Friday, November 13, 2015, was a sad day. Our ally France underwent multiple terror attacks. The death toll has been uncertain, as high as 153, probably closer to 120, with around 350 more wounded. It was a multi-front attack in an act of war against innocent civilians. The enemy was radical Islamist terrorists, of course.
|Gary Varvel cartoon, Sunday, November 15, 2015|
When we suffered a similar act of war—a multi-front attack against innocent civilians—on September 11, 2001, France stood strong with us. They are a fellow NATO country. They had already suffered a terrorist attack not long ago, the Charlie Hebdo massacre. This was bigger.
The radicals trying to take over Syria and Iraq, which we have been referring to as ISIS, claim responsibility. At least one of the perpetrators was found to be a Syrian “refugee,” taken in by Greece.
France has spent the following days bombing ISIS strongholds.
How does America lead the world in standing strong with France?
Our current president continues to refuse to use the term radical Islam, he sets free five Guantanamo prisoners who had been held as enemy combatants (non-uniformed attackers of Americans caught in the act), and he arranges for 10,000 right away and as many as 250,000 Syrian refugees to be given plane fare, food, housing, and spending money to relocate to our country.
Obama may have a rationale for that behavior—but I guarantee it is not because he has the best interests of America at heart.
The day before the attack, he said in an interview with George Stephanopolous, “What’s true is is that, from the start our goal has been first to contain, and we have contained them.” Inconvenient timing.
He followed up by saying, “What I’m not interested in doing is posing or pursuing some notion of American leadership or America winning, or whatever other slogans they come up…. I don’t have time for that.” It’s always a concern when this president includes the word “notion,” which is his shorthand for “everything my enemy, the conservatives, might say, as twisted by me.” But let’s take him at his word: he is not interested in “American leadership” or “America winning.”
The following day, at the Democrat presidential candidate debate, they responded to the attack as well.
Bernie Sanders expressed irritation that we are being sidetracked from the real threat—global warming. Hillary Clinton was asked if she would characterize the threat we have just witnessed in France as radical Islam. She went out of her way to say that not all Muslims are our enemies (which hadn’t been implied in the question, she was reminded), and said that anyone who used religion as a reason to attack others is wrong. So, no, she cannot/will not refer to the enemy by the term radical Islam.
This is the exchange, between John Dickerson of CBS News as the moderator, and Hillary Clinton:
JD: Secretary Clinton, you mentioned radical jihadists. Sen. Marco Rubio, also running for president, said this attack in Paris showed that we are at war with radical Islam. Do you agree with that characterization “radical Islam?”
HC: I don’t think we’re at war with Islam. I don’t think we’re at war with all Muslims. I think we’re at war with jihadists
JD: Just to interrupt, he didn’t say all Muslims. He said “radical Islam.”
HC: I think you can talk about Islamists who clearly are also jihadists, but I think it’s not particularly helpful to make the case that Senator Sanders was just making that I agree with that we’ve got to reach out to Muslim countries. We’ve got to have them be part of our coalition. If they hear people running for president who basically shortcut it to say we are somehow against Islam, that was one of the real contributions, despite all the other problems, that George W. Bush made after 9/11 when he basically said after going to a mosque in Washington, we are not at war with Islam or Muslims. We are at war with violent extremism. We are at war with people who use their religion for purposes of power and oppression. And, yes, we are at war with those people. But I don’t want us to be painting with too broad a brush.
In other words, no, her answer is that she will not characterize the war radical Islamists have declared against us and acted upon as a war with “radical Islam.” She will ignore that and reach out to all Muslims as if ignoring the enemy will make it disappear.
Let me characterize this war in terms of the Spherical Model. We have tyrannists who love savagery at war against freedom and civilization. They literally consider human freedom—in almost any form from what to wear, what to say, what to think—as something to fight against, hate, and eradicate. They literally look at respect for life living together in peace, following the Ten Commandments according to our own conscience as abhorrent. They love killing, dying, beheading, destroying, disrespecting, chaos, pain, revenge, tribalism, anger, deceit, murder, rape—almost anything that would delight the prince of darkness.
They are literally savage.
I just finished reading the book The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, by Lawrence Wright. I’m just beginning the process of typing up my notes, so at some point I hope to share more from this enlightening book. But it starts with the story of Sayyid Qutb, an Egyptian whose writings became influential.
He [Sayyid Qutb] was Western in so many ways—his dress, his love of classical music and Hollywood movies. He had read, in translation, the works of Darwin and Einstein, Byron and Shelley, and had immersed himself in French literature, especially Victor Hugo. Even before his journey, however, he worried about the advance of an all-engulfing Western civilization. Despite his erudition, he saw the West as a single cultural entity. The distinctions between capitalism and Marxism, Christianity and Judaism, fascism and democracy were insignificant by comparison with the single great divide in Qutb’s mind: Islam and the East on one side, and the Christian West on the other (p.8).
Qutb spent several years in the United States. His Egyptian friends had hoped that would take the edge off his strident ideology; it didn’t. You could understand if he had spent his stay in some large inner city, surrounded by crime and decadence. But he spent most of his stay in Greeley, Colorado, in 1949:
Family life was the center of Greeley society; there were no bars or liquor stores, and there seemed to be a church on every corner. The college boasted one of the finest music departments in the country, with frequent concerts that the music-loving Qutb must have enjoyed. In the evenings, illustrious educators spoke at the lyceum….At last Qutb had stumbled into a community that exalted the same pursuits that he held so dear: education, music, art, literature, and religion (p. 18).
His sense of superiority was unquenchable by any amount of civilization before his eyes. When he returned to Egypt and told the Muslim world that America was a cesspool of all that is unholy, people who had never been to America or experienced the civilization we have believed him: America was the Great Satan, because we have freedom and modernity. Those two things blind the radical Islamist from seeing any goodness in us.
I trust that, just as the light of dawn overcomes the darkness of night, eventually the light of civilization will overcome the darkness of savagery. But during these dark ages we can expect more savage terrorist attacks. We should be vigilant and diligent in protecting ourselves. And we should continue to be civilized. We must honor God and encourage freedom of religion. We must value, support, and protect family and marriage. We must value life, property, and truth.
Thriving civilization may be the war target of savagery. But the way to peace is not to succumb to savagery; it is to thrive in the face of it and defeat it.