The radical people referenced in the title of this piece are, of course, radical Islamists. For followers of Islam, Islamism includes detailed proscriptions for religion, politics, traditions, military and many other facets of life. The most troublesome teaching is that it is their duty to kill unbelievers.
We know that not all Muslims believe that teaching or are ready to act on it; but we do not know how to distinguish between those who are and those who aren’t ready to execute that belief. The recent killings by a Muslim Army officer at Ft. Hood, Texas are witness to that inability. Therein lies their advantage over all non-Muslims. We also know that few Muslims have the courage to renounce this teaching or to renounce those who execute this belief by actually killing unbelievers. This leaves unbelievers little choice but to treat all Muslims as one.
Individual Muslims who do not walk the tight rope of obedience to the Imam are in perhaps more danger of being killed by Muslims than is the individual western nonbeliever. It is therefore unrealistic to expect ordinary non-radical Muslims to stand apart from the membership of their collective faith and proclaim their differences with the official version of the faith. They could be targeted for extinction.
For America and many other modern countries, the most effective ways of dealing with the threat posed by such teachings violate the heart of those free and tolerant societies. America has been a beacon to all who seek freedom of expression of political and religious views and so restricting those freedoms is the last thing we consider; perhaps it is now time to reluctantly consider that retrograde prospect.
The historicity of our open borders to people of all faiths and political ideas and our freedom from government surveillance notwithstanding; we have precedents for infringing on these noble principles. Listed here are just a few of the most familiar cases as a sample:
- In the 1950s we deported, for at least the third time, Mexican immigrants for primarily economic reasons.
- We deny people visas or permission to enter this country at the individual level on an ongoing basis, based on their threat to us and for other reasons.
- During WWII we imprisoned Japanese citizens based on their race, regardless of their politics.
- After 911 the Patriot Act was passed that allows many governmental agencies almost unfettered ability to spy on ordinary citizens.
- America has abandoned its time-honored tradition, practice, policy and laws against torturing prisoners.
- America denied the right of Mormons to practice polygamy—a clear infringement on religion for what the government perceived as the good of society.
- The most valuable principle in America and the one that was first of its kind in the world—separation of church and state—has been perhaps irrevocably breached in less than a decade, with relatively little opposition from its citizens.
So, when we perceive, rightly or wrongly, that circumstances demand it we can make exceptions; we can modify, suspend or give up our principles–principles that embody and reflect our values. The question now is whether the threat presented by the Islamic world, through Al Qaeda, is of such magnitude to justify further changing or modifying our principles. Indeed many of the modifications of our principles have been made in response to the dangers presented by Al Qaeda. Some of those losses of principle possess inherent dangers and were unnecessary and counterproductive, as lifting the ban on torture clearly shows. The infringement of principles is listed here to show that we can modify, suspend or give up certain cherished beliefs when circumstances call for it. Their listing here is far from an endorsement.
Infringing on principles is serious business and should not be embarked upon except as a strategy for survival as a winner in the war.
In addition we have military traditions involving strategy and tactics that are hard to give up. America has in the past been adept at quickly estimating the enemy and shifting strategy and tactics to effectively engage and conquer. For example: when it became evident that Hitler’s fast moving army was something new, we gave up our Horse Calvary and relied on tanks, planes and other means of warfare. In the same war France and Poland could not shift from their old ways of fighting and lost quickly to German forces. History is full of such examples.
Why is it that now when we in America are confronted by a new enemy with a new strategy and new tactics, we cannot adopt a new style for meeting that force? Why have we failed to correctly assess the threat and shift our strategy to match that of the enemy?
It is obvious that we were attacked by a worldwide organization (Al Qaeda) representing one of the world’s major religions–Islam; and that Al Qaeda was tolerated and even blessed by it. Not by the “man on the street” Muslim necessarily, but by its real leaders–the religious leaders—keeping in mind that religious and state leadership is in many cases indistinguishable. Without that blessing, whether silent or audible, no Muslim would undertake a jihad against all those who are not “good” Muslims. Al Qaeda was charged to kill all “infidels” (non-believers). It was also clear that the support for it was spread over many nations, a large majority of whose population was Muslim; many of them 100% Muslim.
