“The path of fear – isolationism and protectionism, retreat and retrenchment – appeals to those who find our challenges too great and fail to see our opportunities. Yet history teaches that every time American leaders have taken this path, the challenges have only increased and the missed opportunities have left future generations less secure.”
- President George W. Bush, The National Security Strategy of the United States, March 16 2006
In Part 1 I observed that Islam is divided against itself, a contention which was not met with broad agreement. Comments from the readers included strong doubt that Islam is peaceful or that the majority of Muslims are peaceable. There was also a strong opinion that the West is going to be attacked by an Islamic war of conquest, a point with which I actually agree. But the misconceptions about Islam and about the Jihadists must be corrected, or we will be doing the villains’ work for them.
According to the Terrorism Knowledge Base, since the September 11th attacks 45.6% of all terrorist attacks have happened in the Middle East and 57.7% of all fatalities from such attacks. North America has only received 0.5% of the attacks and 0.04% of the fatalities. Even Western Europe has only suffered 10.6% of the attacks, and only 1.4% of the fatalities. Only 2.17% of terrorist attacks have been against military targets in that time, while 2.53% of the attacks have been terrorists attacking other terrorist groups. 17.69% of the attacks have been attempts to destabilize governments, with 12.27% against private businesses, 7.34% against police and 6.02% against transportation, like buses and trains.
What this means in plain English, is that the terrorists are attacking Arabs more often than Americans, and civilians much more often than police. The terrorists are trying to destabilize Iraq and Lebanon and Egypt, far more than they are doing anything in France or England or Spain, no matter what we see on TV. The terrorists are worried about the Iraqi Army and Police, and about regular people. One must consider the import of that fact.
There are many different kinds of Muslims. This should have been obvious simply from the fact that there are roughly 1.4 Billion practicing Muslims in the world; it is ridiculous to believe that so many people would agree to the same interpretation of a faith, especially since it should be patently obvious that with about thirteen thousand acts of terrorism since September 11, 2001, the pace per person would appear to be rather pale if the average Muslim was the blood-thirsty lout so often believed. In fact, it can be said with great confidence that Muslims in Afghanistan, most of Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates are essentially non-violent. Yes, even Saudi Arabia with some of the worst groups recruiting there – the reader might consider that such groups always end up leaving Saudi Arabia, because the government and the people have no love for the likes of Al-Jihad and Hezbollah.
Looking at it another way, it should be understood that one reason the Jihadists are so violent, is that they lack a legitimate means by which to claim power. I had compared Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler before, for good reason; like the fascists of Hitler’s day, the Jihadists understand that they are a minority, so they gain what they gain through the system and then attack and kill anyone who presents a challenge to them. If you stop and think about it, there is no reason for the Jihadists to march and riot as they do, except that they do not enjoy majority support in those nations where they do these things. It is necessary for them to intimidate and attack their opponents, precisely because they are opposed.
Besides the Jihadists, there are Muslims which focus on business. The DP World ports deal was actually a good thing for the United States if Congress had bothered to look through the matter before pitching a hissy fit, because that company represented a significant commitment to improved commerce between the U.A.E. and the United States, which would have given the United States more influence in the U.A.E. while lowering not even one security measure. Other Arab companies have shown interest in cooperation with the United States, not least because a contract with a company like Haliburton is a win-win for them; profits in their pockets and a stronger development for their countries’ Infrastructure. There are some Muslims who focus on their family and country. Ever wonder why Arab families send their kids to college in the United States? It’s not just the quality education (Yale and Harvard are sorry exceptions) or an abundance of good Madressas here, but the open culture and virtues of Democracy. There are Muslims who love their country and are willing to defend it against the likes of the Jihadists. For instance, consider the police forces in Iraq. The job is high-risk and low-stability, yet the numbers are growing and a number of Iraq cities have been able to lower the necessary troop levels because the police are on the job. Just whom do you think the Jihadists in Baghdad and Kirkuk have been targeting, and why? The answer is that the Jihadists are a distinct minority, but their ruthless violence is a force multiplier.
(to be continued)