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Sunday, June 10, 2007

The New York Times discovers jihadi ideology 

Jihadi etiquette


To its credit, the New York Times has devoted the front page of its "Week in Review" section to a story about jihadi ideology regarding the killing of civilians, which the Times calls "jihadi etiquette." There is nothing in this that right-wing bloggers have not been discussing for years, but much of it will be new to the Grey Lady's readers.

There are a couple of bits worth noting, the first because it is revealing and the second because it is just so damned typical of the Times.

First, the jihadi theory regarding the killing of children would be hilarious if it were not so chilling:

But militant Islamists including extremists in Jordan who embrace Al Qaeda’s ideology teach recruits that children receive special consideration in death. They are not held accountable for any sins until puberty, and if they are killed in a jihad operation they will go straight to heaven. There, they will instantly age to their late 20s, and enjoy the same access to virgins and other benefits as martyrs receive.

This is important, I suppose, since "access to virgins" is every five-year-old's dream.

The casual regard for the lives of children reflects the broader idea that the killing of civilians really does not matter, because Allah will sort them out in the end. The pious will go straight to heaven which in all accounts is better than this hell we call Earth, and the impious will get what they deserve all the sooner. Blasting people apart with car bombs or burying them in the rubble of skyscrapers just hastens the sorting process, which serves divine justice.

This, of course, leads us to the second point. If Republicans are involved, the New York Times falls all over itself to heap scorn on religious justifications for political positions. Not this time. Out of abiding respect for all points of view the Times located an American university professor -- and not Juan Cole -- who sees no difference between the jihadis and the United States Department of Defense:
Islamic militants are hardly alone in seeking to rationalize innocent deaths, says John O. Voll, a professor of Islamic history at Georgetown University. “Whether you are talking about leftist radicals here in the 1960s, or the apologies for civilian collateral damage in Iraq that you get from the Pentagon, the argument is that if the action is just, the collateral damage is justifiable,” he says.

Professor Voll, that is asinine. Islamic militants are not "rationalizing" innocent deaths, they are advocating for more of them and acting consistently with that advocacy because they believe that pious people will benefit from death and that impious people are not "innocent" in the first place. Indeed, reluctant as I am to lump leftist radicals from the 1960s in with the Pentagon, in this regard the two have more in common with each other than either do with the jihadis.

The Times knew exactly where to go for a good moral-equivalence quotation. Professor Voll is more than a little notorious for his reluctance to condemn Islamic extremism. See, e.g., here, here (Voll objecting to the firing of Dr. Sami Al-Arian from the University of South Florida, shortly before Al-Arian was convicted and imprisoned of supporting Palestinian Islamic Jihad), and here (Voll writing on September 28, 2001 that we should not attack Afghanistan in response to the attacks 17 days before on the grounds that it would anger people). It should not, therefore, surprise us that when The New York Times needed somebody to compare al Qaeda to the United States military, it called up John Voll.

38 Comments:

By Blogger Merv, at Sun Jun 10, 12:42:00 PM:

I find it interesting that the NY times managed to get the enemy's rules of engagement and never mentioned the relevance of the Geneva Conventions to those rules.  

By Blogger Escort81, at Sun Jun 10, 01:37:00 PM:

It's hard to understand how highly educated people don't comprehend the difference between intentionally targeting civilians to further one's political goals, that is to say, terrorism, and trying hard with all available technology to target armed combatants, acknowledging that civilian casualties happen as an unintended consequence.

When did intent become irrelevant in considering the morality of an action? Did I not get the memorandum on that?

I realize that, yes, the civilians are just as dead either way (either directly targeted or as collateral damage), and the Road to Hell is paved, etc., but this seems as though it should be a fairly easy distinction to make.  

By Blogger SR, at Sun Jun 10, 01:56:00 PM:

Let's hope the times gets an avalanche of mail pointing out E 81's self-evident point.  

