We assumed "war on terror" was a polite evasion,
the compassionate conservative's preferred euphemism for what was really
going on — a war against militant Islam, which, had you designated it as
have been harder to square with all those White House Ramadan photo-ops. But here's the interesting
thing. Pace the historian, it seems you can wage war against a phenomenon. If the "war on terror" is
aimed primarily at al-Qaeda and those of similar ideological bent, it seems to have had the happy
side-benefit of discombobulating various non-Islamic terrorists from Colombia to Sri Lanka.
- Mark Steyn, "The National Post"
As Communism retreated,
radical Islam seeped into Africa and south Asia and the Balkans. Crazy
guys holed up in Philippine jungles and the tri-border region of Argentina,
Brazil, and Paraguay who’d have been “Marxist fantasists” a generation
or two back are now Islamists: it’s the ideology du jour. At the point
of expiry of the Soviet Union in 1991, the peoples of the central Asian
republics were for the most part unaware that Iran had even had an “Islamic
revolution”; 15 years on, following the proselytizing of thousands of mullahs
dispatched to the region by a specially created Iranian government agency,
the Stans’ traditionally moderate and in many cases alcoholically lubricated
form of Islam is yielding in all but the most remote areas to a fiercer
form imported from the south. As the Pentagon has begun to notice, in Iraq
Tehran has been quietly duplicating the strategy that delivered southern
Lebanon into its control 20 years ago.
- Mark Steyn, "City Journal"
Sections: Iraq ~ War On Terror ~ America Alone ~ MultiCulturalism ~ Main Quotes Page
"Iraq is being run by Iraqis again. But this time they're not psychopaths."
"You don't invade Iraq in order to invade everywhere else, you invade Iraq so you don't have to invade everywhere else."
"A suicide bomber kills
four Jews. So what's new? But this time the Palestinians decline to celebrate.
And some even question whether being a delivery system for plastic explosives
is really all life has to offer, even on the West Bank."
- on the changing mood in the Middle East after the Iraqi elections
Originally, these fellows
were blowing up infidels. And from that point of view, that makes a lot
of sense. Then they found it harder to blow up infidels, and they started
blowing up their brother Muslims: Shiia and Kurds, and Muslims in other
countries like Turkey and Saudi Arabia. And again, you could say well,
these fellows, they're blowing up Shiia and Kurds, and if they want to
have an Iraqi civil war, then blowing up Shiites is the way to go. Now,
they're blowing up their brother Sunnis in Muslim weddings in Jordanian
hotels. And this is a pathetic... where's the strategy in that?
What we should always remember about Muslim radical groups, is that in the end, they always kill more Muslims than they do infidels.
- in conversation with Hugh Hewitt on "Radio Blogger"
According to a report
by the New York Sun's Eli Lake last month, Iran is supporting Shia insurgents
in Iraq and Sunni insurgents in Iraq. In other words, it's on both sides
in the so-called civil war. How can this be? After all, as the other wise
old foreign-policy "realists" of the Iraq Study Group assured us only in
December, Iran has "an interest in avoiding chaos in Iraq". Au contraire,
the ayatollahs have concluded they have a very clear interest in fomenting
chaos in Iraq. They're in favor of Sunni killing Shia, and Shia killing
Sunni, and if some vacationing Basque terrorists wanted to blow up the
Spanish Cultural Center in Mosul, they'd be in favor of that, too. The
Iranians don't care who kills whom as long as every night when Americans
turn on the evening news there's smoke over Baghdad. As I say in my book,
if you happen to live in Ramadi or Basra, Iraq is about Iraq; if you live
in Tehran, or Cairo, or Bei-jing, Moscow, Pyongyang or Brussels, Iraq is
about America. American will. American purpose. American credibility...
To the Slow-Bleed Democrats, it's the Republicans' war. To an increasing
number of what my radio pal Hugh Hewitt calls the White-Flag Republicans,
it's Bush's war. To everyone else on the planet, it's America's war. And
it will be America's defeat.
- from the "Chicago Sun Times"
"So, Vietnam beat the
Americans, and what did it get them? You know, 30 years later, they’re
still living in poverty."
- Sheikh Sattar, hoping Iraq turns out like Germany and Japan
"I measure everything
these days by a simple test: is it likely to get people killed? In the
last three weeks of Mr Bigley's life, the actions of various parties –
including, but not limited to, Fleet Street, the governments of Britain
and Ireland, and UK Muslim lobby groups – made it more likely that more
Britons and other infidels will be kidnapped and beheaded. That is shameful."
- from "The Telegraph"
Like a four-year-old
child, the media were so distracted by bright colours and loud noises that
they missed the real story. Set fire to a second-hand Nissan and they send
a camera crew round to take pretty pictures of the big plume of smoke rising
up in the sky.
- on media coverage of the Iraqi elections in "The Telegraph"
According to a poll
published in Le Monde, the majority of Spaniards, Germans, French and British
were all in favor of executing Saddam. 69% of respondents in the United
Kingdom supported the death penalty for the dictator versus 82% in America.
"Die Europaer verurteilten die Anwendung der Todesstrafe," declared Die
Zeit. "The Europeans condemn the use of the death penalty." What "Europeans"?
Not the majority of Germans who approve of the execution. Not the 58% of
French citizens. Not the seven out of 10 Britons. When Die Zeit and The
Times and all the rest say that "Europe" condemns the death of Saddam,
what they mean is that a narrow, remote, self-insulating politico-media
elite condemns it.
- from "The Jerusalem Post"
"We warmongers didn't
start the nitpicking, but somehow the entire landscape of U.S. politics
has tilted so that a nation supposedly at war is spending most of its time
looking through the rear window sniping about what was said and done in
2002, 2001, 2000, like the falling calendar leaves in a Hollywood flashback.
