The Question of Islam & The Fire Ants of Allah

The "Fire Ants of Allah" is not Disney's latest release in Saudi Arabia. No, it is the title of an extraordinarily good post at Winds of Change called The Fire Ants of Allah and Second-Order Effects. More and more people seem to be asking the question, what the hell are we doing in this war? Why are all our "moderate Muslim allies" so, well, immoderate? This is a critical question. A FrontPage Symposium on Islam is a good jumping off point on the matter. Victor Hanson asks if the problem is Muslim terror, well, what does that mean? The reason why we don't ask if Islam is the problem, I think, is that the answer would lead us into a place too scary for most people to go.

The original post at Winds of War that motivated the Fire Ants entry breaks down two world views pretty well.

We all do see the enemy for who he is and we read his own words and take them at their face value. Some of us recognize this as a Long War for Civilization, and think the obvious disparity in firepower and national economies masks a vulnerability in the West. The people we are fighting say certain things very clearly: we are infidels who have offended their religion, they are at war with us, and they want us to die. They may not have an air force, but they have other weapons, more intangible, perhaps more powerful. And we have weak spots. We could be brought down hard by a combination of lack of will and a few hard, well-timed terrorist strikes with the right volume.

To some of us, on the other hand, the Islamists are simply not a long-term threat worth the name of "enemy" or worth a serious reordering of American rights and priorities. They talk nasty and hurt when they can, but they should be taken no more seriously than a 5-year-old in a temper tantrum. 9/11 was something of a one-off, a combination of a few extraordinary individuals and good luck based on our lack of vigilance. A little more vigilance on our part will be sufficient to prevent a repeat performance. To involve American resources and lives in a major Middle Eastern "war" against this, with the inevitable bungles and unforeseen consequences, is doing more harm than good.

I am not trying to parody that view, but I perhaps don't capture it very well. I'm leaving out the figure of Bush, on both sides, because ultimately he doesn't matter. People who put him at the center of everything lose sight of the long-term picture.

The main difference among Americans today is that some of us believe the United States is at war, a dangerous war against a desperate enemy.

And other people don't believe that's true at all.

To the non-believers, the people who are waging war look insanely violent, paranoid, and unstable. To the people at war, it takes great mental effort to look at those who don't believe it and not see appeasers and useful idiots, if not outright traitors.

This is basically the problem I run into when I start discussing the question with my friends. To most of them, I sound gobsmockingly insane. To me, they sound like the worst kinds of fools. But if it's true -- if Islam is the problem, and the problem is of civilizational import -- then who would want to believe it?


Anonymous wom said...

It's not about Islam, it's about self-defense. It's a biological instinct in all of us.

Do you truly believe that a country could invade a sovereign one without expecting retaliation from the invaded? Apparently Rumsfeld and Bush did and look at the situation they put the coalition in. Before the war began, a few of my teachers and I sat down to discuss what will happen there. What we came up with was the exact scenario that is going on there today.

Could it be that a few civilians having a chat are more aware of the global situation than those who are supposed to know?

6:05 AM  

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