Won’t have time to delve deeply into the problem of the rampaging Islamic State. Suffice for now to say that my way of dealing with them will surprise many. What to do? Ignore them for a year or so. Force Europe to do something. Europe will do something. Don’t doubt that in the secret cabinet meetings in Berlin and London, the discussion orbits around how to get America to do what is both distasteful and needed. Per usual. Then they can point fingers when things get nasty.
I’ve said before, time to pull back and let the kids go to bed without supper. Deprivation feeds appreciation.
Ignoring the global jihad is not going to make it go away. In May, 2010, I wrote the blog post, The Coming Anarchy.
Some quotes from that post:
But it is from Africa that the anarchy will spread like a blackening hole in burning parchment. Along with mass starvation (unable to be abated by the cash-strapped West), radical Islam will take an even stronger grip, seizing on the human need to destroy when basic needs are not met. Islamic states such as Iran will gain world-wide political power again, and with the inevitable nuclear bomb in their arsenal, the West shall become a victim of its own ultimate deterrent: Mutually Assured Destruction. Only the West will face a foe more willing to assure its foe’s annihilation.
But from far off, America will watch in horror as any hopes of geopolitical unanimity disintegrate.
With the devaluation of the nation state comes some blessings. It is unlikely that the horrors of full-scale industrialized war shall be visited upon Europe anytime soon. But instead of a full eruption followed by calm, we have entered a time of constant low-intensity war.
Pax Americana is coming to an end. For some it was never good enough.
I was off on a few things, believing the overpopulation bit, and subscribing to the classic Marxist belief that poverty drives all evil. I actually underestimated the power of Jihad, for Jihad’s sake.
Recent headlines are indicative that the Coming Anarchy is here. Almost all of northern Africa is now swamped by Islamism. Egypt: The Muslim Brotherhood; Libya: al-Qaeda; Somalia: al-Shabab; Nigeria: Boko Haram; Algeria: al-Mua’qi’oon Biddam; Yemen: al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula; Mali: Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa. There are now hordes of semi-unified, armed, and very motivated jihadists throughout Africa.
The increased numbers of Muslims whom refuse true integration with the European countries in which they live, combined with the the increasing power of terrorist groups in Africa does not bode well for Europe. When Mali terrorists threatened to attack France in response for French intervention in Mali, they did not make idle threats.
France acted in Mali, both to protect French nationals and to subdue the very real threat that may actually spill onto the European mainland. Frighteningly, French victory in Mali is not assured. This fight will reveal what non-American, western troops are capable of doing against the rapidly strengthening global jihad. A loss will not bode well for the west, and that includes America. Christians are being driven from the Middle east and Africa, and as this article states:
The study warns that Christians suffer greater hostility across the world than any other religious group.
The stupid destruction of the Libyan government is helping to fuel the Mali insurrection. Hopefully this is a lesson to the west. Islamic terrorists love a weak democracy and power vacuums.
UPDATE 22JAN2012: As I’ve said–we’re assimilating, not them. Expect more of this than ever. The white, western jihadist.
I recently had a conversation with a friend about America’s support for Israel. He believes, as do many others, that the relationship between Israel and America is bad for America, because America can be drawn into wars that are not in its self-interest.
While I do agree that it is bad policy to form alliances which require America to go to war should an ally go to war, we in fact, have many such alliances already, yet no one seems to have a problem with France being a member of NATO, which means that if France finds itself in a existential crisis, all nations in NATO must come to her aid. So many of the arguments against support for Israel seem to be rooted in three factors: 1) Israel, unlike France, is almost always on the verge of war, thus the consequences of our alliance is more evident. 2) Many people hate Jews. 3) The Arabs have lost several wars with Israel and have devolved, while Israel has prospered against the odds. Thus some consider the Arabs to be an underdog, picked on my a more powerful nation.
