Saturday, July 30, 2005

On comments.

My thanks to Zimbo who offered an interesting comment on my previous post. What the comment demonstrated was that there is middle ground, but also misunderstanding of what things we have in common. It would be beneficial to clear these things up as I think that people often haven't constructed a good debate that helps us address our real interests at this time. Thanks also to anyone who's commented previously, especially those who've done so a lot. I'm thinking of David, Robbco and Max- and apologies if I forgot someone. I like comments, although the idea of long threads and voices raised (metaphorically) does intimidate me- so maybe I've not really aimed to get long threads going, preferring the, er, personal touch. Anyhow, thanks, and please respond whenever you feel like it.

While I'm talking about the last post, I should say well done to the police on catching all the bombers of the second attack. It was taking shape even as I wrote, popping around the internet as one does to glean links, but as it didn't have any bearing on my viewpoint I didn't mention the growing police success. Such successes don't address the much bigger geopolitical picture out of which the bombers are just a speck of paint.

Also relating to my previous post, the radio conversation between Mark Steyn and Hugh Hewitt is always a delight for me, but Steyn often taps my thinking like no other public thinker, so here's a part that especially reflects my views. It's longish, but all I can do when the Radioblogger format doesn't make the specific link easy. The whole conversation is great, too:

'if you do what they're trying to do in London at the moment, which is try it by the John Kerry means. In other words, take a law enforcement approach to terrorism. Treat them as criminals. That's fine in theory, but British and European law, and American law, all give great advantages to the criminals. And the British public, I think, will not forgive that. You can't go around saying we're going to shoot dead people on the tube, and if it's the wrong guy, that's tough. But on the other hand, if we happen to arrest the right guy, he can drag out the legal process for years, and get a suspended sentence.

HH: Yup. Now in the investigation that's unfolding, and it's going so quickly. We've discovered Pakistanis launched the first attack. A Somali was arrested yesterday. Three Turks last night. They're looking for an Iritrean. All of these people living in London a very long time, Mark Steyn. How bad do you think the jihadist network has been allowed to metastasize in London?

MS: Well, I think that's a very serious situation. If you land at Heathrow tomorrow, Hugh, as a U.S. citizen, as a law-abiding U.S. citizen, they'll put a big stamp in your passport, saying recourse to public funds prohibited, if you do that as a U.S. business traveler staying at the Ritz for 48 hours. This one guy they arrested yesterday, he's a Somali. He's been living in a council flat, which is public subsidized housing in London, for six years, at taxpayer expense, receiving income support. British taxpayers are essentially subsidizing the jihad against them, and that's an absurd situation that the British public can't tolerate for much longer.

HH: Do you sense a general hardening among serious people about this war? I mean, we do have people who do over the top like Tancredo, though I have not yet established whether you disagree with Tancredo's threat, and so let's pause there for a moment. What did you make of Tom Tancredo's nuke Mecca threat.

MS: I think that's a ridiculous suggestion, although I would say that at a certain level, if you want to fight a slow-motion war, in a rather desultory fashion, at some point, people are going to get annoyed and demand extreme measures. But to suggest we're at the stage of nuking Mecca right now, is just idiotic.

HH: Now today, a group of top U.S. Muslim scholars finally issued a fatwa. And I welcome it. It's good news. It's been four years since 9/11. But this fatwa is arrayed against all terrorists and would-be Muslim terrorists, saying it's simply unacceptable. Too little, too late, or is it the right thing that needs to happen?

MS: I think it's too little, too late.

Friday, July 29, 2005

A bad feeling about a more than bad policy.

'On a couple of very fleeting visits to London and Belfast in recent weeks, I had the vague feeling that Britain is on the brink of a tragedy it doesn’t quite comprehend.'
(Mark Steyn)

I have recently expressed my opposition to the idea of the War on Terror as a law enforcement policy- the opposite of a war, really. I believe the citizenry have to be involved. I think they actually need to learn to go completely against their training and put pressure on the communities around them who see themselves as possibly benefitting neutrals in the struggle we face, and make them in turn put pressure on those who might be conduits of terrorism. We need to personalise the War- the opposite of State policy. We need to support all means necessary- not just the last resort- to actually attack the interests of the terrorists. We need them to feel their opponents are real, human, and deeply angry. Such tactics might even save lives, as in the case of Charles Menenez.

I really fear the alternative. I read this article (via USSN) about the fears of a Muslim that his unwise fellows, the jihadists, had roused a tiger in the West, with interest. His thesis was as follows:

'In this new cold and hot war, car bombs and suicide bombers here and there will be no match for the arsenal that those Westerners are putting together - an arsenal of laws, intelligence pooling, surveillance by satellites, armies of special forces and indeed, allies inside the Arab world who are tired of having their lives disrupted by demented so-called jihadis or those bearded preachers who, under the guise of preaching, do little to teach and much to ignite the fire, those who know little about Islam and nothing about humanity.'

