"Ask yourself: What do a Russian ten-year-old, a poor black farmer in Darfur, an elderly pensioner in Israel, a stockbroker in New York, and a U.N. aid worker in Afghanistan have in common? In the last three years, they have all died in similar ways: Unarmed and civilian, they were murdered by a common cowardly method fueled by a fascist ideology. The whole world is watching — in disgust."
        - Victor Davis Hanson, "The Whole World is Watching", "National Review"

"For their part, the terrorist killers hope to kidnap, ransom, and send off missiles, and then, when caught and hit, play the usual victim card of racism, colonialism, Zionism, and about every other '-ism' that they think will win a bailout from some guilt-ridden, terrorist-frightened, Jew-hating, or otherwise oil-hungry Western nation."
        - Victor Davis Hanson

"Terrorism is never, as its apologists argue, a last resort. It is always chosen as the first resort by groups who now that they do not have the popular support for the achievements of their political objectives."
        - Michael Walzer

There can be no final victory in the fight against terrorism, for terrorism is the contemporary manifestation of conflict, and conflict will not disappear from the earth until our human nature undergoes a basic change.
        - Walter Laqueur, of the "Center for Strategic and International Studies"

"What have we Americans done wrong to lose millions of Spaniards, Italians, Germans, and Japanese, who turn their back on democracy and prefer fascism?... Look at the world! We don't have an ally anywhere but Britain. What have we done to earn the animus of most of Europe that has either joined Hitler or would prefer to be neutral? Why is all of Eastern Europe against us? Whether Communist or fascist, Russian or German, the common enemy is either the United States or England. All Stalin and Hitler can agree on is shared dislike of America. Why?"
        - Victor Davis Hanson, imagining if the Democrats of 1941 spoke like the Democrats of today

We no longer live in the real world. We have all been forced to inhabit the semi-fictional world of the headline writer, in which every incremental nudge forward in humanity’s progress is Epoch-Making, in which the banal setbacks of everyday life are Catastrophic Defeats. This hyperbole addiction can impair our moral discernment, dim our sense of history, and render us insensitive to genuinely important events. In this world Amnesty International can, as it did this week, call Guantanamo Bay "the gulag of our times".
Perhaps my own sense of history has already been impaired too much by life in the headline world but I seem to recall that the gulag was a Soviet slave labour camp system in which millions died simply because they were deemed in some way injurious to the communist project. Guantanamo has hosted a thousand or so men, almost all of them captured in the middle of plotting acts of terror, and an unlucky few who found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. No one has died. No one has suffered grievous injury. In the gulag system, the innocent were starved to death or mercifully executed while the West had a lively debate about the merits of communism.
        - Gerard Baker, "The Times"

One of the wonders of our times is how much more attention is paid to the living conditions of a bunch of cutthroats locked up in Guantanamo than to the leading international sponsor of terrorism getting nuclear weapons.
        - Thomas Sowell

If the authors were Muslim fundamentalists, everyone would be saying that whatever our feelings about them we should try to understand what makes them tick. We may be wary of neocon doctrines, but the least we can do is to take the trouble to acquaint ourselves with our fellow democrats' point of view.
        - George Walden, reviewing "Neoconservatism" by Irwin Stelzer in "The Telegraph"

Neocons are not trying to guide America to a new policy. Instead they are trying to interpret the traditions and spirit of the country. As Robert Kagan argues in his new book Dangerous Nation: “This enduring tradition has led Americans into some disasters where they have done more harm than good, and into triumphs where they have done more good than harm. These days this conviction is strangely called 'neoconservatism', but there is nothing 'neo' and certainly nothing conservative about it. US foreign policy has almost always been a liberal foreign policy. And if this is right, it means that the policy advocated by neocons will long survive their own departure from the scene.
        - Daniel Finkelstein, "The Times"

The Home Front - Islamic Fundamentalism - Iraq Front


What is going on in Iraq is quite remarkable in a number of historical ways that should have earned our rapt attention. We entered Iraq to remove Saddam, did that brilliantly, and then found ourselves in a complex second war to stabilize the new democracy, one in which almost everyone in the Middle East upped the ante — Syria to ensure that Iraq failed and did not undermine by example its own autocracy; Jordan and the Gulf monarchies to thwart nearby Shiite-dominated rule; and Iran to become regional hegemon by weakening its historical rival Iraq and bogging down the United States. The result is that we found ourselves not just in a war for Iraq, but one for the entire Middle East — the rewards of success and the penalties for failure far beyond what was imaginable in March 2003.
        - Victor Davis Hanson, "National Review"

Of all the silly arguments that pass as conventional wisdom in this debate is the claim that the US would be crazy to start a war with Iran. It’s a silly argument because America is already at war with Iran. Every day US soldiers in Iraq are attacked by Iranian-financed paramilitaries, with Iranian-produced weapons in pursuit of Iranian political objectives. Iran is manipulating the Iraqi Government in ways that undercut the steady progress the US is making in Iraq.
        - Gerard Baker, "The Times"

Yesterday, I was reminded forcefully of something that David Pryce-Jones has long taught: Middle Eastern governments accuse Western governments of doing what they themselves would do...  I thought of his teaching when reading, “Iran accused the United States on Wednesday of fabricating video and audio released by the Pentagon showing Iranian boats confronting U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf.”
        - Jay Nordlinger, "National Review"

When you enter a boxing ring, you agree to abide by the rules of boxing. But when you are attacked from behind in a dark alley, you would be a fool to abide by the Marquis of Queensbury rules. If you do, you can end up being a dead fool. Even with a nuclear Iran looming on the horizon and the prospect that its nuclear weapons will end up in the hands of international terrorists that it has been sponsoring for years, many in the media and in the government that is supposed to protect us have been preoccupied with whether we are being nice enough to the terrorists in our custody.
        - Thomas Sowell

Whenever I hear terrorists referred to in the media as "militants", it is a painful reminder that we have degenerated to the point where we no longer even have the courage to talk straight.
        - Thomas Sowell

Many of us, including the incoming Obama administration, look at this as a law-enforcement matter. Mumbai is a crime scene, so let's surround the perimeter with yellow police tape, send in the forensics squad, and then wait for the D.A. to file charges. There was a photograph that appeared in many of the British papers, taken by a Reuters man and captioned by the news agency as follows: "A suspected gunman walks outside the premises of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus or Victoria Terminus railway station." The photo of the "suspected gunman" showed a man holding a gun. We don't know much about him – he might be Muslim or Episcopalian, he might be an impoverished uneducated victim of Western colonialist economic oppression or a former vice-president of Lehman Brothers embarking on an exciting midlife career change – but one thing we ought to be able to say for certain is that a man pointing a gun is not a "suspected gunman" but a gunman. "This kind of silly political correctness infects reporters and news services worldwide," wrote John Hinderaker of Powerline. "They think they're being scrupulous – the man hasn't been convicted of being a gunman yet! – when, in fact, they're just being foolish. But the irrational conviction that nothing can be known unless it has been determined by a court and jury isn't just silly, it's dangerous."
        - Mark Steyn, "The OC Register"

This morning, a BBC World Service interviewer was shocked into momentary silence after he unwisely asked Poland’s defense minister, Radoslaw Sikorsky, why Poland was sending 1,000 more soldiers to fight in Afghanistan "when the war there is not popular at home." Sikorsky replied that actually "wars are never popular — they cost money and people get hurt" — but that Poland felt doing its part was the nature of an alliance.
        - Denis Boyles, "National Review"

The subjection of women in Muslim societies--especially in Arab nations and in Iran--is today very much in the public eye. Accounts of lashings, stonings, and honor killings are regularly in the news, and searing memoirs by Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Azar Nafisi have become major best-sellers. One might expect that by now American feminist groups would be organizing protests against such glaring injustices, joining forces with the valiant Muslim women who are working to change their societies. This is not happening... One reason is that many feminists are tied up in knots by multiculturalism and find it very hard to pass judgment on non-Western cultures. They are far more comfortable finding fault with American society for minor inequities (the exclusion of women from the Augusta National Golf Club, the "underrepresentation" of women on faculties of engineering) than criticizing heinous practices beyond our shores... The good news is that Muslim women are not waiting around for Western feminists to rescue them. "Feminists in the West may fiddle while Muslim women are burning," wrote Manhattan Institute scholar Kay Hymowitz in a prescient 2003 essay, "but in the Muslim world itself there is a burgeoning movement to address the miserable predicament of the second sex." The number of valiant and resourceful Muslim women who are devoting themselves to the cause of greater freedom grows each and every day.
        - Christina Hoff Summers, "The Weekly Standard"

"I feel morally superior to Islamists, by some distance. I feel an intellectual distance to Islam. There are great problems with Islam. The Koran recommends the beating of women. The anti-Semites, the psychotic misogynists and the homophobes are the Islamists."
        - Martin Amis

I am Islamophobic in the sense that I'm phobic towards the notion of treating women as third-class citizens, flogging people and killing them for having an independent thought. I'm phobic towards the idea of killing Theo Van Gogh because he made a movie they didn't like. I'm phobic towards killing a Japanese translator because he worked on the Satanic Verses. I'm also rather phobic to the notion that the Muslim world has the right to riot and kill each other because of a few unfunny cartoons in an obscure Danish publication.
        - Ian O'Doherty, "The Irish Independent"

There are still a few grizzled post-socialists around that will remember what their old prophet, Karl Marx, had to say about religion in the very first sentence of his Contribution to a Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right from 1843:  “Criticism of religion is the premise of all criticism”.
Criticism of religion is not only the starting point of all criticism. It is the prerequisite of any kind of criticism. In a society where religion cannot be criticized, everything becomes religion – from the length of your beard to what hand to use when wiping your backside... This new weltanschauung takes us back to a legal order – or rather lack of order – the like of which we haven’t seen in the civilized world since – when? The democratic revolutions of the 19th century, the French Revolution, the American Revolution, England’s Glorious Revolution, John Milton’s Areopagitica, Magna Carta? Take your pick. Any one of the above is true. The road chosen by the parties on the Left permits no return.
        - Lars Hedegaard, "International Free Press"

When confronted with the assertion that the Soviet Union and the United States were moral equivalents, William F. Buckley responded that if one man pushes an old lady into an oncoming bus and another man pushes an old lady out of the way of a bus, we should not denounce them both as men who push old ladies around. In other words, context matters... Many decent Americans understand that abuse intended to foil a murder plot is not the same as torturing political dissidents, religious minorities, and other prisoners of conscience. Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was not asked to renounce his faith or sign a false confession when he was reportedly waterboarded. His suffering wasn’t intended as a form of punishment. The sole aim was to stop an ongoing murder conspiracy, which is what al Qaeda is. Andrew Sullivan complains that calling torture “aggressive interrogation techniques” doesn’t make torture any better. Fair enough. But calling aggressive interrogation techniques “torture” when they’re not doesn’t make such techniques any worse
        - Jonah Goldberg, "National Review"

By the time Reagan became president, we had been fighting World War III [the Cold War] for thirty-three years; by contrast, we started to fight World War IV [the struggle against Islam-fascism] only after Bush entered the White House. In this respect, it was not Reagan to whom Bush should have been compared, but Harry 1947, at a time when many denied that the Soviet Union was even a threat to us, Truman saw it as an aggressive totalitarian force that was plunging us into another world war. If Truman had done nothing else than this, he would deserve to be ranked as a great president.
        - Norman Podhoretz, "World War IV"

Imagine a world in which the United States was stricken by a successful series of nuclear, biological, and chemical attacks. Putting aside the appalling loss of American lives this would involve, the global consequences would be horrifying. The world would be plunged into the deepest depression in its history. There would be no power-of-last- resort to uphold international order. Wolf and jackal states would quickly emerge to prey on their neighbors. It would be a world as described by Thomas Hobbes in his Leviathan (1651), in which, deprived of a giant authority figure "to keep them all in awe," civilization would break down, and life, for most of mankind, would be "nasty, brutish and short." Hence, we do well to look at the crisis not as solely or even primarily an American problem, but as a global one. We need a Leviathan figure now much more than in the 17th century, when the range of a cannon was a maximum of two miles and its throw-weight was measured in pounds. America is the only constitutional Leviathan we have, which is precisely why the terrorists are striving to do him mortal injury, and the opponents of order throughout the world — in the media, on the campus, and among the flat-earthers — are so noisily opposed to Leviathan's protecting himself.
        - Paul Johnson, "National Review"

Several governments have defeated Islamic insurgencies, but usually only after about ten years, and adopting policies of summary executions and carpet bombing or shelling. The Algerians in the 1990s finally stopped the so-called Islamic Salvation Army. The Russians decimated Chechnyan separatists. Syria’s Hafez al-Assad brutally exterminated several groups loosely affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, most infamously by the thousands at the town of Hama. But so far, no recent military has succeeded in defeating a radical Muslim terrorist insurgency, while subject to a constitutional government and an absolutely free media. Witness Guantanamo Bay that is demonized worldwide as the new Stalig or Gulag, when, in fact, it is the most humane detention center of jailed Muslim terrorists in the world.
        - Victor Davis Hanson, "Our Rules, Their Rules", "National Review"