Religious beliefs aside (being a Christian, I think it’s a bad bet to take up the opposite side of the people of God), why should we not support Israel? Yes, it is true that an alliance with Israel could drag us into a war in the Middle East, but that is not a necessary condition for the alliance. For instance, Israel went to war with Hezbollah in 2006 and America did not deploy troops there. Israel is a model of success in the Middle East. It is the only true democracy by Western standards. Liberals should admire Israel as much as they seem to adore the Palestinians; in Israel, it’s not illegal to be gay, Muslim, Christian or even an atheist. Women stand on equal ground with men, in Israel. Israel has produced more Nobel Prizes than all the Arab nations combined, several times over. Indeed, Israel seems to be a model that the whole world could learn from.
Some argue that militant Islamists hate America because of its alliance with Israel. But is this true? This may make good propaganda for suicide bombers, but upon closer inspection, it doesn’t hold much water. After all, China, Russia, Germany, France and many more all have problems with Muslim terrorists.
And even if it is true, that terrorists are motivated to attack the US because of its support for Israel, so what? Is America, the most powerful military force in the world, the kind of nation that backs its friends only in the good times? Do we want to abandon the alliance because Israel has enemies? What kind of friend is that? Did we abandon England in WWII because it was fighting Germany? How would are allies now view the United States if we stopped support when war seemed imminent? A friend like that will soon find himself without any friends at all. It reminds me of Afghan villagers, forced to stop cooperating with American forces because the Taliban put a gun to their heads. Not much of an image for a superpower to present.
The type of moral equivocation needed to sympathize with the Arab nations compared to Israel borders on the insane. So intent are some to “see the other side’s point”, that they cannot any longer tell good from evil. They will rant about the destruction of democracy on America, yet support totalitarian regimes in countries that hate America and everything it stands for. In those countries, unlike in Israel, the people live rather miserable lives. And guess what? It’s not Israel’s fault.
In the article, he’s critical of “conservative analysts” who say “I told you so” and compares Egypt’s move to democracy with the Jewish Exodus from Egypt.
His basic argument appears to be, “Give Peace a Chance”, but then he goes on to admit,
So Morsi is going to be under enormous pressure to follow the path of Turkey, not the Taliban. Will he? I have no idea.
And that is the whole point. No one really knows. Not knowing creates instability in everything from markets, to politics to war. Systems can be built to handle the knowns, even very bad ones. But in the case of an unknown, many times the only thing that can be done is to pick up your spear, grit your teeth, and wait for the other guy to make his move. And even Friedman admits that he understands Israeli hesitance toward Egypt. But he calls for a “real peace” between Egypt and Israel, stating that Israel’s former peace was only between Mubarak and the Israeli people, not between the Egyptian people and Israeli people. Who’s Friedman kidding? Many in Egypt don’t want peace with Israel. The classic response to dishonor in the Arab world in revenge. And few things are more dishonorable than losing wars. Does anyone, anyone, believe Morsi likes Jews?
Friedman seems to believe democracy is a magic pill. He seems to believe that freedom is mystical. But even in America, we don’t allow freedom for everyone. 16 year olds are truly free. Neither are felons. We forget that America was formed, not by illiterate peasants, but by some of the most educated and enlightened people on the planet. Even its first settlers, The Pilgrims, often thought of as bumkins, were actually highly educated an literate. In fact, literacy in New England around the time of the American Revolution is believed by some to be around 90%. Just as importantly, the Founding Fathers were willing to share power, even when they didn’t have to. They drew up a constitution that limited themselves. This not only took courage, but a confidence in the type of people making up America at the time.
Friedman’s hope and the hope that is apparently rife within the current US government, since the US wanted to get rid of Mubarak, is that the Muslim Brotherhood is the docile, liberal and peaceful organization it tries so hard to appear to be. Anyone who believes this is intentionally blinding himself , another foray into “Hope and Change”. The Brotherhood does exactly what the Soviets did that worked so masterfully: It identifies what the target country’s elite want to hear, and tailors its message to fit that narrative. But a chameleon is still just a lizard that changes color to avoid detection.
