Monday, July 17, 2006
the lack of ideas
If you look at the jihadists, they had a victory in '79 by pushing the Soviets out of Afghanistan. They pushed the U.S. out of Lebanon. The pushed the Israelis out of Gaza and out of Lebanon. They're probably pushing the U.S. out of Iraq. They are on the march.
Iraq is part of that, but it's not the whole story. They are on the march, and they're sidelining the reasonable people in the Middle East, who may be the majority, but right now what's happening in the Middle East is the Israeli public opinion has gone to the center, for withdrawal, but Arab decision makers have gone to the extremes, to Hamas and Hezbollah.
And that's just not something -- we can't call them up and have a summit. We can't have shuttle diplomacy. We can't invite them to Camp David because they're so extreme, so we are constrained. I agree with Mark; it's gloomy, but it's a long historical trend of which Iraq is an important part.
looking past the shameless and transparent incitation to fear -- that we should all flee for the hills with the approach of a murderous army, something that could not be further from the imminent reality and is indeed a sort of perverse projection -- which is something that accompanies and perhaps underlies virtually every single public political initiative in the united states as a wild-eyed democracy without moral guidance; and further looking past the cooption of a half-considered "historical" viewpoint as propaganda in the service of a far more frantic and desperate frenzy for immediate temporal political power under the aegis of anglophone empire, which is in the end all that brooks' masters know or understand; note the basic question interposed by brooks:
how do we confront and defeat these 'enemies'?
there is a sharp point to be made here -- the western political elite of any facet feel they have no means by which to interact reasonably with the parties of islamic civilization which oppose our empire on their shores. there is no understanding and there are no ideas.
they are confused by the lack of a state apparatus -- so much so that they, in completely mad folly, go about attacking governments without any real control over or responsibility for these wounds in the side of the west. such blind lashing about allows them the technical convenience of utilizing the monstrous and debilitating apparatus of violence that is the arm of the nation-state, the army. this, one imagines, may make rulers in white houses feel more psychologically comfortable about the vast debts they incur in accumulating the weapons of mass destruction -- they are of some use after all, they nervously tell themselves, and are not archaic and futile after all.
but it fails to recognize that no basic problems are being solved. what if, say, iraq is quelled by american murder and technique, and israel further slaughters its way through lebanon all the way to aleppo and damascus. what then? and what if then further these armies of crusading western empire turn their bloody swords on iran and egypt, making nothing more of persian and arab political determination than another province of american administration?
would al qaeda then go away? hamas? hezbollah?
of course not -- the very concept, once stated, reveals its idiocy. and this because these organizations are dependent neither on friendly governments nor safe havens. what they are solely dependent on is western antagonism, for they feed and thrive on the incursions of the decaying west -- which like a dying star swells in its death throes into a fiery giant, uncontrollably destroying all it contacts as its hollowly inflates itself just before, finally, collpasing and imploding in upon itself -- onto the mohammedan culture of the east. hamas, hezbollah and al-qaeda do not decrease in attraction and magnetism as the west rampages through arab plains littered with the bodies of the innocent; they increase, and profoundly in scope and integrity, giving rise to a new conception of islamic chivalry that is as perfectly suited to the post-ottoman east under the onslaught of a macabre postchristian west as the medieval chivalry of christian knights was suited to the nascent west under the onslaught of the armies of the saracens.
the power men seek upon this earth is nothing but the pursuit of evil in the christian conception, and evil is its own fleeting reward. the west, having now long ago lost any semblance of morality and existing as it does in an incredible ruddy rococo of diversion and emptiness, has had nothing left to it but to have become the embodiment of this evil -- and pervasively, for is there any western man who does not value his possessions over all else? and what are possessions and wealth if not merely the misguided measure of one's status, of one's power? it is not merely the elite of this plebiscitarian society that have embraced decadence. consider that money is not the root of evil; instead, that money is but the yardstick by which the petty illusion of temporal power is measured. in its boggling and encyclopedic search for wealth and power, the west has become what it long ago beheld -- powerful and evil beyond all proportion. we in the west have become a hell unto the earth.
and we are not the first. rome persuaded the barbarians over its frontiers in much the same way as we have persuaded ours. and it should not be unnoticed that, for all his fear-mongering, brooks is right -- the west, invested deeply in technical capacity but without an iota of morality, is too weak to defeat these aliens in far-flung empire. soon enough by the count of centuries, as was seen in rome and babylon and all the world's civilizations prior, the confrontation between the decadent and evil perversion of civility and the thoroughly antagonized and militarized barbarians over the frontiers will define the ages hence and end in the deserved destruction of the west.
it was beyond the ability of a spartan and ossified hellenic empire to see that their obsession with technique and power was not a vehicle by which the enemies they had made in the pursuit of those obsessions could be surmounted by -- that their only path toward peace lay in the moral and creative light that would only be fully revealed with the collapse of roman administration in the primacy of a christian philosophy that was completely adopted by the tribal kings who laid waste to the evil of rome in spite of their admiration for the civilization rome had been capable of.
so it will be for our spartan and ossified western empire in the fullness of time, and the weakness and desperation in the face of a lack of moral solution is on display now in the mideast and asia -- in iraq, in lebanon, in afghanistan, and soon in syria and iran.