Quote of the day

The only difference between these Islamist fanatics, and that term covers a lot of ground, and the Nazis, is that to the Islamists, we’re all Jews, and they’re not organized enough to build concentration camps.

(From The Right Coast.)

Update: No doubt Kerry could offer a complex, nuanced analysis to the parents of these dead children, and these.

We’re next, our kids, here, unless we kill the terrorists first.

This wasn’t just “a Chechen thing” — ten of the killers were arabs.

This is a war, it is worldwide, only one side will win, and the side that loses won’t exist anymore.

Update II: I was talking on the phone to my Democrat wife. Her response to these murders — they will sweep Bush back into office. She agrees that the Democrats have failed to come up with any serious response to the threat of terrorism, that Kerry has offered nothing on the subject. They just don’t want to talk about it. She agrees this is a serious failure. She thinks this failure is going to cost Kerry the election and I think she is probably right.

But these murders are too horrible to be “about” politics. The dead kids look like my kids, OK? The small, dirty, bloody corpses lying on the floor in Russia could very easily be my kids. This is what we are up against, people who set out to do these things, who murder children and only regret they couldn’t murder more of them. They are not going to just “go away” so we can worry about other things. They are like a tumor that will kill us if we don’t cut it out soon, no matter how much it hurts to do it. I feel no desire to gloat because these murders enhance the chance that “my” guy will win an election. These are very, very serious times. We need someone serious as Commander in Chief. Bush is far, far from perfect. But he is at least aware of the seriousness of what is going on, and is trying to formulate a coherent plan to deal with it, and has no delusions about who our enemies are or who our friends are. To have one of our two major parties so utterly detached from life-and-death reality is a serious problem in our public life, a dangerous flaw in our national strength. The Democrats need to wake up and get serious, for their own sakes and for the good of the country. They need to find some grownups who can intelligently engage Bush and his team on substance, who see that survival of our country and our civilization are at stake and that some things are really bigger and more important than electoral success at all costs. When they have once again earned the respect of the American public they might actually start winning more elections, into the bargain.

Update III: Ralph Peters weighs in:

It isn’t politically correct to say this, of course. We’re supposed to pretend that Islam is a “religion of peace.” All right, then: It’s time for Muslims to stand up for the once-noble, nearly lost traditions of their faith and condemn what Arab and Chechen terrorists and blasphemers did in the Russian town of Beslan. …

The tragedy in southern Russia occurred thousands of miles from the United States, but, in essence, that massacre happened next door. The parents, teachers and students kept for days without water or food in a sweltering school building before being butchered were our children, our sisters, our wives, our parents. …

We will hear complaints that the Russian special forces should have waited — even after the terrorists began shooting children. Negotiations are the heroin of Westerners addicted to self-delusion. Who among us would have waited when he or she saw fleeing children cut down by automatic weapons? The urge to protect children is as primal as any impulse we ever feel. …

The protesters no more care for dead Russian children than they care for dead Kurds or for the hundreds of thousands of Arabs that Saddam Hussein executed. Or for the ongoing Arab-Muslim slaughter of blacks in Sudan. Nothing’s a crime to those protesters unless the deed was committed by America. …

(Via Instapundit.)

15 thoughts on “Quote of the day”

  1. No, no, no, this is a police action, if the Russians just had more intelligence and world cooperation….

    Maybe if we pass Kyoto and sign the ICC, we’ll get that help.

  2. In life, you can hide and wait for things to be done to you, or you can go out and meet your fate on your own terms. Passivity is a seductive choice, but how it could have reached such a potent position in our national councils is completely mysterious. It just doesn’t seem consistent with the American character.

  3. The excesses and luxuries of a comfortable, insulated existence have taken their toll on a large segment of American society. I have good friends and family who cannot percieve the intense and immediate danger confronting us as a nation, and the rest of the “Western” world. Their continual refrain is nothing more than an anti-Bush diatribe, and I am talking about some intelligent, very successful people. The old adage of “Lead, Follow, or get out of the way” applies here. I would like nothing more than a tough, serious Democratic contender; I want to be free to choose, but this contest offers me no choice.

  4. Times like this i realize that not everything i miss for being 50 with no kids, no wife and no ex is a negative.

    In a situation like this i fear the spin “Look at what happened when Putin went ballistic. Had he not sent in his special forces but let the Red Crescent / Sistani / Kofi Aman / Jimmy Carter just talk to them, this bloodshed could all have been avoided. Cowboy Bush is such a bad example!”

    I don’t think Kerry will spin like that; he’s too honest. But Krugman, Miller, Dowd and their ilk do not have Kerry’s strength of character.

    It’s been a tough century for Russia. I pray that somehow, someday soon, things will start to go their way.

    Matya no baka

  5. jsb, don’t fall into the easy, fashionable, cynically self-loathing response. This is also what makes us appreciate how fundamentally decent most people around us are, and shines the light on all those things we tend to take for granted every day. It only sounds trite because we’ve become too jaded to admit it.

    The only observation I will make relate to Lex’s saying that these could have been his kids. Except his kids would have had a better chance to survive than Russian ones, who not only have to survive the terrorist madness but hope the bumbling incompetence of the Russian special forces will not actually increase the odds of a deadly outcome. From the theater in Moscow back to every similar incident throughout the 90s, their record is simply abysmal. Would we tolerate a hostage rescue team whose interventions consistently result in a minimum of 5 dead hostages for each dead terrorist ? Every single one of their interventions turns into another Waco yet no one is held accountable, no detailed report is ever published on what happened, and, to my knowledge, no public questioning occurs to try and avoid such a loss the next time.

