Nice killers

Most of us envision mass killers as stone cold nut jobs, like Cho Seung Hui, who carried out Monday’s Virginia Tech carnage. By all accounts, he was an angry, lonely person, obsessed with violent death. Small wonder that, given the means and the opportunity, he would act out his vengeful fantasies. The same held true for the Columbine killers, boys whom their school mates could easily see in the terrible executioner’s role they’d assigned themselves.

So many killers aren’t actually like that. If they were, more of us could see them coming and avoid them. In other words, like some snakes, their rattles would give them away.

Robert Spencer is concerned with another type of killer, the happy one who kills not because he is crazy or even angry, but because he is ideologically driven. As he points out in the opening paragraphs of his article about nice killers, many of these killers (or their money men) are described as really nice guys, people who are friendly and happy. Nevertheless, they kill, and they kill in staggering numbers. As often as not, their niceness can be ascribed to the fact that they view their killings as a good thing that they’re doing for the greater good of humanity, a humanity that will benefit from their fascist, totalitarian view of the ideal society:

It was the Nazi genocide mastermind Heinrich Himmler who told a group of SS leaders: “Most of you know what it means to see a hundred corpses lying together, five hundred, or a thousand. To have gone through this and yet — apart from a few exceptions, examples of human weakness — to have remained decent fellows, this is what has made us hard. This is a glorious page in our history that has never been written and shall never be written…”

Were these SS mass murderers really decent fellows? To their friends and family, they probably were. After all, they weren’t interested in undifferentiated mayhem. They were adherents of a totalitarian, genocidal ideology that convinced them that the murders they were committing were for a good purpose. As far as they were concerned, their goals were rational and good, and the murders were a means to that goal. It was not just a noteworthy achievement, but a necessity, for them to remain “decent fellows,” for they were busy trying to build what they saw as a decent society. That their vision of a decent society included genocide and torture did not trouble them, for it was all for – in their view – a goal that remained good.

Today’s jihad terrorists are likewise the adherents of a totalitarian, genocidal ideology that teaches them that murders committed under certain circumstances are a good thing. And those murders, here again, are not committed for their own sake, but for the sake of a societal vision hardly less draconian and evil than that of Hitler, but one also that portrays itself as the exponent of all that is good – as the Taliban showed us. But the continued reference to such people as “terrorists” pure and simple, and the refusal of the media and most law enforcement officials to examine their ideology at all, only reinforces the idea that these people are raving maniacs, interested solely in chaos for its own sake. The society they want to build, and the means besides guns and bombs that they are using to build it, so far remain below the radar screen of most analysts. These people are just “terrorists,” interested only in “terror.” And so we’re continually surprised when they turn out to be nice guys after all. Decent fellows. Like the SS.


Who (and what) we’re fighting

During lunch with Don Quixote, he noted that I ‘ve concluded that both the ideology of Islamofascism and its followers are completely evil. He’s right. I do. We had a great lunch-time discussion while I sought, in very convoluted fashion, why I thought this way, but still managed not to hold any animus towards the abstract idea of Islam or to Muslims generally. I then came home to discover that Dennis Prager’s column tackles precisely this issue. I’m going to quote from him extensively, and then round it out with a comment of my own:

Islamic terror is a tactic of an ideology. That ideology can be called “radical Islam,” “militant Islam” or “Islamist,” but it is rooted in Islamic imperialism.

With a background in religious studies and having studied Arabic and Islam, many listeners have called my radio show asking me if I consider Islam to be inherently violent or even evil. From 9-11 to now, I have responded that I do not assess religions; I assess the practitioners of religions. Why? Because it is almost impossible to assess any religion since its own adherents so often differ as to what it is. For example, is Christianity the Christianity of most evangelicals or that of the National Council of Churches? On virtually every important moral issue, they differ. The same holds true for right- and left-wing groups within Judaism.

Nevertheless, one can say that from its inception, Islam has been imperialist. My working definition of imperialism is that of University of London professor Efraim Karsh, whose recent book, “Islamic Imperialism” (Yale University Press), is one of the few indispensable books on Islam.

Karsh defines imperialism as “conquering foreign lands and subjugating their populations.” Whenever possible, Muslims from the time of Muhammad have done that. Now, the Church also subjugated peoples to Christianity, and Europe suffered from prolonged religious wars. But as Karsh notes, from its inception, Christianity acknowledged a separation of the religious and the political, rendering to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.

No such division was allowed for in Islam. That is why the nation-state developed in the Christian world but not in the Muslim world. The Muslim states of the Middle East, for example, are creations of Western (secular) imperialism or pre-date Islam (Egypt, for example); and they are foreign concepts to most Middle Eastern Muslims, who recognize themselves much more as part of the ummah, the Muslim community, than as Iraqis, Jordanians, Syrians, etc.

Nor is Islamic imperialism only a function of Muslim behavior rather than Muslim theology. Karsh opens his book citing the statements of four Muslim figures.

The Prophet Muhammad in his farewell address: “I was ordered to fight all men until they say, ‘There is no god but Allah.'”

