- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Symbolic target

“It is still aircraft and explosives that loom large in the jihadi imagination. There is nothing quite so photogenic as a stricken aircraft, or quite so obscenely violent as a mid-air explosion. … Jihadis are drawn to the images of Dawson’s Field in Jordan during September 1970, when four hijacked airliners were blown up by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The memory of Lockerbie still sticks in the mind. Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, the chief operational planner of al-Qaeda until his arrest in 2002, lavished attention on a plan in 1995 to blow up maybe 10 US airliners over the Pacific. Al-Qaeda terrorists tried to bring down an El Al airliner taking off from Mombasa in 2002 with two Stinger missiles, and to this day it’s a wonder that they missed.

“Commercial aircraft represent globalism and high technology. … The Boeing 747 was the last of the ‘great machines’ that characterized the 20th century: it opened up air travel to the mass market. And it was so very American; big, brash and useful. But aircraft also appear vulnerable. …

“[T]he symbolic prize for the jihadis of destroying yet more aircraft after 9/11, of indiscriminate British and American deaths, hitting the air bridge across the Atlantic and of panicking the aviation industry into major disruption must remain tempting.”

—Michael Clarke, writing on “Here’s why jihadis just love to fly,” Friday in the Times of London

‘Reality check’

“Many Jews are in my position — the children and grandchildren of labor leaders, socialists, pacifists, humanitarians, antiwar protesters — instinctively leaning left, rejecting war, unwilling to demonize and insisting that violence only breeds more violence. …

“However, the world as we know it today — post-Holocaust, post-9/11, post-sanity — is not cooperating. Given the realities of the new Middle East, perhaps it is time for a reality check. …

“The Jewish left is now in shambles. ‘Peace Now’ advocates have lost their momentum, and, in some sense, their moral clarity. …

“Not unlike the deep divisions between the values of red- and blue-state America, world Jewry is being forced to reconsider all of its underlying assumptions about peace in the Middle East. The recent disastrous events in Lebanon and Gaza have inadvertently created a newly united Jewish consciousness … bringing right and left together into one deeply cynical red state.”

—Thane Rosenbaum, writing on “Red State Jews,” Sunday in Opinion Journal at www.opinionjournal.com

Soccer lessons

“This spring’s World Cup soccer matches featured fights in Dortmund, Germany. The participants: fans of the host nation’s team versus some visiting Poles. …

“Soccer violence is nothing new. … Currently, reports the BBC, ‘where the phenomenon is at its worst — in the UK, Germany, Belgium, Holland, and Italy — about 10 percent of games witness ‘serious incidents,’ according to researchers. …

“Collectors of wrought irony have noted that a preponderance of such lumpen fans have long lived off public largesse. Living in housing projects, on the dole, rudderless, and full of numb hostility, they are the sort F.A. Hayek foresaw in ‘The Road to Serfdom.’ There, Hayek warned of states that, in the name of compassion, wanted to usurp control of citizens’ lives and fortunes. The resultant cradle-to-grave socialism would produce people without personal responsibility.”

—Stefan Kanfer, writing on “Soccer Louts,” in the summer issue of City Journal

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