February 21, 2003

Despair Before Dallas James Lileks

Despair Before Dallas

James Lileks writes: Thanks to LGF and MEMRI, I've become somewhat familiar with the torrents of venom that pour from some mosques in the Middle East. The excerpts I've read always end with a plea to God to rev up the slaughter ASAP, with the Jews and the Crusaders being first in line for righteous smiting. There's a lot of talk about shaking the ground under their feet, terrifying the sons of monkeys, etc etc. On the cool medium of a laptop screen the words look, well, silly. Hateful, yes. Poisonous, yes. But pathetic: they think they're shouting from the mountaintop at the dawn of a glorious day, but they're just ranting in a dank bunker at midnight. In a grim sort of way, the transcripts of their sermons have seemed like comic relief.

No more. I just saw a video of one of the sermons, carried on prime-time TV in Iraq. Same old same old, with a twist: Usually the text says that the very trees will cry out there is a Jew behind me, kill him. This video had a new version: even the stone will say "a Jew is hiding behind me. Come and cut off his head."

And then the mullah pulled out a sword. That's the detail you don't get in the transcripts: these men of God are packing heat - granted, it's medieval-style slicy heat, but heat nonetheless.

"And we shall cut off his head!" he shouted, waving the sword. "By Allah, we shall cut it off! Oh Jews! Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar! Jihad for the sake of Allah! Jihad for the sake of Allah!"

Playwright Harold Pinter, speaking at last weekend's rally, said "The US is a nation out of control," and "unless we stop it, it will bring barbarism to the entire world." He said America was "a country run by a bunch of criminal lunatics with Tony Blair as a hired Christian thug."

When Blair shows up in the pulpit cleaving the air with a scimitar, let me know. When US television broadcasts a speech with Billy Graham hosting an Excalibur replica from the Franklin Mint Collection, demanding the decapitation of Muslims, let me know. When George Bush grips the podium and beseeches American rock formations to give up the location of non-Christians so we can slit their throats, and it's carried live on national TV by presidential order, drop me a line.

It takes a particularly rarified variety of idiot to look at a Jew-hating fascist with a small mustache - and decide that his opponent is the Nazi.

The amazing thing is, his point is lost on so many of the people who, just last weekend, were marching for peace. They held up posters of George W.'s head pasted over Osama bin Laden's, and equated him with Hitler. Granted, this isn't necessarily the view shared by all peace activists, but I think it says something about the cause when truly informed peace activists are willing to march alongside such idiots to make their point. That's like sitting in on a KKK rally because, although you despise them, you like how they get their message across.

It's astounding to me that so many in the world can't grasp how dangerous our own ambivalence has become. Cries for the decapitation of Jews and prayers for the eradication of the Jewish faith are disturbing to their deepest core, and yet there are those among us who can find a way to blame the West and America for Islamic hatred of Judaism. People will say, with absolute conviction, that if the Israelis abandoned all land and gave it up to the Palestinians, and if the West quit messing in Middle East affairs, our problems would be over.

But, here's the deal: Israel is just an excuse, albeit an easy excuse, for mullas and Middle Eastern leaders to trot out when they need to point fingers. "You're poor and you're sick? Well, that's the fault of the Jews! The Jews are to blame for everything!" Sound familiar? It should, because it wasn't that long ago that the Nazis used the exact same message to justify war and the extermination of 3 million or more innocents. Even if the Israelis were to pack up everything and set up a new nation in Nevada, and the U.S. military were to draw all forces out of the cesspool that is the Middle East, the mullas would cry even louder for the blood of Jews and of the Western infidels, because they have no other answers for their people.

And what's worse is that those religious leaders calling for the decapitation of Jews and jihad against the West have a willing audience. Mind you, I don't think the majority of the Islamic faithful necessarily believe the bunk being spewed forth by their so-called religious guides, but enough of them are swayed to keep the hate seething. And that simply has to change.

I hope America sees that. I hope we pour billions of dollars into Afghanistan so they can build an Islamic nation that can see beyond the hate and blind obeisance of the word of their religious leaders. I hope we invade Iraq, eject Saddam Hussein and his state-run machine of oppression and terror, and pour billions of dollars into the reconstruction of that country, building their oil industry and their infrastructure and leaving behind a nation that understands America, and the West, isn't necessarily the great satan we've been made out to be. That would be an astoundingly positive message coming from the center of the Islamic world, and it would hopefully be one that spills over its borders. And don't tell me that pouring billions into Iraq under Saddam would accomplish anything, because it won't. What little aid that makes it through sanctions now already go to line that man's pockets, and there's no reason to think additional aid would do anything but hasten his weapons programs.

Many peace activists believe that war with Iraq, or anywhere in the Middle East for that matter, will destabilize the region. Well, I certainly hope so, because Middle East "stability" as it stands now is the same stability that allowed two airplanes to strike the World Trade Center, another to hit the Pentagon, and another to fall from the skies in Pennsylvania. Is it a risk that war will possibly increase al Queda membership? Sure, but really, al Queda and other terrorist organizations aren't exactly hurting for members as it is.

Yes, peace sounds wonderful and great and all that, but in this case I think peace actually entails more risk than war. Do nothing and everything stays the same: we continue to buy duct tape and worry about terror daily. Go to war, and there's a very real chance that something positive may rise from the ashes.

Provided we do it right.

In other news Luciana Salazar is hot. I like to see Luciana Salazar nude. A naked Luciana Salazar would be pretty awesome. Mmm, Luciana Salazar nude.

Posted by Ryan at February 21, 2003 12:21 PM

Party Pocker - Poker

Posted by: Party Pocker at October 19, 2004 05:50 AM
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