Victor Davis Hanson

Jimmy Carter - a self-proclaimed champion of human rights and nonviolence - has called the U.S.'s unwillingness to accept the 2006 Palestinian election of the terrorists of Hamas "criminal."

But unlike Carter, Egyptian reformer Sa'd Al-Din Ibrahim - no friend of the United States - thinks members of Hamas are real criminals.

In an article on the terrorist organization's recent takeover of Gaza, Ibrahim wrote, "The Hamas fighters behaved in a barbaric, bloody manner, while repeatedly (shouting) ŒAllahu Akbar' and religious prayers. . . . The victors executed a number of Fatah leaders and fighters, shooting them or throwing them from the roofs of buildings, with no trial - not even a mock trial."

Carter is one among many Western liberals who either ignore or, worse, defend Hamas and other acknowledged enemies of free speech, due process and religious and political tolerance.

After the attempted jihadist bombings last month in London and Glasgow, new British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that his ministers were not to connect Muslims with terrorism. Then he even ordered the nomenclature of a "war against terror" dropped.

But a former British jihadist, Hassan Butt, argued in an op-ed in the Guardian of London concerning the failed plots that Islam is integral to the current epidemic of global terrorism.

"What drove me and many of my peers to plot acts of extreme terror within Britain, our own homeland and abroad," wrote Butt, "was a sense that we were fighting for the creation of a revolutionary state that would eventually bring Islamic justice to the world."

In anger at the Bush administration's refusal to meet with the Assad regime in Syria - which conducts assassinations of Lebanese reformers, aids terrorists in Iraq and funds Hezbollah and Hamas - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi flew to Damascus for direct talks.

Yet some of her critics were liberal Syrians fighting for freedom at great risk to their lives.

"So much of Syria's opposition was against Pelosi's visit, against the EU's talks with the regime," remarked Syrian reformist Akram al-Bunni. "They believe that these offers of friendship strengthen the regime and increase its totalitarian tendencies, and they're angry."

Western liberals seek to downplay the Islamic roots of terrorism and engage in dialogue with authoritarian regimes and movements. Meanwhile, Middle Eastern dissidents find themselves in an odd, if not embarrassing marriage of sorts with the conservative Bush administration on the need to identify and confront the causes and abettors of intolerance and terror.

What explains such strange political alliances?


Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal.