Daniel Pipes and the WOT.
For years one cliche bandied about by those critical of the WOT was it did not have a "hearts and minds" component, that it did not fight the ideological war that is every much a part of the WOT as it was during the Cold War.
First point Daniel makes:
The problem I have with this and Daniel really should know better is we must make a careful distinction between good Muslims and bad Muslims. Surely, if a Christian sect were forcing people to drink scrub water from the local church or temple to determine their guilt or innocence we would make a distinction, would we not?
One thing I found with Arabic Muslims (I guess this applies to all Muslims but my experience is with Arab Muslims) in particular and people of a given faith in general is to circle the wagons if they sense they are being attacked. One incident I recall vividly were with two students who had taken offense to a particular cartoon that was ripping on the Taliban. The girls did not get that out (English was not their first language) of the cartoon and were PO'ed at it. I explained to them this cartoon was directed at the Taliban and explained to them about the nastiness of the Taliban. One girl got my point immediately and was explaining to her friend. I told them if you lived in Tali-Land they would not be here at their nice university. I don't know if the one girl was convinced about the real nature of the cartoon but the other definitely was.
This is very important we do not drive moderate Muslims into a coalition with the not so moderate; bad for us, bad for the moderates, and good for the bad guys. The President and his team know this and are careful not to offend Islamic sensibilities and have worked to isolate the bad from the good. I think the state of affairs on that has worked acceptably well.
Mr. Pipes highlights efforts from funding more moderate imans, funding schools to compete with the Madrassas, funding math & science class in madrassas, and repairing and building mosques. Mr. Pipes commends these measures but wonders if the repair and building of mosques with taxpayer dollars is a violation of the establishment clause.
This is all done quietly as one would expect. Duuuuuhhhh! If Saudi Arabia were to announce it was going to launch a major campaign to educate Catholics how would we respond? As it turns out when the Federal Government announces it is going to start an Arabic media project we get all sorts of (American) goofs denouncing it as cheap propaganda, why would some of these projects be hailed with open arms in Islamic societies?
Yes, I know when a Sbarros Pizzeria in Israel gets bombed the blogosphere resonates with "ROP" but we really need to understand the moderate Muslims are in this fight with us. Think about it, if you are a moderate imam are you going to speak up to another imam who can fatwa you dead? I suspect most will not speak out.