May 18, 2005

"Excuse du Jour"

People who are blaming Newsweek for the recent deaths of innocents in the Middle East are just deflecting responsibility from the actual killers. Andrew C. McCarthy is on the mark with this column at NRO:

Here's an actual newsflash — and one, yet again, that should be news to no one: The reason for the carnage here was, and is, militant Islam. Nothing more.

Newsweek merely gave the crazies their excuse du jour. But they didn't need a report of Koran desecration to fly jumbo jets into skyscrapers, to blow up embassies, or to behead hostages taken for the great sin of being Americans or Jews. They didn't need a report of Koran desecration to take to the streets and blame the United States while enthusiastically taking innocent lives. This is what they do.

The outpouring of righteous indignation against Newsweek glides past a far more important point. Yes, we're all sick of media bias. But "Newsweek lied and people died" is about as worthy a slogan as the scurrilous "Bush lied and people died" that it parrots. And when we engage in this kind of mindless demagoguery, we become just another opportunistic plaintiff — no better than the people all too ready to blame the CIA because Mohammed Atta steered a hijacked civilian airliner into a big building, and to sue the Port Authority because the building had the audacity to collapse from the blow.

UPDATE 5/19: Lots of commentary and links on this topic in this Instapundit post.

Excerpts from Jeff Jacoby:

...what ''Muslims in America and throughout the world" most need to hear is not pandering sweet-talk. What they need is a blunt reminder that the real desecration of Islam is not what some interrogator in Guantanamo might have done to the Koran. It is what totalitarian Muslim zealots have been doing to innocent human beings in the name of Islam. It is 9/11 and Beslan and Bali and Daniel Pearl and the USS Cole. It is trains in Madrid and schoolbuses in Israel and an ''insurgency" in Iraq that slaughters Muslims as they pray and vote and line up for work. It is Hamas and Al Qaeda and sermons filled with infidel-hatred and exhortations to ''martyrdom."

But what disgraces Islam above all is the vast majority of the planet's Muslims saying nothing and doing nothing about the jihadist cancer eating away at their religion. It is Free Muslims Against Terrorism, a pro-democracy organization, calling on Muslims and Middle Easterners to ''converge on our nation's capital for a rally against terrorism" -- and having only 50 people show up.

and Walid Phares:

... Newsweek's article didn't create the "Big Bang"; it triggered it. The explosion was coming, but the apparent motive had to be supplied. It could have been a rape, a killing, or another Western desecration. Newsweek's "investigative journalists" provided this fuse...

...One element lost in all the coverage of the jihadist-inspired riots is the rioters' utter hypocrisy. Their concerns for the Muslim holy book did not manifest when they burned mosques to the ground in Pakistan over the past few months. Nor did they launch demonstrations after they destroyed mosques in Iraq throughout the year. There were certainly hundreds of Korans burned into ashes. (It didn't hurt that the owners of these mosques were Shi'ites.) A couple of decades earlier, Hafez Assad's brutal brigades leveled off the mosques of the city of Hama. Thousands of Korans were destroyed (along with 20,000 Sunnis). Yet, the Arab and Islamic world didn't raise a ruckus. The selective outrage over the destroyed Korans is not theological but political. It is only when the Islamists want to wage a jihad for their holy book that infractions begin to make any difference to them. When Arab militias raids black Muslim villages in Darfur, and destroy them, along with their holy books, that is acceptable, but one sentence in an article published in a U.S. magazine deserves a whole holy war? Who are we kidding here?

Posted by dan at May 18, 2005 4:08 PM