No one ever said being a Gormogon was easy, but we all promised each other to speak the truth to the best of our ability, regardless of who may be offended. Well, brace yourself for another installment of "'Puter, The Insensitive Bastard."
In making the rounds of the internet today, 'Puter happened on this article (via Instapundit) concerning the horrific consequences of malaria and the West's unilateral disarmament in the battle against it. Then 'Puter received Island Dweller's missive on the Ground Zero mosque, discussed below. It occured to 'Puter that there are many similarities between malaria and radical Islam, including the West's failed approach to both.
Malaria is a disease that is no longer known in most developed Western nations. Even when a Westerner contracts the parasite, modern medicine can cure it. Because malaria is at most a nuisance to Westerners, we ignore its continued existence elsewhere.
Malaria's impact on the developing world is far different. The parasite sickens 300 million annually, requiring months of recovery, causing increased susceptibility to other life-threatening maladies, and, best of all, permanently impairing the mental development of children. Malaria is a rightly feared scourge.
But what to do about malaria? How come developed countries like the United States no longer have a problem? In a word, DDT. The malaria parasite is carried by the female anopheles mosquito. These little buggers (along with bedbugs as noted in the linked article) are effectively destroyed by application of DDT. There are two problems with DDT: (1) it indiscriminately destroys all mosquitos, whether carrying the parasite or not and (2) it negatively impacts other wildlife. The West used DDT (along with draining swamps (thanks, Walter Reed)) to destroy its native anopheles mosquito population. After eradicating the threat of malaria by destroying its carrier, the West decided DDT's impact on wildlife was no longer tolerable, severly restriciting its use. As a result, DDT is not produced in quantity any more.
Unfortunately for less developed countries, the DDT ban came too early for them. Since many of these countries lack the capacity to produce DDT or to destroy the mosquitos' habitats, malaria has continued unabated, dooming generations to premature deaths and crippling illness. Rather than destroying the carriers with DDT as they did for themselves, Western countries have focused on treating the symptoms with medicines in the developing world. There have also been half-measures like mosquito netting and avoidance education.
However, the West is paying a price for tolerating the existence of malaria. Much to the West's chagrin, malaria (along with bedbugs) is making a comeback in the developed world.
So, 'Puter, what's any of this got to do with radical Islam? A lot.
Like malaria, we know that radical Islam is carried only within a certain population: Muslims. We also know that not all Muslims are radical Islamists. In fact, the vast majority of Muslims are not carriers of this diseased ideology. But we have no effective way to determine which Muslims are radical Islamists bent on harming us and which Muslims are good Americans merely wishing to quietly practice their faith as is their right. We also know that radical Islam is unapologetically dedicated to destroying our Western values.
Like malaria, radical Islam was unknown in the West. A tradition of liberal values (informed by Judeo-Christian ethics) impaired its rise here and in Europe.
As with malaria, the West turned a blind eye to radical Islam's rise, as it didn't directly affect it. Sure, Muslim women were being tortured and killed by radical Islamists for daring to educate themselves. Sure, radical Islamists insist that marrying and bedding 9 year old girls is acceptable. Sure, men could rape women with impunity, as under sharia a woman's testimony is worthless. And sure, the Israelis had to endure years of constant war with a radical Islam avowedly committed to their genocide. But hey, none of that was happening in Europe or America. That's just something that happens to those impoverished, brown others and those warmongering Zionists. No need to extinguish the threat; it's not bothering us.
We blithely ignored the failed states where this pestilent ideology festered and rotted minds. Somalia, Gaza, Yemen. We whistled past the graveyard as Muslim nations made devil's bargains with it. Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Lebanon. The filthy plague began to spread, and the West did nothing to stop it. It's got nothing to do with us.
There were early warning signs. The Iranian Revolution. The Lebanon Barracks Bombing. The Lockerbie Bombing. The First World Trade Center Bombing. Last, 9/11. We could no longer ignore the disease. Radical Islam had at last come for us. Our indifference had allowed the cancer to take hold and to flourish.
And where are we today? In the same conundrum we're in with malaria.
We could solve the radical Islam problem the same way as we once defeated malaria: destroy the carrier. This option is unacceptable to all right-thinking people. Not only is the loss of life unacceptable, the resultant harm to our belief system generally is intolerable. Radical Islam, like Mao's revolutionaries, hide in plain view. How are we to distinguish between the carriers and the uninfected? To ignore this obligation would be immoral. We are talking about humans, not insects. So we are left with half-measures we hope will be effective.
We hunt and destroy the worst radical Muslim offenders and those who harbor them. We are trying to drain the fetid jihadi swamps by fostering tolerance in Muslim societies, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan, into which we have dumped much time, talent and treasure. We are using diplomatic pressure, as well as financial sanctions, to encourage responsible behavior. We are bribing governments and tribal leaders to cooperate or to leave us alone. In order to function, we pretend that radical Muslims committed to our destruction are not walking among us today. We have substantially beefed up our electronic and human intelligence capacity. Each of these is a worthy effort, but results will not be known for years.
Short of an all out war on Islam itself, which we are not yet ready to wage (and which 'Puter fervently hopes never becomes necessary), we are left to hope that our half measures will accomplish the task. 'Puter believes that this is the best we can do. 'Puter is not hopeful these limited responses will succeed. 'Puter fears that the ultimate cure may be worse than the disease itself.
Here's to hoping 'Puter's wrong.
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