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Enemy mine

As the years pass, I am finding the term ‘terrorist’ grating more and more on my sensibilities. While this word might still be useful in some contexts, it has been so abused, mis-applied, mis and over-used that we should mostly just drop it.

As a starter, we are not fighting a war on terrorism. I repeat. We are not fighting a war on terrorism. Yes, that is what I said. There is not and cannot be a ‘war’ on terrorism. Terrorism is a tactic. You do not fight wars on tactics; you use tactics in wars. You fight wars against enemies.

We are not fighting ‘terrorists’ in Iraq and around the world. We are fighting and killing enemies of our nations and our way of life. ‘Enemy’ is a good, descriptive and lately underutilized word. It says just what we should mean. An enemy is the guy on the other side who wants to kill you. He is the guy you want to kill first. His use of certain tactics might make you wish his demise all the more, but that is not why you are fighting him. You are fighting him to prevent him from achieving his victory conditions.

When you confound tactics with goals and opponents, you leave yourself wide open to rhetorical traps. Is it a terrorist act if our enemy blows up an Abrams tank with an IED? Was it a terrorist act when we blew up German Tiger tanks in WWII? Of course not. A mine is a weapon. Blowing up material and killing members of the opposition is how you wage war. IED’s are part of a tactic which almost any of us would use if we were in a conflict and in a similar position.

Does that statement bother you? If it does, I would ask, “Why?” The enemy in Iraq uses IED’s. We are not trying to kill them because they use IED’s. An IED is a home-made land-mine. We are out to kill them because they are the enemy and because we are right and they are wrong. The enemy firmly believes they are right: if they did not they would not be dying for their cause. Because of their belief they will apply whatever tools and ideas and strengths they have to killing us. We have the luxury of overwhelming force that allows us the rare in historical annals additional luxury of decrying the use of some tactics. If the idea of making a value judgement in favour of your own beliefs worries you, it is your problem, not mine.

So let us just get on with crushing the enemy.

51 comments to Enemy mine

  • rc

    Good point! You just pointed out a very clever rhetorical pitfal we fell into 5 years ago. I hope it’s not too late to change the vocabulary of this war.

  • I think you miss an important point. Although terrorism is a tactic, it is not a legitimate tactic because by definition it is the intentional targeting of non-combantents. It is beyond the pale. It is the very use of the tactic itself that makes any particular entity a threat and draws our ire. Entities that don’t use the tactic are not a significant threat and we largely ignore them even if their theoretical destructive potential is high.

    It would be more accurate to call the war-on-terror “a war on groups and nations that employ the tactic of terror” but that is something of a mouthful.

  • Dale Amon

    We fight to prevent them from winning. If the US were occupied by an enemy and we did not have our large forces, we would use any and all tactics. And we would be using them for the right cause. Our enemy in Iraq and elsewhere are simply on the other side and we must defeat them.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    The US leadership used terrorism as a placeholder for religious extremism because they couldn’t very well come out and say what the war really was about. In many ways, we could not even name our enemies because our internal enemies, the left, was waiting to pounce to accusations of racism, bigotry, and imperialism(cultural or otherwise).

    Do we dare to call the current conflict “War on Islamic Fundamentalism”? Or as the present shows, “War on Islam?”

    If you think the shitstorm over the cartoons was big, wait till we name our enemy for what they are.

  • I agree with Shannon that the intentional targeting of civilians is the line between an enemy I struggle with, destroy, or perhaps compromise with because of an extreme conflict of interest, and a terrorist who should be exterminated with prejudice.

    And yes, we were wrong to intentionally target civilians when it was our policy to do so.

  • Dale Amon

    We bombed German cities and Japanese cities to kill civilians and break their will to fight. That was a tactic. We defeated a terrible enemy. You do what you have to do to win and so does the other guy.

    The fact that the flew civilian airliners into a civilian target as a tactic meant to move them towards their victory conditions is just one which raised the ante. They are an enemy with which there can be no quarter given or asked.

  • Julian Morrison

    Okay, so, we’re in a war against the enemy.

    Well blow me down. Never would have guessed.

  • Dale Amon

    Yep. Much better than being in a war against a tactic at the same time your opponent is in a war against you.

