July 1, 2012
Afghan Meadows Massacre - a Nonupdate Update
Readers no doubt recall the mysterious case of the American soldier in Afghanistan -- now identified as Staff Sgt. Robert Bales (one of the "nonupdate updates") -- who is alleged by various tribesmen in a Taliban stronghold in Afghanistan to have strolled off base one day and gone on a murder spree, killing seventeen innocent civilians -- the charge now reduced to sixteen (the only other nonupdate update to this story) -- including nine children.
The posts on Big Lizards were:
- Afghan Meadows Massacre - or Haditha Redux? (March 11th, 2012)
- Addendum to Afghan Meadows Massacre - or Haditha Redux? (March 12th, 2012)
My conclusion was simply that so far, the only evidence we have of such a massacre comes from sources that are questionable at best -- and at worst, smack of "dawa," the Arabic word meaning to advance the cause of jihad by means other than actual force of arms. Among the most powerful weapons of dawa is "lawfare," using the laws of a nation that is not a radical Islamist state to further the cause of jihad... that is, suing and prosecuting a State into sharia. As the National Review's Andrew McCarthy puts it:
The purpose of dawa, like the purpose of jihad, is to implement, spread, and defend sharia. Scholar Robert Spencer incisively refers to dawa practices as “stealth jihad,” the advancement of the sharia agenda through means other than violence and agents other than terrorists. These include extortion, cultivation of sympathizers in the media and the universities, exploitation of our legal system and tradition of religious liberty, infiltration of our political system, and fundraising. This is why Yusuf Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and the world’s most influential Islamic cleric, boldly promises that Islam will “conquer America” and “conquer Europe” through dawa. [Emphasis added. -- DaH]
The best recent example of lawfare was the bizarre case of the Flying Imams, a group of six radical-Islamist religious leaders. On November 20th, 2006, they deliberately exhibited very suspicious, provacative, and frightening behavior at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, both before and after boarding a plane to Phoenix.
Before the flight took off, the (nonflying) imams were removed from the airplane due to passenger complaints and crew observations. The imams later sued the airline, airport officials, and even passengers. The cowardly airline ultimately settled the case; action against the passengers was eventually dropped, but only after Congress passed a bill giving immunity to passengers who report suspicious behavior in airports on aboard a flight. Nevetheless, many security experts believe that the Flying Imams' act of "lawfare" created a chilling effect, making it more difficult for passengers or airliner crews to report similar incidents, because of the fear of being labeled a bigot and being sued into oblivion by well-funded Islamists.
Back to the present case. I do not know whether this particular alleged "massacre" in Afghanistan occurred; but whether it did or didn't, the pursuit of the story has been a prime instance of dawa. Its purpose, for the American news media as well as their likely Taliban-supporting elocutioners, is to debase and demoralize the American military in Afghanistan and elsewhere; to discourage continued U.S. resistance to Taliban rule; and -- I believe -- to give moral cover to Barack "Big Stick" Obama's purblind diplomatic disaster of inviting the Taliban to rejoin the Afghan government as a "partner in peace."
Here is how I concluded each post, starting with Afghan Meadows Massacre - or Haditha Redux?:
Maybe I'm jaded, but color me skeptical. It may well turn out to be every bit as horrific and shameful to America as the media gleefully report; accuracy is always a possibility, no matter how out of character that would be. But that's not how initial reports of similar incomprehensible, "American-caused" massacres have generally fared when exposed to the light of actual evidence dredged up by a thorough and complete investigation.
Let's sit tight and wait to see what the evidence actually shows before belly-flopping, yet again, upon the American military.
Addendum to Afghan Meadows Massacre - or Haditha Redux?:
The only thing that's missing -- so far! -- is a John Kerry or a John Murtha to spray the atrocity charges through government organs, amplifying and adding piquant inventions of his own; thus crystalizing the accusation as "historical fact," despite a complete lack of impartial investigation up to this point. So far, the Left hasn't picked it up, perhaps because it can't help but reflect badly on the One; thank goodness for small crumbs!
If the man actually committed the heinous acts the Afghans accuse him of, in the manner of the media narrative, then he should be hanged. (Note that the "narrative" includes the fact or factoid that he walked back to the base and "turned himself in," which would imply knowledge of guilt; so he can't get away with an insanity plea.) But do we really know whether this is true yet? If so, then how do we know, based on what?
This is why I have always maintained (usually the lone voice crying in the wilderness) that of the three classical pillars of philosophy -- metaphysics (what we know), ethics (what we do about what we know), and epistemology (how we know what we know) -- the most urgent, and most quickly forgotten, is the last.
It should be clear that Big Lizards has not prejudged the case in either direction; my point was that the mainstream media unquestionably has done exactly that. As I began the first piece:
An American staff sergeant has just been indicted, tried, convicted, and condemned for a horrific massacre in Afghanistan; the court was the mainstream media -- which also served as judge, jury, and sentencing panel. Such Obamic efficiency; such economy of deliberation!
And thereby hangs a tail.
But I had heard absolutely nothing more about this case in the three and a half months intervening. It dropped completely off the media radar. When commenter Baggi asked me if I'd seen an update, I actually had to do a Google news search to find anything at all.
All that I found was a minor piece from PMSNBC on June 1st, to the effect that one count of murder against SSGT Bales was dropped, while another count of assault was added. (For this momentous announcement, they needed an entire article.)
So the answer to my commenter's question is -- No, there are no real updates. We still don't know whether there is any evidence other that the claim made by Afghans and likely Taliban sympathizers; we still don't know what the defendant claims; we still don't know whether there was provocation; we still don't know whether there is even a serious investigation, beyond taking the word of Afghan tribesmen.
We do know the news media appear to have dropped the story in the meanwhile... unlike similar charges made during, as a certain Stick keeps saying, "the previous administration." I must conclude that a sense of urgency about such "atrocities" may be lacking, say for the past three-plus years. Evidently, the story is not yet ripe; the antique media believes it can wait until, say, November 7th or later to pick up the threads and examine the incident in detail. (By universal Democratic Party and media assent, that date has been dubbed "Cut-Loose Day.")
Meanwhile, nothing to see here, let's all just move on; we have dogs to annoy, jobs to outsource, and haircuts to administer.
So it goes.
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, July 1, 2012, at the time of 3:25 PM
The following hissed in response by: Baggi
Thanks for the non-update, update. I really appreciate it.
I'm having some sort of weird issue with your site. I created the Baggi account some time ago, through whatever system it is you have us log in to comment through.
But on the Powerlineblog site I always comment under my facebook account of Eric West.
When I try and log into your site through facebook, nothing happens. I'm sure it is user error, but I am too dim to figure out how to get rid of Baggi and just write here as Eric West via Facebook.
I do prefer to comment via Facebook, because it generally brings my friends to new and interesting websites, so if you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear it.
Thanks for all you do.
Eric W. West
The following hissed in response by: Dick E
Some of us like things just the way they are.
Call me a fuddy-duddy (you wouldn’t be the first), but I don’t have, nor do I want, a Facebook page.
I can’t comment on Powerline. I’ve tried using the non-Facebook methods without success, but that’s not reason enough for me to start up on Facebook.
So I hope Dafydd and Sachi (and Korso, although I hesitate to address you, because I don’t recall being properly introduced) avoid taking the Facebook plunge -- at least if it locks me out the way Powerline has.
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