the fanatics among us

The other day, I got one of those emails that friends pass around — this one made some disturbing statements that included the following:

We are told again and again by “experts” and “talking heads” that Islam is the religion of peace, and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace.

Although this unqualified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the specter of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam. The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history.

It is the fanatics who march. It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars worldwide. It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave. It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or honor kill. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals. The hard quantifiable fact is that the “peaceful majority” the “silent majority” is cowed and extraneous.

Communist Russia comprised Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder of about 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant. China’s huge population, it was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists managed to kill a staggering 70 million people.

The average Japanese individual prior to World War II was not a warmongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way across South East Asia in an orgy of killing that included the systematic murder of 12 million Chinese civilians; most killed by sword, shovel and bayonet.

And, who can forget Rwanda, which collapsed into butchery. Could it not be said that the majority of Rwandans were “peace loving”?

History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt, yet for all our powers of reason we often miss the most basic and uncomplicated of points: Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence.

Peace-loving Muslims will become our enemy if they don’t speak up, because like my friend from Germany, they will awake one day and find that the fanatics own them, and the end of their world will have begun.

Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, Serbs Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and many others have died because the peaceful majority did not speak up until it was too late.

As for us who watch it all unfold; we must pay attention to the only group that counts; the fanatics who threaten our way of life.

Wait a minute, wait a minute, I think as I read this. What about the American fanatics! What about Darth Cheney, the embodiment of all the political evils that honest Americans are supposed to despise? What about our piss-for-brains president, that fanatic who, along with his equally manipulative minions, created the lies that fueled the fanaticism of these wars in the Middle East? Why aren’t peace-loving, fanatic-hating Americans speaking up against these dangerous fanatics and their followers who “threaten our way of life???”
I was about to respond to the dozens and dozens of individuals who received the original myopic jabber with the above knee-jerk rant of my own, when I thought: wait a minute, wait a minute. Take a deep breath. What’s the reall issue here?
But before I had any rational thoughts, a response arrived from someone else on that email list, and I rejoiced in having a kindred spirit among the lot, someone who could make the point more thoughtfully and intelligently than I. He said:

I doubt there are many who would dispute the premiss that fanatics are dangerous to freedom loving people and nations, so, to a great extent, this missive is preaching to the choir. The dispute we have to deal with is about how we battle extremism, not whether we do it. The tactic of choice of the current US regime believed, and sadly, some still do, that the preferred method in full frontal war; after all, they reason, that is the technique that worked to end Naziism. That approach works when the enemy is concentrated in essentially one or two places, as was the case in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s. However, that is not the case now. The enemy is everywhere and bombing their “hidie holes” seems only to create more of them, and removing the head of “evil axis” states doesn’t work very well either for, unlike Europe, the citizens of these states do not welcome invaders as “liberators” as both Viet Nam and Iraq amply demonstrate.

It is a different kind of war, boys and girls, and if we don’t recognize that and rethink our strategy, we will be sucked into more costly (loss of lives, material and spiritual, and loss of presonal and national freedoms) wars we cannot win. I’m far more concerned about rising fascism in the US than I am about international terrorism. It is time to stop letting the military-industrial complex make decisions about international relations, and put them in their appropriate position as just one of the many institutions in a democracy who make such policy. In a democracy, the “kick ass and take names” element must sit down and discuss strategy with the “peace at any cost” folks, hopefully moderated by a moderate, problem-solving oriented “centerist” segment, to come up with a strategy to deal with the real current issues we face.

So, while I appreciate the reminder of one of the issues that we must deal with, I would be much more interested in the debate about how we deal with the issue.

Thanks, and remember what Ben Frankilin said “The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either.”

So, my thanks to the guy who did take the time to send his reasonable response to all of those email readers as a reminder of what the debate should be about.
Of course, in my estimation, the way we deal with the issue is to throw those bums (and their minions) out and elect someone to lead the Executive Branch who actually knows how to think critically and knows how to pronounce “nuclear” and whose leadership is motivated by more human, humane, moral values; who adheres to and protects the purposes of a constitutional democracy. I’m tending towards Edwards, myself.

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