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January 30, 2007

History is a machine for the generation of irony
Posted by Patrick at 02:54 PM * 11 comments

Today is Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 125th birthday. Presumably in commemoration, Blood and Treasure links to FDR’s message to the Maghreb in October 1942, as American troops arrived to reinforce the battle against Hitler’s Afrika Korps:

Praise be unto the only God. In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful. O ye Moslems. O ye beloved sons of the Maghreb. May the blessing of God be upon you.

This is a great day for you and us, for all the sons of Adam who love freedom. Our numbers are as the leaves on the forest tress and as the grains of sand in the sea.

Behold. We the American Holy Warriors have arrived. We have come here to fight the great Jihad of Freedom.

From late January 2007, this reads like a bit from a Ken MacLeod novel, only in the past.
Comments on History is a machine for the generation of irony:
#1 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 03:05 PM:

Wait just a second here...I thought they hated freedom!?!?

#2 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 03:19 PM:

Wow, imagine Dubya saying that today.

#3 ::: Dave MB ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 03:44 PM:

Wow, imagine Dubya saying that today.

Although about the one positive thing you can say about the scoundrel is that he did his bit to dampen anti-Muslim hysteria in the immediate wake of 9/11. (Probably a legacy of Rove's and Norquist's outreach to Arab-Americans as an electoral bloc, but whatever.)

What would it have taken to form a coalition to go after Osama and the Taliban as desecrators of Islam? The Iranians and Saudis were both rather negative on the Taliban -- could that have led to fatwas? Not in this timeline, I suppose, and even President Gore probably couldn't have pulled it off.

#4 ::: Michael Walsh ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 03:51 PM:

Here's a link to the March 2000 Middle East Quarterly article about the origins of FDR's speech: linked text

#5 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 04:45 PM:

"We are Humanity's scythes to cut down her enemies.

"We are the flame to burn them to the finest ash.

"We are the wind to blow the ash away, as if it had never been."

#6 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 06:02 PM:

Does anyone else remember the scene in Reds where John Reed's call for class warfare is translated into a call for jihad?

#7 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 06:39 PM:

Here's the fixed link from Mr. Walsh - Middle East Quarterly March 2000

#8 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2007, 10:13 PM:

Behold. We the American Holy Warriors have arrived. We have come here to fight the great Jihad of Freedom.

Why am I reminded of the scene in Maurice G Dantec's Babylon Babies where a mercenary raid, unable to find a proper warcry, finally rallies to the cry of "Allah Akbar !" before launching an attack on Bosninn populations (a quick check in my library tells me it was "International Brigades" and not mercenaries) ?

#9 ::: Dan R ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2007, 08:44 AM:

Is the thread heading original, or does can you cite a source? Either way, it belongs in the list of Commonplaces (RHS).

#10 ::: Sean Sakamoto ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2007, 11:51 AM:

Didn't Dubya say this kind of stuff to the Iraqis? I recall him saying that God gave men the will to be free and so forth in the runup to the invasion. That was the neocon line, right? We're liberating them, as God intended?

#11 ::: Michael Walsh ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2007, 03:23 PM:

To Tania @ #7 .... Thanks! Just shows how little I know about this here blog thing.

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