  • Dale Amon

    I might also add that we have better get used to the tactics we are seeing. This is how all future wars will be fought for so long as there is one power so dominant that ‘traditional’ techniques are impossible.

    An enemy chooses their weapons from amongst those which are available and potentially effective or else they surrender. They choose to fight, so we will have to find tactics which counter theirs and bring about their defeat.

  • cubanbob

    As for the WW2 comparison let us remember we simply shot German troops who were not wearing uniforms.
    Capture AQ illegal combatants, interrogate AQ illegal combatants and execute illegal AQ combatant.

  • LibertarianinChina

    With the exception of Ralph Peters, this is a point that no one in the MSM understands. I don’t hate AQ because they attack civilians; I am alive because of the Allies willingness to kill civilians in WW2. I hate AQ because they are evil, and want to kill me.

  • guy herbert

    No, terrorism isn’t a tactic either. Dale’s main point is correct (though I’d quite like to know who the enemy is precisely, because vagueness is still a problem, and I don’t think the war began in 2001).

    But terrorism means three different things, none of them a tactic:

    (1) A strategic use of violence to inspire terror in a population for political ends. This is the core meaning, and covers everything from Bakhunin to ‘implicate order’ strategy in low intensity warfare to Guantanamo Bay, and the normal mode of many modern states. (Though of course one could project backwards in history and find all sorts of ancient examples too.)

    (2) Acts defined in various legal codes as terrorism, which only include a small part of (1), but a great deal more that doesn’t have creating fear as its intermediate goal.

    (3) As a generalised boo-word used of those the speaker would like to characterise as enemies, and pre-emptively to suppress dissent. Fans of this use (such as A.Blair, Esq) like to assert “everybody knows what terrorism is,” at the same time as hopelessly blurring the lines of definition (2). This is the arena in which you get weasling condemnation by asserted association: “linked with terrorism,” and so forth. It’s a dangerous witch-hunting category that feeds back into (2) in an alarming way.

  • Not attacking non-combatants is a luxury we have because of our overwhelming advantage in military strength. This is not a total war like the wars against Japan and Germany were.

    Anyway, as wobbly said, this is a war on Islamic fundamentalism, but it’s not possible to use that terminology. If it was really a war on terrorism we’d be going after the Tamil Tigers, the Earth Liberation Front and the Maoist hill tribe terrorists too.

  • michael farris

    I’ve never been able to take the ‘war on terror’ seriously for several reasons.

    The fact that Americans love war metaphors (probably because it’s been so long since a war was fought on US soil) and like to term all sorts of things in brave battle metaphors.

    I fully expect the ‘war on terror’ to be as fully successful as the ‘war on poverty’ and the ‘war on drugs’. So far, it’s been pretty similar to both of those in that the primary results so far have been lots of self righteous talk, government spending and absurd political posturing with little in the way of substance.

    There has been a real (short) war in the middle of this, followed by a long, protracted urban guerilla struggle that no one planning the real war realized would/could happen or has any clear idea of how to win or stop.

    For the record, I take politically violent Islam very seriously as a threat to lots of things I like, but addressing it requires _clarity_ and not slogans.

  • Colin

    But what if calling it ‘War on Terror’ rather than ‘War on Islamic Extremism’ is a useful tactic which helps us win?
    Rummie’s now calling it the Long War, which is interesting.

  • Dale, I took your advice, went back over to my blog, and corrected the first graph. Please give it a read, if you would. Shannon…..the point of fighting this war is being able to say the word enemy! We haven’t been able to do that, because of president Bush and because of the antiwar idiots. During WWll we used terms like Krauts and Nips and Japs to demean our enemies further. And we were fighting enemies who did indeed use children and women civilians against our soldiers. Our side had to take on legions of fanatical BOYS in Germany, and we had to learn quite early to be ruthless against them. In Japan we had to deal with the suiciders as well. We had to be ruthless against a population that was motivated to doing anything and everything against us in order to win. The first victory in this war is to reclaim the territory of language and begin using it as a weapon….against our enemies….and their 5th column supporters. What we don’t need is bureaucratic parsing of words in order to keep from offending “innocent civilians’….if the Cartoon Intifada has shown us anything at all….THERE ARE NO INNOCENTS…not even babes in strollers!

