Sunday, September 30, 2007

The obvious point
Tom Smith

This opinion piece in the Jerusalem Post gets it right IMHO.

I'm not sure it is fair to attribute to the Democrats in the US the lefty-Brit pro-UN view that the Taliban, Hamas, and even al-Qieda must be negotiated with.  Though I'm sure some on the American left take that view.  To me it is one of those views so patently ridiculous it is difficult to argue against.  I think it was Machiavelli who made the point that it is always a mistake to accommodate your true enemies.  You can negotiate with them if it is part of a larger scheme to undo them.  But making room for a real enemy is just pure folly, whether motivated by some strange notion of compassion or relativism gone wild.

One can imagine instances where true enmity would be difficult to recognize.  The Canadians and the Swedes have not been terribly useful friends lately, but they are not enemies.  France is not always a friend.  But with jihadiism in its various flavors, though much of a muchness for practical purposes, there need not be any doubt.  There is no reason at all to expect that anything Americans do to extend the hand of understanding, or whatever, to these true enemies will ultimately do anything but harm us.  It is as if some in the West, including some Americans, can not really accept the fact that we have real, true, committed enemies, who would do nothing but rejoice at our destruction and laugh at our agony.  The thing to do with enemies like that is destroy them.  Some will want to pray for forgiveness afterwards, but that's for later.

Maybe this is the heritage of American isolationism, pacifism, and feel-good Christianity, which emerged from the 'sixties as a kind of dumb creed of everybody is OK deep down.  But I guess really it has been going on from the very beginning.  Before the American revolution, Quakers in Philadelphia argued that the Irish getting slaughtered by Indians on the frontier, then Ohio or thereabouts, just had to try to understand the Indian point of view better.  Difficult, as you're getting your hair peeled off.  In truth, there was nothing to discuss.  If you were going to farm west of the quiet Quaker burgs, you had better be prepared to fight.  That was undoubtedly the Indian view as well.  So there has always been a pacifist element in American thought, but never has there been a less appropriate object of than philosophy that international jihad.

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Tom Smith