I don't know any Muslims personally. I wish I did so I could talk with them about what they believe and question them about radical Islam vs mainstream Islam. As I think about the the West's fight against terrorism spawned by Bin Laden and other radicals who want our way of life destroyed and to see us dead because they consider us infidels, I wonder why Muslims do not speak out more clearly about the hijacking of their religion. Are they afraid for their lives? Are they confused about the meaning of various parts of the Quran? What do they have to say about jihad?
I am wary about condemning the religion as violent if only a small number of radicals have distorted it. But without strong voices within Islam condemning the radicals, then leaders of the 'non-violent' majority stand to lose credibility and my respect. It's as if a minority of true Christians were radical enough to advocate killing all Buddhists and attempt to destroy the culture and religion of Japan. As a Christian, I would speak out against such terrorism against another religion.
Silence by Islamic leaders in the face of jihad is unacceptable in today's world. Unless mainstream Muslims speak openly and clearly against terror spawned by radical Islamists, the religion itself will be painted as violent.
In an age of spreading nuclear know-how, a dirty bomb set off in New York or other major U.S. city would certainly cripple our economy. All possible measures must be taken to prevent that. And Americans must understand the consequences of not preventing it. I saw a movie on TV recently that had radical Islamists setting off a dirty bomb in London as the main plot. It was spellbinding. To think that a city may not be destroyed physically, but rendered uninhabitable for decades or centuries amounts to the same thing.
For people to avoid considering this unpleasant (devastating?) possibility is to live in ignorance or denial. Bush doesn't talk in explicit terms about the ramifications of this possibility, rather in generalities about another 9/11 as he argues that Iraq in tatters would provide the breeding ground and resources (oil/money/sanctuary) for further attacks on America. I'm sure he doesn't want to alarm the populace, but is that wise when the consequences are so devastating?
Consider what our national response would be if a dirty bomb were set off in NYC, KC, Boston or LA. Would retaliation be the military choice while we were coping with the disaster? If so, where and how would we retaliate? Would we drop a nuke in the border regions of Pakistan? On Iranian nuclear facilities? What would we do? Without any viable response, would the terrorists have won the battle, if not the war?
Prevention is the only practical alternative, but under what terms and conditions? That's a legitimate debate as habeas corpus, the Patriot Act, border security, illegal immigration and other issues come into the prevention equation. For either party to politicize the threat of terror for personal or leadership gain is unacceptable. If the threat is real, then rational Americans had better shed their labels at the door and get down to the business of prevention at all costs.
As my mind contemplates these things without certainty in the results of man's actions, nevertheless I have hope that God in his wisdom has my future in His hands. Without that confidence, I would be frustrated and fearful. While I may lack confidence in the outcomes for America from our response to the terror threat, I have faith in my eternal future.