Who you gonna believe? Andrew McCarthy has some clear-eyed analysis over at National Review Online:
So here we are again, a dazed planet brushing ourselves off and surveying the wreckage from the worst spree of Islam-inspired rioting, bombing, murder, and mayhem since … well, since the last one. And the one before that.
The ongoing one is over offensive cartoons published by an obscure Danish newspaper. That’s a step down from the one over a tall tale about Koran-flushing in a Guantanamo Bay toilet. Not to mention the one over infidel troops stationed (to protect Muslims) in the Land of the Two Holy Mosques, the one over the Occupation, the one over the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the one over the Crusades, and the one over that time in 680 A.D. when some scion of monkeys and pigs allegedly spied a bare ankle under someone’s sister’s wind-swept chador.
You get the idea. The cartoon caper, though, has been singular “” there hasn’t been such an outpouring on the “Arab Street” since that heroic martyrdom operation against the Great Satan a little over four years ago…
Nonetheless, the contemporary vision of “moderate Islam” as a meaningful force for good is a mirage. Certainly there are moderate Muslim individuals. Large pockets of them, there and there, who have assimilated to the modern world and want only to live in ecumenical peace. But many of the people we call “moderates” are flat-out phonies, the bag-men who rise on the shoulders of the leg-breakers.
The authentic moderates, meanwhile, tarry in muted resistance to the domineering strain of their faith. The strain we like to tell ourselves is a mere fringe. The strain that has just managed, yet again, to unleash untold thousands (not handfuls of militants, but transcontinental thousands) to maraud over a trifling affront. The moderates must carry on by pretending, much like the State Department pretends, that the commands of their scriptures “” toward brutality, beheading, conquest, death to unbelievers, eternal damnation to apostates, the subjugation of women, the dehumanizing of non-Muslims, and so on “” either do not exist or have somehow been superseded (even though the Koran is said to reflect the words of Allah Himself, and even though much in it of a threatening nature actually comes later in time than the passages bespeaking moderation and tolerance).
Meanwhile, as we prepare to spend yet another $120 billion on a novel brand of democracy building “” one which establishes Islam as Iraq’s state religion and enshrines the inequities of sharia as a source and measure of its fundamental law “” our wildly premature birthing of the nascent Palestinian “democracy” has just resulted in the rise to power of Hamas, an entity the U.S. officially designates as a terrorist organization. (To be fair, its competition was Fatah, an entity successive U.S. administrations spent the last dozen or so years deluding themselves was not a terrorist organization. In the event, these legatees of Yasser Arafat were, of course, the “moderates.”) This result means that if American citizens did what our government is right now continuing to do “” namely, contributing funds we well know Hamas will soon be controlling “” they could be indicted under our antiterrorism laws. There are, as we speak, several defendants under such indictments in this country.
All of this intellectual and moral confusion “” the disintegration of the Bush Doctrine, the compromising of our conception of democracy, the strange deference to charlatans spewing seventh-century venom, the pressure on our government to violate the very laws it enacted to choke off the funding that underwrites our enemies’ butchery “” all of it is based on a single conceit: That there is a flourishing moderate Islam. One worth looking beyond all the menacing verses and countless atrocities to find.
Okay, where is it?
Please read it all. This is an excellent piece.