The struggle between Islam and the West is presented as a "clash of civilizations." But at this point it looks more like a clash of incompetents: not terribly bright jihadists advance upon an increasingly imbecilic West, which, if it escapes harm, does so more through dumb luck than vigilance.
Once again, the "system worked," as Janet Napolitano memorably put it after a plane almost blew up over Detroit last Christmas. Like that "underwear bomber," Faisal Shahzad has paid Americans the small courtesy of being incompetent. Sure, he managed to get past security and board a flight to Dubai after trying to kill Times Square tourists, but not to worry: Attorney General Eric Holder has everything under control; he says he "was never in any fear that we were in danger of losing him." What a relief.
At any rate, the effort was certainly close enough for government work. Besides, this administration has many important matters to engage its attention, such as boxing "Islamophobe" Franklin Graham out of a Pentagon prayer service and lecturing Arizonans on the value of porous borders.
The underwear bomber was tackled by a Scandinavian and Shahzad's smoking vehicle was spotted by a hot dog vendor. But let's not nitpick; the Obama-led federal government can't be expected to do everything. After all, it is "not at war with Islam" but with Christianity.
New York City Mayor Michal Bloomberg, speaking for a PC political class, first thought that the Times Square bomber was "somebody with a political agenda that doesn't like the health care bill." Janet Napolitano evidently still has her eyes peeled for pro-lifers and embittered military veterans, while MSNBC's Contessa Brewer says a "part" of her, evidently not the head, "was hoping this was not going to be anybody with ties to any kind of Islamic country," lest that justify "really outdated bigotry."
Yes, America is past all that outdated anxiety about Islam. As the Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan discovered, America is so enlightened it will even finds jobs in its military for Muslims who conduct PowerPoint presentations in defense of suicide bombings. As Army chief of staff George Casey said, maintaining "diversity" is a greater priority for Obama's America than stopping militant Islam: "Our diversity, not only in our Army, but in our country, is a strength. And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that's worse."
That's worse. This mindset, pervasive throughout the federal government, explains how Faisal Shahzad could trundle off to Pakistan, train to be a terrorist, then come back to the U.S. as a naturalized citizen before trying to kill tourists in Times Square. The only thing that stood between Faisal and those tourists was his ineptitude.
It would appear that Islam's centuries-long indifference to science and technology makes even its terrorism unscientific and shoddy. This has to explain at least in part the rather high percentage of clumsy terrorists like Shahzad. While very motivated, they find themselves having to rely on Western weaponry and products to defeat the West without quite knowing how to use them.
As Robert R. Reilly points out in The Closing of the Muslim Mind, "Those involved in training Middle Eastern military forces have encountered a lackadaisical attitude to weapons maintenance and sharp-shooting. If God wants the bullet to hit the target, it will, and if He does not, it will not. It has little to do with human agency or skills obtained by discipline and practice."
The Islamic conception of God as pure will, unbound by reason and unknowable through the visible world, rendered any search for cause and effect in nature irrelevant to Muslim societies over centuries, resulting in slipshod, dependent cultures. Reilly notes, for example, that Pakistan, a nation which views science as automatically impious given its view that an arbitrary God did not imprint upon nature a rational order worth investigating, produces almost no patents.
Writes Reilly: "Less than a decade ago, an imam in Pakistan instructed physicists there that they could not consider the principle of cause and effect in their work. Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy, a Pakistani physicist and professor at Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad, said that it was not Islamic to say that combining hydrogen and oxygen makes water. 'You were supposed to say that when you bring hydrogen and oxygen together then by the will of Allah water was created.'"
The "clash of civilizations" is a clash of irrationalities, which now revolves around a kind of inertia: "reason" without faith makes the West too soulless to stop Islamic encroachment while the jihadists' faith without reason makes them too stupid to pull it off.
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