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Rectification of Names

That is not to say that we were wrong to support the establishment of the state of Israel, but simply to point out that we must recognize that in so doing, we reawakened not just ancient resentments, but ancient desires of world domination by those who adhere most faithfully to their holy book.

Note that in the story, this reality remains unrecognized by the same unnamed “high official”:

“Now that we have killed most of al Qaida,” the source said, “now that people have come to see legitimate means of expression, people who once might have gone into al Qaida see an opportunity for a legitimate Islamism.”

Emphasis mine. A “legitimate” Islamism.

What in the world does that mean? Does the high official imagine that “Islamism” (the belief that Islam should be the dominant force in the world, that there is no separation between mosque and state, that Sharia law should prevail everywhere, that only the Dar al-Islam is the house of peace and that all other regions are Dar al-Harb, the House of War) was just a “perversion” of bin Laden’s, and that now that he’s dead, the Islamists will sing Kumbaya with us? Does the high official think that there are no longer any plots to kill any more Israelis or Americans, or that there are no sleeper cells in America, or if that they got their hands on devastating chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons, that there would be any shortage of people in the world, or even in America, who would be willing to use them in the furtherance of their religious beliefs?

It would be wonderful it it were true, but both history and facts on the ground throughout the Islamic world indicate otherwise.

Obviously, it is unpleasant to contemplate the reality that we moved on from defeating one totalitarian ideology almost seven decades ago -- Nazism -- to having to defeat another one two decades ago -- communism -- and now have to confront a third (and the oldest one in the book )that we’ve been fighting on and off for thirteen centuries. It is particularly unpleasant when we realize that we defeated Nazism not just by killing Hitler (in fact, we didn’t know for many months whether he was dead or not), but by executing many of his henchman, and by forcibly converting his German followers away from Nazism, just as we forcibly converted the Japanese people away from the militaristic fascism that led them into attacking us. But the fact that such a contemplation is unpleasant, or that a moral solution to it is not obvious, doesn’t make the necessity for it go away.

As Confucius said, “…if language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success.” Calling things by their right names is the first step.