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Gen. Gen. Dana Pittard and Sgt. Wes Bryant on “Hunting the Caliphate”
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US Army Major General Dana Pittard and US Air Force Master Sergeant Wes Bryant are co-authors of the brand-new military memoir Hunting the Caliphate: America’s War on ISIS and the Dawn of the Strike Cell. The Pentagon and CIA spent 15 months screening the book, so unsurprisingly it generally follows official narratives. But it does feature some honest admissions that push back against the propaganda. For instance, politicians endlessly demanded that Gen. Pittard create an army of “moderate Syrian rebels;” the pols had a hard time accepting his answer that there basically weren’t any: “We can’t ‘shit’ new moderate Syrian recruits willing to fight.” In Iraq, he was endlessly frustrated by the reluctance of officialdom (presumably starting with the Obama White House) to allow them to take off the gloves and really fight ISIS: “As the US military leader in Iraq, I did the best I could given the handcuffs placed on us. Our goal was to keep ISIS from overrunning the Middle East and turning the region into a primitive Islamic caliphate and terrorist breeding ground. But the question that kept popping into my mind was: ‘Is this any way to run a war?’”

Dana Pittard

Wes Bryant’s memorable contributions to the book include his epiphany in a café in Bahrain, during which he suddenly realized: “How can I hate these people simply because of what they wear, how they look, or the religion they follow?…my combat experiences had made me hate all Middle Easterners, the Arab world, and all of Islam. I’d harbored contempt toward such people for years. But as I sat in that café I had the sudden awareness that they were not really any different from the rest of us. These people are not my enemy. They are not our enemy.”

Wes Bryant


Dana Pittard has earned a B.S. from West Point, a master’s degree from the School of Advanced Military Studies at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College,
and attended the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University as a Senior Fellow. Wes earned a bachelor’s in Asian Studies from the University of Maryland University College.

Wes Bryant been a lifelong writer, amateur philosopher, and an avid student of the martial arts.

(Republished from Truth Jihad by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, ISIS, Middle East 
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  1. Interesting article.

    Though the realizations about Iraq are probably a little late.

    • Replies: @AnonStarter
  2. ‘…But the question that kept popping into my mind was: ‘Is this any way to run a war?’”…’

    It is if the goal is to nurture and perpetuate the war.

    Iran and Russia kind of ruined that, though. Israel must be displeased.

  3. @EliteCommInc.

    Too late to recross the rubicon, but timely enough to inform others that Islam and Muslims are not the enemy.

    Which is still better than nothing at all.

    • Replies: @PPB
  4. PPB says:

    “Too late to recross the rubicon, but timely enough to inform others that Islam and Muslims are not the enemy.”

    Yes, and we could add others to the list. But are we practiced enough in the art of a politics without contrived enemies to even pull it off?

  5. Toxik says:

    To Wes Bryant: If anyone invaded your country, you think they would sit on their hands? In the movie Red Dawn, where Russians are invading the US, the group of teens are patriots for getting together and resisting the Russians. There is no difference if its Iraq, Syria, or the US. If someone is invading, the locals are patriots for resisting, not terrorists.

    • Replies: @sally
    , @SaneClownPosse
  6. “Too late to recross the rubicon, but timely enough to inform others that Islam and Muslims are not the enemy.”

    Hmmmm . . . I am not sure it matters any longer. We have destabilized the region. That means we have invited states we are most concerned about to fill a vacuum left by our removal of Pres Hussein.

    Iraq is bonding with Shia in Iran (part of the islamic revolution)

    By choosing to support Saudi Arabia war instead of telling them the opposition won, work with it we have further encouraged Sunni involvement. That same imbalance applies to Syria and Libya. We have made so many errors in the region, that almost every move makes matters worse. Now the Israelis love the destabilization because she can point fingers and claim she is at threat. But the issues going on in the space is not really about Israel. It’s about muslims and how they full the vacuum.

    When people start hollering about the foreign experts and the failure to rely on the state department’s guidance, all one need do do is look at the guidance from the last 20 years.

