FAO Quotables

"But being right, even morally right, isn't everything. It is also important to be competent, to be consistent, and to be knowledgeable. It's important for your soldiers and diplomats to speak the language of the people you want to influence. It's important to understand the ethnic and tribal divisions of the place you hope to assist."
-Anne Applebaum

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Gunpowder and Lead on Islamism--best thing I've read all month (BTIRAM)

Gunpowder and Lead on Islamism--best thing I've read all month (BTIRAM)

     How I would rue the day were I to draw the ire of Daveed Gartenstein-Ross and Lauren Morgan.  In Miranda Lambert's blog the security affairs blog Gunpowder and Lead, the two authors take issue demolish David Briggs' poorly constructed attempt to draw a parallel between Islamists and American politicians.
      The most important thing to take away from their post is that Islamism is not a monolithic movement--it manifests differently in each country (and more often than not, it has several manifestations in each country).  Unfortunately this distinction is most often lost in the majority of political rhetoric.

Following is their opening paragraph.  You can read it in its entirety here:

The term “Islamist” has been bandied about frequently since revolutionary events gripped the Arab world last year. It is a term meant to signify those, including political parties, that wish to incorporate their understanding of Islamic law into the laws of the state. Political parties commonly described as Islamist won significant victories in Tunisia and Egypt, and were narrowly defeated in the recent Libyan elections. But is the term Islamist appropriate at all to describe these parties and politicians? In arecent piece for the Huffington Post entitled “Is It Time to Reconsider the Term Islamist?” David Briggs argues that the answer is no. His argument is confused, drifting without apparent direction from a terminological critique to the argument that the Islamist political program isn’t really as immoderate as is generally believed. Flaws aside, Briggs’s piece plays upon some more widely-held misconceptions about the political program embraced by Islamists that are worth addressing.
Briggs’s article itself has the distinction of interweaving major factual or analytical errors into virtually every paragraph, and is an exemplar of how not to approach these issues analytically . . . 




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