Can We Ignore Islam and Win?
Recently, on Jihad Watch, Hugh Fitzgerald reiterated his viewpoint that we shouldn’t waste resources and manpower in
I don’t have a battle plan and I’m skeptical of nation-building especially in a country requiring a cultural transformation. And I certainly wouldn’t have picked this place and manner to confront the jihadists. But changing the battle plan requires understanding the war. That education, of which Jihad Watch is a lead player, is a tremendous task.
At present the debate on the war is overwhelmed by those with a different view of Islam and foreign affairs. Without the prerequisite understanding of Islam and its growing influence through out the Islamic world, how will anyone understand the optimal path of action?
There is skepticism by some conservatives of "cultural engineering" from general considerations. However, there is still a failure to appreciate the vast difference between Islam and the West as conservatives, 50 years ago, saw a vast difference between Communism and
As our leaders proceed as if Islam is benign, success will be limited at best and problems will get worse. It’s at this point that people will seek an alternative viewpoint. It’s important to lay the groundwork for that process. The left is trying to do that by blaming the West for all the problems and hoping when the worse happens to take the credit for an explanation. The alternative is to explain the cultural inadequacies in Islamic countries and the role that Islam plays in creating, sustaining, and furthering the problem. It’s this intellectual battle that needs to be brought center stage in the national debate.
Currently few are doing this. I saw a headline in a conservative magazine saying it was racist to question whether Islam is compatible with democracy. Yet, this should be the question. We should be asking if Iraqis are worthy of our efforts. Will they succeed? Do they have what it takes? Is it Islam that is holding them back or other factors in Arab culture? The onus should be on the Iraqi people. We’ve been more than generous and we should take that for granted.
Too many conservatives are wasting their time fighting anti-Americanism and ineffectively at that. They are defending the administration against the charge that "they lost the peace" as if Iraqis have nothing to do with it. This, of course, is just one example. Not once do conservatives ask: are these people worthy of our generosity? Do they have what it takes to join the fight for civilization? Is their culture and religion a poor foundation for hope? Are Muslims failing?
The focus of the current debate is all wrong (in the mainstream venues.) The growing jihadist movement will not awaken Americans if the proper ground work isn’t set. It will only demoralize us – as the left wants. It’s time to reverse the terms of the debate and that will require an intellectual assault of the driving force behind the enemy: Islam.