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December 22, 2002

Flaming the Rabbits My post

Flaming the Rabbits

My post on the SoCal Muslim response to INS arrests has drawn more than just a debate over the applicability of the numbers. I've been flamed, certainly something that only happens once in a blue moon around here. In fact, the last time I got this toasted was when I posted about resettling the Palestinians in America.

Bigwig, as far as my military status goes, I didn't comment on it because I'm not a Muslim, my son is, so it wasn't relevant to my point about you pointing a finger at Muslims as a group not serving in the US military.

But FYI, I am a veteran, retired military in fact.

As far as which groups are underrepresented, I'll do better than an opinion, I'll give you some statistical data from which you can draw your own conclusions.

Here's a link to the one service that posts the religious demographic of their service, the Air Force.

Now compare any number you want to that group's proportion of the US population as a whole.

Bear in mind that estimates of Muslim population in the US are disputed:

But it is a fact that 677 enlisted personnel and 63 officers of the US Air Force self-identified as Muslims.

So, what service have you performed or are willing to perform that gives you the right to make such a comment about American Muslims?

Condottiere |

Later, Condottiere reconsidered his mild mannered disagreement, and came roaring back

Another point: I made a mistake in even acknowledging that Bigwig's initial point had any validity.

American Muslims are under no special obligation to volunteer to the armed forces. To put it another way, my son and his mother, and American Muslims as a group are no more responsible for 9/11 than Kurt Vonnegut was for Nazi Germany, or Daniel Inouye and the Nisei were for Imperial Japan, in 1941.

To imply otherwise is to assign a Nazi-like rassenschuld (racial guilt).

Yes, American Muslims do serve at least in proportion to the rest of the U.S. population, but so what?
Chad's point is well taken: given that foreign-born Muslims are an infinitesimal part of the US population, and given that only those aged 17-34 with certain educational requirements, including fluency in English, and at least a green card, can serve, you would not expect to encounter any. But he did, in the Marine Corps.

You might also check out the August 2002 issue of Esquire, with a story about an Albanian-American Muslim infantryman in the 10th Mountain in Afghanistan, fighting it out with al-Qaeda around Tora Bora months ago. And now the 10th Mountain is in line to go back in theater.

So he, the Albanian-American and my son, the Iranian-American, will most likely be heading to Iraq in a month or so, while Bigwig, safe at home, fans the flames of hatred against them and "their kind."

I'm sure that had he been around in 1941, he'd be baying for Nisei internment.

My, my, Condo. Fanning some flames of you own, aren't you? Don't go visiting Little Green Footballs, your head will explode.

You'll recall I didn't ask for numbers, (and bad numbers at that, but we'll get to that in a bit), but your opinion, based on your statement.

My evidence is that Muslims are well-represented in the US military, and not just African-American ones.

Probably more so than some other ethnic groups of comparable size.

It seems you don't value your opinions enough to publicly state them, except your opinion of me, of course. :) I suspect you realize actually stating which "ethnic groups" aren't pulling their weight won't win you any points in the court of public opinion. That is of course a scandalous stretching of the truth, based on nothing more than thin suppositions, but I'm sure you recognize the technique.

Nice try, though. In addition, I don't see you fulfilling the agreement, but I'll hold up my side anyway. I'm not in the military, never have been. I don't consider it a necessary prelude to discussing military matters. My point was that you seem to think that the only people with a right to comment on military issues are those who have either been in the military or are presently in the military.

As has been written elsewhere, that argument is disingenuous at best, and unconstitutional and historically illiterate at worst. As to the service I performed to earn the right to criticize American Muslims? I was born here. My forefathers had the wisdom to make sure I was granted certain rights at that moment, so no "service" is needed. They are, as I'm sure you've heard, inalienable,

In any case, my point was that Nisei, who were far more mistreated by the Government than the SoCal Muslims are, volunteered for military service at an extraordinarily high rate. Out of 120,000 interned, 33,000 served in WW II. I very much doubt that Muslim population in America will produce a similar response. If they did volunteer in any significant numbers, it would be a huge story. I haven't seen one of those yet, have you?

I hardly think less than 800 members in the Air Force, numbers comparable to the number of self-identified Atheists in that military branch, is an overwhelming argument against that position. What's more, those numbers are crap. "Self-selected" members in one branch of the military can hardly be said to be representative of anything, much less the Muslim population of America's response to 9/11. You can talk about the miniscule percentage of Muslims in the American population all you like, but the fact is that the Japanese-American population in 1941 was even more miniscule. But find me 33,000 Muslims in the American military, and I'll happily eat my words.

Speaking of Senator Inouye,

Like all nisei, I was driven by an insidious sense of guilt from the instant the first Japanese plane appeared over Pearl Harbor. Of course we had nothing to feel guilty about, but we all carried this special burden. We felt it in the streets, where white men would sneer as we passed. We felt it in school when we heard our friends and neighbors called Jap-lovers. We felt it in the widely held suspicion that the nisei were a sort of built-in fifth column in Hawaii.

One reason Nisei volunteered in large numbers because they felt the need to prove their loyalty in the face of horrid racism. There have been individual acts of racism against Muslims in America, but nothing like the wave of hatred the Japanese-Americans faced. Certainly no one has called for their internment. You'll also note that that "special burden" was felt, not after they had come under attack by racists, but "from the instant the first Japanese plane appeared over Pearl Harbor."

I don't see any evidence that the majority of Muslims in America feel that the 9/11 attacks gave them a similar feeling. Muslims that do serve in the U.S. military are to be congratulated on their patriotism and supported in the same manner as any other U.S. soldier. I get the feeling you think I'm demeaning your son, and I'm not. The military needs more Muslims, more like your son, if only so our troops, as well as the American public will realize that Islam is not the enemy.

I'm not going to claim that most Muslim groups haven't condemned terrorism, most have. I just don't think it's enough. When the denunciation is reiterated, it's often just a prelude to a litany of complaints about how they are being treated, even though that treatment is not only legal, but mild by historical standards, and more than extremely mild in comparison to treatment handed out to suspect populations in any society actually controlled by Muslims.

And no, they're under no "special" obligation to volunteer. < cheap shot> I'm sure Osama agrees that they are under no "special" obligation as well. </cheap shot> Nor are they under a legal one. Neither were the Nisei. But I feel, and I'll think you find many others do as well, the fact that their brothers in the Ummah killed 3000 a little over a year ago, and continue to try and kill civilians in the West today ago gives them a moral obligation.

I've never called for the internment of Muslims in America, and the last third of the post was devoted to reaming the INS for their actions in the story, so I highly doubt that I would have been calling for the internment of the Nisei. I don't know of anyone who has, and would certainly disagree with such a thing. I don't even think that they should join the military, really. All I ask from the Muslims, not just in America, but all over the world, is the statement that "Our brothers made this mess, so it is our responsibility to clean it up."

And then to do it, so we don't have to.

Ya'll have a nice holiday, and my best to your son.

Posted by Bigwig at December 22, 2002 11:05 PM | TrackBack
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