How many times will we say “Never Again” as these tragedies repeat themselves?
French Nationals — for the second time in less than a year — are facing “the day after” some monster mowed down innocent civilians at a moment when they would have least expected danger.
Kids sitting on their parents’ shoulders, enjoying fireworks one moment; panicked crowds fleeing from an oncoming truck the next. As I write this, reports indicate 84 deaths in the truck attack in Nice, France.
Our politically-correct instincts intimidate many from speaking frankly about the common threads of these incidents. Our best instincts and tolerance of those with different backgrounds are being used to paralyze us. None of us wants to be thought a bigot — it’s perhaps the biggest and most damning insult we have right now… even a career-killer.
Is there some way to have a rational conversation about the facts, even in a PC environment? I think there might be.
America has confronted violent ideologies before. More than one, in fact. Let’s just call them “-Isms”. In World War II, we fought Nazism. And Fascism. And Japanese Militarism. In the Cold War, we squared off against Communism.
Notice, people with “isms” can be of various races. Of various religions — or none at all. These are not what energized our efforts against them. Our military opposition to them was quite simply because they constituted a threat, to us or to our allies.
National self-doubt is a complicating factor at this point in history. We are endlessly concerned today that we not be called “bigot” on the basis of either race or religion. And groups (CAIR, for example) are more than happy to exploit that weakness.
Let’s take a step back for a moment. Instead of naming the problem (which we will absolutely need to do) let’s just use a placeholder for the time being. We’ll call it “ism”, and bypass the usual objections that get in the way of discussion.
Today’s ism is different from previous isms. (They always are.) Obviously, we will have to figure out what makes this one different, and then determine the best response AFTER we have the first part nailed down.
If there is an Ism that is intent on the murder and mayhem of civilians, will it make any difference what grievances they dress up their murderous intent with? The isms of WWII had no shortage of excuses they fell back on for doing the things they did. But however they dressed up their ideologies, we can agree that no arguments could make their cause just.
I would argue that today’s ism is no different. It is foolish to look for plausible moral justifications for modern terror attacks, and in the same way, it is dangerously naive to write off “lone wolf’ attacks as “obvious” mental cases.
Hypothetically, if we saw militants for a new Ism habitually using — for the sake of argument — hospitals as a staging area, recruiting grounds and weapons cache, how would we react? Would we sit by helplessly, knowing they were using hospitals as a shield for violent operations, but afraid to do anything about it? Would we not search – or possibly even raze — such hospitals, warning locals that any other hospitals providing sanctuary to militants would likewise be targeted?
People embracing militant isms don’t play by any rules or conventions. They are cutthroat. We need to decide before we engage them how we intend to deal with them if they use, for example, human shields.
I don’t care what race the militant Isms happen to be. (We’ve seen Caucasian Chechens militants, for example, who wouldn’t fit the usual stereotype.) Nor do I remotely care whether they are the aberration or the faithful representative of the religion in whose name they claim to act. Frankly, both sides will claim to be the “true” disciples. That argument is irrelevant.
What I DO care about is whether our kindness is being perceived as weakness, and used against us. I am convinced that it is.
Don’t believe me? Try looking up “Mosque + weapons cache” in your favorite browser. We’ve found weapons caches in France (where they closed down 3 mosques and “confiscated 334 war grade weapons”), Another one in Germany, and another one in Russia where an Imam was found guilty for possession of explosives in an illegal mosque that was razed to the ground.
Hand-wringers in America were very upset by one candidate’s suggestion that we should scrutinize mosques in America. His suggestion was linked to the image of jackboots and Nazis. How ironic: in both Turkey and Palestine, Mein Kampf has been on the bestseller list in Arabic translation.
If we have seen — internationally — that people acting in the name of Islam use human shields, target civilians, and have been using mosques for military purposes, then the “religious” nature of their belief is incidental. At that point, they must be treated as potential political and military risks, and fall under much greater scrutiny than, say, a Buddhist or Hindu Temple.
Do not hear me saying Muslims should be rounded up. I am not arguing for that. I am saying that — since this particular ism does not differentiate between religious and political devotion to a cause — they should not expect or request any special religious exemption to scrutiny.
As we decide what other steps we need to take to address this growing threat, we might want to rethink our habit of providing massive funding to militant mosques every time we fill our gas tank. While we are at it, maybe we can stop flinching like a battered housewife every time CAIR raises the back of their hand to us.
We have spent so long reciting the mantra that this “ism” is “the religion of peace” that we forget that their term for non-believers is the “house of war”. Are we finally ready to start treating this threat seriously?