  • I do like that phrase – “Cartoon Intifada”, even more than “Abu Hamster”.

  • gravid

    Ok, so the troops of the US and the UK and some others are in Iraq, Saddam was a terrible man etc etc etc. Someone remind me when Iraq attacked the US or anyone else outside the Iraqi border, not counting Kuwait in 1990. How come the Iraqis are the enemy?

  • Dale Amon

    I do not think I can agree that terroism is a strategy, but I would be interested in hearing the arguments why it would be raised to the strategic rather than tactical level. For example, I would say of 9/11 that the strategy was to strike a blow that would cause the US to strike back in a way which would bring more Muslims to the enemies ranks; the particular tactic was a terrorist act because they did not have resources to drop an A-bomb into the central court of the Pentagon. They may also have felt that the terror tactic might gain other strategic goals, such as sapping the will of their enemy. The tactic backfired badly and the strategic goal was hardly met at all.

  • ian

    I might also add that we have better get used to the tactics we are seeing. This is how all future wars will be fought for so long as there is one power so dominant that ‘traditional’ techniques are impossible.

    Which is exactly what the Palestinians and other say about the use of suicide bombers against Israel.

    The so called ‘war on terror’ is empty headed sloganising designed to cover what is a real and bitter ideological struggle. My problem is that I’m not keen on either ideology. If forced to choose I wouldn’t however go for religious fundamentalism of any brand – which of cpourse includes the many varieties available in the USA as well as the Muslims, Hindus and Jews who think the world should run according to what their particular guy in the sky says is right and proper.

  • syn

    Why not call the enemy Jihadists since this is what they are?

    And Gravid, our defenders are in Iraq in order to remove a brutal dictator who was sponsoring Jihadism, torturing his own people and maintaining a nuclear weapons program.

    Tragically, it was a US Senator by the name of John Rockefeller who went to the Middle East a year prior to the Iraq invasion and alerted ME dictators giving Saddam ample time(14 months) to remove all evidence of his WMD’s into Syria.

    Not all of Saddam’s over 2 million documents found in Iraq have been translated and those that have been translated are not yet declassified, so it ain’t over til the fat lady sings.

  • Jason

    Syn, you appear to have access to this, or other, information which has yet to appear in the public domain – would you care to share it with us?

  • ADE

    I’m staggered by the sophistry of the comments above, when the acts are altogether simpler.

    Somebody who wants to kill me because they don’t like me is my enemy. Somebody who wants to persuade me that my views are wrong is my friend.

    So now I’ve defined my enemy. What to do? Clearly, persuade them that they are wrong.

    Is it feasible? Yes = continue. No = kill them.

    Now for the good bit. I don’t care whether they’re alive or dead.


    I have grandchildren.


  • guy herbert


    For example, I would say of 9/11 that the strategy was to strike a blow that would cause the US to strike back in a way which would bring more Muslims to the enemies ranks; the particular tactic was a terrorist act because they did not have resources to drop an A-bomb into the central court of the Pentagon.

    In my view the 9/11 attacks were NOT terrorism, because I stick to my definition (1), and I don’t think they were designed to gain their political ends by iinspiring terror in the US populace. They were symbolic attacks against emblems of US financial and military power aimed at getting applause from the Arab (and to a lesser extent the wider Islamic) world. Grandstanding.

    I submit what you do – despite yourself – when you say “the particular tactic was a terrorist act” is to slip into the habit of mind of the ‘war on terror’ of classifying irregular bombing by the other side as terrorism, regardless of its context or intent. It is the sort of usage that deprives the term ‘terrorism’ of any useful meaning, making it a positionally-biased synonym for ‘bad’.

    In the contrapositive commentators should (please) note that when I say 9/11 was not terrorism, I do not imply that it was not a bad thing done for evil purposes. But I do deny the conflation of categories and binary partition of the moral and political universes that both sides in the ‘war on terror’ use.

  • Josh

    Our enemies are terrorists, and we are fighting them. The fact that we do not call our current war “the war on muslims” still makes some diplomatic sense to me.

