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Open Thread: Link Cool Stuff! | Main | NYT: Economic But-Heads
April 27, 2006

Islamism = Racism

Which is why we can't extend the Geneva Conventions to enemies who do not respect the conventions in turn. Like Islamists.


Islamists believe their holy book gives them license to murder, rape, and maim "infidels." And also: to lie as regards surrenders and treaties, treating these as mere opportunities to regroup for the next attack.

Such behavior is considered dishonorable by every one else in the world (if not outright inhuman).

But not for Islamists. The dishonorable and inhuman is permitted as long as the victims of such dishonorable and inhuman treatment are not practicing Muslims.

Martial honor, at least in the West, is historically a matter of compact. A knight, for example, owed honorable conduct towards those who themselves possessed honor. An enemy knight considered honorable was owed honorable treatment in return. If he intended to fight unhorsed, you were required, by honor, to get off your own horse, so as not to have a dishonorable advantage over him. If he yielded, you were obligated to grant him mercy and not simply behead him.

A more lenient code applied to those who weren't considered honorable. A commoner shooting at you with a crossbow wasn't honorable, not only because he wasn't of the knightly class, but also because he wasn't using an honorable weapon. A Christian ethic of mercy and fair treatment might be owed to such an enemy, but not the greater duties demanded by honor.

The Geneva Conventions are similarly granted according to compact, and to those who, by agreeing to them and actually obeying them, demonstrate themselves to have honor and to be owed honor in return. There are more pracitical reasons the Conventions, by their own words, apply in full force only to those who agree to be bound by their strictures themselves -- namely, one would like to give incentives for merciful and humane treatment of prisoners, and provide disincentives for those who don't provide such treatment, namely, the freeing of opponents of such dishonorable enemies from extending to them such fair treatment. However, the Conventions still, whether by happenstance or because of cultural norms, are a compact, a system by which those with honor are treated with honor and those without honor are treated... humanely, but not quite well.

And as a compact, the Conventions are based upon behavior, not inherent status. Soldiers of the most evil regime of the twentieth century -- Nazi soldiers -- were owed humane treatment because the Nazis, despite their other evils, did in fact treat American and other allied prisoners of war reasonably well. (Most of the time, at least.)

And, historically, there wasn't necessarily any reason why the most evil opponent couldn't also have honor, and be owed honorable treatment. True enough, thuggish and cruel men would tend to not have honor, by bent of personality and lack of morality; but a cruel and bloodthirsty opponent could yet treat his defeated opponents humanely and be considered honorable, if cruel.

At which point we come to the Islamists.

The Islamists do not believe that honor is owed to opponents based upon their behavior, or their adherence to a certain code which requires reciprocal honor to that code. The Islamists believe that honorable, or even humane, treatment is only owed to other Islamists, or other fervent Muslims of the same branch of Islam.

To the extent they treat enemies honorably, they do so only based upon inherent status. A fervent Muslim of the same branch of Islam, and only such a person, is owed honor. No one else, no matter how honorable their behavior, is owed honorable behavior in return. Or even to be treated as something more than an animal to be ritually slaughtered.

Islamists are permitted to murder, rape, cheat, and lie to any non-Islamist. Their religion says so, they assert.

Of course, they don't believe that non-Islamists are permitted to treat them similarly; they have a privileged status, according to the Koran. They are superior, according to the Koran. Their enemies are animals, according to the Koran.

Were America to extend full Geneva Convention protection to Islamist enemies who do not even consider treating non-Muslim prisoners and kidnap-victims with any more dignity that a farm chicken, we would be, essentially, agreeing to and acceding to their worldview.

They are privileged by God Himself to commit all nature of barbaric actions against their infidel enemies; but their infidel enemies, of course, are not granted this license by God to act similarly. They are allowed to, even compelled, to commit the worst acts of inhumanity against their infidel opponents, for their infidel opponents are not quite human, or not to be treated as such, in any event.

But their infidel opponents must respect their special, God-granted status and treat them as truly honorable opponents.

There are many reasons to object to extending Geneva Convention protections with full force to those, like Islamicists, who delight in cruelty and inhumanity. But one reason is psychological in nature, and nevertheless worth considering.

We cannot agree with the Islamists that we are subhuman and only they are entitled to honorable and humane treatement. We must insist, particularly with these racist thugs who consider those who do not share in their creed to be animals, that honor is based on reciprocal conduct and by compact.

We cannot agree that their status as fervent Islamists makes them our superiors and creates obligations towards them that they do not extend in return towards us.

For, if we do, are we not confirming their racist beliefs? Are we not telling them that we are, just as they believe, inferior to them by God's decree, and as such, fit only for slaughter or subjugation?

The Western tradition distinuishes between honorable warriors and mere murderers. An honorable warrior does not slaughter civilians; nor does he hide among civilians out of uniform, making it necessary to target civilian populations to bring the fight to him. Nor does he behead and rape those he captures.

Killers, murderers, and criminals do, of course.

The code of Western honor does not confuse the two. Islamist "honor" does-- the most vicious murderer is praised as "Holy Warrior" for detonating himself among women, children, and non-combatant men in a pizza shop, discotheque, or even a marriage celebration in a hotel ballroom.

It is honorable to be a murderer, Islamism teaches, so long as those being killed are not Muslims.

In a war in which ideology and religious memes are so obviously important, can we afford to endorse the Islamists' view of honorable murderers?

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posted by Ace at 03:25 PM

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