Sunday, September 10, 2006

Lighting candles of truth

There seems to be a tendency among people who are, for whatever reason, opposed to George W. Bush, to minimize any scourge he turns his attention to, be it the ongoing genocide in Darfur, Iranian nuclear armament, terrorism or fundamentalist Islam. Martin Amis has a long essay in the Observer (the Sunday edition of the Guardian; via Instapundit) in which he explores what should be self-evident:
I will spell this out, because it has not been broadly assimilated. The most extreme Islamists want to kill everyone on earth except the most extreme Islamists; but every jihadi sees the need for eliminating all non-Muslims, either by conversion or by execution. And we now know what happens when Islamism gets its hands on an army (Algeria) or on something resembling a nation state (Sudan). In the first case, the result was fratricide, with 100,000 dead; in the second, following the Islamist coup in 1989, the result has been a kind of rolling genocide, and the figure is perhaps two million.
Do read the whole thing. Glenn also cites Amit Varma, who says:
I don't fully agree with either Amis's pessimistic appraisal of Islam in general today, or his optimistic prognosis of the future. Unlike him -- and perhaps because I am in India -- I see plenty of "moderate Islam," as he terms it, around me, though more and more Muslims are certainly getting radicalised, for a variety of complex reasons. Equally, I am not convinced that Islamism is "the death agony of imperial Islam ... the last wave - the last convulsion." I think Amis writes those lines more in hope than in rational conviction, giving in to the twin human instincts of believing that all problems have solutions, and that progress is inevitable.
In many respects the West really does not seem to have internalized this message. One of the many small signs of this is the MSM's insistence in calling Mohammad Khatami a moderate. Pajamas Media has an interesting video with Richard Miniter about him, entitled Murder at the Cathedral. Clearly fundamentalist Islam (which I generally call Islamism) must be combatted urgently (particularly in Europe). There has been a general debate about how to go about this, most starkly regarding the decision whether Islamist terrorism should be seen as an act of war or as a law enforcement matter. It does not exactly fall into either category and I think the best attitude is illustrated by Richard Posner's position, whose Glenn & Helen Show podcast I listened to recently, and whose new book has been garnering positive reviews (via Instapundit): in the Washington Post and in the Weekly Standard. As (the non-neocon) Dahlia Lithwick says:
The real power of Posner's effort is that he stands back and measures whether Guantanamo Bay and wiretapping are really worth it. It's proof that the best cure for partisan shrieking is a good old-fashioned game of cost-benefit analysis.
Do read both reviews.
While we fine tune in what way to best fight Islamist fundamentalism, there is another extremism which all rational and moderate people should be worried about: Western extremism. Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at New York University the other day and made a few points I emphatically agree with (though I don't always agree with him). PJM correspondent and Atlas Shrugs blogger, Pamela, has videos and commentary:

Netanyahu exhorts us to:
"...repel the lies. I will not go back to those gas chambers. Not those physical ones, not those of the poisoned wells and slanders.The only way that a free society can defend itself aside from taking up arms is also to light those candles for truth.
What I ask of you tonight is for each of you to light the candle of truth. You know how you do it ...flip on the internet and light many many candles of truth."
Do watch the whole thing.
If there was any doubt that this ("lighting candles of truth") was badly needed (after the countless scandals and biases, which seem to always go one way), this story (via Instapundit) should clinch the deal:
Saddam Hussein had a very trusted source inside AP, according to the translation of another of the thousands of documents captured by U.S. forces that are only slowing being made public. In this particular document, the source inside AP tells Hussein about the formation of UNMOVIC, the UN weapons inspection team.
As Ed Driscoll says:
After Eason Jordan's "The News We Kept To Ourselves" admission, and Reuters' cozy relationship with assorted freedom fighters terrorists, I'm not at all surprised.
Amongst numerous media other scandals, add to the list CBS's RatherGate, ABC's eagerness to be censored, Newsweek's Koran in the Can fabrication, and of course, all of the New York Times' woes, and you've got an Elite Media whose credibility across the board is crumbling.
And this is the "respectable" US media we are talking about... (which Europeans always say are pawns of Bushitler). I cringe to think about the rest. That's why there is a need to fight and "light candles of truth."

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