Saturday, November 29, 2008

Our World is Under Attack...

Here's Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni's comments on the Mumbai attacks:

There is no doubt, we know, that the targets the terrorists singled out were Jewish, Israeli targets and targets identified with the West, Americans and Britons ...

Our world is under attack, it doesn't matter whether it happens in India or somewhere else ...

There are Islamic extremists who don't accept our existence or Western values.

There's some debate over at Contentions as to the absence of similar statements from American leaders. Jennifer Rubin notes:

The lack of similar moral clarity from the U.S. is troubling and deeply disappointing. One hopes that Livni’s words will not go unnoticed, and will jar both our current President and our President-elect into specific and meaningful statements evidencing a grasp of the event’s significance.
To which Abe Greenwald responds:
Jen, the problem is that the proper post-9/11 stance has been labeled the “politics of fear,” and the U.S. has elected a President who’s promised to deliver the country from all that divisive scare-mongering. But the “politics of fear” accurately reflects a world of terrorism, and is in fact not “politics” at all – but just plain old fear. Like the fear that must have coursed through 150-plus innocent victims in Mumbai, or the fear that must have paralyzed European, Israeli and American relatives waiting to hear from traveling loved ones.
The politics of fear? That's the antiwar left's language of excoriation against conservatives, of course.

But it's even worse than this, as I noted today. Not only have we seen the Democratic-left refuse to condemn the terror in India, the meme on the left has it that it's the "
religionists" of all stripes who would pull the world down into a maelstrom of violence and "regression."

Barack Obama of course condemned the attacks, but then
deferred to the Bush administration, indicating that there's "only one president at at time."

We do know, however, how Obama responds to terrorism. We have, for example,
his comments in response to the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington:

We must also engage, however, in the more difficult task of understanding the sources of such madness. The essence of this tragedy, it seems to me, derives from a fundamental absence of empathy on the part of the attackers: an inability to imagine, or connect with, the humanity and suffering of others. Such a failure of empathy, such numbness to the pain of a child or the desperation of a parent, is not innate; nor, history tells us, is it unique to a particular culture, religion, or ethnicity. It may find expression in a particular brand of violence, and may be channeled by particular demagogues or fanatics. Most often, though, it grows out of a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness and despair.

– Barack Obama, Hyde Park Herald, Sept. 19, 2001.
There's little evidence so far that the attacks in Mumbai were driven by "a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness and despair."

Indeed, I can't help but notice how the targeting of Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, whose ultra-Orthodox Chabad house
was in fact unknown to many of the Holtzberg's own neighbors (but was a target of the killers) is one the best indicator of the legitimate fear that very well ought to haunt Westerners.

1 comments:

Critical Thinker said...

Prof,

You are correct in your assertion that it was not driven by a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness, and despair. If Lashkar-e-Taiba is responsible, then it is good old homegrown Pakistani terrorism. Could be Kashmir or it could be a test run for the US. Who knows?