Monday, March 15, 2004

Hitchens on the logic of appeasement 

See his essay in Slate: 'To Die in Madrid: The nutty logic that says Spain provoked Islamist terrorism.'

Hitchens points out the deeply flawed reasoning behind the claim that Spain's involvement in Iraq provoked the Islamist murders in Madrid:

Many Spaniards were among those killed recently in Morocco, where a jihadist bomb attack on an ancient Moorish synagogue took place in broad daylight. The attack was on Morocco itself, which was neutral in the recent Iraq war. It seems a bit late to demand that the Moroccan government change sides and support Saddam Hussein in that conflict, and I suspect that the Spanish Communist and socialist leadership would feel a little sheepish in making this suggestion. Nor is it obvious to me that the local Moroccan jihadists would stop bombing if this concession were made. Still, such a concession would be consistent with the above syllogism, as presumably would be a demand that Morocco cease to tempt fate by allowing synagogues on its soil in the first place.

The Turkish government, too, should be condemned for allowing its Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan to visit the shattered synagogue in Istanbul after the latest mass murder (thus becoming, incidentally, the first Turkish prime minister ever to do so). Erdogan is also the first prime minister ever to be elected on an Islamist ticket. Clearly, he was asking for trouble and has not yet understood al-Qaida's conditions for being allowed to lead a quiet life. Not that he hadn't tried—he prevented the U.S. Army from approaching Baghdad through what is now known as the Sunni Triangle. He just hasn't tried hard enough.

It cannot be very long now before some slaughter occurs on the streets of London or Rome or Warsaw, as punishment for British and Italian and Polish membership of the anti-Saddam coalition. But perhaps there is still time to avoid the wrath to come. If British and Italian and Polish troops make haste to leave the Iraqis to their own "devices" (of the sort that exploded outside the mosques of Karbala and Najaf last month), their civilian cousins may still hope to escape the stern disapproval of the holy warriors. Don't ask why the holy warriors blow up mosques by the way—it's none of your goddam crusader-Jew business.

The world cannot appease or deter Islamist terror. We can only interdict it. Will Europeans learn this lesson in time to save their paradise?

UPDATE: Lest there be any doubt, Little Green Footballs has catalogued celebration of the murders in Madrid throughout the Middle East, including Jordon, Qatar, Yemen, Syria, Gaza and Saudi Arabia. If you can stomach it, read the whole thing. Consider this whiff of the miasma:

From the holy mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, where the sheikh asks the poignant question, “Didn’t what happened in Madrid convince you Jews and Crusaders to convert to Islam?”

Do these sound like people who can be appeased, or deterred? After Madrid, it is hard to see how we are left with options other than those proposed by Ann Coulter 912 days ago: "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity."

OK, I probably won't believe that in the morning. But for me, Madrid refreshed my memory of September 11, and the resolve of its aftermath.


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