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Zawahiri's Volcano Metaphor Works Here

Reader comment on item: Still Asleep After Mumbai

Submitted by Alex (United States), Dec 10, 2008 at 13:07

Dr. Pipes is right that the West--at least the official West--is in denial about Islamist terrorism. I also fear that the only thing that will shake us out of our current stupor is mega-terrorism even worse than the 9/11 attacks.

Nonetheless, an implicit feature of the West's continued denial here is--I suspect--a dormant rage that builds with every attack and will only be expressed in the most extreme of ways--in short, when they attack us with WMDs, we will do the same to them, and the time for name calling and properly identifying the enemy will then seem superfluous.

I have always thought that when totalitarians identify the motives of their enemies, they are really engaging in what Dr. Pipes has called, "mirror-imaging," projecting their own motives onto their enemies' motives. In this case, Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri's claim of a volcano of Muslim rage being ready to erupt over continued Western "Imperialism" seems to be the opposite of mirror-imaging, projecting the motives of one's enemies onto one's own motives. Muslims already seem plenty teed off, and so the volcano of rage more likely exists in the West.

Submitting....

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