In order to defeat your enemy, it helps to understand him. Thus, to defeat Islamic extremism, we ought to get to know it. This is likely to prove difficult, because its way of thinking is so completely alien to the liberal, Western tradition.
I thought I already knew that, but it was brought home yesterday as never before in a story told by Rep. Eric Cantor when he addressed the AIPAC policy conference:
A Palestinian woman from Gaza arrives at Soroka Hospital in Beersheba for lifesaving skin treatment for burns over half her body. After the conclusion of her extensive treatment, the woman is invited back for follow-up visits to the outpatient clinic. One day she is caught at the border crossing wearing a suicide belt. Her intention? To blow herself up at the same clinic that saved her life.
Q: What kind of culture leads a person to do that?
A: One against which pre-emptive war is not merely useful but imperative. It's nothing short of delusional to think that with enough "outreach," we can "engage" with people who think like that. We'd have better luck trying to "engage" with cancer.