Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Stock Phrases and their uses

'The Boston Globe tells us that a group of today’s leading appeasers (from Paul Volcker to Chuck Hegel) sent a letter to President-elect Obama just before the Inauguration (so that it was apparently drafted during the Gaza fighting), calling on him to negotiate with Hamas. They say that the president will speak with them, which is altogether in keeping with the current fad of seeking the talking cure to all the world’s maladies. The British Government is undertaking negotiations with Hezbollah. The Pentagon has approved talks with the Muslim Brotherhood. Vice President Joe Biden wants talks with the Taliban. And calls abound to avoid offending those who kill us. The pro-Israel Washington Institute wants to tone down the language we use, recommending we stop using phrases like “war on terror,” “global insurgency,” even “the Muslim world.”'


The latter list of phrases is a weird concatenation- the first two are well-known western-invented imprecision's about the world situation, but the last one "The Muslim world" is not. It is equivalently imprecise, but it is not our phrase. Indeed it is a piece of propaganda I loathe. The underlying message of the phrase is that Indonesians and Iraqis and Afghans and Persians are all the same- muslims, and that trumps any national, racial or tribal affiliations. Its close cousin is "Muslim countries"- the absolutely false contention that if a country has a lot of muslims in it, everybody else doesn't count. At least a quarter of Lebanese are Christians, but the rest are muslims, so Lebanon is a muslim country. Nobody talks about France as a Christian country, just because it happens to have more Christians than anything else. France is France.

Both of these phrases help to guide the world into thinking in the ways desired of them by islamists. If you think that the 1.2 billion muslims in the world are like one enormous happy being, joined at the level of souls, you can get away with constructing sentences like "the muslim world was angry about X" or "the muslim world will never forgive us for Y". Crucially, of course, there is no muslim world.

As I and many others have detailed over time, nation, race and sect trump common religion most of the time in the so-called muslim world. Iran and Iraq fought a gruelling eight-year war, for Gods sake. Try to get a Bradford muslim to talk about that. Saddam invaded muslim Kuwait, and was going to invade the centre of world islam Saudi Arabia until a rather large US army got in the way. Pakistan uses Afghanistan, its muslim neighbor, to enhance its prestige by attempting to make it a Pakistani proxy. Thats not very ummah'ish is it?

In fact, the islamists have had most of their recruiting and propagandising successes where islam is absolutely not the dominant force- Britain, Nigeria, Thailand, the Phillipines, Russia and the US. That's where a huge proportion of the worlds islamists reside- not in Saudi or Morocco or Indonesia or Iraq. What should that tell us?

Just like Bolshevism, islamism has never been and never will be a response by extremely poor and oppressed people to their oppressors. It is an imperial ideology fanatically adhered to by the sons of the wealthy, the bitter, ambitious, father-hating malcontents of the wealthy suburbs. Osama Bin Laden is a perfect archetype. He grew up in the lap of luxury, his head full of fantasies of religious purity and destroying the people slightly higher up the economic scale from himself. This vanguard have gone around the world busily finding people who it can exploit to achieve the ends it has fantasised about- the stupid, the impressionable, the credulous and the bitter. Why are they more successful in some countries than others? Well, how many stupid, impressionable, credulous bitter people are there in that society?

Look at Somalia. Somalia almost defines those things. Before the islamists came, Somalia was a byword for backwardness, terrible internecine feuding and ignorance. It still is, but now islamism has entered the godawful mix. Somalia is now virtually empty of professionals, middle class people and academics. Anybody with money is gone. Anybody with an education is gone. Hell, many of those with no education and no money are gone too, and are now living off the state in Germany, Holland or Britain. That's perfect for the islamists. All the kulaks are gone, now we get to tell everybody what the truth is.

I agree with the general point that we need to sharpen up our language in reference to the enemy we face- the Wahhabist islamist ideology using broader islam as cover as it spreads its reach across the world. The War on Terror was always bizarre and distracting. Global insurgency (not that I've ever seen that much) is again vague and unhelpful. If you can't name your enemy, if you are unsure who you are supposed to be fighting, you may well come to believe, as hundreds of millions in the west have already, that there is actually no enemy. They could not be more wrong.

The enemy is good at camouflage, that's all. Our language should be completely clear and precise, so the camouflage doesn't work.

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