Am I wacko?

Sunday, March 12, 2006
Don't answer that.

I got into a discussion at another blog and was told I was just that.

The topic of discussion was the effect of the Mohammed cartoons. I noted a certain anti Muslim flavor to some comments and made note of the fact that the cartoons were a propaganda boon to Islamists. I was called wacko for my trouble.

I stand by that statement. I think the cartoons should have been published as a matter of freedom of speech but I think that Danish imams would not be exploiting them if there was nothing to exploit. And considering how the Dubai port deal went, I would say they accomplished their goal of making trouble.

It seems that after years of dealing with Islamists we still just don't get it. These people do not fly planes into buildings, blow up holy shrines, behead people in bloody living color so that we will think they are reasonable people. Whether it is AbuGhraib or the Koran in the toilet story the jihadis are oppurtunistic and ruthless and they will use any and all of our most cherished freedoms against us.

They will abuse and attack freedom of speech and expression. They will do their best to convince us that Islam is beyond redemption in an effort to bring about that much anticipated and longed for Apocalypse.

So of course the cartoons were propaganda, and very effective propaganda at that. More and more people in the west are prepared to see Osama and Zarqawi as the face of of Islam and of course that makes any possibility of trust or even tolerance that much more difficult.

And who benefits from that?

We still have to publish the cartoons and be prepared for the inevitable raving maniacs that take to the streets...but at the same time we can not let those maniacs win.


David Thomson said...

“And considering how the Dubai port deal went, I would say they accomplished their goal of making trouble.”

The Dubai World Ports agreement is a quintessential example of how even “politically correct” Democrats are now willing to engage in Arab bashing. Distinguishing between moderate Muslims and their more rabid counterparts is perceived as too much bother by many Americans.

We may also have not heard the last of the Dubai World Ports fiasco. There are rumors that the Arabs paid a premium price for the terminal lease. It is supposedly doubtful that an American company will make it up to them. They may be forced to sell at a huge loss. The Dubai government is losing face in the Arab world. They will have to retaliate against the United States.

Pastorius said...

I don't think you are a wacko. You, like me, believe that there are a lot of moderate Muslims in the world to whom we need to reach out.

However, I think that while many of those who would call you a wacko may not articulate it, they also believed in the moderate Muslims until recently.

I believe that things really started to change after the London bombings, and the Paris riots and the Cartoon Jihad have only hastened the change.

The problem is, all these horrible things keep happening and the moderate Muslims you and I believe in still do not come out and make a stand for their religion.

At some point, if the attacks keep getting worse, we will have to stop belieiving in the moderate Muslims, and we will have to have a real war.

In WWII, we did not concern ourselves with the good Germans, until after the war was over.

I am afraid that we may end up in the same type of war here.

If we do, you and I will not seem like wackos, we will just be remembered as a couple of particularly thick idealists.

terrye said...


I think the moderates are not so different from the folks who refuse to turn in the drug dealers doing business in their neighborhoods. If the WaPo and NYT are afraid to run those cartoons, is it reasonable to expect people who actually live there to take to the streets in defence of something thy too might find offensive.

There are over 1 billion Muslims in the world, we have let a relatively dangerous few make all the rules.

I think they want us to give up and go away. Forget democracy in the region. Either that or initiate a fight that they know we lack the will to fight.

After the way Dubai was treated I really do not think we should expect too much from moderate Muslims. After all we proved that aiding America does not really pay for you if you are Arab. And that I think is the purpose to the cartoon riots.

Pastorius said...

I think the Cartoon riots are a good thing, because they are teaching people in the West about the visceral reality of Islamofascism.

I understand your perspective, though.

People who don't turn in the drug dealers their neighborhoods help their kids along on the way to drug use. And, that is a bad thing.

But, people who allow Islamofascism to fester in their neighborhoods are allowing the potential destruction of the world.

That's on a whole different level.

The lesson of 9/11 is that these Islamofascists will do whatever they can to kill as many of us as they possibly can.

We can infer from that that if they can get their hands on a nuclear weapon, they will use it.

