Sunday, May 18, 2003
Well, give the enemy this: whenever we start to get optimistic about solving the root causes of terrorism (Iraqi tyranny, Israeli occupation, whatever) they remind us of the real source of their grievance: our existence.
So they attack a Western compound in Saudi Arabia, killing 34, mostly Westerners.
They attack Jewish and tourist sites in Morocco, killing 41, mostly Jews and Westerners.
They attack government offices in Chechnya, killing 75 Russians and Chechens.
They attack a bus in Israel, killing seven Israelis.
Now observe the contrast in responses to the last attack from the Russian and German foreign ministries. To the German foreign ministry, the terrorists are "enemies of peace." To the Russians they are just enemies.
That's why America's relationship with Russia, unlike its relationship with France and Germany, is not being derailed by obstruction over Iraq. In the end, the Russians understand that this is a global war with an unappeaseable enemy. Yes, I understand that they have less than idealistic motives for seeing it that way. So do the Israelis; so do the Indians, for that matter. But that doesn't make them wrong. After all, Jacques Chirac has his own base motives for posturing in precisely the opposite direction.
The terrorists are indeed the enemy of peace. They are waging a civil war in the house of Islam to control first that house, then, eventually, our house. 9/11 was supposed to be their Reichstag fire, the spectacular event that would catapult them to power. And even if they never get close to power, they can kill a lot of us - and destroy the prospects for normal life in the Muslim world - in trying. We have to kill them first. And Mahmoud Abbas, Pervez Musharraf, Abdallah bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud and for that matter Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroeder and the rest of that crowd should know the risks of obstructing that effort.