Capture-Bonding

From James Taranto’s Best of the Web, today:

“There’s something different about what happened from Charlie Hebdo, and I think everybody would feel that. There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of—not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, OK, they’re really angry because of this and that. This Friday was absolutely indiscriminate. It wasn’t to aggrieve one particular sense of wrong. It was to terrorize people.”

Those words were spoken yesterday by Secretary of State John Kerry. The reference to “legitimacy” calls to mind the remark that ended the political career of Todd Akin. But although Kerry’s statement was every bit as stupid as Akin’s, it was far more evil. Not only does he rationalize the mass murder of journalists; that rationalization is a fallback from his initial, impulsive though impolitic position that those murders had “legitimacy.”

The most charitable way to sum up Kerry’s view is that he believes discrimination is a mitigating factor when it comes to terrorist attacks—that murder isn’t as bad when the victim is someone who has publicly espoused views the killer finds abhorrent. The word for a murder carried out with this sort of extreme prejudice is assassination, and it is ordinarily considered even worse than murdering at random.

The attack on Charlie Hebdo, no less than the attacks last week, were intended “to terrorize people.” But the Charlie Hebdo attacks were also intended to terrorize people into silence. It was an attack on free speech as well as on freedom and Western civilization more generally. Kerry’s rationalizing of it is arguably the most un-American thing he has ever said in public—and that’s saying a lot, given that he made a name for himself slandering American military servicemen.

Kerry’s insouciance about the Charlie Hebdo assassinations also runs counter to one of the administration’s central talking points. We are given to understand that the source of the terrorists’ grievance against Charlie Hebdo was its practice of caricaturing Muhammad, the prophet of Islam; such representations are contrary to Shariah, or Islamic law. But Kerry himself went on to say “it has nothing to do with Islam.” So why would terrorists murder people over Shariah violations? What are they, compassionate progressives trying to create safe spaces?

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26 Comments

  1. Epicaric says

    “It has nothing to do with Islam.” These kinds of apologies, on behalf of others, have always struck me as cynical. A non-Muslim, with no particular knowledge of Muslims or Islam, pretends to define who is, and isn’t, a Muslim, and what these “true” Muslims believe. The “Islam has been hijacked meme.” Really? Now that’s just plain stupid. Kerry, in keeping with Progressive talking points, er, claptrap, should instead be celebrating the “diversity” in the Muslim community, from khaki-trousered secular academics like Razib Khan, to wonderfully vibrant firebrand jihadists. But even Razib, I am convinced, will admit that, by any honest reading of Islamic texts the firebrand is a better Muslim than he. For many ostensibly secular or “moderate” Muslims, this knowledge is always a weight on their conscience. I have had this conversation with numerous Muslim friends and acquaintances over many years and have yet to find one who does not openly accept that Osama Bin Laden, or Al Baghdadi, or whatever “extremist” flavor of the day is in vogue, is a better Muslim than him. As we have seen now in the second generation of Muslim immigrants, invariably, many cannot find a balance between these poles and vigorously throw themselves back into their faith. In a “multicultural” state, they pay no price for this: they can embrace Islam with the purity of an Amish Elder, while enjoying the comforts of a modern society that is the product of contemporary rational secularists steeped in Christian tradition.
    Arab socialism went far in secularizing the Arab world, but as the socialist promises fizzled, and progress stalled, not even these totalitarian states – with full control of the media, education and every public institution – could really put a dent in the underlying Islamic culture. The Left has its hagiographies of Arab modernizers, such as Nasr in the 1950s. But then Sayyid Qutb and his Muslim Brotherhood were also born in the 1950s as an equal and opposing force. They almost succeeded in killing Nasr. Check. They succeeded in killing Sadat. Checkmate. My Hobbes just took your Locke to the laundry. When I was student in Cairo in the early 90’s, there were over 20,000 Islamists in prison, and you were never farther than a block or two from truckloads of armed soldiers. Since the Charlie Hebdo affair, Paris has had over 7,000 armed soldiers patrolling its streets. It doesn’t take too many true believers to start tallying up some heavy costs. And lucre is the least of the problems. There is a palpable loss of freedom. I have never served in the military, but I have had far more loaded guns pointed at me at close quarters than the average soldier. You get used to random stops and security barriers, and long interrogations in the little room at the airport. All peppered with the occasional violent flagration. The French will get used to it, and so will the Germans, and the Swedes, and any other nation so imprudent as to squander their patrimony. But, hey, I’ve been told that these net recipients of government benefits will pay our pensions! Well then.
    Who was it that said we must perish to survive?

