Tag Archives: Noam Chomsky

Hezbollah’s Disneyland

 

Hezbollah now has a theme park.

The Tourist Landmark of the Resistance promises a fun-filled day for the entire family celebrating the holy Islamic “resistance” against the perfidious Zionist Entity. The Syrian- and Iranian-backed Party of God built it on top of a mountain overlooking South Lebanon and the Israeli border area, and they bus in school kids from all over the country to look at it.Anti-American propagandist Noam Chomsky attended the inauguration.

It’s open to visitors from everywhere in the world except Israel, so I had to see it. My friend and occasional traveling companion Sean LaFreniere joined me, and we set out in a rental car from Beirut.

Getting there was a bit tricky. The museum-park was built on an old Hezbollah combat base that sits 3,400 feet above the rolling hills of South Lebanon. The nearby village of Mleeta is nowhere near a main road, nor is it on any maps, not even the huge and otherwise comprehensive map I bought for twelve dollars. But Google Earth knows where it is, and I could see online that it’s just four miles south of the Christian town of Jezzine at the southern tip of the Mount Lebanon range.

So I figured Sean and I could go there via Jezzine, which is on every map and is not at all hard to find. Jezzine isn’t exactly a hot spot for tourists, but Westerners do wind up there once in a while to soak in the mountainous scenery, to admire the Ottoman architecture of the old downtown area, and to escape the heat and humidity down at sea level.

But I knew in advance that driving south from Jezzine might be tricky and potentially…interesting. Hezbollah has been snapping up property there for years and using it for some secretive purpose that still isn’t entirely clear. Whatever they’re doing, it’s almost certainly part of their battlefield preparation for the next round of armed conflict with Israel.

Reporter Nicholas Blanford visited the area south of Jezzine in 2010 and was stopped by a Hezbollah fighter with an AK-47. “What are you doing here?” the gunman said. “This is a military zone. You should not be here.”

Jezzine is not along the low-lying Israeli border where most of the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah has taken place. It’s a Christian town thousands of feet up. Immediately to the south of it, though, is one of the highest elevation Shia regions in all of Lebanon. It’s somewhat protected by geography from ground invasions, and because it’s at a high elevation, it’s an excellent and rather obvious place to dig in and launch surface-to-surface missiles.

So I felt a bit of trepidation about driving through there, but it’s the easiest route to Mleeta and Hezbollah’s theme park, and the journalist in me was curious if I’d see anything.

Sean and I had coffee in one of Jezzine’s cafes. An oblivious person would have no idea they were a mere handful of miles from either a closed terrorist military zone or a terrorist Disneyland. Jezzine is a mountain town that wouldn’t have looked out of place in Eastern Europe, but it’s in Lebanon where quasi-Western outposts in the East co-exist very uneasily next to Iran’s state-within-a-state on the Mediterranean.

Only one road leads south out of town, so there was no question which way Sean and I were supposed to go.

Lebanon’s mountains are overwhelmingly Christian and Druze and have been for a thousand years, but almost immediately outside Jezzine we passed Hezbollah billboards and flags. I tensed up a bit and scanned the countryside for signs military activity even though I doubted I’d see much. Hezbollah expertly hides its rocket launchers and bunkers. Its engineers built vast underground tunnels right under the noses of the Israelis by smuggling unearthed rocks out of the ground one or two at a time and by smuggling cement into caves one teaspoon at a time. It took years, but that’s how they did it. So while I was pretty sure I wouldn’t see anything Hezbollah wanted to hide, I couldn’t help looking.

And Hezbollah can’t help being paranoid.

A Lebanese army soldier stopped me and Sean on the road. He was a kid, hardly a day older than twenty, and he seemed affable enough like nearly all soldiers at Lebanese checkpoints, but a man in his fifties in a nearby building barked an order at him, and the kid told us to get out of the car.

We stepped out of the car.