By Blogger Purple Avenger, at Sun Jun 10, 03:25:00 PM:

I think Voll should be given a chance to discus this with Nick Berg..."face to face" as it were.

Just saying...  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Jun 10, 08:05:00 PM:

The professor's comments are bizarre to say the least. Is this where the American academy has arrived at in 2007?

Jeffersonian  

By Anonymous Helen Clanton, at Sun Jun 10, 08:42:00 PM:

Perhaps instead of judging the practitioners of jihad, you should try to understand them instead? At least they have the excuse of their religion to explain their bloodthirstiness. What is your excuse?  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Sun Jun 10, 09:07:00 PM:

My excuse is that they're trying to kill me, my wife, my son, my colleagues, my friends, and pretty much everyone else I know, and I don't want that to happen.

Do I need another?

As for trying to understand them... I just happen to have sitting on my desktop a short essay that I had to write and deliver in Arabic about, oh, 3 weeks ago. I chose to write it from a 1st person perspective and deliver it as a devotee of Islamic Jihad. It is based on primary Islamist documents. (I have a small collection) i.e. nothing in this essay is a product of my own imagination or reasoning; that wasn't the point of the assignment.

The wording is a little odd in places because I wrote it in English in such a manner so that it would be easier to translate, and I was also constrained by length. So it's imperfect. But please, take a look.

"Says the Holy Quran 5;3, “This day I have perfected your religion and completed my favor to you and chosen for you Islam as religion.” Islam was and is now a system of governance which proscribes the laws of piety, of punishment, and of daily living. It was established in this form only once, by Prophet Muhammad (mercy of God upon him, and peace) and his companions the rightly guided caliphs. الخلفاء الراشدون
Out of the Jahiliya before Islam, based directly upon the Quran. Therefore, we can say that Islam during this time was in its perfect form.

In that time a man was either Muslim or he was Jahili. When he entered the circle of Islam, he started a new life different from his life before. His old life and old ways were impure and forbidden within the Divine Law. He became a member of the Islamic Nation (Umma al-Islam) in a new society and under new leadership. And over time, Islam conquered the Jahiliya.

But now, mankind has entered a new Jahiliya. The laws and the society and the wars and the trade are all from a Jahili system. Even our Muslim leaders obey the Jahili laws. We are surrounded by Jahiliya. It is not possible to live both as a Muslim and as a subject to a Jahili system. Jahiliya forbids things within Islam, and encourages things outside of Islam. It is necessary that leave this Jahili system and return to the pure and divine system of Islam as it was in the beginning under our predecessors.

Any system in which the decisions are made by men and which all sources of authority are human deifies human beings by designating others than God as lords of human beings. The declaration (shahada) of faith is a statement “I am a slave of God, and I am a rebel against Jahiliya, and there is no authority except the authority of God.” This is the real message of “There is no god but God.” The laws of God are higher than the laws of Man, and to obey the laws of Man and not obey the laws of God is unholy and against the true Islam of our predecessors, and the supporters of this system are enemies of mankind.

Because this Jahili system controls modern life, we cannot escape it. We must overthrow it and change it into an Islamic system. We must form a group of Muslims who are separate from the Jahiliya and united under a new caliph. And this group must challenge and combat the Jahili system with both abstract ideas and physical weapons and destroy all kingship and announce the rule of God over all the Earth.

Quran 12;40: “Command belongs to God alone. He commands you not to worship anyone except Him. This is the right way of life.”

Your weak Jedi mind tricks and naive righteous outrage ("well maybe if you stupid men would just TALK to each other...") won't work on me. I've met the enemy. I've spent almost 6 years now studying him, and I know just how fanatical, cruel, and generally fucked up he is.

Maybe YOU should try to understand them.  

By Anonymous Cannon Asesrb, at Sun Jun 10, 09:09:00 PM:

Helen, this was well said: Perhaps instead of judging the practitioners of jihad, you should try to understand them instead? At least they have the excuse of their religion to explain their bloodthirstiness. What is your excuse?

