narcotics flow at its *base* and defunding the Taliban thereby is a GOOD thing for the Nation and the World.
This is a no loss proposition to the United States of America and we can *still* keep $0.5 Billion around for disaster relief!
Thus ends this rant on the insanity of Big Government, Big Business and whining from those unwilling to live in the real world as an EXCUSE to retreat from it.
19 September 2006
As of late the Washington Post, that fine newspaper of breaking scandals open and doing investigative journalism... in the early 1970's... has found itself challenged by the fact that it no longer understands its 'local beat'. That local beat, being situated in Washington, D. C. is, primarily, the Federal Government. It is well neigh impossible to be factually challenged in the center of the hub of the Federal Government and all of the hangers-on lobbyists, public interest groups, Embassies, Government press releases and the such like. And not being able to actually understand little things, like: how the Government spends money, and how the Government appoints people to do things.
You would think the Washington Post, with more than enough *attack* groups and ideologues, would have no problem finding REAL things to vituperate on against the Administration. But that has proven not to be the case.
Consider my review of the WaPo article run to denigrate and deride the rebuilding effort in Iraq. As someone who has actually had to review budgets, ensure that projects were spending money properly and, generally, having some knowledge of this process, I do understand what spending figures mean and goals achieved mean. The Washington Post had two writers and who knows how many editors look that article over and let actual, factual numbers slip through! Yes they did! And then horribly misrepresented them to say 'look how bad a job the US Army Corps of Engineers is doing'. While in point of fact those figures, in the context of their placement within the fiscal year and the spending rate normally allotted by the Federal Government to get long term projects done showed just the opposite of mismanagement. The USACE was and IS doing a fantastic job of ensuring that money is spent efficiently, in the correct order for getting real results and in a fashion wholly in-tune with the entire spending and budgetary process of the Federal Government.
Those numbers do not get made up by 'accident' nor lied about: the DoD Inspector General is one pretty nasty office and that is above the Army IG, which is *no* smoothie. If you critically mishandle things as the Washington Post reported a few things would happen: 1) budget and spending numbers would be out of alignment during one of the quarterly reviews, 2) mis-spending would not go unnoticed or unreported, 3) projects would fail, 4) the program, and all of its projects that can be frozen, would be frozen for an oversight review, 5) the Commander and his staff would be called in to account for their mismanagement, 6) individuals would be relieved of duty if not actually brought up on charges, 7) a new oversight group and staff would be brought in, 8) all of this would be headline news for MONTHS.
In this modern age the actual General in charge of the operations in Iraq wrote a letter to the Washington Post and then put it up on the USACE website for rebuilding Iraq. He took them to task for that mischaracterization and others which were worse. Amongst those was reporting on 3 year old problems and then leaving them hanging in the article and NOT reporting that they had been targeted, fixed and new methods put in place to remedy them. The piece also cited lack of rebuilding on clinics and hospitals while neglecting to tell the reader that water and sewage capability are necessary for a hospital to be run properly. Those infrastructure projects MUST come first or you then create larger problems of facilities that make problems WORSE. The choice of overloading the good facilities until that point in time is a harsh one, but rather that then to have hospitals turn into mortuaries, where the sick enter and leave feet first.
That article was one of misreporting, lacking of context and leaving old problems that had been resolved to look as if they were *still* problems. After 3 years!
And now the Washington Post has decided to do another piece on Iraq and the post-war administration of it. Let me be right up front: there were mistakes that were made there and problems which did not get addressed and some wrong-headed attitudes that should have been quickly resolved by FIRING PEOPLE. That did not happen. Those are plain and valid things to report upon as they are actual, real events. What is being done by Rajiv Chandrasekaran in this front-page 17 SEP 2006 article is to go on and *invent* facts and problems. Some of the attacks leveled are extremely personal in nature as to the competence and capabilities of individuals and HOW the Government appoints individuals and spends money. The outright falsehoods are being exposed by Ramesh Ponnuru at National Review Online in this 18 SEP 2006 response. Mr. Ponnuru has an advantage of actually KNOWING the individuals involved in the slanderous attacks and having some understanding of how the Federal Procurement system operates.
