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A Rectification Of Names

So, up in Seattle, a Muslim goes Jew hunting in a target-rich environment, killing one and wounding several others, all of them women, one of them pregnant (he almost got a twofer, there). Once again, we're assured by the authorities that there's no reason to think that this is terrorism. In fact, the police are now reportedly guarding the local mosques against "retaliation," ignoring the fact that the vast amount of such incidents seem to occur not against mosques (in which much hateful propaganda is propagated), but against synagogues.

Stop and think about the absurdity of that for a moment. A man walks into a building full of Jews, says that he's angry about Israeli actions, and starts shooting at innocent civilians. But we should be relieved, I guess, because it's not terrorism.

This is just the latest example of the ongoing folly, begun in the wake of September 11, of calling the conflict in which we suddenly found ourselves (but had really been going on since at least 1979) a war against "terror." As has been oft stated before, while the people who are trying to kill us largely are terrorists, the terror is a tactic (and a very successful one, given the nature of our news media), not a cause. Anyone can engage in it, and to say that we are at war with terror is to misidentify the enemy, in a profound and counterproductive way.

The problem of this misnaming of the war manifests itself in many ways. It allows opponents of the liberation of Iraq to claim that it had nothing to do with the war, because somehow "terrorist" has been rendered synonymous with Al Qaeda and bin Laden, and as we all know (at least those of us fundamentally and perhaps willfully ignorant of the actual history), Al Qaeda would have nothing to do with Saddam, and vice versa. By focusing exclusively on the "terrorists" that are Al Qaeda, it obscures the much larger enemy. And it allows the "authorities" to absurdly claim that the Pakistani who just went on the shooting spree in Seattle isn't a "terrorist," because he didn't bring along his Al Qaeda membership card and decoder ring.

As was the case with the first three world wars, we are at war not with terror or any other particular tactic, but with an idea, or rather, a large set of ideas, most or all of which are inimical to our culture, and to the civilization that is an outgrowth of the Enlightenment. There is no win-win outcome to this war. There are, in the words of divorce courts, irreconcilable differences between the West and the Jihadis. There is, ultimately, not room enough on this planet for both ideologies, because theirs demands submission of all to it.

And despite their sectarian differences, it is an idea shared by Al Qaeda, by Hezbollah, by Hamas, by the Taliban, and by (unfortunately) vast swaths of people across the Middle East and Asia. It is not a new idea--this is just the most recent flareup of a war that has been going on for over a millennium. All that is new is that technologies have evolved, and our culture softened and grown unconfident in the value of our own ideas, in a way that gives them hope that finally, victory may be at hand.

Israelis, even the Israeli left, now finally understand that "land for peace" was a chimera, a hopeless endeavor, because their enemy doesn't want land, or peace. They are like the alien in Independence Day who, when asked what it wanted of us, hissed, "I want you to die."

Our culture is an offense to them, our material success is an offense (and rebuke) to them (because infidels have no right to be successful), our very existence, and particularly the existence of Jews in what they consider their own holy land, is an intolerable ongoing offense to them, made more offensive by the fact that this lowest form of life has made the desert bloom in a way that they never could.

It is all one war, and it's not a war against "terror." It is a world war largely of the Anglosphere (and some of its new allies, such as Poland and eastern Europe, and Israel--an honorary member) against fundamentalist Islamism. It is a war in which much of Europe has been cowed into sitting on the sidelines, by the enemy within. Russia and China are torn, partly for purely mercenary reasons, because our enemy is hungry for their arms and has abundant resources with which to purchase them, and partly due to their desire to see the Anglosphere and particularly its lead nation, the "hyperpower," brought low. But Chechnya and the Uigers in western China demonstrate that they will only be able to feed others to the alligator for so long, before they become the next meal.

We are at war with an idea, and it's an idea shared by the man up in Seattle. Part of that idea is that Israel shouldn't exist, and that it's intolerable when it does anything to defend itself and ensure its future existence. That part at least of the idea was clearly shared by the shooter in Seattle, by his own words. He may not (or he may) be a member of Al Qaeda, but we are not at war exclusively with Al Qaeda, which is just one front, one manifestation of the much larger enemy. We battle over a divide of ideologies, and there are many on the other side of that divide, some of whom, sadly, live among us. And they can unfortunately constitute a fifth column. He walked among us, in normal garb, but when he felt his time come, he picked up arms and made war against the nation that had welcomed him, and not against our military, but against helpless women.

The authorities don't want to call him a terrorist. Fine.

Let us, then, call him what he is. He is the enemy. He is a foreign operative on our soil, a spy, a combatant out of uniform, and there is no need for a civil trial. The laws of war allow him to be summarily shot. And if that were to happen, it would, finally, be a welcome recognition of the true nature of this war.

[Late Saturday morning update]

Hugh Hewitt has some related thoughts.

[Early afternoon update]

Steve Sailer says: "Anti-Semitic terrorism ... another job Americans just won't do!"

[Sunday morning update]

In honor of the occasion, Mark Steyn reprises an article from the LAX 4th of July shooting a couple years ago: "Fancy that, another free-lance Jihadi."


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» Bush To Repeat Mistakes of the Past? from Lump on a Blog

The article is telling, for given today’s circumstances and the reinvigoration of Hizbullah during the iterim years between the cease-fire agreements, complete with more deadly weaponry provided by Syria and Iran, better training, and plenty of t... Read More

So, up in Seattle, a Muslim goes Jew hunting, killing one and wounding several others, all of them women, one of them pregnant (he almost got a twofer, there). Once again, we're assured by the authorities that there's no reason Read More

So, up in Seattle, a Muslim goes Jew hunting, killing one and wounding several others, all of them women, one of them pregnant (he almost got a twofer, there). Once again, we're assured by the authorities that there's no reason Read More

» Naming the war properly from

I've said a hundred -- no, a thousand -- times that "War on Terror" is a stupid name and a terrible mistake. Terror isn't an enemy, it's a tactic, and it's critical that we properly identify the enemy. Rand Simberg did as good a job of explicating... Read More

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This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on July 29, 2006 9:16 AM.

You Mean Reusables Are Possible? was the previous entry in this blog.

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