Why we must first know the en­emy

The Washington Times Weekly - - Culture, Etc. -

At a time when mixed mes­sages come from the ad­min­is­tra­tion about for­eign af­fairs in gen­eral and the war de­clared on us 13 years ago by Osama bin Laden and his con­fed­er­ates in par tic­u­lar, this book sup­plies a brac­ing dose of clar­ity.

Wil­liam J. Bennett, Ron­ald Rea­gan’s sec­ond sec­re­tary of ed­u­ca­tion, has teamed with his fel­low Clare­mont In­sti­tute fel­low Seth Leib­sohn, to bring us this short but logic-and fact-filled vol­ume. Right off they make it clear the United States is not “on the proper cul­tural war-foot­ing to win.”

They say we must first know the en­emy and clearly de­fine our mis­sion. The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion uses eu­phemisms such as “over­seas con­tin­gency op­er­a­tions” to de­scribe the war in Iraq and “man-made dis­as­ters” (by Home­land Se­cu­rity Sec­re­tary Janet Napoli­tano) to char­ac­ter­ize such acts as the “un­der­wear bomber’s” at­tempt to blow an air­liner out of the sky.

The au­thors take read­ers through a primer on Is­lam and the na­ture of the con­flict in which we find our­selves. They re­mind us that “Is­lam” means “sub­mis­sion” and a “Mus­lim” is “one who sub­mits.” Is­lam is a re­ceived re­li­gion de­liv­ered whole to the Prophet Muham­mad. One who be­lieves it lit­er­ally ac­cepts a com­plete out­line for liv­ing.

The rad­i­cals con­tend that if ev­ery­one lived by the tenets of the Ko­ran, there would be no need for sec­u­lar gov­ern­ments and nearly ev­ery as­pect of hu­man be­hav­ior would be pre­scribed (if not in the Ko­ran it­self, then in the ha­dith, the writ­ings of Muham­mad). Those who yearn for this per­fect world also use Ko­ranic pas­sages to ra­tion­al­ize the cold­blooded killing of “un­be­liev­ers,” in­clud­ing even those Mus­lims who are will­ing to live un­der sec­u­lar gov­ern­ments.

This is the world that vi­o­lent rad­i­cal Is­lamists seek, and ter­ror is the weapon they use to try to achieve it. The au­thors say we should face this squarely in both our words and ac­tion. In­stead, the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion seems par­a­lyzed by po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness, so un­will­ing to dif­fer­en­ti­ate be­tween the vi­o­lent rad­i­cals and all other Mus­lims that it is afraid to speak clearly lest “mod­er­ate” Mus­lims be “of­fended.” The pres­sure to con­tinue with po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness is kept up by Mus­lim pro­pa­ganda or­ga­ni­za­tions such the Coun­cil on Amer­i­can Is­lamic Re­la­tions.

The au­thors quote Mid­dle East ex­pert Bernard Lewis: “Most Mus­lims are not fun­da­men­tal­ists, and most fun­da­men­tal­ists are not ter­ror­ists, but most present-day ter­ror­ists are Mus­lims and proudly iden­tify them­selves as such.”

In the Mid­dle East, strength is re­spected, even ad­mired, and weak­ness is ex­ploited. Any­thing we do that shows ap­pease­ment or lack of ac­tion brings on more terrorism. In the Rea­gan years, the pullout af­ter the bomb­ing of the Marine bar­racks in Beirut let rad­i­cal Mus­lims be­lieve they could at­tack again — and they did.

Sev­eral in­stances and weak re­sponses by the Clin­ton White House led to the same con­clu­sion. The em­bassy bomb­ings in Africa and the USS Cole bomb­ing in Ye­men gave bin Laden the idea that we would not re­spond to a much big­ger at­tack. As it turned out, we did, with full force, and he and the Tal­iban re­treated. The na­tional unity of pur­pose that fol­lowed Sept. 11 has been dis­persed. The sense of na­tional doubt con­veyed by the present ad­min­is­tra­tion, cou­pled with the Depart­ment of Jus­tice’s clear de­sire to treat en­emy com­bat­ants such as Khalid Shaikh Mo­hammed as if they were ordi- nary crim­i­nals makes us seem weak.

The au­thors walk us through sev­eral fail­ures and short­com­ings, such as the han­dling of the case of Maj. Nidal Ma­lik Hasan, who was charged with killing 14 peo­ple at Fort Hood in Novem­ber 2009. The Army’s fail­ure to no­tice years of pe­cu­liar be­hav­ior on his part, cou­pled with much po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness in deal­ing with the case, shows that the Army, at least, needs a large dose of re­al­ity train­ing from the top down.

The writers cite a com­ment by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ge­orge W. Casey Jr. on “Meet the Press” the Sun­day af­ter the Fort Hood at­tack. He said, “Our di­ver­sity, not only in our Army, but in our coun­try, is a strength. And, as hor­rific as this tragedy was, if our di­ver­sity be­comes a ca­su­alty, I think that’s worse.” Re­ally?

When the Army re­leased its re­port on the mas­sacre in Jan­uary 2010, it did not con­tain Maj. Hasan’s name or the words “ji­had,” “Mus­lim” or even “Mid­dle East.”

Mr. Bennett and Mr. Leib­sohn con­clude with this: “Let us call good and evil by their proper names. . . . Let the dou­ble­s­peak and non­speak end and the great re­learn­ing and reded­i­ca­tion be­gin.”

Peter Hannaford is a mem­ber of the Com­mit­tee on the Present Dan­ger.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.