Paging Theseus … stat.

Go read Victor Davis Hanson’s latest, “Feeding the Minotaur“:

As long as the mythical Athenians were willing to send, every nine years, seven maidens and seven young men down to King Minos’s monster in the labyrinth, Athens was left alone by the Cretan fleet. The king rightly figured that harvesting just enough Athenians would remind them of their subservience without leading to open rebellion — as long as somebody impetuous like a Theseus didn’t show up to wreck the arrangement.
Ever since the storming of the Tehran embassy in November 1979 we Americans have been paying the same sort of human tribute to grotesque Islamofascists. Over the last 25 years a few hundred of our own were cut down in Lebanon, East Africa, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Yemen, and New York on a semi-annual basis, even as the rules of the tribute to be paid — never spoken, but always understood — were rigorously followed.

But then a greedy, over-reaching bin Laden wrecked the agreement on September 11. Or did he?

True, al Qaeda is now scattered, the Taliban and Saddam gone. But the calculus of a quarter century — threaten, hit, pause, wait; threaten, hit, pause, wait — is now entrenched in the minds of Middle Eastern murderers. Indeed, the modus operandi that cynically plays on Western hopes, liberalism, and fair play is gospel now to all sorts of bin Laden epigones — as we have seen in Madrid, Fallujah, and Najaf.

Indeed, I think Islamofascism is brilliant in its reading of the postmodern West and precisely for that reason it is dangerous beyond all description — in the manner that a blood-sucking, stealthy, and nocturnal Dracula was always spookier than a massive, clunky Frankenstein.
Like Hitler’s creed, bin Ladenism trumpets contempt for bourgeois Western society. If once we were a “mongrel” race of “cowboys” who could not take casualties against the supermen of the Third Reich, now we are indolent infidels, channel surfers who eat, screw, and talk too much amid worthless gadgetry, godless skyscrapers, and, of course, once again, the conniving Jews.
Like Hitler, bin Ladenism has an agenda: the end of the liberal West. Its supposedly crackpot vision is actually a petrol-rich Middle East free of Jews, Christians, and Westerners, free to rekindle spiritual purity under Sharia. Bin Laden’s al Reich is a vast pan-Arabic, Taliban-like caliphate run out of Mecca by new prophets like him, metering out oil to a greedy West in order to purchase the weapons of its destruction; there is, after all, an Israel to be nuked, a Europe to be out-peopled and cowered, and an America to be bombed and terrorized into isolation. This time we are to lose not through blood and iron, but through terror and intimidation: televised beheadings, mass murders, occasional bombings, the disruption of commerce, travel, and the oil supply.
In and of itself, our enemies’ ambitions would lead to failure, given the vast economic and military advantages of the West. So to prevent an all out, terrible response to these predictable cycles of killing Westerners, there had to be some finesse to the terrorists’ methods. The trick was in preventing some modern Theseus from going into the heart of the Labyrinth to slay the beast and end the nonsense for good.

Meanwhile, in Europe, Iraq, and the rest of the Middle East, we see the same old bloodcurdling threats, the horrific videos, the bombings, the obligatory pause, the faux negotiations, the lies — and then, of course, the bloodcurdling threats, the horrific videos, the bombings…
No, bin Laden is quite sane — but lately I have grown more worried that we are not.

For once, I hope VDH is wrong

In “The Terrible Arithmatic“, Victor Davis Hanson thinks we’re in a race to wrap things up right in Iraq before we lose our 1000th KIA:

There is a certain number of Iraqi terrorists that either need to give up, reconsider their militancy, leave the country, or be killed for there to be peace and the emergence of a consensual government. Given the fiery sermons of al Sadr, the cadres of Baathist hold-outs, the horrific assassination of peace-loving Iraqi officials, and the constant bombing of American soldiers, it may well require the latter ultimate fate. We do not know the exact number of enemies that must be eliminated, but only that it will grow exponentially — along with Iraqi and coalition deaths — unless we act decisively.
By the same token, there are a limited number of Americans that we can allow to be killed in Iraq before the American people tire of it all — who nearly three years after watching the bodies freefall from the World Trade Center on 9-11 are forgetting their immediate peril from al Qaedists and the rogue governments that enable such terrorists to operate. At some critical point to come, Americans will no longer see the sacrifice of their precious youth as worth the effort in Iraq to ensure consensual government and our own long-term security — and at that point they will simply say no mas.
Again, we do not know how many fatalities we as a nation can endure, only that in our present postmodern society the number for good or evil is far lower than was true in World War II, Korea, or Vietnam. Our grandfathers rightly accepted that 600 might be lost in a terrible night on Okinawa if such a sacrifice meant freedom from Japanese militarism; we wrongly believe that the present 600 combat dead this past year were either not worth the effort, all preventable, or in no real way connected to the safety of 300 million at home. My rough guess is that once the toll exceeds 1,000 combat dead, the United States will be seriously looking for a rapid exit strategy regardless of the dire circumstances involved.

I hope his hunch proves wrong. One thing’s for sure … when we reach that point, you can bet the partisan media will trumpet the big round number 1,000 and morbidly focus on the “pointlessly squandered” life of Corporal Whoever.
Hat tip: Rantburg

VDH: “No more passes and excuses for the Middle East”

Victor Davis Hanson is dead on-target with “The Mirror of Fallujah“, his brutally honest take on the mess that is the Arab/Muslim world:

Rather the global village is beginning to see that the violence of the Middle East is not aberrant, but logical. Its misery is not a result of exploitation or colonialism, but self-induced.

If we are to try to bring some good to the Middle East, then we must first have the intellectual courage to confess that for the most part the pathologies embedded there are not merely the work of corrupt leaders but often the very people who put them in place and allowed them to continue their ruin.

I’m glad the folks in the White House read his stuff.