At that level, the idea that moderates would sit on the sidelines, and watch the radicals in their midst plot the destruction of the world, is not tolerable.

It is not ok, Terrye.

It is their responsibility to be brave just as surely as it is ours.

Somehow, I think you are buying into the legitimate grievances thing a bit.

There is no legitimate grievance that any moderate Muslim could have with us, that is in any proportion to the legitimate grivances that we have against the radicals of their religion.

gumshoe1 said...

so the terror is working,
hey terrye?

why is it YOUR job to
"win the moderate muslim"??

don't they have any ethical responsibilities
(or concern for their reputations)
in the human community???

is regulation of behavior by terror
a public good?

-who would defend such an idea??
-what doctrine would you base such a thing on?
-who would be the authority
for such a worldview??

terrye said...


And what is your idea? You seem more than ready to attack me, so other than
shooting off your mouth, what is your plan?

terrye said...


Millions of Muslims took to the streets in Lebanon to support democracy. Millions of Muslims voted in Iraq and Afghanistan and right now they are the ones dying on a daily basis in this fight.

My point is you and I do not live there, we are not going to be shot or our families killed if we say the wrong thing so it is easy for us to make rules for people who do have to live there.

But then again, we have to realize that these people are not us. They are not going to be like us. Many of them may well have thought the reaction to the cartoons was over the top, but that does not mean they did not find them offensive on some level.

I do know that this will take a long time and I am not saying the cartoon riots are a bad thing, but if we react by snubbing a country like Dubai which has been helpful in the War on Terror, we are making a strategic mistake.

gumshoe1 said...

i believe you started the
ad hominems
with your "hysteria" comment in
a previous thread terrye.

i'm sorry if you're feeling

if you'd bothered to notice,
i've neither called for a
"final solution"
nor called you a "whacko".

you can take me off your
enemies list please.

my personal feeling
is that too few non-muslims
and "secularists":

a)are awake to what
religious absolutism means
to some human beings

b)know about basic Islamic teachings like the doctrines of
Dar Al-Islam vs Dar al-Harb,
Hundna,a Woman's testimony in court is equal to 1/2 that of a Man's,etc.

Islam is emphatically *not*
"just another religion"
like the others.

they preach that idea
regularly...Islam is to *supercede
and replace* other religions,
not co-exist with them.

knowledge *is* power,
and too many are driving blind,imo.

if the moderates" are willing to stand by and silently "watch"
(or "be used")why won't they also blithely step over your corpse,mine,or that of your family
in order to walk into the

terrye said...

Obviously I meant I did not think the reaction to the cartoon riots was a bad thing. preview is beneath me.

terrye said...


Fine. I agree Islam is a death cult. It ought to be a law to shoot a Muslim every day. The only good Muslim is a dead Muslim. Nuke the ragheads.

Better now?

I supported the invasion of Afghanistan knowing that Muslim women and children would be killed. I supported the invasion of Iraq knowing the same thing.

Lefties have called me fascist for years now.

But because I think that maybe just maybe assuming all Muslims are the same and reacting to bizarre behavior like the cartoon riots by lumping all these people together in a "death cult" might be counter productive I catch hell from the right too.

I did not say that you supported genocide, my point is that if we accept the fact that all Muslims are part of a death cult etc, where exactly does that leave us? How far do we go with that thinking?

gumshoe1 said...

"Fine. I agree Islam is a death cult. It ought to be a law to shoot a Muslim every day. The only good Muslim is a dead Muslim. Nuke the ragheads.

Better now?"

i won't call you a "whacko"
but you are in a vile mood.

understanding what generates behavior in others,
and mimicking the worst of their behavior(or writing it into law,as you suggest above) aren't the same thing.

you're also putting words in my mouth.
please show me
where i've done that to you.

i'm sorry you're feeling
this much pressure on yourself.

maybe a break from posting for a bit
would help,as i've noticed you mentioned in the past when Net overload was bugging you.

it's true for us all.

