Man’s ingenuity

One of the things that distinguishing humans from all other animals is their ingenuity. If you live in the West, that ingenuity is used to discover new vaccines, maximize crop harvests, invent computers, make beautiful communities, etc. If you live in the world of radical Islam, that ingenuity is used to create ever new forms of absolute evil, in conduct and in thought. Here’s Dennis Prager:

I never thought we could see a new form of evil. After the gas chambers of the Holocaust, the tens of millions murdered in the Gulag, the forced starvation in the Ukraine, the hideous medical experiments on people by the Germans and the Japanese in World War II, the torture chambers in all police states, I had actually believed that no new forms of evil existed.

I was wrong.

Of course, for sheer cruelty, one cannot outdo the Nazis; no depiction of hell ever matched the reality of Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. But while Islamists and Baathists in Iraq have not devised new forms of torture — there probably are no new ways left — they have devised a new form of evil: murdering, maiming and torturing as many innocents among their own people as possible.

I do not know of an analogous form of evil. When the Allies conquered Nazi Germany, disaffected Nazis did not go around murdering and cutting off the heads of fellow Germans in order to make the Allies leave. Nor did disaffected Japanese blow up Japanese students so as to make the American occupation of Japan untenable.

Here is the latest example of this new form of evil as reported by the Associated Press: “Maj. Gen. Michael Barbero, deputy director for regional operations on the Joint Staff, said . . . the vehicle used in the attack [on Iraqi civilians] was waved through a U.S. military checkpoint because two children were visible in the back seat. He said this was the first reported use of children in a car bombing in Baghdad. ‘Children in the back seat lowered suspicion, (so) we let it move through, they parked the vehicle, the adults run out and detonate it with the children in the back,’ Barbero told reporters in Washington.”

These same “insurgents” routinely blow up children who line up to receive candy from U.S. troops. Likewise, college students are targeted for death, as are men lining up to apply for civilian jobs, men and women attending mosques, physicians in hospitals, and so on. The more innocent the Iraqi, the more likely he or she is to be targeted for murder.

I submit that there was no way to anticipate this. And no one did. This includes all those who predicted a civil war in Iraq between Shiites and Sunnis. I include myself among those who predicted savagery in Iraq. On a number of occasions prior to our invasion of Iraq, I recounted to my radio listeners this chilling story:

As a young man, in 1974, I was riding on a bus traveling from Beirut to Damascus. The man I sat next to was an English-speaking Iraqi whom I asked at one point in our conversation, “Can you describe your nation in a sentence?” “No problem,” he immediately answered. “We Iraqis are the most barbaric people in the world.”

I obviously never forgot that man’s words, and therefore anticipated great cruelties in Iraq. But neither I nor anyone who predicted a civil war had so much as a premonition of this unprecedented mass murder of the men, women and children among one’s own people as a military tactic to defeat an external enemy.

You can — and should — read the rest here.

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Comments

  1. Trimegistus says

    When I’m _optimistic_, I think that in the face of Islamic evil, America and the West have simply given up, and will go down to defeat and leave the rest of human history in the hands of barbarism and tyranny.

    When I’m _pessimistic_ I think there will finally come a time when we throw aside all restraint and unleash our full capacity for terror and destruction. People who call the US imperialist or fascist have no _conception_ of what evil we could accomplish if we actually tried. Hitler would seem like a comic-opera villain by comparison.

    What I _want_ is for America to put aside its insane cultural cringe and moral relativism and go forth to trounce evil in the same spirit we fought the World Wars and the Cold War, with pragmatic efficiency guided by (but not artificially hobbled by) our shared moral values. But more and more I doubt that can happen. Instead we will get either Leftist suicide or genuine Fascist aggression.

  2. says

    I don’t think the Nazis were cruel in the general sense, they just seemd interested in efficiency. Why use up two bullets when you can tie two people together, shoot the parent, and have the parent drag the child down into the mass grave to be buried? They might seem like cruelty, but cruelty as I define it is an intentional desire and action to inflict the maximum pain. If the goal is to simply be pragmatic, I don’t think you could describe it as cruel, even if the means to do so do inflict more pain.

    Here is the latest example of this new form of evil as reported by the Associated Press

    But why is it evil? What system of belief makes it evil? Religion? If religion, shouldn’t we be conducting a holy war or something? My point is that if people don’t know what evil is or why things are evil, they can’t convince anyone else, and they won’t know what to do to stop it. Remember all those tv episodes about deception, lying to people and telling them what they fear is true, thereby fooling them?

    If someone has a car parked and you come into the restaurant to tell them that they just pulled away his corvette… then the fear for his corvette makes them believe in it just because he feared that it might be true. Deception, misdirection, you know the magician’s trade.

