The Corner

The Challenge Ahead

This summarizes a very widely held conviction among readers. From a reader:

Hi Jonah,

I served a quarter century in the AF (retired colonel) and a quarter century in the pages of National Review.  Here’s what I think.

I believe good Democrats and good Republicans both believed this war was going to end if their party won on election day.  The Dems believed they’d end the war through withdrawal; the GOPers believed they’d end it through victory.  They’re both wrong.  This war is going to go on for a long, long time.

It seems to me that Americans believe wars end when we say they end.  Whether we win (WWII), lose (Vietnam), or draw (Korea), our wars have ended when we said they ended.  The defeated Germans, victorious North Vietnamese, or stalemated North Koreans never came after America when hostilities ended. But the jihadists are coming, no matter what happens in Iraq.  Make no mistake.

I was 21, and just about to start a 27-year relationship with the pages of NR, when the Iranian hostage crisis happened.  I remember all the pronouncements from US leaders that they, and the American people, would have to get acquainted with the Quran to understand what all this revolutionary stuff was about.  Now, all these years, I find that virtually no one in America has read the Quran or other holy books on the life of Mahommad.  They have no idea that what we’re seeing on TV–the Army of God (Hezbollah) attacks Israel; the regular practice of beheading; the spread of Sharia law; the brutalization of women; and the worldwide practice of actual jihad, not spiritual jihad, springs directly from those sacred texts, word for word.

I invite you to try a test with friends and family.  I’ve done this with about 15 people in the last couple of weeks.  Ask them to put the following three names in history, in the order in which they appeared:  Jesus, Mohammad, Moses.  I have been shocked at how many put Mohammad before Jesus, and even before Moses.  I think the reason this happens is because Muslim countries look so much older on television!  Now how could Americans understand Jihad, the Crusades, the relationship between the Bible and the Quran, or any thing they might hear that the Quran directs, without even understanding the historical sequence of the prophets?

With the Democrat victory, I hear a sigh of relief across the country that now we can bring this whole thing to a close.  It is an illusion.  Until we get into the animating texts of Islam, and do so publicly, loudly, and consistently, we will invite more violence, and abet the silence of moderate Muslims of goodwill around the world. 

I believe the leadership of this debate is the most urgent task to ever face the brave staff of National Review.  You already led the debate on Communism, but then you remember Communism had few real adherents in Communist countries.  Radical Islam has tens of millions of true believers.  This will be harder. 

All the best,


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