The Archbishop of Canterbury, for example, recently spoke at length to a Muslim magazine where he sharply criticized and heaped scorn on American foreign policy and "imperialism" (and was given a "political blessing" by the political establishment in Britain) in no uncertain terms, but then very mildly criticized Islamic societies:
In Pakistan he was “surprised by how the extremely small Christian minority there is perceived as so deeply threatening by an overwhelming Muslim majority which ought to be more confident and generous about its identity”. He urged the Muslim world to acknowledge that its “present political solutions aren’t always very impressive”.
Very sporting and, of course, oh so moral of him to gloss over some issues highlighted by Victor Davis Hanson at The Corner in a post appropriately titled "Why You Can Believe all Those Warnings About The Death of the West":
...if he [Williams] is worried about the soul of civilization in general, and the U.S. in particular, he might equally ask his Muslim interviewers about the status of women in the Muslim world, polygamy, female circumcision, the existence of slavery in the Sudan, the status of free expression and dissent, and religious tolerance (i.e., he should try to visit Mecca on his next goodwill, interfaith tour).
Mark Steyn further highlights the confusion of the Archbishop; but Rowan Williams is not alone in his moral and intellectual bankruptcy when it comes to dealing with the barbarism and horrors of the jihadists, whose goal is nothing less than the complete destruction of Western civilization and its replacement by the utopian Caliphate where oppression of women, killing infidels, and religious intolerance are all celebrated as the highest form of worshiping God.
The conundrum that many on the left in the West seem to run into is the concern that, by fighting back against those manly modern barbarians who cavalierly behead innocents and slaughter fellow muslims with abandon; hide behind women and children and use children and babies as human bombs to murder infidels; and even by voicing a condemnation of such acts or criticizing the fanatical intolerance of Islam toward other religions--they are being, well...intolerant. And not politically correct; and--let's face it--really really mean.
Especially when you finally wage a war back against barbarians who formally declared war on you in 1996 and have been fighting and killing your people for decades with relative impunity.
In a comment on this thread at The Belmont Club, Wretchard notes:
The brilliance of the new barbarism is that you cannot fight it without destroying your own value system into the bargain.
Traditionally the solution has been to consider wartime a discontinuity, when civilization's rules are suspended. It becomes possible, for example, to lay waste to the Monte Cassino Abbey. Berlin was bombed without regard for its buildings, churches or people.
The alternative is to create methods of fighting so discriminating that we can literally shoot between the raindrops. But that creates a different problem, for we will need an intelligence system so comprehensive that it will become intrusive.
Either way, the war cannot be won without cost. And the fundamental fraud foisted on the public is to claim we can have war without horror, conduct an intelligence war without dishonesty and cunning and obtain victory without sacrifice.
I am confident that we in the West are not in danger of losing our fundamental values; and that our overall moral heading can be recovered should we need to temporarily deviate from the course of the moral compass that guides us. Because, in order to combat and defeat this new barbarism, we must confront it directly and be willing to do whatever it takes to defeat it.
If we appease or ignore it, it will continue to menace everything we hold dear; and sooner or later, it will sink us--no matter how moral we are or how much restraint we demonstrate to their provocations. Moral virtue and saintly restraint will not win this conflict, at least not without the help of pure, unadulterated brute force to back them up.
But, first we must be sure in our own hearts and minds of the endurance of our own values in order to use whatever force is necessary. Morally vacuous intellectuals; and historically ignorant churchmen are not the kind of leaders that will help Western values and Western civilization triumph over the new barbarians. They are plagued by pervasive doubts about the worth of our civilization, and are not troubled by the idea of its demise and replacement. In fact, they rather stupidly believe that their own little socialist version of utopia will win over the new barbarians to their way of thinking; that, their lovely tolerance and good intentions will convince the jihadist that he can safely live in peace with them.
The moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the intellectuals of the political left and their postmodern nihilism is spreading uncertainty and fear--not directed at those who want to kill and enslave us, but toward ourselves and our own motives. This uncertainty is already having a profound effect, and is enabling and encouraging the new barbarians to think they can defeat us--in Iraq; and everywhere. Value by value is already being undermined. Look how willing much of the West was to compromise freedom of speech in the Danish cartoons (no matter how "offensive" they might be taken) in order to accommodate the enemy's threats. Soon, we will have compromised away all that matters to us; and our civilization will disappear, little by little as it is taken over by the barbarians.
If we continue to appease them, we will be overcome by their ruthlessness and love of death--which in the end, is more than a match for our humanity and love of life and freedom. Can we in the West not even be certain that life is a higher value than death? That freedom is more desirable than oppression? And that life and freedom are causes worth sacrifice?
The cost of this war will be more than all the lives lost; it will also be for the humanity and civilization we must temporarily abandon to win. I love to read fantasies as much as anyone, but in the real world, the good and virtuous whose cause is just do not always win.
When we are finally cornered and must allow our own barbarism to surface to combat theirs head to head, then we must be prepared to live with the consequences, including the agonizing guilt that will ensue--or everything we hold dear, everything we aspire to become, will forever perish from this earth. Is it worth this kind of sacrifice to preserve the blessings of liberty for our posterity?
Those who fought in the two World Wars of the last century thought so.
I've said it before, but this reality is what I hate and despise most about these Islamic fanatics--who do not let reason or life interfere with their jihad; who abide by no treaties, follow no rules, and scorn the very values upon which Western civilization is founded. We could have lived with them they did not insist that we must become what they are or die. But they have defined the groundrules (or the non-rules) of this conflict; and eventually, we will have to meet them at their level--or they will win. We should hold tight to the thought that it is they who have set the playing field.
The best strategy of these new barbarians seems to be to unleash their own barbarism, then let the intellectuals of the West make the appropriate apologies for them.
"Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." - There is controversy over who said this, but for a discussion of this quote, see Mudville Gazette.
One of the leaders of the new barbarians had this to say :
In the message broadcast by Al-Jazeera television, Ayman al-Zawahri, second in command to Osama bin Laden, said that al-Qaida now views "all the world as a battlefield open in front of us."
The Egyptian-born physician said that the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah and Palestinian militants would not be ended with "cease-fires or agreements."
"It is a jihad (holy war) for the sake of God and will last until (our) religion prevails ... from Spain to Iraq," al-Zawahri said. "We will attack everywhere."
So, what should civilization's response be? Should we pretend we don't hear him? Should we agonize about our own imperfections and shout mea culpas as they continue to kill us? Should we pretent that thugs like Zawahiri and Ahmadinejad don't really mean it? Even if you hate the idea of violence and death --and what sane and rational person doesn't?-- isn't it time to get really serious about this threat and stop pussyfooting around pretending it doesn't exist?
I think so.