September 9, 2002

ANOTHER GREAT HITCHENS COLUMN:

There’s no time to waste on the stupid argument that such a deadly movement represents a sort of “cry for help” or is a thwarted expression of poverty and powerlessness. Osama bin Laden and his fellow dogmatists say openly that they want to restore the lost caliphate; in other words, the Muslim empire once centered at Constantinople. They are not anti-imperialists so much as nostalgists for imperialism. The gang that kidnapped and murdered Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl – and proudly made a video showing the ritual slaughter of a Jew – issued a list of demands on that same obscene video. One of those demands was for the resumption of US sales of advanced F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan. Only a complete moral idiot can believe for an instant that we are fighting against the wretched of the earth. We are fighting, as I said before, against the scum of the earth. . . .

If you remember, there were also those who warned hysterically of a humanitarian disaster as a result of the bombing: a “silent genocide,” as one Boston-area academic termed it. But to the contrary, the people of Afghanistan did not have to endure a winter with only the food and medicine that the primeval Taliban would have furnished them. They survived, and now the population has grown by almost 1.2 million, as refugees from the old, atrocious tyranny make their way home. Here is the first country in history to be bombed out of the Stone Age.

The piece is too good to excerpt, though I have. Read it all. (Via Porphyrogenitus.)

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