Andrew C. McCarthy, a National Review Online contributing editor and a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, is author of the new book, Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad, released this week by Encounter Books. He talks about the book and the war we're in with NRO editor Kathryn Lopez.
Kathryn Jean Lopez: Do I have the sides right? They say "Allahu Akbar!" we say "Imagine the liability!"
Andrew C. McCarthy: Unfortunately, that's exactly right, and you've hit on the key difference. They are a religious ideology reveling in a mission for which, far from making any apologies for their brutality, they exude a zeal found only in people convinced they are both right and justified. You won't ever hear from them the slightest misgiving — no careful references to Infidelo-fascists so as not to offend all the wonderful moderate infidels out there.
We, on the contrary, are an odd combination of diffidence, self-loathing, and arrogance: doubtful we are worth the trouble to defend; apt to figure that if people hate us, we must deserve it; and sure that it is within our power to satisfy their grievances — even though we didn't cause them — by dialogue, political processes, sensitivity-training, and, of course, buying them off — which simply confirms them in their suspicion that we don't have the stomach for the fight.
Remember when the Israelis built their security fence and reduced Palestinian suicide bombings by about 95 percent? Prompted by the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the U.N.'s Court of International Justice promptly pronounced the fence — a passive, life-saving defense measure — to be a shameful violation of international law. In a nutshell, that's where we're headed: Ruled by a delusion that, in a world full of lawless savages abetted by rogue regimes, legal processes will save rather than enervate us.