(It will give you a sense of just how busy my weekend was that it took me two days to do this one post!)
A very popular bumper sticker in Marin since 2003 is one that has the phrase “Endless War” in blue type, with the “less” then crossed out with a red line, and the word “this” interlineated above it. To anti-war liberals, it is both a descriptive and an imperative, in one neat little bumpersticker. How clever. (Although I do wonder if they these same liberals are going to scrape these tidy little messages off their bumpers now that Obama has inherited Afghanistan and Iraq and begins to figure out that disengagement isn’t that easy — but that’s a thought for another post.)
What I want to blow about here is the true endless war in which we’re engaged. That war is the defensive war against Islam. I should probably define “we” before I begin. “We” is not America or, as we were reminded in India, the “West.” “We” is anyone and any thing and any place that is not Islamic.
We need to remember that, although we keep laying down our arms, Islam never does. From the moment of its inception, it’s been in a state of perpetual warfare against the “other” — and that’s because its founder, Mohammad, mandated that same perpetual warfare as an intrinsic part of each Muslim’s obligation. It’s not a byproduct of the religion; it is the religion.
This religious imperative means that Islam did not spread rapidly at the time of its inception because it carried such a wonderful doctrinal message that everyone in surrounding territories instantly jumped on the Muslim bandwagon. Instead, it spread rapidly because the Islamists, fired by fervor and greed (since it’s not theft to take and rape from non-Muslims), put North Africa and today’s Middle East to the sword.
“Convert or die” may not be a phrase rich with religious conviction, but it’s going to carry a lot of weight with a lot of people. When you then back-up that forced conversion with a promise that any lapse will also be punishable by death — well, I can guarantee you that, in a single generation, you’re going to see a lot of new Muslims.
History shows us that, whenever Islam obtains critical mass, it goes on the offensive. Although PC-ers love to point to the Crusades as an early example of evil Western imperialism, their historic ignorance allows them to forget that, in fact, it was a defensive war aimed at recovering formerly Christian territories from Muslim encroachment.
Likewise, although I am loath to celebrate Ferdinand and Isabella, given both that they fought with exceptional cruelty and that they swept the Jews up into their net (a bad Crusader habit too), the fact is that their internal Crusades were also aimed at recovering land that the North African Muslims had earlier conquered. We can romanticize those Muslims as much as we like — they did indeed have a rich, beautiful, intellectual culture — but the historic reality remains that they were still part of a continuum of conquest that originated with Mohammad.
The same century that saw Spain recover formerly Christian territories from Muslim invaders also saw the savage Ottoman attack against the ancient Byzantine kingdom in Constantinople. When that kingdom city fell, so fell the last true outpost of the Christian Roman Empire.
In 1453, Constantinople became Istanbul, beginning the long and powerful reign of the Ottoman Turks — a reign that only began to weaken more than 300 years later at the Gates of Vienna at the end of 1683. That date’s not a typo, by the way. Few people remember, if they ever knew (and that includes Europeans too) that Islam was relentlessly pressing on Europe as little as 400 years ago. That’s a length of time that, although far away in terms of years, is relatively close in terms of the modern European culture we enjoy. The world then was trembling on the brink of the Englightenment that still underpins our perception of man’s relationship to man, God and government.
The defeat of the Ottoman Empire marked the beginning of a dormant period in Muslim expansionism. I use the word dormant deliberately because of it’s connotation with volcanoes. Before the modern scientific era, people were unable to distinguish a dormant volcano, one merely resting but with the potential to blow, from an extinct one that has truly ended its functional life.
In the same way, many in the West assumed that, after 1683, Islam was a regional religion, with little potential impact on the West. If not extinct, it was as near as made no difference. History, however, should have warned us that Islam does not go extinct; it goes dormant, awaiting the critical mass of human lava, which is a sufficiently numerical and powerful jihadist element. And then, as does the dormant volcano, Islam explodes, pressing violently against anything in its path.
What’s different this time in the endless Islamic war against the “other” is that the flat earth such liberals as Thomas Friedman love to tout means that geographic proximity is no longer a limiting factor in Muslim conquest. From the Muslim point of view, the entire world is pressing against its borders and, with Iran’s potential nuclear weapons, and its own human bombs in search of virginized martyrdom, that world is ready to blow.
In other words, the endless war isn’t in Iraq. It’s in each of our backyards. We’re all living on the volcano’s edge.
UPDATE: Here is scholarly back-up supporting my unscholarly contention that a core element of Islam is to wage perpetual war against unbelievers.