OK, I’ll admit that when I first got the story below I thought “Great, let’s dump on the Muslims again.” I know more than a few Muslims. And all that I know are peace-loving & decent people.
But as I read on, this started to make sense. History is filled with tales of societies that were ruined because of the complacency of the majority and the evil of a zealous minority.
Or a government that no longer responds to it’s citizens. When asked why the administration continues to press forth in Iraq in spite of almost 60% opposition by the citizens, VP Dick Cheney said that he didn’t care what the American people thought. No, I didn’t hear about it, or read it on Snopes. I actually saw the interview.
History has shown that the Middle East is populated by tribes that have been at each others throats for centuries. It was the British, French, and to a lesser extent, the US, that drew lines in the sand after WWI and proclaimed the different patches of sand to be countries.
What knowledgeable group would put Kurds, Shias, and Sunnis in the same spot & expect them to get along? Ooops, that’d be us. Read Desert Queen: The Extraordinary Life of Gertrude Bell: Adventurer, Adviser to Kings, Ally of Lawrence of Arabia, by Wallach. I was reading it when we first went into Iraq to unseat Saddam. It was interesting to see that we were making many of the same bad assumptions and decisions of a century ago.
We elected George Bush. And in the aftermath of 9/11, he went after the forces of evil. Saddam had used WMDs on his own people; it was natural to assume that he’d use ’em on us. And that he was in cahoots with al Quaeda.
But it became apparent that Mr. Bush was misinformed, that there were no WMDs ready to deploy, and that Saddam and Bin Laden were not collaborators. Mr. Bush should’ve said “oops–my bad.” Heck he got rid of a tyrant, made the area safer. Game over. Pack up. Go home..
Instead, he convinced himself–and committed our country–to pressing on. To bring democracy to a region that had never known it, didn’t want it, and clearly wasn’t prepared for it (remember, the early years of our country weren’t real happy–can you say Shay’s Rebellion? The only thing we had going for us was that a majority of the people wanted democracy).
We could’ve learned from what we already knew. Check out United States Army Instructions for American Servicemen in Iraq during World War II at http://www.press.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/hfs.cgi/00/251757.ctl
But instead, we peacefully sat and did nothing as those in power convinced themselves that pushing our brand of democracy was the formula for success.
As time passed, we learned that we were not the victims of misinformation, or bad intelligence. We were lied to. By the people we elected. And trusted. And the peace-loving American public re-elected him.
I’ve been a Republican for almost 30 years. I really like John McCain. He is an honorable man. And has sacrificed his freedom and his health in service to our country. Certainly an improvement over Mr. Bush. But when he stated that he would stay in Iraq for “100 years, if that’s what it took”, he lost me.
Like Viet Nam, things will fall into bedlam soon after we leave. 100 more days, 100 more years, will only prolong the agony, increase the American body count, and further fuel our economic distress. Iraq will sink into chaos; the least-favored-faction (from our perspective) will come out on top.
And in 10 years, if we’re lucky, we’ll be normalizing trade relations with whoever is in power. If we’re not lucky, we’ll be facing down the same foes as now. But hopefully, we will do it as a country united.
Read on. Replace the Germans and the Muslims with us Americans. Vote Democratic in November (Ouch, that hurts).
A German’s View on
A man, whose family was German aristocracy prior to World War II, owned a number of large industries and estates. When asked how many German people were true Nazis, the answer he gave can guide our attitude toward fanaticism. ‘Very few people were true Nazis,’ he said, ‘but many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care. I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come. My family lost everything. I ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories.’
We are told again and again by ‘experts’ and ‘talking heads’ that Islam is the religion of peace, and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace. Although this unqualified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the spectra of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam.
The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history. It is the fanatics who march. It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars worldwide. It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave. It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or honor-kill. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals. It is the fanatics who teach their young to kill and to become suicide bombers.
The hard quantifiable fact is that the peaceful majority, the ‘silent majority,’ is cowed and extraneous.
Communist Russia was comprised of Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder of about
20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant.
China’s huge population was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists managed to kill a staggering 70 million people.
The average Japanese individual prior to World War II was not a warmongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way across South East Asia in an orgy of killing that included the systematic murder of 12 million Chinese civilians; most killed by sword, shovel, and bayonet.
And, who can forget Rwanda, which collapsed into butchery. Could it not be said that the majority of Rwandans were ‘peace loving’?
History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt, yet for all our powers of reason we often miss the most basic and uncomplicated of points: Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence. Peace-loving Muslims will become our enemy if they don’t speak up, because like my friend from Germany, they will awaken one day and find that the fanatics own them, and the end of their world will have begun.
Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, Serbs, Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and many others have died because the peaceful majority did not speak up until it was too late.
As for us who watch it all unfold, we must pay attention to the only group that counts; the fanatics who threaten our way of life.
Lastly, anyone who doubts that the issue is serious and just deletes this email without sending it on, is contributing to the passiveness that allows the problems to expand. So, extend yourself a bit and send this on and on and on! Let us hope that thousands, world wide, read this and think about it, and send it on – before it’s too late.
Emanuel Tanay, M.D.