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For Muslims, an attack on one Muslim by one infidel is an attack on all Muslims by all infidels. For Americans, an attack by one group of Muslims is not an attack by all Muslims. And for those on the left, there isn’t even the group solidarity with the victims of the attacks, but rather with the perpetrators who appear to share their desire to grind the American empire into dust.
We assume that Muslims think like us and they assume that we think like them. We assume that they are not at war with us, because we are not at war with them. They assume that we are at war with them because they are at war with us. Each side projects its assumptions on the other and then reacts to what it would do in the other’s place.
With the coming of “The Day,” it is time for politicians to make their usual solemn proclamations. Obama will take his victory lap for the drone strikes against Al Qaeda leaders; a policy that dates back to 2002 utilizing a technology developed by Israel.
“We took the fight to al Qaeda, decimated their leadership, and put them on a path to defeat,” Obama boasted in his address. But what is Al Qaeda anyway? It’s an alignment of Jihadist fighters that can spring up anywhere. Taking out its senior leadership, as the United States has been doing for a decade, is useful, but there is no defeating Al Qaeda without addressing its Islamic goals and alliances.
Al Qaeda is not a nation or an isolated movement. Speaking of defeating it is as ridiculous as if the Soviet Union had focused on defeating the Kiwanis or the Elks. Al Qaeda is what happens when enough fighters come together and begin calling themselves Al Qaeda. They could just as easily call themselves something else and do. And when they begin calling themselves something else, as they do in Libya or Nigeria, we begin pretending that they aren’t Al Qaeda.
One of the defining characteristics of the Muslim world is the razzia, the raid. The raid used to require physical proximity, but with the jet plane it no longer does. We are all neighbors now and we all live next door to each other. And the raiders are coming. They have come for us before and they will come for us again for the nameless reason of religion and for the nameable one of power. They attacked us because they could and they will attack us again to show that they still can. They will attack us because they can make money and build a reputation doing it. And they will attack us because we are a big target full of life shining in the night.
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