The American Interest

Memorandum to President George W. Bush

In the aftermath of September 11, you have done a reasonably good job managing the crisis, symbolizing the nation's unity, restraining the laptop bombardiers, and preparing a military response that was neither hasty nor disproportionate. Now that two months have passed, you have more time to reflect on the long-term significance of that event and to draw relevant conclusions for the global strategy our country should follow over not only the coming weeks and months, but years and decades. Having earned your spurs as a trustworthy leader during the most traumatic moment for America in at least six decades, you are uniquely positioned to make radical changes in our foreign policy that are necessary if we are to avoid similar tragedies in the years to come.

While political considerations may temporarily oblige you to say that "Islam is a religion of peace," you must understand that Islam as such—not some allegedly aberrant form of it—is the main identifiable threat to America's global security in the coming century, and, in the longer term, to the survival of our civilization. Islam has been synonymous with violence and intolerance since its earliest days. Like communism or Nazism, Islam is part religion and part ideology, and it seeks to impose mind-numbing uniformity of thought and feeling upon its adherents, to subjugate and ultimately destroy all nonbelievers. It accepts no "peaceful coexistence"...

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