JIHADI VERSUS JIHADI

Call this fascinating piece a hastily improvised variation on the “fly-trap” theory. I’m not saying internal Muslim division has ever been an intentional policy of the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq, but it might be a fortunate by-product of failure to pacify the country. By allowing chaos and disorder to engulf many Iraqi lives, the coalition may have undermined Jihadist appeal by exposing their willingness to slaughter other Muslims in their bid for a new Caliphate. Al Qaeda is as splintered today as it is brutal as it is dumb. We may have unintentionally given these murderous fanatics enough rope to hang themselves in Arab and Muslim opinion. It’s not that we’re safer because we’re engaging them there rather than here, as the Bush soundbite goes. It’s that by forcing the battle into the heart of the Middle East, rather than in the West, the coalition is exposing internal rifts and dividing the Muslim world into its sane and insane camps. If the sane camp wins, we all win. The risk, of course, is a widening conflagration between Sunni and Shiite – especially if Iraq degenerates into complete civil war, and Iran backs the Shia and the remaining Sunni autocracies, like Syria, keep funding the Sunni-Jihadist forces. But if we can keep the fldegling Iraqi state somewhat stable, the potential benefit is that by using schismatic divisions in Islam, we can help isolate and undermine al Qaeda and Jihadism in general. If Iraq is the place where moderate Islam finally rebels decisively against the mass-murderers, we will have achieved something very significant. It may take a long time, and the odds are still against us, I’d say. But the strategy is not a crazy one, even if it has emerged from the wreckage of incompetence. Indeed, it may be the best hope we now have.

THE SEXISM CARD: Laura plays it in defense of her close friend, Harriet Miers. I’ve read a lot of the criticism of Miers and I have yet to see a shred of sexism in it. Her legal qualifications have been questioned; and her ideological fervor. Other female candidates have been proposed, with far stronger credentials than Miers’. If the president had appointed Gonzales and there had been similar questions, would we now be hearing charges of racism? I suspect we might. When you really are devoid of argument, play the race or the gender card. It’s pretty pathetic. And another reminder of how the administration is happy to coopt left-liberal rhetoric to suit their own dynastic purposes.

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