|US embassy in Cairo, Tuesday, 9/11: Mob destroy an American flag they pulled down [source]|
Two powerful - highly political - quotes here capture the mood of those, like us, who see the premeditated events of the past 48 hours in the Arab world as indicative of something deeper and more dangerous than the immediate events themselves. And right after them, a different perspective from a US government voice.
The exiled Iranian journalist Amir Taheri, author of the 1988 study of Islamist terrorism, "Holy Terror: Inside the World of Islamic Terrorism", says this in a New York Post column ["Another blow in the Islamists’ war"] today:
The US Ambassador to Libya and the three other American dead are the latest victims of a war that started decades ago... America is at war not because Americans want it, but because there are Islamists who believe that the United States is the last remaining obstacle to their dream of subjugating the “Infidel” through terror dubbed as “jihad.” Terrorists can always find excuses for attacks on US diplomats. Ayatollah Khomeini cited the late shah’s admission to a New York hospital. In 1980s Beirut, Hezbollah’s excuse was US intervention to prevent civil war in Lebanon. In 1989, Salman Rushdie’s novel “Satanic Verses” was a pretext for attacks on US diplomatic missions in several Muslim nations — though Rushdie was a British citizen of Indian origin and the book’s publisher was also British.
America is at war not because it wants it, but because those who dream of reviving the Islamic caliphate fear its cultural and political attraction as much as its military and economic power. [More]
Melanie Phillips ["The guilty men behind the Arab Winter"] writes today
So now we can see the terrible results of western liberal hubris, the so-called Arab Spring... The Arab Winter has not brought forth democracy but unleashed anarchy and religious fanaticism, with Islamic mobs hitherto kept under control by Gaddafy and Mubarak now empowered, strengthened and rampaging out of control throughout the region. We know who are the real guilty men here. Even now, Obama is stroking the enemies of the west while kicking its allies in the crutch. ‘Too busy’ to see Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu when he comes to Washington later this month to beg for American help in preventing Iran from obtaining the nuclear weapons which it will use to achieve its declared aim of wiping Israel from the face of the earth, Obama will nevertheless meet Morsi, who has so far refused to condemn the storming of the US embassy in Cairo...
But the official stance of the United States government reflects a different view. Here are yesterday's "Remarks on the Deaths of American Personnel in Benghazi, Libya", issued in the name of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State:
This was an attack by a small and savage group – not the people or Government of Libya. Everywhere Chris and his team went in Libya, in a country scarred by war and tyranny, they were hailed as friends and partners. And when the attack came yesterday, Libyans stood and fought to defend our post. Some were wounded... It is especially difficult that this happened on September 11th. It’s an anniversary that means a great deal to all Americans. Every year on that day, we are reminded that our work is not yet finished, that the job of putting an end to violent extremism and building a safe and stable world continues. But September 11th means even more than that. It is a day on which we remember thousands of American heroes, the bonds that connect all Americans, wherever we are on this Earth, and the values that see us through every storm. And now it is a day on which we will remember Sean, Chris, and their colleagues.
As we noted ["11-Sep-12: Remembering and forgetting on 9/11"] earlier this week, it's highly appropriate for political leaders to remember the victims of terror. But it's no less vital that they remember the terrorists too.