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Home Our Crucial Choice of the War on Terror

Our Crucial Choice of the War on Terror

There are two models for fighting terrorism. We can see the terrorists as an external invading force that has to be destroyed or as an internal element in our society to be managed.

In the War on Terror, Bush saw terrorists as an external force that had to be fought while Obama sees them as an internal element to be managed. And while both men signed off on some of the same tactics, their view of the conflict at the big picture level was fundamentally different.

The differences express themselves in such things as detaining terrorists at Guantanamo Bay or backing Islamist democracy. If Muslim terrorists are an alien force, then detaining them without trial is no more of a problem than detaining Nazi saboteurs was during WW2. And if Islamic terrorism is driven by alien impulses, then it has nothing in common with us and attempting to accommodate it cannot succeed.

Obama and the Europeans see Islamic terrorism as a social problem whose root causes need to be resolved rather than defeated. It’s the old model used for the radical left which was “fought” by mainstream parties adopting elements of its program to compete with it… with disastrous results.

But the results of adopting elements of the Islamic program would be even worse.

Obama blamed the Paris terror attacks on a failure to integrate. But Islamic terrorism is an attempt to integrate Europe into Islam. The bombs and bullets, like the Sharia patrols and the No-Go Zones, are statements by Muslims that they will not be integrated into Europe. Europe must integrate with them.

Muslim terrorists reject the assumption that they are a domestic social problem. To the Muslim born in France or the UK, who may even be a native convert, the domestic social problem comes from Jews and Christians who refuse to acknowledge the supremacy of Islam, from cartoonists who draw Mohammed and from women who leave the house. Islamic terrorism is meant to integrate us into the Dar-al-Islam.

If we are going to view Islamic terrorism as a domestic social problem, then we might as well take a look at how Muslim countries deal with terrorism. They rarely declare war against it, but when they do, they tend to engage in ruthless mass slaughter. Jordan may have killed as many as 20,000 Palestinian Arabs in its fight with the PLO. Assad’s father may have killed 40,000 Syrians in Hama when putting down the Muslim Brotherhood. The death toll from the current conflict hovers at around a quarter of a million.

But Muslim countries rarely fight terrorism. Like Obama, they mostly manage terrorism.

In Muslim countries, terrorism actually is an internal element. It’s not an alien force, but an ongoing momentum of expansion and conflict that predates the airplane and the bomb. This is the tool that Mohammed and his successors used to conquer sizable portions of the world. That’s why Muslim countries don’t fight terrorism. They export it.

Jihad is a ticking time bomb that they dump on their enemies. Major Muslim countries sponsor terrorist groups the way that we sponsor sports teams. Sometimes they fight a terrorist group and then sponsor it and fight it again. Sometimes they sponsor it and fight it at the same time. That’s the kind of situation that gives counterterrorism experts headaches, but maintains a bizarre kind of stability in the region.

A Muslim country with a terrorist problem points the terrorists to another country. That’s a major reason why Lebanon, Syria and Iraq are disaster areas. It’s also why our Gulf allies keep funding the terrorists attacking America. Not only is it the religiously devout thing to do and confers geopolitical advantages on them, but it’s also the international equivalent of dumping your toxic waste next door.

Exporting Islamic terrorism is something that Muslim countries can do more easily than non-Muslim countries can. The Russians are about the only non-Muslims to have managed to do it without getting hurt too badly. Our own efforts in dabbling with foreign Muslim terrorists have been disastrous. Trying to export domestic Muslim terrorists into another conflict would be a terrible idea.

Nevertheless the West is doing just that in Syria, intentionally or unintentionally. And the consequences will be quite serious because unlike the Saudis, we can’t keep generating international conflicts for them to fight in fast enough to prevent them from coming home and killing Americans.

Obama and the EU are trying to manage Islamic terrorists, but only Muslim countries can do that. In the Muslim world, terrorist groups function as unofficial militias, proxy armies that can be dispatched to fight their enemies. But Islamic forces fight for an Islamic cause. Obama can claim that America is one of the world’s largest Muslim countries, but he can’t call on their Islamic allegiance to the United States.

The most crucial decision in our approach to Islamic terrorism is to decide whether it represents a foreign or domestic element. If we treat Muslim terrorists as a domestic force, then we will have to cater to them. The path of appeasement will eventually lead to adopting some form of Islamic law even if we do it under the guise of our existing legal system, such as prosecuting blasphemy against Islam under hate crime laws. But as we attempt to manage Islamic terrorism, the violence will increase.

