Earlier today, I decided to “play doctor” and compare Islamism to a malignant brain tumor. I left off with the diagnosis, now it’s time for Dr. Tea to give his recommended treatment.
There are many ways of treating tumors. The most aggressive doctors combine treatments, trying what I call “shotgun problem solving” — trying several remedies at once, in hopes that one or more of them will work. This has the disadvantage of not being overly helpful in learning what caused the problem, so you don’t learn much, but it tends to work much faster than a more methodical approach.
One way is through surgery. Just go in and cut it out and hope like hell you got all of it. It’s the brute-force approach, the most violent, but it is also the fastest, with almost instant results.
There’s the radiation and chemotherapy approach. This is the art of poison — of poisoning both the tumor and the person stuck with it in hopes that the tumor will die first. It’s probably the most unpleasant, certainly the slowest and most painful, but often the most successful.
And there’s one technique that I’ve heard used a bit — “starving” the tumor. Isolating the blood vessels and other means by which the tumor acquires that which it needs to keep growing, and cut it off. Eventually, it will stop growing, then start to shrink. In some cases, it can die away completely.
Right now, we’re focusing mainly on the surgical approach. In Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Pakistan, in plenty of other places around the world, we’re finding the malignant tumors of Islam and removing them — by killing them. It’s a remarkably effective approach — those we kill tend to not cause too many more problems — but it’s rare that we kill enough of the psychos to guarantee they will not regroup and regrow.
The next technique is tougher, but offers much better hopes for a long-term cure. We need to “poison” the ideology that is at the core of militant Islam. We need to attack the Muslim ideology and make it utterly inhospitable to Islamism. We need to sever the underpinnings in the Muslim faith that allow for the support — or, at least, the tolerance — of the beliefs and practices that are at the core of Islamism. In short, we need to get the vast majority of Muslims to recognize that the tumor in their brain — the serpent at their breast — is a far more immediate danger to them than we are.
And that needs to be done simultaneously with the message that “if you won’t take care of yourself, we’re ready to do whatever it takes to make sure you don’t keep harming others.” We would not be acting out of hatred, or even fear, but simple self-preservation and in defense of others.
Militant Islam has killed tens of thousands of innocent Westerners. But it has killed far, far more of its own fellow Muslims. Islamists are a far greater threat to the average Muslim than all of us non-Muslims combined. And if they keep lashing out at the West, they could end up provoking a truly brutal response that would forcibly remind the Muslim world of a very unpleasant truth:
Take a look at the weapons the Islamists use (or covet). They didn’t invent a damned one of them. The AK-47, the bomb, the airliner, the rocket, the mortar, the missile, the poison gas, the biological agents, the nuclear bombs — all the products of the West. We invented all of them. We have them. We’ve had them a lot longer. And we are far, far better at using them, should we so choose. And that choice is getting closer and closer all the time.
Finally, there’s the third treatment method: starvation. This one is the least invasive, the least likely to succeed on its own, but in its own way is just as critical as the others — if not more so.
The lifeblood of the Islamist movement is temporal power. It is their ability to affect world events, the conduct of nations, the global dialogue, far out of proportion with their actual numbers. And that is because they have access to tremendous sources of the real power in this world today: money and oil.
The Islamist movement finds itself with its strongest adherents on top of and around the world’s biggest suppliers of oil, and oil is the linchpin of modern civilization. They don’t own the oil, but they can influence those who do own it, those who dig it up, those who transport it, those who refine it, adn those who sell it. And they do.
In Saudi Arabia, they’ve found a model that works quite well for them: they simply threaten to raise hell among the ruling powers. To keep themselves safe, the Saudis just throw money at them and tell them to go bother someone else. That has worked out pretty well for the Saudis; they are, in essence, treating the rest of the world as their personal toilet, dumping their crap on everyone else and letting them clean up the mess. And it works well for the Islamists, as well; the Saudis have plenty of money, and they are willing to give quite a bit of it as Danegeld. A pity that the works of Kipling are apparently banned in Saudi Arabia.
