Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Terrorism: Getting to the Root of Root Causes

This article by David Meir-Levi is astonishing in its scope and clarity (hat tip: Solomon)

Many of our contemporary intellectual and political leaders are continually in anguish trying to figure out what the U.S. has done to make so much of the Arab/Moslem world hate us. They desperately search for the ways they believe the U.S. is responsible for triggering terrorism against itself. The terrorists and their supporters, meanwhile, knowing that the West perpetually looks for reasons to blame itself, provide the world with many compelling – but false – reasonns why the West should be blamed in the terror war. If we accept these faux explanations uncritically, we shift our focus in the war against global terrorism and the terrorists will have a much easier time defeating us.

In order for us to be able to fight – and win – this terror war effectively, we must discredit the false explanations of why Islamists wage war on our free societies. It is a priority, therefore, that we highlight how the enemies of Western freedom are not telling the truth. And we can do that by dealing with the following issues concretely:

He then goes on to define the enemy and one by one rationally and logically eliminate as "root causes" the usual canards that are carted out after every atrocity.

This part was particularly striking:

It is important to recall that Moslems make up only about 20 percent of the world’s population. Yet we see that Moslem countries contribute to the majority of the violence in the world today. Moreover, Arabs make up only about 5 percent of the world’s population, yet we witness the phenomenon of Arabs in leadership roles in many, if not most, of the Moslem conflicts, including conflicts emanating from those Moslem countries that are not Arab. We also witness Arab countries that host, train, fund, shelter, supply, and deploy Moslem terrorists.

In sum, “Muslim bellicosity and violence are late 20th century facts which neither Muslims nor non-Muslims can deny,” as Huntington aptly argues. And the situation has only gotten worse in the early 21st century. Even Saudi and Pakistani commentators have pointed out that while not all Moslems are terrorists, almost all terrorists are Moslems…and most of these are Arabs. (Emphasis mine)

You absolutely must read this excellently-argued article in its entirety. It is fairly long, but definitely worth it. Here are several of the conclusions:

To answer the question: “Why do they hate us?” we need look no further than at the Islamofascist leaders worldwide who are confronted with our success, threatened by our freedom, humiliated to the point of fury and violence due to their culture’s emphasis upon shame vs. honor. Rather than learn from us or work with us, they seek to destroy us.

They cannot admit to their followers or to us that their real motivation is their own shame and fear. Instead, they make up a long list of fictitious misdeeds in order to justify their hatred. Then they teach and preach to their societies, and especially to their young, the lies about why they hate us, and their children grow up believing such lies.

In addition, they are buttressed by Arab and pro-Arab intellectuals and professors in the West who re-write history in order to make us believe that this hatred is new and is a function of the fictional crimes of which we are accused.

In a relevant post from Dr. Sanity's archives titled Shame, The Arab Psyche and Islam, I stated: of the ways that those who fear shame protect their fragile self is to subjugate those who he perceives as weaker. By doing so, he can rationalize that he is superior to the subjugated individual. In fact, this is the only way he can maximize his honor. In Arab/Islamic culture, women are one of the primary instruments of achieving honor. Hence the bizarre and distorted attitude that the culture has toward women and the exaggerated means by which "honor" must be maintained. So strong is the cultural pressure, even women buy into the delusion (as eloquently demonstrated by Dymphna in this post)

Honor killings of women are all too common in Arab culture, and importantly are not dissuaded by the tenets of Islam.

Other expressions of the shame culture that are obvious is the rampant psychological projection and refusal to accept responsibility for the atrocities committed in the name of Islam. Not only are we regularly subjected to imams, religious leaders, and leaders of Muslim states stating even now that 9/11 or the London bombings were not committed by Muslims; they also regularly blame the Jews for such acts. In this way they can avoid the shame that taking responsibility for evil.

Additionally, the emphasis by CAIR and other Muslim organizations in demanding that any statement that criticizes or even suggests blame or responsibility by Islam for terror, be retracted or apologized for, is also just a part of the shame-avoidant dance that leads the culture into the blurry realms of delusion.

Finally, it is not surprising that the most murderous thugs espousing religious ideals as they brutally cut off the heads of infidels are hidden behind masks and dare not reveal themselves to the world. I suspect that on some deep level they know that their "pride" in their sick behavior would be more difficult to boast about if they were not anonymous. "If no one knows it is me committing these acts, then I am not shamed," after all.

While psychological health and self-esteem depend to some extent on overcoming shame and progressing to a level where taking responsibility for one's actions and accepting that there is an objective truth out there that is not determined by other people's opinions; both shame and guilt can be important reality checks to an individual--or to a culture.

When a culture determines that the avoidance of shame is necessary no matter what the cost, the result is a culture of fanaticism, bizarre behavior in the name of "honor"; and simultaneously the cultural oppression, subjugation, and humiliation of women and others perceived as "weak" (and therefore "shameful"). It also inevitably results in the projection of one's own unacceptable behavior and shameful feelings onto another individual or an outside group.

As Meir-Levi notes, it is essential that we understand our enemy and discredit the distortions and lies that are used to excuse and justify their barbaric actions. By getting to the root of "root causes" we can begin to discredit the false explanations, that in reality do not explain anything, but only serve to mollify and seduce us into believing somehow our behavior is the cause of the threat.

The root cause of terrorism is very simple. It is the interaction of a backward and aggressively misogynistic Arab culture with a rigidly medieval religion, within which its most sadistic aspects not only thrive, but are enshrined as religious doctrine.

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