In a Pew Forum conference in 2006 Professor Bernard Lewis, (See “Islam and the West: A Conversation with Bernard Lewis) perhaps the most knowledgeable person in the U.S. on Islam, cited a Pew Forum attitude survey of views on America around the world. The most negative view was, not surprisingly, in Muslim nations. Of the six Muslim nations surveyed, four were overwhelmingly negative: Jordan, only 21% viewed America favorably; Turkey and Pakistan, 23% and Morocco was at 49% favorable. And a Pew Research Center survey found that among Americans only 4 out of 10 viewed Islam positively. The study found that over half of Americans believe that the terrorist attacks are, or soon will be, part of a major civilizational conflict between Islam and the West.
Professor Lewis also spoke on the issue of suicide, which is forbidden for Muslims. In comparatively recent times Muslims have begun to ask of the clerics, is it permissible to kill yourself if you take a sufficient number of the enemy with you. The answer, after over a thousand years of prohibition against suicide, was “yes”. He says that this departure, like so much else that has gone wrong with Islam in recent times, can be traced to a group known as the Wahhabi. The Wahhabi play a role in Islam similar, but even more insidious than that played by the KKK in Christian America. There are other such groups, but the Wahhabi is the most influential now in the entire Muslim world, and especially among enclaves of Muslims in non-Muslim countries such as America and Europe. It is particularly violent and fanatical. This group started in Saudi Arabia and the Saudis followed them. Its influence is now felt wherever Muslims are located.
Almost all the 911 plane hijackers were Saudis. The power center of Al Qaeda was in the mountains of Afghanistan. Neither Afghanistan nor Saudi Arabia declared war on us; therefore, there was no country to invade as in previous wars. The war was with a rogue organization with cells in many countries. Obviously, we could not legitimately invade an enemy whose strength was diffused over many countries as this one was, but our main strategy was and remains invasion—an inappropriate strategy. So instead of changing our strategy we picked two Muslim countries and invaded them, leaving Muslim terrorists in the rest of the world free to kill or to build resources then return to killing infidels and nonconforming Muslims in their own chosen time.
Muslims killed innocent people in America on 911 because of their religious belief, that is, that they had a duty to kill those who did not believe as they did. We invaded and killed many Muslims and non-Muslims trying to get the ones who killed us on 911.We tried to kill the ones who exercised their religious belief.
In striking back we have violated another principle and rightly so. We are now killing people for faithfully practicing their religious belief; we are left with no choice but to do that. We must kill them in return and, thus violate the principle of religious freedom, if we are to survive as a civilization. Circumstances do, after all, change cases. If someone comes into your home and tells you he has been sent by God to kill you it is doubtful that you will be as concerned with his right as with his intent.
Is the reluctance to admit we are modifying our religious freedom principle/value or even suspending or abandoning it, why we have never been willing to label the war we have waged since 911 a religious war? Is that why we invade rather than change to a more effective strategy? As long as we call it a war against terror (terror is simply a strategy/tactic) instead of a religious war we do not have to face emotionally and intellectually the reality of a religious war in the 21st century.
So long as we are focused on invasion we do not have to look at the implications of a religious war. We pretend we have the ”terrorists” pinned down in Iraq and Afghanistan. We are fighting a religious war against a worldwide organization with significant support (minority though it may be) in a multitude of nations including America and yet we have invaded two of those countries. These invasions have drained us and emboldened the enemy worldwide. It is a safe bet that Al Qaeda is happy we are bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Although Afghanistan is a 100% Muslim country, it was only a minority of its people that wanted to kill or at least act on the religious dictate to kill infidels. This country was likely selected by Al Qaeda because there was some support for their plan or at least little real opposition to it, but the mountainous terrain may have been a more salient factor in their decision to locate their command there. In such circumstances was invasion the answer? What ever happened to surgical strikes and Special Forces?
