Of course everyone will take from the bombings in London the “lessons” they’re already seeking. The left claims that the bombings show the war in Iraq is producing the terror instead of fighting it, as though attacks on Muslims (so their logic goes) are of concern to the terrorists. Saddam and the terrorists have killed a hundred times more Muslims than American forces. Moreover, American forces have saved millions of Muslim lives in Bosnia, Kosovo, Somalia, Afghanistan and, yes, in Iraq. This is not a war about America’s treatment of Muslims and never was.
The left never understood the Iraq war in the first place, so it can’t really be expected to understand the war in Europe now. The Islamic jihad against the West, for which Iraq is but one very important battlefield, did not begin in 2003 with the toppling of Saddam. It is rooted in a radical movement that arose in Egypt in the 1920s – the creation of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose "little red book" was the Koran, as interpreted by by Hassan al-Banna, Sayyid Qutb and eventually the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeni, the leader of the first revolutionary Islamic state.
The Islamic jihad against the West began in earnest in November, 1979 with the Islamic revolution in Iran, which climaxed with the taking of American hostages and a million fanatics in the streets of Teheran chanting “Death to America.” One of the takers of those hostages and leaders of those chants is the newly elected “president” of revolutionary Iran. (This week they were chanting "Death to America" again.) The Iranian revolution created Hizbollah, the terrorist organization that blew up the Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983, in many ways the first terrorist attack of the modern war on us.
One can concede the left’s point that the American-supported war to liberate Afghanistan from Soviet occupation was another proving ground for the Islamic jihad. As it happens, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was launched the following month in December 1979 and, as leftists like to point out, it was the training war for Osama bin Laden and many of the Palestinians who went on to create al-Qaeda, Hamas and other Islamic terrorist groups.
Of course, the left isn’t interested in history, except to pluck out isolated facts it can twist to stick in America’s eye. Thus the left uses its Osama “fact” to claim that America created bin Laden and that we are responsible for the attacks on our homeland. (This is exactly what the terrorists claim too.) Inevitably, whatever facts it is interpreting, the left ends up demonstrating that it is at war with America. On the other hand, watch it scream “foul” when anyone points out this obvious truth. (Are you questioning my patriotism???!)
The left’s Afghanistan twist is several lies in one, but there is no need to disentangle them here. The left that makes this argument is uninterested in the history of our proxy war against the Soviet invaders because it basically supported the invading force. Just as radicals today like to think of themselves as “anti-anti-Saddam” so then they were anti-anti-Communist. In practice this meant they were the mainstay in the West for the Soviet empire and its expansion into vulnerable nations on its periphery like Afghanistan.
The United States provided training and arms for the Muslim mujahideen in Afghanistan because its conscience was roused by the Soviet invaders whose scorched earth policies killed a million defenseless Afghan civilians before the resistance, with America’s help, was able to stop them.
In making its argument, the left also ignores the momentous historical fact that the victory of the mujahideen, made possible by America's gift of missiles, not only defeated the Red Army, but triggered the chain of events which led to the fall of the Marxist empire. In other words, U.S. support for the mujahideen eventually liberated a billion people whom the Soviet comrades of American and European leftists had enslaved for fifty and seventy years.
In other words, America’s support for the Palestinian, Egyptian and Saudi terrorists (Osama among them) who flocked to the cause was a somewhat bad deed in the service of a very great good one. It was not as bad a deed for example as saving and arming their friend Joe Stalin and his Marxist butchers in order to defeat Hitler, but it was an equally good one. Consequently those Americans who are able to actually remember history are proud of what we did in Afghanistan and have no regrets.
When the left blames London on Iraq, as though Islamic jihad has been caused by Iraq, it ignores not only the rhetoric of the jihadists (America is the enemy, Zarqawi proclaimed in a fatwa last year, “as the bearer of the cross”) but all the attacks on us that preceded Iraq: Mogadishu, the World Trade Center 1993, the barracks in Saudi Arabia, the US embassies in Africa, the USS Cole, the World Trade Center 2001, and all the failed strikes, from those planned on the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels to the millennium plot designed to kill hundreds of thousands. The left’s argument about Iraq also contradicts itself, since the case before London was that the war in Iraq is a distraction from the war on terror. Obviously the London terrorists don’t think so.
