A Message from PARIS to the United States and its Allies including Malaysia

November 16, 2015

A Message from PARIS to the United States and its Allies including Malaysia

by Peter Van Buren*


*Peter Van Buren, a 24-year veteran of the State Department, spent a year in Iraq. Following his book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, the Department of State began proceedings against him. Through the efforts of the Government Accountability Project and the ACLU, Van Buren instead retired from the State Department on his own terms.

Peter’s commentary has been featured in The New York Times, Reuters, Salon, NPR, Al Jazeera, Huffington Post, The Nation, TomDispatch, Antiwar.com, American Conservative Magazine, Mother Jones, Michael Moore.com, Le Monde, Japan Times, Asia Times, The Guardian (UK), Daily Kos, Middle East Online, Guernica and others. He has appeared on the BBC World Service, NPR’s All Things Considered and Fresh Air, CurrentTV, HuffPo Live, RT, ITV, Britain’s Channel 4 Viewpoint, Dutch Television, CCTV, Voice of America, and more.


You don’t want to read this, and I take no pleasure in writing it, and no one really wants to hear it right now. But I believe it needs to be said.


I join the world in grieving for the dead in Paris. I have grieved for the dead from 9/11 forward — the Australians who died in terror attacks on Bali in 2002, Londoners who died in terror attacks in 2005, the French citizens who died in the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January of this year, the Russians whose plane went down over the Sinai a week or so ago. So many more non-Western deaths barely noticed in the U.S. media. I grieve also for those killed in smaller attacks already smuggled deep into the obscurity of our memory.

And so we Tweet hashtags and phrases in high school French and post GIFs to Facebook. We know what to do; we’ve done this before.But it has to be said, especially looking at the sick repetition of the same story, that despite fourteen plus years of a war on terror, terror seems to be with us as much as ever, maybe even more. It is time to rethink what we have done and are doing.

US Middle East Policy

Since that day in 2001, the one with those terrible sparkling blue skies in New York, we have spied on the world, Americans at home and foreigners abroad, yet no one detected anything that stopped the Paris attacks. We gave up much to that spying and got nothing in return.

Since 2001, the United States has led nations like Britain, France, Australia and others into wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria, with drone attacks on people from the Philippines to Pakistan to all parts of Africa. We have little to nothing to show for all that.

Since 2001 the U.S. has expended enormous efforts to kill a handful of men — bin Laden, al-Zarqawi, al-Awlaki, and this weekend, Jihadi John. Others, many without names, were killed outside of media attention, or were tortured to death, or are still rotting in the offshore penal colony of Guantanamo, or the dark hell of the Salt Pit in Afghanistan.

And it has not worked, and Paris this weekend, and the next one somewhere else sometime soon, are the proof.

We gave up many of our freedoms in America to defeat the terrorists. It did not work. We gave the lives of over 4,000 American men and women in Iraq, and thousands more in Afghanistan, to defeat the terrorists, and refuse to ask what they died for. We killed tens of thousands or more in those countries. It did not work. We went to war again in Iraq, and now in Syria, before in Libya, and only created more failed states and ungoverned spaces that provide havens for terrorists and spilled terror like dropped paint across borders. We harass and discriminate against our own Muslim populations and then stand slack-jawed as they become radicalized, and all we do then is blame ISIS for Tweeting.

Note that it is the strategy of Islamic terror to generate a crackdown in France in order to radicalise French Muslims. Hundreds of French citizens have already traveled to Syria to fight with groups including ISIS.

As one of the most intelligent commentators on all this, Bill Johnson, said, terrorism is about killing pawns to affect the king. The attacks in Paris are not about the murder of 150 innocent people. Hell, that many die nearly every day in Iraq and Syria. The true test for France is how they respond to the terror attacks in the long-game — that’s the king in all this. America failed this test post-9/11; yet it does not sound like France understands anything more than America. “We are going to lead a war which will be pitiless,” French president Hollande said outside the Bataclan concert hall, scene of the most bloodshed.

