War

Americans accept losing wars and mediocrity at the highest levels

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The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.~ Thucydides

Weakness provokes insult and injury, while a condition to punish, often prevents them.~Thomas Jefferson

I have complained often and loudly about the caustic culture inside the US Army. It is a witch’s brew of arrogance, ridiculous regulation, and inept leadership. There are good leaders to be sure–but there is a disturbing number of bad ones, marred by a lack of basic common sense in fighting wars, and an arrogance that would shock Commodus.

My favourite essayist, Ralph Peters wrote a scathing article in the New York Post about the ethical collapse in the Army’s officer corps. There are more frightening stories than Peters talks about in his piece.

And here’s the biggest problem with all of this: These generals could not even  advocate for the proper execution of our wars for the last 10 years.  If a Soldier gets shot while on guard duty and was found to have not worn his helmet–he’ll get in more trouble than the insurgent who did the shooting, because it’s likely no effort will be made to pursue the attacker. In every other era of American war, the command’s initial response to a Soldier being shot at the front gate would be :” The enemy is able to maneuver very closely to our base–we need to find him and kill him.” Now, the command goes for the easy target–the American trooper. I assure everyone, that insurgents move and gather quite closely to American bases in Afghanistan and never have a shot fired at them in anger. Never have terrorist had it so good.  A full-bird colonel may smile and shake the hand of a villager that is helping kill his troops, but ruthlessly belittle the American privates on his base for being out of uniform.

It’s easy to fight a foe that can’t fight back.

The US Army has loads of support troops who don’t know how to use radios properly, how to use weapons optics like the ACOG, and the US is getting its ass handed to it by a growing Afghan insurgency which actually knows how to shoot, move and communicate. But the new Army’s mantra is “Right time, right place, right uniform.”  What is this, a Wal-Mart corporate meeting? Left out of any messaging is the fact that the Army has one overriding mission: To kill dead the enemies of the United States. Period.

Meanwhile, our West Point educated generals and colonels, whom the illiterate Taliban are running circles around, are committing acts of sexual assault, bigamy, and outright theft of government finances.  Generals reduced to cutpurses.

Then there is the absolute tide of political correctness to which our generals are beholden. Every time I hear an interview with a general, I walk away not feeling inspired, but depressed. Wooden, and reading from a memorized slate approved for press release, these folks would make Patton vomit.  Make no mistake about it. Today, Patton would be arrested. He admitted Americans like a good fight. Why? Because to win a fight, you have to like it, at least a little. But our current military is so risk averse, that only a fool would look for the enemy on a regular basis.

It’s really too bad that these generals are being investigated for sexual indiscretion and petty thievery  but not for their performance in our wars.  Where is the vaunted moral courage and intellectual honesty in the officer’s corp? I should like to see many more canned for not doing their job: Stacking enemy bodies.  Sound harsh? It is. That’s war. The current counterinsurgency model is so “counter-intuitive” ( term often used to mask the insanity of a bad idea), that only an intellectual could believe it.

It’s time we take a long hard look at ourselves. Frankly, I’m embarrassed.  Back in the homeland, we now accept losing. We shouldn’t. A good loser is a loser.  The personalities that used to be our generals are now our college and professional football coaches. They went where the money is and where they can tell the truth.

Les Miles would have won wars:

As Lombardi said, winning is a habit. I reached a turning point in my life when I no longer accepted defeat. When mediocre academic performance was not acceptable, when age was not an excuse for physical decline, when a bad childhood was not justification for failure in every endeavor. I don’t want a participation trophy–I want the trophy that labels me the winner. It is a sad thing to me, where we have come as a people. Looking back at my youth, I wish there were something that could have made me care, something that could have made me try. I didn’t see difficulty as a challenge, but something to be avoided, so I ran away from life.

This is where relativism, as it must, has led us. If all things are equal, winning is neither good nor bad. If all behavior is the same, then we can accept the same from a 4-star general as from a 15 year old.  The engine of our nation–its people–are in decline. I have no recipe to fix the problem. Perhaps it as Oswald Spengler believed, inevitable  like the seasons.

Our flaccid response to the humiliation in Benghazi is illustrative of the current American acceptance of defeat. I’m with Ralph Peters on this one (as usual). Our response should have been devastating. Instead, our government wrung its hands, and tweaked “talking points”. We haven’t made the world a safer place with our rhetoric. No one this side of Mother Theresa respects weakness, least of all Islamic extremists. Our collegiate theorems have not trumped the reality of war: You must kill the enemy until he stops fighting. Rest assured he’s trying to do the same thing.

