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McCain solid as a rock on Jihad

I think my anti-jihad credentials are pretty solid but some perspective before I launch at my own team. We conducted counter-insurgency operations against Islamic extremists, that I participated in, 20 years ago. I knew they were our main growing enemy and I have spent a goodly chunk of my adult life studying and opposing their efforts. It is a Long War in the truest sense of the word and while we may fight and kill the terrorists attacking the free world today we must win by convincing the following generations that death for Allah is not the path to Paradise.

John McCain is getting all kinds of unwarranted abuse over what is likely the most common sense statement about our war on them that I have heard.

"In this struggle, scholarships will be far more important than smart bombs.

Absolutely, positively, 100% correct sir. The fact that he is taking shots from all kinds of folks who should know better is disturbing. Mark Steyn, whose book America Alone details the threat we face beautifully, manages to completely misconstrues the Senator's point and demagogues him for pointing out the patently obvious.

Really? Even as a theoretical proposition, trusting the average American college education (even if one does not draw Sami el-Arian or Ward Churchill as one's mentor) to woo young Muslims to the virtues of the Great Satan would be something of a long shot. But it isn't even theoretical anymore.

There's plenty of evidence out there that the most extreme "extremists" are those who've been most exposed to the west - and western education: from Osama bin Laden (summer school at Oxford, punting on the Thames) and Mohammed Atta (Hamburg University urban planning student) to the London School of Economics graduate responsible for the beheading of Daniel Pearl. The idea that handing out college scholarships to young Saudi males and getting them hooked on Starbucks and car-chase movies will make this stuff go away is ridiculous - and unworthy of a serious presidential candidate.

That is a ridiculous characterization of the statement McCain made and more importantly the types of actions that will lead us to success in combating the jihadists. Mr. Steyn's book was an important voice in raising awareness of the ideological and demographic war we are engaged in. What it doesn't have is any prescription for what ails us, and for him to dismiss Sen. McCain's entirely accurate assessment is decidedly unhelpful. Unless Steyn thinks we should march on Mecca and take down Islam, we need a strategy that tackles the problem not the symptom. Terrorists and their carnage are the tactics of the global jihad, and they should be combated directly with accurate intel and decisive lethality. But we must place the larger emphasis on fighting and winning the war on ideas.

The normally on-target Michelle Malkin misses by a mile calling his statement "cringe-worthy.

John McCain is supposed to be the presidential candidate best equipped to tackle what he calls “the transcendent challenge of our time: the threat of radical Islamic terrorism.” His speech yesterday to the LA World Affairs Council demonstrates, however, that McCain doesn’t get it.

Memo to the McCain camp: Go to the dunce corner, read “How Khalid learned his ABCs,” and take that stupid scholarships/smart bombs soundbite out of your boss’s speeches.

People snap our of it and don't fight extremism with extremism. McCain was not suggesting conducting frat rushes and keg parties for budding terrorists. He was pointing out that you must win the minds of the next generation and the information war to stop the threat from growing and eventually defeat it. We defeated the active threat of the Nazi Blitzkrieg with bombs and bullets, but then the Marshall Plan rebuilt their country and showed them that America was a friend to those who stand for democracy and freedom. The same thing made Japan a solid ally and a prosperous nation.

When some of the smartest minds and best pundits on the right attack a candidate with impeccable credentials regarding the War on Terror we have a problem. When they do so with arguments that defy logic, they only help the left and those candidates whose policies on jihad are what is actually cringe-worthy.