“You need to go inside,” the kid said, “and answer some questions.”

This checkpoint was ostensibly staffed by the Lebanese army, but I later found out Hezbollah took control of it a couple of years ago. It was one of their demands during negotiations after they invaded Beirut in 2008. But I didn’t have to be told that. It was obvious. The man Sean and I were ordered to see was clearly not an officer in the army.

He wore blue jeans and a black leather jacket. He had a beard that looked like mine would if I didn’t trim it or shave for three weeks. (No one in the military wears beards.) If I showed you a picture of him, you’d think he was American or European with his white skin and blue eyes and his casual Western attire. His attitude, though, and his general bearing, reeked of authority and of Hezbollah.

“Where are you going!” he barked as if it was a command instead of a question.

“Nabatieh,” I said, referring a Shia city down off the mountain that is not in the hands of Hezbollah.

“No!” he said and wagged his finger in my face like I was a naughty child about to be punished. “Nabatieh, no!”

The Lebanese army command in Sidon told me and Sean we could go anywhere we liked north of Nabatieh, that only the Israeli border region was closed, but that turned out not to be true.

I’ve been to Nabatieh plenty of times. It is not controlled or administered by Hezbollah. Going there is not a big deal. There’s nothing sensitive in Nabatieh, nor is it dangerous or really even unfriendly. This man in the black leather jacket had no reason to care if Sean and I ended up in Nabatieh. What he didn’t want was for us to drive to Nabatieh from there.

“Turn around and go back!” the man said. “Back to Jezzine!”

“Okay,” I said.

If I defied him, he’d lay hands on me. That came across. He wasn’t carrying a weapon that I could see, but the young man on the road was. And it was obvious that the man in the black leather jacket was the king of that inch. Sean and I were not getting past him.

So we returned to the car.

“Back to Jezzine!” he yelled again, his face flushed with anger at our existence.

I don’t know what he wanted to hide, but whatever it was, it’s roughly two miles south of Jezzine and two miles north of Hezbollah’s Disneyland.

*

Sean and I had to drive all the way back down to Sidon and up to Mleeta from the coast. The distance to Mleeta from Sidon is only twenty miles or so, but the route passes through an intricate web of unmarked and mostly unmapped back roads over rolling terrain. Once in a while I saw a sign pointing us in the right direction, but only one turn in five was marked, so we made a ridiculous number of wrong turns.

We drove through village after village, often turning at random, having no idea if we were going to the right way or not, constantly doubling back and second-guessing ourselves. I asked for directions a couple of times, but no one had the first clue how to get there or how to explain it. Everyone told us something different, which is what happens throughout the country no matter where I’m trying to go. There’s hardly any point in asking, really. Some people, if they don’t know the way, will just guess.

But we finally found the right road up the mountain and climbed through unlabeled and unmapped Shia villages until eventually we reached the top and had a commanding airplane view of South Lebanon. Israel was off to the left through the haze. The azure Mediterranean shimmered like an ocean before us.

And then we were at the Tourist Landmark of the Resistance. Two hours earlier we were but a handful of miles away at the checkpoint.

Hezbollah’s museum-park was practically empty.

It’s not on the list of sites promoted or managed by the Ministry of Tourism. No. This is, I believe, the only tourist attraction in the world built and managed by a terrorist organization.

Admission is thankfully free. I don’t know for certain, but I suspect it’s against the law for me to conduct economic business of any kind with Hezbollah. It’s against the law for diplomats at the American Embassy in Lebanon to even speak to anyone from Hezbollah. Either way, I don’t want to give them my money.

Sean and I picked up our free tickets at the gate and walked in.

I didn’t want to poke around in Hezbollahland with my big and obvious journalist camera, but Sean brought his tiny one and took some pictures. All the photos you see here are his.

“How weird is this?” I said as we approached. “Nothing like this will ever be built by Al-Qaeda.”

