At face value is the Global War on Terror, a war on Islam? Now before you answer yes or no consider this, the "War on Terror" took place primarily in two countries but there are tangents happening pretty much all over the world. From the South Pacific, to Europe and Africa, it would be hard to argue that this is not a global war, if to on the scale of say wars against Fascism Imperialism and Communism. So are we fighting Islam, or just the Radicals? The truth is at this point its not so clear anymore. When we started this whole shindig in October of 2004, we really had no idea why the Jihadis hated us so much. We were going to meet them in battle and defeat them. We defeated them again and again and again. In fact almost every time they fought us they would get so thoroughly defeated that it was actually kind of pathetic.
Despite this they kept on coming. For a while we were killing so many armed insurgents that one almost had to wonder if it was the Arab form of population control. Even when they switched to IEDs and more insurgent tactics, realizing they were hopelessly outmatched in stand up fights, again, they kept dying in droves. Every time they hurt us, we'd hit back ten times as hard. Every time they seemed strong, we would redouble our efforts. No one was safe, not the foot soldier, not their leaders. We're killing their leadership at such a prodigious rate its a wonder anyone volunteers for the position.
Yet despite this, it doesn't seem like we're really winning does it? I mean sure Iraq seems to be in the "win" column, but if we look at Egypt electing the Muslim Brotherhood, Libya soon to follow suit, Palestine so hopelessly in the camp of Hamas that it's a wonder they haven't changed the name to Hamasland, Saudis barely able to control their citizens, Yemen almost in complete anarchy, the Philippians in almost open insurrection, and Europe facing a non-integrating population that riots almost every month. This is to say nothing of a possibly Nuclear armed Iran that is starting to be able to project power (albeit pitifully) into the Western Hemisphere.
Dictionary.com defines radical as:
thoroughgoing or extreme, especially as regards change from accepted or traditional forms
favoring drastic political, economic, or social reforms
So if we take those definitions are we still at war with "radical" Islam? Sadly I have been drawn to the conclusion that "Radical" Islam is in fact not as radical as it once was. Also though I hate to admit that we are partially responsible for this. Not in the way that most liberals like to say, but rather in the way that we have not openly confronted this. Being able to speak openly on an issue, is the first step to actually solving the issue. Unfortunately we have to be "sensitive" about everything.
Take South Park. Long long ago they did an episode that was really not commented on (amidst all the other things they've done) that took on David Blane. They had a string of characters called "the super best friends" of whom Mohamed was a member. No one said anything about it at the time. Later they did an episode called "Cartoon wars" which was a two parter, and actually exactly about the fact that everyone freaks out about showing Mohamed. They went so far as to show the entire nation burring its head in the sand. For their 200th episode (and their 201st) they again took on Islam, making fun of the fact that you couldn't show Mohamed. The many celebrities that the show had ripped on came up with a plan to steal Mohamed's "goo" so they couldn't be ripped on. Both episodes were removed from iTunes, and Netflix. To my you can only find them on youtube. They even went back and removed the previous episode. Keep in mind that hey have (and still do) make fun of every other religion.
In Europe they regularly have riots for offenses that are pretty minor. How many Christians feel demeaned by the constant attack by the Liberal Left? They take it. But if one Muslim is banned from going to school in a burka they'll tare up Paris. Does that make any kind of sense? The West's dealings with the Muslim world have not always been confrontational, so why does it seem like the last 20 years the opposite is true?
It doesn't really matter the why One could study a lot of history there (and find that surprisingly it had a lot less to do with Israel that you would think) but it really doesn't matter. A lot of the people that follow Islam are just folk, they want to go about their daily lives and pray, and hopefully make it into Heaven. The problem is that their Mullahs and Imams have been stirring the pot for so long with so much BS that really the poor simple folk have no other version to believe. The Extreme became Mainstream, and now you have a whole mess of people who would have been "moderate" perfectly ok when a random person gets beheaded for something they might have done to offend Muslims.
Until we reach the Moderates that really are moderate, and the guys that just want a peaceful life, we will be effectively (though not in name) at war with the aggressive expansion of Islam. If we do not start tacking this issue in a theocratic as well as secular way we will soon find a lot of realy unhappy endings that future generations will regret we resorted to. Only Muslims can reform Islam. We can help, but we can not do it for them.