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To NG: Its NOT that Simple

Reader comment on item: What is Jihad?
in response to reader comment: Oh Come on ... it's all very simple!!!

Submitted by Louise (United States), Aug 29, 2005 at 00:58

Suggest you (and others) consider the reasoning of GERARD BAKER in his recent article at http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,19269-1694666,00.html
For Americans, just mentally substitute the word "American" equivalent of any reference to Britain or British. Our LEFTISTS think the same way.

July 15, 2005
Why blame the terrorists? Apparently we can agree that it's Britain's fault
GERARD BAKER

RIGHT AFTER September 11, a question widely asked in the American and European media was: Why do they hate us? It was not, to be sure, the first question out of the mouths of most Americans. That question was: "What are their names and addresses and how quickly can we dispatch a B52 to their neighbourhood?" But it was an important question
nonetheless, deserving of serious attention by all who sought to end the threat from Islamist terrorism.

A week after July 7, I have the same question. Why do they hate us? But the "they" of my question are not the al-Qaeda slaughterers, the jihadis from Leeds and elsewhere and their
sympathisers across Europe. I think we know by now why they hate us. The "they" of my question are the massed ranks of so many British opinion-formers.

I don't mean the perennially opportunist sort like the Galloways and the Kennedys. Nor do I mean the pure, certifiable lunatics who inhabit the ideological theme parks at the Socialist Worker and the editorial pages of The Guardian. I mean a sizeable chunk of serious, influential British opinion, from across the political spectrum, who act in a way that suggests they honestly think this country is the principal author of the bad things that happen to it.

It has been evident, of course, in the BBC's now infamous decision to eliminate retroactively the word "terrorism" from its coverage of last week's bombings in London. The BBC was supposedly the model for the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four and I can't think of a better recent example of pure Orwell than this painstaking
effort at rewriting the verbal record to fit in with linguistic orthodoxy.The BBC clearly intends that a heretical thought should, by careful editorial nurturing and rigid enforcement of
the "guidelines", become literally unthinkable.

But lest I be accused by my former colleagues at the BBC and by others of merely indulging my current employer's commercial interests by attacking the BBC, let me also cite an example from this very newspaper. On Tuesday the paper published a cartoon on this page by its highly distinguished cartoonist, Peter Brookes, which made a point with his usual pellucid clarity. Two figures — one an Islamist terrorist, the other a sinister-looking military officer bearing the flags of Britain and the US, each nursing a large bomb and titled "Spot
The Difference".

To be fair both to my colleague and to the BBC, these are not extreme political positions, but views widely held throughout certainly the British media and widely expressed in the past week.

The common thought behind them is essentially this: our nation's military action in Afghanistan and Iraq is morally indistinguishable from the terrorists, so don't call one terrorism and not the other. Instead, say London and Baghdad have both been "bombed".
Further, of course, since we have almost certainly killed more civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq than the Islamists have killed in the West, what happened to us last week is actually our own fault.

I would try to explain why this is dangerously flawed thinking but it's been evident for some time now that any real effort to contradict this idea would be pointless. That is because this
thirst for self-blame among this sizeable section of Britain's thought-leaders is literally unquenchable.

Imagine this. Suppose we'd never invaded Iraq, and terrorists had blown up London in pursuit of their cause, what would the apologists have said about last week's attacks? In fact we know exactly what they would have said because many of them did say it after al-Qaeda attacked the US on September 11 — long before any American or British soldier set foot in Afghanistan or Iraq.

They said it was because of our support for Israel and its "brutal occupation of Palestinian territory", our complicity in the victimisation of Arabs from the Balfour Declaration to the
ascent of the Jewish lobby in America. But what if there had never been an Israel and instead a Palestinian state existed peaceably in the heart of the Middle East, and the terrorists had still attacked us? What would the apologists have said then? They would have said, of course, that we were to blame for having abused the Arabs and Muslims generally for decades through our colonial ambitions and economic exploitation of Arabia and the broader Middle East.

And what if there had never been a British Empire and British occupation of Arab lands, and terrorists had still attacked us? Then it would have been the Crusades, and the long-standing ill-treatment of Muslims at the hands of deplorable Christian warriors.

And what if there had never been a crusade, and they'd still attacked us? I'm stumped at this point to confect an answer, but I can guarantee that whatever it was that would have been said it would have been Britain's fault.

This English self-loathing would be less objectionable if it had not been so prominent in its less virulent form, in so much British policy and public life, for the past 60 years. In its less virulent form, it was the driving force behind the misguided anything-goes multiculturalism of the 1960s and 1970s and the desire to shed vestiges of British or English nationalism within the European Union for 40 years now.

Especially curious is that it is an oddly British, or perhaps Anglo-Saxon phenomenon. The French elites certainly don't succumb to it, or the Russian, or the Chinese, though all three
of them have a fair bit to answer for in their own histories.

And that's the irony: the most painful irony of all in this English self-loathing is this simple truth. The beauty of human freedom that so many in the world now enjoy, the wonder of
so much prosperity, the legacy of the Enlightenment, the very principles of cultural and political tolerance and free inquiry, owe more to Britain, and latterly our Anglo-Saxon allies who have taken on the baton in the past century, than to any other country on Earth.
Submitting....

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