Three years into the conflict with fascism, the end was in sight. The Reich was collapsing, despite the Battle of the Bulge. The Japanese fought on tenaciously, but with less and less success. And within another year, the war was over on both fronts.
Three years ago today America was alerted to the fact that we are the prime target of the global jihad. But since then there has been no El Alamein, no Midway — no major encounter with the enemy. Any victories in this shadowy twilight war have come in the form of arrests of those who were plotting attacks even more heinous than 9/11, but these arrests have been little noted nor long remembered.
This is, of course, one reason why the war is so poorly understood and controversial: the enemy is not a nation-state but an ideology, an ideology which has been spread throughout the world and can now be found in practically every nation on the planet. Because of the religious derivation of this ideology, analysts are generally reluctant to identify it properly or fully.
That’s why, for all of Mansoor Ijaz’s justified optimism at the success we’ve achieved in the last three years, there is still much more to be done before we reach anything like victory. He contrasts his “humane, dignified Islam” with what Islam has allowed itself to become before the world, but few in the Muslim world are willing, as he notes, to confront the deep roots that jihad violence has in the Islamic texts. Non-Muslim officials, meanwhile, largely continue to pretend that mosques and madrassas will always of necessity be benign things, incapable of and unwilling to do harm.
This is why, after three years of success against the global jihad, we cannot count the jihadists out. More are being recruited every day. It is crucial now that we identify forthrightly what we are up against, so as to be able to fight against it more effectively. Otherwise September 11, for all our successes after that, will be just a prelude.
And may the victims, all the victims, living and dead, find peace.