So how is that burqua working for you? Or I guess your husband's daily beatings keeping you in line is working out well, too.

You want our excuse? Well our excuse is taking the fight to the enemy to prevent them from putting you in a burqua. Our excuse is taking the fight to the enemy to prevent them from changing our society to where we ban blind people from using thier guide dogs. Our excuse is to clean out another area of the world which thinks it's ok to drop brick walls on homosexuals. Our excuse is taking the fight to the enemy who forces girls to burn in a dorm fire just because those girls would have thrown out some evil "female waves" by being uncovered so it is better to let them burn. (Actually this happened in Saudi Arabia which is yet another place which, by all rights, we should be going, but if we did you and your ilk would scream "BUSHITLER CHENEYMCBURTEN!" even louder.

So Helen, what's YOUR excuse in trying to "understand" the bloodthirsty jihadist? Hmmm?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Jun 10, 09:25:00 PM:

It's not hard to "understand" that adherents of islam (see Saudi Arabia, Taliban, etc) are the most oppressive, anti-liberal, backwards, anti-freedom, ant-equality lunatics on the planet.

Now imagine them with a nuclear weapon, as they embrace death while the civilized world embraces life. Deterrence does not work against zombies.

Some people tried to "understand" Hitler (e.g., Chamberlain's "peace in our time"), and others understood that such a lunatic ideology must simply be removed from the Earth. Thankfully the latter viewpoint won the day, and the battle.

http://www.historyplace.com/speeches/fdr-prayer.htm  

By Anonymous Ed Nutter, at Sun Jun 10, 09:28:00 PM:

Helen,

"Perhaps instead of judging the practitioners of jihad, you should try to understand them instead? At least they have the excuse of their religion to explain their bloodthirstiness. What is your excuse?"

I'm just wondering if you remember that that is exactly what Nick Berg was trying to do. It didn't work too well for him. So would you like to set the example for us benighted warmongers and follow in Nick's footsteps? There's an area just south of Baghdad (one of several) and another in the northwest part of Pakistan where I'm sure you could come to a profound understanding of the practitioners of jihad. You probably wouldn't get the chance to enlighten the rest of us, but I think you would come to understand our position as well.

FWIW, my excuse or rational is the same as the one I would use to (at least attempt to) flatten someone attacking me, a member of my family, or a neighbor.  

By Anonymous Gandalf, at Sun Jun 10, 09:42:00 PM:

"Perhaps instead of judging the practitioners of jihad, you should try to understand them instead? At least they have the excuse of their religion to explain their bloodthirstiness. What is your excuse?"

Their religious basis is "an excuse". In the first place "their religion" is based on worship of a false prophet. That aside they are in it for power and control not religion. They kill cowardly and indescriminately. They kill to create terror to get power.

I do not have an "excuse". I have a purpose. It is not for bloodthirst it is for freedom. Free peoples have choice and opportunity to do good and build a better world. The US has taken military action to defend and propagate freedom. We have taken extreme care to minimize collateral damage, often costing American lives. Show me one example of a jihadi who aspires to do good and build. Icicles in Hell.

I am free, and have fought for freedom, and I understand them and yes I will judge them. They are stupid fools, cowards, pigs and dumbasses. They are losers by definition. They have no future. They lust for 72 minutes of bad sex instead of 72 years of doing good.

Sounds like you are a loser too. Making excuses for fools.  

By Blogger Dave, at Sun Jun 10, 09:53:00 PM:

May I presume that Helen never 'judged' the practitioners of Evangelical Protestants or other conservative Christians, but rather has tried 'to understand them instead?'

Or is she like most Lefties and not only soft-headed but using a double standard?  

By Blogger Purple Avenger, at Sun Jun 10, 09:55:00 PM:

Perhaps instead of judging the practitioners of jihad, you should try to understand them instead?