If I had exactly the right strategy, I’d tell you what it is, and I’d try and tell the people in Washington and Paris and everywhere else. But I don’t have the exact thing to do, and I doubt they’d listen to me anyway.

But I do have this: stop what we have been doing for the last 14 years. It has not worked. There is nothing at all to suggest it ever will work. Whack-a-mole is a game, not a plan. Leave the Middle East alone. Stop creating more failed states. Stop throwing away our freedoms at home on falsehoods. Stop disenfranchising the Muslims who live with us. Understand the war, such as it is, is against a set of ideas — religious, anti-western, anti-imperialist — and you cannot bomb an idea. Putting western soldiers on the ground in the MidEast and western planes overhead fans the flames. Vengeance does not and cannot extinguish an idea.

Start with those things and see, even if you won’t give it 14 years to succeed, if things improve. Other than the death tolls scaling up further, I can’t imagine we could be doing anything worse.


34 thoughts on “A Message from PARIS to the United States and its Allies including Malaysia

  1. The solution lies with the American people… the day they awaken to the reality of what is being done, not only to them but in their name across the world, it will be game over …

  2. “Note that it is the strategy of Islamic terror to generate a crackdown in France in order to radicalise French Muslims. Hundreds of French citizens have already traveled to Syria to fight with groups including ISIS”.

    My comment: It looks like guerrilla warfare on a global scale by the clerico-fascist, religious extremists. One aim of guerrillas is to provoke the authorities into heavy-handed repressive action on civilian populations, thus increasing support for the extremists.

  3. It may sound heartless but Paris deserves it. It has been discriminating & radicalizing its own Muslim community and it joins other foreign forces in fiddling with the Middle East. As we join the mourning for Paris, we should mourn MORE FOR THOSE INNOCENT VICTIMS IN THE MIDDLE EAST. Leave them alone and they will stop bothering you.

  4. According to Bill Johnson, terrorism is about killing pawns to affect the king.

    But who is the king and who are the pawns?

    The King is America and its Treasury is Oil and Gas in the Middle-East. If any pawn were to pose a nary strategic threat to its stanglehold on energy sources there, the pawns will be ruthlessly dealt with like Sadam Hussein, Gaddafi and Osama Bin Laden were. In this context, America is unstoppable. No repeat of 9/11 and Paris-type killings is going to stop them. It will only bring retaliation with double vengence that will affect the Muslim world most.

    Why not apply reverse psychology to contain the “Islamic State”? I am mulling over this thought and would articulate it here in due course.

  5. Peter spent 24 years in the State Department, and proposed an idea for Americans to follow but he didn’t bother to give good reasons why the idea will likely to work. In the second last paragraph, he just alluded to do everything opposite to what are currently being done, and he thinks thing will just turn out better than it is now. Peter should be fired from the State Department long time ago for having such a reasoning skill.

    In the contemporary world, if a state actor purposefully and publicly beheaded captured journalists and aid worker from enemy countries, then the actor’s state must be exterminated. Otherwise, we would have given special privilege to shariah law as cited and understood by the Islamic State. Such a world will be more unstable and brutal than the world now.

  6. I think this is better…….

    Bill Maher is nobody as compared to Jon Stewart……..hahahahaha…..and he is definitely not a joker

  7. Malaysia was the first country ever to defeat organized terrorism. Since then there has been no repeat. Tons have been written about how we did it with the help of the British. Certainly we did not do it the American way. Whilst the Emergency was going on the Vietnam War was running at the same time. The outcomes of both conflicts were decidedly different. Look at how the French and the American handled Vietnam and see what happened. They never learned.

    One example of the difference in strategy then was, at one time it was forbidden to kill the enemy. A live one is worth 100 dead ones. We were not trigger happy cowboys, fascinated with their toys, nor arrogant legionnaires.

    So the conflict will never end. How can it end when strategies do not work towards it. How can it end when the real power brokers do not want it to end. War is one great money spinner. Lots of money to be made from weapons sold. Wars are sometimes created for this sole purpose.

