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December 07, 2005

The Nature of the Threat

1st - Congrats to Bill... his post was #2000 here at the Castle!

Okay - we've been sniping at the Global War on Terror, with our newest contrarian, Ray B, weighing in on things, keeping us from being a perfect echo chamber.

Remember the Armorer's Motto: Wahabism Delenda Est! (apologies to the Latin purists, who insist on Wahabismus)?

Let's bring in some outside help on it. Victor Hanson noted, back on November 4th:

November 04, 2005, 8:40 a.m. The Real Global Virus The plague of Islamism keeps on spreading.

Either the jihadists really are crazy or they apparently think that they have a shot at destabilizing, or at least winning concessions from, the United States, Europe, India, and Russia all at once.

Emphasis mine (of course it is, it supports my thesis...)

First, despite the various professed grievances (e.g., India should get out of Kashmir; Russia should get out of Chechnya; England should get out of Iraq; Christians should get out of Indonesia; or Westerners should get out of Bali), the perpetrators were all self-proclaimed Islamic radicals. Westerners who embrace moral equivalence still like to talk of abortion bombings and Timothy McVeigh, but those are isolated and distant memories. No, the old generalization since 9/11 remains valid: The majority of Muslims are not global terrorists, but almost all such terrorists, and the majority of their sympathizers, are Muslims.

Second, the jihadists characteristically feel that dialogue or negotiations are beneath them. So like true fascists, they don’t talk; they kill. Their opponents — whether Christians, Hindus, Jews, or Westerners in general — are, as infidels, de facto guilty for what they are rather than what they supposedly do. Talking to a Dr. Zawahiri is like talking to Hitler: You can’t — and it’s suicidal to try.

Third, there is an emboldened sense that the jihadists can get away with their crimes based on three perceptions:
(1) Squabbling and politically correct Westerners are decadent and outnumber the U.S. Marines, and ascendant Islamicism resonates among millions of Muslims who feel sorely how far they have fallen behind in the new globalized world community — and how terrorism and blackmail, especially if energized by nuclear weapons or biological assets, might leapfrog them into a new caliphate.

(2) Sympathetic Muslim-dominated governments like Malaysia or Indonesia will not really make a comprehensive effort to eradicate radical Islamicist breeding grounds of terror, but will perhaps instead serve as ministries of propaganda for shock troops in the field.

(3) Autocratic states such as Pakistan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Iran share outright similar political objectives and will offer either stealthy sanctuary or financial support to terrorists, confident that either denial, oil, or nuclear bombs give them security

Meanwhile, Westerners far too rarely publicly denounce radical Islam for its sick, anti-Semitic, anti-female, anti-American, and anti-modernist rhetoric. Just imagine the liberal response if across the globe Christians had beheaded schoolgirls, taken over schoolhouses to kill students, and shot school teachers as we have witnessed radical Muslims doing these past few months

Instead, Western parlor elites are still arguing over whether there were al Qaedists in Iraq before the removal of Saddam Hussein, whether the suspicion of WMDs was the real reason for war against the Baathists, whether Muslim minorities should be pressured to assimilate into European democratic culture, and whether constitutional governments risk becoming intolerant in their new efforts to infiltrate and disrupt radical Muslim groups in Europe and the United States. Some of this acrimony is understandable, but such in-fighting is still secondary to defeating enemies who have pledged to destroy Western liberal society. At some point this Western cannibalism becomes not so much counterproductive as serving the purposes of those who wish America to call off its struggle against radical Islam.

While I have been saying things like this off and on for three years now, it's always more authentic and real if a Famous Person says it - even if that person is famous because they have a good singing voice. I know - Barbra Streisand told me so!

Anyway... Most of what I see (most, not all) coming from the Loyal Opposition these days is essentially a yearning for "Anything But What Bush Wants" even to the point of "We want The Sun to Rise in the West, because Bush likes it Rising In the East..." level of discourse. Mostly, it seems a desperate desire to return to the *perceived* comfortable Status Quo Ante 9/11, with Enhanced Police Features!

Still interested? Read on in the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry-

Most Americans think that our present conflict is not comparable with World War II, in either its nature or magnitude. Perhaps — but they should at least recall the eerie resemblance of our dilemma to the spread of global fascism in the late 1930s.

At first few saw any real connection between the ruthless annexation of Manchuria by Japanese militarists, or Mussolini’s brutal invasion of Ethiopia, or the systematic aggrandizement of Eastern-European territory by Hitler. China was a long way from Abyssinia, itself far from Poland. How could a white-supremacist Nazi have anything in common with a racially-chauvinist Japanese or an Italian fascist proclaiming himself the new imperial Roman?
In response, the League of Nations dithered and imploded (sound familiar?). Rightist American isolationists (they’re back) assured us that fascism abroad was none of our business or that there were conspiracies afoot by Jews to have us do their dirty work. Leftists were only galvanized when Hitler finally turned on Stalin (perhaps we have to wait for Osama to attack Venezuela or Cuba to get the Left involved). Abroad even members of the British royal family were openly sympathetic to German grievances (cf. Prince Charles’s silence about Iran’s promise to wipe out Israel, but his puerile Edward VIII-like lectures to Americans about a misunderstood Islam). French appeasement was such that even the most humiliating concession was deemed preferable to the horrors of World War I (no comment needed).

Therein lies the crux - as I have also noted before - if Daladier's France and/or the League of Nations had exercised their TREATY-SANCTIONED RIGHTS when facing the rise of Hitler, two things would be arguable (and I so argue) results.

1. While the conflict with Japan probably would have happened, and some reckoning between Western Europe and the Soviet Union would have occurred - WWII in Europe might not have happened... and think how the world might be different today if the Holocaust hadn't led to the founding of Israel?

2. Daladier would be reviled by the cognoscenti as a murderous bast*rd who deprived the Germans of their rights and who crushed their aspirations. And because WWII never happened, well, we might agree with them on this one - because Hitler hadn't fully tipped his hand by the time he re-occupied the Rhineland.

Unlike Saddam.

Something else I've talked about in this space is the nature of the threat in terms of the religion of Islam itself. As I tend to ramble, I'll quote Pete Speer, a fella who blogs at General Eclectic and is a career intel analyst who contributes to one of the mailing lists I belong to:

To understand Islam is not to tolerate the politico-military objectives of its radicals. We need to go back in time to look at Christianity in the Fourteenth Century. For if we equate the birth of Christ and the hegira of Muhammad as being Time Zero, that is where Islam presently finds itself. The West was not even close to the Enlightenment, centuries removed from John Locke, among other philosophers who gave impetus to the concept of Democracy. The Church ruled through an accommodation with regional autocrats. Wealth was concentrated at the top. The masses were wretched and religion was indeed the opiate fed to the people. The first reformers -- Hus among the Czechs, Wyecliffe in England -- started the ball rolling towards individualism as opposed to the primacy of the papacy in all matters. This is not unlike what we see in the lands of Islam. People being herded in the corral of religion but controlled by those whose purpose is secular. Is reform in Islam two centuries away? The schism, if you will, between Sunni and Shia offers us an opportunity to speed it. Shia itself is posits the coexistence of a secular and religious society. From that over time can come the development of a secular system of philosophy. Our politico-military policy, in the Middle East, should be designed to achieve that objective. This will require a combination of pressure and patience.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.


You should read Hanson's whole thing here, vice just my cherry-picked parts.