We already are waging a war against the financial underpinnings of Islamism, and have won some decisive victories. We have tossed in prison quite a few of the fund-raisers, the money men, the financiers that make terrorism not only possible, but occasionally quite profitable. But that is only the beginning.
As I said, the linchpin — the utterly essential core of modern civilization is oil. And currently much of the world’s oil comes from Islamic nations, or is transported through or near Islamic nations — which means that the Islamists have ready access to disrupt that flow. As long as that remains true, they hold a knife to the world’s throat.
There is no ready solution to this problem, no selective blood vessels to seal off, but there are several things we can do which will help. And the biggest is to reduce our dependency on foreign oil.
Like most problems, there are multiple solutions. I divide them into three categories: short-term, mid-term, and long-term.
Short-term, we need to develop more of our oil reserves at home. We have huge deposits of oil right here in the US, or readily at hand (deposits off the shores of Florida and California come to mind). But we lack the political will to access them. We SHOULD be extracting oil from the Alaskan National Wildlife Reserve — carefully, and delicately, but using it nonetheless. We SHOULD be drilling off our shores, not letting Cuba and China have that oil. And we SHOULD be working on ways to transform coal and shale and whatnot into oil.
We also need to make our supply of energy far more flexible. We currently have a couple dozen or so special blends of gasoline, each mandated by the federal government or a state. We need to knock that down to the bare minimum, so a shortage of gasoline in one region can be eased by supplies from another.
We also need more refineries. South Dakota just approved the first new refinery in 30 years, and that’s a a good first step. Currently, our existing refineries are running very close to capacity, which means one real disaster (such as, say, a huuricane hitting one or more of them) will cause huge problems for our supply.
Mid-term, we need to reduce our energy use. Or, to be more honest, slowing the rate of increase. We need to find more efficient ways of using energy, especially in transportation. And simple tricks like electrical vehicles — which are actually less efficient, once one takes into account the energy used to manufacture their batteries and the actual cost of generating the electricity to power them — simply won’t cut it.
And long-term, we need to get ourselves out of the habit of burning oil. Petroleum is one of the most amazing substances the world has ever seen. We make a huge number of critical substances out o it, and what is the most common use we have for it? We BURN it. True, its energy density is remarkable, but we have so many other ways of generating energy that we have neglected or cast aside. We need to look at a whole host of alternate energy sources besides burning oil — improving the efficiency and cleanliness of coal, developing wind power (even if it might slightly infringe on the oh-so-scenic view off Cape Cod that the worthless Senators from Massachusetts, Kennedy and Kerry, enjoy so much), we need to develop nuclear power (after all, dammit, we invented it!), we need to look at things like geothermal and solar and hydro power.
Because every single barrel of oil we import — especially from the Muslim world — is just more money and power (real or potential) we give them, and their tumor, the Islamists, to use against us.
Let’s be honest. If it wasn’t for oil, we’d be looking at the psychotic Muslims butchering their coreligionists in the same way that we do the all-too-frequent genocides in Africa: “Tch, tch, tch. Isn’t it terrible. Someone should do something. Can I have another latte?” But because of that oil, they have the power to threaten us — both directly and indirectly.
Right now, our neighbor the Muslim is growing more and more psychotic from that tumor, that terrible pressure in his brain. And we are not only allowing it to happen, but we are part of the problem. We are feeding that tumor, we are aiding and abetting his denial of a problem, we are putting weapons in his hands, and we are making excuses when he lashes out in his tumor-induced psychosis and causes harm to those around him.
We need to stop that. More, we need to either persuade him to accept our help and get treatment, or isolate him and keep him from continuing to harm others.
Or we can keep doing what we’re doing now — hoping that our kind words and bribes will convince him, in his psychosis, to not harm us too severely before his tumor finally kills him.
When discussing birth control, there’s a saying that has almost become a cliche’: “hope is not a method.” It’s also a lousy basis for national policy.
And when our survival is at stake, it’s downright suicidal to put all our stock in “let’s hope the crazy person eventually will act rationally.”
I’m no doctor, and I am well aware of the limits of metaphor, but I don’t recall ever hearing of a case where negotiations and compromises actually worked with tumors.