But first, go read the story and look at the picture. Really. I mean it.
My first thoughts: Hamas has a “military wing?” I’ve heard that before, and always had the same thought: that implies that they have a non-military wing, and therefore that gives them some credibility. I don’t buy that. They are terrorists. True, they are terrorists who occasionally do some other things to score some good PR, but they are at their core terrorists. It’s like the notion that fraternities and sororities (at least, ones like I saw in college) are about community service. No, they do those for good PR for cover for the next time they nearly kill some pledges or have a drunken riot, but writ huge. It leads to moral equivalence, where you end up counting hospital beds Hamas provides against the graves it fills with a bus bombing. Hamas doesn’t have a “military wing,” it’s a terrorist organization — all of it. One can’t be “partially terrorist” more than one can be “kind of pregnant.”
Second thought: These guys are holding press conferences? What the hell do terrorists say at a press conference? I suppose it’s better than their usual methods of communication, the bomb-o-gram and the snuff video, but still… I’d hate to be the reporter assigned to cover THAT event.
Third thought: They did this in a MOSQUE? What the hell were the leaders of the mosque thinking? They have no problem with ARMED, MASKED MEN coming into their mosque with SERIOUSLY HEAVY military weaponry, showing it off, and talking to the press? I thought Islam was the “religion of peace.”
We’ve run into exactly the same situation in Iraq — armed terrorists/insurgents/whatever hole up in a mosque and we treat them with kid gloves. Well, the time for that is well past — if it ever was.
Here’s what I’d like to see the next time it happens:
General Mayhem takes the podium.
“Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen of the press. As you know, members of the Abu Aboom Insurgency group have occupied the Ali Maq-Bheall Shrine in the city of Kuku in northern Iraq and are firing on Coalition and Iraqi forces. We gave them forty-eight hours to leave the shrine, or face the consequences. That time has passed.”
Before I go any farther, though, I’d like to introduce to you two people. The first is Imam Ernie, and the second is Mullah Mike. They are two highly-respected Iraqi Islamic scholars and authorities within the Islamic community.”
Under the terms of the Geneva Convention, certain structures and institutions are accorded protection during wartime. These include schools, hospitals, and houses of worship. But this protection is negated when those structures are militarized.”
During World War II, the Monte Cassino Monastery in Italy was occupied by the Nazis. After exhausting all other possibilities, with heavy heart, the Allies attacked and levelled the historic monastery. It has since been rebuilt and reconsecrated, and remains to this day one of the holiest sites to the Catholic Church.”
Five minutes ago Coalition and Iraqi forces began attacking terrorists occupying the Ali Maq-Bheall shrine. While we regret the damage that will be inflicted on the shrine, we recognize the necessity of this action the terrorists have pushed upon us. We have established a fund to reconstruct the shrine, and all efforts will be overseen by Mullah Mike and Ernie the Imam. It is our intention that the shrine should be rebuilt to it’s pre-war status in less than a year.”
It is our intention that the next time terrorists occupy a shrine, to give them ample warning and remind them of the fate of those who occupied the Ali Maq-Bheall mosque. With luck, they will realize the futility of hiding in religious shrines and abandon this. But if they require more lessons, we have established a second fund that will rebuild any other shrines they choose to defile.”
And let’s make that perfectly clear, ladies and gentlemen. We are not defiling these shrines. The terrorists, by choosing to sieze and fortify these shrines, to fight from within it’s sheltering walls, have already desecrated the sacred grounds of these shrines. It is our intention to remove them as expediently as possible, and then work to re-sanctify them and restore them to their true owners — the peace-loving Muslims of Iraq.”