Flushing the Koran

The recent riots in response to a Newsweek article about some US soldiers allegedly flushing the Koran down the toilet, highlights the scope of the problem the free world is facing in respect to Islamofascism. The people of the Middle East have been radicalized with gross intolerance. This is the most telling piece of evidence, and I quote "Insulting the Koran or the Prophet Muhammad is regarded as blasphemy and punishable by death in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.". How one human being can kill another human being just because he has an opinion you don't like, is beyond comprehension in first world countries. We instead have a principle "I disapprove of what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it".

Being able to question the so-called "Holy Books" is a human right. Also, being able to question the US Consitution, specifically the bits that are self-proclaimed as "self-evident", is a human right. Nothing must be sacrosanct. We must be able to question everything. Freedom of speech goes hand in hand with freedom of thought. Our first world countries have made enormous advances in part due to our ability to question everything. That is why I am most impressed with the sect of Islam called Mu'tazilah, which declared that the Koran was written by Mohammed, not revealed by God. The same thing applies to the bible, which proclaims that God said to stone people who worked on the Sabbath, along with various other perceived offences. But modern Christians have learnt to write off anything that disagrees with rational, humanist principles as "symbolic", "lost in translation" and "doesn't apply any more". The mainstream Muslims are still largely stuck in their belief that the Koran is 100% perfect, which is where most of the problem lies.

So what can be done about this? Especially the gross human rights violation of killing blasphemers. Well, I think that depends on the individual country. One thing that our militaries can do is open up freedom of speech, including internet access, so that people get exposed to differing opinions, from those of us living in environments where it is protected. Assuming a democracy is installed, it is possible that a majority of a country would vote in favour of restricting internet access to avoid "western infidel thoughts" being spread. But the advantage of a democracy is that we can easily make the people pay a price for voting that way. No foreign aid, no trade, for people who don't respect freedom of speech. Basically I believe that this is an ideological war, and we need to fight it, but we need to be pragmatic and adjust to what the enemy is doing. In some cases, such as Egypt, where the people are way too Nazified, I believe a moderate government needs to be installed rather than allowing the people to vote for an intolerant regime that reflects the prejudices of the people. Otherwise you suddenly have state resources at the disposal of Islamofascists.

But there are a lot more countries, such as Burma and Vietnam, where the people are not radicalized, and full-blown democracy is of no threat. I believe we should "clear the decks", by toppling all these tinpot regimes where the people are not Nazis. These regimes will likely become allies, and that will help when it comes to pursue the ideological war against Islamofascism. The more allies we have, the more ability we have of putting pressure on democracies (such as Afghanistan) that don't respect human rights including freedom of speech. I don't think a war against the Afghan people (where likely a majority support killing blasphemers) is an appropriate course of action. War against their dictators was appropriate, but the war against intolerant religious bigots can be fought more slowly and diplomatically. Each country needs to be independently analyzed. There is not "one size fits all". Europe's ideology of "tolerating intolerance" is I think morally bankrupt and dangerous. It's the same ideology that saw them supporting Saddam's "right" to be cruel and sadistic to the Iraqi people.

But let's start with the easy, no-brainer stuff first. Any country with an enemy dictator should have the dictator taken out. You can't lose. Even if the people democratically vote to be an enemy, there is nothing strategically lost, and it is very unlikely that a people are going to democratically choose to be enemies of the free world and expose themselves to economic sanctions. But if they do, we at least have that new option available to us. Economic sanctions on Iraq under Saddam simply made the people suffer, through not fault of their own. It was technically impossible for them to overthrow Saddam. So why make them suffer for something beyond their control? It was actually something within OUR ability to fix. By rights we should have put economic sanctions on ourselves until we took some action to topple Saddam!

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