The Arab world is very clever. They know how "the West" thinks. We believe in the good in people. We believe everyone shares our values. We believe all people love life. We take things at face value. (Case in point: The so-called "Arab spring". Americans jumped for joy, giddy with the thought that the Middle East had finally discovered democracy.) We do not study history. We do not investigate. We allow the six o'clock news to tell us what is going on in the world and what we should think about it. We are superficial; ask any college student/graduate about Occam's Razor. And, when faced with something too abhorrent for us to comprehend, we indulge in cognitive dissonance.
Since my primary focus is Israel, let me give an example from there before I bring the point home to America. In a debate in Dohar, Qatar (linked below), Norman Finkelstein made the statement that "those of us in academia know that (the 'Palestinian' situation) is a simple one", and that "it is only when the discussion moves into the public realm that it becomes contrived, manufactured":
Aside from being a pompous ass, Mr. Finkelstein obviously fell in love with Occam's Razor. Well, if the solution is truly that "simple", then the professor really should call Prime Minister Netanyahu and clue him in because, despite two college degrees and decades of public service, this "simple" solution is eluding him. I am certain "Bibi" would appreciate Mr. Finkelstein's pearls of wisdom.
For the sake of brevity, I will not get into the red herring of the "Palestinian" plight. But, I agree that Norman Finkelstein's solution is a "simple" one. Give the "Palestinians" their own state. After all, that is fair, right? Never mind the seven different land offers the "Palestinians" have refused over the years. Let us forget that not only did the "Palestinians" vote in Hamas to rule Gaza in 2006, but in a recent poll they have overwhelmingly said they would vote for Ismail Haniyeh (83%). Never mind that the true goal of the "Palestinians" (indeed the entire Arab world) is to drive Israel into the sea:
Forget all of that. Just give these people their own state. OK, Mr. Finkelstein: Where? Gaza? The so-called "West Bank"? I suppose you want the pre-1967 borders, which (let us get the language straight) is the 1949 Armistice Line, a line that is militarily indefensible - a lesson that was learned in 1973. What is your real goal, Professor? The destruction of Israel? Or, have you simply drowned yourself in Western "logic"?
I admit to my own struggles. After all, I am an American. But, unlike most people, I have buried myself in the study of the Middle East, which admittedly has irreversibly warped my mind. Despite my best efforts, though, sometimes I am still blindsided by something I thought I understood. This morning was one such time. America has believed the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001 was targeted for 9/11 because 9-1-1 is our emergency phone number. Al-Qaeda was being "cute". It was a logical assumption. But, it was wrong, and that assumption proves the ignorance, arrogance, and lack of understanding that is prevalent in Western culture. The true reason for the selection of September 11th for the attack on America is found in history.
September 11, 1683.
The day Vienna was almost overrun by Islamists, but who were defeated by the Polish army (see 52L40ff):
We do not know our enemy. We completely misinterpreted what al-Qaeda did, and why they chose that day. Undoubtedly, they have been laughing at us for thirteen years, while using our foolishness as evidence of our self-centeredness, and we handed them the ammunition.
History. I often wondered how seemingly well-educated people could be brainwashed into a medieval ideology that makes no logical sense. The answer lies in the subject matter that is studied. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is an expert in Islamic studies. He knows the entire history of Islam, and we can be certain he will use that knowledge against us, and play Western weaknesses against us, and unless we commit ourselves to learning about our enemy we are going to be defeated by an even more insidious enemy than the Islamic State.
In law enforcement they say "ignorance of the law is no excuse". Why? If I do not know it is against the law to park next to a fire hydrant, that is not my fault, is it? The reaon is, if ignorance were an excuse, people could simply insert earplugs, don blind folds, and do whatever they please until someone tells them they cannot. (By the way, the word "ignorance" means "to ignore". It is an active verb.)
Ignorance of Islam is no excuse.
NOTE: For those who would like to begin educating yourselves, I have a question for you. What is it you think you know about the Crusades? The Spanish Inquisition? (Emphasis on the word "think".) Start there.