Win their allegiance -- is he kidding? I hate to be the one to break it to Gen. Petraeus, not to mention President Bush, but the fact is, in an Islamic war zone, an "infidel" army just isn't going to win Islamic allegiance. There are many religious and cultural reasons I could offer in explanation, but instead I'll turn to the underreported story of the week: two findings contained within an extensive new poll of Muslim opinion conducted in four major Islamic countries Egypt, Indonesia, Morocco and Pakistan.
According to WorldPublicOpinion.org, more than half of those polled in Indonesia, and three-quarters of those polled in Egypt, Morocco and Pakistan believe in the strict application of Sharia, or Islamic law. Nearly two-thirds of all respondents expressed their desire to see the Islamic world united in a caliphate.
Which brings me to Lesson 2.
With numbers like these, portraying jihadist war goals (Sharia, caliphate) as belonging to a "tiny band of extremists" is nuts. Persisting in this PC fantasy as part of the narrative and strategy of the "war on terror" is suicidal.
But such PC fantasy fuels hearts-and-minds efforts that go beyond "allegiance"-winning outposts in Iraq as the United States now weirdly cheers on world Islamization to curry Islamic favor. As said by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos at a recent Kosovo hearing "Here is yet another example that the United States leads the way for the creation of a predominantly Muslim country in the very heart of Europe. This should be noted by both responsible leaders of Islamic governments, such as Indonesia, and also for jihadists of all color and hue. ... The United States stands foursquare for the creation of an overwhelmingly Muslim country in the very heart of Europe."
Aren't we nice? Aren't we lovable?
Or are we just too dumb to live?