Culture War

Wikipedia, Google

[This is a draft.]

Some people have been wondering
exactly why the U.S. media/political “elite”
seems so obsessed with fighting, rather than compromising with,
significant elements of the Islamic world.
Various explanations for this have been given by elements of “the elite”:
“They hate us for our values”
“They’re nihilists out to destroy anything that is good,
simply because they love destruction.”
“We have to fight them over there,
otherwise we would be fighting them over here.”
and so on;
more examples can be found
on the editorial pages and in the editorial cartoons of most of the MSM,
e.g., the Washington Post.

Sometimes people on the left mumble about the “military-industrial complex”,
always a convenient scapegoat,
even if it is far less politically powerful than they think.
Than, of course,
there are elements within the Jewish right who have been egging on this war,
sometimes calling it “World War IV”,
with motives that one may easily surmise essentially amount to
a version of “Let’s you and him fight”,
with the goal of easing the pressure on Israel from the Muslim world.

But on the other hand:
There are parts of the Islamic world
which are unabashedly politically incorrect—
sexist, homophobic, and surely anti-Zionist, to one extent or another.
At the very least, they oppose Israel’s post-1967 expansion into the West Bank.
Some of them, to be sure, oppose Israel’s very existence.

Is this not a key part of why the U.S. fights with,
rather than compromises with,
various parts of the Islamic world?

Recall Condoleezza Rice’s expressed desire to transform the Middle East,
and her statements that it was much in need of transformation (e.g.).
No one seemed to question her on
just why she thought it needed transformation.
(My personal opinion is that
if anything in the Middle East need to be transformed,
it is that Israel needs to abandon its occupation of the West Bank,
but I am aware that is hardly a popular view to the American elite.)

Below are some samples of what we hear from “the elite”
where the desire for a Kulturkampf seems to be present.


Gates Says Taliban Must Take Legitimate Afghan Role
New York Times, 2010-01-23

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan —

The United States recognizes that
the Taliban are now part of the political fabric of Afghanistan,
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said here on Friday,
but the group must be prepared to play a legitimate role
before it can reconcile with the Afghan government.

That means, Mr. Gates said, that the Taliban must participate in elections,
not oppose education and not assassinate local officials.

“The question is whether the Taliban at some point in this process
are ready to help build a 21st-century Afghanistan
or whether they still just want to kill people,”
Mr. Gates said.

[This is a false alternative.
What if they neither want to kill people, nor “build a 21st-century Afghanistan”,
but rather build an Afghanistan true to their view of Islamic law.
What difference does it make to America
whether that vision resembles European or Western societies
of the 21st, 19th, 17th, or medieval centuries?]

The defense secretary made his remarks in an interview with Pakistani journalists
at the home of the American ambassador to Pakistan, Anne W. Patterson.
Mr. Gates was on the second day of a two-day visit to the country.

American officials have given qualified support to a proposed Afghan initiative
to provide jobs, security and social benefits to Taliban followers who defect.
Mr. Gates has said there could be a surge of such followers
willing to be integrated into Afghan society,
but he has voiced skepticism about whether the Taliban leadership
is ready to work peacefully with the Afghan government.


“The question is,
what do the Taliban want to make out of Afghanistan?”

Mr. Gates told the journalists.
“When they tried before, we saw what they wanted to make,
and it was a desert, culturally and in every other way.”

[Gates, in this off-the-cuff remark, is making explicit
what I think is the general view of much of the politically-correct “elite”:
that they oppose the Taliban for its effect on Afghanistan,
which they view as uncivilized, repressive and “medieval.”
Thus it is America, rather than Muslims, who are making this into
precisely the “clash of civilizations” described by Samuel Huntington.
It is we who hate them for their values,
not they who hate us for our values.

They hate us for what we do in their world,
not what we do in our homeland.]

Religion and the Making of U.S. Foreign Policy
Chicago Council on Global Affairs, 2010-02-23

The Chicago Council released its task force report,
Engaging Religious Communities Abroad:
A New Imperative for U.S. Foreign Policy


Religious communities are central players in
the counterinsurgency war in Afghanistan,
development assistance,
the promotion of human rights,
stewardship of the environment,
and the pursuit of peace in troubled parts of the world.
The success of American diplomacy in the next decade
will be measured in no small part by
its ability to connect with
the hundreds of millions of people throughout the world
whose identity is defined by religion.

'God gap' impedes U.S. foreign policy, task force says
By David Waters
Washington Post, 2010-02-24

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