History of America’s past actions when threatened, suggests that we are smarter than to use a strategy so ill suited for the battle. Could our failure to change strategy be because we have been so protected in our environment of live and let live, religious tolerance and freedom of religion and freedoms of many kinds, that we cannot believe someone would seek to kill those who do not believe as they do? Or has the entire subject of religion and our feelings about it clouded our reason? Could it be that our values are so bound up in religion that we can give up all but those we perceive as synonymous with it? Of all wars none is as illogical, barbaric, destructive and unproductive as a religious war; so, lest the reader conclude that this piece advocates a religious war, please know that we are already engaged in one. Now we need to acknowledge this fact so we can develop an effective strategy. And now here is the radical proposal.
The Radical Proposal:
1. Problem: We know that less than 1% of America’s population is Muslim, that some of them are not citizens and that some are extremists poised to kill non-believers upon command.
Solution: Deport those Muslims who are not yet citizens.
2. Problem: Some of these Muslims are citizens but are suspect.
Solution #1: Put these on a watch list and keep close tabs; prosecute when there is evidence. We seem to be afraid of offending them and calling down more terror attacks.
Solution #2: Use the Patriot Act (as repulsive as it is) to spy on them-suspects and non-suspects alike. We do it now on non-Muslims.
Discussion: To further paraphrase Professor Lewis, the Wahhubi group is extremely strong among the Muslim communities in Europe and America. It is very natural for parents in such communities to want some background taught to their children so they look around their communities for classes, camps, weekend schools, etc. These resources are almost all controlled by Wahhubi who provide financing.
“…so you get, among the Muslims in the Diaspora more than among the Muslims in Muslim countries, an intense indoctrination from the most radical, the most violent, the most extreme and fanatical version of Islam.”
To make matters more dangerous and to underscore the religious nature of the war, many like Ahmadinejad in Iran, are in an apocalyptic mood, according to Professor Lewis, and use of an atomic bomb, if they had one, would not bother them much.
3. Problem: We cannot determine who is or is not radical extremists.
Solution #1: Change the laws against profiling. Profile Muslims living in or coming to America. We have done it before when we thought it would protect the larger society. We profile criminals and potential criminals among others in American society.
Solution #2: Monitor all their organizations, bank accounts and overseas communications of Muslims as we do anyone else we choose to monitor.
Solution #3: Monitor their public meetings and publications for hate messages and terrorist threats. Prosecute those who trespass laws against such. This is the current practice with non-Muslims.
Solution #4: Do a thorough background check on any Muslim put in a sensitive position.
Solution #5: Stop further immigration to the U.S. and its protectorates.
Solution #6: Encourage migration. Consider subsidizing migration of Muslims.
Solution #7: For Muslims or any group wishing to kill us forget political correctness. They consider it a sign of weakness.
8. Problem: The results of the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan are not commensurate with the effort.
Solution #1: Change strategy to one suited to the circumstances; send Special Forces to seek and destroy terrorist cells and infrastructure as needed.
Solution #2: Use surgical strikes when needed as we develop better technology to enhance the effectiveness of such strikes. Use funds saved by cutting the invasion off to enhance surgical strike capability such as long-range missiles, drones, etc.
Discussion: The massive destruction caused by an invasion requires rebuilding the infrastructure, and the subsequent occupation causes debilitating resentment toward the occupiers.
Solution #3: Pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan and use the resources now being used there to fund and expand Special Forces, FBI, CIA and other such groups in a concentrated effort to destroy religious terrorists wherever they are.
Solution #4: Words do matter; name the war what it is –A RELIGIOUS WAR.
Discussion: we know some of the above is now being done; some of it secretly.
The religious nature of the 911 attack by an organization (Al Qaeda) blessed as it was by Muslims worldwide, caused such consternation among the nation’s leaders that they failed to assess the enemy properly. When its use is appropriate no military power short of the atomic bomb is more powerful than a full-scale invasion by U.S. armed forces.; nor more costly or ineffectual when not used appropriately. Invasion is clearly not an appropriate strategy against a religious group that exists worldwide and in no one place or country.
Once America and the world clearly sees Al Qaeda for what it is, we will be able to finally call it a religious war and move on to take appropriate actions—using our Special Forces, FBI, CIA, Drones, long-range missiles and a host of other surgical devices.
Now we learn that Al Qaeda has less than 100 operatives in Afghanistan.
[If you agree with this piece please feel free to share it with anyone or any media you wish. It is especially important to get it to lawmakers and policy makers.]
Related links. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebg6AFylios