Some things are inevitable. Mr. Steyn getting a turn in the FJM seat is one of them. You may recall his best-selling book about how "our" way of life would soon collapse under the weight of brown people who are fuckin' faster than "we" are. He can always be relied upon to provide the loudest, most hysterical knee-jerk reaction to incidents of terrorism, Islamo-Fascism, or Terrorisislamofascism. To wit: a column with the 1980s PSA-styled title "Mumbai Could Happen Just About Anywhere."

Well, I sure am frightened enough to accept whatever he proposes as the best and perhaps only response! Let's Roll!

When terrorists attack, media analysts go into Sherlock Holmes mode, metaphorically prowling the crime scene for footprints, as if the way to solve the mystery is to add up all the clues.

Mark Steyn is the 2008 recipient of the Fraternal Order of Police Merit Prize for revolutionizing the field of criminal investigation, saving thousands of man-hours of labor with the Steyn Technique: replacing traditional investigative techniques with reactionary leaps to conclusions.

The Mumbai gunmen seized British and American tourists. Therefore, it must be an attack on Westerners!

Nobody said that. There were like 2 Americans killed. But Steyn wrote this column months ago and did a simple ctrl-f to replace the proper nouns.

Not so, said Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria. If they'd wanted to do that, they'd have hit the Hilton or the Marriott or some other target-rich chain hotel.

See? When those journalists start adding up clues it throws open the barn door to exactly this kind of far-out, straw-grasping, put-down-the-bong reasoning. I want some of whatever Fareed's drinking!!

OK, how about this group that's claimed responsibility for the attack? The Deccan Mujahideen. As a thousand TV anchors asked Wednesday night, "What do we know about them?" Er, well, nothing. Because they didn't exist until they issued the press release.

Good point, Mark. I agree that anyone who jumps to wild conclusions about a totally unknown group would end up looking like an incredible dipshit.

"Deccan" is the name of the vast plateau that covers most of the triangular peninsula that forms the lower half of the Indian subcontinent.

Well thanks a pantload, Carmen Sandiego!

It comes from the Prakrit word "dakkhin," which means "south." Which means nothing at all. "Deccan Mujahedeen" is like calling yourself the "Continental Shelf Liberation Front."

This is just fascinating. When I am on Jeopardy and the category is "Journalistic Filler/Research from Wikipedia" I will owe Mark Steyn a new poodle.

OK. So does that mean this operation was linked to al-Qaida? Well, no. Not if by "linked to" you mean a wholly owned subsidiary coordinating its activities with the corporate head office.

How to Have Your Own Syndicated Column, by Mark Steyn: chastise journalists for leaping to wild conclusions, copy something out of the dictionary ("Webster's defines excellence as the quality or condition of being excellent.") and then whip out your dick and start spraying wildly without regard for direction or wind speed.

It's not an either/or scenario, it's all of the above.

OK, so the question is, "is the operation linked to al Qaida?" and the answer is "all of the above." We are also reminded that "it" is "not an either/or scenario."

That…does not make sense. I'd blame this fact on Steyn's writing skills, but since I did enough peyote to stun a mastadon before I sat down to write it is probably my fault. I'm sure it makes sense to the rest of you.

Yes, the terrorists targeted locally owned hotels. But they singled out Britons and Americans as hostages. Yes, they attacked prestige city landmarks like the Victoria Terminus, one of the most splendid and historic railway stations in the world. But they also attacked an obscure Jewish community center.

They also befouled a vat of Holy Water, spat upon a Zoroastrian cleric, pressed their nuts against a statue of the Buddha, heartlessly taunted Confucious, left a flaming bag of dog shit on the Dalai Lama's doorstep, and briefly paused in a large courtyard to spell out "SUCK IT BENEDICT XVI" for an aerial photograph.

The Islamic imperialist project is a totalitarian ideology: It is at war with Hindus, Jews, Americans, Britons, everything that is other.

Their long-running battle against the League of Women Voters apparently merits not even a mention.

In the 10 months before this atrocity, Muslim terrorists killed more than 200 people in India, and no one paid much attention.

Maybe that's because Tamil separatists have killed about five times that amount in the same timespan. Not to mention that, you know, Indian people have killed about 10,000 people in India in the last 10 months. In a country of 800,000,000 saturated with every manner of factionalism and violence, Mark Steyn is apparently floored that these 200 people did not stop the presses.