Eventually we will discover that the only way to compete with Al Qaeda or ISIS is to adopt elements of the Islamic program, the way that the West did with the radical left. That is what most Muslim countries have already done. And if we do it, then we will have defeated ourselves. That is why the approach advocated by Obama and the European Union is bound to fail. The United States is not a Muslim country and it cannot afford to manage terror the way that Muslim countries do.

The Islamic terrorist is not a legitimate domestic element in America, the way that he is in Pakistan or Syria, because he has no function here. The United States is not in need of freelance fanatical militias following a foreign creed that puts them at odds with Americans. If we attempt to cultivate Islamic terrorists, then we will still end up becoming their first, or at best, second choice of targets.

The West can only defeat Islamic terrorism by treating it as a foreign element; an outside force that must be destroyed, rather than accommodated. Unlike Islamic countries, we cannot accommodate it without destroying what we are. And we cannot make use of it without destroying ourselves.

Europe still insists on seeing Islamic terrorism as a domestic social problem and if its Muslim population continues to grow, then eventually it will be correct. Islamic terrorism will cease to be a foreign threat to Europe and become the means by which its non-Muslims are integrated into accepting Islamic rule.

The United States however is not an Islamic country in any sense of the word. It does not face the same demographic danger as France. And it should not treat Islamic terrorism as a domestic element.

To defeat an enemy, we have to view it as external to ourselves. When we accept Islam as a domestic phenomenon to be grappled with, managed, moderated and deradicalized; then we give up on the possibility of defeating it because an internal problem that is part of us can never truly be defeated.

And that defeatism becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

When we treat the War on Terror like the War on Drugs or the War on Poverty, then we accept the impossibility of winning. Instead we adapt to a European mindset of managing the fallout from the latest batch of attacks. Terrorism becomes no different than crime; a threat we try to live through without hope of ever seeing it end. And that way lies a police state and numberless terror attacks for it to police.

Declarations of war are important because they remind us that we have an external enemy. Internal enemies may be a part of us, but external enemies are not. We can defeat them without defeating ourselves. We are not doomed to fight an endless struggle with Islam unless we make it a part of us.


  1. Just a common 'tater27/2/15

    Another well thought out and clearly explained analysis of our "War on Terror" failures.

    However, I am going to disagree with you on a few things, but I think it is really not a semantics issue. Islam does not seek to integrate us into them. Based upon what the dictionary says about integration, that would be an example of us being brought in as a part of the society, to blend in with or unite with it. I rather think they want to assimilate us more like the Borg on Star Trek Next Gen. We are foolishly thinking they want to assimilate with us and become like us. No, they want us to reject everything we hold to be true and valued and adopt their theology and social values.

    Also, you pointed out the following: "The United States however is not an Islamic country in any sense of the word. It does not face the same demographic danger as France." Unfortunately, that may not be true much longer. Between the Dems and Reps, no one wants to close the borders, and BHO can't seem to bring enough of these "refugees" here from these Islamic paradises. Of course, this actually started with Reagan from my experience, when he brought the Afghan mujahideen over here for "Humanitarian" purposes. Bush 1, Clinton, and Bush 2 perpetuated this. I have had some run ins with some of these "Humanitarian" gestures, and they were not exactly cordial.

    We need to stop letting the left set the terms of the discourse nor let them define the meanings of the words. Islam is not a race. Refusing to admit these characters and identifying who the perpetrators of the terror are, is not racist, it is accurate, true, and common sense.

    Unfortunately, with our politicians addicted to OPEC Oil Money, and both parties trying to buy votes by leaving the borders open to anyone, I think it looks grim. The media will crucify anyone with real courage and values, and we will end up with the same useless "leaders" in DC.

    That awful sucking sound you hear? It is not just our jobs, technology, and industry being sucked out of the country. It is our tax money and our freedoms being sucked up by the state and federal bureaucracies. It is also our liberty being sucked out of us in the name of liberalism, tolerance, pluralism, and diversity by the so-called progressives. Of course, all of the aforementioned do not wish to recognize that they will be among the first to go to Chop-Chop square when and where the Sharia flag is raised.

    Again, thank you for your posting, but I those that need to read this are not. Shabbat Shalom.

