Comments: Miscellany

In any case, ideas are nice, but I can't help feeling it's a bit more important to get down to the Orwellian business of killing the (Islamo)-fascists.

Sure. Killing them is a definite must, there is no rehibilitating hardcore Islamist terrorists. But therein lies the problem. As Donald Rumsfeld said, we can't kill/capture them as fast as they get more people in their ranks. When we caught KSM, al Qaeda's chief operational planner, it was a big blow, but his absense was soon filled by Abu Zarqawi who it turns out is even arguably worse. And once Zarqawi gets it, I'm quite certain there will be others even more vicious then he.

How do we combat that?

Posted by LJ at August 12, 2004 02:20 PM

For an index of ideofact's Qutb posts, Procrastination has taken the trouble.

Posted by Stygius at August 13, 2004 02:12 PM

Okay. Here's the link

Posted by Stygius at August 13, 2004 02:13 PM


What exactly does your quote from Orwell mean exactly? Are you, as LJ seems to have intrepreted it, suggesting that 'hardcore Islamist terrorists' should be killed?

Are you suggesting anyone who likes Qutb should be killed? Should I be afraid if we ever have the pleasure to meet face to face?

I know in a recent post you mocked the notion you found in Qutb that there is a crusader alliance against Islam and Muslims. Again, here I disagree a little with the way you intrepreted Qutb, but certainly I also disagree a little with the way Qutb read the situation, but then again I think I and you know a bit more about this particular society than Qutb did and of course we live fifty years after Qutb was writing.

Here's a hint, however, you and some of the other bloggers keep dropping lines about every 'decent man' killing an Islamo-fascist after pretty much making it clear that anyone identifying with Qutb is an Islamofascist is probably the best way you can make me start to believe that Qutb was a little more correct than I may have originally given thought.

If I was dropping casual lines about every decent Muslim killing an Evanga-fascist or Crusaders you'd think you were on an Al-Qaeda website.

I really want to know, what do you expect a faithful reader of your blog like myself to take away from such comments?

Posted by Abu Noor al-Irlandee at August 13, 2004 05:23 PM

Abu Noor,

I think you're being a bit overwrought here. Certainly you'd agree that there still exist men of the ilk of the 19 who flew airplanes full of people into buildings full of people. I imagine you might agree that there are some of these people who are either actively plotting things far worse than September 11, or, should their participation be required in such a plot, would be only too happy to volunteer. Certainly you'd agree that they are not interested in an intellectual debate or being reasoned with. How then does one deal with them?

Generally speaking, I'd much prefer it if human beings were amenable to reason, but I'm not persuaded that there's much point in reasoning with fanatics, particularly ones who would gleefully cry allahu akbar as they sawed my head off, or set off a nuclear bomb in Washington, London, Paris or Prague.

With all due respect, I stand by my comment. It wasn't the me who issued a decree to kill all Islamists, rather it was bin Laden who issued a decree to kill all Americans, and acted on it.

Posted by Bill at August 13, 2004 10:49 PM


I disagree with your comments on many levels.

First, no doubt there are 'men of the ilk' of the nineteen hijackers who are not interested in dialogue. My direct question to you, which you did not respond to, was how you decide, short of the person declaring themselves to be 'of that ilk' that this is the type of person who needs to be killed and that you are entitled to do so.

As to your paragraph about reasoning with fanatics, well, the current American government certainly meets my definition of fanatics who are not interested in or amenable to negotiation. The whole point of my first mail was that if based on that, I started making comments that maybe we should just shoot them, it would be wrong, and you would think I was a terrorist. So I ask you to reflect yourself why vice versa is okay.

Your last thought seems to suggest your answer to this -- bin Laden started it. I am just asking you to clarify whether your comment endorsed such a bin Ladenesque attitude. Strikingly you have refused to do so, although I guess it could be read as a denial that your comment meant that although without any explanation.

The implication that the U.S. government was simply leaving Muslims in peace pre 9/11 is one profoundly ignorant of history, so I hope that you are not under this delusion.

