The Misguided War Against Terrorism


  Taliban Leader Mullah Omar


 On Double Agents, Panty Bombs and the Afghan Delusion

With each passing day the evidence mounts that the Muslim Jihad against the US has many fronts and a variety of faces.  This comes as no surprise to those who understand that the Jihad is based in an idea not a country. And although nobody in the US government will dare admit it, the source of the this conflict lies in the exploitive policies that western nations have employed in dealing with the Islamic world over the past two centuries of colonialism and imperialism, and it has turned on us because of our unqualified support for Israel in any and all disputes with the Arabs, as well as our long term support for repressive regimes in the Muslim world.  Quite simply, the Jihad is the bitter fruit of the seeds western nations have planted in that polluted soil. 

Furthermore, exposure of the most recent policies employed by the United States – the torture of prisoners and their indefinite detention in Abu Grahb and Guantanamo for instance – have provided the most powerful recruiting posters the Jihadists could have hoped for.  And as the entire Muslim world witnesses Dick Cheney and other Republican leaders passionately argue in defense of these policies on Al Jazera, the soldiers that populate the ranks of Al Qaeda will come from everywhere in the Muslim world: Africa, Arabia and the vast hordes of central Asia.  They will also come from Europe and the USA!   This is the way the dynamics of social movements work; this is how they grow.

The Muslim Jihadists are a full blown transformative movement that is global in scope, and has all of the elements that it needs to grow.  As Dr. Luther P. Gerlach has shown, a movement needs specific elements in order to grow.  The first thing a movement must have is a comprehensive ideology that defines their vision of the world, but can be expressed in power packed slogans like “Allah u Akbar!”  They must also have an independent means of propagandizing that message to its intended audience – this used to be newspapers, radio and TV but now the internet has been added.   Furthermore a movement must have devoted followers who are willing to engage in face to face recruiting, and a means of financing their activities. 

The critical element that brings all the others together like a catalytic agent is the Charismatic Revivalist, the great orators whose exhortations inspire the masses to action.  That’s why the Imams, Mullahs and Ayatollahs play such a critical role in the Jihad – of course this is a religious movement, but Fidel Castro, Vladimir Lenin, Mao Tse Tung, Kwame Nkrumah and Marcus Garvey were secular men leading a secular movement.  Once all of these elements are in place there is one final ingredient, without which there can be no movement: A clearly identifiable enemy!   That’s the one factor that the movement activist cannot control.  Conversely, it is the only factor that the US government controls in the Global War against the Jihadist. 

Hence any successful strategy to defeat the Jihadist movement must recognize that this is not simply a military problem; it is also a battle for the hearts and minds of the hundreds of millions of Muslims in the world!  The only alternative to this is to kill them all; yet given the geo-political and demographic realities this is not a realistic possibility. That’s why the simple minded and misguided approach of the Bush Administration has not only failed to destroy the Jihadists – in spite of spending Trillions destroying Iraq and billions in Afghanistan – but has energized the movement and contributed to its growth.  These are incontrovertible facts, and I welcome a debate with anybody who wishes to questions my conclusions.

In order to understand the nature of the protracted war we presently find ourselves waging against “terrorism,” it is important to understand the nature of the “terrorist.”  As I have previously written, referring to our enemies as simply terrorist does nothing to help us gain insight into the real nature of the threat – which is to say comprehending their world view and the objectives dictated by that view.  The answer to this particular puzzle lies in the way in which the seminal theologian of the modern Jihad, Sayyid Guthb, envisioned their mission because it is this vision that informs their strategy.  Guthb is clear in his position that Islamic civilization was never the property of the Arabs, but is a message for the entire world.  That, in his view, was the real message of the prophet Muhammad; if that were not true then he could not be the “seal of the prophets,” the last prophet that God sent to man.  Hence, like Christianity, Islam is a proselytizing religion that proclaims a universal message.

A Rich Student and Notorious Panty Bomber!

Is This The Face Of A Terrorist?


This is why it is folly to over estimate the value of profiling “Middle Eastern” types, when the very nature of the Jihad means that Muslims anywhere in the world can heed the call.  The testimony of those captured, such as Umar Farouk and other affluent Muslim Youths who hail from places outside of the war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan, verify the fact that they feel personally assaulted by the US attacks on Muslims in those countries, especially all of the non-combatants, including women and children, who are killed by wayward American drones, missiles and “friendly fire.”   And these incidents, which the US military euphemistically refer to as “collateral damage,” are happening with increasing frequency in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. Although the accidental slaughter of innocents receive scant attention in the American media, and are routinely reported without the outrage expressed by newsmen when the slaughtered innocents are Americans, they are reported in grisly detail in the Muslim media.  And this is swelling the ranks of the Jihadists with Muslim soldiers willing to become Martyrs all over the world.

