I do not have anything new to say about Egypt; I said it all a year ago and more. Failure is an option in Egypt. The denouement is inevitable and therefore of minor analytic interest. But I should like to ask a question:
Suppose the German military had overthrown the democratically-elected leader of Germany and massacred his loyal followers, say, in 1936? The world, presumably, would have condemned the blatant use of force against an elected leader even if, hypothetically, a third of the German population already had taken to the streets to demand Hitler’s ouster. The Muslim Brothera are Nazis bearing a crescent rather than a swastika.
The world is more in need of reminder than instruction, the late Father Richard John Neuhaus liked to say, and in the case of the Muslim Brotherhood, a useful reminder is to read once again Paul Berman’s 2007 New Republic essay and his 2010 book, The Flight of the Intellectuals, which expanded it. Archivists have brought to light the wartime German Foreign Ministry broadcasts that created modern Islamist ideology and in particular its ferocious Jew-hatred. For the details, read Berman. Here is one citation from Berman’s essay worth pondering:
There is nothing especially novel or bizarre in noticing that al-Banna displayed an eager interest in the aesthetic cult of death. The classic history of the Muslim Brotherhood, The Society of the Muslim Brothers, by Richard P. Mitchell, which appeared in 1969, was quite lucid on this topic even then. Al-Banna came up with a double phrase about the importance of death as a goal of jihad—“the art of death” (fann al-mawt) and “death is art” (al-mawt fann). This phrase became, in Mitchell’s description, a famous part of al-Banna’s legacy. Stringing together his own paraphrases with al-Banna’s words, Mitchell wrote: “The Qur’an has commanded people to love death more than life” (which, I might add, is a phrase that we have heard more than once in terrorist statements during the last few years, for instance in the videotape that was made by the Islamist group that attacked Madrid in 2004). And al-Banna continued, in Mitchell’s presentation: “Unless the philosophy of the Qur’an on death replaces the love of life which has consumed Muslims, they will reach naught. Victory can only come with the mastery of the art of death.”
Read Berman before you weep for the fate of the Muslim Brotherhood.