Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Case Against "Glassing Mecca"

Representative Tancredo of Colorado spoke last Friday to his thoughts on what should be the America military response to a nuclear attack on US soil.

Rep. Tancredo did not distinguish between a fission detonation or a dirty bomb attack.
    Transcript of Tancredo comments
    By Rocky Mountain News
    July 18, 2005

    Comments made by Rep. Tom Tancredo on Friday during an on-air interview on radio station WFLA in Orlando, Fla. Host Pat Campbell and the congressman were discussing the possibility of future terrorist attacks inside the United States.

      Campbell: Worst case scenario, if they do have these nukes inside the borders and they were to use something like that — what would our response be?

      Tancredo: What would be the response? You know, there are things that you could threaten to do before something like that happens and then you may have to do afterwards that are quite draconian.

      Campbell: Such as...

      Tancredo: Well, what if you said something like — if this happens in the United States, and we determine that it is the result of extremist, fundamentalist Muslims, um, you know, you could take out their holy sites . . .

      Campbell: You're talking about bombing Mecca.

      Tancredo: Yeah. What if you said — what if you said that we recognize that this is the ultimate threat to the United States — therefore this is the ultimate threat, this is the ultimate response.

    Ultimate threat? And, even if so…what exactly would be the consequences of Tancredo’s “ultimate response”?

The Case Against "Glassing Mecca"

1. There is no rational or moral logic in punishing a minority of terrorist radicals by destroying the religious icon and focal point of worship of all the members of a religion.

The US by choosing a "strategy" where we punished a terrorist attack (horrific meme alert) by destroying Mecca would be akin to the British having chosen to have dealt with the IRA attacks by destroying Vatican City or assassinating the Pope.

Yet Vatican City and/or the Pope is not equivalent in symbology to Mecca for Muslims. There is no direct parallel in Christendom for the destruction of Mecca.

This is why in English we use "Mecca" to denote a any omni-ultimate symbol. The west idiomatically does not use the metaphor of "A Vatican" to symbolize iconic place for any group...but instead call such icons "Meccas." We say “Mecca” because we have no Western equivalent of such a centrally significant place.

Western leaders would be de facto recognizing the centrality of Mecca to Islam by targeting it, without understanding the true context of the meaning of Mecca to all of the world's 1.4 billion Muslims and their response if we were to destroy this Holy City.

To punish over a billion people in this manner for the act of a handful of individuals acting as terrorists would not be an intelligent response to even a small nuclear (fission or dirty bomb) attack on America: It doesn’t punish the actors directly, it defines a religion as the enemy, not the practitioners of radical tactics of terrorism.

Most importantly nuclear retaliation by the West against any sovereign nation identified as Islamic would most likely plunge the entire world into a war that would more than just terrorize millions, but would in all certainty kill millions and destroy the lives of billions.

2. Muslim nations number among our closest and most strategic allies, yet would instantly become our greatest enemies after a Western attack on the supreme symbol of Islam.

No Muslim nation would stand for an instant any longer with any country or coalition that were responsible for the destruction of Mecca and the Kaaba.

So what would the West lose in flipping these Muslim allies?
    Two prime examples:

    Saudi Arabia, although being the home country or country of origin for almost all of the 911 terrorists, is key to our influence in the Middle East, as well as being the moderating influence on other oil producing countries of the region and on the oil production output in favor of US needs.

    Pakistan, a nuclear power, has a president that is allied with the US, but holding power in his country tenuously. We could suppose that Musharraf would suffer an coup in the discussed scenario. And if radical Pakistani's take the reigns of power we'd surely have loosed the dogs of nuclear devastation upon the world, and most specifically and immediately, upon Israel.

3. The destruction of Mecca plays into the ideology of fundamentalist Armageddonites who welcome the destruction of the Holy Cities as a "sign" which would draft a majority of Muslims globally to their call.

Destroying the Kaaba plays into the terrorist agenda because it validates the propaganda of the splinter radical Islamists. Destruction of the Kaaba can be liked the end-times propaganda prophesy of Western radical fundamentalists regarding the destruction of Jerusalem and/or Mecca being required for the Second Coming.

Destroying Mecca (and Medina) would not punish the statistically very small number of anti-West theocracy-oriented radicals that such an event would be meant to punish. Instead it serves to validate the extreme and violent religious worldview of the few to the vast number of moderate middle-ground believers.

We all know history tells us that when Holy Wars are fought, there are no brakes on worst possible atrocities. The Holy War element was the propaganda that kept the citizens in line during the Nazi Holocaust (i.e., the Jews killed our Christian Jesus so an entire people have permanently lost all chance of being considered human, et. al.)

Even modern day fascists evoke religion to push the worst parts of their agendas (modern White Supremacy groups are fond of evoking the cry of Christianity when all other arguments fail their agenda.)

Mass production of radicalized Muslims is not a good way to “win” under anyone’s definition of the “War on Terrorism.”

4. We ensure regression to the Holy War Dark Ages of Civilization.

Due to the indiscriminate attitude on the part of those targeting Mecca towards the entirety of the billions of Muslims worldwide, there would be no doubt but that unlike many recent Cold War conflicts we have devolved from wars fought for ideas to wars again fought on religious beliefs. We'll have reversed the agenda from "Individual Freedom vs. Grey Tyranny" to "God is on our side...Anything we do is OK as it is in the name of God, and “yer either wit us 'er yer agin’ us”...so even not choosing makes you an enemy of the State.

(Example: If the average American was outraged at the killing of innocent civilians in the name of striking against one of our principle symbols of capitalism [the WTC] and our military industrial complex [the Pentagon] how much more would a people be enraged at the razing of the symbol of their holiest site?)

5. We divide the world via a scenario that will in all likelihood lead to WWIII: The Last Holy Crusades.

Attacking Mecca would create a global polarization such as the world has never seen. If division and world war is what you want, I cannot think of a better way to cause this to happen.

Five times a day, during his prayers where [whether it exists or not] facing the Kaaba in Mecca is part of the daily catachism, any faithful adherent to Islam would be reminded of the new and permanent divide, that had been violently initiated by the West.
    The Ka'bah will retain its present structure until it is destroyed by "Dhus-Suwayqatayn" from Ethiopia as mentioned in Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (ra) who said the Prophet (saws) said: "The Ka'bah will be destroyed by Dhus-Suawayqatayn (that is literally, a man with two len legs".

    There is also another narration on the authority of 'Abdullah Ibn 'Amr Ibn al-'As (ra) who said: "I heard the Prophet (saws) : 'A man from Ethiopia with two lean legs will destroy the Ka'bah, take away its treasures and remove its covers. As if I were looking at him, he is a bald man with crooked arms and legs who is attacking the Ka'bah with his iron shovel and pickaxe."

    This will occur after the appearance of "Ya'juj and Ma'juj" (Gog and Magog) as mentioned in Sahih al-Bukhari quoting Abu Sa'id al-Khudri (ra) that the Prophet (saws) said: "the people will continue performing Hajj and Umrah even after the appearance of Gog and Magog".

    Ibn `Umar said: "When you see the Quraysh demolish the House then build it up and embellish it, then if you can die, die." (I.e. death will be preferable to life in such a time of corruption.)

6. Initiating WWIII will not solve the problem of terrorism in our times.

Perhaps an obvious conclusion. Notwithstanding, it still should be said.

* It should be noted that Muslims do not worship the Kaaba or its contents, any more than Christians worship churches or crosses; the Kaaba is simply a focal point for prayer.

By Leia Amidon CISSP