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Not Just Afghanistan, Not Just Al Qaeda….

January 11, 2010

Guest: Professor Jordan Tama of American University


Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Etc.
Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood, Radical Shia, Radical Shiite, Etc.


Radicalized Islam is growing. The struggle in the Arab world between rich despots (largely supported by the United States) and poor anarchic, murderous theocratic terrorists has left few peaceful moderates having any say at all.


Much like Latin Americans in the 1980’s, most Arabs just want to live their lives, but they’re stuck in the middle of an international civil war where they distrust all sides. They hate both their corrupt, torturing governments AND the brutal fundamentalist Islamist terrorists who want to massacre innocent people (Muslim and non-Muslim) worldwide. And most hate the USA as well (not to mention Israel).


In fact, about the only thing the corrupt governments and the fanatical terrorists agree on (and do quite well) is putting the blame for their brutal wars on us: on the West, on the USA, on Israel, on Christians, on Jews, and on anyone but themselves.  (Not that we don’t deserve some significant blame, because we do.  Which makes everything even more complicated!)


Still, demagoguery works. And we are losing the battle for hearts and minds. And isn’t this battle — the battle for public opinion — the only way to win the “war on terror”?


We are in a Catch-22. How do we defeat a worldwide assymetrical enemy? How do we preserve our values while fighting an enemy that seeks anarchy and destruction? If we fight back hard, we are seen as bullies killing civilians (however accidentally we do so). If we fight back soft, we are seen as defeatable.


The real question is: will Islamic Arabs ever stand up and say: “There’s a third way”? A way of responsive democratic, non-corrupt, non-brutal governing. A way practiced by the few Muslim-majority democracies on earth: Turkey (though radicalism in Turkey is unfortunately growing) and, recently, in Indonesia and even Pakistan.


Where are the moderates?
Who are the moderates?
Do they even exist?
If so, how do we help them succeed?

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  • Edwin Phillips January 9, 2010 5:48 am

    ” sorry Mark … cont from above of previous

    “I am sure that man’s inguenity will aid in extending”… himself to demonstrate another “moderate approach” so that his family and himself can survive for at least another day.


  • Edwin Phillips January 9, 2010 5:42 am

    Firstly: Before one begins to discuss any topic the terms of reference must be carefully determined and for far to long this fundamental aspect of communication is thrown out of the window.

    However …:

    For most people in the West, it is rather difficult to imagine a world without conflicts and strife. The need to eliminate the philosophies that have shaped our thinking and beliefs systems of billergence must go under the litmus light to expose the utter folly of man’s thinking. For examle, that a great nation is one that conquers and ultimate dominate another through barbaric methods — building iron walls, starvination of men women and children from basic necessities of life anywhere on the globe — is now out dated. The world do not want to live that way anymore. Moreover, it has the disturbing effect of imposing a very negative impact on one’s religious belief in a God. Millions are questioning religion which proposes to thave the answer, but …
    Is that the objective of those that continue to slap one on the other cheek?
    Perhaps, the widening of the economic disparity of “haves and haves not” could be one of the methds the methods employed to testthe waters for the way for the next stage in the big game … the total abandonment of respect for one’s literal neighbor, not to mention those that afar and ultimately to dispel any real belief in The Creator of The Universe.
    Then how do we define a moderate?
    Moderate in what capacity or towards what end, one may rightfully ask?
    How far can we go to prove one’s moderate stand or position in a world which is fed by mass-media which often tell it like it is?
    Perhaps, the digging of deeper trenches to bring food, medical supplies, etc as opposed on walking on open land might be suitabe enough until body parts become in short supply privide another alternative is not enough.
    Then what next. I am sure that man’s inguenity will aid in extending