Earlier this week (on 9/11 eve), President Barrack Obama laid before the American people his plan to root out the threat of ISIS, the latest band of Arabic rogues spreading their bloody brand of bloodthirsty evangelism; conquering lands and lopping off heads for the greater glory and honor of Allah. Doing his best impression of a Conservative, Barry the Flaccid told us all how he was going to rid the world of this threat by retraining the Iraqi Army in two weeks (the same army that turned tail and ran at the sight of these cats two months ago), and then backing them up with bombing runs, drone strikes, and perhaps a few Special Ops soldiers here and there for garnish.
It was a real swell speech (if you ignored everything our Fearless Leader had to say and only focused on the gravity of his tone), communicating that Obama not only doesn't hate America but is actually looking forward to extinguishing this dragon for her.
Mighty white of him, seeing as to it being his job and all...
But there was something he said during this speech that stuck out to me... Something that irked me more than anything else he had said (and no, it isn't that Somalia and Yemen are examples of our amazing abilities to tame savage lands from 30000 feet).
"ISIS is not Islam..."
You could imagine how stunned I was to hear that the Islamic State Army, whose mission statement includes among it's many lofty goals the creation of an Islamic Caliphate, was actually not based in Islam.
Could have bowled me over with a feather.
Oy vey, Ishmael...
There is a great line in Braveheart... (I know, I know... 'Really idiot??? There's a great line in an Oscar winning movie'... Shut it... I'm making a point...)...
It's during an early scene, where the English King, Edward Longshanks, is being told of some issues occurring in his Scottish territories and he makes this bold pronouncement:
The problem with Scotland is that it is full of Scots.
Cold, pragmatic, and unyieldingly accurate thinking... It's impossible to argue against (at least in his case). That really was the only issue with the Scottish territory... It's Scottish inhabitants.
I mention this because the twenty first century world is facing a similar dilemma, and it's high time we stopped pussyfooting around and just came out and said it:
The problem with Islam is Islam.
I hear your jeers... Catcalling my bigoted thinking while you make sure your local CAIR chapter knows you abhor such talk... But it does little to combat the cold, simple logic of my claim (granted, it doesn't hurt my claim that the Islamic world has currently been set ablaze by Islamic fundamentalists hellbent on spreading their bloody gospel, as the other six billion of us figure out how to live with our sharp elbowed friend), but it is my feeling that we struggle with dealing with all of this because we are unwilling to admit to ourselves what the issue truly is... Islam itself.
For too long in our struggle with this bastardized ideology have we minced words, making sure we spare the feeling of Islamic voters in our chastisement of the behaviors of their brothers in faith half a world away (and, if we are to believe their threats, coming soon to a mall near you!). And in doing so, we have kept them from undergoing their period of great enlightenment and evolution.
[And it's not just in war... It's in everything; our PC culture becoming so asphyxiating that it keeps is from identifying danger when we see it lest we offend. In the way they treat gays, and women, and refuse to assimilate to laws (see Europe for this little gem), Islam has shown itself to be rather out of step with modern thinking, yet free from any real popular media criticism. If the Catholic Church had the sort of backwards opinions that the Faith of Islam unabashedly holds dear towards homosexuality (where instead of questioning the merits of granting homosexual marriage, they are calling for the mass extermination of the Gay), it would be all the news talked about; weekly services disrupted the nation over by screaming queens demanding the hate-monger silence their poison tongues. But nary a word is said towards Islam. The same can said in their treatment of women, the culture just mired with honor killings, genital mutilations, and forced subservience. Where are the Feminists lining up to fight on that front??? Too busy lobbying for free birth control pills to take up a real cause? But I digress...]
Losing my Religion
Allahu Akbar... To any Muslim, those words are a sign of faithful devotion... A prayer contained just in its mere utterance. To them, it literally translates to "God is great".
But to the rest of us infidels, it has become a phrase synonymous with dread and horror; the soundtrack to beheadings and executions of declared infidels and non-believers. It is their battle cry as they conduct raids, their final words as they pull the pins on their various exploding belts, vests, shoes, and goats, and the chant they make as they witness such savagery. This isn't a new dread either, the same cry heard by Crusaders defending the Holy Land from the fanatical invaders seeking to push off the Europeans from their hold on the Arabian peninsula as we do today.
The battle cry was the same then as it is now because the rage is fueled by the same fuel then as it is now... The holy fire of Jihad, a calling to struggle for the Faith that every good Muslim must answer when called upon.
And in that is the very issue with this whole struggle... There hasn't been very much evolution in the thinking of the Islamic religion; the same sixth century combustion fueling the wars of today as yesterday.
It's easy to see why we might have missed it at first; we Westerners far too modern and sophisticated to really invest that much of ourselves in two thousand year old voodoo.
