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David Warren: Legitimizing the Mumbai Perpetrators [in light of USSC Guantanamo decision] ^ | July 13, 2006 | David Warren

Posted on 07/13/2006 6:27:30 AM PDT by Tolik

The latest grand Islamist atrocity was directed against the huge city of Mumbai, Tuesday. At least seven big explosions ripped through rush-hour commuter trains, along a string of stations on the principal north-south rail artery -- temporarily disabling the city's principal economic lifeline. It was a reprise of the Islamist attacks on Madrid's rail system, 28 months ago.

As we must surely realize from recent arrests around Toronto, New York, Miami, London, Beirut, and elsewhere, the menace is hardly receding. For each Islamist cell police break up, they are dimly aware of several others. In Mumbai, the police anti-terrorist squad had just finished congratulating themselves on breaking up two major Jihadi cells (or "modules" as they say in Indian English), and seizing large quantities of RDX explosives, cellphone detonators, assault weapons, and much else. It appears none of the suspects rounded up from those operations knew anything about this third. But according to government sources in Delhi, the police had plentiful other hints that big attacks were in planning.

How could they stop this one? No one who has attempted to ride on a Mumbai commuter train, will doubt the ease with which the system could be attacked. A couple million people pass daily through the gates of the old gothic "Veetee" alone (the Victoria Terminus, since renamed by the Hindu nationalists but still known by its English initials), in what used to be called Bombay (and still is by many of its inhabitants). You simply can't do security checks on that many people. The Islamists knew it, just as they knew you could flood out the whole subway system of Manhattan by blowing in the Holland Tunnel.

This was indeed just the fifth, if most successful attempt made on Mumbai's railways, in the last four years. The previous attempts were single explosions, a couple of them with quite crude home-made bombs. Yesterday's one was the multiple hit with powerful explosives we have come to associate with Al Qaeda doctrines, which are shared by the Muslim secessionists in Kashmir. Indeed, as I write, Indian police are already rounding up "the usual suspects" with Lashkar-e-Taiba associations.

Any modern urban area, not under totalitarian government, provides easy targets. The terrorists can hardly be intercepted at the border, for most of them are home-grown, in India, as in the West. Except, the home-grown Indian Muslim constituency is proportionally larger, and vastly larger in absolute numbers, than the Muslim constituency in the West. The pool of potential recruits and, by extension, converts to radical Islam, is thus much larger in India. But though the Muslims of secular India are more numerous than those in officially Muslim Pakistan or Bangladesh, they are long assimilated. This means they are aware of the potential for communal violence against them -- for many Hindus are prepared to take personally what few post-Christian Europeans will. Balancing these factors, the daily terrorist threat to India comes out roughly the same as the threat to Europe.

The attack on Mumbai is thus a useful reminder that we are not the only targets of Islamic fanaticism; and that in India we have a crucial Western ally, not only against Islamism, but against the growing military aspirations of China. Under present circumstances, we cannot cultivate the friendship of India too assiduously.

Meanwhile, yesterday, the Bush administration announced that the Jihadis it is holding around the world at such facilities as Guantanamo, will now be entitled to Geneva Convention privileges, as if they had been legitimate soldiers.

It is hard for me to fathom an act so irresponsible, though I perfectly understand the political and legal pressures (an obtuse recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court) to which the administration capitulated. These, in turn, were accentuated by its failure to make its own case effectively, in international propaganda. Too many outrageous lies and misrepresentations about Bush policies have been allowed to stand; and the validity of too much of the administration's moral reasoning has been left to speak for itself.

The whole point of the Geneva Conventions is to encourage legitimate soldiering, even under the pressures of war. It was written intentionally to exclude terrorists and other "informal" fighters, who do not wear uniforms or other clear markings, who arm themselves in exceptionally vicious ways, who target non-combatants as a matter of course, and whose behaviour is in every other way unanswerable to civilized norms.

The U.S. capitulation confers legitimacy upon people like the perpetrators of yesterday's blasts in Mumbai. It gives them encouragement, together with the reasonable assurance that nothing bad will happen to them if they are captured. It announces to all the enemies of the West -- internal and external -- that not even the Bush administration has the guts to be ruthless with its mortal enemies.

In the larger view, no civilization can survive treating violent savages as if they were conventional soldiers. For that is to declare that the destruction of our civilization is a legitimate end.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: davidwarren; genevaconvention; gitmo; guantanamo; india; indiabombing; jihad; jihadists; mumbai; muslims; waronterror; wot

1 posted on 07/13/2006 6:27:34 AM PDT by Tolik
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To: Lando Lincoln; quidnunc; .cnI redruM; Valin; King Prout; SJackson; dennisw; monkeyshine; ...


This ping list is not author-specific for articles I'd like to share. Some for the perfect moral clarity, some for provocative thoughts; or simply interesting articles I'd hate to miss myself. (I don't have to agree with the author all 100% to feel the need to share an article.) I will try not to abuse the ping list and not to annoy you too much, but on some days there is more of the good stuff that is worthy of attention. You can see the list of articles I pinged to lately  on  my page.
You are welcome in or out, just freepmail me (and note which PING list you are talking about). Besides this one, I keep 2 separate PING lists for my favorite authors Victor Davis Hanson and Orson Scott Card.  

2 posted on 07/13/2006 6:28:37 AM PDT by Tolik
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To: Tolik

i dont think Indian police are that 'gentle' to extend these terrorists, if caught, geneva conventions. they will rather extend them 'bamboo in the ass' conventions.

3 posted on 07/13/2006 8:38:25 AM PDT by An_Indian
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To: An_Indian

Somehow our do-gooders forget that being civilized is not a suicide pact. Civilization needs to be defended from Barbarism. Yes, we want to play by the rules. But that's the point! Rules apply only to those who already is playing by the rules. If you refuse to play by the rules, why should we hinder our ability to win against you?

Let's imagine that one of the chess players will decide to move figures any way he wants. Can his opponent hope to win by still playing by the rules? Its just common sense, no more.

I hope Indians did not catch this bug that kills all common sense in people.

4 posted on 07/13/2006 10:02:53 AM PDT by Tolik
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To: Tolik
the Victoria Terminus, since renamed by the Hindu nationalists but still known by its English initials
I stopped reading after I reached this line. Hindu Nationalists??? It seems the names of places are a bigger concern for the author at this moment . Another piece of trash article that belongs to the garbage dump.

5 posted on 07/13/2006 12:02:17 PM PDT by Gengis Khan
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To: Gengis Khan

He may be not a 100% kosher by your standards, but do read to the end. I think you'll find less disagreements than you just assumed. Regards,

6 posted on 07/13/2006 12:13:39 PM PDT by Tolik
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