The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Saturday, November 25, 2006


The Bush administration has been criticized for not talking directly with Islamofascists. Many on the Left (and a few on the Right) present arguments that suggest that dialogue with Islamofascist regimes (e.g., Iran) will help us to understand their grievances, and as a result, allow us to take action that will mitgate those grievances.

A commenter at the Belmont Club, "Doug," addresses this mindset:
Their [the Islamofascists] grievance is our freedom of religion. Their grievance is our freedom of speech. Their grievance is our democratic process where the rule of law comes from the voices of many not that of just one prophet. It is the respect we instill in our children towards all religions. It is the equality we grant each other as human beings sharing a planet and striving to make the world a better place for all humanity. Their grievance is the kindness and respect a man shows a woman, the justice we practice as equals under the law, and the mercy we grant our enemy. Their grievance cannot be answered by an apology for who or what we are.

And yet, many recommend dialogue or negotiation, in the vain hope that it may lead us out of this conflict. They ask, "What harm is there in talking?"

The harm is this: The West has come to believe that words are important, that a promise made is a promise kept, that a softening of language indicates a softening of feeling. We want to believe that all people are "good" and that every person will respond to reason. It's a wonderful fantasy, but it has absolutely no relation to the world as it exists.

In his fascinating (and troubling) book on power, Robert Green presents a collection of laws that allow an individual or a country to acquire and maintain power. He suggests that one should never look at the words of his enemy, only his enemy's actions.

If we look at the words uttered by Islamofascists, we encounter an ambiguous landscape—threats followed by calls for negotiation, venom followed by words of reconciliation. Many who believe in words see only the soft language and choose to disregard the hard words.

But if we look at the actions of the Islamofascists, we see only one thing—a nightmare landscape of death, intolerance, subjugation, and terror. That's who our enemy is, and all the talking in the world won't change it.