Friday, April 27, 2007

Hitchens on the definition of al Qaeda and Islamic Terrorism

Christopher Hitchens the verbose, the technical, the precise:

Now put the case of al Qaeda. Its supporters do not live under a foreign occupation, even if you count the apparently useless and now embarrassing American bases in Saudi Arabia. It is partly a corrupt multinational corporation, partly a crime family, partly a surrogate for the Saudi oligarchy and the Pakistani secret police, partly a sectarian religious cult, and partly a fascist organization. One of its taped proclamations, whether uttered by its leader or not, denounces Australia and celebrates the murder of Australians - for the crime of assisting East Timorese independence from "Muslim" Indonesia! But this doesn't begin to make the case against bin Ladenism. What does it demand from non-Muslim societies? It demands that they acknowledge their loathsome blasphemy and realize their own fitness for destruction. What does it demand for Muslim societies? It demands that they adopt seventh-century norms of clerical absolutism. How does it demand this? By a program of indiscriminate attacks on the civilian population of both. (Yes, both: The Afghan population was reduced by as many Hazara Shiites as the Taliban could manage to kill.) This is to demand the impossible, and to demand it by means of the most ruthless and disgusting tactics. - p. 25, A Long Short War

This is not the sort of group that should be left the spoils of a restless and chaotic Iraq to further plunder its riches, maim its citizens, and rape any and all vestiges of humanity and decency.

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