THINKING LIKE AN ARAB
By Alan Caruba
Not long ago, I had the opportunity to briefly work with Edward V. Badolato, a retired U.S. Marine Colonel with a distinguished career in government and private enterprise. Colonel Badolato is a graduate of the U.S. Naval War College and has had several tours of duty in the Middle East, beginning in 1967, shortly after the Arab-Israeli Six-Day War. His tours took him to nearly every country in the Middle East. Following his retirement, he served as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Energy in the presidential administrations of Ronald W. Reagan and George H.W. Bush (1984-1989). In that capacity, he was the principal architect of the U.S. government’s readiness and response to terrorist threats to America's energy infrastructure.
In 1980, he wrote a white paper, Learning to Think like an Arab Muslim: a Short Guide to Understanding the Arab Mentality. I am going to provide a brief introduction to it. At only 14 pages, it is not a long document, but it succinctly explains why Americans and others in the West are encountering such difficulty understanding why Arab Muslims appear, by our standards, to be completely insane.
Why, for example, would people who believe they have the one, true religion, not hesitate to blow up mosques and other holy places? Why would they attack weddings and funerals? Why is beheading so popular among Islamic terrorists? Why would a few cartoons set off rioting and killing? And what does all this mean to us in terms of the threat it represents?
Colonel Badolato begins by describing Arabs as “a proud and sensitive people whose culture is mainly derived from three key factors: family, language, and religion.” The Arab cultural system has existed for centuries and predates the introduction of Islam around 610 AD and its rapid spread after the death of Muhammad in 632 AD. “An Arab’s commonly accepted view of the world [is] basically threatening and harsh.”
Arab Muslims -- and presumably others, because Islam has more than a billion adherents -- divide the world between themselves and what they call Dar al Harb, literally, “the world of war.” So, either you are a Muslim or you are an infidel and, by definition, a threat to Islam until you convert to Islam or are killed.
This may seem harsh, but true believers in Islam hold all other religions in contempt. The Islamic view of Judaism is psychopathic. Christians do not fare much better in the Islamic world view. The Muslims' contempt for Hindus and Buddhists, religions deemed not to have “a book,” completes the utter certitude of Muslims that they alone are truly religious.
You might feel that way, too, if you were compelled to pray five times a day, at dawn, midday, late afternoon, sunset, and nightfall. There are five prescribed prayers and all are in Arabic, a language Arabs will tell you is superior to all others. Verbal grandiosity is greatly applauded by Arabs. When facts are trumped by “ideas,” however, you have entered Alice’s bizarre Wonderland.
Col. Badolato writes:
It is within the family that the psychology of the Muslim Arab is formed, and observers have noted that “the fluctuation between a loving mother and a stern disciplinarian father can add to the complexity of growing up and often fosters schizoid personality traits.” To put it another way, Arabs can go from hot to cold and back again so fast that it is bewildering. Arabs live in a black and white world, with no shadings of grey.
Why do Arabs seem to be so violent? Conflict can be found in a family culture of competitiveness that is instilled at an early age. An old Arab saying aptly describes this. “I against my brother, my brother and I against our cousins, my brother, my cousins and I against the world.” Add to this the way Arab history has been dominated “by warfare, domestic upheaval, and struggles against invasions from outside the Arab world” and you begin to grasp a mindset that will resist anything that is not Arab.
As Badolato describes it, it is an “almost visceral mistrust of any outside group or more specifically any Western state whose true ultimate intentions cannot readily be determined.” For Arabs, their wars, such as the conflict between Iraq and Iran in the 1980s really began at the battle of Qaddisiya over a thousand years ago!
The Islamic wars following the death of Mohammad led to the Sunni and Shiite divisions within Islam. It is a history of tension and conflict that literally dates back to the earliest years of Islam. Westerners might dismiss this by saying, “Get over it!” The Arab mentality , however, is totally rooted in the past.
And why not? Not one single word of the 114 surahs (chapters) of the Quran has been changed in fourteen centuries, and they describe in detail the conduct of every hour of every day of an Arab Muslim’s life. As Badolato describes it, “It is as if one single document contained our Constitution, our legal code, national education policy, business practices, inter-personal etiquette, and the Bible.” Welcome to the seventh century AD!
What America and the West are up against are Islamic fundamentalists and countless sympathizers who would destroy us in a desperate effort to retain their Arab identity. Thus, when Palestinians elect Hamas, a terrorist organization, as their government, the West recoils, but the same is true throughout the Middle East and across northern Africa. In any election, Islamic fundamentalists would take control of the politics of these nations.
