The "war of ideas": America’s Waterloo

No one knows if the American fascists will ever succeed in their “war of ideas” in the Muslim world. What everyone can see with his eyes, however, is the fact that this war has already achieved great success in the US and most of the non-Muslim world.

The success of the “war of ideas” might not be as much threatening to the already shattered Muslim world as much it is becoming America’s Waterloo and undermining future of its allies.

Interestingly, started with the objective of promoting a “war within Islam,” this war is now turning American minds into stones with an alarming speed. The stonified minds lose the force of imagination and the capacity to absorb anything good -” particularly any good associated with Islam. It blinds its victims to reality and forces them into making wrong choices and supporting wrong decisions.

So far, the victims of this war are only its self-deluded perpetrators, some opportunist Muslims and mostly Americans who do not even know the A, B, C of Islam.

It is not the power of “ideas” that has pushed many Muslims into slitting each other’s throats. It is the power of dollars, attraction of certain positions of power and the human opportunistic instincts that has been dividing them.

On the other hand, the “idea” that Islam promotes violence and Muslims are the enemy has really worked well to stonify most American minds to the great disadvantage of a nation that has achieved unprecedented success in many fields of life.

Oppressed, occupied, tortured and humiliated, that is how ordinary life of Muslims under one or another kind of occupation has become due to these “ideas.” In Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan, stone walls encircle them in huge prisons, or keep them away from “strategic” locations.

Contrary to the physical occupation and incarceration in the Muslim world, the “war of ideas” has led to mental occupation in the US and most of the West. The ordinary life of Americans has become petrified, stonified and shrunk into fixed mental space -” a reality that is no less than death. Sapping their energy for constructive thinking, it leads them to follow a very dangerous trend. A message from an ordinary American, for example, reads:

“You are correct in claiming that the US did not respond appropriately to 9/11. On 9/12, every resident alien Muslim in the US, and every resident alien from a country with 51+% Muslim population should have been immediately deported. Then a nuclear attack on the entire Afghanistan/Pakistan border should have left nothing alive for one hundred miles in either direction. I’m sure we’ll get it right next time your people kill my people. The third time? Nuclear attack on Mecca during Hajj. The US is the only state in history to use nuclear weapons against a civilian population. You behead us? We will annihilate you. Enjoy. Yours, A typical moderate American.”

This is a typical example of a stonified mind which never listens to any argument that contradicts “ideas” presented by the American fascists. Read the above mentioned message from a self-proclaimed “moderate” American and imagine the extremists among them. Think of the consequences of their ways of thinking. Even if there is no Hitler in the US today, with this kind of rock-mindsets it is very hard to rule out the possibility of rising many Hitler to power in the near future.

De-stonifying the rock minds will need:

a) unimaginable level of commitment on the part of Muslims to be model Muslims;

b) dedication to demystifying many myths and explain the reality, and

c) cooperation from non-Muslims to study and analyse carefully the “ideas” that the promoters of the “war of ideas” use to drive people into this kind of insanity.

There is really nothing new in the rhetoric of American war lords, just the same anti-Islam tirade cloaked in well-wishing terms and interspersed with boasts about "our way of life -¦ our values."

As a result, even many among Muslims believe that Daniel Pipes is a bigot; an exception. It is best to ignore him. But that is not so. He is a precious gift, a blessing in disguise. He says what many others truly believe but for the sack of political correctness don’t say it publicly.

Due to efforts of other like Daniel Pipes, the era of holding public attacks on Islam is fast coming to an end. It is now politically correct to say we are at war with Islamic ideology and it is "a Crusade we must win." [1] Some of them still make the deceiving statements that they are at war with Islamic ideology, not with Islam. It is, however, difficult for the war lords to prove Islam separate from its ideology.

It means, Muslims are acceptable as long as they do not ask for establishing Islamic state; don’t ask for collectively living by Islam and streamlining social, political and economic systems in a manner that no principle of the Qur’an and Sunnah is violated. This is exactly what is demanded of Muslims throughout the Qur’an i.e., to establish Islam in personal, family and collective lives.

The moment a Muslim talks about Islamic State, he becomes an ideologue, because in the views of modern fascist, one can be a Muslim but he has to live by the way the US likes him to live. A Muslim is acceptable as long as he accepts occupations and collaborates in consolidating and sustaining the regimes that work in the interest of the United States.

