Views From Kennewick

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Britian's war against . . . well, you know

Terrorists targeting the West populate a virulent strain of Islam. Skirting that unfortunate truth — as the new prime minister seems apt to do — will only prolong the battle and embolden the enemy.

By Melanie Phillips

Britain is now fighting a war it dares not name. The recent failed car bomb attacks on a London nightclub and Glasgow airport demonstrated once again that Britain is a principal target for al-Qaeda. But even now, the British response is dangerously confused.

(Photo -- On alert: Police patrol Waterloo railway station in London last week in the wake of failed car bomb attacks. Britain has arrested eight people. / By Peter Macdiarmid, Getty Images)

After eight people in the medical profession were arrested over these attacks, there was widespread shock that those who cure should also want to kill. This naive and ahistorical reaction demonstrated yet again the extraordinary state of denial about the Islamist jihad. After all, Osama bin Laden's sidekick, Ayman al-Zawahri, is a doctor. So are other Islamist terrorists, including Mahmoud Zahar, the Hamas strongman in Gaza.

But because the deeply empirical British do not understand how religious fanaticism twists the human mind, they tell themselves that Islamic terrorism must be driven by rational grievances such as deprivation, "Islamophobia" or British foreign policy.

Many continue to believe that Britain is a target because of its involvement in Iraq. While the war is undoubtedly used to whip up hysteria in the Muslim world, the irrationality of believing that it is the cause of Islamic terror is clearly demonstrated by the fact that British Muslims who have been jailed for terrorist offenses were recruited even before 9/11. Al-Qaeda is also heavily engaged in places such as Indonesia or Africa, which have no connection to Iraq or the Middle East.

A global target

In Britain, all these grievance excuses are wearing very thin, thanks to the recent emergence of former jihadists who have renounced their extremism.

Ed Husain, in his book The Islamist, and another former radical, Hassan Butt, have made the case that the doctrines to which they once subscribed are rooted in nothing other than a fanatical desire to Islamize the world.

But while these courageous people are telling Britain that, far from being motivated by despair, Islamist terrorists kill as an act of religious exultation, the new prime minister, Gordon Brown, has banned his ministers from using the word "Muslim" — and presumably "Islamic" or "Islamist" — in connection with the terrorist crisis. He has also put an end to the phrase "war on terror."

Accordingly, in her statement to Parliament about the attacks, the new home secretary, Jacqui Smith, referred to them as "criminal" acts rather than Islamic terrorism and talked about "communities" that are involved rather than Muslims.

For those in the coalition of the willing who have been nervous about how Brown's leadership will differ from that of Tony Blair, such a signal is deeply alarming. How can Brown talk about winning a battle of ideas — when he is not even prepared to name the central idea that is driving the terrorism?

This is a disastrous misjudgment, and not merely because a society cannot possibly defend itself against a threat it is not even willing to identify. More seriously still, it means the British government is pandering to the refusal by most British Muslims to acknowledge that Islamist terrorism is rooted in their religion and that this is a problem with which they must themselves deal.

Because it is not enough for them to condemn terrorism. They must also repudiate, publicly and authoritatively, those parts of their religion that mandate hatred of the unbeliever and holy war. The Brown government's censorship of language lets them off that crucial hook and, by signaling its own moral and intellectual weakness, emboldens the radicals.

Softening in the USA

Brown's failure of nerve is being reflected in the USA, too.

Despite President Bush's aggressive rhetoric about the "war on terror," he has in fact fluctuated wildly over identifying religious fanaticism as the central driver of the problem. After 9/11, he said "Islam is peace." And although for a period he started referring to "Islamic extremism" and even "Islamo-fascism," he recently sounded a full retreat when he appointed an American special envoy to the deeply Islamist and anti-western Organization of the Islamic Conference. With such an instinct on both sides of the Atlantic to appease Islamist fanaticism, the "war on terror" becomes an empty sound bite as the West advertises its weakness to the enemy.

Undoubtedly, the latest attacks upon Britain were designed to test the will of the new British prime minister. His censorship of the language, however, was far from the only indication of a disturbing weakening of that will. For he has brought into his government a string of people who were opposed to the Iraq war, thus signaling a distancing from the United States — and opening up an exceptionally dangerous crack in what should be a staunchly united alliance in time of war.

Such new ministers include Foreign Secretary David Miliband, who blamed Israel in last year's Lebanon war; the new higher education minister, John Denham, who resigned from the Blair administration over Iraq; and most startling of all, the new second in command at the Foreign Office, Sir Mark Malloch Brown, a former United Nations official who has downplayed the U.N. "oil for food" scandal and condemned the United States over the Iraq war.

Britain has never been in a more dangerous position — not just because of terrorism but because, faced with an enemy whose platform is the decadence and weakness of the West, it is going out of its way to prove the terrorists right.

Melanie Phillips is a columnist for the Daily Mail in London and author of Londonistan


http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2007/07/britians-war-ag.html


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Blogger Note:

As Tony Blair left office and handed the reins over to Gordon Brown, I'd hoped Brown
would stand up like a Scot and a man, call a spade a spade. But no. I guess there's only room for one non-pc leader in this world. What I wouldn't give to have hundreds of John Howards (Australia's PM.) What I wouldn't give to place him in the Presidency of the United States. What I wouldn't give to clone the man.

While his popularity is waning in the Down Under, Howard stands for something. He stands for honesty, not political correctness. He stands for truth, not islamic lies. He stands for human rights, not sharia law. He stands for decency, not murder of civilians.

He may not be your hero, but he is mine.

2 Comments:

  • the problem, what i see, is that the minorities in UK are not integrating. there are various reasons for this but as long as they consider themselves outsiders, acts of terrorism against their host(for some their own) nation is not that difficult. here is what a terrorism analyst has to say about this.

    bhumika
    world news desk,the newsroom

    By Blogger Bhumika Ghimire, at 9:30 AM  

  • bhumika, you're right. That is part of the problem. But don't be fooled by the b.s. line that it's "disenfrachised" poor people that perpetrate various attacks. It's generally more eductated folks and has been for some time.

    These barbarians are mentally twisted. But it seems more and more fanatics are turning away--something has got to them. We can only hope this continues.

    But still, protect yourself and your family. You'll need to.

    By Blogger KennewickMusing, at 6:49 AM  

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