Is there a global propensity to use inordinate force against Muslim terrorists that results in indiscriminate collateral damage? The Russians during the second Chechnyan War of 1999-2000 reportedly sent tactical missiles into the very core of Grozny, and may have killed tens of thousands of civilians in their hunt for Chechnyan terrorists — explaining why the United Nations later called that city the most destroyed city on earth. Syria has never admitted to the complete destruction of Hama, once home to Muslim Brotherhood terrorists. The city suffered the fate of Carthage and was completely obliterated in 1982 by the al-Assad government, with over 30,000 missing or killed. Did the Indian government look the other way in 2002 when hundreds of Muslim civilians in Gujarat were killed in reprisal for Islamic violence against Hindus? The lessons learned in this final session might reassure a world still furious over the 52 Palestinians lost in Jenin.
after a half-century of failed attempts to solve the Middle East crisis in isolation, isn’t It time we look for guidance in a far more global fashion, and in contexts where more lives have been lost, more territory annexed, and more people made refugees in places as diverse as China, Russia, and the broader Middle East? Russians and Syrians can advise the IDF on how to deal properly and humanely with Islamic terrorists.
The solutions that these countries have worked out to deal with similar problems apparently have proven successful — at least if the inattention of the world, the apparent inaction of the United Nations, and the relative silence of European governments are any indication...
        - Victor Davis Hanson, with a modest proposal for Israel, "National Review"

During the Cold War, two things came to be known and generally recognized in the Middle East concerning the two rival superpowers. If you did anything to annoy the Russians, punishment would be swift and dire. If you said or did anything against the Americans, not only would there be no punishment; there might even be some possibility of reward, as the usual anxious procession of diplomats and politicians, journalists and scholars and miscellaneous others came with their usual pleading inquiries: "What have we done to offend you? What can we do to put it right?" A few examples may suffice. During the troubles in Lebanon in the 1970s and '80s, there were many attacks on American installations and individuals--notably the attack on the Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983, followed by a prompt withdrawal, and a whole series of kidnappings of Americans, both official and private, as well as of Europeans. There was only one attack on Soviet citizens, when one diplomat was killed and several others kidnapped. The Soviet response through their local agents was swift, and directed against the family of the leader of the kidnappers. The kidnapped Russians were promptly released, and after that there were no attacks on Soviet citizens or installations throughout the period of the Lebanese troubles. These different responses evoked different treatment. While American policies, institutions and individuals were subject to unremitting criticism and sometimes deadly attack, the Soviets were immune. Their retention of the vast, largely Muslim colonial empire accumulated by the czars in Asia passed unnoticed, as did their propaganda and sometimes action against Muslim beliefs and institutions.
        - Bernard Lewis, "Wall Street Journal"

President Musharraf’s lurch back toward dictatorship, with the Bush administration unwilling to try to do anything serious to counter it, is another blow to the administration’s doctrinaire commitment to democracy-promotion... Musharraf has been touted as one of President Bush’s most important allies in the war on terror, but he has made a mockery of the you’re-either-with-us-or-against-us polarity of the Bush Doctrine. Like that other nettlesome U.S. ally, Saudi Arabia, Musharraf wants to be “with us” just enough to stay on our right side, while “against us” enough to placate hostile domestic political forces. These governments can always respond to pressure from us to do more with the (persuasive) argument that the alternative to them would be even worse... Pakistan is a microcosm of the difficulties of establishing liberal democracy in the greater Middle East. Its institutions — except for the army — are weak, its politics traditionally have been clan-based, and it is riven by ethnic divisions. This is the worst possible starting point for establishing a true constitutional democracy, but is basically the same cultural material we have to work with in Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority. This is the reason that the Bush administration’s Middle East policy so often has sunk to abject hopefulness. There is always a chance that key local players — your Malikis or Musharrafs — will act responsibly and in the interest of greater political openness, but old habits usually triumph over hope.
        - Rich Lowry, "National Review"

Everyone’s an expert on Pakistan, a faraway country of which we know everything. It seems to me a certain humility is appropriate.
        - Mark Steyn, after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto

The murder of Benazir Bhutto should demonstrate — yet again — that this war is not the fault of the Israelis. The Islamists did not kill Benazir Bhutto because of concern about the West Bank. They killed her because they feared her power to give the Pakistani people more than the Islamists want them to have, and because they seek to push Pakistan into total chaos and unlimited carnage... We have to give up the luxury of pretending that the war with Islamism is our fault. It is not. It is a deadly serious attempt by reactionary theocrats, Sunni and Shia, to enslave as much of the world as possible. It is powerful — it has the resources of a rich state, Iran, behind its Shia arm, and oil wealth gushes into the coffers of its Sunni side. ‘The war on terror’ may not be the best of phrases, but it is a reasonable shorthand. Islamist terrorist murderers don’t kill decent and brave people because of mistakes made by President Bush or Tony Blair or President Musharraf or anyone else. They do so to destroy the chance of millions of Muslims and ‘infidels’ all over the world to live decent lives... Last month al-Qa’eda bombed a UN building in Algiers because it was symbolic of the decent world which the Islamists want to destroy... These assaults will not end if we retreat — from Afghanistan, from Iraq or anywhere else. Weakness will cause the terrorists to redouble their efforts.
        - William Shawcross, "The Spectator"

Benazir Bhutto once responded to a friend who was concerned about her safety by saying, "Muslims don't kill women." She was only partly right; real Muslims don't do that, but al-Qaeda does. Its members have killed more Muslim civilians than have misdirected coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. The difference is that the Americans and their allies regret and investigate such incidents; al-Qaeda plans and celebrates them.
        - Gary Anderson, "Washington Post"

The latest anti-Semitism is now mouthed by world leaders and sophisticated politicians and academics. Their loathing often masquerades as “anti-Zionism” or “legitimate” criticism of Israel. But the venom exclusively reserved for the Jewish state betrays their existential hatred. Israel is always lambasted for entering homes in the West Bank to look for Hamas terrorists and using too much force. But last week the world snoozed when the Lebanese army bombarded and then crushed the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, which harbored Islamic terrorists... Here at home, “neoconservative” has become synonymous with a supposed Jewish cabal of Washington insiders who hijacked U.S. policy to take us to war for Israel’s interest... Yet when the United States bombed European and Christian Serbia to help Balkan Muslims, few critics alleged that American Muslims had unduly swayed President Clinton. And such charges of improper ethnic influence are rarely leveled to explain the billions in American aid given to non-democratic Egypt, Jordan, or the Palestinians — or the Saudi oil money that pours into American universities. The world likewise displays such a double standard. It seems to care little about the principle of so-called occupied land — whether in Cyprus or Tibet — unless Israel is the accused. Mass murdering in Cambodia, the Congo, Rwanda, and Darfur has earned far fewer United Nations’ resolutions of condemnation than supposed atrocities committed by Israel.
        - Victor Davis Hanson, "Looking for Scapegoat, World Again Turns to Jews"

While the world debated whether an American guard at Guantanamo really flushed a Koran down a toilet, Robert Mugabe may have bulldozed the homes of 1.5 million Zimbabweans. Few seem to have cared. To do so would be a messy, complicated thing... The new general rule: Global morality is established by the degree the United States can be blamed.
        - Victor Davis Hanson, "National Review"

The United States must put its financial house in order, curtail its imported oil, stabilize Iraq, prevent somehow Iran from getting a bomb, find ways to continue to support democratic reform in the Middle East without providing one-vote, one-time plebiscites to radical Islamists, and explain all that we are doing — and why — far more coherently and eloquently to the American public.  If this generation of Westerners can prevent radical Islam from obtaining the means to destroy a Western capital, our own way of life will prove far more disruptive to al Qaeda’s worldview, than radical Islam has proven itself to the West.
There are a great number of uncertainties ahead. The Pakistani-Saudi nexus — that provides both sanctuary and money for terrorists — seems sacrosanct from criticism, and makes our efforts elsewhere to promote democratic reform hypocritical, when these two autocracies, one nuclear, the other laden with oil and cash, get a pass.
But the current orthodoxy that America is losing the war on terror inside and outside Iraq, while bereft of allies, is simply not true. Instead we are winning — it’s ugly perhaps, but winning nonetheless.
        - Victor Davis Hanson, "Winning Ugly, "National Review"

The divisions within the Republican and Democrat parties, and the bitter differences over which way the US should turn, are expressions not merely of the normal political disagreements in a democracy, but of profound national disarray. For America’s leaders themselves are unable to decide who and what they are fighting — whether it is Islam, ‘Islamic radicalism’ or ‘terror’. They are equally uncertain whether the security of the nation is a higher priority than safeguarding the rights of the individual; uncertain whether the ‘democratisation’ of the Arab and Muslim worlds is or is not a viable undertaking; uncertain, and for good reason, whether their notional allies in Europe are or are not to be relied upon; uncertain, for even better reason, whether ostensible ‘friends’ in the Muslim world, such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the Gulf sheikhdoms, are or are not wolves in sheep’s clothing.
        - David Selbourne, "The Spectator"

"Conservatives saw what happened to us on 9/11 and said: we will defeat our enemies. Liberals saw what happened to us and said: we must understand our enemies. Conservatives see the United States as a great nation engaged in a noble cause; liberals see the United States and they see... Nazi concentration camps, Soviet gulags, and the killing fields of Cambodia."
        - Karl Rove, from a 2005 speech

It shouldn’t tax the intellects of even the Dick Durbins of the world that, say, plucking a child from the arms of his executed mother and sentencing him to a slow death at a work camp is different from plucking a terrorist from the mountains of Tora Bora and sentencing him to a holding facility where he gets three square meals, a Koran, and, during interrogation sessions, a heavy blast of hip-hop and lousy air conditioning... In the circles frequented by the likes of Durbin — where Howard Dean is a statesman and Michael Moore deserves the Nobel Prize — evil must automatically be associated with “Nazi.” So it goes in our political culture, where Nazi has become so synonymous with “bad” that all bad things must be Nazi-like — particularly if these bad things have been (allegedly) committed by the United States. Durbin could have compared the alleged abuses to the behavior of the French in Algeria or even to the police in Chicago 20 years ago, and he would have been far closer to the truth. But that just wouldn’t have had the oomph he was looking for — and it would have left too many people scratching their heads. In recent years, liberals have taken the lead in the practice of arguing ad hitlerum. Hitler is supposed to define the outer limits of evil, not the lowest threshold.
        - Jonah Goldberg, "National Review"

Fascists believed in a politics of fall from a heavily mythologised paradisiacal past, casting themselves as the light that will dispel the darkness. “Germany awakes” is paralleled by the “blessed awakening” of all Muslims that tantalises Osama Bin Laden. The visions of greatness that animated them lay in the remote past: ancient Rome in the case of Mussolini, or the medieval Reich which Hitler promised to restore a third time, although he was also fascinated by prehistoric Aryans. Al-Qaeda is similarly driven by a desire to recreate a caliphate that existed 1,300 years ago. Before we, and Bush, get too carried away with “Islamofascism”, clearly there are huge contextual differences. Militant Islamists are utterly murderous and viciously anti-semitic, but the heterogeneous ethnic composition of Al-Qaeda hardly suggests that visions of racial purity matter to it... More insurmountably, the rise of radical Islam since the late 1970s reflects the bankruptcy of the two dominant political creeds in the Arab world, nationalism and socialism, the two western movements that comprised fascism.
        - Michael Burleigh, "The Times

[In] a sort of echo of Bismarck’s oft-quoted "The whole of the Balkans is not worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier." ...America believes that the entire Middle East is not worth the bones of a single Marine. To counteract this, we need more clarity both here and abroad. First, the administration must articulate how our idealism is stark realism as well. Americans daily have to be reminded that consensual government in Iraq — not just plebiscites — is in our long-term strategic interest. Second, we should hear far more of Iraqi cooperation and joint operations, both military and civilian, that in fact do characterize this war and reveal an Arab desire to be free of the past. And third, far more long-suffering members of the Iraqi government need to express some appreciation for the American sacrifice — and express such gratitude to the American people directly.
        - Victor Davis Hanson

I recently had a dream that British marines fought back, like their forefathers of old, against criminals and pirates. When taken captive, they proved defiant in their silence. When released, they talked to the tabloids with restraint and dignity, and accepted no recompense.
I dreamed that a kindred German government, which best knew the wages of appeasement, cut-off all trade credits to the outlaw Iranian mullahs — even as the European Union joined the Americans in refusing commerce with this Holocaust-denying, anti-Semitic, and thuggish regime. NATO countries would then warn Iran that their next unprovoked attack on a vessel of a member nation would incite the entire alliance against them in a response that truly would be of a “disproportionate” nature. In this apparition of mine, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, in Syria at the time, would lecture the Assad regime that there would be consequences to its serial murdering of democratic reformers in Lebanon, to fomenting war with Israel by means of its surrogates, and to sending terrorists to destroy the nascent constitutional government in Iraq.
...And then I woke up, remembering that the West of old lives only in dreams. Yes, the new religion of the post-Westerner is neither the Enlightenment nor Christianity, but the gospel of the Path of Least Resistance — one that must lead inevitably to gratification rather than sacrifice. Once one understands this new creed, then all the surreal present at last makes sense: life in the contemporary West is so good, so free, so undemanding, that we will pay, say, and suffer almost anything to enjoy its uninterrupted continuance — and accordingly avoid almost any principled act that might endanger it.
        - Victor Davis Hanson, on his dream of a strong West, "National Review"