    Posted November 18, 2015 at 8:22 pm | Permalink
  2. Q: Why the long face, John?

    A: I have the brains of a horse and I’m hung like Einstein.

    Another Leftist in the Hall of Infamy.

    4685d1168824914-john-kerry-jokes-long-face.jpg

    Posted November 18, 2015 at 8:45 pm | Permalink
  3. “Who was it that said we must perish to survive?”

    Must be the Pelosi idiot who also said, “We must pass it to know what’s in it.”

    Posted November 18, 2015 at 8:52 pm | Permalink
  4. Epicaric says

    I think it was a tongue in cheek Sailerism.

    Posted November 18, 2015 at 9:58 pm | Permalink
  5. tragmar moohoo says

    http://ace.mu.nu/archives/360157.php

    Posted November 18, 2015 at 11:58 pm | Permalink
  6. John says

    I feel the author of this quote is somewhat missing the point of Kerry’s statement. Despite the idiocy he does endorse, Kerry was making an important distinction between the two attacks.

    Hebdo can be viewed as a retaliation for blasphemy against the prophet. It’s intent was revenge for that alleged crime and prevention of future blasphemy.

    The recent Paris attacks are clearly an offensive attack, intended to generate maximum terror amongst all members of the population, regardless of whether they have acted against Islam or not.

    This is a significant escalation in the aggression of our opponent. It is a motion towards conquest rather than a temper tantrum.

    IS intends to bring about the apocalypse through terror, death, and destruction — whether we try to appease them or not.

    Posted November 19, 2015 at 6:20 am | Permalink
  7. Whitewall says

    Epicaric, some excellent work above. Question-I thought the Muslim Brotherhood traced it birth to the 1920s? Anyway, Malcolm used a specific term the other day regarding the Paris attack: “The House of War”. Now I am schooled in the totalitarianism of communism-present and past and I had to research the true meaning of House of War which I now understand. Did you during your time in Egypt come across this explanation of the term as being part and parcel of Islam?

    Posted November 19, 2015 at 8:42 am | Permalink
  8. Whitewall says

    “IS intends to bring about the apocalypse through terror, death, and destruction — whether we try to appease them or not.” Then is the next phase of western “Virtue Signaling” the part where media elites begin floating the morbid idea of “acceptable casualties among our own populations”?

    Posted November 19, 2015 at 8:53 am | Permalink
  9. John says

    Then is the next phase of western “Virtue Signaling” the part where media elites begin floating the morbid idea of “acceptable casualties among our own populations”?

    Well, the policy of “accepting casualties” is already happening. That’s exactly what the continuation of Muslim mass immigration is. Anyone with two brain cells to rub together knows this.

    Will the elite choose to make this explicit, or would they rather humiliate and demoralize dissenters by forcing them to publicly assent to the lie that this is not so?

    Hard to say…probably a mix of both, with the truth being acknowledged by the most fervent of lefties within their strongholds, while the media continues with the narrative of denial.

    Truth is, IS and Universalists want many of the same things.

    Posted November 19, 2015 at 9:39 am | Permalink
  10. John, The “distinction” you mention only reinforces the Islamist propaganda. The pre-planning of both attacks indicates offensive operations against Western targets. Assuredly, their targets will be chosen out of consideration of their ideological belief system, but to accept the Charlie Hebdo attack as “retaliation”, one must accept that drawing cartoons of their prophet in a free, Western country is incitement. In my view, this serves only as a politically correct argument that we must tiptoe around in our own countries to avoid “offending” apocalyptic savages. Sorry, I refuse to accept that we must curtail our freedom to appease their perverted beliefs. What next, should we rationalize the Paris attack, because all infidels should be killed too, in their belief system? Just how far do you propose we go to avoid “offending their beliefs”. Both attacks are acts of war against Western civilization, plain and simple. To accept Kerry’s rationale, accepts his Freudian slip – it gives “legitimacy” to the barbarism.

    Posted November 19, 2015 at 9:40 am | Permalink
  11. John says

    Both attacks are acts of war against Western civilization, plain and simple.

    I agree with this. Nothing I said contradicts this.

    To accept Kerry’s rationale, accepts his Freudian slip – it gives “legitimacy” to the barbarism.

    Making distinctions does not to give legitimacy to terrorism. It’s an important critical thinking skill.

    We need to understand the nuances of terrorist behavior to better anticipate the actions of our enemy. That is all.

