Alex Massie

Because the current war just isn’t big enough...

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National Review Online's Andy McCarthy believes that the premise that:

"we are all quite aware that the Muslims we take seriously are the formers and reformers'" — is mistaken.  We, as in you and I and many of us Corner types, may be aware of that.  But the American people generally are not.  They have been told, repeatedly, by high public officials (and those who would be high public officials) that there is one Islam, that it is a religion of peace (the religion of love and peace, sayeth our Secretary of State), and that the people we need to be concerned about constitute a tiny fringe who have distorted the "true Islam."  That is a very unrealistic way of looking at the problem, which makes it a disastrous foundation for policies on foreign relations, democracy promotion, immigration, etc.

Well, given that there are, what, more than a billion Muslims in the world it does seem reasonable to suppose that most of them, perhaps even the overwhelming majority of them, do not pose a significant threat to the United States of America.

More to the point however, if you wanted to radicalise Muslim opinion around the world and foment anti-Americanism it seems that one good way of doing so would be to employ rhetoric that lumped all Muslims together in the same Jihadist basket. Why bother wasting time on these people and their petty concerns or pride when it is simpler just to insult them all?

Oddly enough, I think it's quite well-established that when you start treating everyone as your enemy you ought not to be surprised when otherwise peaceful or well-intentioned folk decide to sympathise or support or throw in their lot with people who really are your enemies.

But no, far better to declare war on a sizeable proportion of the planet's population.  That's the tough, manly way to think.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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