National Security & Defense

Waging The War on ‘Terror,’ Vichy-style

The morning paper, Paris, France, November 14, 2015 (Thierry Chesnot/Getty)

A few hours before the catastrophic attack in Paris, President Obama had announced that ISIS was now “contained,” a recalibration of his earlier assessments of “on the run” and “Jayvees” from a few years back. In the hours following the attack of jihadist suicide bombers and mass murderers in Paris, the Western press talked of the “scourge of terrorism” and “extremist violence”. Who were these terrorists and generic extremists who slaughtered the innocent in Paris — anti-abortionists, Klansmen, Tea-party zealots?

Middle Eastern websites may be crowing over the jihadist rampage and promising more to come, but this past week in the United States we were obsessed over a yuppie son of a multi-millionaire showboating his pseudo-grievances by means of a psychodramatic hunger strike at the University of Missouri and a crowd of cry-baby would-be fascists at Yale bullying a wimpy teacher over supposedly hurtful Halloween costumes. I guess that is the contemporary American version of Verdun and the Battle of the Bulge.

This sickness in the West manifests itself in a variety of creepy ways — to hide bothersome reality by inventing euphemisms and idiocies likely “workplace violence” and “largely secular,” jailing a “right-wing” video maker rather than focusing on jihadist killers in Benghazi, deifying a grade-school poseur inventor who repackaged a Radio Shack clock and wound up winning an invitation to the White House, straining credibility in Cairo to fabricate unappreciated Islamic genius. Are these the symptoms of a post-Christian therapeutic society whose affluence and leisure fool it into thinking that it has such a huge margin of security that it can boast of its ‘tolerance’ and empathy — at the small cost of a few anonymous and unfortunate civilians sacrificed from time to time? Is deterrence a waning asset that has now been exhausted after seven years of Obama administration apologetics and contextualizations?

#related#Our premodern enemies have certainly got our postmodern number. Newsmen compete to warn us not of more jihadists to come or the nature of the Islamist hatred that fuels these murderers, but instead fret about Western “backlash” on the horizon, about how nativists and right-wingers may now “scapegoat” immigrants. Being blown apart may be one thing, but appearing illiberal over the flying body parts is quite another. Let’s hurry up and close Guantanamo Bay so that it will stop “breeding” terrorists; and let’s hurry up even more to restart the “peace talks” to remind ISIS that we are nice to the Palestinians.

Hundreds of thousands flock to Europe not in gratitude at its hospitality but largely contemptuous of those who would be so naive to extend their hospitality to those who hate them. Barack Obama recently called global warming our greatest threat; Al Gore — recently enriched by selling a TV station to carbon-exporting Persian Gulf kleptocrats — is in Paris in Old Testament mode finger-pointing at our existential enemy — carbon. John Kerry, hours before the Paris attacks, announced that the days of ISIS “are numbered.” Angela Merkel welcomes hundreds of thousands of young male Muslims into Europe, and the more they arrive with anything but appreciation for their hosts, the more Westerners can assuage their guilt by turning the other cheek and announcing their progressive fides.

To preserve our sense of progressive utopianism, we seem willing to offer up a few hundred innocents each year to radical Islam. The slaughter might cease in a few years if we were to name our enemies as radical Muslims and make them aware that it could well be suicidal for their cause to kill a Westerner — or at least remind the Islamic world in general that it is a rare privilege to migrate to the West, given that immigration demands civic responsibilities as well as rights and subsidies, and is predicated on legality rather than the power of the stampede. But then to do that we would no longer be Westerners as we now define ourselves.​

NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author, most recently, of The Case for Trump.

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