Need evidence? Hamas is the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestinian wing. Don’t believe it?
Here’s Hamas’ charter:
Article Two: The Link between Hamas and the Association of Muslim Brothers. The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers in Palestine. The Muslim Brotherhood Movement is a world organization, the largest Islamic Movement in the modern era. It is characterized by a profound understanding, by precise notions and by a complete comprehensiveness of all concepts of Islam in all domains of life: views and beliefs, politics and economics, education and society, jurisprudence and rule, indoctrination and teaching, the arts and publications, the hidden and the evident, and all the other domains of life.
Article Seven: The Universality of Hamas:…. Hamas is one of the links in the Chain of Jihad in the confrontation with the Zionist invasion. It links up with the setting out of the Martyr Izz a-din al-Qassam and his brothers in the Muslim Brotherhood who fought the Holy War in 1936; it further relates to another link of the Palestinian Jihad and the Jihad and efforts of the Muslim Brothers during the 1948 War, and to the Jihad operations of the Muslim Brothers in 1968 and thereafter. But even if the links have become distant from each other, and even if the obstacles erected by those who revolve in the Zionist orbit, aiming at obstructing the road before the Jihad fighters, have rendered the pursuance of Jihad impossible; nevertheless, the Hamas has been looking forward to implement Allah’s promise whatever time it might take. The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him! This will not apply to the Gharqad, which is a Jewish tree.
Article Eight: The Slogan of the Hamas: Allah is its goal, the Prophet its model, the Qur’an its Constitution, Jihad its path and death for the case of Allah its most sublime belief.
What is the Muslim Brotherhood’s slogan?
“Allah is our objective, the Prophet is our leader, the Koran is our law, Jihad is our way, and dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope. Allahu-akbar!”
Let’s not forget that it is Hamas that has done everything it can to stop a two-state solution in Palestine. They don’t want two states, they want one without Jews. The PLO actually attempted to broker a two-state solution, but Hamas resisted this.
From its beginnings, the Brotherhood has embodied political Islam. It was led by educated Muslims. The had PHDs and Master’s degrees, just as does Morsi. They understood political processes, and that there was as much to be gained from “stealth jihad” as self immolation. Much more actually. Stealth jihadism is Sun Tzu writ large: Do not attack your enemy’s strength, attack his weakness. Military strength is the West’s strength. Our weaknesses are our credulousness and belief that democracy always results in good.
Friedman is correct when he says that Morsi must walk a fine line. Egypt has in recent years under Mubarak received billions of dollars in aid from the US, a fact conveniently ignored by the media because it doesn’t fit the liberal narrative that the US only helps Arab nations with oil. Losing that money would be devastating to Egypt.
Perhaps the biggest question in Egypt is what the relationship between Morsi and the military will be. The military is made up mostly of old Mubarak loyalists. It is important to remember that it is the military that maintained some order when Mubarak fell and actually saw the whole political process through when someone in the military could have easily created a junta and grabbed the power. It’s not difficult to imagine Egypt becoming very much like Pakistan, a country in which the military is the most competent entity and that runs the show behind the scenes. Meanwhile the country hosts a number of terrorist groups. The terrorists will be easier to control than in Pakistan, because they have an immediate target on which to unleash their jihadic rage: Israel.
Is it possible that things will go well in Egypt? Yes of course. But I’m struggling to find the clues that would point me in that direction. Israel now has Hamas on two borders, Syria and Lebanon to its north. Saudi Arabia has long been a significant supporter of Hamas, an organization sworn to destroy Israel, through Islamic charities. We should expect money to pour into Egypt from Saudi.
And let’s not forget about Egypt’s neighbor, Libya. Libya has an upcoming election. Take a look at some of the groups running for seats in libya:
“Justice and Construction Party: The political branch of
the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya, modelled on its Egyptian
counterpart. Mohammed Sawan, a former political prisoner under
Gaddafi heads the group.”
