It was an extraordinary breaking of ranks. For years now, since 9/11 and before, Western leaders from all points of the political spectrum have unanimously maintained that Islam was a Religion of Peace and that Islamic jihad terrorists were a tiny minority of extremists who were twisting and hijacking the peaceful teachings of their religion. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls hasn't exactly abandoned this roseate, inaccurate, and self-defeating view, but he has come closer than any other Western leader to telling the truth about the threat – with Eric Holder harrumphing in dissent on the sidelines.
On Saturday, Valls declared that France was waging "a war against terrorism, against jihadism, against radical Islam, against everything that is aimed at breaking fraternity, freedom, solidarity."
It is unclear at this point whether Valls realizes the full implications of what he has said. Maybe he was simply reacting emotionally after the jihad massacres at the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical newspaper and the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket. For a declaration of war against "jihadism" and "radical Islam" is also a declaration of war (wittingly or unwittingly) against the prevailing refusal of Western leaders to describe the crisis they face as having anything whatsoever to do with Islam.