1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar
Source link: http://archive.mises.org/7979/war-by-faith-alone/

War by Faith Alone

April 2, 2008 by

Weigel is himself constrained to admit that in Iraq, American intervention has increased terrorism. “American analysts and U.S. policy makers miscalculated the degree to which post-Saddam Iraq would quickly become a battlefield in the wider war against jihadism” (p. 82).

Do we not have here a perfect illustration of how American intervention causes the problem its advocates profess to cure? Naturally, Weigel does not see matters this way. For him, the increase in terrorism shows only that the American invasion should have been planned better.

Of course, we cannot leave Iraq now, he says: terrorists would regard American withdrawal as a great victory and would intensify their actions against us. One wonders how he knows this. Weigel professes belief in a “tranquillitas ordinis,” but what he in fact favors is religious war. He would do better to adhere to the just war tradition he has endeavored to replace. FULL ARTICLE

{ 13 comments }

fundamentalist April 2, 2008 at 9:12 am

“In what way has Weigel shown that Judaism and Christianity are closer to each other than either to Islam?”

Very good point. Weigel doesn’t seem to really understand Islam. Anyone familiar with the life of Mohammed has to see the similarities between Islam and Orthodox Judaism. Christianity was rare in the Arabian Peninsula in Mohammed’s day, but Mohammed has many Jewish friends. He saw himself as a Jewish prophert and fully expected the Jews to follow him. His deep anymosity to Jews comes from their rejection after he fully expected their acceptance. He didn’t have any such expectations from Christians. Where did Mohammed get the idea that eating pork is a sin? Not from Christians.

David: “Would it not make more sense to endeavor to determine the exact goals of Iran’s current policy rather than rely on an analogy from European events of seventy years ago?”

I don’t advocate war with Iran, but I think you underestimate the skill of Middle Eastern politicians to cloak their goals in terms that will comfort the West while at the same time preparing their people for war. It’s standard diplomatic practice, East and West, to tell the outside world one thing and your own people something else. Unlocking Iranian intentions would take the skill of someone who has studied then for decades and understands the language, slang and idioms, someone like Barnard Lewis. I don’t know that he is right, but Lewis firmly believes that Iran will use its first nuclear bomb on Israel.

David: “Iran was glad that the United States had overthrown the Taliban and Saddam Hussein and seemed prepared to negotiate; but America spurned the opportunity.”

That’s nonsense. They were scared, fearing the US was about to invade them.

David: “Further, current American intelligence estimates do not support Weigel’s charge that Iran aims to build nuclear weapons.”

Not quite accurate. US intel said they had quit work on a bomb with the invasion of Iraq. They have no idea if Iran has restarted the program.

David: “Islamic terrorists react to concrete grievances, most notably American involvement in the Middle East.”

Not quite. Islamic terrorists use concrete grievances to rationalize their activities, just as socialists do. But just as with socialism, the radical Muslim grievance is with all non-muslim ideas, such as democracy. Scheuer and Pape may have studied for the issue for years, but the obviously studied the wrong things. They should study the history of the Muslim Brotherhood, the parent organization of all muslim terrorist groups today. A good start for anyone would be the writings of Bernard Lewis and Bat Ye’or. The Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots hate Israel because it is Jewish, Jewish people controlling Muslim land. They hate the US because they honestly believe that without US support for Israel, they could destroy Israel and reclaim muslim land.

David: “… in Iraq, American intervention has increased terrorism.”

It would be more accurate to say that our intervention gave terrorism an opportunity that it didn’t have under Hussein. US intervention didn’t force muslims to become terrorists; they had a choice in the matter. And it wasn’t inevitable. Had the US not disbanded the Iraqi army and started a witch hunt against Baathists, the country might have easily stopped the Al Qaeda elements.

“Of course, we cannot leave Iraq now, he says: terrorists would regard American withdrawal as a great victory and would intensify their actions against us.”

What Weigel, and most Americans don’t understand is that radical Muslims always declare victory in every situation. They declare victory today in Iraq. If we managed to kill every muslim in the entire world but one little nine year old boy, he would declare victory. That’s just what they do and it’s no reason to stay in Iraq. Al Qaeda in Iraq is poorly armed and trained. Without any US training or supplies, Iraqis could kill them all. For proof, consider that few other Arab countries, except for Algeria, have problems with terrorism. Al Qaeda survives in Iraq because enough Iraqis support it. The US should leave Iraq immediately and let Iraqis decide what kind of state they want.