“Al-Watan or Homeland: An Islamist group led by former
rebel militia leader Abdel Hakim Belhadj. A leader of the
now-defunct Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which waged an
insurgency against Gaddafi in the 1990s, Belhadj fought with the
Taliban in Afghanistan, where he associated with senior al Qaeda
members. He has since distanced himself from the militant group.”
“National Front: Affiliated with the National Front for the
Salvation of Libya, this is an offshoot of the Muslim
Brotherhood led by intellectual dissident Mohammed al-Magriaf.”
“Al-Asala: A Salafi Islamist group led by Sheikh Abdul
Bassit Ghweila. It has put forward some female candidates who
appear in full face covering on posters. The group believes
political parties are un-Islamic and prefers to refer to itself
as a “gathering.”
Perhaps a caliphate is not out of the question after all.
 Chicago Tribune, Factbox, “Who is Running in Libya’s Election? “; http://www.chicagotribune.com/sns-rt-libya-electioncandidates-factboxl6e8hsjid-20120705,0,1422261.story?page=1
“All of us here today understand this: We do not fight Islam, we fight against evil.” ~George W. Bush
“We are not at war against Islam. We are at war against terrorist organizations that have distorted Islam or falsely used the banner of Islam,” ~Barack Obama
Surely we are not at war with Islam. If we were, we’d kill everyone who professed the Muslim faith. The problem with Obama’s and Bush’s statements is that they lead many to underestimate the level to which Muslims in the Middle East and Asia support the jihadists. Throwing out statistics that show only a small percentage of Muslims are responsible for the destruction wrought is a bit like saying that because less than 1% of Americans serve in the US Army, only 1% of Americans support the US military. People fail to realize the power of both the “our team” mentality and religion, especially in parts of the world where the people have little hope in this world and nation states have been shamed in war by America and Israel.
Many people throughout the Muslim world gain satisfaction when the US suffers a setback at the hands of extreme Islam. Otherwise, the extremists could not exist to the extant that they do. Polls throughout the Muslim world show that Muslims in the Middle East support the actions of the jihadists. Most Muslims, even those living is Western countries, support Sharia Law, which is fundamentally at odds with Western values. In a poll of 9 countries, Turkey was the only nation in which a majority of the people said that Sharia should not comprise the law in entirety, or be a “source of legislation.” Pakistanis, despite the billions of military and domestic aid poured into their country by the US, continue to despise Americans. Most Pakistanis also wish that bin Laden was not dead.
People shocked at the recent Egyptian election results should study some history. I’ve long said that Egypt was the spiritual center of jihadism, not Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia made good fodder for the Left because of oil. Egypt, in the poll cited above, had the highest percentage of people that believed Sharia should be the sole root of law.
The Muslim countries that have in recent years received the most American aid are Pakistan and Egypt. Approximately 25% of the money used to fund the Pakistani army comes from American aid. The top recipients of US foreign aid in 2011 are Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel and Egypt in that order. Egypt has routinely ranked among the top nations in the world in the number of dollars given to it by the American government.
There appears to be an inverse correlation between the positive views in a country when measured against the amount of US aid provided to it. The argument of course is that America is trying to show these countries that the US is not the enemy. This method of appeasement is failing. In a poll published by the Washington Post shortly after Mubarak stepped down, 79 percent of Egyptians viewed the US negatively, with 20% saying they have a positive view of the US. This is a sharp decline from the Bush years when 30 percent of Egyptians viewed the US positively.
The problems in giving countries like Pakistan and Egypt lots of money are macrocosmic of what I saw happening in local projects in Afghanistan. The money will always find its way into the hands of America’s enemies because they are the most ruthless, devious and aggressive portions of those societies. They also in many cases have a monopoly on violence, something the state usually lays claim to–if it is not a failed state. In Afghanistan the people were not “all in” for the Americans. They really didn’t care that much, at least in areas far from Kabul, if the insurgents blew up a few American Imperialists. They’d take five bucks to plants a bombs and be on their way. In one fell swoop they’d made a month’s wage, killed some infidels, impressed the locals with their “bravery”, and maintained a semblance of national pride.
