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Friday, July 15, 2005

Enemies Within

Charles Krauthamer makes a great point in his article "Enemies, Foreign and Domestic". Remarking on how many of the recent terrorists were not imported to do these acts but were second and third generation Europeans (more radical than their parents), he writes:

The fact that native-born Muslim Europeans are committing terror acts within their own countries shows that this Islamist malignancy long predates Iraq, long predates Afghanistan and long predates 9/11. What Europe had incubated is an enemy within, a threat that for decades Europe simply refused to face.

My 2-cent psycho analysis of this phenomenon is that the terrorists harbor a romanticization of the Middle East and the conquering history of Islam more than the adoption of a true political philosophy. It is like New Yorkers moving to an Israeli kibbutz. Sounded good in Queens but waking up so early? Had these terrorists lived under the domination of the Middle Eastern despots all of their lives and then emigrated to England, they may have appreciated the lifestyle of a capitalist free society more. But, most of the terrorists world-wide hail from the Middle East so there must be a draw beyond the "exotic".

Krauthammer explains my dilemma:

One of the reasons Westerners were so unprepared for this wave of Islamist terrorism, not just militarily but psychologically, is sheer disbelief. It shockingly contradicts Western notions of progress. The savagery of Bouyeri's act, mirroring the ritual human slaughter by Zarqawi or Daniel Pearl's beheaders, is a return to a primitiveness that we in the West had assumed a progressive history had left behind.

What I should realize is:

It is essentially a civil war within a rival civilization in which the most primitive elements are seeking to gain the upper hand. 9/11 forced us to intervene massively in this civil war, which is why we are in Iraq. There, as in Afghanistan, we have enlisted millions of Muslims on the anti-Islamist side.

But what about the vast majority of European Muslims, the 99 percent who are peace-loving and not engaged in terror? They must also join the fight. They must actively denounce not just -- what is obvious -- the terror attacks, but their source: Islamist ideology and its practitioners.

I agree.

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