Tag Archives: barbarism

Vive la France!


Vive la France!

There are perhaps three all engulfing observations to be made from the horrific events in France this past Friday evening as the Moslem day of prayer and rest ended:

  • The enemy we face is as barbarous as has been seen in human history, even compared with the terrible atrocities of the 20th century in their contempt for all human values.
  • Our effort to eradicate them has so far failed – and particularly our intelligence when such a massive and coordinated attack could occur in a major world city without its interception.
  • We must spare no effort now – no half measures as the Obama Administration has perpetuated against Daesh [ISIS or ISIL] — in crushing them with the kind of all-out war we pursued during World War II when the Nazi foe represented the same kind of all-encompassing evil.

 

As the French and their allies, most of all the United States, continue to gather information about the attacks, we will no doubt discover interesting and informative details. They must be shared among the allies. We have a suspicion that all sorts of relatively minor considerations have prevented that being done adequately so far.

Among these constraints has been the artificial parsing of the character of the Moslem terrorists. There has been too much of why some are less objectionable than others. We have all the evidence in the world now that young men and women are drawn to these movements, despite – and indeed sometimes because of —  their ferocious brutality. It behooves us to think of them as all cut from the same cloth and therefore the necessity to eradicate them with total war from our own side.

We must ask, even demand, that the Moslem community mobilize too in opposing these rogue elements among their population. There can be no justification for any acquiescence or rationalizations among Moslems about the nature of these brutes and their actions. Whatever the origins of Islam and the fact that its articles of faith and history can sometimes be interpreted to justify violence against non-believers must be blotted out of our geopolitical and moral discussions.

Even more, the kind of two-cent sociology and psychology on the part of many Western spokesmen is abhorrent. It obscures the issues. Poverty, lack of opportunity, lack of freedom, inequalities among nations – none of these excuse these acts,  nor indeed, explains them. The old and well-known story of individuals who have risen out of poverty and misery to lead useful and exemplary lives despite all obstacles is too common.

Using the continuing inability of the Arab and Moslem world, for the most part, to modernize and accept the growing international code of moral conduct is not something that ought to be explained away, Worse of all, to hear U.S. and Western military men – whose training and purpose is to wage war professionally, not to be amateur psychoanalysts –lapse into this kind of sophistry is most disheartening and weakens our cause. The problems of modernization of the Arab and Moslem worlds are enormous and infinitely intricate; they will not be solved quickly, whether or not the West and the rest of the contemporary modern world undertakes more effectively to do so. But they can be no excuse for this continued barbarity, either against their own peoples or against the West.

There may be one even less comforting observation to be made on the events in Paris: the U.S. is probably only a little less vulnerable to such attacks than were the French. Unfortunately, democratic and open societies by their very nature are at the mercy of such barbarians unless and until they take the proper precautions to arm themselves against them. That day is long past here at home in the U.S., and we have only the vaguest assurances all the precautions that should have been taken have been effected.

The Parisian events as much as anything else is a warning for U.S. officialdom and the American people.

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Barbarity


It is not the first time leaders of the civilized world have had to cope with a slide into barbarism which not only threatens international peace and stability but the very foundations of modern morality. Nor is it the first time that American leadership has been reluctant to take on the task of halting the destructive force.

The horrendous beliefs and actions of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, now styling itself as a Caliphate or the Islamic State, is almost  nihilistic as they persecute and kill Muslims — whom they regard as renegade — as well as Christians and Yadizi.

At the same time, we are witnessing another failure of American leadership to seize the issue and pursue it with maximum force. As part of the reluctance of the current American administration to recognize the continuing threat of Islamic extremism, it has historical analogies. It recalls the 1930s-40s’ determined obliviousness to the rise of Hitler and his destruction of European Jewry and the death of millions of Polish and Russian civilians, as well as more recent failures to cope with Kosovo or Rwanda massacres until they reached their zenith.

It is in the nature of ordered societies with democratic traditions to fail to comprehend the abilities and the growth of the enemy. Too often they “project”, as the Freudians would have it, their own beliefs and modus operandi on the competitor or enemy. [Pres. Obama and Sec. of State John Kerry keep up an infernal litany about how Russia’s Vladimir Putin is mistaken in not applying the new norms of international conduct. That’s as though Putin does not know he is challenging what he sees as their restrictions on his behavior.]

