Friday, July 17, 2009

The Art of Fighting Blind: Perhaps Michael J. Totten should stick to interviewing "real people on the street," since he confuses friend and enemy

"It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle."
-Sun Tzu, The Art of War
"You might try to win their hearts and minds.

When that doesn't work, try dialogue and "mutual" respect!
-Presidents Bush and Obama
And then attack anyone who points out your missing the forest for the trees, your confusing friends for enemies and enemies for friends.

Michael J. Totten and commenters at his site have attacked the integrity, motives, and work of Robert Spencer and Andrew Bostom* over Spencer's pointing out -- and Bostom's defense of that criticism -- that since Iraq's Maliki called American withdrawal a "great victory" and Iraqis are chanting, "America has left! Baghdad is victorious," Totten's appraisal of things in Iraq is unrealistic.

Contrary to Michael's claim that Robert thinks we've already lost the war, Spencer observed:
"any "victory" the Americans won in Iraq was sure to be undone as soon as the troops were gone, and we are already seeing that. Sunni will go after Shi'ite and vice versa, the Iranians will press forward to create a Shi'ite client state, the non-Muslims will be victimized more than ever . . . ."
(You can't have a victory "undone" without having a victory in the first place. And anyone familiar with Islam's "theology" and history would see the reasonableness of his assessment.)

In reply, Totten sneered that Spencer, "has a bit of trouble telling the difference between friend and foe in Iraq."

How ironic, coming from someone not only blind to the fact that "It's the jihad, stupid!" but gullible enough to believe that Maliki actually wants to be America's friend.

In the hope Maliki meant something he didn't, Totten quotes him in an update:
The message will be to ensure the basis of our relations and our friendship, which is a long-term strategic relationship. There are many parts to that, like trade and investment. I will convey the wish of Iraq for friendship with the U.S.
So, is "Um Hussan" a clueless blowhard too? According to the Times:
When the Americans get out of city centers, a big war will start,” a woman who identified herself as Um Hussan said amid the wreckage of a bombing on Monday outside her house in the Ur neighborhood of Baghdad. It has been months, she added, since she last saw American forces there.
The author of that article seems pretty sure Maliki's reference to "victory" was one of success against America, not with it against jihadists:
Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki has taken to calling the withdrawal of American combat troops from Iraq’s cities by next Tuesday a “great victory,” a repulsion of foreign occupiers he compares to the rebellion against British troops in 1920.

[. . .]

In his discussions with the Americans, officials said, Mr. Maliki has shown far more pragmatism than his public remarks about repulsing foreign occupiers might suggest, requesting, for example, that American explosive removal teams keep sweeping Baghdad’s streets.
"So, we'll take your money, and you take our bombs, okay, America!"

There's Maliki's "trade and investment."

Here is the Independent's version:
Mr Maliki, who was put into power by the US in 2006, spoke of the departure of the troops as if he had been leading an insurgency against them. "Foreign forces have to withdraw from the cities totally," he said in the course of an hour-long speech in which he mentioned America only once. "This is a victory that should be celebrated in feasts and festivals."
Totten deserves praise for his work; however, he does himself, his readers, and his countrymen a great disservice by both failing to recognize that the source and sustenance of 1400 years of global jihad are the commands of Allah and the example of Muhammad and by defaming those who do.

Following are my comments posted (if approved by Totten) here:
"Roseate" fits because you are apparently unaware of nearly one and one-half millennia of Islamic jihad against the non-Muslim world.

Because you are ignorant of (or unwilling to admit) this history -- and as importantly, its theological foundation in the word of Allah and the example of Muhammad as recorded in the texts of Qur'an, ahadith, and sira, Islam's "sacred" texts -- your analysis will always be limited, always unable to put interviews with "real people on the street" into their fuller historical, religious, political, and cultural contexts, always blind to "The Big Picture."

Every analogy breaks down eventually, but here's one:
It's World War II, and you're interviewing Germans "on the street." What would you find?

Some would be rabid Nazis who believe fervently that their duty is to make Europe Germany. Others would have joined the Nazis only out of fear, coercion, or convenience. Still others would be actually decent, moral human beings who oppose Hitler as a matter of conscience. A few would be risking their lives to save Jews and/or defeat Hitler.
From these hypothetical interviews, you might conclude that the majority of Germans were not devout supporters of Nazism.

Even if that were true, how would such a conclusion help in stopping Hitler? In saving Jews (and others) from Dachau and the other death camps? In informing Allied planning?

(Can you imagine FDR spending American blood and treasure trying to "win Nazi hearts and minds"? Can you conceive of him "apologizing and dialoguing in mutual respect" with Hitler?)

What you are doing is the equivalent of interviewing Germans "on the street" during World War II and drawing conclusions about what should be done to win the war from only those interactions, while ignoring the ideology motivating and sustaining the greater Nazi effort.

How can one defeat an enemy without naming it? Without knowing its history and beliefs? By denying 1400 years of clear, published statements of its motivations, tactics and goals?

The ideology of Islam as defined by Muhammad is the elephant in the room, the clothes the emperor left behind, the actual "inconvenient truth" that threatens humanity.

Islam is not a race.

Doctrines are not human beings.

Paper is not people.

However, the doctrines of Islam do motivate the global jihad, and this is why:
"the Messenger of Allah . . . would say: 'Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war. . . . When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. . . . Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them. . . . If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah's help and fight them . . .'" (Muslim Book 19, Number 4294).

"fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war) . . . " (Qur’an 9:5).

"Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued" (Qur'an 9:29).

"Allah's Apostle said: 'I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah's Apostle . . . '" (Bukhari Volume 1, Book 2, Number 24).

"It is not for any prophet to have captives until he hath made slaughter in the land. Ye desire the lure of this world and Allah desireth (for you) the Hereafter, and Allah is Mighty, Wise" (Qur'an 8:67).

"Allah’s Apostle said, 'I have been made victorious with terror'" (Bukhari Volume 4, Book 52, Number 220).
And that's just a sampling.

Spencer is fair. Charles Johnson is not. Bostom is brilliant because he's thorough and accurate. Pamela Geller tells the truth. Yes, she can be forceful, and that can be shocking to someone who doesn't see what she sees; her fervor comes from an acute understanding of the threat to the world posed by traditional, historical, Islam-the-way-Muhammad-preached-and-practiced-it Islam.

How can someone not be outraged at slavery, brutality, rape, and slaughter carried out at Allah's command and in accord with Muhammad's example for the last 1400 years and currently?

By the way, Michael, Maliki just wants our "trade and investment" and someone to sweep for mines: "You give us your money, and we give you our bombs. You have to find them first, infidels."
*A note: Someone at Totten's 'blog cited Charles Johnson in support of their misplaced derision, which was one of the concerns regarding LGF's mendacity: Apologists for jihad and their Useful Idiot Dhimmis would use Johnson's libelous statements against those struggling in defense of Western Civilization.