    As for often mentioned failed Muslim states, just remember that many of these states did not exist 100 years ago. Take the MIddle East for example. There was no Jordan, Lebanon, Irag, Saudi Arabia, Palestine and of course, Israel then. They were carved out by the withdrawing colonizers who then placed their puppets to run the “independent” countries in their interest. And that they, the dictators, despots and like, did to the detriment of the locals. So when they messed up, we call them today failed Muslim States.

    No, its not going to stop. After the demise of the USSR, Islam was the convenient scapegoat. Lets see how it turns out.

  8. I would hazard to speculate that the ultimate culprits behind the senseless killings are the politicians in France, the US and other self-righteous countries who claim to want “democracy” for Syria.

    Ever wonder how the French jet fighters knew so quickly where to drop bombs yesterday in retaliation? Ever wonder how quickly the US claimed to have killed Jihadi John after the Russians came into the picture. All these and more suggest that politicians in these Western countries knew exactly all along who and where the IS people are but did nothing to stop them … not even when Jihadi John was happily decapitating innocent people. These politicians were letting the IS terrorise ordinary Iraqis and Syrians because they were so obsessed about removing Assad.

    Now, we wait to see how quickly these Western countries unleash another “coalition” to try to wipe the IS out … just like what they did with speed and precision to remove Saddam Hussein and the Talibans.

  9. All the brouhaha about Paris, extremist & terrorist ,just a day Paris got it and all hell in the global media broke loose ! Pity the Palestinians being ravaged by the zionist terrorist every single day and not a word worth mentioning it by the so called bullshit free press ! What a double standard of shit reporting by the world medias !

  10. Isa,
    Why don’t you tell the same towards the ketuanan melayu gang in Putrajaya and Kuching? Perhaps, Dayaks should learn from IS or IRA in exerting their rights. Their rights have been trampled by melayus such as you

  11. All of us must adhere to the rule of law. No IFs and BUTs. Or we will end up with pots and pans. The pots and pans will be used to silence us. And those of us who refuse to be silenced will be covered by the pots and pans while others will be cooked in it. Since the early 90s we have been going in circles. Even the Chinese have got ou of that syndrome of two steps forward and four steps backwards.

  12. Van Buren’s idea seems to be….get the hell out of the Mid-East completely and things will improve for the Western countries.

    Yes, it may happen because that is exactly what every “terrorist” organisation there want. Then what’s next? What’s next is obvious. It’ll be a last “terrorist” standing situation, and until that happens, the oil will be taken away from the hands of the Sheikhs and royals who are sympathetic to the West and used as an economic weapon.

    The Sheikhs of course will cry heaven and hell for help and it is in the West’s interests to help them. If for some unlikely scenario the West says enough is enough, you people just fight it out with a winner takes all, the sheikhs and royals will let the daily killings of innocent by-standing civilians be splashed on TV’s and the Internet, and heart-wrenching speeches at the UN about the “humanitarian disaster” there.

    The Western press which survives on a daily dose of hard-hitting flavor-of-the-month news together with do-gooder NGOs will harangue their governments for turning a merciless blind eye. Every political leader anywhere on Earth wants to be seen as a champion of this or that, and being a champion for the weak and defenseless is best of all.

    So it is not as simple as Van Buren’s “just get the hell out” and all will be well as he was never a politician with an electorate to please and a party which must win the next election.

    I honestly confess that I have no solution, at least not one where every party comes out winners with lasting peace on Earth.

    At the moment, the French government, just like the Bush Jr.’s administration in 2001, has no choice but to be seen to exact the pound-of-flesh from ISIS, even if the French jets were actually bombing mostly empty houses and deserted training camps for the past couple of days. The majority of the French people demands immediate action, not just condolences, from their government.

  13. “Pity the Palestinians being ravaged by the zionist terrorist every single day and not a word worth mentioning it by the so called bullshit free press ! What a double standard of shit reporting by the world medias !” Mohamad.

