The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

The U.S. mil­i­tary made im­pres­sive gains on the bat­tle­field and covertly in coun­ter­ing Is­lamist ter­ror­ists since the Sept. 11, 2001, at­tacks. But the mil­i­tary and gov­ern­ment at large so far have failed to strike the re­li­giously mo­ti­vated ide­ol­ogy be­hind al Qaeda and other Is­lamic ex­trem­ists.

That’s the con­clu­sion of a new book, “Fight­ing the Ide­o­log­i­cal War: Win­ning Strate­gies From Com­mu­nism to Is­lamism, by a group of spe­cial­ists urg­ing the U.S. gov­ern­ment to ap­ply the lessons of the Cold War de­feat of the Soviet Union to Is­lamist ter­ror­ism.

One of the authors, ir­reg­u­lar war­fare spe­cial­ist Se­bas­tian L. Gorka, stated that the United States in the past 10 years suc­cess­fully de­graded al Qaeda’s abil­ity to in­flict harm on the United States. How­ever, he writes,”al Qaeda has be­come even more pow­er­ful in the do­main of ide­o­log­i­cal war­fare and other in­di­rect forms of at­tack.”

The prob­lem for the U.S. gov­ern­ment is “po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness” to­ward Is­lam that has the pre­vented ac­cu­rate iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of the en­emy’s threat doc­trine. For ex­am­ple, the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s in­sis­tence on call­ing the Fort Hood, Texas, ter­ror­ist at­tack by Army Maj. Nidal M. Hasan “work­place vi­o­lence” is crip­pling ef­forts to strike at the ide­ol­ogy Mr. Gorka calls “global ji­hadism” — de­fined as both the vi­o­lent and non­vi­o­lent the­ory and prac­tice of im­pos­ing Is­lamic supremacy glob­ally.

“Al­though we have proven our ca­pac­ity in the last 10 years ki­net­i­cally to en­gage our en­emy at the op­er­a­tional and tac­ti­cal level with un­sur­passed ef­fec­tive­ness, we have not even be­gun to take the war to al Qaeda at the strate­gic level of counter-ide­ol­ogy, to at­tack it at its heart — the ide­ol­ogy of global ji­had,” he states.

Mr. Gorka notes that dur­ing the Cold War, it took sev­eral decades to fully un­der­stand the Soviet threat be­fore U.S. diplo­mat Ge­orge F. Ken­nan in 1946 wrote his “Long Tele­gram” from Moscow, where he was serv­ing as deputy chief of mis­sion. The mis­sive be­came the strat­egy of con­tain­ment and led to the even­tual down­fall of the com­mu­nist em­pire in 1991.

Sim­i­larly, Is­lamic ji­hadism presents a sim­i­lar to­tal­i­tar­ian threat and must be coun­tered ide­o­log­i­cally. First, the na­ture of the ter­ror­ist threat must be clearly un­der­stood and then de­feated with Cold War-style in­for­ma­tion and ide­o­log­i­cal war­fare.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion has added to the con­fu­sion by re­fus­ing to iden­tify the Is­lamic na­ture of the cur­rent war on ter­ror­ism.

Patrick Sookhdeo, an­other au­thor and co-ed­i­tor of the book, stated, “The truth, un­palat­able though it may be, is that Is­lamists and Is­lamist ter­ror­ists are au­then­ti­cally Is­lamic, em­pha­siz­ing spe­cific texts and of­fer­ing lit­er­al­ist in­ter­pre­ta­tions of their sources.”

Some Western gov­ern­ments and an­a­lysts have sought to dele­git­imize ter­ror­ists by in­cor­rectly deny­ing their Is­lamic roots, he said.

John Lenc­zowski, a White House Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil spe­cial­ist on Rus­sia dur­ing the Rea­gan ad­min­is­tra­tion, out­lined in de­tail how Ron­ald Rea­gan ap­proved and im­ple­mented a pro­gram of “po­lit­i­cal-ide­o­log­i­cal war­fare” that iden­ti­fied the il­le­git­i­macy of the Soviet sys­tem as a strate­gic vul­ner­a­bil­ity that was suc­cess­fully ex­ploited to de­feat the Soviet regime. It in­cluded a com­bi­na­tion of covert and overt sup­port for profree­dom and pro-democ­racy move­ments and peo­ple.

The fi­nal Soviet col­lapse, Mr. Lenc­zowski writes, came from “a con­flu­ence of in­ter­nal crises that were ag­gra­vated by the many ‘straws’ placed on the Soviet ‘camel’s back’ by the Rea­gan ad­min­is­tra­tion.”

Sim­i­larly, the authors ar­gue that Is­lamist supremacy can be de­feated ide­o­log­i­cally through pro­grams that re­veal the ide­ol­ogy of ji­hadist groups like al Qaeda and the Mus­lim Brother­hood to be copies of ear­lier to­tal­i­tar­ian and fas­cist ide­olo­gies.

The book was pub­lished by the McLean-based West­min­ster In­sti­tute and is avail­able at www.west­min­ster-in­sti­ Omar Abdel Rah­man, the “Blind Sheikh” who is serv­ing a life term for his role in the 1993 ter­ror­ist at­tack on the World Trade Cen­ter.

Egypt’s gov­ern­ment has asked the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion to re­lease Abdel-Rah­man, and ac­cord­ing to Rep. Peter T. King, chair­man of the House Home­land Se­cu­rity Com­mit­tee, ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials have asked U.S. law en­force­ment of­fi­cials about a pos­si­ble re­lease. Pub­licly, ad­min­is­tra­tion spokes­men have said there are no plans for free­ing the sheikh.

Ac­cord­ing to press re­ports, fight­ing broke out among Egyp­tian pro­test­ers that in­volved pro- and anti-Mus­lim Brother­hood ac­tivists who shouted at the pro­test­ers and de­nounced the Brother­hood and Mr. Morsi. that we an­nounced, and that the ef­fort to re­bal­ance is real,” Mr. Panetta said.

“It’s go­ing to be long term. I mean part of this is long-term strat­egy and in which we’ll continue to work at this. But we’ve also made some very tan­gi­ble progress at re­bal­anc­ing just in this past year.”

The new steps in­clude send­ing of some 2,000 Marines to Dar­win, Aus­tralia; send­ing up to four new lit­toral com­bat ships to Sin­ga­pore; and con­tin­u­ing the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion pol­icy of shift­ing Navy forces to the Pa­cific so that 60 per­cent of war­ships are in the area.

Other steps in­clude de­ploy­ing V-22 tilt-ro­tor Os­prey air­craft and F-22 jets to Ja­pan and in­creas­ing co­op­er­a­tion with South Korea on space and cy­berspace. There are also plans to in­crease U.S. mil­i­tary pres­ence in Philippines and to es­tab­lish closer de­fense co­op­er­a­tion with In­dia.

Mr. Panetta said the pivot to Asia is not solely about “mov­ing more ships or air­craft or troops to the re­gion.”

“We want to deepen and mod­ern­ize our ex­ist­ing part­ner­ships and al­liances, and we want to build re­gional in­sti­tu­tions, par­tic­u­larly work­ing with ASEAN,” he said, re­fer­ring to the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Nations.

He knows what he be­lieves. Do we? Nidal Hasan

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