May 29, 2002

YOU DON’T TUG ON SUPERMAN’S CAPE: Jonah Goldberg reflects on what would happen if the Islamowackos who want an all-out holy war with America got their wishes:

It would be one thing if this relatively small band of fanatics were murdering people in pursuit of something achievable. You know, if their goal were simply to get McDonald’s out of Cairo or our airbases out of the Gulf. But, if you take them at their word, their ultimate goal is to bring about the total destruction of democracy, America, and the Christian and Jewish faiths. As a practical matter, to believe that this can be achieved through an all-out battle between our team and theirs is like believing war will make squares into circles and ducks will crap plutonium.

This doesn’t mean these daft murderers aren’t dangerous. They are. But they are tactically dangerous. Strategically, they’re cuckoo for Coca Puffs. They can blow up things and kill people. But their ultimate goal, victorious jihad against the “infidels,” is no more likely to happen than the Hale-Boppers were likely to get picked up by an intergalactic shuttle bus. So think about this the next time you hear some knee-jerk pundit exclaim that if we do X or Y we will give Osama bin Laden or the Islamo-fascists “exactly what they want.” What they want isn’t going to happen. Period. If they even get close to what they wish for, they will be very, very sorry.

Goldberg can make this kind of thing sound funny — and, looked at the right way, it sort of is. But in fact, I don’t want to see the mass slaughter of Muslims that would be the only result of something close to an all-out war between Islam and America. That’s why I don’t believe in encouraging the wishful-thinkers and the outright deluded by acting weak. It can only lead to worse things down the line.