Friday, July 8, 2005

Friedman Gets It

Proving that the liberal world is not bereft of thinkers, Tom Friedman writes this morning of a "Muslim Problem". What Friedman gets, that Muslim moderates, assuming they really exist, need to get pronto is that they are at the precipice.

Citizens of the west up until this moment have, in my view, been remarkably restrained. 9/11, 3/11, and now 7/7 have brought unprecedented levels of terrorist created devastation on peaceful societies, and there is been virtually no vigilante attacks on Muslim citizens in these countries. Even more remarkable, the citizens have gone out of their way to remind each other that attacks on innocent Muslims, assuming they exist, would be wrong and intolerable. This restraint by the victims, has not been equaled by moderates in the Muslim world, assuming.......oh, you get the idea. At some point, and I think that point is soon, people are going to realize that the only way to win this thing, is to hit Muslims in their home countries, or proxy countries (Iraq), and root out the agents already in place in our own countries.

We've already taken the war to the middle east. Some may argue that Iraq was the wrong target, but it was the one our government chose and we have no choice now but to win. Yet, the war at home remains a largely amateurish endeavor, and to be fully successful we must have the full cooperation of those Muslims who claim the terrorists don't represent the "true Islam". Fair enough, but as the saying goes, "what have you done for us lately folks?" Precious little seems to be the answer. Friedman is good on this point:

So this is a critical moment. We must do all we can to limit the civilizational fallout from this bombing. But this is not going to be easy. Why? Because unlike after 9/11, there is no obvious, easy target to retaliate against for bombings like those in London. There are no obvious terrorist headquarters and training camps in Afghanistan that we can hit with cruise missiles. The Al Qaeda threat has metastasized and become franchised. It is no longer vertical, something that we can punch in the face. It is now horizontal, flat and widely distributed, operating through the Internet and tiny cells.

Because there is no obvious target to retaliate against, and because there are not enough police to police every opening in an open society, either the Muslim world begins to really restrain, inhibit and denounce its own extremists - if it turns out that they are behind the London bombings - or the West is going to do it for them. And the West will do it in a rough, crude way - by simply shutting them out, denying them visas and making every Muslim in its midst guilty until proven innocent.

So as President Bush said, "You're either with us or against us". It is past time for the Muslims in our countries to choose, and based on that point we will act accordingly. To remain silent, is to choose to be against the West. We can act on that too.

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