    Even if Gen Pittard and Sgt Bryant had taken off the gloves they would have only embroiled themselves (the US) is civil and regional dispute in which we have some stake vie business interests, but beyond that, I am not sure that a destabilized middle East will have much impact on the US. The time to have taken off the gloves was during the ill advised invasion, that unleashed the civil war to begin with. The marines and armored units should have been cut loose to stop that process and send a message —

    “We are not having it.”

    We should not have occupied Iraq, we should have owned it.

    • Replies: @AnonStarter
  7. Note:

    My comments are those of someone who opposed both the invasion of Iraq, and Afghanistan (we could have effectively dealt with those accused of 9/11 with strategies less than a costly and unwise invasion),

    That was my position in 2001, 2002, 2003 and today.

    Buy if we were going to invade, we should done so with enough force to control the country. That was my position in 2001, 2002, 2003 and today.

    And contrary to the comments of Fox News, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, CBN, PBS, CNBC and host of supposed experts military and government representatives, and even more of the enlightened:
    liberal and conservative advocates, christians, nonchristians, blacks, browns, whites, yellows,legal and (illegal immigrant) flag waving theives of US treasure, male and female and most of the public at large who’s bizarre justifications, policy prescriptions and name calling advocates for invasions,

    I am not unpatriotic, a “practioner of same sex behavior”, a coward, nor much of any of the names used in reference to my me and those like me who opposed the matter outright — without the name calling and other tactics and lies used to destroy so many careers and lives, where I was then is exactly where I am today.

    And even it meant being being assaulted and lied about all over again — my position would be the same. And what’s more,

    the aftermath of those invasions have exonerated my opposition based on the events.

    And the same cadre’ expects me to bow down in himage to them because they still have a platform from which to speak —–

    uhhhhhhm not on a bet. It was unethical and strategically unwise then it remains so to this day.

    I hate the destitution —- but even in the shame of my poverty — my position remains the same and I am delighted to know despite all the filth visited on my life and that of others our integrity was not for sale that day.

  8. And I haven’t budged a single grain of rice on Vietnam. We won it. We should have protected that win. But you cannot lose a war you are not there to fight and in 1975, the US military was not in Vietnam.

    Making cold war comparisons to Vietnam are distracting and deeply inaccurate most of the time, such comparisons require similar frames and are very narrow.

    • Replies: @Counterinsurgency
  9. @EliteCommInc.

    The problem wasn’t the tactics (invade Iraq with x or xx number of troops) but the strategy dictating any such invasion in the first place. The US should be allied with the whole Muslim East against the real long term strategic threats to US interests: China, Russia, and eventually India.

    The Muslim East is weak, and weakness invites aggression and theft of resources. That’s why the Zionists can steal Palestine, Russia can steal Islamic Central Asia, India can steal Kashmir, China can steal East Turkestan, Buddhist fanatics can commit genocide in Myanmar, Serbs in Bosnia, etc. As Huntington said, Islam has bloody borders. That’s because Islam is weak, and outsiders are attacking and invading Islamic lands to loot their resources.

    The US, which is trying to dominate or at least police the world from North America, must follow the grand strategy of balancing competing powers in Eurasia. That means helping the weaker powers (in this case Islamic countries) against stronger powers.

    Instead, the Zionists have tricked us into fighting their wars against their neighbors and wasting trillions of dollars to try to weaken and destroy of the Islamic world—when our own interests dictate that we should be strengthening and defending it in order to balance the other great powers and promote peace and stability.

  10. @Kevin Barrett

    To your first point, I think we agree. The invasion(s) were wholly a mistake.

    However, I think we disagree on the strategic issues:

    if the choice was to invade then we needed a full war posture and prosecution to destroy and then control the country entirely according to our will and our demands, Shia, Sunni, Catholic, Jew, Atheist – – it’s our way or the highways – period.


    If I understand you correctly, in your view, we need a grand middle east alliance to deal with the rising threats from India, China and Russia. That’s a tall order given the dynamics in the region made worse by our current military choices.

    Before considering the long term grand strategies, which for the moment are impossible to configure, we will have to wade through this mess we have made and begin a campaign of convincing Israel, Iran, Syria, Iraq, Saudia Arabia, Yemen, Jordan, Qatar, Egypt, Dubai, etc. that they should let bygones be bygones and join forces with the NATO and the US in the struggle for civilization survival —–

    Now in one sense that is an intriguing idea, save this, its loaded with interventionists pitfalls and nightmares that would further drain the US to the benefit of the opponents you want to challenge. While keeping that in mind, and I am not opposed to empire on its face,

    I would like to take one step at a time and clean up the current mess of a policy first.

