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A difficult question indeed.

Reader comment on item: [The Need to Name and] Know Thy Terrorists

Submitted by Rodger Clampitt (United States), Nov 22, 2002 at 02:06

Perhaps one reason why the Bush Administration has not specifically targeted Islamic militants in the U.S. is that it has not really understood the enemy. For decades, our intelligence, diplomatic and military organs had relegated the Middle East to secondary importance at best. Even with the rise of Khomeni and the ensuing militancy we still focused our efforts on the Soviet Bloc nations alone.

It was not until 9/11 that our government woke up to the nightmare of Islamic militancy. But even then, as Dr. Pipes has pointed out, our policy was not coherent. Being mostly a very secular country (our leadership included and their protestations notwithstanding) our leaders have treated Islamicism as a political/secular problem - we can reason with them, use PR and money to buy them off, like we did with the Soviets. In short, the West has not encountered this sort of Jihadist mentality since the Ottomans took Constantinople in 1453 and menaced Vienna several centuries later. We've got a lot of catching up to do.

Another possibility is that there is a blanket refusal to admit there is a problem with Islam in general, that it may be incompatible in its current form with the West unless it has a reformation - which is unlikely, given the notion of Bida among others. Just examine the demand by Moslems that our public schools provide places where Moslem students may pray and that pork be banned from school cafeterias (see Fox News). Aren't these demands a blatant violation of church and state? It appears that this is not a religion that chooses to accomodate itself to a foreign secular society, but rather, it demands that *we* must change to accomodate it!

The last possibility is that we have become so Politically Correct (PC) that our leaders have been blinded to the threat of militant Islam. They stll may think these fanatics are like the Soviets but with odd hats.

I'd add a loss of a moral compass that is so necessary in times like these. There is good in the world and there is bad and unless we make this distinction in our policies we are in serious trouble.
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