Sunday, May 04, 2008

Nick Cohen on Nick Kollerstrom

Nick Cohen's column in this Sunday's Observer is inspired by the Koller-storm.
It's getting increasingly difficult to disentangle what Nick Cohen is saying these days. But today's column needs to be understood against the background of Cohen's support for the Iraq war, and his visceral hatred for 'clerical facists' - by which he means 'Islamists' - followers of an extremist 'politico-religious' ideology. From here he sideways-leaps into left/liberal/media bashing and writes darkly of 'the fringe going mainstream'. He accuses 'commissioning editors [of] being intellectually crippled by a thoughtless version of multiculturalism that can't take account of the differences between liberals and reactionaries, secularists and fanatics, within communities.' Then he says

'If a bomb were to explode outside University College today, mainstream voices would fill the airwaves and say that responsibility for the carnage lay with the British, American or Israeli governments. Their arguments would be passionate and convincing, but I don't need to tell you every one of them would avoid mentioning the Islamist ideology that motivated Hasib Hussain and men like him.'

This is just daft. What 'mainstream' voices would say such a thing? In the media or in academia or anywhere else? It is perfectly reasonable to utterly condemn the murderous actions of the bombers and at the same time understand that London was targeted in 2005 by young British terrorists who said they acted because of UK foreign policy, which is amongst things cited by 'Islamist' extremists as 'proof' that there is a Western 'war on Islam'. A war they say they are called to fight a 'defensive jihad' against, engaging in 'counter attacks' using 'martyrdom operations' as a 'legitimate' tactic. The justifications given by these terrorists for their actions are both simplistic and torturous. And wrong. Nowhere in the Qur'an (or in academia, the media, on the Left or in the anti-war movement, for that matter) are murder-suicide/attacks on innocents condoned; they are condemned for the wickedness they are.

Being against the war or criticising UK foreign policy ( or being a Muslim) doesn't mean you are in sympathy with the bombers or their ideology. (Like anyone should even need to point his out, jeez.) However, Cohen's ongoing denial about Iraq war blow-back and subsequent acts of terrorism is of course an attempt to defend his own increasingly isolated pro-war position. To do so by taking sideswipes at academia, the media and the liberal-left by insinuating they are fellow-travellers in antisemitic/terrorism-exonerating conspiraloony land is pretty feeble.

UPDATE: More commentary from Aaranovich Watch

2 Comments:

Blogger Deborah said...

Yes, I did think you were quoted somewhat randomly when I read it on Sunday...

May 05, 2008 4:49 pm  
Blogger Z_Thackaray said...

Nick Cohen has lost the plot.

May 08, 2008 3:06 am  

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