Egypt’s Mubarak held the forces of Islamic jihad at bay with the only weapon that works against it: Decisive brutality. As with Saudi Arabia, Egypt was a police state, as much because of the extremists as Mubarak. Only with extreme vigilance could the Egyptian government survive. Frankly, Mubarak may have been the West’s only hope in Egypt, but starry-eyed Westerners with a Democracy fetish ran him off, unleashing a hoard of militants, radicals and young men electrified with a rage whose dynamo was built in 1967 and 1973 during the humiliating defeats of the Egyptian Army at the hands of the Israelis. The effect of these defeats upon the Arab psyche cannot be overstated.
The Arab Spring has generated nothing resembling Western democracy and displays brilliantly the weakness of Democracy itself: People can vote for any horrific idea they choose. Hitler was democratically elected. Muslims have voted and acted exactly how we should have expected them to. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists now hold power. The Salafists in Egypt hold the same views as al-Qaeda and Hamas. Christians are trying to leave the country, fearing for their safety.
The revolutions in Egypt and Libya were hardly induced by only few extremists. In fact,it seems the revolutions enjoyed the backing of millions upon millions of extremists. It is the same sort of thing we saw in Nazi Germany. Many Germans were not Nazis or did not take part in the actual fighting. But most of them wanted to see the Nazis win. And so it is with Muslims in Libya, Syria, Iran, Egypt, Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon. The Muslims there overwhelmingly want to thrash Israel and the United States in any manner they can. If the terror proxies can trounced by the hyperpower or the Jewish state, we can of course expect the “innocent” population of “moderate” muslims to melt back into the woodwork.
Islam unifies people against Israel and the West. As Mark Steyn writes in his book, America Alone, the draw of Western “McWorld” to the average Arab male is vastly overstated. Secularism is about as un-motivational as a Rosie O’donnell workout video. It is meaninglessness and provides no promise of power or life after death, no cloak of righteousness; something that means far more to a poor 23 year old man in Cairo than does the promise of flipping burgers.
Now Israel has a monstrous number of problems on its hand, all coming to bear at once. Iran wants the bomb and is not far off from getting it. Egyptians are muttering that they want the Camp David Peace Accord “adjusted.” 20,000 surface-to-air missiles are missing from Qaddafi’s stockpiles. The current American president’s negative comments about Netanyahu were caught on an open mic.
The vast majority of Muslims in the Middle East are not jihadists or terrorists. But most of them support the actions of extremist Islam when those actions are directed against Westerners or Israelis. Our money and McDonald’s cannot possibly fill the same void that is filled by Islam. And Democracy, as with any form of government, is only as good as the people that comprise it.
So what is the answer? Does America have to kill every last Muslim? Not any more than it had to kill every last German or Japanese. America has only to decisively defeat the front-line troops of Jihad. But decisive victory may no longer be something the West is capable of, despite its overwhelming superiority in almost every facet of military and economic might.
The Arab Spring has not created Arab states that are more stable or less violent. It has provided kindling for another 100 years of Jihadist immolation. Our children’s children will see The Long War continue.
The stock argument used by those arguing against the War on Terror is that the terrorists cannot possibly win. These people believe that even if America did not take military actions against Islamic jihadists, the jihadists could not defeat the US. This is false. The Clausewitzian cliche’ here is that war is an extension of politics. In this case terrorism is an extension of politics. Al-Qaeda need not destroy all of America’s military forces, or its infrastructure, or imprison large swaths of its population in prison camps. It only needs to change the way people think and vote. It has already done this.
In 2004 an Islamic terrorist cell inspired by al-Qaeda detonated 10 bombs in a Madrid train terminal, killing nearly 200 people and wounding over 2000. Three days later the Spanish Socialist Party was elected to office, ousting the incumbent conservative prime minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, from office. The Socialist Party leadership then implemented legislation to remove the 1500 Spanish troops from Iraq, as it was determined that the prime motivation for the bombings was Spanish contribution to the Iraq War.
