Clowns & Jokers

Stuck in the middle.... Left, right, centre. It's a mess out there.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

We are not being bold enough

Tony Blair has written quite a piece on Islam for the Council for Foreign Relations.

I only take issue with the start. But since it is at the start i think he intends to ensure that battle for hearts and minds' that has become government policy is not given shortshrift. Without the carrot and stick approach he might not have had to wax lyrical about Islams 'great achievements' and the Korans 'progressive stance'. After all if it was so progressive then islamists, extremists, muslims whatever you want to call certain factions (that he goes on to talk about in depth) might not have so easily been able to skew their world view using the Koran itself.

Salman Rushdie has always hit the nail on the head in this respect arguing that the texts are taken literally because they can be and because of a lack of any reformation. And you cannot argue that shari'a is progressive. It is interpreted as it is by mysoginist societies - which means that any sections which 'extols science and knowledge and abhors superstition' or are 'practical and far ahead of its time in attitudes toward marriage, women, and governance' as Blair states are lost on these very societies given to exercising extreme forms of control via religion. When he talks about reformation and rennaisance leaving Islam behind, he forgets that pre these periods christianity was used as a socio political force and it is Islamic nations intentions that this force remains the status quo for them.

The intentional gushing aside he is really quite emphatic in outligning the core issues. To focus on the gushy bits would be a mistake in what i assume is his swansong on this issue. (Besides he goes on to talk about 'religious doctine' and refers to those he loathes as 'Islamists' - that can only come about from religious texts in Islam and he knows this)

Some of it we have heard before but he draws us back to the key key point:

"Yet despite all of this, which I consider fairly obvious, many in Western countries listen to the propaganda of the extremists and accept it. (And to give credit where it is due, the extremists play our own media with a shrewdness that would be the envy of many a political party.)

If we recognized this struggle for what it truly is, we would at least be on the first steps of the path to winning it. But a vast part of Western opinion is not remotely near this point yet.This ideology has to be taken on -- and taken on everywhere. Islamist terrorism will not be defeated until we confront not just the methods of the extremists but also their ideas. I do not mean just telling them that terrorist activity is wrong. I mean telling them that their attitude toward the United States is absurd, that their concept of governance is prefeudal, that their positions on women and other faiths are reactionary. We must reject not just their barbaric acts but also their false sense of grievance against the West, their attempt to persuade us that it is
others and not they themselves who are responsible for their violence.

The debate over the wisdom of the original decisions, especially about Iraq, will continue. Opponents will say that Iraq was never a threat, that there were no weapons of mass destruction, that the drug trade in Afghanistan continues. I will point out that Iraq was indeed a threat, as two regional wars, 14 UN resolutions, and the final report of the Iraq Survey Group showed. I will remind people that in the aftermath of the Iraq war, we secured major advances in tackling the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, not least a new relationship with Libya and the shutting down of A. Q. Khan's nuclear weapons network. I will recall that it was the Taliban who manipulated the drug trade and housed al Qaeda and its training camps..'

It is almost incredible to me that so much Western opinion appears to buy the idea that the emergence of this global terrorism is somehow our fault'

"Why are we not yet succeeding? Because we are not being bold enough, consistent enough, thorough enough in fighting for the values we believe in"

Our media, his own government (at times to his frustration not to mention mine...) and the Opposition have all been slow to understand what is at stake, flopping around trying to placate and posture the you know who's - and the continuing moronic ranting about the rights and wrongs of Iraq both here and in the US add nothing but fuel to the islamist fire. He is right to remind us of the reasons for going to war and of course he is right in the reasoning. But he is most right in slamming the wars critics for their part in adding to the victim mentality he very appropriately mentions.

It wont just be Britain that loses out when he steps down. The thought of a power hungry Brown keen to distance himself from Iraq, an inept Bush, utterly utterly useless at vocalising this situation and worse still those grandstanding policy-light Democrats, shaping the future on this problem sends shivers down my spine.

(p.s imho the manner of Saddams execution was a disaster. That we are instrinsically involved in it by virtue of our prescence there and allowed this get out of hand as it did and find its way into the media like that is more than embarrassing, it was an unmitigated FIASCO)


At Monday, 08 January, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

excellent post Allison.

At Thursday, 11 January, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read this a week or two ago. It was tough getting past that paragraph extolling the virtues of Islam and the Koran, but once I did, the rest of the article was Blair at his best.


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