Just to help increase my reader’s sense of moral paralysis…

As I’ve mentioned, I’m conflicted about war, however, I plump for it in the end since I think it’s suicide to let Saddam stand astride the economic carotid artery of the world with nukes and I especially think that a region crawling with people who have shown their willingness to kill 50,000 American civilians in cold blood (that was the target number remember) is not a region I want headed by a Saddam with access to WMDs and a big need for quick cash. Them’s my reasons.

At the same time, I can respect reasonable arguments against war. The one that has always held the most power for me is illustrated again in the unlikely form of this quote from a foaming Bronze Age fanatic on the evils of Valentine’s Day:

“This is a shameful day. The people in the West are just fulfilling and satisfying their sex thirst on this day,” Khalid Waqas Chamkani, a leader of the Islami Jamaat Talaba in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) bordering Afghanistan, said this week. “Celebrating Valentine’s Day is against our Muslim traditions.”

He called on the government to ban Valentine’s Day along with Basant, the annual spring kite-flying carnival celebrated in Lahore over the weekend, criticizing its participants as sellouts to the West.

“The so-called moderate elements are crazy about celebrating all Western days. They are following the West just to show that they are modern people,” Mr. Chamkani said at a press conference in the NWFP capital, Peshawar. “Some Westernized people are celebrating all Western celebrations without thinking about the fact that they are against Islamic ideology.”

The thing that most Americans do not seem to grasp is that Islam is a lot bigger phenomenon than Wahabism. There are, indeed, lots of Muslims who are empathetic to the West and not the foaming maniacs or secret gloaters we often think of. I wonder very much how these “moderates” will react to a sustained Western attack on one Muslim nation after another? Supposing we succeed in radicalizing, not the radicals, but all those “moderates” that our Bronze Age moron in the quote is fretting about? Supposing we manage to convince them that their Radical friends were right all along and they have to unite to Save Islam? I’m not saying we are making war on Islam. I’m saying “What happens if we are perceived as making war on Islam?”

Jesus tells the following parable: “What king, going to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and take counsel whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends an embassy and asks terms of peace.” (Luke 14:31-32). Suppose we only *think* we are prosecuting a war against Saddam. Suppose the Muslim world become increasingly convinced we are prosecuting a war against Islam (with the helpful propaganda ministrations of Al-Quaeda and al-Jazeera)? Given our tendency to go weak in the knees over spilled coke in the FBI lobby, do we really think we have what it takes to prosecute a war against a broadly radicalized Islam in which Mr. Chamkani’s voice has won the internal argument currently going on in the dar al Islam?