The lesson of Frank Capra
Finally! Someone has put together a "Why We Fight" for this war.
In the middle of the Second World War, Frank Capra was approached by the US government to put together a series of propaganda films for the American public and new army recruits. (I'm not afraid of the term propaganda, look it up in the dictionary. Though it has come to have the popular meaning of "political lies", its lexical definition is basically mass persuasion and morally neutral. Same root word as "propagate".)
Capra had seen Leni Riefenstahl's brilliant and disturbing piece of Nazi propaganda, "The Triumph of the Will" and his series was by way of a reply to it. What Capra suggested, to the consternation of some, was that he show our people their propaganda. In effect saying, "This is what they are saying to their people, this is the message of evil and hatred they proclaim to their own."
That's what this film was, jihadist speeches and demonstrations, plus commentary by Western experts and people like Noni Darweesh, daughter of a shaheed ("martyr") and Walid Shoebat, a former terrorist who claims to have killed upwards of four hundred people before having a "What have I done?" experience. He has since renounced jihad and converted to Christianity, for which his father has vowed to kill him. I have enormous respect for the courage of these people - but I wouldn't want to be their insurance agent.
I've got some quibbles with how this film was made, which I'll keep to myself at least until I've seen it again. But this has needed to be done for a long time. What we are shown are the leaders of jihad, telling us plainly that they hate everything about the West and intend to destroy it - by any means necessary.
There are those who say, it's our fault, we brought it on ourselves with our interference in their affairs and our support of Israel. This is a comforting belief for many, because it means that if it's our fault then it's within our control. Stop doing it, say you're sorry, and they'll say "OK, now we'll leave you alone."
Doesn't sound that likely when you put it that way, does it?
And listen to them, their stated grievances go back to the Crusades (which by the way, was not an example of American imperialism). And those who believe this can't seem to face the fact that part of the price the jihadists demand is for the West to become complicit in the extermination of the Jews. Not just the Israelis, the Jews. Worldwide. The fact that there are a fair number of Jews who have bought into this only proves that "Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it." Lots of intelligent and sophisticated Jews in Europe thought they'd ride out the last anti-Semitic binge too.
I believe there are a fair number of the lumpen intelligentsia of Western Europe who have tacitly concluded that this is an acceptable price to pay - give them the Jews and they'll be rid of them, while keeping their own hands clean. (Does anyone remember that the Vichy French collaborationist government in WWII passed racial purity laws that were actually stricter than the Germans demanded?)
I do not believe that this war, and that is what is is by any sane definition, is our fault. I believe it comes from a repressive culture that makes a certain percentage of its members literally psychotic. But even if it were our fault, what would it matter? We have enemies dedicated to our destruction, and that's the reality we have to deal with.