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Ambitious Failure

isis-terrorists

from National Review, Theodore Dalrymple writes Islam’s Nightclub Brawl to explain why such violent jihadists (interesting that spell check for jihadists comes up ‘sadists’) come from Britain.

Excerpts:

Are there more British jihadis, for example, because the condition of Muslims in Britain is worse than elsewhere? In answering this question it is well to remember that Muslims are not just Muslims and nothing else. The Muslims in Germany are mainly of Turkish origin; in France, of North African; and in Britain, of Pakistani or Bangladeshi. Any difference in their collective behavior, therefore, might be attributable to their origin as much as to the country of their upbringing.

The position of the Muslims in Britain is not “objectively” worse than that of their coreligionists in France; if anything, the reverse. It is considerably easier for a young Muslim man to obtain a job in Britain than in France, and social ascent is easier. Britain is more obviously a class society than France, but also more socially mobile (the two things are often confused, but are different). And there has been no legislation in Britain against the public use of that cherished Muslim symbol of male domination, the veil.

But failure is not necessarily easier to bear in a more open society than in a closed one: On the contrary, resentment is all the stronger because of the additional element of personal responsibility for that failure, actual or anticipated. In some ways, life is easier, psychologically at least, when you can attribute failure entirely to external causes and not to yourself or anything about yourself. The relative failure of Muslims (largely of Pakistani origin) is evident by comparison with Sikhs and Hindus: Their household wealth is less than half that of Sikhs and Hindus (immigrants at more or less the same time), and while the unemployment rate of young Sikhs and Hindus is slightly lower than that of whites, that of young Muslims is double. Sikh and Hindu crime rates are well below the national average; Muslim crime rates are well above. Racial prejudice is unlikely to account for these differences. Jihad attracts ambitious failures, including those who are impatient or fearful of the long and arduous road to conventional success. Jihad is a shortcut to importance, with the added advantage of stirring fear in a society that the jihadists want to believe has wronged them, but that they are more likely to have wronged.

HKO

An interesting observation.  It does make me wonder why we have not seen more of this behavior in Pakastini Muslims from the US.

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An Atoll of Prosperity

telaviv

from The Israeli Spring by Victor Davis Hanson in The National Review

excerpts:

In terms of realpolitik, anti-Israeli authoritarians are fighting to the death against anti-Israeli insurgents and terrorists. Each is doing more damage to the other than Israel ever could — and in an unprecedented, grotesque fashion. Who now is gassing Arab innocents? Shooting Arab civilians in the streets? Rounding up and executing Arab civilians? Blowing up Arab houses? Answer: either Arab dictators or radical Islamists.

Secretary of State John Kerry is still beating last century’s dead horse of a “comprehensive Middle East peace.” But does Kerry’s calcified diplomacy really assume that a peace agreement involving Israel would stop the ethnic cleansing of Egypt’s Coptic Christians? Does Israel have anything to do with Assad’s alleged gassing of his own people?

In comparison with the ruined economies of the Arab Spring — tourism shattered, exports nonexistent, and billions of dollars in infrastructure lost through unending violence — Israel is an atoll of prosperity and stability. Factor in its recent huge gas and oil finds in the eastern Mediterranean, and it may soon become another Kuwait or Qatar, but with a real economy beyond its booming petroleum exports.

Israel had nothing to do with either the Arab Spring or its failure. The irony is that surviving embarrassed Arab regimes now share the same concerns with the Israelis. In short, the more violent and chaotic the Middle East becomes, the more secure and exceptional Israel appears.

HKO

Imagine this outcome being planned.  Why involve our forces in a conflict where two of our enemies are killing each other?  Just arm whoever is the underdog long enough to sustain the carnage as long as possible.  Imagine if we could have planned for the Iranians to be at war with Al Qaeda.  While terribly unfortunate for the civilians it is these two parties that have carried their hatred beyond military guidelines.  The more they exhaust their resources on each other the less they have to threaten those outside of the region.

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No Risk, No Solution

Victor Davis Hanson writes The Age of Tokenism in The National Review, 1/29/13

Excerpt:

No one knows how to break the cycle of Middle East violence, much less how to address the tribalism, statism, lack of transparency and freedom, gender apartheid, religious fundamentalism, and intolerance so ubiquitous in the Arab world and so much at the heart of its wide-scale poverty and violence. To attempt any such discussion would be caricatured as neo-colonialist, imperialist, racist, naïve, or culturally ignorant.