    • Replies: @romar
    , @RadicalCenter
  11. romar says:

    “… begin a campaign of convincing Israel, Iran, Syria…”
    Sorry, friend, your country is no longer in a position to convincing anyone of anything. Your credibility is all gone. All those people hate you – you don’t realise that because they still fear you, so they don’t show their hatred.
    Israel despises you, They use you, manipulate you for their own ends, but they won’t listen to you either.
    Wake up. Even your so-called NATO allies obey you because they still fear you – but since your arrogance has pushed your adversaries to organise the means of draining your power, you will soon lose your power to bully the world, your allies will turn away.
    America is now a giant with feet of clay…

  12. sally says:

    if the invaded don’t sit on their hands, they will be wiped out as dissidents by the invaders .see the CIA as Organized Crime, How Illegal Operations Corrupt America and the World by Douglas Valentine. .. Invasions are always complemented by GPPD (gating, propaganda, programming and people dividing) in order to homogenize the humans trapped within the containers (nation states and the subdivisions thereof) and in order to polarize the people in one container against the people in another container.

    Whether or not the defenders are patriots or terrorist is determined by the MSM and the propaganda mobsters.

  13. @Toxik

    Same deal in South Vietnam. US actions towards the people created and fostered resentment against the foreign invaders. Hint, the NVA were Vietnamese.

    There was no unified opposition to Saddam Hussein. There were six different opposition groups in London in 2002. Three groups just for the flavors of Kurds. I made the call that a regime change would result in chaos in late summer 2002. Unfortunately, I am not a George Soros and had no way to profit from the collapse of a nation.

    Everyone with a clue in that region knows who the actual bad actor is, and who opposes that bad actor, and who does the grunt work for that bad actor. Iran in. USA out.

  14. “Sorry, friend, your country is no longer in a position to convincing anyone of anything. Your credibility is all gone. All those people hate you – you don’t realise that because they still fear you, so they don’t show their hatred.”

    You are utterly mistaking the context of my comment. Your mistaking my comment as a proposal as opposed to what would need to happen if Mr. Kevin Barrett’s suggestion were to be accomplished.

    Your bark is targeted up the wrong tree. As for the credibility of the US, it has taken some hits. But make no mistake, the US is a force to be reckoned with and will be for some time to come, if we can resist making obvious errors when we are really really angry – such was the case concerning the Middle East.


    It never fails. Incorrect Vietnam comparisons, such this,

    ” Same deal in South Vietnam. US actions towards the people created and fostered resentment against the foreign invaders. Hint, the NVA were Vietnamese.”

    It is not the same deal. North Vietnam and South Vietnam were two separate countries. And a brif look at Vietnam’s history makes it clear that Vietnam as a unified country was but for a very brief time. The factions for dominance between North and South is not rare. Which made the French divisions fairly simple. The best period of a unified Vietnam was when it was occupied by the Japanese. Even today those tensions exist.

    Further distinctions: there is no demarcation line distinguishing any unique territorial boundaries in Afganhistan. Hint: take a look at Vietnamese territorial history. The UN General assembly recognized a S. Vietnam, even after the French departed. Afganihistan is comprised of a myriad of loose confederations – each in some manner governing some region of the country. That was the case even when the Taliban were considered the central authority. And it is the reason negotiating or declaring anything by US armed forces a bit of a if, and or but . . . That was not the case in Vietnam. Despite the existence of the Vietcong — The US, S. Vietnam and other interested parties could negotiate with a central governing command structure.

    And the it cannot be overstated that the Taliban have as some manner of ethics a religious belief that does hold some sway in “honest dealings.” That their word is in fact their word, the trick is whether said word will be the same among all various factions.

    This is not Vietnam. Vietnam did eventually achieve some stability during US occupation. And that was maintained for several years in which attempt of a second war after the treaty were repelled, until 1975, when Vietnam violated the treaty completely and with the aid of the Chinese, Soviets and North Koreans invaded S. Vietnam launching a second war, because the US was no longer present and Pres. Nixon was no longer in office.

