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Yet another weird SF fan
 

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Is This a War of Islam vs. the West?

Not long after 911, posters supporting Osama bin Laden appeared at anti-American demonstrations showing bin Laden with Bert the Muppet. Apparently, the poster makers took every picture they could find on the Internet of bin Laden—including a picture from one of the “Bert Is Evil!” websites—and didn't bother actually looking at them.

This is an example of how the wacko rumors we see in mideastern politics get propagated. The poster makers found an apparently useful picture which they did not analyze but used anyway. Similarly, Islamic propagandists will find an apparently useful argument but will not bother analyzing it or even check to see if it is coherent with last year's argument. That's how we can have accusations that Jews are part Khazar and also inbred racists. That's how we can have claims that “goyim” means “cattle.” That's how we see a shift back and forth between “we must return these people's ancestral lands” and “returning the Jew's ancestral lands is like returning Native American lands.” (About this last point: At the rate the northern Great Plains are depopulating, Native Americans might have the are back soon. So if the Palestinians are just patient enough …)

There an even deeper significance of this. All the means used by the Ladenites came from Western Civilization. The box cutters came from hardware stores. The planes came from Boeing. The oil for the jet fuel might have come from the Persian Gulf, but it was found by Western geologists, extracted by Western drilling rigs, and defended by the American soldiers Osama was so upset about. If this had anything to do with Israel vs. Palestine, the rhetoric needed for that conflict came from nationalism. If they didn't use nationalism—if they stuck to portraying it as a religious war—they would be unable to portray it as poor weak Palestine vs. powerful Israel, but would have to explain why Moslems could not take care of Palestinian refugees on their own. The economic theory behind Ladenism is that Western Civilization has been stealing cheap oil from OPEC. Even that theory came from the West. In the 1970s, many people believed that overpopulation and the increase in entropy meant ever rising oil prices. I'm sure the young Osama was looking forward to this. When oil prices tanked, Osama refused to believe the theory was wrong but that Some Conspiracy was fooling around. (A possibly relevant quote: “Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back.”—John Maynard Keynes) The rhetoric used in the conflict came from Chomsky.

The ideology behind the Iraq regime also came from the West. According to Bernard Lewis:

In the Western world, knowledge of history is poor—and the awareness of history is frequently poorer. For example, people often argue today as if the kind of political order that prevails in Iraq is part of the immemorial Arab and Islamic tradition. This is totally untrue. The kind of regime represented by Saddam Hussein has no roots in either the Arab or Islamic past. Rather, it is an ideological importation from Europe—the only one that worked and succeeded (at least in the sense of being able to survive).

In 1940, the French government accepted defeat and signed a separate peace with the Third Reich. The French colonies in Syria and Lebanon remained under Vichy control, and were therefore open to the Nazis to do what they wished. They became major bases for Nazi propaganda and activity in the Middle East. The Nazis extended their operations from Syria and Lebanon, with some success, to Iraq and other places. That was the time when the Baath Party was founded, as a kind of clone of the Nazi and Fascist parties, using very similar methods and adapting a very similar ideology, and operating in the same way—as part of an apparatus of surveillance that exists under a one-party state, where a party is not a party in the Western democratic sense, but part of the apparatus of a government. That was the origin of the Baath Party.

This is not a war of Western Civilization against Islam (or even parts of Islam). This is a civil war inside Western Civilization in which the insane side is using Islam as an instrument.

On top of all that, the imagery used (Does Islam even allow such imagery?) came from the American-created Internet with American cute fuzzy puppets.

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