A Challenge That Is Real -- and Deadly
Regarding E.J. Dionne Jr.'s Feb. 19 op-ed, "A 'Challenge' Worth Challenging," on Sen. John McCain's assertion that Islamic extremism is the transcendent challenge of the 21st century:
Consider that Islamic extremism and its Wahhabite and Deobandi variants are not a far cry from what is taught to those in a large part of the Muslim world as they grow up and that, through fear and intimidation, this extremism suppresses alternative ideologies and political movements. Even with a small number of dedicated terrorists, abetted by societies that will look the other way, an asymmetric "war" can be fought against the West (and, it can be argued, is being fought). Some of the other issues that Mr. Dionne raised -- diminished U.S. influence, disorder and poverty in Africa, and alienation of parts of Latin America -- are arguably integral to our campaign against Islamic extremism, which can gain toeholds in ungoverned areas and enclaves hostile to U.S. capitalist and Western Judeo-Christian thought.
Add to that that in the near term, the majority of the world's energy resources exist in and flow from the Muslim-dominated Middle East, and I'd say Mr. McCain has made a compelling case. Islamic extremists, Sunni and Shiite, are not bogeymen created to sustain an enemy for the United States but rather are a collection of groups that are openly hostile to U.S. interests, with an avowed interest in attacking our people and country.
GREG D. ROWE