The Democrats will always win on this playing field because, like some
third-rate soap opera, their characters are not required to have any internal
- from "The Chicago Sun Times"
"The argument of a
lot of the mainstream of the Democratic Party is 'passivity'. Oh, we can't
do this, and we can't do that, because something may go wrong, and it may
not be easy, and this will happen, and that will happen. And we don't understand
any of these strange, wacky foreign places anyway. That passivity will
end freedom in the world. It won't end freedom in the world in America,
it won't end it in Iowa and in Massachusetts tomorrow. But it will end
it in a lot of the borderline jurisdictions around the world very quickly.
You cannot be that feeble in the face of an existential threat."
- on Radio Blogger
"Resolution 1441, painstakingly
negotiated syllable by syllable by Mr. Powell and his duplicitous opposite
number in the Quai d'Orsay, was never about Saddam. It was about the UN.
The choice is: Put Saddam out of business, or put yourselves out of business."
- from The National Post
Read the Duelfer report
for yourself. It is an amazing document. It renders John Kerry, on foreign
policy and national security, either a complacent fool or an utter fraud.
It's not about WMD, it's about the top-to-toe corruption of the entire
international system by Saddam Hussein. The "global test" is a racket,
and anybody who puts faith in it is jeopardizing America's national security.
- from Mark's website
"Good thing he's not
one of those arrogant bullying American cowboys, huh?"
- on Jacques Chirac's warning to Eastern European countries
"Bookending the liberation
of Baghdad are two summits — Bush and Blair in Belfast on Monday, Chirac
and Schroeder and Putin in Moscow on Friday. It's nice to have the choices
put so plainly: on the one hand, the Coalition of the Willing; on the other,
the Coalition of the Willing To Go On Selling Saddam Nuclear Reactors In
Exchange For Oil Concessions For Another Decade Or Three No Matter How
Many People He Kills."
- from "Welcome to Anglo-Saxon reality" in The National Post
The Left often discover
a sudden enthusiasm for the previous war once a new one's come along. Since
Iraq, they've been all in favor of Afghanistan, though back in the fall
of 2001 they were convinced it was a quagmire, graveyard of empire, unwinnable,
another Vietnam, etc. Oh, and they also discovered a belated enthusiasm
for the first President Bush's shrewd conduct of the 1991 Gulf War, though
at the time Kerry and most other Democrats voted against that one, too.
- from "Chicago Sun Times"
The Democrats are always
in favor of the war you’re not fighting.
- Mark, on the "Hugh Hewitt Show"
Good news from the
Iraq front is bad news for the Democratic Party. In how many wars fought
by democratic countries has the majority party in the legislature announced
that its political interests require national defeat?
- Mark, on National Review's Corner blog
"Now Mark Steyn, what
do you think of the narrative that we often see come forward, that the
troops are the children, and we must save our children and bring them home.
How does that strike you?"
"Well, I think it’s immensely insulting. For a start, they’re actually a lot more mature than the left wing commentators shrieking about the children. I was behind a car with a bumper sticker the other day, and the bumper sticker said honor the dead, heal the wounded, end the war.
You don’t honor the dead by basically making their death a worthless sacrifice, you don’t heal the wounded by saying this is yet another war that America lost because of the emotional mawkish exhibitionism of a lot of self-indulgent and desiccated twits back on the home front. This is not how soldiers think. They’re not children. They’re grown men, they’re doing a more grown up job than most of the people bleating back at home. And they deserve real support, not this kind of misplaced nursery teacher coddling that looks cute on a bumper sticker, but it utterly meaningless."
- Mark, interviewed on the Hugh Hewitt Show
"For all the casual
slurs about 'cultural imperialism', British imperialists were more interested
in other cultures than anybody before or since, and, if they hadn't dug
it up and taken care of it, we'd know hardly anything about the ancient
world. What's important about a nation's past is not what it keeps walled
up in the museum but what it keeps outside, living and breathing as every
- from an article about the 'looting' of Baghdad's museum
As we’ve learnt this last year, if there
is a ‘white man’s burden’ in 2004, it’s not the burden of doing one’s bit
for the natives, but doing so under a hail of continual sniping from Chirac,
Schröder, the Belgian guy, Kofi, Oxfam, Human Rights Watch, the BBC
and a gazillion others.
- from "Now It's Up To The Iraqis" in "The Spectator"
"The only consolation is that the anti-war crowd are having an even harder time keeping it up than I am. The 'human shields' are leaving Iraq, having given up trying to shield anything but the remaining shreds of their dignity. They got to Baghdad only to find their Iraqi 'co-ordinators' wanted to deploy them not at 'humanitarian' facilities but at military bases. One British teacher said he was used to working with young children and would have preferred to be deployed at an orphanage. Pity the poor Iraqi official who had to explain to the guy that the orphanage has already got all the human shields it needs: they're called 'orphans.'"
"If we have to have an incoherent, self-loathing
'peace' movement, then women showing off their hooters in support of a
culture that would stone them to death for showing off their ankles is
about as good as it's gonna get."
- from "Bring on the war: for everyone's sake" in The National Post
"My distinguished former colleague, the dean
of Canadian columnists David Warren, brilliantly characterised what’s going
on in Iraq as 'carefully hung flypaper'. In other words, the US occupation
of Iraq is bringing Saudis and other Islamonutters out of the surrounding
swamps — and that’s a good thing. If they’re really so eager to strike
at the Great Satan, better they attack its soldiers in Iraq than its commuters
on the Golden Gate Bridge... Would you rather ‘Muslim militants’ attempted
to blow up civilians in Boston and Dallas or instead tried to take on the
world’s best-armed soldiers in Tikrit and Ramadi? It’s not a tough call.
- from "The Spectator"
"As we now know, Dr Kelly was in favour of
the war. Not only that, but his most significant point of disagreement
with the Government is that it was (officially) opposed to regime change,
while he thought it absolutely necessary. In that respect at least, he
was more hawkish than Blair, Jack Straw and Colin Powell. He had more faith
in the existence of WMD than half the cabinet on either side of the Atlantic.
