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What Values?

Reader comment on item: Winning the Propaganda War [versus Radical Islam]

Submitted by dds (Canada), Dec 27, 2005 at 16:51

Two points come up here. Firstly, Daniel is spot-on to say US leaders misled themselves in believing that the forces could get the same reception in Iraq that they got in France, or that the Canadians got in Holland after WW2. What they didn't seem to comprehend, though, is that since WW2, there had been 60 years of the US developing a reputation for storming into a country and "imposing its values on the people" or overthrowing governments it was opposed to. Tom Lehrer's song, "Send The Marines", comes to mind ("They've got to be protected/All their rights respected/Till someone we like can get elected"). The failure to examine this strongly has been the downfall of US foreign policy, and is a reason why any "exit strategy" from Iraq prior to the war seemed to stop at taking Baghdad and maybe grabbing Saddam.

That being said, history has shown that much of that US foreign policy has had a correct basis. The execution was poor (put another way, the foundation was solid, but the structure looks a lot like the Winchester House in San Jose), and that's why the American image takes such a butt-kicking.

Add to this the fact that, where religion is involved, it's far easier to manipulate public opinion, because the notion that "God is on our side" or that someone will get in His Good Books for doing something is far more effective than "do it for the country" or even, alas, "Remember 9/11". (I'm sorry even to observe this, but the memories, images and anger of 9/11 are already waning, while passion to please Allah is still red-hot.)

This leads to a comment Daniel makes near the end of the column: that the State Department should "assert the case for liberal, secular and humane values". The problem is -- and something too easily seized by Muslim clerics, I'm sure -- is that word "secular". "Secular values" are still subject to situational ethics and what "seems like a good idea" or "the nice thing to do". "Secular values" have led to Israeli politicians' bending their knees to the god of world opinion and handing back land taken when their country retaliated for being attacked in 1967. "Secular values" have led to acceptance -- at least on the political level -- of abortion, gay marriage, and drug use. All a Muslim cleric has to do is point to that, and the battle is lost.

This is not a secular struggle, and we have to stop trying to drag it onto that battlefield. This is a struggle which has its roots in the Book of Genesis, and I have long believed that the road to any true peace (and if you read the Bible, you'll find that "peace" reigns only when the will of God is allowed to take hold) has to begin with the recognition that this whole mess started when Abraham lost patience with God. God said at the time that the children of Ishmael would always be at war with everyone else. To my knowledge, there is no prophecy which indicates that the children of Ishmael and the children of Isaac would ever reconcile ... except through the meand God provided us to reconcile with Him -- and hence, with everyone else -- approximately 2008 years ago in Bethlehem.

Back in the 60's, some US diplomat was snickered-at for remarking that he hoped the Arabs and the Israelis could settle their differences "like true Christians". Sometimes, the most prophetic or profound remarks are couched in what seems to be foolishness.

