Islamic extremist is to Islamic as “blank” is to Christianity.
The answer? KKK
That’s what we’re talking about. It’s the Klan, gone medieval and global. It couldn’t have less to do with Islamic men and women of faith of whom there are millions upon millions. Muslims defend this country in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, National guard, police and fire departments. So, let’s ask the question again.
Why are Islamic Extremists trying to kill us? That’s a reasonable question if I’ve heard one. Why are we targets of war? Because we are Americans? Because of our freedoms? Freedom and democracy? I’ll tell you, right or wrong-and I think they’re wrong-it’s probably a good idea to acknowledge that they do have specific complaints. I hear them every day-the people we support, troops in Saudi Arabia, sanctions against Iraq, support for Egypt. It’s not just that they don’t like Irving Berlin. What’s Islamic extremism? It’s strict adherence to a particular interpretation of 7th century Islamic law as practiced by the prophet Mohammed, and when I say “strict adherence,” I’m not kidding around. Men are forced to pray, wear their beards a certain length. Among my favorites is there’s only one acceptable cheer at a soccer match: Allah-uh-Akbar-God is great. If your guys are getting creamed, then you’re on your own. Things are a lot less comic for women, who aren’t allowed to attend school or have jobs. They’re not allowed to be unaccompanied, and oftentimes get publicly stoned to death for crimes like not wearing a veil. I don’t have to tell you they don’t need to shout at a soccer match because they’re never going to go to one. So what bothers them about us? Well, the variety of cheers alone coming from the cheap seats at Giants stadium when they’re playing the Cowboys is enough for a jihad, to say nothing of street corners lined church next to synagogue, next to mosque, newspapers that can print anything they want, women who can do anything they want including taking a rocket ship to outer space, vote, and play soccer. This is a plural society. That means we accept more than one idea. It offends them.
“Islamic Extremists is to Islamic as KKK is to Christianity.” That’s about right. That’s a good religious analogy. What’s the political analogy? What’s an analogy using governments?
See a lot of people say the Taliban or the government of Afghanistan. The Taliban is not the recognized government of Afghanistan. The Taliban took over the recognized government of Afghanistan. And there’s your political analogy.
When you think of Afghanistan, think of Poland. When you think of the Taliban, think of the Nazis. When you think of the citizens of Afghanistan, think of the Jews in concentration camps. There was a book I read about a man who survived the camps. He said he once saw a guy at the camp kneeling and praying. He said, “What are you doing?” The guy said he was thanking God. And the guy said, “What could you possibly be thanking God for?” He said, “I’m thanking God for not making me like them.” Bad people can’t be recognized on sight. There’s no point in trying.
Next question, what was the first act of terrorism?
In the eleventh century, secret followers of Al-hassan Ibn-al-Sabbah, who were taught to believe in nothing and dare all, carried out these very swift and very treacherous murders of fellow Muslims, and they did it in the state of religious ecstasy.
As a matter of fact, young men between 12 and 20 were given hashish, and smuggled into a… I really don’t know what they call it, they were smuggled into a kind of specially designed pleasure garden complete with concubines. They were told this was paradise, and that the Master’s Angels would carry them back if they carried out murders of the Master’s enemies.
By the way, the Arabic name for their secret order has survived until today. Can anybody guess what it was? Their Arabic name.
The thing I am struck most by is that terrorism has a 100% failure rate. Not only do terrorists always fail at what they’re after, they pretty much always succeed in strengthening whatever it is they’re against, and if your thinking about the IRA remember that Brits are still there. The Protestants are still there. Basque extremists have been staging terrorist attacks in Spain for decades with no result. Left Wing Red Brigades from the 60s and 70s, from the Bader-Meinhoff gang in Germany to the Weatherman in the U.S. have tried to take over capitalism. You tell me. How’s capitalism doing?
What we need is spies; human spies. Spy satellites are great if you’re trying to detect whether or not Kruschev’s put missiles in Cuba. But if you want to overhear a conversation over Turkish coffee in Khyber Pass, you need a spy. You guys want to get a great job after college and serve your country? Study Arabic, Chinese and Farsi.
(And to those who are planning to quote Benjamin Franklin: “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” First I don’t think we’re talking a little temporary safety and it’s not like we need to search high and low for clear and present danger.)
The point to fighting terrorism is to insure freedom. Look, I talk civil liberties as seriously as anybody, okay? I’ve been to the dinners and we haven’t even talked about free speech yet and somebody getting lynched by the patriotism police for voicing a minority opinion. That said, we’re going to have to do some stuff. We’re going to have to tap some phones and we’re going to have to partner with some people who are the lesser of evils. I’m sorry but terrorists don’t have armies and navies. They don’t have capitals. Some of these guys we’re going to have to walk up to them and shoot them. Yeah, we can root terrorist nests but some of these guys aren’t going to be taken by the 105th armored tank division. Some of these guys are going to be taken by a busboy with a silencer. So it’s time to give the intelligence agencies the money and the manpower they need. We don’t hear about their successes. Guess what? The Soviets never crossed the Elbe. The North Koreans stayed behind the 38th parallel. During the Millennium? Not one incident. Do you think that’s because the terrorists decided that’d be a good day to take off? Not much action that day? End of song.
So next question, where do terrorist come from?
Everywhere. Mostly they come from exactly where you’d expect: places of abject poverty and despair. Horribly impoverished places are an incubator for the worst kind of crime. Basically same as here, (America). The answer is gangs. Gangs give you a sense of belonging, and usually, an income. But mostly, they give you a sense of dignity. Men are men, and men’ll seek pride. Everybody here’s got a badge to wear. You think bangers are walking around with their heads down, saying, “Oh man, I didn’t make anything out of my life. I’m in a gang.” No, man! They’re walking around saying, “Man, I’m in a gang. I’m with them.”
I was asked a question a few weeks ago, “don’t you consider there’s something noble about being a martyr?”
A martyr would rather suffer death at the hands of an oppressor than renounce his beliefs. Killing yourself and innocent people to make a point is sick, twisted, brutal, dumb-ass murder. We don’t need martyrs right now. We need heroes. A hero would die for his country but he’d much rather live for it…
So last and finally question; How did this all start?
Sarah… God said to Abraham, “Look toward the heaven and number the stars and so shall your descendants be.” But Abraham’s wife, Sarah, wasn’t getting any younger, and God wasn’t coming through on His promise… Sarah was getting older, and she was getting nervous because she didn’t have any children. So she sent Abraham to the bed of her maid, Hagar, and Abraham and Hagar had Ishmael. And not long after they did, God kept His promise to Sarah, as He’d always intended to, and Abraham and Sarah had Isaac. And Sarah said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of the slave woman will not be heir with my son Isaac.” And so it began: the Jews, the sons of Isaac. The Arabs, the sons of Ishmael. But what most people find important to remember is that, in the end, the two sons came together to bury their father.
I know I already said the last question but I want to leave this on your mind as you leave. I don’t favor the death penalty as you can read earlier in my blog. You don’t have the same choices in war as you do in a court room, but I wish we didn’t have to kill these people. I think death is too simple. I’d put them in a small cell, and make them watch home movies of the birthdays and baptisms and weddings of every single person they killed, over and over, every day, for the rest of their lives. And then they’d get punched in the mouth every night at bedtime. By a different person, every night. There’d be a long list of volunteers, but that’s all right. We’ll wait…
Learn things. Be good to each other. Read the newspapers, go the movies, go to a party. Read a book. In the meantime, remember pluralism. You want to get these people? I mean, you really want to reach in and kill them where they live? Keep accepting more than one idea. Makes them absolutely crazy.