Mr. Ponnuru does not mince words and calls the article a "hit piece". He is not the only one to raise major questions on this article as Paul Mirengoff at Power Line has also done so with this 17 SEP 2006 article. Mr. Mirengoff raises substantial, ethical questions about the disingenuous crossing of theme with the actual individuals involved and what those individuals could actually do. By crossing up a concept of 'nepotism' or 'landed emplacement of cronies' with individuals who are demonstrably neither and not ideologues, Mr. Chandrasekaran ill-reports facts and tries to muddy issues which are clearly not amenable to such mud.
Finally is the overall attack on Nation building by Mr. Chandrasekaran. I would suggest that he do a comparison with ANY peacekeeping mission by the UN and contrast it with Iraq. How can the US accomplish in a few short years what the UN is *still* trying to figure out in the Balkans for over a decade? And, mind you, that was handed to them as a well run situation well on its way to real peace and security... and NONE have flourished since the US and other European Nations handed the situation to the UN. Perhaps Mr. Chandresekaran could look into THAT and find something worthwhile to report... like its problems in Kosovo.
Compared to *that* the US is doing a fantastic job as I demonstrate with various Good News articles on Iraq: here, police blotter 'rip-n-read' for the factually challenged media, what those purporting about little things in Iraq AREN'T trying to show you, Quiet and Hidden news part 1 and part 2 just in case the MSM wants to report on things that are not red and runny, the people of Iraq telling of how it is to live under the tyrant. Seems the US is doing better than the UN at just about anything... so why criticize the US more than the UN? I have no idea... perhaps Mr. Chandrasekaran has a vested interest there... I really don't know *why* someone would do such.
17 September 2006
This is a cross-posting from The Jacksonian Party.
This is a position paper of The Jacksonian Party.
America has stood since its founding against tyrants, pirates and thugs. Of that there is no dispute. That is the foundation of the United States and remains so to this day. The United States stands for many things and has only run ONCE in its history. That was due to disingenuous politicians and ideologues planting the idea that fighting *against* tyranny was wrong on behalf of an Ally. The Nation did commit troops and for the long years the fight went on, going against insurgents and the terrorists of their day. America had experienced that BEFORE in the Philippines and fought through and WON and was able to wrest back control of that Nation once it was over run by an Imperial Force. The Philippines was handed over to local rule, for good or ill and remains self-ruled to this day. To the shame of the Nation We did not honor another Ally in South East Asia and decided to feed them to the wolves of Communism.
Three Nations succumbed to America's cowardice: South Viet Nam, Cambodia and Laos. To those that deride the 'domino theory' note that this was EXACTLY what the US went in to PREVENT. The US did spend blood and treasury in South Viet Nam. We saw it as worth the effort to save a People from Communism. We did not fight to WIN in South Viet Nam and no one pushed for Victory there, for fear of triggering a global thermonuclear war. By not fighting to take territory and remove the Northern regime, the United States gave credence to the power of the USSR and Communism and no good came of that.
By the twisting of fate and cowardice one great enemy of freedom was brought down by those INSIDE its confines. The People of Poland hit those hard strokes upon the foundation of the Communist World and others under their yoke took up those very same hammers featured on their symbols. The arms and hammers of freedom and liberty won a victory that could NOT be won by the United States. While that was going on the Soviet Union made a play for larger expansion in Asia and started the process of generating the next great enemy of freedom, liberty and religious practice. By not keeping the Soviet Union occupied in a minor proxy war, they sought larger hegemony and overstretched themselves, but NOT before producing an enemy that is not so easily fought.
Today the United States and, indeed, the entire free world and all of those that look to the United States as a beacon and bastion of liberty are in a deadly struggle against an opponent so nimble that everything we have built to fight conflicts is no longer up to the task. This enemy will fly no flag and declare no Nation, but is the enemy of ALL Nations. This enemy is rootless in its placement, but deadly in its attacks against the weak and defenseless. There is no wrong this enemy is NOT willing to commit so as to achieve their goal. Their goal is that of Empire.
The Jacksonian Party stands against ALL EMPIRES.
I see those quivering about such things as a 'botched war in Iraq' and 'not getting Osama'.
I have some news for those people: even if those went PERFECTLY we would be in deadly peril still as our enemy has given a valid end state to terrorist conflicts.
