Saturday, September 27, 2008

Winning the Long War

While opponents of American foreign policy complain that we've alienated allies and made the situation worse by angering Arab Moslems, reality continues to defy these predictions. Our European allies continue to cooperate with us against terrorists and even fight with us in Afghanistan. European public disapproval of America is irrelevant since no Germans are about to rouse themselves from August holiday to suicide bomb us. Their anger is meaningless. Their governments know they need us to fight jihadis and watch the Russians. And Europeans will get over their current anger after we've won in Iraq.

Meanwhile, our war has had an effect on the Arab "street" that is undermining the sources of propaganda that justifies jihad and encourages recruits to join the jihad:

Western diplomatic and media pressure on Islamic scholars in the Moslem world, and in the West, is having a serious impact on the popularity of Islamic terrorists in their own backyard. The reason is simple: the terrorists are using a heretical interpretation of Islam to justify their use of violence. Particularly odious is the belief that innocent Moslems killed during terrorist attacks are "involuntary martyrs" and that any Moslem who does not agree with the terrorists "is not a true Moslem" and can thus be killed as an infidel or heretic.

Mainstream Islamic scholars long opposed the theological misdeeds of the terrorists, but were either shouted down, terrorized into silence or ignored (especially by key media in the Islamic world). As more Moslems were killed as "collateral damage" to Islamic terrorism, the more pressure there was on Islamic scholars to openly condemn the sins of the killers. Even before September 11, 2001, Pentagon and State Department officials were making this point, without much success.

These Islamic scholars have openly turned on the radical extremists who have twisted Islam to justify their terrorism campaign. This will change the rules of the game, as I wrote we must do to really win the Long War and not just suppress the jihadis until they regroup and come back in another generation or two with more terrible weapons.

Good God, people, you don't actually believe Iraq was a distraction from the war on terrorists, do you?