Imam McCarthy’s newest fatwa

At NRO/The Corner, reliable anti-Islamist Andy McCarthy calls for opposition to Cordoba House today, recalling the protests that he believes helped stop plans to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in Manhattan.

That dissent was enough to forestall the trial, but it will have to be even more energetic to stop the mosque — whose construction would be a classic instance of supremacist Islamists building their icons over those of the non-Muslims they mean to vanquish. As I explain in the book, this is not a case of me drawing an inference from the facts we can observe, although those facts are obvious enough. Leading Islamists — not just terrorists but Muslims who adhere to very mainstream Brotherhood ideology — insist that they will “conquer America” and turn it slowly into a shariah society.

I find the above statement comically myopic (or would the right phrases be “willfully blind“?).  In terms of victor’s “icons,” just ask yourself, for example, how an Islamist views the zillion dollar U.S. monster-embassy in Baghdad.  But let’s set that aside, and take McCarthy’s description at face value: If I believed that Shariah Law, or perhaps some Americanized version of it, would be better for the United States, is there anything in our constitutional tradition that would prevent me from organizing, speaking, or constructing buildings to advance that purpose?  What if I were a communist or a Nazi or… a far right conservative?

For every political ideology or religion, there is someone in a pluralistic society convinced that its triumph would be their destruction, moral or physical or both.  We live and even flourish amidst the contradictions – though over time it becomes more and more difficult for believer in religion 1 to claim with a perfectly straight face that belief in religion 2 is sending his good friend across the table to eternal damnation, or that mere belief in ideology 3 is a threat to everyone’s survival.  And it also becomes more and more difficult for belief in religion 2 and ideology 3 to remain unaltered.  Today’s hardcore “Papist” or “Commie” is not yesterday’s.  He can’t be.  You don’t step in the same river twice, and human beings are mostly water – wearing endlessly away at the remnant rock.

The process often feels to serious believers like the onset of decadence.  I don’t think that can be helped.  I think it’s likely that, over time, the U.S. will absorb Islamic influences in predictable and unpredictable ways.  In a world one-sixth Muslim, a free country will tend to become something around one-sixth Islamic – it might overshoot, it might fall short.  In the meantime, in resisting the outward forms of Islamism – support for Shariah Law, maybe a building project in Manhattan – people like McCarthy visibly take on the inward character – the ideological rigidity, paranoid xenophobia, willful blindness – of that which they despise.  That’s pretty much inevitable, too.

As for me, I think I’d rather have America, and call it the Caliphate, than have the Caliphate, and call it America.


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74 comments on “Imam McCarthy’s newest fatwa

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  1. Well what’s wrong with the Communists, (sarc)they cheer the stimulus and the health care bill, they are the inspiration for the likes of Robert
    McChesney who wants to turn the press into a Government Department of Information, Van Jones, joined them three years after
    the Berlin Wall fell

  2. That’s just it, they are endeavoring to make us less free, by making the media which is already leaning in their direction, unanimously so,
    by seizing as much of the private economy as they can handle, by indebting us to the point that we can’t defend ourselves

  3. @ narciso:
    How very Orwellian of you: More freedom is unfreedom.

    Do you ever even experiment with seeing things from the other side? Or is that too weak? So now it’s the communists at Goldman-Sachs who indebted us? Or are they Islamists? Have you considered the possibility that no one’s in control, but everyone’s working an angle?

  4. Give me a more positive spin to having the government run most major industries, having them decide who is legitimate and illegitimate press, Halperin’s latest being a desperate plea for funding, the climate exchange scam

  5. Are you for fucking real, seriously? Can you not see that the issue isn’t whether we’ll have mosques in the US, which we already do, but whether we’ll have a mosque on Ground Zero? And this doesn’t bother you?

    You have crossed over from wishy-washy to Fifth Columnist. I see you’ve intellectualized yourself out of a country. Fine. We’ll carry on the bloody fight for our attacked nation without you, TRAITOR.

    Oh, and don’t be surprised if you aren’t welcome on Hot Air any more.

    Just out of curiosity, does someone have the goods on you?

  6. Using the F word is nothing compared to your endorsement of our enemies’ victory column. As for threats, your whole post was a very thinly disguised threat to use your inside connections to fix the debate so that the mosque would be built. Once it is built, all patriots will be seen as weaklings, and our families will be raped and murdered by your cackling allies.

    I’m not intimidated by you.

  7. @ Ken:

    Ken, you are being rather a silly sliver of slurrious shite.

    Tighten your sphincter and type something of intellectual substance or slink back into some septic system.

  8. Ken wrote:

    As for threats, your whole post was a very thinly disguised threat to use your inside connections to fix the debate so that the mosque would be built.

    FYI – about the only inside connections to anything that I happen to possess would be the doors to my bedroom, office, and bathroom – except I don’t really “possess them” either, since I’m a renter. So same goes for the plumbing. Not sure what else you think I am connected to or how one would go about fixing a debate, or which debate needs to be fixed.

