Article sent to me by Jim Woosley. Funny thing is, I said the same thing to Matt about three weeks ago. Guess I’m not the only one thinking it.
read with hunger, write with joy, live with passion
Article sent to me by Jim Woosley. Funny thing is, I said the same thing to Matt about three weeks ago. Guess I’m not the only one thinking it.
I have — or have had — friends who are Moslem, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, several shades of Pagan/Wiccan, Agnostic, Athiest, and every shade of Christianity from liberal Catholic to rural Church of Christ. And several mixtures of those with each other, and with the less well known Eastern religions. Probably the most extreme case I know is my college friend — a lady, considerably more conservative than I am, with relatives who were recognizable names in the Reagan and Bush I administrations — who transformed from high-church Episcopalian to Sufism.
I also know that no peace-orient religion has had a perfect history of pacificism. I don’t apologize for past sins committed in the name of Christianity, but — except for a few misguided souls, those are past sins. The sins of Islam today are committed by its adherents in their hundreds of thousands, or their millions. Against each other in their sects of Sunni and Shiite, and against Christians, Jews, and humanists across the entire world.
As Holly notes, as Don Simmons notes, Islam is not at its roots a religion of peace. I know that despite it’s peaceful roots even Christianity retains some of its militant strands; and I know that Islam was the light of the world duing the period of Christianity known as the Dark Ages. None-the-less, the survey Dan Simmons quotes is instructive — in every Islamic country except Turkey where the poll was conducted, a majority considered it acceptable for a Moslem to kill non-moslems via suicide bomb, in contradiction of Islamic teachings forbidding suicide.
Until the peaceful adherents of the religion of the Prophet can voice their opposition to their more violent co-religionists without fear that they will be killed even more quickly than their non-Moslem peers, Islam cannot be considered a religion of peace.
Monica—My dislike is and always has been for the specific religion, which encodes and mandates all of the practices I noted above, and for those who follow it vehemently. I’m well aware of the good people who belong to it. I’d be more comfortable with them if large numbers of them left the religion in protest, but that isn’t my call to make.
Aside from politics, there’s am interesting literary blog from Laila Lalami, http://www.moorishgirl.com/
I happen to personally know people who are Islamic (I know Jews and Christians too!). They by no means fit any stereotype. The ones I know appreciate America and are as appalled by primitive, third-world type practices and traditions as much as we are.
The caution is against judging people as a group and any sort of prejudice.
I am posting this with a bit of trepiditon, because what I’m saying is difficult and very likely to be controversial. Please note that what I’m saying below is my opinion, not Holly’s — and that this opinion is one colored by the Dan Simmon’s polemics cited above.
The subject is very painful, because I do wish it were not so. But the world is what it is, and wishes won’t unmake it. I will listen to polite alternate opinion, and I hope to all I hold dear that someone can convince me I’m wrong.
I’ll note before adding the body of my post that Newt Gingrich was quoted today on the Drudge Report as also saying we’re in the middle of World War III.
This post is in response to the post by Monica:
I will answer your last question first:
As regards invading other countries, Regarding the current Israeli situation, Hezbollah and Hamas have worked in concert, if not necessarily together, both to enter Isreal and kidnap soldiers, and to fire missiles across the Palestinian and Lebanese borders into Israel with a callous disregard for whether their Israeli targets are civilians or military. Both are — apparently — hoping that they could trigger a major military response by Israel and claim sympathy because the response was out of line with the immediate provocation. What they have failed to realize is that their actions are so provocative that any country would respond with major force — so provocative that even the other Arab countries are stepping lightly about criticizing Israel for their response.
And as regarding Al-Qaida and Afghanistan, Al-Qaida invaded the US on September 11, 2001, receiving material aid and comfort from the then-government of Afghanistan. There have been few who have questioned our right to respond to their attack.
