book review

The Face of the Tiger
and Other Tales from the New War
Columns and Essays from September 11 2001 to September 11 2002
Mark Steyn
Stockade Books, 2002, 351 pages
Reviewed By

M ark Steyn has the easiest job in the world: to point out absurdities and inanities in the establishment news media and academia as they pontificate endlessly about how 9/11 confirms everything they knew about the roots of terrorism in global warming, poverty, date rape, soil depletion, and the need for more gun control. Politicians like Hillary Clinton could even empathize with Usama: his "rage" was very much like the "unreasoning anger" of those who despised her health-care plan. Osteocephalic academics provide more fodder for Mark Steyn's sarcastic wit when they prattle on obtusely about America being a "terrorist" nation, blithely unaware that their assured self-righteous self-loathing is the very cultural rot and weakness that encouraged the terrorists to commit a boneheaded maneuver on a scale not seen since the bombing of Pearl Harbor; despite the predictions of a hopeful New York Times that America would be bogged in a muddy quagmire, it ended with hellfire and mountains of dead talibs who graduated, without honors, from a crash course on Introduction to Western Military Technology and Don't Piss Off the World's Superpower 101.

Despite Steyn's tragic handicap -- he is from Canada, and even today has trouble spelling "harbor" correctly -- such a wealth of Commonwealth dead-parrotry, American political correctness such as the airport security guards prying toy guns from the cold, dead hands of G.I. Joe dolls, and the never ending supply of witty remarks from a variety of wacky Arab and Muslim sociopaths provides Steyn with a seemingly endless supply of humorous material. Steyn captures for posterity the mood of a time when models on Internet porn sites wrapped themselves, literally, in the American flag to get guys to pay attention, and blue-collar workers speculated on the whereabouts of Usama's left arm and the latest rumors that his annoying rantings about Andalusia had finally been quenched after he was made to shut-the-hell-up by the latest BLU-82.

Of course, Americans have mostly forgotten about WhereEverItWas and What's His Name as we move into the "draining the Whatchamacallit" phase of the War on Terrorism. This time Saddam, or possibly one of his surviving doubles (since Saddam himself is "not moving around much", according to Donald Rumsfeld), beat The New York Times to the punch, pronouncing it a 'quagmire' before the bombing had barely started, thereby depriving poor Maureen Dowd of material for an entire column.

But Mark Steyn, probably Canada's only self-described 'warmonger', is still inspiring Website writers and others with the wry, intelligent, sarcastic prose that riles the America-haters--so much so that some of his fellow countrymen, as the book's back cover says, have begged him to renounce his Canadian citizenship. That would be Canada's loss. Canada needs all the help it can get.

Here are some priceless quotes from Mark Steyn's book:

The Worldwide Sisterhood Against Terrorism And War organized a petition called "Not In Our Name". "We will not support the bombing", they declared, and who can blame them? I dropped out of women's studies in Grade 2, but as I recall, a bombing campaign is a quintessential act of patriarchal oppression and domination. The male pilot, looming over the curvy undulating form of the Third World hillside, unzips his bomb carriage and unleashes his phallic ordnance to penetrate his target. Needless to say, he explodes on contact, typical bloody men.

As Bill Clinton remarked during one of his own perfunctory bombing campaigns, "Military action during Ramadan would be profoundly offensive to the Muslim world." I'm no Islamic scholar, but given that, during the holy month of Ramadan Muslims are expected to live in simple fashion, it's hard to see in what way taking out the water lines, the food warehouses, the electric supply, etc is disrespectful. Quite the contrary, one would have thought. Happy Holidays from the Great Satan!