Yet a man who believed there was no option other than war has been enthusiastically
adopted by the anti-war crowd as an emblem of their cause."
- from "The Daily Telegraph"
"The Left is remarkably nonchalant about
these new terrors. When nuclear weapons were an elite club of five relatively
sane world powers, the Left was convinced the planet was about to go ka-boom
any minute, and the handful of us who survived would be walking in a nuclear
winter wonderland. Now anyone with a few thousand bucks and an unlisted
number in Islamabad in his Rolodex can get a nuke, and the Left couldn't
- from "The Daily Telegraph"
"Paul Wolfowitz is a demonic figure to the
anti-war types for little reason other than that his name begins with a
big scary animal and ends Jewishly."
- from "The pundits in love with doom and gloom" in "The Daily Telegraph"
"Last year I thought the Americans won an
amazing military victory in Iraq; the European media, by contrast, thought
the Yanks were bogged down in a bloody Vietnam-style quagmire from which
was no escape save ignominious retreat."
- from "How the West will win and continue to deny it" in "The Sunday Telegraph"
"Many Iraqis are voting
with their feet. The UN High Commission for Refugees, which was expecting
about two million new refugees to flee from the war last year, instead
found no takers. All the traffic’s the other way, and the UN is now closing
down its camps around Iraq’s borders owing to lack of business. The other
day, the UN’s Ashrafi Camp in Iran, after 30 years as the largest Iraqi
refugee facility, threw in the towel when the last refugee went home. Despite
being advised by UNHCR that it was unsafe to do so, a million Iraqis are
said to have gone back. Not bad for a country which in Saddam’s day was
the fifth-largest exporter of refugees."
- from "Iraq Has Never Had It So Good", "The Spectator", March 2004
"In so far as the enemy has a strategy, it's
to use their own people as hostages. They know that Washington and its
allies are concerned above all to avoid casualties among Iraqi civilians
and, indeed, among your typical Iraqi conscripts. In other words, everything
the Baath regime does is predicated on the moral superiority of their foe.
If things were the other way round, if Iraq invaded Vermont and some diehard
Yankees holed up on the outskirts of White River Junction and started firing
on Saddam's forces as they attempted to advance up the valley, the Republican
Guard would think nothing of levelling the entire downtown area and everyone
in it. Who's going to complain? There's no Baghdad 'Not In Our Name' movement.
So Harold 'Poems R Us' Pinter may think the Yanks are itching to massacre
thousands of innocents, but the behaviour of the Baathist nutters suggests
they know better: they assume Western decency. Washington has taken a decision
to expose its forces to greater danger in order to all but eliminate 'collateral
- from "War is not as Hellish as it used to be", in "The Spectator"
"Conquered and captured, an enemy shrivels,
and you question what he ever had that necessitated such a sacrifice. The
piercing clarity of war shades into the murky grays of postwar reconstruction...
playing by Al Gore-Ted Kennedy rules, the Union would have lost the Civil
War, the rebels the Revolutionary War, and the colonists the French and
Indian Wars. There would, in other words, be no America."
- Memorial Day column in "The Chicago Sun Times"
"If we right-wing madmen do indeed spend
every waking minute dreaming up ways to kill as many children as possible,
we're not very good at it."
- from "The National Post"
"Last August, after the bloody terrorist
attack on the UN in Iraq, the President of the Security Council expressed
his condemnation of the incident. The President of the Security Council
was at that time the representative of Syria. Syria is a terrorist state.
So a fellow who’s usually the apologist for terrorists gets to go on TV
to represent the international community’s determination to stand up to
terrorism. International legalism, by obliging us to make no distinction
in legitimacy between a Syrian Ambassador and a New Zealand one, vastly
inflates the status of the former – and thereby diminishes that of the
- from a "Happy Warrior" column in "National Review"
"Pacifist propaganda usually boils down to
saying that one side is as bad as the others, but if one looks closely
a the writings of younger intellectual pacifists, one finds that they do
not by any means express impartial disapproval but are directed almost
entirely against Britain and the United States. It is ever so."
- quoting George Orwell in "Face Of The Tiger"
Seventy-five years ago, in February 1933,
the Oxford Union passed a famous resolution, by an overwhelming margin,
that "this House would under no circumstances fight for its King and country."
The Union was the world's most famous debating society, in a great university
of the dominant global power; its presidents have gone on to serve as prime
ministers at home and overseas, from Gladstone in the 19th century all
the way to Benazir Bhutto in the 1990s.
So the debate and its resolution sent a message to Britain's enemies: As Churchill saw it, the vote was a "disgusting symptom" of the enervation of the ruling elites. Clifford May sees that same syndrome today around the Western world, but, in fact, it's worse than that.
The Oxford debate took place a decade and a half after the worst carnage in human history. World War I cost the lives of some 20 million people. Do you remember in 2004 when Ted Koppel devoted one episode of "Nightline" to reading out the names of everyone killed in combat in Iraq? If he'd attempted a similar task with the British Empire's war dead in 1919, the half-hour episode of "Nightline" would have had to be extended to 10 months – or longer if Ted took bathroom breaks. The war reached into the smallest English hamlet and culled a generation of young men. In other words, we don't have their excuse... In 1933, the debaters at Oxford were horrified by the real cost of war. In 2008, the editors of the Times, our college professors and Hollywood celebrities, are horrified by a fiction.
- in "The OC Register"
"In 1998, when Mr. Clinton was threatening
Iraq with Gulf War II, the only task force he could assemble was comprised
of a zillion American B-52s, 14 British Harriers, HMCS Toronto, and some
backup from Down Under. The Clinton coalition, 1998: the U.K., Canada,
Australia, New Zealand. What do these countries have in common? Well, let's
see... Language: English. Head of state: Her Majesty the Queen. When Mr.
