Richard Silverstein – Tikum Olam January 10, 2012
Max Blumenthal has dug up a speech (transcript) delivered by Rick Santorum at David Horowitz’s invitation in 2007, in which he stated that Islam was a religion that had to be “eradicated” in a “long war:”
…This will be a long war. This will — remember, when they [Muslims] had the technological ability to fight us, they did, for a thousand years. A thousand years. This is hard for us to understand — a country scantly 250 years of age. A thousand years is incomprehensible to us. It is not to them. It is not to them. Their history is that history.
And they know their history. They know who they are. They know who we are. And we have no idea who they are…
…They are in a whole new war with us. We can choose not to be in one; doesn’t mean we aren’t. We are in a war, and theology is its basis. Just like we were in a war against Communism, and ideology was its basis. We need to understand that.
And here’s the kicker:
“What must we do to win [against Islam]? We must educate, engage, evangelize and eradicate.”
Americans need to ask themselves if they want a president, or even a presidential candidate who’s talked dead-seriously about engaging in a holy war with an entire religion consisting of hundreds of millions of adherents. Is this really what they want? Endless war against Islam? And for what? Republicans who like what they’re hearing from Santorum these days because he’s a family values guy should think whether these are the sort of family values they want their president to espouse.
Adopting the anti-Muslim terminology of far-right sources like Gates of Vienna, Pam Geller, and the Scandinavian terrorist Anders Breivik, Santorum claimed that Europe was on the verge of losing to the Muslim hordes seeking to overrun it. It was well on the way to becoming “Eurabia:”
“Look at Europe. Europe is on the way to losing. The most popular male name in Belgium — Mohammad…They [Christian Europeans] are losing because they are not having children, they have no faith, they have nothing to counteract it. They are balkanizing Islam, but that’s exactly what they want. And they’re creating an opportunity for the creation of Eurabia, or Euristan in the future…Europe will not be in this battle with us. Because there will be no Europe left to fight.”
We should “talk about how Islam treats homosexuals. Talk about how they treat anybody who is found to be a homosexual, and the answer to that is, they kill them.”
“…The Shia brand of Islamist extremists [is] even more dangerous than the Sunni [version]. Why? Because the ultimate goal of the Shia brand of Islamic Islam is to bring back the Mahdi. And do you know when the Mahdi returns? At the Apocalypse at the end of the world. You see, they are not interested in conquering the world; they are interested in destroying the world.”
“The other thing we need to do is eradicate, and that’s the final thing. As I said, this is going to be a long war.”
One of the remarkable aspects of this diatribe is that he labels the ultimate goal of Shiite Islam (the sect of most Iranian Muslims) the “destruction of the world.” Why? Because they seek precisely the same Second Coming that evangelicals like Santorum seek. There is no difference between the End of Days of Christianity and the return of the Mahdi except that they take place in the context of different religions. But the eschatological nature of these phenomena are almost precisely the same. Yet, in Christianity it’s somehow kosher while in Islam it becomes the fruit of the devil. Why? And isn’t the height of hypocrisy or worse?
Further, what Santorum, Hagee and even Ahmadinejad refuse to understand is that the End Times scenarios of traditional Chrisitianity, Islam, and even Judaism involve a spiritual messianism, not a political messianism. In none of these religions did the original adherents understand the apocalypse to mean that their own religion would physically conquer and eradicate other religions. These are later glosses by megalomaniac adherents who’ve transformed what was originally a quest for spiritual perfection into one for physical dominance.
Santorum provided a further faux theological treatise on Islamic history in this passage, worth reading for its sheer out-there quality:
For a thousand years, Sunni Islam fought Christendom — a thousand years. And in fact, for most of the time, won; for the most of the time, was on the offensive. It wasn’t till the late 17th century that Islam was stopped. And it was stopped at the gates of Vienna, in the heart of Europe, in Austria. The siege of Vienna — the second siege of Vienna in 1683 — that ultimately was the highwater mark of Islam.
Does anybody know when the highwater mark of Islam was? September the 11th, 1683. It was the very next day, on the plains of Vienna, that Christendom — the Holy League, it was called — united. All of Europe…, we conquered — they conquered — the Sunnis, and drove them into finally a treaty in 1699. And for 300 years, they have been silent. Why? Because they didn’t have the resources or the technology to compete with the modern world. For 300 years, they lay silent.
But now Sunni Islam, through al-Qaeda, which is Sunni; through resources, known as oil; through technology that is now off-the-shelf, and through frustration — imagine you’re a Muslim. You are the person who has the faith that is the successor to the two incomplete faiths — Judaism and Christianity. You are the final revelation. You are the one that is going to control the world. You are the one for a thousand years dominated the world. And for 300 years, you sit in a backwater, looking at Christendom thrive, while you sit in squalor and poverty. How can this be?
…This is what we fight. They want to reconquer the world. They want to establish a new Kalifat…
So Santorum has adopted the apocalyptic, holy war rhetoric–even injecting the title of the infamous Gates of Vienna blog into his speech–of the loony extreme right in characterizing the Muslim world. Instead of being a religion or spiritual community just like any other in the world with which we must learn to co-exist, it becomes a satanic force only to be dealt with in the context of a crusade or holy war.
For Santorum, it’s not just the Muslims against whom his fellow rightists must fight a holy war:
But it’s not just radical Islam; it is also the radical left. Because what we’re seeing now is the old adage you learned when you were a kid — the enemy of my enemy is my friend. And the left — whether it’s here in this country, and certainly around the world — sees America today as the enemy. They fight us on college campuses, and they fight us in the streets of Central and South American countries, in North Korea, in other places.
Those of us on the left must understand that if this deluded soul believes even half of what he says, a Santorum presidency would involve not just the type of repression that we saw during the Bush-Cheney years, but an outright physical assault on everything the left represents in American society. It will be yet another holy war except carried out against political targets. That is, you and me.
Do I believe that Rick Santorum really affirms this narischkeit in full? He’d have to be a certified nutcase if he did. I’d like to believe that even presidential candidates can tell truth from lies, and reality from fantasy, at least some of the time. So the odds are that Santorum believes that this what Republican primary voters believe, and that he’ll ditch most of this idiocy if he ever wins the nomination. But that doesn’t matter. Because any candidate who could dredge up this crap and put it out there, even if he disbelieves it, doesn’t deserve to be within 100 miles of the presidency.
From a purely selfish political perspective I hope that Santorum does win. or get selected as a vice-presidential candidate. It will be that much easier to defeat him. But the honest part of me says that a Santorum candidacy poisons the American body politic whether he’s running for the nomination or the presidency itself. I don’t want him even to win the nomination, because it will certify these insane ideas as politically credible. It will only be a matter of time before an American Anders Breivik takes out his homicidal rage on U.S. Muslims as long as Santorum’s rhetoric circulates.
We must force American politicians like Santorum to choose between substantive political debate and hate-mongering. If they choose the latter they must be made to pay the price. The highest possible price. That is, political annihilation. This is the only way to convey to extremists like Santorum and Gingrich, that racism and pummeling American Muslims and other minorities not only won’t work, it will sentence you to political Purgatory.