    None of the photos and footage show men who are well trained, well equipped, well prepared, running through well-drilled motions.

    This is not intended to shift the blame from the terrorist through the authorities. Only to point out that when it comes to such crisis, the Russian special forces motto seems to be “Make bad situations worse”.

  6. The Russian government and military may indeed be incompetent. (It certainly looks that way.) However, the journalists and Euro pols who were so quick to focus on whether Russian troops should or shouldn’t have broken in at a particular moment — as if this is the main question — are either fools or are trying to find reasons to excuse terrorism.

    The Russians might have handled things better, but they had to do something. They would have been negligent to assume anything other than that the terrorists wanted to kill as many people as possible. If anything, the Russians might have done better to make an earlier assault rather than let the terrorists determine the timing of any action.

    We or the Israelis might do better, but maybe not. This was not like Waco; this was a situation in which a violent outcome was almost certain, and indefinite waiting was probably not a good option. I hope that nothing similar happens in the U.S., but if it did I’m not confident that we would handle it well the first time it happened.

  7. Except this is not the first time it happens, and this is essentially how the death toll is explained by some in the Russian government every time.

    I am not as concerned by the timing of the assault. But by the assault itself, how it is led and executed.

    Maybe we wouldn’t do better the first time – although I doubt we’d do worse – but I do not think the electorate, the media or the government would tolerate such a mess, three, four, five times in a row. Those hostages were between a hammer and a hard place.

  8. This is also what makes us appreciate how fundamentally decent most people around us are, and shines the light on all those things we tend to take for granted every day. It only sounds trite because we’ve become too jaded to admit it.

    Thank you, Sylvain, for saying that. I said the same thing to my daughter. The more you look at the world, the more you realize and appreciate what a spectacular society we have going here. A society worth fighting for, I might add.

    I also had your sense of amazement watching the Russian counter-terror forces (if that’s what they were) in operation. I was stunned, for instance, to see armed civilians running around all over the place. Why isn’t the whole area cordoned off?, I wondered? Why weren’t snipers in place to take out bad guys firing from windows if everything went to hell? Why weren’t ambulances and medical personnel lined up and ready for action?

    I think the answer lies in the first statement. This society runs so smoothly we’re shocked by how dysfunctional some societies seem by comparison.

    I’m reminded of something said to me several years back by a Pakistani engineer. He’d lived in many countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, France…

    He told me that he found the US very different from what he’d expected. It’s not like it appears from the outside, he said. He said he’d never seen anything like it. It was so stable, ran so smoothly, no endemic corruption, honest police, open government, strong economy, cheap food, cheap clothes, clean water for the asking, he went on and on. He told me he thought it was all propaganda until he actually saw it.

    He also said something fascinating. I understand, finally, he said, why Americans seem so disconnected from the world. It’s because when you’re here, nothing that happens out in the world can touch you. It’s a good feeling, he said looking at me, but it’s dangerous.

    I’m still trying to decide *exactly* what he meant by that.

  9. I think the Pakistani meant that complacency is dangerous. Complacency kills.

    I would disagree and say that given the circumstances, the Russians were not completely incompetent, both here and at the Nord-Ost theater. When you have psychos shooting people already, there isn’t a whole lot you can do to minimize losses.

    The Nord Ost crisis ended very well given the odds stacked against them: heavy bomb, lots of hostages, etc. The sleeping gas was a stroke of genius. However, they forgot to have medical aid on hand for people choking, which was a blunder.

    The school hostage crisis had a terrible ending. I’m not completely read up on what happened, but again look at the odds they were fighting against. 1200 hostages I think?

  10. – Michael, I think it extends outside the US. Most people are simply decent and helpful, even, and sometimes more so in places where there is very little.

    – Cog, I don’t agree. For starters, we still do not know what exactly happened. The reports are conflicting but I’d expect the Russian authorities to claim the terrorists started it. They always do, of course. Before the attack, they always they are ready and have a plan. Once it’s over and the death toll is eye-popping, well, you know, the terrorists started it, we had to improvise etc. And that’s goddamn excuse every single time.

    – Even if you don’t control the timing, you can cover fleeing civilians, cordon off the area, ensure they flow through the safest alley – the one the other guys don’t have an angle on and that is covered by the snipers you had plenty of time to set up yourself – there are simply a ton of ways to cover and help them out, even if the timing of the battle was not of your choosing. These resources are one of the first things you get ready. But just like every other Russian operations I have seen on TV, there was nothing here that did not seem improvised. It was haphazard, random, and quite visibly uncoordinated and undisciplined.

    – The sleeping gas a stroke of genius ? Yeah, go tell that to the families of the dead hostages.

    – I’m not saying the odds were good. I am saying that given the Russian special forces’ abysmal record, it is hard to argue their involvement improves the odds so much it’s worth using them except as a very last resort. And I can most definitely claim you would not tolerate such a record of reckless incompetence if they were American. Nobody would. And nobody should.

  11. At least in the theatre the terrorists only shot a couple/few hostages one at a time before the Russians went in, and gave them time to come up with the opiate gas move. Pity about the poor execution of the after-care for it.

    But here they were starting to shoot, en masse, anyone who ‘fled or disobeyed’. Like they WANTED the hammer to fall on them.

    WTF else are you going to do at that moment but go in blazing???

    As JEP pointed out at Chaos Manor today, the Rus were vikings who drifted east, and were/are prone to berserker-ish destruction of their enemies if over-provoked.

    I think they just were.

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