So France is now sending war planes into Syria to go after IS. Good. But why was this not done many months ago? Why did it have to wait for so many more of its own innocent citizens to be slaughtered before finally waking up and doing its duty?
Western leaders seem as clueless and brainless about Islam and terrorism as so many of our media elites and commentators who have said just about every idiotic thing imaginable after the Paris attacks. The insanity that passes for intelligent commentary on the events of Friday the 13th are beyond a parody.
That people presumably still with a functioning brain can utter such bizarre and idiotic nonsense is a cause of extreme wonderment and concern. This is why we are losing the war against terror. This is why the West is in such awful shape. Consider a few of the many gems that have been offered in the past few days:
-US Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders waxed really eloquent, claiming it is climate change that causes terrorism (yes he actually suggested that).
-Former Malaysian prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the creation of the Jewish state was the cause of the Paris terror attacks. Well, of course.
-Over at the uber-leftist Salon, we find mind-numbing headlines such as this: “Our terrorism double standard: After Paris, let’s stop blaming Muslims and take a hard look at ourselves”.
-A local Queensland paper actually said this: “It is important to note these attacks were carried out by terrorists, not Muslims.”
-A leftist ABC “comic” offered this helpful tweet on how to deal with the terrorists: “Australia would send a better message to the world if we just hung Pauline Hanson from the Sydney Harbour Bridge. — Adam Hills”
-Finally, this from the winner of the Tool of the Year award: “More people are killed by emu export [sic] each year than terrorists.”
I kid you not folks. You just cannot make this sort of stuff up. If you want to know why the terrorists are winning all over the globe, and especially in the West, you simply have to be aware that people like this actually exist, and they actually “think” this way.
And then we have all the nice little gestures that may make Westerners feel good, but will do zero for stopping the Allahu akbar brigade from doing their thing. Lighting up the Sydney Opera House in blue, white and red may make us all feel good, but will not stop the religion of peace from its goal of global domination.
The first thing we must do in a time of war is to start thinking straight. Also high up on the list is the ability to carefully and precisely identify the enemy. Neither of these necessities seem to be found among our ruling elites and our clueless commentariat.
Thankfully however there are a few voices of sanity still out there who are offering some level-headed commentary and directions for the way forward. One expert on Islam, Raymond Ibrahim, offers various lessons from the attack, such as this:
“Islam’s unwavering Rule of Numbers, which holds that, wherever and whenever Muslims grow in numbers – and they make for an increasingly growing minority in France – the same acts of ‘anti-infidel’ violence that are endemic to the Islamic world grow with them.”
But he says there is an even more important lesson to be learned:
The grand lesson is that such attacks must and will continue to multiply in severity. Why? Because Western nations, their leaders and media talking heads continue to be shocked and dismayed. As Judith Berman writes for the Gatestone Institute today:
“One of the most surprising aspects of the terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday night is how ‘deeply shocked’ members of the European political establishment appeared to be. Angela Merkel, David Cameron and the Pope all expressed their condolences – and ‘deep shock’ – at the well-coordinated, citywide terror attacks in six different places across Paris…”
Even “NBA players express shock, sympathy over Paris terrorist tragedy.” What is truly shocking is that so many are still shocked. When someone is shocked, they are essentially saying they have no idea how a specific event, in this case yesterday’s Paris attack, came to pass.
In turn, this means that all the factors that led up to such terrorist attacks – from an already large Muslim presence further engorged with more Muslim migrants, to an inability to speak honestly about Islam’s supremacist and violent teachings – will continue unabated. And that means many more such attacks and worse will continue. Count on it.
Yes quite so. Those who fail to learn from history will simply keep repeating its mistakes. One would have thought that 1400 years of Islamic imperialism and expansionism should have taught us something. Apparently not. Middle East expert Daniel Pipes concurs:
The murder of some 127 innocents in Paris by a jihadi gang on Friday has again shocked the French and led to another round of solidarity, soul searching, and anger. In the end, however, Islamist violence against Westerners boils down to two questions: How much will this latest atrocity turn public opinion? And how much will it further spur the Establishment to deny reality?
As these questions suggest, the people and the professionals are moving in opposite directions, the former to the right, the latter to the left. In the end, this clash much reduces the impact of such events on policy. Public opinion moves against Islamists specifically and Islam more generally when the number of deaths are large enough….
But when it comes to the Establishment – politicians, the police, the press, and the professors – the unrelenting violence has a contrary effect. Those charged with interpreting the attacks live in a bubble of public denial (what they say privately is another matter) in which they feel compelled to pretend that Islam has no role in the violence, out of concern that to recognize it would cause even more problems.
Former US Ambassador John Bolton offers four lessons from this atrocity. Let me offer one of them:
Second, we should not view the appropriate American and Western response as “bringing these terrorists to justice,” in President Obama’s words. This is not a matter for the criminal law, as many American political and academic leaders, including the President, have insisted, even after the September 11, 2001, attacks.
This is a war, as President Hollande has forthrightly called it, not a slightly enhanced version of thieves knocking over the corner grocery store within an ordered civil society. And the mechanism of response must be to destroy the source of the threat, not prosecute it, not contain it, not hope that we will “ultimately” destroy it. “Ultimately” is too far away.
Finally, a bit of the bigger picture from historian Niall Ferguson:
Like the Roman Empire in the early 5th century, Europe has allowed its defences to crumble. As its wealth has grown, so its military prowess has shrunk, along with its self-belief. It has grown decadent in its malls and stadiums. At the same time, it has opened its gates to outsiders who have coveted its wealth without renouncing their ancestral faith. The distant shock to this weakened edifice has been the Syrian civil war, though it has been a catalyst as much as a direct cause for the great Volkerwanderung of 2015.
As before, they have come from all over the imperial periphery – North Africa, the Levant, South Asia – but this time they have come in their millions, not in mere tens of thousands. To be sure, most have come hoping only for a better life. Things in their own countries have become just good enough economically for them to afford to leave and just bad enough politically for them to risk leaving.
But they cannot stream northwards and westwards without some of that political malaise coming with them. As Gibbon saw, convinced monotheists pose a grave threat to a secular empire. It is doubtless true to say that the overwhelming majority of Muslims in Europe are not violent. But it is also true the majority hold views not easily reconciled with the principles of our liberal democracies.
I do know that 21st-century Europe has itself to blame for the mess it is now in. Surely, nowhere in the world has devoted more resources to the study of history than modern Europe did.
When I went up to Oxford more than 30 years ago, it was taken for granted that in the first term I would study Gibbon. It did no good. We learnt a lot of nonsense to the effect that nationalism was a bad thing, nation states worse and empires the worst things of all.
“Romans before the fall,” wrote Ward-Perkins, “were as certain as we are today that their world would continue forever substantially unchanged. They were wrong. We would be wise not to repeat their complacency.” Poor, poor Paris. Killed by complacency.
Yes complacency. And political correctness. And a refusal to face reality and learn from the past. And national self-loathing. And cowardliness. And appeasement. And false notions of tolerance. The list goes on. Given the overwhelming malaise the West is in, the only question to ask is this: which city will be next to have blood flowing on the street, with the jihadists growing in strength and confidence?