The Islamic jihad is not a response to the war in Iraq; it is a religious war whose armies began forming in 1979 in Iran and Afghanistan and the West Bank and Gaza. Because the jihad is not about Iraq, its agendas -- which the left that never bothers itself about -- will not be satisfied by an American withdrawal from Iraq or Afghanistan, or an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank. Instead it will be incited by them. Just as Arafat and the al-Aqsa murderers brigade were incited by the weakness shown by Clinton and Barak in offering concessions to people who want it all. When your enemy is determined to destroy you, an olive branch is seen as weakness, something we should have learned once at for all at Munich, but never have.
The radical Islamist jihad is at war with the democracies of the West in Europe and the Middle East and America, and there is no way out of the war but to win it.
The bombings in London show the folly of well-meaning liberals who think that tolerance of an enemy that lives within one’s country will persuade the enemy to change his mind and will produce beneficent results. The Islamic community in London produced more than one Mosque of hate preaching war against Britain. The haters were tolerated. The tolerance led to disaster.
The war in Iraq is an excuse for radicalism, not its cause; just as the war in Vietnam was an excuse for American radicals to conduct a war against America they already had in their hearts to fight. The radicals' war not only continues but has morphed into a massive effort to support the campaign of jihadists who want to kill us. An expert on suicide bombings analyzed 71 terrorist attacks between 1995 and 2004 and concluded from the pattern (in an article called, “Al-Qaeda’s Smart Bombs”) that the immediate military goal of the jihadists was “to compel the United States and its Western allies to withdraw combat forces from the Arabian peninsula and other Muslim countries.”
This is precisely what the left is demanding. It has opened a political front behind our lines. Note: This surrender is not what the Iraqis are demanding; it is not what the people of Afghanistan are demanding; it is not what the Saudis or the Lebanese are demanding. It is what the terrorists are demanding, and it is what the American left is demanding, and the British and European left as well.
The left preaches surrender in the war against the Islamists on all fronts: retreat from Iraq; retreat from Afghanistan; retreat (without a peace) from the territories in Gaza and the West Bank. In the name of ending the violence. But even one such retreat will produce infinitely more bloodshed at home and abroad than we are facing now. Why? Because we are tolerant and the enemy is ruthless; because we are compassionate and the enemy is savage; because we are merciful and the enemy is not. America’s defeat, Britain’s defeat, Israel’s defeat would produce slaughters to make 9/11 look tame.
The lesson of London, then, is to take seriously what your enemies say. For years Britain has tolerated Imams in its midst who are calling for war. Not because they don’t like this particular Tony Blair policy or that one, but because they hate the secular and Christian and Jewish West which in their fanatical imaginations belongs to the realm of Dar al-Harb, the realm of the unbelievers, the realm of the infidel and the damned. Dar al-Harb: in Arabic, it means the realm of WAR. Leftists obviously don’t understand this, don’t understand the mentality of the religious fanatics whose work they are doing. If the West surrenders, the left will undoubtedly be the first to be killed. (Has any leftist asked themselves why the terrorists would pick liberal, multicultural New York to attack?)
For years Britain has tolerated Imams who have preached hatred of Britain right in their midst. For years Britain has tolerated Imams who have celebrated the violence that Britain’s enemies promise and the violence Britain’s enemies deliver. And now they have paid the price for their tolerance. Or a price. Because the war in Europe is only beginning.
The lesson of London is that tolerance can kill you.
It is time for the West to begin to set limits to the suicidal softness it considers its soul. We can no longer afford to tolerate hate directed against us, particularly hate that emanates from religious pulpits and supports murder in God's name. We can no longer tolerate hate that is directed at us because we think we are powerful and the hate can’t hurt us.
The lesson of London is that it can.
The Imams of hate and their followers and their secular defenders in the West are self-declared enemies who need to be watched closely by all of us from now on. They need to be watched in their Mosques, and in their civil liberties fronts to defend their captured, and in the political groups that have declared we are the enemy and they are the victims. When these domestics step over the line, they need to be prosecuted. If they are aliens who hate us, they need to be deported.
A lesson of London for the British themselves is that they need a British Patriot Act. Their frontline protectors are as hamstrung as ours were before 9/11. The Patriot Act criminalizes not only terror but “material support for terror.” It allows the FBI to surveil not only groups that have committed a crime against us, but groups that have demonstrated the passion and the will to commit crimes against us. The Patriot Act allows law enforcement to surveil the threats that come from our enemies within. That is why the left is up in arms against the Patriot Act: They want to strike down the provisions that allow us to keep an eye on them.
