In the classic Disney film Pinocchio, Jiminy Cricket sang:
When you wish upon a star Makes no difference who you are. Anything your heart desires Will come to you.
It’s a comforting sentiment in a children’s movie. But most adults understand that we don’t get something in life merely by wishing that it were so. Wishing upon a star is a recipe for personal disappointment. In matters of national security, it’s potentially disastrous.
Unfortunately, President Obama seems to have named Jiminy Cricket as one of his key advisers. Despite a massive and growing body of evidence, the administration has chosen to ignore the threat posed by radical Islam, hoping against hope that the religion of Muhammad plays no role in the current war—or that, if it does, ignoring the link will make it go away.
The results would be almost comical if they weren’t so dangerous. Recently, Attorney General Eric Holder was testifying about the three recent terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, all perpetrated by Muslims. In each case the administration initially downplayed Islam as a motivating force but was subsequently proved wrong. Here is Holder’s exchange with Rep. Lamar Smith before the House Judiciary Committee:
Smith: “In the case of all three attempts in the last year...one of which was successful, those individuals have had ties to radical Islam. Do you feel that these individuals might have been incited to take the actions that they did because of radical Islam?”
Holder: “Because of...?”
Smith: “Radical Islam.”
Holder: “There are a variety of reasons why I think people have taken these actions. I think you have to look at each individual case.”
Smith: “Yes, but radical Islam could have been one of the reasons?”
Holder: “There are a variety of reasons why people...”
Smith: “But was radical Islam one of them?”
Holder: “There are a variety of reasons why people do things. Some of them are potentially religious.”
Lest anyone think that Holder’s reluctance to state the obvious was an anomaly, read the Obama administration’s just-released National Security Strategy, which carefully omits the words “radical Islam.” The document agrees that we are at war with al-Qaeda, but it is mum about the jihadist ideology animating this and other Muslim terrorist groups.
Our neighbor to the north appears to suffer from a similar reticence. The leader of Canada’s intelligence service recently testified to the House of Commons, pundit Mark Steyn reports, “about hundreds of ‘second- or third-generation Canadians’ who are ‘relatively well integrated’ ‘economically and socially’ but who have become so ‘very, very disenchanted’ with ‘the way we want to structure our society’ that they have developed ‘strong links to homelands’ that are in distress.’ Homelands such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia.” Again, no word about Islamist jihadism that animates so many in these Muslim states.
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs states in a new report that American diplomatic efforts must better take into account the religious beliefs and motives of people and nations. “Despite a world abuzz with religious fervor,” the study says, “the U.S. government has been slow to respond effectively to situations where religion plays a global role.” The council report warns that an “uncompromising Western secularism” makes the danger of religious extremism more likely.
This secularism produces a willful blindness that refuses to see the danger right in front of us. Many Western thinkers believed that by now we would be well on our way to a high-tech secular paradise where religion, if it existed at all, would be a docile, minority viewpoint whose main characteristic would be its irrelevance.
“The world’s religious rivals are clearly related,” Prothero says, “but they are more like second cousins than identical twins. They do not teach the same doctrines. They do not perform the same rituals. And they do not share the same goals.”
Indeed they do not. For Christianity, he says, the key human problem is sin and the solution is salvation. In Islam, the problem is pride and the solution is submission. Islam has demonstrated throughout its long history that it is not too particular about whether that submission comes willingly or unwillingly. The radical Muslims so terrorizing the rest of us may not represent the best of Islam, but they are clearly working from an Islamic template.
Faisal Shahzad, the attempted Times Square bomber, was very clear about his aims. “I am part of the answer to the U.S. terrorizing [of] the Muslim nations and the Muslim people, and on behalf of that, I’m avenging the attacks,” Shahzad said June 21 in federal court in New York City. “One has to understand where I’m coming from, because...I consider myself a mujahid, a Muslim soldier.”
Wishing this ideology were not so will not make it go away. It’s time we acknowledged that militant Muslims—by no means all Muslims—are trying to kill us. If we don’t, then we will face, not a dream, but a nightmare.
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