What I really fear is that the perception of remote, technocratic, remorseless yet destined-to-be-victorious opponents- mere automatons- will ignite something quite horrible. The reason for the war in Iraq was establishing a foothold in our own fate, yet the British people, by appearing to fail to support it, have made that foothold tenuous, especially as far as our own involvement is concerned (British soldiers keeping out of it, letting the locals have their worst habits intact). What this may mean is that by fighting a low key, technological kind of criminal investigation- war to them, legal proceedings to us- we may be unready and helpless when the technological challenge is answered by a more advanced kind of bomb. They have to be saving the chemicals and radioactive materials for something.

What we badly need is to have some Muslims on our side, to prove that we can live together on a higher plain, levelling up rather than demolishing the old order. Hamid Karzai was a good start. Iraq has given us that opportunity but we are blowing it because, in pathological fear of casualties and sacrifice, we are exporting the remote control warfare ethos from civilian to miliary contexts. Wars you win work the other way round, making civilians behave with military discipline and sacrifice.

Steyn has a characteristically brilliant article about the failings of a legalistic approach. He concentrates on the absurdities, or, perhaps, the tragedies, of the asylum system. He's dead right. Relatedly, I have met a number of Somalis on my travels (not in the UK, though). I know they can be absolutely great people- the liveliest minds and the most energy you'll find anywhere. The three I got to know were capable of anything- I mean in a good way, mainly. One of them had been trained in mechanics by the Soviets in the Seventies. What you need though is to engage, to relate, to harness these people. They don't respond to robots and they are looking for someone or something to blame for their situation. Admittedly these three were all apostates from radical Islam, living in fear of their lives from gangs of roaming Islamofascist gunmen, but if they were not totally exceptional then they were part of a larger phenomenon of people waiting passively to be given a positive lead, who were nevertheless capable of tackling the idiots who ruled their cowed people- if they were equipped by positive mentoring. However, they can't be rallied without a cause.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

BBC slither, slide, snake towards objectives.

When the BBC report Northern Ireland I have certain expectations. They won't be as soft on the IRA/Sinn Fein as they are, say, on Islamic terrorists. On the other hand they will sneak into their reporting some form of apologia for the IRA, some way of accommodating the Republican mantra as promulgated by terrorists like Gerry Adams and Martin Mcguinness. These men may be tired of not being able to say 'we've won' openly and with ever increasing clarity as they enter their dotages. They may be a bit miffed that the trappings of high office haven't yet materialised. But despite that any fool with half an eye can see that they're not the future of Ireland, North or South, or the whole thing together. And the main reason is that they don't know the meaning of sorry. Sorry combined with Adams and McGuinness makes sense like mixing water and oil makes sense.

So, I am almost equally angry with the BBC and the fascists of Sinn Fein when it is reported that 'During the NI Troubles, the IRA was blamed for about 1,800 murders.' . This is such a massive passive! Who 'blamed them' we are left to ask? For a Republican these are mostly to be regarded as smears. They didn't see them as murders because they saw themselves as freedom fighters in a war against occupation. They still do. For the BBC to let them sneak along without full admission of guilt is a crime against the people of Northern Ireland.

Mind you, on this issue (as in truth, on many) there's not much to choose between the BBC and the British Government, or their ununionist lackeys who they have coerced into demoralising the Unionist movement generally .

The British Government's Good Friday Agreement has meant the release of bombers like Sean Kelly, responsible for the murder (and nb. not 'blamed for' but 'responsible for') of nine people on the Shankhill road in 1993. 12 years for something approaching mass murder? And Republicans like Adams and McGuinness have championed his cause. If there's one lesson I would hope we'd have learnt from the jihad it's that bombing and claiming both grievances and rights are part of the same phenomenon. How can Blair claim to want to resist dhimmitude when he rankly submits to the terror rationale of McGuinness and Adams. We know he's not serious. He'd just love a slightly conciliatory kind of bin Laden to emerge with whom he could do business.

Ultimately however one has to say that you can't cheat history. Rapprochement with the Adams/McGuinness nationalist front won't bring stability to Northern Ireland or even Ireland in the long run. It will certainly bring criminality in high places, but it might also bring terrorism right to our door. The anti-colonialist path-ideology requires feeding with blood. The Spanish weren't crazy to believe in an ETA-Islam link up. I don't think it's a cloud diffused but actually a storm gathering.

Btw. This BBC opinion article seems to credit M. and A. with something courageous: There have been minor defections along the way, but Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness have steered the IRA through a period of dramatic change without a major split - and without being killed.

Hurrah for rhetoric! I don't believe there was ever any danger of that, given the godfather grip those two have between them on people who understand the wind's behind them even if the demography, reason and morality aren't.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

I have a theory about the London bombings that runs contrary to Tony Blair's thesis.

Yes, there is no excuse for terror- but maybe we did deserve it (not the people struck, I hasten to add). For things like our appeasement of the IRA, our unwillngness to crack down on threats to other countries emanating from our country, for being so complacent as to regard our Islamic 'militants' as a matter for the leisurely measured stride of the law- even today, after the horse has bolted-, and at the end of all that playing the Churchillian, even when that was a trick even Churchill could barely pull off with a clear conscience.

