This past week the Bush administration has changed its rhetoric from fighting a â€œwar against terrorâ€ to a â€œstruggle against extremism.â€ This change recognizes that our fight is with an ideology that employs terror. The ideology has economic, political, and cultural components. It also takes the focus of the execution of the policy from the military exclusively and includes the American people and global community.
I find the use of the term â€œextremismâ€ confusing. One manâ€™s extremism is anotherâ€™s orthodoxy. It seems to me that many types of fundamentalism are pretty extreme, be they Moslem, Jewish, or Christian. I think fundamental Mormonism with its polygamy extreme. Or how about Jews who are currently crossing into Gaza to try to disrupt the Israeli pull out because God gave them that land? Or the radical Christian right in the US who are trying to legislate their own brand of morality for the rest of us? There is way too much religious extremism going on in the world right now. It doesnâ€™t seem to be a force for good.
At least letâ€™s alter our new slogan to read that we are struggling against “violent” extremism. Then we can debate what we consider â€œviolence.”