It's not yet clear that we have begun to take seriously -- even literally -- the threats of Al Qaeda. We should. They are as good as their word. Here, courtesy of the indispensable MEMRI project, are excerpts from a video and text of a statement by a Bin Laden deputy, Abu Yahya Al-Liby. There are no compromises, none. And it's not just against Jews or Israelis, or Americans. Everybody is targeted and everybody is destined.
We are not like those people who draw a distinction between types of jihad -- permitting and supporting it against the Jews in Palestine, and forbidding and preventing it in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Algeria, and elsewhere. Jihad, which is the highest form of dissociation from non-Muslims, should be waged against the Jews, like it should be waged against the Christians, the Zoroastrians, the Hindus, and the apostates.
"Nuts," you may say. But nut cases can make much havoc and kill many people and undermine many societies. To us what they threaten is murder, mass murder. To them it is the vocation of holiness.
The fact is that we don't know how seriously the Bushies take this. After all, it's still a question as to whether they know the difference between rhetoric and strategy. On the other hand, we have lots of evidence that the Democrats think that diplomacy can iron out the differences between us and them. After all, everybody is rational, aren't they? "Rational choice" is the model of the decade in the academy. Nobody, say the rational choosers, will act against his own interest. Unless, of course, God is on his side and will reward him.