Guns. It’s the only way.

An article in today’s Guardian is most instructive. With regard to the situation in Pakistan getting rather more desperate, it notes:

“Under the deal the Taliban were supposed to renounce violence in exchange for the implementation of Sharia law in Malakand division, a vast area that covers one-third of the frontier province. Instead the militants used the ceasefire to send fighters from Swat into neighbouring districts such as Dir and Buner.”

Well, duh! It is frightening that anyone actually believed that a ‘deal’ might stick, least of all one that traded – oxymoronically – a concession to the legalised use of brutality for a ‘renunciation of violence’.

When will people understand you can’t appease these people and you can’t deal with them. They’re the Taliban. They’re on a mission from Allah!

Forget the lawyers. Forget the money. It’s only guns that will have any success in stopping them. They cannot be reasoned with, they cannot be bought off. They won’t stop til they’re dead, and if we don’t kill them, they will kill us and anyone else who stands in their way. There are no limits to their ambitions, only new frontiers. When one goal is achieved, it’s on to the next. If ever there was a contemporary reason to warn “if you tolerate this, then your children will be next”, this is it.

If the thought of the mullahs in charge of the Islamic Republic of Iran getting a nuke is worrying, how about the prospect of their country cousins, the Taliban, getting control of a country that already has nuclear weapons?

The Guardian report also notes:

Brigadier Mehmood Shah, a Peshawar-based analyst, said Pakistan was finally waking up to the seriousness of the Taliban threat.

“The Taliban have exposed their real intention – not the implementation of Sharia law, but to seize power in Pakistan. It is now clear that al-Qaida is driving these people, and the government has realised it can’t [defeat] them with a small effort,” he said.

Some will scoff. Some will go on insisting that Al Qaeda is just a figment of George W Bush’s paranoid imagination. More scoffers will say that is is a small local problem. But it isn’t. The Taliban themselves have given no indication that their ultimate and motivating objective is limited by national boundaries. Practically that might be the case (for the moment), but philosophically they’re doing god’s work. It is inevitable that military force will be used to stop them (or to try to stop them). It is better that this is used now while the unpleasant consequences of armed conlict will be limited. As the Taliban gain momentum, more and more force will be needed to halt their advance and ultimately the world could be at war once again. If you think that is impossible, reflect on how the Nazis built the Wehrmacht from boyscouts to blitzkrieg in less than a decade.

Others will recoil in horror at the thought that only countervailing violence can stop this. But what is the alternative? Is it more civilised to stand idly by and watch as theocratic storm-troopers terrorise entire populations? Very often Civilisation demands force of arms in its own defence. It is unfortunate, but it is frequently not the case that rational debate and persuasion can alter the course of events. This is clearly one of those times. There is no room on this earth for the Taliban. Not what they do. Not what they stand for. Anywhere. Under any circumstances.

Civilisation cannot tolerate this and the civilised must not tolerate this.