By this standard even the most notable and long serving ally of Washington, Hosnie Mubarak, becomes an “Islamist” and “terrorists’ sympathiser,” if not a terrorist by default. “If you lived in a town or city in Palestine," he said, and had to struggle to feed and educate children, "you would decide to commit suicide and kill someone along with you-¦ Someone defending his land from within his land is not a terrorist." [2]

Besides glorifying occupations as missions for liberations, the “war of ideas” is sold as a tool to modernise and liberalise Muslim economies and politics. The greatness of Islamic civilisation is not a disillusionment that makes economic advance impossible and political progress fraught with difficulty, as the Newsweek propagate. [3]

Actually, modernization is now out rightly reduced to de-Islamisation after years of attempts to merely Westernize or Americanize Muslim societies. What is demanded of Muslims today is far worse than what the communism at its worst could not demand from it subjects.

The war lords’ objective to de-Islamise Muslim societies is not just an exaggerated fear. The recent debates about drafting Afghanistan and Iraqi constitutions and the US Chief occupier’s threat to veto Shari’ah proves it as an undeniable a fact.

Arab civilisation and economies are not paralysed by the fear of modernisation, as the “ideas” suggest. They are paralysed by what the US and the former British empire have actually done to almost every Muslim land -” from imposing autocrats to extracting natural resources on the cheap.

In the Middle Ages the Arabs studied Aristotle (when he was long forgotten in the West) and invented algebra. In the 19th century, when the West set ashore in Arab lands, in the form of Napoleon’s conquest of Egypt, the locals were fascinated by this powerful civilization. Promoters of the “war of ideas” cannot explain how a region that once thrived with modernity could reject it so dramatically.

Have a look at the colonial era of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Have not Arab elites been fascinated with the West? Didn’t future kings, sheikhs and generals attend Victoria College in Alexandria, learning the speech and manners of British gentlemen? Are not off-springs of the “fundamentalist” political leaders in Pakistan studying at the US and UK? What does the longest lines one can imagine at the Western embassies in the Muslim world suggest?

Among masses, proof of the fact that Western way of life is gaining currency lies in TV presentations in places like Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq Syria, Pakistan, and Turkey. The new ones, however, turned out to be just as Western. Does it show rejection of modernisation as it is commonly known? From the war lords’ point of view, if Bikinis and open homosexuality in places such as Dubai is not modernisation, one can imagine what is expected of Muslims to be perfectly “modern.”

As far political stagnation, since Muslims are part of a world of kings and aristocrats imposed by the US and its allies, political stagnation remains at the level desired by the allies and any of these countries will react in the way Iraq has reacted outside occupation in the name of liberation.

General public in the West is led to believe that Muslims are enemies of modernity. Muslims might be violating all principle of Islam and its norms of decency. However, when imposed from outside, the Muslim world starts realising that modernity means living the way that is dictated by the American fascists -” beginning with accepting the acceptable-to-Washington rulers and rules.

On the economic front, Muslim countries which reformed economically could not bring themselves to ease up politically because the US could not think of a better alternative to the autocrats at the top. The Shah of Iran, who tried to move his country into the modern era fastest, reaped the most violent reaction to his toeing the US line.

It turns out that modernization takes more than what the warriors of “idea” may propose. Importing corrupt moral “values” is acceptable so that Muslims could be swayed away from Islam. Importing foreign stuff -” Cadillacs, Gulfstreams and McDonald’s -” and imposing free market is acceptable because it is in the corporate interest. Importing the inner stuffings -” political parties competing for the best representation of national interest, accountability and the rule of law -” is difficult and may undermine interest of the allies. The war lords in Washington know that no patriot and sincere person coming to power in Muslim lands will ever act like Mubarak and Musharraf.

It is a one of the main lies perpetrated by the war lords in the West that Arab governments offered their people a bargain: we will bribe you with wealth, but in return let us stay in power. This is to cover up the decades long US and its allies support to keep these autocrats in power. This is to cover up how legitimate opposition to these rulers has been demonised as “fundamentalist” so that crushing them could be legitimised. If a country like Egypt has no oil wealth, the US pumps the second high level of funds to keep the regime thriving. The same is true in the case of General Musharraf, who also cannot bribe his people with oil money.

Hypocrisy of the US and its allies’ has hit the Muslim world in a very strange way. Most countries are open enough to be morally and ideologically disrupted by modernity, but not so open that they can choose their leaders freely and live independently. If the US wants them to live under a dictator because it would be in the US interest, the people have to live with dictatorship irrespective of any level of modernity and reform.

