By William Murchison
If, indeed, as George Weigel asserts, Westerners and Islamic jihadists are engaged in "an unavoidable contest to define the human future," wouldn't that compel some special effort on our part? You know — given that the war started years ago, even before the slaughter at the World Trade Center?
Not the least nutty feature of the demonstrably nutty era we live in is the compelling need for the bucket of ice water Mr. Weigel dumps over the collective head of a society more zealously at war with itself than with its sworn enemies.
"[W]e are now confronted," this discerning author makes clear in 150 brisk pages, "by an existential enemy, that is, one for whom a greater share in the world's wealth or power may be a subsidiary goal, but whose primary motivation is the overthrow of our very way of life — our civilization."
Nor, much as it might like to, can the United States duck the challenge of leading the struggle, Mr. Weigel affirms: bad news for the ever-more-numerous kind of American who just wants, apparently, to take a vacation from history.
A debate of sorts takes place daily on bestseller lists and op-ed pages concerning prospects for washing our hands of the whole sordid mess in Iraq and getting on with things we like better. Such as rebating tax money?
It's Mr. Weigel's self-imposed task — the book amplifies the content of a lecture he gave last year — to make polarized Americans see the undeclared war on Islamic jihadists as inescapable, and potentially calamitous, reality.
He does a capable job of it, notwithstanding that you'll have read many of the arguments previously; e.g., the jihadists hate the West and see even the most peaceful place as battlefields; a self-critical West undermines its own cause; the United States really did kind of blow the aftermath of the Iraq war.
Mr. Weigel, given his premises, can't understand why Americans won't keep their heads in the game, when there's so much to be done. For instance, he says, we have to break our dependency not just on Middle Eastern oil but on oil, period. He strongly supports efforts to develop alternative fuels and thus "defund global jihadism."
Faith, Reason, and the War Against Jihadism: A Call to Action (Hardcover)
1) Fighting jihad