    The US has never achieved stability in Afghanistahn nor subdued the country in any manner such as democracy in any form would be the policy throughout. We have never had control, unlike Vietnam –

    get this mantra out of your head: “We lost the war in Vietnam.”

    Response: No we did not.

    get this mantra out of your head: “Iraq and Afghanistan are the same as Vietnam”

    Response: No it is not. Pay attention to the details and the matter becomes very clear. The differences are huge and consequential.

  15. @Kevin Barrett

    You’re right about the need to get together to deter, counterbalance, and compete effectively with China, and about the potential threat posed by India.

    The USA should be partnering with Russia to do so.

  16. @EliteCommInc.

    Thoughtful comment as always, Elite. I’d merely quibble that Israel should not be on that list; they’d have to be potentially trustworthy civilizational allies, and they are deliberately not truly part of anyone else ’s civilization.

    Nor is it we Americans who should be asking Israel or Saudi to let bygones be bygones — quite the contrary. As to the other countries on your list, yes, withdrawal of “our” troops and bases from those countries; an end to our interference on israel’s Behalf; an end to US aid for the Saudis’ ruthless campaign on Yemeni civilians; an apology for arming and aiding “Islamic State” and other Islamist extremist murderers/torturers among their people; and a concerted effort to increase trade and development with these countries, would all seem to be in order.

    And this is from someone who opposes Islam and the settlement of any known Muslims in our lands.
    Fair is fair.

    And these wars and occupations and provocations are not even in our own interest, on balance, as you have pointed out yourself, apart from any fairness or solicitude for Muslims.

  17. “Nor is it we Americans who should be asking Israel or Saudi to let bygones be bygones — quite the contrary. As to the other countries on your list, yes, withdrawal of “our” troops and bases from those countries; an end to our interference on Israel’s Behalf; an end to US aid for the Saudis’ ruthless campaign on Yemeni civilians; an apology for arming and aiding “Islamic State””

    Again, if we are to take Mr. Barrett at his word that we should forming a coalition as I think he suggests, in my mind, those observations I note would be in the offing.

    Laugh — I am not sure how we get Israel to sit down with their neighbors. But of this I am convinced, in their minds the US has to engage in a lot more regime change before they would even seriously consider such a proposal.

    I just don’t know how we get past all of the trouble we have caused — and I agree, their bygones with each other — that’s one Everest size reconciliation mission. Maybe I should sign up.

    I think Gen Pittard and Sgt Bryant are just shaking their heads and rolling their eyes at the notion.

  18. @EliteCommInc.

    If you want to throw staying alive into the mix, you have to remember that associating with the existing power structure in any but the most peripheral way will bring you down with it. Even neglecting lies over truth, people in the contemporary power structure are strongly discouraged form having children, and those who have children anyway are again discouraged from raising them to be viable adults.
    The Classical philosophers remained at arms length or greater from society for that reason. Those who didn’t, “philosopher kings” for example, had to drop philosophy for expediency if they wanted to remain king (or tyrant). Even the Classical philosophers, given the choice, preferred poverty and truth seeking to death and avoiding lies.


  19. @EliteCommInc.

    Essentially, the Democrats allied with N. Vietnam against the US and the Republicans. The Democrats got the Presidency and N. Vietnam got S. Vietnam. Something similar is happening today; the Democrats have allied with foreign and internal migrants against the rest of the US.
    This can be tied back to Greek colonies founded with participants from two cities. Such colonies eventually had a civil war, and in many cases one or both sides invited in foreign allies. Often enough the foreign allies ended up owning the whole colony, or what was left of it.


  20. “Even the Classical philosophers, given the choice, preferred poverty and truth seeking to death and avoiding lies.”

    poverty excuse me while I take a moment for self pity : wha wha wha . . .

    Now that I got that out of the way, I think your observation about that generation and Vietnam ha some merit. Though I do think that Pres. Johnson and others should have been more direct with the public about what was at stake and what the mission was. What is interesting about that generation of war protesters is how eager they are to engage in interventions that have less cause to intervene than Vietnam.


    And I have no real understanding of how our US leadership could engage in policies that undermine the ability of US citizens to earn a living, or express opinions about foreign states, so intensely as to make such free speech a crime. It’s just bizarre.

