Monday, November 09, 2009

An Army of None

If you had "less than 24 hours" in the over-under for how long after the Fort Hood shooting it would take for someone to make the knee-jerk suggestion that all Muslims be barred from serving in the U.S military, congrats -- you win.

Oh, and feel free to kick a couple of bucks of that pot to the good, God-fearing folks at the American Family Association, since you owe them.

From the AFA's website:

"The more devout a Muslim is, the more of a threat he is to national security. Devout Muslims, who accept the teachings of the Prophet as divinely inspired, believe it is their duty to kill infidels....

Of course, most U.S. Muslims don't shoot up their fellow soldiers. Fine. As soon as Muslims give us a foolproof way to identify their jihadis from their moderates, we'll go back to allowing them to serve. You tell us who the ones are that we have to worry about, prove you're right, and Muslims can once again serve. Until that day comes, we simply cannot afford the risk. You invent a jihadi-detector that works every time it's used, and we'll welcome you back with open arms...

It's time we all got over the nonsense that all cultures and religions are equally valid or worthy. They most certainly are not. While Christianity is a religion of peace, founded by the Prince of Peace, Islam is a religion of war and violence, founded by a man who routinely chopped the heads off his enemies, had sex with nine-year old girls, and made his wealth plundering merchant caravans."

So to recap: Christianity -- the warm and cuddly guys who brought you the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Salem Witch Trials, abortion doctor murders and whose indifference aided in the systematic murder of six-million-plus people during World War II -- that's a religion of "peace and love." But Islam, well it's crazy and dangerous.

While I actually do believe and have mentioned here before that there has to be concession to some very ugly realities when it comes to how we deal with the kinds of threats generally being aimed in the direction of the West these days, it goes without saying that you can't issue a blanket ban on Muslims in the military. Only an idiot -- or in this case a religious fundamentalist from the other side of the fence -- would fail to see the irony of putting a rule in place that goes against every freaking thing our men and women in uniform are supposedly fighting for in the first place. Yes, Muslim extremism in an of itself is dangerous and a threat to the United States, but the true faith adherents to one ridiculous set of fairy tales taking it upon themselves to call for broadstroke intolerance of those who believe in an equally ridiculous set of fairy tales is a laughably arrogant conceit.

The fundamentalist brand of Islam is indeed obscene and barbaric, and even at its best the religion is hopelessly ass-backward -- but that's only because its thinking never moved beyond the period of its creation: the sixth century. In this respect, guess what? It shares a somewhat common trait with almost every other faith-based religion on the planet, including and especially Christianity. They all strictly adhere to an irrational belief system founded by people who literally knew nothing about anything. What obviously separates Islam from many other religions is that the most ferocious of its True Believers tend to want to see the enemies of Allah -- the ones who've subjugated and humiliated his faithful servants -- driven into the sea at all costs. And yes, it may be politically incorrect, but it's not outrageous to wonder out loud if there might be some way to tell the difference between these jihadist psychopaths and the average decent, hard-working Muslim citizen, since lives may depend on it.

The problem of course is that there isn't a "foolproof" means of discerning a traditionally religious person (amusingly, an almost universally positive designation in our culture) and a guy who wants to blow up a building or shoot up an army base because his god told him to. Would it be wise to put Muslim enlistees in the U.S. military through rigorous psychological testing considering that we're currently fighting two wars against largely Muslim enemies? Yes, that's common sense -- and the irony of the fact that the Fort Hood shooter, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, was an Army shrink likely isn't lost on anyone. But for someone to call for the comprehensive exclusion of those who subscribe to a specific religious belief system from the volunteer force that defends this country? That's staggeringly un-American.

Especially when the ones doing the calling believe in just as much ridiculous nonsense as the people they're so terrified of.


Rory said...

At the end of the day, there is no "foolproof" way to tell a psychopath apart from a normal person. There will always be shades of gray, and psychopaths exist in all religions, creeds, and belief systems.

It should be noted that I disagree with cultural relativism. Some cultures are demonstrably better than others, and all cultures have room for improvement.

It would seem to me that disallowing muslims from entering the armed forces would be akin to shooting oneself in the foot, for if "you know your enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles."

Suzi said...

I love seeing the AFA get this attention. In the past I have subscribed to their "alerts", just to make sure that I got a good laugh every day. They urge boycotts of companies like Campbell's soup or Pepsi for treating their gay employees just like everyone else, which as all Christians know, is an immediate threat to the American family. I hope this gives them the reputation they deserve.

Anonymous said...

