Today, in the conflict between the West and Islamists, a cultural discrepancy between the rulebooks of the two sides exists that is far greater than any that existed in World War II. Indeed, the West cannot even decide what acts by our adversaries are war, and which are crimes or 'isolated incidents.'
The greatest discord between the two playbooks centers around the concept of group guilt and the fairness of the targeting of civilians. The cultures of our enemies have a sweeping concept of both group guilt and group honor, with some groups believing, for example, that if one Israeli harms one Muslim, then every Muslim should be angry at every Israeli, and their allies the Americans, and the United Nations, and all Christianity and all Jews and even all the West.
This same cultural tradition of group honor, group guilt, and group retribution is what leads a group of non-government directed Arab expatriates to believe that killing thousands of secretaries and stock brokers in Manhattan is a logical direct reaction to military defeat of Arab armies by Israel, and that they should personally take it upon themselves to accomplish that endeavor.
To be blunt, this means we will need to extract a price not just from those that form the tip of the Islamist spear, but from the entire populations that produce them in such numbers. To win, we may have to make certain cultures regret such support and we may need to temporarily accept our enemy's rules of war, rather than just whine that they are not ours … Mac Johnson