    I don’t think we should or need to be entertaining civil conflicts. I am not sure what to make of a congress and an administration that wants to replace US citizens with immigrants for economic and socio-political agendas. When I consider Mr, Barrett’s comments about global strategies, I am reminded that the Chinese have just opened a manufacturing plant in Colorado.

    My position about no foreign ownership of any US territory or business might be a hard sell to thousands of citizens newly hired.

    • Replies: @Counterinsurgency
  21. @EliteCommInc.

    You might be interested in the following observations / interpretations / analyses. Please take them as objects of discussion rather than me proclaiming absolute truth, something I would have no right to do. The essay / declamatory style I’m using, while good for conveying bare ideas, also has a sort of penumbra of claim to absolute truth, which is not my intention.

    Johnson had a “guns or butter” decision to make back then. His political base, the cities, were just starting to realize that containerization and the Interstate had made them economically obsolete, and they wanted money – the “Great Society” gave them the money they wanted. LBJ was the President who destroyed the Black family, and the repercussions of that eventually destroyed every other family in the US. LBJ did it to get Black mothers to accept welfare payments (aid for mothers with dependent children). So LBJ kept the Vietnam War going on a maintenance level (sound familiar?) and thus opened himself up to attack from the Democratic Left, which went for LBJ’s throat. I was there, it was actually worse than the way Trump is treated today, at least in the NYC area [0].

    The Democrat Left back then allied with the N. Vietnamese to gain control over the US government. The bargain was apparently that the Democrats would attack the US/S. Vietnam alliance as a domestic anti-war issue _if_ the N. Vietnamese would continue fighting. At the end of the process, the Democrat left had routed the Kennedy era internationalist/anti-Stalinist Democrats, and were in a position to destroy Nixon and start the process that gave us today’s situation. The N. Vietnamese were given S. Vietnam, which the US did not even attempt to defend (with available carrier air) from a classic armor invasion during the Easter Offensive [1]. Strip away the propaganda and that’s what remains.

    The US doesn’t have US leadership. The Republicans have been US leadership, and they are empty suits, frightened by their shadows [2]. There has been no US leadership since WW II; the West simply lost all confidence in itself after the Depression World War era. The West has been a lot like Russia after the USSR’s fall: taken over by several groups that have exploited it with no concern for its welfare. That’s why the “Change America!” campaign slogans and the “Never again!” slogans in Western Europe and England.

    For the plant opening, that’s interesting. Obama made a film, “American Factory” [3] about another industrial endeavor in the US. While initially supported by the Americans it hired, they eventually turned against the business on the grounds that pay wasn’t up to 1960’s corporate levels, and that many Chinese workers were imported. I can’t find any information on how the factory is doing today.




    2] For a literary description, see:
    Tom Wolfe
    _A Man Entire_
    _Bonfire of the Vanities_
    For an historical account, consider:

    Ironies abound in this article. The American workforce turned out to be unprofitable, despite efforts by the Chinese to make it so (“eliminate proletarians” by automating a glass line in the article.) American industrialization, if it happens, will have to contend with the generally hostile labor movement in the US, which worked hard with management only in freezing a status quo that eventually made US manufacturing noncompetitive world wide.
    Not that the unions are entirely at fault. Industrialization seems to be killing the populations that it once supported (by sub-replacement fertility), and nobody seems to know how to counter that. The union way didn’t work, though, nor did the management way work. Nor have any of the other ways (and there have been several from the Shakers to the Scanlan plan {}) proved viable.

  22. @EliteCommInc.

    /I am not sure it matters any longer./

    It certainly matters.

    Nobody denies that it’s too late to dial back the clock in the millennial Muslim world, but the value of a gradually improving perception of Islam among Americans cannot be underestimated.

    Look beyond the ephemera of our time. You’ll see it.

  23. “It certainly matters.”

    In absolute terms it matters. But does it matter as issues stand, no. Until we clarify our policy now and unweave it from 9/11 which was about a very limited set of actors. We are going to be forever chasing Al Qaeda which bears no real image of what the organization resembled or did in 2001. As long as we continue to do Israel’s agenda instead of our own and support Israel where our concerns actually intersect — any attempt to em brace Muslims in that region in a grand or even loose confederation is moot.