In the end, the undisputable reality is that the U.S. government is the only entity which has ever exploded nuclear devices in cities, and the U.S. government has killed far more innocent civilians since 9/11 than were killed on 9/11.

If those facts don't disturb your perception that the U.S. is a peace loving rational actor devoted to world justice and always open to discussion, while the "Islamists" are the wild eyed radicals who only know the language of violence and are not interested in talking, well, I don't think anything I could say will change your mind either.

Posted by Abu Noor al-Irlandee at August 25, 2004 04:51 PM

Abu Noor,

I'm not sure I'm following you. If you've got books on your shelves, that's fine, if you've got bomb-making equipment, that's something else entirely. I'm curious though as to why you would take so much offense at this remark -- are you suggesting that the only difference between, say, a fine fellow such as yourself and a Mohammad Atta is that whereas he had the guts to act on his beliefs, you don't? I certainly hope I'm misunderstanding you, but it appears to me that you're suggesting that it's impossible to distinguish between someone like you, who's merely got some screwy political beliefs, and someone who's turned his bedroom into a bombmaking factory.

I've passed over some of your critiques of the American government in the past, but let's be clear about this -- the two regimes the U.S. has toppled post 9/11 killed far more of their own citizens on purpose than the U.S. has by accident. The measures aren't really comparable. And please cite sources for your claims of civilian death tolls -- I don't believe I've read any reliable statistics to back up your claims.

I don't understand your paragraph on bin Laden.

Regarding Muslims, no, the U.S. hasn't left them alone. For much of the Cold War, we protected them from the Soviet Union (and absent that protection, there wouldn't have been much of a Muslim world left); in the Post-Cold War era, all of our wars have been fought to protect Muslims from aggression, genocide and totalitarians (Kuwait, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq). When Muslims get serious about stopping the genocide in Dafur, or anywhere else in the world, let me know, but it seems to me that the U.S. comes out well ahead of any Muslim regime in this regard.

Your raising of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is curious -- yes, the U.S. dropped the bombs, and yes, one can debate whether it was necessary, although my own readings suggest that the other alternative -- a land invasion of the home islands -- would have killed far more Japanese and far more Americans. What's interesting is that you feel that even when the U.S. wages war agains what was a barbarous regime that had committed cirmes against humanity (Read the Rape of Nanking for starters), even when it was the U.S. that was attacked by a foreign power with no declaration of war, that somehow it is the United States that is at fault.

I suspect you'll next be explaining to me how the Jewish financiers goaded Hitler into invading Poland...

Posted by Bill at August 26, 2004 12:51 AM


You did completely misunderstand me.

I thought the basic thrust of our whole discussion for months has been whether there really is any relationship between "Islamism" or the writings of Qutb and violence against innocents. I've been the one saying no, I'm not sure what you think you've been saying. So it is on that basis that I asked you when you advocate shooting bin Laden and his 'ilk' does that or does that not extend to those who agree with or are influenced by the one you like to call the 'brains of bin Laden.'

Your throwing the Muslim regimes and their wickedness against me is odd since I obviously have no love or approval for any of the Muslim regimes. So if you'd like to criticize them for Darfur, for their own oppression, or for anything else, I'm glad to join you. In fact, they of course torture and kill Islamists as fast as most any group.

The hard thing about you defending the U.S. government by attacking Muslim regimes as worse is that the U.S. has been a major supporter of many of these regimes, while Islamists have opposed them and Islamists like Qutb have advocated their overthrow.

All I said about Hirsoshima and Nagasaki (you were the one who brought up the idea that someone wanting to explode a nuclear device in a city was the epitome of evil and unreasonableness) was that the U.S. was the only entity to explode a nuclear weapon in cities. I suppose only the person making the comment can't see the paradox of the only people ever to use nuclear weapons and the biggest historical producer and stockpiler of all types of weapons of mass destruction constantly running around trying to prevent others from getting 'weapons of mass destruction,' as if its some kind of moral issue for them.

