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Political Devotions - Conservative Alerts, News and Commentary
Sunday, September 12, 2004
Comforting Beslan, Confronting Islam
Topic: World War IV
[Important Notice: The Political Devotions Weblog has moved to TenMinuteLobbyist.com.]

(What are "political devotions"? Click here.)

We who believe in a just God can take some small comfort in the knowledge that the Islamic terrorist scum who were killed in the process of torturing and murdering Beslan's children are now facing an eternity of torture in Hell. But our comfort is not the priority.

If you would like to donate to a fund to benefit the surviving victims of the Beslan massacre, you can do so here. Money cannot erase the horror permanently imprinted on these children's minds, but it is something. It's a kind gesture. It's not enough, but it is what we can do.

Several commentators have stated Beslan is a turning point in the war. This may be so. Islamic terror's most staunch supporters, and its most ardent appeasers, are having a tough time justifying this kind of depravity. Yet, for the morally weak, righteous indignation fades. Three years ago, after 9-11, the nation was virtually united behind a President who promised to take the battle to the Islamic terrorists. Today some 42% of the population is prepared to elect to that high office John Kerry -- an opportunist who, a generation ago, gave testimony that effectively aided our enemies while advancing his own political interests.

Will the world's moral outrage over Beslan sustain? It's possible, but doubtful.

Nevertheless, in his most recent essay for National Review Online, Victor Davis Hanson does find hope in the fallout from Beslan, and again masterfully articulates the rationale for confronting, not appeasing, evil:
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 recent slaughters in Russia were the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back of excusing or explaining away radical Islamic terror. If the Estonians can break away from post-Soviet oppression and free themselves from Russian authoritarianism without slaughtering schoolchildren and blowing up airplanes, then the Chechens can as well -- but only if they wish to create democracy rather than an Islamic fascist state.

But there is something else going on here besides the cloak of so-called Chechen nationalism. The perversion not of religion per se,
but of Islam; the singular method of suicide bombing rarely found elsewhere; the frequent resort to the unique grotesquery of beheading; the now-common display of abject incompetence on the battlefield coupled with craven slaughter of the noncombatant and civilian aid worker. At some point, the leaders of the Western world (if there are any left besides George W. Bush and Tony Blair) are going to look at all this madness worldwide and come to the bitter conclusion that there is a disgusting pattern: Not every Muslim is a fascist terrorist, but almost every fascist terrorist is a Muslim. Killers are not screaming "Hail Mary" when they machine gun children in the back, slit the throat of airline stewardesses, or blow pregnant women up on buses across the globe. And they are not the subjects of condemnatory fatwas in Iran or Saudi Arabia.

Their grievance is not really Russian imperialism, or the 5 to 10 percent of the West Bank under dispute, or black African encroachment on Arab land, or purported French insensitivity to legitimate Islamic pride, much less an American "crusade" to harm Muslims.

All these issues and the hundreds of others -- from the right to build a reactor in Iran to the desire for a semi-autonomous Chechnya -- in theory could be discussed, argued about, and adjudicated through democratic dialogue.

But that is impossible. For you see,
the real problem is the democratic dialogue itself-- unknown in the Arab Middle East and much of the Islamic world, and a hindrance to both sharia and the pan-Arabist thug with epaulettes and sunglasses. Yet consensual government alone is the key to ending failed statist economies, gender apartheid, religious intolerance, state- controlled media, and tribalism. It alone might stop the self-induced misery and with it the tedious scapegoating of "the Jews and America."

Much of the Islamic Middle East continues to blame others for its own induced catastrophe, apparently unaware -- thanks to the lever of oil it didn't discover, doesn't know how to develop, and uses to intensify rather than alleviate its poverty -- that its entire culture is becoming an international pariah. Islamic young men on European flights are looked at with distrust; they are not welcome in Russia. China wants none of them. They are wary of visiting India. Australia learned from Bali. The whole world is watching -- in disgust.

In short, the suicide bomber, the improvised explosive device, the car bomb, the televised beheading, the wacko fatwa, the sleazy propaganda streamer on the Internet, the new cult of death -- all cowardly and lethal phenomena -- these are now the innovations that the world associates with the Middle East in lieu of gene research, car production, or computer breakthroughs.

***

Some insist that this war is only against a few "crazy" extremists and that it cannot be won by force. That is half true. In fact, millions of young Middle Easterners are watching Islamic fascists to learn whether to applaud or condemn them -- and that decision in places like Najaf, Fallujah, Kandahar, Madrid, Grozny, and Ramallah sadly hinges as much on resolute force as it does on "sensitive" understanding. There are millions we must help, but there are also thousands of wannabe Osama bin Ladens and Mohammed
Attas who have neither minds nor hearts that anyone would want to win over.

In a war against such killers, it is the proverbial "Them or Us." Islamic fascists are not crazy -- however crazy they sound -- but evil, as their evil work confirms. We do not need more lectures about the impossibility of winning a postmodern conflict, about al Qaeda's not following the laws of Clausewitz or being immune to our way of war. In fact, we can and have defeated them. Keep doing that and the "hearts and minds" of others in the region, whom we are already helping, will mysteriously prove more open to dialogue.

Fail again like we did on September 11 -- and the entire United States Treasury could not buy the good will of an Islamic Street once more gone mad with delight for having felled the Great Satan.

Posted by Tim at 7:58 PM EDT

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