" 'Act of war,' Hollande says," blared the front-page headline -- even before the attacks on
Now the great conquest continues, this time via the Islamic State/ISIS/ISIL/the Caliphate or whatever Islamic fundamentalism calls its latest historic manifestation of so many. Yet it's all breaking news, not history, to the West. Such is our ignorance, for we have long ignored the first rule of war and survival in this world: Know Thy Enemy -- and we don't. On the contrary, we scarcely suspect its existence. Till one day it appears in the very heart of the West to overrun our defenses and turn the City of Light into a city of horrors.
It might help to review British historian
"It was the fusion of this egalitarian and activist (Arab) tribal ethos with the monotheist tradition that gave Islam its distinctive political character. In no other civilization was rebellion for conscience sake so widespread as it was in the early centuries of Islamic history; no other major religious tradition has lent itself to revival as a political ideology -- and not just a political identity -- in the modern world."
The West has known no such combination of theological sophistication and militant appeal since the Puritans brought their beliefs to this new world in the 17th century -- or, for that matter, the newly freed Israelites came out of Egyptian bondage to conquer Canaan long before. Numbers do not matter in such a struggle; cohesion and a sense of divine purpose are all.
Yet none of this seems to have made the dimmest impression on the West's leaders today, who tend to dismiss this renewed invasion from the East as only an outbreak of terrorism, another episodic instance of barbarians rising against the West from out of nowhere. Such is our ignorance, so instinctive that we don't know even what we don't know.
This is scarcely the first time the Islamic conquest has come to sporadic life. Back in the 19th century, at the height of European imperialism, these Holy Warriors arose to sweep through
It took leaders like Lord Kitchener at the head of a British force of some 8,000 (supported by Egyptian and Sudanese legions) to turn that blood-red tide at Omdurman in 1898, not to mention dashing figures like young
The next Western city to be assailed after