24/7/365 isn't a healthy way
to consume news.

call me names
if it makes you feel better.

terrye said...


I am not putting words in your mouth. You called Islam a death cult. You seem to have a certain attitude not only toward some Muslims, but all of them.

I am only saying that "death cult" is a fairly extreme way to describe something. If for instance someone said that Americans were part of a death cult I think we might see that as an inclusive and negative comment that does not leave much room for debate or qualification. So once someone makes a comment like that it really should not come as a surprise if someone thinks that maybe you wish ill will upon said members of the death cult.

If you think I am a vile mood I am sorry. I just think it is interesting that I am catching hell for refusing to hate an entire class of people.

terrye said...

And yes I have read about Islam including some of the writings of people like Robert Spencer who make it very plain that they feel Islam is not compatable in any way with the modern world, or any other religion.

I am not saying that I am comfortable with Sharia, but it seems to me that if we do not make every effort to reform Islam we will still have to deal with it. One way or another.

Too many people who hate and fear Islam assume that the rest of us know nothing about it, not true. But I can count and one billion people, is a lot of people.

gumshoe1 said...

it won't mean much to you if i say
i "hate" or distrust Islam,
but not Muslims,will it,terrye.

i'm not a practicing Christian,
but the phrase
"hate the sin,not the sinner",
comes to mind.

if you knew about the Islamic doctrine of
Dar al-Islam vs. Dar al-Harb,
you'd know *Islam* divides the world into victims and victors.

you'd prefer to accuse me of it.

terrye said...


Actually it would mean something to me.

Because in many ways I feel the same way. It is possible to pity the people and feel for their ignorance and still distrust and despise the system they live with.

Yes I understand that. What concerns me is that when we see the madmen in the streets we begin to lose sight of the humanity and once we dehumaize people it so easy to just let them suffer and die. So easy to not be bothered with people who seem beyond help or hope or reason. So, yes I do understand.

I just don't like to be manipulated by crazy people.

Pastorius said...

Ok Terrye,
Now I understand where you're coming from.

I'm looking for the moderate Muslims of the West to start making a stand. I don't see that happening.

Yes, you are right that millions in Lebanon and Iraq have taken a stand. And, that is a very good thing.

But, where are the moderate Muslims in Britain, and the United States, and France?

gumshoe1 said...

"Because in many ways I feel the same way. It is possible to pity the people and feel for their ignorance and still distrust and despise the system they live with."

"Muslims are the first victims of Islam. Many times I have observed in my travels in the Orient,that fanaticism comes from a small number of dangerous men who maintain
the others in the practice of religion by terror.To libertate the Muslim from his religion is the best service that one can render him".
- E. Renan

"I just don't like to be manipulated by crazy people."

who does.

hope the rest of your Sunday
is pleasant.

Pastorius said...

You said:

"I am not saying that I am comfortable with Sharia, but it seems to me that if we do not make every effort to reform Islam we will still have to deal with it. One way or another."

This is a point I make over and over on CUANAS, IBA and in arguments with Robert Spencer, and Hugh Fitzgerald, among others.

We need to believe that there are many Muslims who are just regular human beings, and whose belief in their religion is like ours, a source of compfort, pride, inspiration for the daily grind, and for helping them raise their children and deal with death.

These Muslims need to stand up and claim their religion and reform it away from the radicalism which pervades, even in countries like Lebanon and Iraq, and Afghanistan.

The world of Islam is very ill. In Jordan and Lebanon both, polls were taken which shows that 99% of the population admits to disliking Jews.

That is a symptom of an ill society.

The problems with their societies are so deep, and troublesome that it leaves very little hope.

But, the way I see it, the societies of Japan and Germany were very sick, and we were able to transform them, so I think we can do it in the ME.

We have two choices. Either we inspire them to fix their societies, or we kill 1 billion people.

I don't like that second choice.

In WWII, we beat Japan and beat her and beat her some more, until she begged us to stop.

Then, when the war was over, we were as merciless to the Japanese ideology as we had been to their military.

We outlawed aspects of their religion.

