Why kill the rabbi?

A question for the apologists of terrorism

It is certainly not easy for professional analysts, leave alone television-friendly commentators and editorial writers, to offer solutions to the central problem—what are we to do with Pakistan? So many take the lazy way out by inserting the word “Kashmir” somewhere in their answer. As V Anantha Nageswaran wrote in his rejoinder to a Financial Times editorial, it is as if jihadi terrorists would suddenly stop attacking India if only Kashmir were to be handed over to them. No, they don’t even bother to read the manifesto of the Lashkar-e-Taiba. If they do, they’d know that the Lashkar-e-Taiba has enough on its wish-list to make the “solve Kashmir and make the problem go away” line appear more than a little ridiculous. But they don’t, so they avoid appear ridiculous to themselves.

Thankfully, there are some good men who expose this intellectual fraud. Like David Aaronovitch of the London Times who asks why the terrorists had to target a Jewish centre, and torture and kill Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, his wife and their unborn child if it was about Kashmir. Mark Steyn (linkthanks Harsh Gupta) echoes this argument.

And Tom Gross, who takes a number of media outlets—many of them British—to the cleaners for indulging in grotesque contortions of common sense to avoid using the term jihadis and terrorists. Among those Mr Gross exposes is British TV anchor Jon Snow who deserves a pride of place in it for calling the terrorists “practitioners”.

While most editorialists and op-ed writers hovered between the banal and the callous, Greg Sheridan, Thomas Friedman and Fareed Zakaria provided the most useful insights. Mr Sheridan (linkthanks: ST) leads the pack, because he accurately points out that “modern terrorism is not so much the emergence of non-state actors on to the strategic field but, rather, the latest refinement of state power, giving the option of state military and terrorist action with plausible, or at least politically useful, deniability.” The solution that both Mr Friedman and Mr Zakaria offer—that it’s up to the Pakistani people to realise the danger and drive the necessary change—might inspire some hope, but does not inspire much confidence.

Related Link: Niranjan Rajadhyaksha posted a roundup of editorials from foreign newspapers on his blog last week.

Update: A good piece in NYT by Patrick French (linkthanks: Mohib); and Bill Kristol was one of the first to call it right.

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10 Responses to Why kill the rabbi?

  1. Pankaj 7th December 2008 at 20:52 #

    The absolute motherloving scumbags in the english media are willing to give a platform to insidious India haters like hamid gul but they have completely repressed this gruesome torture and killing of this jewish couple.

  2. Venkat 7th December 2008 at 21:49 #

    It’s not only about Kashmir, but also about Kashmir.

    The Jehadis are trying to send a signal to everyone – Americans, Brits, Israelis, Indians to not troubles Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Palestine etc. May be, the terrorists are running out of money to target individually each country and so are using the same venue to send multiple signals? :-)

  3. Venkat 7th December 2008 at 21:53 #

    Why blame the west, when poster boy of Indian pseudo-sickularism “The Hindu” carries an article which directly accuses Israel and other western nations for this Mumbai attack??

    Why Mumbai? [link]http://www.hindu.com/mag/2008/12/07/stories/2008120750040100.htm[/link]

  4. The Rational Fool 8th December 2008 at 00:46 #

    Like Kashmir, Pakistan is also a red-herring. What if Pakistan were to become stateless like Somalia? What has been accomplished really, by throwing the Taliban out of power in Afghanistan? What kind of warfare would it take, and how expensive it would be to keep the Jihadis at bay in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, or wherever they keep moving and regrouping in?

    The real impediment to progress and civilization here is not the Muslims, not Kashmir, nor Pakistan, but an ideology called Islam. Unless and until Islam is recognized for what it is, and neutralized, there’ll be no lasting solution to this problem.

  5. sai 8th December 2008 at 01:53 #

    The response by Ananth Nageshwaran to the FT piece was a gem – very funny!

  6. Sanjay 8th December 2008 at 04:28 #

    If Pakistan becomes stateless, then control over its nuclear arsenal becomes the main issue. This is why the world should not trust Pakistan to have nuclear weapons, since they don’t act responsibly. AQ Khan was trading nuclear secrets with the full knowledge of the Pakistani state, yet they claim to have been unaware of it. As far as I’m concerned, all this incompetence and failure of the Pakistani state is taqqiya — willful deception which includes false claims of ignorance.

  7. Ashutosh 8th December 2008 at 06:25 #

    Islam is undoubtedly the problem and only Muslims can reform it from the inside. As Tom Friedman asks, why don’t Muslims throng the streets in large numbers now, condemn the killing of innocents, and not just castigate but disown those who have done this for corrupting their religion? Why don’t Muslims in Pakistan vociferously demand that their government act decisively to annihilate these radical elements? I think this would be a great test for all those who call themselves moderate Muslims. If they fail to react strongly, can be blame ourselves for accusing some of them to tacitly support such acts at least in principle if not in practice? However, one heartening development, even if largely symbolic, has been the refusal of Muslim Imams to bury the dead terrorists in their holy grounds.

  8. Keshav 8th December 2008 at 06:55 #

    Ashutosh –

    I think the one major reason why this isn’t happening is because they probably don’t know any better. I remember reading a scan of a Pakistani school textbook which glorified Mohammad Gauri, Ghazni, and Aurangzeb.

    These people don’t know how to live outside of Islam. Just like Auragnzeb, they don’t know how to take it easy and live life.

    Atheism and infidels don’t kill religion. Materialism does. And it can be used to solve the problem of extremism.

  9. Rk 8th December 2008 at 08:53 #

    Here is a post you might like for its details !(warning: too long and inconclusive, only a chronicle of sorts. )

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