That end state is the removal of Nations from the globe, to reduce them to such small pieces that they can be taken over or annihilated.
This is an enemy you *cannot* give an inch to without fighting hard. Any gain will be trumpeted by this enemy as a march on the road to victory... to Empire.
I dare anyone, anywhere, knowing what is known NOW, in incomplete hindsight, to tell me and the American People HOW TO FIGHT A PERFECT WAR.
If you bitch and moan about the loss of US troops in this conflict, may I dutifully point out that the death toll from our enemies upon the innocents of this world outnumbers our measly few lost by orders of magnitude? Further, if you damned well care about *saving* American lives, that one of the leading causes of death, in these United States is septicemia. I have vituperated on the dishonorable Democrats pushing for defeat before, and I will put it to you in this very, very pointed way: the death toll from septicemia in 2000 was 31,224 dead Americans.
From the NIH at the Septicemia page: "Appropriate treatment of localized infections can prevent septicemia."
My fellow Americans, if you put the death toll from 9/11 and from both Afghanistan and Iraq together, you would be face to face with the fact that we LOSE more than six times that amount EVERY YEAR because Americans can NOT act like 5 year olds and clean their cuts.
That attack using the death of brave and patriotic soldiers for DEFEAT against this enemy is one that staggers the imagination because the population has so many people with the inability to look after themselves with *simple* things that they DIE from them. If 1/6 of the Nation took better care of itself the entire death toll from 9/11 to now, in 2006 would be NEGATED. And do note that this is not even a LEADING cause of death amongst the American population but is wholly and completely amenable to being reduced to only infections gained in hospitals if Americans would only TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES. These people do not die fighting for freedom and liberty, they die due to negligence. Willful negligence.
Then, to make matters worse, those pushing for retreat and defeat use the DEATHS of innocents due to terrorists as an excuse to run. You may find this odd, but when the United States stands up against tyranny innocents end up dead. It is a sad fact that tyrants always target the weak to show their strength. And by standing up for the weak, for those that are being targeted for death we will be unable to stop those murderers and tyrants much of the time. To use the deaths of innocence for anything but to FIGHT HARDER is absolute cowardice. Especially when the fight has been brought to our Shores and Land.
I then hear from those that wish to pull troops back to *secure the border*. The Nation does not need many troops to do that if you are SERIOUS about this issue. The Jacksonian Party puts forward a fully offensive capable, high tech WALL with deep pilings and remote operation capability and a 'free fire' zone in front of it that no one may enter without permission. The cost of that is in the neighborhood of $5 Billion and may require some time from the US Army Corps of Engineers, but most can be *contracted* out. Calling troops home when you are unwilling to INVEST in the Nation's borders is despicable.
But I do understand how the faint of heart just will not be able to stomach a fight for survival.
So, to those that want retreat The Jacksonian Party proposes a Jacksonian Retreat.
I assure you, that you will not like it.
If you think that we should leave Iraq and put troops in Afghanistan then The Jacksonian Party supports one, and only ONE option: it must go overland through IRAN.
Iran has given the United States at least five legitimate Casus Belli so that we may dispose of it as We wish: Tehran embassy invasion and kidnappings, First Beirut Embassy Bombing, Marine Barracks Bombing in Beirut, Second Beirut Embassy Bombing, Khobar Towers Bombing.
Iran has given the United States cause for War and proven itself to be an illegitimate State and HOSTILE to the United States. Some may quiver and quaver and become faint of heart saying that it 'has been too long to hold Iran accountable for their actions'. In this real world of diplomacy and Nation State interaction there is one concept that is SUPREME amongst Nations when cause for war is given: it has NO statute of limitations. Iran has not and does not apologize for its hostile actions and until they have satisfied the United States in being held accountable we are free to march through their territory any time WE damn well please to.
Iran continues to supply and harbor terrorists and gives aid and comfort to those out to destroy freedom and liberty. Iran supports a return to Empire which they call Caliphate. Iran is an enemy of free people across this entire planet and endangers freedom through its Foreign Legions Hezbollah all the way to the Our Shores and the Mahdi Army in Iraq. If Iran attempts to stop US troops from moving across Iran the United States may freely destroy them as Hostile elements of a rogue regime aiming to destroy the United States.
