The reality is that the IRA and ETA and the ANC and any number of secessionist and nationalist movements all the way back to the American revolutionaries could have seized schoolhouses and shot all the children.
But they didn't. Because, if they had, there would have been widespread revulsion within the perpetrators' own communities. To put it at its most tactful, that doesn't seem to be an issue here.
This hasn't been lost on some people. Abdulrahman al-Rashed, a prominent Arab television executive, penned a column for Asharq Al-Awsat, headlined, The Painful Truth: All the World Terrorists are Muslims! (I haven't been able to find the original, but this Jerusalem Post summary gives a hint of what seems to be the flavor of the piece.)
At the Republican convention in New York, John McCain, Ron Silver, and Rudy Giuliani (among others) highlighted this truth: That the war on terror is really a war against a virulent strain of Islamism. Is it the whole of Islam? Surely not. But is this branch of Islamism prevalent enough to swamp the healthy Islam practiced by most Muslims? Absolutely. As someone once pointed out, how many Bolsheviks did it take to transform Russia in 1917? If your purpose is sick enough, and your methods brutal enough, you don't need a majority.
The second point which Steyn makes clear is that this is a pivotal moment with regard to Russia. President Bush should do whatever it takes to bring Putin back into the fold, to show the world that America and Russia share a common enemy in the war on terror.