Since the president unveiled the so-called Bush Doctrine--the plan to promote liberty throughout the Arab world--innumerable "progressives" have routinely asserted that there's no evidence Muslims want liberty and, indeed, that Islam is incompatible with democracy. If that's true, it's a problem not for the Middle East today but for Europe the day after tomorrow. According to a poll taken in 2004, over 60% of British Muslims want to live under Shariah--in the United Kingdom. If a population "at odds with the modern world" is the fastest-breeding group on the planet--if there are more Muslim nations, more fundamentalist Muslims within those nations, more and more Muslims within non-Muslim nations, and more and more Muslims represented in more and more transnational institutions--how safe a bet is the survival of the "modern world"?Perhaps safer than he thinks. Gerard Van der Leun reckons that a
second series of attacks on America at the level of 9/11 or greater will not bring out more B-52s. They are already out. A second series will bring out the one arm of America's war machine that has rarely been asked about, written about, or even mentioned in passing since September, 2001; the ballistic missile submarines. . . .But less terrible and terrorizing than the alternative.
Under the right circumstances, human beings are capable of anything. . . . Should Europe feel the threat of Islam within its borders too keenly it is not difficult to envision it returning to the up close and personal techniques of genocide it perfected in the last century. Europe is very, very good at police states, purges, death camps, massacres and Gulags. Although it may look to be weak and appeasing, Europe's final solution skill set is never stored very far away.
Should the United States come to feel threatened in a similar way, its preferred technique (also perfected in the last century) is remote genocide. . . . I have no doubt that, if we feel for any reason threatened enough, we will indeed come to the day when the unthinkable becomes doable.
This is why I still deeply believe that the current effort in Iraq and the Middle East to counter and expunge Islamic terrorism and turn Islam from the road it is on towards one of reformation and assimilation is the best path that can be taken at this time. Indeed . . . this shoot-the-moon, Hail Mary of a foreign policy in Iraq is not just a policy to make America safer at home. It is the only thing that stands between Islam and its own destruction.
Sometime shortly after 9/11 in an online forum I frequented then, an exasperated idealist proclaimed that "After all, you can't kill a billion Muslims." Like so many others he spoke from somewhere outside History. History, especially the world's most recent history, shows us all that, "Yes, if you really want to, you can."
And that is the most terrible and terrorizing thought of the 21st century.