The Best Quotes From Mark Steyn’s ‘The Face Of The Tiger’

“(T)he Islamofascists loathe the rest of the west almost as much as they hate the US, but the difference is that, for the most part, those countries are content to be, as the Canadian columnist David Warren put it, ‘mere spectators in our fates’.”

“Instead of an empire, the US belongs to Nato, a defence pact of prosperous Western nations in which only one guy picks up the tab, a military alliance for countries that no longer in any recognizable sense have militaries. The US taxpayer’s willingness to pay for the defence of Canada and Europe has contributed to the decay of America’s so-called “allies”, freeing them to disband their armed forces, flirt with dictators and gangster states, and essentially convert themselves to semi-non-aligned.”

“Many consequences will flow from September 11th. The reactions of Continental governments confirm the worthlessness of Cold War alliances. Collective security, far from binding the western world, has corrupted it: the “free world” is mostly just a free ride.”

“Pacifist propaganda usually boils down to saying that one side is as bad as the others, but if one looks closely a the writings of younger intellectual pacifists, one finds that they do not by any means express impartial disapproval but are directed almost entirely against Britain and the United States. It is ever so.”

“Just over a week ago, when I mentioned the pitiful state of our (Canadian) forces, I received a lot of indignant e-mails from Canadians insisting that they were ready to enlist. I don’t doubt you. But, if you did enlist, they’d have no uniforms to give you, no weapons except for Papa Jean’s spare set of clubs from Royal Montreal, and no means of getting you to the battlefield except a commandeered school bus.”

“As Francie Durcos, speaking for the Prime Minister explained, America’s friendship with Canada is so deep it “goes without saying”. In that case, Bush is happy to go on not saying it for a long time. A friend who dozes in a hammock on the front porch and gives a sympathetic wave as his neighbor’s being mugged is of limited value.”

“If I were to say ‘Mr Scroggins breeds racing pigeons’, it would be reasonable to assume I’d been round to the Scroggins house or had at least made a phone call. But the “injustice breeds anger” routine requires no such mooring to humdrum reality, though it’s generally offered as a uniquely shrewd insight, reflecting a vastly superior understanding of the complexities of the situation than we nuke-crazy warmongers have. ‘What you have to look at is the underlying reasons,’ a Dartmouth College student said to me the other day. ‘Poverty breeds resentment and resentment breeds anger.’ ‘Really?’ I said. ‘And what’s the capital of Saudi Arabia?'”

“There’s a wonderful screed floating around the Internet called ‘We’re more nuts than you and it should scare you sh*tless’, which works up to a grand assurance to al-Qa’eda that, even after we’ve killed them, our school children still won’t have a clue who they are, where they’re from or what was bugging them in the first place.”

“This system of cherrypicking from a barrel-load of unsavoury potential clients was summed up in the old geopolitical realist’s line: ‘He may be a sonofab*tch but he’s our sonofab*tch.’ The inverse is more to the point: he may be our sonofab*tch, but he’s still a sonofab*tch. Some guys go nuts, some are merely devious and unreliable, some remain charming and pleasant but of little help, but all of them are a bunch of despots utterly sealed off from their own peoples.”

“If we’ve learned anything since September 11th, it’s that, if it were left to the multilateral acronyms — The UN, EU, even Nato – Osama Bin Laden would have the run of the planet. The great evil of September 11th is being resisted by a small number of nation-states, by the United States, the United Kingdom, and handful of others.”

“This war is in trouble. We’re bogged down, getting nowhere and staring at a Vietnam-style quagmire. The Taleban’s grip on the country remains total. These famously tough warriors of iron resolve are unlikely to be…Whoops, sorry, that was last week. Just let me punch up this week’s Conventional Media Wisdom. Ah, here we go: Things are moving too fast. There’s a dangerous power vacuum in the country. The Taleban, being famously tough, etc, have pulled off a brilliant double bluff by abandoning every major city and lever of government.”

“…Our airports have told to look out for …evildoers. How will we know who they are? When they do something evil, like running up an escalator to retrieve a forgotten Palm, as one poor boob did in Atlanta last week, causing a four-hour evacuation of the airport and the grounding of half the planes on the continent. The guy didn’t fit the profile of the suicide bombers, but neither does your 88-year old granny and that’s why we’re emptying out her underwear on the conveyor belt. Under our new high-alert procedures, security personnel demonstrate their sensitivity by looking for people who don’t look anything like the people they’re looking for. Never in the field of human conflict have so many so inconvenienced to avoid offending so few.”

“In fact, there is a Palestinian state: it’s called Jordan, whose population has always been majority Palestinian. It’s not as big a state as it used to be, but that’s because King Hussein, in the worst miscalculation of his long bravura highwire act, made the mistake of joining Nasser’s 1967 war to destroy Israel. Hence, the ‘occupied territories’: they’re occupied because the Arabs attacked Israel and lost.”

“No one will ever against hijack an American airliner with boxcutters, or, anything else – not because of new but predictably idiotic FAA regulations, but because of the example of Todd Beamer and his ad hoc platoon.”