Clinton, the great multiculturalist and diversity-celebrator, called in
his chits from abroad, you couldn't help noticing a certain uniculturalism
and homogeneity. And in five years' time, with Britain tied in to a common
EU defense policy, you can forget about those 14 Harriers."
- from "The Ugly European", in "The Wall Street Journal" (2001)
According to my dictionary, the word "ally"
comes from the Old French. Very Old French, I'd say. For the New French,
the word has a largely postmodern definition of "duplicitous charmer who
undermines you at every opportunity"... In Norwegian, troops means
"fighting men who are prepared to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Americans,
as long as they don't have to do any fighting and there are at least two
provinces between their shoulders and the American ones". The Americans
accept (a little too easily, I'd say) the political reality that these
days a military coalition will be 95 per cent US, 4 per cent Britain and
1 per cent everybody else...
- from "The Australian" (Feb'07)
"Sadly, a U.S. invasion of Iraq 'would threaten the whole stability of the Middle East' - or so Amr Moussa, secretary-general of the Arab League, told the BBC on Tuesday. Amr's talking points are so Sept. 10: It's supposed to destabilize the Middle East. The stability of the Middle East is unique in the non-democratic world and it's the lack of change in Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt that's turned them into a fetid swamp of terrorist bottom-feeders."
THE WAR ON TERROR
"This war can only be won abroad. And it
can only be lost at home."
- from "The Spectator"
"Anything that shifts power from the individual
judgment of free citizens to government is a bad thing,
not just for the war on terror but for the national character in a more general sense. That’s been my
basic rule of thumb these last three years."
- from "The Spectator"
"John Podhoretz made the comment, those were
the first passengers to live in the post-9/11 world, and they did not choose
a dreary and inevitable defeat. There was a pilot on board. They intended
to win that battle."
"...A lot of these people on Flight 93 were office park America. And you realize, in fact, that in that they represent the best of America, this kind of low-key, modest, unassuming, yet incredibly innovative side of American business life, and that's what they did on Flight 93. They were faced with an entirely new set of circumstances, which the United States government had failed to anticipate, and they found a way to take that down and end the age of skyscraper bombing terrorism within the space of an hour. And no one will ever hijack an American airliner again, because of what those guys did."
- Hugh Hewitt and Mark, in conversation on Radio Blogger about film "Flight 93"
Have you seen that bumper sticker “9/11 WAS
AN INSIDE JOB”? If you haven’t, go to a college town and cruise Main Street
for a couple of minutes. It seems odd that a fascist regime which thinks
nothing of killing thousands of people in a big landmark building in the
center of the city hasn’t quietly offed some of these dissident professors...
According to a poll in May, 35 percent of Democrats believe that Bush knew
about 9/11 in advance. Did Rumsfeld also know? Almost certainly. That’s
why he went to his office as normal that today, because he knew in advance
that the plane would slice through the Pentagon but come to a halt on the
far side of the photocopier. That’s how well-planned it was, unlike Iraq...
If Iraq is another Vietnam, 9/11 is another Kennedy assassination. Were
Bali, Madrid, and London also inside jobs by the Bush Gang? If so, it’s
no wonder federal spending’s out of control.
- Mark Steyn, on the conspiracy theories, "National Review"
If you step back, one way to look at the
"war on terror" is as a belated civil war within the British
Empire — at any rate between the Anglosphere core (America, Britain, Australia, India) and a
dysfunctional periphery (Gaza, the Pakistani tribal lands, the Sunni triangle), or between those
territories that enjoyed the full attentions of the mother country and those it acquired in the Versailles
settlement — the last flickering fag-end of imperial expansion Margaret MacMillan captured so vividly
in Paris 1919. Alas, for them, for their subjects and for the world today, when they finally got their
hands on the Middle East, British imperialism had dwindled down to its bare bones: import some
Hashemite prince, create a phony-baloney kingdom for him, and retreat to your bases.
- from "Macleans Magazine"
It’s no coincidence that the region of the
world that causes the most trouble for the rest is the one the
Western imperialists stayed in just long enough to screw up but not long enough to do any good in.
- commenting on the Middle East, in "The Spectator"
"These days, your average Western power —
Germany, Canada, Belgium — is utterly incapable of
projecting conventional military might to, say, Saudi Arabia or the Pakistani tribal lands. But a dozen
young Saudi or Pakistani males with a little cash, some debit cards and the right phone numbers in their
address books can project themselves to Frankfurt, Ottawa or Antwerp very easily and to devastating
effect. That’s the lesson of 9/11."
- from "The Spectator"
"'What you have to look at is the underlying
reasons,' a Dartmouth College student said to me the other
day. 'Poverty breeds resentment and resentment breeds anger.' 'Really?' I said. 'And what's the capital of Saudi Arabia?'"
- from "Face Of The Tiger"
"The war on terror’s a bit of a joke on the
Left these days. In Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Moore says
Bush is deliberately keeping the population in a state of fear, and he gets some of his biggest laughs with clips of solemn announcers announcing upgraded terrorism alerts. I suppose it is pretty funny. Until it
happens. And then Moore and the Democrats will switch to arguing that Bush knew it was going to happen all along and didn’t do anything about it."
- from "The Spectator"
Columbia University won't allow U.S. military
recruiters on campus because "Don't ask, don't tell" discriminates against
homosexuals, but it will invite Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose government beheads
you if they think you're bebottoming.