    I do agree about the IEDs. The terrorists who use them believe that they have the right to defeat us in war, and they can only do that if they stand half a chance of killing some of us. Without the threat of IEDs we would just sweep all our opposition away with minimal effort.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    Not all the Muslim fighters in Iraq, for example, are terrorists, although they are certainly trained in terrorist tactics. For what it’s worth, I believe all military spec ops troopers are trained in such tactics too, but that doesn’t make them terrorists any more than those islamists.

    A terrorist is anybody with the will and intent to attack civilians in order to terrorize them into implementing certain policies. By this definition, the allies committed terrorism in WW2. But I think the key point here expressed by some of the commentariat is that terrorism itself is not wrong. It’s a viable, valuable tactic, just like any other.

    If the enemy is a state filled with brainwashed civilians and your home nation is occupied by their military scum, would you hesitate to kill some of those civilians supporting that military just because it would be terrorism? I would not. So brand me a terrorist. I don’t mind.

    If terrorism is not wrong, then what exactly puts the 9/11 crew in the wrong? It’s quite simple. They wish to impose their fascist worldview on us.

    And that is wrong. I don’t accept that, and many of you won’t either. So regardless of whether they are terrorists or just plain islamist militants, they all deserve to fucking die.

  • Indeed.

    What is best in life?

    Conan has the answer

  • The idea that Allied bombing raids in WWII were aimed at destroying civilian moral and were thus a form terrorism is such an easily refuted idea that I am surprised than any educated person still holds it.

    It is true that prior to the war, many in Europe did believe that bombing would destroy civilian moral based on the arguments of such theorist as Guilio Douhet. The idea took hold even in Britain where it influenced the design of the Lancaster bomber conceived of as a imprecise nighttime bomber that would deliver incendiaries over an area. In America, the idea never caught on as witnessed by the design of the B-17, conceived of as a precise daylight bomber. Indeed, the entire selling point of the B-17 was that it could destroy military targets without endangering civilians.

    After studying the effects on moral of the Blitz, it became apparent to even the British that bombing had a net positive impact on civilian moral. Aerial bombing didn’t even kill that many people compared to the enormous effort needed to carry it out. From that point on, no Allied decision maker ever thought bombing would have any significant impact on civilian moral but many external airchair theorist continued to propound the idea.

    Bombing, even imprecise nighttime bombing, accomplished many goals but the idea was always to materially effect the enemies physical ability to fight. For example, Germany had to devote 70% of its aircraft production, 60% of its artillery production and over two million personnel to air defense. Without the bombing campaign, those resources would have given them at least air superiority on the Russian front. What the bombs where hitting on the ground was largely irrelevant in this regard because the Germans had to burn resources trying to protect the homeland.

    The whole bombing equals terrorism smear is especially revolting when you reflect that thousand of American airmen died in the early stages of the war attempting to carry out precision daylight attacks designed specifically to spare the lives of German civilians. To say that Allied planners and soldiers were indifferent to the lives of enemy civilians is simply a lie.

  • Verity

    Dale makes a critical point. We need to name the enemy. And as yobbo points out, the War on Terrorism is a misnomer anyway, because we’re not bothered about the Tamil Tigers or other terrorist groups around the world.

    Dale’s other excellent point is: In a war, there can be no quarter given. Too bad, but that’s life and we didn’t start this war. When President Reagan was first elected, reporters asked him what was his strategy for dealing with the Soviet Union. He replied, “My strategy is, we win; they lose.”

    When we start naming the enemy, we must not pull our punches. The war is not on “militant Islam”. All of Islam is militant. It is a warrior, conquering religion. That is something our ancesters understood a thousand years ago. Nothing has changed. We are at war with Islam. And if we have to bomb civilians, that’s life. The civilians breed and support the warriors.

    Indeed, after we name the enemy, that will take some of the wind out of their sails because they and the fifth column have prevented us for so long from naming the enemy. That is one less weapon they will have.

  • Verity

    PS – What’s an IED?

  • Dale Amon,

    If the US were occupied by an enemy and we did not have our large forces, we would use any and all tactics.

    What do you mean “we”. You might be willing to intentionally murder children for the sins of their parents but I am not. Indeed, were I to discover that you had employed such a tactic I would kill you myself even if we shared the same goals.

    It is precisely to keep us from going off the deep end under extreme stress that we must accept abstract boundaries on our behavior. By your reasoning, the Death camps of WWII were morally justified because the Nazis sincerely believed that every living untermensch poised a material threat to the German people.