    There are reporting on Palestinians’ plight and there are reporting on Israelis’ plight. I don’t think it is a double standard that is at play, but what standard one uses to do the reporting. Western world and much of the contemporary world influenced by the western world, with the exception of Muslim world, use one set of standard loosely centered around liberty, religion as private matters and respected as such, and nations as building blocks of the world. Muslim world has adopted a set of standard loosely centered around Islamic law, solidarity of ummah, and oneness of god for both private matters and governance. These two standards crash from time to time.

  14. “It may sound heartless but Paris deserves it”

    This is a contemptible but hardly surprising Muslim meme.

    France’s militant secularism hardly targets Muslims alone and if Muslims are so eager to enforce doctrinal bullshit on their own kind they should move to Saudi Arabia.

    But wait, the Saudi system is oppressive to not only Muslims but mainly to Non Muslims and whatever religious freedoms – freedoms – that the West provides are always sought by Muslims who then turn around and demand that their right to their bigotry be accepted .

    Muslims kill each at the higher rate than so called Western Imperialism. Muslims . Muslims accept the misogyny in their dogma as mandated by god. Muslims quash all attempts at reforming the religion by dismantling their intellectual class and maintaining an elite Mullah sanctioned or enabled class to keep their brethren in a constant state of poverty or ignorance.

    When I argued that Islam is the problem, folks kept saying that it was the people not the Religion. What utter horse shit. Christianity went through – to use a Hitchens term – civilizing process.

    Call it reformation or whatever nomenclature you are familiar with, but the reason why we have saner Christians instead of those maniacal zealots that birthed the Inquisition or whatever dogma inspired mass murder, is because the Religion was tamed.

    Of course there are numerous issues at play here but these points should be considered :

    1. Islam extremism and American/Western Imperialism are mutually exclusive.

    2. Islamic extremism is not confined to terrorist groups. It is mostly mainstream dogma.

    3. The media distorts the message in an attempt to maintain vested interests. For example, the drug cartels in South America are more barbaric , caused more deaths and have a greater impact on American security , economy and social fabric than these so called “Islamic extremist”.

    And the last and most important point.

    4. Islam is not the Religion of peace. There is not one shred of evidence that supports this. Take a so called moderate Muslim country like Malaysia. The only reason why we are moderate is because the religious nut jobs aren’t chopping of hands and carrying out beheadings in the town square…..but we have groups actively seeking this out.
    Welcome back. I agree with you. The French are racists. Visit the suburbs outside Paris, and you can see for yourself how Muslims from North Africa are treated.–Din Merican

  15. Din,
    John Oliver’s take. Enjoy!

    P.S : Viewers discretion is advised and John Oliver is definitely not a joker. His sifu is Jon Stewart

  16. A hard-hitting commentary by Conrad which should awaken the consciousness of all Muslims who can read, think and rationalise on their own without the aid of the ulamas or doctrinaire religious texts. The late Pakistan PM, Benazir Bhutto once said that the Mullahs waste valuable times pondering which nostril to clean first – left or right.

    For Islam to be defined as moderate and for it to expand and attract adherents world-wide, Muslims should become moderate first themselves. Don’t keep Muslims in a gated cantonment where one can only come in but not go out. Hardening of attitudes, misconceptions, misinterpretations and all, spring from this basic fault line, if one can call it as such. This appears to be unique only to Islam. Accord freedom and liberty to individuals to choose what they want. Don’t pass death sentence (like some Muslim countries do) on individuals who may want to leave Islam for reasons of their own. Get rid of apostasy laws. It is an affront to human intelligence. One cannot imprison human spirit and thought. In a reformed and transformed landscape, it is more likely that, over time, new people embracing Islam may outnumber those leaving it. Islam would be a practical and beautiful religion, if not for the costly punitive punishment mentioned.

  17. Suliaman Daub’s post is carried by OutSyde The Box:

    Now here is a letter written by one Sulaiman Daud of Singapore. This is a very perceptive letter. There is no bullshit in this letter.