    Just some friendly advice: You give me the impression that something isn’t working right. I’m not sure that this is a good place for you to be arguing with people.

  9. Didn’t the French and the Swiss recently protect their own Frenchness and Swissness in various ways? And them Europeeans make themselves out to be the ultimate authorities on multicultural correctness. Shall we insist on nude beaches in Malaysia?

    Seriously, one more bigee like 9/11 or yet another attempt to down a packed airplane, and people here may be moved to reopen internment camps. Clearly Muslims are afraid to set about defanging their religion, lest their heads go missing. And we’re talking about allowing a friggin’ mosque on or very near ground zero where 3000 innocents were murdered!

  10. @ Zoltan Newberry:
    That would be tragic, but I think your estimation of the American public is wrong. I think we would resist for a long time before opening “internment camps.” We did that once before you know. We would likely, however, move to much more intrusive profiling, and I expect the American Muslim community would, in the main, be highly cooperative.

    Can you tell me how a 15-story building in Lower Manhattan is going to destroy our Americanness? I rather think nixing the project would go a lot further in that direction – which was the theme of my long post on this subject.

  11. @ Zoltan Newberry:

    You can be sure that the Europeans remain ever ready to lecture the Americans on tolerance without themselves actually having any more than we possess.

    That’s kinda why Europeans moved here from there.

  12. Colin, my dear hombre:
    I think you are insisting on a literal interpretation of our freedom of religion principal, while mocking other forms of literalism, such as literal views of the Founders’ concerns regarding limited government. You take the nice sounding religious freedom meme and rub outraged noses in it, and yet you lecture us on being able to respect nuance and gradual evolution in other matters.

    I don’t get it, but I think this is why Ken and some others are getting impatient with you. I, however, listen to my frem, Lotus Feet, and seek to patiently and lovingly await your greater understanding of the subtleties involved in this discussion about a mosque on ground zero, if not your total illumination into a cosmically conscious Tsar.

    You must see that there is a need for the people of Islam, if they are truly the religion of peace, to do more to rid their religion of the very not so peaceful dirtbags who want to slice off your head, dear Tsar, who want to dominate all of us who are not Jews, and murder all of us who are Jewish, like they did to Daniel Pearl. This is why most Americans do not want a Mosque on that ground. They are noticing the not very peaceful adherents of this peaceful religion more and more, as they do more and more wicked stuff. The Mosque goers must do a better job of making sure the religion of peace is peaceful, you see. Otherwise, they are just taking advantage of the useful idiot multiculturalists, freedom of religion folks, and others who seem to think they can coopt the men in turbans and the ladies in head scarves and veils, by being nicey nicey, and being certain that 99 out of 100 Muslims really have no interest in killing us or dominating us or dressing our females like them, and all that.

    I think you understand this, but don’t really want to understand this because somehow it would make you seem like less of a humanitarian good guy if you insisted they build their new mosque in Chinatown or on Avenue D and 11th, or some such other place near a very convenient subway stop.

    I mean would you be surprised, shocked and disappointed if the book shops in these houses of peacefulness had books like “Mein Kompf” and “The Protocals of the Elders of Zion” for sale? It wouldn’t be very nice to ask them about these great literary works, would it, my frem?

    OK?

  13. @ CK MacLeod:

    I expect the American Muslim community would, in the main, be highly cooperative.

    A great deal depends upon this claim, doesn’t it? And upon what would make whatever uncooperativeness might be encountered “unmain.”

  14. @ adam:
    Much more depends on other factors, on the particulars, not just the anger of anti-Muslims or the fears or self-interested calculations of American Muslims. A main reason that there was never any great upsurge in anti-Muslim activity in the U.S. is that there was never any reason to believe that the 9/11 attacks were significantly facilitated by American Muslims. Both 9/11 and the Xmas attack that Z mentions were foreign-originated. As for the reactions of American Muslims to whatever was asked or required of them, that would obviously depend to a large extent on what was asked or required, and what fears, if any, they had regarding the effects of a perceived failure to cooperate. If and when the homegrowns ever pose a threat – beyond a handful of voluntarists causing a handful of casualties – the natural reaction for people who have a stake in the system and in civil peace will be to get rid of them ASAP. Before the situation escalates, there are significant social incentives to rat them out. A practical reason (just man to Machiavellian, as it were) to be against anti-Muslim bigotry is that an upsurge in it is likely to divide and fragment the Muslim community itself, complicating law enforcement in numerous ways while creating refuges and heightened incentives for malcontents.