Through the ballot box, terrorists rendered Spain’s military combat ineffective in Iraq. That’s something that a modern-well equipped army would have had a much tougher time accomplishing were it to adhere to the old rules of locating enemy military assets and destroying them until the opposing government capitulated. Instead, the opposing government was rendered ineffective through the democratic process.
Personal security is the number one concern of the animal. Hobbes knew it and Abraham Maslow came close to knowing it. Maslow placed the need for food, sleep, and sex above (or below at the base of his pyramid) the need for personal security. However, I disagree. People will give up food, sleep and sex if they are immediately threatened with physical harm. I’m quibbling. Obviously the imminence of the problem comes in to play. Either way, physical security is very important. Societies do not progress without it; all the people’s minds stay focused on war and fighting for security.
The terrorist must sow the idea of imminent attack. The victim population must come to believe that the terrorists can move freely about, that any lull in violence is the choice of the terrorists and not because security forces are limiting the terrorists abilities to move, plan, build bombs and attack. The media plays a huge roll in modern terrorism. Not only in changing the minds of ordinary civilians, but in motivating and recruiting other terrorists. The internet is rife with jihadist propaganda. Another argument against the War on Terror is that the dangers of being killed in a terror attack are so small, any great fears of terrorism are based on illusions. To some extent this is true. However, were America’s military and police not constantly on watch, I believe that 9-11 or the Madrid train bombings would be a monthly occurance, at the very least.
Through the ballot box, the jihadists can win. And they can do it with far less damage and effort than it takes to win a conventional war. In many places in Europe, it’s now illegal to make any derogatory comments about Islam. Many in the West view their tolerance of other cultures as proof of moral superiority. Any talk of why another culture’s practices are evil or not acceptable are viewed as proof of hate mongering. These cultural relativists have little idea of what true hate mongering is, but they’ll get a glimpse of it as their culture is changed slowly through the democratic process to a place more comfortable to extreme Islam.
Or maybe they won’t even realize it when it happens.
The truly frightening thing about the power of culture is that a person ensconced within the living tomb of a dying society can be experiencing hell but barely realize it. There is no experience of not living in Hell. Hell becomes the default for life. It goes a long way in making the Buddhist argument that man should reduce his expectations and desires, not increase them. Europe is dying a slow death. It’s birthrates are catastrophically low. The Muslim birthrates are about 4 to 5 times higher than white Europeans. The low European birthrate will have multiple negative effects. First, the current European economic model cannot be sustained. If one thinks that America has looming economic problems because of its social security system, it’s nothing to what Europe faces. Not only do Europeans have much more generous retirement and unemployment benefits, they barely have any military to speak of. As fewer young people are injected into the work cycle, fewer people are paying into the government handout system. This is exactly what happened in Greece. By 2040 or so, the Greek retirement system will absorb 25% of the Greek GDP. The rest of Europe will follow in domino fashion. At some point we may wake up to find ourselves in a political system more akin to that desired by totalitarian theocrats than to Western democracy. We may not even know the difference.
Secondly, a rising Muslim population in relation to white European population will spell more votes for Muslims. If you don’t think that will have real, negative impact on the continent, take a look at the pew report that shows 75% of Muslims polled don’t believe that Arabs took part in the 9-11 attacks. Not enough? 40 percent of British Muslims want Sharia in their country. Sharia courts are used in Britain to settle Muslim civil cases. Terrorism has worked and it’s not because we fought back. It’s because many continue to believe that by changing laws in Muslims’ favor, it will somehow change the way many Muslims feel and believe. However it’s not working out that way. By changing the laws and customs of our culture, we’re merely changing ourselves. Sometimes changing ourselves is good. It’s just difficult to believe, when we look at the state of every predominately Muslim country around the world, that that’s what we want to change into.
