Saturday, April 4, 2015

East is East

The latest issue of The New York Review has a fascinating article by Steve Coll entitled "Hitler & the Muslims." It basically involved efforts by the Nazis to transmogrify precepts of Islam for their own propaganda purposes. Adolf Hitler himself was active in this process; but even more active was Heinrich Himmler, who apparently admired the discipline of Muslim troops in battle. Most interesting, however, is the history-repeats-itself irony that surfaces towards the end of the article:
Still, as in Berlin between the wars, failure has proven no deterrent to persistence in Washington, where Pentagon planner continue to act as if they can win wars in the Middle East by deftly manipulating and arming tribes, sects, and Islamic leaders in scattered territories they barely know.
It takes guts to find a parallel between Nazi and American reasoning; but, considering the mess our country has made out of its relations with the Islamic world, a swift "boot to the head" may be what it required to bring a bit of sensibility into the decision-making process.

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