Thursday, July 28, 2005

Fighting a War Against Fanatics

The jihadist attack on innocent London residents as they made their way to work during the morning rush hour two weeks ago, and the subsequent failed attack, illuminate the grim reality of this era. Despite all of the claims about assimilating radical Moslems or moderating their sentiments, it is clear that whatever Western motives may be, jihadist goals are unremitting: undiluted destruction and sanguinary nihilism.

With another 700 injured and at least 50 killed, it is time to face this truth. These fanatics are intent on killing and maiming as many people as they can. Negotiations are not possible. With whom would one negotiate in any case?

Difficult as it may be for well meaning liberals to accept, jihadists are different from those of us who share Judeo-Christian principles. They are at war with the West and it is a war in which civilization itself is at risk.

This is not merely a war for hearts and minds, it is a war of life and death. The West is at the crossroads. It is one thing to say, as Tony Blair has, that we will prevail. How we will prevail; what we must do to prevail? These need to be answered.

It is instructive that MI5 reports that “only 1 percent of Muslims in the U.K. are extremists.” However, that one percent translates into 16,000 potential terrorists. The “only” in the intelligence report speaks volumes about British political correctness.

A call for realism is in order. We can no longer tolerate sermons from mosques that justify slaughter or martyrdom. We can no longer allow foreign-born, noncitizen fanatics to live in our nation or any civilized nation where they plan attacks or marshal support for attacks. We can no longer simply assume that through Herculean effort radical Muslims will embrace the essential creed of our civilization. We can no longer allow our Constitution to be used against Americans. Freedom of religion is not freedom to promote carnage. The Constitution is not a suicide pact.

Even after 9/11 our Secretary of Transportation refused to consider “profiling.” From any perspective he was more intent on the maintenance of a liberal agenda than public safety. That decision is a metaphor for the war on terror. We cannot fight this war effectively with at least one hand tied behind our backs.

Now that body parts have been exploded on to London streets, the public may awaken from its tranquilized state. This war depends on an all-out effort to win. Half measures won’t do, nor will good-will. The time has come to remove our ideological shackles and fight this war with every once of strength we, as a people, can muster. Our destiny and the destiny of our civilization depend on it.

A longer version of this item appeared on FrontPage magazine.


25 comments:

Tlaloc said...

God I can't believe that in the face of direct evidence of how miserable a failure the tactic of confrontation is your only anser is: more confrontation.

When do you actualy learn? You've failed to conduct a "war" on terrorism just as every other instance of an established military attacking an established terrorist organization has failed.

For god's sake take the IRA example seriously: The english had every advantage over the IRA and they still could never win militarily. They eventualy realized that giving into some of their demands was the way to go and today the IRA is disarming.

England was right next door to Ireland, was of the same ethnicity, same culture, same language. The IRA was numbered at around 400. Al qaeda is numbered at 30,000. They are half a world away from the US and of a radically different ethnicity, culture, and language. DO THE MATH!



"Difficult as it may be for well meaning liberals to accept, jihadists are different from those of us who share Judeo-Christian principles."

Not all of us westerners share your judeo-christian principles but I guess were the next ones to be bombed huh?



"They are at war with the West and it is a war in which civilization itself is at risk."

It's a war the west started and could end anytime by simply chosing not to occupy their lands, steal their resources, and overthrow their governments.



"A call for realism is in order. We can no longer tolerate sermons from mosques that justify slaughter or martyrdom."

Speaking of failed tactics...You do know what happens to religions that get persecuted right? RIGHT?


Honestly this author is a poster child for why the right can't figure out why it's losing this "war." Here's the clue: study history, study terrorism, sytudy our actions in the middle east. Read up on the reports that say that terrorism is strongly linked to occupational forces. That the resistance in Iraq is made up mostly of Iraqi nationals with no former history of radicalism but who have been radicalized by our invasion. Read and understand and then you won't keep making the same mistake over and over.

