The Dangers—and Cowardice—of Becoming Inured to Terror

Nov. 16 2021

In the British city of Liverpool on Sunday, Emad al Swealmeen transported a homemade bomb to a women’s hospital, which he apparently intended to attack. Fortunately, the bomb exploded before he got inside, and his was the only death. The police subsequently arrested four men on suspicion of terrorism, but then released them. Stephen Daisley, surveying the reactions of the British public, notes that the it has “stopped being horrified” by such acts of terrorism:

Of course, the initial spectacle continues to startle us, and we utter oaths while shaking our heads, but it is a hollow response. There is not the same awed foreboding that washed over when the second plane knifed the South Tower [in New York City]. There is much less revulsion than there was when London commuters were blown to bits on the Piccadilly line. Theatrical acts of barbarism, staged by our fellow citizens, have lost their satanic dazzle. We have become inured to horror.

By rights, the attempted bombing of Liverpool Women’s Hospital should wrench us out of our self-medicated numbness. . . . I would like to think so, but I am not convinced.

In the wake of acts such as these, a reflexive call goes out to beware a rush to judgment. It is typically issued by people who are against even a leisurely stroll to judgment. There is a whole vocabulary of anesthetizing pabulum deployed by politicians, police, journalists, and others to soothe any potential anger or outrage among the public. There are a lot of soft-focus words like “communities” and “unity” and “values.”

There shouldn’t be a rush to judgment but there should be judgment. Anger is self-consuming but it is also a wholly natural sentiment. A society not roused to gall by the planned annihilation of newborns is not as advanced as it tells itself. It is not only legitimate but morally imperative to feel outraged. These are, after all, outrages. Downplaying them or rationalizing away their grotesque sadism does not make us more ethical or enlightened. It makes us cowards and, on some level, it makes us complicit. “We won’t let the terrorists win,” we simper, as though we’re even putting up a fight for them to win or lose.

Read more at Spectator

More about: Terrorism, United Kingdom


How the U.S. Is Financing Bashar al-Assad

Due to a long history of supporting terrorism and having waged a brutal and devastating war on its own people, the Syrian regime is subject to numerous U.S. sanctions. But that doesn’t stop American tax dollars from going to President Bashar al-Assad and his cronies, via the United Nations. David Adesnik explains:

UN agencies have spent $95.5 million over the past eight years to house their staff at the Four Seasons Damascus, including $14.2 million last year. New Yorkers know good hotel rooms don’t come cheap, but the real problem in Damascus is that the Four Seasons’ owners are the Assad regime itself and one of the war profiteers who manages the regime’s finances.

The hotel would likely go under if not for UN business; Damascus is not a tourist destination these days. The UN claims keeping its staff at the Four Seasons is about keeping them safe. Yet there has been little fighting in Damascus since 2017. A former UN diplomat with experience in the Syrian capital told me the regime tells UN agencies it can only guarantee the safety of their staff if they stay at the Four Seasons.

What makes the Four Seasons debacle especially galling is that it’s been public knowledge for seven years, and the UN has done nothing about it—or the many other ways the regime siphons off aid for its own benefit. One of the most lucrative is manipulating exchange rates. . . . One of Washington’s top experts on humanitarian aid crunched the numbers and concluded the UN lost $100 million over eighteen months to this kind of rate-fixing.

What the United States and its allies should do is make clear to the UN they will turn off the spigot if the body doesn’t get its act together.

Read more at New York Post

More about: Bashar al-Assad, Syria, U.S. Foreign policy, United Nations