Stark reminder from Bus

Wall Street Journal and Jerusalem Post, 13 August, 2006

It took President Bush to tell the truth to Britain about the massive plot to blow US bound airliners out of the sky.

In his first comment on the apparently foiled attempt to blow at least half a dozen airliners flying from Britain to the US out of the sky, Bush put it simply: "This was a stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists."

He is right. But in the news reports in Britain yesterday, the words Islamist or Muslim were hardly emphasised. . Let alone the dread word "fascist". Instead the common code words on television were that the 24 men arrested were "British born" and "of Pakistani origin". No mention of their Islamist ideology. Does the BBC think they might turn out to be from Pakistan's embattled Christian minority ? I don't think so.

In Europe the truth is so terrible that we are in denial. Perhaps it is understandable. We simply do not wish to face the fact that we really are threatened by a vast fifth column - that there are thousands of European born people, in Britain, in France, in Holland, in Denmark - everywhere - who wish to destroy us. They are part of a wider war, what Tony Blair rightly calls an "arc of extremism" - Islamist extremism.

You see this denial in the coverage of Israel's war against Hezbollah. The deaths in Lebanon are utterly tragic. But if you watched only British television, particularly the BBC, you would be hard pressed to understand that Israel has been forced into a war for its survival, in which Iran has empowered its proxy Hezbollah to undertake the final solution of "the Zionist entity".

The fact that since Israel pulled out of southern Lebanon six years ago, Hezbollah has been allowed to hijack the whole area to create a vast attack station, whose purpose is only to destroy Israel, is taken for granted and certainly not shown to be a cause for opprobrium.

Last weekend people marched in an anti-Israel march though London carrying banners proclaiming "We are all Hizbollah Now".

Do they know that every Lebanese child killed is a triumph for Hezbollah and a tragedy for Israel, as well as for Lebanon ? Do they know that amongst the Hezbollah prisoners that Nasrallah demands that Israel release are men arrested after openly rejoicing in smashing out the brains of Israeli children ?

Do they know that the Iranian President Ahmadinejad, the eager seeker of nuclear weapons, considers that the utter destruction of Israel is an Iranian priority ? Or that Hezbollah's leader Hassan Nasrallah, has said that he wished all Jews would gather in Israel so that they could all be destroyed at once and that there is no creature more disgusting in the world than a Jew "and note that I said a Jew, not an Israeli" ?

The awful thing is that many of those who march in support of Hezbollah may well know such things. Those who don't know them, don't want to trouble themselves.

And its not just the extremist marchers. Reasonable, conventional armchair critics concentrate on the mistakes of Israel rather than the evil ideology of Hezbollah. They refuse to acknowledge that a small, decent society is now literally under the threat of death from an illegal fascistic military machine built throughout the hills, valleys, towns and villages of southern Lebanon.

As the American historian Victor Davis Hanson recently pointed out, there is a kind of moral madneat work here. We refuse to admit that there is a pattern to global terrorism. European papers are frightened to publish cartoons which some Muslim leaders demand we censor, but are happy to portray the Israelis as latter day Nazis. Not for nothing does Hanson say that we have forgotten the terrible lessons of 1938.

In a live BBC interview recently I called Hezbollah "Islamo-fascists". The interviewer said nervously "That's a very controversial description"; I replied that it was merely accurate. She brought the interview to a swift close. But how else should one describe a military machine that marches under the banner of a demagogic leader who seeks above all to kill Jews ? Its not just Hezbollah of course. The same ideology of hate ancd destruction inspires Al Qaida, perhaps gthe inspiration if not the controller of the arrested British bombers.

In Britain we are actually quite lucky. We have a Prime Minister who, in my view, has committed many, many errors at home; but abroad Tony Blair has a clear vision, both moral and pragmatic of the threat that we face. And for this he is mocked and abused as nothing more than Bush's "poodle".

In a thoughtful recent speech in Los Angeles Blair spoke of fighting an "arc of extremism". That extremism is Islamic extremism, whether it is inspired Al Qaida or by Teheran, whether its foot soldiers are Sunni or Shi ite, whether they were born in Britain or southern Lebanon or Iran or Saudi Arabia, or anywhere else. As Blair said, the battle is over the values that are to govern the future of the worlds. "Are they those of tolerance, freedom, respect for difference and diversity or those of reaction, division, hatred?"

"This is war" said Blair. Alas, it is. Wherever they were born, the men who want to blow up airliners, who want to destroy Israel and, not co-incidentally, who want to kill all hope of a decent society in Iraq - are Islamo-fascists who are united in hatred of us. The sooner we in Europe understand that and that they must be defeated, the safer everyone - Christians, Jews, Muslims, and non-believers - will be.


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