Dumbing down the War on Islamic Terror
Our enemies think they are fighting a war, but even after London, do we?
[The recent] atrocity in London, like last year's in Madrid, added dozens more to the toll of those murdered by Islamic terrorists. But for all of the sympathy generated for the victims in London, there still seems to be something missing from much of the fallout from recent events.
In the aftermath of Sept. 11, it seemed as if most of us were finally awake to the fact that Islamic fundamentalists had been engaged in a war against the West for years.
The result of this awakening brought about an American counter-offensive that knocked off the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, ended Saddam Hussein's reign in Iraq, and generated a wave of pressure that threatens to create bridgeheads for democracy in the Arab Middle East.
Elsewhere, the conflict in Iraq may eventually turn out to be a turning point in the history of the Middle East. But the slow and painful pace of the counter-insurgency war has made it a natural focus of discontent, both domestically and internationally.
Most of all, with the passage of time, many Americans seem to have forgotten what all this fuss was about in the first place.
But as dozens of London travelers learned last week, the war Islamists are waging against us was not hatched in the fevered imagination of Karl Rove. So before we all slide back into a post-London torpor, it is worthwhile to recapitulate a few important points by asking ourselves a few questions:
Are the attacks on the West the result of support for Israel?
The ideological basis for anti-Western jihad long predates the birth of the State of Israel, let alone the 1967 Six-Day War and the presence of Israelis in the West Bank and Gaza.
Islamists, as do most Muslims, deeply resent the ability of a despised minority like the Jews -- in Islamic terminology, a dhimmi people -- to establish a non-Islamic sovereign state in the Middle East. But what they really resent, and what their jihadist ideology is bent on reversing is the change in the balance of power between the Muslim world and the West, which dates back hundreds of years.
Concessions by Israel or the West will not end the jihadist dream. The transformation of the Arab and Islamic world into one where freedom -- rather than fundamentalism -- rules may seem like a fantasy. Without it, this war on Islamist terror will go on without end (Tobin, "Jewish World Review," July 14, 2005).