A slightly scruffy young man in a baseball cap saw us and approached. He appeared to be in his mid-twenties. Apparently, he was our guide.

How was this going to go? Would he think we were useful idiots who ran off to Lebanon to cheerlead the resistance? A miniscule percentage of Americans think Hezbollah is awesome, but a lot of them wash up in Lebanon. The place is a magnet for such people. I’ve met some. They have issues.

Or did our guide-to-be suspect Sean and I were as hostile to Hezbollah as they are to us? Would he think we were spies or Israelis who sneaked in on dual passports?

Turns out he was suspicious. He didn’t actually say “ugh” when he figured out who we are, but I could read it all over his face.

“Welcome,” he said stiffly.

I made eye contact with him for only the briefest of moments. “Thank you,” I said, and I said it coldly.

And so we made it clear what we thought of each other.

“Do you…know where you are?” he said, as if we were dolts who just happened upon the place randomly.

Of course I knew where we were. It took a lot of effort and most of the day to get there. But I pretended like I had only a vague knowledge of even which country I was in, let alone which part of it.

“I sort of know where we are,” I lied, “but not really, so why don’t you tell us what this place is.”

He correctly explained that Israel occupied South Lebanon from 1982 to 2000 and that Hezbollah resisted and expelled the occupation. He did not say that Hezbollah is a creature of the Syrian and Iranian governments. Nor did he say it’s a sectarian militia in a state of cold war with the rest of the country and in a state of hot war with the bulk of the people in Syria. He certainly didn’t say Hezbollah is a terrorist organization that operates on six continents. No, in his version, Hezbollah is the Lebanese branch of the French Resistance.

But of course he would put it that way. He was talking to an American.

Sean wandered off while the Hezbollah guy spoke. I know why Sean did it without having to ask. He was giving me an excuse to break away later without being rude or looking suspicious. But I did not want to break away yet. I wanted to hear how Hezbollah explained itself to Americans.

The way the guy told Hezbollah’s story, the period of resistance was all in the past. He did not say the Party of God is still active. He certainly didn’t tell me Hezbollah is guarding something secret just up the road. He didn’t know that Sean and I had tried to approach from that direction, but he had to know it was possible. I thought about asking him what the checkpoint was for, but he was wary enough already and I didn’t drive all the way to Mleeta just to get kicked out or interrogated right at the gate.

“Thanks for the welcome,” I said, “but I need to go find my friend.”

He nodded, relieved. He was no more interested in spending time with me than I wanted to hang out with him. “I’ll be here if you have any questions,” he said coldly.

We didn’t shake hands.

I wandered off in Sean’s direction. The man who would have been our guide didn’t follow.

“They’ve got a theater in that building,” I said and gestured with my thumb when I caught up with Sean. “They’re showing propaganda in there. We should go watch it.”

We went inside. The film was not long. It was all about Hezbollah’s insurgency from the mid-1980s through the year 2000. It ended with a wild boast from the now-dead Hezbollah leader Abbas al-Musawi. He claimed, “Israel has fallen.”

Um, no. Israel has not fallen.

Saddam Hussein’s regime fell in Iraq, as did Moammar Qaddafi’s in Libya. Hosni Mubarak fell in Egypt. Bashar al-Assad may yet fall in Syria. But Israel hasn’t gone anywhere.

On the outskirts of Cairo is a monument to the Yom Kippur War of 1973 where, after launching initially successful sneak attacks, Egypt and Syria got their asses kicked by the Israelis.

According to Cairo’s ludicrous narrative, Egypt emerged as the victor.

The monument was built by the North Koreans. An architecturally identical propaganda installation exists in Pyongyang.

I have no idea, really, if such hysterical claims of victory against all evidence and reality are taken seriously by those who make them. It’s no secret that failed leaders conceal the truth from their subjects, but at the same time the human mind is capable of extraordinary self-deception.

Hezbollah’s museum-park, though, is better than Egypt’s. It’s more creative and interesting to look at, the propaganda less obvious.

