Jihadists have again besieged Paris, loosing upon that great city a cacophony of gunfire and slaughter at some six different locations. This included one especially depraved operation at a concert hall, reminiscent of the 2002 massacre at the Dubrovka Theater in Moscow, carried out by Chechen jihadists.
Let us have none of the slinking cant which suggests that this perfidy does not arise out of the authentic doctrines of the Islamic religion. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” The rottenness of this particular fruit exceeds the most capacious power of verbal description.
Liberals in the West will now begin scrambling for scapegoats, as in January they comforted themselves with blaming provocative cartoonists and Jews. Prominent draftsmen will discern new ways to elucidate how any criticism, let alone righteous denunciation, of treacherous gunmen who fill the Parisian evening with hot lead, amounts to “punching down.” Academics will commence to clamber over one another to preen their relativistic ennui over the whole unpleasantness.
The enervation of the West by such relativism will, alas, very likely be evident in virtually every statement by leaders such as Francois Hollande, David Cameron, and Barack Obama, the latter a man who not so long ago promulgated the canon that “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.” In his first statement on the Paris slaughter, Obama waved around the “universal values” phrase that refutes itself, since Islam (a huge part of the world) does not share them.
Meanwhile, Angela Merkel should resign forthwith, and leave Germany at least the chance to be ruled by sensible and patriotic people.
Whether any of the American GOP candidates will display the nerve to dispense with the usual emollient modifiers, and castigate the dogmas and traditions of Islam as such, remains to be seen. Senator Cruz has taken a solid first step.
The less said about our Democratic Party’s cowering from reality, the better — except to notice that the candidate after that Party’s own heart, though grudgingly subdued by its cynical mind, waited just over 24 hours before using the massacre of Parisians as props in his climate change fantasy. Bernie Sanders should resign from the US Senate and leave public life.
(Lest you think us overly partisan, let it be noted that seven years ago we had a GOP candidate for president, said to be a warhawk, whose habit was to pile up the insulating modifiers to the point of absurdity: “violent radical Islamic extremism” and suchlike; the administration of the man who defeated him drops even that faintest whisper of reality by reducing the denunciation to pure abstraction: “violent extremism.”)
The sustained energy of liberalism, we predict, will instead find its spring in outrage at anyone who talks sense on the Islamic religion — who declares, for instance, that its doctrines are sunk in bellicosity and its proselytizing customs upheld by bloodlust and rapine; or who dares to recommend against filling Europe up with yet more alienated Islamic immigrants. Indeed, right now the leading candidate (according to recent polls) for the French presidency in 2017, Marine Le Pen, is actually on trial for “Islamophobia.” This asinine portmanteau affixes a Greek word to the Arabic in order to indicate irrational fear, but we may justly ask whether anyone in Paris, upon hearing the Arabic war cries, could conceive of any fear of Islam that was not perfectly rational.
But even rational fear should give way to burning indignation, and a determination to arrest the influence, in the West, of Islam where it now legally resides; and to decisively prevent any further augmentation of that influence by the arrival of new Muslims. In a word, the West should proscribe all Islamic immigration which aims at permanent residency, without qualification. Even temporary business travelers or tourists should be asked, on pain of perjury, to renounce jihad, sharia, and dhimma, before being permitted into our countries. There are dozens of Islamic nations in this world, some of them enormously prosperous and not unlovely; Muslims may be encouraged to vacation in those places instead.
Next, it is time to ask whether we men of the West should get serious about making war on Islamic State: Not pinprick airstrikes and trifling raids, but total war that ends with the destruction of this State’s capital assets, dismemberment of its civil society, humiliation of its leaders, and annihilation of its army.
The best thing about Islamic State’s fielding a real army, which features infantry, armor and artillery, is that we can destroy it. Though subject to some strain, from terror, battle, social engineering, and want of political leadership, our American military is still magnificent at destroying armies.
Here is the opportunity to make the Caliphatists and their Jihad taste American steel and American unit superiority. Several US Army armored divisions, a few well-supported Marine Combat Brigades, abundant Special Forces unfettered by enfeebling engagement restrictions, along with Turkish forces firmly checking Islamic State’s northern border, could crush assuredly crush this menace.
Or possibly we could take a page out of Vladimir Putin’s playbook and just quietly replace valiant but materially malnourished Kurdish irregulars with American front-line units, armed to the teeth and backed by close air support.
The next best thing is that Islamic State is still so recent upon the land, that there is no immediate stinging retort of, “So, what about after that?”
That rejoinder, with all its defiant challenge, surely loomed before us, and was never properly answered, to our discomfiture and loss, when the Iraq War began in 2003. Bereft of foresight in the beginning, and perseverance at the end, we have come to this pass where the Jihad has carved out of the decaying periphery of the pseudo-democracy we established, and some fragments cast off from the Syrian civil war, a functional state, and pronounced it a Caliphate.
That is where we are. This Caliphate is, with barbarian sincerity, organized on principles of Jihad. Its rule means, in law and statute, death for the defying infidel, and degradation, servitude, expropriation, in a word, dhimma, for the submitting one. Its rule also means a flocking to its colors of all those, around the wide distempered world, who profess this creed and mean to act on it.
But we can destroy it. By means of our soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen, should they find succor in able diplomacy securing key alliances, and sustainable support from home, we can smash Islamic State to pieces. We shall have to persevere through losses, because ISIS will not go quietly; but as General Patton put it, we can make the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.
Whether such a course of hardheaded action remains available to us, given our spiritual and moral exhaustion, compounded by our philosophical confusion, is a difficult and distressing question to consider. But we should not forget that the French, as recently as 2013, put their soldiers in the field against Islam, with modest success, in Mali. A Jihadist uprising was forcibly subdued there.
Replicating even that modest success in Mesopotamia and the Levant will require vastly more resources and a profounder commitment. Right now Islamic State proceeds undeterred with incubating the kind of coordinated terror and mayhem we saw in Paris. To say it is intolerable is to lapse into understatement that verges on the profane. But the might of Western arms, even in our decadence, is not inconsiderable.
Very serious consideration should be given to concerted military effort to eradicate Islamic State.
Jan Sobieski delivering his declaration of victory to Pope Innocent XI
-- The Editors