Cowards these attackers were not

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 16.51.34François Hollande, the French president, called the November 2015 Paris attacks cowardly. Dalrymple comments:

If there was one thing the attackers were not (alas, if only they had been), it was cowardly.

The attackers were, writes Dalrymple,

evil, their ideas were deeply stupid, and they were brutal: but a man who knows that he is going to die in committing an act, no matter how atrocious, is not a coward.

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 16.59.16With

the accuracy of a drone, the president honed in on the one vice that the attackers did not manifest.

This establishes, Dalrymple writes,

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 16.52.34that bravery is not by itself a virtue, that in order for it to be a virtue it has to be exercised in pursuit of a worthwhile goal.

Barack Obama, the US president, referred to the values we all share. Dalrymple says:

Either he was using the word ‘we’ in some coded fashion, in spite of having just referred to the whole of humanity, or he failed to notice that the attacks were the direct consequence of the obvious fact that we—that is to say the whole of humanity—do not share the same values. If we shared the same values, politics would be reduced to arguments about administration.

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 16.53.19Bono, the Irish pop star, said that the attacks were an attack on music. Dalrymple:

Bono might as well have said that this was an attack on restaurants, or on Cambodian cuisine.

The Guardian, the London newspaper, said the vast majority of Muslims abhorred the attacks. Dalrymple:

I do not exclude the possibility that this is so, but we do not know, and can probably never know, that it is so: for if Elizabeth I had ‘no desire to make windows into men’s souls’, we have no ability to do so, certainly on this question. But the Guardian wanted it to be so, and therefore, to its own satisfaction, it was so. This is a kind of magical thinking that persists in a supremely scientific age, and is dangerous because completely ineffective.

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 17.04.00

 

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