In the current scene in Iraq-Syria-Gaza, with the Obama Administration reluctance to be involved, taking halfway measures, using the camouflage of partially effective humanitarian relief, the unfolding events are all too historically typical. Local beheadings, burial alive of victims, recruitment of young psychopaths is all too typical of recent events in the region.

But the threat is of a larger character and as dire as that posed by Fascism and Communism in the 20th century. For this squalid fanaticism is cloaked in the rationalization that it is based or lives in one of the major religious groups, Islam, with its more than 1.3 billion nominal adherents around the world, in a dozen different cultures. This particular evil, Islamic terrorism, despite the President’s professions of victory, is on the rise and spreading throughout the Muslim world at a rapid pace, even acquiring converts in the democratic societies.

The Obama Administration’s obfuscation of events is further obscured by the current intellectual climate in the U.S. with its enormous influence on world culture. It starts with the whole PC concept, the idea of what is “politically correct” – rationalizing group thinking which abhors and rejects criticism of its basic assumptions. [That speaker in opposition are denied their right to platforms in our most prestigious universities is an affront to the whole tradition of Western discourse and civilization.]

They include the notion that violence and counter-violence are no longer part of the human condition even though daily confronted with evidence to the contrary. Or they may include false definitions of what is Islam and the history of that religion and its more aggressive tendencies for the last 1600 years. It’s no wonder that the nomenclature for “politically correct” – if not its essence – arose among the Communists who were prepared to accept the adherence of important names in the arts and other celebrities so long as they called themselves Communists and echoed its political line even if they affronted some of its fundamental beliefs. [Picasso was the archetypical example.]

A corollary in the general PC agenda is the ability – and the irony — of the Islamicists to deflect criticism and action by their appeal to religious tolerance, now accepted in the Western world for several centuries. Radical Islam has the option, according to some twisted Muslim doctrines, to lie and practice deceit if it is in the promotion of Islamic conquest and conversion. The enemies of the whole American system of civil institutions among the jihadists, therefore, are able to exploit the accusation of “Islamaphobia” to prohibit an open and vigorous debate over the fundamentals of Islam and its relation to this generation of radicals and jihadists and other religions and cultures. This is coupled alas! with less than a hearty chorus of denunciation and avoidance of the jihadists by leaders of Muslim institutions of higher learning and its “clergy”. On the other hand, the fanatic jihadist preachers have full rein to all the avenues of publicity and propagation and recruitment including the new social media.

The second failure of logic — and thereby action — comes out of a false concept of deep intellectual thought which places our leadership above the everyday reactions of individuals. A superficial knowledge of history and application of a secular morality permits large sections of the American elite including the Washington bureaucracy to believe it understands the vast complication of issues thus permitting it to rise above them. By “understanding” all sides of the issues, it argues, it is able to take more judicious positions. That results in false “parities”.[The less than competent Ukrainian state is as “guilty” as their Russian-sponsored domestic enemies; because the Israelis spend their resources and effort on defending their population and therefore reduce casualties; they are on the same footing as Hamas “rising up against its restrictions” and suffering heavy casualties, the Moslem Brotherhood’s professions of commitment to democratic values make them the equal of Egypt’s military dictatorship trying to rescue a nation-state from chaos and poverty; Japan’s remilitarization in the face of a North Korea and Chinese Communist threat puts it on a par with Beijing’s outrageous territorial claims, etc., etc.]

This moral and intellectual ambiguity leads to a failing strategy.

It ignores the well known fact that once engaged in battle, the vagaries of warfare make the outcome always dubious, despite obvious seeming disparities of weaponry. Famous battles throughout history have often, if not mostly, been decided by narrow margins of victory, often later disguised by facile historians with a straight-line backward projection to decision-making. [The Greeks did lose against superior Persian numbers and weaponry at Thermopylae but prepared the victory at Plataea.]

Therefore, “a measured response” in Iraq-Syria now is as likely to fail as those calculated responses led to the Korean stalemate and the final political defeat in Vietnam.

But this time the stakes may be greater for the insidious infection of jihadist conflict is universal, growing, and destined to be with the world for a generation at least. Then, of course, since nothing succeeds like success, the future depends on whether the U.S. and its allies throughout the civilized world can give the jihadists a knockout blow somewhere on the many fronts of the conflict – not excluding the ISIL as a primary target.

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