Friday, September 07, 2007

Educating Ron Paul, Part I (Blowback)

“Democratic civilization is the first in history to blame itself because another power is trying to destroy it.”-Jean-François Revel


After Giuliani embarrassed Ron Paul in the 2nd Republican Presidential Debate last month, The RP damage control team has attempted to patch up Ron Paul's campaign by "educating Rudy". Basically, it is their argument that Rudy Giuliani, by evoking President Bush's "they hate us for our freedom" line of thought, is being simplistic. Ron Paul recommends a reading list to Rudy, that includes
"Dying to Win," which argues that suicide bombers only mobilize against an occupying force; "Blowback," which examines the unintended consequences of U.S. foreign policy; and the 9/11 Commission Report, which says that Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was angered by the presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia. Another book on the list was "Imperial Hubris," whose author appeared at the press conference to offer support for Paul.
Paul said it was irresponsible of Giuliani and other leaders to not examine the motivations of al Qaeda and other radical Islamic groups. Well, what are their motives? Ron Paul says we should listen to their own words; what they tell us. It's true that Islamists will cite their perception of American foreign policy as an ingredient to their drive toward violence as well as our presence on "their" soil, and support for governments in the Middle East that they don't approve of. But what is the underlying, root cause? After all, as Ryan Mauro so excellently puts it,
Many people point to the sources of anti-Americanism as the cause of terrorism, but anti-Americanism does not translate into an acceptance of, and willingness to participate in, suicide bombings. It is not fair to blame anti-Americanism (and thus American policy causing anti-Americanism) as the cause of the sickness, because hatred of one country’s policy does not lead most people to justify killing innocents. After all, most of Western Europe and Latin America is anti-American, but they aren’t participating in terrorism. The deliberate massacring of civilians, although conducted by many groups over history, is currently unique to the Islamic world, specifically the Middle East and North Africa.
What Ron Paul fails to acknowledge, is the threats of radical Islam. That is the fuel that fires the violent "jihadist" mentality.

These Islamist fundamentalists oppose U.S. support of Middle Eastern governments, because these governments are not Islamic enough for them. They consider any secular government an aberration and an offense to God, because it is created by man's arrogance to supplant Sharia Law. The salafists and wahabbists prey upon the feelings of injustice and oppression by the governments upon their people to sell them the snake oil of Islamic fundamentalism as the cure to their ailments.

Osama bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri have made it clear that their endgame plan is to create a a pan-Islamic Super-State.

Ephraim Karsh:

Yet it was not America's perceived weakness that brought about the September 11 attacks, as Mr. Lewis argues, but rather its undeniable prowess. This is because Mr. bin Laden and other Islamists' war is not against America per se but is rather the most recent manifestation of the millenarian jihad for a universal Islamic empire, the umma.

As the preeminent world power for quite some time, and the only remaining superpower after the collapse of the Soviet empire, America blocks the final realization of this goal and hence is a natural target for aggression. In this sense, the House of Islam's war for world mastery is a traditional, indeed venerable, quest that is far from over.

The creation of a new Islamic Caliphate as a launching pad for a final showdown against all infidels isn't the dream of just al-Qaeda Qtubists; the Shia-branch of militant Islam in Iran awaits the coming of the 12th imam. Ron Paul's foreign policy does not take into account Ahmadinejad's claim that he was “directed by Allah to pave the way for the glorious appearance of the Mahdi”, who endorses a violent path to conquering the world.

It is the radical, violent ideology of the Islamists that drives Osama bin Laden; not "we're over there. That's why they attacked us".

Any perceived trespasses by American foreign policy is just slant-sided propaganda, pushed for the purposes of recruiting more anti-American hirabists and sympathizers to rally around their cause. Apparently, it's also been effective in swaying the opinions of American politicians and world opinion against us. This is why the anti-Americanism that is preached by the Ward Churchills and the Howard Zinns and the Noam Chomskys is so dangerous at the university level. Young people looking for something to believe in, an idealistic cause to take up arms over, are vulnerable to being influenced by radicals.

When blame-America-firsters rail against American foreign policy as a root cause of anti-Americanism, what they fail to note that it is a perception issue. After all, American foreign policy is also what has us pumping financial aid to so many countries, as well as coming to the rescue of so many people, including Muslims.

Ryan Mauro further writes,
While American policy surely causes anti-Americanism, and policy should be fixed to reduce that, there are limits. For example, Islamists may condemn our culture, but does that mean we eliminate our freedoms to sooth their anger? Islamists, and the governments that promote them, deliberately manipulate the feelings of the population. Their hatred comes from half-truths. One only needs to take a quick glance at American foreign policy to see that terrorism does not emanate from an objective critique of our actions.

