Battered Wife Syndrome

The historical record on bombing civilians as a psychological tactic to dishearten civilian populations has, at best, a mixed record of effectiveness. The Nazi “Blitz” of London during World War II from 1940 to 1941, was devastating. It resulted in the deaths of 43,000 people, many of them civilians. The Blitz did not force surrender, but it served to harden the resolve of Britons against the Germans. The suffering caused by bombing did not grow into an excuse for self doubt, but acted as a source of strength to redouble efforts against the Nazis. Likewise, the strategic bombing of Germany by the Allies, particularly by the British who were somewhat bent upon retribution, did little to break the will of the Germans. The disruption of oil supplies to the German war machine helped defeat the Nazis, but the bombing of civilians did little.

In a more modern example, in 1999, NATO forces bombed Belgrade. The bombing was not directed at civilians, though civilians were inadvertently and inevitably killed. Rather than being cowed, civilians defiantly mocked the attacks by placing bull’s eyes on their backs. The bombing added burdens to the civilian population, but it was not intimidating. It was not until NATO threatened the use of ground forces, that the Serbian government led by Slobodan Milosevic conceded defeat.

It seems that the only people that are intimidated by bombing attacks on civilians are Western progressives who appear obsessed with the question, “Why do they hate us?” Of course, there is no crime, real or imagined, that justifies actions deliberately calibrated to kill as many innocent civilians as possible such as the attacks on September 11, 2001. Some of these terrorists harbor lingering anger toward the Crusades or the expulsion of Muslims from Spain, events that occurred centuries ago. Perhaps the real source of Muslim anger is a sense of economic vulnerability caused by the fact that much of the Muslim World has not embraced modernity. What wealth there is a consequence of the fortune of sitting on deposits of natural resources like oil. It not based on the creativity of the once advanced and proud Islamic culture. Many Middle Eastern Muslims simply feel threatened by the ubiquity of Western Culture.

The focus on the question “Why do they hate us?” is a measure of the rejection of the full history Western Culture by the Left. The continuous quest by the Left to blame the West for terrorist acts is very analogous to battered wife syndrome. In such cases, a wife rationalizes domestic abuse by believing that she must have done something wrong to merit a beating, a beating that no wife deserves. Such women often refuse to press charges against their abusive husbands even when there is police intervention. Battered wife syndrome is usually a consequence of low self-esteem. Likewise, it is hard to escape the suspicion that the Left remains intensely self-loathing, convinced that they are a part a fundamentally unjust and racist society deserving of hatred. They can see many reasons why they hate us.

Wife abusers are encouraged by the low self-esteem of their victims. It is no small irony that radical Islamists are encouraged by the weakness evident in the self-doubt of the Left. They despise a culture that when bombed asks, “Why do they hate us?”

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