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by Yashiko Sagamori


Ninety years ago, the Russian Empire was entangled in the Great War, known to us today as World War I. The war wasn't going quite as well for Russia as everybody had expected. The casualties greatly exceeded the most pessimistic estimates. The overwhelming incompetence of the government and the generals was becoming increasingly obvious to both friend and foe. With every passing month, the simple question, "What are we fighting for?" was more difficult to answer. The opinions split. The patriotically minded part of the population demanded that the war continue until final victory was achieved. The Bolsheviks, generously subsidized by the German government, maintained that a military defeat was desirable because it would bring down the tsar.

The anti-German coalition comprised of France, Great Britain, and Russia won, but so did the Bolsheviks. As a result, Russia, where the war was followed by a revolution and then by a bloody civil war, was even more devastated than Germany. In Germany, the defeat brought the Nazis to power; in Russia, the Communists. Determined to win at any cost, the Antante, as the alliance of the three was called, planted the seeds of World War II and the Communist conquest of Eastern Europe.

It will take some time before we know what we are sowing in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most probably, dhimmitude for us and our children. But the situation may still may turn in the right direction. Let's be optimistic. Let's ask a simpler question: How will we know that we have won?

Our initial goal was to bring down the two regimes that looked abysmally inhumane, even against the abysmally inhumane background of "normal" Islamic regimes. We succeeded in replacing two more or less self-sufficient Islamic regimes with two Islamic regimes unable to survive without our military presence. In both countries, the population split into two groups: shameless opportunists hoping to benefit from our intervention and principled jihadeers who consider themselves unclean whenever they happen to touch an infidel, unless they touch him or her with the blade of a knife.

What most of us fail to understand is the fact that members of both groups despise us with equal passion, because we are the infidels. What most of us fail to understand is the fact that an Afghani or an Iraqi can belong to both groups at the same time without experiencing even the slightest discomfort.

Now we are hoping to put down the insurrection, declare victory for the newly created democracies, and, finally, bring our soldiers home. But as the reality forces itself between the tightly shut eyelids of our politicians, the term "imperfect democracy" can be heard with increasing frequency. The theory of the day is that an "imperfect democracy" is better than no democracy at all.

I wholeheartedly agree with that theory. For example, the American democracy is most certainly imperfect, and yet, it is so much better than no democracy at all that some people, including me, believe that defending it is just about the only cause in the universe worth putting one's life on the line. The question is just how imperfect a democracy can be and still retain its right to the title.

Ours is not the only imperfect democracy. The Soviet gerontocrats called their tyranny "Socialist democracy". When President Bush decided to promote democracy in the Middle East, the Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi proclaimed his rule "direct democracy". The ayatollahs dubbed their stranglehold on Iran "Islamic democracy".

So, what exactly are we aiming for in Iraq and Afghanistan? What degree of imperfection are we prepared to accept? Are we going to draw the line at the imperfectly drawn borders of electoral districts? Are we ready to put up with the corruption that is inherent for Islamic regimes everywhere? How long will we be able to disregard the fact that every Islamic regime in the world is a tyranny constrained only by the extent to which it masquerades as a secular state?

Let's take into consideration the fact that both the behavior and mentality of today's Muslims remain exactly the same as they were 14 centuries ago. Do you think that people from the Dark Ages, be they Jews, Muslims, Christians, or Voodooists, would be able to convert to democracy under our enlightened guidance? Are you sure our enlightment is sufficient to make us capable of providing the guidance needed?

You know that democracy is theoretically possible among savages. You know one has to be a savage to slam a plane full of people into an office building full of people. You know one has to be a savage living among savages to celebrate mass murder committed by their coreligionists. One absolutely has to be a savage to believe that he, or his leaders, knows the final truth about what's right and what's wrong for every human being on this earth.

But let us assume that I am wrong. Let us imagine that in a few days, weeks or centuries, Iraqis and Afghanis become democratic to a degree that puts all Western style democracies to shame. Then what? How will the United States of America benefit from such development?

That is a perfectly legitimate question. With every passing day, the list of American soldiers killed or maimed in Iraq and Afghanistan is growing. That would be a tragedy if they were only risking and sacrificing their lives and limbs for the United States of America. If they are doing it solely for the betterment of hostile foreign countries, this is a senseless tragedy, and we should bring them home immediately, even if that brings the prospects of democratic development in those countries to a screeching halt.

The silent assumption is that once democracy emerges in Iraq and Afghanistan, they will become our allies. Is that really so?

France, even today, under Muslim occupation, functions more like a democratic country than any Islamic country of the past, present and, I assure you, the future. When was the last time the United States could rely on France for support in anything at all?

I doubt that anyone can expect that the democracies we are trying to forge in Iraq and Afghanistan will be less imperfect than the democracy in Italy. But it was the Italian government that prevented us from apprehending the highjackers of the Achille Lauro.

Besides, we already have allies in the Middle East: Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan. By an interesting coincidence, we have suffered our heaviest losses at the hands of Saudis, Egyptians, and Jordanians. Is that because of the lack of democracy in those countries? No, it is because of their adherence to Islam.

Our War on Terror has already lasted longer than it took us to win World War II, even if you count September 11, 2001 as the day it started. It may look surprising, considering that in the 1940's, we had to fight two of the greatest military powers of the world, while now we are being opposed by a bunch of loosely organized, poorly armed savages. It's not difficult to see why we are loosing this war. We would have lost World War II, as well, had President Roosevelt begun it by declaring that Nazism was not an enemy.

But the war did not start on 9/11. The United States was openly attacked in 1979, when the Iranians invaded our embassy in Teheran and took its entire personnel hostage. President Carter had a brilliant opportunity to stop it right there. He preferred to do nothing. And so jihad continues.

But jihad did not start in 1979 either. It began in 622 C.E. ago and has continued non-stop ever since.

Here's how jihad began: Before Muhammad, Medina was a Jewish town. It was founded, built and populated by three Jewish tribes. When Muhammad was kicked out of Mecca, he settled in Medina and demanded that the Jews recognize him as a prophet. The Jews refused. As a result, two of the Jewish tribes were exiled and the third was exterminated. I learned about it, among many other things, from Dr. Andrew Bostom's wonderful book, The Legacy of Jihad.

If, instead of passively waiting for that genocide to occur, the three tribes had joined forces and fought the non-prophet, chances are that not only would they themselves continue to flourish on their land, but the Twin Towers would still be standing today in all their glory; thus, preventing the politicians and activists from arguing about the exact shape of idiocy that is to be erected in their place. Shouldn't we consider that episode a lesson for us all?


Yashiko Sagamori is a New York-based Information Technology consultant. To read other articles by the author, go to or email This article was submitted December 6, 2005.


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