Dispelling the Myths of Appeasement
Appeasement takes many forms. One is to make excuses for those intent on destroying us and our way of life. Instead of pointing out why our enemies are wrong to hate us, we make excuses for them and their actions, and blame ourselves. This comes up time and time again in Western appeasement of militant Islam.
Western self-loathing, coupled with a fear of appearing Islamophobic, results in many people making excuses for Islamist terrorism, while finding reasons to blame ourselves for such acts. Even after 9/11, many in the West found ways to claim that we deserved this, or we were somehow responsible for it.
Thus an industry of guilt-producers has been happy to perpetuate myths about why the Muslim world hates us, and how we are somehow the legitimate brunt of their anger. Three myths about “why they hate us” can be considered, and they are nicely discussed – and dispelled – in a recent article by Dinesh D’Souza (“Liberal Myths about Radical Islam,” townhall.com , March 26, 2007).
The first myth is that they are upset with us because of the Crusades. But is it reasonable to believe “that Muslims today are genuinely outraged about events that occurred a thousand years ago? Let us remember that before the rise of Islam, the region we call the Middle East was predominantly Christian. Inspired by Islam’s call to jihad, Muhammad’s armies conquered Jerusalem and the entire Middle East, then pushed south into Africa, East into Asia, and north into Europe.”
The Crusades were an attempt by Christians in the eleventh century to “recover the heartland of Christianity and to repel the irredentist forces of Islam. The Crusades were important to Europe because they represented a fight to recover Christianity’s holiest sites and also because they were part of a battle for the survival of Europe. By contrast, the Crusades have never been important to the Muslim world. Muslims were already in control of their own holy places in Mecca and Medina. Not once did the Crusaders threaten the heartland of Islam. From the point of view of Muslim historians, those battles were seen as minor disruptions on the periphery of the Islamic empire.”
The Crusades were really a “belated, clumsy, and defensive reaction against a much longer, more relentless, and more successful Muslim assault against Christendom. The striking aspect of the liberal critique is that it stresses the horrors of the Crusades while virtually ignoring the Islamic jihad to which the Crusades were a response.”
The second myth dragged up by leftists is that Muslims are angry about colonialism. A major problem with this myth is the fact that while America bears the brunt of Islamic rage, it has “virtually no history of colonialism in the Middle East. If the Filipinos or American Indians were launching suicide bombers in New York, their actions could perhaps be attributed to a reaction against colonial subjugation. But until the Bush administration ordered the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq in the aftermath of 9/11, America had never occupied a Muslim country.”
Indeed, “America’s record is one of opposing British and French colonial initiatives, and of encouraging the European colonial powers to withdraw from the Middle East. So Muslim hostility to America has to be explained by factors other than colonial occupation in the Middle East, since prior to 9/11 America has no record of colonial occupation in the Middle East.”
A third myth says they hate us because we have killed so many Muslims. This claim also does not stand up to close scrutiny. In fact, “America has actively fought on the side of Muslims in several recent conflicts. During the 1970s the United States supported the Afghan mujahedin and their Arab allies in driving out the Soviet Union from Afghanistan. In 1991 the United States assembled an international coalition of countries, including many Muslim countries, in order to drive Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait and restore the sovereignty of that small Muslim country. Later in the decade, President Clinton ordered American bombings and intervention to save Muslim lives in Bosnia and Kosovo.”
Of course the American invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq have resulted in deaths, but these deaths “are small in number compared with the devastation that other invading armies, including Muslim armies, have wrought through the centuries right down to the present day. More recent Muslim wars, such as the Iran-Iraq war, have also produced unbelievable horrors and casualty lists. Over the eight-year period of the Iran-Iraq war, for instance, between 500,000 and 1 million Muslims were killed.”
Therefore the main reasons given by leftists to account for Islamic hatred toward the US and the West are specious at best. Concludes D’Souza, “we should be skeptical of liberal solutions such as blocking additional troops, or squeezing funding, or calling for a precipitous withdrawal from Iraq. These ‘solutions’ reflect muddled thinking about radical Islam, and they are likely to produce results far worse than the situation as it is now”.
Of course to dispel these myths is not to imply that the West is perfect, or that its interaction with Muslims and the Arab world has been above reproach. Many mistakes have been made, and much activity has been ethically dubious. But to suggest that Islamist terrorism is somehow excusable or justifiable because of what the West may have done in the past is both unhelpful and misleading.
The truth is, other groups around the world have suffered at the hands of Western policies, but they have not seen the need to resort to terrorism and jihad. As D’Souza notes, American Indians have legitimate grievances, but have not used them as an excuse to carry out a holy war against the American government or its people.
While it may be difficult to discern a workable answer to Islamic terrorism, Western hand wringing and guilt manipulation is clearly not one of them.
3 Replies to “Dispelling the Myths of Appeasement”
Does anybody recall British PM Neville Chamberlain proclaiming “Peace in our time”, with his policy of Hitler appeasement ? Look what happened – WWII with immeasurable human suffering.
I suspect we are on the same path with the church of secular “tolerance” insisting we put our heads in the sand with a loud Aussie retort of “She’ll be right mate”, before we are subjected to a state sanctioned form of dhimmism.
Wake up people, and strengthen what remains before the God of grace and forgiveness, or risk exchanging this for a god of retribution & harshness.
Bill, you’ve hit the nail on the head here when it comes to the self-loathing of the West and particularly of the prevailing left-leaning, pseudo-intellectualism. Everything we do is deconstructed and examined with the pre-assumption that it is All-Our-Fault. As you point out, the Islamists have no such constraints. The more we implode as a culture, the more they rush into the vaccuum, ever more empowered in their accusations and resentment.
Good article Bill, and oh so true.
It is the result of leftist simplistic naivety that sees Islamic terror as purely the reaction against American foreign policy. I think liberal philosopher Paul Berman has it right when he argues that Al Qaeda and other organisations are the products of a particular fascist worldview/ideology. This isn’t so much a clash of civilisations but a clash of worldviews. Between Islamofascist ideas and western liberal ones. And ideas transcend national boundaries. Thus we need to fight with ideas and philosophers (a spiritual war if you will) and not just combatants (though this is still important). And to paraphrase Berman, we need to do more than just deal with Islamists on the basis of UN resolutions, unilateralism, multilateralisms, weapons inspectors etc. We need to talk of more deep and philosophical things; and as much as I admire the courage of George W. Bush, I don’t think he is the man for this.
I wrote a small piece on this on my own blog at http://www.worldviewsandculture.blogspot.com/ (27/3/07)
You can access Berman’s insightful piece at http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.htmlres=F00B16F83C550C708EDDAA0894DB404482
I highly recommend it.