Arnold Williams (notebuyer) wrote,
Arnold Williams

Knowing Things that Aren't So

Dinesh D'Sousa uncorks a few old myths still floating around out there.

Here's a sample:

In Iraq we’re getting into a religious war that’s lasted for centuries. This theory, espoused among others by John Murtha, holds that the Sunni and Shia are fighting in Iraq because these two groups have been fighting everywhere since the seventh century. So who wants to get into the middle of an ancient conflict that shows no signs of abating? This would seem to be an argument for America to get out of a religious quarrel that it has no way to settle, and that shows no sign of abating.

But the Shia-Sunni conflict in Iraq is not a religious conflict. How do I know that? Because there are no substantial religious differences between the Shia and the Sunni. And these two groups have not been fighting for centuries. In fact, they haven’t been fighting at all. There are no wars that have been fought between the Shia and the Sunni in the past. Historian Bernard Lewis points out that our notion of Shia-Sunni conflict seems to be an ethnocentric projection of the Catholic-Protestant model onto the Muslim world. As late as the 1980s, Shia and Sunni fought shoulder-to-shoulder to expel the Soviets from Afghanistan.

Not, of course, that exposing the myth will have much effect on those who hold it: they'll just assume that they shouldn't be reading the article. See "Problematize".
Tags: iraq

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