    Posted November 19, 2015 at 9:58 am | Permalink
  12. Whitewall says

    It may very well be that that western journalist/photographer who kicked or tripped that fleeing “refugee” thereby offending our delicate western sensibilities so much that Germany and others felt the need to put out the welcome mat.

    Or maybe that journalist was the first European to offer a defense of Europe against this Muslim invasion?

    Posted November 19, 2015 at 10:09 am | Permalink
  13. “We need to understand the nuances of terrorist behavior to better anticipate the actions of our enemy.”

    So true, but the Kerry rationale blames a western behavior for Islamic terror in the pursuit of Global Jihad and since those who wander this path of reasoning refuse to even utter the word “Islam” in connection with “Islamic terror”, which by the way, is sanctioned by every respected member of the Ulama in the Islamic world, let me say I call bullshit on this rationale.

    Posted November 19, 2015 at 10:23 am | Permalink
  14. Epicaric says

    “Did you during your time in Egypt come across this explanation of the term as being part and parcel of Islam?”
    Dar Al-Harb and Dar As-Salam (دار الحرب و دار السلام) are terms intrinsic to the canon of Islamic theology. Literally translated as House of Peace and House of War, they represent the geographic division of the world between the lands of Islam, and those lands yet to embrace the faith. Much has been made of the Arabic words Salam (noun, peace, or greeting); Tasleem (gerund verb, to bring about the conversion to Islam); Islam (the religion and also, verb, to surrender); etc., etc., as these words all share the same root, or masdar (مصدر) in Arabic. Depending on one’s worldview – or agenda – philology may be bent to the task of accentuating the root ties of Islam and Salam (peace), or Islam as surrender. Surrender itself, however, can be offered in the reflexive and positive sense as surrendering oneself to God, or in the more ominous sense of being made to do so by force. Both are correct, as both meanings can be found, or inferred, in the Quran and other texts. This is analogous to the much heated discussion of Jihad, as it can be defined as both an act of holy war, as well as self-exertion in discovering the faith. Much duplicity has been generated in the service of de-emphasizing the former for the benefit of Western palates.
    In addition to the geographic division between the Islamic and non-Islamic world, there is also a temporal division: all that came before the message of the Quran was revealed to Mohammed is referred to as the Jahiliya, from the Arabic term for “ignorance.” This goes far in explaining the disinterest in much of the Muslim world for history and antiquities that predate the seventh century. Thus the destruction of temples, statuary and other artifacts has grounding in more than simple Quranic exhortations to smash the idols of the nonbelievers, but also in the fact that there can be little of value in such artefacts constructed in a period, literally, of ignorance.

    Posted November 19, 2015 at 12:54 pm | Permalink
  15. Troy says

    Kerry was making an important distinction between the two attacks.

    John, while I agree with your analysis, the bottom line is that our top diplomat is too damn stupid/incompetent to enunciate said distinction without sounding like a tool.

    2ndly, I don’t buy the myth of the moderate Muslim. It seems to me that these savages are practicing, to the letter, what their Holy Book says to do. Therefore, they are not radical Muslim but good obedient Muslims vis-a-vis their holy book. What we are looking for are looking for apostate Muslims. Muslims willing to forsake Sharia law, are radical not freaks like ISIS.

    Posted November 19, 2015 at 3:39 pm | Permalink
  16. Malcolm says

    With all due respect, John, I find this quasi-ecclesiastical parsing of sins by our fustian Secretary of State grossly offensive. There is no need to split these hairs. Both atrocities were murderous acts of jihad in the heart of the Dar al-Harb, meant to punish the infidels and to strike them with the fear of Allah.

    That is all the categorizing we need to do. Anyone who thinks it necessary to explain to us that our ancient and mortal enemy is actually willing to strike us at any time and any place it can, and for no more reason than that our very existence as unsubjugated infidels is an offense against Allah, is a fool, and takes us for fools as well.

    Posted November 19, 2015 at 3:53 pm | Permalink
  17. John says

    while I agree with your analysis, the bottom line is that our top diplomat is too damn stupid/incompetent to enunciate said distinction without sounding like a tool.

    Agreed.

    Muslims willing to forsake Sharia law, are radical not freaks like ISIS.

    The only good Muslim is a bad Muslim. (doesn’t take his religion seriously)

    Anyone who thinks it necessary to explain to us that our ancient and mortal enemy is actually willing to strike us at any time and any place it can, and for no more reason than that our very existence as unsubjugated infidels is an offense against Allah, is a fool, and takes us for fools as well.

    Is it because Kerry used the word “legitimate” in reference to the attacks that was so offensive?