Where it becomes difficult, and controversial, is that Al-Qaida is not a government. It is in fact a private organization which many people believe has pretensions to unifying the various Arab and other middle eastern governments under its hegemony (and thus is in rebellion against those governments as well), and which has the private support of both business leaders and government officials of many middle eastern countries, but is not officially recognized by any. That the Iraqi government under Saddam had a history of invasion (Kuwait), direct support of terrorism (cash grants to the family of Palestinian suicide bombers and training facilities for international terrorists), a demonstrated history of developing WMD and ambitions for more, genocide (against the Kurds) and religious sectarian war (against Iran). That Syria was Saddam’s political partner. And that Iran has its own separate ambitions for WMD.
As I stated — I believe eloquently, though that’s really neither here nor there — with the gracious support of our hostess on these pages in the days leading up to the Iraqi invasion, after a thorough consideration of all factors as they were known at that time, I was forced reluctantly to the conclusion that there was no alternative to the invasion of Iraq. Nothing that has happened since then has convinced me that I was wrong then, or that I am wrong now. What I have become convinced of — and the Dan Simmons polemics only reinforce — is that the political opposition in the United States does not understand what it means to be at war, is firmly opposed to war for irrational reasons often based on politics rather than ideology, and is perfectly willing to sell the future freedom of the United States to our enemies for political gain and blame it on the current administration.
In other words, I am convinced that the battle in Iraq has been prolonged because Al-Qaida and their allies believe that the intense opposition to the Bush Doctrine within the US means that we will be forced to withdraw before the Insurgency is squashed, allowing the fairly prompt restoration of a Baathist society that will include a repeat of the pogroms that North Vietnam used to destroy opposition in the south after we withdrew our support in 1974. That this withdrawal will end our efforts to convince other Middle Eastern governments that American society has the will to see this through, which allows them the political freedom (from the religious leaders they must tolerate) and gives them the political will to oppose Al-Qaida in their own territories. That the end result of this failure will be some version of Dan Simmons’s distopian vision, with Islam taking over Europe from within and imposing shiara law across most of Europe. With Islamic forces in possession of nuclear and biological weapons holding the world at hostage while wearing down a United States awakened too late into the patriotism of our forebears from Valley Forge, New Orleans, Gettysburg, San Juan Hill, and the battlefields of the century just past, from the Sorbonne to Cho Sin Reservoir. And, because of this, I firmly believe that much of the opposition leadership and main-stream media has crossed the line into open treason, of aiding and abetting the enemy. The fact that neither Senator from Massachusetts, nor the senior Senator from New York, nor several other senior politicians, nor the editors of the New York Times have yet been arrested, tried, and executed for treason is the surest sign that your fantasies about neo-con fascism are not only not true, but that the Administration has not yet gone anywhere nearly as far in the direction of justifiable curtailment of liberties during wartime as Abraham Lincoln did during the Civil War, or as Franklin Roosevelt did during World War II.
Note that this does not mean I give my unreserved support to the Administration in this, for the Administration has made any number of mistakes. The Bush Doctrine of proactive introduction of democracy to the Middle East is arguably not a sustainable or practical strategy — but at least it is a strategy, it is a strategy that arguably avoids even worse evils (including active genocide, the stated goal of our enemies against the US and Israel), and it is even the long-shot strategy that has the highest possible payoff if successful. But it has probably not been pursued with sufficient sustained strength, and the regrettable deviations from the program (such as Abu Ghraib) have been such as to weaken rather than strengthen our position. (Whether the razing of Fallujah would have been morally justified can be debated, but there is no question that it would have convinced the Iraqis that we demanded more respect than the insurgents. It could have been a moment of clarity equivalent to Hiroshima, and might have had a similar effect on accelerating the end of the war, saving hundreds or thousands of American and Iraqi lives in the process. I’m sure you’re aware that the military planners who decided to use the bomb in Japan were convinced that they were trading 200,000 people in the those two centers of wartime production against the estimated 4 million American and Japanese soldiers and civilians who would have died in a conventional assault to capture the island.)
