DP: Hi, everybody, welcome to the Dennis Prager Show. Michael Burleigh, Professor Michael Burleigh, the bestselling British historian, has his new book, Blood And Rage: A Cultural History Of Terrorism. It is up at www.pragerradio.com at the blog area. We’re talking about the attempts to destabilize Pakistan through terror. Again, one more on Pakistan, they recently attacked the Sri Lankan cricket team, and from what I read, and I’m sure you know more about this for many reasons, obviously, there was even in Pakistan, there was the belief you don’t kill athletes, or you don’t try to kill athletes. Is there a…
MB: Yeah, I mean, that’s very true. I mean, cricket is like a sort of, and I’m not a great cricket fan myself, but cricket is like a religion in Pakistan and India, all over the subcontinent, Sri Lanka and so on. And to do that is really almost sacrilegious, you know, that such, every kid, no matter how poor or whatever is playing cricket or trying to. And to just arbitrarily try and gun down the visiting cricket team was just quite extraordinary.
DP: All right, so this…
MB: But what they’re trying to do is to in a way cut Pakistan off entirely from the international community, and it…
DP: Ah, that’s the, I see, so…
MB: That’s the agenda.
DP: People will not send athletes to Pakistan.
MB: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, the British have already said that they’re not sending any cricket team there. I mean quite understandably, they’ll be probably shot. So the idea is to isolate it, you know, to quarantine it and make it feel more and more unstable and frightening and so on.
DP: All right, so here is, for me, what we call here the $64,000 dollar question. Is there any act of terror that backfires? In other words, is there simply a point where even the average religious fundamentalist, if you will, Muslim says enough is enough?
MB: Well, I think depressingly, you’d have to have a terrorist campaign going on a very long time. And I can actually think of one example of where that did happen, when some splinter group of the IRA killed I think 30 people in a bomb attack in Omagh in Northern Ireland. That was generally perceived to be one step too far. I mean, even in the catalogue of horrors and 3,600 dead there, that was just too much. And even some of the terrorists, you know, began to think what have we become. And I certainly interviewed former members of the IRA, one of whom told me that when they were sitting in their prison watching the television news and there was some bomb atrocity, it wasn’t that one but another one, that all the chaps sitting there punched the air and sort of said 11-nil, because 11 British soldiers had been blown up or whatever. And one very top person in the IRA turned to this person I know and said what on Earth have be become, that their reaction to 11 people dead, you know, was like watching a football match, 11-nil.
MB: So I think even people who do this, they can go too far.
DP: So, all right, then was the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in that arena or not?
MB: No, not at all. I think the people in Pakistan, the Taliban and all the other fundamentalist groups, they’re not going to give up or see what they’re doing as sickening or whatever. They’re going to go on.
DP: Oh, no, I agree with that, but the average Pakistani, in other words, that’s what I’m asking about, is there a revulsion that we can count on?
DP: Or basically…okay.
MB: No, I don’t.
DP: So in other words, let me put it as bluntly as possible. Terror works.
MB: Well, I mean the big, the huge risk at the moment, I mean, America is already, Richard Holbrook is already talking about AFPAK, so we thought we had one crazy place to deal with, but I think that the realization is gradually dawning that there’s an even crazier place to the right of it.
DP: Afghanistan-Pakistan, AFPAK.
MB: Yeah. The Pak part might be even crazier than the Af part, and potentially far more dangerous. I mean, it’s a much, I mean, Afghanistan is a place with 27 million people, most of it is scorched rock. Pakistan is a huge country with 170 million or so people in it, and it’s got nuclear weapons. So that’s a really dangerous situation there. And whether one, there’s no way that the was can be actually extended into Pakistan. That’s a sort of nightmare.
DP: What is the directing ideology now? The establishment of as many Islamic jihadist Sharia-based states as possible?
