Anti Fascism

“Nothing to fear except fear itself”

Don’t watch any television programmes or films about September 11 – that will mean that Bin Laden won.

The best way to commemorate 9/11 is with silence. Instead, Bin Laden must be laughing.

The advice is from Simon Jenkins, who now believes that even informing ourselves about September 11 means we are allowing Bin Laden to further terrorise us.

This is as opposed to the far more sensible and grown-up Jenkins strategy to soundly defeat Bin Laden which consists of the following:

1. Leave Iraq to a civil war, which the well-armed international jihadists might win.

2. Pull out of Afghanistan. Do a deal with the Taliban who were (are?) in alliance with Bin Laden.

Jenkins provides us with an incredibly revisionist history of the US’s response to 9-11: They panicked. They drove the Taliban back into the mountains, restoring the latter’s credibility in the Arab street and turning al-Qaida into heroes. They persecuted Muslims across America. They occupied Iraq and declared Iran a sworn enemy. They backed an Israeli war against Lebanon’s Shias. Soon every tinpot Muslim malcontent was citing al-Qaida as his inspiration. Bin Laden’s tiny organisation, which might have been starved of funds and friends in 2001, had become a worldwide jihadist phenomenon.

It is interesting that Jenkins believes every tinpot Muslim malcontent is citing al-Qaida as an inspiration as this total misapprehension might explain the columnist’s increasingly bizarre take on terrorism. He has bought into the fantasy that Muslims are ‘rallying behind Bin Laden’. This is a constant fear of those who have opposed interventions throughout the past decade — they always tell us that fighting an enemy will increase support for the enemy regardless of the evidence and always with the ignorant presumption that foreigners are going to be with ‘their’ man.

I remember how before the Kosova war, anti-war commentators on the left and right never tired of telling us how ordinary Serbs would “rally around Milosevic.” A year or so later they had taken to the streets to overthrow him. We heard the same about Saddam — yet despite everything that has gone wrong in Baghdad, there was no rallying around the dictator who is now on trial.

Jenkins goes on:

Bin Laden might boast that he had achieved terrorism’s equivalent of an atomic chain reaction: a self-regenerating cycle of outrage and foreign-policy overkill, aided by anniversary journalism and fuelled by the grim scenarios of security lobbyists. He now had only to drop an occasional CD into the offices of al-Jazeera, and Washington and London quaked with fear. The authorities could be reduced to million-dollar hysterics by a phial of nail varnish, a copy of the Qur’an, or a dark-skinned person displaying a watch and a mobile phone.

This is really fascinating and I think I am starting to understand, at last, where Jenkins is coming from. He says that an occassional al-Qaida CD has Washington and London “quaking with fear”. I don’t see any evidence for this but I am now willing to guess that when AQ spokesman appear on tv they have Simon Jenkins quaking with fear. Certainly, judging by his columns, they have him reduced to hysterics. How else to explain that he usually responds to any event involving the terrorists with a column saying we should just leave them alone or else it will just get worse and worse and why are we getting so worried? Why are we all so scared?

I’ve always thought that Jenkins has been one of the many who are simply in denial over the terrorist threat but I’m changing my mind. I think he is terrified, wishes they would just go away and that would everyone please, please stop talking about them.

Yet he just can’t stop talking about them.