I will even agree with you that I am not comfortable with some of the curtailments of freedom that the Administration has introduced, but that is not because I believe them to be fascists seeking total social control. Or maybe it is, but almost certainly for the opposite of the reasons you cite. First and foremost, every American is heir to a tradition of the citizen-soldier which assured the success of our Revolution and our victory in every war we have fought since then. I think that TSA is a disgrace to the spirit of the valiant souls of Flight 93; I would rather require that every citizen boarding an airplane be adequately armed and adequately trained, and able to take out any potential hijackers — using appropriate but not excessive force — before they even get close to taking control of the airplane. That centralized FEMA should be replaced with a decentralized, civilian-maintained civil defense apparatus where volunteers would be trained in detecting nuclear, chemical, biological, or radiological attack in addition to helping with natural disasters — and armed with instructions to shoot looters. “Liberty” is not the same as “license” — one of the liberals most fundamental mistakes — but it must also acknowledge that there can never be enough government-supplied police or soldiers to be there to protect every citizen, and hence the citizen should be his own, and his neighbors, first line of personal defense. Just as the United States is not (supposed) to be a democracy, swayed day by day by public opinion, but a stable democratic republic where our chosen representatives vote their constituents best interests as they understand them (and don’t make the mistake that “best interests” is a synonym for “send home the pork”).
But monitoring phone calls? The government doesn’t care if I’m talking to my girl friend, or even to my Japanese clients (though I know that they are listening in to the latter calls). The government does have a need to know if I — or someone else — were chatting in a casual code with Osama, and I wouldn’t expect them to do otherwise. Boarding an airplane? TSA doesn’t care if I have a bottle of Listerine — but they have every right to object if I have a block of C4, or any other substance that would be hazardous if accidentally released or triggered on the flight (though I wish they would let me carry a self-defense weapon on the plane). Monitoring large financial transactions? They’ve been doing that for years, looking for narcotics money launderers, under a series of bipartisan laws and regulations signed by presidents of both parties. Why should international transactions which might be used to fund terrorism in the US be exempt — or opened for the world to see? Particularly since many of the countries complaining the loudest often have their own reasons for monitoring otherwise private financial activity.
This “Century War” may not be ended either until every Moslem is dead, or until every Christian, Jew, Agnostic, Atheist, Humanist, Buddhist, Hindu, and Pagan is dead or effectively enslaved. I can spend all the energy I want hoping that this isn’t true — but I am not being responsible to myself or my family or my forefathers (for example, see T. Toms on http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2005/summer/images/state-papers-toms-l.jpg) or my political and religious beliefs if I don’t do everything I can to preserve the American way of life including our historical tolerance for those of different peaceful religious and political traditions.
No political blog for me. For the most part, I avoid politics—I loathe politics. Ditto a religious blog or section, and for the same reason.
Very rarely, I’ll comment on something in the political or religious sphere. If I do, I put it here, because my writing encompasses everything in my life; if something political or religious forces itself into my awareness in spite of the pains I take to avoid both subjects, I’ll note it.
I fear this particular entry has received more interest than it would usually, because at the moment I’m writing more than 4000 new words a day, every day, along with doing all the research and backgrounding to support those finished words, and I am flat exhausted—far too exhausted to make regular contributions to my weblog. It will scroll off the front page soon enough, and be replaced by entries that are more reflective of my writing, and less reflective of the nightmares that tend to work their way into my writing.
Is there any way you would consider having separate political and writing blogs? This is, after all, part of your Official Author Website–mixing personal politics (of ANY stripe–I don’t like it when Bono does it, either) with your business can be jarring for the reader.
There are many other places and ways to get political and world news. I, for one, would prefer not to stumble into political and religious arguments when I come looking for information on Holly Lisle, Author.
Yes, I realise that this is your blog. But it shows up on the front page of your Author Website, with the subtitle of “Writing Diary of Novelist Holly Lisle.”
Monica–I seriously disagree with a number of the steps taken by the current administration, and I don’t like religions, period.
With that said, I’ll agree with you that fundamentalist Christianity is the same as fundamentalist Islam when Christians are burying women up to their necks and men up to their waists and stoning them to death for any number of infractions of moral law, whacking the clitorises off of baby girls so that when they grow up they won’t be bothered by lust, requiring the murder of those who quit Christianity, and requiring all Christians to join in jihad against all who are not Christians, converting by the sword.
