At the end of a detailed account in today's NYT about an assault by three Afghan Army members against American troops inside the wire on March 1 which left two Americans killed and one hit (in body armor and unwounded), the report says:
Why had three men attacked American soldiers they barely knew? Was it a personal grudge against Americans? Or had they turned to the Taliban?
The detainee has since presumably been asked those questions. But in a reflection of the official reticence to discuss green-on-blue attacks, his answers remain shrouded in secrecy. It is not even clear whose custody he is in.
The reporter has posed a series of questions that politely, fearfully and inadequately skirts the central question for investigators, strategists, military leaders, elected officials and citizens: Does Islamic ideology, particularly the core Islamic tenet of aggression (jihad) against those who do not believe in Allah -- the kufar, the infidel, the dhimmi, the slave -- have anything to do with this heinous pattern of attacks on armies hailing from what used to be known as Christendom? (Hint: yes.)
This Times' reporter may have travelled to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, but it's clear he remains locked in an Occidental mindset. To him, only a personal grudge, politics, could explain the Afghans' attacks on American troops. Grudges based on Islam, politics based on Islam -- such things do not occur to him, or, if they do, he dare not write them down.
In The Death of the Grown-Up (p. 203) I quoted Indian medievalist K.S. Lal, who came up with a vivid metaphor for the fixity of Koran and its teachings:
Muhammed could not change the revelation; he could only expain and interpret it. So do the Muslims today. There are liberal Muslims and conservative Muslims, there are Muslims learned in theology and Muslims devoid of teaching. They discuss, they interpret, they rationalize, but all going round within the closed circle of Islam; there is no provision of introducing any innovation.
We, too, go round within a similarly closed circle. Our circle constricts free inquiry into and discussion of Islam. Inside our circle we are permitted only vetted opinions that fit the accepted narrative: Islam is peace; Islam is a great religion, just like our own; there is nothing outside "normal" about it. Thus, we discuss, interpret, rationalize, and go round inside our own circle, attempting to explain all manner of Islamic phenomena without access to the facts that lie outside the circle into which we as a society have retreated.
The damage this is doing to reason will be (or has been) our undoing.