October 08, 2006

Arab Culture Explained

Was reading a very enlightening article on Arab culture. Most of it, I already postulated and derived from various sources, but it is good as a summary and an example of a coherent argument that totals most of the points together in a very clear and concise manner. Found the link at Dean's

This is expressed in the inshallah philosophy, “If God wills it.” A Palestinian friend of mine explained to me that even the weather forecaster will qualify his prediction, “It will rain tomorrow. Inshallah.” Or, “I will meet you tomorrow, inshallah.” (But God understands that I am a very unreliable person.)

I personally first heard of the phrase inshallah from a military blog. I cannot quite recall which one it was, it might have been Major K's Strength and Honor, or it may have been 365 Days and a Wakeup Call as well as Red five's. But irregardless, it did a good job of describing how Iraqis had little personal initiative, that whenever something bad happened in an Iraqi unit, instead of complaining to higher officers or correcting it they just do the God willing dance and let it go. One Iraqi unit with an American unit went over to the American FOB to ask for water. They went over from their base, to our base, to ask for water. Does that mean their base doesn't have water? No, it meant that they could not ask their fellow brothers for something when it was God's will that they get or not. Quite fatalistic. They could ask us, presumably because we were not Muslims and not part of their culture, and therefore their obligations to us were not the same as their societal duties and roles were to other Muslims.

That is both a good thing and a bad thing.

INSHALLAH-
The Arabic expression meaning 'If Allah wills'
[this is usually said when referring to a situation in the future e.g. inshAllah I will go to the grocery shop tomorrow etc]

Found that at this page, with a list of Arab sayings.

However as soon as people were assured that they could keep a reasonable amount of what they worked for, people reverted to their true cultural patterns, worked plenty hard and started to take care of their tools and the public spaces.

What better way than to motivate someone than fighting by their side in a life and death struggle with the ultimate Satans of their mythology? You see, pacifism is quite wrong when it says force solves nothing or little. Force solves a lot of things, intelligent use of force can solve everything. This is the physical universe after all, bound by physical laws, and we are mere mortal beings confined on this physical plane. What power moves the matter on this plane, may also move us, if perhaps indirectly.

Thus is the basic philosophical strategem behind Iraq, sound, even if Bush's explanations are dull and perhaps inaccurate. While you cannot get people to do things unless they are motivated by their own beliefs and their own selves, you can help the process along by pushing them into situations of life and death where they are forced to exceed their genkai. The Arab's genkai is called inshallah, once that is broken, everything else becomes simply a matter of clean up.

With us, contractual and moral obligations tend to be equal and reciprocal. They don’t see it that way. The obligations of the superior to the inferior do not equal those of the inferior to the superior.

In feudal societies, clan societies, honor societies, Japanese heirarchal societies, as well as caste systems, the duty and moral obligations one person of one status owes to another person of another status is very very complex. But it does have a reasoning and a logic of its own, but it is very different depending upon many variables. The Japanese would committ ritual hara kiri as a way to purify themselves of guilt and sin; of dishonor and not fullfilling their duty. To Fall on their Sword. Women, of course, were not under this Bushido Code, they did not have to kill themselves. However, in India, women did have to kill themselves as part of the suttee custom. So you see, honor obligations are very complex from society to society, as well as within a society.

Some things may apply to men, but not to women. As with Arabs and the Bushido Code. Other times, things that happens to the men must also happen to the women, as India once did.

This all matters, of course, because once you know your enemy, you will know how to destroy them. You will also come to understand your own part in this little tapestry of fates and destinies as well. To know thyself is to know thy enemy, because your enemy is just as you, just as mortal and human. To know thy enemy is to also know yourself, to know how you might have ended up, the mirror image of the dance in the mirror.

Try to see it from their point of view – how else do you expect them to act when you have the overwhelming force? You expect them to meet you on equal terms when the situation is so unequal? What other tactics are available but prevarication and delay followed by a sneak attack?

