If the Terrorists Misinterpret Islam ...
The Left took a similar stance, if only initially -- they withheld judgment on the religion of the attackers but then chose to blame Western policy towards Islamic lands for motivating the terrorists. Subjective is not a descriptive enough word for this. Essentially, that was the end of the Left's investigation -- which, stunningly, is exactly what Leftism required.
Technically, the Left preaches that the most enlightened human behavior is to withhold judgment in favor of first concluding a thorough self-examination. But that self-examination process -- the perfecting of America and the West prior to judging another culture -- can never conclude. There will always be a poor decision, a misguided decision, or a failed policy enacted by democratically elected officials. A Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam.
Our country is run by a marketplace of ideas. Some will win support and be proven right and some will win support and be proven wrong. Representatives will be voted in and out, the future will always remain unknown, and our leaders will continually take risks with our direction. So withholding judgment in favor of a thorough self-examination becomes a fraud, a half-measure. It becomes a permanently withheld judgment, which is no approach at all. Just a worthless, subjective, illogical philosophy of government, a perennial invocation of "this sentence is false," to the point that a definable Leftist international policy does not, in fact, exist.
The non-Left liberals? Those with any connection to the beliefs of the classical liberal have spent the past decade asking the questions they are required to ask:
- Do societies ever turn to terroristic, totalitarian behavior solely because of outside oppression, or do the movements arise from within?
- Is Islam as it is practiced by terrorists and aggressive Islamic countries a new phenomenon? Or does it predate contact with the West?
- Is it possible for one religion/culture to be more worthwhile to humanity as a whole than another?
- Is it racist to think Islam is inherently violent?
These questions researched, the next step was to thoroughly examine the Koran, the Hadith, and the Sira, and the accepted interpretations of such by Islamic scholars and leaders.
- Quite simply, what was Mohammad’s life like? How does it compare, objectively, to other prominent religious figures? How did subsequent Islamic leaders interpret Mohammad’s teachings, and -- most importantly -- how did they act in response? If Islam as interpreted by the terrorists is not true Islam, what is the strain of moderate Islam called? Who are its leaders and its followers? What is their literature? Where is it practiced?
Almost eight years following 9/11, eight years to address these questions, and I am hard-pressed to find any sort of sizable Leftist group of voters who know a bloody thing about the contents of the Koran.
The classical liberals? We’ve done what was required of us in the name of defending liberty. Feel free to challenge our bulletproofed conclusion, but we promise your failure:
If the terrorists misinterpret Islam, then so does Mohammad.
The evidence concerning Islam is as much logic and reason as any government can ever hope to get regarding an international crisis. As an Islamic leader chases the bomb, we do not intend to wait for the illiberal, unreasoned, irrational half-thinkers of the left to simply ask a proper question.
Because they never will.