Jim Bennett makes points that should be made more often:
. . . [it’s] important to distinguish between Islam in general, radical Islamism, and even within Islam, the more extreme fundamentalist varieties such as Saudi Salafism from the interpretations to which the great majority of Muslims pertain. “Islam”, as a civilization and a phenomenon, is hardly about to collapse, as did the Soviet Union. Soviet “civilization”, as they used to pretentiously call it, was always a fraud, a thin veneer of idological nonsense laid over Russian civilization, which for all its problems is also one of the distinct civilizations of this planet. Once the fraud collapsed, Russian civilization re-emerged and is now trying to undo the damages done to it. Radical Islamism is another fraud, a mishmash of continental European fascism, scraps of anti-American ideologies picked up from the garbage heap of marxist and fascist propagandists, and an Islamism that is more flavoring and protective coloring than anything like a valid religion. It inspires young people to die for it; well, so did the mishmash of Odin-worship, absurd racial theorizing, and anti-Semitic resentment inspire some unfortunate German teenagers to go out and immolate themselves in the process of assaulting American tanks in 1945.
Jim’s post deserves to be read in full. There is too much broad-brushing Internet commentary about “Islam” that by failing to recognize the scope and complexity of intra-Islamic differences makes any policy prescriptions worthless. The non-Islamic West, if it is to understand how the Islamic world reached its present state of turbulence, must take account of such differences. If we are to defeat the Islamic fascists and imperialists it will also be crucial for us to have the support of other Muslims, and this will be difficult to gain if we won’t even bother to acknowledge the important divisions among them.
UPDATE: Commenters are taking me to task because they think that moderate Muslims aren’t really on our side or that excessive concern on our part about differences among Muslims is a drag on the war effort. I think, to the contrary, that our resources are at least as well spent on enlisting Muslim allies as they are on war fighting. The Islamists are in the minority in most of the Muslim world, which is why they generally rely on undemocratic means to gain and keep power. Any measure we can take to convince pro-western Muslims that we will support them against the Islamists makes it less likely that we will have to use direct military force.