    You are falling prey to folk-marxist belief that different moral standards apply to the weak and the strong and that therefor the weak can morally engage in acts which the strong cannot. This never works in the real because soon the not-so-weak begin to use the tactics of the weak, then the not-particularly-weak-at-all and so on until it is morally acceptable for the strongest to use it.

  • Verity

    I think it is time we changed the vocabulary, as rc said. We’ve been bullied into circumlocutions by the Leftists and it has not been to our benefit. We are at war with Islam. The whole point of Islam is to create Dar-es-Salaam. It’s not just a caliphate all the way over the Spain. It’s the whole bloody world they want. It’s a religion of conquest and warriors and it is twisted. Women are reduced to ciphers. They’re used for sex and breeding more warriors. End of story.

  • DuncanS

    The reason for calling it a war on “terror” or “terrorism” is that it’s a nice, nebulous, non-offensive, vague term. It can be used to keep, the US anyway, in a state of war for undefinable amount of time. If Iraq finally gets it’s act together, the WOT is still on. BinLaden captured and or killed? The WOT is still on. As long as it’s a war on “terror” it can be declared indefinitely. And I’m sure anyone reading here can appreciate that any government is at it’s most potent when the country is “at war”….

    Doesn’t anyone read Orwell anymore?

  • Verity

    Duncan S – Yes, that was Dale’s point and Wobbly Guy’s point. They are talking about reclaiming the initiative from the Left and calling it what it is: A war on Islam — or, if you want to pull your punches a war on militant Islam.

  • DuncanS

    I see your (their) point. However… perhaps I trust the government less than most, but I’d argue that this is only part of the reason and that an equal, if not larger, reason for it is that by leaving it “undefinable” they can keep it up as long as they want. It doesn’t have to remain bound to a stuggle against radical Islam. I see it as no less that a first step towards keeping the US in a persistant state of war, allowing the government’s “war time” powers to be the rule rather than the exception for now on.

  • Verity

    DuncanS – You certainly do not trust the government less than anyone here!

  • Dale Amon

    Just to set the record very straight. I do *NOT* consider this a war on Islam. It is a war against a very small minority of people in the world who have banded together out of hatred of the America in particular and ‘the West’ . The enemy includes Jihadists; it also includes North Korean Communists and others. I include many Muslims among those I would call trusted friend; I would include many Muslims among those who are our staunch allies because they are the first ones who will suffer from Jihadist success.

  • Verity

    I think you’re wrong about the “small minority”, Dale. The whole point of Islam is to convert the world to Dar-es-Salaam, at the point of the sword if necessary. That is openly stated.

    It would be foolish to say there are no exceptions. Of course, there must be. But I suspect they are fewer and farther between than you think. Read the words of Dutch MP apostate Aayan Hirsi Ali. This is a Somali gal who escaped an arranged marriage and made her way alone to Holland, learned to speak Dutch, went to university, got degrees in political science and became an MP. She’s now under 24-hour a day police protection for being an apostate. She is under no illusions about Islam. Or read Irshad Manji’s book “The Trouble with Islam” – she’s a practising Muslim, although she calls herself a refusenik. Manji, incidentally, thinks the reformation of Islam will be forced by the West.

    Please forgive me if I’m pointing out things you already know, but people have been soft-pedalling criticism of this angry, intolerant religion. I think there are plenty of Muslims who just want to get on with their lives, but I do not believe they are in the majority. Although, obviously, I haven’t taken a worldwide survey.

  • Dale Amon

    It is my preference to aim carefully and hit my target rather than causing damage and consternation to my friends. I work closely with people of the Islamic faith and I like and respect those people. I have contacts from my years as a Samizdata editor with freedom loving Muslims around the world. I wish to protect them and their aspirations, not add fuel to some fearsome monster which would devour the good with the bad.

    Precise targetting is an important facet of warfare, if you can manage it.

  • guy herbert

    Hear, hear. And warfare is generally to be avoided, if you can manage it.

    Verity, 500 million or so crazed warriors would be hard to miss. If in fact a majority of Muslims (or any other comparably widespread group) weren’t just trying to get on with their lives, but engaged in a global war, then it would be cataclysmic. (Take World War II: Engaged forces? 25 million maximum; just trying to get on with their lives? nearly 2 billion.)