I'd say my parents, as an example, are about as fanatical about their religion as a Westerner can be before raising eyebrows. They go to Mass daily, are active in their parish, and for the most part subscribe to the majority of the teaching of the Catholic Church. They are examples of what I believe to be the highest level of devotion to a religion that our Western Society will deem as normal. They believe in God and Jesus and the virgin birth... The whole nine. But they also have faith in science, understand the process of evolution, believe that dinosaur bones were once part of living being (and not clever decoys set out by Satan to confuse our faith in the Lord), and that the Bible is a five thousand year old book of stories that chronicle the earliest days of their Faith.
There are others in their Church who hold to their faith a little more strictly- prostrating themselves during Mass, speaking in tongues, and whatnot. They are looked upon as a bit off (to be polite)... Nice people, well intentioned, even "Godly" (if there is such a thing)...
But one would say their grips is not the tightest on their sanity, nor is their devotion something to be aspired to achieve... If anything, it's looked at as a bit much and makes everyone uncomfortable (even the priests).
The same cannot be said for Islam.
Those “moderate Muslims” that we keep being told are out there, standing tall with us against these medieval monsters currently causing the world's headache, don't look at the fanatical devotion of those daring enough to wage holy jihad in the name of the Prophet with the same disdain as Western faithful look upon their radicals and "true believers". Rather, they seem to admire it.
"If I was younger," they say; dreaming of battlefield glory under the glorious banner of Allah from the safe trappings of their Western lives, stroking checks to various Pro-Palestinian Liberation group (or worse, outright stroking checks to the clandestine covers for these various terror outfits) to quell those pangs longing to take up Allah's calling.
I'll grant you, this is probably less likely in the Western nations than in the Middle East(our secular lifestyles just too damned appealing), but it does happen... Even here. In a world of seven billion (of which over one billion happen to hold the Islamic faith), you don't need too many to get their prayer beads all up in a bunch, pick up their AK (or a checkbook), and don the black for The Prophet.
But what if we (and by that, I mean our leaders) actually started pointing out that this germ of fanaticism was not a bastardization (as they present it to us), but rather symptomatic with a culture beholden to an ancient relic of a religion that needs to be updated somewhat if it intends to find itself existing (let alone relevant) in the future. They wouldn't be the first religion to do it... Hell, the Catholics had three council meetings throughout their history (and a few smaller meetings here and there) to do precisely just that (the most recent a little over a half century ago).
The Stain of Shame
Shaming our enemies has worked, both in forcing change within our enemy and drumming up support to stiffen our resolve in combating them. It worked when Reagan decried the Soviet Union as an "Evil Empire"; drawing a moral line between the freedoms of the West and the jackbooted totalitarianism of the Communist Bloc. It worked when Roosevelt painted the Nazis to be the monsters that they were. So why wouldn't it work here?
Everyone knows that in a war such as this, it matters little how many bodies you leave. It's all in the minds you change. You don't change by minds by claiming that the savages who cut off heads in Iraq because of some perverted interpretation of their faith are a bunch of hideous godless monsters, but then ally up with the rulers of Saudi Arabia, who do the exact same fucking thing (to date, 34 people have been beheaded by the Saudi government this year, and those are the rational, sane, "moderates" we are depending on to combat these bearded, knife wielding savages).
You do so by decrying all of it.
Same way we got the Chinese to stop running over protesters with tanks or got South Afrikaans to stop treating native African blacks like third class citizens… By calling their beliefs and behaviors to the global carpet and demanding that they either do some serious soul searching (and faith clearing), or prepare themselves to be among the other unadaptable thoughts that make up the ash heap of human history; a cancer burned off humanity by the fires of war and hate for the betterment of Mankind.
And make no mistake ; one way or the other, the choice between reform or extinction will be forced upon Islam...
Be it a controlled and measured campaign; rolled out with reason and thoughtfulness by responsible leaders, both of the world's nations and the leaders of their own faith intent on seeing Islam rise above these barbaric growing pains. Or savagely; the panicked, visceral reaction to some horrific event perpetrated by these "JV threats" to our homeland, cumulating in internment camps and checkpoints and all the other wonderful things that come when a frightened people turn on the machines of Government to keep us safe from monsters.
It's happened before... Many, many times the world over.
And it will happen here if nothing is done about it.
But go ahead, roll your eyes and call me small minded and paranoid. Tell me about those Westernized Muslims that you know who hate the actions of those ISIS thugs. And I'm sure they do; the sight of a beheading or a mass grave a bit stomach churning for we, Westerners. But understand they aren't upset at their existence, nor are they unhappy that they are sticking it in Uncle Sam's eye... They are pissed about the bad press.