Friday, April 27, 2007

Linguistics and the Mohammedans

I first heard of Jim Guirard in a James Fallows article in the September '06 issue of The Atlantic. Guirard is an anti-terrorism strategist and recommends a fascinating approach concerning language and terrorism. He writes that
when we counterattack al Qaeda's pseudo-Islamic scam of so-called "Jihadi Martyrdom" in Western secular words only -- criminals, thugs, killers, bring to justice, etc. -- we are simply shooting with blanks. Worse yet, when we parrot the Terrorists' own words of self-sanctification, we even shoot ourselves by the perverse effects of "semantic infiltration," which the late great Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan defined thirty years in a Cold War context as follows:

"Semantic infiltration is the process whereby we come to adopt the language of our adversaries in describing political reality. The most brutal totalitarian regimes in the world call themselves 'liberation movements.' [Just as today's AQ-style Terrorists call themselves 'holy warriors']. It is perfectly predictable that they should misuse words to conceal their real nature. But must we aid them in that effort by repeating those words? Worse, do we begin to influence our own perceptions by using them?"
He proposes that we instead use an alternative lexicon: replace jihadis and mujahideen with irhabis (terrorists) and mufsiduun (evildoers, mortal sinners, corrupters), instead. No more Jihad (Holy War) but ungodly Hirabah (unholy war, war against society) and forbidden Irhab (Terrorism). Same goes for the Godly heroes of Jihadi martyrdom they falsely claim to be but as the Satanic perpetrators of Irhabi murderdom (terroristic genocide). Not destined for a virgin-filled Paradise for killing all of us so-called kuffar (infidels) but to a demon-filled Jahannam (Eternal Hellfire) for killing so many thousands of innocents, fellow Muslims, "People of the Book" and "Sons of Abraham." And finally, take away the abd'al-Allah (Servants of Allah) they falsely claim to be and insert the abd'al-Shaitan (Servants of Satan), the murtadduun (apostates) and the khawarij (outside-the-religion deviants) they really are.

I cannot find one major commentator on the war that has complied with the sensible and easy propaganda that Guirard proposes. Is it too much work?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Updated: Voight: Pro-America, Pro-War

Jon Voight, in an interview with Radar Online, shows that he understands the Jihadi threat we face. Money quote:

The war on terror is real. People would have you believe it's not real. This is not Vietnam. This particular situation is not the same wherein we can walk away and just leave destruction behind us. No, we can't. Anyone who has paid attention to what [Iranian President] Ahmadinejad is saying, what all the mullahs are saying in this country and in England, and in all of the Arab world, this is serious--they're calling for the destruction of America and all democracy and that's what's going on. We could lose this war.

Was the Iraq war part of the war on terror before we got there?

I'm interested in talking about this, but it's been so politicized, it's very disturbing, very dangerous. My view of it is this: they say our president lied to us. Well, he didn't lie to us, everybody else had the information he had, and they voted for that tactic. And the idea of weapons of mass destruction, whether they were in fact removed to other places, to Lebanon, to Syria, that's still in play, we don't know the full answer of where all that stuff went, because they had it, they have the pieces. Now, whether someone else has them or whether we're playing a careful game not to reveal that we know where things are, that's another big aspect of it. The Administration's in a tough spot, because if they say they know where these pieces are, and they can't get at them, they're alerting other energies to know where they are. . . .

We really just want a fair interview, nothing more. We try to talk to people in the public eye who are interesting and ask them about topics our readers care about. I think most people have strong opinions on this subject, and they might want to hear yours, considering who you are.

The question for me is: who are you and where are your sensibilities? If you're part of a left-wing bias and want to turn what I say in favor of someone on your agenda, I would say I don't want to talk about it with you. It's difficult for me ... because I see so many people go in the wrong direction. I see it all the time and it's very, very disturbing. What's being said in so many places in the country is just dangerous.

How many parties does he not get invited to with opinions like these?

(HT: Debbie Schlussel)

Update: Hot Air and Michelle Malkin include a video of Voight talking sense on FOXNews.

Update 2:: Voight did two hours on Hugh Hewitt's show promoting his new film September Dawn and talking politics .

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Lifetime Reading List

Hugh Hewitt asked two notable academics to discuss the thirty books that everyone should have read, and especially college sophomores and freshman. Professor David Allen White teaches Literature to midshipman at the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis. He is a Catholic convert. Professor John Mark Reynolds heads up the Torrey honors program at Biola - an evangelical Christian university - and is a philosopher.

What resonates with me are the answers towards the end of the interview about the difficulty of difficult books, and how indispensible a good teacher is. So many of the classics are hard and seemingly unyielding yet with a good and patient guide they reveal themselves.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

We Are What We Read

Take a look at Al Mohler's blog entry We Are What We Read -- David McCullough on Reading and History. Excellent for those that love to read, and a good explanation for those that don't and who wonder about those that do.