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Keep Your Enemies Closer

A reader of National Review’s The Corner undertakes—he doesn’t say this explicitly, but I take it to be the natural result of his argument—that the war against Islamist terrorism will never be won until Americans familiarize themselves with the creed’s founding documents.

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’m not certain that’s so, chiefly because most of our wars have been won while the median American was in the dark about the enemy’s especial beliefs and motivations. We understand their grand designs and core beliefs, of course. But the soldiers who defeated Hirohito never read his writs. And likewise, the few defeats Americans have suffered were not inflicted by an opponent who understood us especially well. They were inflicted by opponents who bested us in asymmetrical warfare.

That said, the reader is right that Islamism is not going away, and it will be to our advantage to air the hateful primary documents which foment it. At the least, that might get Europeans and the Left off the silly kick that American is simply engaged in an anti-Muslim crusade.


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