War in Gaza

Israel attacks the Gaza Strip , as Palestinians proclaim another intifada, one they vow will unleash “hell.” I understand that Israelis are fed up with Palestinians in Gaza shooting rockets at them from across the border. But choosing now to come down on the Palestinians does not help the United States. We finally have worked out a level of relative peace in Iraq, with progress on other fronts. We didn’t need Israel to stir up the Muslim world again. The timing also suggests that Israel is taking advantage of our leadership transition, striking hard one more time while President Bush is in office before the possibly more peaceful Barack Obama becomes president.

The West can’t defeat Jihadists with secularism

According to Elizabeth Scalia of the Anchoress blog, argues that Winning This War Requires Language of Faith:

It is with the language of faith that Islamic terrorism must be engaged and defeated, and therein lies the disconnect for the diplomatic West. Having reasoned itself out of faith, its incomplete arsenal is fit for battle, but not for victory. The West can speak only of borders, boundaries, markets, and measurement. Faith exists beyond boundaries and borders; it defies markets and measurement. The negotiables of the West are worldly and “the world” means nothing in the face of paradise. Islam, like all faith, is not of this world but of the world to come. Islam’s extremists, like all extremists, would like to speed their agenda along.

Jihad is not interested in acquiring land, or money, or even control, which faith understands to be illusory. What these extremists want is submission. To their book or to their sword.

We should consider that Islamic terrorism may not be defeatable, except on its own terms, on the battlefield of the supernatural.

To secularists and avowed agnostics who work to expunge all religious language from governments, that idea is anathema. I doubt it makes many Christians or Jews happy, either. But the war on terror is as much about ideas and ideals as about security and strategy. If one side’s ideas are mayhem in service to transcendence and the other side is thinking about meetings and signed papers, then secular Western diplomacy is boxing with one glove.

Silencing the language of faith in public discourse and policy weakens the West’s ability to engage and defeat an enemy entirely motivated by relentless theology. By failing to speak in the same language, it has no weapons for victory, short of destroying whole cities.

President-elect Barack Obama, with his Muslim roots and confessed Christianity, may be about to learn what President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair seemed always to have understood — that a vocabulary of faith must be deployable in the war on terror, or that war will never be won. Jihad does not care about the vaunted compassion, consensus-building, or tolerance of the West; it will use all of those things against the West, in pursuit of its very soul.

Radical, fundamentalist Islam “knows” it has God on its side. The West, like a leery coach unsure what to do with a controversial player, has put God on the sidelines during a most crucial playoff.

Terrorists are back

At least two Americans–from here in Virginia–are among the 145 people killed in India by terrorists. In the attacks, which began just after 9:00 p.m. local time (the day before Thanksgiving for us), dozens of young men strode through the city firing their automatic weapons at crowds and then rendezvoused at hotels at the local Jewish center, where they took hostages. They sought specifically Americans and Britons. Indian commandos are still battling the terrorists.

Americans were killed because of their country. Those Virginians did nothing to those terrorists. Just being an American is enough to get you killed these days. We mourn all those killed, most of whom were Indians. The war on terrorism must continue.

UPDATE: Now that the dust has cleared and order has been restored, it turns out that there were nine gunmen who killed 172 people, six of them Americans.

Mikaeel Jackson, Muslim convert

Michael Jackson ‘converts to Islam and changes name to Mikaeel’ :

The former Jackson 5 star was counselled by David Wharnsby, a Canadian songwriter, and Phillip Bubal, a producer, who have both converted.

A source said Jackson had appeared a “bit down” and added: “They began talking to him about their beliefs, and how they thought they had become better people after they converted. Michael soon began warming to the idea.

“An imam was summoned from the mosque and Michael went through the shahada, which is the Muslim declaration of belief.”

Last year his brother, Jermaine Friday, suggested Jackson would convert having taken an interest in Islam since Friday’s conversion in 1989.

“When I came back from Mecca I got him a lot of books and he asked me lots of things about my religion and I told him that it’s peaceful and beautiful,” said Friday.

Jackson was raised a Jehovah’s Witness. Notice how it isn’t just the eccentric pop star. We have a songwriter, a producer, and another singer. I’m telling you, Islam is going to be more and more in vogue. And, no, I don’t think it’s going to lessen the immorality in the entertainment industry. Legalism doesn’t lessen immorality.

Mark Steyn found innocent

In a case we have blogged about in the past, a Canadian human rights tribunal has acquitted columnist Mark Steyn of the charge of “hate speech” for criticizing Islam. See Mark Steyn acquitted in Canadian sharia case.

History restarts, as American brand fails

I enjoy reading scholars defending their theories after they have been proven wrong. In 1989, Francis Fukuyama wrote a provocative essay entitled “The End of History.” Written at a time when communism was collapsing, Fukuyama argued that democracy and free market economics have won. There are no alternatives. That means that the conflicts that have defined history are over. We will now live happily ever after.

In this column, Fukuyama (who is a real scholar with a conservative bent) revisits his thesis in light of the new Russian aggression, the persistance of anti-democratic rule in places like China, and the new host of international conflicts. He insists that his point is still valid in that there are no IDEOLOGICAL competitors to democracy and capitalism.

He does mention Islam and nationalism, but I think he underestimates the former as an all-encompassing totalitarian ideology. And I think he misses what China may be creating: A synthesis of totalitarianism and capitalism that may well crystalize into a new ideology. (It will be similar to National Socialism, which we have seen before.)

But in his latest column, Fukuyama goes further and perhaps changes his tune. Writing after the meltdown and the bailout in the financial market, he says that the “American brand” is damaged. The financial crisis has made American-style capitalism look bad. And American-style democracy has taken a hit because of the way it is being used to justify the war in Iraq. As an alternative, he says, nations around the world might consider the “Russian model” or the “Chinese model.”