For example, while Islamists condemn our support for Israel and presence in Saudi Arabia, they make no mention of what we have done for Muslims. During the Cold War, we staunchly opposed any Soviet interference in the Middle East. In the 1980s, the mujahideen in Afghanistan were backed by America to defeat the Soviets. In 1990, the U.S. freed Kuwait from the Iraqis, and defended Saudi Arabia, Islam’s holy land, from his probable scheme to invade. In 1995 and 1999, we fought on the side of the Muslims to protect them against the Serbs and Croatians, who were Christians! In 1999, the US hurt relations with Russia by criticizing their action in Chechnya. And it was American pressure that caused Israel to withdraw from the Gaza Strip, forcing Jewish families from their homes, so the Palestinians could make it a homogenous area for themselves. While the U.S. does sell arms to Israel, we do the same for Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and its Arab enemies. Just like the radical Muslims manipulate the interpretation of the Quran for evil ends, they also manipulate the interpretation of American policy for evil ends.

Likewise, while anti-Semitic feeling is real in the Islamic world, Israel is also a scapegoat in many cases. Few people know that Israel actually treats the Palestinians better than any Arab country does. The entire Palestinian problem was created by Arab nations refusing to allow the Palestinians into their country, and even today, Palestinians are denied citizenship and rights in the Arab world. There are religious disputes, of course, but we must question why this translates into violence and a demand that one side simply not exist. Israel allows Muslims to visit their Holy Sites and even lets them vote in municipal elections (Bard, 221-223). This isn’t to say Israel is perfect or their positions are correct, but one must ask why Israel, which is the least oppressive in the region (even towards Muslims), is the target.

Dr. Tawfik Hamid, a former Al-Qaeda terrorist and associate of Ayman al-Zawahiri, also disagrees that American policy is what caused 9/11. In his book, he describes how he was taught not to think, how all misery was blamed on the infidels, and how 72 virgins awaited him in heaven, which was a treasure because sex before marriage, masturbation, and even looking at a woman in certain ways were strictly forbidden. Dr. Hamid describes how verses of the Koran are used to teach their students to kill the infidel, arguing that these verses are what cause terrorism, not current events. He also describes the history of violent political Islam, highlighting how it goes back to before the establishment of either the state of Israel or the United States. Hamid’s thesis is that all Islamic terrorism emanates from “purists” who forcefully took control of the Arabian Peninsula, thus controlling the heart of Islam (and able to shape it to their mold), and then during the 20th century, they exported this form of Islam using the oil wealth. He also notes that more Muslims have been killed by Islamic terrorism than Americans or Israelis, so the idea that the Israel issue is the primary motivator is false.
Muslim upon Muslim violence is not America's fault. It is the fault of the radicalization gene inherent within the Koran. (No, I am not saying that all Muslims are evil- I believe that most are not). American foreign policy is the scapegoat.

After the first debate in which Rudy Giuliani called Ron Paul out on his comment, Ron Paul brought in Michael Scheuer as his back up.

Michael Scheuer is held up by the Paulistas as the go-to expert to give validity to Ron Paul's foreign policy opinion.

Why?

Why is he the expert? Because he was the CIA's senior intelligence analyst who created the bin Laden unit for the purposes of tracking and hunting the al-Qaeda leader down (we know how that worked out, right?). Howard Zinn is supposedly the "expert" on American history. Does this make him "right"? The CIA are experts in their field; yet how often have they been failing us and getting things "wrong"? As well as injecting their political partisanship into the equation?

Interestingly, Scheuer's memory lapse here, has me wondering if personal political feelings is getting in the way of professional, detached observation and analysis.

The fact is, Michael Scheuer is indeed an expert, is intelligent, and is extremely knowledgeable. But his judgment is flawed, and his interpretation of the known data wrong. He, too, fails to acknowledge the radical ideology of fundamental Islam as a driving force. As the critical factor in the equation.

So....who educated who? Did Ron educate Rudy? Or did Rudy take Ron to school?

Michael Medved:
Many supporters of the so-called peace movement suggest that some dramatic shift in US policy might bring a quick end to the jihadist ferocity that claims innocent victims every day in some tortured Muslim corner of the globe. According to this logic, the brutality of Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas and other fanatical groups represents a predictable response to American meddling in Islamic affairs. These terror apologists (or at least terror explainers) forcefully reject the now common conservative formulation that “they hate us not for what we do, but for who we are.”
My recommended reading list for Ron Paul and his followers? Lawrence Wright's The Looming Tower. In there, you will find that the source of Osama bin Laden's hirabah against the West and against America in particular, isn't American foreign policy, but the radical, Qutbist ideology of a hateful, intolerant fundamentalist practice of Islam. It is the writings of Sayyid Qutb, among others, that is the source of al-Qaeda ideology; one which excuses violence against innocents. And yes, it's because that ideology hates America for its freedoms. Because of America's "decadence", "corruption", and because it is not governed by strict, Islamic Law. Not because of our "entangling alliances" and interactions with foreign nations.

Do you know what "blowback is"? Blowback is what happened to al-Qaeda when they waged violence against the U.S. Payback's a bitch when you're huddled up in a cave, hiding out from further blowback.



*UPDATE* 2007/09/08
18:30 I'd like to add Max Boot's "The Savage Wars of Peace Small Wars and the Rise of American Power" to my reading list recommendation for Ron Paul and his minion. In particular, Ch 15 on Pax Americana, Small Wars in the 21st century. Maybe another Ron Paul post is in order? It's like it's Ron Paul bashing Weekend at Sparks from the Anvil and Flopping Aces.