    I want to thank well-meaning non-Muslims who, in the wake of these attacks, have emphasised that they have been carried out by a small, twisted minority. A terrorist’s goal is to sow hatred and discord, and by not giving in, you are defeating their plans.

    But I want to say that as a Muslim, I wish that we weren’t so quick to emphasise that this has nothing to do with us. While I personally have never killed anyone and none of my friends and family have ever resorted to violence, radicalism has everything to do with Islam. And the failure to address that out of a well-intentioned commitment to tolerance is making the problem worse.

    ISIS is a Muslim organisation, and it is an Islamic problem. Let me say it again to be perfectly clear. ISIS is a Muslim organisation, and they are a cancer at the heart of Islam. And the problem will not go away until Muslims confront that.

    ISIS attackers scream ‘Allah hu’akbar’ during their attacks.

    ISIS recruits cite Qur’anic verses as justification for the rape and enslavement of women.

    ISIS soldiers kill archaeologists, gay men and women, and people who refuse to convert to Islam because they are blasphemers.

    There are no Christians in ISIS. There are no Buddhists, Jews, Pagans, Taoists, Houngans, Catholics, Wiccans, Hindus or even Scientologists in ISIS. ISIS is a Muslim organisation and they kill in the name of Islam.

    So don’t say that ISIS aren’t ‘true Muslims’ or that they are ‘not really Muslims’. Like any large organisation, ISIS exists in a spectrum. You have the aimless, restless teenager who never amounted to anything in his life and traveled to Syria because he can’t find a job and doesn’t know if the Qur’an is to be read from left to right or right to left.

    But you also have pious professionals, businessmen, and academics who read their Qur’an cover to cover, pray every day, were seduced into radicalism, and truly believe that the Islamic State’s goal of conquest is a noble one. The so-called ‘Caliph’ Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi has a doctorate in Islamic studies.

    So if you feel that Muslims are being oppressed or killed in Muslim countries, I expect you to also be just as outraged by ISIS. Because they have killed more Muslims in Iraq, Syria and Jordan than the entire US army. They have done more damage to the name and reputation of Islam than any Western nation. ISIS is Islam’s biggest enemy, not the US, not Israel or France or Germany or the Russians.

    We have to own the problem. We have to admit that this is a religious problem, and we need to renew our commitment to a secular country which treats all religions equally.

    I have believed in the importance of secularism all my life, and with every day that passes that belief grows stronger. Religion is no way to govern a nation. Not any religion, and not any nation.
    ISIS is not America’s problem, nor the British, nor the French. ISIS is not Syria or Iraq’s problem. ISIS is a problem for Muslims. And if you can’t admit that, you’re not really a good Muslim either.


  18. Quote:- “…..you’re not really a good Muslim either”

    So, what exactly is a “good Muslim”?

    A good Muslim is one who believes the Holy Quran is the inerrant Word of God, meant to govern Mankind for all time until the End Time when God Himself will take personal charge.

    No Ifs or Buts. Either you believe that or you are not a Muslim at all, good or bad.

    If people say there is actually nothing wrong or bad about Islam, just the people who professes it who are bad, then I say there must also be something wrong with Islam as well to have produced such large numbers of bad people.

    So there must be something wrong with Islam, and if there is something wrong with Islam, then there must also be something wrong with God.

    So everyone should blame God.

    Why no one blames God?

    Because of the fear of going to Hell; if not then just plain stupidity.

  19. How did the concept of God originate?

    In ancient days of caves and jungles, man saw anything he was frightened of as a super natural happening coming from some cosmic power from sky. He was highly superstitious.. He treated the sun, moon and the stars as his sky Gods and bowed to them to appease the supposed anger of the divine whenever lightning and thunder struck. He was easily frightened of phantom figures like mountains and big animals and thought they had spirits that can help or hurt him and are to be feared and worshipped. To appease them, he made miniature replicas of them from lumps of clay and prayed to them. Thus he created many more such Gods with his bare hands. Worship to him without something to focus on was vague and meaningless. Thus the creation of God and paying obeisance to him, apparently, took root during this era. He domesticated God into his consciousness in the shape of an idol he could see and pray to. So began idols and idol worshipping perhaps.