- in Macleans magazine
These are diminished times for gulags. According
to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, some 15 to 30 million
prisoners passed through the Soviet gulags; at any one time there were around two million held; some two to three million died in the gulags because of malnutrition, typhus, overwork, or simply the whims of the
camp commandant. By comparison, Guantanamo at its peak held 750 prisoners; currently there are 520;
none has died in captivity, and, as I wrote here three-and-a-half years ago, it has the distinction of
being ‘a camp where the medical staff outnumber the prisoners. Atrocious, eh? I bet Rose Addis is glad
she didn’t get shipped there rather than the Whittington.’ Indeed, it’s the only gulag in history where the detainees leave in better health and weighing more than when they arrive. This means they’re in much
better shape when they get back to killing infidels: of the more than 200 who have been released, about
5 per cent — that’s to say, 12 — have since been recaptured on the battlefield. If Gitmo’s a gulag, what
words does that leave for the systemic rape being practised by the butchers of Darfur? Or is it
because they’ve so exhausted the extremes of their vocabulary on Guantanamo that the world’s
progressives have so little to say about real horrors like Sudan?
- writing in "The Spectator"
It's very hard to fight a terrorist war without
intelligence. By definition, you can only win battles against terrorists
pre-emptively — that's to say, you find out what they're planning to do
next Thursday and you stop it cold on Wednesday. Capturing them on Friday
while you're still pulling your dead from the rubble is poor consolation.
For example, in 1988, a British SAS unit shot dead three IRA members on
the streets of Gibraltar. The United Kingdom's Joint Intelligence Committee
were acting on information that the cell was planning to blow up the changing-of-the-guard
ceremony on the Rock. The two men and a woman were subsequently found to
be 'unarmed', and as a result various civil liberties groups protested
and critical TV documentaries were made. But there was no dispute that
they were IRA members and that they had bomb-making materials in their
car. If the state cannot take action until its sworn enemy uses those materials,
it had better be prepared to lose the war.
- Mark Steyn, "Chicago Sun Times"
I'm aware the very concept of "the enemy"
is alien to the non-judgment multicultural mind: There are no
enemies, just friends whose grievances we haven't yet accommodated. But the media's sensitivity police
apparently want this to be the first war we lose without even knowing who it is we've lost to. If you
wake up one morning and switch on the TV to see the Empire State Building crumbling to dust, don't be
surprised if the announcer goes, "Insurging rebel militant forces today attacked key targets in New
- from "The Sun Times"
Moscow has reduced Grozny to rubble, yet
is further than ever from solving its Chechen problem.
Moreover, the sheer blundering thuggery of the Russian approach has no merits other than affording
Moscow some short-term sadistic pleasure as it exacerbates the situation.
- from "The Spectator"
Reader Jack Fulmer sent me the following
item, which appeared a century ago — 13 September 1905 —
in the Paris edition of the New York Herald titled "Holy War Waged":
St. Petersburg: The districts of Zangezur and Jebrail are swarming with Tartar bands under the
leadership of chiefs, and in some cases accompanied by Tartar police officials. Green banners are
carried and a ‘Holy War’ is being proclaimed. All Armenians, without distinction of sex or age are being
massacred. Many thousand Tartar horsemen have crossed the Perso-Russian frontier and joined the
insurgents. Horrible scenes attended the destruction of the village of Minkind. Three hundred Armenians were massacred and mutilated. The children were thrown to the dogs and the few survivors were forced
to embrace Islamism.
Plus ça change, eh? Last week Islamists killed a big bunch of people in Nalchik, the capital of the
hitherto more-or-less safe-ish Russian republic of Kabardino-Balkaria. True, in our more sensitive age
the Herald Tribune’s current owners, the New York Times, would never dream of headlining such a
report ‘Holy War Waged’, though the Muslim insurgents are fighting for a pan-Caucasian Islamic
republic from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea.
- from "The Spectator"
This week's Voldemort Award goes to the New
York Times for their account of a curious case of road
rage in North Carolina: "The man charged with nine counts of attempted murder for driving a Jeep
through a crowd at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill last Friday told the police that he
deliberately rented a four-wheel-drive vehicle so he could 'run over things and keep going.'" The driver
in question was Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar. Taheri-azar is admirably upfront about his actions. As he
told police, he wanted to "avenge the deaths or murders of Muslims around the world." And yet the
M-word appears nowhere in the Times report.
- from the "Chicago Sun Times"
This is the difference in the media across
60 years. In the Second World War, the BBC cooperated with the British
government in broadcasting coded messages to members of the French resistence
on the Continent. Now, not only couldn't you get any of these guys to do
anything like that, but if they found out that somebody else was doing
it, they'd expose the program.
- on Radio Blogger, after the New York Times reveals a classified program
A decade and a half ago, in his most famous
book "The Clash Of Civilizations," professor Samuel Huntington argued that
Western elites' view of man as homo economicuswas reductive and misleading
– that cultural identity is a more profound behavioral indicator than lazy
assumptions about the universal appeal of Western-style economic liberty
and the benefits it brings. Very few of us want to believe this thesis.
"The great majority of Palestinian people," Condi Rice, the secretary of state, said to commentator Cal Thomas a couple of years back, "they just want a better life. This is an educated population. I mean, they have a kind of culture of education and a culture of civil society. I just don't believe mothers want their children to grow up to be suicide bombers. I think the mothers want their children to grow up to go to university. And if you can create the right conditions, that's what people are going to do."
Thomas asked a sharp follow-up: "Do you think this or do you know this?"
"Well, I think I know it," said Secretary Rice.
"You think you know it?"
"I think I know it."
I think she knows she doesn't know it. But in the modern world there is no diplomatic vocabulary for the kind of cultural fault line represented by the Israeli/Palestinian dispute, so even a smart thinker like Dr. Rice can only frame it as an issue of economic and educational opportunity. Of course, there are plenty of Palestinians like the ones the secretary of state described: You meet them living as doctors and lawyers in Los Angeles and Montreal and Geneva … but not, on the whole, in Gaza.