Yes, the jihadists can win. The oddity of democracies is that they can be changed in different way than oligarchies. They can be changed merely because the people feel like changing laws. When the West stops fighting for what made it great, when we think that by passing laws to appease the more brutal and aggressive people among us, militant Islam will be well on its way to winning. The people will lose faith in their state’s ability to protect them from aggression, and so will live only for today, which means a cycle of appeasement that brings transient comfort to those who cast the momentary vote, but condemns future generations to the slippery slope greased with the hanging chads of weakness and cowardice.
Recently, Israeli Major-General Eyal Eisenberg predicted an “Arab Winter” in which the revolutions taking place around the Arab world culminate in a multi-front general war against Israel. While it remains to be seen if that’s the case, I take a very dim view of what’s happening in places like Egypt and Libya. Not surprisingly, many on the Left are overjoyed at the Arab Spring. To them, it’s about Muslim hippies fighting The Man. At an intellectual level, they may sense the guile and will of Jihadist Islam, but they willfully ignore this in favor of Coke and a Smile in Muslim lands.
The Arab Spring fits quite nicely into the Global Insurgency theory of modern terrorism. This theory posits that Islamic Salafists (those holding to rigid, medieval views of Islam and life in general), are not only working in local insurgencies, but hope that various uprisings around the world will eventually coalesce into a greater Islamic state. It is similar in ways to Mao’s and Lenin’s doctrines. The local fighters of course do not think at this level, worrying only about their immediate needs. But people at the top of al-Qaeda and similar terrorist organizations do think about the big picture.
We must also consider how clever al-Qaeda’s masterminds are. Jihadists, for instance, have actually studied the homosexual movement in America in order to find out how such a small group can cause so much change on its behalf. I believe that many in the jihadist movement came to recognize the Western mind’s affinity for a popular uprising. In stead of a “top down” jihad, with men like bin Laden and Abu Zarqawi getting lots of media attention, the jihadist movement is now trying to put a grassroots face on its global insurgency. And it’s worked brilliantly. There’s very little to indicate that those who’ve seized power in Egypt and Libya know very much about running a country, but al-Qaeda got what it wanted: the removal of secular Arab leadership from the Sinai Peninsula with all the trappings of state power left intact and with no Western troops on the ground to make sure things turn out the way the West would prefer.
The Palestinian cause represents the great Red Herring for al-Qaeda. Arab despots and terrorist groups need the Palestinians because it keeps the worlds eyes off what those Arab leaders are really doing. No mater what happens, they can keep pointing to Israeli “oppression”, which is why Palestinians never really want to come to the discussion table and cut a real deal; they’re being manipulated and funded by terrorists in order to maintain pressure on Israel. The Palestinians are being used as a classic, global insurgency agitation tool. The Palestinians will continue to sucker-punch Israel. Al-Qaeda et al hopes that Israel will respond in a way which negatively changes world opinion against the Jewish state, thus opening Israel to attack by Arab states without Western intervention.
Search through history and you’ll find something about counterinsurgency that won’t please those who want bloodless conflict: It almost never works.
Actually, counterinsurgency techniques may play into the insurgent’s hand. The techniques take too long and the insurgent wishes to draw a conflict out, to bleed his militarily superior enemy of political and public will.
Martin van Crevald, military historian and analyst, states rightly, that the problems for the superior military power in confronting the guerilla force is not so much political or military, but moral. In order to truly defeat most insurgencies, atrocity may be the only option. In the Third Servile War (73-71 BC), Crassus had 6,000 captured slaves, once led by Spartacus, crucified and hung along the Appian way which linked Rome to Capua. The message was clear as the blood was deep: You revolt against the Empire and you die.
It may be that we cannot win, most times, these types of wars if we adhere to Western values. This is not a value judgement on my part, merely an observation. We must choose what we are to do. There are three options. 1)Attack the enemy viciously, letting morality stand second in line to victory. 2) Involve our fighting men in wars in which many times will result in long, drawn out conflict and end stalemate. 3) Refuse to get involved in insurgencies whatsoever. Fight, destroy, then leave as quickly as possible.