As the US Armed Forces move through Iran We may decide to inspect some of the facilities there. That is part of what comes with being an enemy of the United States: being open and letting yourself be inspected so that We can be assured that you are not working more actively against Us.
And if *any* Iranian wishes to join Our military forces and train with the Free People of Afghanistan or Iraq, then the United States will assist those people in so doing and protect them. Those that wish to join the US Armed Forces may apply for membership.
Iran will no longer be RECOGNIZED as a State, but a mere transit territory to the United States and any other Nation that has legitimate Casus Belli against Iran.
The United States will link up the two newly freed Peoples of the Middle East so that they may have unrestricted commerce with each other and grow strong together.
Because the United States is OBVIOUSLY not up to that job.
Then the United States Armed Forces will go on a Global Retreat tour to include: the wilderness provinces of Pakistan, Syria, Lebanon, North Korea, the Philippines to help out fast friends in freedom, and, indeed, any Nation that has terrorists within their borders. One by one the entire might of the US Armed Forces will retreat through any land that holds those that have declared war upon freedom and liberty.
This Global Tour may take awhile, I suggest a larger Navy is in order.
That is a Jacksonian Retreat.
Directly OVER the bodies of the enemies of the United States and any that would call themselves free people.
We will rebuild *nothing* as is proper of a defeated Nation.
If you do not like that plan, then you are consigning the Nation and the World to pay the highest price of all.
And may you be damned to whatever awaits you for crying about the blood of innocents without AVENGING THEM.
I have been performing and ongoing overview of the translated al Qaeda doctrine document The Management of Savagery and while only 36 pages into it as of the start of this overview, feel it is time to bring a few summations of the wider scope of that work into view. My thanks to William McCants at the West Point Combating Terrorism Center funded by John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard University: The Management of Savagery: The Most Critical Stage Through Which the Umma Will Pass by Abu Bakr Naji, for making this translation freely available.
Taking into account that this is a document made by a committed al Qaeda individual looking for a doctrine to incorporate beliefs, means, methods and abilities of terrorism to reach an Empire, some of the foundations of the actual writing by Abu Naji are counter-factual or clearly made up of fantasy so as to fit belief into a real-world perspective. This can lead to actual conclusions that are valid, although the supporting schema of thought is invalid. Yes, a stopped clock is still right twice a day, if it be analog. Digital ones just *stop* all function. So Abu Naji does achieve some extremely pointed insights of that nature, but then veers off into fantastic outcomes.
And in all of the modes of thought the most deadly being presented by this paper is an answer to Gwynn Dyer's analysis of terrorism in the 1970's. His review of terrorism them was that, unlike guerrilla warfare to form a Nation State, terrorism has no valid 'end-game'. It works towards nothing and achieves nothing save death and terror. Abu Naji now gives the first light onto an end-state as promulgated by al Qaeda, and while simple in its conception it does have hard basis in reality for all the fantastical trappings of the belief surrounding it.
Terrorism has always been the 'poor man's oppression upon his oppressors' but has never had good structure or accountability that a more Nationalist movement seeking to make government would have. Throughout the 1970's and all the way to the late 1980's, terrorism was non-State actors attacking Nation States as they had no means via legitimate Nations to attack those States. Israel has been a main bone of contention in the Middle East, but the IRA, ETA, FARC, Shining Path and other terrorist groups have had separate outlooks upon who, exactly, is oppressing whom, and that they did not like the fact that they were of such a small minority that *no one* would listen to them. Hijack a few planes, plant some bombs and you got *instant* media coverage! Suddenly you go from *nobody* that is ranting to a *freedom fighting group with legitimate grievances*. Yes, a small minority could suddenly change the entire sphere of understanding so that a slight fraction of individuals in a territory could enforce fear of them and horror upon the populace and GET RESPECT.
Iran started to change that by adding its weight directly via terrorism, in the formation and funding of Hezbollah. Many Middle Eastern dictators used Islamic groups to distract their populations towards Israel and justify brutality at home as keeping *foreign, colonialist, imperialist, expansionist groups* at bay. Link that with the *freedom fighting* of terrorists and throw a conspiracy on top of it to explain why Muslims kill Muslims and you had an instant distraction from tyranny and justification for *any* form of brutality. Iran, however, started reshuffling that deck with pointed religious extremism *against* secular Nations. Using this formulation to gain credibility, pestering Israel gave Hezbollah 'street cred' but allowed it to expand into secular States and become a more potent and distributed threat.