The stakes are high. These homemade London bombs, apparently not the work of professionals, killed more than fifty people and injured more than seven hundred. A dirty nuclear bomb in an American city is not something we will be able to just take in stride.
Our internal problem from those who hate us is as big as Britain’s, perhaps even bigger. I am growing weary of watching American apologists for Islamic terror and opponents of our self-defenses treated as “liberals” and as though the most important thing for the rest of us to do, is avert our eyes from the malice in their hearts and pretend that it's American politics as usual. We are trained in complacency by the genius of our democratic political system. Though passions run high, the stakes in our elections are remarkably low. One side loses an election. No one dies. No one goes to jail. In America politics can seem like a game.
Friday night I was watching my friend Alan Colmes, who is a decent liberal but doesn’t like the war. The guest on Hannity & Colmes was Kevin Danaher, husband of Medea Benjamin and a leader of the indecent left that unlike Alan wants us to lose the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and Israel to the enemy force. Danaher and his wife who are leaders of Global Exchange and Code Pink and Iraq Occupation Watch, the campaign to dissuade American youngsters from serving in our country, are at work day and night to cripple our lines of homeland defense, from the protections afforded by the Patriot Act to the military forces who are keeping our enemies at bay in the field.
The discussion on Hannity & Colmes was about the violence of the anarcho-marxists who were raining rocks on the G8 meeting in Scotland which the terrorist bombs were designed to disrupt. In other words, they were conducting violence to parallel ends. The rocks they were throwing were large enough to kill a man. Danaher, who is a leader of the global anti-capitalist left that staged the attacks would not condemn the rock throwers but was smart enough to disapprove violence in the abstract – or the violence of “both sides” – which he knew meant nothing. It was his people who were attacking. To condemn those defending themselves in the same breath is to propose that they become defenseless, which is exactly his plan.
Colmes was frustrated because he understood that Danaher’s position, as he was arguing it, was suspect but since Danaher was against the war Alan wanted to coach him to do better. “Look,” Colmes began, “I agree with your agendas, but…”
No he doesn’t agree with Danaher's true agendas. Alan Colmes doesn’t have the foggiest notion of who Kevin Danaher is or what his malicious and deadly intentions really are. Liberals like Alan Colmes have up to now protected the anti-American left by pretending that it is all a game. People who denounce the President as Adolf Hitler and America as Hitler’s Germany are "foolish" and don’t really mean it. Well actually some are not so foolish and do.
This is the lesson of London: Take the hostile force within your country and within your political coalition seriously. It’s not a game anymore.
This is something I learned in my years on the left. All too often, people mean what they say. Make no mistake, those who talk revolution and war against our country are quite capable of acting on their talk – of aiding and abetting those who are already at war and want to kill us. When the day comes that they step over the line and translate their words into action, they will do it with the best of intentions: to make the world a better place. That is the reason they are so dangerous. Like Mohammed Atta who did it for Allah, they will do it for a noble cause.
Understand this, and you will understand that people who use the language of war need to be isolated and regarded with care.
Understand this, and you will understand that those who describe America as Hitler's Germany can be dangerous, and need to be watched.
I myself understand that this is a disturbing thought to any American. It is disturbing to me. But in the aftermath of London it would be foolish to deny that such a precaution is also a necessary one. The infamous Ward Churchill began by describing ordinary Americans as “little Eichmanns.” He has already moved on to inciting military personnel to kill their officers. And to inciting college students to applaud military personnel who do. As a matter of progressive duty, mind you. Can anyone be confident that there are no Ward Churchill disciples listening to his words who might take them seriously and put them into practice? Anyone remember John Walker Lindh?
Nazi Germany is a symbol of evil. There is not a man or woman who calls himself “progressive” who does not also think of themselves as a person who would destroy evil if given the chance. The purpose of identifying America with Nazi Germany is to hate America. To hate us. The purpose of this hatred is to engage in the task of destroying the evil. In this case, that means us.
Yes, we have rights in this country that guarantee to radicals who want to destroy us the privilege to telegraph their homicidal agendas. But this does not deprive the rest of us of the right to defend ourselves as well.
The beginning of this defense is to take their words seriously, remember London, and understand that this is no longer a game.