Understanding will not fix the Middle East

7/19/2005 4:28:23 PM

I can’t understand the politically correct attitude toward extremist Muslims and their terrorist acts.

Far too many Americans have forgotten where their loyalties belong and chant the misguided mantra of “understanding” - if we just understand the people of the Middle East better, peace would return.

As a person whose family is from that region, I can confidently state that they’re all wrong. Dead wrong.

Immense cultural differences separate the motivations of southwest Asians from Europeans and Americans. Just for starters, don’t confuse ethnicity with national identity. A huge percentage of Americans of Middle Eastern ethnicity do not identify their primary individual awareness with citizenship.

Obtaining citizenship is merely a means to an end. That end is to make money (often to send “home”) and to transplant their culture. Many immigrants simply don’t assimilate. They raise their children without an American identity.

Traditional dress, extreme facial hair and other indicators are only cursory indicators of this point.

Being a former U.S. Army officer, I know the psyche of a people can often be determined by the way they wage war.

Differing attitudes between European and Middle Eastern warfare has been caused by their general reasons for territorial expansion. Aside from Hitler and Stalin, Europeans sought to extend control over foreign lands and the people tied to them. This generally results in an increase in their tax base and a greater availability of trade goods. In short, wars made one rich and more powerful.

Middle Eastern warfare has often been driven by religion and a scarcity of resources. Wars are waged to extend control over additional lands so a conquering people can exploit their resources. Existing populations have generally been an unwanted nuisance. Massacres and Genocides are not uncommon. This inherent predilection for extreme violence mixed with acquired fundamentalist Islamic teachings to produce a deadly environment.

Jihad is a widely accepted practice espoused by the Prophet Mohammed in the Koran. Muslims are particularly dangerous because they believe those who die in support of jihad go to heaven immediately. Many extremists also believe that people who insult Allah or the Prophet should be beheaded.

Am I painting the picture with an unrealistically broad brush? Nope.

Let us not forget that more Christians died for their faith during the 20th Century than in any other. Most of the victims died at the hands of Muslims.

My conservative patriotic fervor for traditional American values came through a variety of sources. The most powerful is the realization that my family would not exist if the United States had not taken us in during our hour of need. My grandparents fled their homes in Kharpert as Islamo-fascist Ottoman Turks slaughtered more than two million ethnic Armenians and Assyrians for being Christian. Attractive women and girls were frequently captured and forced into the sexual slavery of Ottoman harems.

Few that didn’t convert to Islam were spared.

Thank God for the United States and for the founding fathers that paid for a Judeo-Christian tradition of freedom with their property, blood and lives.

Lee Enokian is a regular Sunday columnist for the Illinois edition of the Times Newspapers of Northwest Indiana. Enokian welcomes comments by email at lenokian@earthlink.net.