And here's where you hit the sore spot with me, Chez. Things are tense around here Ole Miss. I'm all for good oil producing Muslims and getting them to come to our side to fight the infidels, all the better. I tried to explain this in our Bible Study and they all walked out on me. Needless to say, I'm bundled up here in shed, depressed. Delores + the boys won't even talk with me. I did get some cherry pie and Maxwell House. I love my fellow church members, but boy they don't get it. I pointed out that the honorable HW + GW Bushes hold hands with good oil producing Muslims. We have a lot of good folks in the military who can pick the good beans from the bad ones. I like that family organization, but they're just plain wrong on this one. This was a good Muslim gone bad. When I said that, Bobby Jenkins, a tall mustached out-of-work 6'6" man, threw a metal chair at me. Now, I take a lot of heat for writing a blog and coming to these lefty sites, but this tops it all. We need these good Muslims to ship us what we need. We need oil, pure and simple. The USA + her friends hum on oil--we need these people. So a man who isn't Christ-centered lost his way, the church group pointed out. OK, fine, but he was doing the right thing by joining. He just went crazy. That whole thing with him not wanting to go to over and fight--someone should have done something then. Of course you SPs will blame this on GW. You're also wrong! Goodness gracious. I'm going eat more cherry pie. Love, Bill

Chez said...

Rory, I agree 100% about cultural relativism being garbage.

CatBallou said...

Islam started in the "first century"? Only if you start counting from when Islam was founded.

Bill White said...

Sorry I didn't I'd myself, Chez. I'm on another slice of pie--still in the doghouse. I'm in no way, Anonymous. -Bill

Chez said...

Sorry, Cat, 6th century -- dumb mistake on my part. It's been corrected.

Chris said...

Giving religious conservatives any sort of power is like giving an 8 year old boy a bull-frog, a blender, and a case of Jolt Cola.

It still shocks me that the fallacy of inclusion has become so popular on the right, as if everyone who isn't a Christian Conservative can be so easily be organized into groups like Socialist, Terrorist, Jihadi, etc. etc.

Doesn't anyone learn critical thinking skills anymore?

Carmack said...

Somebody needs to grab these people by their shoulders, look them in the eye, and slooowly state the following while making sure they maintain eye-contact:

"Timothy... McVeigh... was... an... American. Do you understand how that invalidates your argument?"

Carmack said...

Excuse me, I said "American" and I meant "white American brought up in a Christian home."

Anonymous said...

Carmack beat me to the McVeigh reference. I would like to see the geniuses at AFA explain that one.

Vermillion said...

@Carmack: That would only work if they thought what McVeigh did was wrong. I have yet to hear that from anyone who associates with yahoo like these.

The really fun part? Discrimination like this would only increased the feelings of resentment and exclusion that breeds homicidal lunatics.

I never understood why the first response to an obviously troubled and lonely individual is to castigate and ostracize them further. You think that if the chance of this person flipping out was that great, they would be eager to keep him happy. But nooooo. These must be the same breed of idiot that created the man that thought the perfect way to commune with a lion at the zoo was to climb into it's enclosure and jump around.

If it wasn't for the fact that oftentimes good people are caught in these things, I would say it was Darwin Award material.

Peach said...

I hate to have to play this card but you brought it up. Quite frankly, in terms of Americans being dangerous to Muslims or Muslims being dangerous to Americans, I think you could use some fucking perspective. I say this with love. Harsh Arab love (it's the best kind).

With at least 300,000 Iraqi civillians dead and way over 100,000 Afghan civillians gone forever, not counting torture/ inhumane detentions/renditions I'm sorry but your group tends to win for most dangerous, hands down.

19 Arabs came to your country and did a terrible thing. For that you have our upmost sympathy. But how many troops came to Iraq? And what good has been acomplished? Add to that the number of Western occupations that area has delt with the past 50 years (India, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Lebanon, Syria...) and all the deaths that have sprung from that (way over 1 million).

You tell us to get over it. It's in the past. But what happened from the 1920s-70's was traumatic to our countries. We are still suffering from it's fallout. Fallout that had a huge effect on my life. Americans vow to "Never Forget" but expect the world to turn a blind eye your way.

And you've dealt with, what? 5 or 6instances spread out over the past 20 years? And we're considered dangerous? Fucking give me a break.

I get that this guy was Muslim, brown, and generally scary. But it wasn't even a conserted effort on behalf of Arabs. Just one crazy guy with a gun.

So before wondering outloud just how to tell us 'good ones' from 'bad ones' maybe you should take a quick peek in the mirror. Because we're wondering the same shit about you. And considering your track record, we actually have good reason to be scared.

lrxst said...