This is what we need to do with Islam. We need to outlaw

1) strict Sharia (they can redefine Sharia, and still use the word, but they can not be allowed to continue on with the stoning of gays, etc.)
2) preaching of Jihad
3) Burqas and other oppression of women.

These things can not be allowed to exist anymore at all.

If we fail to do these things, we will not transform the ME the way we did Japan.

We have a model for winning in our own history, but I am afraid we are not using it.

terrye said...


I grew up in Oklahoma during the Civil Rights era.

If you think about it, most of the people on both sides of the issue did not take to the streets to demonstrate. In fact race riots brought out more people than demonstrations..but for years people in the South allowed themselves to be defined by the bigots and organizations like the KKK.

Many years ago my great grandfather was forced to take his family and leave a small town in Oklahoma because he ran afoul of the local Klansmen. He left because he was afraid of them. plain and simple.

I think the moderates are very much like most people were in the south in those days. They just try to stay the hell out of the way of the loud mouths. This is not unusual. Richard Nixon referred to the Silent Majority in American politics and I think that is not an unusual phenomenon elsewhere either.

We have not had the problems with Muslims here in the US that we have seen in Europe, perhaps it is because we absorb and assimilate better.

But it seems to me that when I remember the run up to the war in Iraq there were literally millions of people who were not Muslim who took to the streets in antiAmerican demonstrations. Maybe it is not just the religion, maybe it is the place.It seems that Europe gives rise to extremes.

I think most people just want to be left alone. They are not political. They do not spend hours in front of their computers arguing politics. They just want to stay out of trouble and raise their families. These folks are not going to take on the radicals anymore than the folks of Chicago wanted to take on the Mafia or my great grandfather wanted to take on the Klan.

terrye said...


Thank you and by the way you never were on my enemy list.

terrye said...


I do not care much for that second choice myself. In fact that is what feeds the paranoia of the radicals. They too see that choice.

I have mentioned before that I live near an Amish community. No TV, no lights, no zippers, very conservative and women have their place. I could never live like that but as long as they are productive and nonviolent no one bothers them.

So I understand there are things about the culture of Islam I may never like or understand, but if they could become less violent and more productive and a part of the larger world I think we might accept the fact that not all the veils and burqas are going to disappear overnight.

It is the other things, the aggressive nature of the faith and the violence that are dangerous. Put that together with the oil wealth and the situation can become very worrisome.

It is the children I think about. They are not responsible for the circumstances of their birth and it might take a long time but hopefully someday they will see more choices in their world and less hate.

Snippet said...

The cartoons may well have been a propaganda boon to Islamists, but at the same time, scaring people who pride themselves on their commitment to freedom into NOT saying or even indirectly expressing an opinion they believe would be a FAR more significant victory.

terrye said...


Yes, we have to respond, no one is saying otherwise. Of course the jihadis know that too. They knew it when they took to the streets.

truepeers said...

OF course, we share a common humanity with all Muslim people and should attempt all the empathy and sympathy we can muster for them.

But the problem with the MOderate Muslims is that it is very difficult to articulate this moderacy in Islamic terms. One is more moderate the less seriously one reads the Koran. For example, as Gumshoe noted yesterday, we often hear people defending "moderate Islam" by cherry picking from the Koran.

For example in a moderate Muslim manifesto published at NRO we read:

Supported by the Koran's affirmation that "there is no compulsion in religion" (2:256), we cherish religious liberty. Every human has the right to believe or not to believe in Islam or in any other religion All Muslims furthermore have the right to reject and change their religion if desired. No state, community or individual has a right to impose Islam on others. People should accept and practice Islam not because they are forced to do so, but because they believe in its teachings.

Sounds good. But here is the Koranic context for this cherry-picked quote
on compulsion (N.J. Dawood translation):
2:256-7 There shall be no compulsion in religion. True guidance is now distinct from error. He that renounces idol-worship and puts his faith in God shall grasp a firm handle that will never break. God hears all and knows all.

