One of the extracts from novelist John Fowles’ diaries in the Guardian today neatly sums up the attitude of a certain kind of educated observer to the War On Terror:

Rushdie fuss. Eliz in a paranoiac state, that I might support him. This is a clear moral choice. From what I have heard of him, I do not like him. I haven’t read the book that has so upset Islam. But I must be on his side against the mad mullahs of Iran. Everyone falls over themselves to avoid the truth: that most Muslims are very primitive people and can’t be treated as sophisticated ones. If you endlessly prod a tiger, of course its claws will flash out.

And all this forces us, on behalf of the principle, to volunteer to be martyrs. Absurd.