Articles of Interest:
Was Ron Paul Right or Wrong to Say that America Caused 9/11? by Scott Malensek
In Their Own Words by Bruce Thornton reviewing Raymond Ibrahim's The Al Qaeda Reader
The Master Plan by Lawrence Wright

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12 Comments:

Blogger Lexcen said...

Well said.

Friday, September 07, 2007 1:32:00 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Excellent post! And, Howard Zinn is also at the high school level. My son was required to read his last book as part of the U.S. History, advanced placement course he took last year as a junior. I was so disgusted, I can't tell you. My son is young and liberal, as it should be. I don't appreciate the extra early indoctrination, though. Hoping as he matures, he'll gain wisdom!

Friday, September 07, 2007 2:00:00 PM  
Blogger J_G said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Friday, September 07, 2007 5:34:00 PM  
Blogger J_G said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Friday, September 07, 2007 7:20:00 PM  
Blogger J_G said...

These little comment boxes are driving me absolutely nuts!!!!!!!

What the RP's want is for America to be an island. They want to have nothing to do with the outside world and use a misinterpreted document called the "Monroe Doctrine" as a guide for their principles. (incidentally the Monroe doctrine was written mostly by J.Q. Adams then Secretary of State)

We have no choice in this day and age of nuclear and biological weapons to act aggressively to implement foreign policies that are beneficial to our nation's defense. This has been proven time and time again. The principles of 1801 were forever put to rest by 1816 when the leaders began an unprecedented building of a world class Navy that could project American force any where in the world. Thomas Jefferson wrote to Madison "Frigates and Seventy Fours (Battleships)are a sacrifice we must make, heavy as it is, to the prejudices of a part of our citizens".

The pseudo-paleo-conservative isolationists pop their heads up from the sand every so often to let us know they are still breathing but just barely, as it has always been the case.

I had to wince when RP said in the debate we had spent billions of dollars on the CIA and it did not stop the attacks of 9/11. How morally dishonest is that? Plenty!

The Clinton administration cut the "on the ground" human intelligence gathering capabilities to the bone. They became too reliant on satellites to gather hard intelligence. Our military was drastically cut back and we were told that the Clintons had cut the size of government.

Point by point the RP's have to taken apart because what they are saying is a vast misrepresentation of the actual history and truth. Given the opportunity the RP's of this country wood soon have us on our knees begging for mercy from our enemies and there would be none.

Friday, September 07, 2007 7:33:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

lexcen,

Thanks for continuing to visit here.

karen,

My son is young and liberal, as it should be.

Did you type that right? Just wondering, from the context of your comment about indoctrination.

jennifer,

Excellent comment as all of your comments are. Thank you!

Friday, September 07, 2007 8:43:00 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Yeah, I'm ok with him being liberal while he's a teenager. I just hope he wises up and leaves the dark side before he gets too far into adulthood! You know, hoping he'll grow out of it!

Friday, September 07, 2007 9:21:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Liberal when you're young; more conservative when your older.

Friday, September 07, 2007 9:34:00 PM  
Blogger Marie's Two Cents said...

Great Post Word,

There is no doubt that with a Ron Paul at the helm we would be attacked again repeatedly and Ron Paul will do nothing about it.

We already went through that with Clinton.

When will these Ron Paul supporters wake up to this fact?

Saturday, September 08, 2007 1:04:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

I need to update this post and add in Max Boot's "The Savage Wars of Peace" to the reading recommendations for Ron Paul.

Saturday, September 08, 2007 6:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Travis said...

I think if we were attacked when Ron Paul was in power we would actually get get the person who attacked us.

Look Bin Laben is still on the lose. Even with Bush.

Now you may not like Dr. Paul but when he says something he not only means it but does it.
Just look at his voting record! Craziness.

He says if we are attacked or >about< to be attacked he will defend America and get those who are responsible.

I understand why you make find his issues different, that's for sure but give the man his due.

Monday, September 10, 2007 2:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Chubs said...

Boy, am I glad that the opinions of the author and most of the people posting here are in the minority in the US.

The level of irony and hypocracy here is staggering. People complaining about how their children are liberal and that when they grow up and "gain wisdom" they will hopefully become more conservative... while in the same breath assaulting the Republican candidate who is by far the most conservative of the group running for the nomination. Do any of you even know what the definitions are of the terms "liberal" and "conservative"? The liberal approach is to increase the power of the federal government (as in, a liberal use of government). Conservatives, by definition, seek to reduce the power of the federal government (conservative use of government). Today's GOP takes the absolutely insane position of supporting a more powerful federal government, while promoting lower taxes. No wonder we have a completely out of hand national debt. Any of the Republican candidates who do not support cutting back the federal government's power are not conservatives.

I am a conservative as it is properly defined... and I find it disconcerting that the only two big political parties in the US are liberal when it comes to the power of government. All of the liberals here, including the author, are welcome to respond.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007 2:44:00 AM  

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