Tuesday, February 3, 2015

the terrorists' weakness, and ours

terrorists are politically weak. they must rely on the enemy society to nourish them -- first, by transmitting and amplifying their violent acts, and second, by vengefully overreacting, and in so doing, expanding their base of political support. the obama government cannot do much to avoid the first, in part because the national security state itself relies on threat propagation to justify continued high budgetary allotments.

maybe because of its inability to stop nourishing the terrorists in this way, the government is strenuously working to avoid the second form of feeding: overreaction. i don't believe senator graham or any other national politician is so stupid as to really want a religious war against Islam, or 'radical Islam.' there may be some americans, politicians and media figures as well as ordinary people, who want such a war for their own domestic purposes -- in other words, the accomplishment of what they claim already exists, America the Christian Nation. they want to undo the secular basis of the republic and establish a state religion.

but for graham and his ilk, attacking obama for being 'weak' and 'unable to say the words 'radical islam' is simply an easy, cynical schoolyard form of point scoring. any real consideration of the consequences of naming a religion, or part of a religion, as the enemy, must lead to the realization that such a move is exactly what the terrorist groups want, for it nourishes them politically. the proponents of religious war on the american side seem to think that adding 'radical' to 'Islam' dampens its inflammatory potential. hardly.

i would challenge graham or any of them to tell us all: what is 'radical Islam'? and more importantly, who decides who is a 'radical Muslim'? and if such a person be determined to exist, is he or she automatically an enemy of the state? such a label, upon examination, reveals people and practices all over the map. does a person who grew up in a Muslim family, does not practice Islam, but who hates american support for israel qualify as a 'radical Muslim'? and how so, if their opposition to israeli occupation is essentially an anti-colonial stance? does a religiously observant Muslim who passively supports terrorist attacks against western targets within war zones (such as afghanistan) but not in western countries, qualify as a 'radical Muslim'? if so, what exactly does it have to do with this person's entirely mainstream religious observance?

these two examples are enough to show the absurdity of attacking 'radical Islam.' simply put, it is a fictional category made up by americans; the heart of the concept is not religious at all, but political, and yet the label makes religion the central point; it is a supposed ideology which does not map at all onto the real world. were the US tomorrow to declare war against this ideology, these weak terrorist groups would suddenly be joined by tens of millions of people, in every nation of the world, as the target of a truly global war. in short, america would be voluntarily growing their enemy from weak to strong.

all of a sudden, people around the world who identify as Muslim but not as terrorists would begin to think, hey, am i their target? am i the enemy now? if even a percentage of the people who respond in this way decide to throw in their lot with the terrorist groups, they would see massive growth. if one really thinks about this issue, the current alternative -- to identify as the enemy only those specific groups which have self-identified as enemies -- and not a religion, or blurry subset of a religion -- makes excellent sense.

the chicken hawks may think that using this supposedly non-PC term of radical Islam shows their toughness. but it really shows their reactivity, their complicity, in the terrorist aim: to fool americans into starting a religious war.

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