Since I speak and write about this a good deal, I am often asked at public meetings, in what sometimes seems to me a rather prurient way, whether I myself or my family have 'ever been threatened' by jihadists. My answer is that yes, I have, and so has everyone else in the audience, if they have paid enough attention to the relevant bin-Ladenist broadcasts to notice the fact.
Terrorism is a biological consequence of the multinationals, just as a day of fever is the reasonable price of an effective vaccine . . . The conflict is between great powers, not between demons and heroes. Unhappily, therefore, is the nation that finds the heroes underfoot, especially if they still think in religious terms and involve the population in their bloody ascent to an uninhabited paradise.
The President is also captured in a well-worn TV news clip, making a boilerplate response to a question on terrorism and then asking the reporters to watch his drive. Well, that's what you get if you catch the President on a golf course. If Eisenhower had done this, as he often did, it would have been presented as calm statesmanship. If Clinton had done it, as he often did, it would have shown his charm.
Terrorist are picadors and matadors. They prick the bull until it bleeds and is blinded by rage, then they snap the red cape of bloody terror in its face. The bull charges again and again until, exhausted, it can charge no more. Then the matador, though smaller and weaker, drives the sword into the soft spot between the shoulder blades of the bull. For the bull has failed to understand that the snapping cape was but a provocation to goad it into attacking and exhausting itself for the kill.
We are all hostages, and we are all terrorists. This circuit has replaced that other one of masters and slaves, the dominating and the dominated, the exploiters and the exploited. It is worse than the one it replaces, but at least it liberates us from liberal nostalgia and the ruses of history.
Neither dead nor alive, the hostage is suspended by an incalculable outcome. It is not his destiny that awaits for him, nor his own death, but anonymous chance, which can only seem to him something absolutely arbitrary. He is in a state of radical emergency, of virtual extermination.
For the barbarians were not only at our gates but within our skins. We were our own wooden horses, each one of us full of our own doom. ....these fanatics or those, or crazies or yours; but the explosions burst out of our very own bodies. We were both the bombers and the bombs. The explosions were our own evil - no need to look for foriegn explanations, though there was and is evil beyond our frontiers as well as within. We have chopped away our own legs, we engineered our own fall. And now we can only weep, at the last, for what we were too enfeebled, too corrupt, too little, too contemptable to defend.
Over time it's going to be important for nations to know they will be held accountable for inactivity. You're either with us or against us in the fight against terror.note: a Quoteland visitor suggests that in this statement President Bush was inadvertantly quoting the Bible: He that is not with me is against me... (Matthew 12: vs. 30 and Luke 11: vs. 23); Quoteland agrees :)
We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.