Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Fact vs. Fiction

You know, if we’re going to view world events as an existential Clash of Religions, we may as well get some perspective. First, here are the facts:


Some 160 million people have died in
wars and genocides during the 20th and 21st centuries. Breaking those numbers down through the lens of religion:

(KEY – E-C: European-Christian; A-B: Asian-Buddhist/Taoist/Shinto; ISL: Islamic; J: Jewish; H: Hindu; O: Other/Indeterminate)

Deaths in 20th/21st-century wars by religious affiliation of warring parties

Deaths in worst 20th/21st-century genocides by religious affiliation of killers and victims

Wars involving European-Christians and Asian Buddhists (incl. WWII) have killed 154.8 million people in the past century. Wars involving Muslims (incl. WWII) have killed 25.6 million people in the past century.

Major genocides & atrocities committed by European-Christians and Asian Buddhists have killed 84.0 million people in the past century. Major genocides & atrocities committed by Muslims have killed 3.5 million people in the past century.

More facts:

More than 100 in 22 Islamic nations

Zero in the U.S. maintained by any of the 50 majority Muslim countries

US$437.111 billion

US$60 billion

10,000+ total warheads (max. range: intercontinental)

Pakistan: 150? (max range: 1500 km? 2300 km?); all others: Zero

US$12.4 trillion

US$4.3 trillion



So those are the facts. Next, some creative interpretation of these facts:


Tony Blankley, Washington Times editor: “The threat of the radical Islamists taking over Europe is every bit as great to the United States as was the threat of the Nazis taking over Europe in the 1940s. … It is beginning to dawn on Europeans that the combination of a shrinking ethnic-European population and an expanding, culturally assertive Muslim population might lead to the fall of Western civilization in Europe within a century. … [T]he overwhelming political fact deriving from the ferment in Islam is that, to some degree, some percentage of Muslims are prepared to murder - and are murdering - great numbers in what they feel is their religious duty.”

Charles Krauthammer, syndicated columnist: “Here we are at the crux of a debate over America's aggressive interventionism of the last few years. Is Islamic radicalism in potential alliance with WMD-bearing terrorist states a threat to the very existence (hence: ‘existential’) of America and of civilization itself? … On Sept. 12, 2001, and for many months afterward, that proposition was so self-evident that it commanded near unanimous support. … The new idea, expressed by Blix representing the decadent European left, and recently amplified by Michael Moore representing the paranoid American left, is that this existential threat is vastly overblown. … It is a new world and exceedingly dangerous. Everything is at stake.”

Members of the Committee on the Present Danger:

Senator Joseph Lieberman: “The threat from Islamist terrorism is the challenge of our generation, just as fascism and communism were the challenges past generations of Americans faced.”

R. James Woolsey, Director of Central Intelligence, 1993–1995: “We are fighting the Long War of the 21st century, having been targeted by several totalitarian movements rooted in the Middle East. We cannot opt out, and we must not fail.”

Morris J. Amitay, Board Member, Center for Security Policy: “The struggle against the Islamofascist terrorists and their enablers must be our nation’s number one priority. America’s other challenges pale by comparison.”

Ilan Berman, Vice President for Policy, American Foreign Policy Council: “The fight against terrorism is the defining struggle of the 21st century. It is a conflict that will take many forms, and be waged on many fronts. But success is imperative; at stake is nothing less than our way of life.”

William E. Brock, Former U.S. Senator and Secretary of Labor: “The threats faced by this nation are of unique magnitude and complexity. We have much to do to safeguard our families and freedom.”

Peter Brookes, Director, Asian Studies Center, The Heritage Foundation: “The scourge of terrorism is an unprecedented challenge to international peace and stability that must be defeated through a proactive strategy of resolve and international cooperation.”

Henry Cooper, Director, Strategic Defense Initiative, 1990–93: “Terrorism poses as potent a threat to our freedom as did communism – preserving our liberty while winning the war on terrorism may be more difficult than was ending the ‘evil empire.’ ”

Candace de Russy, Ph.D., Hudson Institute Adjunct Fellow: “The struggle to defend ourselves and civilization against diabolical and cunning Islamofascists has only just begun. Failure to muster the strength and willpower to stay the course would result in no less than another Dark Age.”

Rachel Ehrenfeld, Director, American Center for Democracy: “Losing the War on Terrorism is not an option for the U.S.; It is time for Americans to recognize that the War on Terrorism is a war to defend the lives of each and every one of us, as well as our Western civilization.”

John Fonte, Director, Center for American Common Culture: “In many ways, the current war against militant Islamic terrorism resembles the cold war. Once again, we are engaged in a long twilight struggle against an ideological enemy that threatens our way of life both at home and abroad. And once again, there are elites in the West who do not (or will not) recognize the nature of this threat.”

