Villains and Heroes


In a previous post, I discussed Peggy Noonan’s Wall Street Journal article eulogizing William Safire, and came to the conclusion that perhaps Ms. Noonan is herself a member of the group she fears.

There are roughly 300 million people in America. Let’s say 1% of them, only 1 in 100, are composed of those who might fairly be called emotionally unstable—the mentally ill, those who have limited or no ability to govern their actions, those who act out, as they say, physically or violently. That’s three million people.

Looking at her article through different lens, however, I believe Ms. Noonan has the right idea, but the wrong group of mental deficients.

It’s true that political discourse may seem like the wild west these days, due to the passing of the old guard, new frontiers in media opening wider every day, the silent majority showing up at protests with signs and teabags, and millions of citizen journalists expressing their opinions in public. But it’s also true that the vast majority of these people, whom she labels “Ranters”, are really just We the People,  finding our voices. And we are most decidedly not the enemy.

No, the enemy is, as it has been for at least 40 years, radical Islam. And it it still a potent, formidable enemy with hordes of those who wish us ill.

Using Ms. Noonan’s calculus, let’s make a new equation from her set of “people as a whole” (population of the U.S.) and subset of “people to be feared” (loonies, kooks, cranks, Ranters) and apply it to the population of Muslims in the world.

Our new set is “all Muslims“, mostly peaceful, happy to co-exist with other people, countries, religions: 1.5 billion.

Our new subset is “unstable Muslims”: 15 million (1% of 1.5 billion=15 million).

15 million “unstable” Muslims. Radical Muslims. That oft-bandied about “only a small percentage of Muslims” who wish us harm comes out to about 15 million people. That’s the entire population of New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago, with Houston thrown in for good measure. But even our extraoplation of Ms. Noonan’s equation may be far too conservative. 

Pew Research StudyLast month, the Pew Research Center published a study which reported that support for suicide bombing is declining in many Muslim nations. That sounds like good news, right? But a simple look at the chart below leaves us with a few questions.

In the best-case scenarios of Pakistan and Turkey, 13% of Pakistanis and 26% of Turks believe that suicide bombing is sometimes or always justfied. Looking at the rest of the entries, it just gets worse. So while support for suicide bombing has presumably diminished, the number of those who approve of it is still unacceptably high.

And where is Saudi Arabia in this list? It’s probably best not to ask.

Oh, and just out of curiousity, how much aid does the United States give to these nations?

It seems as thought the Ranters that Peggy Noonan fears aren’t even in the same league with the real villains. Villains who will behead you for being gay or getting raped. Villains who will strap on a bomb and detonate themselves at wedding parties. Villains who will murder a daughter for having a boyfriend. Villains who will send another daughter to a Muslim country for genital mutilation.

Face it. We know The Enemy of our time. It isn’t Ranters, loonies, kooks, illegal aliens, Democrats, Nancy Pelosi, Glenn Beck, or Barack Obama. The Enemy is, as it has been for the past 40 years or longer, Radical Islam. And until it has been conquered for good, we will continue to need strong borders, long airline check-in lines, Guantanamo Bay, the Patriot Act, and all the othe things that do or should be done to keep this nation safe.

 I just hope it’s enough.



One Response to Villains and Heroes

  1. Doug says:

    Good Rant!

    My take on the patriot act is a bit different. Philosophically, in the strongest De Jure sense, I oppose it. Given the world we live in, it is IMO a de facto need.

    My thoughts on anti terrorism tend to place my idea of strategy in that cliche zone “to the right of Atilla the Hun”.

    Blackjack Pershing, there was a leader who knew how to handle Islamist fanatics.

    Probably a factor in none of my associates ever trying to nominate me for public service is my ideal Iran Policy:

    Every time they hold a “Death to America” rally – Load a C1-5 with feral pigs, buzz crowd, climb, open rear door.

    It’s small minded people who can’t see the genius of my foreign policy paradigm that are holding me and the cause of liberty back. (Joking! don’t kill me!)

    But seriously, it does not make sense to counter the threat of radical Islam with appeasement. Radical fundamentalist Christians get shot in the head or burned, or both. And that was when Janet Reno was having a good day.

    CAIR gets downtown offices. Hospital chapels remove crosses and have kneeling areas with prayer rugs… Freedom of Religion?

    Why are we negotiating with Iran? The people in power want to spread sharia.

    What do we hope to gain? tye dyed burkas ( sp? ) for women born between 1955 and 1968? They won’t even give us that if they have their way.

    I am all for giving peace a chance. When the other guy’s idea is death or forced fundamentalist religious law ( if they deem you worthy of conversion ), the chance has passed.

    We are debating whether the Taliban or Al Queda should be the target. Say What!!??

    That’s a joke, right?

    Ironic that we can’t have a cross on a war memorial, but trying to end repressive rule of Islamist fundamentalists is “meddling where we don’t belong”.

    Even when same said fundamentalists have already given shelter and comfort to Al Queda and are still supporting them to their best ability.

    Reminds me of that scene in the movie “Platoon” where Dale Dye’s character says into the radio “If you can’t talk son, key your handset twice”.

    We are trying to talk, but there’s nobody there. What the administration is doing ( other than attacking Fox network ) escapes me.

    We had to cram the stimulus bill through, we don’t have time to get health care reform right, it’s got to be quick. We have time to negotiate with Iran.

    Our troops in Afghanistan can wait while we waffle. Brave Americans getting killed in the line of duty is not as important as ramming some pork through congress, right?

    Did somebody wake up and take the wrong damn pill?

    Indeed, our long National nightmare is over! Now our global nightmare is gaining momentum at an unfunny rate.

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