Hezbollah sleeper cells and imminent war in the Middle East

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The Israeli Minister of Defense recently stated that Israel is prepared for 30 days of war with Iran. In fact, a shadow war, but a very real war never the less, has been ongoing between the two countries for months, with real people being killed by very real government-backed means.

Within the last year, at least 3 Iranian scientists who were working on Iran’s nuclear power program were assassinated.  Bombs exploded in their cars, killing them.  And there was the massively powerful cyberweapon, known as STUXNET, deployed against Iranian nuclear research facilities.  In what appears to be reprisals, terrorists targeted Israelis around the world in places like India, Georgia, and most recently in Bulgaria.  In this case, a suicide bomber walked onto a bus full of Israeli tourists and parked near an airport terminal , then detonated, killing 5 Israelis.  The bombing occurred in a popular Israeli vacation resort near the Black Sea.   Bulgarian domestic security released a video which shows the suspected suicide bomber walking inside the airport.  He is dressed in very casual western style clothing and has a light complexion.  I posted a video of the suspected bomber, below.

As a former law enforcement officer and current intelligence analyst I find the video and the overall bombing very disturbing for several reasons.  First, the bomber’s body language is staggeringly deceptive, offering no clues as to his true intent.  The man obviously received professional training, most probably from Iranian Quds Force and/or Hezbollah.  The man’s gait, posture and clothing are carefully crafted so as to defeat most attempts at profiling.  Secondly, the complexity of this operation was quite extensive.  The bomber had to penetrate an Eastern European country’s domestic security, most likely constructing the bomb there.  The bomber also looks very Western in complexion and mannerism.  Thirdly, a group of Israeli tourists had to be targeted and stalked.  This is different from an operation in which a high profile individual is targeted for assassination.  In that case it is quite simple to know where the high profile person will be, since he or she will be preceded by media reports, has a well known face, and may have an attached security detail.  This operation required extensive surveillance and testing of the existing security systems.  Also, the bomber possessed a fake Michigan driver’s license. 

Fake Michigan driver’s license found at bomb scene
Sketch of suspected suicide bomber in Bulgaria

All of this raises the question as to what Hezbollah has in store for Israel and America should Israel preemptively strike.  Readers should have no doubt that Hezbollah, sponsored by Iran, has placed sleeper cells around the world that are ready to “wake up” should they be called to action.  Though some of them already struck in response to the deaths of Iranian scientists and the STUXNET cyberweapon, it is logical to assume that Iran is holding back a considerable number of suicide bombers and saboteurs so as to control the political aspects of a future war.  It is an established fact that Hezbollah operates an organised crime ring in America, with million of dollars having been funneled to groups in Lebanon.[1]  Iran is the world’s foremost practitioner of 4th Generation Warfare.  Anyone who believes that this type of warfare is ineffective should consider the fact that Iran remained the number one state supporter of terrorism for decades without, until recently, sanctions leveled against it.  Iran has continued on the path of nuclear weapons without a single shot fired against it by the United States.  Iran has held hostage British sailors while parading them on camera against international law.  The Iranian government plotted the assassination of the Saudi Ambassador to the US, without any repercussions, not even a strongly worded letter.  Iran provided fighters, bomb makers and Explosively Formed Projectiles  (EFPs) capable of slicing through the toughest of American armor, to insurgents in the Iraq war.  The American government willfully took no action against Iran despite knowing its government was killing American Soldiers. In some cases, American intelligence networks were told to avoid collecting information that proved Iranian complicity in American deaths.[2]  Iran also continues to sow chaos and discord in Iraq, forcing Iraqi prime minister Maliki to form an alliance with the Iranian regime.

There is simply no other way to interpret the lack of assertive action against Iran by the United States other than that the US government  is afraid of Iran.  The fact that the most powerful nation in history is scared of a country like Iran shows the effectiveness of 4G Warfare.  Iran knows it cannot win in a stand up fight against America.  It doesn’t need to, because the American government has little real idea of how to deal with 4th Generation fighters.  American politicians are far more concerned with polls and elections than the lives of American servicemen, otherwise the Iranians would have been taken care of years ago.  Terrorism targets public opinion and every terrorist loves a polling booth.  The proliferation of useful idiots who think that America can negotiate its way out of every bad situation has done nothing but empower Iran’s 4G warriors.

