February 01, 2015

Christopher Hitchens - "Islamic fundamentalism is not created by American democracy"

Christopher Hitchens and Salman Rushdie
Christopher Hitchens wrote in 2001 in The Nation magazine, 'Against Rationalization', a counter to Chomsky and the Left, who, in response to 9/11, suggested that the attacks against America were the causal effect of American action in the Middle East. He said:
"I know already that the people of Palestine and Iraq are victims of a depraved and callous Western statecraft."
For Christopher Hitchens, islamic grievance long pre-dates the Blair-Bush intervention. He said:
"The grievance and animosity predate even the Balfour Declaration, let alone the occupation of the West Bank. They predate the creation of Iraq as a state. The gates of Vienna would have had to fall to the Ottoman jihad before any balm could begin to be applied to these psychic wounds."
Hitch said plainly, islamic fundamentalism is not created by American democracy. He explained:
"In 1788, when the United States was barely a country, it was having its sailors taken as slaves by the Barbary states - the states of the Ottoman Empire in North Africa, Tripoli - and its ships stopped, its crews carried off into slavery. We estimate between one and a half million European and American slaves taken between 1750 and 1815. Jefferson and Adams went to their ambassador in London and said, "Why do you do this to us. The United States has never had a quarrel with the Muslim world in any kind; we weren’t in the crusades, we weren’t in the war in Spain, why do you do this to our people and our ships? Why do you plunder and enslave our people?" And the ambassador said very plainly, Mr Abdul Rakman, "Because the koran gives us permission to do so. Because you are infidels and that’s our answer." And Jefferson said in that case I will send a navy, which will crush your state."
He then said:
"Islamic fundamentalism is not created by American democracy."
He said:
"It goes back as I said to the initial beginnings of Islamic fundamentalism. The first attack on this country was in 1788 by Muslims who said that, "The koran gives us the right to punish and enslave infidels." That is Bin Laden’s ideology.
He also made it very clear that Bin Laden and other islamicists are imperialist, not anti-imperialist. He said
"Bin Laden wants the restoration of the Caliphate. The Caliphate is an empire, he’s pro-empire, not anti-imperialist… He’s for the banning of all music, all books, all philosophy. And this because he cares about the Palestinians? Any one who believes this is a fool.""
He said the same thing here:
"There are some fools on the left who talk about Osama Bin Laden and others as if they were anti-imperialists, of course they are fighting to create, in fact more properly to recreate a lost empire, the caliphate that was ended in 1918 and to bring in theory everyone in the world under it’s rule, the rule of Sharia, that’s as good a description you can come up with for a totalitarian scheme."
Hitchens said to Paxman:
"I don’t take the view, the glib view that’s taken by so many people, that the casualties are all the result of the intervention. For one thing, it’s an outrage to the idea of moral responsibility. Last month in Iraq the Al-Qaeda forces broke into a Catholic Church as it happens in Baghdad and massacred about 50 people. People say that’s Tony Blair’s fault or George Bush’s fault, don’t be silly. How dare you absolve the actually murderers of what they have done. Say they wouldn’t be there if we weren’t there, are you so sure? Al-Qaeda is operating in innumerable countries and was certainly present in the form of Mr Zarqawi in Iraq before we got there. I’m not going to have it put like that.”
He said:
"Does anyone suppose that an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza would have forestalled the slaughter in Manhattan? It would take a moral cretin to suggest anything of the sort; the cadres of the new jihad make it very apparent that their quarrel is with Judaism and secularism on principle, not with (or not just with) Zionism. They regard the Saudi regime not as the extreme authoritarian theocracy that it is, but as something too soft and lenient. The Taliban forces viciously persecute the Shiite minority in Afghanistan. The Muslim fanatics in Indonesia try to extirpate the infidel minorities there; civil society in Algeria is barely breathing after the fundamentalist assault."
He explained more:
"The Taliban takeover of the people of Afghanistan, taking advantage of the post-Soviet civil war, isn’t the result of American imperialism in the region, it is the result of a well thought out campaign by certain extreme Wahhabiswho practice a horrible cult, they call it takfiri, they excommunicate any one who doesn’t agree with them and they say they can be killed in the name of god as these Sunni muslims were yesterday in Baghdad… Until it’s understood that this is a hideous challenge to all the decencies of arab and muslim societies and can’t be blamed on the innumerable errors of American foreign policy, well you don’t have a chance of analysing it properly."
He said:
"The people who say that the violence of these people is our fault are masochistic and capitulationist."
He said in 2006 in response to the campaign of attack on Denmark:
"It’s one of the most extraordinary cases of intimidation. And this against a country that devotes a sizeable part of its budget to helping the Palestinian authority, to sending peace keepers and humanitarians to the arab world, who has done its best to accommodate Muslim immigrants, doesn’t have an imperial past, that didn’t invade Vietnam or bomb Hiroshima or any of the usual crap that you hear. No, it means that whatever you do they will find a reason to take offence and when they’ve done that they think it’s their axiomatic right to go straight to violence of the most criminal kind."
He said here:
"There are a lot of fools who say, "the United States deserved it because it was very proud, arrogant and imperialist…" I don’t want to hear intellectuals in my country make excuses for this. That would be a start."
Larry Klayman of Judicial Watch said in 2001:
"It’s not because of Israel… You can settle the Palestinian problem and it won’t stop Bin Laden, it won’t stop radical arabs and islamic people. They’re going to continue on. They want us destroyed. They want us dead."
He said about other non-nationals, like muslims, who could flag similar grievance as a cause for violence; except they didn't take to violence in the same way:
"There were a lot of Irish there [Finsbury Park] and Cypriots who had every reason, in my opinion a very justifiable reason too, to be extremely annoyed at British foreign policy as it effected their two partitioned countries. But they would never have stooped to the idea that this entitled them to let off explosives where their neighbours lived and you only have to look and see what the motives… of the attempted atrocity in London last week was, it was to try and kill as many young women as possible for their immodesty in going to night clubs. Now what on earth has that got to do with the suffering of the people of Gaza or Kashmir or Chechnya?"
He said:
"What they abominate about “the West,” to put it in a phrase, is not what Western liberals don’t like and can’t defend about their own system, but what they do like about it and must defend: its emancipated women, its scientific inquiry, its separation of religion from the state. Loose talk about chickens coming home to roost is the moral equivalent of the hateful garbage emitted by Falwell and Robertson, and exhibits about the same intellectual content. Indiscriminate murder is not a judgment, even obliquely, on the victims or their way of life, or ours.
Hitch's solution:
"The solution is… to deny any right to these people to name any grievance that they think entitles them to take other peoples’ lives."
Read the counter-argument here, that says islamic extremism is a direct effect of American intervention in the Middle East and arab nations.

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