I have studied warfare for more than 40 years. This includes hundreds of wars that contained all kinds of reasons (And excuses) for the organized violence. In many cases, only 1 or two major issues were required. The best example I can think of is the U.S. Civil War. The two main issues decided by the U.S. Civil War were slavery and loyalty to the state over the federal government. These two issues made the war worth every life that was lost fighting in it. This applies to both sides.
The vast majority of wars only required one to two GOOD reasons to make the destruction and loss of life worthwhile. I am referring to issues like slavery and the threat of change to way of life that is almost literally chained to the concept of slavery. This applies to both the slave and the "owner". What I see today scares the hell out of me.
I have found far more than one or two good reasons to wage war against traditional Islam. These same issues contain solid reasons to defend traditional Islam. In all of my studies, I can’t recall a conflict that had anything near the number of important issues that I am seeing today. The issues present (I have listed a number of them in prior posts) are important enough to die for and to kill others in order to resolve. For each issue, it can be expected that many more people become directly involved.
The more issues that are involved, the more people will be impacted thereby making the conflict larger. In addition, the more important the issue the more likely that issue will impact way of life. Defending way of life has and continues to be one of the most common (If not THE most common) causes of war. This is the primary reason that people decide to become soldiers in the first place. This decision places them at risk of life and limb. Not a decision that is taken lightly, I am certain. The risks of becoming a soldier have been known since the dawn of time. Islam has a rather large population to draw soldiers from. On top of this, Islamic ideology is the CAUSE of many wars and violence today because the issues involved are so important that they are good reasons to wage war over. On one side in order to protect the way of life. On the other side, to eliminate the injustice and discrimination that is inherent in the issue itself. Take the issue of separation of church and state.
Islam was designed as a nation-state long before they became common. Islam discriminates against other religions (As most, if not all religions do) and for centuries has had the power of a nation-state to enforce its ‘laws’ against non-believers. Islam is having great difficulty with the concept of a nation-state overriding its authority. Just look at the armies that some imams are fielding within Iraq. Or the statement issued last March in Istanbul by some prominent imams. The very idea of taking away the authority of the imam or overriding Islamic law would threaten the very way of life of those who have lived under this legal system. This alone is worth waging war over, and this issue is only one of many. This struggle of government versus Islam is being waged through terrorism in the places where the Muslim government is more ‘progressive’ than Islamic law.
By far, the most common terrorist (And the most effective and deadly) is the fighter that believes in Islam as the basic ideology. The concept of repeated suicide attack is a major indicator of the importance of these issues. For only the 2nd time in all of recorded history, repeated suicide attack is being seen. And this is even though Islam forbids suicide. The threat to way of life overrides this concern. We have seen this throughout history, as soldiers gave their lives in order to protect or to save others. I am certain that the suicide attackers (And their supporters) are seeing themselves in this way, or in some way like this. Once again, a major problem is size.
Repeated suicide attack is occurring all over the Islamic world. This helps me to understand the sheer size of the war. Hundreds of millions can be expected to defend the way of life that Islam represents. Not that Islam has to be eliminated. However, if the issues worth waging war over are resolved with change within Islam, Islamic ideology would be have to be changed so drastically that it would barely be recognizable. In other words, Islamic law must become optional and personal, not political. Change of this magnitude has historically triggered many wars. With more than 1 billion Muslims impacted, I cannot see this conflict as being a small one. If not handled properly and consistently, this war can easily blow up to the level of conflict that would exceed both of the massive wars of the 20th century.