An apocryphal internet tale provides a double insight into the fundamental problems of the Western world. A senior Australian army officer, General Peter Cosgrave, is being interviewed by a woman presenter. She questions him about a scheme to introduce boy scouts to army barracks. What will they do there, she asks; he replies, climbing, canoeing, archery and rifle-shooting.
"Shooting? Don't you admit that that's a terribly dangerous activity to be teaching children? You're equipping them to become violent killers."
"Well ma'am, you're equipped to be a prostitute, and you're not one, are you?"
Now, this story is widely believed, not least because we all have come across the depravity of the effeminate feminist who thinks that all will be well if we just get rid of violence. But it has also been widely denounced as a foul, "sexist" internet-myth. Myth it is, but sexist it is not. Any woman is equipped to be a prostitute, and only in the querulous PC world of the 21st century would a statement of this obvious truth, be denounced as "sexist". Moreover, the pathetic and intellectually juvenile language of soppy feminism is incapable of capturing the awfulness of the world we live in.
Mohammed Halim, a 46-year old schoolteacher in Ghazni, in Afghanistan, was recently abducted by the Taliban for the crime of teaching girls. They disembowelled him, still alive, and then, tying his arms and legs to motorbikes, tore him apart. His remains were put on display as a warning to others.
The fate of this Muslim schoolteacher is a terrible indictment of the Western failure to confront Islamicist terrorism in its home bases. For, contrary to the feel-good, all-will-be-well emotions so typified in the spurious interview above, passivity in Afghanistan could lead to disaster. A victorious Taliban would merely confirm the Islamicist belief that the West is not serious, and would undermine the most important allies we have: moderate Muslims in Pakistan and Turkey.
It would, moreover, strengthen the grip of the fundamentalists in Iran. Worst all of all, it would increase the chances of Islamic jihadists getting nuclear weapons from rogue regimes in Iran or Pakistan.
Europe slumbers. Britain aside, no European country has taken its UN-mandated obligations to fight the war in Afghanistan seriously. But the British experiences both there and in Iraq have been utterly demoralising. The British army has been defeated in Basra. It can no longer take on the Mahdi militia in the city. Indeed, its
rule extends solely to the perimeter of the single air-base from which one day soon it will make its ignominious, Saigon-style vertical exit, to be replaced by the US Marine Corps.
In Afghanistan, it is fighting the same enemy, in the same places, that it was fighting years ago, only now that foe is more numerous and more skilled, does not count its loss, and only exults in martyrdom. Moreover, this is a war which can only be won by Afghans holding the ground once Western troops have withdrawn, and so far the Afghan army has not developed the tactical skills or the autonomous culture which would enable it to do just that. Indeed, far from the initiative resting in any sense with the Karzai government in Kabul, the president narrowly escaped with his life during an assassination attempt last Sunday.
In other words, the situation is critical -- but you'd never know it from politicians, military leaders or the media. You'd never gather from the BBC or ITN that in Basra, the British face their biggest military humiliation since Tobruk. "The difference is, we fought at Tobruk," one British officer observed dryly. There is actually one other difference. Rommel's men were civilised. The characters who govern Basra are murderous savages, who burn girls alive, or rape and stone them.
Yes, you can state the obvious -- that the British are the authors of this calamity. But that is history. We must live with the present and the future. The US is incapable of taking on any more military burdens in the two war-zones. The British army is facing defeat in one, and unsustainable stalemate in the other. The Canadians and Australians have more than done their bit. Time for the Fifth Cavalry of Europe to come over the hill. But the despicable EU arm of NATO is far too interested in foisting incomprehensible, ten-zillion word treaties on its unwilling peoples than it is in taking its rightful place: on the right of the line in the war of civilisations being fought on the frontiers of its homeland.
We are back to the Crusades, but now with Muslim allies. And unless Europe helps those allies now, we must soon fight without them. For, in our absence, they will surely be slain, seduced or suborned. And then, when this real conflict starts, as it certainly will, the Islamicist Fifth Column across Europe will be fully armed and ready. Still, at least we'll have our European constitution -- and that's all that really counts.