All I need to "understand" about them is their GPS coordinates.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Jun 10, 10:08:00 PM:

Helen~

Everything I needed to understand about Jihadis and Islam I learned on 9/11.

I hope you did, too....or one day, you will *die* because of your ignorance.

They aren't kidding around. We shouldn't be either.

~EtNorskTroll  

By Anonymous boonester, at Sun Jun 10, 10:18:00 PM:

Man, Helen, I haven't seen a woman undressed that savagely by so many guys since my bachelor party.

You acquitted yourself nicely on that one, dearest.  

By Anonymous triticale, at Sun Jun 10, 10:32:00 PM:

As a male in my 50s, "access to virgins" isn't my dream either. I'm happy with the one who knows how to please me, but I'd rather have two or three who know what they are doing than seventy two who don't.  

By Anonymous Earth56, at Sun Jun 10, 11:19:00 PM:

Helen<

"At least they have the excuse of their religion to explain their bloodthirstiness. "

Based on your hypothesis of why they are "bloodthirsty" than I guess poor people should steal as they must of been poor because someone is rich and we shouldn't get rid of rats in eating establishments because they only know of being a rat. There are 22 flights going to some Islamic countrys of your choice from JFK. I would love for you to hop on one and go and "understand" their feeeeeeeelings while they decapitate you for good old times sake and a blessing from Allah for doing so.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Jun 10, 11:26:00 PM:

And here's a professor who wrote about a Viet Cong spy in the US, that what he did was "a noble thing."

http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister/opinion/abox/article_1723628.php  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Jun 10, 11:28:00 PM:

One seriously fucked up cult masquerading as a 'religion."

Time to consign islam to the ash heap of history.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Jun 11, 12:06:00 AM:

Here are some handy debate techniques to use with people who insist that the media is not left-wing.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Jun 11, 12:15:00 AM:

Hi Helen,

I'm gay. Were I to fly to, say, Palestine, to try to understand the ideology in question, I just might end up buried in human feces and set on fire. So, well, no thank you.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Jun 11, 12:51:00 AM:

So let me get this straight Helen. If I were to kill a film maker for making a film that offended my beliefs, you would think it was allowed? So when some NRA-card carrying, Nike-wearing, GM-stock owning, Medical Insurance Executive, stabs Mikael Moore, like what happened to Theo van Gogh, you will take their side? Somehow I don't think so. This country allows anyone to express their opinion, as long as it is not designed to cause harm (shouting fire in a theatre). Try this: Go to Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, and hand out pamphlets to people on the street that say you don't agree with everything that is in the Qa'aran.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Jun 11, 01:45:00 AM:

"Voll" means "full" in German.
This professor is Scheissvoll, which means: full of shit.

Ja, Herr Voll...mit Sheisse.

Miguelito  

By Blogger DEC, at Mon Jun 11, 02:37:00 AM:

"At least they have the excuse of their religion to explain their bloodthirstiness. What is your excuse?"

My excuse? My ancestors were Vikings.  

By Anonymous Un:dhimmi, at Mon Jun 11, 03:07:00 AM:

"access to virgins and other benefits"... I think they're referring to the young boy 'servants' (ahem) here..

well they're only following the example of their Prophet, after all ;)  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Jun 11, 04:33:00 AM:

Helen,

Has it occurred to you that when one fully understands the Jihadi mentality, one must conclude that it is evil, and must be forcibly opposed?  

By Blogger PeterBoston, at Mon Jun 11, 06:15:00 AM:

The lack of understanding is the failure to acknowledge that al Qaeda IS Islam. Read the Koran and the biographies of Mohammed in chronological order. The only amazement is how any rational person would consider this adolescent insanity a religion.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Jun 11, 09:57:00 AM:

I've always wondered about the following: So I get to heaven and get my 70 virgins. So....after 70 nights my virgins are all used up and I have the rest of eternity to sit around with my 70 "used up" women? You would think that if you can come up with an ideology based on testosterone, you would at least have thought up an eternity of virgins. Anyone know where the 70 comes from?  

