As news of Nick Berg’s horrifying decapitation by Islamists reaches more and more Americans, I detect a shift in attitude. Radio commentators like Rush Limbaugh, Michael Medved, Hugh Hewitt, Dennis Prager, Sean Hannity, and others have been quietly irate today, and their callers are voicing fury at the entire Middle East. Newspapers are joining the call. For the first time in my memory, ordinary people are mentioning nuclear weapons as a possible response to the Islamist cancer infecting the world … and they’re not throwing in many caveats about protecting civilians and avoiding collateral damage.
I don’t think for a minute that President Bush is anywhere near considering the use of nukes in this war, thank God. But I think America is getting her back up again, with a seriousness not seen since 9/11. Average Americans have just seen an innocent countryman get his head sawed off by hooded Islamist goons, despite our media’s reluctance to show any footage that paints Islam in an unflattering light. Combine that with our media’s eagerness to splash pictures of the abuses at Abu Ghraib committed by a small segment of our soldiers, and the Democrats’ and leftists’ grandstanding accusations about our moral shortcomings being equivalent to the enemy’s calculated evil … well, the average American is quickly getting fed up.
Fed up with our delay in finishing this fight.
Americans are awake again. We’re again reminded of who we’re fighting and why, and we’re again getting a grip on what’s at stake. Lileks sums it up nicely:
Hugh Hewitt asked the big question tonight: of the world’s billion-plus Muslims, how many support the butchers who hacked the head off the Pennsylvania contractor? One percent? Ten? Either number stands for a lot of people. I was walking Jasper Dog while listening to the show, and a few thoughts popped up.
There are five reactions one could have to such acts, committed by a coreligionist: Endorsement, Indifference, Denial, Rejection, Participation.
Denial: I’m sure you’ve heard this before: “Islam is a religion of peace.” But those people committed horrible violence in the name of Islam. “Then they are not true Muslims. No Muslim could do this.” Rinse, repeat. It’s the theological equivalent of putting your hands over your ears and humming loudly.
Rejection: This would be speaking out singly or in concert with fellow Muslims, denouncing the acts without making the entire peroration an elaborate plinth on which to place the word “BUT.”
Indifference: I’m a Muslim in Indonesia. I work in a bank. I’m not particularly devout. I like a beer on a hot day, and you know what? They’re all hot days. Some guys slit someone’s throat in Iraq. I think that’s wrong and I think that’s stupid. And what do you expect me to do about it?
Endorsement: I’m not sure what constitutes endorsement — silent pleasure among others not of the faith, chortling delight when you’re with friends. Or perhaps nothing more than thanking Allah when you hear certain things have been done in Allah’s name, and never acting or speaking a way that supports the jihadist’s cause.
Participation. It’s obvious what this means.
Here’s the crux: of these five aspects, four assist the jihadists in one form or another, and the fifth — Rejection — all too often takes a passive form. Hugh had a Somali Muslim on his show from Minneapolis; they spoke for almost 40 minutes, and the guy’s heart was in the right place. He sounded like a decent fellow. He said the Imam of his mosque regularly preached against the nutball Islamists. One hundred million more like him, please. But where are the rallies and marches outside the Saudi embassies demanding an end to funding extremism?
The Islamists have made a terrible mistake. They’ve again begun to unite us in revulsion for their savage and primitive aims, and they’ve underestimated the West’s will to respond with terrifying violence. Some on the other side are beginning to realize they’ve overreached, but I’m starting to think it’s too late to extinguish our anger.
The Islamists stuck their necks out by gambling on our reputation for self-restraint, and it’s high time we decapitate them.
UPDATE: For information on the beheading of Paul Johnson … click.