“Last week, one of the widows of September 11th launched the inevitable lawsuit against United Airlines. If I was United, my defence would be that we were in full compliance with everything the Federal Government required of us: 9/11 was not a failure of security, but of policy.”

“Americans are resigned to Britain and Europe’s need to ‘damn’ Israel, if only because they’re used to being on the receiving end themselves.”

“If America recognizes a kindred spirit in Israel, then so does Europe in the Arab autocracies. After all, when King Fahd, President Mubarak et al sell themselves to the west as anti-democratic brakes on the baser urges of their people, they sound a lot like the European Union. As we’ve seen yet again, the principle underpinning the new Europe is not ‘We, the People’ but ‘We know better than the people’…”

“If you learn only one lesson of history, make it this one: history repeats itself until it doesn’t. The argument that simply because the US lost in Vietnam it would therefore lose in Afghanistan is tenable only if you believe that the US military has been as institutionally resistant to innovation as the John Pilger column. Fortunately, it hasn’t.”

“…If the US wasn’t out of step — if it was just another Belgium or Canada — Islamic Fundamentalism would be unstoppable. It’s because Americans are crazy enough to like owning guns and frying murderers and driving the world’s biggest cars at the world’s lowest gas prices that they’re prepared to maintain the only serious military in the western alliance.”

“…(T)o coin a phrase, impotence breeds decadence.”

“…The always elegant Matthew Parris at least attempted to expand Guantanamo into a general thesis. ‘We seek to project the message that there are rules to which all nations are subject,’ he wrote in the Times. ‘America has a simpler message” kill Americans, and you’re dead meat.’ This caused endless amusement over here. As the Internet wag Steven den Beste commented, ‘By George, I think he’s got it!'”

“The west won’t work if every country’s Canada and every leader’s Trudeau. The only think that enables Belgium to be Belgium and Norway to be Norway and Britain to be Britain is the fact that America’s America — for all the reasons my Spectator colleagues deplore.”

“As for the Palestinians, they’re a wrecked people. It’s tragic, and, if you want to argue about who’s to blame, we can bat dates around back to the Great War. But it doesn’t even matter whether you regard, as the Europeans appear to, the Palestinians’ descent into depravity as confirmation of their victim status: as PA spokesman Hasan Abdul Rahman said on CNN after a new pile of Jew corpses, it’s the fault of Israel for ‘turning our children into suicide bombers’. Even if that were true, it makes no difference. They can’t be allowed to succeed, because otherwise the next generation of suicide bombers will be in Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s.”

“On Tuesday, one suicide bomber killed almost as many civilians as the entire Israeli army did during the notorious Jenin ‘massacre’. Where are the condemnations from the EU? Where’s the UN inquiry? Oh wait, I forgot. When Palestinians kill Israelis, that just means Israel needs to do more to redouble its efforts to get the ‘peace process’ back on that long and winding track.”

“‘The Washington Post said Saturday that a top-secret briefing memo presented to President Bush in 1998 focused on efforts by Osama Bin Laden in the US.’ President Who in 1998? As I recall, it was the 42nd guy, Clinton, William J, and in 1998 he was too busy declaring his pants a Federal Disaster Area to do much about terrorist masterminds.”

“Mr. Bush is under no illusions that he can bring peace to the Middle East and his plan is to have no plans on the subject until those involved get serious. He’s not ‘imposing’ ‘onerous’ ‘conditions’ on the Palestinians. His message to them is a simple one: No shirt, no shoes, no service.”

“America knows now what multilateralism boils down to: There’s no point pooling resources with people who have no resources to pool. There’s no point getting together and forming a whole that’s less than the sum of your individual part.”

“Oh, speaking of the late Mr bin Laden, what happened to that new video we were promised any day now? Well, apparently, that’s been pushed back to the new fall season, too, and should be premiering the same week as the new romantic comedy in which I star as the world’s most eligible bachelor unable to choose between Julia Roberts and Cameron Diaz and so forced to make love to both repeatedly.”

“When Amr Moussa, Secretary General of the Arab League, warns the BBC that a US invasion of Iraq would ‘threaten the whole stability of the Middle East’, he’s missing the point: that’s the reason it’s such a great idea. Suppose we buy in to Moussa’s pitch and place stability above all other considerations. We get another 25 years of the Ayatollahs, another 35 years of the PLO and Hamas, another 40 years of the Baathists in Syria and Iraq, another 80 years of Saudi Wahhabism. What kind of Middle-East are we likely to have at the end of all that? The region’s in the state it’s in because it’s too stable.”

“Once upon a time we knew what to do. A British district officer, coming upon a scene of suttee, was told by the locals that in Hindu culture it was the custom to cremate a widow on her husband’s funeral pyre. He replied that in British culture it was the custom to hang chaps who did that sort of thing. There are many great things about India – curry, pyjamas, sitars, software engineers — but suttee was not one of them. What a pity we’re no longer capable of being ‘judgmental’ and ‘discriminating’.”

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