The Middle East is teetering on the edge of war.  The new Egyptian government openly states it is considering violating its peace treaty with Israel, Lebanon and Syria are in chaos, and Iran rushes toward obtaining the ultimate weapon while promising the destruction of Israel.  But perhaps most troubling is the lack of commitment from America as to which side it is on.  Our collapsing culture and post-modern morals  blind our government at a time when moral clarity is imperative

[1] Emerson, Steven, Jihad Incorporated”, pages 219-227, Prometheus Books, 2006

[2] O’hern, Steven, K. “The Intelligence Wars”, Chapter 4: Iran’s Shadow Falls Over Iraq, Prometheus Books, 2008

Pictures of the dead

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Yet again, our glorious and supremely eloquent counterinsurgency strategy stands to be liquidated by the foolishness of our troops in Afghanistan.

Really?  Photos, published by the LA Times,  depict soldiers posing with the remains of a suicide bomber who’d just tried to kill them.  Is it the burning Korans and photos of dead terrorists that’s causing us to lose this war, or is the strategy itself the problem?

Let me be clear that the soldiers did wrong.  The photos (2 years old, I may add) should not have been taken for the purposes of personal collections.  Why? Because it’s the rule.  Mostly, just because it’s the rule and soldiers follow orders.  A breakdown in the ability of troops to follow the rules results in a mob, not a professional army.

But it was not the soldiers who killed the dead terrorist.  He killed himself while trying to kill them.  Do we feel the same way about photos photos taken of dead robbers and criminals in the Old West?

How about photos of gangsters and miscreants from the 20’s and 30s? Remember Bonnie and Clyde?

Michael Yon wrote an article saying we shouldn’t blame the media.   He’s right.  The Soldiers are the first cause of this problem.  But how big of a problem is it?

American soldiers in WWII mailed the skulls of dead Japanese back to their ladies:

And frankly, the sight of the dead insurgent is the historical tool used by rulers to crush uprisings.  Ask the Romans and Vlad Drakul.  Hiding the results of being a terrorist doesn’t help our cause.  The message to all young Afghan and Pakistani males should be that this is what you look like when you strap on a bomb and try to murder people.

Let’s get real.  This is not an atrocity.  This is soldiers breaking an administrative rule.  There should be no talk of kicking them out of the military.  And, the soldier who gave the photos to the LA Times is a weasel.  If he were so concerned, he should have given the photos to his chain of command–years ago.  We need a little more outrage aimed at the culture that breeds these self-immolating haters.  In any event, don’t ask me or other soldiers to like the people that are trying to kill us.  Blog and talk bravely of our philosophy, and cultural sensitivity and all that, but just don’t ask us to hug the dude trying to take me from my kids.  Maybe 10 years from now, but not now.

I’ve spent more time in Afghanistan than most.  I worked along side young soldiers every day.   I never once saw anything like this.  I did not witness any heroic deeds, though there are many in the last ten years that have become heroes.  But I did witness an incredible adherence to duty, to getting the job done, day in, day out, under very uncomfortable circumstances. 20 year old men doing whatever was asked of them, going without real sleep or hot food for days, sleeping in trucks waiting for a car bomb to drive up.  Being dirty for a week at a time.  To say that these photos depict some sort of evil culture within the military is just plain stupid.

The Shaming of American Defense Intelligence

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Some in the  American Defense Intelligence community and Apparatchiks at the State Department have reduced themselves and their trade to a criminal activity.  Not by upholding their oaths and performing the expected duties of true US Intelligence Professionals, but by ignoring the oaths they swore, the creeds they were forced to memorize, with little to fear from the system that granted them the right to see secrets that protect people’s lives.

The Military Intelligence Corp’s Creed states, in portion, the following:

To find, know, and never lose the enemy.
With a sense of urgency and of tenacity, professional and physical fitness,
and above all, INTEGRITY, for in truth lies victory.

The last few years have seen a deluge of intelligence leaks, many from senior sources.  The Bradley Mannings of the world sit in solitary confinement for breaching America’s trust and breaking the law.  And so it should be.  But as the saying goes, Privates get into more trouble for losing their rifles than Generals do for losing wars.  A series of leaks from the Pentagon and State Department regarding the possibility of an Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear facilities likely has purely political motivations: The current administration does not want to be drawn into another war before the next US election.

Whatever the motivation for the leaks, Americans should be concerned.  Not about black helicopters, CIA assassins, and 9-11 conspiracies, but because many in the intelligence community don’t care about their oaths or the lives of Americans or their allies.  For votes and political sway, secrets are sold–and no one goes to jail but the Army Private with a lot of personal and psychological problems.  I want to see the GS-15 analyst from the Pentagon, or Colonel, hauled off in chains for giving away secrets.  I’m not even sure there’s an investigation to try to weed out these creeps.  But if they were E3s who inserted a thumb drive into a government computer–to the gallows!

