Janet Daly writes in The Telegraph:
Whatever this is, it is not a clash of civilisations. The concept of “civilisation” scarcely comes into it. Nor is it a struggle between competing sets of values, or a religious war, or a battle with an alien culture. There is no debate here – as there was in the Cold War – about how it is best for men to live: the enemy has stated explicitly that it does not revere life at all. On the contrary, it is in love with self-inflicted death, which it sees as the highest moral achievement.
This is not even war in any comprehensible sense. Where are the demands, the negotiable limits, or the intelligible objectives? It is not the modern world versus medievalism, or the secular enlightenment trying to deal with fundamentalist religion. It isn’t anything that can be encompassed in the vocabulary of coherent, systematic thought in which we are now accustomed to describe the world. This is just insanity.
There is no point now arguing about the historical or theological roots, about correct or incorrect interpretations of the Koran or even the social role of Islamic leadership. When the lucid try to impose logic on behaviour that is pathological, they will be driven into a dead end – or waste time coming to blows among themselves on matters that are no longer relevant.
France and its attitude toward Islam are already being analysed and dissected for all they are worth. Is it the willingness of the country to become involved in action in the regions claimed by Isil that has incited this terrible vindictiveness? Or the enforced secularism of the society in which such a large Muslim minority lives in alienation from national civic norms?
Was it the French military intervention in Libya, or the banning of the burka that was responsible for this havoc? Maybe none – or all – of the above. But none of this speculation is to the point. France has the honourable and consistent foreign policy that it has. It is a proudly secular republic which made the decision to separate civil life from religious observance several centuries ago for what it believed then – and believes now – to be historically sound reasons.
And what is the alternative that is being demanded? Sharia law? The subjection of women? An end to liberal democracy? Are any of these things even within the bounds of consideration? What could be accomplished by national self-doubt or criticism at this point, when there is not even a reasonable basis for discussion with the enemy?
This is the key point. Most conflicts in the past have had a potential solution. Often it was the giving up of land. Or independence. But what is the basis for discussion with the Islamic State? There is none, short of surrender.
The indiscriminate mass murder of civilians must put an end to that. The sane people of the world – even when their ultimate objectives differ or conflict – will need to join together now to stamp out, by whatever means are necessary, a threat to all varieties of civilised life.
It’s that, or face events like this every few weeks.