God is the Patron of the faithful. He leads them from darkness to the light. As for the unbelievers, their patrons are false gods, who lead them from light to darkness. They are the heirs of the Fire and shall abide in it for ever.

- as i read it, this says: there is no compulsion in religion, but the unbelievers are doomed to live in hell forever. And this is from the more moderate "Meccan" (as opposed to Mohammed's later, and more authoritative, Medina period) verses of the Koran.

If the Koran is the ultimate arbiter, the "radicals" are always going to have the upper hand on the "moderates". Thus a moderate Islam can only emerge by people putting more emphasis on politics and economics, than on religion, if that is possible in the context of a religion that tries to colonize the entire sphere of human activity.

It is not yet clear if a moderate Islam is possible as a ruling force in the Islamic world. I hope it is, but we have to be realistic, i.e. dubious. Terrye, your comparison to the south and the civil rights movement is not so strong, because the Christian Bible does not make a defense of racism.

BUt in any case, Islam is not a race. One can leave it. If we can provide the necessary support and security, people might want and be able to leave it. That is something we must consider as our much better alternative to mass killing.

truepeers said...

BTW, read that NRO moderate Muslim manifesto, take their quotes and then read the Koran for the full context, which almost always shows you that the immediate Koranic context for the quote is more radical than the quote itself. That's the problem.

ISlam is moderate, in some contexts, i.e. when it is ruled by tyrants like Saddam who are more interested in power than in the religion that would be a threat to their power if people had the nerve to act on it and depose the idolatrous tyrant. Islamic history, it seems to me, is something of a cycle between the not-so-religious secular tyrants, and religious reformations that bring back stricter Sharia considerations when they defeat the tyrants. That, very crudely, is the story of Ibn Khaldun's history, or so it seems to me.

Snippet said...


The idea that our response must be calibrated, moderate, reasonably, and unprovocative is all well and good, but we are past the point where that is possible.

When you try to formulate your "response" in such a way that you don't inflame people who are determined to be inflamed, you will tie yourself into so many knotes and Eagle Scout couldn't get you undone.

On one level, I agree. We don't need to pick fights with people who would otherwise leave us alone, but people who think they have the right and the obligation to control and limit "our" debate simply cannot be accomidated, and efforts to do so are worse than worthless.

terrye said...


The fact that there is no basis for racism in the Bible did not stop the KKK from burning crosses. I grew up down there, trust me those folks convinced themselves they were doing the work of the Lord.

I think we are getting the definition of moderate all wrong. There are prominent Muslim commentators and some political figures as well who are obviously well educated intelligent people. We call them moderate not because they do not have faith, but because they are not threatening to kill people on the grounds that they are heretics.

The Sufis are considered mystical and rather harmless whereas the Wahhibis are far more fanatical.

The question is the level of violence and fanaticism.

terrye said...


When I say the cartoon riots were a propaganda boon to the jihadis I am talking about our reaction to issues like the Dubai Port deal. Not the debate about the cartoons themselves.

We were willing to insult an ally because they were Muslim in large part I think because we have decided the Muslims are all like the people we saw in the demonstrations. That is what they wanted.

They want division between the United States and the UAE. Look at a map. The chances that we can take on Iran or even continue operations in Iraq and Afghanistan without the cooperation of the UAE are virtually nonexistant. We have managed to insult an ally of more than three decades because we are sick of Muslims.

I am not saying that we should ignore the riots or pretend they are not happening, I am just saying we should blame the rioters and governments like Syria and Iran who were egging them on and not every single Muslim on the planet.

truepeers said...

Yes, Terrye, I agree, the justification of violence must be the key distinction between moderate and radical. If moderates can read the "violent" Koran and in no way justify violence again the Infidels, then that is fine, moderate. But it's a hard road to walk, especially in a world of leftists blaming all the world's ills on the west, esp. USA and Israel

terrye said...


This is true, but it just might come to pass that people get tired of the rage. It is in the mullahs interest to keep it up, but most people just get fed up and want to a rest. That is why we have to keep the pressure on them.

truepeers said...


