May 11, 2012
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The thrust of Ackerman's piece of course is that we are in a war with Islam, not a war against Islamic extremists or terrorists or whatever you want to call it. A war against what Ackerman calls "mainstream Muslims" which if we look at recent Arab revolutions and elections are really a minority of around 20%.
But the rebuttal is in the document itself, its a contingency plan. A what if everything goes to shit. And its not about starting a war on Islam, its about what if Islam as a whole makes war on us and its going very very badly. What as a last resort are your options?
Its the military's job to think and plan for such contingencies. I'm sure even in this period after the cold war US and Russian generals have contingency plans for what if. We think about ways to destroy each other every day.
The problem that American's have with it is Islam is a religion, but its more than that its a religion and a political system. No one would be offended if military planners and educators were thinking about possible conflicts with any other system of government, communists, fascists, dictatorships, democracy. But when Islam is part of the political system westerners have trouble swallowing that, it runs against our grain and perceptions.
But the military needs to plan for these things. Because even though our preconceptions about religion make it distasteful to consider how to win a "war with Islam", Islamists sure as hell have thought about how to win a war against you.