Saturday, July 09, 2005

Searching For Causes

I respect Tony Blair. He has voiced strong support of Western civilization and Western ideals. He understands that Islamist terrorists are barbarians who seek to impose their Shari'a tyranny on the entire globe.

I believe, however, that using Western logic to understand the causes of the jihadists' fury is an exercise in futility. I fear that we are making assumptions which do not apply.

According to an Associated Press article carried by the July 9, 2005 edition of the Washington Post, Tony Blair has identified three causes of terrorists' strikes:

"LONDON -- In an address on British Broadcasting Corp. radio Saturday, Prime Minister Tony Blair said Britain must defend against terrorism --but must also strive to understand the underlying causes of the violence, which he identified as deprivation, lack of democracy and ongoing conflict in the Middle East.

"'I think this type of terrorism has very deep roots,' Blair said. 'As well as dealing with the consequences of this--trying to protect ourselves as much as any civil society can --you have to try to pull it up by its roots.'

"That meant boosting understanding between people of difference religions, helping people in the Middle East see a path to democracy and easing the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, he said."

The deprivation-as-a-cause-for-terrorism theory is an interesting one. But Yaroslav Trofimov's Faith at War does not support that theory. The author, a journalist from the Wall Street Journal, was in the Middle East on 9/11--in Egypt, I believe--and he observed that those who most rejoiced when the WTC Towers fell were not the Egyptians living in poverty. Rather, the rejoicers were those who were prosperous professionals, many of whom had been educated in Western countries. Furthermore, according to Trofimov's eyewitness account, the ones who most railed against the United States were those who had experienced the Western way of life, a way of life which we cherish.

We Westerners believe that if someone experiences our freedoms, he will love those ideals so much that he will subscribe to them. Such is not always the case. As much as we Americans love and value our freedoms, we are showing arrogance when we believe that all feel the same way.

While democracy may be the cure for terrorism, as Mahdi Obeidi believes and so stated in a March 2005 speaking engagement in a Fairfax County Public Library, to believe that poverty and the Palestinian question are the causes of terrorism is naive and flies in the fact of historical facts. The justification for jihad and the murder of infidels are delineated within the Koran itself:

"And if any believe not in Allah and His Messenger, We have prepared, for those who reject Allah, a Blazing Fire!" -Quran 48:13

"When the sacred forbidden months for fighting are past, fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them, take them captive, torture them, and lie in wait and ambush them using every stratagem of war." - Qur’an 9:5

"Your Lord inspired the angels with the message: ‘I will terrorize the unbelievers. Therefore smite them on their necks and every joint and incapacitate them. Strike off their heads and cut off each of their fingers and toes." - Qur’an 8:12

I do not pretend to be an authority on the Koran, but a question begs to be asked: Are the above isolated verses, or are they the essence of Islam?

Some valuable information which may help to answer the above questions can be found here, here, here and here. And if the answer is what I think it is, all Western leaders need to do some important reading.

The time for wishful thinking is long, long past.


At 7/09/2005 9:45 AM, Blogger Jason Pappas said...

Good point. It’s not that they don’t understand us that makes them hateful; they know very well who they hate and why. The 9/11 terrorists studied in Germany and lived in the USA while they trained for their attack. The main thinker behind the Islamic Brotherhood, Qutb, lived in the USA in the late 40s before returning to Egypt. His brother taught bin Laden at a university in Medina. And, of course, the bin Laden family was quite familiar with European culture.

Trofimov does a good job; I’ve read about 1/3 of the book. Unlike most journalists he doesn’t take things at face value but keeps pressing and looking until he has some sense that he has the whole story. He may not have the decades of study like Raphael Patai, but he has some recent experience and a good snapshoot of the post-911 response in Islamic countries. Thanks for the recommendation.

Earlier today, I was watching British news and getting angry at the self-blame by the reporters – either explicit or implicit. To top it off, they continue to exonerate Islam from having any roll. Naturally, that means they have to look elsewhere.

At 7/09/2005 2:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blair is not entirely correct. Children born into Islamic families are raised to become terrorists, and there may be several reasons for this. We know, for example, that the families of martyrs are paid a hefty sum of money (in Middle Eastern terms) when their children blow themselves up as part of the jihad. Some parents raise their children to be soldiers of Allah. So we should not be surprised that so many young Arabs are killing themselves while seeking their path of hell. There is a sharp contrast between the way in which Muslim children are indoctrinated to Islam, and how normal people become “Christians.” Christians discover the light of their way, and then accept it as their own. Muslims are taught to believe the Koran as the word of Allah before they can even read, thus its acceptance is a foregone conclusion.

