"Don't Mention The War"

The new British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his Conservative Party opposition are doing their best Basil Fawlty imitation.

Daniel Johnson writes in the New York Sun:

Gordon Brown’s new government has been eager to contrast itself with Tony Blair. To this end, it has excised three terms from the official vocabulary: “Muslim,” “Islam,” and “the war on terror.” There is to be no mention of the wider context in which Al Qaeda and other Islamist terrorists operate. The new home secretary, Jacqui Smith, laid down the new doctrine: “Terrorists are criminals who come from all religious backgrounds.” I am sure one or two are Quakers.

Compared to Mr. Blair, Mr. Brown looks like a man in manic denial. But his conservative opponent, David Cameron, is determined to out-deny him.

First, he insisted that the word “Islamist” should be censored from political discourse. Then, after two Muslims were made junior ministers last week, Mr. Cameron promoted Sayeeda Warsi to be a member of his shadow cabinet, with the title of “community cohesion secretary.” Having failed to be elected, she is to be ennobled and will sit in the House of Lords. Ms. Warsi is thus the most senior Muslim in British politics.

Yet Ms. Warsi turns out to hold views that are not only at odds with her party’s, but also with any “community cohesion” except the Islamist kind. She not only opposed the Iraq war, but also welcomed the election of Hamas. She opposes anti-terror laws and rejects the idea that extremism is a problem for British Muslims: “When you say this is something that the Muslim community needs to weed out, or deal with, that is a very dangerous step to take.” Mr. Cameron has taken a dangerous step by handing over his policy on Islam to a person who appears to be part of the problem.

“Don’t mention the war” was the catchphrase of the manic hotelier, Basil Fawlty, played by Monty Python actor, John Cleese, in the BBC comedy series “Fawlty Towers.” While serving his German guests, he goose-stepped around the room.

Now that the war in question is a holy war unleashed against Western civilization, the joke is on us. Jihad may be preached from British pulpits, but the word has gone out from Downing Street: “Whatever else you do, don’t mention the war on terror.”

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