Monday, August 09, 2004

The War of Ideas

As an offshoot of my earlier post on why I blog, I have decided to explain a bit more about my interests. As you probably all know, I am a political junkie. But I also love to study history. A keen interest of mine has been to study the mass ideological movements of the 20th century and the thinkers behind them. You know communism has Karl Marx, fascism has Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler of course, but I didn't know know who the theoritical founder of radical Islamism was until earlier this year. Sayyid Qutb is not a household name by any means and ask why that is. His influence was huge during his time in the Egpytian Muslim Brotherhood and expanded greatly after he was "martryed" by Nasser in 1966. Bill at Ideofact has been my primary inspiration to studying who and what Sayyid Qutb was about. His commentaries on Qutb's Milestones and Social Justice in Islam are bar none the best I've seen anywhere online. Check him out.

I believe that this current war is not a war against terrorism, because terrorism is a tactic and it has always existed in one form or another. This war is a war against a totalitarian ideology that seeks Western Civilization's downfall (I hope that isn't a mischaracterization on my part). The problem I have most with this war is the lack of articulation from both sides of the aisle. I worry that people don't understand this war. We can defeat al Qaeda tomorrow, but what would that really do? Nothing. There will eventually be another group that takes its place. Our goal is to defeat the ideology that breeds such levels of hate. Radical Islamism will take time and patience to defeat, that goes without question, indeed, President Bush has mentioned the fact that it will take "generations" to defeat.

I've seen many commenters over the past few years talk about the fear that we'd expand our engagement to encompass large swathes of the Middle East, turning it into a Dresden-like campaign. I don't see it, really. There very well might be a nuclear attack against an American or Western city within the next few years, but our retaliation will be measured. We aren't going to turn the ME into a glass parking lot. But if we don't correctly understand the true nature of our enemy, we'll be more likely to go overboard.