(With apologies to Noel Coward)
Don’t let’s be beastly to the Muslims,
When the Surge has got Al Qaeda on the run.
We must win their hearts and minds, and be filled with bonhomie,
For their peaceable intentions can be always guaranteed.
Let’s employ with them a kindly joi de vivre, with them,
Never mind how many heads they have lopped off…
Let’s make them feel they’re swell again, so they can bomb us all to hell again,
But don't let's be beastly to Islam.
Noel Coward’s original song, “Don’t Let’s Be Beastly to the Germans”, ran along the same lines as my bowdlerization above. It was wildly popular in England where Winston Churchill called for several encores when he first heard it. You can almost hear Coward’s boom-bah-oom-pah piano accompaniment and his slightly reedy voice singing his satirical verse about making nice with the enemy who had tried its best to bomb England into oblivion.
Yogi Berra said, “Things are more like they are now than they’ve ever been…” Whatever that meant, I think he was right. Maybe it just isn’t in us to really crush an enemy. We got pretty mad at the Japanese in World War II – mad enough to bomb them all to hell – but we have a hard time staying mad very long. Six years ago, Muslim terrorists inflicted the worst single attack on us in our history. Democrats and Republicans embraced and stood together at a stirring church service, vowing to fight on to the last man and woman (meaning someone beside them, personally, I’m sure). “We shall never surrender,” said one overwrought (and unnamed) pol, quoting Churchill. “They have no idea who they’re dealing with,” said another. (Was that Clint Eastwood?)
Six years later, some of those same pols are asking, “Can’t we all just get along?” (with no credit given to Rodney King for his patented line). The ACLU is furiously fighting laws that permit intelligence services to eavesdrop secretly on phone calls to (and from) foreign parties who might be terrorists. Schools are banning any mention or observance of Christmas because it might “offend” Muslim students. George W and family are celebrating Ramadan. (At least he has dropped the “religion of peace” line.) And communities are trying to deal, piecemeal, with Islamic attempts to establish Sharia law as a new legal standard.
We are positively falling over ourselves trying not to be “beastly” to the Muslims, even though we are still locked in mortal combat with Islamic terrorist elements to prevent our retrogression to the eighth century. ACLU members who think they’ll rack up points by rubbing out Christianity before the Muslims take over are delusional. Their heads will be the first on the pikes lining Memorial Bridge in DC.
Our non-beastliness extends to our armed forces. Not long ago I saw a report about instruction being given on Rules of Engagement (ROE) at the prestigious Army Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School in Charlottsville, VA. The crux of the report was that soldiers are being taught that “hesitation” is the correct principle in combat, when a target appears and a soldier is poised to pull the trigger.
What this means is that legal instructors are teaching soldiers to endanger their own lives and the lives of their comrades in combat situations, for the sake of some Ivory Tower idea about “winning hearts and minds”. Any experienced combat soldier will say the precise opposite – that quick reactions, a sure eye, and a steady hand are the way to stay alive in combat. “He who hesitates is lost” applies to few places as directly as combat. (Being non-beastly can kill you.)
The courts are a growing area of non-beastliness toward Islam, but it’s not just the ACLU using them. Reports are beginning to surface of legal actions sponsored by a Saudi billionaire named Khalid bin Mahfouz. Mr. Mahfouz has been using British libel laws to silence allegations that he funded al Qaeda. According to a recent article by Ilan Weinglass – a counter-terrorism consultant and Editor of the Terror Finance Blog – “…Mr. Mahfouz has exploited the British legal system, where libel laws favor the plaintiff, to systematically sue anyone alleging that he financed terrorism. He has also used the threat of such suits to intimidate his critics.”
The Mahfouz legal gambit has now crossed the Atlantic and is making inroads in the United States publishing industry. Mr. Weinglass notes: “A number of leading American publications including The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and USA Today have publicly retracted allegations made about Mr. Mahfouz on their pages. Most recently, Mr. Mahfouz threatened to sue Cambridge University Press (CUP) for publishing Alms for Jihad. Overlooking its responsibility and academic integrity, CUP decided to avoid huge legal expenses. It apologized and pulped the book.”
Of course, this happens all the time under legal threats from Christian organizations like Focus on the Family… (Yo! I’m kidding here. Don’t quote this.) If such an action were taken by a church or Christian foundation, papers like the Washington Post would be shouting from the housetops and the ACLU would be girding for battle against the evil “dragon” of Fundamentalism. But where is the ACLU now with respect to Mr. Mahfouz’s tactics? Nowhere to be heard or seen. (Are they trying to lie low so Mr. Mahfouz doesn’t sue them?)
Mr. Weinglass goes on to relate how Mr. Mahfouz sued Rachel Ehrenfeld, author of Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed and How to Stop It, in England, where he obtained a judgment against her. Unlike others, however, Miss Ehrenfeld has refused to accept British jurisdiction over a book published in New York. She has asked an American court to declare the British judgment unenforceable in the USA. Mr. Weinglass quotes civil-rights lawyer Harvey Silverglate, who calls the Ehrenfeld case “one of the most important First Amendment cases in the past 25 years”. The case is pending before the New York Court of Appeals.
Does it sound like our “legal system” has run off the rails? Maybe. But it’s important to realize that law does not have a “mind”. Law does not always have common sense. (Mr. Bumble said the law can be “an ass”.) People have minds, and people have common sense (or not). Sometimes framers of law fail to think through the consequences of laws operating in extraordinary circumstances, like war. It makes no sense to let an enemy use our legal system to damage the country. If laws on the books enable this, they must be corrected by “sensible” lawmakers and courts.
Being non-beastly is a nice, warm and fuzzy idea. But it can go only so far. Ronald Reagan said, “The Constitution is not a suicide pact.” Neither is our culture or society. We can try to be non-beastly. We can be decent. We don’t have to chop off people’s body-parts. But we shouldn’t be stupid. Being too dumb to stop your own destruction is a far worse crime than being beastly.