Skip to comments.Playing both sides - the Western Jihadi...Mark Steyn
Posted on 07/24/2003 7:51:06 AM PDT by Rummyfan
PLAYING BOTH SIDES: THE WESTERN JIHADI
Tony Blair must have loved his speech to Congress. It will be a long while before he gets a reception like that in his own Parliament. Of course, his position is much worse than Bushs: the dissenters are in his own party not the opposition, and theyve fused with a broader dissatisfaction among his poor subjects. I would say the heat Blairs taking on Iraq is what the psychologists would call displacement: whether or not hes a fraud and a failure re Saddam, it doesnt begin to compare to the scale of his fraudulence and failure on education, health, transport, etc, which is what most Britons are really bugged about.
Nonetheless, I regret his decision to toss his snarling party a bone by intervening on behalf of the British subjects indefinitely detained at Don Rumsfelds pleasure at Guantanamo. I defended the arrangements at Gitmo last year, when most of Fleet Street was up in arms over malarial mosquitoes and other fictions. It was, in fact, the US Army which eliminated malaria from Cuba after the Spanish-American War. The detainees cages are cool, balmy, disease-free - and single-occupancy, so how good a nights sleep you get doesnt depend on whether Butch is in a romantic mood. A year and a half later, the brutal torture of the Rumsfeldian death camps is so severe that most of the inmates have put on weight. True, the guards have had to prevent a few suicide attempts from prisoners depressed at being unable to become suicide bombers, and one could make the case that stopping them is disrespectful of their cultural tradition. But Londons complaint seems to be no more or less than that, simply because they travel on passports issued in the name of Her Britannic Majesty, certain jihadi should be treated differently than others.
London is right. The British jihadi should certainly be treated differently: they should be subjected to much lengthier and more detailed interrogation. The mighty Pashtun warrior from Kandahar is an impressive figure, but in the grand scheme of things hes unimportant. I doubt he knows much and Im happy for him to be returned to his herd in the foothills of the Hindu Kush. But, with the British and French and Australian and Canadian al-Qa'eda volunteers, even the small fry are comparatively big fish. For a start, theyre a much larger threat to US interests: they know far more than the Afghan warlords idiot cousin about the weak points of the system they know what papers you need to slip across the border from Montreal to Plattsburgh, who you need to hook up with in Virginia to get fake ID, etc. Its the jihad networks in the west that give the movement its global reach. Shut them down and whats left is just a bunch of losers frolicking in their own decrepit backyard.
The British government is not alone in failing to grasp this. A few weeks ago, the night before I went to Iraq, the missus called me at my hotel in Jordan and said, Er, I was just wondering whether you should, um, notify the Canadian Embassy of where youre planning to go. As youre a Canadian citizen and so forth. I mean, just so Id have someone to call if you went, ah, missing She must have rung up about 20 bucks in long-distance charges while I lay on the bed howling with laughter at that one.
A couple of weeks later, a Montreal photo journalist, Zahra Kazemi, was arrested by police in Iran [CORRECT] and wound up getting questioned to death. She had done what my wife recommended contacted the Canadian Embassy in Tehran and a lot of good it did her when she was arrested for photographing a student demo and beaten into a coma. By the time her son, frustrated by his governments unruffleable equanimity in the matter, got the story out to the media, it was too late. On hearing of her death, the Canadian Foreign Minister expressed his sadness and regret.
Would it have killed him to express a little anger and disgust? After all, the mullahs will be lucky to be in business by years end: this is a terminal regime even Canadians should have figured isnt worth kissing up to. But what he mainly regretted was that one of his compatriots should have had the poor taste to get tortured and beaten onto the front pages. With a straight face, he passed on to reporters the official Iranian line that it could be just an accident. According to Reuters, the unfortunate accident has marred previously harmonious relations between Iran and Canada.
Looked at from Washingtons point of view, that may be the real problem: its closest neighbour, whose citizens enjoy greater and easier access to the US than those of any other country, has harmonious relations with the axis of evils prototype Islamist terrorism-exporting theocracy.
Dont blame the poor boob who serves as Canadas Foreign Minister. His staff may have done nothing for that murdered photographer, but theyve been tireless in their efforts on behalf of Omar Khadr, a Canadian teenager captured in Afghanistan after a battle in which a US soldier was killed. Khadrs father was arrested in Pakistan in 1995 for his part in the bombing of the Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad, but released after the personal intervention of the Canadian Prime Minister.
Thats the story in a nutshell: for whatever complex psychological reasons, western governments go to bat for the likes of Omar Khadr but not for Zahra Kazemi. Unlike Ms Kazemi, these boys know how to work the system. Zac Moussaoui, the so-called 20th hijacker is a French national who became an Islamic radical while living on welfare in London. Ahmed Ressam, arrested at the US border en route to blow up Los Angeles International Airport, trained for his mission while living on welfare in Montreal. Metin Kaplan ran a multi-million dollar radical Islamist sect while living on welfare in Cologne. Its the point at which eastern fundamentalism meets western benefit cheques that transforms the scale of the problem.
Tony Blairs right. Too many people are being held at Guantanamo. Free the Afghans. But keep the Brits.
*Hitchens: "Morale is very high" among both troops and Iraqi citizens.
pagesix ^ | 07/24/03 | pagesix
Yeah, I think we should put him in charge of some of this stuff!
He's right. This is a total mystery to me, too. It must be a very deep, dark psychological reason indeed.
I could ask how one country could produce both Mark Steyn and Jean Chretien.
But, then, I'd have to ask how another country could produce Ann Coulter and Bill Clinton...
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Does ANYBODY take Canada seriously???