Surely it's clear that leaving Islamism up to the courts is just an open invitation to develop a more sophisticated jihad, aided and abetted by powerful legal establishment figures. There's a musical, or a tragedy, waiting to be written about our hypocrite Premiere and his crusading wife- the woman who helped write a suicide note for a nation, with a husband who thinks he can save the world. Maybe the reason the Guardian thought it was ok to hire Dilpazier Aslam was that Cherie had no problem doing a big favour for Shabin Begum (the girl in the not-infamous-enough hijab case)'s big brother, a supporter of Aslam's terror-friendly party, Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Talk about inbreeding- it makes you wonder about Tony Blair's political parentage; can't blame him for that I suppose, but can't really trust him either.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

I wish more people on the right were saying what Mark Steyn is saying about the death of Menezes. I wish that more people were saying that generally. He describes it as 'the pathetic public execution of an innocent man'.

It was indeed that- and I find it disquietening that so many people have just swallowed the scenario so easily. One could list some reasons why the police action was unacceptable (it's difficult to believe such a final and brutal act could have any real, sensible operational foundation based on such flimsy pretexts as the police have proffered. The operational guidelines are clearly idiot guides to human situations), and Steyn does just that. That's not to say that a shoot to kill policy isn't necessary for some conjunctions of events, and of course we don't know all the facts- Steyn says the police accosting Menezes were plain clothes; I have heard other people say otherwise.

What I don't like is the sense I get that the quietude over Menezes' death is a reflection that people just want to make the suicide bombers a law enforcement issue. Thus they give the law enforcers a free rein, meanwhile hoping that the statistical chances of being a victim of that freedom bear out in their own cases. Of course the authorities have to act, but we need to sharpen up their game and not accept their ineptnesses.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Convenient isn't it, now that the BBC's cherished notion of a fictonal Al Qaeda has been demolished by recent events, that they should have at hand 'The New Al Qaeda'? As the article suggests, the ingredients for this new group are truly simple:

'widespread anger at US-led policies in the Middle East, the proliferation of information about bomb-making on the internet and the ability of Islamist extremists to blend into Western society. This potent cocktail has created the new al-Qaeda, the subject of Peter Taylor's new BBC Two television series.' (i.m.)

If at first you don't succeed in any serious analysis, try, try and try again. Let's see now, which of those ingredients can be seen as avoidable? The internet, the blending in of extremists, or US-led policies in the Middle East?

Laban Tall has a great post up about assimilation issues.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Questions for the mufti. Marc poses them, and what we have to remember is to listen to what the Islamic scholars say (especially the ones whom we have allowed to stay in this country), and how their debate goes, rather than simply to their mouthpieces. These mouthpieces are constructed specifically for our consumption, not to tell us the truth about the intentions and views of the Umma.

I was interested to hear what Hani al-siba had to say to Al Jazeera (and keep in mind that this man is London-based):

“The term civilian does not exist in Islamic religious law. There is no such term as civilians in the western sense. People are either of Dar al Harb [literally, house of hostility, meaning any non-Islamic government] or not.”
(embolding mine)

Imagine then the debate between the mouthpieces and the scholars. One says that killing civilians is wrong; the other that there is no such thing as a civilian.

Compare it for a moment to British social discourse along ideological lines: Margaret Thatcher telling socialists that there is no such thing as society. The difference is that while common sense tells us that there is such a thing as a society, just as common sense dictates that we have a heart and consider there is such a thing as a civilian (the very elderly and young babies, at minimum), the Imam or scholar of Islam has chapter and verse from a book without which the mouthpiece would have no religion to apologise for at all.

Anyway, the headline issue was that the Egyptian British based Islamic scholar said that the London bombings were a great victory, but that's not really the full reality of what he said- what he said was something more reasonable:

' “If Al-Qaeda indeed carried out this act, it is a great victory for it. It rubbed the noses of the world’s eight most powerful countries in the mud. The victory is a blow to the economy.” '

This is undeniable, if al Qaeda were a group which one could describe as aiming for victories rather than tragedies. To me there is no such thing as an Al Qaeda victory- only a tragedy for humanity. But I think we should quote them accurately.

But finally I want to refer back to Enoch Powell, just as our Government is intent on erecting legislation in the context of religion-centred speech (I find it hard to summarise this hydra). Powell said, speaking when the original race-relations legislation was in the course of being enacted:

'a one-way privilege is to be established by Act of Parliament: a law, which cannot, and is not intended, to operate to protect them or redress their grievances, is to be enacted to give the stranger, the disgruntled and the agent provocateur the power to pillory them for their private actions.'

The 'them' he referred to was the non-immigrant, traditional white christian community of Britain. It's difficult not to believe that the current legislation is one more step down the road to allowing the furtherance of the jihadis aims. Who, do you think, will use the new legisation with greater skill and aggression- the jihadis or the Anglican church?

Meanwhile we have this from the BBC, as Marc notes.

To understand the nature of the ideological tussle, this is a helpful article.

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