Evidence for the argument that the promoters of a war on Islam in the name of war on “terrorism” and “ideas” have no ideas except conjecture, lies in a lead paragraph of Thomas Friedman’s unusual 6-part outburst on this subject. 
In his view the root cause of anger and humiliation among Muslim youth is “unemployment.” “A job,” he believes, “gives people dignity and hope.” It might be a great idea to Frums and Friedmans to justify wars and occupations. For people with cool heads, however, it is not even conjecture.
It is a cover so transparent to hide years of US-sponsored occupations, repressions and never ending hypocrisy. Under-development and lack of employment opportunities are but just two symptoms of the way the submissive-to-the-US rulers choose to keep their people on sidelines: isolated and deprived.
If oil is the driving force behind sustaining the pro-US tyrannies in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other Gulf states; survival of Israel has been the main factor behind the never ending repression in Egypt, and fear of Iran and Soviet Union behind sustaining Baathists in Iraq and dictators in Pakistan. So, most of the Muslim world suffers from repression for American and Israeli concerns.
Blaming everything on joblessness is a great idea in the sense only that it exonerates culprits in Washington from the responsibility of sustaining repressive regimes in power for so long.
The advocates of war rive a reference to “repressive society” in the context of “fewest opportunities for women and youth” simply because they cannot blame the existence of these regimes on Islam. It is an attempt to subtly link underdevelopment with Islam –” again absolving Muslim sycophant rulers and their sponsors of their guilt. The world, however, knows that there is not even a single country in the world that could be rightly described as Islamic.
Who in the world would believe Friedman’s conjecture that “suicide bombers” are the result of exploding population and rising unemployment rates. To justify his sweeping statement, he argues: “You don’t run into a lot of South Koreans who want to be martyrs.”
Just two days before Friedman’s flawed analysis, ILO reported that global joblessness hit record 186 million in 2003 and the hardest hit regions were China and East Asia. Total population of Middle East, including Israel is 326 million, just 2.81 percent of the world population. It means out of the 186 million unemployed only around 5.2 million belong to Middle East.
According to a survey by Palestinian Centre for Public Opinion Studies in Beit Sahur, close to 80 per cent of respondents condoned suicide bomb attacks against Israelis, whereas, unemployment rate was 18 percent in 1995 and stands at 30 percent today.
Is it really unemployment that makes a school going Palestinian youth rush eagerly to his death? The advocates of war might switch their argument to the promise of 70 virgins in paradise. But what turns a 27-year-old professional, working woman into a “suicide” bomber for whom there is a job in this world and no promise of 70 virgins in the hereafter?
In a joint paper with Jitka Maleckova, a Middle East specialist at Charles University in Prague, Krueger presents a statistical analysis of 129 Hezbollah militants killed during the late 1980s and early 1990s. These fighters, it turns out, were more likely to be above the poverty line or to have secondary or higher education than the average person in Lebanon.
The authors also analyzed opinion polls in Palestine to see whether the poor and uneducated are particularly likely to support attacks against Israelis. They found that they were not.
In 1980 an Egyptian social scientist interviewed jailed “Islamist extremists” and found that most were educated and upwardly mobile. In last winter’s edition of the National Interest, Daniel Pipes cites a stack of evidence showing that “Islamic militants” are drawn mainly from the region’s middle class.
To the contrary, the Chief warrior of “ideas,” Friedman, tells us that Muslim “forces of moderation, can only emerge from a growing middle class.”
The answer, like so much in this catastrophe, has nothing to do with unemployment or poverty or class. It has everything to do with dignity, or the need to avenge the abuse of dignity, degraded each and every day under direct and indirect US occupation.
A Jewish Professor, Michael Neumann of Trent University, Canada, concludes one of his articles on “suicide” bombing: “If peoples have any right of self-preservation, this is justified. Just as Americans love to do, the Palestinians are ‘sending a message’: you really don’t want to keep screwing with us. We will do anything to stop you."
