The release of the 15 kidnaped UK Service personnel from Iranian detention is excellent news for them and their families. I know how I would have felt if one of them had been my son, for there was no guarantee that they were going to be humanely treated. For those who have lost loved ones to Muslim captors, such as the parents of Daniel Pearl, there can be no respite from lifelong pain over the extreme cruelty of the deaths inflicted.
PM Blair may feel that his restrained reaction to the kidnapings has paid off and no harm done. Certainly leaders who find themselves in the hot seat that he occupied, are not to be envied, for it was a lose-lose situation. One question I have not seen answered, is why were the kidnapings not resisted when they took place?
I assume that the snatch took place in Iraqi waters and that the Iranian leaders were indulging in a stunt to either probe the Allies’ resolve, to distract world attention from the nuclear issue or to further put themselves at the head of the Muslim Imperialist thrust. Perhaps they had all three motives! If so, they will be feeling very successful today, for they have humiliated the Allies and impressed our enemies. What about probing our resolve? By releasing the 15 as a ‘goodwill’ gesture, we will never know for sure if there was any resolve lurking in Downing Street or the White House. I do not equate the Iranian Government with al Qaida, not quite! For a start, it occupies a national territory and is therefore more vulnerable to attack and punishment. More importantly, the people of Iran are not to be equated with the primitives whose only education is Muslim indoctrination. Iran has a large, educated, sophisticated and ambitious middle class and the Islamic fanatics who rule Iran have a tenuous grip on power.
Having said that, it was not beyond belief that the 15 might have been dragged through the streets of Teheran and slowly be-headed before screaming crowds. If so, what would have been the Allies’ response? Given that our troops are operating in this dangerous part of the world against an enemy that is without pity and largely indifferent to life on earth, do our leaders and our military have an appropriate response? Or would they have simply been making official protests and appealing to the UN? For now, the Iranian leaders can bask in the favorable publicity and the admiration of the Islamic street and they will have been emboldened. So too, will all our other enemies. I suggest that our leaders now take some military initiative that reclaims the ground lost in the psychological warfare that inter-weaves the war in the Middle East.
I am not hopeful however, for the Media and its allies will surely present the kidnaping stunt and its outcome as further proof that our enemies are morally superior and more powerful than us.
In closing, I want to take this opportunity to recommend two books.
1. INDOCTRINATION U. (The Left’s War Against Academic Freedom) by David Horowitz.
Many conservative books are long on rant and short on cool and reasoned facts. This book, detailing Horowitz’s campaign to remove ALL political indoctrination from public education and restore the role of impartial enquiry, is well written and highly informative. I think he is overly optimistic that Academia can be reformed without cutting off public funding and starting again without the multitude of Leftist subjects (social work, women’s studies etc) and a weeding out the dedicated Leftists in both the faculties and the administrations. However, the chronicle of his efforts to engage in a civilized dialogue with Academia, and its response, will convince any objective reader that the Left now controls the educational system and boldly uses it to engage in continual propaganda .
2. Prophet of Innovation by Thomas K. McCraw.
Anyone who has read this website regularly, will have found occasional references to the economist Joseph Schumpeter, who died in 1950. He was a trail blazer in the defense of free market capitalism and political freedom and wrote at a time when Communism and worldwide state control of economic life seemed inevitable. He belongs in the same pantheon of thinkers and writers as Milton Friedman, Hayek and Hannah Arendt -intellectuals who laid the postwar foundation for opposition to totalitarianism. I read Schumpeter’s “Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy” almost by accident, when I was a teenager much impressed by Trotskyism and Marxism in general. I did not become an immediate convert to free markets, but his rational and stimulating arguments set off niggling doubts in my mind about the superiority of central planning by government. I have since read it several times. Until McCraw’s book, I knew nothing about Schumpeter’s life and the tragedy and hardship he experienced. This book should be on every conservative’s bookshelf alongside “Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy”.