1. Why am I so troubled about the contemporary situation?
1.1 The Bush administration has not made a serious enough commitment to Afghanistan/Pakistan.
- They secured Kabul [daytime] but much uncertainty remains.
- They have not found a way to deal with tribal territory, which currently not only protects Osama but is still running madrassas that teach young men to hate the West.
1.3 The administration flouted the advice and opinion of other state leaders and so created distrust among our closest friends.
1.4 They invaded preemptively, a very un-American action
1.5 They supposed that Saddam has WMD and could use them to shut down Saudi oil flows with nuclear blasts [and thereby cut world oil supplies by 12% [the worst we have seen so far was only 3%]]
1.6 They thought it would not cost much because the oil production of
1.7 They thought it was a way to break up money flows that nourish the radical movement against
>They could shut down
1.9 They expected the Iraqis to welcome us as the Afghans did
1.10 They thought we could set up a ruling council similar to that which was put in motion in
1.11 They seem to have underestimated Saddam’s radical supporters.
1.12 They seem to have prepared inadequately for the post-war situation
>The presence of American troops in
>In general the Bush administration seems essentially responsive to large business interests and are secretive about the way they have come to their policies [Chaney re energy; Bush/Chaney are known to have personal connections with Kenneth Lay, former head of Enron.]
>The religious communities within the
>The “left” in the West seems fixed on opposing Bush policy in
>The American public is dangerously apathetic:we are still getting less than 50% of eligible voters to participate in elections.
>In the mean time moneyed interests exert controlling interests on the behavior of elected officials, whereas the ordinary public – many of whom have no institutions to lobby for them – are apathetic.
>In particular, there is a dangerous informal tie between the leaders of our country and those of
>There is a movement against the
>What I think about most Muslims:
>Most Muslims are not Arabs
>Most Muslims are not much concerned about the
>Most Muslims are not radical
>But many are enticed and/ or offended by Western culture [
>What I think about radical Islam
>This is an infinitesimal number (out of 1.4 billion) but they are politically active and dangerously committed
>Islamists are a creation of radical strains of Islamic doctrine, some of them very old [Wahhabism, Deobandism].Some are modern applications of old traditions in more modern form [
>Muslim Brethren [a modern movement in
>Deobandism [a reactionary movement in
>Sudanese Islam [a recrudescence of 19th c. Mahdism?]
>Islamists were emboldened by
>the Iranian Revolution, in which after an internal struggle Shi`ite clerics took over
>the war in
>ManyIslamists are being recruited from the ranks of the young and unemployed.In much of the region of the
>Islamists are being created and perpetuated
>where mujahedin are needed to wage a war in the name of Islam in
>whose tribal peoples have traditionally seen themselves as faithful defenders of Islam against the encroachments of outsiders and outside religions into their territory.Their people are protecting Osama and Mulla M. Omar.
>And they are being deployed in wars they take to be holy wars,
>in Chechnia which was a secular Muslim movement originally and has become co-opted by radical Muslims,
>And there are other wars where radical Islamic fighters are likely contributing to local conflict:
>believe the existence of the oppressive regimes of the
>believe their zeal won the war against the
>believe Westerners are effete and will cut and run if warfare becomes too costly in lives:Examples are the flight of American Marines from
>are well funded by huge amounts of money:some of it in legal enterprises [oil industry, other local industries], some of it in illegal trade and barter [drugs, weapons, other contraband] (Napoleoni, Modern Jehad; Baer, Sleeping with the Devil)
>At the same time the peoples of the Muslim world are diverse and very divided
>Many of the most educated people in
>Pan- Arabism (which held several states together, including Saddam’s Iraqi state) was a secular movement encouraged by Christians (Saddam’s PM [or foreign minister?] came from a Christian community)
>There is among the Muslim populaces a strong distrust between Shi`a and Sunni
>Al Qaeda and Taliban in
>Iranian Shi`a are distrusted by most other Muslim nations because of theirShi`ism:even Iraqi Shi`a distance themselves from the Iranian Shi`a
>However, at higher levels there seems to be a clandestine accommodation between leaders of the two sects:
>Son of Osama has been living in Teheran
>Saudi and Iranian regimes seem to have made an accommodation on some issues (at the highest levels)
>Virtually all the oil resources of the
>In the Muslim world a struggle has been going on between secularists and Islamists.[Will it continue and become more serious within the Muslim community?]
>Egyptian government vs Muslim Brotherhood; the radical elements of the Muslim Brethren fled to
>Some important Muslim countries are divided in multiple ways
>A question: Is the younger generation up to these challenges?They will have to do better than my generation has done.