The same is true for every people pushed against the wall for extinguishing their identity. Kirk Russell rightly pointed out in his Enemies of Permanent Things that every living thing “prefers even death, as an individual, to extinction as a species by absorption into other species.”
That is what we observe in other Muslim countries where puppet regimes are condemning "extremism.” To gain Western sympathies, they refer to Islam as if it is the root of poverty, backwardness and all extremism.
The issue isn’t whether Muslim societies have failed to meet certain standards, but whether their failures are due to embracing the fundamentals of Islam, or there are people who are worse off despite being non-Muslims.
The advocates of war are comparing “Islamic” Middle East with Western Europe and US. After a breathless summary of daily life in the Arab world, Frum and Perle declare in their book, “This fetid environment nourishes the most venomous vermin in the Middle Eastern swamp.”
First, we must note that it is not Islamic Middle East. It is just Muslim. Second, such comparisons lead only to unsurprising truth that the West, which actively colonized or occupied the Middle East for many years, did better. We would draw exactly the same conclusions if we compared the West with Latin America, or sub-Saharan Africa, or the Indian subcontinent.
To compare regions from blinking lights on Google’s switch board is not to compare civilizations, and to single out a lagging Muslim region when there are many lagging non-Muslim regions is just plain dishonest.
To make the comparison, we need not forget the war and occupations a people have experienced. Besides touting Arab development report, we would do well to look at UN’s “millennium indicators” of material well being. For instance countries with the worst infant mortality rates; nutrition patterns, poverty figures and worst sanitation practices or either non-Muslim or occupied by non-Muslims.
All Muslim societies are compared to the so-called “open-societies” as if sustaining tyranny is a fundamental principle of Islam, not the US establishment. The anti-Islam bigots forget the recent past of Haiti, Greece, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, El Salvador, Guatemala, South Africa, Peru, Ethiopia, and many only slightly less vicious non-Muslim repressive regimes –” most of them supported by the US.
Muslims’ failure in science, technology and other fields is not the failure of Islam. Their strange mental disease results from the hypocrisy of proclaiming to be Muslims and, at the same time, distancing themselves from practicing Islam. Now Muslims have diagnosed their problem and they are struggling to overcome their disease.
This is where the Western warriors come in to push them back into mental darkness through what they call the “war of ideas.” This is a disservice not only to Muslims but Americans and Europeans whose blood and money are the main sources for sustaining the war on Islam.
Americans need to come out of the influence of the pleasing and powerful lullaby of the advocates of war. They want a war in every conceivable form. Their war infected mentality can be judged from the fact that they do not mention debate, discussion or dialogues over ideas. They out rightly suggest war.
It should be enough to show that the war is not for ideas, it is only for eliminating the potential of an alternative to globalization of tyranny.
. Thomas Friedman, “War of Ideas, Part-6,” The New York Times, January 25, 2004.
. Jonathan Fowler, “Global joblessness hits record 186 mil, U.N. says,” Associated Press, January 23, 2004. http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/0123un-unemploy23.html Also see: Global Employment Trends, International Labour Office, Geneva 2004, ISBN 92-2-115107-7 available on-line at www.ilo.org/public/english/employment/strat/global.htm .
. Khaled Amayreh, “Dance of Death,” Al=Ahram weekly, 6-12 September, 2001.
. Danny Rubinstein, The unemployment fence,” HAARETZ, February 08, 2004.
. Sebastian Mallaby, “Poverty causes terror? Either way, aid works,” The Washington Post, Published in IHT Tuesday, May 21, 2002.
. Thomas Friedman, “War of Ideas, Part-6,” The New York Times, January 25, 2004.
. Michael Neumann, “Israelis and Indians.” Counterpunch, April 9, 2002. http://www.counterpunch.org/neumannisrael1.html
. For details see: “Has Islam Failed: Not by Western Standards?” By MICHAEL NEUMANN, Counter Punch, May 13, 2003.