    I have very fond relations with the Muslims I know. However, I am cautious. And I am deeply concerned about the Muslim, Buhdist and Hindi influence in who are as a country. The Muslim faith is all encompassed with their politics. No Muslim country has anything even close to a freedom of religion separate from Muslim organized government. Now that is fine for Muslim countries, but in the US it will be an issue as and increasing number of Muslims arrive.

    I was oblivious to this until Muslims began to expect me to refer to Mohamhed as “Honorable”. Further were conversations with Muslims in which they felt there should be laws outlawing criticizing another’s faith. As someone who leans christian, having heard volumes of disparaging references to Christians, Christ, God and all things scriptural. I found this suggestion untenable. I could no more support that than i could support laws that make it a crime to critique Israel or Jews.
    Laughing as someone who is very disliked, I couldn’t even find a valid argument to legally challenge the idea of making it illegal to dislike someone.

    But before we even get there, there’s are web of conceipts in the region that need tending. Again I don’t have knee jerk negative responses to Empire. But we had netter make up our minds about what we desire, if its empire, then Gen. Pittard and Sgt Bryant’s case for a heavy hand is a near “must” for the short term and for the long term and Pres. Bush made clear — our presence for 100 years to transform those societies.

    And that is not even close to an “over the top” expectation.

    • Replies: @AnonStarter
  24. “The N. Vietnamese were given S. Vietnam, which the US did not even attempt to defend (with available carrier air) from a classic armor invasion during the Easter Offensive [1]. ”

    I am going to respond to the above for the moment. By 1975 Congress can made returning to Vietnam a serious matter of legal over reach. I don’t the War powers acts is worth a penny in light of the Constitutional mandate for the executive’s role. However, Pres. Nixon sadly was gone. The Republicans duped themselves into believing that there was an actual case to prosecute and Pres, Ford was far less committed to the president’s agenda.

    1. There were two assaults by the North in 1973, with our help (the value of Pres. Nixon) the South prevailed. In the second without our help, they prevailed. And given hand tying measures of Congress, the hyperbolic nonsense about Watergate, by 1975, it would have taken far more backbone than Pres. Ford had to reaffirm our commitment to S. Vietnam and secure what was hard fought victory, won by 1973.

    2. I think the period and its antics, liberal agendas prevailed. I have no evidence that there was a formal or even informal agreement among leftists in the US and those in the Soviet Union, North Korea and N. Vietnam. Given the silence of what followed the invasion of S, Vietnam as the S. Vietnamese were entreated to the peaceful ministrations of communist purgings, I can certainly understand why one might think so. And the North Vietnamese certainly attempt to cleanse the old ways North to South East and West.

    I am not against private labor unions, but I agree that given the relationship the union leadership and its members had with the businesses, they should have been well aware of company bottom lines including overhead and adjusted their demands accordingly. Also what the union leadership to expand their income base is what really damaged the unions. by opening the door internationally they opened the door to outside competition and guarantees inside the unions here in the US — members were betrayed by their leaders — it’s gut wrenching to read the research on what transpired. I am not inclined to dig through my own scattered files or the TAC archives but clearly unions made some several big self inflicting wounds —

    further than intended

    • Replies: @Counterinsurgency
  25. @EliteCommInc.

    I think the period and its antics, liberal agendas prevailed.

    It was like watching somebody stomping on little chicks, except that the chicks were Republicans. The Republicans never knew what hit them.


  26. “It was like watching somebody stomping on little chicks, except that the chicks were Republicans. The Republicans never knew what hit them.”

    Hmmmmm . . .

    a bridge too far for me. I just think the the Republicans clung to the wrong arguments for too long. And they simply needed more than claims to moral high ground that had no answers for historical and some social realities.

    They mire stumbled than got stomped.

  27. “They more stumbled than got stomped.”

    Slow bleed.

    What they should have done is thrown Vietnam in the face of democrats and liberals. What they should done is had full 20×20 photos of butchered and burned youth, women and men with this caption:

    “Peace Loving North Vietnamese ”

    “Democratic Party Answer to Communist Aggression”


    “All They were Saying is Give Peace a Chance”

    “North Vietnam Embraces 1973 Peace Agreement”

    “The People of South Vietnam say: Thank You Jane Fonda”

  28. @EliteCommInc.

