"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.
- 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
# THE WIDER STRUGGLE
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
- 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
- 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
- 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 Truman...in 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
- Paul Johnson, "National Review"
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"
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
- 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"
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)
# 2007 & CARBOMBS THREAT
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
- 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
- Rod Liddle, "The Spectator" (but they only have to be lucky once...)
# CARTOONS, TEDDY BEARS AND BURNING FLAGS
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
- 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
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
- 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
- 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
- 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"
# LONDON ATTACKS & THE HOME FRONT
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
- 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,
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
# ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISM
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
- 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
- Bernard Lewis, describing the infuence of Saudi Arabia's Wahhabism sect
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
- 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
- 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
- Kevin Myers, "The Telegraph"
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
- 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
- Brendan O'Neill, "Don't Blame the Neocons", "The Spectator"
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
- 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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