Update to the Child Hostage Crisis
The Glittering Eye has more on the children taken hostage by terrorists in Russia, including a diagram of the school premises. It draws on Russian sources which harshly criticize the terrorists and point out that chaos in the Caucasus has thrown up and will throw up more terror unless resolved.
In many ways, the Russian policy is exactly the reverse of the American. They are less squeamish about retaliating but lack the Bush doctrine of creating functioning democracies to replace the chaotic sinkholes of Islamism. To a certain extent, the Russian and French policies are identical. They draw a curtain over the putrefaction fermenting in certain societies, dismissing them as a natural state or in terms of cultural relativism, as situations in which civilization -- I use the word consciously -- would be ill advised to interfere. But it has become apparent that terrorism is an externality of rotting societies, an effluent, which if unchecked will poison the whole world. No cologne, not even French perfume, will long prevail against it. Civilization cannot hang back but must step forward, if not for love then for survival.
Liberals, Democrats and critical conservatives may question whether President Bush's "forward strategy for freedom" has been carried out well or botched; but its conceptual rightness is indisputable and its undertaking long overdue.
The French Hostage Crisis
Reuters highlights the agony of suspense over the fate of French hostages seized by terrorists. "France faces another day of hostage anguish today after a deadline to revoke a law banning Muslim headscarves in schools passed without news of the fate of two French reporters held by Islamic militants." If the sight of Third World diplomats pleading for the lives of their citizens is heart-rending, the sight of proud France -- for however one may regard that country the fact of its pride is not in dispute -- calling out into the dark for its lost sheep is pure pathos.
The most diabolical aspect of the terrorist's cruelty is that they have placed the symbolic dagger of execution into the hands of the French themselves. The French open their schoolday with the the subconcious understanding that upholding the headscarf ban may end the lives of two men. This tranferrence of guilt is terrorism's greatest lie: that the ultimate responsibility for a hostage's death lies in the failure of his loved ones to capitulate fully to their monstrous demands. It is a lie which the Left never tires of repeating but it is false all the same. Albert Camus once wryly wrote in the Rebel that "on the day when crime dons the apparel of innocence -- through a curious transposition peculiar to our times -- it is innocence that is called upon to justify itself." He was referring to Stalin, but alas, both for the world and for France, the evil the Left worshipped never died.