"The Enemy's Gate is Down"
Via Chapomatic, take the time to read this most excellent essay from Orson Scott Card on the nature of the war we're fighting... you'll be glad you did. Excerpt:
"Muslims in Muslim countries can dish it out, but they can't take it. They had no problem expelling all the Jews from their countries in an ethnic cleansing every bit as vicious as anything the Spaniards did in 1492. They desecrated Torahs left and right. Nowadays they blow up babies and call it a heroic act, because they were Jewish babies.
"But let somebody start a rumor that somebody dunked a Quran in the toilet, and they go insane and riot and kill people."
This being Orson Scott Card, he includes some stuff on Mormons, but that's not the reason I linked it. He points out that Islam has produced great leaders in the past, but what passes for Islamic leadership now has gone in a direction that protects their own interests at the expense of societal development (check out these poll results from the "Arab Street").
Here's my theory on the whole thing: Yes, Islam was once a vibrant religion, and created a "modern" society out of desert nomads in a single generation. But honestly -- can anyone come up with anything useful that Islamic society has produced in the last 500 years? (Algebra was before that.) They didn't even invent suicide bombing... (not that that's useful, although I do have to give them credit for coming up with the concept of using suicide bombers against undefended inanimate objects). James Michener, in "The Source", said that the Arab armies couldn't win a war (in this case, the Israeli War of Independence) because of the nature of their society -- if a supply column leaves Cairo headed to the front, supplies would never reach the troops; it'd be sold off to the commander's relatives before it even reached the Suez. A religion that teaches that everything that happens is because of God's will eliminates the needs for its' followers to even try anymore -- "hey, I didn't invent this new item because God didn't want me to". "If God had wanted me to show up for work, I would have." "I can base a large part of my economy on selling pirated software because God would stop me if it was wrong"... (I'm thinking Malaysia here). Now, I'm not saying that all Muslims are like this, but there are enough that it forms a critical mass that changes the nature of society, and we have seen the results. America hasn't quite reached the point where it has the stomach to fight the type of war that you need to against an enemy like this (I can just imagine them laughing their asses off: "We cut off our prisoner's heads and put it on the Internet, and they respond by apologizing for pulling frat stunts on our guys. What a bunch of wimps!") I don't know what it would take for America to realize that it'll require the same kind of national will (in a different type of war, obviously) to defeat this enemy as it did for the last fanatically-religious enemy with no concern for personal survival that we fought... Imperial Japan. Now, the Japanese are among our strongest allies. I hope that in sixty years we'll be able to say the same thing about Islamists... but I don't think we will...