The Shadow Lengthens
Fear works, even in the West. Why shouldn't it work in Iraq?
The Australian reports that "A leading children's publisher has dumped a novel because of political sensitivity over Islamic issues. Scholastic Australia pulled the plug on the Army of the Pure after booksellers and librarians said they would not stock the adventure thriller for younger readers because the 'baddie'" was a Muslim terrorist. The decision is being contrasted to the publication of Richard Flanagan's bestselling The Unknown Terrorist and Andrew McGahan's Underground in which terrorists are portrayed as victims driven to extreme acts by the failings of the West. (More)
The historical answer to Terror was CounterTerror. During the Second World War the Allies sent huge bomber fleets over enemy territory to "break the enemy will to resist". But there are alternatives to CounterTerror, such as counterterrorism and they are not the same thing. Counterterrorism doesn't necessarily involve matching fear with fear, it can use other methods: the selective and precision destruction of enemy leaders; the systemtic delegitimization of the enemy ideology; the ruthless application of technological and operational superiority to offset raw enemy intimidation. But most importantly, counterterrorism must send the message that it will prevail and that resistance is futile.
Fear can be matched by determination and operational superiority. Functional societies have one huge advantage over dysfunctional ones. They can generate vast amounts of resources and technology that 8th century killers hiding in caves cannot. But to use that overmatch effectively still requires the will to win; an ingredient that seems lacking in a society obsessed with relatively minor instances of prison abuse, wiretapping, and the historically low levels of collateral damage. Indeed, it is the enemy which has succeeded in portraying itself as the "good guys"; they cannot even be mentioned as "bad guys" even in works of fiction.
And so disarming ourselves, even the capitals of the West become haunted by fear. The radioactive pellet; fatwa, CAIR lawsuit, knife in the stomach; academic blacklisting. Fear. And fear is the first symptom of civilizational death; the slow forgetfulness; the pathological uncertainty; the creeping paralysis. Franklin Roosevelt once said that the only thing we had to fear was fear itself. Hear, hear.