March 28, 2003

Fact Checking the "Moderate Muslim" Meme

The meme of the moment is the Moderate Muslims who have turned on the US because of the Iraq invasion.

Here is the original source, published in the LA Times, reprinted in Australia:
"Osama must be laughing."

Fawaz Gerges points to a few representative "moderates" who have been shocked into opposition:

Maligned previously as a pro-Western reformer, despite his support for Palestinian suicide bombers, Tantawi's new stance shows the extent of the realignment.

The leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt - a mainstream Islamist organisation with membership numbers in the millions - called on his followers everywhere to join in jihad in defence of Iraq.

Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, whose organisation had been moving away from militancy in recent years...

Gerges himself was on CNN Friday morning promoting the meme.

And in today's New York Times, Nicolas Kristof picks up the meme, but coyly eliminates the credentials of the "Muslim figures", Perhaps because the readers of the Times are too squeamish to know precisely with whom they are agreeing. "Hearts and Minds."

Muslim figures who sided with the U.S. after 9/11 and denounced Osama bin Laden are now urging "jihad" against Americans.

So who are these moderates?

Tantawi:
-- issued fatwas supporting suicide bombers in Israel.
-- issued fatwas for a jihad to oppose the "judaization" of Jerusalem
-- issued a fatwa against a Cairo University professor, putting his life at risk. The professor's crime: " Hanafi expounds a secular-humanist philosophy in the vein of Nietzsche or John Stuart Mill. He explains that paradise is a state of human bliss and that God is simply a focus of positive natural energy."
-- has supported genital mutilation for women, in his own words: "Cutting a little, but not exaggerating in cutting [the genitals] is better for appearances and more pleasing to the husband." He has modified this position, but it is unclear where he stands on this issue.
-- condemned a new marriage contract that would inform brides-to-be of their rights according to Egyptian law.
-- feels the "hijab" is obligatory for Muslim women.
-- refused to issue a fatwa lifting the condemnation of Salman Rushdie.
-- calls for the closing of alcohol distilleries.

The Muslim Brotherhood:
-- 4 members assassinated Anwar Sadat, former leader of Egypt.
-- banned by the Egyptian government because they are attempting to overthrow the government to establish an Islamic state.

Hezbollah:
-- In December 2002, called for suicide bombings worldwide.
-- has conducted many suicide attacks in Israel and Lebanon.
-- is held responsible for the US Marine barracks bombing in Beirut, 241 Marines died.
-- is held responsible for the bombing at Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, 19 US servicemen died.
-- at least one of the FBI's most wanted terrorists is a senior Hezbollah member.

Posted by campbell at 09:29 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 27, 2003

The Left's infantile paralysis

Daniel Pipes makes good observations about the many failings of the left in considering Saddam.

The same goes for Saddam Hussein, whose gruesome qualities matter less to the Left than the fact of his confronting and defying the United States. In its view, anyone who does that can't be too bad — never mind that he brutalizes his subjects and invades his neighbors. The Left takes to the streets to assure his survival, indifferent both to the fate of Iraqis and even to their own safety, clutching instead at the hope that this monster will somehow bring socialism closer.

Much as I admire Pipe's argument, I feel that he has painted the Left as a single entity who believe in this way. The Straw Man argument. Luckily, not everyone is reading from the same playbook, viz Christopher Hitchens.

I count myself on the leftish side of things, despiser of most things Bush and the Republicans are in favor of.

But I was shocked not too long ago when an acquaintance, an otherwise reasonably intelligent guy, started to speak respectfully about Venezuela's resident thug Chavez. When I looked shocked, he backed way off with the weaselly "well, I know he's probably not a very good guy ..."

That's when I knew. For a certain loonitarian segment of the Left, it isn't about what is right, what is wrong, what is progressive, what is humanitarian. No, it's about who is standing up to the US, pure and simple. If someone stands up and proclaims his anti-American bona fides, it doesn't matter what kind of hood he is, he gets an automatic bust in the Pantheon of the Left.

It isn't socialism, as Pipes would have it, it's hate.

That's why the endless canonization of Fidel. He sure puts it to "the man", doesn't he? Bah. I used to know people who positively worshipped Enver Hoxha and Kim il Sung. Sad the state of anti-Americanism that we now have such heroes as Saddam, Osama, Chavez, Mugabe, Milosevic and Dear Leader.

But I guess the anti-Americans can have Chirac. The man last spring was voted for "avec les gants" (with rubber gloves) by the French Left. But he stands up to the Unilateral Hegemon (I like that, sounds like a villain in a comic), so "what a guy!"

We would have Schroeder — a man of the left — but he has about zero chance of surviving much longer.

Until the left gets past this infantile Manicheanism that everything US is evil and everything that opposes the US is good, they are doomed to the inconsequentiality that befell the Marxist movements.

Posted by campbell at 12:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Andrew Thomson: The War Against America

From The Weekly Standard, a cogent article on Anti-Americanism by Andrew Thomson, a former government minister under John Howard in Australia:

The war against America has been on foot for some years. Its first manifestation came during the 1990s in the form of militant Islam's sporadic attacks on Americans outside the United States. This was followed by the Pearl Harbor of the new century in New York and Washington on September 11, 2001. All the while the world stood by and watched. It became the normal thing that America was attacked.

I think Thomson puts the date of the first manifestation as way too late.

I think there is a seamless line from the anti-Pershing missile campaigns of the 1980s, most of which were being prodded and funded by the old KGB and Stasi, through the anti-globalization riots and demonstrations of the 90s to the Islamist attacks.

Generally, it follows a similar pattern of grievance and the embodiment of the grievance in one symbolic monster: the United States. The grievance may be rooted in realities of poverty, but that hardly matters. It's more important that the grievance be seen as a chance to slap at the US.

It's like that old Abbott and Costello routine where Abbott gets the big guy angry at Costello by slapping him and saying that is what Costello wants to do.

My new slogan, swiped and modified from a skateboarder's t-shirt:
You say Unilateral Hegemon like it's a bad thing.

Posted by campbell at 12:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Design Police are never around when you need them.

This is disturbing. UPS has gone over to the dark side with their new logo, dumping the classic by Paul Rand.

The original:

The tarted-up, by Futurebrand of New York:

The first comment I've gotten: "It looks like a gas station."

So here we have the design cliché of the 90s — the swoop — mixed with the metal shine cliché. I give it 5 years.

Posted by campbell at 12:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack