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The West Invites Attack

By David Warren

Contrary to generally received opinion, the West is not today under siege from Muslim fanatics because of a resurgence of Islam, but because of the West's own moral and intellectual decline. Even Osama bin Laden knows this. The West invites attack, and the enemy's strategy in attacking is paradoxically to hide his own weakness.

If you look at the enemy, even where he has concentrated his best forces in Afghanistan, Iraq, and now Lebanon, you see something unimpressive. Everything that enemy has to fight with, is a by-product of Western industry and invention. The adaptations are sometimes clever, in a psychopathic way, but they are more psychopathic than clever.

As one very unofficial Persian commentator put it recently, it is amazing to see a country that cannot even manufacture good safety matches, going about constructing an atomic bomb. The thousands of Katyusha rockets that the Iranian proxy, Hezbollah, pumped into northern Israel, are worth examining. They are laughably inefficient in range and aim, and cannot carry much weight in explosive. They can kill only randomly, and then mostly because they are packed with crude shrapnel. Once in shelters, Israeli civilians were at no risk from them. Once emerged, they find their buildings pocked by all this flying gravel, but structural damage only where the rockets directly hit. What contemptible missiles these are!

But the ideology behind the terrorist weaponry is equally contemptible. If I were a Muslim, with the inheritance of Islamic tradition behind me, I'd be deeply ashamed of the babbling idiots who claimed to speak for me. I would be very loud in contradicting them. Their ideology is tied to Islam, and constructed largely with an Islamic vocabulary and rough grammar, but hardly with an Islamic syntax. By this I mean, that it is inconceivable that anything resembling the "blovulations" of the Salafists, and Shia revolutionists of Iran, could emerge from a purely Islamic course of reasoning. There are too many extraneous elements. In the use of Islamic terms, there is too much slapstick and self-parody.

As many have now observed, the "Islamists" have semi-consciously spun together diverse ideological materials. They have borrowed uncritically from such 20th century totalitarian ideologies as Fascism, Nazism, and Communism. Each of these European ideologies, itself simplistic, had previously played a part in Arab nationalism. The Hitler strain came right off a flight from Berlin, in the person of the satanic old Mufti of Jerusalem. You look at the fascist salutes in the Hezbollah warrior parades, and see that almost everything about these soi-disant "soldiers" is pathetically imitated from a melodrama on some other history channel.

The very obsession with Israel and the Jews -- exhibited in obscene repetitions of blood libels -- is instructive. While there is some choice indigenous anti-Jewish material to be found within the Islamic tradition, starting in the Koran, the flavour and pitch of contemporary Muslim "anti-Semitism" owes little to it. One must ask such questions as, why do the current rulers of Iran spend so much time denying the Holocaust? It had nothing to do with Islam.

Indeed, the term "Islamo-fascists", that President Bush was recently criticized for using, is a more accurate short description, than the default term "Islamism" we have been using, to describe this crassly politicized caricature of Islam.

I do not want to insert the standard refrain about the glories of past Islamic civilizations, that political correctness demands. For "PC" is a good enough label for our real mortal enemy. But it is certainly true that Muslim authorities, in most preceding centuries, offered a view of God and man's duties and destiny, that was a whole lot more impressive than the current lot offers. Islam has long been the West's rival. But we could never have wished our rival to be idiotized to such a degree.

We have a problem in us, not in them. It is the recovery of our own sense of what we are, what we believe, and what we are about, that would defeat Afghan cave-dwellers and shrieking ayatollahs fairly quickly.

In a column this last week, on the current threat from Iran and its proxies, I asked a naïve, simple question that I will repeat. I observed that no counter-threats have been tabled, nor lines drawn in the diplomatic sandboxes of the West. I asked, why not? Why not say plainly, "If you do this, we will do that."

It is this inability to deal forthrightly with madmen, that suggests we have lost too many of our own marbles. For why should a man with a gun fear a man with a stick?

© Ottawa Citizen

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