Come up for air
Here are three items with one unifying thread.
- Hospitals Become Battleground in Gaza. Caption: "Palestinian physician Fayez Al-Barrawi, 29, lays in a hospital bed after he was shot six times in his legs when he was kidnapped by Palestinian militants, at Kamal Edwan in Beit Lahiya northern Gaza Strip."
- Sacred Shiite Shrine in Samarra Attacked Again: "Suspected al-Qaida insurgents on Wednesday destroyed the two minarets of the Askariya Shiite shrine in Samarra, authorities reported, in a repeat of a 2006 bombing that shattered its famous Golden Dome and unleashed a wave of retaliatory sectarian violence that still bloodies Iraq."
- Pakistani City Transformed by Militants: "Pro-Taliban Militants Gain Ground, Drain Life From Once Prosperous Pakistani City"
These stories all illustrate how the Jihad is destroying every Muslim society in which it is raised. It has created far more havoc on those societies than any conceivable American military strike. Terrorism as a defense creates far more collateral damage than any conceivable "protection" it may offer. A case in point is Iraq. Far from being a brilliant strategy to defeat the America the "networked insurgency" has so far managed to smash Iraq's infrastructure, unleash murder gangs, cause the exile of hundreds of thousands of Sunnis to neighboring countries, cripple its oil production, dissolve every semblance of social order it can corrode and finally, unleash such a wave of revulsion that even thugs and smugglers are making common cause with the Coalition so that they can return to a life of peaceful crime. In Gaza, men on street are improbably longing for the return of the Israeli soldier, whose presence, however stern, now seems the very soul of gaiety in comparison to sadistic brutality of Hamas and Fatah. Even Pakistan's Northwest Frontier, the historical epitome of lawlessness, is watching all its grim records broken. "Now, Tank is becoming a virtual no-go zone, even for ethnic Pashtuns who make up the majority of its 150,000 people. Islamic fundamentalists have issued Taliban-style edicts and set up their own courts in the city and nearby districts. Extremists have warned barbers not to shave customers' beards and bombed shops selling Western music or films."
And the Jihadis have just gotten started. The terrible logic of terror means that it must continuously raise its level of grisliness to keep its victims, already brutalized and inured to routine shocks, spasming in fear. Having blown up the Golden Dome of the Samarra mosque they must now move on to the minarets. After that the basements will be next. There's no end to it. It has been argued that not terrorism, but the West's response to it that is fundamentally dangerous to traditional liberties. But if that is true the mirror argument also holds. Islamic societies everywhere are being corroded, perhaps fatally, by the Jihad against the infidel. Their own choice of symbol -- the suicide bomber -- perhaps best illustrates the ultimate effect of their mode of warfare. The headless, explosive-shattered corpse may represent not simply the fate of the individual attacker but the society which spawned him. The Jihad expels a terrible toxicity as a waste product, which like carbon monoxide in a submarine, poisons the entire atmosphere till unchecked it is nothing but a cylindrical metal tomb.
The fate of Gaza may foreshadow the future of Lebanon, Pakistan and perhaps finally, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iran. What goes around, comes around.