Oliver “Buzz” Thomas: Bridge this religious divide

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If we are to win the so-called war on terror, it will not be because we killed all of our enemies. For one thing, there are too many of them, and besides, it only takes one fanatic to detonate a nuclear or biological weapon. No, if we win this war, it will be because we regained the moral high ground.

To do that, we have to win the hearts and minds of Muslims on the street. That takes us back to Mr. Clinton and Mr. Bush or back further to Mr. Lincoln or, if you prefer, all the way back to Mr. Jesus. Turning our enemies into friends. That's the only long-term strategy that makes any sense.

Ultimately, it is Muslims who must excise the scourge of radicalism from Islam. From within. We can help by behaving like the generous, just and benevolent society moderate Muslims once considered us to be.

Sorry, doves, but that doesn't mean getting out of Iraq tomorrow. The military mission must be completed. But hawks must realize that there can be no lasting victory without a humanitarian mission as well. Not just in Iraq. In Bangladesh, the West Bank, anywhere in the Muslim world where there is suffering. Do that and who knows? Maybe by next Christmas we can start beating our swords into plowshares.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsIraq War* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

Posted December 31, 2007 at 9:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Ed the Roman wrote:

Sorry.  We don’t have fundamentalist enemies because we are rich and selfish and they are poor.  We have fundamentalist enemies because we tolerate vice (by both Christian and Muslim standards), because we tolerate Jews and Israel, because we are not under their thumbs the way they imagine we used to be and ought to be, and because they think that we have become soft enough that they can put us there.

December 31, 12:27 pm | [comment link]
2. Dcn. Michael D. Harmon wrote:

Interesting the writer harkens back to Mr. Lincoln, who pounded the Confederacy into near-starvation and utter economic ruin by waging “the first modern war” focused as much on resources as on enemy armies, at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives, in what is still America’s bloodiest conflict.  Not that the war could have been won any other way, but it was hardly a “hearts and minds” campaign.

December 31, 3:16 pm | [comment link]
3. Jeffersonian wrote:

At the margins, Mr. Thomas is right that we cannot kill all of our enemies nor do we have to.  A good number of those fighting us do so only because they want to be on the winning side when the dust has settled and, for better or worse, we were not getting the job done prior to the initiation of the surge and hence seemed to be losing.

Now that the surge has shown to be a success, that fickle margin has migrated to our side.  But make no mistake:  There is still a remnant of dead-enders that will need to be killed.

December 31, 5:30 pm | [comment link]
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