Belmont Club

The Faithless Men

Hundreds of people attended the funeral of Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein, the man who attacked a cafe and a synagogue in Copenhagen. Estimates put the crowd attending his funeral at from 600-700 — this, in Denmark. Many wore masks and flashed the ISIS salute.  The article says, “up to half of the attendees, who were all men, had masked their faces with jackets or scarves. More directed their index fingers toward the sky, while others beat their chests with a clenched fist.”

It is hard to square the sight of that funeral, with its open defiance, symbolism and militancy, with the media narrative — a line which the president has sought to advance – that people like the Denmark shooter are crazy: “Lone Wolves”, disturbed individuals and  marginalized persons who belong to no larger community of belief.

They cannot bring themselves to admit that Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein was in his own way a sincere adherent of a cause because they would have to admit the cause. Instead the public is encouraged to denigrate him and those like him as lunatics. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Denmark shooter fought against overwhelming odds and tied up a European capital city for hours.

Men like him are patriots of a sort, the key distinction being that they are patriots for the other side. The shooter loved “his country” as much or more than persons who haughtily hold their own as above reproach, even though they’ve spent their entire careers reviling the land they profess to love.  But make no mistake: the Cophenhagen shooter’s country was not Denmark.  His heart lay somewhere else. Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein was not crazy, he was just the enemy.

“Enemy”. A man who fights for another cause, another country. What a quaint word; a bigoted word.

There is about the White House staff something of the lying mischievousness of a coven of evil children. White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that the former mayor of New York can never live down the shame of criticizing president Obama, a downfall Earnest sincerely regrets. “I can tell you that it’s sad to see when somebody who has attained a certain stature and even admiration tarnishes that legacy so thoroughly,” he intoned. “There is no element of schadenfreude that people are feeling around here.”

No schadenfreude , but there might be a savage glee.  The sort a brat might feel when he has successfully framed the school janitor by planting property in the old man’s lunch pail and accusing him of theft, causing him to lose his job.  The kind of thrill an amoral youngster might get from a leaving a thumb tack  on a classmates seat or dipping the pigtails of the girl sitting ahead of him in a bottle of ink.  It is the careless, cruel,  one-upsmanship of juveniles who have never been denied anything in their life and never stopped at anything for a laugh.

And by such nasty pranks they think they can run rings around the befuddled old ex-mayor. When Giuliani told an audience “I do not believe – and I know this is a horrible thing to say – but I do not believe that the President loves America,” he was only half right. He should have added,  “nor loves anything else”. Giuliani isn’t guilty of racism.  He’s guilty of earnestness.

The greatest possible transgression against modern coolness is sincerity.  The ultimate social faux pas is to actually mean something. It’s the sign of a rube. An administration which regards itself as the epitome of idealism is ironically unable to conceive of foreigners who can believe in something so ardently that they are willing to die for it.  They cannot imagine it, let alone take it seriously.

Giuliani can.  Not for a moment can he swallow the assertion that thousands of men are risking their lives burning up the Middle East for the sort amorphous insanity the administration ascribes to ISIS and al-Qaeda. People who have experienced something of the grime, fatigue and gore of the field know it doesn’t work that way.  You don’t do it for a job, an Obamaphone or a joke; though you might have a hard time convincing people who’ve never been motivated by anything else.

And Giuliani understands something else too: that unless America retains an irreducible cohort of people willing to match the jihad with love of country for love of cause, belief for belief, sacrifice for sacrifice then however well armed the malicious brats in office are they will, despite their advantages, be beaten like a drum.

The outcry over Giuliani’s remarks has been extraordinary.  The gods are protesting their wounded dignity because they have so little of it.  The brittle anger is proof that Rudy has come very close to the truth: that there are those in high office who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

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