As Lawrence Kaplan points out in the New Republic, many in the State Department scorn democracy and dismiss its advocates as naifs. They argue: (a) that Middle Eastern nations are not ready for it; or (b) that dictators are better able to control the terrorists within their borders than democrats; or (c) that the successor regimes are likely to be more anti-American than the ones we endure now. [4]

Muslims see the television shows, the fast foods and the fizzy drinks. They see promotion of feminism and homosexuality. They have the freedom to go to the level of Supreme Court to declare legal what the Qur’an has declared illegal (Riba, interest). But they don’t have the opportunity to genuinely liberalize the society and state with increased opportunities, greater openness and intact sovereignty because that would undermine the US interests.

The US has a problem with its war lords’ promoting the “war of idea” in more than one sense. Globalization has caught them at a bad moment. Muslim societies are going through a massive youth bulg. Young men, often better educated than their parents. They look at the history of never ending colonisation and consequences of the US and its satellite regimes’ policies in a more holistic way than their parents. In their new world they see great disparities of wealth and the disorienting effects of modernity; most unsettlingly, they see continuation of colonialism in new guise, their countries occupied and fellow Muslims killed in far greater proportions than any other people in the world.

In these circumstances all those who call a spade a spade, regardless of their religion, becomes the enemy of corporate ideas which sustain the globo-tyrants in power. In other words, anyone who exposes corporate terrorism of the corporate world (that is fully supported by state terrorism of the political leaders) is considered as a terrorist or terrorist’s sympathiser.

Loss of innocent lives has no value at all. Violence is not unacceptable and even bombing planes is not an issue, provided one does not have ideas -“ideas that could expose or undermine interest of global corporations and political tyrants.

A visible example is Inderjit Singh Reyat, who has twice been convicted of manslaughter for his role in providing bomb making material that, in 1985, led to the deaths of 329 people in two bombing of airplanes by Sikh terrorists. [5] He pleaded guilty to manslaughter but received just five years in jail compared to many Muslims rotting in jails without any charges or doing life sentences on the charges that their words were “inciting violence.”

Paul Fromm, Director – Canadian Association For Free Expression, compares Reyat’s case with Ernst Zundal: “Unlike Reyat, he’s been convicted of no crime. Unlike Reyat, he’s been charged with no crime. Apparently-¦killing hundreds of people is a minor detail. Attacking the ideas of our virtual secularist theocracy, however, is another matter. Zundel is a dissident and must be punished. Reyat was just a run-of-the-mill terrorist, and no threat to the ideology of ruling elite-¦.” [6]

So the “war on ideas” precedes the “war on terror.” It is not that the US will switch to the “war of ideas” on recommendation of the 9/11 commission report. It is that the “war of ideas” has not only led to 9/11 but all that happened since then. The military war is just an extension of the war on ideas.

To the greatest misfortune of its war lords, this war is only effective in stonifying American mind and directing its political leaders to continue the suicidal military offensive regardless of the consequences.

Some American analysts have rightly concluded that in this war “the United States’ ideas -” and the U.S. story of this war — have no authority.” Michael Vlahos concludes: “Indeed in the past year Muslim support that was fairly widespread in the wake of 9/11 has evaporated. Attitudes toward the United States across the world of Islam are highly negative and continue to harden. Furthermore, the various ‘ideas’ and stories from the other side — the enemy — are sympathetically transmitted and disseminated, not merely by enemy ‘public affairs,’ but by the mainstream Muslim media itself.” [7]

Unlike the technological superiority in the military war, the American fascists are miserably failing in the “war of ideas” because everything they present as an “idea” becomes an evidence of their malicious intentions. In the wake of widely exposed lies, double standards of democracy, human rights, freedom and liberation, the US message containing the much vaunted “ideas” is left with no authority at all.

Michael Vlahos rightly points out that right now “there is no ‘war of ideas’ because U.S. ideas have no authority among Muslims.” What he suggests, however, would lead the US “war on ideas” into further troubles, simply for the lack of good intentions and poverty of ideas.

See how the fascist in Washington lead the US into exactly the opposite to what they propose.