James Elliott said...

Mr. London, welcome. The already interesting brouhaha here just got even more interesting.

Even a cursory look at any thread here should indicate that I'm one of your "well-meaning liberals." And I couldn't disagree with you more.

I am not opposed to a military solution to terrorism, rather than a law enforcement one. I was quite swayed by Caleb Carr's "The Lessons of Terror." Our initial campaign in Afghanistan was a good idea. Too bad we botched it, but the theory was sound.

As for confrontation, why don't we ask the Israelis how well confrontation with a "foreign" culture of extremists has gone for them, eh? Is that little boondoggle over yet? No?

I'm curious: Have you ever read Lee Harris's "Civilization and Its Enemies"? There are some ideas in there that you might want to consider, as well as some that'll be right up your alley.

As someone whose family has been peripherally involved in San Jose politics his whole life, I can tell you that your evaluation of Norman Mineta leaves a lot to be desired. Were you aware that Norman Mineta and his family were among the Japanese-Americans and Japanese-born to be interred in camps during WWII? Perhaps you should leave the opinions on racial profiling to someone who's actually been racially profiled, eh?

Tlaloc said...

speaking of profiling...

(from Juan Cole)
The Scotsman reports on the spectacular arrest of the Somalian suspect in the July 21 failed bombing attempts, saying, "The ethnicity of the eight London bombers, ranging from Somalis, to British-born sons of Pakistani parents and an Anglo-Jamaican Muslim convert, have surprised detectives investigating the attacks."

They should not be surprised. You have to think about terrorists as units of hardware, on which software has been installed. The software is a world-view, a set of premises about the world, which then make sense of the terrorist's actions. How does the software get installed? The potential terrorist meets the installer socially and falls under his spell.

The terrorists don't have a social background in common. They aren't lumpen proletariat or working class or middle class or bourgeois. Or rather, they have in their ranks persons from all these backgrounds.

The terrorists don't have an ethnicity in common. Richard Reid and Lindsey Germaine were Caribbean. Others are Arabs. Some have been Somali or Eritrean or Tanzanian. Others have been South Asia (India/Pakistan/Bangladesh). Still others have been African-American or white Americans. They don't even have to start out Muslim. Ayman al-Zawahiri was particularly proud of an al-Qaeda operative in Afghanistan who had been an American Jew in a previous life. Ziad Jarrah, one of the September 11 hijackers, appears to have been a relatively secular young man right to the end. It isn't about religion, except insofar as religion is a basis on which the recruiter can approach his victim. Islam as a religion forbids terrorism. But then so does Christianity, and that doesn't stop there being Christian terrorists. They are a fringe in both religions.

If you try to "profile" the terrorist using such social markers as class or ethnicity, maybe even religious background, you will go badly astray.

James Elliott said...

See, now that's a nice rebuttal.

Locke said...

You guys are like two boy wonders without any Batman. I wish the Reform Clubbers would resume the usual programming without your tiresome "Holy Cow, Batman" crap.

Tlaloc said...

wow, convincing argument.

Hunter Baker said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kathy Hutchins said...

A call for realism is in order.

Fifty years ago, Herman Kahn was at RAND bringing realism to the then very new debates about military and political strategy in the newly nuclear world. He and his colleagues were demonized because it was claimed that even thinking systematically about nuclear strategy made nuclear war more likely to come about. But eventually Kahn's thought formed the basis for the way everyone thought about nuclear strategy.

It seems to me that we're in the same position now, but I don't see anyone like Kahn trying to lay out strategic visions and tactical scenarios based on the clearest reason that can be mustered. Maybe that's just because military and foreign policy is in no way my area of study, and I'm just unfamiliar with what is being discussed and planned.

Kathy Hutchins said...

If you try to "profile" the terrorist using such social markers as class or ethnicity, maybe even religious background, you will go badly astray.