An extraordinary diverse array of Israeli and Hezbollah ordnance is on display to satisfy every war nerd’s curiosity. Some of it is set up in labeled orderly rows and some if it is used in post-modern set pieces.

Take the pit, for instance, described on a sign as “structural scenic art.” Blown-up Israeli tanks and helmets are “artistically” scattered about in a giant hole in the ground. It’s supposed to symbolize Israel’s defeat when Israeli troops left in 2000.

Beyond the pit are tunnels and bunkers. I couldn’t tell how much of what I was looking at was real and how much was built for the park. After all, the Tourist Monument of the Resistance was erected atop one of Hezbollah’s old military bases. Some of what I was looking at was probably real.

And since I couldn’t always tell where the real ended and the fake began, it was worth a visit and a look regardless of what I think about Hezbollah’s politics. It’s worth seeing. And per Dr. Johnson, it’s worth going to see.

I was able to momentarily divorce myself from the politics and recognize that, aside from the subject matter, it’s the kind of museum-park I’d expect to see in Europe or the United States. The experience could have been—should have been—creepier than it was. The fact that I wasn’t creeped out left me feeling uneasy. Why wasn’t it much more disturbing?

That’s when it hit me.

Hezbollah completely and utterly sanitized itself on top of that mountain.

Nowhere on the grounds is any mention whatsoever of the airplanes Hezbollah hijacked. Hezbollah pioneered suicide-bombings in the Middle East. Such things were unheard of before the Lebanese civil war. That’s a crucial part of Hezbollah’s history, and of the modern Middle East generally, but you wouldn’t know it from their museum. No exhibit chronicled the invasion of Beirut in 2008. Hezbollah’s involvement in the Syrian war is ignored. Acts of mass murder carried out in Argentina, Saudi Arabia, and Bulgaria are conspicuous blanks.

Visitors are not told about the kidnapping, torture, and murder of Americans in the 1980s. An honest Hezbollah museum would have a wax figure of a journalist chained to a radiator. No history of Hezbollah is complete without noting that the Party of God kidnapped the CIA’s Beirut station chief William Buckley and tortured him to death, but Hezbollah wants everyone to forget about that. Hezbollah destroyed the American and French Embassies in Beirut and leveled the US Marine base near the airport, but they left that stuff out, too.

Don’t get the wrong idea. They did not leave it out because they’re ashamed of it. These people are terrorists, not guilt-ridden liberals. They left it out because they know other people hate them for what they have done, yet they yearn to be popular.

And here’s the interesting thing about that: I’m not the target audience. Neither are you. Hezbollah isn’t sanitizing its history for Western consumption. Hezbollah is sanitizing its history for internal consumption.

Lebanese citizens are the target. Westerners can hardly even find the damn place. It’s not advertised anywhere, not in Beirut and certainly not in travel agency brochures. The Ministry of Tourism, which is of course geared to foreigners, completely ignores it. You have to know it’s there. A low-information visitor from Europe or the United States would have no idea it exists.

Hezbollah is selling itself as a patriotic guerrilla army that fought a war for liberation on behalf of the entire country. It has to because it’s otherwise feared and loathed as a foreign-backed militia that a single sect uses to bully all others.

The Party of God knows perfectly well that’s how it’s perceived. Hezbollah defensively argues against that perception on its very own plaques.

Hezbollah has repeatedly dragged the country into armed conflicts that no one else wants. In 2008 it started an internal war that no one else wanted. And it’s threatening to do it again by bringing home the Syrian war. An exhaustive catalogue of Hezbollah’s behavior would make it look no less monstrous at home as it does abroad.

There’s something else, too. If you were to visit this place without knowing anything about the relentless war against Israel except what Hezbollah told you, you’d think the war was long over. But just a few miles up the unmarked road to the north, the checkpoint manned by a paranoid irregular officer denying access to a military zone is proof that it’s not.

