"Herein lies the greatest, most dangerous delusion we have been indulging for years now: everything our enemy does is merely a reaction to what we do. The enemy has no motives of his own, no goods or ends he is pursuing that may be very different from ours. He may think he does, and set those goods and ends out with clarity and force, and link them to the traditions of his faith, and be seconded in his opinion by millions of his co-religionists and the theologians of his faith, but they are all deluded. It’s not about Islam and Allah, it’s about Israel, oil, voting, cartoons, unemployment, American television, globalization, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, the occupation of Iraq–– any and every material or psychological cause other than the one spiritual cause the enemy keeps telling us over and over guides and justifies his actions and has guided and justified the wars of Islam for fourteen centuries.
This indeed is an “appalling” misunderstanding of the enemy. As long as we indulge this reduction of the jihadist to our own assumptions; as long as we show by our actions that we are not really sure that the ends we pursue are just and right, right enough to do things at times we’d rather not; as long as we cling to “dangerous delusions” about human nature and the primacy of the material over the spiritual, we will continue to lose the war. For our enemy has none of our hesitation, none of our doubt, none of our fear of the world’s disapproval. He knows why he kills and dies. What will it take to teach us what we should kill and die for?"
I often read things which make me envy the writers skill, but no one as often as Victor Davis Hanson. This article is a superb summation of what most people, especially the socialist and Guardian-reading mass of the population, don't get about this war. They can't think outside the box, to borrow a ghastly phrase from the marketing world. Its much easier for the Israelis, the Serbs and the Georgians to get a direct grip on this current world situation than it is for people in the US and Britain. For the latter, this stuff was all dusty history and a few crazed rag-heads in Iran until Sep. 11, 2001. Islam was off the map, the failed religion of people who just didn't matter. Now it does matter because they have declared war by any and all means, chemical, biological or nuclear, on non-believers. And people are going to have to get over their deeply and lovingly held belief that these people aren't really serious. They can't be THAT agitated over religion, surely? But they are folks, and they are willing to lop off heads, machinegun schoolgirls and blow up airliners full of happy holidaymakers until we collectively cry uncle.