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Yes, but......

Reader comment on item: The Triumph Of the 9/11 Commission

Submitted by Alo Kievalar (United States), Jul 27, 2004 at 21:47

I agree with Dr Pipes that the 9/11 Commission Report is to be lauded for pinpointing the long-overdue "naming of the enemy" as "Islamist Terrorism" rather than the limp-wristed "War on Terror(ism)", which could mean anything and anyone including such obscure and non-US threatening terrorists groups as the Sendero Luminoso of Peru and so on.

Dr Pipes mentions that he himself would go further and call the war by its real name, to wit, the "war on Islamism" thus signifying that the war is not just or even mainly a war on a group of people, but an ideological war (a much more complicated enterprise for us, needless to say).

But even Dr Pipes doesn't go far enough, in my opinion. Toying around with semantics is simply a way of avoiding the real issue, the real "naming".

As a resident in the Moslem world for over 30 years, I find it extremely difficult to agree with ANY description I have read of 9/11 and what it has meant to the West. Some of these descriptions have come close the the truth in some parts but are way off in others. Some were irrelevant because they were ignorant. Many are simply wrong and/or hilarious. But they have all skirted around the real culprit.

In fact, there is no "culprit". And there is no "war". What's going on can best be described as a "contest" between Islam (the civilization) and the West (and its civilization), a contest that has been in play for nearly 1500 years. Painful as 9/11 has been for the US and aggravating as the war in Iraq continues to be for the West, ultimately they are simply two incidents in a long line of similar, if now forgotten, events. I would go so far as to say that the Palestinian/Israeli conflict is too but a sideshow of this much larger contest. If you look at the issue the way I do, it can be clearly seen that Israel represents the West while the Palestinians, that is, the "country" of Falesteen (in Arabic) represents Islamic civilization.

Anyone truly interested in this subject should really read R W Southern's incomparable "Western Views on Islam in the Middle Ages", originally published in 1962 but as applicable today as it was then. Unfortunately, it's hard to find and morbidly expensive when available. but any substantial library should have a copy. It is far superior to any book I've come across (and I've come across well-nigh all) illuminating the relationship between Islam and the West.

In fact, my take on all this is nothing new. There have been several commentators on the subject that have come close to my views on the subject. But it is my conclusions and my suggestions of what we ought to do that differ from the usual fare one finds as a solution to the problem.

I simply can't go into all that here, however. But I will say that any suggestion that Islam must "reform", that Islamic countries must start to practice "....Tolerance, the rule of law, political and economic openness, the extension of greater opportunities to women — ..." as the 9/11 Commission Report suggests, is simply pie in the sky. To do so would mean the complete dissolution of the Islamic religion and Islamic civilization. It simply ain't gonna happen....not in a million years. As an on-the-spot observer of Islam for nearly a 1/2 century, I can categorically state that anything even close to this is simply out of the question.

The Report goes on to suggest that these reforms "....will be violently opposed by Islamist terrorist organizations.....".

Yes, they will. But it is extremely important to realize that so will the vast majority of Moslems of whatever stripe. Not to realize this is to once again evade and deny the real battle that has been unfolding for nearly 2 millenia now and it will divert attention and resources, time and energy from where they might go to where they should go.

The implications of what I'm saying are difficult to accept and even more difficult to deal with. They are also unpleasant, but I'll have leave them for another time.

Alo Kievalar
Submitting....

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