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Thug Week: The Pity of It All The Foley Flap and the Honor Wars

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Dems 0 for 3 on Terror

by Christopher Chantrill
October 06, 2006 at 10:54 am

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INSOFAR AS we know anything about Democratic Party ideas about the War on Terror, we know that they think that the war in Iraq diverts US attention from the real war on terror which is more of a law enforcement activity than anything else.

But if it is a law enforcement activity then the usual civil-liberties issues apply: search warrants, coerced confessions, wiretapping, habeas corpus, due process. So Democrats are opposed to the granting of wartime powers to the government that treat the foe not as a gang of street thugs but as an army of enemy combatants.

At present the Democrats do not have a Democratic president in the White House, so they do not seem to feel the need to develop a strategy for the War on Terror, some sort of plan that states what the war is all about and what to do next.

But when the Democrats do get back into power then they will have to get serious about the meaning of the war on terror. Since they refuse to do any thinking about it now, we had better do it for them.

What is the war all about? Is it just a fight to kill the rich-kid Muslims of Al-Qaeda or is it something more?

The west’s dean of Muslim scholars, Bernard Lewis, has tried to answer this question. It is, you will agree, a rather important question to address. In his view, elucidated in a (http://www.hillsdale.edu/imprimis/2006/09/) speech to Hillsdale College, the War on Terror faces three challenges.

The first challenge is oil-fueled Wahhabism. It wields enormous influence in the Muslim world because it controls the pilgrimage in the Two Holy Cities, and because, through Saudi oil money, it dominates the institutions of Muslim faith in the west through mosques, “evening classes, weekend schools, holiday camps and the like.”

In this struggle, it is clear that the Democrats contribute less than nothing. Their response to oil-fueled Wahhabism is to treat the Wahhabis like an oppressed and marginalized minority and to appease them. That, after all, is what Democrats do. Of course, Republicans are almost as bad. The only chap who seems to be doing anything about the challenge of Wahhabism is Pope Benedict XVI.

The second challenge is the Iranian Revolution. The easiest way for us to understand it is by reference to the French and Russian Revolutions—a “massive change” and “massive shift of power” in Iran. It “is now entering the Stalinist phase, and its impact all over the Islamic world has been enormous.”

The Anglo-Saxon world successfully turned back the French and the Russian Revolutions, and it did it with its economic and military strength. In the militant stage of each revolution the Anglo-Saxons deployed a containment strategy to limit the expansion of the revolutionary virus until a neutralizing vaccine could be developed. It is not a coincidence that the two Islamic countries in which the west has deployed military force are Iraq, on the western border of Iran and Afghanistan on its eastern border.

Towards Iran, again, the Democrats contribute less than nothing. If Lewis is right about the Iranian Revolution then the strategic reason for the occupation of Iraq is to create a cordon sanitaire to prevent Iranian expansion to the west. Leaving Iraq before the Iraqi government has developed a monopoly of force opens the door for Iranian expansion into the entire Persian Gulf oil resource.

The third challenge according to Bernard Lewis is Al-Qaeda. In his view Al-Qaeda seems less an organization than a vision of “an ongoing struggle between the two world religions—Christianity and Islam—which began with the advent of Islam in the 7th century and has been going on ever since.” Although Islam seemed to have suffered a devastating defeat at the breakup of the Ottoman Empire, Islam has recovered. Osama bin Laden saw that after the defeat of the Ottomans

the world of the infidels was divided between two superpowers—the United States and the Soviet Union. Now we have defeated and destroyed the more difficult and the more dangerous of the two [in Afghanistan]. Dealing with the pampered and effeminate Americans will be easy.

If the Democrats are right that the war on terror is merely a law enforcement problem then they are right to oppose the Iraq war and special government powers to pursue terrorists. But if Bernard Lewis is right about the triple threat from what he calls “a series of movements that could be described as an Islamic revival or reawakening” then we should follow the plodding President Bush.

And we should listen to the German thinker Joseph Ratzinger, who urges the West to deploy our secret weapon against the armed Islamic militants: the blend of faith, reason, and law that we obtained from the Jews, the Greeks, and the Romans.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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Action

The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness... But to make a man act [he must have] the expectation that purposeful behavior has the power to remove or at least to alleviate the felt uneasiness.
Ludwig von Mises, Human Action


Chappies

“But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.”  —Freddy Arbuthnot
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison


China and Christianity

At first, we thought [the power of the West] was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity.
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing


Churches

[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm


Civil Society

“Civil Society”—a complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churches—builds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust


Class War

In England there were always two sharply opposed middle classes, the academic middle class and the commercial middle class. In the nineteenth century, the academic middle class won the battle for power and status... Then came the triumph of Margaret Thatcher... The academics lost their power and prestige and... have been gloomy ever since.
Freeman Dyson, “The Scientist as Rebel”


Conservatism

Conservatism is the philosophy of society. Its ethic is fraternity and its characteristic is authority — the non-coercive social persuasion which operates in a family or a community. It says ‘we should...’.
Danny Kruger, On Fraternity


Conservatism's Holy Grail

What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph


Conversion

“When we received Christ,” Phil added, “all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers.”
James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh


Democratic Capitalism

I mean three systems in one: a predominantly market economy; a polity respectful of the rights of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and a system of cultural institutions moved by ideals of liberty and justice for all. In short, three dynamic and converging systems functioning as one: a democratic polity, an economy based on markets and incentives, and a moral-cultural system which is plural and, in the largest sense, liberal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism


Drang nach Osten

There was nothing new about the Frankish drive to the east... [let] us recall that the continuance of their rule depended upon regular, successful, predatory warfare.
Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion


Education

“We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.”
E. G. West, Education and the State


presented by Christopher Chantrill

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