bigduke6: Here's my problem with the focus on body counts though, regardless of who is racking them up.
The response to terrorism has been completely disproportionate. More people die each year from automobile accidents, though I do think to some extent, the government is probably pretty close to lowering the death toll to the lowest possible level. However, many more people die each year from lifestyle related diseases that stem from obesity, excessive alcohol consumption, tobacco consumption and a whole host of other things. Yet no one, either in government or the general populace regards these things with anywhere near the same level of hysteria as they do terrorism, despite obesity related diseases killing several times as many people as terrorism. If the state really is necessary for saving people's lives and must therefore impose all sorts of heavy-handed measures (and I'm not saying it should necessarily do either), then simply on a death toll count, it's going after the wrong guys. Ronald McDonald was always a bigger culprit than Osama Bin Laden.
I do have a problem with Islam, but I think that's very easily solved by the following three-pronged attack:
1. Remove the financing that allows Islam to be a problem. The major priority there should be to get off oil. Without tons of easy money, the Islamic world will be forced to make a choice between living in the 7th century or the 21st century. This will come eventually anyway because oil supplies are finite, but we could hasten the process. It would also remove one of the major levers of support that Islamists have -- that the West is interfering in their countries -- and show them up for being what they really are when they continue aggressively to try to expand Islam.
2. Abandon multiculturalism and cultural relativism. Immigration programmes should aim at assimilation and the idea (for both immigrants and native citizens) that the Western tradition is not just another tradition, but that it is the greatest tradition that has ever existed and should be acknowledged as such. It is entirely impossible to simultaneously claim to have liberal beliefs and tolerate a religion or culture that is homophobic, for instance. It's simply impossible. Until and unless Islam edits such things from its religious works it is simply incompatible with modern, liberal nations. End of story. None of this implies that there aren't things that can be learnt from other cultures, but it does put things into perspective and say a) some values are not up for debate/relativistic, b) overall, the West is still vastly superior to other traditions.
3. Completely reform the welfare state such that it provides incentives to participate productively in a strong, fucntioning society based upon the Western, liberal tradition and its institutions.
I actually agree with the Islamists that the West is the root of the problem, though not for the same reasons as they do. The West is the root of the problem simply because it supports Islam economically through oil and because ideologically, it has abandoned itself. Liberalism grows on very infertile ground in the West these days whilst every other inferior and/or dangerous ideology is given ample room and nutrients to grow. The former is allowed to be debated (as is reasonable), but the latter are not allowed to be truly debated (which is unreasonable), because it's actually pretty obvious what the truth is once we get beyond the superficial nature of cultural relativism. In this respect, the people who should be the responsible custodians of our liberal institutions -- politicians, civil servants, journalists, teachers, etc. -- have been not only derelict, but sometimes actively complicit in the downfall of those institutions and society at large.
And you coming in to scold us all like some kind of sour-puss kindie assistant who favors olive cardigans and lemon drinks without sugar. -- Muzha Man
One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words "Socialism" and "Communism" draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, "Nature Cure" quack, pacifist, and feminist in England. -- George Orwell