Enlist world in war on terror
In doing my homework on examining the "root causes" of terrorism, it occurs to me that Bin Laden and his ilk are motivated more by a desire to return to the glory days of Islam without understanding it. The great Islamic empires of the past were mighty militarily, which will take more than a small secret group of suicide bombers to replicate, and they were cultured, open to the contributions of the rest of the world. The branch of Islam with which these people are associated is the kind that rejects all such contributions and tries to destroy them. This is clear from the Taliban's destruction of the giant Buddhas in Afghanistan, and the fixation of bin Laden's own group with bringing down the World Trade Center.
Such fundamentalism is contrary to peace and brotherhood. It seeks to establish a new totalitarianism, more the foolish because it ignores the example of the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc. You can't build an economy that can compete in this world without embracing the creativity and intelligence of the people by granting freedom. They may make bad choices, but when they have the freedom to succeed and to fail on their own, they succeed more, and the entire society is enriched.
Wahabism , the branch of Islam supported by Saudi Arabia, tries to deny all that mankind has learned in the past 1,000 years, and imagines a new Islamic paradise where free will is revoked.
I find it interesting that so many political theories boil down to establish their adherents as the ruling class and the rest of us to slavery. I was raised on the story that before the world was created, the sons and daughters of God who were to come to it and inhabit it were presented with two plans. One, which was the Father's, provided for freedom of choice, and a redeemer who would suffer all the pains brought about by the sins and evil done in the world and provide a path to return. The other plan was proposed by Lucifer, who was a son of the morning, and would bring all back, but without having ever had the ability to choose between good and evil. He sought to trade safety for free will. His plan was rejected by God and by two thirds of the other spirits, and he was cast from Heaven along with the third who followed him, and became Satan. He was placed here and allowed to tempt mankind, because there could be no choice without alternatives, "there must needs be an opposition in all things."
All the fuss ever since has been about the same plans: freedom and risk vs. slavery and the promise of security, which somehow never works as promised. Any proposal, political or religious, which seeks to destroy freedom, no matter how it is portrayed as something else, is harmful to the spirit of mankind.
On the other hand, freedom comes with the condition that we will receive not only the rewards, but the penalties for our choices. The one who has the most freedom is the one who does not barter it away for short term pleasures that make it difficult impossible to return to the freedom he had before the choice. The one at the top of the cliff has more freedom than the one who chose to step of it and ended broken and injured at the bottom. The one at the top is often accused as not being free, but he certainly has more choices than the one at the bottom.
Islam is not powerful enough to conquer the world and Wahabism does not offer a path to ever be that mighty. All it can do is destroy Islam as a religion. It can become a hiss and a byword or it can reclaim its place as a culture of learning and wealth. For all the claims that the war on terror is between the West and the Mideast, the true decisive battle will be fought within Islam itself, to determine what it stands for, the plan of Lucifer or the plan of the Father.