Sunday, July 20, 2008

The War on Terror: Yes, It's Important

On the one hand, there are Americans who strongly disapprove of American interference overseas. They seem to take the 'it takes two to tussle' philosophy to heart.

On the other hand, headlines like this keep cropping up:

"Activists: 9 Iranians convicted of adultery set to be stoned to death"
International Herald Tribune (July 20, 2008)

"TEHRAN, Iran: Eight women and one man convicted of adultery are set to be stoned to death in Iran, activists said Sunday.

"Lawyer and women's rights activist, Shadi Sadr, said the nine were convicted of adultery in separate cases in different Iranian cities.

" 'Their verdicts are approved, and they may be executed at any time,' she told reporters.

"Sadr, who has been leading a campaign in Iran against stoning deaths since 2006, said trial protocol was not applied properly in the cases. Six of the nine were convicted based solely on judges' decisions with no witnesses or the presence of their lawyers during their confessions, she said...."

Maybe it's not such a big deal: It's just nine people, and 'they're all foreigners anyway.' Besides, aren't we supposed to be tolerant of non-western cultures and their customs?

The problem is, some of those non-western cultures don't show tolerance, even when they're tolerated. And it looks like one bunch of enthusiasts is trying to establish their flavor of Islam on the whole world.

A Congress of the Caliphate - Ayatollahs on the Supreme Court

That sounds extreme. Maybe 'it can't happen here.' But I think that organizations like the Taliban, Al Qaeda, Iran's Ayatollahs, even Hezbollah, have world conquest on their minds. If they're serious about their brand of Islam, anyway. And, they might succeed: particularly if people who aren't Islamic, or are 'insufficiently Islamic' don't understand the threat.

I think the Dalai Lama may be right:

"Dalai Lama defends Islam as peaceful religion"
Associated Press (July 14, 2008)

"BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP) — The Dalai Lama said Sunday that 'it's totally wrong, unfair' to call Islam a violent religion.

"The Tibetan spiritual leader, appearing at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, offered a defense of Islam in response to a question about the rise of violent religious fundamentalism. He added that he has made a point of reaching out to Muslims since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001...."

Islam has no single organized, or coherent, set of rules (" 'Will the Real Islam, Please Stand Up?' " (February 6, 2008)). There are Muslims who most certainly do not stand behind the Ayatollahs or Al Qaeda: You'll find some of their organizations in my blogroll.

It's quite possible that the sort of Islam that's noted for stoning (for select offenses), beheading, bombing, and assorted mayhem isn't quite representative of Islam as a whole.

That won't matter, though, if those militant Muslims win, and establish what they think is an ideal form of government around the world.

Right now, stoning is the punishment for adultery in places like Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Sudan and Nigeria.

I doubt that many Americans would appreciate seeing Pennsylvania and California added to the list. I certainly wouldn't: and I'm one of those people who doesn't think highly of fooling around with someone who isn't one's spouse.

The Threat Isn't Islam

Islam isn't today's threat to people and nations that value freedom.

The threat is would-be conquerors who want to control others. Jihadists, with their colorful brand of Islam, are leading the charge, but there are others. Hugo Chavez, for example, seems to be allied with radical Islam ("Just When You Think it Can't Get Weirder" (April 8, 2008)): and he's no Muslim.

Neither was Saddam Hussein. Particularly since there was good reason to believe intelligence about WMD from the international community, I think that removing that intransigent tyrant was a good idea. The former ruler of Iraq was at best a nominal Muslim, but he posed a credible threat to people who wanted to run their own lives.

There are other ways of looking at the post-9/11 world ("Professor Ward Churchill: 9/11 Truthteller, or Nincompoop?" (July 25, 2007)).

But, I think that there is an active, directed, effort to convert free nations into 'properly' organized, controlled, countries: with something like Sharia law and the whims of local imams and magistrates deciding who's naughty and who's nice.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.