I’ll agree with you when, and only when, I see Christians murdering non-Christians en masse via the use of airplanes into buildings, bombs, gassing, and war.
I’ll agree with you when I see Christians declaring the life of a Muslim worth half the life of a Christian, the life of a Jew worth one third the life of a Christian, and others worth less.
I’ll agree with you that Christians are the same as Muslims when I see Christians declaring slavery both legal and moral, and keeping slaves.
At the time of the Inquisition, Christianity was as bad as Islam is today. The difference is that Christianity grew up. It still tells people how to think, and encourages them to subsume their own wills not just to God but to the interpretion of decidedly unlikely commandments through the intermediary of a decidedly human and fallible priest, minister, or other clergyman, and I think that’s a bad thing.
But Christianity is nothing like Islam, and declaring them the same suggests either unfortunate ignorance of the subject or a willful determination to muddy the issue so that no moral judgments can be made. In this case, moral judgments NEED to be made.
With Israel invading Lebanon, the stakes grow higher. I said long ago I do not see the present U.S. regime giving up its power. I think before the Presidential elections we will be in dire straits and all hell will be breaking loose. This regime will grab at unlimited power.
Look up the basic neocon beliefs (The Christian Science Monitor has a good nonpartisian and unbiased definition). It isn’t that far off from fascism. Liberty, freedom and democracy in lip service only. We’ve been steadily giving up freedoms for the past few years and moving toward the police state model.
There is a problem with looking a Islam as having only one face. There are many sects as Christianity and many differences within it.
I think the fundamentalist Christians are just as rabid and the fundamentalist Islamics. Read the Old Testament lately? The problem is religious extremism, not any particular religion.
The truth is always visible if one can overlook the propaganda (difficult).
Who is invading other countries, who is seeking power and authority over others?
Yes, Holly, YES. You are so right…I watch the political blood sport taking place in the US right now and can only shake my head at our innocence. We as a nation still don’t understand how imminent and serious the threat of world islamofascism is. It is absolutely terrifying.
I keep wondering what it must have been like in the 1930s…did people see what was going on, and if they did, how did that insight affect them in daily life? In the face of such an existential threat, I hang onto writing and my freedom to tell stories for dear life. This is such a huge storm coming that I don’t know what else to do.
Jim, read them both a while ago. Starting where I did made more sense to me at the time since he heavily references the first one in the second. But thanks.
I believe that one facet of the problem is that many of us believe that everyone thinks like we do. That compromises are reachable. That reason and logic and a sense of the greater good can rule the day.
But when a group of people have no concept or even a word for compromise, when the closest idea is submittal, you can’t have compromise. You can only have submittal. People like this don’t care about starving children or war ravaged villages or helping their fellow man. It’s win or submit, nothing in between.
I rarely bring up politics, but I believe people like that should be exterminated like rats. Without mercy. Because they wouldn’t understand it anyway.
I read the Koran when I was seventeen or eighteen, as research for a school paper on the religion. Dan Simmonsâ€™ essay tilled no new ground for me, offered no surprises. The Koran, sharia law, dhimmitudeâ€”what he says is all true stuff.
The world is a darker and an uglier place than you think. If you have not read the Koran word for word, and made yourself understand that one billion people follow it and believe it, you do not understand what we face.
Islam has a well-known saying: â€The enemy of my enemy is my friend.â€ Translate this. Think hard about it. Understand what it means. It means that there are no friends who can count on being held friend the moment they cease to be useful to the goals of those who declare them friend. These words say, â€Loyalty means nothing to me. Shared history, shared goals, shared philosophies mean nothing to me. My convenience means everything. I can hate you, but if you serve my purposes, I will call you friend so long as you stand between me and a larger problem. And in the instant when my larger problem is solved, YOU will become my enemy.â€
Islam declares that there is no God but Allah, and Islam means it. Islam declares that all who do not serve Allah, who are not Islamic, are infidels. And Islam means it.
