The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: War of Ideology

July 25, 2004

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: War of Ideology

In his opinion piece, dated July 24, 2004, David Brooks made me think. Difficult to do for me today, since I just drove home from vacation. Here are some choice quotes to think about from his article. I usually don’t quote much from articles, instead linking to the article for you all to read in its totality, but since the NYTimes.com archives articles rather quickly, you’d have to pay to read it in a week or two. Quite annoying so I’m quoting instead.

“We’re not in the middle of a war on terror, they note. We’re not facing an axis of evil. Instead, we are in the midst of an ideological conflict.”

“We are facing, the report notes, a loose confederation of people who believe in a perverted stream of Islam that stretches from Ibn Taimaya to Sayyid Qutb. Terrorism is just the means they use to win converts to their cause.”

“When you see that our enemies are primarily an intellectual movement, not a terrorist army, you see why they are in no hurry. With their extensive indoctrination infrastructure of madrassas and mosques, they’re still building strength, laying the groundwork for decades of struggle. Their time horizon can be totally different from our own.
But the bigger fight is with a hostile belief system that can’t be reasoned with but can only be “destroyed or utterly isolated.””

“The commissioners don’t say it, but the implication is clear. We’ve had an investigation into our intelligence failures; we now need a commission to analyze our intellectual failures. ”

“Last week I met with a leading military officer stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq, whose observations dovetailed remarkably with the 9/11 commissioners. … He observed that we are in the fight against Islamic extremism now where we were in the fight against communism in 1880.”

I’ve got to give this some more thought, preferably when I’m not experiencing travel vision. Still, that last quote from the unnamed military person is rather chilling.

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