Afghanistan offered a sectarian countervailing influence to the Shia Iranian fundamentalist dream by bringing together the Sunni fundamentalists, particularly Wahabbi extremists from Saudi Arabia. While many new terrorist organizations formed, the majority of them were of the older 'use violence to get validity' model. al Qaeda, however, seeing the influence of Iran and the capabilities of Iraq at coordinating terrorist organizations, determined that a different path through terrorism could be formulated. To do *that* required a *goal* and that was provided by the concept of an Islamic Empire of global expanse known as the Caliphate. Iran was already promulgating *its* version of the Caliphate and now al Qaeda would give *its* version voice.
al Qaeda, however, only had funding by rich individuals, mostly from Saudi Arabia, but from other Wahabbi or Sunni extremists across the globe. In conception, then, it is a distributed funding setup that needs to gather funds piecemeal to survive. Without State backing al Qaeda is 'the rich man's terrorist group'. As individuals they have high levels of education, understanding of most of the modern forms of business and some scientific and engineering background. Osama bin Laden is a trained civil engineer and mostly considered a financier of terrorism in his early days. He changed that conception by showing up on the Afghani scene personally, ill-health and all. Leading from the front always gets admiration from the troops of those leaders, even when they realize it is a damn fool hearty thing to do.
Afghanistan was a choice of last resort after being ejected from Sudan. bin Laden preferred the more centralized nature of Africa for his plans and framework, and the ready availability of aircraft, ships, supplies and logistics. Afghanistan had *none* of that and was deeply impoverished with the opium trade as a major source of funding available via black market means. From that fighting experience and its environs comes The Management of Savagery and its outlook on exactly *how* to create a Caliphate while *not* being a State.
As a whole al Qaeda realizes that it cannot deal with operational and integrated Nations. Functioning Nations with the backing of the majority of its citizens are difficult to deal with, and al Qaeda recognizes that as a foundational problem. Further, although it has rich backers, al Qaeda is a distributed operation that works on a shoestring budget for nearly everything, and thus needs to leverage a few individuals to gain the greatest impact of their terrorist acts. al Qaeda method of operation is that which was seen by Aum Shinrikyo: the concentrated near simultaneous assault on a critical or multiple critical targets via a few operatives. Aum Shinrikyo, being a fatalist death cult, actually wanted its operatives to come *back* to rest, recover and then stage more operations so that they could spread death more quickly. al Qaeda, wanting to build an Empire, was more than ready to expend lives to gain its ends.
With these two things, minimal operational budget and distributed means using low cost but highly effective attack targets, al Qaeda would be known for the *spectacular* attacks. Their fantasy viewpoint is that this will gain favor with Allah and then allow for Divine Intervention to take place in support of al Qaeda by collapsing the will of its enemies. It is that collapsing that The Management of Savagery addresses, as it seeks to give formulational basis to that resulting chaos and then turn it into something of use and value in its rebuilding. The primary place for the *spectacular* attacks is against the West and large non-Islamic Nations such as India, but also Australia. Japan by having a nearly homogeneous population has a built-in immune system to such attacks, but other Asian Nations do not and there is hard play in places like Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia for al Qaeda to gain roots amongst the large populations of Muslims in those lands.
In its simplest conception al Qaeda is performing 'divide and conquer' strategy against Nation States. By being unable to attack large Nations, al Qaeda seeks to destabilize them so that internal rebellion can be fomented and the Nation itself dissolve into smaller pieces. al Qaeda analyzes this with the USSR, fall of European Empires and with smaller Nations that also have separatist movements. One of the main problems that al Qaeda identifies is that new Nations spring up from the old, but they are less able and less strong than the original, larger established Nation. Even then al Qaeda realizes that they have little opportunity in that realm as even small Nations that have good interior definition are resistant to their influence.
