Dangerous Dan Thoughts and musings on the world

11/13/2005

An Apology Isn’t Warranted

Filed under: Politics,Society,World — Dangerous Dan @ 10:56 am

LGF points to this piece about the Church of England's plan to apologize for the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq.

"We do believe that the church has a visionary role for reconciliation beyond that of any government," one of the authors, Bishop Richard Harries of Oxford, told BBC Radio.

That role involves what the report called "truth and reconciliation" meetings with Muslim leaders that would give Christian counterparts the opportunity to perform a "public act of institutional penance" for the West's "long litany of errors" in dealing with Iraq, including the 2003 war.

An apology is a contrite expression proffered by party A to party B when A has wronged B in some way. This means that for an apology to be warranted, B must have a grievance against A (the apology must be applicable – it would make no sense to apologize to B when it was actually party C who was wronged) and the grievance must be legitimate in that it is something worthy of apology and for which A should feel sorry. So are these conditions met?

First off, why need we apologize to Muslim leaders for attacking Iraq? We weren't attacking Islam, we were going after a secular dictator. A dictator that killed his own people, held the living in the grip of fear, attacked his fellow Muslim countries, and had institutionalized rape, torture, and murder. Unless the Muslim leaders want to claim that those are values that Islam holds dear, then they shouldn't be concerned that we overthrew the man who did those things and we accordingly do not need to apologize.

If you would like to say, though, that this really was an attack on Islam in that we were going after Islamic terrorism, then what does that entail? We certainly didn't attack Islam, per se, or else we would have established tidy concentration camps for all Muslims in the U.S. Rather we were/are going after violent Islamist extremism that advocates the murdering of civilians, beheading innocents, killing children and then rigging the kids' bodies so as to blow up the parents who retrieve them. Again, unless the Muslim leaders care to hold up such activities as representative of Islam itself, then there is nothing for which we need to apologize. If they perhaps want to claim that Islam does support these things, then they certainly do not deserve any apology (we apologize for preventing you from blowing up innocents?) and they too are a threat.

So as concerns the war in Iraq and the war against Islamic terrorism, an apology to Muslim leaders simply isn't applicable since no affront was made towards peaceful Islam. The only way an apology could apply is if the leaders in question are themselves violent Islamists and then they too are not only enemies, but also repugnant people to whom no apology is warranted since justice is being served to them. Their grievance is not legitimate.

If you perhaps want to inflate this into an apology not just for our current actions, but also for the Crusades, colonialism, and other past behavior to Muslims in general, my response is that maybe that can occur when the Muslim world is also willing to apologize for its actions towards the West. Our poor cultural memory seems to forget that up until around the 1700's, the West suffered disproportionately at the hands of the Muslim world, to the point that it was nearly wiped out at several points. Turkey, the Mediterranean Middle-East, and North Africa, for example, were at one time, thoroughly Western domains until they were conquered by Muslim armies. Spain, Greece, and parts of Eastern Europe changed hands several times. Istanbul, of course, was once Constantinople, a crown jewel of the Roman Empire. So if Muslim leaders deserve an apology for rough treatment from the West, then the West is equally deserving of an apology from those same Muslim leaders for the same reason.

So why would the Church of England (or other liberal Christians generally) think an apology is warranted? I can only imagine that it is due to a fundamental misunderstanding of whom they are dealing with. The great mistake many in the West make is believing that everybody is fundamentally like themselves. Perhaps at same truly basic human level this is true, but cultural, religious, and economic differences prevent similarities from going beyond that. Their perception of the world is very different and in some ways, these differences are positive. In many other ways, however, they are negative, and more importantly, they are bad for us. While the CofE seeks to apologize to Muslim leaders and engage in reconciliation, many of those leaders (especially those of the Wahhabist inclination) envision the eventual domination of Islam over the world, the forced subjugation of the West, and the crescent flag flying over the Vatican. Reconciliation requires that both (or all, depending on the case) parties be willing to meet in the middle and resolve problems. Groups like the CofE, however, seem to be quite willing to march across the center ground and meet the others wholly on their side. They give away the farm and demand no sacrifice or penance from the other side. Essentially, they execute an unconditional surrender.

I have said in the past that no power can ever defeat the West; the West can only defeat itself. Powers hostile to the West use and exploit the West's tolerance and inclusiveness (perhaps its greatest strengths and also its greatest weaknesses) against itself. Its tendency for self-reflection and correction (again, highly valuable) are equally dangerous. While I don't at all propose the West lose these qualities, they must be used with wisdom and discretion, and this is lost on the CofE and others. When used well, the qualities are good, but they are self-defeating when used poorly.

So while the Church of England may commune with moderate Muslim leaders (I obviously don't mean to impugn all Muslims, as many… most… are not subject to the charges leveled above; it is the militant variety with which I am concerned and which the CofE is happily including), those moderate Muslims don't need an apology as the apology the CofE is proposing is not applicable to them since they are moderates. The militant Muslim leaders obviously don't warrant an apology. So to whom is the CofE apologizing?

1 Comment »

  1. […] Related to the last post, if the West’s tolerance often works against it, then militant Islam’s predilection for violence is its greatest weakness. It could have (and has) comfortably exploited the West’s tolerance, gained footholds and political power, and gradually made changes in its favor. Instead, it perpetrated the events on 9/11 and woke up America to its threat. Then it roused the even sleepier Europeans by bombing a Spanish train, murdering Theo Van Gogh, sending death threats to a Dutch newspaper, and rioting across France, making them aware of the danger in their midst.1 Then, if that weren’t enough, they attack their own base. They set off bombs in Saudi Arabia, bomb hotels in Egypt and Jordan, and commit unusually abhorrent atrocities in Iraq. In doing so, they turn their supporters against them. It’s a remarkably bad strategy, but because their primary tactic is violence, violence, violence, they are unable to do otherwise even when it works against their best interests. It’s a self-destructive pattern. I’m not claiming these are coordinated events under some monolithic militant Islam, but rather that they all stem from the same ideology. [back] Permalink Trackbacks(0) Comments(0) […]

    Pingback by Dangerous Dan » Fowling Your Own Nest — 11/13/2005 @ 12:10 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress