There's a superb, must-read article by Norman Podhoretz over at Commentary Magazine
. He discusses the rise of modern Arab/Muslim terror in the post-WW2 era. He claims we are now fighting World War Four (number Three being the Cold War). He's right, but I'd like to go further. What we're fighting now is the ur-World War, World War Zero. And we've been fighting it for nearly 1,500 years. Our enemy now is the same as it has been since the sixth century: militant, expansionist (and revanchist) Islam.
It's hard sometimes to realise just how long this fight has been going on. We forget, but the Islamofascists don't. Bin Laden used to talk of 'the tragedy of Andalusia'. He is referring to the victory of Ferdinand and Isabela in finally ridding Spain of its Moorish conquerors. That was 1492. Five hundred and twelve years ago. And the Wahabbists still rememember. Under their credo, any land that was ever under their control is forever in the dar al-Islam
, so to them, modern Spain is a heathen interloper.
The memories go back further than that. Edward Creasy counts the battle of Tours
as one of the most decisive battles in world history. Gibbon wrote
A victorious line of march had been prolonged above a thousand miles from the rock of Gibraltar to the banks of the Loire; the repetition of an equal space would have carried the Saracens to the confines of Poland and the Highlands of Scotland; the Rhine is not more impassable than the Nile or Euphrates, and the Arabian fleet might have sailed without a naval combat into the mouth of the Thames. Perhaps the interpretation of the Koran would now be taught in the schools of Oxford, and her pulpits might demonstrate to a circumcised people the sanctity and truth of the revelation of Muhammed.
The battle of Tours took place on October 10th, 732 A.D. This was fewer than two hundred years after Mohammed's birth (c. 570 A.D.), and already the Muslims had penetrated into the Loire region. That's 150 miles or so from Paris and 200 from the Channel coast. Prior to this, of course, the whole of North Africa and the Arabian peninsula had fallen under the Islamic yoke. The romantic notion that 'people of the Book' were given protection under Islamic rule is bunkum. The predominantly Christian and animist populations of North Africa were subjected to a great slaughter. The city of Bordeaux was sacked (i.e. its inhabitants were put to the sword) by Abd er Rahman, the Andalusian governor who was eventually killed at Tours. It might have been possible as a Christian or Jew to scratch out a living, but woe betide you if you did not accept your third-class status as a dhimmi
. As for me, I'm an atheist, which to the Islamofascists makes me even lower than a Jew. According to the likes of bin Laden, I'm fair game to be killed at any time.
The struggle against expansionist Islam didn't end with their expulsion from Andalusia (although after Tours there were no more attempted invasions of Western Europe). The last gasp of the invading empire on European soil was the lifting of the siege of Vienna in 1683. The Ottoman Empire tottered on for another 235 years until its defeat at the end of the Great War.
It's important we remember that the Crusades (no matter how brutal and incompetent they were) were a defensive measure. Likewise, it is vital that we grasp the true import of the War on Terrorism. The 9/11 Commission report made it abundantly clear that the enemy we face is not 'terror' in the abstract, but specifically militant Islam. 'Islam' does not mean 'peace', despite what any number of well-meaning people, including George Bush, may say. It means 'submission'. Submission to the will of Allah, interpreted, of course, by his earthly representatives. Anywhere not under Islamic rule is dar al-Harb
, the House of War. Demographics in Western Continental Europe look extremely worrying. There are signs that some of the European nations, especially the Netherlands, are waking up to the fact that they have a large, unassimilated and increasingly radical foreign element in their societies. Others, such as France, already have Islamic minorities of such a size as to make doing anything about it nearly impossible. This, unfortunately, means that if and when France does decide to act, the methods it will have to use will be very distasteful (mass expulsions, arbitrary arrest, indefinite detention of suspected radicals, etc.) If matters get too out of hand, I foresee race wars. And if there's one thing Europe has proven to be adept at, it's killing large numbers of people based on their colour or creed. Pogrom is a Russian word, but its application has hardly been confined to east of the Urals.
Several commentators, on the Web and elsewhere, have divided people in the West into September 10th people and September 11th people. A huge number of people, including, I would guess, virtually everyone who intends to vote for Kerry in November, are September 10th people. The people who believe this is a fight for survival are September 11th people. I'm neither. I'm an October 10th, 732 person.