  15. @ CK MacLeod:
    I would be surprised to see much cooperativeness on the part of Muslims in response to demands for higher levels of scrutiny, profiling, requests for information, etc. Such demands would themselves be easy to portray as anti-Muslim activity. And many would make it their business to thus portray them. I’m less worried about the Muslims themselves than about the Left. American Muslims, left to themselves, would be likely, for the most part, to show themselves loyal and to act reasonably in the way you describe. But it would be very difficult to pass up the role of exemplary victim that the Left would offer–those who do will be seen as both whatever the Islamic version of an “Uncle Tom” is and as as suckers, since simple self-interest will counsel individuals to hop on the bandwagon of lawsuits and demands for preferential treatment. The Left is, by now, to a great extent the collective defense attorney to the criminals, rioters and terrorists of the world, they like to gather all those who might ever be associated with criminals, rioters and terrorists into what are essentially global class action lawsuits, and they have gotten very good at it. All this will provide enormous leverage to the more uncooperative elements of the community, who will be able to hold the rest hostage.

  16. @ adam:
    And most of them stood on the steps of the Capitol singing God Bless America, and voted overwhelmingly for the Patriot Act, and for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, when the wounds were still fresh – and were killed in the immediately following elections if they wavered. Speaking domestically of course. The international left can mostly go fish if we decide we’re at war – and many of the people nodding furiously when Glenn Beck indicts the Wilson-fascist American Protective League will be first in line to join its contemporary successor in such a circumstance.

    But, like I said, I think it will all depend on particulars as they develop and as we interpret them. 100 John Allen Muhammads, and, sure, rigorous internal security measures until the threat is squashed. “Just” another 9/11, and a Muslim in Detroit won’t have much difficulty, but the Muslims living wherever the attack was thought to be based – they’d be outta luck.

  17. @ CK MacLeod:

    many of the people nodding furiously when Glenn Beck indicts the Wilson-fascist American Protective League will be first in line to join its contemporary successor in such a circumstance.

    Unless they decide Islam is the stronger horse, in which case they will be yelling Allahu Akbar, waving swords and slashing their kids’ foreheads with the best of them.

  18. @ Zoltan Newberry:
    Z my frem, so sadly and cruelly spamulated, probably way past your Cheekago bedtime by the time I write this reply to your no longer pending comment, please may we speak accurately about these matters? It is not slated to be built on or at or even next-door to GZ – not that I would mind, really, assuming opportunities to build were handled tastefully and ecumenically, but, anyway, since you do, you should be clear at least. Otherwise people will get the idea that if the edifice was actually to be built between two and three city blocks from GZ, with several large and impressive buildings between it and GZ, well then you wouldn’t mind at all. I think the map suggests it will be around 200 meters, a two or three minutes walk, from GZ.

    If 200 meters and 2-3 blocks is too close, what’s far enough?

    Now let us also note that said mosque is not a mosque, but rather a worship area within a 15-story cultural center – no doubt an impressive edifice to the unlettered peasants of east-south Hutuland, or late 19th Century rural Oklahoma with dreams of Kansas City, but not a BFD in Manhattan at any time in the last century or so. Even less of a BFD when you consider that – see top post – construction is already under way on some truly BFD buildings. So y’all are getting upset about a pipsqueak of a pseudo-mosque located three blocks away from the soon-to-be most glorious and awesome architectural mega-confections we can come up with, on an island full of ’em.

    People might get the idea that you’re upset about something else other than this project.

  19. @ CK MacLeod:
    Elected leftists will support serious security measures as long as, and to the extent that, their very life as elected officials is at stake. Non-elected leftists are bound by no such concerns–they will immediately interpret new attacks as a prelude to the establishment of your American Protective Leagues, which they will proceed to fight tooth and nail before anyone has even considered anything along those lines–because they are certain that Americans are always itching to lynch them some weird looking and sounding furriners. Since, in fact, Americans have their own version of Never Again in the forms of segregation, the WWII internment camps and McCarthyism, our collective hesitation about bringing any war home is extremely powerful. It would take a lot to push us there, and by that time the Left will have had plenty of time to help the uncooperative Muslims lawyer up.

    But, obviously, we’ll have to see if it comes to that. My original point was that you can’t possibly take cooperation for granted–I don’t know how one would go about proving or disproving that, though.

  20. There is a great butcher shop not far from this here neighborhood near the mansion of the Thetan, (G@d-Like) Mister Peanut and his sweet bride.

    It’s called MOO AND OINK’s.

    Con permiso, I would like to open the first Moo and Oink’s in lovely Manhattan, across the street from said non Mosque.

    And I have another suggestion: Could they (the very peaceful designers of said non Mosque) be required to erect a memorial in their lobby: a headless statue commemorating Danny Pearl.

    • Sure, Zolt, and every synagogue can have a Baruch Goldstein diorama, and every Catholic church can have a sodomized altar boy exhibition and virtual reality Inquisition, and every Southern Baptist and Methodist church can have permanent Christmas trees with lynching ornaments.

      Not your business what someone does with their property.

  21. @ CK MacLeod:

    We’ll want to make sure ADA provisions are strictly enforced. Wouldn’t want access of guide dogs to be hindered.