Which is why the actual profiling used by any self-respecting law enforcement (as opposed to the fairy tale version told by the ACLU) is based on observed behavior. But we're not even allowed to do that in Norm Mineta's Wonderful World of Flight, we have to put up with Norwegian grandmothers having their girdles wanded and knitting needles confiscated in the Minneapolis airport.

Hunter Baker said...

Tlaloc, this is one of the things about you that has bothered me since the beginning, although it is the one area of your professed anarchism that appears to be real. For some reason, you are utterly incapable of giving respect to formal learning and position. I suppose you think such things are as random as lottery winnings.

Dr. London is the head of one of the better think tanks in the nation. He has earned his authority as an analyst of culture and politics.

Now, you may disagree with him. There is no doubt about that. However, it would be greatly to my liking if you would accord him the respect to which is entitled.

Mr. Elliott frequently finds that his sense of decency gets the better of him and I'm happy when it does, but you are a bad influence on him. I often wonder whether you and he are the same person and he pulls out Tlaloc when he's feeling his oats.

Tlaloc said...

"For some reason, you are utterly incapable of giving respect to formal learning and position."

I wouldn't say that at all. I have a great respect for people like Juan Cole who are middle east studies professors, have learned the material and have been proven right over and over again. Mr London may be part of a thinktank (and granted I have no respect for that accolade since literally anyone can call themselves and their friends a thinktank) but his position is quite simply wrong according to all the data.

And error is something I do indeed have little regard for especially when it is spoken by someone who should know better.


"Dr. London is the head of one of the better think tanks in the nation. He has earned his authority as an analyst of culture and politics."

Then I shouldn't be able to refute his finely honed opinion in a few seconds but I did. He is apparently blithely unaware of all the data about terrorism in the last few years (not to mention the better research from the last few decades). The data shows (as above) that we are provoking the very actions we claim to fight by our methods and he presses us to be more brutal.

Let me ask you how highly do you regard his learned opinion when he suggests persecuting a religion? Surely you know the inevitable result?



"Now, you may disagree with him. There is no doubt about that. However, it would be greatly to my liking if you would accord him the respect to which is entitled."

Believe me Hunter I am, because I'm not saying all the things I'd like to say about his opinions here. I try to respect your views on cursing and I'm not attacking him personally but I can't sit and smile while a mountain of ignorance is served up as if it were fact. I'm funny like that. We have enough people who don't understand the situation screwing up our foreign policy, it's about time someone told them to pick up a book and learn before they speak on the subject because they are going to get us all killed.

Tlaloc said...

some articles to read on terrorism and the Bush method of confronting it:

Terrorism fueled by Occupation

Iraq war radicalizing moderate Iraqis

The coming collapse of Iraq

James Elliott said...

Believe me, Hunter, I may be a pinko commie socialist domestically, but I'm no anarchist. Tlaloc's doing fine all on his own.

It's hard enough that I take as much time as I do away from writing my book to have fun here. If I was Tlaloc, too, I'd never get anything done.

Thank goodness classes are starting again soon.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Oh, my, Mr. T, if the folks want to troll the deep dark dank depths of Juan Cole & Co.'s swampy brains, they can do it for themselves.

I don't mean to play mother hen, but it's best to bring one's own thoughts to the table, and reserve links for establishing fact, from credible sources like CNN and the (hehe) New York Times.

And please---if I may---insulting another's integrity or intelligence only serves to bring one's own into disrepute. DefCon4-type incivility is for the kiddie table, or as some like to call it, the lefty blogosphere. ;-)

This is the Star Trek universe where Spock doesn't have a beard. Much harder to fit in, I know.

(BTW, I happen to differ a bit with Dr. London's thesis for my own reasons. But sitting at the grownups table obliges one to let the man catch his breath a bit first.)

Tlaloc said...

"It's hard enough that I take as much time as I do away from writing my book to have fun here. If I was Tlaloc, too, I'd never get anything done."

