Jihadis or terrorists?

In Friday’s National Journal Article Jonathan Rauch points out why everyone’s struggling to define the conflict we are in, and I think his observation is extremely important. We aren’t going to win, nor can we discredit the enemies ideology if we don’t define it better. This article went somewhat unremarked then because the net was reverberating to the “unorchestrated” confessions of six generals, and the new leaf turned by Patrick Moore. I think folks should take a look now that the furors have died down.

No single definition prevails, but here is a good one: Jihadism engages in or supports the use of force to expand the rule of Islamic law. In other words, it is violent Islamic imperialism. It stands, as one scholar put it 90 years ago, for “the extension by force of arms of the authority of the Muslim state.”

Jonathan Rauch, National Journal

UPDATE: I was a sucker for hard right agitprop when I started blogging, what can I say? Since this time I’ve done more study, and have seen how the extremists of both sides misinterpret “Jihad” just as Rauch does above. The far right clash of civilizations crowd is spreading Al Qaeda’s propaganda for them by using only the most extreme interpretations they destabilize and diminish the moderate muslims who make up the majority.