It behooves the patriotic man to examine his leaders, or prospective leaders, with a careful, jaundiced eye, in the immediate aftermath of an act of vile treachery like what the world witnessed on Nov. 13 in Paris.
Do their hearts break with anguish, no less than their chests ache with hunger for justice?
Or do they, quailing, reach for barest platitude, leave unsaid what most needs saying, and lash out at others who possess clearer words and better courage?
Again by their fruits you shall know them.
Sympathy for the French is not enough. #PrayforParis is not enough. Our statement of solidarity must be unmeeching. Hearts break and chests ache for justice. If not both, you are not worthy of leadership.
Over the last two weekends, all over the US (notably at the Army-Tulane and the LSU-Arkansas games), football players have defiantly carried both American and French flags to the center of the field before kickoff. A simple gesture, but a profound one.
Do you not think that many Frenchmen who hear of these tributes, this American solidarity, might find themselves, at least for a moment, warmed in their hearts and welling up with gratitude; as, for instance, we Americans felt likewise when the British Crown ordered that “The Star-Spangled Banner” be played at Buckingham Palace on September 12th, 2001?
Every last Frenchmen (every last Englishman), just like every last American, who believes in government, believes that its first task is to secure us from foreign aggression. The French may be a proud and difficult people, but in this there is an undeniable unity. Brotherhood and fraternitè. The first task of the Republic is to preserve us from harm.
Concretely: Should M. Hollande, in addition to current airstrikes, abjuring delay and Obama’s dithering, determine to dispatch French tanks, mobile artillery, close air support (have we sold them some A-10 Thunderbolts? — if not, we should), naval assets, ballistic missiles with super-payloads, and soldiers carrying rifles into hostile territory — into the territory of Islamic State — this American will raise the Tricolor and salute the French Parti-socialistè.
Let the French socialist do what the American socialist has not the guts to do.
But let all men observe the character of their leaders under this particular stress of treacherous war being made against our peoples.
We do not forget, for instance, that this was the second time this year that France endured a Jihadist raid. (A third was attempted but thwarted by Americans.)
Nor will we ever forget that our allegedly Francophile Secretary of State, appearing at the US Embassy in Paris, did not forbear to urge the craven distinction between the Charlie Hebdo massacre and the recent Paris massacre. The former, he implied, was approaching justifiable; the latter not at all.
The Secretary’s moral obtuseness insults our French allies and dishonors our own allegiance to them.
The difference between the massacres is exclusively and definitively one of scale, not quality. Both were unpardonable assaults on the innocent, conceived out of the native doctrines of the Islamic religion to sow terror among those judged insufficiently submissive to that religion. Submission is the only sort of peace that Islam credits.
Meanwhile, the President has spent the better part of a week on foreign soil calling his countrymen unAmerican because they’re skeptical of his policy to resettle Middle Eastern migrants in the United States. The House of Representatives passed a moderate bill which simply and sensibly requires more careful scrutiny of the migrants. This produced a clamor of denunciation, primarily from Democrats, even though a considerable number of them voted for the bill.
Now in an extraordinary irony, the Democratic National Committee is running TV ads in America which, by way of underscoring these denunciations, extol the wisdom of none other than George W. Bush.
So the Democrats have, from the mouth of the despised former leader of a party they fervidly oppose, taken some of his most ill-advised statements and commended them to us as wisdom.
Were the situation not so somber, this spectacle would merit the sustained guffaws of belly-laughter.
In truth, George W. Bush said a lot of dumb things, but by far the dumbest was, “Islam is a religion of peace.”
Initially, President Bush did have the extenuating factor of real ignorance. Who in America, realistically, in 2001, had a working knowledge of Islamic doctrine, tradition and history, sufficient to inoculate himself against the lies and platitudes that would ensue? Precious few. Who, realistically, was prepared to imagine, and promulgate as probable, that the resurgence of the Jihad would comprise one of the more emphatic strains of early 21st century history? But alas — Bush culpably persisted in this folly to the very end of his term in office, and a sizable portion of his own party is still committed to it.
What happened after September 11th was that most people forcibly categorized the shock and horror according to the historical paradigms they had long operated by: on the Left, anti-Americanism; on the Right, anti-Communism. It has taken the greater part of a generation for the hard realization to set in, that a new (or rather very old, but newly revivified) and different paradigm applies.
That the Democratic Party would very much like to roll back this realization, and re-establish complete ignorance of the nature of the Jihad and its Islamic roots as the regnant condition of the American people, is another observation that no one should forget.
Yes, friends, in times like these patriots are obliged to watch those who would lead them with special care, and remember.