Article Five of NATO’s charter requires its members to come to the aid of any fellow nation that is attacked. But when it was invoked after 9/11 for the first time, NATO didn’t risk much — other than a few European gestures such as sending surveillance planes to fly above America — to fight Islamic terrorists abroad.
Australia, a non-NATO member, is doing far more to fight the Taliban than either Germany or Spain. Many Western European countries have national directives that prevent aggressive offensives against the Taliban and other Afghan insurgents, overriding NATO military doctrine. Take away Canada, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. from Afghanistan and the collective NATO force would collapse in hours.
The enemy in Afghanistan knows this. The savvy and sinister Taliban just targeted the French contingent. It figured the loss of ten French soldiers might have a greater demoralizing effect on French public opinion than Verdun did in 1916, when France suffered nearly a half-million casualties in heroically stopping the German advance. But 90 years ago, France kept on fighting to win a war. Now, the French parliament may meet to discuss withdrawal altogether.
        - Victor Davis Hanson, "National Review"

That’s the advantage of madness as a strategy. If one party to the dispute forswears sanity, then the obligation is on the other to be sane for both of them. Thus, if a bunch of Iranian pirates kidnap some British seamen in Iraqi waters, it is the British whom the world calls on to show restraint and to defuse the situation. If an obscure Danish newspaper prints some offensive cartoons and in reaction Muslims murder people around the planet, well, that just shows we all need to be more sensitive about Islamophobia.
        - Mark Steyn, "National Review"

One suggested measure is to rescind antiquated laws forbidding merchant ships from carrying firearms, although that might increase the number of casualties among ships' crew as well as pirates; all-steel environments are not the best site for a gunfight. What happens if the crew kill a pirate? In the distant past that would have warranted a brief logbook entry, accompanied by the news that the corpse had been slung overboard; nowadays there would be endless inquiries, involving ships that cost $10,000 a day to operate.
Piracy is highly opportunistic, and experience suggests that at the first sign of resistance the malefactors seek easier pickings. They are more interested in cargoes of fuels and food rather than 5,000 tonnes of ethyl acetate for which they will never find a market. According to Captain Mukundan, vessels under attack should sail further out to sea while manoeuvring sharply, a tactic which usually leads the pirates to give up after about 30 minutes. Another is for ships to sail in convoys, which can be closely shadowed by naval vessels from both the affected countries and the UN-mandated Coalition Forces operating off Somalia...
UN-mandated rules of engagement should be altered so that every pirate craft is automatically destroyed and their crews are subjected to criminal prosecution. Once again, the French have manifested a more robust approach, despite presumably having signed up to the same EU ordinances which don't seem to accord with the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea. After rescuing 30 crew members from a luxury yacht last April, French helicopter-borne snipers shot out the engine of the pirates' land-based getaway vehicle, enabling commandos to apprehend the six  who are currently facing charges in Paris.
Although the Royal Navy is subject to the same rules of engagement, at the insistence of the Foreign Office Britain has been more concerned with the possibility that the pirates' human rights might be abused if they were surrendered to neighbouring countries that cut off the hands of thieves and the heads of murderers, or that they might claim political asylum and welfare if they were transferred to Britain for prosecution. Along with the blubbing naval ratings incident off Iran last year, this has not helped the image of the senior service.
        - Michael Burleigh, on the rise of piracy off Africa's east coast, "Standpoint"

Moreover, given the nature of naval operations, discerning who is a pirate is usually a much easier task than separating Taliban and al Qaeda members from innocent bystanders. This fact, all things being equal, should make the task of prosecuting captured pirates an easier process, both from a legal and public-relations perspective. The key problem is that America's NATO allies have effectively abandoned the historical legal rules permitting irregular fighters to be tried in special military courts (or, in the case of pirates, admiralty courts) in favor of a straightforward criminal-justice model. Although piracy is certainly a criminal offense, treating it like bank robbery or an ordinary murder case presents certain problems for Western states. To begin with, common criminals cannot be targeted with military force. There are other issues as well. Last April the British Foreign Office reportedly warned the Royal Navy not to detain pirates, since this might violate their "human rights" and could even lead to claims of asylum in Britain. Turning the captives over to Somali authorities is also problematic -- since they might face the head- and hand-chopping rigors of Shariah law. Similar considerations have confounded U.S. government officials in their discussions of how to confront this new problem of an old terror at sea. In the last few years, France determined to return its pirate prisoners to Somalia based on assurances of humanitarian treatment. The U.S. has, of course, rendered terror prisoners to foreign governments based on similar assurances, and only time will tell whether they are genuine. An equally important question is whether the transfer of captured pirates to local authorities will result in prosecution at all. In many areas, local governments may be subject to corruption or intimidation by strong pirate gangs. One thing is certain: As in the war on terror, the new campaign against piracy will test the mettle of Western governments. It will also require them to balance the rights of lawbreakers against the indisputable rights of the law-abiding to not live their lives in danger and fear.
        - Seen in "The Wall Street Journal"


Why is this war necessary? The most direct answer is that Afghanistan is where the attacks of 9/11 were plotted, where al Qaeda made its sanctuary under the Taliban, and where they will do so again if given the chance. We have a vital national interest in preventing that from happening. It is also important to recognize that, although we face many problems in Afghanistan today, none are because we have made it possible for five million Afghan children -- girls and boys -- to go to school; or because child mortality has dropped 25% since we overthrew the Taliban in 2001; or because Afghan men and women have been able to vote in their first free and fair elections in history.
On the contrary, the reason we have not lost in Afghanistan -- despite our missteps -- is because America still inspires hope of a better life for millions of ordinary Afghans and has worked mightily to deliver it. And the reason we can defeat the extremists is because they do not.
This, ultimately, is how the war on terror will end: not when we capture or kill Osama bin Laden or Mullah Omar -- though we must do that too -- but when we have empowered and expanded the mainstream Muslim majority to stand up and defeat the extremist minority. That is the opportunity we have in Afghanistan today: to make that country into a quagmire, not for America but for al Qaeda, the Taliban and their fellow Islamist extremists, and into a graveyard in which their dreams of an Islamist empire are finally buried.
        - Senator Joseph Lieberman, "The Wall Street Journal" (Feb'09)

There is no such thing as “the Taliban” today. Many different groups with different leaders and aims call themselves “Taliban,” and many more are called “Taliban” by their enemies. In addition to Mullah Omar’s Taliban based in Pakistan and indigenous Taliban forces in Afghanistan, there is an indigenous Pakistani Taliban controlled by Baitullah Mehsud (this group is thought to have been responsible for assassinating Benazir Bhutto). Both are linked with al-Qaeda, and both are dangerous and determined. In other areas, however, “Taliban” groups are primarily disaffected tribesmen who find it more convenient to get help from the Taliban than from other sources.
In general terms, any group that calls itself “Taliban” is identifying itself as against the government in Kabul, the U.S., and U.S. allies. Our job is to understand which groups are truly dangerous, which are irreconcilable with our goals for Afghanistan—and which can be fractured or persuaded to rejoin the Afghan polity. We can’t fight them all, and we can’t negotiate with them all. Dropping the term “Taliban” and referring to specific groups instead would be a good way to start understanding who is really causing problems.
        - Frederick W. Kagan, "National Review" (Feb'09)

Perhaps the most important lesson of Iraq that is transportable to Afghanistan is this: It is impossible to conduct effective counterterrorism operations (i.e., targeting terrorist networks with precise attacks on key leadership nodes) in a fragile state without conducting effective counterinsurgency operations (i.e., protecting the population and using economic and political programs to build support for the government and resistance to insurgents and terrorists). We will never have a better scenario in which to test the limitations of the counterterrorism model than we had in Iraq in 2006. U.S. Special Forces teams had complete freedom to act against al-Qaeda in Iraq, supported by around 150,000 regular U.S. troops, Iraqi military and police forces of several hundred thousand, and liberal airpower. We killed scores of key terrorist leaders, including the head of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, in June 2006. But terrorist strength, violence, and control only increased over the course of that year. It was not until units already on the ground applied a new approach—a counterinsurgency approach—and received reinforcements that we were able to defeat al-Qaeda in Iraq (even without killing its new leader). In Afghanistan, we have nothing like the freedom of movement we had in Iraq in 2006, and nothing like the force levels. We have, furthermore, been targeting leadership nodes within terrorist networks in Afghanistan and Pakistan for seven years now, yet the groups are not defeated. Absent a counterinsurgency and nation-building strategy that leads the population to reject the terrorists, killing bad guys will not defeat well-organized and determined terrorist networks.
        - Frederick W. Kagan, "National Review" (Feb'09)


If it were proved that highly qualified, ambitious doctors were Islamist mass-murder plotters, it would put a hole through another comforting theory - that this is "all about" under-employed young men of low self-esteem and educational attainments. It is comforting, because it suggests that al-Qa'eda can be defeated by more money spent on sixth-form colleges. But it now joins the theory that this is "all about" the misdemeanours of the House of Saud, or "all about" the persecution of the Palestinians. All of these things matter, and they are all part of the picture, but it is never a bad idea to take your enemy at his word. So when the terror websites gloat about killing "slags" who have the temerity to attend nightclubs, or look forward to the imposition of sharia in the West, and attack our corrupt democratic values, shouldn't we take that seriously? It isn't about oil or an underclass or the crimes of Western nations. It's about values. It's about exactly what they say it's about.
        - Andrew Marr, "The Telegraph"

Far from being Islamophobic, Britain is one of the few countries where Muslims of all sects can practise their particular form is Islam without interference. By contrast, Shi'ite Muslims will not be allowed to build a mosque in Cairo, or Sunnis in Tehran. In many Muslim countries, the murder and persecution of minority Muslim groups is too routine to register.
        - Eoghan Harris, "The Irish Independent"

The car-bomb plot was the predictable consequence of multiculturalism, lax immigration, mad human rights laws and neocon aggression. Shame the government can’t see this.
        - Rod Liddle, paraphrased by "The Spectator"

The Waffen SS soldiers who freely sacrificed themselves for their Fuhrer were universally respected by allied soldiers; so too were the Japanese Kamikaze pilots, 2,000 of whom gave their lives in the service of their emperor. They were selfless warriors, who died attacking legitimate and purely military targets. But the current generation of Islamicist suicide bombers have no such scruples, and apparently prefer to slaughter defenceless innocents. In Iraq, hundreds, perhaps thousands of Shia men women and children have been killed by Sunni suicide bombers. In one recent attack on a Shia women's university, a time-bomb detonated as the girls were leaving lectures for lunch. A suicide-bomber in a car then watched which direction most of the hysterical girls were running after the blast, then drove into their midst and detonated her bomb, killing around 100 girls. Now, in all my innocence, I was shocked by that atrocity, but only because I hadn't been paying enough attention to moral developments in the Islamicist mind. After all, did not Islamic militants three years ago seize a school containing 1,000 children in Beslan in the Caucasus, before massacring nearly 200 of them? If in the name of your religion you can do that to infants, then teenage girls who violate Islamic law by trying to improve their minds are an utterly legitimate, indeed laudable, target.
Study whatever fascist or totalitarian movement you like in world history. None has made a military virtue of killing children or young women; none has extolled the virtues of martyrdom in the course of such butchery. Just about every single taboo, both military and social, is violated in such operations: and only Islamicists could hail such deeds as pious. Such boastful, barbaric filth was beyond even the depravity of the Third Reich, or the wickedness of the Soviet Union: for these regimes kept their foul deeds secret, knowing that they were intrinsically shameful.
        - Kevin Myers, "The Irish Independent"

During the IRA’s 30-year campaign, the British grew accustomed (perhaps too easily accustomed) to waking up to the news either of some prominent person’s assassination or that a couple of gran’mas and some schoolkids had been blown apart in a shopping centre. It was a terrorist war in which terrorism was almost routine. But, in the six years since President Bush declared that America was in a “war on terror,” there has been in America no terrorism.
        - Mark Steyn, "National Review" (Sept'07)

Good old Glasgow. If I had to pick a city in the world where I could depend on one of the locals to kick a man who was on fire, it would always be Glasgow... I love the naivety of al-Qaeda. For trying to bring a religious war to Glasgow. You're 400 years too late guys! You've not even got a Football Team for Christ's sake... People say it was lucky they didn't crash into a fuel container. I say it's lucky they didn't hit the queue coming out of Duty Free - the whole place would have gone up like Hiroshima.
        - Billy Connolly, after a terrorist attack on Glasgow airport

Isn’t it about time Muslim terrorists rethought their strategy of recording glorious martyrdom videos, in advance of failing to blow anything up? Wouldn’t it be a bit less embarrassing for all concerned? Time after time we see these imbeciles on our television news promising all sorts of mayhem and misery, the righteous and cleansing fires of Allah poured down upon we imperialist decadent kafir scum, ‘body parts’ scattered in the streets, etc. And then they forget to take a cigarette lighter with them to the airport, or the detonator doesn’t work, or they’re arrested buying 5,000 bottles of hydrogen peroxide from the local hairdresser’s shop and thus somehow arousing suspicion (just how blond do you want to be, Mohammed?). Or they can’t find a place to park, or they can’t light the fuse in their shoe, or they suddenly get the heeby-jeebies on a bus and run away. Have we ever, as a nation, faced an enemy more cowardly or more intellectually challenged? At least the IRA had a soupçon of strategic vision and had the good taste and sense not to brag about their atrocities in advance, on film — they just bragged about them afterwards, with the vague intimation of an apology. Also, they knew how to work explosives, how to make them go bang and kill innocent people — so credit where it’s due... There had been plenty of wholly spastic Muslim terror operations even before those doctors tried to blow up Glasgow airport last year and ended up setting themselves on fire, harming absolutely nobody except themselves, and having the s**t kicked out of them by itinerant security guards. These were the docs, remember, who couldn’t find a good place to park: Allah’s will thwarted by local council parking regulations. (Well, sure, thinking about it, maybe we’re all with Allah and his soldiers on this one.) I was already worried, before then, about the average IQ level of al-Qa’eda operatives; that stuff, though, made me seriously question the calibre of candidates they’re allowing to practise medicine in this country. ... These narcissistic adolescent halfwits should not fill us with fear. The aircraft plot trial showed yet again that those who wish to murder us with fizzy pop and peroxide are a bunch of cowards.
        - Rod Liddle, "The Spectator" (but they only have to be lucky once...)