To counter this al Qaeda proposed 'the rich man's road to Global Empire': set groundwork during the pre-chaos, encourage it through some actions, and then, when the larger Nation falls into disarray, send money, fighters, supplies and everything necessary to gain control and be seen as a way to rebuild a Nation along the al Qaeda tenets of operation. By gaining trust in sending fighters and setting up hospitals, al Qaeda wishes to use the dissolution of the people inside of a Nation in tumult and 'guide' those people to the 'true path' given by the Divine. Once that trust is gained, then a framework for a strict, authoritarian Islamic based State can be developed and put in-place and the new territory exploited for its goods, people and money, to spread influence.
This conceptual outlook, of conquering Nations for booty, is one that is as ancient as Empires. al Qaeda wishes to overlook the entire age of Industrialization and return to that basic conception of conquering Nations so that more Nations can be destabilized and conquered Once you get the ball rolling, terrorism becomes more frequent, more nasty, more oppressive and Nations fail faster. Soon al Qaeda is seen as leading the world to a glorious age of an Islamic Caliphate, never mind the absolute and abysmal poverty of those conquered or the chillingly and appallingly high body count of the non-believers of the al Qaeda vision as they are eliminated.
While their examination of the European trade Empires suffers from faulty foundations, al Qaeda is removing the negatives of those Empires, namely needing a literate and skilled population to help better run the local economy so that everyone benefits, and putting in its place a removal of support structures and the dismantling of manufacturing and trade so that it may gain the booty of those under them. As al Qaeda is *not* seeking a technology based Empire and has no conception of human rights separate from the few granted by the Divine, the only overhead it has is basic teaching of the Koran, religion and whatever minimal ministrations are needed to keep the populace *alive* so that it can be extorted for more money. al Qaeda is more than willing to use the fruits of a technological civilization but, in the end, wants no part of that civilization.
These conceptions are put forward in the place where two Empires reached and found that this reach exceeded their grasp and were forced to retreat from it due to logistics and the different style of warfare necessary in that region. Mountain based warfare is a small-unit affair with a few men being able to hold of thousands for days, weeks and months. Modern air cover is a help, but only if it is all-weather and capable of dealing with the terrain. The British Empire had armies designed for more open spaces warfare and were dealth a harsh bit of reality in the mountains of Afghanistan, with only the more local and adapted to mountain fighting troops proving to be of great utility.
The Soviet forces were doing very well at maintaining their occupation until the US supplied training, supplies and Stinger missiles to remove the air cover advantage of the Soviet forces. With new means and methods to attack and deny air support, the Soviets were similarly pressed back and found that even the most brutal of means they had only gained harsher resistance. Their final retreat would bring the collapse of their puppet government and the Taliban moved in to further destabilize things. al Qaeda finally came in to help solidify the Taliban's hold on all but the northeast sector of the Nation, and together they worked to start a goal of removing the age of technology from the population and exploit it.
al Qaeda sees this as a winning methodology as many Nations are composed of multiple ethnic groups and already have factionation within them. These weak States are targeted for further destabilization by al Qaeda and its affiliates, so as to further undermine those governments. So that they are not seen as purely attacking Muslims, al Qaeda must *also* attack large Western and non-Islamic Nations to show how weak those Nations are in dealing with terrorism. One of the great fantasies that al Qaeda has is about the Cold War being something administered by the UN in which the two superpowers were supplicants to it. The UN is seen as a great and evil organizational force that gives its 'ok' to the two superpowers to keep order.
Be that as it may, al Qaeda has looked to its attacks as a means of "exhaustion and vexation" to continually weaken Western and non-Islamic Nations until they retreat and, finally, succumb to the ever growing al Qaeda backed sphere of influence. And al Qaeda has examined history and dediced that this is a winning plan by examining all of the Imperial roll-backs of the 20th century of the European Empires and the problems faced in the post-WWII era. Here al Qaeda integrates the lesson that the Soviet Union learned from its support of North Vietnam against the US-backed South Viet Nam: the United States in particular has no stomach for multiyear proxy warfare.
