The travel ban is about vetting -- which means it’s about Islam

And the administration fell for it. The administration has been goaded into replying, “No, no, no — this has nothing to do with Islam.” It points to the 85 percent of Muslim aliens globally who are unaffected by the orders. It stresses that the countries with the world’s largest Muslim populations — Indonesia, Egypt, Pakistan . . . — are not touched by the orders. It notes that countries covered by the order were first cited in legislation signed by Obama, not because they were Muslim but because they had unstable or hostile regimes that defy reliable immigrant screening. It emphasizes that of the original seven Islamic countries, one has now been exempted from the temporary ban — i.e., that the trajectory is to affect fewer Muslims, not more.

That’s great . . . if what you’re trying to achieve is a temporary step followed by . . . nothing.

The goal here, though, is to achieve a screening system that vets for Islamic radicalism. How do you ever get there if, to try to justify a temporary step that provides no material security improvements, you disavow a purpose to subject alien Muslims to heightened scrutiny?

If that is not what President Trump’s “extreme vetting” is about, then what’s the point? Why bother with any of this?

Here is the blunt, inescapable fact: The United States is in a defensive war against what is imprecisely called “radical Islam.” The war proceeds on two tracks: the kinetic militancy of jihadists, and the cultural challenge of anti-Western, anti-constitutional Islamic law and mores. The ideology that catalyzes both tracks is sharia supremacism — the implementation and spreading of sharia, classical Islam’s societal structure and legal code, is the rationale for all jihadist terror and of all the Islamist cultural aggression that slipstreams behind it.