Saturday, July 4, 2009

Why does everything look so small and far away with these binoculars?

Our good friend in The Toronto Star, Haroon Siddiqui, for whom the sun only shines out of Muslim backsides, has penned one of his patented “end of era” stories about how the recent, long-planned departure of American soldiers from Iraq shows the whole adventure to be a huge imperialist failure. They were “yanked” out of the cities, says Siddiqui.

He is right about the failure, of course, just not about the empire. He is like a man who looks through the wrong end of binoculars and notes that everything seems so small and far away.

The U.S. military forces destroyed the much vaunted Iraqi military in approximately a month after its invasion, and finally put an end to Saddam Hussein’s dreams of empire (seizing territory from Iran and annexing Kuwait). Then just about every jihad fighter in Islam descended on Iraq, spurred on by Osama bin Laden’s vision of a worldwide Caliphate and the Islamic conquest of the entire globe. There were 4 years of vicious fighting, and more than 4,000 U.S. casualties, but Islam was hammered into the ground, to the point that America feels it can safely withdraw its troops.

To take a conceit from Siddiqui’s story, nowhere does he mention the 300,000 plus Iraqis that Hussein murdered or the nearly one million Iranians who died from his war. Nowhere does he mention that the vast majority of the bloodshed in post-invasion Iraq came from Muslims killing each other, contrary to the dictates of the Koran.

All sustaining liberal democracies were born from conflict, but as Benjamin Franklin once said to a citizen outside the chambers where the American constitution was being debated, “We have given you a Republic, if you can keep it.”

I am not anticipating it will fail, but if Iraq should fail as a liberal democracy after this, it will be the responsibility of the Iraqis to shoulder the blame, not the United States. And if it is Islam that dooms the fledgling democracy then I suppose we will have our answer to the question of whether Islam can truly be compatible with democratic values. Who then will Siddiqui blame for Iraq’s troubles?

Militarily, there is no way Islam can defeat the west, even when armed with the weapons of the west. That has been the case for the past four centuries. However, the peaceful invasion of Islamic immigrants to western societies may have better outcomes for dreams of Islamic empires.

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