But of course you like the good patriot you are Bill, know that the U.S. are the only ones we can really trust to only use the weapons for good, right? And the U.S. foreign policy since WWII has been pro-Muslim, right? And the American soldiers killing Iraqis like its some kind of video game while they listen to their rock music in their tanks and believe they're getting back at someone for 9/11, and trading torture and humiliation photos on their laptops -- they are all people dedicating their life to freeing the Iraqi people, right?. And the U.S. is just so rich and powerful because we're morally superior to all other peoples and God loves us more la la.. the lullabies we sing our minds to sleep with.

I have no idea what your last sentence means or how anything that I have ever written to you would give you a basis to suggest that I would think or write such a thing.

Posted by Abu Noor al-Irlandee at August 26, 2004 12:20 PM


In terms of civilian deaths, it's really convenient for the U.S. to refuse to even count all the people they kill and then their defenders can go around simply saying everyone else is exaggerating the numbers.

I have seen several estimates for both Iraq and Afghanistan that I consider credible while of course not infallible and they have all been much higher than 3,000 killed. Of course in my view the U.S. had no right to invade either country and therefore the 'soldiers' killed are not morally justifiable either.

Isn't it nice that most of the people the U.S. kills are to them neither civilians nor soldiers, but subhuman 'terrorists' or 'enemy combatants' to whom anything can be done and there's no one to answer to. (Of course this is all in the mind of the U.S. gov't and those that support it -- in reality the U.S. can't label someone out of their humanity nor drop bombs on houses and call it an 'accident' when people die -- in reality there is God to answer to for all of this -- and I shudder to think of that day. As much as I may dislike, even hate, Bush, Rummy and the Crew, I don't wish upon them the fate that awaits them from their Lord if they do not repent.)

The morality that calls those deaths accidents and thinks they are not morally accountable for them is as despicable in my view as the morality that would justify killing American civilians to punish and gain revenge against their govenrnment. I will never God willing embrace either fallacy.

Posted by Abu Noor al-Irlandee at August 26, 2004 12:35 PM

Abu Noor,

I have argued that the political Islamism of Qutb is not to be confused with Islam, and that Qutb represents a perversion of Islam. That has been the major thrust of my arguments. I have pointed occasionally to another man commonly dubbed an Islamist (Alija Izetbegovic) whose ideas are diametrically opposed to Qutbs on matters ranging from religious freedom to the value of Western culture to the compatibility of democracy with Islam.

I undertook the blogging of Qutb because he was cited -- most recently in the 9/11 report -- as being the primary intellectual source for bin Laden's ideas. Karl Marx might not have killed anyone, but the ideology he unleashed on the world killed tens of millions. Qutb is the Islamist Karl Marx.

You have argued on this site, rather consistently, the opposite -- that Qutb represents true Islam. I thought this is what our argument was about.

The comment of mine which started all this was an offhanded line that it was a bit more important to get down to the business of killing the (islamo-)fascists (note that I did not use the term Islamist); you decided to assume that I meant that if you and I ran into one another you should fear for your life.

So let me reiterate the question you won't answer: do you consider yourself a fascist? Do you regard your ideas as being no different from those of bin Laden?

It certainly seems that you hold the United States in contempt (hey, it's a free country, you can express whatever you want on a blog's comment sections). Fair enough. I'm in Voltaire's party -- though I may disagree with everything you say, I'll defend to the death your right to say it. In this case, through the fees I pay to maintain this site, I even subsidize your comments (including those in which you've accused me of being a bigot, or potentially being a murderer).

For the record, when I brought up the possibility of Islamists detonating a nuclear device in a U.S. city, it was on the basis of a report I had cited here.

I'm particularly offended by your characterization of U.S. soldiers, who are certainly braver men and women than either you or I, and have done far more good in toppling Saddam and the Taliban, in stopping Milosevic's depredations, than any of your Islamist heroes have done.

