The Big Picture
Just what in the world is going on?
I will collect here some cogent background articles written by others that will tell you all you need to know.
[UPDATE: The keen observations of John Quincy Adams and Winston Churchill on Islam are also relevant and timely.]
1. A bullet-form outline of the root causes of Arab terrorism, and why taking down Iraq makes sense, is here. This is the BIG PICTURE.
(It includes many sublinks, some of the most important that I would have listed as "required reading" in their own right being the links on transnational progressivism, the Jacksonian tradition, and the causes of Arab civilizational failure. Come back and read those later.)
2. A brilliant strategic picture of the world, "The Pentagon's New Map", by a professor at the U.S. Navy War College, explains "why we're going to war, and why we'll keep going to war." That article later became a book. I saw Dr. Barnett give a briefing on CSPAN over the weekend, and found his views very provocative.
(About 2 years ago I wrote a letter to Rumsfeld strongly suggesting the development of special administrative/peacekeeping/humanitarian brigades, to relieve the warriors from those inevitable duties. He didn't write back, of course...But I'm pleased to see that this guy, who has his ear, is basically saying the same thing!)
3. Here is an essay that sums up the situation and outlines one possible very dark future, which underlines why it is so vitally important to win this war decisively by conventional means as soon as possible.
4. Just what DO the Islamic terrorists want, anyway? Here is an overview of al-Qaeda's deadly fantasy ideology.
5. And this long reflection which appeared in the New Yorker, after several paragraphs of introduction, outlines the deep philosophical roots of the movement, based on the writings of Sayyid Qutb in the mid-20th century. His books are al-Qaeda's "Mein Kampf".
In brief, this philosophy is a total rejection of human worldliness as sinful -- which justifies any atrocity in the name of Allah:
In his Koranic commentary, "In the Shade of the Qur'an," Qutb suggested that the believer's brief sojourn on earth should be spent "purifying the filthy marsh of this world." Rich, sexy, Truman-era America gave him a taste of this world at its filthiest and marshiest.And in Qutb's own words,
There is only one place on earth which can be called the house of Islam, and it is that place where an Islamic state is established and the Shari'ah is the authority and God's laws are observed. . . . The rest of the world is the house of war.And the House of War is where you live.