As I understand the law, in American courts, corporations are legally treated as if they are individuals. This provides me with some justification for treating discrete groups of people who are joined by basic cultural assumptions as if they were individuals. In such cases it can be useful to examine the group using the microscope of Psychoanalysis (Applied Psychoanalysis) to further our understanding of the motivations of the particular group and perhaps provide some clues to treatment options.
In just such a way I have generalized about a portion of the baby boomer cohort who exhibit many of the signs and symptoms of Narcissistic Character Disorder. In these people there is an insensitivity to others, a hypersensitivity to the criticisms of others, and a need to be admired and adored by their audience. Many in Hollywood fit this profile, as well as too many in the MSM and the Democratic party. (One could rightly wonder if many actors, talking heads on TV, and politicians all share elements of self selection based on their narcissistic pathology.)
The ethos of the Islamist groups share some fundamentals with the Narcissistic characters but have some elements which more properly place them in a paranoid psychotic status. Since both paranoids and Narcissists are exceptionally sensitive to criticism, one might wonder what distinguishes the two (and, in fact, there are some aspects which support the idea of narcissism and paranoia being two points on a spectrum. Also, the leaders of al Qaeda are likely Malignant Narcissists; the followers fit more closely into the category of Paranoid Psychosis. I have posts linked on my Best of ShrinkWrapped sidebar which more fully go into issues of Narcissism, Malignant Narcissism, and Paranoia.)
Paranoid Psychotic states can be among the most difficult patients to treat.
In the worst case scenario, the paranoid is unable to recognize that their beliefs are not consonant with reality. When this failure of "reality testing" occurs, they are said to have a psychotic episode. Sometimes, "reality testing" is never recovered despite our best efforts and the patient is left in a lifelong psychotic state. As I have described before, the paranoid disowns his own hatred and aggression and ascribes these feelings (via the psychological defense known as projection) to another person. Since the hatred and hostility arise from within themselves, they fear its return from the other. They develop delusions that the other hates them and wants to attack them and harm them; in the very worst cases, they will pre-emptively attack the enemy (who often doesn't know he is their enemy); luckily this is rare, but it is the most serious situation a Psychiatrist has to face. In such cases, we have an impressive armamentarium of psychotropic medications to use, and when medication fails (because patients do not respond to the medicine or refuse to take it), the only option for a patient who is homicidal is indefinite confinement. What does this have to do with the dangers we face from Islamic fascism?
First of all, it is clear that the Islamic fascists fit all the criteria for one or the other of the diagnoses of Paranoid Psychosis (which can include Paranoid Schizophrenia, Manic States with Paranoid Psychosis, Substance related Paranoid states, etc). When people believe that America or Israel or India set off the Indonesian tsunami, or that the Jews set off the bombings in Sharm el Sheik over the weekend, in order to justify an attack on Islam by the West, it is impossible to address this logically. This is delusional. When people believe that the Jews were behind 9/11 and that Osama bin Laden is a hero for striking at America, both at the same time, this is delusional beyond doubt. Delusions reveal themselves by their lack of supporting evidence in reality and by their invulnerability to logic and reason. Since both delusions, and many others, have been promulgated by various Islamist spokesmen, it is clear that there is something profoundly disturbed at the core of their psyches.
Secondly, the clear evidence of projection has been a staple of Islamists for many, many years. In sermon after sermon, the Islamists cite the Koran to justify killing the infidels and forcing the survivors who surrender into dhimmitude. When a non Muslim has the effrontery to object, the Islamists are shocked and amazed; they immediately turn around and attack the perpetrator for attacking Islam. CAIR and other groups have perfected this approach. Any hint of suspicion of the Islamist community by an outsider (the "other") is met with outrage and fury. In this country most often the form of their attack has been the lawsuit; in other countries it has included ritual execution and suicide bombing.
Anyone who has been paying attention since 9/11 recognizes that Islamic fascism is a political philosophy that has a core that is removed from reason and comity, in just the same manner that the psychotic paranoid is no longer amenable to rational discourse. However, while psychosis is defined as the "failure of reality testing", "reality testing" is not a binary ego function. It is rarely completely lost. For example, all but the most disturbed, sickest individuals are able to recognize that if they become aggressive in the presence of an authority, they will be involuntarily restrained. It is a common experience to have an agitated, out of control patient in the emergency room calm down noticeably as soon as a uniformed police officer arrives. They may continue to be delusional and paranoid; they may believe the police officer is part of the plot that is arrayed against them, but they also know that they had better act more appropriately if they do not want to be put into a straight jacket. There are also many paranoid patients who view medication as poison being wielded by the evil Psychiatrists in order to control their minds (and there is, of course, a grain of truth; we do want to help them regain control over their minds) but react to the threat of a medication shot with "good" behavior. This is instructive for our war effort. The confirmed true believers of al Qaeda are beyond our medicinal ministrations; the only option is to kill or confine them. However, there are also a vast number of sympathizers who create the sea in which they swim. We need to control the paranoid delusions of the Islamic fascist sympathizers and prevent them from acting on their delusions. To this end, showing a uniform is helpful, as is the threat of medication. For the war, the uniform would consist of American GI's, special ops, Navy ships, UAV's and assorted other tools of authoritative violence. American and coalition troops can have a salutary effect on the marginal case of the frightened or ambivalent Islamic fascist. It will also be helpful in discouraging the "front runner" who will run with the "strong horse."
And what would constitute the threat of "medication"?
Representative Tancredo's suggestion to threaten Mecca was poorly thought out and unhelpful in the extreme. We still are trying to avoid the disaster of a true clash of civilizations. However, the idea of a threat can be useful in concentrating the mind of our enemies; it must, however, be done in a more subtle way. I suspect a sub rosa communication through deniable channels suggesting that Tehran, Riyadh, Cairo, and Damascus are already targeted, just in case a nuclear weapon were to go off in an American city or an ally's city, whispered in the proper ears, would do a lot to encourage our Arab "friends" like the Saudis, and our enemies, like the Iranians and Syrians, to recognize that they have a stake in our well-being; perhaps the message has already been sent.
When dealing with a paranoid psychotic patient, we know that their delusions persist long after they stop acting on them and talking about them. Eventually, with proper treatment, the delusions begin to fade and the patient is able to reintegrate with society. We would much prefer that the Arab world, with their unknown quanta of Islamist support, stop acting to support the Islamists and stop verbally supporting the Islamists, even if they still believe we are the Devil incarnate and they hate us. We can then worry about integrating them into the community of man at our leisure. Perhaps this would give us the time we need to win hearts and minds without having to destroy too many bodies.