Blair Hits the Bull’s-eye
Well I must say – I think Blair nailed it. And if the people who disagree with him are ‘left-wingers’ – well then I’m a right-winger, which is not what I think I am – but then why in hell are they ‘left-wingers’? What the sam hill is ‘left-wing’ about sympathizing with or understanding the point of view of or wanting to negotiate with extreme right-wing religious fundamentalist tyrants? What? What? What?
The greatest danger is that we fail to face up to the nature of the threat we are dealing with…But it is a global struggle and it is a battle of ideas, hearts and minds, both within Islam and outside it. This is the battle that must be won, a battle not just about the terrorist methods but their views. Not just their barbaric acts, but their barbaric ideas. Not only what they do but what they think and the thinking they would impose on others…Neither is it true that they have no demands. They do. It is just that no sane person would negotiate on them.
Well exactly. So what can people mean when they say we should negotiate? Negotiate what? Women’s right to leave the house, to go to school, to work? Even David Rieff, who said many sensible things, ended up saying political compromise and negotiation are inevitable. Compromise with what? You might as well try to ‘compromise’ with Hitler over how many Jews to gas. There is no compromise.
Terrorism can often be contained and even blunted by effective military and intelligence activities, but it can only be defeated by political compromise and negotiation…Sooner or later, such negotiations will have to start, as it is widely reported that they have already begun between the US and Iraqi authorities and the Ba’athist insurgents in Iraq. The alternative is treating the Islamic immigrant populations of Europe like a vast fifth column, and that choice would be a disaster for Europe and for the Islamic world. It is true that negotiating with mass murderers is the opposite of justice. But what adult ever thought history was just?
And the choice to compromise and negotiate with Islamists would not be a disaster for Europe and the entire world? Would not be the entry to a new dark age?
Back to Blair.
…the establishment of effectively Taleban states and Sharia law in the Arab world en route to one caliphate of all Muslim nations. We don’t have to wonder what type of country those states would be. Afghanistan was such a state. Girls put out of school. Women denied even rudimentary rights. People living in abject poverty and oppression. All of it justified by reference to religious faith.
And don’t forget the stonings – the stonings to death of women in front of their own children, children who were made to go up to the stoned woman to see if she was dead yet. And don’t forget the football stadium executions. And the beatings of women with car radio antennas, and the banning of kites and music. Yes, let’s compromise and negotiate with people like that.
It cannot be beaten except by confronting it, symptoms and causes, head-on. Without compromise and without delusion. The extremist propaganda is cleverly aimed at their target audience. It plays on our tolerance and good nature. It exploits the tendency to guilt of the developed world, as if it is our behaviour that should change, that if we only tried to work out and act on their grievances, we could lift this evil, that if we changed our behaviour, they would change theirs. This is a misunderstanding of a catastrophic order. Their cause is not founded on an injustice. It is founded on a belief, one whose fanaticism is such it can’t be moderated. It can’t be remedied. It has to be stood up to.
There you go. ‘Their cause is not founded on an injustice. It is founded on a belief, one whose fanaticism is such it can’t be moderated.’ Exactly. It is odd how many people don’t seem to grasp that – which is odd since it’s all very explicit and out in the open. Do people think the jihadists are kidding or something? That it’s all a mask or a joke or a pretext?
We must be clear about how we win this struggle. We should take what security measures we can. But let us not kid ourselves. In the end, it is by the power of argument, debate, true religious faith and true legitimate politics that we will defeat this threat. That means not just arguing against their terrorism, but their politics and their perversion of religious faith. It means exposing as the rubbish it is, the propaganda about America and its allies wanting to punish Muslims or eradicate Islam. It means championing our values of freedom, tolerance and respect for others. It means explaining why the suppression of women and the disdain for democracy are wrong.
I could do without the ‘true religious faith’ bit, but that’s a quibble, and anyway he has to say that. But it’s strong stuff, much stronger than I would have expected. It’s also dead right. Well done Tony.