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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Reader comments (85) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
Media propaganda [195 words]Nenette GrunbergAug 16, 2006 09:5253046
re:spreading democracy [38 words]Robert mooneyJan 13, 2006 15:4231578
An Outsider Looking In [3488 words]John RamptonJan 8, 2006 19:5531296
not the same [84 words]joe roseJan 8, 2006 12:5031277
More reflection is needed [710 words]John RamptonJan 6, 2006 18:2731199
1Propaganda in the Indian 'Midday.com' [398 words]SonaliJan 3, 2006 00:4230954
1Reply to Sonali [91 words]KhalidJan 3, 2006 01:0530954
1Reply to Khalid [270 words]SonaliJan 3, 2006 10:5030954
Reply to Sonali, Media [141 words]KhalidJan 8, 2006 02:0130954
1Reply to Khalid [15 words]SonaliJan 9, 2006 12:5030954
Winning the Propaganda War [versus Radical Islam] [473 words]NonBelieverMay 4, 2006 10:0830954
Malaysia's Family Law Bill that grossly violates [254 words]SumitraDec 30, 2005 11:5330785
Cultural influence modifying harsh women oppressive laws [888 words]FauziJamalMar 12, 2006 14:5330785
winning war [67 words]brooklynbobDec 30, 2005 11:0030782
Let us be optimistic about propaganda [443 words]N. BhatnagarDec 30, 2005 03:0330763
To Mr. Bhatnagar [138 words]M. Saleem AkhtarDec 30, 2005 14:4330763
Let Us Be Optimistic About Propaganda: A comment [213 words]Seamus MacNemiDec 31, 2005 00:4130763
The quickest way to lose a war. [81 words]Seamus MacNemiJan 1, 2006 23:5730763
Values plus understanding will win [96 words]Geoff Brown, Deephaven MSApr 6, 2006 10:4230763
A dire situation in the making [449 words]Seamus MacNemiDec 30, 2005 02:4130762
Reply to MacNeni [201 words]sullyDec 30, 2005 18:0930762
Reply to Sully [98 words]Seamus MacNemiDec 31, 2005 18:1230762
reply - trying to please the co-conspirators at the UN is futile [257 words]sullyJan 1, 2006 17:0430762
Reply to Mr. Sully [282 words]Seamus MacNemiJan 1, 2006 23:4530762
Failure to Thrive [185 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
DaisyDec 29, 2005 17:5630747
three equally bad choices [117 words]yuval brandstetterDec 29, 2005 16:1830743
Mullahs control the press in muslim countries [190 words]NaziaDec 29, 2005 15:2330741
The strengths of Islamic "education" [92 words]Ed BrophyDec 29, 2005 13:2530738
Der Fuerher's Face [247 words]Yehoshua ZellerDec 29, 2005 13:2430737
The Strategic Uses Of Satire [135 words]Seamus MacNemiDec 30, 2005 18:3330737
Is It Possible To Challenge The Hold Of The Religious Clergy On The Muslim Mind? [544 words]Rakshas 10 AnanDec 29, 2005 11:5430732
To Rakshas 10 Anan [273 words]M. Saleem AkhtarDec 29, 2005 15:4430732
To M S Akhtar: Madrassas are a law unto themselves [17 words]Rakshas 10 AnanDec 30, 2005 09:4530732
Reply to Saleem Akhtar [83 words]Ram KrishnaDec 30, 2005 23:4630732
4the toungue has no bone [931 words]abdelFeb 26, 2006 15:2630732
Hindus in Sindh [59 words]SindhiFeb 13, 2008 02:0230732
how can we be sure from the References ?? [54 words]Najmat AljadiJun 5, 2011 01:2730732
Winning the war [162 words]SHmuel HaLeviDec 29, 2005 05:2830722
Reply to My. HaLevi [157 words]Seamus MacNemiJan 2, 2006 00:2330722
No way you can beat faith with propaganda [235 words]BorisDec 28, 2005 21:5930715
reply: Boris [224 words]Donald ODec 30, 2005 15:3530715
MUNICH [37 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Robert ArbetmanDec 28, 2005 18:0930711
The Education of Karen Hughes [221 words]Peter JonesDec 28, 2005 13:1430700
What will be won with our "message"? [123 words]Ed BrophyDec 28, 2005 13:1230699
Winning and envy [318 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
JamesDec 28, 2005 10:2730690
response to Dr. Pipes response to my letter, 'winning'. [411 words]JamesDec 28, 2005 17:5430690