Donâ€™t waste time arguing with me, or with each other. Read the Koran. Know thine enemyâ€”because if you arenâ€™t Islamic, by fact of your existence and your temerity in drawing breath you have already been declared by Islam to be the enemy of Islam, whether you would choose to be so, or not. If you are not suffering for that fact now, it is only because you, or those around you, are not yet the biggest problem.
Actually, I sort-of take that back. It looks like you already have books listed on here… through both Baen and otherwise, it appears.
Totally OT, but you might be interested…
I’m wandering around on http://www.worldebookfair.com, and saw the author’s community collections page, and saw the note near the top that authors are welcome to submit their own… and it occured to me that since you do have a couple titles you give away to draw people in, perhaps this is something you might be interested in. (Note, I didn’t read any of their info any further then that… so it may not be appropriate… just letting you know since it made me think of you.)
Hope your week is going better.
Colorbird, I note that if you follow th elink to “next letter” it’s even more interesting, and ultimately more informative.
This might interest you as well:
Michele, I believe that Neal Boortz made that point yesterday when he linked this article.
Michele, Neal Boortz made that point yesterday morning when linking this article.
But I’ve heard the sentiment before.
For some reason, your post reminded me of the Stan Schmidt Analog editorial from the 1990’s (I forget the exact date, but it’s reprinted in the collection of editorials he published) which argues that the answer to the “Fermi Paradox” is the inevitable self-destruction of a civilization when it reaches the technological capability where a small minority of fanatics can command the technology to destroy their planet’s civilization.
I’ve read that actually this is WW IV, and WW III was the Cold War with the Soviet/Communist empire. Wish I remembered the link…maybe it was Daniel Pipes?
Anyhow, since 9/11 I’ve seen the writing on the wall…sometimes I think we’re living the 30s all over again and it’s about 1938…sigh.
If you think about WW II it’s a miracle that America, still recovering from the Great Depression, could rally and turn the tide of the war in both theatres. This is still a great country…I think we can still prevail now.
arrvee, how is this NOT like living under the Bomb. In some ways its worse — back in the day, we didn’t have to worry; we knew if the flag went up, it would go up all over. Now, however, we don’t know if it will be the NK bomb by missile in Seattle, the Islamic bomb by tramp freighter in New York, a radiological bomb in downtown DC, or a bioweapon in Miami. Or all the other combinations to consider. Or even the possibiity that NK and Iran’s leaders just have to pick up a cell phone to coordinate everything through Osama.
That is truly, absolutely, terrifying. I’m not joking. There are nights I have trouble sleeping just thinking about it. God help us.
This is the same kind of wide-spread instability that led up to WWI. Keeps me wondering what seemingly insignificant incident will ignite the holocaust.
I think shawna’s right about North Korea. That’s a problem that should have been solved long ago. Truth be told, it should never have been a problem. The Korea and Vietnam “situations” could both have been avoided with a little less arrogance and a little more common sense 60 years ago. Oh well, spilt milk, now.
I guess it’s not as bad as living under the Bomb, but there’s still a great potential for really bad times ahead.
Nope, you’re not. And thanks for sharing, because I’ve been wondering if I was the only one concerned about the sum of everything… and wondering just how far our military can be stretched.
My Mexican immigrant coworker was asking me the other day what I thought of the current N. Korean issue.
I told him, “You know how often, everybody (in the world) thinks the U.S. should help here, then there… and so they do… and then it takes too long, because no one else will actually HELP enough? And then half the U.S. starts griping about it, and the rest of the world complains that either 1) not enough was done, or 2) there was too much interference, so the U.S. is damned either way? And so then there is this attempt to back out of the situation?”
“Well, Iraq is one of those that didn’t get finished when it ought to have been. North Korea is another. A mess left to rot for 50 years.”
Hmph. And now I reread that, and realized I just managed to blame the next potential WW on the U.S. citizens who are quite happy to USE their freedom, but aren’t willing to fight for it. Wonder if the shoe will fit?