In Gaza, they don't vote for Hamas because they want access to university education. Or, if they do, it's to get Junior into the Saudi-funded, Hamas-run Islamic University of Gaza, where majoring in rocket science involves making one and firing it at the Zionist Entity. In 2007, as part of their attempt to recover Gaza from Hamas, Fatah seized 1,000 Qassam rockets at the university, as well as seven Iranian military trainers.
- Mark Steyn, "The OC Register"
"Under the terms of the Camp David accords,
Egypt has been the beneficiary of the largest amount of
U.S. aid apart from Israel. What's happened to it? In the 1950s, Egypt and South Korea had more or
less identical per capita incomes. Today, Egypt's is less than a fifth of South Korea's."
"Shortly after Pearl Harbor, the Japanese
took Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands and arrested 22 British
watchkeepers. The following year, they tied them to trees, beheaded them, and burned their bodies in a
pit. You won't find that in the Geneva Convention. The Japanese fought a filthy war, but here we are
less than 60 years later, and Britain and Japan sit side by side at G-7 meetings. If America is really
"paying for" events that occurred seven centuries before the Republic's founding, then that's the
Muslim world's problem, not ours."
"The first attack on American sovereignty
was not on American soil, was not 9/11. It was the Iranian
Embassy, and we should have dealt with that problem then. When history comes a-calling, you never have
a choice between good or bad options. They're only between bad and much, much worse options. And the
reality of today is that we're dealing with problems that could have been, would have been easier to
settle twenty years ago. If we don't settle them now, they'll be much more difficult, if not impossible to settle in ten years time."
The youthful Americans who went off to war
60 years ago would have thought it ridiculous to be hailed as “the greatest”.
They were unexceptional: they did no more or less than their own parents
and grandparents had done. Like young men across the world, they accepted
soldiering as an obligation of citizenship, as men have for centuries.
In 1941, it would have astonished them to be told they would be the last
generation to respect that basic social compact... Today, across the western
world, the generals dislike conscript armies. They want light, highly trained,
professional regiments. But it’s hard not to feel that the end of the draft
— the end of routine military service — has somehow weakened the bonds
of citizenship. Citizenship is about allegiance. We benefit from our rights
as citizens of the state and in return we accept our duties as citizens
of the state... Ultimately, it is as Americans or Britons, Australians
or Canadians that we resist the assault on our liberties... We may not
be asked to scramble up over a trench and across a muddy field in Flanders,
but it’s all too possible we may be called upon to demonstrate great heroism
close to home, as the firemen of New York and the passengers of Flight
93 were. They are the Dead. They lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, loved
and were loved. They did not deserve their premature deaths. But they join
the untold legions who helped the Union win the Civil War, the Americans
and the British Empire win the Great War, and the Allies the Second World
War. And every single American alive today enjoys the blessings of those
- writing in "Face of the Tiger"
AMERICA ALONE (BOOK)
If you only read one book this year make it …the new Harry Potter. But if you read three a week you might consider getting to this one round about the eighth month.
After 9/11 the president told the world you’re
either with us or you’re with the terrorists and some of our “allies” (i.e.,
Belgium) checked the neither-of-the-above box and some of our “allies”
(i.e., Saudi Arabia) checked the both-of-the-above box, and in neither
case did it make any difference. “Ally” is largely a post-modern term these
days meaning (a) duplicitous backstabber who puts you through months of
negotiations to water down your U.N. Security Council resolution to utter
meaninglessness or (b) NATO military comrade who requires months of schmoozing
and black-tie photo-ops in order for you to crowbar out of him a token
commitment of a couple of hundred troops he’s willing to deploy in-theatre
as long as it’s in a non-combat role and preferably three provinces away
from where the fighting’s taking place.
- discussing "America Alone" on "National Review"
Day in and day out, on the op-ed pages of
the British, Australian, Canadian, and American daily papers, Steyn has
brought home the simple fact of this war: whatever mistakes we have made
are not fatal if we keep our heads. As he puts it near the end of the book,
the problem is not merely that we are only employing a fraction of our
physical power: "This book isn’t an argument for more war, more bombing,
or more killing, but for more will." In his multifaceted homage to American
exceptionalism, Steyn focuses on three themes to underscore the critical,
but lonely role of the United States: the demographic catastrophe in Europe,
the ill-preparedness of liberal socialism to resist the horrific nature
of our primordial enemies, and the dangerous wages of Western complacency
and self-loathing... In a concluding chapter, he outlines a multifaceted
ten-point strategy of dealing with radical Islam, from embracing women’s
rights in the Middle East to marginalizing the pernicious UN, EU, and other
gutless transcontinental organizations that in their cowardice trash the
United States because it politely defers to their impotence in a way that
the Islamic fascists most certainly do not.
- Victor Davis Hanson, from his New Criterion review
Is the world of today a better or a worse
place than the world of 100 years ago? On all the ordinary indices of human
felicity—health, longevity, security, hygiene, comfort, prosperity, equality,
dentistry—the answer is of course that we live much better lives than our
grandfathers did. That is not the whole story, though. There has, for example,
been much loss of liberty in those nations where individual liberty is
(I first, very significantly in this context, wrote “was”) most prized.
As A.J.P. Taylor noted in English History 1914-45: “Until August 1914 a
sensible, law-abiding Englishman could pass through life and hardly notice
the existence of the state, beyond the post office and the policeman.”
The America of 100 years ago was even freer, and our freedoms persisted
for longer. A fiftysomething American friend of mine remembers being a
13-year-old, strolling down his suburban New York street carrying a rifle
under his arm, on the way to some shooting practice. Taking the world at
large, I think you can make a case that, net-net, and even allowing for
the amenity improvements listed in my second sentence above, civilization
has in some other respects slipped backwards. Take “diversity,” for example.
