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It is time to call a spade a spade in the Mid East

The horrific campaign of slaughter in Iraq and Syria illustrates how wrong we have been to dub the conflict the West has been engaged in since September 11th, 2001, as “The War on Terror.” It is high time we called it what it really is: A war against Islamic extremism.

“War on Terror” is nothing more than a euphemism coined by fearful politicians and a politically correct media, terrified of upsetting the folks from whom the terrorists sprang—the Islamic community both here and abroad.

This reluctance to call a spade a spade has created as sense of moral equivalence between the battle underway with the fanatics of the so-called Islamic State and al Qaeda in its various incarnations, and the other lesser conflicts routinely described in the media as religious wars.

For example, the strife in the former Yugoslavia has been described as a three-way battle between Orthodox Christians, Roman Catholics, and Moslems. Similarly, the slaughter in Northern Ireland has been portrayed as Roman Catholic against Protestant.

Actually, they were nothing of the kind. They were basically ethnic conflicts, the protagonists in which simply happen to be of different religious persuasions.

In the case of the former Yugoslavia, the leaders who provoked the fighting in Serbia and Croatia weren’t really Christian.

They were, in most cases, simply opportunistic former Communists who would profess any belief, from atheism to animism, that would further their careers. They were no more inclined to frequent churches than their counterparts in Bosnia are inclined to frequent mosques.

The conflicts in the former Yugoslavia were over much more earthly matters than the issue of salvation. They were a manifestation of territorial disputes, fueled by ethnic hatreds, that have festered for millennia.

Indeed, the Balkans’ reputation for inter-ethnic conflict long pre-dates even Julius Caesar, who prized troops recruited in the region for their ferocity.

Similarly, in Northern Ireland, the people actively engaged in the bloodletting have not been the sort one might expect to encounter in an adjoining pew on Sunday morning—either in a Roman Catholic basilica or Presbyterian chapel.

The killers the media referred to as “Catholics” were, in fact, Marxists, who funded their murderous activities by preying upon decent law-abiding people—running protection rackets, robbing banks, and the like. Paradoxically, most of their victims were Roman Catholic.

They were fighting not for a united Roman Catholic Ireland, but a “United Socialist Ireland.” This explains why the IRA was outlawed in the Irish Republic as well as the “Protestant” North, and why its gunmen and bombers were considered excommunicate by Ireland’s Roman Catholic hierarchy.

The killers referred to in the media as “Protestant extremists” were similarly misnamed. They were no more religiously inclined than their IRA counterparts, but were simply gangsters who espoused no coherent political philosophy. The victims of their organized crime operations were mainly Protestants.

Actually, the terms “Protestant” and “Catholic” in the Northern Irish context describe ethnic origins rather than genuine religious affiliations. “Protestants” are descendants of Scottish immigrants who settled in Ireland during the 16th and early 17th Centuries. “Catholics” are descendants of the native Irish.

Like the Croatians, Bosnians, and Serbs, these two Celtic peoples have slaughtered each other intermittently since Roman times. The most recent wave of bloodshed has been, in many respects, simply a continuation of a territorial grudge match that has lasted for more than 1500 years.

Ironically, until the emergence of the Islamic extremist inspired terrorism, the conflicts in the Middle East were ethnic rather than religious in nature.

The Jordanians, for example, are the Ammonites who fought the Israelites. The Palestinians ancestors were Philistines. The Iranians are regarded with general suspicion because they are the descendants of the Medes and Persians, who destroyed Babylon (modern Iraq) and subjugated the entire region, including Israel.

Even today, Israel’s dispute with its neighbors is not so much about religion as it is about territory.

By contrast, the Islamic State, al Qaeda, et al., are plainly animated by hatreds engendered by virulent brand of Islam. It is a religious war against the non-Islamic world being prosecuted solely by militant Muslims for the sole purpose of imposing their religious beliefs on the rest of mankind.

They are open neither to reason nor to negotiation. There are only two ways in which they can be appeased—either by our conversions to Islam or by our deaths.

Despite the manifest fact that this war is all about Islamists attempting to impose their faith on the rest of mankind, it is rarely, if ever, described in the media as a religious war. Rather its origins are ascribed to such things as poverty, “American cultural imperialism” (whatever that might be), the evils of capitalism, and the like.

This creates the impression that all we need do is inundate the Islamist proponents of terrorism with the trappings of the American dream—computers, cell phones, TVs, fridges, automobiles, etc.—and withdraw to fortress America and our troubles will be over.

This is sheer nonsense. The terrorists have all that stuff already. They use it against us. What they want is for us to be dead or adherents of fundamentalist Islam. Nothing else will satisfy them.

Certainly, analyzing and accepting the true origins of conflicts in no way diminishes the suffering of the victims. But it is essential to understand the origins of the violence in order to put an end to it.

In earlier centuries, our politicians and opinion makers’ refusal to face facts probably wouldn’t have mattered too much. Folks like Lincoln, Lord Palmerston, and Bismarck, were not notably moved by political correctness.

Not so today’s “Inside the Beltway” crowd. Thanks to their refusal to face facts, the situation is immeasurably more dangerous than it was on 9/11/01. Let us pray they get their acts together before it is too late. GPH✠

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