Israel Apartheid Week – Campus Blood Libel

This article originally appeared in the Boston Jewish Advocate.

Spring’s coming. Get ready for Israeli Apartheid Week on campuses across the nation. Here in Boston last week, Harvard got off to an early start: the college’s Palestine Solidarity Committee placed mock eviction notices on students’ doors, warning students that their rooms were “scheduled for demolition in the next three days.” This was then likened to “the unlawful displacement of Palestinians.”

That little psychodrama is just the prelim to a full program which will include anti-Israel films, the construction of an “apartheid wall” in the Science Center Plaza, and a talk by Hizbollah supporter, MIT Professor Noam Chomsky — who just may be the American Jew most proud to be ashamed that he’s a Jew.

At Northeastern University, where Professors Denis Sullivan and Shahid Alam have proudly been working for decades to foment hatred of Israel (see www.shameonneu.com) the schedule is even more fulsome: From March 11-15, students will be shown two anti-Israel propaganda films, one even narrated by Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple. There will be a mock checkpoint constructed on the Centennial Commons, and all week long there will be a lighted sign flashing: “End Israeli Apartheid.”

NEU President Aoun, who has finally come under pressure to do something about his radical, anti-Israel/anti-Semitic professors, might find it useful now to emulate Jason Kenney, the Canadian Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, who condemned Israeli Apartheid Week as simple anti-Semitism.  Aoun, who is Christian Lebanese, surely knows that Middle East Christians are the ones suffering from something pretty close to apartheid – in every one of the lovely Arab-dominated states they nervously inhabit. Condemning the lie about Israel while outing the real oppressors would be a double mitzvah.  True, he’d have a tenured tantrum on his hands. Meanwhile, the silence of the Jewish Studies Department there continues to astonish.

At Boston University, there will be a sham conference on “The Right of Return.” Several scholars who oppose the idea that Palestinians in vast numbers should be allowed to flood into Israel, thereby extinguishing the Jewish state, have submitted proposals to give papers. As of this writing the “conference” conveners have not responded to any of them, so any pretense that their panel is “academic” is a farce. Just more political theatre.

So what do we do about all this? The ADL has said it is “outraged” by the Harvard eviction notices.  Nice, but then what?

I attended a workshop last week at the mammoth, yearly AIPAC Policy Conference which addressed the surge of anti-Israelism on the campuses.  The two speakers representing Jewish organizations that work on campuses came to promote what has become the Jewish Establishment’s only acceptable strategy; it’s called “retail engagement.” Responding to anti-Israel activity publicly with counter arguments, they say, has been shown to be ineffective. “Debate,” they argued, “has no audience.” A better approach is to get to know other students personally, especially student leaders, to build relationships with them, to “make friends, not arguments.”

Much of this makes sense. Cold facts and logic don’t win over most people. So much of politics is personal. Being popular and playing on emotion is often key.  This sort of engagement is clearly necessary — but why would anyone think it’s sufficient to win? Isn’t the other side much larger? Can’t they reach out to more leaders? To be truthful — aren’t they often more charming?

And don’t they have a big advantage? In our leftist-dominated culture which is obsessed with victimhood, the other side continually offers students what seems the high moral road — a victimhood campaign. In a low-information age, a picture of an Israeli tank next to a Palestinian child is enough to set people’s judgment against us, sometimes for good.

Our problem is that they lie. Another reason that “retail engagement” alone won’t win is that there is something more emotionally powerful than personal friendships at stake: In our world, people see themselves as good and moral people if they are for the underdog, and against oppression. If pro-Israel students, no matter how engaging, are seen to be supporting a cause that people fear taints them morally, friendship with charming Zionists will not often prevail.