    Almost everybody, almost everywhere, is just trying to get on with their lives no matter what their contingent demographic grouping.

  • Verity

    Guy – Could you point out where I said there were half a billion warriors on the march?

    How many British Islamics protested 7/7? How many wrote letters to the papers saying how appalled they were? How many have expressed shock at the behaviour of those fools in London protesting cartoons in a Danish newspaper? In their heart of hearts, most Muslims believe the protesters were correct to register a protest.

    When you have had propaganda hammered into your head and been brainwashed from birth, this tends to stick. Do you think any of those people who stayed home would identify those with their faces covered for the police?

    I’m not saying they’re all jihadis, but I am saying that most of them are complicit, as evidenced by their behaviour.

    I keep coming back to this point and no one answers me with any facts: The Muslims’ most important task is to convert the world to Dar-es-Salaam, by the sword or the bullet if necessary. This is their most fundamental, strongly held belief. They try persuasion first. Along with taqqiya and kitman. Then its, “Well, we tried to ask you nicely.”

    I have never said that there are not some brave people who think independently, but I am saying they are few and far between.

  • Verity

    PS Guy Herbert – not nearly two billion. One point two billion. Let’s get our facts straight.

  • michael farris

    Verity, the mere fact that worldwide conversion is a goal of those who follow strict Islamic doctrine is moot.
    Worldwide conversion is also a goal of those who follow strict Christian doctrine as well. You lived in frickin’ Houston, Southern Baptists still think that they’re the only true christians and all others are going to hell.

    I’m quite ready, willing and able to criticism specific muslims.

    I’m quite ready, willing and able to critique the overall approach to modernity of muslims (essentially free riders).

    I’m not ready, willing or able to declare 1.2 billion people the enemy or to be in the thrall of e.v.i.l.

    The problem with your approach is that it makes it impossible to tell potential muslim allies from unflinching enemies by declaring them all to be in the second category. That’s not what I’d call critical or rational thought.

  • Verity

    Michael Farris – first, let’s get out of the way that you have some very bizarre notions about Houston. That town (pop. 4.5m) is wide open. I don’t think I’ve ever met a Southern Baptist in my life.

    You’re aware that your argument is weak, because Christians don’t slash people’s heads off if they disagree with them, whereas Muslims do, if they can get away with it. What do you call beheading three innocent little girls walking to their Christian school in Indonesia? What the hell had those little girls ever done to die such a violent, disgusting death?

    What had Margaret Hassan done? (Other than be a woman, that is, which is why they also disembowelled her). Daniel Pearl? I don’t mean this to sound insulting, but you’re in denial. They are working towards Dar-es-Salaam.

    You are approaching this problem, as you should, of course, from a rational western perspective. But the other side is not. And there are millions of them who would not dream of committing a violent deed themselves, but can’t bring themselves to condemn those who do, in the name of their god.

    I am not unknowing. I’m aware that there are some highly intelligent and skilled Muslims working against the jihad. They can be found as translators and infiltrators (well, I hope they won’t be found!) and the like. We are most grateful to their invaluable assistance.

    The Christians you so foolishly refer to have no interest in “converting” anyone by the sword. They seek to persuade, and there is no equivalency whatsoever.

    Perhaps the approach adopted by your goodself, Guy Herbert and Dale Amon will work. I sincerely hope it does.

  • michael farris

    My point is that the goal of world wide conversion is an inherent part of many religions and by itself doesnt’ mean anything.

    And again you just lump all 1.2 billion muslims together in a headwhacking, infidel attacking horde. What useful purpose does this serve?

    I don’t expect most Muslims to condemn muslim terrorism not for religious reasons, but for cultural reasons. There’s a huge swatch of terroritory (roughly but not exactly continguous with the Islamic world*) where the highest form of ethics is group loyalty (my family and against other families in the clan, my clan against other clans etc). Watching mtv and the internets don’t change this (at least not quickly).
    The absolute most a rational person can expect from the majority there is silence. When a fellow ingroup member does something wrong against an outsider**, you might not approve or support them, you might find it repugnant and evil, but you don’t criticism them to outsiders. The most you can do is to say they’re not officially representing you. (there has been a lot of muslim talk on that subject).

