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Naming the war properly

Posted by Richard on August 2, 2006

I’ve said a hundred — no, a thousand — times that "War on Terror" is a stupid name and a terrible mistake. Terror isn’t an enemy, it’s a tactic, and it’s critical that we properly identify the enemy. Rand Simberg did as good a job of explicating that point as I’ve seen. As Bob Bidinotto said, "I wish I had written this, but Rand Simberg beat me to it":

So, up in Seattle, a Muslim goes Jew hunting in a target-rich environment, killing one and wounding several others, all of them women, one of them pregnant (he almost got a twofer, there). Once again, we’re assured by the authorities that there’s no reason to think that this is terrorism. In fact, the police are now reportedly guarding the local mosques against "retaliation," ignoring the fact that the vast amount of such incidents seem to occur not against mosques (in which much hateful propaganda is propagated), but against synagogues.

Stop and think about the absurdity of that for a moment. A man walks into a building full of Jews, says that he’s angry about Israeli actions, and starts shooting at innocent civilians. But we should be relieved, I guess, because it’s not terrorism.

This is just the latest example of the ongoing folly, begun in the wake of September 11, of calling the conflict in which we suddenly found ourselves (but had really been going on since at least 1979) a war against "terror."

As was the case with the first three world wars, we are at war not with terror or any other particular tactic, but with an idea, or rather, a large set of ideas, most or all of which are inimical to our culture, and to the civilization that is an outgrowth of the Enlightenment. There is no win-win outcome to this war. There are, in the words of divorce courts, irreconcilable differences between the West and the Jihadis. There is, ultimately, not room enough on this planet for both ideologies, because theirs demands submission of all to it.

Outstanding. By all means, go read the whole thing. Then, if you missed it, check out my recent post, Nazi roots of modern Islamofascism, for more about the nature of our enemies. The ideology with which we’re at war shares many ideas and values with one that we’ve had to fight before.

UPDATE: In an earlier post about Israel, Simberg crystallized the difference between Israel and Hezbollah:

Israelis kill civilians when they miss their targets. Hezbollah (and other terrorist organizations) kill civilians when they hit theirs.

And then he quoted Josh Trevino, who authored this devastating ‘graph (emphasis in original, changed from italics to bold):

Need it be said — and it is a sign of our fallen age that it does need to be said — Israel’s enemy in this war operates under no such constraint. (One assumes that in bygone days, the difference between a Western democracy and a band of murderous savages would not need repeated explanation.) Hezbollah and the average Islamist do not shrink from direct assaults on civilians as such and as an end in itself. Indeed, it has been their sole tactic in this entire war. If they have not produced scenes of masses of dead children, it is not for lack of trying — it is, after all, the only thing they try for. That they have not managed it is indicative of the confluence of blind luck and Israeli battlefield superiority. But give it time: give it infinite time to launch its rockets and try its luck, as the braying proponents of ceasefire would have it, and eventually we’ll see Jewish children, too, incinerated in their sleep. The difference, of course, is that the perpetrators then will celebrate.


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