1). We witness worldwide attitudes turning sharply against the United States since 9/11. It is particularly true about the Muslim world where the US intensified it domination under the slogan of wining Muslim hearts and minds. These attitudes have gelled into an Ummah-wide worldview whose stand against American hypocrisy and injustice is now a symbol of Muslim identity and the Muslim future. The reason is that the masses see how new dictators are elevated in the process and how innocent Muslims have been victimized one way or the other. A shared vision of the United States and UK as the symbols of tyranny and injustice have become a passionate rallying point for collective Muslim purpose only because the US administration fall prey to the trap laid by the Islamophobic fascists.

2). Hate crimes against Muslims -” a result of “mainstream” media’s mission to stonify Western mind to understanding Muslims and Islam -” and government’s excesses (such as under those committed in the garb of anti-terror laws and racial profiling) are almost instantly shared across the Muslim world, and become yet another call to struggle for survival and preserving Islamic identity.

3). The US is doing all the best to invest its support for the most hated dictators in the Muslim world but fails to invest in the emerging center of gravity within Islam. Musharraf, Mubarak, Karimov and Karzai, etc are almost history -” the old line US establishments that inspire no one, not even if their articles are prominently published in the US “mainstream papers.” The dynamic center is among those rejected as “Islamists,” who represent a growing movement across the Muslim world. Their vision is not distinctly understood by the U.S. war lords’ mis-information campaign, which tends to lump all Muslim with different world view together as "radicals." By not seriously understanding Islam, and understanding benighted opportunism on the part of some self-proclaimed “moderates” it is supporting, the United States is losing chances of good relations with the future that lies ahead for the Muslim lands. It is merely establishing an ever-stronger vision of the United States as the enemy of Islam.

In the process it is hardening local mindset against Islam to the extent that it would be hard for future generation to deconstruct the mental architecture that immediately turns the message of Islam and every act of Muslims into yet another daily motivational element in the narrative of American struggle against “Islamic” terrorism.

On the other hand, Islamic movement is gaining momentum without any grand communication and information strategy -” thanks to the “war of ideas.” The US war lords’ feet of clay are now fully exposed and their words and deeds testify against them.

Lastly, if the American fascists had trust in the ideas they want to impose on the Muslim world, they would have called for the withdrawal of all military forces from the Muslim world and asked the US not to support military dictators and autocratic regimes so that they have an opportunity to spread their idea.

It is a bit awkward to hold a gun to one’s head and then ask him to fight with ideas. Brigadier General Mark Hertling, the deputy commander of the 1st Armoured Division and a military representative of the American fascists, told journalists about Muqtada al-Sadr: “Either he tells his militia to put down their arms, form a political party and fight with ideas not guns, or he’s going to find a lot of them killed."

The American war lords must not forget that using dictators, “moderate” opportunists, armed forces, occupations, concentration camps and torture centers as tools will never help them impose their “ideas.” The Soviet Union and many others before it have failed to do so. It will not be a surprise when the world witnesses an out of steam, humbled, and disintegrated America tomorrow -” all at the hands of enemies within, not Muslims allegedly wishing to destroy America.

The signs are all there for those to see who saved their minds from becoming stonified.


[1]. [2] Quoted in Washington Post’s editorial, republished in IHT, “The war of Ideas,” December 29, 2001. [3] “Failed Ideas,” Newsweek, October 15, 2002 [4] Quoted in “Is the war on terror a war of ideas?,” by Mona Charen, Washington Times, June 18, 2002. [5] “The Bomb Maker’s Deal,” The Globe and Mail, December 9, 2003, Page A22 [6] Paul Fromm, “How Ernst Zundal could be free be out by Christmas,”, 12-10-2003. [7] Michael Vlahos, “Outside View: The war of Ideas — Part 1,” A UPI Outside View commentary, Published 7/19/2004 12:45 AM

[2]. Quoted in Washington Post’s editorial, republished in IHT, “The war of Ideas,” December 29, 2001.

[3]. “Failed Ideas,” Newsweek, October 15, 2002

[4]. Quoted in “Is the war on terror a war of ideas?,” by Mona Charen, Washington Times, June 18, 2002.

[5]. “The Bomb Maker’s Deal,” The Globe and Mail, December 9, 2003, Page A22

[6]. Paul Fromm, “How Ernst Zundal could be free be out by Christmas,”, 12-10-2003.

[7]. Michael Vlahos, “Outside View: The war of Ideas — Part 1,” A UPI Outside View commentary, Published 7/19/2004 12:45 AM