This is a correct assessment made from direct review of the evidence of the post-WWII era and the Cold War. Do remember that the Cold War is seen as a UN-allowed and moderated affair, not a competition between different ideologies in the view of al Qaeda. A quick overview of US Wars can be found here and added to by the terrorist attack list in my previous article, but let me give some of the highlights so that we can see the trend lines that al Qaeda sees:
The Korean War: 36,000 US Military killed
The Vietnam War: 58,209 US casualties
Evacuation of South Viet Nam
Evacuation of Cambodia
US Hostage taking in Iran and failed military expedition
Bombing of the Lebanon Embassy by Hezbollah
Bombing of the Marine Barracks in Lebanon by Hezbollah
Bombing of the Lebanon Embassy by Hezbollah
1985 Hijacking of Panam flight 847
1986 Bombing of TWA flight 840
1986 Berlin Disco bombing by Libya and minor reprisals from same handed out
1986 Hijacking of Panam flight 73
US involvement in counter-narcotics operations throughout South America
1988 Bombing of Panam flight 103 by Libya
1991 Persian Gulf War, not taking out Saddam
Involvement in the Balkans and predominant use of airpower
1993 killings of CIA employees at a stoplight on their way to work
1993 WTC bombing
Somalia and 'Blackhawk Down'
Unable to stop Rwandan Genocide
1996 Khobar towers bombing by Hezbollah
1998 al Qaeda African Embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya
2000 USS Cole bombing by al Qaeda
By responding as it did, the US has put forth NO effort towards securing itself, its allies or its partners and, in point of fact, responds so feebly to its citizens being attacked that al Qaeda, prior to 9/11, saw that there was *nothing* that the US would stand for and support anywhere. al Qaeda has made the apparently correct assessment that its use of 'vexation and exhaustion' will work on the US, the West and possibly even on non-Muslim but sectarian States. In the viewpoint of al Qaeda, and remember they do discount the effort of the Cold War as mostly static and unwilling to use force, democracies cannot stand up to long term threats and will decay, degenerate and dissolve because of them. They look at the post-Cold War break up of the USSR as typical of this and the further breakdowns in Yugoslavia and the post-Soviet Republics as wholly indicative of a world degenerating into feuding small entities. They further add in to this the long period of European colonial withdrawal and see that time is on their side as the world breaks down into smaller and smaller ever squabbling Nations ripe for takeover.
Here their analysis is one that a small, ideologically driven organization with strong backing can change the fates of these smaller Nations, take them over, indoctrinate them, reduce them to subservience and use the spoils of those Nations to go after their neighbors or remaining larger States that will also succumb to 'vexation and exhaustion'. A wonderful and grand scheme with many foundations in fact and reality but with some flaws of human nature unaccounted for.
Of the prime outlooks that such organizations have is that their struggle will continue past their deaths as they gain new adherents. By forcing harsh indoctrination and weeding out the *impure* or using those of lesser character to achieve their ends, al Qaeda is trying to set up a system for a multi-generational assault on the Nation State system. If not countered and harshly, wherever it shows up, this will succeed in continuation of their fight. And each act of violence perpetrated by *any* force against these Nations are seen in aiding al Qaeda in its long-term goals. This is true on both the National and International scale, and the less responsive Nations are to threats, the closer they are to being turned into a state of chaos and fracturing into smaller and more amenable pieces. Nothing gets build *until* pure religious indoctrination and adherence is gained, and enemies deserve to be destroyed and have chaos visited upon them.
This is an end-game proposal that al Qaeda is using for their terrorism.
Even though their multi-generational assessments have some serious drawbacks, the main one being the Theory and Practice Conundrum, it can serve as a foundational structure for *other* transnational terrorist organizations to take up and build-upon. As al Qaeda is only 'the Base' of a network, that is now a problem that is faced as the entire network now has this concept within its ideology. As this concept spreads it will take root in other terrorist organizations that operate on international and transnational scales, be it in the capitalist drug underworld or in the Maoist or more general Communist conceptions of social structure, once constructed this concept moves into the entirety of the entire web of transnational terrorist organizations.
Because multiple organizations of different foundational and structural viewpoints can carry this idea and spread it over time, new organizations that spin-up will *also* take this on as a structural component. Here is the major problem of transnational terrorism: it is not delimited by ideology or religion. Multiple different groups with similar goals but differing end-states now have a continuous and valid way to keep unending pressure upon the world as a whole and diminish into feudal, warlord States or slowly roll over those into Empire on a global scale. At this point destroying al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Iran, North Korea, Syria and Saudi Arabia will do *nothing* to stop Lashkar-e-Toiba, Abbu Sayyef, Moro Islamic Front or, really, any of the organizations that work, support or cooperate together on international scales.