Blair speaks truthfully when he suggests that most Muslims live a life of oppression, violence, poverty, and humiliation, but most of that is created by Muslim leaders, and we can use Arafat as an example, who in spite of many grants and loans from western nations, somehow managed to stuff hundreds of millions of dollars into a Swiss bank account, spending little if any of that money on programs that would benefit his own people. Of course, illiterate people are found to be the most oppressed, among the poorest souls — their condition of ignorance keeps them there. When Blair ignores this fact, his is being “diplomatic,” and dishonest.

The claim that imperialist systems and global inequality are the harbinger of terrorism rings very hollow to me. It is true that our world went through a period of imperialism, but Arabs have been living in tribal groups for thousands of years. Western imperialists did nothing to put Arabs in their tribal condition; they simply did nothing to lift them out of it until somewhat recently in history. Bemoaning history does nothing to change historical events and circumstances. Personally, I do not feel responsible for any of this because I wasn't part of the colonial era. Others may feel guilty about this, but such feelings are not going to change history.

There have been injustices heaped upon the Arab peoples; too many poor policy decisions by the Israelis with respect to their Arab neighbors certainly contribute to the problem, but we can also say that the Arabs themselves have not been good neighbors. Both sides of the conflict in Israel have taken egregious actions. How does any of this explain or justify the horror of exploding bombs in school buses in Israel, flying planes into buildings in the US, or blowing up trains in Spain or England? Anyone who thinks that Arab history in any way justifies terrorist activities has a terrorist mindset.

What I expect Tony Blair to say is that the problems in the Middle East are mostly created by Muslim leaders who manipulate the ignorant masses. Osama didn't create al-Qaeda because he cared about the Arab people, he did it to empower himself — he became a king of his own choosing, and this story is repeated throughout the area. If any of these leaders wanted peaceful coexistence, they could achieve it, but their terrorist activities preclude peaceful coexistence with anyone.

When our politicians begin speaking the truth, even when it is unpopular among certain segments of the voting public, we may find ourselves back on the road to real global progress.

At 7/09/2005 9:39 PM, Blogger Esther said...

It's not whether they've lived in the US and tasted our freedoms; it's whether they're religious and have studied Wahabbism. If they're schooled in that, then forget our freedoms ever having an affect on them.

As for Blair's talking smack about the lack of peace in the Middle East being the reason for terror, first he can bite my ass and second, check out this link:

At 7/10/2005 6:57 AM, Blogger Σ. Alexander said...

Everything is based on simple love and hatred. In many cases, their antipathy to the West is grounded poorly.

In this century, cool-headed analysis of national interest and values is not enough. Terrorists are motivated by emotional hatred.

At 7/10/2005 12:04 PM, Blogger beakerkin said...


Islam from its inception has always had a violent history. I think that the myth that all religions are equal is just wrong.

A religion that preaches submission
is more prone to abuse then one that preaches salvation. Do we cling to the idiocy that everything was peachy before Israel. I guess the Armenians, Zoroastrians,Assyrians and Jews all conspired to tell identical lies.

I find it amazing that people who rush to speak at every possible utterance of Falwell are hypersensitive of any statement on Islam.

At 7/11/2005 1:41 AM, Blogger Warren said...

"I believe, however, that using Western logic to understand the causes of the jihadists' fury is an exercise in futility. I fear that we are making assumptions which do not apply."

It is not necessary to understand their motives. The understanding serves no purpose unless it helps us destroy their ideology. The "understanding" we see from the left is little more than their own form of "religious" flagellation which they suffer for the "sin" of being white and well-to-do.

That is pretty much the message you would receive at any liberal site on the web including those devoted to liberals of other races. Of course, those liberal whites exempt themselves as the "enlightened" and the rest think they are exempt because they are "victims" of "white oppression".

It is actually insane! They actually think it is about race.

At 7/11/2005 7:27 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

I completely agree that we don't have to understand the enemy's motives to defeat the enemy. On July 10, I left a long comment (two parts) about this @

At 7/11/2005 11:36 AM, Blogger BigBubba said...

".....strive to understand the underlying causes of the violence, which he identified as deprivation, lack of democracy and ongoing conflict in the Middle East." --Tony Blair

We can discuss these issues on an intellectual level. Indeed they must be discussed as part of the answer to terrorism. We must, however, understand that how our leaders frame these questions, and discuss them, in the public forum, are as they say "for the crowd."

I suspect that behind closed doors what is actually being said is that we need to violently hammer these SOBs until they see the wisdom of peacefully accepting the reality of their life. Our biggest enemy in fighting terrorism is not the terrorists. Our biggest enemies are the bleeding heart liberals who do not mind sacrificing your life and that of your children and family on the altar of "fighting deprivation, lack of democracy and ongoing conflict in the Middle East."

At 7/14/2005 7:43 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

I've heard through the Washington grapevine that this administration knows the truth, but that the truth must be sanitized.

Bleeding hearts have a penchant for sacrificing others. They are also out of touch with reality. Too much touchie-feelie thinking leads to a poor strategy for defense.


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