    I guess in my mind, these most recent attacks, combined with the horde of Muslims rushing Europe, took the situation to an entirely new level and it is important to convey that to people.

    This situation is significantly more dire than post-911, with the enemy actually travelling to our territory in significant numbers and with USG and the EU pushing it through against the public will.

    Posted November 19, 2015 at 4:24 pm | Permalink
  18. Malcolm says

    I understand what you are trying to say here, John, but again, it should already be plainly evident to all that Europe is flooded with Muslims wishing to destroy us, and willing to murder innocents wherever and whenever they can.

    Kerry’s parsing seeks to divide the blame — “Hebdo kind of had it coming, you see, but wow, this is something different, and new!”

    My point is that it is neither; that any fine point of blame-sharing Kerry might try to make is contemptible capitulation.

    His only possible excuse would be that he is simply a damned fool. I grant that he is, but I’m not letting him off the hook: because he is a damned fool who hates the traditional West with the kind of haughty contempt that only a man of the Left can manage.

    Posted November 19, 2015 at 4:36 pm | Permalink
  19. Epicaric says

    Both atrocities were murderous acts of jihad in the heart of the Dar al-Harb, meant to punish the infidels and to strike them with the fear of Allah.

    There is ample support within the Quran for this proposition. At best, the Quran exhorts Muslims to avoid contact with non believers; at worst it calls for their destruction.

    So where does this leave us? Can we live peacefully within the same polity? Not without throwing caution to the wind. The process of liberalization within Islam is an exercise in omission rather than interpretation. This is an important distinction. While the bible, in the form of the New Testament, is a collection of gospels as related by the apostles, and thus cannot defensibly be asserted to be the literal word of God, the Quran is to be taken as the immutable and direct word of God. It is, indeed, self-reinforcing as the Quran itself states as much; that it was descended from the heavens in its current form and language – a language that, excepting some archaic terms, can be read and understood by an educated Arab in its original form. In Islam one does not deal with abstract metaphor as related and compiled and translated in a process of unverifiable lineage, but rather in concrete statements made in a language still spoken, and asserted to be the actual, eternal word of God. Therein lies the obstacle. A moderate Muslim is not one who has parsed the lines of the Quran for alternate meanings, but rather one who by force has omitted entire passages from consideration. Efforts to steer certain troublesome Quranic verses to a more modern, liberal meaning are usually conspicuously labored, and their authors seldom free of an ideological bent to shape public perception of Islam; in sum, they most often reveal themselves as driven more by agenda than scholarship.

    In secular terms, Islam corrected many of the shortcomings of its monotheistic antecedents (Islam solved the theological gymnastics of the Holy Trinity in a single sentence: لا الآه الا الله – there is no God but God). For its age, one could say that it perfected (indeed this term is used within Islamic texts – اكمل to complete or perfect) the scripture of the Abrahamic faiths. Unfortunately, it did so in the seventh century. And now Muslims must live with a clear and readable text that is, for the believer, the literal, immutable and eternal word of God. From the seventh century.

    Posted November 19, 2015 at 5:16 pm | Permalink
  20. “… because he is a damned fool who hates the traditional West with the kind of haughty contempt that only a man of the Left can manage.”

    What Malcolm expressed more eloquently.

    Look, I get it. In any existential conflict, it is prudent to know thine enemy. But hell, don’t we already know them? They want to kill us so they can rule the world in accordance with their seventh-century rules of conduct — lots of blood and guts. If not that, then they’ll settle for 72 pieces of ass in Valhalla.

    Even Leftist morons like Kerry should be able to wrap their heads around that by now. Alas, they either can’t or they won’t because it doesn’t jibe with their preconceived notions of how the world turns.

    So this insanity beat goes on and on. And so does the murderous mayhem. It pains me to say it, but even Hitler understood what the Left can not. As the Russian armies closed in on his bunker in Berlin, Hitler was heard to mumble just before he blew his brains out, “Next time, no more Mr. Nice Guy”.

    Posted November 19, 2015 at 5:22 pm | Permalink
  21. Malcolm says

    Epicaric, your middle paragraph is excellent.

    I’ve been saying this myself for years: that Islam is different from other religions in crucially (no pun intended) important ways, foremost of which is the belief that the Koran is the literal word of God. When Muslims speak of the Holy Koran, it is not a derived holiness they refer to, as would befit a Book that merely documents the deeds of the Prophet and his account of the commands and intentions of God. It is, rather, that the book Itself is holy as an extension of God Himself into the mortal world. The Koran is therefore holy to Muslims in exactly the same way that Jesus is to Christians. This is not a “fringe” belief, it is the very foundation of Islam. Even the Ummah‘s reverence for the Prophet Mohammed is necessarily supervenient upon the literality of the Koran. It is perfectly reasonable to say that anyone who does not believe all of this is no longer in any defensible sense a Muslim, just as someone who denies the divinity of Christ can hardly be called a Christian.

