The Corner

National Security & Defense

The War, Cont.

One thing about the French is — they like being French. They’re proud of their civilization, and rightly so. They will not let themselves be brought down by envious barbarians.

Also, the French, whom we mock, can be ruthless when aroused. I think of the Ivory Coast in 2004. They knocked heads, impressively. They had asked no permission, and they issued no apology.

‐For many years, I’ve expressed exasperation at what I call the “yellow-ribbon culture.” There may come a time for ribbons — but after we’ve crushed our enemies, please, and not before?

Maybe a hash tag is the new yellow ribbon. But I remember these yellow ribbons, from my high-school years. (The Iran hostage crisis.)

Sing the Marseillaise, lustily! Sing the Star-Spangled Banner, while you’re at it! Fly the flags high! But the candles and drooping flags and the rest – blech.

‐The Jihad really doesn’t care whether we are left, right, or center. What they hate is that we are free, democratic, prosperous, and Western (and non-Islamic). If you’re a cutting, Islamophobic cartoonist, you’re a target. If you’re the head of the Islamophiliac Diversity Department at Oberlin, you’re still a target. It doesn’t matter.

On 9/11, Michael Moore said, “If someone did this to get back at Bush, then they did so by killing thousands of people who DID NOT VOTE for him.” You see the attitude?

Let me bang on: Whether you’re Senator Elizabeth Warren or Sheriff Joe Arpaio — makes no difference. The Jihad doesn’t care.

‐Speaking of Charlie Hebdo (as I was, sort of): Earlier this year, I interviewed the amazing Zineb El Rhazoui, a Moroccan-born journalist who worked at that magazine. For my piece in NR, go here. For a podcast — in which you can hear her — go here.

She has been on the front lines, so to speak. She knows the enemy, very, very well. And she knows the manifold weaknesses of us.

‐Israelis know all this too, of course. They too are on the front lines, every day. Maybe Parisians don’t like to admit this, and the same goes for millions of others, around the world. But it’s true.

“The Israelis have brought this on themselves!” is the comforting thought. Yeah, keep telling yourself that …

On Twitter, an anti-Israel activist said she was not saying that Netanyahu was involved in the Paris attacks — but he has an ax to grind against Europe. In her circle, she may be a moderate, because she has not yet blamed the mass murder on Bibi!

‐The difference between the Paris attackers and the Iranian dictatorship? Essentially zero. They are the same in belief and emotion. The dictatorship, however, is driving toward nuclear weapons.

Can you imagine people such as the Paris attackers with nukes? That is not a fantasy but an approaching reality.

In his notorious address before Congress, Netanyahu said that the world’s worst nightmare is, or ought to be, the marriage of radical Islam and nuclear weapons. I think this is incontestable.

‐For many years, David Pryce-Jones and others of our best minds have explained that the jihad-wagers are deeply ashamed — of themselves. That may be cold comfort, as the corpses pile up in Paris, but it’s true. They are deeply ashamed, and envious.

The older I get, the more I realize that envy is just about the most toxic thing on earth. Murderous, too. It crucifies saints, commits genocide, etc.

‐François Hollande is not our idea of a champion of the West — by “our,” I’m talking about us National Review types. But I remember that he was to the “right” of Obama on Iran negotiations. (What room was there to the left?) And he seems to me relatively unillusioned.

That’s what we need, in this struggle: freedom from illusion. Once freed of illusion, we can act properly.

‐In a sense, we have been at war with radical Islam since November 1979, when the Ayatollah’s young seized our embassy. This war has had many chapters, or episodes — and wars. (Within the Cold War, there were hot wars, as in Korea, Vietnam, and elsewhere.) But it is, in a sense, one war, overarching.

They started it. Will we finish it, on our terms?

‐Along with freedom from illusion, we need civilizational self-confidence. That is what is sorely lacking in the West.

Yesterday, after the first reports came in, a man I take to be a significant cultural figure here in America — I had never heard of him, but then, I haven’t heard of many people — tweeted this: “Awful, awful, awful news in Paris. 18 shot dead. If only we could get our daily shootings down to 18 here in America.”

Earlier this year, I wrote an essay called “The Even-Steven Temptation: Adventures in moral equivalence.” When I was growing up in Ann Arbor, I saw even-steven in action every day. “Oh, you think they’re persecuted in the Soviet Union, do you? What about the Hollywood Ten?”

And our president, of course — whom I think of as the apotheosis of Ann Arbor — is a master of even-steven. Violent jihad? Sure, but what about the Crusades and the Inquisition and Jim Crow? Don’t get on your high horse!

‐I feel sure we will win this struggle against the jihadists. Decisively. They are doomed. They are ashamed, crazed, pathetic, and desperate. But they’ll kill a lot of people before they’re through. I am eager for the end, as you are.


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