In the continuing debate over Islam and pluralism, a growing number of observers are staking out a disturbing position. Face the facts, they say: The war against terrorism is only one part of a larger struggle, in which the forces of freedom are arrayed against all those who believe in an absolute truth.
Osama bin Laden couldn't agree more. And both he and they are wrong.
Former president Clinton teed up the point in a recent speech at Georgetown University. "This battle," he said, "fundamentally is about what you think of the nature of truth." So just what does Bill Clinton think of the nature of truth? That it can't be known with any certainty. "Nobody's got the truth," he says. Everybody is just "trying to get closer" to it. That's the big difference between us and them: "Because we don't believe you can have the whole truth, we think everybody counts and life is a journey. . . They believe because they have the truth you either share their truths or you don't. If you're not a Muslim, you're an infidel. If you are and you don't agree with them, you're a heretic and you're a legitimate target." Only uncertainty, in other words, can save us from the killing fields.
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