One of the remarkable outcomes of the bin Laden killing is the reaction of mainstream Muslims. They are not angry. For the most part they are pleased and relieved.
This is a very different reaction than the great silence that followed the 9/11 slaughter when many Muslims were inwardly pleased that the arrogant “Great Satan” had been smacked down. It is very different in the Middle East, too, where Muslims widely celebrated 9/11, cheering the deaths of innocents.
What has changed?
First, Muslims recognize they are paying the heaviest price for the actions of their wild-eyed brethren. The price is mainstream discrimination against Muslims and wide-scale murders of innocent Muslims in the Middle East and Northern Africa.
Second, they realize the US and its citizens are no “Great Satan”. The Satan has been within their own ranks, and he is not Great.
Bottom line, religion has little to do with what is going on. The extremists who represent that they represent Islam are wrong. They do not. Islam is a wholesome faith, not a murderous faith.
What was the name of that religious sect that drank the poisoned orange kool-aid in Africa? Jonestown or some place like that? That is what murderous extremists are, outcasts, misfits and malcontents. They strap bombs on teens and send them to market to blow up innocent people and call it good.
It is impossible to negotiate with these people. It is impossible to negotiate with any group that does not have values that mirror those of greater society and the discipline required to adhere to a set of secular principles, if the state is secular. For this reason, I believe it is foolish of the Philippines to believe it can negotiate its way to peace in Mindinao. The only way peace can be assured is by doing a better job of building commerce and providing essential services: education and health being at the top of the list.
Right now, time is being wasted and money is being wasted funding a broad scale military action that can have no favorable outcome.
If I were in charge, I would be inclined to follow the Iraq method. Identify islands of opportunity where a commercial base exists and can be expanded. Secure those areas and build. Grow outward with good deeds and marginalize the lunatics. Stop looking for a magical piece of paper that can provide a short-term solution and the illusion of harmony.
Words don’t matter. Deeds do.