Will the West survive?

Walter E. Williams

6/23/2004 12:00:00 AM - Walter E. Williams

The Muslim world is at war with Western civilization. We have the military might to thwart them. The question is: Do we have the intelligence to recognize the attack and the will to defend ourselves from annihilation? Their intent is clear, but let's refresh our memories with a bit of history.

 At the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, several athletes were massacred. In 1979, the U.S. embassy in Tehran was taken over and 52 hostages held for more than a year. In 1983, U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut were blown up, killing 241 U.S. soldiers. In 1988, Pan Am flight 103 was bombed, killing 270 people. In 1993, there was the first bombing of the World Trade Center, and in 2001, it was reduced to rubble, killing more than 3,000 Americans. In 1998, U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed, resulting in more than 200 dead and 4,000 injured. Who are the people responsible for these and other wanton murders of innocents, including the recent barbaric beheading of two innocent men? They were all Muslims.

 You say, "Williams, you can't make an indictment of a whole people and their religion!" I'm not, and let me clearly state: By no means are all Muslims murderers. But on the other hand, I've never heard broad Muslim condemnation of their fellow Muslims' murderous acts committed in the name of their God. If anything, there has been jubilation and dancing in the streets in the wake of Muslim attacks on Westerners. Contrast their response to the widespread Western condemnation of the, mild by comparison, behavior of a few coalition forces in Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison.

 Muslim atrocities, and the collective Muslim response to those atrocities, might be better understood knowing their belief system as spelled out by a few, among many, passages from the Quran: "Fight those who do not believe in Allah" (Surat At-Taubah 9:29). "I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers, Smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger tips of them" (Quran 8:12). "The unbelievers among the People of the Book and the pagans shall burn forever in the fire of Hell. They are the vilest of all creatures" (Quran 98:1-8). "Fight against those who believe not in Allah, and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (Islam), until they are subdued" (Surat At-Taubah 9:29).

 Phil Lucas, editor of the Panama City, Fla., News Herald, in his April 4, 2004, editorial "Up Against Fanaticism," asks, "Can anybody name three ongoing world conflicts in which Muslims are not involved?" Lucas says, "They can't get along with their neighbors on much of the planet: France, Chechnya, Bosnia, Indonesia, Spain, Morocco, India, Tunisia, Somalia, etc., etc., etc."

 My colleague Dr. Thomas Sowell observes, "Those in the Islamic world have for centuries been taught to regard themselves as far superior to the 'infidels' of the West, while everything they see with their own eyes now tells them otherwise." He adds, "Nowhere have whole peoples seen their situation reversed more visibly or more painfully than the peoples of the Islamic world." Sowell adds that few people, once at the top of civilization, accept their reversals of fortune gracefully. Moreover, they don't blame themselves for their plight. For the Muslim world, it's the West who's to blame.

 History never repeats itself exactly, but we might benefit from the knowledge of factors leading to the decline of past great civilizations. Rome was one of those advanced civilizations. Rome was so caught up in "bread and circuses" and moral decline that it couldn't manage to defend itself from invading barbaric hordes who ultimately plunged Europe into the Dark Ages. The sooner we recognize the West is in a war for survival, the more likely we'll be able to escape the fate that befell the Roman Empire.