Ralph Peters is a regular columnist with the New
Register here for access to the Post's Online Edition.
An Enemy Within
fanatics attacked us and yearn to destroy us. The Muslim civilization
of the Middle East has failed comprehensively and will continue
to generate violence. The only way to deal with faith-poisoned
terrorists is to kill them.
world's only hope for long-term peace is for moderate Muslims
- by far the majority around the globe - to recapture their
But a rotten
core of American extremists is out to make it harder for them.
Ralph Peters - Contributor
Peters is a retired Army officer and the author of 19 books,
as well as of hundreds of essays and articles, written both
under his own name and as Owen Parry. He is a frequent columnist
for the New York Post and other publications. [go to Peters Index]
most repugnant trend in the American shouting match that passes
for a debate
on the struggle with Islamist terrorism isn't
the irresponsible nonsense on the left - destructive though that
is. The really ugly "domestic insurgency" is among
right-wing extremists bent on discrediting honorable conservatism.
How? By insisting
that Islam can never reform, that the violent conquest and
subjugation of unbelievers is the faith's primary
agenda - and, when you read between the lines, that all Muslims
are evil and subhuman.
I've received no end of e-mails and letters seeking to "enlighten" me
about the insidious nature of Islam. Convinced that I'm naive
because I defend American Muslims and refuse to "see" that
Islam is 100 percent evil, the writers warn that I'm a foolish "dhimmi," blind
to the conspiratorial nature of Islam.
Web sites list no
end of extracts from historical documents and Islamic jurisprudence "proving" that
holy war against Christians and Jews is the alpha and omega
of the Muslim faith.
The message between the lines: Muslims are Untermenschen.
We've been here before, folks. Bigotry is bigotry - even
when disguised as patriotism. And, invariably, the haters fantasizing
about a merciless Crusade never bothered to serve in our military
(Hey, guys, there's still time to join. Lay your backsides
on the line - and send your kids!).
It's time for our own fanatics to look in the mirror. Hard.
(And stop sending me your trash. I'll never sign up for your "Protocols
of the Elders of Mecca." You're just the Ku Klux Klan
with higher-thread-count sheets.)
As for the books
and Web sites listing all those passages encouraging violence
against the infidel, well, we could fill entire libraries
with bloody-minded texts from the Christian past. And as a believing
Christian, I must acknowledge that there's nothing in
the Koran as merciless as God's behavior in the Book of Joshua.
Another trait common
among those warning us that Islam is innately evil is that
few have spent any time in the Muslim world. Well,
I have. While the Middle East leaves me ever more despairing
of its future, elsewhere, from Senegal to Sulawesi, from Delhi
to Dearborn, I've seen no end of vibrant, humane, hopeful
currents in the Muslim faith.
I'm no Pollyanna. I'm all for killing terrorists, rather
than taking them prisoner. I know we're in a fight for our
civilization. But the fight is with the fanatics - a minority
of a minority - not with those who simply worship differently
than those of us who grew up with the Little Brown Church in
Does Islam foster
practices that inhibit progress or integration into the modern
(and postmodern) world? Yes, as practiced in
the greater Middle East, from the Nile to the Indus. Our "allies," the
Saudi ruling family, are the embodiment of evil - but they've
done far more damage to the Muslim world than to us.
Elsewhere, Muslims are struggling to move their faith forward
in constructive ways. And all religions are what living
men and women make of them.
In our own country,
we should respect our fellow citizens who happen to be Muslims
- instead of implying that they're all
members of a devious fifth column. More than 3 million Americans
profess Islam. How many have strapped on bombs and walked into
Sure, bad actors will emerge. But every immigrant
group has produced its gangsters, demagogues and common criminals.
Fools who insist that "Muslims can't be good Americans" insult
both Muslims and America - whose transformative genius should
never be underestimated.
The problem isn't
the man or woman of faith, but cultural environment. Once free
of the maladies of the Middle East, Muslims
thrive in America. Like the rest of us.
We are in
a knife-fight to the death with fanatics who've
perverted a great religion. But those who warn of Muslims in
general are heirs of the creeps who once told us Jews can
never be real Americans and JFK will serve the Vatican.
Obviously, there's a moral reason for not condemning all
Muslims. Real Americans judge men and women by their individual
characters and actions, not by the color of their skin or the
liturgy they recite on their respective Sabbaths. Sorry, all
you bigots: You'll never get the Wannsee Conference, Part
II, at Lake Tahoe.
But even for our
inveterate haters, those whose personal disappointments have
left them with a need to blame others (sounds like al Qaeda
to me . . . ), there's a Realpolitik reason not to
insult all Muslims: In the serious world of strategy and the
military, you don't make unnecessary enemies.
We've got our hands full in the Middle East. Why alienate
the Muslims of Indonesia or West Africa (or California)? A wise
strategist seeks to divide his enemies, not to recruit for them.
Some of the bigots out there might like to try to kill a billion
Muslims, but I'm not signing up for their genocidal daydreams
- nor will my fellow Americans.
Ultimately, our military actions can only buy time. The long
overdue liberal reformation within the Islamic world can
only be carried out by Muslims themselves. Those who believe
in Islam with all their hearts will have to be the ones who defeat
those who hijacked their faith.
Do we have to fight?
Yes. But let's fight our true enemies,
not the innocent. CRO
latest book is Never
Quit The Fight.
piece first appeared in the New York Post
copyright 2006 - NY Post