Realists vs. Nihilists

The more time goes by, the more the realists and nihilists among the political analysts are exposed. The realist will tell you that the US adventures for imposing its will with the barrel of a gun are doomed to failure. Nihilists will tell you that the war must go on for liberation and democratization.

Clear examples of these opposing trends are a report in Ottawa Citizen and an article in the New York Times which appeared on the same day, May 04, 2005. Headline of the Citizen Report reads: “Canadian report casts doubt on U.S. goal to create democracy in Iraq.”

To the contrary, the New York Times op-ed tells its readers: “So yes, this is a big, deep struggle in Iraq. Yes, the forces of decency and pluralism are slowly winning-¦ members of the Sunni-Traditionalist-jihadist minority are losing-¦ Zarqawi & Co. are losing – and they know it.” (Friedman).

The newly released report produced for Canada’s Defence Department questioned whether the U.S. can bring democracy to Iraq and the Middle East because the US has all along been relying on American-friendly authoritarian regimes to provide stability in the region.

The New York Times blames the failure so far on the Muslim world and the “suicide bombers.” Quoting friendly sources, Friedman tries to show that "The Iraqi election was a total shock to the militant jihadist forces in the Arab-Muslim world."

To the contrary the Canadian study questions if democracy is really what the US is trying to establish: "It is doubtful that the U.S. would risk stability, and the possible electoral success of hostile Islamist groups, simply to spread democracy throughout the region."

The democratic façade is evident. James Moore, the author of the report’s Iraq section, said the danger with democratic reforms is that elections could bring Islamist hardliners to power. It means democracy is accepted as long as it doesn’t become a tool to give Muslims the opportunity to live by Islam.

This priority is evident from the 1992 elections in Algeria; the US efforts to undermine Erbakan in Turkey in the mid 90s and lately the elections in the occupied Arab territories, where Hamas is treated the same way as FIS in Algeria.

Friedman sticks to his generalist anti-Islam mantra by claiming that all those who pose resistance to an aggressive and rapacious enemy’s unjust and unlawful invasion of Iraq are Jihadists, who “see the struggle for democracy in Iraq as anathema to everything they stand for: a literalist interpretation of Islam, unsullied by modernity, adaptation, women’s rights or political and religious pluralism.”

He would never come to the specifics to explain as to what is the literalist interpretation; how Islam oppresses women and what adaptations and innovations in Islam are a must. It is, nevertheless, easy for him to declare before hand that “Islamists” hate democracy.

The more Friedman-like nihilists in the US media and military sound more upbeat about the war in Iraq, the more the realists get skeptical of the over all success of the mission based on lies and then quickly switched to project democracy. Mr. Moore says: "It’s not inevitable that Iraq is going to emerge as a liberal democratic pluralistic society."

The nihilists, nevertheless, want the world to forget lies which the US administration tpld through its teeth to make this war possible. You will never see a slightest reference to the lies about W.M.D and Saddam’s links to Al-Qaeda and 9/11 in the New York Times and other pages from the “mainstream” media.

Instead look for the emphasis on the fear of Islam in articles after articles. For example, in the aforementioned article, Friedman’s emphasis is on spreading specific misconceptions, such as “Jihadist fanatics” do not want democracy. His objective is to show that the resisting forces are actually the enemy of democracy, not the US occupation and aggression.

To confirm that brutal occupation is not the issue, Friedman adds, it is a “war within Islam-¦ between Traditionalists and Rationalists, which dates back to Baghdad in the ninth century; the struggle between ardent Sunnis and Shiites, which dates back to succession battles in early Islam.” In other words, the US administrations’ outright lying and invasion has nothing to do with the ongoing carnage. Shias and Sunnis are pitted against each other since centuries any way.

The nihilist goes one step further to directly implicate Islam and Muslims’ desire to live by Islam: “Sunni-Traditionalist-jihadist minority are losing. And the more that becomes evident, the more violent they will become – because their whole vision is in danger of being repudiated by fellow Arabs and Muslims.”

The question is: If they had a vision, why didn’t they go for it when a weaker Saddam was in power? The nihilists attempt at blaming everything on a vision of the “jihadists” is to create a negative image of any Muslim struggling for self-determination and having a vision to live by Islam.

After exonerating the US of its crimes against humanity and blaming “jihadists” for the ongoing carnage, Mr. Nihilist Friedman comes to define the objectives of the forces fighting a war against aggressors. This is where he directly blames Islam for all the wrongs: “The jihadist forces -¦ see the struggle for democracy in Iraq as anathema to everything they stand for: a literalist interpretation of Islam, unsullied by modernity, adaptation, women’s rights or political and religious pluralism.”

Every term is vague and general but the environment in which these nihilists write is conducive and receptive due to years of anti-Islam work. It instantly make the readers conclude that “Jihadists” are not against the US because the US administration lied and starved 1.8 million Iraqis (mostly children) to death. It killed a 100,000 more brutally tortured and raped countless others since the unlawful occupation.

Instead, these misconceptions give the impression that “Jihadists” are against the US because they want “literalist interpretation of Islam” and want to put women in cages, but the US doesn’t allow them. They hate modernity and the US makes them love modernity. That’s why there is a war and the US must win it in “the heart of the Arab-Muslim world.”

This strategy of the nihilists is becoming more evident with their attempts at hiding the lies and war crimes of the US administration. Hope this dissection of the nihilist’s argument and its comparison with a realist perspective help us distinguish realist from nihilist point of view in the media.