A Thankless Task | The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
A Thankless Task

No doubt a fear of accusations of “Islamophobia” explains the astonishing fact that the Sydney jihadist was not on any terror watch list, an omission that baffled the country’s prime minister. An open jihadist from Iran, Man Haron Monis had committed a series of offenses before this week. “How can someone who has had such a long and checkered history not be on the appropriate watch lists and how can someone like that be entirely at large in the community,” said Tony Abbott. “These are questions that we need to look at carefully and calmly and methodically.”

Australia’s security knew he was a threat but gave him a wide berth anyways, which is what one would expect in a political climate that punishes public figures for viewing the problem of radical Islam too clearly.

Abbott has been criticized for not taking “attacks on Muslims” in Australia seriously enough. Almir Colan of the Islamic Council of Victoria told the press in recent months that Abbott, despite his assurances to Muslim Australians that they belonged to “Team Australia,” needed to show greater sensitivity to them.

After a parliament member described supporters of Sharia law as “maniacs,” Colan called on Abbott to denounce the remark: “But why is the prime minister not condemning those comments? He talks about team Australia, but we feel it’s like a citizenship test, that we have to keep proving ourselves. It gives indirect permission for bigots to attack us. We feel excluded from team Australia. That phrase has caused so many negative divisions in our community. It feels more like team Abbott.”

Pressures like these explain why Monis was walking the streets of Sydney on bail after he was charged as an accessory to the honor killing of his ex-wife. Monis had cast himself as a victim of “Australian oppression” and dismissed his previous encounters with the police as the product of anti-Islamic sentiment, “not real criminal cases.”

He stands as yet another example of a jihadist who used the soft liberties of the “infidel” as an opening to attack him. No matter how many terrifying attacks by Muslims in liberal Western countries, the conversation of the liberal elite remains focused on the supposed “human rights abuses” in those countries. If Australians are “oppressors,” Americans are “torturers.”

The Feinstein report treats the CIA as uniquely evil, an oddly absolutist stance for a party that prides itself on its support for the torture of unborn children. Had the CIA’s spies been performing abortions instead of interrogating terrorists, they would have received places of honor at Planned Parenthood events. The Democrats have finally found a “monstrous evil” to deplore.

On most moral issues, they strike a relativistic tone, lecturing people on the dangers of applying “black and white” thinking to tricky issues of life and death. Violence, they say, is justified for good reasons when it comes to abortion, euthanasia, and embryonic stem cell research. But they display no such moral flexibility when the rights of terrorists are at issue. Then they become rigorists who show no sympathy to humans caught in a dilemma. CIA spies, who were given the herculean task of stopping terrorists, are presented as monsters for using harsh interrogation on a few of them.

Democrats find themselves arguing for the inalienable right of terrorists to be free from severe pain, even as they maintain justifications for the greater pain of the innocent in practices such as partial-birth abortion. The argument against waterboarding is morally serious but not when it is coming from NARAL liberals.

They are amazingly sanctimonious about past evils—the CIA cases go back over a decade—while presiding over present ones. The million-plus abortions in 2013 don’t unsettle them, but a handful of waterboarded terrorists after 9/11 induce feelings of “disgust” in their country. They are shocked that a country they have been busy de-Christianizing could be so crassly utilitarian. In reality, the issues around waterboarding are far more debatable than practices they sanction, which target not the guilty but the innocent.

The upshot of all these demonstrations by the liberal elite of their own supposed enlightenment and rectitude, whether in Australia or America, is greater space for the terrorists to attack. While pols and pundits preen, the enemy steadily advances.

George Neumayr
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George Neumayr, a senior editor at The American Spectator, is author most recently of The Biden Deception: Moderate, Opportunist, or the Democrats' Crypto-Socialist?
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