Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Provoking Islamists

One train of thought has it that we provoked Islamist terrorism against us.

This article is fascinating. [October 2006 UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit readers. Here's a good link to the article.] After spelling out the facts of immigration by Moslems into Europe and their failure to integrate under varying European visions of how to host their immigrants, the article hits three related points about how certain Moslems are enflamed into going jihadi.

The first is the idea that Iraq has provoked Islamists to take up arms:

According to senior counterintelligence officials, classified intelligence briefings, and wiretaps, jihadists extended their European operations after the roundups that followed September 11 and then again, with fresh energy, after the invasion of Iraq. Osama bin Laden now provides encouragement and strategic orientation to scores of relatively autonomous European jihadist networks that assemble for specific missions, draw operatives from a pool of professionals and apprentices, strike, and then dissolve, only to regroup later.

After the preceding parts on how Moslems radicalized in Europe under different policies, it is difficult for me to take this charge seriously. If freeing 25 million Moslems from a "secular" dictator like Saddam who tortured and killed on an industrial level "enraged" Moslems and "caused" them to hate us, then the word "cause" is meaningless to describe the problem. Added to the simple fact that jihadis killed 3,000 of us on 9-11 without Iraq to enrage them and indeed flocked to Afghanistan for training in the sensitive decade, this is clearly hooey. As a bonus, consider that in the 1990s we saved Moslems in Somalia, Kuwait, Bosnia, Kosovo, and in northern Iraq with direct military action. Shouldn't that have earned us some points with a normal population?

The second point is that Europe needs to do something to solve their Moslem problem. The Moslem population in Europe is sick. And arguing whether the numerous European policies contributed to this state of affairs is irrelevant. The slums of Europe are breeding grounds for Islamist terrorists and the Europeans are realizing they need to do something different:

Can Muslims become Europeans without Europe opening its social and political circles to them? So far, it appears that absolute assimilationism has failed in France, but so has segregation in Germany and multiculturalism in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Could there be another way? The French an the headscarf in public schools; the Germans ban it among public employees. The British celebrate it. The Americans tolerate it. Given the United States' comparatively happier record of integrating immigrants, one may wonder whether the mixed U.S. approach -- separating religion from politics without placing a wall between them, helping immigrants slowly adapt but allowing them relative cultural autonomy -- could inspire Europeans to chart a new course between an increasingly hazardous multiculturalism and a naked secularism that estranges Muslims and other believers. One thing is certain: if only for the sake of counterterrorism, Europe needs to develop an integration policy that works. But that will not happen overnight.

Nothing the Europeans have tried worked and the American model is not possible. It is too late to open the gates and let the Moslems in as equal citizens. They have too much fanaticism and too many grievances to assimilate even if the Europeans could accept them.

The third point is what will follow a decision to try something different when those peaceful options fail. Eventually the Europeans will have to choose between surrender and harsher options. Will Bosnia and Kosovo be the models the Europeans will follow in desperation as the alternative to surrender? I don't think the Euros are so permanently soft after five decades of easy life under our protection that they have forgotten centuries of brutal ruthlessness. The Europeans turned the Moslems back inside Europe itself at Tours and Vienna, and expelled them from Spain. They are capable of doing so again.

And this time the US won't come to the rescue of Moslems under assault. Unlike our past military actions to save Moslems, we won't intervene to save Europe's Moslems. We wouldn't want to provoke Moslem anger by doing so, eh? Ingratitude for past efforts will suppress any sympathy we have. Continued terrorism will lead us to at least remain quiet as Europe goes about its dirty work.

I dread this outcome.

I've said this before, but our war on terrorism is as much a war to save Islam is it is to save ourselves from Islamist terrorism. If it ever comes to a war of civilizations, we will end the extreme restraint that we have fought with thus far. I don't want to go that far. I want to lose our cities in nuclear flames even less.