Make no mistake about it, The Management of Savagery is the prime threat to civilization and human rights of the modern age. It is not only wholly directed to remove rights from individuals, but gives outlook on means and methods to bring down Nations and use the destabilized chaos that results to advantage. This advantage will belong to ANY group that uses it and utilizes it. This doctrine is one that is custom made to the post-WWII and post-Cold War era as it seeks to exploit 'weak Nations', abolish them and then use the fact that they were NOT supported as good cause to continue attacking OTHER States. And because this is done by distributed organizations that have NO State foundation and are NOT Nations and only become one once they have a large portion of chaotic warlord areas under control, there is no legitimate means for Nation State military organizations to respond on a global scale.
This is a brand new formulation of World War without Nations being able to respond with their traditional National organs of military and police effectively on a global scale. So long as there is weakness in Nation States and people look to Nations as their only means of defense, this is a harsh, cold and effective means to destroy the civilized world. Destroy one group and others of different stripes and locales continue to fight. Even stopping the descent of a Nation into chaos is merely a *holding pattern* until the attacks resume elsewhere or start up again in a different region of a Nation trying to restore or create internal order.
The mighty Nation State that has been created to protect liberty and freedom of its people and have some sort of National agreement is at peril. A response to totalitarianism will, in point of fact, play into this conception by removing rights and making such Nations ever *more* susceptible to intrigue and destruction. Highly despotic rulers and multigenerational kingdoms have proven ineffective against the previous wave that decayed their structures and removed their validity.
That was the first wave of human liberty enshrined as being protected BY Nations for their People.
It is a wave against Empires that has now ebbed to the point where everything built upon it is at peril.
The Nation State system will succumb to this if it does *not* respond. But its response cannot be, because of the way Nations are designed and structured, a world, global military conflict. There is NO large military battles to be fought, although those regimes supporting terrorism must be brought to an end, those are purely localized conflicts. Any military given the broad means to actually combat this is a threat, in and of itself, to liberty and freedom and of going rogue once it understands that all of the keys to power have been handed to it.
Those civilized Nations that seek peace must let a different kind of war take place.
It is a war in which Nations cannot protect their citizens, but *can* allow their citizens to take up arms and join the fight to protect themselves. The United States was formulated on just that thing and the recognition that limited government MUST allow individuals to fight when they are threatened and protect those individuals from actually taking on the enemies of the People when such actions are sanctioned and justified by the Nation. The idea of removing arms to ensure peace will be the destruction of liberty and freedom globally and not only must be countered, but the legal and sanctified means of self-protection and willingness of citizens to take up the fight for SURVIVAL must be ensured.
The responsibilities for those things for which a Nation is not created to do must, finally, fall squarely and directly upon the People of that Nation.
Civilized people across the globe who have enjoyed liberty have seen the fruits of tyranny and reject it. Yet pacifistic concepts of States are now and will continue to be threatened forevermore by small groups wishing to bring such States down so as to feast on the carcass of it, gain strength, enslave the people of that State and then grow bolder and stronger to bring down another state... even while the first is left in a mostly chaotic state of being and no good way to bring civilized order is seen for it.
Despots and tyrants the world over will howl at this conception of armed citizens roaming the globe to ensure their freedom and that of their Nation. Terrorists will try to subvert *that* too, but face the unpleasant fact that the more awful they become, the more hunted they become in direct proportion to their actions. There is and always will be a place for Nation State militaries to protect from the threats of rogue Nations seeking domination and Empire, some of which will use terrorism as a means to that foul end.
But terrorists are not States, although they flow amongst them.
Terrorists are not companies or syndicates, although they may take on such guise as needed.
Terrorists are criminals, but can escape from Justice due to their Nature of abiding by no Law save their will to Empire.
In short terrorists are individuals.
Law enforcement plays its part, as does diplomacy and every other thing that Nations provide to fight crime.
International drug and crime operations *still* flourish, although they are mere criminals, not seeking the end to the order of Nations.
Terrorists that use crime are seeking just that thing.
And the only effective means to fight such, is by those who would seek them out to protect themselves and their Nations from them.
And given Just Reward for doing so.
If we dare to trust ourselves.