October 16, 2005


Media utters nonsense, won't call enemy out (MARK STEYN, October 16, 2005, Chicago Sun Times)

From Thursday's New York Times: ''Nalchik, Russia -- Insurgents launched a series of raids today in this southern Russian city, striking the area's main airport and several police and security buildings in large-scale, daytime attacks that left at least 85 people dead.''

"Insurgents," eh?

From Agence France Presse:

"Nalchik, Russia: More than 60 people were killed as scores of militants launched simultaneous attacks on police and government buildings . . ."

"Militants," you say?

From the Scotsman:

"Rebel forces battled Russian troops for control of a provincial capital in the Caucasus yesterday . . ."

"Rebel forces,'' huh?

From Toronto's Globe & Mail:

"Nalchik, Russia -- Scores of rebels launched simultaneous attacks on police and government buildings . . ."

"Rebels," by the score. But why were they rebelling? What were they insurging over? You had to pick up the Globe & Mail's rival, the Toronto Star, to read exactly the same Associated Press dispatch but with one subtle difference:

''Nalchik, Russia -- Scores of Islamic militants launched simultaneous attacks on police and government buildings . . ."

Ah, "Islamic militants." So that's what the rebels were insurging over. In the geopolitical Hogwart's, Islamic "militants" are the new Voldemort, the enemy whose name it's best never to utter. In fairness to the New York Times, they did use the I-word in paragraph seven. And Agence France Presse got around to mentioning Islam in paragraph 22. And NPR's "All Things Considered" had one of those bland interviews between one of its unperturbable anchorettes and some Russian geopolitical academic type in which they chitchatted through every conceivable aspect of the situation and finally got around to kinda sorta revealing the identity of the perpetrators in the very last word of the geopolitical expert's very last sentence.

When the NPR report started, I was driving on the vast open plains of I-91 in Vermont and reckoned, just to make things interesting, I'll add another five miles to the speed for every minute that goes by without mentioning Islam. But I couldn't get the needle to go above 130, and the vibrations caused the passenger-side wing-mirror to drop off.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 16, 2005 12:39 PM

Some folks over at another site use the abbreviation "RoP"--"Religion of Peace"--to stand for Islam.

Posted by: Lou Gots at October 16, 2005 1:05 PM

As opposed to the savage and warlike Buddhists ?

Posted by: Michael Herdegen [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 16, 2005 2:12 PM

Why were you in Vermont? Doesn't that violate a rule or something?

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at October 16, 2005 4:54 PM

"savage and warlike buddhist"

Well actually they do give as good as they get. Kicked our *ss out of Vietnam.

Posted by: h-man at October 16, 2005 4:56 PM

Ted Kennedy's no Buddhist, though Buddahesque.

Posted by: oj at October 16, 2005 4:59 PM


He follows the Eightfold Path, mostly because he is too large to fit onto one path exclusively.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at October 16, 2005 5:16 PM

Well, in the case of the war in southern Russia, it initially started off as a nationalist revolt with political Islam being injected later on by Basayev and Khattab. That's pretty much been ignored since nobody in the Western media is looking at the region (too far off, too inland, too much of the same thing over and over).

Anyone know what the White House is saying about this? Is this being linked to the WoT and if there are links, how deep do they run?

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at October 16, 2005 5:30 PM

And the Chechen cause is just.

Posted by: oj at October 16, 2005 6:02 PM

A just cause can transform itself into an unjust cause, if they overdo the Breslan strategy.

Posted by: h-man at October 16, 2005 7:19 PM

Anyone can be tolerant of the tolerant, but tolerance of intolerance gives an even more intense frisson of pleasure to the multiculti- masochists.

There are no enemies, just friends whose grievances we haven't yet accommodated.

Imagine actually getting paid for writing stuff like that.

Posted by: Peter B at October 16, 2005 7:27 PM

No, it can't. No matter the horrible things the Palestinians did they were always going to get a permanent state. Same for the Chechens, who've been at it longer and are more frustrated.

Posted by: oj at October 16, 2005 8:29 PM

Oh now I get it. It was Mark Styne who was in VT.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at October 17, 2005 1:13 AM

While we're on the subject of I-91 in Vermont (tangentally, at least): I learned this weekend that Howard Dean earned his much ballyhooed reputation as "The Man Who Balanced Vermont's Budget" by secretly underfunding the transportaion infrastructure. For 10 years. So the highways are a mess. I-91 north of White River Junction looks like a WWI battlefield (I don't think it's physically possible to go 130 up there because the road's such a mess). Jim Douglas started an emergency road maintenance program almost as soon as he entered office, but it's still going to take a long time to get us out of that quagmire. So, hurrah for Howard Dean! I would have voted for him for president just to get him the hell out of the state. But head of the DNC does the trick nicely as well.

Posted by: Governor Breck at October 17, 2005 8:54 AM

A just cause cannot become unjust, but it can be vindicated unjustly, as is the case with the Chechen jihadists.

But if course the whole conceptual language of just war is alien to Islam.

Posted by: Paul Cella at October 17, 2005 12:32 PM

As opposed to we who nuked cities in a just cause?

Posted by: oj at October 17, 2005 12:49 PM


Haunting though the way Mr. Steyn describes our hobby....

Posted by: oj at October 17, 2005 1:31 PM