  2. I agree wholeheartedly. The James Taylor strategy Obama insists on will only help the Islamists.

  3. As long as Obama is in office, America will continue to be downgraded and subject to attack. This is a cruel thing to say, but if I were president and I found out the identity of the terrorist that had been cutting off American heads, his entire family would already be dead, including relatives. A country cannot fight terrorists without resorting to their merciless tactics. Liberals always say, "Come one, we are better than that." No we are not if we want to survive. You can't reason with people who are willing to blow themselves up. It's best just to send them out of this world and you no longer have to deal with them. Liberals will be screaming along with everyone else when their empty noggins are being sawed off by the terrorists and then their elitist attitude won't mean anything. We are at war and this is not some game to be played in discussion. They must be destroyed without mercy down to the last one.

  4. Rubio apparently has a solution to ISIS dialed in.
    http://youtu.be/0T7l3SDSH5s (1 minute vid)

  5. Anonymous28/2/15

    2 Chronicles 7:14

    if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land

  6. DenisO28/2/15

    The author pretty much defines the problem of Islamic terrorism. His "choice", it would appear, is to chose war on their soil. Our options are much better than Europe's, except that Obama, as CIC, will chose the wrong (Europe's) strategy, out of incompetence, arrogance, and ideology. He, and they, won't fight.
    ISIS is killing everybody, Christians, Jews, but mostly Muslims who are the dominant population. Until ISIS commits a 9/11-type attack on our soil, we really can't commit our youth to die in the Middle East. It's hard to stomach what the terrorists are doing, but as long as they aren't killing Americans, I don't think we should sacrifice like we did in Iraq and Afghanistan (15,000 dead military and contractors). http://tinyurl.com/l28jyym
    The dead, untold wounded, and the lost treasure expended can't be justified just because they're killing their Christians and Muslims. Hot-headed demands for all-out war don't make sense. They need to be stopped, but is it our duty? Those who most feel the pain will have to fight or be enslaved. The Oil Monarchies will fight or fall, but will their armies be loyal? Saudi royals are running out of places to send their fanatics, and ISIS has already attempted to penetrate Saudi's border on their way to take the "holy" cities of Mecca and Medina. We can afford to watch that pan-out.
    Most of us well-remember Viet Nam, but what did we gain from that carnage? There will always be Demorats giving it all back, when the People tire of the war. It's inevitable. Obama might be right not to fight, for the wrong reasons.

  7. Anonymous28/2/15

    Well, about a decade ago I thought half-jokingly that by about 2030 Western countries will haft to lift their ban on polygamous marriage because it is, by strict pc standards, racist. Now I know that the ban is also polyamorouphobic, but that’s another story. Ok, my bet, by 2050 the abolition of slavery will be solemnly abolished because it is i.phobic. The few remaining advocates of the ban will be conservatives (what irony) that will be ridiculed and ostracized by the most progressive Western media. Want some headlines? The Guardian ca. 28/02/2050: “Apartheid state – Georgia keeps slavery ban in place – World leaders, UN outraged – Secretary of A. League deeply concerned - Association of American Sociologists warns of "Othering" - National Cathedral calls for joint prayers). Don’t think I’ll get much out of it – the descent into madness has long spiralled out of control. I grew up being a vivid Kishon reader. If he would be still alive, what stories could he write.

  8. Anonymous28/2/15

    "the domestic social problem comes from Jews and Christians who refuse to acknowledge the supremacy of Islam"

    That thar is comedic gold, Daniel. But funny in fiction only, of course. Not so much when the narcissistic houseguest is in your own home trying to make it HIS household.

  9. It appears that your views are coalescing with those of Andrew McCarthy who just published an article, "Bring Back the Bush Doctrine" on NRO.

  10. Anonymous1/3/15

    All well and good but if you are going to make the terrorists the equivalent of an outside invading force than you have to introduce treason into the equation. You couldn't fight the Nazis and give the German Bunds a free rein in America. Say what you will about the Japanese interment it was only unjust because their disloyalty had not been established. If it was clear and they caused harm it would have been a necessary outcome of war. How do we neutralize the Left and the Jihadis internally? If we don't externalizing the war effort is doomed.

  11. Anonymous1/3/15

    "The War on Terror" was doomed from that first utterance, I think. I have often just contended that it's an anti-concept; declaring war on a tactic. But I thin that this article makes that WOT problem even clearer, it really amounts to ignoring where the enemy is (internal / external), in addition to what the enemy is.

    What's worse, they've washed out who we are. - djr


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