Insurgencies arise from perceived injustice. Insurgencies in Western culture are rare, because the nature of Democracy tends to address, to a large degree, perceived injustice. When a segment of our society feels with significant passion that they have been wronged, they have a vote that gives some sense of power. They can protest. In other societies and in empires of the past, the truly dispossessed have no inalienable rights. The Roman slaves were property. There was no other way to address the injustice but to turn to the sword.
There is virtually no historical record of what is now being used as counterinsurgency techniques being successfully used in quelling an uprising. An uprising is likely to continue until the perceived need or injustice is addressed or sufficient pain is applied to the rebels, pain that makes them stop fighting. The foolishness of some of this over-hyped counterinsurgency bit in its use against modern jihadism, is simple when we hold it to the light: If insurgencies arise from perceived injustice amongst the people, any Western society will simply provide for the people’s need. Most uprisings of the past occurred in totalitarian or monarchal regimes in which all men were not created equal. However, the insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the one that boils beneath the surface in Pakistan, is driven by religious zealotry. There is no perceived injustice per se, except that, in the eyes of the Muslim extremist, the world should live according to the Will of Allah, and that Will is interpreted by al Qaeda and its ilk. Even in Palestine, the perceived injustice of Israeli occupation of Jerusalem and the settlements of the West Bank are much easier to rectify than the desires of al Qaeda and the Taliban.
So, the modern jihadist requires something that Western culture cannot provide: That the whole world capitulate to Sharia.
The Taliban is now emboldened by the US’s defensive stance. Instead of ruthlessly hunting the Taliban, the US’s forces are walking through city streets shaking hands with people who care little. They know they don’t want the Taliban to show up and force their sons to fight for the insurgents. Shaking the people’s hands changes nothing. They do not have the ability to fight against the Taliban. Leaving the Taliban intact will not change the problem. It places us in a purely defensive stance hoping that farmers will like us more than the extremists. The Taliban is free to move from one area of Afghanistan to the other until it finds a place where there are no US troops–and there are plenty of those places. Modern counterinsurgency estimates would call for approximately 500,000 troops. Who are we kidding here?
The only answer, since we have decided that Afghanistan is so crucial (why is a country that isn’t really a country so important? Why more so than Somalia, which is teaming with militant Islamists?), and that we must be rid of the Taliban, the only answer we have is to hunt them and kill them, never let them gain their balance. Instead, they’re taking full scale military action against our outposts and even Pakistan’s Army Headquarters. We’re losing precious time. Pakistan’s government is far more pro-American than its general populace is. 300,000 uneducated and roiling people. They stand ripe for the extremists’ picking.
Pakistan is planning its third large offensive into the Taliban’s mountain strongholds along the Pakistan/Afghan border. The two previous attacks were repulsed by the rebels. If America is to end this war, we must attack the Taliban. Counterinsurgency plays into the enemies hands by making it easier for him to live and making the war last longer. Not to mention the fact that only an ascetic warrior like McChrystal could think he could make it work with so few men.
In the Third Servile War, Spartacus: forced into southern Italy by Crassus’ legions. Pompey’s army, ordered by the Senate to move south and assist Crassus, marched inexorably down the Italian boot. Seeing that his men were to be crushed between two juggernauts, Spartacus swung his formations around for a last gasp attack on Crassus. But there would be only the freedom of death for Spartacus. The vice closed and 100,000 slaves, slaughtered.
President Obama should give Generalhis 40,000 and tell him to destroy the enemy. Like Crassus and Pompey, the US and Pakistan should drive to the enemies’ heart, compacting and destroying him. Yes, we will take casualties, but failing to go for broke risks bleeding us dry of will, money and blood–and we could see Pakistan lose its very existence.
And the fight must be powerful and fast, before the media can yet again rush in to rescue the militant extremists.