Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What We Can't Not Know

George Weigel

The Problem Isn't Generic "Religious Extremism"

Six year after 9/11, we certainly should have learned that the threat that made itself lethally clear that day was not generic -- "religious extremism" -- but very specific: global jihadism.
Nor ought we think that what we "say to" the jihadists will have much of a soothing effect on their passions, as if they were overwrought teenagers and we were high-school guidance counselors armed with reassuring words and a prescription for Prozac.
Indeed, I suspect that what we say to each other, as Americans, is much more important on this anniversary than what we say to the jihadists. And what we ought to be telling each other today, on 9/11+6, is what we cannot not know.
We can't not know the identity of the enemy -- global jihadism -- and what that enemy believes. That is, we can't not know that global jihadism teaches that it is the duty of every Muslim to use any means available to advance the prospects of a world that acknowledges the sovereignty of Allah over all aspects of life and that lives under Shari'a law. (That the vast majority of the world's Muslims do not hold this view is both true and irrelevant.)
We can't not know that the jihadists read the history of the past 1,350 years through the prism of their theological convictions, not through the lens of Westrern progressivist concepts of how-things-will-turn-out.
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More importantly than all of George's Can't Not Knows, is that we can't not know that the major Arab nations allowed, funded and fostered this messianic Islamic factionalism as a quid pro quo for their dictatorship.
Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iran all support, finance and enable madrasahs (extremist Islamic schools) in what was to have been a steam-valve of sorts to relieve the pressures of the have-not Muslims within their countries. These schools groomed and trained jihadists and their parent cultures left them to their own devices rather than face the fact of growing inequalities.
We will turn our eye if you will turn your wrath, was the deal and the deal has come undone. As a result, Egypt and Saudi Arabia are terrified of what may be unleashed by the disaster in Iraq.
We can't not know that this is true and still understand what is going on in the Muslim world.
Muslim anger at America is greatly misunderstood. That anger is more at our support of both Israel and the Saudi Princes, arms shipments that allow those with their feet on Muslim necks a more powerful stance and our failure to mediate when the power to intercede is ours and ours alone.
It is not the infidel they fight. Their world has always been outnumbered by infidels. It is the failure of the infidel to mediate that is the truth we can't not know.

* For more in-depth articles by Jim on Middle East, check out Opinion-Columns.com