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10 March 2013


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Bernard Lewis will not be a favorite author here but try. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What_Went_Wrong%3F My belief about this is that the dominant Sunni side of Islam in the conflict with the West never emerged from self imposed medievalist reliance on faith rather than reason. This was a major handicap in trying to compete with europe in the post renaissance context. Muslims and their advocates often cite a lot of Muslim scientific and other genius in the past but neglect to mention that all of that occurred in Shia and other heterodox regions. But, what do I know? pl

William R. Cumming

Thanks PL and did read that book early on after 9/11/01!

I found it overly simplistic yet somewhat instructive.

Did the Black Death weaken ISLAM as much as Christendom?

Some estimates are that 50% of those in Christendom portions of Europe died from the plague? Perhaps that number in error.



What is simplistic about the book? Am I simplistic as well? pl

Bababk Makkinejad

Thank you for your comments.

I think I did not explain myself well.

The point I was trying to make was that 130 years of French rule in Algeria did not succeed in transforming the Arab Muslims into French Muslims; that, in fact, the Enlightenment Project failed in Algeria precisely because Algerian Muslims did not wish to become like the Frenchmen.

France, a Catholic country - in spite of protestations to the contrary - and Algeria - a Muslim land, could evidently not live under the same governing structures. Just like USSR or the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. [Ottomans seems to have been more successful.]

I have no idea what is meant by "Moderate Muslim" or being "Pro france"? What do those things mean in practice?

Consider that in Italy, in Latin America, even the communists have their children baptized.

Bababk Makkinejad

Life in Islamdom had become too comfortable and too rich too quickly.

Why fight more to spread the faith when you could rest and enjoy the fruits of your gains?


That seems to explain the decline of the Western Roman Empire also.



The evacuation of the US embassy in Saigon. Until the photos began to appear on tv late in the afternoon, many South Koreans did not believe that the United States would abandon RVN. The KPA fired shots in celebration along the DMZ that night.

William R. Cumming

Faith vis a vis reason is never a simplistic issue. Given the "GOD" gene and e.g. the 250 year struggle launched by St. Thomas Acquinas to deal with that discourse.

A far better book IMO than Lewis is "The Children of Aristotle" written by a George Mason Prof whose name slips me at the moment.



That's disappointing. I obviously have been wasting my time for the last seven years. Your comment places you in the camp of all those Westerners of the "modern" age who are blind to the motivating power of religion as a social force and who search endlessly for the "real reasons" in the belief that obviously material reasons are what govern in history. pl

Bababk Makkinejad

The book you might want to read is "Athens and Jerusalem" by Shestov.

Medicine Man

I still mean to pick up "The Venture of Islam" by Marshall Hodgson at some point, based on your recommendation, Col. Your time isn't entirely wasted.


Those cities that burned have never been replaced.
You can't burn the same wood twice.
(Google images of Detroit 2013, or Birmingham 2013 if you need visual proof)


Feckless Stupidity = democracy
You can have both.



This is one post too many but like WRC I am six months from 70 and wonder how in the world did the USA commence on a 21st Century Crusade.

There is a line through the Philippines where evangelical Catholics and Muslims met. The original Malay culture was the same on both sides of the religious divide. This division of the world by monotheist religions has been proceeding for the last thousand years. Experts can point out where cultures and nations have switched between Christian and Islam, but I know of none. Perhaps the Balkans, but once a Serb always a Serb?

The forced westernization of the Afghans or killing the True God’s Warriors by drone strikes was a fool’s game.

The only real alternative to a fundamentalist’s true belief is enlightenment. Secular government, the rule of law, education, religious freedom and economic advancement are the only counters to religious strife. As autocracy reigns and humanism fades, the closer mankind returns to the Dark Ages.


“There are two forces in the world, the sword & the spirit. In the long run, the sword will always be conquered by the spirit.” - Napoléon Bonaparte


Nappy also equated money with merde. Without which nothing grows, no swords get polished no plowshares sharpened. The sword is a wonderful thing until the wielder fails to get paid.
The same may be said for the spirit, without the tithes of the willing it must be supported by theft from the unwilling.

William R. Cumming

Thanks Neil and those pictures are a stark memory!

PL! Not exactly what triggered your comment on my comment but I have never underestimated religion as a factor in world affairs, especially since the Birth of Christ.

I live in GOD and GUNS country that is 2-1 Republican by vote count. IMO neither God nor Guns will save the USA as the founders founded it.


Blowback awaits all [with ambition]...

William R. Cumming

Thanks Babak!

William R. Cumming

Do the US Armed Forces collect data from its members on their religions? If so are they available? Why?


It's looking like things will just go underground; drones, contractors staying behind in Afghanistan. Here's an interesting article I found here at SST recently, or from following an article:

"The previously unreported practice of hiring private companies to spy on huge expanses of African territory — in this region and in North Africa, where a similar surveillance program is aimed at an al-Qaeda affiliate — has been a cornerstone of the U.S. military’s secret activities on the continent. Unlike uniformed troops, plainclothes contractors are less likely to draw attention.

But because the arms-length arrangement exists outside traditional channels, there is virtually no public scrutiny or oversight. And if something goes wrong, the U.S. government and its partners acknowledge that the contractors are largely on their own.

U.S. Africa Command, which oversees military operations on the continent, declined to discuss specific missions or its reasons for outsourcing the gathering of intelligence."


Neil Richardson


From Jim Hoagland's column last week:

"Not long ago I heard Vietnam’s ambassador to Washington, Nguyen Quoc Cuong, publicly describe the U.S. military presence in the Pacific as 'a stabilizing factor' in world politics. Live long enough and you will see and hear everything, I suppose. "


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