Friday, July 08, 2005

My First Fisking

Last night I went to bed thinking I had been a bit harsh in my postings yesterday. Surely the Left would, at least temporarily, be sufficiently stung to turn away from their self-destructive path. Or at least take a moment for reflection along that path?

The answer to that question, a resounding no, arrived in this morning's Guardian, in a lengthy editorial from the former British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook. The title alone tells the tale: "The struggle against terrorism cannot be won by military means." Subhead: "The G8 must seize the opportunity to address the wider issues at the root of such atrocities." The article is exceptionally long(-winded), so I will use some judicious editing in this fisking.

The first two paragraphs describe the mood in the House of Commons and across England. I include below only the key adjectives and nouns. Notice that nowhere to be found are outrage, resolve, determination, nor any active verbs except "recoil":

silent...solemn...grave... united in shock and sorrow... empathy with the pain of those injured and the grief of those bereaved. We recoil ... unexpected disappearance of partners, children, and parents...pain...acute...affection.

Unexpected disappearance? Like losing your keys under the couch? (And we are sadly far beyond the point that any sophisticate could be caught dead using the more fluid-sounding "husbands and wives, children and parents".)

It is arbitrary and therefore an event that changes whole lives, which turn on the accident of momentary decisions. How many people this morning ask themselves how different it might have been if their partner had taken the next bus or caught an earlier tube?

Ah, I see, the events were arbitrary, like a tornado or natural disaster. An accident -- and yet perhaps it was truly, subtly, the fault of a bad decision by the victims to choose the wrong form of transportation.

But perhaps the loss is hardest to bear because it is so difficult to answer the question why it should have happened... What purpose is there to yesterday's senseless murders? Who could possibly imagine that they have a cause that might profit from such pointless carnage?

At the time of writing, no group has surfaced even to explain why they launched the assault. Sometime over the next few days we may be offered a website entry or a video message attempting to justify the impossible, but there is no language that can supply a rational basis for such arbitrary slaughter. The explanation, when it is offered, is likely to rely not on reason but on the declaration of an obsessive fundamentalist identity that leaves no room for pity for victims who do not share that identity.

Rarely does denial announce itself so clearly. Despite the fact that the terrorists have declared repeatedly (including yesterday) their goals and motives, these are to be ignored because they do not comport with what the Right Honourable Mr. Cook deems to be "rational." Such motives are not only irrational to Mr. Cook, but he deems them literally unimaginable ("who can imagine?) and unspeakable ("there is no language") and therefore unthinkable.

Yesterday the prime minister described the bombings as an attack on our values as a society. In the next few days we should remember that among those values are tolerance and mutual respect for those from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Only the day before, London was celebrating its coup in winning the Olympic Games, partly through demonstrating to the world the success of our multicultural credentials. Nothing would please better those who planted yesterday's bombs than for the atrocity to breed suspicion and hostility to minorities in our own community. Defeating the terrorists also means defeating their poisonous belief that peoples of different faiths and ethnic origins cannot coexist.

Wretchard handled this one very well yesterday. When multicultural tolerance extends to permitting the growth of a cryptofascists subculture seeking the institution of sharia law within the Queen's dominion, tolerance has hit the brick wall.

In the absence of anyone else owning up to yesterday's crimes, we will be subjected to a spate of articles analysing the threat of militant Islam. Ironically they will fall in the same week that we recall the tenth anniversary of the massacre at Srebrenica, when the powerful nations of Europe failed to protect 8,000 Muslims from being annihilated in the worst terrorist act in Europe of the past generation.

This one is just bizarre. Why no mention of Western action in Kosovo, for which Cook patted himself on the back in his cabinet resignation speech?

Osama bin Laden is no more a true representative of Islam than General Mladic, who commanded the Serbian forces, could be held up as an example of Christianity.

But there were plenty of Christian leaders who denounced him, and no shortage of Western, mostly Christian forces who ultimately fought and defeated him.

After all, it is written in the Qur'an that we were made into different peoples not that we might despise each other, but that we might understand each other.

And the Koran also says, "Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks." (Sura 47:4)

Bin Laden was, though, a product of a monumental miscalculation by western security agencies. Throughout the 80s he was armed by the CIA and funded by the Saudis to wage jihad against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan....

This hoary myth has been thoroughly debunked, but is necessary if you believe that only the US has the power of agency to bring evil into the world, as is further demonstrated in the next paragraph, which speaks from the essence of appeasement:

The danger now is that the west's current response to the terrorist threat compounds that original error. So long as the struggle against terrorism is conceived as a war that can be won by military means, it is doomed to fail. The more the west emphasises confrontation, the more it silences moderate voices in the Muslim world who want to speak up for cooperation. Success will only come from isolating the terrorists and denying them support, funds and recruits, which means focusing more on our common ground with the Muslim world than on what divides us..

Cook then spends the remaining paragraphs urging the West to provide more support and funds to exactly those governments that have bred the terrorists:

The G8 summit is not the best-designed forum in which to launch such a dialogue with Muslim countries, as none of them is included in the core membership. .. We are not going to address the sense of marginalisation among Muslim countries if we do not make more of an effort to be inclusive of them in the architecture of global governance.

But the G8 does have the opportunity in its communique today to give a forceful response to the latest terrorist attack. That should include a statement [issue a statement!--that will scare them!] of their joint resolve to hunt down those who bear responsibility for yesterday's crimes. But it must seize the opportunity to address the wider issues at the root of terrorism.[emph added]

In particular, it would be perverse if the focus of the G8 on making poverty history was now obscured by yesterday's bombings. The breeding grounds of terrorism are to be found in the poverty of back streets, where fundamentalism offers a false, easy sense of pride and identity to young men who feel denied of any hope or any economic opportunity for themselves. A war on world poverty may well do more for the security of the west than a war on terror.

Another hoary myth, debunked literally millions of times by each of the Africans who are not blowing up subways, and by each dollar bill plunked down by Mohammed Atta and his well-educated buddies at that strip club in Vegas. And, of course, the final myth is now the defining myth of the Left, Iraq=failure, which permits them to simultaneously wallow in defeatism and blame terrorism on its true root cause, namely George W. Bush:

And in the privacy of their extensive suites, yesterday's atrocities should prompt heart-searching among some of those present. President Bush is given to justifying the invasion of Iraq on the grounds that by fighting terrorism abroad, it protects the west from having to fight terrorists at home. Whatever else can be said in defence of the war in Iraq today, it cannot be claimed that it has protected us from terrorism on our soil.

As it is getting late (why did I pick such a long essay to fisk), I will let Wretchard handle this one as well. (And I hate to say I told you so, but there you have it...)


Blogger Dreamer said...

This, plus the sheer number of talking heads spouting unfounded claims that these murderers were trained in Iraq, is enough to make me want to pull my hair out!

Liberal philosophy: If the evidence doesn't match my world-view then use the media or the courts to force it to.


4:18 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

Got here via a link you posted in neo-neocon's comment section. I also saw her reference some of your stuff herself, so thought I'd check you out. You do an excellent job of deconstructing the article from The Guardian, but what can one really expect from them? Anyway, keep up the good work!

9:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look on the bright side, N-C. At least he's former Foreign Secretary Robin Cook.

8:14 PM  

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