Hitchens picks up where Steyn left off

Hitchens mirrors Steyn’s observation on the reluctance of the media to call things for what they are:

Murder by Any Other Name
The rest of the world may be tiring of jihad, but The Nation isn’t.

Not to exaggerate or generalize or anything, but in the past week or so it seems to have become very slightly less OK to speak of jihad as an understandable reaction to underlying Muslim grievances. The murder of innocents in a Russian school may have been secondarily the result of a panic or a bungle by Vladimir Putin’s “special forces,” but nobody is claiming that the real responsibility lies anywhere but on the shoulders of the Muslim fanatics. And the French state’s policy of defending secularism in its schools may have been clumsily and even “insensitively” applied, but nobody says that the kidnapping and threatened murder of two French reporters is thereby justified. As for the slaughter of the Nepalese workers in Iraq … you simply have to see the video and hear the Quranic incantations in the voice-over. (I use the words “murder” and “slaughter” by the way, and shall continue to do so, as I hope you will, too. How the New York Times can employ the term “execution” for these atrocities is beyond me.)

Even Abdulrahman al-Rashed, the general manager of Al-Arabiya television, was less euphemistic than that. In a column published under the unambiguous headline, “The Painful Truth: All the World Terrorists are Muslims!” he wrote, in the pan-Arab paper Al-Sharq al-Awsat: “Our terrorist sons are an end-product of our corrupted culture.” According to a very interesting AP report from Maggie Michael, this was part of a wider refusal and denunciation across Arab and Muslim media. It wasn’t all unambiguous – some critics said that the Chechen outrage was so bad that the Israelis must have been behind it – but it had a different tone from the usual trash about holy war and martyrdom. By the same token, nobody coerced the majority of French Muslim schoolchildren into turning up quiet and on time, almost all unveiled, on the day of the murder “deadline” set by the kidnappers in Iraq.

He goes on here:

Any jeering can be saved for the strictly political, in which category I would include the recent speech of the new French foreign minister, Michel Barnier. In an address to the annual conference of French ambassadors on Aug. 26, Barnier pointedly warned the assembled envoys that “France is not great when it is arrogant. France is not strong when it is alone.” He very noticeably did not mention America, or American policy, even once. All that was lacking from his address was a self-criticism for French “unilateralism” and a promise that in future he would seek to “build alliances.” Intelligent French people understand that the Bonapartist policy of the Chirac-de Villepin regime has been deeply damaging: You can see this in any French newspaper. In pledging to shape his own policy to conciliate the Elysee Palace, in other words, John Kerry seems to have once again chosen to change ships on a falling tide.

Another small but interesting development has occurred among my former comrades at The Nation magazine. In its “GOP Convention Issue” dated Sept. 13, the editors decided to run a piece by Naomi Klein titled “Bring Najaf to New York.” If you think this sounds suspiciously like an endorsement of Muqtada Sadr and his black-masked clerical bandits, you are not mistaken. The article, indeed, went somewhat further, and lower, than the headline did. Ms. Klein is known as a salient figure in the so-called antiglobalization movement, and for a book proclaiming her hostility to logos and other forms of oppression: She’s not marginal to what remains of the left. Her nasty, stupid article has evoked two excellent blog responses from two pillars of the Nation family: Marc Cooper in Los Angeles and Doug Ireland in New York. What gives, they want to know, with a supposed socialist-feminist offering swooning support to theocratic fascists? It’s a good question, and I understand that it’s ignited quite a debate among the magazine’s staff and periphery.

“Bring Najaf to New York”??? It’s a crazy world we live in.