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Sunday, August 27, 2006

White guilt and Islamic rage 


Shelby Steele has written the article to read this morning:

White guilt in the West--especially in Europe and on the American left--confuses all this by seeing Islamic extremism as a response to oppression. The West is so terrified of being charged with its old sins of racism, imperialism and colonialism that it makes oppression an automatic prism on the non-Western world, a politeness. But Islamic extremists don't hate the West because they are oppressed by it. They hate it precisely because the end of oppression and colonialism--not their continuance--forced the Muslim world to compete with the West. Less oppression, not more, opened this world to the sense of defeat that turned into extremism.

But the international left is in its own contest with American exceptionalism. It keeps charging Israel and America with oppression hoping to mute American power. And this works in today's world because the oppression script is so familiar and because American power cringes when labeled with sins of the white Western past. Yet whenever the left does this, it makes room for extremism by lending legitimacy to its claim of oppression. And Israel can never use its military fire power without being labeled an oppressor--which brings legitimacy to the enemies she fights. Israel roars; much of Europe supports Hezbollah.

Over and over, white guilt turns the disparity in development between Israel and her neighbors into a case of Western bigotry. This despite the fact that Islamic extremism is the most explicit and dangerous expression of human bigotry since the Nazi era. Israel's historical contradiction, her torture, is to be a Western nation whose efforts to survive trap her in the moral mazes of white guilt. Its national defense will forever be white aggression.

The bolded sentence defines the difference between the "anti-war" advocates who believe that the United States can end this war unilaterally, by altering its policies, and those of us who believe that we will have to fight this enemy, this insurgency within the Muslim world, until its ideology is discredited and it cannot fight on. If you accept the premise that competition with and attraction to the West drives much more Arab anger than oppression by the West, do you believe that the economic, civic, political and military failure of the Muslim world, particularly the Arab Muslim world, is primarily a function of Western coercion, or poor decisions Muslims have made themselves?

5 Comments:

By Blogger sirius_sir, at Sun Aug 27, 02:23:00 PM:

I accept (and have even argued the case at some point) that so-called white guilt is moderating our response to Islamic extremism. Speaking broadly, it would seem that our anger is directed almost as much towards ourselves for past indescretions as it is towards the perpetrators of today's terrorist atrocities.

That will probably change, given enough time and opportunity. At some point there will be an outrage against us that will unify opinion as it did in the aftermath of 9/11, except this next time there will be no going back. And probably very few will worry at that point about white guilt concerning previous alleged sins.

Some part of the Muslim world may well learn first hand what a real occupation is all about.

But... Perhaps there is yet another way, too. If we could only get over this idea that our point of view is inferior then we might save everyone a whole lot of trouble. We could start with understanding that even the jihadists love life, though they pretend to aspire to a noble death. What they really want is a new and better afterlife more perfect than the one they have now, replete with enough virgins to make a young man happy forever.

At bottom, such a man is concerned about nothing but the state of his future and eternal self. What if his earthly actions do in fact determine his heavenly reward? Is there an opportunity here for introducing contradictory possibilities? Do we in the West understand that the reaction to the Mohammed cartoons was really an admission of deep doubt?

I envision a cartoon showing a jihadist gone to his heavenly reward, but minus the body he blew up to get there. His virgins are bored. What can so many young girls do with merely a head?

Football anyone?  

By Blogger Gary Rosen, at Sun Aug 27, 03:07:00 PM:

The whole concept of Muslim/Arab "oppression" by the West ignores one tiny little data point - that the West has transferred *trillions* of dollars to them in exchange for a mineral that they could hardly get out of the ground without Western technology.

And what do they have to show for it? Where are the great universities, the medical and scientific achievements, the technological innovations, the Nobel Prizes? Instead, the money has gone to feather the nests of a bunch of corrupt, oppressive potentates at the expense of their own people. Then in order to deflect attention from their own greed they blame all their troubles on Israel - never mind the fact that Israel is a tiny sliver of land surrounded and vastly outnumbered by its enemies, with no oil.

In other words, Steele has hit the nail squarely on its head.  

By Blogger luc, at Sun Aug 27, 03:20:00 PM:

There seems to be an “industry” manufacturing “new” facts about Islam and it is not limited to the Left. Take for instance Andrew J. Bacevich’s latest article in The American Conservative entitled “The Islamic Way of War” which starts with the following lead “Muslims have stopped fighting on Western terms—and have started winning.” After a lot of verbose nothings makes the following seemingly-profound statement:

“What the Islamic Way of War does mean to both Israel and to the United States is this: the Arabs now possess—and know that they possess—the capacity to deny us victory, especially in any altercation that occurs on their own turf and among their own people.”

What a fool this man is! A simple analysis of the facts shows that that what the “new Arab capacity” is nothing more than using their own brethren for personal gain by getting more innocents among themselves killed. This tactic is effective only because WE are willing or, better, even anxious to accept responsibility for their deaths. Even this so-called “new” capacity is not new to people, like me who lived in that part of the world, which have seen these BASTARDS maim their own children so that they can send then the crippled children to beg on the street.
I wonder who is more demented them for using the “new” tactics or us for so easily accepting responsibility for that sham!  

By Blogger ScurvyOaks, at Sun Aug 27, 07:22:00 PM:

Islamic totalitarians also hate the West because they realize that we are modern are they are not. This is hatred that is closely linked with fear. They understand that modernity would undermine Islam at least as much as it has undermined Christianity -- and very likely more.  

By Blogger Shochu John, at Sun Aug 27, 07:48:00 PM:

Steele: "Yet whenever the left does this, it makes room for extremism by lending legitimacy to its claim of oppression. And Israel can never use its military fire power without being labeled an oppressor--which brings legitimacy to the enemies she fights."

So, Hizbullah kidnaps Israeli soldiers and Israel responds with a full scale, air, ground and sea assault. The "left" and Europe condemn this. The Lebanese think, "Wow, I was about to congratualte Israel on theit fortitude and strength in fighting terrorism by blowing up my house, but since the Europeans and U.S. left don't like it, I feel justified in supporting Hizbullah instead." And that's why Nasrallah's vastly increased popualarity in Lebanon is not a direct result of Israel allowing itself to be goaded into an attack, but rather, is all liberals' fault.  

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