If these people will give secrets to the media, either just to get a thrill of seeing their deeds in the news or to ensure the success of their man in the upcoming elections, imagine what they’d do for a large chunk of change offered by a foreign spy.

Leave Afghanistan Now

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The burning of the Korans at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan and the subsequent riots and murder of 5 NATO soldiers put all questions to rest about our future in the country.  There is nothing more the US can gain in this war.  Amid our apologies and groveling, our warped attempts to prove we are not imperialists, the Taliban and crime lords thrive, resting peacefully in Pakistan.  And we still pace the floor like Hamlet churning the possibilities through Washington’s mushy head.

The cultural differences between the US and many Afghans are so great, they simply cannot be overcome in a  manner that benefits in any meaningful way the US.  The country is still largely run by thieves and criminals, and outside Kabul there is little true support for the US effort.  Our national prestige is being drained away by the ridiculous “sensitivity” of Pashtun Muslims, whom seize upon any sleight as a reason to engage in mayhem.

Why are we still there?  It’s time to leave, and let Afghanistan face the reality it created for itself.  A future of crime, chaos, fundamentalism and misery.  To the Afghan government and the Taliban:  Keep your evil inside your own borders this time.To Washington:  Stop embarrasing your nation and its troops with your equivocating and hand wringing.  Bring back the pop-up targets you’ve provided for blood drenched, hateful Islamists.

Bring our boys home.

The West is fooling itself when it comes to Islam in the Middle East

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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.    

In Libya, fresh off a democratically generated war crime, insurgents fly al-Qaeda’s flag in Benghazi.  

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.

Moral cowardice is the default setting of the European Union

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In today’s Stars and Stripes newspaper, an AP article written by Heidi Vogt reports that a recently produced documentary, entitled “In-Justice: The Story of Afghan Women in Jail”. Vogt says that the European Union, which funded the documentary, has decided not to release the film.  Representatives state that there is worry about the safety of two women currently imprisoned in Afghanistan for “moral crimes”.  These moral crimes include being raped and refusing to marry the rapist, for which one woman was sentenced to 12 years in jail.  The other subject of the documentary reportedly ran away from a physically abusive spouse, accompanied by a boyfriend she says she loves but has never slept with.  She is sentenced to 6 years.  Her boyfriend is also in prison. 

Now, it would be one thing to argue that a culture is allowed to enforce its own set of rules without the West forcing it to do otherwise.  However to argue that the West cannot make a movie documenting the facts is craven beyond words.  The  argument that the movie will not show because the safety of the women could be compromised is bunk.  The women are serving 12 years in an Afghan prison; that in and of itself poses a safety risk.  The argument is silly because it assumes the movie will in some way reveal information to Afghans that is not already known.  The facts presented by the movie are, from what I know, no different than the facts that sent these two women to prison.   Will the re-release of these facts enrage the prison guards to such a degree that they’ll harm these women? 

No, the real reason for the EU’s decision  is that its timidity in such cases makes the Cowardly Lion look like Prince Eugene of Savoy.  It’s afraid not only for the two women, but for itself.  For EU members know they cannot stop all acts of terrorism that may result from such a movie.  Just ask Theo van Gogh’s ghost.  Show a movie the extremists don’t like, and Brussels may be sporting a crater where a subway had once been.  But now, as opposed to banning Danish caricatures of Muhammad and having no other excuse than open admission of being scaredy-cats, the EU can proclaim:  “We’re doing it for the women!”  Better to sweep these two women–and hundreds more–behind the swinging gate of Sharia law.  But members of the EU would have no problem throwing Geert Wilders in prison for speaking out against extreme Islam.  Why?  Who’s afraid Geert Wilders will blow up a train station?  As with the choice to bomb Libya but not Iran, it’s easy to wag the dog when the dog won’t bite you.  Meanwhile Europe and America keep giving billions to the Afghan government when all the Americans and Europeans should have been giving the government was bullets to kill terrorists.  America helped build several multi-million dollar “Justice Centers”  in Afghanistan which have either been turned in to over priced   warehouses or whose inhabitants practice a kind of justice that would make Adolph Eichmann proud. 

What penalty does the “new” Afghanistan pay for its gross violations of human rights?  What penalty does it pay when its government pockets half of the money given by America for public good?  A single act of lawlessness by an American Soldier is a tragedy; a million acts of avarice, greed, deceit and slothfulness by Afghans is a statistic.  The failure of the EU in many, many cases to stand up and demand the destructive habits practiced in Afghanistan be changed has led us to the very spot Europe and America stand in:  A swamp of moral and cultural relativity.

Can the jihadists win?

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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.