    Looking at some 30,000 years back, the world was invariably inhabited by pagans with such superstitious primitive beliefs and practices. If their animistic life had not been interfered with by the arrival of latter day avatars like the sages, saints, prophets and other God-men, this will still remain to be a world of idol worshippers – for better or worse. What we have now instead is divisive divinity that is tearing the world apart with a galaxy of God forms and religions each seeking supremacy of one over the other, all in the name of ‘My God’ and ‘My religion’

  20. Suliaman Daub should be complimented for being honestly introspective and calling a spade just that. Coming from a (progressive) Singaporean Malay, it is not surprising!

  21. It is NOT that Man’s response to Muslim violence has been too hard; it is that it has been too soft. A truly pitiless war would solve for the problem. Germany exterminate 12 million domestic enemies, we can beat that by orders of magnitude…if we can get over our issues with using correctly the methodologies that Germany first mis-applied.

  22. I wonder why Ambassador John R. Malott has not commented on President Obama’s screwed up Middle East Policy. I suppose he will not since he is an alumnus of the State Department. Or could he be a Democrat? ISIS/ISIL has large quantities of US made weapons. Why and how ? Starting with Bush in Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama who promised US troop withdrawals expanded American involvement to Libya and Syria and is leaving the next US President with a Middle East muddle. How different is he from George W. Bush, the neo-Con President who thought that with military power and air superiority he could help Israel.

    How come the US is so immature and stupid? Now following from Bush, Obama is getting involved in Southeast Asia by taking on China using the South China Sea dispute as the pretext with Philippines as a proxy. Malaysia too will soon fall under American influence since my country is one of the claimants. As if Vietnam and Cambodia are not enough, the US is itching for more mess.

  23. Gurba asked why I have not commented on Obama and US policy towards the Middle East. The basic answer is that I am not an expert on that part of the world and have never served there. I comment on Malaysia because I have followed developments closely there for over 20 years and as Ambassador, knew many of the players, including Najib, Mahathir, Tengku Razaleigh, and Anwar personally. I occasionally comment on Japan and Asia, which also are places that I know.

    As an American citizen and former diplomat, I certainly have views on US policy towards Russia, the Middle East, and other places — but I leave public comment to the real experts, and I am not one of them.

    I am not a Democrat and I am not a Republican. I have voted for candidates of both parties during my lifetime. And I certainly have been critical of Obama as it relates to his policy towards Malaysia.

  24. One can certainly argue that US policy in the Middle East has been foolhardy, and has worsened violence and instability in the region. But it is either disingenuous or willfully biased or both to blame Islamic terrorism entirely (or even largely in my view) on US foreign policy.

    Let us not forget that France famously refused to endorse the US plan to invade Iraq, and even threatened to veto any such US proposal in the UN Security Council in 2003. For this the French were lampooned as “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” in the American media for years afterwards.

    France also has a long history of supporting the Palestinians. For example, it was France that provided refuge at the end of WWII to Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and pre-PLO Palestinian leader who had rebelled against the British in Palestine and then sought refuge in (and actively assisted) Nazi Germany during WWII. The British naturally wanted to arrest Husseini after the defeat of Germany, but France refused to hand him over and eventually allowed him to escape to Egypt. It also is no coincidence that Arafat decided to get medical treatment in France when he was near death in 2004.

    More to the point, it is ridiculous to point the finger at the US (or the West) for causing Islamic terrorism. The litany of terrorist activities initiated by Islamists (and I would limit this to Islamists as opposed to nationalist groups such as Hamas or the Chechens) outside of Israel or Western countries cover the world, in many countries that are not outright American allies.

