Friday, August 05, 2005

In 100 words or less 

London Mayor Ken Livingstone in July:
That isn't an ideology, it isn't even a perverted faith, it is just an indiscriminate attempt at mass murder and we know what the objective is. They seek to divide Londoners. They seek to turn Londoners against each other...… Londoners will not be divided by the cowardly attack. They will stand together in solidarity alongside those who have been injured and those who have been bereaved and that is why I'm proud to be the Mayor of that city...

[Migrants] choose to come to London, as so many have come before because they come to be free, they come to live the life they choose, they come to be able to be themselves. They flee you because you tell them how they should live. They don't want that and nothing you do, however many of us you kill, will stop that flight to our city where freedom is strong and where people can live in harmony with one another. Whatever you do, however many you kill, you will fail.
Ken Livingstone in August:
It is four weeks since bombers indiscriminately killed and maimed ordinary Londoners. Protecting London from terrorists requires the best possible policing - which, in turn, needs the greatest possible flow of information from all communities. It also demands that we shrink the pool of the alienated that bombers draw on by treating all communities as equal parts of British society - not only theoretically, but in reality. And it means withdrawing from Iraq.
Alenda Lux had more.

Fortunately, Al Qaeda's number two, Ayman al-Zawahiri has come to the rescue of commentators struggling to find a solution to terrorism. As "Christian Science Monitor" helpfully summarized the case: "Al Qaeda to West: It's about policies."

This comes as an immense relief, because if only we can change our wicked ways, a lamb shall lie down with a lion and we will all live happily ever after. In any case, the ball is in our court to make Al Qaeda happy.

So what does al-Zawahiri want?
The lion of Islam, the mujaheed Sheik Osama bin Laden, may Allah protect him, has offered you a truce, so you will leave the lands of Islam. Did Sheik Osama bin Laden not tell you that you could not dream of security before we live it as a reality in Palestine and before all the infidel armies leave the land of Muhammad? But you have made rivers of blood in our countries, so we blew up volcanoes of rage in your countries. Our message to you is clear and unequivocal: You will not be saved unless you withdraw from our land, stop stealing our oil and our resources, and cease your support of the corrupt (Arab) rulers.
End of Western military presence and political influence in Islamic countries? Check.

Destruction of Israel? Check.

Giving Al Qaeda free hand to overthrow current governments, and abolish any vestiges of democracy, human rights and freedom? Check.

The last point has been elaborated upon by al-Zawahiri last year:
True reform is based on three principles:

The first principle is the rule of Shari'a [Islamic law], because Shari'a, which was given by God, protects the believers' interests, freedom, honor, and pride, and protects what is sacred to them. The Islamic nation will not accept any other law, after it has suffered from the anti-Islamic trends forcefully imposed on it.

The second principle of reform is the freedom of the lands of Islam. No reform is conceivable while our countries are occupied by the Crusader forces, which are spread throughout our countries. No reform is conceivable while the Crusader forces are stationed in our countries [where they] enjoy support, supplies, and storage facilities, and go forth from our countries to attack our brothers and sisters in other Islamic countries. No reform is conceivable while our governments are controlled by the American embassies, which stick their noses into all our affairs.

The third principle of reform is the Muslim nation's freedom to run its own affairs. This [principle of] reform will only be realized in two ways. First, freedom of the independent religious judicial system, the implementation of its rulings, and the guaranteeing of its honor, authority, and strength. Second, the freedom and the right of the Islamic nation to implement the principle of 'promoting virtue and preventing vice.'
Those who argue that it's up to us to stop terrorism, if only we would change our policies, somehow never seem to be particularly concerned about the larger implications of such changes. So here is a simple task:

Explain in 100 words or less, how the Middle East ruled by bin Laden and religious fanatics controlling most of the world's oil reserves is in America's - and the Western world's - interest.

Explain in another 100 words or less, how you are going to ensure this scenario will not become reality after the West "stops the aggression against Muslims".

If you still have more time, explain in - oh, what the hell, take as many words as you like - why bin Laden doesn't really mean it when he says
The first thing that we are calling you [the United States] to is Islam...

The second thing we call you to, is to stop your oppression, lies, immorality and debauchery that has spread among you. We call you to be a people of manners, principles, honour, and purity; to reject the immoral acts of fornication, homosexuality, intoxicants, gambling's, and trading with interest.
and that once in control of a radical Islamic superstate, he will forget about what he considers to be his religious duty to convert all the unbelievers to his version of Islam.

Happy writing.

More info: Daveed Gartenstein-Ross and Anton La Guardia.

I've been criticized by one reader that:
I'm frustrated by your selective interpretation of the opposing position. Yes, there are certainly those who fit into the isolationist/appeasement category you paint above. But the degree to which you focus on them -- in near exclusion of all others -- frustrates me as so far as I can tell, numerically and politically, that category is a minority...

What I'd like to hear more about from you is less how the small minority of stupid people truly are stupid, and more about how the large majority of concerned citizens are legitimately concerned, and what we can do about it.
It's a valid point that we should be discussing the best strategies in our fight against terror (or whatever else you choose to call this struggle) - how successful are we? what do we be doing differently or better? - but I'm far from convinced that isolationism and appeasement are the positions of a small minority. Which is why I keep hammering on these points.


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