    New Yorkers will also want to calculate the blast radius of the amount of ammonium nitrate that can be stuffed into a 15 story building.

  22. @ Zoltan Newberry:
    Zolt, you can be sure that you can open up a pork store, a branch of Hillel House, a Hindu temple, or most anything across the street from the mosque.

    I would welcome a monument to Daniel Pearl right near the place.

    In the Middle East they call this stuff “incitement”, in NYC, it’s business as usual.

  23. “I find the above statement comically myopic (or would the right phrases be “willfully blind“?). In terms of victor’s “icons,” just ask yourself, for example, how an Islamist views the zillion dollar U.S. monster-embassy in Baghdad.”

    CK, I’m not sure what exactly you mean by “Islamist” here. My definition of an Islamist is one of those fellas who wants chop off my head for simply being an infidel American (you may have a more benign definition of the term though). I assume your definition is the same as mine though. That being said, I think you’re a little off-center with the above statement/question. I don’t think we should care what an Islamist thinks of our Baghdad embassy or any other “icon” we erect. It’s kind of along the same lines as having our troops in Saudi. Bin Laden claimed that this was some horrific offense and was justification for war vs America. Well, we were there with the blessing of the Saudi govt. We didn’t just gratuitously show up to be infidel invaders. Should we have left because bin Laden told us to? Why should we care one iota what a bin Laden thinks? We wouldn’t pay any heed to some KKK buffoon who wants to rid America of the Jews and Papists and blacks. Once we start prostrating ourselves to the desires of the Islamists (rather, continue to do so ever more explicitly), we put ourselves on a path towards sharia – sharia being in direct contradiction with the most cherished values that a liberal democracy like America holds dear. We allow the narrative to be on the Islamists’ terms.

    If I had my preferences, the 13 story mosque would be built elsewhere – somewhere that’s more than a two football field walk from where the towers fell (maybe a couple of miles?). I too might be pretty unhappy if a mosque was 2-3 blocks away from where my hypothetical family member was killed in the name of Islam. That said, if it’s private property and a mosque is built going through the normal procedures that dictate how such private structures are built, then so be it. But once I’ve heard that someone in that mosque is preaching that Americans and non-Muslims must be killed, I’m going to want the wire taps in there 10 minutes later.

  24. @ Ritchie Emmons:
    Hey, Ritchie.

    I use “Islamist” to refer generically to supporters of “political Islam” – the idea that governments draw legitimacy from adherence to Islam. They would include a broad range of people from the current governments of Turkey, Iraq, and Afghanistan (the latter two literally Islamic Republics) to Osama Bin Laden and other people admiring your neckline.

    The point is that we don’t expect everyday Iraqis, Afghans, Turks to be upset about our presence – that is we expect them not to be upset – or at any rate that we don’t usually care whether anyone is upset, mainly because we’re already convinced that no one has a good reason to be upset with us.

    The point of the Baghdad embassy example was simply to give an idea of proportion and one-sidedness – something I’ve also tried to emphasize via references, subsequent to writing this post, to the under-construction skyscrapers and memorials in and around memorials at the real WTC site.

    McCarthy wants to rally opposition to the construction of a 15-story building in Manhattan because someone acting “in the name” of Islam committed an atrocity. People acting “in the name” of Western Civilization have repeatedly put large sections of Baghdad under heavy bombardment, and caused countless (literally countless) military and civilian casualties. If it’s not reasonable for someone in Iraq to be upset about the new U.S. Vatican, how is it reasonable for us to be upset about said 15-story pipsqueak of a structure?

    As an American, I find the idea of establishing an arbitrary “no Islamic worship allowed” zone repugnant. You’re aware that Muslims other than the hijackers died on 9/11, right? That Muslims serve in the US military and are expected to die for your and my freedoms? That the lives of our soldiers and our hope for keeping another 9/11 from happening depend in large part on non-American Muslims being convinced we’re on their side?

  25. @ narciso:
    narc, you little rascal, you. stop yelling “fire”.
    I don’t want anybody going over and giving that wonderful woman a hard time.
    I hold out hope that she can somehow be cured and she can accept my love and consent to become one of my wives.

  26. I’d already traveled there via the HA GR link. I fired off a fiercely fierce comment, last seen “in moderation” (my fault but not content-related), only to see that a certain green quasi-person had gotten there first.

  27. which thought is more hard to comprehend, my great love for the lovely Dyer, or the assertion that she’s not got all her ducks rowing in the same direction?

  28. Very good CK, I will heartily accept that we should be cognizant of what your “average” Iraqis and Afghans wish. Once we get past those fellers and get into the bin Laden’s of the world, I support resistance, arrest and drone attacks (and my favorite – capture of bin Laden alive so he can be humiliated in front of the world for not blowing himself up as a martyr).