Saladin (great 12th-century founder of the Ayyubid dynasty that included Ayyubid Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Iraq and much of present-day Saudi Arabia): “I shall cross this sea to their islands to pursue them until there remains no one on the face of the earth who does not acknowledge Allah.”

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (father of the Islamic revolution in Iran): “We will export our revolution throughout the world . . . until the calls ‘There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah’ are echoed all over the world.”

Osama bin Laden in November 2001: “I was ordered to fight the people until they say ‘there is no god but Allah, and his prophet Muhammad.'”

No one should have a problem with Muslims wanting the whole world Muslim. After all, Christians would like the whole world to come to Christ. What should matter to all people is the answer to one question: What are you prepared to do to bring the world to your religion? For virtually every living Christian, the answer is through modeling and verbal persuasion (and Jews never believed the world needs to be Jewish).

But by the most conservative estimates, 10 percent of Muslims are in sympathy with the bin Laden way. That means at least 100 million people are prepared to murder (and apparently torture) in Allah’s name. And given the history of Islamic imperialism and its roots in Muslim theology, hundreds of millions more are probably fellow travelers. Hence the almost unanimous Muslim governments’ support for the genocidal Islamic regime in Sudan. [Hyperlinks omitted.]

The one thing I want to add is that I do understand that not all people in Islamofascist countries are evil. The easiest example is to point to the children of a regime. For example, the San Francisco Chronicle the other day ran a sob story about the fact that children and sick people are suffering terribly as a result of the boycotts most Western nations have instituted against Hamas. (There is, of course, no mention of the fact that no Muslim countries are filling this gap.) The implication is that we should once again prop up the murderous Hamas regime to save its most innocent victims.

But one has to ask — in the long run, are we doing those victims are favor by propping up a corrupt regime? These regimes tend to survive by eating their own. The same holds true for the argument that we shouldn’t declare war on a nation hostile to America because innocent women and children will die in the process. That’s a true fact — innocents will die — but is that an excuse to let the regime continue? Should we have stopped short of declaring total war on Nazi Germany because there would inevitably be innocents in the crossfire? (Indeed, my goyishe cousin, a lovely person, was one of those children who suffered through the carpet bombings in Berlin.)

The cruel fact of life on earth is that there are innocents trapped in foul places, and that the freeing those places sometimes destroys innocents as well. But if we don’t make the effort to purge the evil, the innocent are going to suffer anyway. I’ll remind you that, while Americans suffered agonies over the Afghanis killed when we invaded, the Afghanis themselves were grateful, considering those deaths a necessary cost of freedom.

Never again. Never forget.

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day. I'm a little late, but it's really never too late to remember not to forget.

In a weirdly hopeful sign, there might be a small corner in Egypt — of all places — that isn't forgetting:

A new book which does not deny the Holocaust and the number of Jews murdered in it has been published in Egypt in recent days, Israel's leading newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported Tuesday.The book, "The Holocaust of the Jews – concentration camp, Auschwitz Birkenau" was written in Arabic and is 325 pages long. The author is Dr. Ramsis Otz.

The book is bases on research carried out in the West and in the countries of the former Soviet bloc, and presents the truthful and known picture regarding what took place in the concentration camp – a first for Egypt.

The book includes the set up the camp, the Nazi plan for the destruction of the Jews, means of genocide, the incinerators, injuries to the bodies of the victims, Joseph Mengele, Rudolph Hess, the women and children in the camp, and more.Sources in the Israeli embassy in Egypt say that the book has high importance due to the strengthening of voices in Egypt and the Arab world which deny the Holocaust, doubt the number of Jews murdered, and attributing the Holocaust to Zionist media manipulation.

In addition to that, few of the studies in the Arab world and specifically in Egypt address the Holocaust and the death camps in the way that the book does. The author used terms in the book such as mass destruction, forced labor, and Holocaust.

 Talking to Technorati:

Silly me. And I thought it was about punishing wrongdoing

What is wrong with this picture?

An 85-year-old Lithuanian was convicted for
cooperating with the Nazis and persecuting Jews but he will not serve
jail time because of his age, according to a BBC report.A court in Vilna ruled that Dailide will not go to jail "because he is very old and does not pose danger to society."

Algimantas Dailide was convicted for the arrest of two polish
nationals and 12 Jews while he served in the police during World War
II. At that time, the local police was controlled the Nazi regime.

I wasn't aware that the purpose of prison was to protect others.  If that's the rationale, the man who stalks his girlfriend and kills her shouldn't go to prison because his monomania was about her.  Now that she's dead, no worries.  Or how about the man who beats his child to death?  No more child, no more risk.  That's simply an obscene rationale for allowing a murderer to go free.  And so what if he's old.  It makes it all the more imperative that he do at least some time for his crime.  Anyway, I think the Simon Wiesenthal Center has it right:

The decision proves that Lithuania is
unwilling to punish Nazi war criminals and is unwilling to face the involvement of its citizens in the mass killing of Jews, the Center said.