The Iran issue is the most important foreign policy issue facing the US today and it’s amazing to me that the media and presidential candidates talk so little about it. If Bernard Lewis is correct, Iran will someday have a bomb and try to attack Israel. Israel will try to stop Iran from getting the bomb. What should the US position be? Can Israel defend itself, and if not, should the US defend it?

The Jews fleeing Europe after WWII attempted a noble venture in the creation of Israel, but they lacked wisdom in creating such a state in the midst of muslims on muslim land. They made that mistake because the early Zionists were atheists and socialists. As a result, they underestimated the power of Islam. If Israel insists on maintaining its Jewish status, it will live in perpetual war with its neighbors into the distant future. Many Israelis have begun to recognize that they will never live in peace with their muslim neighbors and are leaving. Israelis may solve the problem with mass migration, as the Christian population of the Middle East has done. Or, Israel could abandon its Jewish status and become a secular democracy. In that case, muslims would quickly become the majority, as they did in Lebanon, and the problem would be solved.

If the Israelis decide to continue with their Jewish state, is the US obligated to support them in it? I don’t think so. Without US support, will Israel survive? Probably. It has defeated Arab armies that enjoyed overwhelming superiority in numbers many times. It can probably handle Iran, though with some difficulty.

Endless War. April 2, 2008 at 9:41 am

Why have a grossly over priced muti-national law enforcement action against a bunch of malcontents when you can have a war against 500 million people.

Thomas Puckett April 2, 2008 at 2:19 pm

Mr. Gordon makes some cogent points until he comments on the Iran’s foreign policy now compared to seventy years ago. What most people debating Islam continue to either ignore or fail to realize is that the goal of all Muslims is a worldwide caliphate dictated by Sharia law.
This has not changed for centuries never mind seventy years ago. As for the terrorism being worse because the US is in Iraq is absurd. Islamics have been attacking the USA since 1983 at the very least. The world needs to quit viewing these attacks as isolated terrorists randowmly striking targets of opportunity. The truth is these incidents are a collaborative effort by Muslims to impose their world view on everyone else.
Mr Gordon’s assertion that the USA is precipitating a religous war is also problematic. George Bush is not telling all the Islamics to submit to Christianity or be killed. He is not forcing them to pay tribute and become a dhimmi(slave) and he certainly isn’t saying convert and become one of us.
Islam on the other hand does demand these things.
If anyone is precipitating a religous war it is the Muslims.
The continued feigned ignorance by scholars and media to the reality that Islam says be like me or die is confounding. The fact that being forced to exist as a slave because you are a Christian or a Jew that must pay what amounts to extortion money(jizya) to the Muslim “superior”is fair evidence of racial and religous discrimination don’t you think?
If the words Christian and Jew in the previous sentence were replaced with American Indian and African, the UN or the ACLU would be up in arms about discrimination. But because it is Islam it is hands off.
Western Europe, most of North Africa and even small enclaves in the USA are now dealing with the forced expansion of Islamic rules into their cultures.
The religous war that Gordon puts on the Americans has been going on since Mohammed began selling his product centuries ago. Gordon should be glad someone is trying to slow it down because the Muslims will not stop until their view of the world is shoved down everyone elses neck.
Iran’s position would be the same if the USA were in Iraq or not.

Kenneth Mathews April 2, 2008 at 11:01 pm

Gordon writes “Weigel, though, does have one further “argument.” As is customary in such matters, he evokes the memory of Hitler:

‘Those who opted for appeasement and deterrence in the mid-1930s could not say that Adolf Hitler hadn’t warned them: statesmen could find, buried in the turgid prose of Mein Kampf, Hitler’s entire program … In 1933, it was a serious mistake to dismiss Mein Kampf as the ravings of a lunatic. It would be a grave mistake today to think that the mullahs of Iran are simply raving… (pp. 97–98)”

Would it not make more sense to endeavor to determine the exact goals of Iran’s current policy rather than rely on an analogy from European events of seventy years ago?”
————————————————————-

There is nothing wrong with the use of an analogy from European history if the analogy is appropriately applied. Given the statements and policies of Iran, its current leader, Ahmadinejad and Iran’s terrorist surrogate/ally Hizballah the analogy of the dangers of appeasing Hitler is quite accurate. Placing the word argument in “scare” quotes does not take away from the validity of his analogy. Invoking the memory of Hitler, in a logical and appropriate manner should not be condemned. Learning from history is surely an excellent policy. Appeasing evil ideologies today will have the same disasterous consequences as it has had in the past. -Do not give in to evil, but proceed ever more boldly against it. (Wise words indeed)

Newtonian April 9, 2008 at 1:07 am

An excellent review Mr. Gordon.