Iraq and Afghanistan have been too costly to serve as models; Libya is now a hushed-up embarrassment; our positions have changed so much on Syria that there now are no positions; and Mohamed Morsi’s achievement in Egypt will have been to create nostalgia for the authoritarian Hosni Mubarak. No need to touch on the events in Algeria. The French, alone, are leading from the front in trying to save Mali from Islamists. Who would wish to wade into these morasses, or even talk about them with any degree of honesty?

It is far easier to focus on the Israelis: They are few. They have not until recently had oil or gas; the world hates them; and their government is lawful and Western. The result is that demonizing Mr. Netanyahu as the nexus of Middle East violence carries no risks, and offers no solutions, and therefore is preferable to the dangers of candidly crafting a policy to attempt to deal with the pathologies of the modern Arab world. If it is a question of attempting to deal fairly with Netanyahu or declaring jihad a personal spiritual journey, the latter wins every time.

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An Israeli Perspective of the Ground Zero Mosque

Dan Gordis writes in The Jerusalem Post a different insight into the ground zero mosque. In The Ground Zero mosque – what US could learn from Israel Gordis writes that the issue of religious tolerance must not blind us to acknowledging that we clearly have an enemy and that reluctance to addressing that threat is self destructive and deadly.

Excerpts:

One need not be racist or Islamophobic to be concerned about the mosque. For life in our region has taught us that the first necessary step to defending yourself is acknowledging that someone else is out to destroy you.

“Of course we work on Shabbat.” And then, after a second’s pause, she added, “Gam ha’oyev oved beshabbat” – the enemy also works on Shabbat.

It was a game changer. “What?” she essentially asked. “You think we do this for fun? There are people out there trying to destroy us. Either we’re as serious about this conflict as they are, or they’re going to win.”

It’s fine to say that “America is not at war with Islam,” to point out that most Muslims are not terrorists and that many American Muslims are moderates. That’s true, as far as it goes.

But it only goes so far. Because America is at war and its enemies are Muslims. Politically correct hairsplitting runs the risk of Americans blinding themselves to that simple but critical fact. It makes no difference what percentage of the world’s Muslims wants to destroy America. There are enough of them that US air travel is now abominably unpleasant and, more importantly, enough of them that more strikes on America appear inevitable.

THE UNITED States’ future is under attack, but Americans resist admitting it. President Barack Obama has sent 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, but he has also said that he intends to pull them out by July. Can we imagine FDR declaring war on Germany, but then adding that the war had to be over in a year, or in two? It would have been laughable. And America would have lost. The US has to decide – is it committed to destroying those who wish it ill, or is it willing to be destroyed by them? Those, sadly, are its only two alternatives.

Whether or not the Ground Zero mosque ultimately gets built may not matter nearly as much as whether or not Americans are willing to gird themselves for the battles that sadly lie ahead.

I have written that for a war to not last forever we must fight as though it will.  Gordis makes an excellent point that an existential threat puts valued rights in a different perspective.

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Getting Distracted

There is a real problem with the border in Arizona.  And there is a real problem with the Mosque near Ground Zero.  But these are distractions from the greater issue of an economy out of control and a government that sees no problem it cannot solve, and no issue it should leave to the citizens themselves to address.

The immigration issue is difficult, but it is attracting the extremist elements. And the Republican suggestion that the 14th amendment should be changed makes it easy to tag the Republicans with the prejudice that was a real problem with the party many years ago.

Realistically the 14th amendment will not be changed, so even suggesting it serves only to paint the GOP with a label it should seek to avoid.  It is a red herring as Jeff Jacoby noted in the Boston Globe,  Born in the USA.

The Cordoba House, the Ground Zero Mosque, is also a losing argument.  While I think they would be wiser to have it elsewhere, the Republicans are unwise to direct more attention to it. President Bush was wise to disassociate the radical from the rest of Islam after 9/11.  The party would be wise to follow his lead.

The Twitter sphere and social networks is pulsing with emotional comments on the mosque. Much of it crosses the line of legitimate debate, and is just hateful.

It matters little that 70% of Americans are against it. True leadership is the following of principles, not polls. It may look convenient to take advantage of the strong sentiment to score political points, but the Republicans would be wiser to take the high road.

The independents are cautious of divisive politics.  Besides, the Republicans already have the Democrats on a broad retreat, on the subject of the economy, jobs, health care, cap and trade, card check, the debt, and many examples of anti business sentiment and intrusion into our private lives.

The Republicans are providing the Democrats with the ammunition to attack the GOP as prejudiced and extreme.   They would be wise to focus on the real issues that concern so many Americans and turn down the noise on the difficult emotional and less important but more divisive issues.

As Dick Army once advised, “ Don’t waste your energy killing your enemy if he is busy committing suicide.”  Sometimes all you have to do to win is shut up and let your opposition destroy themselves.