    /The Muslim faith is all encompassed with their politics./

    For Muslims, faith is their politics, but we need to be clear about what that faith allows. In principle, it’s far more libertarian than imagined both by Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

    You write

    /No Muslim country has anything even close to a freedom of religion separate from Muslim organized government./

    Well, first we have to define what is meant by “Muslim country.” What we have are countries populated predominantly by Muslims yet administrated according to a template of secular law typically borrowed from one or more European polities. Then there are countries which purport to be “Islamic republics,” implementing in piecemeal fashion what they claim to be shari’ah legislation. I won’t doubt that some of it has its basis in our source material, though like a holistic diet, shari’ah doesn’t function unless comprehensive in its scope, and I have yet to witness a country that fits that description.

    You’re speaking of modern countries in the millennial Muslim world, the “old world,” over which Islam bore influence for about 1,000 years. Long before Europe saw its “Reformation,” Muslims allowed for freedom of religion throughout these lands. Before Islam, the allowance for such liberty would have been the exception to the general rule in, for example, Persia, where it existed at the whim of a ruler rather than as divine law. In Europe, there was never any such allowance until Islam arrived on the Iberian Peninsula.

    Ironically, after Muslims found themselves subject to European hegemony following World War I, their terminal collapse, which had begun long beforehand, became even more evident, and the marionette leaders of nation-states in which they found themselves reflected it, violently suppressing grass roots efforts to restore the foundations of shari’ah governance in daily life.

    So, to be accurate, there is less “Muslim organized government” in the millennial Muslim world than there is tyranny. And no, that is not fine for them.

    /in the US it will be an issue as and increasing number of Muslims arrive./

    I’m not convinced of this, though there may be a minority of immigrant Muslims who attempt to bring formulae for “societal reformation” originating from beyond the American ethos and ineffective even where they began. Those groups are already closely monitored by American intel (and others).

    If you’re concerned about Muslims using democratic means to change the foundation of American constitutional law, I would place that anxiety low on your list of priorities. When Muslims of the millennial world can’t even affect the change they would like to see in their own countries, democratically or otherwise, it’s unreasonable to think that a minority of them will be able to do it here.

    You can remind Muslims who demand that you call Muhammad “Honorable” of the Treaty of Hudaibiyah, which was amended to exclude reference to Muhammad as “Prophet of God” with the Prophet’s own approval. Though this amendment upset his companions, the fact that it received the sanction of the Prophet himself, who applied with perfection the imperative “no complusion in religion” (2: 256), should suffice for you as a shari’ah-based defense.

    You can also remind those who wish to abridge the First Amendment of the parallels between it and its antecedent in our primary source material, namely the aforementioned Qur’an verse. Recent studies suggest that Jefferson himself, the primary impetus behind codification of religious liberty in American law, drew inspiration from his study of Islam.

    Now, to be certain, some will go to great lengths to provide you with source material or argument that appears to justify their claims. As such, arguing with them is a waste of time.

    Rest assured, however, that it’s not likely to be Muslims who will work to eliminate the First Amendment as we know it. It doesn’t take critical mass to affect that kind of change, as the proliferation of anti-BDS legislation has proven.

    Would that the guardians of liberty focused their attention on the more obvious threat …

  29. Hmmmm . . .

    No question there are Muslim societies that “permit” other practices of faith. The optimum word “permit”.

    And sure the record indicates Muslim empires permitting the exercise of other faiths, best known is the the Turkish caliphate , I suspect.


    And while I appreciate your views. I indicated my concern on an anecdotal level of personal experience. I am unable to ignore those acts of violence against others over either right Muslim belief or criticisms of the Muslim faith. It’s hard to ignore the bracing revelations that the Cleric Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Supreme Leader in Iran issuing death warrants against writers, he said were offensive to the faith.

    These kinds of issues make one hesitant.

    And I have no defense for the laws that outlaw critiques of other countries.

