NPR recently interviewed a state department official responsible for “deprogramming” radicalized Americans reentering their local communities from foreign lands. His illuminating assessment was that these young American jihadists were passionate idealists searching for meaning and seeking to help others.
However, they were radicalized, individually, through the Internet; and they must be deradicalized, individually, but with no guarantee of success, for they view the West as corrupt and militarized against Islam.
When will our media and government see the truth stated by this “deprogrammer” and admit that military action, though sometimes necessary, will always be insufficient in a primarily ideological confrontation — with deep historical roots — that views even “moderate” Muslims as heretics? By ignoring the first precept of armed conflict — “Know Your Enemy” — we face the danger of perpetual war, perpetual submission to the military-industrial establishment, and perpetual apathy towards Enlightenment values that founded our nation in virtue and tolerance.