the time to hesitate is through
I want to thank Mike from akaCooties for sending this article along.
As unlikely, incredible and totally illogical as it sounds, radical Muslim leaders like Osama bin Laden, Yasser Arafat and yes, even Saddam Hussein strive for an ideal that Americans can endorse: social justice. "The bedrock message of the Koran is that Muslims must build a just and decent society, in which poor and vulnerable people are treated with respect,"explains noted religious historian Karen Armstrong in a Washington Post column.
Karen Armstrong also said: "We should try to make an imaginative effort to understand what radical Islam was trying to do."
The article goes on to state:
The Islamic ideal requires leaders to live modestly, as the people do. Their leaders — the good ones — take personal responsibility for the poor and ensure that wealth is fairly distributed.
But our wealthy live quite differently than our poor, so Muslims judge us immoral. On the international scene, where entire countries live with disease and famine that we would never tolerate here, the gap is even more vicious. So when radical Islam attacks America, they are trying to attack social injustice.
In the process, they violate their own value system. When bin Laden and Arafat recruit suicidal men to destroy innocent lives, when Saddam resists the just call for weapons inspections that could avert a nuclear disaster, they have forgotten that a good Islamic leader must be merciful and compassionate. By Islamic definitions, they are not good leaders.
Yet they are followed by good people — deeply confused, but still good. And when we negotiate with these good people, we must remember that our lifestyle has much in common with their ideals. By building on similarities, we may yet avoid war.
And so Secretary of State Colin Powell is correct in insisting that the United States obtain U.N. endorsement for military action in Iraq. His reasons are no doubt complex and nuanced. Mine is simple. A good leader — democratic or Islamic — does not rule alone or arbitrarily. A good leader consults with others before making decisions. By submitting ourselves to the wisdom of the international community, America will remain a good leader in the best international tradition.
Oh, I see now. We've gone about this all wrong. What we need to do is understand radical Muslims, learn their history and follow their example of leadership.
Sure, a good leader consults with others. But it does not consult with a group of people who are known to despise them - and I do not mean the radical Muslims here - I mean the United Nations.
And, in fact, by submitting ourselves to the whim of the United Nations - that paragon of virtue and truth - we are setting a tradition of being wimps. It is people like Ana McDonald and Karen Armstrong that make me wish we would just get this war on already and shut up with the "understanding our enemies" rhetoric.