"The Reverse Crusades"
That's what some of my friends still in the Special Ops community have been calling the War on Terror since 9/11 (and maybe since Khobar - I just may not have been paying attention). We're fighting the crusaders this time - crusaders that want us either converted to their religion or dead.
And our fear and unwillingness to fight in various ways may be our undoing.
Osama and his murderers want to drive a wedge between the West and Islam, and guess what?
Believe me, there's times where this slightly right of center guy wants to say to the Islamic world, "You want a fight? Good! You've got one." (Just insert a few choice expletives and you've pretty much got it.)
Then on other days, you have people like me on this blog asking sincerely, "where are the moderate Muslims speaking out against these atrocities, or denouncing these violent riots attacking American embassies over cartoons published in Denmark, or working towards reform for women or religious tolerance in their countries?", you get some commenter who weighs in with two or four links of quotes from moderate Muslims.
That doesn't quite cut it. They either aren't there or aren't being heard (thanks, media!).
But rational, tolerant people do live in Muslim countries. I know they do. I have friends in Turkey, Jordan, India, and Indonesia (and here in the States) that are socially liberal moderates who are devoutly Muslim. Not to mention muslim soldiers of countries that I've served with and trained with...And they are terrified of both the extremists in their lands and our deaf ears here in the States.
How in the hell did we get here?
You can blame our media for displaying the worst of the Islamic extremists daily (and for bowing to the pressure of the worst of them - they're cartoons for crying out loud), and you can also blame the theocracies for feeding the blood lust and keeping their followers uneducated and duped in order to retain or build power. You can blame their governments for not protecting the moderates and the socially liberal among their societies. You can blame the rich oil sheiks for playing geopolitical games with their billions. And you can blame the moderates themselves for being cowards, much like the cowards in our own country who acquiesce at the first sign of a fight - whether that fight is taking down a murdering tyrant or cow-towing to the Politically Correct Police.
Glenn Reynolds wrote an excellent short piece on Sunday about the Tipping Point where Americans just don't trust (all) Muslims anymore. Apparently, we've had enough.
Have we had enough BS from the extremists to taint our feelings towards every Muslim in the world? Have we let the media influence us so?
I doubt it, but that's the story that's being told now.
This Tipping Point just points out that Osama is winning as long as we let him drive that wedge between us and the Islamic world. He's got the media figured out. He's got the right people in place in the theocracies. We've given that bastard enough ground already in the Reverse Crusades.
After the first crusaders took Jerusalem in the eleventh century, a Kurd Sunni from Tikrit by the name of Saladin took it and much of the crusader gained territory back. Saladin, even seen as a conquering enemy, was revered by European courts for his grace, kindness and intelligence. They regarded him as a Knight. In actuality, he embodied more of the gentle and honorable traits of a Knight than most of the European gentry sent off to rid the world of non-Christians.
In the Reverse Crusades, our Saladin is not a "who", but a "what". Our Saladin must be the idea that all men and women were created equal and free.
We need to wage both war and peace at the same time. Both require strength of will, both require passion and understanding. Both require love. And both require that we understand that some people just need their chops busted AND some people need to be protected.
The Clash of Civizations has not occurred yet, but it is coming. It.is.coming.
Don't let that sonofabitch Osama win.