Let me suggest the following to help your visitors with some critical thinking:

The US has invaded two countries directly adjacent to Iran (Afghanistan and Iraq are on the borders of the country). The US and Britain have *overthrown* a previously democratically elected government for oil, for what is now known as British Petroleum, in the 50′s. There have been two sets of sanctions imposed on Iran.

That’s at least four massive inter-state interventions right there, not counting others in the region. As Misesians we can forsee that there will be consequences to these interventions, no? I agree, they shouldn’t get nuclear weapons but could you see the logic where they might feel threatened?

And the worldwide caliphate conspiracy?

Give me a break. The states in middle east can’t even cooperate with their neighbouring countries… have you heard what is happening in Lebanon? Divisions among groups in Iraq? Heck, I remember a certain Iraq invading a tiny Kuwait because it’s government wouldn’t listen. Noncooperation is the status quo.

If you’re going to take a historic view, you’ll gain a better overview if you include the stuff that you’re ideological view may not be comfortable with, say the actual words of the Iranian leader (Khamenei), and not the endless “interpretations” and commentary.

Who knows, they might not be as stubborn as they are made out to be (as I discovered).

One last way of looking at their antagonism is that if they feel they are excluded from the club, how do you think they’ll behave? I say unleash capitalism, America’s antagonists just may abandon their hostilities real fast.

Cheers

fundamentalist April 9, 2008 at 7:57 am

Newtonian: “And the worldwide caliphate conspiracy?
Give me a break.”

Actually, that’s the stated goal of the Muslim Brotherhood and its offspring such as Al Qaeda. It’s not the goal of Muslim governments.

Newtonian: “If you’re going to take a historic view, you’ll gain a better overview if you include the stuff that you’re ideological view may not be comfortable with, say the actual words of the Iranian leader (Khamenei).”

Can you trust the word of a US politician? I don’t think so. So why would you trust the word of an Iranian where deception is an art form?

Michael Kenny April 14, 2008 at 11:26 am

From a Catholic point of view, the answer to Mr Weigel is simple. The Pope, only the Pope and nobody but the Pope speaks for the Catholic Church. The last two Popes have condemned the Iraq war. Mr Weigel is entitled to his opinion but it is no more than his private opinion and cannot in any way whatsoever be taken as “Catholic” thinking. Indeed, in so far as he contradicts the Pope, he must be regarded as a dissident Catholic, in rebellion against the authority of the Pope and the megesterium of the Church. For Catholics, particularly conservative Catholics, that is the end of the debate.

Thomas Puckett April 22, 2008 at 2:49 am

For Newtonian
Unleashing capitalism sure sounds good but I wonder if that happens will the Islamic countries use that wealth to build up armies and aresenals as the Chinese have without making any real idealogical changes.
If the belief systems of totalitarian governments like China or Sharia law governed countries doesn’t change do you really think they will never press that military advantage against those that disagree with their world view?
If I use China as an example, the USA has lost a huge chunk of its manufacturing base,still pays money to subsidize the “thriving” communist giant(last figures I came across was 4 billion a year) and the consumer in the USA is stuck buying a Chinese product multiple times because the companies that used to make the quality product that lasted are closed because they can’t subsidize their competition and make ends meet.
Meanwhile the Chinese military gets stronger, the Communist leadership can say their new strength and wealth is a validation of Mao’s vision for the Chinese common man and the money they have acquired can better fund the oppressive components of that government on its people.
As for the Sharia/Muslim component; Iran Hostage Crisis, Beirut, WTC93, USS Cole, Somalia 90′s,Afghanistan/Pakistan, Beslan Hostage Crisis by Chechen Muslims, Iraq, Iran currently, overthrow of government in southern Thailand last year by Islamics, Somalia now, mall shooting in Salt Lake City, shooting at Jewish Community center in Seattle and of course 9-11 all point to some cohesion by this shared belief at a common target of non-Islamics.
I realize that the long view is that capitalism will eventually win over the communist and the Islamics to our view and that we will all live happily ever after.
Marxism makes no bones about using the wealth of the capitalist as a tool of his destruction. The stated goal of Islam for Muslims with regards to non-believers is conversion,dhimmitude(slavery) or death. In the face of that irrationality, I don’t know if giving either of these groups our money is the wisest course. Maybe if we refused to trade with them until destruction and death were off the table we would all be better off.

ktibuk April 22, 2008 at 6:47 am

Unfortunatly there is too much ignorance when it comes to Islam and also Iran, especially in the US.

