Enemy Within That Hates Our Tolerance- A Menace More Chilling Then Any Foreign Threat
May 24, 2013
Enemy within that hates our tolerance: MAX HASTINGS on a menace more chilling than any foreign threat
By Max Hastings
PUBLISHED: 17:31 EST, 23 May 2013 | UPDATED: 17:38 EST, 23 May 2013
The scene was a theatre of blood — more horror than terror, because while it has not frightened the British people, it has most certainly appalled us. Since Wednesday afternoon, I have heard people who are customarily oblivious to events outside their own lives volunteer their stunned sense of revulsion.
We customarily think of murder as a thing of the night, of secret places and denials of guilt.
Yet now, instead, we are confronted with the killing of Drummer Lee Rigby, of the Royal Fusiliers, in the most brutal fashion imaginable, in broad daylight before witnesses in a London street, by savages bent upon flaunting their martyrdom before the world.
The perpetrators were apparently as eager to embrace death as any suicide bomber, and threw themselves at armed police.
Among those who deserve sympathy today are the nurses who must minister to these two least deserving of hospital patients.
Some 30 years ago, Margaret Thatcher, as prime minister, imposed a ban upon the broadcasting of interviews with members of Sinn Fein and the IRA, to ‘deny them the oxygen of publicity'.
But in the modern world in which privacy is almost extinct, and censorship unenforceable as well as unacceptable, it would have been impossible to prevent the Woolwich killers from triggering an avalanche of national and worldwide publicity...
Islamic extremists support a burden of rage about their own inadequacy.
They hate the rest of us for getting on with our lives, for our cultural tolerance, respect for women, and for achieving a material success unmatched by any Muslim society in the world.
Of course we ask: what went wrong? Whose failures allowed such a dreadful event to happen?
Yet, on the evidence thus far, nobody has done anything blameworthy except the murderers.
M15 must tell what it knew about the killers. But there are hundreds, if not thousands, of potential extremists out there.
In a free society, such as we cherish, the Security Service lacks resources to track them all, and they cannot be detained on mere suspicion.
Ultimately, though, it was the cub scout mistress who jumped off a bus and precipitated a confrontation with one of the killers who spoke for the nation when she told him: ‘It is only you versus many, and you are going to lose.'