International

War Aims

Christopher Hitchens on the many victims of Islamist terror:

The current jihad is still waged chiefly against Muslim states and societies and, as Istanbul proves, not just against dictatorial ones. (That last distinction is unsafe in itself, by the way, since the Afghanistan of the Taliban was more dictatorial and oppressive than Saudi Arabia or Algeria, and since Bin Laden never conducted any operations against Saddam Hussein or his embassies or outposts.)

Whatever its faults, Turkey is a society with many elements of pluralism and democracy. (Just last week, in accordance with its expressed desire to conform with EU rules, it abolished capital punishment.) It also has a tradition of hospitality, offered in traditional Islamic terms, to the Jewish people. When expelled and dispossessed by Christian Europe, the Sephardim found refuge under the protection of the Caliph, in dominions of Islam as far apart as Bosnia and Baghdad. From this latest outrage, then, we can see how false the Bin Ladenists are, even to their own expressed reverence for a lost Muslim empire. The worshippers at the Neve Shalom were not killed for building a settlement in the West Bank: They were members of a very old and honorable community who were murdered for being Jews. Their Turkish neighbors were casually murdered as “collateral damage.”

This is in the nature and essence of the foe that we face. Try and bear it in mind, even as the networks speak so lazily of the same foe for “targeting Americans.” Understanding why this is lazy is the whole justification of the war, just as it is the real reason why this war will be won.

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