Jeffrey Gayner, Chairman, Council for America: “In an era of increasingly accessible weapons of mass destruction and instantaneous global communication of propaganda, the time frame for dealing decisively with terrorists movements must be on an accelerated scale that is without precedent in confronting the previous totalitarian threats of fascism and communism.”

Victor Davis Hanson, Senior Fellow, The Hoover Institution: “We are in an insidious war against enemies whose unconventional tactics, stealthy nature, and astute knowledge of Western politics make them every bit as dangerous as a Hitler, Mussolini, Tojo, or Stalin - none of whose forces were able to murder 3,000 Americans and bomb downtown New York or Washington. In such a war for survival, there can be no parley, no pause, and no half-measures with the Islamofascists and their patrons, but only continued resistance and offense until their we see their utter defeat.”

John G. Kester, Former Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense: “The threat from enemies using terrorism is as serious as any our country has ever faced, and it cannot be ended without our active efforts and long-sustained resolve.”

Barton W. Marcois, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs, U.S. Department of Energy, 2002-03: “The danger from international terrorism today is as great as the danger a generation ago from international communism.”

Dana M. Marshall, Former Senior Advisor on International Economic Affairs to the Vice President of the United States: “The danger is more than to American national security – it is to our survival.”

Edwin Meese III, U.S. Attorney General, 1985–88: “Asymmetrical warfare waged by terrorists presents the greatest threat to the U.S. homeland in nearly two centuries.”

Kamal Nawash, President, Free Muslim Coalition Against Terrorism: “Religious inspired terrorism represents one of the most lethal threats to the stability of the civilized world.”

Daniel Pipes, Director, Middle East Forum: “Only when the Islamist ideological roots of the current war are acknowledged can we successfully wage and win the war.”

Danielle Pletka, Vice President, Foreign and Defense Policy Studies, American Enterprise Institute: “Enemies of the United States are engaged in an existential war against the very principles underlying our republic.”

Norman Podhoretz, Former Editor, Commentary: “Unless we prevail in the war against terrorism, we will remain exposed to the greatest threat this country has ever faced in its entire history.”

Samantha F. Ravich, Vice President for Proliferation Studies, The Long Term Strategy Project: “If 9/11 taught us anything, it taught us that Jihadis are willing to come onto our soil and into our homes to kill our children. This should not have surprised us because they have been terrorizing their own people, on their own soil, in their own homes for decades. This may be a long war but we have no choice other than to fight it and to win it. Nothing less than life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are at stake.”

Stephen J. Solarz, Member, U.S. House of Representatives, 1975–93: “What is at stake in the war against terrorism is the survival of our civilization and our most cherished values.”

William Van Cleave, Director, Center for Defense and Strategic Studies: “Islamic terrorism is an unconditional and existential threat not only to America and Israel, but also to Judeo-Christian culture.”

Jose Maria Aznar, Former Prime Minister of Spain: “Containment is not feasible, and appeasement is not only impossible, but suicidal in the medium term.”

David Pryce-Jones, Senior editor, National Review: “We have to defeat terrorists and the terror-masters everywhere. Anything less than outright victory means taking a gamble with freedom and civilisation itself.”


General Note: Figures for both Wars & Genocides sections cover major events & simplify complex religious demographics for the sake of the broader view of history. For example, Asian-Buddhists under Pol Pot murdered several thousand Cambodian Muslims, but that is not factored into the Khmer Rouge genocide figures. Also, figures for the Wars section include massacres, genocides and overall civilian deaths as well as battle deaths, with the exception of World War II (see note below). Meanwhile, no attempt was made to assign blame for deaths in the Wars section (the Genocides section is another matter, of course). Thus, aggression by Italy in Ethiopia is simply counted in the E-C vs. O totals, which is probably unfair to the Ethiopians, but that's just how it is due to time constraints on the part of the author. Finally, Armenians and East Timorese were designated European-Christians for the purposes of this study.

World War I: 7.45 million E-C vs. E-C deaths; 550,000 E-C vs. ISL deaths (added to respective totals)

World War II: Some 55 million people died in World War II, including some 5.8 million Muslims. Rather than try to separate out which religious group killed which religious group in this bloody conflict, we will simply note that it was started by European-Christians and Asian-Buddhists, who – along with some 6-8 million Jews – make up the overwhelming bulk of the casualties. Asian-Buddhist Japan, for instance, is generally considered to be responsible for 15-20 million Asian-Buddhist deaths in World War II, as well as millions more European-Christian deaths.

Other/Indeterminate: Wars/Genocides involving (mostly) African countries/parties with no clear religious majority, incl. Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Animist, Jewish, Sikh etc.

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