Islam forbids any representation of the Prophet. The question is, are all those who are not Muslims obliged to honour that prohibition? Imagine a society that added up all the prohibitions of different religions. What would remain of the freedom to think, to speak and even to come and go? We know societies like that all too well. The Iran of the mullahs, for example. But yesterday, it was the France of the Inquisitions, the burning stakes and the Saint Bartholomew's Day.
        - Editorial from "France Soir", defending publication of cariacatures of Mohammed

Christianity today is what European societies have made of it... through countless little touches of the chisel... we should keep that chisel in mind in dealing with Islam, and beware of the hammer.
        - Amin Maalouf, "The Financial Times"

Last week, Muslims marched in the centre of London chanting "Freedom go to Hell!" There could be no more graphic illustration of the paradox at the heart of the cartoon row. These protesters were exercising — and in many cases abusing — the freedom of protest and freedom of assembly that are foundation stones of British democracy. Yet, even as they exploited these hard-won liberties, they were calling for them to be abolished.
        - Editorial in "The Telegraph"

Against reverence and awe the best argument is sometimes not logic, but mockery. Structures of oppression that may not be susceptible to rational debate may in the end yield to derision. When people see that a priest, rabbi, imam or uniformed official may be giggled at without lightning striking the impertinent, arguments may be won on a deeper level than logic
        - Matthew Parris, "The Times"

'Behead those who insult Islam', demanded a placard. Blimey, how would these Muslims protest if the cartoons were actually funny? These extremists should be told: you can’t complain that Islam is being tarred with terrorism, then instantly threaten to terrorise those who have thus depicted Islam. It is perverse. Our self-censorship shows why the clause that would have banned religious insults was not needed. Islam is protected by an invisible blasphemy law. It is called fear.
        - Jasper Gerrard, "The Times"

"There’s been something building up in western liberal democracy that should have been foreseeable, but perhaps was too obvious. There will be a penalty paid for prosperity and stability, and the penalty is that the young will forget. Liberal democracy in the West can die of itself. It doesn’t need an enemy, it can create its own enemies."
        - Clive James, "The Times"

It's notable that many governments and religious leaders in Muslim countries believe that European governments have the power to stop a newspaper from printing such cartoons or to punish its editors and publishers when they do. Perhaps a better understanding of why and how a separation of powers is fundamental to democratic countries will emerge from this. That people in the Middle East have nothing better to do than assemble on the streets to shout 'Death to Denmark' is worrying. But where do you find, at such short notice, a Danish flag to burn?
        - Policy Watch, from "The Open Republic of Ireland Institute"

It's some time since I visited Palestine, so I may be out of date, but I don't remember seeing many Danish flags on sale there. Not much demand, I suppose. I raise the question because, as soon as the row about the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in Jyllands-Posten broke, angry Muslims popped up in Gaza City, and many other places, well supplied with Danish flags ready to burn. (In doing so, by the way, they offered a mortal insult to the most sacred symbol of my own religion, Christianity, since the Danish flag has a cross on it, but let that pass.)
Why were those Danish flags to hand? Who built up the stockpile so that they could be quickly dragged out right across the Muslim world and burnt where television cameras would come and look? The more you study this story of "spontaneous" Muslim rage, the odder it seems. It rather looks as if the anger with which all Muslims are said to be burning needed some pretty determined stoking. There is a great deal of talk about responsible journalism, gratuitous offence, multicultural sensitivities and so on. Jack Straw gibbers about the irresponsibility of the cartoons, but says nothing against the Muslims threatening death in response to them. I wish someone would mention the word that dominates Western culture in the face of militant Islam - fear. And then I wish someone would face it down.
        - Charles Moore, "The Telegraph"

It's as if the Muslim world decided that the views of the Rev Ian Paisley represented the whole of authentic Christianity.
        - Charles Moore, "The Telegraph"

Last week, the Times ran a cartoon of Pope Benedict wearing a condom with a pin in it in place of the papal crown. Apart from a protest from the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, nothing happened, though offence was undoubtedly caused and, presumably, intended. Three years ago, an obscure Danish newspaper published a cartoon of Mohammed with his turban converted into a bomb, and there were Muslim riots in several countries. The whole of Fleet Street refused to reprint it because, the editors said, they did not wish to cause offence. Offence has nothing to do with it; it is purely a matter of fear.
        - Charles Moore, "The Spectator"

A few cartoons were published in a Danish newspaper, and the Muslims have decided to go on a worldwide jihad about it. I think they have essentially challenged every newspaper in the free world to demonstrate its commitment to freedom of speech now by publishing one of these cartoons. There aren't a lot of good options when you have a very significant militant minority in your country that is determined, effectively, to demand that its own values be imposed on society at large. You only have to look at, for example, the difference...when a Broadway playwright writes a play about Jesus being gay, and having sex with Judas Iscariot, there are a couple of protests outside the theater, and people write letters. When you attempt to show a representation of Mohammed, you get people threatening to kill you, you get national boycotts, you get people burning down buildings. And at some point, Muslims living in Western Europe have to decide whether or not they're prepared to be offended, because that's what it involves in a free society. Every day of the week, I wake up to hate mail on the e-mail, and I shrug it off. And that's what Muslims have to learn to do in the Western world, if they're going to be citizens of the Western world.
        - Mark Steyn, interviewed in "Radio Blogger"

We should note that in the Western world "artists" "provoke" with the same numbing regularity as young Muslim men light up other countries' flags. When Tony-winning author Terence McNally writes a Broadway play in which Jesus has gay sex with Judas, the New York Times and Co. rush to garland him with praise for how "brave" and "challenging" he is. The rule for "brave" "transgressive" "artists" is a simple one: If you're going to be provocative, it's best to do it with people who can't be provoked.
Thus, NBC is celebrating Easter this year with a special edition of the gay sitcom "Will & Grace," in which a Christian conservative cooking-show host, played by the popular singing slattern Britney Spears, offers seasonal recipes -- "Cruci-fixin's." On the other hand, the same network, in its coverage of the global riots over the Danish cartoons, has declined to show any of the offending artwork out of "respect" for the Muslim faith. Which means out of respect for their ability to locate the executive vice president's home in the suburbs and firebomb his garage... One day the British foreign secretary will wake up and discover that, in practice, there's very little difference between living under Exquisitely Refined Multicultural Sensitivity and Sharia.
        - Mark Steyn, in "The Chicago Sun Times"

"It is especially perverted that a bureaucracy calling itself the Alberta human rights commission would be the government agency violating my human rights."
        - Ezra Levant, Canadian publisher questionned over cartoon publication in Canada

Hirsi Ali may be the first refugee from Western Europe since the Holocaust. As such, she is a unique and indispensable witness to both the strength and weakness of the West: to the splendor of open society and to the boundless energy of its antagonists. She knows the challenges we face in our struggle to contain the misogyny and religious fanaticism of the Muslim world, and she lives with the consequences of our failure each day. There is no one in a better position to remind us that tolerance of intolerance is cowardice.
        - Salman Rushdie, "Los Angeles Times" (Oct'07)

In the Netherlands and throughout the Western world, there are unfortunately people who flinch from the responsibilities of freedom. Confronted with a Danish cartoon crisis — or to an Iranian nuclear program; or religiously motivated assassins on their own streets — they do not blame freedom's enemies. They blame freedom's champions for stirring things up, for making too much trouble. As Belgian foreign minister Louis Michel said in a statement after Fortuyn's murder, "Democratic parties have to campaign in a very cautious way." I suppose there is some truth in Michel's advice. But democracy sometimes needs to be defended by the incautious.
        - David Frum, "National Review" (Oct'07)

The latest Islamic outrage over the Danish cartoons represents an erosion in the very notion of Western tolerance. Years ago, the death sentence handed down to Salman Rushdie was the dead canary in the mine. It should have warned us that the Western idea of free and unbridled expression, so difficultly won, can be so easily lost. Insidiously, the censorship only accelerates. It is dressed up in multicultural gobbledygook about hurtfulness and insensitivity, when the real issue is whether we in the West are going to be blown up or beheaded if we dare come out and support the right of an artist or newspaper to be occasionally crass. How ironic that we now find politically-correct Westerners — those who formerly claimed they would defend to the last the right of an Andres Serrano or Dan Brown to offend Christians — turning on the far milder artists who rile Muslims. If we give in to these 8th-century clerics, shortly we will be living in an 8th century ourselves, where we may say, hear, and do nothing that might offend a fundamentalist Muslim — and, to assuage our treachery to freedom and liberalism, we'll always be equipped with the new rationale of multiculturalism and cultural equivalence which so poorly cloaks our abject fear. The entire controversy over the cartoons is ludicrous, but often in history the trivial and ludicrous can wake a people up before the significant and tragic follow.
        - Victor Davis Hanson, "National Review"

The old lie that American bellicosity incited the Islamists has been shattered by a series of events that have had nothing to with Iraq. The French riots, the threats to Danish and Dutch artists, the plot to behead a Canadian prime minister, the Indian bombings, and on and on, have combined to educate the world. The violence reminds everyone that billions of Christians, Jews, Hindus, secularists, atheists, and modernists are hated for reasons that have almost nothing to do with U.S. efforts in Iraq.
        - Victor Davis Hanson, "National Review"

As it happens, the cartoons themselves are not very brilliant, or very mordant, either. But if Muslims do not want their alleged prophet identified with barbaric acts or adolescent fantasies, they should say publicly that random murder for virgins is not in their religion. And here one runs up against a curious reluctance. … In fact, Sunni Muslim leaders can't even seem to condemn the blowing-up of Shiite mosques and funeral processions, which even I would describe as sacrilege. Of course there are many millions of Muslims who do worry about this, and another reason for condemning the idiots at Foggy Bottom is their assumption, dangerous in many ways, that the first lynch mob on the scene is actually the genuine voice of the people. There's an insult to Islam, if you like.
        - Christopher Hitchens, "MSN Slate"

What really interests us is this: Will the Palestinian Authority boycott the EU aid which they receive every year, a significant portion of which is contributed by the Danish taxpayer?
        - Ian O'Doherty, "The Irish Independent"

What we respect is the right of Muslims to practise their religion in perfect peace, in so far as it does not conflict with our laws. We also hope that we can find common ground with them in many other aspects of human existence: in business, in the professions, in literature and so forth. Tolerance is not a matter of respecting what is tolerated — if it were, tolerance would hardly be necessary. Tolerance is the willing, conscious suppression of distaste or disdain for other people’s ideas, habits and tastes for the sake of a wider social peace. Surely Muslims in this country and elsewhere know perfectly well that we, most of us, do not respect their religion, in the sense of according it high intellectual, moral or artistic status in the modern world (the past is another matter, as a visit to the Victoria & Albert Museum, for example, will quickly confirm). Some among them find this intolerable. A tolerant society cannot survive if it turns a blind eye to people who insist on being intolerable. By their behaviour the Muslim extremists are in danger of making scurrility and disrespect towards Islam a positive duty of free men and women.
It is a sign of our moral frivolity that we have failed to defend and protect the Danes with the utmost vigour, without equivocation, on a point of the most profound principle. Their freedom is our freedom; and we should not forget that it is but a short step, morally and historically, from Chamberlain to Pétain. Our government evidently finds it easier, or more politically expedient, to bomb distant countries than to face up to thugs a few hundred yards away.
        - Theodore Dalrymple, "The Spectator"

Amir Tahiri, the eminent Iranian writer, argues in this newspaper today that Britain has become a haven for Islamic political parties and movements that would be banned in much of the Arab world. Only in Britain, and a few other tolerant western countries, have these extremist factions been given the space to spout anti-western hatred. We should not confuse this with religious tolerance. Mr Tahiri says that Islam in Britain is "a political movement masquerading as a religion". Mosques are often no more than political clubs. As we saw with Finsbury Park and Abu Hamza, belatedly jailed last week for inciting violence and racial hatred, the consequences of permitting these messages of hate can be deadly.
        - Editorial in "The Times"

Despite the hypersensitivity of the Americans who showered me with linguistic ordure, nobody would dream of suggesting that insulting America and its President should be banned. These 300 right-wing nuts wanted me sacked for my ignorance; they wanted "The Times" used as toilet paper, but none of them would suggest that I should be legally prevented from saying that President Bush was a fool. How different from the paranoid religiosity of the Muslim fundamentalists who insist that “insulting religion” should not be a question of taste or of judgment, but a subject for criminal law. Yet this obvious distinction between what is offensive and what should be illegal is deliberately ignored by the Blair Government, which wants to make insulting religion a criminal offence. The second, and related, distinction is between verbal abuse and physical violence. Returning to my self-selected sample of nutty Americans, none of them threatened me with physical harm, or suggested that such harm might be my just desert. How different from the violence of the Muslim rent-a-crowds whose banners portray their enemies beheaded.
        - Anatole Kaletsky, after he receives hate mail for criticising President Bush, "the Times"