MB: Oh, absolutely. No, you’re completely right. That’s the idea, and they’ll try it. In a way, that fighting these people is a bit like whack-a-mole. There’s a game, isn’t there, called whack-a-mole where something pops up and you hit is with a mallet, that wherever they can establish some sort of failed state or some Islamic fundamentalist state, then terrorists can thrive. And that certainly would be what the leadership of al Qaeda would be thinking. And they won’t just be looking at the nonexistent border land, the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. They’ve already looked at Somalia. That’s a potential base for them for obvious reasons. But then they’ll look at some of the very big sub-Saharan African states like Mauritania, you know, which who knows anything about Mauritania, but actually it’s the size of France and Germany rolled into one, and the government there is virtually in control of four towns. So they’ll be looking around all the time for somewhere. Yemen is another place that they would certainly be looking at, which of course is bin Laden’s ancestral homeland.
DP: I take it that you do not share the notion that if only America acted differently here or there or here or there, there would be much less terror.
MB: No, no, no. I think these people are bent on dominance. They want to impose their view, and their vision of life and the afterlife on the rest of us, or on the world, or at least huge chunks of it. And what America does really…
DP: Does it drive you as crazy as it drives me that people do not recognize that? They want to in fact dominate the world.
MB: Yes, it does, probably because I spent a long time studying them in order to write this book…
MB: And I can’t see them, and they’ll use what America does, or what other countries do as an excuse, partly to get the sort of soft, liberal audience with them in order to have split sympathies. But really, they’re about dominance. And wherever they, I mean, look, look at Gaza. That’s a very good example of it where Hamas were elected under dubious circumstances, so they win an election. The first thing they do is to butcher and shoot as many people from the opposing Fatah faction as they can get their hands on. And then I’ll give you two example which I’ve actually seen.
DP: All right, do that in a moment.
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DP: What he has said here I wish I could somehow illuminate with neon lights and italicized words as they are spoken. What is lost on so many in the West is that the terror world wants to establish its own world. It is not a reaction to American or Israeli or British policies. It is a positive desire to create an alternate moral universe. And it’s lost completely on people except people like Michael Burleigh for that matter. You were going to give us two examples from Hamas.
MB: Yes, I was just going to say that this has nothing to do with anything we’ve done or the Israelis have done or anything. It’s some people in Gaza who got fed up with the politicization of the sermons they were hearing in a mosque, so they decided to have their services or whatever out in the street. So they started praying in the street, and then Hamas’ police force turned up, and I’ve never seen such violence directed at people. And then ditto a group of journalists objected to the censorship that Hamas was imposing on them, and then even more appalling violence was unleashed on them until the cameras turned up in a way that they quickly stopped it. But this is what these people do. I mean, the key thing about all terrorism, because my book, it covers a hundred and fifty years of it or so, is this extreme romanticization of the self, and I think, I’m 53, I’ll be 54 on Friday, but my abiding image of the last six or seven years is of some kid in some northern city in Britain who is completely ill-educated, probably the son of a fish and chips shop owner or whatever, who studied a bit of information technology or engineering at some third-rate university, and then appears in his posthumous suicide video wagging his finger, his fat finger that I will always remember on the day I die, that finger wagging, with their face contorted with anger, dictating to us what our foreign policy should be. Now this is just lunacy. And if you allow it, as the idiot Archbishop of Canterbury suggested, you know, pockets of Sharia law allegedly so that they can just regulate civil law issues or marriage issues or whatever, very soon you’d have the situation that we’ve already, alas, got in Northern Ireland, where you surrender territories to very violent people who impose their own form of instant justice. So if they don’t like drug dealers hanging out on the corner, they break their legs with iron bars. And then the next time they appear, they’ll shoot them. So that’s the situation. I don’t want…
DP: All right, this is just part one, then. I have to have you on regularly. I was just telling this to my producer. Michael Burleigh, the great historian, and his book Blood And Rage. It is up at www.pragerradio.com. You and I understand that goodness is the aberration, not instability and chaos. Thank you, sir.
MB: Thank you.
End of interview.