How else do we expect them to act? We expect them to act with honor. Because if they do not act with honor to those of our warriors who have acted with honor towards them, we will wash their sins away with nuclear fire. When they understand that, when they truely understand, they will have seen us with eyes unclouded. The Japanese have already learned this lesson when they mistreated American prisoners because they "surrendered" and thus in Japanese eyes, dishonored themselves. We showed Japan what true dishonor was. True dishonor was dieing and taking everyone you love with you. Dieing in combat is no special thing, living to fight another day for your country, or preserving your skills and knowledge so as to allow your country to fight longer and harder, that is true honor. That is the true fullfillment of obligations and duty to your family and your country. Remember the Marianas Turkey Shoot over Leyete Gulf? The Japanese kept their experienced pilots at the front lines, they did not rotate them back to the home front to teach the next generation of fighter pilots. So they had a bunch of green recruits who not even the benefit of the wisdom of veterans. Of course it was a turkey shoot. Up against American pilots with tens and hundreds of hours in the air? No contest. Was it honorable for the Japanese to meet the enemy, again and again, as their individual pilots did? The Japanese thought so.

In reality, however, they dishonored themselves by continuing to seek glory in battle instead of returning to the home front to teach. Teaching might not be considered part of defending the Emperor's Honor, but of course America showed Japan the error of their ways. However, Japan had to suffer much devastation and ruin before they realized that they had a choice between combating us with their full but inadequate powers, or surrendering and acting as honorable opponents now fallen. They were rewarded for such dutiful and righteous actions, Emperor Hirohito was rewarded by the sight of his people, renewed, and no longer hungry or destitute.

Japan also thought that a sneak attack would cripple America. The Arabs continue to think so because Bush did not nuclearize Fallujah, or has he done any other propaganda or psychological operation that I have detailed and recommended before through my writings and positions.

Bush tries to convince Arabs with compassion. That is not the way. You convince people by demonstrations of power and ruthlessness. Mercy comes when you tell them how many more people you might have killed that you spared, and how many more people will die if they keep complaining and fighting. Mercy does not come when you release every hostage you have, as a show of "compassion", (Israelis did that) because that is called weakness and you won't have any leverage in the future.

If The US Marine Corps did not serve Bush or Bush could not use the US Marine Corps, his policies would have failed dramatically and diastrously. But because Bush does have the loyalty and use of the US Marine Corps, his misguided rhetoric and tactics are just barely being saved by the loyalty and expertise of the US military, air sea and ground. It is only the pure naked power and demonstration of that power, by the US military, that gave Bush any chance for his democratic policy of succeding. Bush perhaps does not understand this truism, and it is a very bad flaw in the fortification he has constructed out of Iraq. If Bush inadequately understands the enemy and how to defeat them, then it does not matter how good of a person he is at heart or how good his intentions are, he will not do America any long lasting good. I do not really believe Bush wants to be like his father, so I can only assume he has fallen prey to what many previous rulers have. The fallacy of listening to your idiotic and useless advisers, one too many times.

Folks, what we call “terrorism” is quite close to the historically normal way of warfare among these people.

Kidnapping is a cultural philosophy amongst them. Far better than having open clan warfare, no? So shouldn't do what the Romans do Rome? Take hostages? We already have hostages, with the prisoners at GitMo. How about we start threatening them and using them as leverage as the Arabs? Bush doesn't do this because... he is a compassionate conservative. You do not win wars with Japan or the Arabs by being compassionate. Mercy and compassion are for those who can afford it, for those who have already won and are enjoying the spoils of victory. We are not victorious yet, Bush should not declare any so such victory lest he get backstabbed again by new events.

An Arab will scream at you, get into your personal space and sometimes kick dirt on your shoe – and they react with utter surprise when an American up and decks him. “What did I do?” To say the least, this makes negotiations difficult.

The Japanese would never do that, although they do get into public fights for some weird reason. Dueling I guess is still recognized there. But the Japanese are far more... orderly than the Arabs, you know what I'm saying. They'll have a fight, but deep down their culture is based upon order, obligations, and duty to family and ancestors. The distrust is not there, probably because Japan is a very tight knit culture, based upon an isolated island, where Arabs had endless clanwarfare over limited desert resources like water. The only thing that cost more than trust in the desert, is probably water.

This involves some seriously weird stuff about other people being responsible for their misery because they ill-wished them. I’ve read in the English-language press of the Kingdom serious admonitions against using Black Magic to win an advantage in a dispute with a neighbor. The columnist did not deny the efficacy of Black Magic, he just said it’s forbidden to use it. On one occasion I was trying to explain the concept of "myth" to them and I used the example of the djinn. I wasn't getting through to them at all and was concerned that I had mangled the pronunciation of the word when it dawned on me that the reason they didn't understand what I was getting at, was that they had no doubt that the djinn were real.