    Posted November 19, 2015 at 5:36 pm | Permalink
  22. Malcolm says

    As I wrote in 2010 (and quoted more recently here), this inescapable literalism has consequences:

    The problem for the West, and for “moderate” Muslims living here, is that Islam has a perpetual, self-renewing wellspring of fundamentalism at its core. That there may always be some more liberal and secular Muslims at the fringes of the Ummah, and rifts within Islam itself over who is an apostate and who isn’t, is irrelevant.

    What matters is that due to the unique nature and origins of Islam there has always been, and will always be, a powerful and persistent gravitational pull away from modernizing reforms, and toward fundamentalism — and this will always be a source of tension and conflict wherever there are large communities of Muslims living in the West.

    We must not overlook the essential fact that to stress the importance of bringing the entire world under submission to Allah is not some sort of fringe viewpoint held only by “radical Islamists” but is in fact the overarching, central mission of Islam, explicitly stated again and again and again throughout the Koran. (Indeed, the majority of the Koran is dedicated not to the practice of the faith, but to how to deal with the kuffar.) An expansionist attitude regarding the Muslim faith isn’t “Islamism”: it’s just Islam.

    Posted November 19, 2015 at 5:46 pm | Permalink
  23. Malcolm says

    “No more Mr. Nice Guy.”

    That’s funny, Henry.

    Posted November 19, 2015 at 5:51 pm | Permalink
  24. Epicaric says

    What matters is that due to the unique nature and origins of Islam there has always been, and will always be, a powerful and persistent gravitational pull away from modernizing reforms, and toward fundamentalism — and this will always be a source of tension and conflict wherever there are large communities of Muslims living in the West.

    This is my conviction, despite decades of friendship with Muslims who I consider some of my best friends, whose children call me “uncle”, and for whom I have nothing but esteem. It is a contradiction that I have wrestled with for years. However, I have not been able to resolve to my own satisfaction what I see as a fatal flaw in Islam, and what this may portend should a Muslim community in the West reach such numbers, a critical mass, so to speak, that the practice of the religion become freed from the restraint of self conscience. I have reasonable doubt. So long as I do, I defer to Chesterton.
    There seems to be a Manichaean insistence amongst Progressives that we must be friend or foe; that if we are friends, there can be no limits to our friendship, no barriers to proximity, and that were it otherwise, we must then be enemies. But walls can be bridges as much as barriers, shielding peoples from those differences most mutually offensive, while allowing by choice the sharing of that which they may mutually prize. Show me a wall, and I’ll show you a gate; walls are rarely built without one.

    Posted November 19, 2015 at 6:44 pm | Permalink
  25. Whitewall says

    Chesterton:
    ◾“There is in Islam a paradox which is perhaps a permanent menace. The great creed born in the desert creates a kind of ecstasy out of the very emptiness of its own land, and even, one may say, out of the emptiness of its own theology. It affirms, with no little sublimity, something that is not merely the singleness but rather the solitude of God. There is the same extreme simplification in the solitary figure of the Prophet; and yet this isolation perpetually reacts into its own opposite. A void is made in the heart of Islam which has to be filled up again and again by a mere repetition of the revolution that founded it. There are no sacraments; the only thing that can happen is a sort of apocalypse, as unique as the end of the world; so the apocalypse can only be repeated and the world end again and again. There are no priests; and yet this equality can only breed a multitude of lawless prophets almost as numerous as priests. The very dogma that there is only one Mahomet produces an endless procession of Mahomets. Of these the mightiest in modern times were the man whose name was Ahmed, and whose more famous title was the Mahdi; and his more ferocious successor Abdullahi, who was generally known as the Khalifa. These great fanatics, or great creators of fanaticism, succeeded in making a militarism almost as famous and formidable as that of the Turkish Empire on whose frontiers it hovered, and in spreading a reign of terror such as can seldom be organised except by civilisation…” – Lord Kitchener

    Posted November 19, 2015 at 8:07 pm | Permalink
  26. Whitewall says

    This has been a fabulous discussion on this thread. Very enjoyable. I was sent the following, but written by “he who is known to all” it seems:
    http://sultanknish.blogspot.com/2015/11/why-islam-is-religion-of-war.html

    Posted November 19, 2015 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

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