Friday, July 15, 2005

Friedman and Krauthammer

Good columns today from Tom Friedman and Charles Krauthammer.

Friedman alludes to something I referenced yesterday. He writes:

One of the London bombers was married, with a young child and another on the way. I can understand, but never accept, suicide bombing in Iraq or Israel as part of a nationalist struggle. But when a British Muslim citizen, nurtured by that society, just indiscriminately blows up his neighbors and leaves behind a baby and pregnant wife, to me he has to be in the grip of a dangerous cult or preacher - dangerous to his faith community and to the world.

How does that happen? Britain's Independent newspaper described one of the bombers, Hasib Hussain, as having recently undergone a sudden conversion "from a British Asian who dressed in Western clothes to a religious teenager who wore Islamic garb and only stopped to say salaam to fellow Muslims."

The secret of this story is in that conversion - and so is the crisis in Islam. The people and ideas that brought about that sudden conversion of Hasib Hussain and his pals - if not stopped by other Muslims - will end up converting every Muslim into a suspect and one of the world's great religions into a cult of death.

In my post yesterday, the uncle of one of the bombers, Shehzad Tanweer, said: "It wasn't him. It must have been forces behind him." I then wrote, "Here are two seemingly regular, assimilated British citizens. But they caught the Islamo-fascist disease. This disease has been exported to Britain, and everywhere else in Europe."

As Friedman says, the heart of the problem is the conversion to and the appeal of radical Islam by these young Muslims - people my age. Understanding how this process occurs; understanding the appeal of radical Islamism (maybe it's the purpose, the sense of duty and mission?) is hugely critical to winning this war. But, maybe, before we can do that, we have to accept the reality of it. Says Krauthammer:

One of the reasons Westerners were so unprepared for this wave of Islamist terrorism, not just militarily but psychologically, is sheer disbelief. It shockingly contradicts Western notions of progress. The savagery of Bouyeri's act [the slaughter of Dutch filmaker Theo Van Gogh], mirroring the ritual human slaughter by Abu Musab Zarqawi or Daniel Pearl's beheaders, is a return to a primitiveness that we in the West had assumed a progressive history had left behind.

Many people in the U.S. and Europe either don't believe such evil exists or know it exists, but don't acknowledge it and blame the execution of it (9/11, 3/11, 7/7, etc.) on America and the West. These folks might be called the "apologists among us" (hat tip, Roger Simon). And their problem is a rejection of the principles and the inherent goodness and rightness of these principles. I don't know how this problem can be fixed, considering the state of our P.C. universities and high schools. But maybe it can start at the top with presidential leadership?

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