The Corner

Steyn On The Saudis

Here’s Mark Steyn once again throwing away the chance of an all-expenses paid vacation in ‘Saudi’ Arabia. Most interesting is what he has to say about the (alleged – let us remember) chaplain problems at Guantanamo.

“So how come two years after Sept. 11 groups with terrorist ties are still able to insert their recruiters into America’s military bases, prisons and pretty much anywhere else they get a yen to go? It’s not difficult to figure out: Wahhabism is the most militant form of Islam, the one followed by all 19 of the 9/11 terrorists and by Osama bin Laden. The Saudis — whose state religion is Wahhabism — fund the spread of their faith in lavishly endowed schools and mosques all over the world and, as a result, traditionally moderate Muslim populations from the Balkans to South Asia have been dramatically radicalized. How could the federal government be so complacent as to subcontract the certification of chaplains in U.S. military bases to Wahhabist institutions?”

That may be too harsh. I suspect that it’s not just a question of complacency (although it would not be the first time that the administration has displayed that particular sin in this particular struggle), but also unease in the face of an ideology that comes draped in religious clothing. Religions, this country likes to think, are almost always a force for the good. As a result, there is no enthusiasm for challenging the bona fides of ideologues who cite a god as their inspiration. That’s a credit to the positive influence of the First Amendment on this country’s democracy, but it’s also nonsense – and it means that the US remains hopelessly unprepared to deal with the challenge of Islamic extremism.

Steyn has this suggestion:

“Here’s an easy way to make an effective change: Less Wahhabism is in America’s interest. More Wahhabism is in the terrorists’ interest. So why can’t the United States introduce a policy whereby, for the duration of the war on terror, no organization directly funded by the Saudis will be eligible for any formal or informal role with any federal institution? “

He has a point.

And, while, we’re on the topic of the Saudis, how about those 28 pages from the 9/11 report, Mr. President?


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