    The point to this is that humans can be fooled. This might be funny most of the time, but when it concerns life and death beliefs such as Jihad and Liberty, then it isn’t as funny anymore. You can’t afford to hesitate, to be confused, or to have doubt in your heart when you are facing evil. Why? Well I think the answer to that is simple. If you think you are facing evil and if you think that the only way to defeat evil is to become evil or to use evil… then your determination will corrode. You get into internal arguments about, why am I becoming the enemy… is it really worth it to fight something that is also a part of me… I mean seriously, we see this all the time now a days. If you don’t know what evil is, don’t know who your enemy is, then you also will not know yourself, your beliefs, and your goals. And if you don’t know that… well then, it becomes a mess if you tried to fight evil with those encumbrances on you.

    People’s belief in the good and the evil differs, obviously. Some people like Prager may understand intuitively what is evil, but personally I never thought that was enough. It is not enough to understand intuitively what is evil, because unconscious desires and emotions do you no good in war. You need conscious control, but to get conscious control you must understand. That… is something easier said than done.

    This is not a new form of evil, although it probably is for Prager.

    That is why we have not won.

    In a military sense, Z man and Al Q’s brutality actually helped our side, by turning the Al Anbar tribes against them. The more basic reason why we haven’t won is because we don’t understand our enemies, and therefore we don’t understand what we are supposed to do. What would be the right thing to do. Just because we have power, doesn’t mean our decisions are easier. In point of fact, people with power have a harder time choosing the right path if only because their power gives them more and more options, so many options that a human mind has trouble calculating all the odds and consequences. If you think about it, people who are powerless have fewer options, and therefore their decisions are easier. Meaning, if they are faced with destruction, they can either fight and die, fight and live, or not fight and die. One out of three, where it stops, only the survivors know. But the US has like millions of choices and different paths we could take. Knowing the True Path… hrm now that’s tricky. The Enlightened Eight Fold Path, eh? But it isn’t eight, it’s more like 8 to the eight power.

    But intellectually honest opponents of the war have to acknowledge that no one could anticipate an “insurgency” that included people leaving children in a car and then blowing them up.

    If people read the SM Stirling’s Draka series, they might have been far better prepared for current events, by reading a science fiction alternative novel that is.

    What’s the point of anticipating an insurgency? It is useless. I mean really useless. A lot of the deciding factors concerning which path you should take, depends upon the actions of the enemy. If you just try to calculate things in the beginning, it is like trying to calculate the 500th move for black as you play white’s first. (chess) What is the damn point even if you could do so? Okay, probably the amount of calculations wouldn’t be in the numbers of chess moves. It would be higher by more than a thousand magnitudes of order. The number isn’t infinite… but it is just about.

  3. says

    You know ,this reminds me of the Baatezu argument against the Ta’narris. Which is distilled down to “which form of evil is the purest and greatest form”.

    There are two choices. Insane murdering rage, a desire to destroy out of passion and cruelty. Or… the Baatezu philosophy, which is structured and efficient evil. Which is more evil, the efficiency of the Nazis or the insanity of the Islamic JIhad?

    Tricky question isn’t it, but that just presents one of the things the West has to solve if it wishes to defeat people that are evil.

    Here’s a hypothetical answer based upon something I said to Synova.

    “Good is more efficient than the most efficient evil, and has more rage and anger than the most enraged “mass slaughtering” demon”

    That’s my view on the Good, since after all, Good should be better than evil, correct? Religions took that and ran with it to heaven, postulating that there is a heavenly reward and therefore being good is better than hell since hell is suffering. I didn’t start from religious precepts of heaven and hell, so that means I mostly started looking for why Good was better than Evil in this world. And I found it. People shouldn’t follow a religion just because it offers rewards in heaven for doing certain things. That can be abused more often than things we see in reality.

  4. Trimegistus says

    Arguments about Good and Evil tend to forget that there are differing interpretations. For Muslims, for instance, Good is an Islamized world, with all nonbelievers reduced to serfdom and a society which follows in detail the practices of a fifth-century Maghribi bandit chieftan and schizophrenic pedophile. That is _not_ what an American considers Good.

    Unfortunately, for Americans, Good includes tolerance for the beliefs of others. That makes us very reluctant to say that the ideal of Good which built our nation is actually _better_ than Muhammad’s dreams of conquest and unlimited little girls to deflower. Islam, however, suffers from no such handicap — their Good includes the annihilation of any rivals.

    We need to recover our confidence — our ability to say, “ideas of Good differ, but ours is better.” Instead, I fear that if our idea of Good fails because we do not defend it, we will either decend into self-annihilation or violently reject the Good altogether.

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