The World After Daniel Pearl

February 3rd, 2009

Daniel Pearl, a Wall Street Journal reporter, was murdered by islamist terrorists seven years ago this week. His cold-blooded murderer, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, is a guest of the U.S. government at Guantanamo and the subject of humanitarian angst in some quarters. Judea Pearl, writing at Opinion Journal, wondered if his son would believe the way things have evolved since his death:

Neither he, nor the millions who were shocked by his murder, could have possibly predicted that seven years later his abductor, Omar Saeed Sheikh, according to several South Asian reports, would be planning terror acts from the safety of a Pakistani jail. Or that his murderer, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, now in Guantanamo, would proudly boast of his murder in a military tribunal in March 2007 to the cheers of sympathetic jihadi supporters. Or that this ideology of barbarism would be celebrated in European and American universities, fueling rally after rally for Hamas, Hezbollah and other heroes of “the resistance.” 

Mr. Pearl continued:

…barbarism, often cloaked in the language of “resistance,” has gained acceptance in the most elite circles of our society. The words “war on terror” cannot be uttered today without fear of offense. Civilized society, so it seems, is so numbed by violence that it has lost its gift to be disgusted by evil. …

But the clearest endorsement of terror as a legitimate instrument of political bargaining came from former President Jimmy Carter. In his book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,” Mr. Carter appeals to the sponsors of suicide bombing. “It is imperative that the general Arab community and all significant Palestinian groups make it clear that they will end the suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism when international laws and the ultimate goals of the Road-map for Peace are accepted by Israel.” Acts of terror, according to Mr. Carter, are no longer taboo, but effective tools for terrorists to address perceived injustices.

Somehow, apologizing for terrorism and viewing Israel’s defense of its existence through the distorted lens of moral equivalence have become accepted tenets of leftist ideology. It’s particularly distressing to see these viewpoints dominate institutions of higher learning. 

Read Mr. Pearl’s article. His views are worth considering.


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6 Responses to “The World After Daniel Pearl”



  1. Brian |

    Tom, do you really expect anything different from people whose ethics are this inconsistent and irrational? In the name of “fairness” (which, I assume, means the guy with the biggest stick gets to be the judge of) Israel must not strike back. In the past, blacks and Hispanics were the objects of discrimination, and the remedy for this is to now discriminate against whites and Asians via educational and corporate set-asides for blacks and Hispanics. Again, the guy with the biggest stick gets to sit in judgment of what is fair. Majority rules, we are told, except when the majority vote against special set-asides for pederasts. Then, we must rely on the “wisdom” of judges who know what is fair and good. Police are thugs and soldiers are mindless baby killers, we are told, except that they are the only ones that should be entrusted with the use of deadly force. Tobacco is a great evil and should be scourged from the land, we are told, except that Phillip Morris and RJR don’t make but about 25 cents on a $5 pack of smokes (guess who gets most of the rest). Freedom of choice, we are told, except for the choice of where to send our children to school. That doesn’t count. Again, enforced by the guy with the biggest stick. Everyone knows that theft is wrong, and we send to jail people who commit it. Except for when the majority (or equally likely a very vocal minority) approves of it and votes to steal from Peter to pay Paul. We call that income taxation, and that’s a good thing. Enforced, of course, by the guy with the biggest stick. Lobbyists are bad, we are told, except when they finance our guys’ political campaigns. That’s a good thing. Tax cheats are bad guys and should be sent to jail. Just ask Wesley Snipes. Except when they are our political fellow-travelers, then we appoint them to the new king’s cabinet. They’re really good guys, just misunderstood.

    The problem with inconsistent ethics is that they ALWAYS require the use of force to have them upheld, and the guy willing to use the most force will always be the one that upholds them. At the personal level, this produces thugs and murderers. At a national level, this produces tyrants.


  2. Kevin |

    I find Brian’s comments highly ironic against the backdrop of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict,particularly with respect to the Occupied West Bank.

    Thugs and murderers indeed. Both sides have an endless supply of them, but the side with the biggest stick controls both the history and the outcome… and in so doing merely mirror the ethics of the losing side which itself is the faction with the biggest stick and also controls it’s side’s contribution to both the history and the outcome.

    The pacifists of both sides who are and have been advocating a different history and a different outcome are excluded and marginalized by virtue of their disavowal of using sticks.

    Thugs and murderers indeed… The ironies are many and profound.


  3. Kevin |

    If those weilding the sticks on both sides had any legit claim to being civilized then they would be deeply ashamed. But they aren’t ashamed and their claims to being civilized are self-evidently bogus.


  4. Tom |

    I think the term “thug” can be reasonably applied to anyone who attacks defenseless people. When you’re confronted on the street by armed muggers who rob you and maybe inflict gratuitous violence on you, those are thugs. Typically, they’re also cowards who won’t go up against anyone who’s armed or otherwise able to defend himself.

    So, are terrorists (Palestinian or otherwise) who attack defenseless civilians as their primary targets with the intention of killing and maiming as many as possible thugs? I think so. And when they hide among civilians and fight from civilian locations in hopes of avoiding retaliation, can they be called cowardly thugs? I think so.

    When Israel defends itself against terrorist attacks by cowardly thugs, does that make them thugs, too? Of course not, even though the most twisted possible argument of moral equivalence might be employed. Are the Israelis thugs because they have built settlements on some pieces of land that the PNA claims is Palestinian? I suppose if one were bound and determined to equate Israel with the cowardly terrorists who attack them, then OK. Call them thugs.

    Saying that the side with the biggest stick controls history is the “victors write history” argument. Over time, real history written by objective historians is usually right, within the limitations of what’s knowable. Those who write “current history” (an oxymoron anyway) rarely get it right, and ideology-driven “revisionist historians” usually get it wrong.


  5. Kevin |

    “(T)hey have built settlements on some pieces of land that the PNA claims as Palestinian” isn’t revisionist history?

    That’s like saying that the “trail of tears” was nothing more consequential than an involuntary camping trip.


  6. Brian |

    Kevin, why don’t you argue with the Jordanians and insist that they “give back” the land that they stole from the Palestinians? Ever heard of the Balfour Agreement? What was that? You weren’t aware that the Jordanians tired of the Palestinians in the late 60s and showed them the door? I guess you probably also aren’t aware that it was these “exiled” Palestinians that started the civil war in Lebanon that lasted nearly 25 years. And you expect the Israelis to treat these people with kids’ gloves? Even the Arabs don’t want them and are unwilling to absorb them. They only tolerate them because Palestine makes a useful pawn in their ultimate bid to eradicate Israel.


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