    “People acting “in the name” of Western Civilization have repeatedly put large sections of Baghdad under heavy bombardment, and caused countless (literally countless) military and civilian casualties. If it’s not reasonable for someone in Iraq to be upset about the new U.S. Vatican, how is it reasonable for us to be upset about said 15-story pipsqueak of a structure?”

    If you assume the average number of those killed annually by Saddam, the number of presumed (according to sites that try to accurately count that number) killed since we invaded in Iraq has been quite a significant number below that. And that doesn’t include the countless number of Iraqis that surely would have perished at the hands of Uday & Qusay (and whoever else afterwards). So, the overall numbers of dead people compared with not so dead people are quite favorable in terms of what we’ve done there. Now, that being said, this does very little for the person who lost his family thanks to a misfired American J-Dam. It also does little for those who don’t tend to look at the overall long term national picture – which may be a majority of humans.

    I’m not sure about similar statistics for Afghanistan, but my guess is that the Taliban is responsible for more Afghan deaths than the US.

    I’ve made this point before a couple of times at Contentions back in the glory days when they permitted comments to the masses. I’m not refuting what you’ve said – I’m just re-making a point that I felt got WAY too little attention, especially during the dog days of the Iraq War.

    BTW, The new “US Vatican” might be seen as an intrusive by some, but I hope it’s mostly seen as a symbol of the US freeing the Iraqi people from a murderous tyrant and giving them the capacity to choose for themselves the type of govt they wish to have (as I feel it should be viewed).

  29. @ fuster:
    Er – let’s just say for the frog that was just ribbiting over on her blog about “innuendo” the second one seems a bit… lacking in foundation. You disagree with JED. I do, too. But it doesn’t do much for the possibility of political dialogue to express doubt as to the other person’s sanity. Tis a bit related to what we were discussing on the other thread: You have to proceed in political discussion under the assumption of the other person’s good faith and susceptibility to reason, until and unless proven otherwise – and then again as soon as the peace talks start.

    As for the first, chugotza nod wayer shonet.

  30. @ Ritchie Emmons:
    Have made the same arguments, more or less, myself, Ritchie. I don’t put myself in the place of the avg. Iraqi Islamist or nationalist. Even the ones who are glad that Saddam is gone, and thankful we got rid of them, may harbor great uncertainty and suspicion regarding our designs there, and the desirability of American/global cultural, political, and economic influence. But my point isn’t really about the validity of anti-Americanism or the validity of anti-Islamism: It’s about getting exercised enough over a minor building in Manhattan, affronted enough in our sensibilities, to junk the American idea, and without a second thought.

  31. I would believe that, but who ratted out Aulaqi, or Hassan, in the local
    communities where they operated, there was actually one dim fellow in Killeen, who didn’t find anything wrong with what the latter had done actually Effendi Aulaqi seems to be in denial, the same is not true for AbdulMutallab Sr, and didn’t Zazi’s iman, deny he was cooperating with the authorities. How about the Islamic Saudi Academy, and their notorious valedictorian, Abu Ali

  32. Maybe I read too much of Charles Johnson, before he lobotomized himself, but the public face of American Islam, characterized by the likes of CAIR and kindred organization, seem to always be fulfilling
    Tim Blair’s jibe “Moslems protesting tomorrow’s terrorist outrage”

  33. I too remember Contentions fondly. It’s what led me to this site, where I lurk from time to time.

    CKM, a lot of folks have made the analogy of having a Japanese cultural center (or something along those lines) near Pearl Harbor as an analogy to the instant situation in New York City. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

  34. Awwwwwww C’mon, CK …
    Do we have revisit the whole “provocation” issue again?

    The enemy is at the gates. Andy McCarthy is the go-to guy – On Islamism and legal matters anyhow. Younger men will probably clean up the mess.

    ~(Ä)~

  35. @ forecastle casady:

    That Japanese Cultural Center was built in 1986, forty five years after the surprise attack and after forty one years of demonstrated Japanese peacefulness. Also, it’s not as close to U.S. Arizona as the Islamic propaganda, terrorist recruitment and attack planning facility that’s proposed for two blocks from Ground Zero.

    Not that I oppose the building of that facility, I remind you. I would personally prefer that it be right across the street from Ground Zero, so every American visiting the site could see it.

  36. @ Rocketman:
    Not sure what you mean by the “‘provocation’ issue” in this context, and I mean everything I wrote about McCarthy, who, whatever his past contributions and expertise, is in my opinion a noxious demagogue on this issue, and on the “clash of civilizations” generally.

  37. @ Sully:
    It wasn’t the defenders of equal rights and freedom of worship in the United States who brought up the Pearl Harbor example. It was people like Rod Dreher grasping for a way to affix some fig leaf of rationality and decency to their arguments.

    Speaking of which:

    @ J-Bone:
    HI, J-Bone – hearty if inalienably necrotic greetings to a once-living Contender.