I don't think I've ever said the U.S. is favored by God -- it would be a funny thing for someone like me, who's not particularly religious, to say.

I note that you still don't cite any statistics to back up your claims. I'm assuming that in fact you're conceding this point to me.

Finally, the U.S. is like any other country -- made up of infallible human beings who can do great good or great harm. What gives the U.S. its advantage is that, far more than any other country, it relies on the people first and foremost. In our military, NCOs make decisions; when I was a kid, a neighbor of ours down the street went from being a stay-at-home mom to a PTA member to a school board member to a state legislator to a candidate for statewide office (she lost) in a matter of ten years or so. That's just not possible in any other society, and that openness is what gives our society broad advantages. Or as Lincoln put it, "I am a great believer in the people."

So am I.

Posted by Bill at August 27, 2004 01:25 AM


Thanks for your comments. It is clear we are missing each other in this particular thread.

I realize my comments in this thread have been a bit strident, but I thought you introduced that tone with your original comment. Perhaps I misunderstood you.

I feel that Qutb's ideas in general (of course I have many disagreements with him as well) represent "true Islam" and I feel I agree with his ideas and I don't think I am a fascist.

I love Ali Izza too(May Allaah have mercy on his soul), and think in the main he probably would be like most Muslims in the world, including myself. I could research it, and perhaps I will, but its safe to say that he read Qutb and generally agreed with what he was saying but felt that applying it in his particular environment (place and time) would take a particular shape. In fact, Qutb speaks of very large principles and themes, and not specifics, and therefore his thought can be influential on people who take a variety of practical actions in their own environment.

In the main, although there is a certain strand of thought that was influenced by Qutb and led to terrorist violence, I don't think bin Laden really comes out of that strain of thought. Ayman al-Zawahiri does, so there is a link, but the actions taken by al-Zawahiri have a lot more to do with a certain reaction taken to the brutal actions taken by the Egyptian government towards the Islamist movement. Almost all Islamists reacted to taking a longer term view of the struggle and moving away from violence or even ideas of government overthrow, a few took the lesson that the only way to hit back at the tyrants was to adopt their methods. I don't believe the actions taken by those few are consistent with Islam or with Qutb -- but I don't really think they are fascist either, although perhaps I don't understand how the term is being used.

I explicitly stated the problem with your argument about stats in terms of civilians killed. Why don't you provide me with a credible estimate which is less than 3,000? I could provide you with a number of estimates but I'm sure you don't find them 'credible' so what's the point? I make this assumption not because I think you are always close minded but because these estimates are widely available and your comments from the beginning have suggested you reject them and seemingly you want to draw me into quoting them so you can give your argument about why they are not credible. Unless you have alternative figures, I'm not really interested in that.

As to American soldiers, some are better and braver than you or I, some are not. They're just people. Some are liars, some are not. Some are corrupt, some are not. Some are kind and charitable some are not. Some are fighting to avenge 9/11, some may be fighting because they think they are helping people. Some are Muslims who are in their mind fighting for the sake of God (one of them being my brother in law, who served in Afghanistan and is currently in Iraq, and who was also in the first Gulf War).

I don't deny there are good things about America. In general, I love the American people, although not necessarily more so than any other people.

I think the idea that in no other country can people have amazing lives or rise to high positions in government unexpectedly is provably false. If you really want to stand by it, I could spend the time to give you numerous examples. If your point is that it is easier in America, then Allaah knows best, certainly it is more possible in America than many societies, but it is a more complex issue (social, economic and political mobility in America) than the myth that you seem to be repeating would have us believe.

In any event, thanks for subsidizing my comments. If you would benefit from a little donation, just let me know. I appreciate the sentiment, but I don't need you to give your life for my right to say them (although there are many Muslims being persecuted for having ideas similar to mine, I hope you would be involved in helping them) just listen to them and consider what I am saying.

And May God bless you and anyone else reading this.

Posted by Abu Noor al-Irlandee at August 27, 2004 09:39 AM