If you are reading this blog, you likely keep up with international affairs.
Think, then, of the last time you checked your Twitter feed and did not read of an Islamist-led attack on civilians. Islamist Palestinians (members of Hamas) target Israelis going about their daily business with cars and knives (not to mention rockets), to cite one example. Islamist Nigerians (members of Boko Haram) abduct, rape, and murder girls who dare go to school, to cite a second. (#BringBackOurGirls sound familiar?) Members of the Islamic State behead regularly journalists and other hostages. This is to say nothing of their widespread destruction of ancient churches around the Middle East. Examples three and four.
Hardly a day passes, in short, when we are not confronted with news of a terror act committed by Muslims on behalf of Islam.
Yet, despite this, our response has been lethargic, unfocused, and inadequate.
America, whose diplomatic reach is deep and military strength is unmatched, is scared, remarkably, to identify its enemy by using the phrase “Islamic terror/radicalism,” likely because it believes doing so would wound Muslims emotionally.
These are matters of life and death, war and peace. The only Muslims whose “feelings we would hurt” by identifying properly our enemy are precisely those whose feelings we should be hurting. If we are to believe most Muslims are decent, and I do, this should not be a problem.
There’s more. The American president believes that avoiding such terminology will mollify those who mean to do us harm.
Consider this, however: There is nothing civilized nations can do, or abstain from doing, to make evil actors cease committing evil acts.
This is because they are evil.
Let’s take France as just one, very recent, example. Mere days before Paris came under siege by Islamists just weeks ago, it supported what was largely characterized as a “pro-Palestinian” (I would argue otherwise) resolution put forth at a United Nations Security Council meeting. France did this, presumably, believing that it would, as a result, be perceived as an ally across the Muslim world.
Such a belief was foolish and one that should have been dismissed immediately given France’s own recent history. In fact, we have a term for this type of strategy: Appeasement. Not only does it not thwart evil actors, it emboldens them.
The fact is that those who brought Paris to its knees, and the thousands around the globe who marched in support of them, did not, do not, and will not see the West as anything other than an area to conquer through violence on behalf of Allah.
This is the truth. I find it as saddening as you do, but it is so. We mustn’t engage the world as we wish it were. We must engage it as it is.
Until America recognizes that it cannot crush an enemy it has yet to define, it will continue to enable a force so brutal that it will have to hang its head in shame when scrutinizing its role in fighting it years later. The cost of a great nation behaving like a weak one is high.
Today—today—we commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz. No edifice in the world in its entirety symbolizes evil the way it does. Now is a time for self-reflection, for imagining what the future can look like through the prism of the past.
That America confronted Nazism at all is a blessing. That it confronted it as late as it did, despite mounting evidence that a genuinely evil force was gaining power, is a national disgrace.
Let us learn from our mistakes. To do so is the mark of excellence. Let us act far more intelligently and expeditiously when combating what is obviously a specifically Islamist threat. And let us do this, finally, secure in the knowledge that we are defending what is good and right.