For all our fantasies about having vanquished “racism,” “discrimination,”
and the rest, we are in many places less tolerant of each other than we
were a hundred years ago. There has been a slow separating-out of ethnicities
everywhere these past few decades. In British India, as Kipling’s stories
illustrate, Hindus, Moslems, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsees, and half a dozen
lesser sects jostled together without any very dramatic friction. When
the British left, it was suddenly found necessary to place Hindus and Moslems
in two (then, a quarter-century later, three) different nations, which
to this day have not been able to settle their differences. The astonishing
salad that was the Austro-Hungarian Empire did not survive World War One
(which, admittedly, its internal strains had helped to start), and squabbles
over which bits of its remnants belonged to whom helped to ignite World
War Two. The Sunnis, Shias, and Kurds of Mesopotamia seem to have coexisted
reasonably well under Ottoman rule; in today’s Iraq they prefer to massacre
- John Derbyshire, reviewing "America Alone", "New English Review"
By 2050, we are spookily informed, 60 per
cent of Italians will have no brothers, no sisters, no uncles, no aunts
and no cousins. With the exception of the United States the nations of
the First World are in demographic decline. No European country is procreating
at the “replacement rate” of 2.1 births per woman (the population of Spain,
for instance, will halve every 35 years).
As Steyn patiently insists, however, “it’s not about race; it’s about culture”. If every inhabitant of a liberal democracy believes in liberal democracy, it doesn’t matter what colour they are; but if some believe in Sharia and the Caliphate, then the numbers are clearly crucial... According to Mr Steyn, the “progressive agenda”, the culture of rights and entitlements, is “a literal dead end”. A great sayer of the unsayable, Steyn nonetheless fails to ask the central question. Will the culture of choice be obliged to give ground to the culture of life? Itself profoundly retrograde, Islamism may force retrogression on us all.
- Martin Amis, "The Times"
Mark Steyn has done us all a service by ensuring
that questions some would prefer to pass over are posed in a way it is
impossible to ignore.
- Michael Gove, in "The Spectator"
It is indeed the only book about the end
of the world that makes one laugh out loud.
- David Frum, in "National Review"
To see off the new Dark Ages will be tough and demanding. The alternative will be worse.
There are moderate Muslims, but no moderate Islam.
Most mainline Protestant churches are, to one degree or another, post-Christian. If they no longer seem disposed to converting the unbelieving to Christ, they can at least convert them to the boggiest of soft-left political clichés, on the grounds that if Jesus were alive today he’d most likely be a gay Anglican bishop in a committed relationship driving around in an environmentally friendly car with an ‘Arms Are for Hugging’ sticker on the way to an interfaith dialogue with a Wiccan and a couple of Wahhabi imams.
Multiculturalism was conceived by the Western elites not to celebrate all cultures but to deny their own: it is, thus, the real suicide bomb.
Europe is dying and America isn't... instead of calling for America to 'join the world', why not try calling on Europe to rejoin the real world?
It seems highly improbable
to me that gay hedonism and creeping sharia can co-exist for long. The
modern multicultural state is really a nullity, a vacuum. The question
is what's likely to fill it.
- from Britain's "Daily Telegraph"
really a suicide cult conceived by the Western elites not to celebrate
all cultures, but to deny their own. And that's particularly unworthy of
the British, whose language, culture and law have been the single greatest
force for good in this world.
- from Britain's "Daily Telegraph"
that the worst attributes of Muslim culture — the subjugation of women
— combine with the worst attributes of Western culture — licence and self-gratification.
Tattooed, pierced Pakistani skinhead gangs swaggering down the streets
of northern England areas are as much a product of multiculturalism as
the turban-wearing Sikh Mountie in the vice-regal escort.
- from "The Spectator"
The more the gulf widens
between the British Government's multiculti PC pap and the obvious truth,
the more the state risks de-legitimising itself in the eyes of the citizenry.
Tony Blair has a good pitch when he's surveying the distant horizon and
the big picture and doing his Tone of Arabia routine, but he hasn't yet
managed to find a line on the homegrown jihad that resonates with his electorate.
- from "The Australian"
The pen is not mightier
than the sword if your enemy is confident you will never use anything other
than your pen. Sometimes it's not about "freedom of speech," but about
freedom. Ask an Iranian homosexual. If you can find one.
- Mark, on Iranian President Ahmadinejad to America, "New York Sun"
What no one in their
delegations (to the Durban Racism Conference) will say is this — that the
West has nothing to apologize or pay for, least of all Britain. London
abolished slavery in the British Isles in 1772 and within the Empire in
1833, in the teeth of fierce opposition from Arab and West African traders.
If one had to single out one institution that did more to end the trade
in human beings than any other, it would be the Royal Navy, whose ships
enforced the ban at great risk to themselves. Yet the reflexive shame in
their inheritance is such that no British, or Canadian, delegate in Durban
would dream of standing up for the historical record.
- "The World Conference Against Whitey"
"Indeed, in its new
role as underminer of the BBC Top Ten A Nation Once Again is far more subversive
than it ever was as a rallying cry against the reviled Crown: For what
could be more exquisitely mischievous than a virulently parochial anthem
of unregenerate nationalism winning a survey intended to demonstrate that
music is the universal language?
I can't help feeling that in this strange poll there are some profound lessons about the illusions of the age. Those of us skeptical of multiculturalism will be heartened by the dizzying variety of local prejudices on display in these unlovely songs."
- on the Wolfe Tones winning BBC World Service's online poll
I'm a dead white male.
Suppose on Martin Luther King Day I went to the offices of the National
Association for the Advancement of Colored People and shot the receptionists.
How many nano-seconds do you think it would take before the attack was
being characterized as racially motivated? Your top Olympic hotshot could
ingest every steroid on the planet and he couldn't beat that time.
- from "The National Post"
The European Union's
Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia has decided to shelve its report
on the rise of anti-Semitism on the Continent. The problem, as reported
in The Telegraph, is that the survey had found that "many anti-Semitic
incidents were carried out by Muslim and pro-Palestinian groups", and so
a "political decision" was taken not to publish it because of "fears that
it would increase hostility towards Muslims".
