A couple of years ago I read a book called “The Faith Club” where three women got together regularly to talk about faith. They were a Christian, a Muslim and a Jew. The experience and friendship was transformative as they worked through their differences and came to realize their similarities. I am having a dialogue with a man named Ben Coker, Jr. in South Carolina who responded to a blog I wrote on Veterans Day. We are politically miles apart but we are finding common ground and having an inspired conversation. It continues here.
Vicky, please call me by my first name. I am also enjoying this dialogue with you. I fully agree with your assessment about our not being able to run to every segment of the world. I vividly remember Mogadishu. That was an absolute fiasco. We went over there for humanitarian reasons. There was no functioning government to control the population. Reagan sent the military as a part of the contingency to provide this assistance. The radicals have taken over that area. Of course we exited that area in disarray. We should have never been there.
How do we differentiate between the areas we should try to help and those we should not. I agree with you about our being able to win the friendship through creating conditions that enrich the lives of the people and promoting quality of life. Do you remember the Marshall Plan that was utilized to rebuild Europe in an effort to develop and cultivate friendship and to improve the lives of the people as well as international commerce? This was a very successful operation. However, it was successful because the Allied Armies and the Nazis destroyed all the infrastructure throughout Europe. The Allied Armies had beaten the adversaries into submission. They had nothing left. The military leaders were allowed to conduct a very aggressive battle plan that left them helpless. The adversaries could not resist the USA’s and other’s plan to resuscitate the economy of the world. The enabled the nations to develop a resurgent economy conducive for ALL citizens.
You mentioned the construction of schools, etc. Are you not aware of the USA’s construction of such facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan that were subsequently destroyed by Taliban and Al Qaeda? If the tyrants are so worthy of recognition, why do they destroy these improvements? These people have been radicalized over a very long period of time by the radical religious clerics. This form of religious radicalism is called “Wahhabism.” It was widely taught to children throughout the Saudi Arabia region including Pakistan, Yemen, etc. This form of Islam evolved from a radical Muslim named Abdul Wahhab who was influenced by Ibn Taymiyma. This form of Islam is not tolerant of the kind of life we enjoy and for that reason in their eyes, “We are the infidels of the world”. Of course the matter is much more complicated and convoluted, but it would take me at least one whole composition note book to engage in the complexity of this radicalism.
You said we have offended many good Muslims. I ask you this question. Why hasn’t there been a massive outcry by these good Muslims against these murderers? They have been very mute. Then there is the effort to build the mosque on the World Trade center site. That is the most insensitive proposal I have ever heard. That would be synonymous with allowing the Japanese to erect a monument at the site of the USS Arizona on Pearl Harbor. I do not question their right to be able to build a mosque. I question their prudence of wanting to build it at this particular site.
Winning the hearts and minds of the people is key to being able to create and maintain stability. This will augment the level of confidence and will cultivate and nourish good relations. Nevertheless, how do we achieve those objectives when the radicals are present? That would be an impossible task.
Before the US invaded Afghanistan, the Northern Alliance was the apparatus that prevented this country from being completely over run by the Taliban and Al Qaeda. The Northern Alliance was headed by Ahmad Shah Massoud who was the son of a policeman. He was loved by his fellow countrymen because he led the Resistance fighters against the Soviets. He earned the nickname of “Lion of Panjshir.” He had aligned himself with those opposing the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Very rarely did he even make an appearance in public. However, two Al Qaeda agents posing as journalists were allowed to interview Massoud. They detonated a bomb that killed everyone at that meeting. Massoud was adamantly opposed to these radicals and for that reason when the US invaded Afghansitan, the northern Alliance took the lead role in concert with the US Military to extinguish them.
It is said that Pakistan is part of the problem by harboring these radicals. President Musharraf, shortly after the US invasion, requested permission to airlift innocent citizens from the battle zone. It is now known that they also helped Bin Laden and his radical band to escape. The mountainous regions of Pakistan serve as home for these loosely ruled villages in which Wahhabism is practiced to this day, and until you can extinguish this resistance to the creation and maintenance of environments, women and children will never see any peace. Islam worshippers have fought since their formation in an effort to force the world to accept the Islam faith. Look up the history of the wars in which they have engaged. They have ruled by despotism.
Of course you mentioned the “News Stations.” The media is so corrupt with bias, I do not even look at regular news broadcasts. They have lied, distorted, perverted so much very few Americans have any faith in their reporting. In my history classes I was attracted to quotes by Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers. Quoting him he said “A man who reads nothing at all is better educated than a man who reads nothing but newspaper.” I agree with this assessment. This is not to question the accuracy of your reporting but is meant to impress upon you the need for diversity in educating one’s self on the various issues that arise daily.
Dependence breeds abuse. I believe we should try to cleanse these areas of the despots and teach the people to be self reliant. I an reminded of an old proverb. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for the rest of his life. We can transform these people’s lives through kindness, generosity as well as helping them to overcome the obstacles that have confronted them. Education is such a wonderful tool. Through these methods they will not be dependent on us for their survival.
Please forgive me for the length of my writings, but I enjoy discussions involving complex issues. That is the reason I am in my profession. I eagerly await your reply.
Ben Coker Jr.
Ashley land Surveying Inc
306 Sangaree Parkway
Summerville, S.C. 29483
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