Saturday’s deadly blasts in Bali should quash any ambivalence about the enemy the civilized world faces in the war on terror.
The car bombs that killed some 200 innocent people and leveled a city block in Kuta, a recreational district on that Indonesian island, cannot be explained as a regrettable but inevitable consequence of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. This bombing occurred six time zones from the West Bank and nowhere near Israeli or even Jewish targets.
This attack was not a sad but understandable reaction to America’s military strength and willingness to wield it. While another, non-fatal bomb simultaneously rocked the U.S. consulate in Denpasar, Bali’s biggest city, the lethal Kuta explosions demolished the Sari Club and adjacent Paddy´s Club. Neither nightspot was affiliated with American firepower or diplomatic finesse.
The detonations were not tragic-but-inescapable repercussions of U.S.-led globalization and economic prowess. Two discos, not a pair of bank-filled skyscrapers, became a smoldering ruin.
This assault had nothing to do with any of these politico-economic factors — not that they would have justified it. This barbarism surely was a manifestation of militant Islam. The White House and Indonesian government both believe this horror was orchestrated by al Qaeda or one of its local subsidiaries. By now, even the most militant multiculturalist knows better than to believe that enraged Methodists produced this carnage.
This onslaught carved yet another facet on the black diamond of evil that is Islamofascism. These killers did not murder soldiers in uniform or bond traders in suits. They wiped out vacationers in shorts and T-shirts who only were guilty of “dancing away [to] some cheesy pop song,” as 22-year-old Briton Hanabeth Luke recalled in the International Herald Tribune. (Her boyfriend was among the scores of Australians killed in the attack.) But even that much levity was too much for these intolerant swine who cannot regard so-called infidels with sorrow, pity or even detached disdain. Mass death is how they address those outside their faith.
Canadian Trevor Gates, 17, described that night’s mayhem. “We ran into the street. People were lying all over the road bleeding, saying ‘Help me. Help me.’ They were completely scorched. There were blind people with glass in their eyes running around screaming that they couldn’t see.”
The results of this destruction are numbingly familiar. Hundreds of civilians remain unaccounted for after the initial inferno. Shell-shocked loved ones in hospital corridors carry “Missing” signs featuring photos of apparent victims. Unidentified body parts wait to be paired with DNA samples donated by grieving relatives. The bereaved leave votive candles on the nearby sands, transforming a tropical beach into an impromptu seaside funeral parlor.
Adding to the wickedness of al Qaeda or its fellow travelers is the locale they selected for this atrocity. Bali now is regarded as a terrorist hotbed. How grossly unfair. This mainly Hindu island is one of the most tranquil spots on Earth. When I visited during New Year’s 1988-1989, I found the Balinese mellow, bordering on serene. Had they been more peaceful, they would have been comatose. They also were incredibly warm, hospitable and thrilled to share their gorgeous, often psychedelic, island with visitors.
Now, those who have seen Bali’s wonders have fled. Quantas and Garuda airlines arranged for additional flights and larger aircraft to whisk shaken tourists off the island. The locals do not deserve this. “Balinese people stand behind the families of those who were killed,” one native gentleman sobbed on CNN. “We hate this.”
As tourist cancellations and hasty departures rose across Indonesia, the rupiah fell. An economic tailspin is one hell of a gift for al Qaeda and Co. to hand the world’s most populous Muslim nation.
If this is how Islamic extremists treat their own co-religionists, they merit more than ever the unswerving wrath of those Muslims who insist that Islam is a religion of peace. The Indonesian government could do plenty to advance that sentiment by pacifying Muslim extremists who are anything but peaceful. It should start by finding and flattening a Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist camp featured on al Qaeda videotapes that CNN acquired in Afghanistan and has aired since the Bali homicides. Inhabitants of this installation should be arrested, pumped for information and dispatched.
As even Susan Sontag now must admit, al Qaeda members and their kind hate non-Muslims and will hunt us and kill us from urban trading floors to exotic dance floors. Decent Muslims from Manila to Marrakech should join forces with non-Muslims in an urgent campaign of self-defense. Together, we must locate and eliminate each and every al Qaeda operative. Like cancer cells, none can remain alive if his prey is to survive.