By Anonymous thornypa, at Mon Jun 11, 10:23:00 AM:

Has anyone thought about the rights violations of the 70 virgins? Are they doing this on their own accord (i.e. voulunteering their virginty to a Martyr?). Where's the human (er soul) rights defenders with regard to a womans right to choose to have or not have sex? Oh, that's right, women don't have that right.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Jun 11, 10:33:00 AM:

Dave nailed this:

"May I presume that Helen never 'judged' the practitioners of Evangelical Protestants or other conservative Christians, but rather has tried 'to understand them instead?'"

I have yet in all my years (and they are many) to hear of a liberal/leftist trying to "understand" Christianity; there is nothing but hatefilled vitriol when it comes to Evangelicals or conservatives. Yet, I've never heard of an Evangelical sawing off a person's head, blowing up a pizza parlor, taking hostages or threatening to take over the world (and don't bring up abortion clinic bombings - those responsible are in prison and were condemned by mainstream Christianity).

So, I'm asking the same question Dave asked: when was the last time you tried to understand Christians, conservatives, and people who don't share your ideology?

-ladycatnip  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Jun 11, 10:44:00 AM:

Seventy virgins for eternity,
Rather tiring for an old fart like me.
Better one sweet thing in my own warm bed,
Giving old Kafka some Islamic head.

unclekafka  

By Blogger Purple Avenger, at Mon Jun 11, 11:18:00 AM:

Yet, I've never heard of an Evangelical sawing off a person's head...

They're very clever and good at hiding the evidence. The bodies are stashed everywhere.

The number of missing persons reports filed in the area of evangelical churches is absolutely staggering. This is no coincidence!

And those Amish with their anti-technology stance? Just posturing. There's a full blown nuclear weapons development lab under every Amish settlement.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Jun 11, 02:08:00 PM:

I've always wondered about the following: So I get to heaven and get my 70 virgins. So....after 70 nights my virgins are all used up and I have the rest of eternity to sit around with my 70 "used up" women? You would think that if you can come up with an ideology based on testosterone, you would at least have thought up an eternity of virgins. Anyone know where the 70 comes from?

I have read in the past that supposedly the virgins are "restored" every morning, meaning an unexhaustable supply of hymens I suppose. I can only guess that providing 70 of them is to keep jihadis from getting bored during eternity.  

By Blogger Larry, at Mon Jun 11, 08:38:00 PM:

Interesting hypothesis floating about that the average number of children in a family and the infant mortality rate explain a lot about the sensitivity to the death of children.

It may be a correlation rather than a cause, or the arrow may be reversed, but evidently there is a strong association between war, role of children in war, and family size.  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Tue Jun 12, 07:05:00 AM:

Larry, I've long thought that family size had a great deal to do with a nation's willingness to absorb casualties. Indeed, that is a critical reason why I do not believe China would cavalierly go to war -- most of its emerging urban middle class have but one child, are famous for having coddled that child, and would not safely tolerate those children coming back in body bags. What does "safely" mean in this case? "Safe" for the Communist Party.  

By Anonymous Phrizz11, at Wed Jun 13, 09:25:00 PM:

LC:
" (and don't bring up abortion clinic bombings - those responsible are in prison and were condemned by mainstream Christianity)."

Sorry, I call bullshit there. Abortion clinic bombings are absolutely terrorism and the people who perpetrate or abet them are the scum of the earth. The same goes for the people who post names, addresses, and phone numbers of doctors on websites with a wink and a nudge. The may be condemned by "mainstream" Christianity, but radical fundamentalist Christians are in my opinion made of the same stuff that radical fundamentalist Muslims are. Religious extremism of all types is the real threat to a free civilization. In Islam it has just adopted a particularly virulent form.  

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