Their very identity as Arabs and/or Muslims is at stake. The validity of Islam as the one, true faith is at stake. “Huge segments of the population simply cannot cope with modernity and the social and political changes taking place.”
What we see as an improvement in the lives of millions of Arabs -- changes in their educational system, women’s rights, the inclusion of women in the work force, improved literacy rates, better nutritional standards and advanced health and hygiene, all being things that Westerners embrace -- threaten Arabs. This explains why the Middle East has remained the most backward region of the world for centuries and why it now constitutes the greatest threat to the modern world.
Arab Muslims are not like us. They do not want to be like us. If they become more like us, they will have to let go of a culture that, at the same time, both stunts their humanity and provides them an odd, brutal security blanket.
For the West, that leaves us with the same demand we made of Japan and Germany in the last century: unconditional surrender.
Middle East -- Arabs, Arab States,
& Their Middle Eastern Neighbors
War & Peace in the Real World
Page Two Page One
Islamist Terrorist Attacks on the U.S.A.
Terrorism & American Homeland Security
Osama bin Laden & the Islamist Declaration of War
Against the U.S.A. & Western Civilization
Islamist International Terrorism &
U.S. Intelligence Agencies
Counterterrorism & U.S. National Security
U.S. National Security Strategy
The complete text of Edward Badolato’s essay can be read on the Internet at www.blackwaterusa.com/btw2004/articles/0503arabs.html.
Alan Caruba is a veteran business and science writer, a Public Relations Counselor, and Founder of the National Anxiety Center, a clearinghouse for information about media-driven scare campaigns. Caruba writes a weekly commentary, "Warning Signs," posted on the Internet website of the National Anxiety Center, which is located at www.anxietycenter.com.
Africa: Black Africa *
Africa: North Africa *
American Government 1
LINKS TO PARTICULAR ISSUES & SUBJECT MATTER CATEGORIES
TREATED IN THE PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE, U.S.A.:
American Government 2 * American Government 3 * American Government 4
American Government 5 * American Politics * Anglosphere * Arabs
Arms Control & WMD * Aztlan Separatists * Big Government
Black Africa * Bureaucracy * Canada * China * Civil Liberties * Communism
Congress, U.S. * Conservative Groups * Conservative vs. Liberal
Constitutional Law * Counterterrorism * Criminal Justice * Disloyalty * Economy
Education * Elections, U.S. * Eminent Domain * Energy & Environment
English-Speaking World * Ethnicity & Race * Europe * Europe: Jews
Family Values * Far East * Fiscal Policy, U.S. * Foreign Aid, U.S. * France
Hispanic Separatism * Hispanic Treason * Human Health * Immigration
Infrastructure, U.S. * Intelligence, U.S. * Iran * Iraq * Islamic North Africa
Islamic Threat * Islamism * Israeli vs. Arabs * Jews & Anti-Semitism
Jihad & Jihadism * Jihad Manifesto I * Jihad Manifesto II * Judges, U.S. Federal
Judicial Appointments * Judiciary, American * Latin America * Latino Separatism
Latino Treason * Lebanon * Leftists/Liberals * Legal Issues
Local Government, U.S. * Marriage & Family * Media Political Bias
Middle East: Arabs * Middle East: Iran * Middle East: Iraq * Middle East: Israel
Middle East: Lebanon * Middle East: Syria * Middle East: Tunisia
Middle East: Turkey * Militant Islam * Military Defense * Military Justice
Military Weaponry * Modern Welfare State * Morality & Decency
National Identity * National Security * Natural Resources * News Media Bias
North Africa * Patriot Act, USA * Patriotism * Political Culture * Political Ideologies
Political Parties * Political Philosophy * Politics, American * Presidency, U.S.
Private Property * Property Rights * Public Assistance * Radical Islam
Religion & America * Rogue States & WMD * Russia * Science & Ethics
Sedition & Treason * Senate, U.S. * Social Welfare Policy * South Africa
State Government, U.S. * Subsaharan Africa * Subversion * Syria * Terrorism 1
Terrorism 2 * Treason & Sedition * Tunisia * Turkey * Ukraine
UnAmerican Activity * UN & Its Agencies * USA Patriot Act * U.S. Foreign Aid
U.S. Infrastructure * U.S. Intelligence * U.S. Senate * War & Peace
Welfare Policy * WMD & Arms Control
Africa: Black Africa *
Africa: North Africa *
American Government 1
POLITICAL EDUCATION, CONSERVATIVE ANALYSIS
POLITICS, SOCIETY, & THE SOVEREIGN STATE
Website of Dr. Almon Leroy Way, Jr.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
An Online Journal of Political Commentary & Analysis
Dr. Almon Leroy Way, Jr., Editor