    Before the frog linked that Japanese Culture Center (a few minutes down the Fwy from Pearl), I was going to ask if you and others were absolutely sure there isn’t a “Japanese cultural center” near Pearl Harbor. Rod Dreher specified a “Shinto shrine” – though one might ask whether every Lexus and Sony TV isn’t a Japanese cultural center in the 2010 context. I also wonder if there are American centers of any type near the Hiroshima and Nagasaki memorials. There is a Hiroshima baseball team – in business since 1949. For decades virtually all of Japan and West Germany were massive American cultural centers, so obviously no one on “our” side is interested in some kind of parity in mutual respect to survivor sensitivities.

    You can’t put anything past this country’s political culture. If some Japanese group announced their intention of building a cultural center somewhere near Pearl Harbor, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone tried to make a living from opposing it on behalf of those who died, their families, national honor, etc.

    All the same, there are so many differences between Pearl Harbor and the 9/11 attacks that analogies like Dreher’s are, as I put it in the GR piece, profoundly incommensurate. But these differences are actually somewhat instructive.

    The forces that attacked Pearl Harbor represented a nation-state, and the war that followed, though it eventually involved unconventional weapons and methods, had a conventional end, eventually leading to occupation and alliance – including an acceptable and legitimate disavowal of central tenets and expectations of Shinto militarism (“Emperor Worship” being the best-known case), but not the complete disavowal of Shintoism (something that would equate with the total eradication of Japanese traditional culture).

    Of course, to the militarists, their Shintoism was authentic Shintoism, just as it was for anti-Shinto propagandists – as similarly for Islamists and anti-Islamists today. 65 years ago, we were grown-up enough to dispense with such fearful symmetries when they ran counter to our interests and values. Because we didn’t believe in collective guilt, we were able more or less immediately to establish ourselves as benign occupiers, guardians of Japanese (as German) welfare, respectful of indigenous culture. When we tried war criminals – and this is crucial, I believe – they were tried as individuals, responsible for their own conduct.

    Collective guilt would have operated within their defenses – “we were only following orders” is an attempt to hide within the collective rather than personal responsibility. None of which is to make an absurd claim to the effect that our administration of victor’s justice was totally unself-interested or perfectly fair, or without its own serious contradictions. Yet it had an identifiable ethos, one consistent with the best American traditions and with with American policy ever since.

    The “forces” that attacked the WTC represented at most the idea of a transnational state that may not ever come into existence, or that, if it does ever come into existence, may have little or no direct connection to the terrorists. Indeed, who and what the terrorists represented and are still struggling to be recognized as representing is one of the crucial political questions in the battle with them. To be seen as representative of Islam is one of their highest aspirations, and establishing themselves as the effective leaders and banner-carriers of political Islam was one of the central motivations and objectives of the attacks. There is no place within the American tradition or within the American interests to treat the terrorists as true and legitimate representatives of some pseudo-entity called “Islam” or maybe “The Caliphate To Be.”

    Ironically, more or less in keeping with the terrorists’ intentions, the radical Islamists’ self-proclaimed most ardent foes are often their chief facilitators. Many of the same people who in one breath declare the 9/11 and other terror attacks “pointless” may in the next breath reinforce the actual “point.” They accept the terrorists themselves as self-legitimating representatives of authentic Islam and a Caliphate-to-Be, and they are busier than the terrorists’ own publicists, and with much better access to Western media, in driving home that argument. By now, the Islamists have countless volunteer ideologues who can be found all across the internet, especially on the right side, distributing their propaganda for them.

    Assuming there isn’t a Japanese cultural center or Shinto shrine near Pearl Harbor, then denying some new initiative for one would indicate that the peace between the U.S. and Japan was incomplete – despite a 65-year-old alliance and all the tearful and respectful meetings between former adversaries on anniversary days. It would give life to a conflict that for most Americans and Japanese is a thing of the remote past. Denying permission to Cordoba House to put up a relatively small building (for Manhattan, and for the site as planned) would be a tribute to the terrorists – even if everything the the Neo-McCarthyites say about it is fair and true. It would also be a dreadful admission of weakness and hypocrisy on our part.

  38. The problem is CK, that we’re not speaking of collective punishment, but a project underwritten by a member of the Perdana movement, which help support the MV Marmara and the Rachel Corrie this week,
    among other enterprises, Just like we turned down Prince Talal’s offering of danegold after September 11th, unless you think Guiliani was wrong and Cynthia McKinney was right.

    SAdly the Turks and the Egyptian are not living up to the standards of their Ottoman era counterparts, when Selim 11 and Mohammed
    Ali, the original, helped bottle the Sauds back in the Nejd in 1818

  39. narciso wrote:

    The problem is CK, that we’re not speaking of collective punishment, but a project underwritten by a member of the Perdana movement, which help support the MV Marmara and the Rachel Corrie this week,
    among other enterprises, Just like we turned down Prince Talal’s offering of danegold after September 11th, unless you think Guiliani was wrong and Cynthia McKinney was right.