Where are the protests in London and Denmark and Pakistan (other than the anti-American ones) denouncing the destruction of the shrine in Iraq? You judge people by what they do. Is blowing up Mosques and Holy Shrines not as offensive to mainstream Muslims as doodling cartoons in Denmark? No? Prove it.
        - Jonah Goldberg, "National Review"

Increasing numbers of Europeans, if not yet their political class, are fed up with switching on the TV and seeing Muslim men jumping up and down and threatening death followed by commentators patiently explaining that the "vast majority" of Muslims are, of course, impeccably "moderate." So what? There were millions of "moderate" Germans in the 1930s, and a fat lot of good they did us or them.
        - Mark Steyn, "Chicago Sun Times"

Last week, Gillian Gibbons, a British schoolteacher working in Khartoum, one of the crummiest basket-case dumps on the planet — whoops, I mean one of the most lively and vibrant strands in the rich tapestry of our multicultural world — anyway, Mrs. Gibbons was sentenced last week to 15 days in jail because she was guilty of, er, allowing a teddy bear to be named "Mohammed." She wasn't so foolish as to name the teddy Mohammed herself. But, in an ill-advised Sudanese foray into democracy, she'd let her grade-school students vote on what name they wanted to give the classroom teddy, and being good Muslims they voted for their favorite name: Mohammed. Big mistake. There's apparently a whole section in the Koran about how if you name cuddly toys after the Prophet you have to be decapitated. Well, actually there isn't. But why let theological pedantry deprive you of the opportunity to stick it to the infidel?
        - Mark Steyn, "The New York Sun"

The whole affair also made me worry about my children’s education; teachers interviewed on TV seem to get more stupid, further down the league tables of sentience, with every year that passes. And now we have Gillian Gibbons. Please God, they can’t all be that thick, can they? But — whisper it quietly — some considerable good may have come of the whole shebang. The most unequivocal and persistent protests about Ms Gibbons’s arrest, back home, came from Britain’s self-appointed guardians of Allah, the Muslim groups... For sure, we should attach a few caveats of our own: Sudan’s government is almost universally perceived to be repulsive. And Ms Gibbons did not actually intend to insult the Prophet but merely did so by a sort of congenital idiocy, or accident if you prefer.
        - Rod Liddle, after Gillian Gibbons is released in Sudan, "The Spectator"


It is difficult for most people who live in tolerant, liberal, secular societies to realise how utterly devoted al-Qaeda's adherents are to their alien vision of the world. Those fanatics believe - as Osama bin Laden himself has stressed - that they have a God-given duty to "kill unbelievers". They are not interested in compromise and negotiation. As one Islamic terrorist has said: "We are not trying to exact concessions from you. We are trying to destroy you." That is why it is utterly fatuous to assert - as the likes of George Galloway do - that last week's outrage was "Tony Blair's fault for going to war in Iraq". The bombs in London were not planted to secure the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq, and the terrorists who left them on the Tube trains and on the bus would have done so whatever the British Government's policy had been in that war. The Spanish experience demonstrates that fact: the Spanish government's response to the Madrid bombings was to withdraw its troops from Iraq. Within months of its withdrawal, at least two further mass-murder plots by Islamic fundamentalists were thwarted by Spanish police... That is why it is also a mistake to believe that fundamentalist-inspired terrorism can be stopped if only we address its "causes". It simply is not true, however, that poverty is an incubator of terrorism, or that terrorists come from backgrounds that mean the only opportunities open to them are the ones which involve violence. The terrorists who hijacked passenger jets on 9/11 were not poor. The reality is that we cannot address the "causes" of terrorism, for the simple reason that no one knows what they are: no one knows why people decide to become mass murderers, or how to prevent them from doing so. The only defence we have is to penetrate and destroy the terrorist organisations themselves: to identify, arrest and imprison the terrorists and their leaders.
        - Leader from "The Telegraph", "Attack is the Best Defence"

Democracies have to fight terrorism ‘with one hand tied behind their backs’ (to borrow an apt phrase from Israel’s chief justice Aharon Barak). If democracies could use ‘both hands’ — if they were not limited by moral and legal constraints — it would be relatively easy to combat terrorism. This has been proved over and over again by tyrannies that have been able to stop terrorism cold in its tracks. Hitler and Stalin simply arrested or executed all potential terrorists (and many others on the pretext that they were terrorists). They tortured suspects into confessing and inculpating others (sometimes truthfully, often falsely). They surveilled everyone, using family members and friends as spies (imagine what they would have done with modern technology). They deterred terrorists who were themselves prepared to die by punishing their kith and kin (as when Reinhard Heydrich was killed by a Czech terrorist and Hitler ordered the mass murder of the entire village of Lidice). They criminalised all advocacy of terrorism (and even peaceful advocacy of change). They restricted movement in and out of the country and required everyone to carry identification cards (‘Your papers, please!’). Perhaps most important, they exercised total control over the media and forbade reporting of terrorist acts (thereby denying terrorists the ability to communicate widely their ‘propaganda by deed’)... No democracy could be, or should be, willing to employ such tyrannical methods. But if mass-casualty terrorism were to become rampant, there would be demands by the public to take extraordinary preventive measures that would almost certainly violate moral and legal norms. Effective prevention of terrorism, by means consistent with basic moral and legal norms, is so important for the preservation of civil liberties. Put another way, the greatest threat to civil liberties today may well be additional successful acts of mass-casualty terrorism. That is why those who love liberty must be at the forefront of efforts to prevent terrorism... When it comes to interrogation, we might want to distinguish between questioning for purposes of securing evidence for criminal trials and questioning designed to produce preventive intelligence. In a criminal case, we live by the principle that it is better for ten guilty defendants to go free than for even one innocent to be convicted. The opposite is true in preventive intelligence. It is better for ten false leads to be followed than for even one true lead to be missed.
        - Alan Dershowitz, "How to Protect Civil Liberties", "The Spectator"

The West first felt its force with the bombing of the World Trade Centre in 1993. The idea that Iraq - or even Palestine, a cause notoriously ignored by Arab and Muslim leaders until the 1990s - explains the campaign of death now waged against the West is so false as to be contemptible. The fact is that the Islamists will not be satisfied with the American withdrawal from Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan or Iraq, the Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza, or the Russian withdrawal from Chechnya. To the Islamist, these are merely restitutions, the recovery of what is deemed to be rightfully Islamic.
The real project is the extension of the Islamic territory across the globe, and the establishment of a worldwide "caliphate" founded on Sharia law and the temporal reign of ayatollahs and imams. In such a struggle, the "moderate" Muslim leaders in whom Mr Blair reposes his hope are as loathed by the fanatics as Mr Blair himself, George W Bush and Ariel Sharon. The fanatics must be defeated.
        - Editorial in Britain's "Telegraph"

Today journalists wonder whether Blair laughed at Bush’s joke about al-Jazeera, or perhaps even talked the President out of a serious ‘plot’ to bomb the Arab channel. Never mind all that. Here is what Blair said after the targeted killing of media workers in Yugoslavia: the media ‘is the apparatus that keeps [Slobodan Milosevic] in power and we are entirely justified as Nato allies in damaging and taking on those targets’... why do these journalists seem more outraged by this President’s alleged scurrilous aside about bombing a TV station than they were by an earlier president’s actual bombing of a TV station?
        - Brendan O'Neill, "The Spectator"

When is the New York Times going to get around to uncovering an al-Qaeda secret program?
        - Ann Coulter, after the New York Times reveals details of a covert anti-terror program

Consider this, look again at the awful carnage in Bali, and shudder if you ever said, or thought, that the bombs in London in July, or the bombs in Baghdad every day, or the bombs in Bali last Friday, are caused by any "policy" but that of the bombers themselves. Note the following: 1) East Timor was for many years, and quite rightly, a signature cause of the Noam Chomsky "left." The near-genocide of its people is an eternal stain on Indonesia and on the Western states that were complicit or silent. Yet Bin Ladenism wants not less of this killing and repression but more. Its demand to re-establish the caliphate is a pro-imperialist demand, not an anti-imperialist one. 2) Random bombings are not a protest against poverty and unemployment. They are a cause of poverty and unemployment and of wider economic dislocation. 3) Hinduism is considered by Bin Ladenists to be a worse heresy even than Christianity or Judaism or Shiism, and its adherents, whether in Bali or Kashmir, are fit only for the edge of the sword. So, it is absurd to think of jihadism—which murders the poor and the brown without compunction—as a movement against the rich and the "white."
So, what did Indonesia do to deserve this, or bring it on itself? How will the slaughter in Bali improve the lot of the Palestinians? Those who look for the connection will be doomed to ask increasingly stupid questions and to be content with increasingly wicked answers.
        - Christopher Hitchens, "Why Ask Why?", "MSN Slate"

Let's stay with withdrawal. Withdraw to where, exactly? When Jeanette Rankin was speaking so powerfully on Capitol Hill against U.S. entry into World War I, or Sen. W.E. Borah and Charles Lindbergh were making the same earnest case about the remoteness from American concern of the tussles in Central and Eastern Europe in 1936 and 1940, it was possible to believe in the difference between "over here" and "over there." There is not now—as we have good reason to know from the London Underground to the Palestinian diaspora murdered in Amman to the no-go suburbs of France—any such distinction. Has the ludicrous and sinister President Jacques Chirac yet designed his "exit strategy" from the outskirts of Paris? Even Rep. Murtha glimpses his own double-standard futility, however dimly, when he calls for U.S. forces to be based just "over the horizon" in case of need. And what horizon, my dear congressman, might that be? The atom bomb, observed Albert Einstein, "altered everything except the way we think." A globe-spanning war, declared and prosecuted against all Americans, all apostates, all Christians, all secularists, all Jews, all Hindus, and most Shiites, is not to be fought by first ceding Iraq and then seeing what happens "over the horizon." But to name the powerful enemies of jihad I have just mentioned is also to spell out some of the reasons why the barbarians will—and must—be defeated. The word "isolationist" at least used to describe something real, even "realistic."
        - Christopher Hitchens, "Slate Magazine"

"I want to say one thing, specifically to the world today — this was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful, it was not aimed at presidents or prime ministers, it was aimed at ordinary, working-class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christian ... young and old ... that isn't an ideology, it isn't even a perverted fate, it is an indiscriminate attempt at mass murder. They seek to divide London, they seek Londoners to turn against each other ... this city of London is the greatest in the world because everybody lives side by side in harmony. Londoners will not be divided by this cowardly attack."
        - Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London

I think that the intended victims decide if terror works, long term. I'm all for encouraging Britons who will not stand for terror. Good rhetoric sometimes moves policies.
        - Katherine Lopez, "National Review"

'A friend of mine visits a strip pub once a week,' blogged Sean Thomas on 8 July, the day after the London bombings. 'Despite the bombs he went along this afternoon as usual and was the only guy with four strippers. But he told me he had to go "otherwise the terrorists would have won".'
        - from "Blogged: Dispatches from the Blogosphere" edited by Tim Worstall

There are not enough police to police every opening in an open society, either the Muslim world begins to really restrain, inhibit and denounce its own extremists — if it turns out that they are behind the London bombings — or the West is going to do it for them. And the West will do it in a rough, crude way — by simply shutting them out, denying them visas and making every Muslim in its midst guilty until proven innocent. And because I think that would be a disaster, it is essential that the Muslim world wake up to the fact that it has a jihadist death cult in its midst. If it does not fight that death cult, that cancer, within its own body politic, it is going to infect Muslim-Western relations everywhere. Only the Muslim world can root out that death cult.
        - Thomas Friedman, "The New York Times"

If they [London Police] really, truly think that the words "Islam" and "terrorism" must not be linked, then we have little hope of catching the killers, of understanding how the terrorism works, or of preventing new atrocities. You can show this with a simple comparison. When Britain was afflicted by Irish republican terrorism, most Irish people repudiated that terrorism. It was nevertheless the case that the great majority of the terrorists — more than 95 per cent — were Irish, or of Irish origin, and they drew overwhelmingly on Irish people to help and hide them. This was not a funny coincidence. It was because the IRA preached a doctrine about Ireland and called on the loyalty of a perverted version of Irishness. Therefore, the words "Irish" and "terrorist" went together, hard though this was on the majority of Irish people. The Brian Paddicks of the day would have been appallingly negligent if they had not concentrated their investigations among the Irish. And the vigilance of the public, which the police then and now rightly call for, inevitably directed itself towards Irish neighbours, Irish accents, Irish pubs. So it must be with Muslims in Britain.
        - Charles Moore, "Where is the Gandhi of Islam?", "The Telegraph"

The real danger isn’t from a tiny rabble of jihadi useful idiots, but from the great mass of the British public. In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, The Independent ran a splashy front page story on the 'backlash' against Muslims. The worst assaults on London since the Blitz, and the 'backlash' amounted to little more than a broken window and a man getting roughed up in a pub. One has to wonder how many more pub beatings took place that same weekend because some idiot said something unkind about Manchester United. The scandal wasn’t that there was a 'backlash' against the Muslim community. It is that there wasn’t more of a backlash within the Muslim community. We now know that the attackers were British born and raised Muslims. Yet there’s precious little evidence that the Muslim community is eager to turn on the enemy within with any admirable enthusiasm.
        - Jonah Goldberg, "The Post-Attack Disaster", "National Review"

