On the anniversary of 9/11 Martin Amis offers a riposte to the root-causers and a reminder of the real motivation behind Islamist terrorism:
Was Ladies’ Night at the Tiger Tiger discotheque a legitimate target for Dr Ahmed’s 'anger' about Iraq? Were the morose North Africans of July 21 'desperate' about Palestine? And what do all the UK jihadis have in common, these brain surgeons and jailbirds, these keen cricketers and footballers, these sex offenders, community workers, former boozers and drug addicts, primary-school teachers, sneak thieves, and fast-food restaurateurs, with their six-litre plastic tubs of hairdressing bleach and nail-polish remover, their crystalline triacetone triperoxide and chapati flour, and their 'dockyard confetti' (bolts and nuts and nails)? And the answer to that question seems to be slowly dawning. What they have in common is this: they are all abnormally interested in violent death.
The equivalence line always anticipates the usual counter-argument, which it considers to be an orientalist smear: that the Islamists are fanatics and nihilists who, in their mad quest for world domination, have created a cult of death. With each passing day, however, the counter-argument is sounding like an increasingly sober description of reality. With the 20th century so fresh in our mind, you might think that human beings would be quick to identify an organised passion for carnage. But we aren’t quick to do that – of course we aren’t; we are impeded by a combination of naivete, decency, and a kind of recurrent incredulity. The death cult always benefits, initially at least, from its capacity to astonish and stupefy.
Read the whole thing here.