"There is something peculiar to the Middle East that worries the world," writes Victor Davis Hanson, asking rhetorically "Did Saddam create Fallujah or Fallujah Saddam?":
The Arab world for years has promulgated a quite successful media image as perennial victim -- proud folks, suffering under a series of foreign burdens, while nobly maintaining their grace and hospitality. Middle-Eastern Studies programs in the United States and Europe published an array of mostly dishonest accounts of Western culpability, sometimes Marxist, sometimes anti-Semitic that were found to be useful intellectual architecture for the edifice of panArabism, as if Palestinians or Iraqis [were] part of a universal "other" deserving victim status and its attendant blanket moral exculpation. But the curtain has been lifted since 9/11, and the picture we see hourly now is not pretty . . .
And then there is the asymmetry of it all. Walk in hushed tones by a mosque in Iraq, yet storm and desecrate the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank with impunity. Blow up and assassinate Westerners with unconcern, yet scream that Muslims are being questioned about immigration status in New York . . .
When there is news of 200 murdered in Madrid or Islamic mass-murdering of Christians in the Sudan . . . we no longer look for moderate mullahs and clerics to come forward in London or New York to condemn it. They rarely do. And if we might hear a word of reproof, it is always qualified by the ubiquitous "but -- followed by a litany of qualifiers about Western colonialism, Zionism, racism, and hegemony that have the effects of making the condemnation either meaningless or in fact a sort of approval . . .
The enemy of the Middle East is not the West so much as modernism itself and the humiliation that accrues when millions themselves are nursed by fantasies, hypocrisies, and conspiracies to explain their own failures. Quite simply, any society in which citizens owe their allegiance to the tribe rather than the nation, do not believe in democracy enough to institute it, shun female intellectual contributions, allow polygamy, insist on patriarchy, institutionalize religious persecution, ignore family planning, expect endemic corruption, tolerate honor killings, see no need to vote and define knowledge as mastery of the Koran is deeply pathological.
They are, in fact members in good standing of what Zev Chafets, writing about Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere, calls "the Victim Internationale, for whom problems in the Third World are always someone else's fault."