Friday, August 12, 2005

Totten vs. Pape

I have said before that we are engaged in a war against Islamism, rather than a war on terror. In an interview in The American Conservative, University of Chicago Associate Professor Robert Pape contended that suicide terrorism is a response to foreign occupation, rather than a tactic of Islamic fundamentalism. From that we can conclude that ending foreign occupations will put an end to suicide terrorism.

Michael Totten's response:
It's total nonsense.

First of all, let's get one thing out of the way. "Terrorism," suicidal or otherwise, isn't the enemy. Totalitarian Islamists are the enemy. They won't go away just because Western troops go away. Terrorism is merely the tactic they use against Westerners because they're too militarily incompetent to use anything else.
Naturally Islamists want to push Westerners out of what they think of as their part of the world. That's one part of their plan. But it's only one part. Westerners and other non-Muslims are also attacked when they get in the way of Islamist imperialism.
Terrorism is not about us. It's about them and their totalitarian designs.
Robert Pape thinks we should withdraw from the region completely and "secure our interests in oil," as he put it, from a distance. If we take his advice we won't end the threat from our enemies. We'll give them military victories for free. And we'll throw our liberal Muslim friends to the Islamist wolf. It's the most disgraceful and despicable thing we could possibly do, not to mention one of the dumbest. Empowered liberal-democratic Muslims with guns will defeat the Islamists in the end. We can't do it without them, and they can't do it if they're languishing in mass graves and dungeons.