At Front Page, Daniel Pipes points out some of the chief strengths and weaknesses of the President’s speech last Thursday:
The detailed texture of Bush’s speech transforms the official American understanding of who the enemy is, moving it from the superficial and inadequate notion of “terrorism” to the far deeper concept of “Islamic radicalism.” This change has potentially enduring importance if finally, 26 years later, it convinces polite society to name the enemy.
Doing so means, for example, that immigration authorities and law enforcement can take Islam into account when deciding whom to let enter the country or whom to investigate for terrorism offences. Focusing on Muslims as the exclusive source of Islamists permits them finally to do their job adequately.
Despite these many advances, Bush’s speech is far from perfect. His quoting the Koran harks back to 2001, when he instructed Muslims about the true nature of their faith; his comment about extremists distorting “the idea of jihad” unfortunately implies that jihad is a good thing.
Most serious, though, is his limiting the “radical Islamic empire” (or caliphate) to just the Spain-to-Indonesia region, for Islamists have a global vision that requires control over non-Muslim countries too — and specifically the United States. Their universal ambitions certainly can be stopped, but first they must be understood and resisted. Only when Americans realize that the Islamists intend to replace the U.S. Constitution with Shari”a will they enter the fourth and final era of this war.
Read it all. Pipes succinctly summarizes what Bush said about Islamic terror, and there are many good links in the original.