    Woah – way too much guilt by association there. Yet, even if took it totally as offered, if you had the smoking gun proving that Rauf et al personally sent Rachel Corrie packing on her tractor martyrdom operation, it wouldn’t be a justification for opposing Cordoba House in the way that it has been opposed. As I have now had to remind people repeatedly at multiple venues, my critique of the conservative reaction is concerned only secondarily with Cordoba House itself, mainly in relation to the proportionality of that reaction.

    If you can oppose the CI in a way that doesn’t sooner or later depend on “religion that kills” and other anti-Islamic utterances and characterizations or on lame attempts at character assassination and forced inference, and doesn’t lead to “let’s put up a bacon stand” gestures of willful bigotry, have at it.

    As for the “danegeld” incident, I could accept Giuliani’s action as expressing a refusal of the terrorists’ self-justification at a time when action was on the table and complexities were unwelcome, but that can’t equate with full acceptance of his rationale, which has in subsequent years become definitional for a certain brand of rightwing political correctness that I’ve commented on before. At a certain point, a refusal to view the full context of the 9/11 attacks becomes a familiar ideological straitjacket, an excuse not to think.

  40. @ CK MacLeod:

    you wrote – “Because we didn’t believe in collective guilt, we were able more or less immediately to establish ourselves as benign occupiers, guardians of Japanese (as German) welfare, respectful of indigenous culture.”

    An excellent analogy for use as a model for after we address the problem in a decisive fashion, although I suspect it will take a number of additional attacks on us, the catalyzing one likely with nuclear weapons, before our children or grandchildren implement it. I won’t belabor the parallel to de-nazification and de-militantshintoization because it isn’t necessary.

  41. Sully wrote:

    An excellent analogy for use as a model for after we address the problem in a decisive fashion, although I suspect it will take a number of additional attacks on us, the catalyzing one likely with nuclear weapons, before our children or grandchildren implement it.

    Suspect or prophesy whatever you like, but there is no Islamic equivalent of Germany or Japan for us to make war with and then to de-Islamify. “Addressing the problem in a decisive fashion” does however echo certain other historical traditions other than the ones that we stood up for during and after World War 2. In fact, it sounds a lot like one of the main ones we stood against.

    Shall we put you down in favor of a “final solution to the Islamic problem”?

  42. @ CK MacLeod:

    You misread me. I have no problem with the people, although I don’t think we should import them, or even let them visit, if they carry the ideology. In the longer term, it’s the ideology that needs to be abolished, as militant Shinto and Nazism were.

    As I’ve pointed out before, I think our half measures and weak responses to provocation will probably lead to a very destructive global spasm which I would prefer were avoided.

  43. @ Sully:
    But Imperial Way Shintoism and Nazi-as-you-wanna-be were not abolished here. You could tomorrow start up a new Nazi-Shintoist anti-Islamist party, group-sing paeans to the Emperor and Adolf Hitler, publish double-sided paperbacks like those old ACE sci-fi editions holding an injudiciously abridged MEIN KAMPF with suitable Frazetta-ish illustration on one side, turn it over and around and get Yukio Mishima’s missing head calling for a Bushido revival from the other, and hold rallies and try to get funding for a cultural center two blocks from Pearl Harbor and another two blocks from the Washington Monument.

    Even in Germany, though distribution of MEIN KAMPF is restricted, it is still available in annotated student editions and to scholars, and I don’t believe there’s a penalty for possessing it. The symbols of the Nazi Party are barred, but you’re allowed to be a moronic thug who probably keeps a home made version in his closet and logs on to probably American-based Neo-Nazi web-sites. In Japan, we relaxed significantly when the Emperor himself declared himself not to be divine. It didn’t hurt in either case that the people came to see us as liberators, providers, and winners – and that we, overall, in our deeds, proved ourselves different from what the losers claimed about us. (In Germany, most of the people already knew we were preferable both to the Nazis and to the Reds – they didn’t blame us as passionately for bombing their cities to the Rubble Age because by the end of the war the belief was already widespread that Germany was experiencing just retribution for the Nazi crimes.)

    As for ideological examination of immigrants and visitors, that’s a practical question. I don’t think anything in our tradition bars us from doing that, though we’d (almost) all object to, say, an explicitly racist immigration policy, or to a policy that aimed to exclude everyone who wouldn’t automatically vote McCain-Palin. We’ve already discussed the oath of allegiance required of new citizens. The extent to which we close our borders to certain types of visitors would be a different issue, but, even if we could come up with an acceptable standard and practical method of examination for screening would-be visitors, beyond what we have already, there will be costs and trade-offs. An overly and overtly hostile policy might, for instance, greatly complicate diplomatic, political, military, and economic objectives of other types.