"Propaganda" still needed [138 words]Dennis MurphyDec 28, 2005 10:0330689
Completely agree with Dr. Pipes.. [116 words]M Saleem AkhtarDec 28, 2005 09:5330688
Walk Softly But Carry A Big Stick!!! [136 words]RPaineDec 28, 2005 08:4630685
Further Research [82 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Samuel SchwartzDec 28, 2005 07:5930683
What is the practical implication of your solution? [156 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
N HordesDec 28, 2005 07:4130681
Good ONLY to the last drop/line [326 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Donald YoungDec 27, 2005 20:3130664
Losing the Propaganda War [362 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Reuben HorneDec 27, 2005 20:2130663
Winning the propaganda war [181 words]steven lDec 27, 2005 20:1530662
Is The Status Quo In The West's Best Interests? [484 words]Bill NarveyDec 27, 2005 20:0230661
We just don't understand them! [124 words]Nathan RosenblattDec 27, 2005 19:4630660
Hear Hear [65 words]Richard D. CritesDec 28, 2005 15:3630660
Reply to Mr. Rosenblatt [250 words]Seamus MacNemiJan 1, 2006 19:0430660
Influencing Muslim opinion [218 words]Donald W. BalesDec 27, 2005 19:3230658
Re: Propaganda war [92 words]Nena SariDec 27, 2005 19:1630657
Ayesha and Jaladhi are right [301 words]JaneDec 27, 2005 18:4230655
Broadcasting to the Muslim World [169 words]Leonard MarkowitzDec 27, 2005 18:0730654
How to win a war? [114 words]Behrouz AzarniaDec 27, 2005 17:0130653
What Values? [591 words]ddsDec 27, 2005 16:5130651
Islam will go down in ashes, literally [188 words]George SiterDec 27, 2005 15:2930648
Propaganda War - Lies, Lies and More Lies. [88 words]JaladhiDec 27, 2005 14:4430646
"Truth in news dispensing" laws needed? [284 words]Merry WhitneyDec 27, 2005 14:1530644
Muslims don't blame their culture for worldwide Islamic terrorism! [243 words]Nonie DarwishDec 27, 2005 12:5730638
Another form of terrorism [414 words]Kenneth S. BesigDec 27, 2005 12:5230637
Counter-strategy [100 words]VijayDec 27, 2005 12:3330635
Information in the Muslim World [207 words]Paul BowmanDec 27, 2005 12:2030632
3The Qur'an says: "Disbelievers are liars" (16.39) [124 words]AyeshaDec 27, 2005 14:4430632
They use lies , selective info and cover ups [385 words]N. KhanDec 28, 2005 15:1230632
Reply to N. Khan on "They use lies , selective info and cover ups" [95 words]Rachelle AssoulineJan 2, 2006 13:4430632
Response to Racchelle Assouline [196 words]N. KhanJan 5, 2006 13:2630632
Disbelievers are liars and fool non Muslims and Muslims [119 words]Adam KhanJun 6, 2019 17:4530632
2Our dear Adam Khan and "believers" are liars and fool non Muslims aka التقية! [232 words]dhimmi no moreJun 8, 2019 06:0530632
1Guiding the perplexed our dear Adam Khan al-tablighee and the Islamic doctrine of الجهاد في سبيل الله [150 words]dhimmi no moreJun 8, 2019 07:1130632
Our dear Adam Khan صلى الله عليه وسلم knows what the Qur'an says! Dear readers: read and laugh [114 words]dhimmi no moreJun 8, 2019 09:0730632
Guiding the perplexed our dear Adam Khan al-tablighee and the Arabic for today?:ومنكم نستفيد! [354 words]dhimmi no moreJun 9, 2019 07:0030632
Our dear Adam Khan صلى الله عليه وسلم tells us that the Qur'an says ان الكفار كذابين! Mashallah [43 words]dhimmi no moreJun 9, 2019 07:0530632
Our dear Adam Khan disagrees with his Allah استغفرالله! And the Islamic doctrine of القضاء والقدر! [196 words]dhimmi no moreJun 9, 2019 11:0330632
Adequate Solution Needed [170 words]David BaschDec 27, 2005 12:0630631
حملة العداء ضد الصحافة الغربية أقوى منها [341 words]mohamed.mDec 27, 2005 12:0330630
PropAganda [45 words]Barry WolfeDec 27, 2005 11:5930629

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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