The U.S. government needs to develop a counterideology to Islamic extremism as part of its multifaceted global war on terrorism, according to a former U.S. counterintelligence official.
An aggressive ideological war on Islamic extremism should complement military, diplomatic and economic measures, but ideology has been neglected by the U.S. government, writes William Gawthrop in the current issue of the Vanguard, the journal of the Military Intelligence Corps Association.
Specifically,Mr.Gawthrop,whose views in the article are his own and not those of any U.S. government agency, said the U.S. military needs first to study the warfighting methods of Islam’s central figure, something it has not done to date.
“Mohammad, both in his ca- pacity as a military and religious leader, established a strategic objective of political (as well as religious) imperium and he left behind a rudimentary warfighting doctrine articulated in the Koran, elaborated on in the Haddiths, codified in Islamic Law and reinforced by current interpretations in the modern era,” Mr. Gawthrop said.
“As late as early 2006, the senior service colleges of the Department ofDefensehadnotincorporatedinto theircurriculumasystematicstudy of Mohammad as a military or political leader. As a consequence, we still do not have an in-depth understanding of the war fighting doctrinelaiddownbyMohammed,how it might be applied today by an increasingnumberofIslamicgroups, or how it might be countered.”
Mr.Gawthropcallsfordeveloping an ideological counter to Islamic extremism and for the United States, moderateMuslimgovernmentsand the non-Muslim world to wage ideological war on the extremists.
“Presently the adversary has the upperhandinusingaglobalnetwork of information outlets capable of deliveringIslamicthemespenetrating otherwise inaccessible recesses of the Islamic community,” he said.