No, friendship is not the magic bullet. To win, Jewish students will have to do harder things: They have to re-capture the emotional argument that counts most:  Not that we are individually nice people, but that Israel is a decent nation that is being lied about.  Jews are being victimized. That is the central truth of the matter, but exists now as the elephant in the PR room. Winning people to this central truth– that they are lying about us – means that pro-Israel students are going to have to do something the Jewish Establishment tells them not to do: they are going to have to call the campaign of lies what it is. They are going to have to talk to their friends about the people who are doing the defaming. They are going to have to “go negative.” What we face is more than a social popularity contest: it’s a political/ideological war; surely we know by now that it will take more than being charming if we mean to win.

It is time Jewish students stopped crowing that gays can march in Tel Aviv and started calling the propaganda crusade against us what it is: Bull! Lies! A hoax! The most inconvenient truth for our adversaries is that the horrors the Arab/Islamic world has falsely charged against Israel, are things they have actually done themselves — and are still doing…. While the “human rights” world keeps relatively mum. Land theft? The Arab world started out in Arabia and conquered the rest by jihad. Cruelty? Take a look at how women are treated, at how Sunnis treat Shias and vice versa. Is it now 70 or 80,000 dead in Syria? How many black slaves serve Arab masters across Arab north Africa?

Apartheid? Jewish students should say: “glad you brought that up. Because if you are truly interested in institutionalized subjugation in the Middle East, then talk to Simon Deng, an African who was enslaved by Arabs in Sudan; or to Mohammed Yahya, an African Muslim from Darfur, whose people are being massacred by Arabs for resisting Arabization; or to Caroline Doss, a Christian women from Cairo, whose people shiver to think what may soon happen to them because of the wonderful Arab spring. (They’re all available.) Apartheid in the M.E. is not about Israel at all. That’s a scam. The real apartheid is in the Arab/Islamic states.

If pro-Israel students can convince their classmates that anti-Israelism is based on lies  — inversions, actually — Israel might just win on campus. Sure, it helps if pro-Israel students are likeable but only if they have the courage to state the truth and the wisdom not to listen to their establishment “leaders” might their efforts be decisive. By

Charles Jacobs is the President of the Americans for Peace and Tolerance.

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#myjihad: Live by the Sword, Die by the Drone

Ronald Ernest Paul, the nation’s last best hope for Internet gambling and the gold standard, responded to the murder of a Navy SEAL by saying, “He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword.” But the question is whose sword is it?

To the anti-war movement, all conflicts between the free world and the world of slaves are reduced to a pithy formula of moral equivalence. America lifted the sword and has gone on swinging it. It never puts the sword down and therefore it dies by it. Chris Kyle becomes a metaphor for the great beast of war, unleashed by the Rockefellers, the CIA, the Trilateral Commission and the Federal Reserve, that goes around swinging the sword until it destroys itself.

The far left and the far right agree on few things, but they both agree that America’s wounds in the War on Terror are self-inflicted. America creates terrorism through its foreign policy and fights terrorism thereby perpetuating terrorism. Islamic terrorism is just a figment of our foreign policy. Put down the sword, is the implication, and the fighting can stop. Keep fighting back and eventually more planes will fly into your skyscrapers as blowback for all the fighting back that you did before.

Moral equivalence would have it that all swords are created equal, much as gun control advocates insist that a rifle in the hands of a hunter is no different than a rifle in the hands of a serial killer. A gun is a gun and a sword is a sword. If you own one, you’re likely to use it. And if you use it, then you are utterly evil, regardless of the reason you use it and the purpose that you use it for.

In the school of thought embraced by such students of history as Oliver Stone, Noam Chomsky and Ron Paul, the sword is the massive steel blade of empire that is borne by the strongest power. Followers of this school of thought style themselves realists. Their sword of empire realism, however, fails to encompass the history and ambitions of over a billion people, their theology, their dreams and their internal conflicts.