In my defense I get paid to be here :)
My job allows me the luxury of a great deal of internet time.

James Elliott said...

Let's use a simple, commonplace example for why confrontational strategies broadly applied to terrorism don't work: Israel.

Israel has been combatting Arab hatred and Palestinian nationalism (which is now being co-opted my Muslim fundamentalist extremism) with confrontational tactics for decades.

When have we seen the most successful phases of attempts to make peace in that region? When the Israelis use a unilateral withdrawal and negotiation strategy. It's not easy. It's not all that safe in the beginning. But it is effective.

Look what happened in the last seven to eight years. Ariel Sharon gained power in a backlash against Ehud Barak's policy of withdrawal and negotiation (which was working).

What policy is Ariel Sharon now persuing after his decades-long commitment to confrontational tactics? Withdrawal and negotiation.

Now, this is not a perfectly direct analogy because the Israelis have a pseudo-legitimate entity with which to negotiate (the Palestinian Authority).

America has adapted the strategy of confrontation into the "flypaper" strategy. We gotta "fight them over there instead of here." Now, if this strategy had anything remotely resembling legitimacy, we could ask the people of Egypt and Great Britain how secure they feel right now and be pleased with their answer.

Or, we could ask the question, "How's al-Qaida doing?" Answer: "Bigger, more diffuse, with more affiliates, and harder to catch than ever." Hmm. Not exactly what we were going for, is it?

An example of the confrontation strategy properly applied would be the opening salvoes of Afghanistan.

This "struggle to save civilization" crap has just got to go. It's nothing more than hyperbole.

Tlaloc said...

"I don't mean to play mother hen, but it's best to bring one's own thoughts to the table, and reserve links for establishing fact, from credible sources like CNN and the (hehe) New York Times."

While I agree that a person's thoughts are generally more important than simply quoting someone else I did in fact outline my thoughts in the previous posts, and since I made mention in passing to some articles and research I thought it'd be kind to give links to them.



"And please---if I may---insulting another's integrity or intelligence only serves to bring one's own into disrepute. DefCon4-type incivility is for the kiddie table, or as some like to call it, the lefty blogosphere. ;-)"

You mean some in the reform club might question my intelligence? Gosh that'd be a shock!

The kiddie table is the one where you are never allowed to call "Bulls--t!" Hence why I much prefer the adult table. Sure it gets a little rough at times but we are all much the better for being able to weed out failed ideologies like "lets go shoot some terrorists!"

Hunter Baker said...

For the record, I don't think I've ever accused you of being stupid, T, just intellectually dishonest and not necessarily purposely so. Of course, we're trying to hash that out over in Gitmo land, eh?

Tom Van Dyke said...

Oh, and Herb, welcome to the blogosphere. The rest of it isn't like this, it's far worse.

I kid you not.

Anonymous said...

Every "once" we can muster, huh? Is your secretary gone for the week, Mr. London?

Tom Van Dyke said...

I'll tuck this in here, because it blows my mind, frankly, and I want to bring attention to it. According to the the Torygraph, France is fixing to deport its hatemonger imams, even if they hold citizenship.

I may voice my disagreement with Dr. London's thesis later, but in the meantime, at least one European nation agrees fully.

(Courtesy of the Christians United Against the New Anti-Semitism (CUANAS), a worthy and very hardworking blog. He's a bud of mine.)

The Liberal Anonymous said...

It blows my mind that you support stripping people's citizenship because of things they say.

It's all fine and dandy until Sean Hannity loses his citizenship for promoting violence and war, isn't it?

Tom Van Dyke said...

Oh, I'm very conflicted about it, LA. But the first right is not speech, it is survival itself.

The Liberal Anonymous said...

Willing to trade some liberty for a little temporary security, eh?

There's no conflict in my mind at all.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Oh, there's more to it than that.

Humankind has and will always regulate freedom in favor of survival in countless ways. Survival is an absolute; you're either alive or dead. Freedom is relative.