Saturday, May 16, 2009

It was a light blogging week, but....

I just noticed that it has been a week since I put something up here. Its not that I haven't been active on the intertubes...I have. I'm on vacation now, which means I've been catching up on things around the house (a pool repair project, a new door, fixing the lawnmower [again--groan]), preparing for our 25th Anniversary Vacation (Yeah!), studying for recurrent (Boo!), and spending more time on That-Forum-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named than I should.

All that said, the topic of the week was, still, "torture". It came in many incarnations...from Zero's decision to not release the photos of the "torture", to Nancy Pelosi's continuing down the bizarre path that They-Only-Told-Me-They-Were-Gonna-"Torture"/I-Was-Only-Briefed-That-There-Was-A-Briefing/The-CIA-Lied-"Mislead"-Congress/No-Make-That-"The-Bush-Administration-Lied". Leon Panetta has now found himself involved.

The "Torturous" video here....

And on That-Forum-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named "torture" was still the topic. I posted the following over there (de-identified, of course) to one of my die-hard "torture-is-immoral" oppponents (is that an oxymoron?).

Posted By [Me] on 13 May 2009 07:38 PM
Posted By [A guy with similar views] on 13 May 2009 10:07 AM
...[My first name], help me here.

Maybe this is what you're looking for....

Regarding "torture", [My opponent] and his fellow travelers will say...
Posted By [My opponent] on 12 May 2009 10:05 PM

No, what we do to them defines us....
As they gaze at their navels in the search for every one of our imperfections, they fail to wonder:
If we are defined by what we do to them, is our enemy similarly defined by what they do to us?
While, just as in every religious sect, in Islam there are different interpretations of the meaning of religious texts, the Sura 9:29 says...
"You shall fight back against those who do not believe in GOD, nor in the Last Day, nor do they prohibit what GOD and His messenger have prohibited, nor do they abide by the religion of truth - among those who received the scripture - until they pay the due tax, willingly or unwillingly."
...and I have seen this alternative translation...
"Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the last day, nor acknowledge the religion of truth, even if they are people of the book (i.e. Christians or Jews) until they pay the Jiyza with willing submission and feel themselves subdued."
Also relevant is Sura 9:30...
"They have set up their religious leaders and scholars as lords, instead of GOD. Others deified the Messiah, son of Mary. They were all commanded to worship only one god. There is no god except He. Be He glorified, high above having any partners."
When a Christian or Jew listens to a preacher or a Pope, the Islamists believe that they are blaspheming God/Allah. They call us "polytheists" for employing these intermediaries between ourselves and God. Moreover, whenever we elect people to represent us in a democracy, they believe that we are elevating a man to a place that God ought to occupy.

Christians and Jews share the Old Testament, and therefore the Book of Genesis. In Genesis, we see the story that God created the Heavens and Earth in six days, and on the seventh day He rested. He created a day free of work so that He could stop and appreciate--love--all that He had created. And, of course, one of the things that He created was man. Moreover, man was created in His image. [This idea itself is enough for the Islamists to believe that we are heretics.] But given that we are in His image, one of the things we accept is that we too have a day free of work in which we set aside time to worship Him and appreciate the wider world. But, because God also gave us freedom....we are also free not to worship. That choice may generate some consequences in this life or the next, but the point being that we are free to make that choice in our religious life.

The Islamists don't believe in this freedom, either in the choice of whether to worship or to whom. They believe that Allah determines and controls everything. They believe that the reason that the very molecules in our bodies do not fly apart into a random oblivion is only due to Allah's will. To deny Allah's will, either directly or by maintaining another faith, is blasphemy.

The Islamists also believe that any lands which were ever Islamic are always to be Islamic. The "Israel Problem" is a combination of their quest to reclaim territory and a fight against freedom-loving non-believers.

And speaking of freedom-loving non-believers, the Islamists are almost as unhappy with democratic Muslim states and Muslim states who cooperate with the West as they are with the West itself. They believe that any Muslim who casts a vote is denigrating that which is due to Allah. They were especially incensed at Saudi Arabia for allowing the infidel West to defile their lands in Desert Storm. They remain unhappy that SA does business with the West.

What this all adds up to is that the Islamists believe they have a duty--a religious duty--to fight anyone who denies Allah or Muslims who cooperate with these infidels.

I imagine you're wondering: Why did I take you down this path?

Well, I did this to again make the case that we are in an existential fight against a measurable portion of Islam. Like it or not, we are in the worst sort of war: A religious war. Beyond the lands that the Islamists seek to retake and rule under Sharia, they are also after our religious hearts. They seek to take everything we have: Our lands; our freedoms; and our religions. It is a telling omen that when Steve Centani and Olaf Wiig were kidnapped by the Palistinians in Gaza, one of the conditions of their release was that they were made to convert to Islam at gunpoint. You can pooh-pooh this by reasoning that a forced conversion is not a valid conversion, but how can you be sure? Does not God have the power to recognize conversions? Moreover, this is entirely consistent with how the Islamists view the world. We believe we have the freedom to make our own religious choices; They believe in no such thing. They are completely intolerant.

And when Khalid Sheikh Mohammed sawed off the head of the Jewish Daniel Pearl, he too was being completely consistent. They believe they have the right, and the duty, to rid the world of those who do not believe as they do.

So after we captured Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, we found him to be resistant to all our efforts at getting what he knew. So then we gnashed our teeth and asked the OLC to give a legal opinion on just how enhanced our Enhanced Interrogation Techniques could be. So after we decided how and whether we could waterboard him, he gave up Abu Zubaydah after the EIT. When we captured Zubaydah and found him also resistant to our questioning, we waterboarded him and then Zubaydah gave up KSM. KSM also resisted until waterboarded, and through all these EITs, we learned information that saved American lives.

[My opponent] says: So what? We could have learned what they knew without resorting to these EITs--this "torture". He can't possibly know this. You can never know the conditions on the path that you chose not to take. Moreover, he cannot know the fourth dimension here--the time required to yield the same results if we chose to take some less "torturous" techniques. This is why Zero retains his Jack Bauer exception to the ticking time-bomb scenario. And this also makes those who decried the previous administration over "torture", yet continue to support Zero, hypocrites on this matter.

Christians are commanded to turn the other cheek. Yet we are also allowed to defend our beliefs.

FWIW, if you've reached this far and are interested in more of I've come across here, this post speaks to the Recent Statements of Islamic Ideology as heard through bin Laden and Zarqawi and this post speaks to Islam vs Free Democracy and Free Enterprise. I read all of the first and can recommend it, and the introduction of the second and can recommend it to that point.

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