I can’t think of a single conversation I have had about the actions of Islam in the world today where someone if not everyone made specious comparisons abut Christianity and or the United States. I won’t bore anyone with the spectrum of cases made but this one is of immediate use to me.
“The United States has nuclear weapons so why shouldn’t Iran?”
My usual retort is that the police have high speed cars and modern weaponry so why shouldn’t street thugs?
But I feel that a more careful analysis of this logical fallacy would serve better in a more general sense, to deal with the majority if not the totality of Islam Vs. western principles.
Sam Harris in his most excellent book ‘End of Faith’ uses the rhetorical device of ‘the perfect weapon’. His argument runs something like this..
‘Imagine the perfect weapon. One which could do as little or as much damage as you wanted. One which could service a specific target anywhere under any conditions or en extremis, destroy the world’. His argument runs, what would Usama Bin laden do with such a weapon? George Bush? Tony Blair? Any member of Al Queda or the Islamic brotherhood or any other Jihadi group for that matter. The Israelis? The various Palestinian factions.
The answers of course are so obvious that it truly is a rhetorical question. But let’s have a look at the real world and see what various agencies are actually doing in that vein.
Iran as we all know by now is feverishly developing nuclear weapons and at a time where there economy is in serious trouble. They are under no existential threat whatsoever and building nuclear weapons is one of the most if not the most expensive public works project a nation can undertake. Usama has shown off a ‘fatwa’ he received saying that it is in accordance with Islamic law to use nuclear weapons on the infidel. Pakistan, not a nation known for its wealth or its technical achievements also built nuclear weapons and Libya had a nuclear program until it was ended by the United states. Thanks to A.Q. Khan’s nuclear ‘wal-mart’ a number of nuclear weapons programs where started in the Islamic world. To quote Mr. Khan, “The Christians have a bomb, The Jews have a bomb, now we have the Islamic Bomb!” That statement itself is a kind of relativism and a dangerous absurdity. However the important contrast is Islamic and western weapons systems developments.
From Israel to the United States western nations spend substantial percentages of their GDP’s in pursuit of more and better weapons systems. One may ask why as they already have the worlds most sophisticated and lethal nuclear bombs on earth. The answer is revealing.
The united states spends vast resources attempting to build weapons which will gather better intelligence on the battlefield. to keep their own soldiers out of harms way, to improve targeting systems and penetrating systems so that only specific targets can be neutralized from a terrorist holding a school full of children hostage to a communications array with as little collateral damage as possible.
Islamists have as their specific agenda, to spread maximum damage to as many people as possible and ideally ones that create the greatest sense of loss to its host nation. Children, medical personnel or just a square full of Sunday shoppers. The loss of the terrorist in the process is of little concern either way.
The US spends tend of billions developing unmanned aerial vehicles which can both deliver a blow to a target or bring supplies to the battlefield without sending a pilot into harms way.
Islamics find ways of recruiting younger children to martyr themselves and develop better explosives. Bin Laden’s son has a new branch of Al Queda dedicated to recruiting mentally retarded people and drug addicts to become suicide bombers who are often detonated by remote control removing even the odious mitigating factor of martyrdom. We saw some of this at a pet mart in Iraq.
To the US, a city block with a single terrorist in it surrounded by nurses and kindergarten children is a serious logistical problem. To a terrorist, its a target rich environment. It’s easy to see that Sam Harris’s rhetorical device is in practice and the results are in. We do know how these weapons would be used. We don’t have to imagine.
It may also be worth noting that the US England and France among other western and post Christian nations have had nuclear weapons for quite some time already and had they felt a need for a decisive victory against Islamic terrorism they could have achieved it without a noticeable decrease in their deterrent stockpiles.
Eeyore for Vladtepesblog