Saturday, January 14, 2006Powerful writing by Roger Kimball. A highlight:
"Whatever the wisdom of the position in the abstract (and I have my doubts about it), the resurgence of international terrorism, fueled by hate and devoted to death, renders it otiose. Last summer’s bombings in London were, as these things go, relatively low in casualties. But they were high in indiscriminateness. The people on those buses and subway cars were as innocent as innocent can be: just folks, moms and dads and children on their way to work or school or play, as uninterested, most of them, in politics or Islam as it is possible to be. And yet those home-grown Islamicists were happy to blow them to bits.
Here is the novelty: Our new enemies are not political enemies in any traditional sense, belligerent in the service of certain interests of their own. Their belligerence is focused rather on the very existence of an alternative to their vision of beatitude, namely on Western democracy and its commitment to individual freedom and economic prosperity. I return to Hussein Massawi: “We are not fighting so that you will offer us something. We are fighting to eliminate you.”
In fact, the situation is even grimmer than Mr. Massawi suggests. For our new enemies are not simply bent on our destruction: they are pleased to compass their own destruction as a collateral benefit. This is one of those things that makes Islamofascism a particularly toxic form of totalitarianism. At least most Communists had some rudimentary attachment to the principle of self-preservation. In the face of such death-embracing fanaticism our only option is unremitting combat."
How does one articulate the point with further clarity? This is, as Norman Podhoretz says, World War IV. I do not suppose that we should create a rabble over each and every political moment, but I am increasingly frustrated with the lazy attitude that we - I point to myself, as well - possess. As a Christian certainly I have a higher calling to "glorify God and enjoy Him forever," and yet the incessant worries of the day not only override Christian virtue; they override common sense, as well. We are at war, and yet we act as though we are not.
It is not easy, I confess. World War II necessitated that we ration our food and buy war bonds. The immediate cause is not so dire, but one wishes that America - her churches and schools - were clearly aware of the threats we face from the madrasses of Pakistan, the mullahs of Iran, the deranged old man in charge of North Korea and the arrogant nationalists of China. These are important matters; one wishes that we all shared a sense of awareness and, indeed, of urgency.