November 25, 2012
By Jim Yardley
at least the past decade, and perhaps longer, the nations of the West
have treated jihadists and radical Islamists (which groups count for
many more Muslims than most Americans care to admit) with an inordinate
level of respect so as not to "offend" them.
first thing that should be considered is that no one is entitled to
"respect." "Respect" must be earned, just as "trust" must be earned.
One might argue that "courtesy" can be demanded, but to demand "respect"
and "trust" is insulting to those from whom the fulfillment of the
demand is required.
The second thing that should be noted is that Western nations define the word "respect" differently from the way Islamic
nations do. Based on observed historical example, dominant strict
Islamic nations recognize only abject subjugation, known as dhimmitude,
as a display of respect. Any attempt to sustain independence from their
control is viewed as being disrespectful of, if not blasphemous to,
their religious sensitivities.
behavior by strict adherents of Islamic doctrine in areas of personal
interactions among themselves makes providing any level of respect --
much less giving them what they view as proper levels of respect --
can non-Muslins respect a man who will murder his own daughters for the
unforgivable sin of disagreement with his edicts when such disagreement
might cause him the slightest embarrassment within his own culture?
(His own culture being defined as the culture of his birth, not the
culture of his current nation of residence.) We can offer such a man a
modicum of courtesy, but has he earned our respect?
How can Westerners respect a family
that effectively forces a daughter to marry against her will? One
might offer polite words wishing for the future happiness of the two
parties to the marriage as a courtesy, but how much respect is due to
the family who would do this to their own child?
How can Westerners respect a nation that believes that a woman who has merely been accused
of adultery can be subjected to a brutal death by stoning? No proof
required, and under sharia law, a woman's testimony is discounted when
in conflict with the testimony of a man. How does that deserve respect?
knowing that offering any criticism of another culture invites
accusations of insensitivity, Islamophobia, racism, and any other
calumny that can be hurled by academics, the dinosaur media, and
liberals in general, one still has to ask what benefit the average
citizen of any European or North American nation can possibly get from
toleration of these displays of barbarity in the name of "diversity."
say that America is not at war with Islam is about as logical as saying
that the United States was not at war with Japan after the attack on
Pearl Harbor. True, not every Japanese citizen was in favor of
attacking America. Even the man who planned the attack, Admiral
Yamamoto, didn't think it was the greatest idea he'd ever heard, but he
followed orders anyway. Unfortunately, the ordinary citizens of Japan
supported, actively or passively, the fanatics who were behind the
attack. They continued to support those same fanatics until nuclear
bombs went off over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Does this earn them any
average German citizen might not have been a Kool-Aid-drinking
supporter of Adolf Hitler; some or even many of them may have cooperated
for fear of the Gestapo and the concentration camps. Once again, did
that earn ordinary Germans or the German government any respect?
both cases, the very same arguments could be used to defend Muslims who
don't actively oppose the strict application of sharia. They didn't
personally lead the 9/11 assault on America. They didn't personally
kill our ambassador in Libya. They didn't personally try to sink the
USS Cole or blow up our embassy in Nairobi. And those things
are all true. But is this behavior worthy of respect? In diplomatic
circles we may still act in a courteous manner toward the government of
Libya, but has this event created an atmosphere of respect?
ordinary Muslims actively or passively support a group of barbaric
maniacs, even if that support is coerced or offered because of a
(justifiable) fear of getting their own heads cut off, does that
surrender to their fear deserve our respect?
being said, then, the idea of rules of engagement that are overly
solicitous of "innocent civilians" in Afghanistan is not a rational
response during a war. Afghans can either fight to expel al-Qaeda and
the Taliban, or they should be viewed as equivalent to an accessory to a
crime. If they choose to tolerate, and tacitly support the terrorists
in their midst, does that deserve respect?
Muslims would respect America more if that tack were taken. After all,
under our definition, the 3,000-plus people who died on 9/11 were
"innocent civilians," too. But the jihadists and Islamists viewed them
as equally guilty since, through taxation, they supported the Great
Satan. Perhaps showing them that we plan on operating using their rules
and not ours will make their black, shriveled hearts go pitter-pat when
we show them that we are finally respecting their ways.
time and past to operate under the same rules of engagement as the
Islamic fanatics that we are coping with, and responding to their
aggression with overwhelming force, and without the illogical and
asymmetrical rules of engagement forced on our troops by the White House
and the Pentagon. It is possible that America might earn the respect
of the Muslim world, if not our own domestic critics.
Jim Yardley is a retired financial controller for a variety of manufacturing firms, a Vietnam veteran, and an independent voter. Jim blogs at http://jimyardley.wordpress.com, or he can be contacted directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.