This one sentence exposes the central flaw in Western thinking that our enemies skillfully exploit. It isn't "regardless" of religion. It is because of religion that the battle continues with only occasional letup to allow the killers to rearm. Three weeks at summer camp will not deter a people whose faith is in a God many of their religious leaders believe wants a shotgun marriage between mosque and state. Many of them are taught that the heavenly kingdom and the earthly one are linked and that it is their job to eliminate "infidels" who don't see as they do. No one who understands the substance behind this battle and the unchanging objectives of those who fight it could possibly believe that such a religious vision will be modified by "infidel" diplomats.
While American leaders mouth platitudes, Palestinian TV broadcast a music video (two days prior to the latest homicide bombings) that reinforced the doctrine that heavenly rewards await all who die for Allah. The video begins with scenes depicting a romance cut short when Israeli soldiers shoot the woman in the back. She immediately goes to heaven, where she joins other young women dressed in identical long white gowns - the "Maidens of Paradise." The maidens are dancing in water, a clear depiction of the afterlife in Islamic tradition. Later in the video, the man attempts to visit the woman's grave and soldiers also shoot him in the back. He is transported to heaven where he is reunited with the woman. See it for yourself at www.isratv.com/video/twolovers128.asx
Who among the believers would trade this promise for three weeks of summer camp and a speech by Colin Powell? That's why the war continues, not because of land, but because of the promise of paradise. What political doctrine can compete with that?
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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