They launched a multiple indiscriminate assault on soft targets, and then in the confusion began singling out A-list prey: Not just wealthy Western tourists, but local orthodox Jews, and municipal law enforcement.

al Qaida targeting hierarchy: wealthy Western tourists, the local Jewry, cops, auto rickshaws, gays, and street performers. If no such targets are available, terrorist operatives are to destroy as much ornamental shrubbery as possible before sacrificing themselves.

They attacked a hospital, the place you're supposed to take the victims to, thereby destabilizing the city's emergency-response system.

One thing that shocks most Westerners upon visiting Bombay is that the city of 10 million has only one hospital, fittingly named "THE HOSPITAL." It consists of three dirty cots in a converted goat barn.

And, aside from dozens of corpses, they were rewarded with instant, tangible, economic damage to India: the Bombay Stock Exchange was still closed Friday.

That's amazing. I know from watching our stock market that it never goes down for several days in a row unless something really amazing happens.

What's relevant about the Mumbai model is that it would work in just about any second-tier city in any democratic state: Seize multiple soft targets, and overwhelm the municipal infrastructure to the point where any emergency plan will simply be swamped by the sheer scale of events. Try it in, say, Mayor Nagin's New Orleans.

Sick burn, dude! It can happen anywhere, but especially in New Orleans!

Given the numbers of gunmen, clearly there was a significant local component. On the other hand, whether or not Pakistan's deeply sinister ISI had their fingerprints all over it, it would seem unlikely that there was no external involvement. After all, if you look at every jihad front from the London Tube bombings to the Iraqi insurgency, you'll find local lads and wily outsiders: That's pretty much a given.

Remember, he has absolutely no evidence for any of this. He is literally just making shit up. This does not even approximate journalism. He has gone from admitting that he doesn't know dick about this group to telling us about its membership in like ten sentences.

But we're in danger of missing the forest for the trees. The forest is the ideology.

Thanks for explaining the metaphor, Emerson. Otherwise you might have lost us with your mastery of figurative language.

You're sitting in some distant foreign capital but you're of a mind to pull off a Mumbai-style operation in, say, Amsterdam or Manchester or Toronto. Where would you start? Easy. You know the radical mosques, and the other ideological front organizations. You've already made landfall.

They already walk among us! It's too late! Start hoarding pre-formed pie crusts! Burn down the nearest mosque on your way to Wal-Mart!

It's missing the point to get into debates about whether this is the "Deccan Mujahideen" or the ISI or al-Qaida or Lashkar-e-Taiba. That's a reductive argument. It could be all or none of them. The ideology has been so successfully seeded around the world that nobody needs a memo from corporate HQ to act: There are so many of these subgroups and individuals that they intersect across the planet in a million different ways.

So, like, it would be pretty fucking retarded to fight a traditional land war with this formless ideology, right? All this talk about al Qaida "logistical support" and centralized control were pulled directly out of your favorite President's withered asshole, hmm? Good point, Mark. I concur.

Many of us, including the incoming Obama administration, look at this as a law-enforcement matter. Mumbai is a crime scene, so let's surround the perimeter with yellow police tape, send in the forensics squad, and then wait for the D.A. to file charges.

No, we're gonna send in Bones!

It's not a crime scene, it's an act of war from Radical Islam. The only option is to declare war on said ideology. We've declared war on nouns before and it has always worked out well.

There was a photograph that appeared in many of the British papers, taken by a Reuters man and captioned by the news agency as follows: "A suspected gunman …" The photo of the "suspected gunman" showed a man holding a gun. We don't know much about him (attempt at humor omitted) – but one thing we ought to be able to say for certain is that a man pointing a gun is not a "suspected gunman" but a gunman.

I saw that picture on too. We did exactly the same amount of research on this subject, Mark. Let us mock Reuters for having an editorial policy. I bet you can use this example as a springboard toward some pretty wild conclusions!

"This kind of silly political correctness infects reporters and news services worldwide," wrote John Hinderaker of Powerline.

His source is Powerline. I swear to God we are *this close* to seeing a column containing the phrase "I checked with my roommate, and…"

One of these days. One of these days. It's coming.

This isn't law enforcement but an ideological assault – and we're fighting the symptoms not the cause. Islamic imperialists want an Islamic society, not just in Palestine and Kashmir but in the Netherlands and Britain, too.

