Almost every day we kill Islamic terrorists and their supporters in Afghanistan and Iraq; daily, weekly, or monthly in Chechnya, Thailand, the Philippines, India, north Africa, the Middle East, more are killed. But, body counts should offer us small comfort; we cannot win a war of attrition as presently conducted. New jihadists arise daily.

On a regular basis jihadis are arrested in the U.S., Europe, and elsewhere. But, imprisoning Islamic terrorists or their supporters should offer us small comfort; we cannot imprison all those active in terrorist causes. And, new jihadists arise daily.

We have made some progress against the infrastructure of the Islamofascists: Afghanistan and Iraq and Somalia are denied them, finance networks have been disrupted, and communication has been made difficult. On the negative side, Western money for oil continues to provide immense funding. But, even if the money were to be cut off, jihadists would continue to arise. (more below)

Jihadists are religiously motivated. Take them at their word. They believe they are doing Allah's will and will be rewarded eternally for their sacrifices. As long as this religious motivation is strong, then jihadists will continue to arise and the Long War will continue.

I call this the long war because in my understanding we are now in a hot spell of the nearly 1400-year-long war between Islam and everyone else. Earlier post.

So, will the war ever end, short of Judgment Day?

Perhaps. I see three possible scenarios in which Islam loses its dynamism.

First, a trauma so great that the faith itself is called into question. Allah's existence is questioned. What do I mean? Some examples. The Jews had such a trauma with the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 and the crushing defeat of the rebellion by the Romans. The Judaism that grew out of that defeat was suspicious of apocalyptic thinking and eschewed violence in the name of God. Shinto Japan was stunned by the military loss of WW2 and especially by nuclear destruction on the homeland (in Shinto mythology the Japanese islands are created first of all land and have a sacred status). Japanese military leaders then were able to do the unthinkable--surrender, and disarm.

What could be a similar traumatic event for radical Islam? Perhaps a century-long experience of frustration due to lack of success for today's terror agenda. But, Islam has revived again and again after frustrations in the past; and I doubt the West has the will for a century long containment. More probably, only a trauma on the magnitude of the (nuclear) destruction of the holy cities (and perhaps the major Islamic cities such as Cairo and Tehran) might stun the faithful into questioning their religion. And then, it might not. I don't regard the nuking of Mecca as probable, unless Israel is pushed into the sea, or China suffers a tremendous terror blow.

Second, altering Islamic societies. Religion and culture in Islam are not separated, but form a complex whole. If the supporting culture of Islam were to be altered in a way that proved detrimental to the faith, then radical Islam would be seriously weakened. (Look what has happened to Christianity in Western Europe following secularization.) Western style hedonism, capitalism, individualism, and even democracy might destroy traditional Islam. Can it happen? Certainly. Part of the motivation felt by the fundamentalists is the fear that their children might be corrupted by MTV, pornography, sex outside marriage, etc. Perhaps Larry Flynt and Hugh Hefner need to become CIA consultants tasked with corrupting Islamic societies (sarcasm alert).

Third, conversion of the majority of Muslims to another religion. Perhaps not likely, given the historical stability of areas under Muslim influence. There are three great missionary religions in the world: Islam, Buddhism, and Christianity. Perhaps in Central Asia Buddhism has a chance to make inroads into Islam, but probably not world-wide in a major way. Christianity, perhaps. More Muslims are converting to Christianity today than at any time in history. Even in Iran underground house churches are being formed through missionary radio. In the future, we'll see.