Wednesday, November 18, 2015

today Palmyra, tomorrow the Parthenon

I do wonder at those who in the aftermath of the attacks in Paris can't wait to make comments along the lines of how they'll give 'us some idea of what it must be like in Syria' or describing 'US-led military intervention' as the 'root cause of these types of attacks' (and yes, those are in quotation marks because they are quotes - they are taken from Tuesday's Irish Times). 

First of all, even if you truly believe this to be true, there is a time and a place for it. The bodies of the slain are barely cold; other victims are suffering in their hospital beds, some of whom may yet die. Such finger-wagging can wait. Doing it now is a little like walking up to a grief-stricken widow at a funeral, saying 'sorry for your troubles, 'mam ... but, really, your husband was always a total waste of space and you're better off without him.' Not the time for it, even if you think it to be true.

Secondly, I think they show show a complete misunderstanding of what it is we are dealing with. This is not 'terrorism, business as usual' - a few misguided patriots with a list of grievances that will fade away if they get what they want ... or, more likely, get tired of it all after a few years and move on to roles as elder-statesman and peacemakers in some compromise living arrangement with those they once deemed their oppressors. Islamic State are different. 

They may use Western involvement in the Middle-East as a recruiting tool; but they are not motivated by it. What drives them is a burning passion for the total annihilation of all that is not in full conformity with their own particular worldview. This means not only their own brand of Islam in the countries in their immediate vicinity, but globally. 

This requires the complete destruction of Western Civilisation and our way of life. What they did in Palmyra they hope to do to the Parthenon; the crucifixions they carry out in the lands they control they dream of doing in ours and everywhere else in the world.

Wringing our hands over the policies of the West won't stop them. In fact, it probably brings a smile to their faces. Nothing like having your enemy do your propaganda for you. Comments like the ones quoted above make me think the old adage  'we do not negotiate with terrorists' needs an addendum: 'and neither do we under any circumstances say anything that might be taken to justify their actions.'

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