The terrorists' unstated goal, as with all Islamist bombings — whether in London, New York, Madrid, Baghdad or Jerusalem — is to create or widen divisions between Muslims and non-Muslims. It would be surprising, given London's multi-ethnic character, if Thursday's attacks claimed no Muslim victims. If so, it would not worry the perpetrators. What they want is polarisation and radicalisation. In a rather similar way, terrorism became an end in itself for the IRA. It was the basis for their mafia-like control of the Catholic community in a segregated Ulster. These are the things which the likes of George Galloway and Robert Fisk ignore when they portray Thursday's attacks as just retribution for our invasion of Iraq. They conveniently forget that if we give into the terrorists, Osama & Co could end up in control of the Middle East. That would be disastrous not only for ordinary people in the region. It would be disastrous for us.
       - Niall Ferguson, "The Telegraph"

The proposition is that we probably wouldn’t have been bombed last Thursday if we hadn’t been in Iraq, and we probably won’t be bombed in the future if we pull out. I want us to agree one thing first. Someone would have been bombed. The jihadist campaign outside the Middle East first started when the omens for an Israeli-Palestinian settlement looked good, not bad. Then, just under seven years ago bin Laden’s people attacked the US embassies (no Bush back then) in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam and killed 225 people, the vast majority of them local Africans. That was before 9/11. What does all this tell us? First, that if they aren’t blowing us up, then they’ll be blowing up someone else. And you don’t get to choose who. Secondly, who or what they blow up is largely a matter of what’s available. Jews anywhere, Americans after that, Shia next and Brits probably a distant fourth. Africans for fun... Give me liberal optimism any day, with the chance of changing the world. Because, either way, you still get bombed.
        - David Aaronovitch, "The Times"

Suppose we’d never invaded Iraq, and terrorists had blown up London in pursuit of their cause, what would the apologists have said about last week’s attacks? ...But what if there had never been an Israel and instead a Palestinian state existed peaceably in the heart of the Middle East, and the terrorists had still attacked us? And what if there had never been a British Empire and British occupation of Arab lands, and terrorists had still attacked us? Then it would have been the Crusades, and the long-standing ill-treatment of Muslims at the hands of deplorable Christian warriors. And what if there had never been a crusade, and they’d still attacked us? I’m stumped at this point to confect an answer, but I can guarantee that whatever it was that would have been said it would have been Britain’s fault.
This English self-loathing would be less objectionable if it had not been so prominent in its less virulent form, in so much British policy and public life, for the past 60 years. It was the driving force behind the misguided anything-goes multiculturalism of the 1960s and 1970s and the desire to shed vestiges of British or English nationalism within the European Union for 40 years now.
        - Gerard Baker, "Why Blame the Terrorists? It's Britain's Fault", "The Times"

Whether you are brown or white, Muslim, Christian, Jew or atheist, it is uncomfortable to face the fact that there is a messianic cult of death which, like European fascism and communism before it, will send you to your grave whatever you do. But I'm afraid that's what the record shows.
        - Nick Cohen, "The Observer"

In "What’s Left? How Liberals Lost Their Way", Nick Cohen asks, "Why do leftist papers publish defences of suicide bombers?" and answers that the failure of socialism has freed them to go along with any movement, however far right it may be, "as long as it is against the status quo and America".  The triumph of liberal-left social agenda in the West, and Britain in particular (human rights, gay rights, women’s emancipation, etc) left a gaping black hole to be filled. But these causes are, apparently, not for export. "They could all be for the emancipation of women in London, Paris and New York while indifferent to the misogynies of the Middle East, Africa and Asia," he writes. Supporting these values in the Second or Third World is moral imperialism. "For years," Cohen writes, "the BBC’s attack dog presenters couldn’t manage to give one opponent of the war a tough interview. Not even George Galloway."
        - Martin Ivens, commenting on "What's Left", "The Times"

"The idea that liberals would want Iraq to fail to give Bush and Blair a bloody nose appals me. They just don't care about the consequences for the Iraqi people."
        - Nick Cohen

A few months ago, Jon Snow provoked furious protests from soldiers after the Drudge Report broke the media silence on Prince Harry’s service in the Afghan war. “I never thought I’d find myself saying ‘thank God for Drudge’,” Snow declared in his daily bulletin for viewers... If the Sun were to reveal the secret location of Maxine Carr, the former girlfriend of the murderer Ian Huntley, Snow would have kittens and say that a populist tabloid was endangering her life. Yet when editors decide not to endanger British soldiers in battle, they are guilty of a breach of trust... The failure of Channel 4 to grasp that the struggle against a movement that executes teachers for the crime of teaching girls to read and write was a liberal struggle struck me more forcibly. Its report could not allow the notion that radical Islam was against every good liberal principle in the minds of its liberal audience. Doubts and awkward moral questions might follow, and that wouldn’t do.
        - Nick Cohen, on UK Channel 4's coverage, "Standpoint Online"

The Tube Map is one of the recognised images of London, along with Big Ben, St. Paul's and Trafalgar Square. The city has been shaped by the Tube. The network is over a century old and London would not have grown in the way that it has without the Underground. Even if you live out in the most dismal suburb, the presence of that little coloured line on the map, or the familiar red circle sign on a street corner near your house, means that you are plugged in to one of the greatest cities in the world. If that is taken away, you suddenly feel stranded and isolated. Londoners get very angry when things go wrong with the Tube or it is threatened in any way. It holds together this huge, diverse city. The cohesiveness of London depends on the Underground. Without it, the city would fall apart. To strike at the Tube, then, is both a physical and a psychological blow to London. The city's arteries have been cut and London bleeds.
        - The Pub Philosopher

There is the BBC’s now infamous decision to eliminate retroactively the word 'terrorism' from its coverage of last week’s bombings in London. The BBC was supposedly the model for the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four and I can’t think of a better recent example of pure Orwell than this painstaking effort at rewriting the verbal record to fit in with linguistic orthodoxy.The BBC clearly intends that a heretical thought should, by careful editorial nurturing and rigid enforcement of the 'guidelines', become literally unthinkable.
        - Gerard Baker, "The Times"

Most Democrats and even a few Republicans believe that the Patriot Act's provisions allowing the President to spy on U.S. citizens are going too far. Opponents of the White House on this issue point to the need for the U.S. to act above and be seen to act above the standards of the terrorists. This is a grand concept which, on closer examination is either naive or disingenuous. Civil society confronts an enemy who wears no uniform, whose primary objective is to murder civilians, who adheres to no recognised standard of conduct in warfare, who murders any prisoners he takes and whose primary strategy is to hide within the accepted rights and norms — including the right to privacy — that are the unique product of that very same society. Further, this is a society which it is his sole mission to destroy — not defeat — but destroy. It is true that granting the Administration the authority to tap phones is a sacrifice of freedom. But it is a sacrifice that most Americans are willing to make.
        - Policy Watch from Ireland's "Open Republic Institute"

The Patriot Act was far less intrusive than what Abraham Lincoln (suspension of habeas corpus), Woodrow Wilson (cf. the Espionage and Sedition Acts), or Franklin Roosevelt (forced internment) resorted to during past wars. So far America has suffered in Iraq 0.006 percent of the combat dead it lost in World War II, while not facing a conventional enemy against which it might turn its traditional technological and logistical advantages.
        - Victor Davis Hanson, "National Review"

Our first hindrance is moral equivalence. Our second shackle is utopian pacifism. The third restraint is multiculturalism — being different from the West is never being worse... so far global jihad avoids two billion Indians and Chinese, despite the fact that their countries are far tougher on Muslims than is the United States or Europe.
        - Victor Davis Hanson, on the obstacles in the 'War on Terror', "National Review"

Nick Cohen’s "What’s Left?" scrupulously anatomises the way in which anti-Americanism, and the doctrine that my enemy’s enemy is my friend, has driven people whose political inspiration was a belief in progress to make excuses for forces that are trying to use murder to propel us back into the Dark Ages. As he argues, "Why is it that apologies for a militant Islam which stands for everything the liberal Left is against come from the liberal Left?"
        - Michael Gove, "The Spectator"

People are never so dangerous as when they believe themselves to be victims of other people they think are more powerful. The problem is not the extremists. We know where we stand with the extremists. The problem is the 'moderates' who — we are assured by all and sundry — are the majority... . In the 15th century it was Islam and not Christian Europe that was the most intellectually advanced civillisation. Unfortunately things are different now. Amongst the poorest, most uneducated, most mistreated, most misinformed people on the planet are an alarming percentage of the world's Muslim population. A good question to ask of Muslims is this. If the Western powers have treated your brothers and sisters so badly and understood them so little, how on earth — given the routine brutality of nearly every government in 'your' world — can you tell? What gives the lie... is the deafening silence and total absence of outrage at the mass slaughter of Muslim men women and children that is being perpetrated every day in Iraq by 'fellow' Muslims.
        - Policy Watch from "Open Republic of Ireland"

The aftermath of the London terrorist bombings has demonstrated that the antiwar Left is severely afflicted by the political equivalent of battered-wife syndrome. With each new beating, the scarred and bruised victims of spousal abuse tend to excuse and rationalize the actions of their tormentors. A stubborn unwillingness to accept the proposition that their partners are violent louts plunges these woeful women into a morass of self-deception that spawns only further violence... The far Left has similarly proved unable to liberate itself from the web of rose-tinted delusions that it has spun about the nature of Islamic extremism. After each al Qaeda outrage, leftist ideologues are quick to castigate their own countrymen for a catalogue of sins, both real and imagined. With a perverse combination of self-loathing and adoration of the enemy, the radical Leftist mantra preaches that if only we were nicer, the jihadists could not fail to love us. It’s our own fault if Osama bin Laden doesn’t realize what good people we are.
        - Ted Lapkin, "National Review"

Militant Islam has been shielded from proper discussion by cowardice, political correctness and a racist assumption that we should privilege the beliefs of a minority, even when they appear to be mediaeval. It is time the discussion was opened up not just to reason, but to reason's greatest ally, humour. Instead of banning the discussion of the 72 virgins of paradise, the alleged meed of the suicide bomber, would it not be much more efficient to make fun of this ludicrous claim? When is Little Britain going to do a sketch, starring Matt Lucas as one of the virgins? Islam will only be truly acculturated to our way of life when you could expect a Bradford audience to roll in the aisles at Monty Python's Life of Mohammed; and when an unintentionally offensive newspaper article about Islam is requited not with death threats but with the exasperated but essentially kindly letters one might expect from Christians.
        - Boris Johnson, "The Telegraph"

We should no more tolerate the expression of Islamic fascism on the shores of the West than Churchill would have allowed Hitler Youth to teach Aryan global racial superiority in London while it was under the Blitz.
        - Victor Davis Hanson, "Reformation or Civil War?", "National Review"

When news broke that two of the London bombing suspects came to Britain as the children of refugees from war-torn East Africa, the ballistic headlines ranged from “Bombers on benefits” to “Bombers are all spongeing asylum-seekers”. But nobody addressed the question — why would asylum-seekers try to destroy the country that gave them a home? After all refugees from war and famine, spongeing or otherwise, normally seek a haven where they can put down roots rather than plant bombs. Perhaps it might have something to do with the way that, from the moment they arrive here, asylum-seekers are told that Britain is a racist hellhole that deserves what it gets. And they first receive that message not from some fringe Islamic preacher, but from the heart of our self-flagellatory culture. Those bombing suspects came to a society that seems intent on denying that there is anything good about living here.
        - Mick Hume, "The Times"

Like Muslims, I abhor the coarseness and violence that accompanies binge-drinking. But the moderate drinking that oils our relations with friends and acquaintances is hardly tearing our social fabric apart. Nor is premarital sex between a regular girlfriend and boyfriend. None of these ills, in fact, compares with the gang-rape of an innocent woman condoned by a village council in Pakistan or the kidnap and forced marriage of young British Muslim girls. What is revealing is that the feelings of alienation suffered by Muslims in the YouGov poll are far greater among men than women. Muslim girls, on the whole, are liberated by living in Britain. Their education is deemed as important by the State as their brothers’. Those whose parents don’t encourage them to stay on at school and go to university will be encouraged by their teachers instead. For many of them, Western society offers the chance of escape from oppression by fathers, brothers and husbands. This suggests that the problem with Britain — and the West as a whole — is not that it is un-Islamic. If that were the case, then Muslim women would surely feel as alienated as Muslim men. More plausible is that Muslim men resent the way in which their traditional feelings of superiority over women are challenged in the West. Here, they simply can’t get away with subjugating their womenfolk in the way that they can in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan or Somalia. If 32 per cent of British Muslims really do think that Western society is immoral and should be brought to an end, then I ask myself: if they hate it so much, why live here?
        - Mary Ann Sieghart, "The West's not anti-Islam — it just gives rights to women", "The Times"

If you’re looking for “root causes” for terrorism, European-sized welfare programmes are a good place to start. Maybe if they had to go out to work, they’d join the Daily Mirror and become the next John Pilger. Or maybe they’d open a drive-thru Halal Burger chain and make a fortune. Instead, Tony Blair pays Islamic fundamentalists in London to stay at home, fester and plot... it requires a perverse genius on the part of Tony Blair to have found the political courage to fight an unpopular war on a distant shore but not the political courage to wage it closer to home where it would have commanded far more support.
        - Mark Steyn, "The Spectator"

"What they're trying to do in London at the moment is try it by the John Kerry means. In other words, take a law enforcement approach to terrorism. Treat them as criminals. That's fine in theory, but British and European law, and American law, all give great advantages to the criminals. And the British public, I think, will not forgive that. You can't go around saying we're going to shoot dead people on the tube, and if it's the wrong guy, that's tough. But on the other hand, if we happen to arrest the right guy, he can drag out the legal process for years."
        - Mark Steyn, in an interview with Hugh Hewitt on "Radio Blogger"

