But, on the other hand, despite Clive Williams's game attempt to connect the two on this page yesterday, nobody seriously thinks what happened in Bali has anything to do with Iraq. There are, in the end, no root causes, or anyway not ones that can be negotiated by troop withdrawals or a Palestinian state. There is only a metastasising cancer that preys on whatever local conditions are to hand. Five days before the slaughter in Bali, nine Islamists were arrested in Paris for reportedly plotting to attack the Metro. Must be all those French troops in Iraq, right? So much for the sterling efforts of President Jacques Chirac and his Prime Minister, Dominique de Villepin, as the two chief obstructionists of Bush-Blair-Howard neo-con-Zionist warmongering these past three years.
When the suicide bombers self-detonated on Saturday, the travel section of Britain's The Sunday Telegraph had already gone to press, its lead story a feature on how Bali's economy had bounced back from the carnage of 2002. We all want to believe that: one terrorist attack is like a tsunami or hurricane, just one of those things, blows in out of the blue, then the familiar contours of the landscape return. But two attacks are a permanent feature, the way things are and will be for some years, as one by one the bars and hotels and clubs and restaurants shut up shop. Many of the Australians injured this weekend had waited to return to Bali, just to make sure it was "safe". But it isn't, and it won't be for a long time, and by the time it is it won't be the Bali that Westerners flocked to before 2002.
I found myself behind a car in Vermont, in the US, the other day; it had a one-word bumper sticker with the injunction "COEXIST". It's one of those sentiments beloved of Western progressives, one designed principally to flatter their sense of moral superiority. The C was the Islamic crescent, the O was the hippie peace sign, the X was the Star of David and the T was the Christian cross. Very nice, hard to argue with. But the reality is, it's the first of those symbols that has a problem with coexistence.
As Steyn points out, coexistence is exactly what the Islamists are opposed to. They don't just want a Palestinian State, they want Israel destroyed. They don't want the Koran and the Bible to coexist, they want all the Bibles shredded. And so on, through a litany of examples that clearly demonstrate the paranoia, distrust, and intolerance inherent in the "peaceful" religion of Islam.
It is indeed "their way or the highway" and the highway is littered with the dead bodies they have sent to Allah.
At a dinner party this weekend I listened to a German professor who was talking about the arrogant United States and how they were "failing" in Afghanistan and Iraq. Almost all of the people at the party nodded sagely, agreeing with his assessment of their country (this is Ann Arbor, after all).
"Yes, yes it is a complete disaster," said an American professor. "Look at all the Iraqis dying because we are there.
"Bush is a moron," said another, as they all tripped over each other to agree that their country was arrogant; stupid; and evil.
One woman's statement also betrayed the underlying attitude that America was consistently in the wrong. She said to the German Professor and said, "Just remember that 49% of Americans agree with 99% of the rest of the world."
I'm sure she would agree that Bali brought these horrible murders upon themselves. That their foreign policy decisions in supporting Israel and America in Iraq and Afghanistan....oh wait. They didn't, did they? They are a predominantly Muslim country, aren't they?
Well, I'm almost certain that the policies of George Bush are behind the senseless and horrific murders of those innocent people in Bali. Aren't you?