Don't be so downhearted when you read this. All hope is not lost. This kind of guillibility makes communication hard, yes, but it also makes them easier to manipulate. The easier they are to manipulate, the less of them must die before victory can be achieved. For example, if they are that superstitious, why do we not coat our weapons in pig's blood and oil and say that we are practicing American black magic to sway God's favor?

Know thy enemy and know thy self is not just some fake liberal banner saying, I remind you. Action is required, not just "talk".

To compete, or even just survive in the world they must become more like us and less like themselves – and they know this.

And yet the opposite paradox is also true. To defeat them in battle, we must become more like them, more deceptive and more mythology based in terms of our ideas and conceptions of battle stratagem. They can't survive so long as we are fighting each other. So one of us must win. And if they are to become like us to survive, then they must first be defeated by us, the Americans. If you get defeated by Europeans, it is ALL over for you, just a friendly reminder.

I related this paradox when I wrote about the Peloponessian War. For Sparta to defeat Athens, they must become better at ship fighting than the Athenian Navy. For Athens to defeat Sparta, the Athenian hoplites must best the elite Spartan hoplites in open field combat.

The terroists may win against the US, if they defeat us on the open field of battle.

We will win against the terrorists, when we can defeat them on their chosen field of battle, the streets of cities, depopulated terrains, as well as the mind and hearts of individual humans. We may only do so by mastering the methods of "guerrila warfare", "propaganda", as well as "psychological warfare". Bush is a master of none of these three, and he wouldn't approve of using any of them even if he did have mastery in one. Although the Democrats have some useful qualities in the last 2, but of course the Democrats are not fighting for America's best interests.

Do not mistake the power and grace of America. For you do not truely understand our enemies, those who we have defeaten, if you believe us weak and atrophied.

Honor for the samurai was dearer than life and in many cases, self destruction was regarded not simply as right, but as the only right course. Disgrace and defeat were atoned by committing hara-kiri or seppuku. Upon the death of a daimyo loyal followers might show their grief and affection for their master by it. Other reasons a samurai committed seppuku were: to show contempt for an enemy; to protest against injustice, as a means to get their lord to reconsider an unwise or unworthy action and as a means to save others.

The ritual for disenbowlment was to be performed calmly and without flinching. If condemned to death, it was held to be a privilege to execute the sentence on one's own body rather than to be a disgrace and die at the hands of the public headsman.

Make no mistake, the Japanese were the real deal
when they were our enemies. They did not play around. They did not kid. They did not play mind games or make up stuff that they didn't believe in. Yes, their war propaganda did exist and was atrocious, but that was an indication of Japanese militaristic fallacy, rather than a lack of the CORE strength in Japan. You do not defeat such an enemy as the Japanese by being weak or compassionate. Compare the Democrats of today's atheistic and apathetic faiths, with the Japanese true believers. As if it is any comparison.

A nation does not lose such strength, such power and grace, in 50 years or even a hundred years.

Make no mistake, the honor of America was the same as the honor of Japan. When Japan broke that code of conduct with us, they went down a path from which there were only two conclusions. Either they surrender to us which their traditions told them was the height of dishonor, the breaking of a feudal vow to your lord. Or they become extinct as a people.

Such is the choice of those who seek to trample upon the honor of the American nation by gross malfeasance and sneak attacks. It will do you no good, to play games like hostage taking and IEDs. They are immaterial. Nobody would want to face the American nation at itsfull might, unrestricted of any genkai limitations. The more you behave with dishonor, the more you make it a certainty that only one of two roads will be your reward.

The Japanese honor system was the same as ours. They made a grievious mistake when their racial arrogance brought them to believe that everyone should act in a manner that they deemed righteous and virtuous. The Japanese of the WWII generation, the military officers, did not believe that there was any other BETTER way to behave, so as to do one's duty and honor one's Emperor, nation, and family. Interestingly, language translations probably had a lot to do with those cultural misunderstandings.

Other reasons a samurai committed seppuku were: to show contempt for an enemy; to protest against injustice, as a means to get their lord to reconsider an unwise or unworthy action and as a means to save others.

They are the same as us, do you not see. Regardless of the cultural differences, they were the same as us. If the Arabs believe that we are so much different... they will find out eventually how wrong they are when their mistakes kill everything that they have ever cared for.

The Arabs are pale shadows, compared to the Japanese true believers. Do not even suggest that they will be a worthy opponent once the limitations on US power are lifted and unsealed. The Japanese know a lot about seals, their mythology is replete with them. America has a saying as well. Do not open Pandora's Box, because you won't be able to close it and contain what is in it once released.

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