    * that is it’s not inherently part of Islam, but Islam certainly seems to reinforce it.

    *”honor” killings are also part of this, the woman in question is perceived to have acted against the interests of her own ingroup, the worst lapse of ethics possible in such a culture. I find that morally repulsive but intellectually i can understand the reasoning.

  • Verity: IED – Improvised Explosive Device. Some form of fertilizer or demolition explosive powered bomb i.e. not bought from the US, UK, China, France…

    As to finding out sheep from goats, evil from reasonable, a Reformation movement inside Islam would do that in a jiffy.

  • Verity

    TimC – Thank you. Yes, a Reformation movement would separate the sheep from the goats. Islamic refusenik Irshad Manji of Toronto believes that the Reformation of Islam is on its way, and that it will begin in the West.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    Maybe we should start to consider how the Reformation of Christianity occurred in the first place, and how those same factors could create a similar condition for Islam.

    If I remember correctly, it was because the Catholic Church of the time was hopelessly corrupt, and the Europeans(Martin Luther et al) had the gumption and sufficient moral virtue to call them out on it, and the results were the various factions we have today.

    Today’s Islamic hierarchy is, I believe, just as corrupt. Or perhaps only part of it is. In any case, the majority of muslims, the younger religious leaders, those whose opinions do matter, don’t seem to be raising any real kind of criticism.

    In certain respects, this only reinforces the view that many muslims, by keeping quiet, are actually complicit in the sins of their leaders.

    I once thought a Reformation was the only chance for Islam. It still is, but my hopes are dwindling. How much more evidence do they need before they realise they need a new interpretation of the Koran that is compatible with modernity and progress?


  • Midwesterner

    TWG, excellent post.

    Only one slight change. Speaking as one raised in a fundamentalist environment,

    “interpretation of the Koran that is compatible with modernity and progress”

    will never fly.

    What is necessary is to show how human worshiping present day Islam is. For example, a god that is apparently helpless without humans to ‘protect’ him from insult.

    They need to see the incompatability of God’s creation (reality) being censored and amended by a rather flawed and very human prophet. They need to learn that either God is infallible or Mohammed is. But there is definately substantial differences between ‘creation’ and Mohammed’s world view.

    I think reformation is a hope. But somebody pointed out the timelines predicting reformation and nuclear power. Might not be enough time.

  • TimC, IEDs are made from munitions left behind by Saddam’s regime and come from the U.S, UK, France, Russia, etc. Also they are usually triggered by cell phones or electronics made in Europe, US, etc.

  • Orson Olson

    MOST of the first comments above and the thread starter himself miss the central poltical fact of today’s world: it’s tough to gain the help of Muslim’s if you tell them the truth! Thus, Blair/Bush use polite euphemisms like “War on Terror” or “Global War On Terror.”

    Our enemy is Jihadism, which is so central to the religious tenets of the friends we use that Professor (from Florida Atlantic University, USA) Walid Phares calls it “the unofficial sixth pillar of Islam.” But who can change such a beleif? Only Muslim’s themselves. Again, another rationale for covert official rhetoric.

    Now, if there was intelligent opposition un the US and UK, there would be vigorous and open debate about just who our enemy is and why they hate us. But we don’t, thanks to political correctness. Honesty would compel the truthful to see the fault in their religion – but multi-cult prevents that.. This explains the worsening divide between Britons and the Muzzies and the expectation that conflict will get worse, as today’s (12 February) Sunday Times poll on the matter reveals.

    Instead of diversions, Dale Amon ought to discuss David Cook’s “Understanding Jihad” (2005), a religious studies professor at Rice University in Houston, Texas for example, or from KCL, Efraim Karsh’s “Islamic Imperialism: A History” (forthcoming this April, 2006).

    Although there are different types of Jihad, the primary meaning, Cook notes, is “warfare with spiritual significance.” While one cannot “discount the possibility that Muslims may in time amend their interpretation of the concept to exclude militant aggression…. [ t]here is as yet no indication that such a redefinition of jihad has in fact been undertaken – outside of apologetics intended for ‘external consumption’ – but it is still a possibility.” (2, 4)

    It’s a war we now have because of them, not us: don’t confuse the truth! Illuminate it.