Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Changing The Minds Of Those That Hate Us

Greetings again from the land of the dial-up. Pardon the low level of linking in my posts this week - I don't have the leisure of staying on-line to search for them. Perhaps I can update these entries when I get a reliable broadband link somewhere.

I watched 60 Minutes last night with my in-laws here. There were several stories on and the usual short editorial piece by Andy Rooney. Andy's commentary dealt with the "fact" that the war has been a complete loss and that we needed to stop putting money into it in favor of spending it to "change the minds" of the nearly 100% of foreigners who hate, despise, and revile Americans. Rooney overstates his case on how hated we are around the globe. Make no mistake, there are lots of folks who do, but there are plenty who view us favorably or - this keeps getting missed - don't care about us 1 way or the other. Polls on the matter are some of his premises, however, not his conclusion. The conclusion (unspoken here) is that we can attain the goal of security for ourselves without resort to military force at all. That we can keep people from attempting us harm by changing their minds about... well, about the fact that they want to do us harm. With that conclusion now serving as a premise, he adds the unspoken premise that attaining any goal with military force is the bad option and should be avoided at all costs and arrives at the conclusion, spoken, that we should therefore spend our resources not on military actions but on methods to change the minds of those that wish us harm.

Assume for the moment that we're going to accept that conclusion completely. The first step in proceeding with such a plan is to determine why "they" wish to harm us. After all, you can't very well change their minds if you don't know 1) where their minds are now and 2) why their minds are where they are. Have they given us any hints? Sure they have. The most outspoken of the people that want us dead have had all manner of reasons. Our filthy infidel feet are standing on ground they claim as their own. Our filthy infidel friends, the Israelis, aren't evaporating into thin air and leaving all their lands to the Palestinians. (Better they not actually evaporate, but rather suffer an incredibly painful withering disease that disolves them, screaming, into piles of cash. But hey, why quibble?) Our filthy infidel manufactured products are showing up in their marketplaces, forcing their pristine peoples to buy them and listen to music, watch TV, and wear clothes that don't look like they were produced in the 16th century. Finally, our filthy infidel lifestyles are being paraded around showing women who can expect to vote, hold property, not be raped and killed at a moment's notice, and people in general who can follow whatever religious path they choose without fear.

That's the real issue here. The fact of the matter is that if their people really believed that radios, TV's, and CD players were hugely bad, they wouldn't buy them. And they don't really care that Americans are on the ground in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the region so long as those Americans are spending money and helping them build better oil production facilities. They might also hate the Israelis, but it appears that they don't really believe that killing Americans will change the Israelis one bit. Ah, but that part about the lifestyle... The imams and mullahs have made it quite clear in their writings and fatwahs what they think about our freedom of religion and the freedoms our women citizens enjoy here. Lightly ignored by our media is their viewpoint and reaction to homosexuals of all stripes - they want them killed. Their tolerance of abuse of children - and I refer primarily to sexual abuse of girls - is also documented but not portayed in our media very prominently. We stand in opposition to their stance on these matters, not just culturally but by law. There are those of our society who don't, of course, but these represent the minority and their actions are not protected by law or society in general. For these people that wish us harm, these views are considered the norm. They are considered correct and are endorsed by their religious authorities.

So I ask you: which of your religious beliefs can an avowed opponent convince you to give up or overlook?