I am Turkish so I know a bit about Islam, jihad and Iran.

Turkey is the heir of the last real Jihadist country the Ottoman Empire. And Ottomans quit, had to quit, the jihad in the 17th century much before it collapsed and became Turkey. The last 200 years of the Ottomans were spent trying to Europeanize, or modernize, not Jihad.

And claiming that muslims have an universal aim at Jihad, spreading thier religion by war is really laughable.

For that to happen there must be a Muslim superpower and this country must be fundementalist theocracy. But in this day and age it seems impossible for a fundementalist theocracy to be superpower so I dont think any nonmuslim needs to be afraid.

I dont deny the term jihad is used by the muslim guerillas and terrorists. But this usage is just a sign of desperation, just like terorrism is a sign of desperation.

Issue is a land and soverignty issue and Israel and oil plays and important part.

If Budists were living in the middle east, you would be facing budofasicm, because although budist are mellow any body would fight when they are forced top live under dictators, and invaded.

Also the issue about Iran is not only an issue of islam.

Iranians are Persians first, and muslims second so it is not only about shite and sunni sects. In fact the reason there is a shite sect is because Iranians are Persians. A very ancient nation with ancient language and traditions. So unlike arabs their culture arent only shaped by Islam. They shaped Islam to their culture.

Iran can never be the leader of a global jihad even if it was a superpower so it would be very wrong to look at Iran in the light of Islam and Jihad.

On the matter of Israel, jews and Muslims, the feud between muslims and jews is a very recent one and it is only about the state of Israel. It is mainly about land not religion.

Only a clueless person would put judaism and christianity on one side, and islam on the other.

Muslims saved maybe millions of jews from first inquisitions of the christians and later from gas chambers of christian Nazis, and many jews know this. But the state of Israel changed everything.

fundamentalist April 22, 2008 at 11:03 am

Ktibuk: “I dont deny the term jihad is used by the muslim guerillas and terrorists. But this usage is just a sign of desperation, just like terorrism is a sign of desperation.”
Actually, you should read the history of the Muslim brotherhood. Their stated goal is to restore the Caliphate and return to the jihad of conquering non-Muslim lands. Al Qaeda, Hamas and other groups are just branch operations of the brotherhood. However, I agree with you that their chances of succeeding are very slim. Still, they have murdered a lot of people over the last 50 years trying to achieve their goals.
Ktibuk; “If Budists were living in the middle east, you would be facing budofasicm…”
Budhists don’t have an doctrines even similar to jihad. Islam is unique in that respect.
Ktibuk: “Iranians are Persians first, and muslims second so it is not only about shite and sunni sects.”
No one is complaining about the Iranian people. It’s the dictatorship of the mullah’s we have a problem with. In the same way, we had no problems with the Iraqi people, just their former leader.
Ktibuk: “Muslims saved maybe millions of jews from first inquisitions of the christians and later from gas chambers of christian Nazis, and many jews know this. But the state of Israel changed everything.”
It’s not fair to call Nazis Christians. They didn’t consider themselves to be Christian and followed no Christian principles. The Nazis claimed to be, and in fact were, atheists. As for Israel, the fight is only partly over land. If Israel were not a Jewish nation, Muslims would have no problem with its existence. It is the Jewishness of Israel that offends Muslims. Muslims can tolerate mass murderers such as Sadam Hussein in their midst, but not a government headed by Jews.

ktibuk April 23, 2008 at 5:55 am

Fundementalist.

I know the Muslim Brotherhood and what they say. But it doesnt mean a thing. When you have a desperate and relatively weak armed group, relative to the governments and foreign invaders, you use anything to rile up support.

Saddam was the most secular dictator in the middle east and even he claimed jihad when attacked by coalition forces. That should tell you something.

Also the last Caliphate was Ottoman and there hasnt been a caliphate for nearly one hundered years. Even prior to vanishing of the Caliphate post, the post was useless since during the WW1, muslim arabs were fighting with the English against the Ottoman Empire and the Calipathe. Muslim caliphacy was never like papacy.

There is no unity amongst muslims to revive the post of Caliphate and some insignificant terrorist groups arent going to change that.

There are two reasons muslims in the middle east hate the West, especially the US.

One is the political meddling and keeping dictators like the Saudi royal familiy in power because of oil. Saudi royal family would have been linched long ago if the US government didnt support them.