    Pres. Jefferson remains somewhat of an enigma to me. He has a lot of personal internal contradictions. By the time he is born, religious tolerance was well known in the colonies and the British spent more than 500 years spilling massive amounts of blood and treasure on the matter. While the founders made some important innovations to governance, their foundation remained largely modeled on Great Britain. As the founders themselves were comprised of various faiths:

    But again my concerns are not “general” in nature, but experiential.

    • Replies: @AnonStarter
  30. @EliteCommInc.

    /The optimum word “permit”./

    I don’t think so.

    Before the Constitution of Medina, the world knew of no explicitly codified precedent for the protection of religious liberty, let alone one bearing the imprimatur of divine law. The Prophet also established treaties conferring the very same liberty upon numerous regional Christian communities. These, too, were historically unprecedented.

    ‘Umar brought Jews back to Jerusalem and ‘Amr ibn al-‘As brought Copts back to Egypt when they wrested these from Rome, who wanted neither community. They were assisted in doing so by Jews and Christians just as they were aided in the East by subjects of Sassanid rule who wearied of the conditions under which they lived.

    That generations succeeding the martyrdom of ‘Ali fell into dynastic decline and loss of faith — as prophesied by Muhammad himself — is all we need to know in order to understand the various historical deviations from the original mandate for liberty that was sent down in Medina. In spite of this, the ethos of liberty enjoyed in al-Andalus bore indelible influence upon Europe and succeeding epochs of progress therein would not have occurred without it.

    Khomeni’s fatwa against Rushdie and the likeness thereof receive a lot of attention because they’re opportunities for media outlets to boost ratings, just as they do when sensationalizing any sanguinary news. The fact that American mass media are administrated by a predominantly pro-Israel constituency also helps to explain highly circumscribed and distorted reporting about the Muslim world — particularly where Palestine and Iran are concerned.

    /By the time he is born, religious tolerance was well known in the colonies/

    In fact, the American republic had already been established before anti-Federalist delegates deliberated over the fitness of non-Protestants to hold public office. Pick up a copy of Denise A. Spellberg’s Thomas Jefferson’s Qur’an: Islam and the Founders from your local library and pay close attention to the fifth chapter, which provides sufficient evidence that religious tolerance in America did not extend as far as you imagine it had in Jefferson’s time.

    That said, I’d like to thank you for the calm with which you present yourself. You have no idea how welcome such composure is in this environment.

  31. “That said, I’d like to thank you for the calm with which you present yourself. You have no idea how welcome such composure is in this environment.”

    Excuse the delay. Unintentional.

    Well, perhaps the media are just pandering for ratings — I certainly would not contend otherwise. Though in days past the news was less about the opinions of reporters than the actual news. What has been happening since 2001 is just bizarre. I cease watching the news and by 2008, enough was enough. I used to be a news junky. But something has gone wrong — and it’s damaging the country.

    At any rate, nothing in me rejects Muslims out of hand. In fact, I am less concerned about Muslims than I am Hispanics and our immigration. I say that having a Hispanic backround.

    As I am not huge fan of Pres. Jefferson despite his intellect. And while I am aware of his familiarity with Muslim belief at least in relation to Qu’ran, his disposition on the Christian Bible has a lot to be desired — so I will his spiritual authority suspect.

    “Khomeni’s fatwa against Rushdie . . .”

    Nonetheless, that fatwa was real. There are too many cases of young Muslims exacting vengeance for insults to their faith and their leaders. Saudi Arabia and Iran are in virtual tit for tat execution race.

    Laugh. There are certainly caveats, and whatever one thinks of Mormons, getting on their bad side was a risky proposition for a good part of their history. So, I don’t think I have too many illusions. But the fact that the founders despite disagreement could sit down and form a basis for a country that held as a tenet — tolerance speaks volumes. Again, I know there were battles to yet resolve on the issue of tolerance. Jehovah’s Witnesses were being beaten up for their lack of support for national service as late as the 1950’s I think. Important lower and Supreme Court cases —

    For people seeking to avoid dealings with secular government, it is ironic that they have been a staple on faith and practice liberties.

    So, I agree that the issues were not totally resolved regarding tolerance – no issues. But well enough to establish a working frame.

    As for your personal sentiments. I can only say each is entitled to a discussion on the issues. With the emphasis on the issues — and in this, even i need to improve. I will endeavour to do better.

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