  44. We need to update the have you ever been a Nazi from 1933-1945, and refine the Communist part of the form. Now the problem is CAIR,
    who’s political director came from Hamas, and is part of the ICASP project, ISNA, (a member of which was lecturing on extremism, around the time of the Ft, Hood shooting,) MPAC, are problematic entitities are their very best. and they are always warning of the backlash that hasn’t happened yet.

    Now Imam Gullen, don’t know how to do the Turkish dieresis, is smart
    enough to know that the IHIH really mucked it up, with the Marmara.

  45. You can add the Holy Land Foundation, which was tipped off by the Times’s Lictblau and Miller(yes, that Miller) the General Welfare (sic)
    and a whole host of other enterprises. Also Al Jazeera, at least in the early part of this campaign was acting like an enemy mouthpiece

  46. @ CK MacLeod:

    Right now we’re acting as though literal belief in the Quran is not the problem even though the book clearly calls for world domination by force. The book is actually far more dangerous than Mein Kampf, precisely because it is not racist.

    There is a middle ground between the utter insanity of pretending the Quran is benign and an attempt to forbid publication of the Quran and burn all the copies in existence. We are well on the danger side of that middle ground.

  47. @CK
    “As I have now had to remind people repeatedly at multiple venues, my critique of the conservative reaction is concerned only secondarily with Cordoba House itself, mainly in relation to the proportionality of that reaction.

    If you can oppose the CI in a way that doesn’t sooner or later depend on “religion that kills” and other anti-Islamic utterances and characterizations or on lame attempts at character assassination and forced inference, and doesn’t lead to “let’s put up a bacon stand” gestures of willful bigotry, have at it.”

    I Wonder …
    If enough Jews and Christians had been around the region (and armed) when the Muslim horde murdered everyone in their path in order to build a mosque on ground Holy to THEM in Jerusalem – Would they have allowed it?
    Methinks not.

    ~(Ä)~

  48. @ Rocketman:
    I’ll refrain from quibbling on the description of how Islam spread, and just point out that even under your description the “Islamic hordes” hardly qualify as standouts in the the long and wondrous history of humanity. As for comparisons to the Christians of the time, at least the Muslims didn’t believe bathing was sinful.

  49. @ Sully:
    The “book” calls for a lot of things, often contradictory things, and is as subject to a range of interpretations as the other frequently warlike, xenophobic, and even genocidalist scriptures at the roots of all great and most small and forgotten religions and cultures. If Muslims hadn’t found ways to re-interpret the Koran and Koranic injunctions for changing circumstances and deepening understandings, the religion would have died out 1000 years ago.

  50. Sully wrote:

    That Japanese Cultural Center was built in 1986, forty five years after the surprise attack and after forty one years of demonstrated Japanese peacefulness. Also, it’s not as close to U.S. Arizona as the Islamic propaganda, terrorist recruitment and attack planning facility that’s proposed for two blocks from Ground Zero

    You speak as if you don’t know that Hawai’i had many Japanese living there when Pearl Harbor was bombed. ———————————-

    Memories of the internment of local Japanese, enlistment of ten thousand local Japanese in Hawaii’s 442nd Regiment and 100th Battalion, curfews and rationing remain sharp, even today. Miriam Hironaga, who was just six years old and a kindergarten student at Lunalio Elementary School at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack recalls:

  51. The difference is Islam was aggressive from the start, as the examples of Khaybar and Yathrib attest, Christianity as it was forced to assume
    the role of unifying force in particularly Byzantine politics, became more
    beligerent, and Judaism has been holding off the Egyptian, the Babylonians, et al all the live long day

  52. @ narciso:
    Ask the Benjaminites about who “started out” with aggressive ideas about in-group and out-group. Since, in point of fact, we weren’t around and have precious little to guide us regarding the misty origins of humankind, we have no idea. The fact that Islam is a successor faith, not a “brand new idea” also presents certain problems.

    Most of the West is already Islamic theologically and juridically, but just doesn’t recognize it yet – not really believing in the divinity of Jesus Christ but accepting him as a prophet, endlessly debating the fine points of logic and law, aware that surrender to fate brings peace, advocating the universal state in which all share the same fundamental moral precepts. Of course, that’s because Islamic civilization is already really Western – a culture of the logos, word and reason. All those comical Imams with their rulings on breast exposure and sex with goats are epiphenomena of that culture, not the culture itself. Islam is so obsessed with word and reason that its bad philosophizing – its sophistries and absurdities – get translated almost immediately into bad and inhuman acts. But the same thing makes it accessible, someday, if we ever get past our fear and hatred, or far enough, to the West. Neither side can “win,” because they’re already the same side, each “sub-side” overly fascinated with its own half-truths.

  53. @ CK MacLeod:

    OK, MacLeod, that last comment tears it!!

    If you go around talking like a grown-up none of the Kids are gonna want to play with you. We need more of that old-time “optimisticism” , the kind of Kid-speak that relies on defining our goodness with our feet on the broken backs of the face-down fallen foe.

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