If you only read one person regarding geopolitical affairs in the age of Islamic terror, make it war historian Victor Davis Hanson.
See, history is a very complex subject, and in that, nearly everyone possesses a certain myopia. All the facts are there–they really are–to be connected into what forms a pretty clear picture.
Here are some excerpts from VDH’s most recent:
First the terrorists of the Middle East went after the Israelis.
From 1967 we witnessed 40 years of bombers, child murdering, airline
hijacking, suicide murdering, and gratuitous shooting. We in the West
usually cried crocodile tears, and then came up with all sorts of
reasons to allow such Middle Eastern killers a pass.
Arafat, replete with holster and rants at the U.N., had become a
“moderate” and was thus free to steal millions of his good-behavior
money. If Hamas got European cash, it would become reasonable,
ostracize its “military wing,” and cease its lynching and vigilantism.
some tried to explain that Wars 1-3 (1947, 1956, 1967) had nothing to
do with the West Bank, such bothersome details fell on deaf ears.
it was pointed out that Germans were not blowing up Poles to get back
lost parts of East Prussia nor were Tibetans sending suicide bombers
into Chinese cities to recover their country, such analogies were
When the call for a “Right of Return” was
making the rounds, few cared to listen that over a half-million
forgotten Jews had been cleansed from Syria, Iraq, and Egypt, and lost
billions in property.
When the U.N. and the EU talked
about “refugee camps,” none asked why for a half-century the Arab world
could not build decent housing for its victimized brethren, or why 1
million Arabs voted in Israel, but not one freely in any Arab country.
security fence became “The Wall,” and evoked slurs that it was
analogous to barriers in Korea or Berlin that more often kept people in
than out. Few wondered why Arabs who wished to destroy Israel would
mind not being able to live or visit Israel.
After Holland, Madrid, and London,
European operatives go to Israel not to harangue Jews about the West
Bank, but to receive tips about preventing suicide bombings. And the
cowboy Patriot Act to now-panicked European parliaments perhaps seems
not so illiberal after all.
So it is was becoming clear that butchery by radical Muslims in Bali,
Darfur, Iraq, the Philippines Thailand, Turkey, Tunisia, and Iraq was
not so tied to particular and “understandable” Islamic grievances.
Perhaps the jihadist killing was not over the West Bank or U.S.
hegemony after all, but rather symptoms of a global pathology of young
male Islamic radicals blaming all others for their own self-inflicted
miseries, convinced that attacks on the infidel would win political
concessions, restore pride, and prove to Israelis, Europeans, Americans
— and about everybody else on the globe — that Middle Eastern warriors
were full of confidence and pride after all.
Meanwhile an odd thing happened. It turns out that the jihadists were
cowards and bullies, and thus selective in their targets of hatred. A
billion Chinese were left alone by radical Islam — even though the
Chinese were secularists and mostly godless, as well as ruthless to
their own Uighur Muslim minorities. Had bin Laden issued a fatwa
against Beijing and slammed an airliner into a skyscraper in Shanghai,
there is no telling what a nuclear China might have done.
India too got mostly a pass, other than the occasional murdering by
Pakistani zealots. Yet India makes no effort to apologize to Muslims.
When extremists occasionally riot and kill, they usually cease quickly
before the response of a much more unpredictable angry populace.
What can we learn from all this?
You’ll want to go read the whole thing.
For my part, it has always seemed rather obvious that the root problem is to be found in the insane religious ideology held by these people (and I don’t just mean the radicals). For one, it ought to give anyone pause to consider the nearly unlimited power of dogma, cleverly utilized. You can literally convince people that blowing themselves up to kill children that have done them no harm is the highest form of virtue to which their life might ascend. Ponder that. Then, be mightily skeptical of anyone, anywhere who tells you that he (somehow), and he alone (somehow), has answers for you from on high. ‘Course they’re all full of shit, en masse, and that includes the Christians and Jews, not just Muslims.
…It just occurred to me that perhaps this is a feature of monotheism. In polytheistic societies, there may exist more acceptance of competing ideologies. Of course, it’s all bullshit anyway, but perhaps the many-god scenario is less volatile, and ‘God knows’ we could certainly do with that until such time as society grows out of the need for supernatural pacifiers. Oh, well, just thinking out loud.
Another guy worthy of reading regularly, Christopher Hitchens, had this to say, as reported in the New Statesman. I can only honestly say that I agree fully and completely with that sentiment, top to bottom.
Most NS readers are likely to agree that Hitchens opted for
the wrong side after 9/11. (Which is not to say that all his arguments
on the subject were wrong.) How did this happen? In an interview, he
admitted to "a feeling of exhilaration" that September day: "Here we
are then . . . in a war to the finish between everything I love and
everything I hate." What he loves most is the idea of America, and
particularly of New York, "the magnetic compass point of my life". What
he hates most – a "cold, steady hatred . . . as sustaining to me as any
love" – is religion, "the most base and contemptible of the forms
assumed by human egotism and stupidity".