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March 03, 2006


Dutch Islam Cartoon Collection

Danish Muhammed Cartoon
As a good Libertarian and just as a civilized human being, I've been reticent to support military force. Killing people isn't nice. It's generally bad for your soul, and just plain not right. I was adamantly opposed to Bush the Elder's first swing in Iraq. At that point, the "No blood for oil" argument carried some weight.

I've become more hawkish since 9/11. Hey, there are people wanting to come here and KILL US. But way back before that, there was one event that stuck in my craw enough to make me support violence. In 1989 the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, sitting in Iran declared a fatwah death sentence on British author Salman Rushdie on grounds of having blasphemed Islam in his novel The Satanic Verses. It was the duty of any Muslim in the world, he ordered, to kill Rushdie if they had the chance- and he was offering millions of dollars in reward besides.

Watching death to Rushdie rallies in Iran attended by thousands of people, I considered them to be acts of war. If I were the British Prime Minister, I'd have sent bombers in to take out a couple of those rallies, and the Ayatollah right then.

Now, maybe I'm a lunatic, or overcome by passions or something- and wondered a bit that way at the time even as I'm thinking those thoughts, but most of two decades later I conclude that my original judgment was right. Salman Rushdie is STILL in constant danger, and lives under supervision.

And now we have the Dutch cartoon controversy, with people rioting and killing over a dozen cartoons in a Dutch newspaper. There are, of course, all the events in between- 9/11 and all - but this press stuff is a line in the sand.

Here's my basic (though admittedly not original) point: You don't get to run OUR country. I obviously don't much appreciate Muslim countries having Sharia law and abusing their womenfolk and so on. But it's not our business at some point, nor ultimately any of my concern how badly they want to destroy their own land.

But you absolutely do not for a second get to run ours. Of all things in the world, you especially do not get ANY say over our free speech in our own country. You do not get to declare death sentences and pillage and riot in the free world because you don't like what a novelist or cartoonist prints in a Western press.

For my part, I'd be willing to turn any patch of land in the world into a parking lot paved with local citizenry rather than accept such nonsense. It's not about race or religion. The big problem here obviously comes from the Muslim world, but if it were Hindus or Chinese or Africans or Christians or any other type of group, I'd say the same thing.

In short, I don't care one whit how mad you get, or how bad your itty bitty feelings are hurt, or what kind of stupid shame spirals you're feeling. You can cuss us out, pray for Allah to curse us, piss and moan as you will. Like us, you can SAY pretty much anything you want. You start threatening or conspiring to violence against US for what we put in our papers though, and you and however many of your countrymen you want to take with you can be put down like rabid dogs. I say this not in anger at all- and have delayed this response a few weeks to let it cool and be sure I could say that honestly, but simply as a matter of policy.

As to these Dutch cartoons at the center of current controversy, they strike me as very mild, though perhaps I miss some subtle points. The only one with any obvious bite at all is the top one here with the turban as a bomb. But even that seems pretty understated, given the world situation that inspires it.

Here, then, as solidarity and public record are the entire set of Dutch cartoons that have set off the recent controversy.

posted by Al at 3/03/2006 03:40:00 PM

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