Friday, June 23, 2006

Iraq Amnesty: Tribalism and Religion

tee bee

Relevant to the conversation in the post "Iraq: Amnesty, Expediency, Failure," Jib posted on the article by Steven Pressfield, which argues in some ways perpindicular to my observations and in some ways parallel:

Islam is not our opponent in Baghdad or Fallujah. We delude ourselves if we believe the foe is a religion. The enemy is tribalism articulated in terms of religion.

For two years I've been researching a book about Alexander the Great's counterguerrilla campaign in Afghanistan, 330-327 B.C. What has struck me most powerfully is that that war is a dead ringer for the ones we're fighting today -- even though Alexander was pre-Christian and his enemies were pre-Islamic.

In other words, the clash of East and West is at bottom not about religion. It's about two different ways of being in the world. Those ways haven't changed in 2,300 years. They are polar antagonists, incompatible and irreconcilable.

I largely agree with Pressman's points, though I believe the formation, scripture and translation of scripture by the different sects encodes the violence against infidels - which includes tribes who call themselves muslim but don't agree on interpretations.

Thus religion can't be said to be separate in any way from how we describe and designate the tribes in question. They certainly wouldn't consider their religion meaningless to who they are and what their goals are.


At 1:00 AM, Blogger camojack said...

While various religions have been misused as a rationale for hostile action over the ages, Islam actually teaches violence as part of its doctrine.


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