I am not one who views the so-called War on Terror as an apocalyptic battle between Good and Evil—the noble and cosmopolitan United State of America versus medieval savages. If there a God, and that God is Allah, ISIS may be right about us. (If God is possible, that too is possible...no?) We may well be the Great Satan, a nation of hyper-fornication and high finance, where the only real Almighty is the almighty buck. Furthermore, maybe they're correct in that we invited Islam's ire with our past colonialism and vast despoiling of their holy sites. Not a few of my students in Lehigh University's Global Studies program would agree.*
I am willing to concede that if this is so, then maybe God (Allah) smiled on 9/11. Maybe we non-believers deserve every beheading, every acid bath, and worse. For who among us knows for certain if God exists and what He wants from us? Certainly I don't. Bottom line, I do not claim the high moral ground over radical Islam, the Koran, Sharia, etc.
But you know what? I don't care who's objectively/cosmically "right," if such a condition exists. I don't care if we're on the fast track to eternal damnation; I don't care if America has conducted itself with such hubris and impunity that we're now reaping our just desserts. I know only that I love America and (on balance) our American way of life. I love my grandchildren—adorable little apostates that they may be—and I want everything possible done to keep them safe.
I am willing to cede to Islam the Afterlife as long as we prevail in this one.
So ISIS, if you're listening, I'm happy to let you have your caliphate...over there. Ditto Iran. By all means celebrate Islam in any way you choose. Kill the heretics, do what you will with your women-folk. It's not my concern, and it's no skin off my American nose, so to speak. Indeed, as I see it, the less my country gets embroiled in these far-flung entanglements and holy wars, the better off we are. As for humanitarian missions, I see plenty of candidates for such largess right here at home. No need to go to Aleppo; Appalachia calls.
But—I'm again addressing ISIS, Iran and the rest of radical Islam—if you insist on pursuing war against us, or even simply making my American dream fraught with anxiety, then I am adamant that you cease to be a threat. I will not learn to live with life as it's lived in Israel: being wary in airports or when I sit down to a nice dinner in a restaurant with my family. I want that wariness eliminated. By any means necessary, as Malcolm X once put it in another context. And understand, there's nothing personal about it; nothing at all. I don't hate you for hating me. Just as I don't hate the mosquito that I swat to prevent him from going about his mosquito's business. To reiterate, in some scriptural sense you may be better than I, or any other American, will ever be. I just insist on being able to live my American life without interference from you.
Even if it means that every last one of you, every man, woman or child who is part of your cause, must be dispersed in a thunderous tritium haze. And I want my president, the next president, to understand that that is how I feel.
* If you would like your horizons broadened as to the degree of American self-loathing rampant on America's college campuses, audit such a course someday. (In not a few classes it is part of the curriculum.) You'll be shocked, as I was...the first time.