I was listening to NPR the other day, and one of the guests was an author who has written a book called "Why the West is Losing the War on Terror" (due to his position, it's by "Anonymous," and his name wasn't given) -- a part of his reasoning is something that I've thought for some time: It's because most of the West does not and/or will not understand how the Middle Eastern mind works. The author pointed out that a Muslim man is not thinking of time the same way we do, and will not work on any time schedule that makes sense to us. He said that once he was talking to a Muslim man who was fighting, and the Muslim said he might not win, but his grandsons might. It's certain Bin Laden will strike again -- but it won't be any time we're prepared, or any time we're ready, or any time when we're watching him. He waited years between major strikes. What happened between 1993 and 2001 at the Twin Towers? Security beefed up for a while... and then security lapsed again, because we in the west get complacent. We never STAY alert -- just ask the people in some parts of Hawaii how a tsunami warning system worked -- during that time, we had a few major strikes (embassy bombings, the USS Cole) against us in other countries, but that wasn't enough to get our backs up or to concern us unduly about home, or the possibility of strikes here. The only major terrorist strike which actually occurred in America during that time came from within (Oklahoma City, perpetuated by a white American, Timothy McVeigh -- and I don't remember much of a surge of hatred against Arizona rednecks following that one. Thank goodness).
Bin Laden won't surrender any time soon, and I've been very surprised some of his lieutenants have. They don't "hate freedom," as Bush puts it -- what they hate is our culture, our ideas, and our presence in the Middle East (and this includes Israel). They don't want us there AT ALL. They want us to LEAVE. They want Israel to LEAVE. Unfortunately, their main idea is that it is their Holy Land, and they don't want infidels of any kind there -- and they miss the fact that it was the Jewish and Christian Holy Land long before it was the Muslim Holy Land, and the God they worship is the same God we worship, the God of Abraham and Moses. Monotheism... ain't it a peach?
While I will agree that perhaps our fathers and grandfathers made a serious tactical error in creating Israel in 1949 and setting the Middle Eastern borders where they did, well, the damage is done, and I'm not going to say we should take the whole country away from the Jews who live there. We have to live with what was done. Unfortunately, the radical Muslim factor doesn't feel that way, and they never will. For every terrorist we capture or kill, more will replace them and they will use terrorism against us because they do not have the strength or the numbers to actually wage a real war against us. It's a losing battle that we've been set up to, and there is no way to win and no way to achieve perfect "safety." As laughingmagpie pointed out to me last night, the only way anyone is completely and totally "safe" is when they're dead. But by sending MORE of us into the region, that's certainly not making us any safer, and saying "well, there's been no strikes since 9/11" is being completely blind and not following the patterns of Al Queda at all...
Anyway, I then read the NY Times and found almost the same series of thoughts from columnist David Brooks. Hmmm. Maybe he read the book. :)
Speaking of laughingmagpie, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!