Almost as upsetting as the fact that the United States is engaged in a long-term global war against radical Islamists is that a shocking percentage of people seem predisposed against grasping it.
To the perennially oblivious, we are in a war of choice in Iraq, which, among other "elective" actions, is stoking extremism and provoking retaliatory action against us. If we will just cease and desist these actions and otherwise alter those policies giving rise to grievances among radical Muslims, their rage will subside and they'll quit targeting us for extinction.
Those afflicted with this line of thinking not only believe it is our actions and policies that cause terrorists to hate us, but that many of those actions and policies are indeed objectionable.
That is, many of those who think global jihadists can be pacified uncoincidentally also believe they have legitimate complaints against the United States.
To these critics, America is not a shining city on a hill, not a beacon of freedom, not an exemplar of civil liberties, but, under the evil Bush administration at least, a nation that intermeddles in other nations' civil wars and ethnic disputes, systematically abuses and tortures enemy prisoners, spies on its own innocent citizens, runs roughshod over other nations in dictating its will on the international stage and is inhospitable to illegal immigrants.
The critics are projecting their own complaints about the United States on to the jihadists and choosing to believe, despite the overwhelming weight of the evidence and all common sense, that our enemy can be mollified if we'll just quit being a greedy, imperialistic superpower that seeks to impose its will and values on other peoples and exploit their resources.
Of course, these blame-America-firsters are wrong on their complaints against this country. But they are just as wrong about the appeasability of Muslim terrorists.
The terrorists don't just hate us for certain policies we pursue, such as our "occupation" of Saudi Arabia, our alliance with Israel or our stubborn refusal to withdraw from Iraq's "civil war." They hate us because of who we are and what we represent. We could adopt every America-denigrating policy our domestic critics recommend and we'd not make a dent in the enemy's hatred for us.
We can't afford to perpetuate this self-destructive denial of the threat that is right in front of our faces. Our national survival depends on our awareness that short of our national conversion to radical Islam, we are destined for a long-term war against the jihadists.
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There is no surer evidence of our enemies' unquenchable malice against us than their own words, which reveal their thinking and sinister intentions. And I've seen no better single, readable source for this than Jed Babbin's alarming new book, "In the Words of Our Enemies."
Based on extensive research, Babbin gives us transcripts of speeches, sermons, interviews and other candid statements delivered by terrorist leaders and the radical sheiks who fan the flames of anti-Western hatred in their mosques. You cannot read them and remain unaware that our enemies are irreversibly implacable and increasing in numbers and resolve.
The radicals believe they have a sacred duty to submit the world to Islamic theocracy, that "it is impossible to make peace with the Jews" and that Muslims "must not enter into a pact with them." "Jihad against them is our worship." "Educating children to Jihad and hatred of the Jews, the Christians, and the infidels … This is what is needed now." They are convinced Islam is invincible, and they will not negotiate with infidels. The West, by its very nature, is an enemy of Islam. There can be no coexistence.
They believe the way we live and project our values around the world, including our respect for and equal treatment of women, constitutes an unappeasable threat to Islam.
America's intractable domestic critics who believe we can mollify the Osamas by withdrawing from Iraq, ending our presence in Saudi Arabia and badmouthing Israel, should read portions from the Al Qaeda manual beginning on page 60 of Babbin's book:
"The confrontation that Islam calls for with these godless and apostate regimes, does not know Socratic debates, Platonic ideals nor Aristotelian diplomacy. But it knows the dialogue of bullets, the ideals of assassination, bombing, and destruction, and the diplomacy of the cannon and machine gun."
Every other sermon, speech and screed in this book is equally chilling. Purchasing and reading it is one of the best antidotes I can imagine for the ignorance and apathy that could lead to our national suicide.