A court of law is not meant to be a field of battle, and the enemy should not be upgraded to a defendant. Imagine if, during the London Blitz, you’d had Germans with British passports giving speeches advocating the United Kingdom’s incorporation within the Third Reich and demanding the Swastika fly over Buckingham Palace and you had to prosecute them individually and most Nazis were acquitted on technicalities but a few got 18 months-to-two-years. To be sure, one can argue (as many British and Americans do) that the jihad does not pose the same kind of existential threat, but at what point do you cross the line? Three hundred dead in a Tube blast? Six thousand in a skyscraper bombing? Why aren’t the dead of September 11th and July 7th already enough?
        - Mark Steyn, "National Review"

Have the British police been practising this policy and, if they had, should they admit to it or quietly scrap it? Racial profiling is, by and large, a loathsome — and illegal — policy carried out by lazy and racist cops. Indeed, the frustration felt by many successful blacks who find themselves pulled over repeatedly by the police simply because they are driving a nice car is understandable, entirely natural and justified. But while there can never be any excuse for the more mundane aspects of racial profiling, to refuse to accept the reality of the current situation is not only wilfully obtuse but a case of historical amnesia. I don't recall the same furore when Irish people were routinely stopped and questioned by British police and customs at the height of the IRA's bombing campaign in Britain. It was irritating and I personally remember fantasising about decking one particularly unpleasant customs officer but, the obnoxious personalities of some officials aside, the checks were also entirely understandable. Because, simply put, it was Irish people who were blowing up bars and, in the case of the 1975 Balcombe Street siege, it was Irish people running around London with Sten guns taking hostages. Equally, are police now expected to introduce a quota to ensure that they are not accused of stopping more Muslims than any other ethnic group? Will they stop the occasional Japanese tourist just to show that they are unbiased? Will they make a point of hassling tour parties of Yanks just to really show that they are keeping an open mind? What a ridiculous waste of time and resources that would prove to be. Of course, this opposition to racial profiling stems from a self-loathing that has become endemic in liberal British circles. That's why some idiot can email a news channel referring to London's Bobbies as 'Nazis' and not be laughed out of town. It's the sense of collective guilt over their colonial history which means that anyone who calls for a citizenship test for immigrants may as well be urging their neighbours to don the white robes and get on with the cross burning.
        - Ian O'Doherty, "Don't Blame British Bobbies", "The Irish Independent"

Europe still hasn't learned. Let's face facts, Europe's being run by cowards. Rather than protecting democracy in the Middle East, European appeasement, camouflaged behind the fuzzy word equidistance, often seems to countenance suicide bombings in Israel by fundamentalist Palestinians. Similarly, it generates a mentality that allows Europe to ignore the almost 500,000 victims of Saddam Hussein's torture and murder machinery and, motivated by the self-righteousness of the peace movement, to harangue George W Bush as a warmonger... an especially perfidious campaign consisting of systematic attacks by Islamists, focused on civilians, that is directed against our free, open western societies, and that is intent on their utter destruction.
        - Mathias Döpfner, German newspaper mogul, in "The Australian"

It is a popular European retort to American policy since 11 September to say that the only thing new about the attacks that day is that US citizens were the victims. Societies that have endured attacks by the IRA, Eta, the FLN and other groups are sceptical about American perceptions of the terrorist threat posed by al-Qa’eda.
In the 20th century, national liberation and ethnic secessionist groups used terror to gain the power exercised by nation states. Indeed, terrorism in the period immediately past typically represented nationalist ambitions — the PLO, PKK, Tamil Tigers and the Stern Gang are all examples — pitting established powers against embryonic ones in a struggle to control or create states. Terrorism in the 21st century will present an entirely different face. It will be global; it will be decentralised and networked much like a multinational corporation; it will outsource many of its operations. This terrorism, of which al-Qa’eda is only the first exemplar, does not resemble or seek to become a nation state. Terrorism in its new guise has no national focus or nationalist agenda; it operates in the globalised marketplace of weapons, targets, personnel, information and media influence. Neither Europeans nor anyone else can claim familiarity with this phenomenon. Yet there are quite a few commentators who, still pressing the IRA analogy they think they understand, have simply concluded that there is no al-Qa’eda. It is a myth, concocted by the government to instil fear in order to increase the power of the state. The killers of 7 July are, in this view, a few self-generated sympathisers who identify with a distant struggle. Because they are not structured along the hierarchical lines of 20th-century terrorist groups, it is thought that angry Muslim bands spontaneously appear, and then manage to carry out complex, synchronised atrocities.
The attacks were, very simply, about democracy. They were an attempt to impose an answer on this question: will democratically elected governments be able to pursue their policies on the basis of the judgment of their institutions or can their leaders be tempted into ransoming their population when the public is hostage to violence? As al-Zawahiri and al-Zarkawi have openly testified, it is democracy that renders civilians legitimate targets; it is democracy that rejects the demands of a messianic minority; it is democracy that is at stake.
        - Philip Bobbitt, "The Spectator"


In the current climate, you can’t fail as a minority: you can only be failed by others.
        - Theodore Dalrymple, reviewing "Terrorist", "City Journal"

It is not the personal that is political, but the political that is personal. People with unusually thin skins ascribe the small insults, humiliations, and setbacks consequent upon human existence to vast and malign political forces; and, projecting their own suffering onto the whole of mankind, conceive of schemes, usually involving violence, to remedy the situation that has so wounded them.

One might have expected [Joseph Conrad] to have sympathized with extremists of almost any stripe, but he understood only too well that those who opposed tyranny by terrorism objected not so much to tyranny as such but to the fact that it was not they who were exercising it.

If anything, the direction of the exploitation has been precisely the opposite, for merely by virtue of their fortunate geographical location, and with scarcely any effort on their part, the people of the Arabian peninsula and elsewhere have enjoyed a high standard of living thanks entirely to the ingenuity of those whom they accuse of exploitation and without whom the oil resource would not be an economic resource at all.


Not just the majority of the intellectuals, academics and schoolteachers, but most of the face-workers in the media, share the view that international terrorism is to be explained by the vices of the liberal democracies. Or, at any rate, they shared it until a few days ago. It will be interesting, in the shattering light of an explosive event, to see if that easy view continues now to be quite so widespread, and how much room is made for the more awkward view that the true instigation for terrorism might not be the vices of the liberal democracies, but their virtues.
        - Clive James, "Don't Blame The West", "The Guardian"

They are students of the opposite of history, which is theocratic fanaticism. Especially, they are dedicated to knowing as little as possible about the history of the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians. A typical terrorist expert on the subject believes that Hitler had the right idea, that The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a true story, and that the obliteration of the state of Israel is a religious requirement. In furthering that end, the sufferings of the Palestinians are instrumental, and thus better exacerbated than diminished.
        - Clive James, on the Bali bombers, "The Guardian"

"Islam is one of the world’s great religions. It has given dignity and meaning to drab and impoverished lives. It has taught men of different races to live in brotherhood and people of different creeds to live side by side in reasonable tolerance. It has inspired a great civilisation in which others besides Muslims lived creative and useful lives and which, by its achievements, enriched the whole world. But Islam, like other religions, has also known periods when it inspired in some of its followers a mood of hatred and violence. It is our misfortune that we have to confront part of the Muslim world while it is going through such a period, and when most, though by no means all, of that hatred is directed against us."
        - Bernard Lewis, "The Crisis of Islam"

"Imagine that the Ku Klux Klan or some similar group obtains total control of the state of Texas, of its oil revenues and uses this money to establish a network of well-endowed schools and colleges all over Christendom, peddling their peculiar brand of Christianity."
        - Bernard Lewis, describing the infuence of Saudi Arabia's Wahhabism sect

"Militant converts come to Islam in several ways, most notably through contact with militant Muslims while serving time in Europe's prisons, where the Islamic population has skyrocketed. France's prison population is more than 50 percent Muslim. The road from convert to jihadist can be remarkably short, terrorism experts say, because someone new to Islam does not have the cultural bearings or religious grounding to resist radical interpretations of Islam, and many come with a romanticized notion of an Islamic conflict with the West."
        - Craig Smith, writing in "The New York Times"

How much money would you pay to see the makers of The Last Temptation of Christ make a similar film about the Prophet Muhammad? How long would they be alive? An hour? An hour and fifteen minutes?"
        - Jay Nordlinger, "National Review"

As the war against Islamic terrorists takes root in Britain, there must be a full reassessment of security policy in Northern Ireland. Lesson one is that it is morally wrong for a government to be more concerned about the legal rights of its enemies than the lives of its servants. Lesson two is that heavy-handed, indiscriminate actions against civilian populations by the security forces only help terrorists. Lesson three is that those who preach civil liberties cannot disclaim moral and personal responsibility for the deeds that the terrorist beneficiaries of such liberties later perform. Last but not least, lesson four: the result of allowing anti-terrorist policy to become the forensic plaything of the courts will be certain, abject failure.
        - Kevin Myers, "Terrorists fought the law…and the law lost", "The Telegraph"

The test of a democracy these days is not so much how we treat our minorities, but how we treat people who really loathe the rest of us. If democracy is such a commendable institution, then it can withstand the predations from antithetical ideologies, be they Marxist, fascist or, as is the case here, stone-age.
        - Rod Liddle, "Too much tolerance can hurt a country", "The Times"

Anger over Palestine is a psychological mechanism that diverts attention from the real problems facing Arab society—a failing region due not to Jews or Americans, but to autocracy, gender apartheid, statism, tribalism, corruption, censured media, religious intolerance, polygamy and a host of other pathologies... Japan is not talking about a lost Manchuria or the Russian-occupied islands, nor is Germany deteriorating because of the Polish "theft" of East Prussia, nor is the Argentine democracy calling for suicide bombers to hit the Falklands. If the Arab world reformed and prospered (with the aid of billions of petrodollars), it would not fault the Jews but see that the problem of borders could be adjudicated without bombing, anti-Semitic rhetoric, and other pathetic grandstanding.
        - Victor Davis Hanson, from his "Private Papers"

If we’re talking about insults to Islam, I’d have a lot more respect for the “Muslim street” if there were just a few more riots against jihadists for equating beheadings, terrorist attacks, hosannas for the Holocaust, and random slaughter on the streets of Amsterdam with a faithful reading of the Koran.
        - Jonah Goldberg

Nice to see Ali Salem, the most high-profile "moderate" Muslim in Ireland — although a moderate who refuses to condemn Osama bin Laden — also refuse to condemn the appalling case of the Saudi woman facing 200 lashes for the crime of being raped... I'd hate to see what Selim is like when he's not in a moderate mood.
        - Ian O'Doherty, "The Irish Independent"

Can one imagine fundamentalists in the Bible Belt rioting and shooting should they hear an unfounded rumor that an American prisoner in Riyadh, charged with complicity in killing thousands of Arabs, found his Old Testament trashed by a Saudi guard — or a Saudi official promising to apologize to the Western world should a miscreant guard be culpable?
    - Victor Davis Hanson, "Pre-modern plus postmodern equals riots in Afghanistan", "National Review"

"An extreme Christian believes that the Garden of Eden really existed; an extreme Muslim flies planes into buildings: there's a big difference."
        - Will Cummins, from "The Cuckoo In The Nest" in "The Telegraph"

I read carefully the Archbishop of Canterbury’s now-infamous "sharia" speech. Stripped of casuistry, he proposed that Muslim women subject to forced marriages, genital mutilation, or domestic violence should be handed over to Muslim religious courts, rather than be offered the protection of English Common Law. To my knowledge, this is the first time that one of Europe’s spiritual leaders has proposed to abandon innocent victims to their fate. Archbishop Dr Rowan Williams, to be sure, has a point. But he should have stated plainly what he really thinks. What he wanted to say is more or less: "To protect a few hundred or a few thousand colored ladies, the English state will have to put its big boots on, kick down the doors of Muslim homes, trample through Muslim living rooms, tear up the fabric of Muslim communities, and disrupt the social order. Why not turn such cases over to religious courts and wash our hands of them?" I reiterate: this is satanic hypocrisy. If decent and well-meaning men like Dr Williams are so afraid of communal violence as to abandon the founding principles of common law and Judeo-Christian ethics, it is long past time to debate the fine points... One might describe Europe’s civil condition as a low-intensity civil war.
        - Spengler, in "The Asia Times" (Feb'08)

The town council of Herouxville, Quebec, (pop. 1,071) issued a proclamation which says: "The people of Herouxville, Que., say they welcome immigrants to their small town, but there are a few things they want to make clear: for instance, there will be no public stoning of women, and facial coverings are reserved for Halloween." ...This sort of cultural intolerance has, unsurprisingly, been condemned by immigrant groups across Canada, with one Muslim advocacy group claiming that "this further reinforces negative images of Muslims." What's particularly interesting, however, is that the good burghers of Herouxville never actually referred to any specific group. So why are the Muslims upset? Did someone hit a chord, perhaps?
        - Ian O'Doherty, "The Irish Independent"

"You might say, Christians want the whole world to be Christian, so what is the difference? The difference seems to lie in the attitude to politics. For many centuries now, Christians have developed the idea that there is a separation between Church and state, between what you may believe and what you may enforce. Islam does not seem to have the same idea."
         - Charles Moore, "The Telegraph"