Let's go back over that slowly and try not to get a headache: the EU's main concern about an actual epidemic of hate crimes against Jews is that it could provoke a hypothetical epidemic of hate crimes against Muslims. You couldn't ask for a better illustration of the uselessness of these thought-police bodies: they're fine for chastising insufficiently guilt-ridden whites in an ongoing reverse-minstrel show of cultural self-abasement, but they don't have the stomach for confronting real racism. A tolerant society is so reluctant to appear intolerant, it would rather tolerate intolerance.
- from "The Daily Telegraph"
I don’t pretend to
have all the answers. But that’s better than pretending that there aren’t
- on the 'ostrich' reaction to immigration
There is no 'tolerance',
there are only changing fashions in intolerance.
- from "The Western Standard"
Historically, the Jews
are the canaries in the coalmine; forces that harbour deranged irrational
views about Jews eventually move on to other groups.
- from Mark's Website
There’s a distinction
between saying "Kill the Jews", which is incitement to murder right now,
and saying "Hitler didn’t kill any Jews", which is an opinion, albeit a
deranged one. And I would much rather live in a society — particularly
at a time where certain groups complain about Piglet coffee mugs and Jews
poisoning their bananas — where you can point out people are nuts rather
than file a hate-crimes complaint with your local "Human Rights Commission".
- mailbox response
Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's
kleptocrat strongman, destroyed a mosque the other day. It was in Hatcliffe
Extension, a shantytown on the edge of Harare razed by the "police." Mugabe
is an equal-opportunity razer: He also bulldozed a Catholic-run AIDS center.
The government destroyed the town in order to drive the locals out into
the countryside to live on the land stolen from white farmers. Quite how
that's meant to benefit any of the parties involved or the broader needs
of Zimbabwe is beyond me, but then I'm no expert in Afro-Marxist economic
theory. The point is the world's Muslims seem entirely cool with Infidel
Bob razing a mosque... Nobody's died in Gitmo, not even from having Christina
Aguilera played to them excessively loudly. The comparison is deranged,
and deeply insulting not just to the U.S. military but to the millions
of relatives of those dead Russians, Jews and Cambodians who know what
real atrocities are.
- from "The Chicago Sun Times"
"The great thing about
multiculturalism is that it doesn’t involve knowing anything about other
cultures, just advertising your warm fuzzy feelings toward them."
- from "The Spectator"
The great advantage
of cultural relativism is that it renders argument impossible. There is
no longer enough agreed reality. It's like playing tennis with an opponent
who thinks your ace is a social construct.
- from "Western Standard"
As a general rule,
the more noisily an institution proclaims its commitment to diversity,
the more slumped in homogeneity it gets - at least when it comes to the
only diversity that matters, not diversity of race or gender or orientation,
but diversity of ideas.
"Diversity" doesn’t extend to, say, some dirtpoor piece of fundamentalist white trash. Her presence wouldn’t "enrich" anyone. "Diversity" means "more blacks". That’s why traditional African-American colleges are exempt from its strictures: as 100% black schools, they’re already as diverse as you can get.
- from "The Chicago Sun-Times"
"The contours of our
epic clash of civilisations are clear now: Christians are a cheap laugh
and in control of the Bush Administration, Jews are sinister and in control
of the Bush Administration, and Muslims... whoa, best not to mention them,
man. You don't want to be Islamophobic."
- from "You're joking if you think this is satire", in "The Daily Telegraph"
"Our airports have
told to look out for evildoers. How will we know who they are? Under our
new high-alert procedures, security personnel demonstrate their sensitivity
by looking for people who don't look anything like the people they're looking
for. Never in the field of human conflict have so many so inconvenienced
to avoid offending so few."
- from "Face Of The Tiger"
Which issue will impact
more women's lives? The lack of female pipefitters? Or the combination
of factors at play in those French -- and Belgian, and Scandinavian, and
maybe even Canadian -- suburbs? Yet Western feminists sing the ancient
songs of long-won revolutions as relentlessly as drunks on St Patrick's
Day: "Have fewer children, later in life," advises Joan Peters. That's
the strategy that demographically's delivering western Europe into the
hands of a culture far more patriarchal than a 1950s sitcom dad. In London
last summer, the police announced they were re-opening investigations into
120 deaths among British Muslim girls that they'd hitherto declined to
look at too closely on grounds of "cultural sensitivity." "Keep your Bush
off my bush!" chanted the ladies on Washington's Mall a year ago at the
Million-Abortionist March or whatever it was called. If any of those women
still exercise their "reproductive rights", they might want to ponder the
likelihood of any girl born today being able to prance around demonstrations
in the Eurabian Paris or Brussels of 2030 or 2040 yelling "Hands off my
bush!" C'mon, gals! Anyone can beat up post-feminist neutered Western males.
Why not pick on a target worth the effort?
- from "Macleans"
It's easier for a Palestinian
to emigrate to Toronto and become a subject of Queen Elizabeth than to
emigrate to Riyadh and become a subject of King Abdullah.
- from "National Review"
"Once upon a time we knew what to do. A British district officer, coming upon a scene of suttee, was told by the locals that in Hindu culture it was the custom to cremate a widow on her husband's funeral pyre. He replied that in British culture it was the custom to hang chaps who did that sort of thing. There are many great things about India — curry, pyjamas, sitars, software engineers — but suttee was not one of them. What a pity we're no longer capable of being 'judgmental' and 'discriminating'."
"You say that it is
your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: When men
burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them.
Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows.You
may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."
- General Charles Napier, on how the British dealt with suttee in India
Return to main quotes page for Mark Steyn.
Do you want some more? John Hawkins has another collection of quotes by Mark's columns, and from his book "Face of the Tiger".
Return to Politics index, or Site homepage.