We are loathed in the Islamic world, Stephens writes, because of "Lady Gaga -- or, if you prefer, Madonna, Farrah Fawcett, Marilyn Monroe, Josephine Baker or any other American woman who has ... personified what the Egyptian Islamist writer Sayyid Qutb once called 'the American Temptress.'"
This hatred is at least 60 years old, says Stephens, for Qutb wrote even before "Elvis, Playboy, the pill, women's lib, acid tabs, gay rights, Studio 54, Jersey shore and ... Lady Gaga."
Qutb's revulsion at American degeneracy is why his legion of Islamic followers hate us.
Again, a comforting thought. For, if Lady Gaga is the problem, there is nothing we Americans can do about it.
Yet, this is as self-delusional as saying the FLN set off bombs in movie theaters and cafes in Algiers to kill the French because of what Brigitte Bardot was doing on screen in "And God Created Woman."
American's toxic culture may be a reason devout Muslims detest us. It is not why they come here to kill us. Mohammed Atta's friends did not target Hollywood, but centers and symbols of U.S. military and political power.
U.S. Marines were not attacked by Hezbollah until we inserted those Marines into Lebanon's civil war. No Iraqi committed an act of terror against us before we invaded Iraq. And if the Sept. 11 killers were motivated by hatred of the immorality of our society, what were they doing getting lap dances in Delray Beach?
Osama bin Laden declared war on us, first and foremost, to end the massive U.S. presence on sacred Saudi soil that is home to Mecca and Medina.
Some may insist this was not his real motive. But, apparently, the Saudis believed him, for they quickly kicked us out of Prince Sultan Air Base.
As for the Taliban, they would surely make short work of Lady Gaga. But their stated grievance is the same as Gen. Washington's in our war with the British: If you want this war to end, get out of our country.
By Occam's razor, the simplest explanation is usually the right one. Looking at America's wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Maj. Hasan, Abdulmutallab and Shahzad decided that what we call the war on terror was in reality a war on Islam.
All decided to use their access to exact retribution for our killing of their fellow Muslims.
We are being attacked over here because we are over there.
Nor is it a good sign that U.S. intelligence is reporting that rising numbers of U.S. Muslims are making Internet inquiries about how and where to get training to bring the war home to America.