In Paris the death toll is 158 and still counting. I hate to sound cynical, but, as the late, great Yogi Berra put it, “It’s like déjà vu all over again.”
Wasn’t it a mere ten months ago that seventeen people were killed in the now infamous Charlie Hebdo/Jewish market massacre? The event sparked outrage across the West with preemptive strikes—that is,of heels marching in meaningless protests on the streets of various European capitals. “Je suis Charlie” was spelled out on placards, hashtags, bumper stickers, and tee-shirts.
The message was clear: Don’t mess with the West!
Like the name Benghazi presented to a clueless group of Ohio State students in 2012, I have to wonder how many people twenty-four hours ago in a random sampling could have identified Charlie Hebdo. So many people had reason to forget.
Hadn’t we, in Friday’s confident announcement of our Commander-in-Chief, “contained” ISIS? Weren’t the latest “victories”—consisting of a few dozen deaths and a couple of drone strikes—being celebrated by our “strategists”?
This morning everything is different. The “Jay-vee team” has struck again but with a death-count close to ten times last January’s. President Obama has declared the slaughter a “tragedy,” a “crime,” and, oh yes, “terrorism.” Mr. Hope-and-Change must have swallowed hard on that last pronouncement.
Could he have reconciled himself to it only after ordering Susan Rice to run a YouTube search (with zero hits) for another “Mohammed” video to explain the perpetrators’ motives? Who knows? One thing is certain: the world is a whole lot safer today for those who hold the name of the “Prophet” Mohammed in reverence. “Allahu Akbar” was the real hashtag of the day.
But the West is now up in arms. Obama purses his lips. Hollande closes the borders—or sort of closes them, re-establishing former checkpoints. Angela Merkel declares “Freedom is stronger than terror.”
Prime Minister-elect Justin Trudeau probably will not cut the number of Syrian “refugees” he assured the world were Canada’s humanitarian responsibility, but the Canadian flag is flying respectfully at half-mast.
And if all of that hasn’t helped us to find the silver lining on this darkest of clouds, take heart: one of the West’s newest allies Iran has declared the Paris attacks “crimes against humanity.”
The soldiers of ISIS are sure to be contained, but only insofar as they’re containing their laughter.
Amid the new hashtags and declarations of solidarity on Facebook, actor Rob Lowe Tweeted the truth: “Oh, NOW France closes its borders.” Yahoo’s “The Wrap” would have none of it. “Rob Lowe Ripped for Paris Attack Tweets,” the headline shrieked. Rob must mind his manners.
The “rippers” in question were, as far as I could determine, assorted Hollywood nobodies; nevertheless, they speak for a small but vocal and very powerful cadre of leftists, a group more than willing to shame the American people into a few meaningless gestures over Paris—and then get over it and go back to following the fortunes of the Khardashians.
Funny thing, though. Over seven thousand people commented on the Rob Lowe piece. I had time for the only the first fifty or so; not one found Lowe at fault. Could that indicate a trend?
“Déjà vu all over again”? Among our leaders, for sure. They’ll wring their hands and spout high-sounding moralisms until the news gets old, maybe for about ten days. We may find ourselves treated to some wonderful videos of Marie Harf and Jen Psaki holding signs with “Je Suis Paree” emblazoned in red letters. If the terrorists aren’t quaking in their boots by then, they probably are due for some sensitivity training.
Have the people, the larger and largely silent populations of Europe and the United States had enough of this folly? I suspect only the ballot box will give us an answer to that question.
In the interim, we might do well to recall a little history—a rather old-fashioned act of déjà vu—because the West has seen something like the current Muslim invasion before.
In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the forces of the “Prophet” made their last concerted effort to make Europe their own. On (surprise!) September 11th of the year 1683, the Battle of Vienna began. It raged on to the next day resulting in the total defeat of the Ottoman Turks at the hands of Austrian and Polish troops.
In the previous century, one of the greatest battles in the history of naval warfare, the engagement at Lepanto, took place on October 7th, 1571. Again, a coalition of Christian princes under Pope Pius V routed their Turkish adversaries, dealing a major blow to the designs of the Muslims on the West.
G. K. Chesterton wrote a poem about this sea battle, lines that once were the stuff of many an English schoolboy’s education:
Don John of Austria
Has set his people free!
The time has come to bring those verses back into the curriculum—in context. What saved the West once might save it again, but it will take some ingredients we have in very short supply: memory, determination, and faith.
We have little reason to be confident in these dark and decadent times. But, just maybe, we have God on our side. And as the great Yogi said on another occasion, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”