Suppose, for the sake of argument, you share the goal of Osama bin Laden and his surviving lieutenants: In other words, you desire to see the world dominated by a new caliphate. Is it really that helpful to have the livelier lads flying planes into skyscrapers?
As we saw a decade ago, even the most somnolent superpower will feel obliged to respond, and your great warrior sheikh will find himself scuttling over the mountains to hole up in a succession of cramped malodorous “safe houses” with too many child brides, unable to place a phone call or do anything except issue periodic cassette monologues of warmed-over Michael Moore talking points. And one day, eventually, however long it takes, you’re watching infidel porn on your grainy 14″ TV and the door gets kicked in and Seal Team Six are ready for your close-up before you’ve had a chance to dunk your beard in knock-off Grecian Formula.
That sort of counter-jihad America does well.
On every other front, it does incredibly badly. So, after a decade in Afghanistan, the strategists at the Pentagon are still hoping to win the “hearts and minds” of warlords, pederasts, and heroin dealers by using the fraudulent touchy-feely memoir Three Cups of Tea. It’s ten years since a mass-terror attack on U.S. soil, but we’ll be taking our shoes off and much else at the airport until the end of time for the amusement of bloated bureaucracies that have yet to catch a single terrorist but have somehow managed to persuade a freeborn people that the right of minor officials to fondle your scrotum without probable cause is vital to national “security.” And that making a wheelchair-bound Florida nonagenarian dying of leukemia remove her adult diaper while a Yemeni madrassah alumnus on a terrorist watch list is allowed to board the plane and attempt to light his crotch over Detroit sends the important message to the world that America is being “true to its values.”
With defense like this, who needs enemies? The designation of the “war on terror” was the first equivocation, and one that hobbled its strategists: For, in the absence of “terror,” where was the “war”? As I note in my new book, over the course of the decade, the more alert the security state was to shoe-bombers, panty-bombers, implant-bombers, and suppository-bombers, the more indulgent it grew of any Islamic initiative that stopped short of self-detonation. What, after all, is al-Qaeda’s end game? They want the West to live under Islamic law. Hey, take a number and get in line. So does Imam Rauf, the Ground Zero Mosque guy, who was in Scotland the other day at a “Festival of Spirituality and Peace” arguing that sharia should be incorporated into U.K. and U.S. law. He’s such a “moderate Muslim” that he’s subsidized with your tax dollars: The State Department bought thousands of copies of his unreadable book to distribute at U.S.-embassy events throughout the Middle East, and they paid for his book tour, which they’ve never offered to do for me. Flying Imam Rauf to the United Arab Emirates to talk to other imams apparently comes under State’s “multifaith outreach” program. Wait a minute: He’s an imam, they’re imams. Where’s the multifaith? If we have to have taxpayer-funded outreach, why can’t we send ’em Jackie Mason, or that gay bishop the Episcopalians are hot for?
But don’t worry, he’s “moderate.” Nanny Bloomberg went to the Statue of Liberty to tell the ghastly plebs he has the misfortune to rule to shut up about Imam Rauf’s mosque. “To cave to popular sentiment,” he thundered, “would be to hand a victory to the terrorists.” If we don’t build a mosque at Ground Zero, then the terrorists will have won!
In Edinburgh, Imam Rauf was at pains to reassure the crowd that his plans for sharia-compliant common law wouldn’t involve any stoning and whatnot. On the other hand, on page 58 of his 2000 book Islam: A Sacred Law, he says that with sharia you can’t pick and choose: It’s the set menu, or else. So Imam Rauf largely shares al-Qaeda’s goal. But why hold that against him? So does the Archbishop of Canterbury, who’s argued for the incorporation of sharia into British law. And so does Piet Hein Donner, the Dutch cabinet minister who said he would have no problem with sharia if a majority of people voted for it. And, even if they don’t, the French de facto acceptance of polygamy in les banlieues, and the British Department of Pensions’ de jure recognition of polygamy for the purposes of widows’ benefits, and the American Academy of Pediatrics’ proposal that its members meet female genital mutilation halfway by offering to perform a “ritual nick” on Muslim girls, all suggest that, as long as you mothball your Semtex belt and don’t rush the cockpit, the Western world will concede almost anything in order to demonstrate its multiculti bona fides.
A few months ago, I walked at sunset from downtown Malmö to Rosengard. The gaps between Nordic blondes grew longer and the gaps between fiercely bearded young men grew shorter, and finally I was in the heart of Islamic Sweden. No blondes in sight. All the women were covered, including those who’d never been so back in their native lands: That’s to say, they adopted, perforce, the veil only when they moved to Sweden. Sweden! Land of arthouse erotica: I Am Curious (Yellow). These days, they’re yellow, and not so curious. Like the Israelis in Gaza, they’re trading land for peace, and unlikely to retain much of either.
No one flew a plane into any buildings in Rosengard. No one had to. Islam’s good cop proved cannier than its bad: The losers holed up in the caves want to nuke us. The shrewder Islamic imperialists want to own us. Ten years on, stealth jihad is proving a better bet.
– Mr. Steyn blogs at SteynOnline. (www.steynonline.com).