Does anyone notice that every single column this guy has ever written comes to the exact same conclusion? I could recite the last two paragraphs of a Mark Steyn column from memory. I bet you can too, even if you don't realize it. It's like a song you didn't know that you know the words to. You hear some music, it sounds vaguely familiar, and before you know it you're belting out the chorus to a goddamn Candlebox song.

Their chances of getting it will be determined by the ideology's advance among the general Muslim population, and the general Muslim population's demographic advance among everybody else.

Mark is essentially a shrill klaxon who, like the emergency sirens in your town, is tested monthly to remind us that we're not fuckin' prodigiously enough.

So Bush is history, and we have a new president who promises to heal the planet, and yet the jihadists don't seem to have got the Obama message that there are no enemies, just friends we haven't yet held talks without preconditions with.

Yeah, I also heard all that stuff during the Obama campaign, like when he told the nation about his plan to hold a peace summit with suicide-bombing lunatics. I think that's why he carried Delaware.

He also sent Kim Jong-il a Vermont Teddy Bear.

This isn't about repudiating the Bush years, or withdrawing from Iraq, or even liquidating Israel. It's bigger than that. And if you don't have a strategy for beating back the ideology, you'll lose.

You've laid out a compelling case, Mark. Fortunately Obama has more experience than anyone on the planet at beating back an insanely angry, fanatical ideology that goes into economic wastelands and uses religion to incite the barely-literate poor to acts of violence and hatred.

Whoops, my apologies. I mean "suspected ideology."

Oh, you card!

This has been another issue of Mark-Libs, America's favorite nativist, xenophobic word game.

I have to jet, folks. I need to hurry up and make some white Christian babies. Any fertile women not currently putting their womb to work for Our Race should contact me immediately.


  • I'm glad that you've continued the FJM treatments here. Someone has to carry the battle standard now the original website has passed away…

    The thing that always baffles me about these wars against nouns is how stunningly ill-conceived they are. It is possible to fight a war on drugs or on terrorism, but it's impossible to do it (or win) using the military alone. Killing a drug dealer or producer is not going to stop the drug trade and killing a terrorist is not going to stop terrorism. In order to fix these problems, the root causes must be fixed and, in most cases, it's poverty and a lack of modern infrastructure. Why do farmers in Central America turn to growing crops that can be turned into drugs – because it's much more profitable to grow that than to grow fruit and vegetables. Why do young men turn to groups like Hamas and Hezbollah? Because those organizations can feed, clothe and educate them when their parents and the state can not.

    Of course, vigilance is necessary and a military component of this strategy is essential, but the United States and presumably other states that oppose drugs and terrorism need to assist weak states (like India, unfortunately) bring up the standards of living for those living in rural and impoverished areas. If poor people could make a decent living and receive enough to eat without turning to illegal activities, that would go a long way towards winning these ideological conflicts.

  • After all our other wars on nouns have failed, can we please have a War on Nouns?? Most of my students already don't know what they are.

  • Scott, I don't necessarily disagree with your overall policy prescriptions. And I think you're right on the money with regards to the idiocy of the "war on drugs." But with regards to the terrorist act in Mumbai, how do you know that these men were motivated by economic frustrations? Steyn can certainly be criticized for throwing around speculative arguments, but you seem to be doing the same thing is inferring motives without evidence. Right now we just don't have much to go on as to what this group's grievances are. And while the path from rural poverty to drug cultivation is something that I can rationalize and even empathize with, I'm not sure I see the same logical connection between economic underdevelopment and attacks on train stations carrying poor working class people back to their shantytowns.

  • Brandon, I see your point – and it's a good one. We shouldn't be talking about policy prescriptions until we know about motives. On the other hand, though, the difference between my policy prescriptions and those offered by Steyn is that mine come with a modicum of education and study of the subject whereas his are just the same old rhetoric against Muslims that the right has put forward since 9/11. Wanting to increase economic development in the Middle East or in South Asia is not a bad thing whereas the xenophobia that Steyn puts forward will only make the situation worse.

    Economic development (and the education that comes with it) is the magic bullet against this form of terrorism. Terrorism is the ultimate weapon of the weak and until the weak are on some sort of even playing field, this is going to continue to be a problem the rest of the world is going to have to deal with.

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