To the realists, over a thousand years of Islamic history hardly carries any weight compared to the doings of ARAMCO and the CIA. There is a certain unrealism to such realism. The realist may be a cynic, but if he, like the World War II labor unions in the UK who told their members that the American soldiers weren’t coming to fight Hitler but to break up labor strikes, follows a realism mired in petty cynicism that cannot see past last week, then his realism is really ignorant cynicism masquerading as history.

The revisionist history of the realists blames America by beginning with America. America is the axis around which the world revolves. There was no Islam before America and if America sinks into the ocean, the realists must assume that Islamic terrorism will go with it, unless the Zionist Entity sticks around and continues infuriating the otherwise peaceful peoples of the Middle East whose brief history of violence only commenced in 1948 or 1917.

Anti-war activists cannot spend too much time contemplating the other side. The anti-war position automatically picks the other side and because of the innate whiff of treason in such a choice, it must justify that treason by utterly damning and demonizing its own side. It cannot afford nuance at home, though it often calls for it abroad, because to concede complexity is to endanger its own moral standing.

The only thing standing between the anti-war movement and treason is its ceaseless effort to demonize its own government, soldiers and people as monsters. If it lowers that sword of invective for a moment and accepts that they are less than monsters, then its moral standing falls apart.

The anti-war movement can only maintain its moral standing through extremism and hate. Its activism is an eternal war fought against an endless war whose existence justifies their existence.

Each war, whether it is against Communism or Islamism, tribal warlords or world powers, reaffirms their thesis that their country is a bloody monster, an empire of skulls ruled over by warlords who live by the sword and then die by it.

Pearl Harbor, the sinking of the Lusitania and the Maine, September 11 and the Pueblo Incident all blend together into one false flag operation; a single continuous historical event with a single explanation. And the explanation is the Great American Sword that sets up bases to extract oil, drugs and arms deals along with all the other trappings of empire. It is the answer that answers everything. Even the question of why the wars don’t stop.

And what of the sword of Islam, its hilt inlaid with emeralds, its blade clotted with infidel blood, which was sweeping across the world a thousand years before some Virginia farmers got together to discuss theories of government? What was it that made that sword rise and fall, before the oil companies and the Israeli lobby, before arms dealers and neo-conservatives, and all the other crutches on which the realists hobble their lame revisionist history?

Uncle Sam did not raise the sword. Uncle Mohammed did, more years ago than anyone can count, and the sword has never been lowered since. As long as Mohammed is at the gates, Sam cannot put down the sword and spend all his time discussing monetary theory or social justice. Not if he expects to still be wearing his head by morning.

A war is not a dance, though there is some circling and some tricky steps. It is not a mutual agreement, but a historical collision. It does not take two to wield a sword. It does however take two to achieve a stalemate. It is this stalemate, a war that falls short of war, whether it is a Cold War or a War on Terror, that the anti-war movement hates and needs. It is this indefinite endless war that animates its thesis and sustains its ideology.

The Muslim world has chosen to live by the sword and the free world must learn to use the sword, if it is not to live under their swords. But there is a difference between these two swords, between the Sword and the Colt, which made all men equal, and the sword and the drone. It is the same as the difference between Sparta and Athens and between Mecca and Jerusalem.

There are nations and peoples that live by the sword, producing nothing of worth, living and priding themselves on their plunder while remaining deaf to their own worthlessness outside the realm of the sword. And there are nations and peoples to whom the sword is a tool, rather than a final answer, an implement which works alongside the hoe and the pen and the many other implements that make a society great.

A great nation does not live by the sword; it uses the sword to keep its way of life free from those who do live by the sword.

In such a society where many professions are possible, most free from risk of death, the man who picks up the sword, who pledges to hold the sword so that others may work, not only does not live by the sword, but also makes it possible for his entire society to live free of the sword.

The death of such a man is a tragedy for those who understand that the sword can only be opposed by a sword, and that freedom is won at the cost of resisting slavery, but is a cause for celebration to those who imagine that when the last of their countrymen who carries a sword dies, the endless war will finally end.By