Saturday, September 12, 2015
LESSONS OF 9/11
The 19 murderers were acting on a radically different set of ideals and principles––the doctrines of Islam that had destroyed the mighty Byzantine and Persian Empires, and that had invaded, plundered, and occupied southern Europe for 1000 years. We should have learned that nearly a quarter of the world’s people still take seriously what we have reduced to a life-style choice––faith in a transcendent power for whose commands the believer will kill and die, and whose spiritual imperatives trump freedom, human rights, and all the other goods we desire.
There has never been a great power with the cultural, economic, and military resources of America that has been as restrained in using that power. Muslims in particular have benefited from America’s dominance, which saved hundreds of thousands of Muslims in the Balkans and Iraq, and even after 9/11, liberated millions more from the psychopathic Saddam Hussein and the vicious Taliban. Contrary to anti-American propaganda, the U.S. wasn’t targeted by al Qaeda for its alleged “crimes” against Islam, a specious pretext bin Laden cooked up to appeal to self-hating Westerners and rally disaffected Muslims, but for being the world hegemon that wields the power and influence the faithful believe Allah has destined for his believers. We should have learned on 9/11 that as a great power, we will be hated, envied, and resented merely for our existence, and that there is no number of good deeds we can perform to make like us those whose culture and traditions teach that they must hate us.
Too many of us endorse the lie that the U.S. has been a racist colonial and imperial power, oppressing and exploiting people across the globe, even as we gush over myths about Islamic “tolerance” and cultural achievements, and ignore the 1000-year record of Imperial Islam’s invasion, conquest, colonization, slaving, slaughter, raiding, and plundering of Christian lands. No better example of this ignorance has been the President, who has decried the Crusades––an attempt to liberate lands that had been Christian for over six centuries from their Muslim conquerors and overlords––and the Spanish Inquisition, whose toll of dead in its whole existence is about the same as the 5000 Jews slaughtered over a few days in Muslim Granada in 1066.
The unschooled pursue utopian ideals that claim civilizational order and peace can be maintained without brutal violence, that wars can be fought without all the permanent horrible consequences of mass violence, that conflict with inveterate enemies can be resolved with talk or material rewards, and that economic development and esteem-boosting flattery of an illiberal religion and culture can transform the faith-based identity of the jihadist into something more like us––all delusions evident in Obama’s disastrous deal with Iran.