Thursday, January 26, 2006

Touch Black

It's the anti-war left's Miranda card: "The Islamists have legitimate grievances against American hegemony and imperialism, but their violent tactics are not a legitimate response."

You lay it down at the start of the argument, and it innoculates you against all charges of abetting the terrorists. You don't even have to say it like you mean it. Just so long as you've made it part of the record, you can use it like a magic shield.

In fact, it's likely to be the only time you mention Islamists at all: The whole focus of everything else that spills from your lips is a hyper-active effort to paint a twisted, perverted image of America's history and role in the world, dribbling facts on the canvas like Jackson Pollock.

But even allowing "legitimate grievances" (and I don't consider "America shouldn't rule the world; we should" to be a legitimate grievance), the fact is, Islamists have chosen violent tactics, and begun to deploy them effectively against us. The debate we're having is, "how should we respond?" Going back in time and undoing the previous 40 years of history isn't an option. It's like responding to the shelling of Fort Sumter by criticizing the Missouri Compromise.