THE SPINE NOVEMBER 6, 2010
Paul McGeough has made a comprehensive accounting of the cost of jihadist terror in the world. Not exactly in dollars or pounds or
euros or, soon, renminbi. Although doubtless someone could make that calculation. Rather, the writer’s article in Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald takes the world of commerce and travel and examines what fanatic Muslims are doing to it. I believe that this is only the beginning. Not the middle and certainly not the end. It will be a different universe than the one we now live in. The counter-revolution against the modern, which is what fanatic Islam is, will deplete our societies industrially and culturally...and spiritually.
The author has an implicit solution to our ills. It is a dreamy one, as you can read for yourself. No specifics and no costs.
If Washington and its allies continue to improve life at the grassroots in societies in which terrorism breeds, we are likely to see more than packages consigned to Chicago.
Yes, yes, we liberals say. How could it be otherwise?
The article produces a capital intensive assay of the cost of airplane security. It does not produce anything but an injunction to accelerate the Millennium.
The progressive transformation of the world has begun...and not, by the way, because of any incentive provided by the Koran. Life
expectancy, literacy, small plot agriculture with advanced mini-technologies are on an upward swing. But it is not enough. Frankly, nothing is enough. In fact, it is a sop.
In any case, “improve life at the grassroots in societies in which terrorism breeds” is just an exhortation. An exhortation that runs up against reactionary sentiments and reactionary structures which reactionary religion cossets and inflames.
But before we can “improve life at the grassroots...” the enemies of civilization will try to destroy civilization itself.
Even in Yemen, which is the new frontier where life and hope have been exposed to both the primitive and advanced weapons of hatred, we cannot trust for a moment the regime with which we are aligned. Also so in Afghanistan, Pakistan, perhaps still Iraq.
Only Saudi Arabia has seemed to take a real turn against terror, and not only in the highly touted recent Yemeni instance. For complicated reasons, of course, of the regime’s self-interest. But better the "turn against," whatever the reasons than the ambivalence which encouraged billionaires to the piety of explosives and bombs.