Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice seems to have learned the lessons of English history — but not, unfortunately, those of Churchill or Pitt, but of an older, less lionized figure: Aethelred the Unready.
In the year 994, Aethelred began paying off Danish raiding parties rather than fighting them. These payoffs, known as danegeld, continued sporadically until 1012. As English schoolboys used to be able to tell you before their school hours were entirely given over to multicultural studies, the money didn’t keep the raiders away, but only brought more. The English came to see that paying tribute was self-defeating: it weakened them while strengthening their enemies — effectively subsidizing their own demise. It was, as Lenin would put it much later, a case of selling their enemies the rope with which they themselves would be hanged.
If Condoleeza Rice gets her way, the world will learn this lesson anew. The new Secretary of State is reportedly pursuing a proposal to raise money for danegeld, er, that is, a pension fund for jihad terrorists who promise to stop murdering people. Israel National News states that Rice “has proposed a $100 monthly allowance to terrorists who agree to lay down their arms and retire or find another profession. The money would be part of a $350 million package deal announced by U.S. President George Bush this past week. The Bush administration suggested that Congress consent to send $41 million immediately for an ‘immediate impact in support of democratic transition.’??¢â???¬ ¦ Rice, about to pay her first visit to the Middle East in her new position as successor to Colin Powell, wants part of the money to go directly to ‘retired’ terrorists. Speaking between visits to European countries, she proposed a pension fund for at least 1,000 terrorists.” The International Herald Tribune also spoke of plans for “retirement benefits for members of Palestinian militias.”
Such plans, of course, are yet another indication of the dangers of misapprehending the nature of the present conflict. Rice is most likely proceeding from the widespread assumption that poverty causes terrorism, and thus a little cash in the wallet of a suicide bomber will persuade him to give life a second chance. Yet this idea has been proven false again and again. Study after study has shown that terrorists are generally better educated and wealthier than their more peaceful counterparts. Even the Saudi columnist columnist Muhammad Mahfouz, writing in the Saudi Gazette, noted recently (according to the Middle East Media Research Institute), that “some youths belonging to rich families and others who are well positioned in the state’s civil service hierarchy are implicated in terrorist crimes. This [means] that financial and economic factors can not be associated with” terrorism. Likewise, research scientist Scott Atran has published in the New York Times findings that showed that suicide bombers were actually most often from educated and relatively affluent backgrounds.
Rice’s analysis shows no awareness of this. She seems to subscribe instead to the view of Prince Talal bin Abdul-Aziz, the brother of Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd, who recently — with blithe disregard of Osama bin Laden’s millions — declared: “Unemployment creates one of the cornerstones of terrorism, and the poor who cannot get food on his table resorts to other means, which are involuntary human reactions.” Ah — pensions, that will solve it.
I wonder if Rice will also consider pensions for the Saudis themselves, since they have, according to a new report from Freedom House, distributed tracts in American mosques that tell Muslims to “hate” non-Muslims “for their religion” and that those who leave Islam “should be killed because [they] have denied the Koran.” Will she write a check for the American Muslims who believe that, as another Saudi-distributed piece has it, “it would be lawful for Muslims to spill [the] blood and to take [the] money” of Muslim homosexuals and adulterers? Will she subsidize those American mosques that are counseling their members not to become American citizens, but merely to take wealth and knowledge from the infidel and use it for the service of the umma?
No one who is committed to the jihad ideology will be dissuaded from his dreams of Sharia by a hundred dollars a month from Uncle Sam. Such an absurd idea would never have entered the minds of Rice or anyone at State if they had really examined and understood the motives and goals of the global jihadist movement. Or at least if they had grasped that once you pay the danegeld, you never get rid of the Dane.