That said, it is very important to understand that the Muslim world and the Middle East in particular, is NOT a cookie cutter, one-size-fits-all world. Many Muslims, like Jordan's King and Egypt and Tunisia's Presidents know full well that the violent mandates found in the Qur'an, the Hadith Sahih, and Tafsir (primarily ibn-Kathir) may have served the faith well during its early conquests, but are now rapidly bringing their faith, their safety, and the world to the edge catastrophe. Many millions of sensible Muslims are just trying to live their lives and make a safer and more comfortable place for their families and their neighbors, their customers, and (yes) non-Muslim partners in business and conflict. And while they do not deny the war making dictates of their faith, they must choose daily to ignore them, placing themselves, their families and their communities at risk from other Muslims. These are the Muslims of nations in the middle of the furnace. These are the citizens of Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia who realize in a much more visceral way than most of us can understand, that they will be the first lined up to the edge of the pit into which their bodies will fall after being shot in the back of the head at the evil hands of ISIS fighters. Recent statements by the leaders of each of these troubled nations should not go missed in their bold significance in admitting that there is a problem in their house.
Many in social media circles think the problem is simple and involves us kicking their ass, end of story. I am as "all about crushing our enemies" as the next guy, but this not that simple. Yes, I'm talking to you, person who's never been to a combat zone in the Greater Middle East and participated in operations both against and along side people of the Muslim faith. We simply do not win this without the friendship and respect of sensible Muslims. Let me address Respect. Respect does not mean, necessarily, that they like us through and through. That's an American problem. We have become a Sally Field culture. We need to be liked. Respect is the key. If that respect is born of fear, that's okay.
Our friends in the Middle East do not mind living with healthy fear of, and respect for, the world as it is. In fact, they expect to be fearful of those more powerful than they and they find it absolutely confusing and perplexing that a leader would allow his nation's power to be subsumed by a lesser nation that cannot responsibly manage the power of the powerful. This "mutual respect" nirvana only exists in the living rooms of pointy headed academics who "think" of the world, but are willing to risk nothing for its stability, except to acquiesce to threats against the very stability of which they speak and write so poetically.
Right now, sensible Muslims in the nations most threatened by Islamist militants know that their heads will fall, their bodies will burn, their wombs will be violated, and their skulls will be pulverized by bullets smashing into the backs of them well before the rest of Western Civilization falls. They also know, more than most of us, that there is a problem with their faith that they have got to fix and no one knows what the outcome of such a process will be, but it is their process; a problem from which only sensible Muslims can extricate themselves, with our full support. Sensible Muslims are in an abusive relationship in their own house. How difficult is it for anyone who finds themselves defending their mate in an abusive relationship? They are not defending their mate, or the dysfunction within their home. They are defending themselves and their pride against perceptions and judgments of the mess they know they're in. Only sensible Muslims can deliver themselves from this mess and dysfunction and we would be no friends of theirs if we did not support them in their fight.