I’m just getting around to reading John Allen’s “Word From Rome” column of Sept. 10. In it he talks about an Italian peace conference and I’m struck by how he bookends an eyewitness account of the atrocities at Beslan, Russia, with the viewpoint of those who criticize the US approach to the War on Terror.
First, we’re treated to accusations against the US, and specifically our troops, of committing human rights abuses and war crimes, and even that they’re worse than Saddam! Let’s get some perspective here. Has John Kerry been advising these people? Speaking of Kerry, we’re also told that in a straw poll of this mainly left-wing group, that Kerry is their clear preference. That would be good if Kerry were running for UN secretary general, but he’s not, and since he’s running for US president, I don’t much care what these people want. Besides, I wonder if you took a straw poll of the people of Beslan, who they would want as president.
On the other side of an Orthodox bishop’s firsthand account of what he saw in Beslan, We hear from Cardinal Renato Martino who wants to put terrorists on trial, but first of all to seek the causes. As I’ve said before, finding causes is good as long as you’re ready to deal with the causes as they are. This isn’t primarily about poverty or the decadence of the West or politics. It is about an evil radical sect of Islam, which is itself a twisting of the Judeo-Christian faith, and this sect indoctrinates gullible believers into the idea that the triumph of Islam will be brought about by death of infidels on a massive scale. This evil ideology is spread through madrassahs funded mainly by Saudi money and spread through lies and propaganda. To be sure, if more Muslims were not so poor, so ill educated, and dominated by corrupt totalitarian governments, this ideology would have a difficult time gaining a foothold. But this is the way it is.
We can try to bring about a change in these conditions, and it is part of the long-term solution to this problem, but in the meantime, we can’t just ignore the terrorists and their sponsors. While we’re trying to change the conditions that breed terrorists, we must still kill or capture the terrorists we have now and prevent them doing more of the unspeakable.