It’s not that secular progressives support Muslim religious fanatics, it’s that they reserve their passion and scorn for religious Christians who are neither fanatical nor violent. The Darwin fish ostensibly symbolizes the superiority of progressive-minded science over backward-looking faith. I think this is a false juxtaposition, but I would have a lot more respect for the folks who believe it if they aimed their brave contempt for religion at those who might behead them for it.
        - Jonah Goldberg, "Courage Without Consequences", "National Review"

On a weekly basis in Egypt I witnessed the public abuse of Christians as they made their way to worship while, even more disturbing, was the required armed guard outside the churches. The air of perceived persecution throughout the Muslim world while ignoring its own treatment of Christians is hypocritical at best.
        - Kevin Horgan, in a letter to Dublin's "Metro"

The same failure of liberalism is evident in Western Europe, where the dogma of multiculturalism has left a secular Europe very slow to address the looming problem of religious extremism among its immigrants. The people who speak most sensibly about the threat that Islam poses to Europe are actually fascists. To say that this does not bode well for liberalism is an understatement: It does not bode well for the future of civilization.
        - Sam Harris, "LA Times"

When I read Sam Harris’s irresponsible remark that only fascists seemed to have the right line, I murmured to myself: "Not while I’m alive, they won’t."
        - Christopher Hitchens, "City Journal"

To write that the Afghanistan mission is a good one and is worth the risk to others’ lives that it entails, always means being accused of armchair soldiering. That’s both right and a challenge that should be accepted. And to try to be concrete about it, lets just examine one way in which our presence (and thus the risk) is worthwhile. We all know that the Taleban, in their weird mixture of fundamentalist Islam and tribalism, conceived that education for half the population — the female half — was a sin, to be prevented by physical force and punishment.
Who are we, after all, to try to force upon a reluctant culture our own superficial norms, such as the right to an education if you are born female. I well remember one — albeit unrepresentative — columnist arguing in The Guardian in the autumn of 2001 that “while the Taleban were imposing their beliefs and reducing freedom on one side, the same can be said of the male-dominated and often misogynistic fashion industry on the other. The question of which is the more ruthless form of persuasion, the lashes of the Taleban or the multimillion-pound advertising flashes of the fashion industry remains a moot point.” It takes real commitment to the anti-imperialist cause to equate being flogged to with being flogged. That’s mission creep, I suppose. You go in to get rid of the Taleban and you end up risking lives just to educate women. And — both for itself, and in terms of what it means about the world we want, I think it’s worth it.
        - David Aaronovitch, "All the Greatest Missions Creep Spectacularly", "The Times"

"By noisily shooting at obvious targets, Islamists can quietly borrow and adapt the latest technologies while avoiding a more fundamental and disturbing question: how is it that a civilisation that abandoned religion as its primary source of knowledge three centuries ago was allowed to triumph so effortlessly over one that owed its very existence and identity to revealed knowledge given by God?"
        - Malise Ruthven

"We may want to consider the question asked by hand-wringers in the West: Why do they hate us? Maybe it is because the alternative to hating us is to hate themselves."
        - Thomas Sowell

Westerners have their own delusions. We seem to think that our neat gadgets also equate with an ability to refashion human nature or that a fascist abroad needs to know how much we care about his hurt. There is a sort of arrogance in the liberal West — the handmaiden to our own guilt and self-loathing — that strangely believes we are both to blame for the ills abroad and alone can solve them through handing out money. Almost all of the pathetic rhetoric of al Qaeda — "colonial exploitation," "American hegemony," or "blood for oil" — was as imported from the West as were the terrorists' bombs and communications.
        - Victor Davis Hanson, "National Review"

"We are witnessing a grand struggle between those who create things and those who can only destroy them, between those who are confident and build civilizations and those who have failed and turned vicious.
The extremists will be just as likely to murder French children over banning headscarves as they would have had three Gallic divisions fought in Iraq. The Spanish may think that bin Laden's past fury over the Reconquista and the Crusades was silly while the present anger over Spaniards in Iraq is logical. But they too will soon learn that appeasement wins them temporary quiet from enemies and general disappointment from friends — not a permanent pardon from terrorist attacks. If they believe al Qaeda is a rational interlocutor, they should assume that the U.S. withdrawal from Saudi Arabia and cessation of the embargo of Iraq — replaced by massive American aid — have met bin Laden's original 1998 demands and that peace is at hand."
        - Victor Davis Hanson, "National Review"

"It is seldom the way of human societies, even the most craven, to do the bidding of some evil ragamuffin in a cave... The grounds for a truce with Osama are anyway so hypothetical as to be unachievable: but that aside, he has released a toxin in the Islamic world which cannot be contained by any undertakings from him."
        - Kevin Myers, "The Telegraph"

"Islamic fundamentalism threatens women all over the world. Wherever they have gained power, Islamists have denied women their essential humanity and dignity. Islamic fundamentalism is not conservative religion but a fascist political movement that aims for world domination. Many feminists are out of touch with the realities of the war that has been declared against the secular, Judeo-Christian, modern West. They are still romanticizing and cheering for Third World anti-colonialist movements, without a realistic view of what will happen to the global status of women if the Islamists win. Many feminists continue to condemn the United States, a country in which, for the most part, their ideas have triumphed."
        - Phyllis Chesler and Donna Hughes, "Feminism in the 21st Century", "The Washington Post"

"As a rule of thumb, you can say that the terrorists would like to wreak edifying vengeance on any predominantly Islamic country where you can see even a small part of a woman's face. Starting with Pakistan, you can see more and more of a woman's face as you move east. It was therefore predictable, after September 11, that the terrorists would bend their efforts in the same direction."
        - Clive James, "Don't Blame The West", "The Guardian"

"If you must cave in to the intimidation of a bunch of slaughtering thugs, at least make sure that they are slaughtering thugs with a coherent set of objectives. Don’t pick a group with no interest in being appeased, a group like Al-Qaeda. The only way citizens and politicians of the West can appease them is to die, horribly and in great numbers, having first sacrificed all liberties in a climate of thickening fear and paranoia."
        - Brenda Power, "The Sunday Times"

"Even the Soviet Union, with its huge nuclear arsenal, was a threat that could be deterred by the prospect of retaliation. But suicide bombers cannot be deterred. They can only be annihilated — pre-emptively and unilaterally, if necessary."
        - Thomas Sowell

"If all the enemies of Islam united together and decided to harm it... they wouldn't have ruined and harmed its image as much as the sons of Islam have done by their stupidity, miscalculations, and misunderstanding of the nature of this age."
        - Ahmed Bahgat, writing in "Al-Ahram"

"We will only be able to clear our reputation once we have admitted the clear and shameful fact that most of the terrorist acts in the world today are carried out by Muslims. We have to realize that we cannot correct the condition of our youth who carry out these disgraceful operations until we have treated the minds of our sheikhs who have turned themselves into pulpit revolutionaries who send the children of others to fight while they send their own children to European schools. Our terrorist sons are an end-product of our corrupted culture."
        - Abdulrahman al-Rashed, writing in "Asharq Al-Awsat"

"You wrote an essay criticizing President Bush and other Western leaders for claiming after 9/11 that “this is not about Islam.” In what way is this about Islam?"
"Well, you know, that was said for good reasons. It was said to minimize the backlash against Muslims. But just in terms of actual fact, it is absurd. It is not about football. The fact that it is about a particular idea of Islam that many Muslims would reject does not mean it is not about Islam... I think there is a desire, for virtuous reasons, to make this disassociation. You can respect those reasons, but there is a problem of truth. It reminds me a little bit of what Western socialists used to say during the worst excesses of the Soviet Union. They would say that that’s not really socialism. There is a real socialism that is about liberty, social justice, and so on, but that tyrannical regime over there which was actually existing socialism is not really Marxism. The problem was that that’s what there was. When that fell, in a way that whole intellectual construct of socialism fell with it. It became very difficult to ignore all these people coming out of the Soviet Union who detested the term socialism, because to them it meant tyranny. I think there is beginning to be that kind of disconnect in the discourse about Islam. There is an actually existing Islam which is not at all likeable. . If you go into any Muslim country, you will find that dispute between radical Islam and moderate Islam. It is not a question of how the West perceives the East, but of what’s happening inside the East. If you go to Muslims in India, they can tell you immediately about that battle with those other Muslims. The problem is, how do you tell the truth while not demonizing the people who don’t deserve to be demonized?"
        - Salman Rushdie, interviewed in "Reason" magazine

"The idea of universal rights — the idea of rights that are universal to all people because they correspond to our natures as human beings, not to where we live or what our cultural background is — is an incredibly important one. This belief is being challenged by apostles of cultural relativism who refuse to accept that such rights exist. If you look at those who employ this idea, it turns out to be Robert Mugabe, the leaders of China, the leaders of Singapore, the Taliban, Ayatollah Khomeini. It is a dangerous belief that everything is relative and therefore these people should be allowed to kill because it’s their culture to kill."
        - Salman Rushdie, interviewed in "Reason" magazine

The seed for al-Qa’eda may have been sown during the twilight of the Cold War, but something in the Nineties allowed this terror group to metamorphose from being one small part of an Afghan-specific guerrilla army into a global, transnational, nihilistic network... In the 1990s al-Qa’eda became the armed wing of Western liberal opinion. The mujahedin may have been set up, supported and armed to the hilt by the right in the 1980s, but they fought alongside the Left in the early to mid-1990s. This was the period of the mujahedin’s second outing, when hundreds of them moved from Afghanistan following the final withdrawal of Soviet forces in 1992 to Bosnia, to fight alongside the Bosnian Muslims in a holy war against the Serbs. They moved there under the approving eye of the Clinton administration and were armed and trained by Clinton’s allies in the region, the Army of Bosnia Herzegovina (ABiH). In moving to Bosnia, Islamic fighters were transported from the ghettos of Afghanistan into Europe, from being yesterday’s men in a has-been Cold War clash to fighting alongside the West’s favoured side in the Balkans. If right-wing intervention in Afghanistan created the mujahedin, then left-liberal intervention in Bosnia globalised it. It also allowed them to keep the idea of jihad alive into the 1990s and to recruit new and eager young jihadists. This was key to the development of a global network — as reflected in the fact that many of the most notorious terror attacks of recent years have Bosnian links.
        - Brendan O'Neill, "Don't Blame the Neocons", "The Spectator"

Francis Fukuyama's most famous work so far is "The End of History", a title so brilliant that it somehow transcends its own manifest untruth. After Western victory in the Cold War, it turned out that history obstinately refused to end. The global progress towards liberal democracy that Fukuyama had identified as an almost natural phenomenon seemed threatened by dark forces, most notably militant Islamism. This post-September 11 world might have daunted a lesser sage than Fukuyama, even suggesting that he had been, to put it in non-academic English, wrong. But our International Political Economist is sufficiently Advanced in his International Studies to rise above all that.
        - Charles Moore, "The Telegraph"

A small, brave band of commentators (commanding officer : Mark Steyn) argue that Europe has lost the will to survive, that its contribution to civilisation lies only in the past, and so the more vital and assertive Muslims are bound one day to take over the continent. The story of Abu Qatada gives credence to this dark prospect. The way that Britain has handled this man is not just incompetent, or a revelation of bureaucratic flaws, but a cautionary tale about a nation losing control of its fate. Abu Qatada is Jordanian by birth, and now aged 44. An Islamist, he committed acts of terror in his own country, where a warrant is out for his arrest on charges of murder. In 1993 he arrived in Britain on a forged passport of the United Arab Emirates. Claiming asylum, he was soon granted refugee status. Mistake number one. Next he claimed and was granted welfare benefits amounting to $2,000 a month. Mistake number two.
Mistake number three was not to identify Abu Qatada and his role. He was Osama bin Laden’s liaison in Europe, properly described as his “ambassador.” He had proven links to all the top al Qaeda terrorists. He raised funds, he gave inflammatory sermons. After 9/11 he went on the run. Finally arrested, he has been held in a top security prison for some three years, contrary to the ancient practice of habeas corpus – mistake number four. Instead of bringing him to trial, the government was all the time trying to deport him to answer the warrant out for him in Jordan. This proved impossible. In 1998 the government incorporated into British law the European Convention of Human Rights, one article of which states that nobody can be deported to a country where torture or other degrading treatment is likely. This was mistake number five, and the biggest of all. Jordan gave guarantees that Abu Qatada would be treated lawfully. Nonetheless, in mistake number six, appeal judges sitting on the case have decided that he cannot be returned to his own country. There is now no justification for holding him in prison, and in mistake number seven, Abu Qatada will soon be free to live in Britain once more at taxpayer’s expense, a living proof of Islamist power and victory over others.
The human rights crowd, and their apostles in Brussels who impose these rights, the whole legal fraternity who gleefully enforce such measures, are playing with the lives and futures of us all. Derogation from the Human Rights Convention is the only obvious course, but the human rights crowd all say this can’t be done. To protect through the law people like Abu Qatada is to have an absurdly unrealistic view of human nature, and also in the name of doing justice to one person to commit injustice to everyone else. Abu Qatada may be surprised to be allowed the freedom to do his worst, but he cannot really be blamed for taking advantage of it. Observing the run of self-harming mistakes that the British authorities permit and encourage, other terrorists cannot be blamed either if they flock to Britain to help attack and undermine it, and all paid for by the British taxpayer into the bargain. It’s clear how we got ourselves into this suicidal position, but it is far from clear how we get out of it, or if we ever will.
        - David Pryce Jones, "National Review"


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