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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Muscular Idealism


Historian Victor Davis Hanson says the Arab world must realize Islam and freedom can coexist.

Scholar-author Victor Davis Hanson says the Arab world is learning the hard way that Islam and freedom need not be mutually exclusive.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, Victor Davis Hanson has emerged from the relative obscurity of his academic post at Fresno State University to become something akin to America’s “historian in chief.” Spurred by a legion of eager editors, Hanson has translated his expertise in classical military history to the war on terror. The result: some 300 essays – and counting – and an army of devotees. He notes with pride that his supporter base includes many U.S. troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan; he receives numerous e-mails every week from military personnel fighting in the war against terrorism.

Hanson’s primary platform for explaining this first war of the 21st century has been a decidedly modern mode of communication: the Internet. His weekly commentaries have poured forth from the Web-based daily version of National Review, a leading voice of the modern conservative movement. But Hanson reminds those who dismiss him as a Republican shill that he’s a registered Democrat. Underscoring the broad appeal of Hanson’s perspective, his essays on war have appeared in The New Republic, The New York Times, The American Legion Magazine, The Wall Street Journal and City Journal.

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6 comments:

Inquisitor said...

it's difficult for the Muslims to believe that 'Islam and Freedom can coexist' because America is the worst advertisement for the idea of Freedom - not in how it treats its people, but how it treats others. It's quite difficult to get people to like what one purports to stand for whilst watching their family being shot to pieces by the 'ingratiator'.

James Howard Shott said...

Exactly what is there about the way America “treats others” that is objectionable to Muslims? Is it the fact that the United States gives billions of dollars to other nations, including Muslim nations, each year in foreign aid? Or is it that the U. S. sends billions in relief to disaster areas, including Muslim nations, around the world? Or is it the way the U.S. treated the Muslim citizens of Kuwait when their Muslim neighbor Iraq and its Muslim leader Saddam Hussein declared war on them and took over their country in 1993?

Is Muslim thinking so limited in capacity that it cannot look beyond Iraq to places such as Europe, Scandinavia and Australia where essentially the same freedom that the U.S. holds so dear also thrives?

Are Muslims so obsessed with their fundamental beliefs, and so rigid that they cannot abide the idea that some may not subscribe to those beliefs, or may find something they like better?

Muslims are held prisoner by beliefs that label all but Muslims “infidels.” They may be content to coexist with other beliefs so long as they can remain substantially isolated from them, and can prevent other beliefs from intruding into the dark and restrictive world that much of Islam is. So long as they can treat women as property, and further limit the freedom of their subjects, Muslim leaders and radicals may be content.

But when they see what happens when freedom takes hold, as it is now in Afghanistan, and see that their 7th Century ideas are gradually being replaced by modern ideas, the fundamentalists retreat from civilized behavior into irrational fear, and strike out against the nearest target that allows them to attempt to restore control through terrorizing the populace.

No doubt that radical Muslims and their defenders would like to blame Americans for the car bombs and suicide bombers that they employ to kill their own brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers and children, but that isn’t the reality.

i eat puppies said...

Actually, I think it's the US giving money to dictators that rule their people w/ an iron fist. Of course I realize that w/out that money those places would be taken over by Islamists, but those dictators teach their people to hate Israel, and then they see Israel blowing up Palestinians w/ US weapons.

So I agree w/ some of what you say, Shott, but the Inquisitioner's point is valid as well.

James Howard Shott said...

His point might have some validity if it wasn't loaded with hyperbole.

Case in point: "whilst watching their family being shot to pieces by the 'ingratiator'."

Hardly anyone, especially those dealing in facts, believes the U.S. shoots families to pieces. In fact, only the rabid Left and the hardcore war opposition make such assinine charges.

Ask the recently liberated Iraqis what they think. Unless they are terrorists, or Saddam Hussein's cohorts, they don't condemn the U.S.

i eat puppies said...

" only the rabid Left and the hardcore war opposition make such assinine charges."

No worse than the opposite, who say anyone who questions the admin is unpatriotic or even a traitor (oh, and they use much more colorful language than I did).

And, many of the recent Iraqis who are do not fall into your "be damned" categories do condemn the US- for collateral casualties or for not providing security to protect from the suiciders.

Of course, if our cheerleader in chief had made the recommended commitment of well over 200,000 troops for the war, instead of doing it on the cheap, perhaps we'd be able to stand up an Iraqi security force by now who could provide that security.

I believe going into Iraq was the right thing to do. But b/c of the president's bumbling, instead of helping the Iraqis on their way toward democracy, we're struggling to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. (The provoberbial) God help us to do that

James Howard Shott said...

No worse than the opposite, who say anyone who questions the admin is unpatriotic or even a traitor (oh, and they use much more colorful language than I did).

Questioning the administration is not in and of itself unpatriotic or traitorous. I believe that most critics of those who question the administration object not to the questioning per se, but to the manner in which it is done, and to the (hopefully) unintended consequences of the public nature of the questioning. The vitriol that accompanies it -- which belies a sinister motive lying underneath the questioning, which is Bush hatred -- is dangerous and harmful to the U.S. and its military personnel in Iraq. I believe that the “questioners” hate Bush to such a degree that they will say and do virtually anything, regardless of the ramifications that flow from what they say and do.

And, many of the recent Iraqis who are do not fall into your "be damned" categories do condemn the US- for collateral casualties or for not providing security to protect from the suiciders.

I don’t believe most, or even a large proportion of Iraqis condemn the U.S for collateral deaths and injury, particularly now that the terrorists are indiscriminately killing their countrymen and fellow Muslims daily.

Of course, if our cheerleader in chief had made the recommended commitment of well over 200,000 troops for the war, instead of doing it on the cheap, perhaps we'd be able to stand up an Iraqi security force by now who could provide that security.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and democracy won’t take hold in Iraq in a few months, or even a couple of years. You might remember from history that the U.S. had a rough time of it for several years following the Revolutionary War, and we had a head start, compared to Iraq? Why should Iraq, which has been living in the 7th Century for 1,300 years, adapt more quickly than the U.S.?

I believe going into Iraq was the right thing to do. But b/c of the president's bumbling, instead of helping the Iraqis on their way toward democracy, we're struggling to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. (The provoberbial) God help us to do that

I'm pleased that you think going to Iraq was the right thing to do, but I think you are focusing on the difficulties too much, and on the successes too little. The media are doing their best to proliferate the idea that everything in Iraq is bad. That is not the picture you get from the U.S. military personnel who are there. Even if that perception was correct, however, you must remember that no war and after-war period is perfect. To expect this one to be so is to fail to grasp the reality of what is being done in Iraq.