It is all too easy for people to become hooked on the scene on which their resentment depends. It can become life defining. this is the challenge - to learn new scenes, new paradigms of the way the world is.

terrye said...


This is so true, otherwise we just keep going around in the same circles.

Snippet said...


Good point. The radicals have convinced us to give up on Islam, but the moderates have to convince us not to. NOT an easy task, but who else can do it, really?

We should have let a moderate and supportive Islamic nation prove its goodwill and competence.

It is deliciously ironic how eager the Democrats were to capitalize on "Islamophobia" when they saw an opening.

As much as I am disappointed with the Republican, the Democrats manage to go lower. It's like they can't help themselves.

Great blog, by the way.

truepeers said...

Consider also David Warren

gumshoe1 said...

warren is "Long War" weary,

if people want to know what resignation looks like,look at the Balkans.

it ain't pretty.

and nobody is "right".

and it goes on and on and on.

truepeers said...

Gumshoe, what I want to avoid happening in my own country, in the west more generally, is something like the Balkans, which strikes me as a real possibility. Do you disagree with Warren? If so, where does he go wrong in the following quote? I'm not sure he isn't right:

But Mr Bush was staking his bet on the assumption that the Islamists were not speaking for Islam; that the world’s Muslims long for modernity; that they are themselves repelled by the violence of the terrorists; that, most significantly, Islam is in its nature a religion that can be “internalized”, like the world’s other great religions, and that the traditional Islamic aspiration to conjoin worldly political with otherworldly spiritual authority had somehow gone away. It didn’t help that Mr Bush took for his advisers on the nature of Islam, the paid operatives of Washington’s Council on American-Islamic Relations, the happyface pseudo-scholar Karen Armstrong, or the profoundly learned but terminally vain Bernard Lewis. Each, in a different way, assured him that Islam and modernity were potentially compatible.

The question, “But what if they are not?” was never seriously raised, because it could not be raised behind the mud curtain of political correctness that has descended over the Western academy and intelligentsia. The idea that others see the world in a way that is not only incompatible with, but utterly opposed to, the way we see it, is the thorn ever-present in the rose bushes of multiculturalism. “Ideas have consequences”, and the idea that Islam imagines itself in a fundamental, physical conflict with everything outside of itself, is an idea with which people in the contemporary West are morally and intellectually incapable of coming to terms. Hence our continuing surprise at everything from bar-bombings in Bali, to riots in France, to the Danish cartoon apoplexy.

truepeers said...

Let me add, that i don't need to be told that there are good Muslims out there. I know that. There are good people with a Moslem identity of some kind. BUt are there serious Muslims - seriously committed to the faith - who are able to both internalize it as Warren says, and to articulate and teach this process, without making their faith into a worldly committment to change the world on the model of Islam?

gumshoe1 said...

Islam has no room for "the Other".

it's the Irony the PoMo's
cannot face,or even imagine.

Rick Ballard said...


That's a great quote. It would be helpful if more people would realize that the answer to "Is Islam a religion or a political philosophy?" is "Yes". The correct term for a secular Moslem is "heretic". There isn't any other. To ask "why don't moderate Muslims speak out" is comparable to asking "why don't X type Catholics denounce the Pope and renounce his authority? It's approximately the same thing.

To be sure, there are different sects and different emphasis placed upon different elements within the Koran but there is no sect that I am aware of that uses exegesis to arrive at a "different" understanding in the way that such exegesis is practiced a million times a week in Christianity. Nor is there the type of study that is common among rabbinic scholars who spend an enormous amount of time teasing different meanings from the Torah.

That is one of the reasons why I would like to know who will follow Sistani, because his teaching is far from orthodox and could easily be repudiated by his successor. To the detriment of the Iraqi people.

terrye said...

Yes, but at the same time we do not need to be going out of our way to fan the flames either.

It is one thing for the cartoons to be a symbol of democracy to us, it is quite another for those cartoons to become a symbol of democracy to Muslims.

I certainly would not riot over the whold "piss Christ" exhibition but I would not support it or call it art either.