"What Do They Want?"

Jihad Watch:

It may take some time before the full identity of the attackers is established. But the ideology that motivates them, the networks that sustain them and the groups that finance them are all too well known. Moments after yesterday’s attacks my telephone was buzzing with requests for interviews with one recurring question: but what do they want?

Even asking this question could lead to the capitulation of Britain and the West. What do they want? Withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan. Well, that sounds reasonable. Let’s give it to them. Spain did so, after all.

There may be good reasons to withdraw, but to do so on the jihadists’ terms and at their demand to do so, thereby granting them a victory, would be suicidal. When Western analysts ask, What do they want? It is because they want to grant it — something, anything, to get these people to stop killing us. But just as Chamberlain discovered of “Herr Hitler,” when they grant what they want, they will find that it is not precisely what they wanted.

That reminded me of Theo van Gogh, the Dutch film-maker, who was shot by an Islamist assassin on his way to work in Amsterdam last November. According to witnesses, Van Gogh begged for mercy and tried to reason with his assailant. “Surely we can discuss this,” he kept saying as the shots kept coming. “Let us talk it over.”

Van Gogh, who had angered Islamists with his documentary about the mistreatment of women in Islam, was reacting like BBC reporters did yesterday, assuming that the man who was killing him may have some reasonable demands which could be discussed in a calm, democratic atmosphere.

But sorry, old chaps, you are dealing with an enemy that does not want anything specific, and cannot be talked back into reason through anger management or round-table discussions. Or, rather, this enemy does want something specific: to take full control of your lives, dictate every single move you make round the clock and, if you dare resist, he will feel it his divine duty to kill you.

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