Every once in a while you have an epiphany (the sudden realization or comprehension of the (larger) essence or meaning of something).
It puts into context what the West has been up against for a long time. For most Americans, it was first noticed in 1979 when Iran violated our sovereignty, seized our embassy, and took hostages. Ted Koppel had the nightly count of how many days our people had been held hostage, launching himself and Nightline into TV history.
It was emphasized in 1983 when Marines were blown up in Beirut. Ditto Pan Am 103 in 1988. The first WTC bombing in 1993. September 11, 2001. Shoe bombers, underwear bombers. Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan.
It is related to what Jews (now Israelis) have been up against since they acted on their ancient refrain at the Passover Seder and began moving back to their homeland.
It goes back further, including 1683 when John Sobieski beat back the Ottomans at the gates of Vienna.
You might think the subject is terrorism. Or imperialism. Or territory. And you’d be partly right. A little closer if you said ‘clash of civilizations.’ But that implies two parties fighting, which misses the point entirely. Islamism comes pretty close, but it is not a well-defined term.
What Woolsey and company make clear, which constitutes the epiphany, is what is at the root of it. It is not territory, or imagined slights, or money, or any of the usual reasons people and groups in the West get into disputes. It is about one people wanting to impose their backward, 7th century belief system on the rest of the world.
It’s the shariah, stupid.