I have identified three distinct sources of cant in defense of Palestinian terrorism, each of which may be summed up in the stock phrases that usually spring to the lips of those who are engaged in the process of defending or apologizing for Palestinian terrorism. They are:This is why I can never forgive the left and their self-destructive mewlings.
(1) The "cycle of violence"
(2) The "legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people"
(3) The "Zionist occupation"
My reason for spending so much time dissecting the cant surrounding Palestinian terror is simple. I am convinced that the West shares much, if not most, of the blame for the most startling fact of our epoch, namely, the political triumph of Islamic terrorism.
If the word "triumph" sounds premature or alarmist, ask yourself what nation state has had the impact on the geopolitical world order that the Islamic terrorists have had in the last half century. Without a navy or an air force or an army, without any of the paraphernalia of a normal nation state, a handful of terrorist organizations have managed to seize the center stage of world affairs, and have been deciding the fate of nations. They have all but shattered the international system of alliances upon which the Pax Americana depended; they have turned many of our former allies into current enemies; they have rallied fifth columnists within every Western democracy, including our own, to champion the cause of radical anti-Americanism; they have seduced the progressive Left into defending the most reactionary regimes in the world. They have turned one European election to their own purposes, and have thereby acquired a technique that can be all too easily applied to other elections, raising a question of the survivability of parliamentary democracy in the face of future coordinated terrorist strikes. They have put the governance of the United States on permanent hold by putting the fight against terrorism on top of our national agenda, where it will remain as long as the terrorists are willing to act to keep it there. In short, it is the terrorists who are calling the shots.But at least the left is going to get Padilla out of jail, so everything's going to be all right.
How did this happen? How did the vast power of the West, and the enormous benefits of the Pax Americana, fail to defend us against the demon of terrorism?
This is where Western culpability lies. We meant well. We sympathized with the plight of the Palestinians, and for good reason; but we let this sympathy get the better of our judgment.
You walk into my house and shoot my wife dead. I chase you out of the house and gun you down in the street. The next day your son kills me; and two days following my son kills your son.Indeed.
Now here is a cycle of violence, and yet can there be any doubt who started this cycle? You did. True, I may have done things that, in your opinion, justified your violence; but provided I did not use physical violence against you or yours, then you were the first one to escalate to the deliberate use of violence.
So how could I have stopped the cycle of violence? Well, by not doing anything to you or your kin when you killed my wife.
But would this have stopped the cycle of violence? What if you came the next day and shot my son, and I still didn't use violence to avenge myself. In this case, is my refusal to stoop to the use of violence a factor promoting the end of violence, or an incentive to more violence on the part of the person who first decided to use it?
The "cycle of violence" is a cant phrase, like so many other cant phrases circulating today, in that it permits us to feel as if we have said something profound when in fact we are talking utter nonsense. Yes, violence, once begun, often breeds violence -- but, as history amply demonstrates, violence breeds violence no matter how the other party responds to it. Fighting violence breeds it, but so too does appeasing violence. Furthermore, massive and overwhelming violence, far from continuing the cycle of violence, often stops it in its tracks, like the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
In the words of the immortal Curtis Lemay, "If you kill enough of them, they stop fighting."