And the other is the state of Israel.

And yes Israel being jewish is important because of what jews claim. Jews invaded that land because their religious beliefs say that land was promised by god, and by extension of it Israel is a democratic theocracy just like Iran.

If some people come and take your land based on religion, that religion would become a significant point in the hatred. But as I said there was no general hatred against jews from muslims prior to the founding of Israel.

Iran problem is not all about Islam thats the point I am trying to make. Yes they are muslim, yes they dont like ısrael but they are not arabs.

Nazis considered themselves Nazis, used Chritstianity to further their goals and their anti semitism was partly based on the christian-jewish dichatomy. Maybe they werent a theocratic organizations solely based on religion but they used it. Arent jews christ killers for some christians?

fundamentalist April 23, 2008 at 8:31 am

Ktibuk: “I know the Muslim Brotherhood and what they say. But it doesnt mean a thing.”

If you did, you would know the whole reason for founding the organization was to restore the Caliphate. And it means they will continue to try to murder Arab leaders who don’t agree with them as well as Americans. They may not be as weak as you suppose. They came close to winning Algerian elections a decade ago and might win Egyptian elections of the government didn’t ban their participation.

Ktibuk: “There are two reasons muslims in the middle east hate the West, especially the US. One is the political meddling and keeping dictators like the Saudi royal familiy in power because of oil.”
I realize that is what Muslims say, but just because Muslims believe it doesn’t mean it’s true. The US has never prevented the people from overthrowing an Arab ruler and couldn’t if it wanted to. We couldn’t even keep the Shah of Iran in power when he was our best buddy. Blaming the US for the lousy governments in the Middle East is just a way of hiding the fact that most Muslims approve of their governments and only a very tiny minority disapprove.
Ktibuk: “If some people come and take your land based on religion, that religion would become a significant point in the hatred.”
You’re partly right. There was less hatred of the Jews before the creation of Israel. As long as Jews stayed in their place as second class citizens with very few rights, Muslims tolerated them. But the historical record of Muslims persecuting the Jews, just as Christians in Europe have, is pretty clear.
Besides, the Jews didn’t take anyone’s land. They bought the land they owned from Arabs. As for the government fo the land, they took that away from the British, not the Palestinians or any Arabs. If the land belongs to anyone, it belongs to the Brits.
Ktibuk: “Iran problem is not all about Islam thats the point I am trying to make. Yes they are muslim, yes they dont like ısrael but they are not arabs.”
It’s about their version of Islam. As you know, Islam has no Pope to dictate theology, so no one has the right to say that another muslim is not a true muslim. The leadership of Iran represents a sect of Islam, though not every muslim.
Ktibuk: “Nazis considered themselves Nazis, used Chritstianity to further their goals and their anti semitism was partly based on the christian-jewish dichatomy.”
That is clearly the opposite of history. The Nazis used Darwinian evolution as the justification for eliminating the Jews. If you knew anything about Nazis, you would know that they hated Christianity. The swaztika is a deformed cross, intended to demonstrate their hatred of the religion. They only tolerated those Christians who supported their goals, and jaile and murdered all Christian leaders who opposed them.
Arabs like to invent these myths, like that the US keeps corrupt rulers in power and prevents the Arabs from destroying Israel in order to save their pride. But neither is true. The US had never even sent military equipment to Israel until the very end of the 1973 war, after Israel had already defeated the Arabs. We give them $3 billion per year as part of the Camp David agreement between them and Egypt, but we also give Egypt $2 billion per year plus other financial aid.
Ktibuk: “Israel is a democratic theocracy just like Iran.”
Are you serious? The “democracy” in Iran has the clerical leadership eliminating any candidate they oppose and rigging the elections so that only their preferred candidate wins. On top of that, the president and majlis have almost no authority, and what little they have is easily overturned by the Khamenei. It’s less of a democracy than Saddam Hussein’s circus.

Kabuki December 26, 2010 at 4:53 am

Who could possibly doubt his credentials, with an ringing endorsement from Paul Wolfowitz:

“Bernard Lewis has brilliantly placed the relationships and the issues of the Middle East into their larger context, with truly objective, original — and always independent — thought. Bernard has taught [us] how to understand the complex and important history of the Middle East and use it to guide us where we will go next to build a better world for generations”– Paul Wolfowitz, speaking via video phone at a special ceremony held in Tel Aviv to honour the leading Orientalist, quoted by Lamis Andoni, In the Service of Empire , The Electronic Intifada, 16 December 2002

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: