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The Difficulty in the Middle

The Difficulty in the Middle – June 2, 2008 3:19 PM (edited 6/2/08 11:20 AM)
Talraen (2373 posts) Doesn't Play with Others
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In the past three days, I've been accused of being (more or less) a warmonger, and also of being a peace-loving hippie. Unsurprisingly, these accusations came from opposite sides of the political aisle. It's been hard to put my finger on exactly how the media's interaction with politics has negatively impacted this country, but this put it into crystal clear focus: there is no longer a position other than "the right" or "the left." Well, every political test I've taken in the past few years labels me a centrist, a term which used to mean someone who could see eye to eye with either side on some issues, but now means someone who is an enemy of both sides on all issues.

I want to give a specific example of what I'm talking about, based on the conversation that led to me being called a "peace lover." (The fact that this was intended as an insult is almost as funny as the fact that it was a name thrown at me.) We were talking about extremist Islamic terrorists (or the apocalyptic Muslim threat, depending on who you ask). The basic argument being thrown about was that all Muslims hate us, they are planning to kill us, and if we don't do something about it we're all going to die. Also, there is a worldwide Islamic plot to take over the world surreptitiously, one country at a time.

The basis of the counter-argument I was trying to make is that not all Muslims want us killed - rather, it is a very vocal minority that does, and the majority may not like us, but aren't actively in favor of wiping out or infidel population. My argument would have progressed further than this, but just by implying that we should not kill every Muslim everywhere, I was a "peace lover" and I'd "see my mistake when they called my name for execution."

See, apparently I'm in favor of appeasement: since the Muslims hate us for justifiable reasons, we should leave them alone, and by doing so we're sealing our doom. This is not my position, because that would be a stupid position. Just as stupid as the reverse, the one liberals fear conservatives all believe, that we must kill all the Muslims right away lest they destroy us.

The mind-boggling part of this is that Hitler came up in the argument. This isn't mind-boggling because of Godwin's Law, but rather because in this situation, the crazy conspiracy theory conservative side is Hitler. Yes, Hitler wrote down what he was going to do and then did it, just as many extremist Muslim leaders are saying right now that they're going to destroy the U.S. But the reaction to this is "we need to kill all the Muslims." Hey, wait, doesn't that also sound like Hitler's philosophy? Hmmmmm.

The point is, in World War II we were fighting the German and Japanese militaries, not their people. Sure, their people most likely hated us (it's hard not to when we're bombing you), but when the war was over, the threat was gone. We didn't have to slaughter the civilians at that point. Yes, obviously terrorism is not so simple, and there would likely be more resistance if we did the same thing to a Muslim country today that we did in Germany and Japan then, but the principle is the same: you fight the threat, not the people. To do otherwise is genocide, and is exactly the sort of thing the world hates us because they think we want. And if we did it, they would be absolutely right to think that.

As I am distinctly not some kind of hippie, I'd be all for going in and taking out any Muslim leaders who openly strive to harm our country. Just as the right wing is idiotic in their blindness to how other cultures actually function, the left wing often comes across as short-sighted when it comes to the actions that need to be taken. We do have enemies in the Muslim world, and we should be fighting them tooth and nail. To do otherwise would be foolish (see also: what Hitler did when we ignored him). But to extend this to the people of these countries is ridiculous. Would we nuke the entirety of a European nation to the ground because we didn't agree with their leadership? Of course not. Why do right-wing idiots think that Muslims are some completely different brand of human than the rest of the world, who blindly follow their leaders at all times?

I've been accused of being "blind" to the truth, but to that all I can say is that there are none so blind as those who will not see.

Re: The Difficulty in the Middle – June 3, 2008 1:25 PM (edited 6/3/08 9:25 AM)
chaoscat (452 posts) Ambassador of Good Will
Rating: Not Rated
I have to admit, the idea of calling you a peace lover is pretty funny. That being said, the great lesson of WWII that we simply refuse to apply here (or for that matter, have been pretty bad about applying since WWII) is simply that to eliminate an enemy, make him prosperous. After WWI, we drove the German economy into the ground (the depression didn't help anything there, but we really did a number on them), and not 30 years later we were fighting them again. After WWII, we built them (and Japan) up, and now we drive their cars. If we spent more time making Iraq prosperous and less time finding ways to enrich American corporations at the expense of the Iraqis, we our (theoretical) children could one day be driving Iraqi cars.

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Balerion (3:13 PM): wow Tozzi, that was the best tiny dick joke I've ever heard
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