    There have been terrorist bombs set off in Jakarta (2003, 2009) and Bali (2002, 2005) in Indonesia. Attacks in Saudi Arabia, most infamously the Khobar Towers in 2004. India has been hit several times since 2000, the most infamous in Mumbai 2008. Ongoing violence by Islamists in Pakistan, probably the worst being the Peshawar school massacre last year. Kenya was attacked two years ago in the Westgate shopping mall incident. Meanwhile, Boko Haram terrorises Nigeria.

    Maybe I’m too rational, but I don’t see how one can lay the blame on the US or the West for the litany of Islamic terrorist atrocities above.

    Let us recall that 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudis. It appears that the ringleaders (and probably most of the perpetrators) of the recent Paris attacks were French and Belgian Arabs. I’m sorry, but Saudi, French and Belgian citizens cannot legitimately claim to have been oppressed by US (or Western) policy in the Middle East. Maybe French Arabs are discriminated against in France, but that does not give one the right to massacre innocent civilians. Otherwise think of what will happen in Malaysia…

    Moreover, the great majority of Islamic State’s victims are fellow Muslims. The US is not responsible for and most certainly cannot “end” Islamic terrorism by choice, unfortunately. That is for the so-called believers to sort out.

  25. /// Hawking Eye November 17, 2015 at 6:37 pm
    How did the concept of God originate?
    In ancient days of caves and jungles, man saw anything he was frightened of as a super natural happening coming from some cosmic power from sky. ///

    Spot on. In three words – man created god.
    As I said before, organized religions, like organized crimes, should be banned.

    Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. – Steven Weinberg

  26. “But it is either disingenuous or willfully biased or both to blame Islamic terrorism entirely (or even largely in my view) on US foreign policy.”

    This entirely depends on the context.

    I would argue that US foreign policy enables Islamic terrorism.

    I would also argue that Islamic terrorism(s) foundation is Islam.

  27. /// So where did Abdul Rahman Adja’s bin Laden-esque words come from?

    They couldn’t have been a response to American imperialism (the start of the conflict precedes the presidency of George Washington), U.S. foreign policy, globalization, AIPAC or Islamophobia. Yet his words are virtually identical to those spouted ad nauseum by jihadists today who justify their bellicosity as a reaction to these U.S.-centric factors, which were nonexistent in Adja’s time. ///



  28. 1. Honestly I have not read a more confused hotchpotch collection of thoughts.
    2. Is human memory short? It should not be. Have we forgotten the colonialism and imperialism of many Western countries, beginning with the Portuguese and Spanish ones in the earlier centuries up to the present? Has anybody counted the number of peoples in the Muslim and Third worlds that they have killed and how much wealth these countries have looted?
    3. The cosmic video is re-playing the pictures that it has taken. Do you expect the murderers and looters will go scotch-free?
    4. I have no truck with the IS murderers either. But there is reason in their madness.
    5. However, one type of violence cannot be eliminated with another type of violence. A more intelligent and sane way out of this mess must be found. Why not the present generation of erstwhile colonialists and imperialists apologize for their ancestors’ misdeeds and pay token compensation?
    6. The mankind can do away with nuclear weapons and set about to usher in a just and peaceful world.
    — Kassim Ahmad

  29. Inche Kassim is from the old school of thought and carries all the hang-ups about Colonialism including the demand of compensation from ex-Colonisers for treasures looted from the Colonies. Shashi Tharoor, the former Under-Secretary-General at the UN and now an Indian MP, wants Britain to repay a token compensation of 1 pound a year for the next 200 years – roughly the period India was under the British rule. What about we too (the ex-Colonies) paying compensation to the British for the English language, Civil Service and Rule of Law they left behind and from which we benefited and continue to benefit now? They certainly civilised us.

    A liberating mind means having a liberating mind oneself to begin with. Would he endorse my suggestion that Muslim elders blackout verses in the holy Quran that calls for infidels to be killed so that their grand children would get curious enough, as they grow up, to find out what was blacked out and why it was done so on their own?

    His suggestion that “the mankind can do away with nuclear weapons and set about to usher in a just and peaceful world” is wishful thinking. A better chance of a workable wishful thinking would be for all nations to have nuclear weapons.

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