While I agree completely with Chez's post, I think that the inherent stupidity of Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Shinto, etc is beside the point when discussing the Ft. Hood killings. The salient point is that an Army major killed 13 unarmed soldiers, I cannot imagine a more egregious violation of the compact between individuals that acts as the bedrock of 'military society'. Maj. Nidal Hassan should never see the light of day - be it due to the big needle or a stay at Leavenworth - for what he's (allegedly) done. 13 dead bodies sort of make his motivations inconsequential. Deeds, not words.

This was a military crime and should be dealt with as such. It's unfortunate that people like the AFA and Peaches are using this tragedy to make ideological hay, whether it amounts to condemning or excusing this man. Fie on me for using the HuffPost comment threads to take the pulse of the nation, I guess...

Chez said...

Yes, Peach, I've seen "harsh Arab love." It's very impressive.

While you're certainly right that America has done some despicable things throughout the decades, in reality no other preeminent world power has ever treaded as lightly on the globe as this country (or attempted to do as much good in the process). Once again, that doesn't excuse some of the terrible things we have done -- but sorry, I don't buy America as the Great Satan. It's a fun morally and culturally relativistic argument to make though. Sure sounds good.

And by the way, I thought you were from fucking Denmark or something -- or are you one of those ultra-liberal world citizens who feels solidarity with the persecuted Palestinians crushed under the foot of the Evil Zion-American Empire? Cause those clowns are always entertaining.

Yeah, I can occasionally be jingoistic. I am actually from this country and make no apologies for it.

Brenda said...

Nicely written, Chez.

It's funny, if at the end of this the guy had said, "I'm an athiest," I might have given it a bit of weight. As is, it's just a stupid hypocritical tirade against another religion. Get rid of them all, or shut up about one being better than the other.

babita781 said...

Maybe the military should ban psychiatrists? They often seem a bit dicey.

TheReaperD said...

"Sorry, Cat, 6th century -- dumb mistake on my part. It's been corrected."

This is one of the reasons I really respect you Chez. When you make a mistake, trivial or not, you admit it in the same forum it was made and correct it without sweeping it under the rug (i.e. retraction on page 6 in the opinion section) or attacking the person that pointed it out (Ala Bill O'Riley).

I just wanted to say "thank you."

Peach said...

I was born in Baghdad. Moved to Syria. Lived there for 15 years, moved to Paris, moved to the US for college and then back to Paris. So I may be a lot of things. But from Denmark? Ew. No.

And I don't hate America at all. In fact, I quite like it. And I get you're a superpower and therefore have to do bad things. I'm not a Death to America spokeswomen.

But writing off America as a superpower so you have to occasionally knock off a few hundred thousand Iraqis? It's incredibly dismissive. We don't write off your tragedy. Please do not write off ours.

Because even after the past 50 years of Western occupations and war we're still expected to keep a level head. We're expected to rationalize and not be ruled by our emotions.

The second we act angry we are dismissed as 'America haters' or 'Anti-zionist' and if we bring up accurate history we are told to get the fuck over it. Shit happens.

Fine. But we expect the same from you.

That means rather then focusing on his Arab name, maybe it's better to taper that alarmist tone into what caused it. If it was as simple as religion, 1/4 of the world's population would currently be at war with you.

It is unspeakably tragic...this shooting. And you have my upmost sympathy. But to ring the alarm on all Arabs, or worry about how dangerous they are to you...sorry. It just sounds a little hollow given Americas current position in the world.

Jeremy said...

Can we also kick out all the whites until we come up with a machine that sniffs out the Timothy McVeighs?

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Peach. I'm an American and I love my country, but I don't like our history of toppling foreign governments to insert "friendly" ones. Some were necessary, most were not. Just look at Iran now. I wonder what it would look like today if we hadn't helped to install a religious dictatorship.

Chez said...

Unfortunately, that's how the game is played -- the enemy of my enemy is my friend, until they inevitably become my enemy.

Anonymous said...

But that's the thing. If the game can have many unintended consequences, mostly bad, for everyone involved, why the fuck do we continue to play? If it is an issue of oil, greatly reduce our dependence on it. Nukes, work with the UN so we aren't the bad guy every time. Spreading democracy should be an exercise in words, not war. Instead of American troops "liberating" a country, wouldn't a more stable solution be for the citizens to rise up? Otherwise, the new government is just a puppet of America, until they turn on us.

BenoƮt from Ottawa said...

So, guys, (moving the subject to this a little), what is the consensus on WHY the U.S. invaded Iraq?

Curious as to what others think. After 9-11, Afghanistan was understandable (Taleban sheltering Al-Qaeda. Everone hated the Taleban anyway. U.S. MUCHO pissed off.)

But why did Bush-Cheney et al. go against Hussein? Leaving the Afghanistan adventure unfinished...

Simply for control of the oil? Was it just for the oil?