The ultimate irony of the Republican position as argued by Dirty Dick Cheney and his Republican partners in crime, is that it is the best approach to insure Jihadism will remain a growth industry, while President Obama’s approach of reaching out to the Muslim world, with an olive branch in one hand and a grenade in the other, is by far the superior approach to finding a workable solution to the present imbroglio.   If the US is unwilling to admit it’s past misdeeds in dealing with the Muslim world, and yet tortures prisoners and slaughter thousands of innocents, justifying it with self-righteous rhetoric that suggests Americans are not bound by the same rules of war and international relations that the rest of the world is expected to follow, we are bound to continue to produce legions of Muslim soldiers willing to give their lives to bring down “The Great Satan.” 


About one thing there can be no question: The Republican chicken hawks whose incompetence and misplaced hubris allowed 9/11 to happen, then started a war in an unoffending country that allowed Osama bin Laden to escape from Afghanistan and the Taliban to reconstitute itself as effective fighting force, have demonstrated by their disgraceful record of failure that they haven’t a clue how to defeat the global Jihad.  And engaging in silly arguments about how often the President uses the word “terrorists” will not contribute to the development of a winning strategy.   Fundamental to developing a workable strategy is to recognize that our nation’s policies in the Middle East are such that no class of Muslims – even those who are successful and well to do in Europe and the USA – can be exempted as potential recruits to the Jihad.   

The Fort Hood Shooter

Major Hassan: The Army Doctor Turned Muslim Avenger


Failure to recognize this reality results in situations like Major Hassan’s massacre at Fort Hood, and the recent assassination of seven crack CIA agents in Afghanistan.  In both instances these acts were carried out by people who were members of the American armed forces or covert intelligence operatives whose role is to fight the Jihadists!   Alas Umar Forouk, a rich and highly privileged Nigerian student who lived for years in a luxury condo in Britain, does not fit the profile for Muslim Jihadists, who are widely presumed to be poor and dispossessed Arabs.   What the evidence clearly shows is that aggrieved Muslims willing to give their lives to strike a blow against the US can hail from anywhere at anytime. 

Since the Jihad is connected to no nation state, it makes little sense to attempt to defeat them by invading and occupying particular nation states, expending massive amounts of American blood and treasure engaging in nation building.  Viewed from this perspective the escalation of the war in Afghanistan makes no sense, and the war in Iraq not only makes no sense as a strategy for defeating the Jihadists it has advanced their cause.  The accusation that Iran “sponsor’s” terrorism – which means that they support their side in the protracted wars in Israel /Palestine and Iraq – threatens to lead to an attack on that country by the US or our Israeli proxies as right wing wags like Monica Crowley are howling for, and we also seem on the verge of invading Yemen.  US attacks inside Pakistan are also increasing.   At present US policy in the “war on terror” looks more and more like a game of whack a mole.  And it’s going to remain that way for the foreseeable future.  While the Bushmen were blundering around fighting a war of choice in Iraq, Al Qaeda has be organizing cells and planning attacks all over the world!  

This is the colossal mess the Bushmen dumped into Barack Obama’s lap, and there is no magic wand he can wave and wish it all away.   His chances of successfully ordering American forces to wipe the Jihadist out with fire power are about equal to old King Chanute ordering the tides not to rise.   If any thing is certain at this juncture in history, it is that there will be more double agents in our intelligence operations and panty bombers will continue to pop up here and there.  The fact that new recruits are joining the Jihad from every region and class background in the Muslim world means that there will always be Jihadi soldiers who are not in our computer surveillance files; and thus there will be many more Umar Forouks employing various devious means of inflicting deadly violence on Americans.  Furthermore, since the Jihadists are religious fanatics who believe themselves to be on a divinely ordained mission to establish Sharia law everywhere under a global theocracy, any attempt to just disengage and walk away from the battle will be construed as the triumph of Allah’s will; encouraging them to persist in their offensive against the West.  Hence surrender is not an option – although many serious people on the left seem to think so.

Cleary what must be done now is that the Obama administration should fulfill the recommendations of the 9/11 commission and fortify the homeland; pull our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, and concentrate on wiping out the infrastructure of Al Qaeda using special forces guided by the CIA.  For these efforts to have any chance of success they must be accompanied by real diplomatic efforts to support the democratic modernizing forces in the Middle East when they ask for our support.  And equally important is the adoption of a truly even handed policy in the Arab/Israeli conflict that fairly considers the legitimate interests of all concerned parties, beyond that the problems of Iraq, Afghanistan and even Iran must be placed under the purview of the United Nations since other countries also have vital interests in what happens in that region of the world. These are the minimum essential steps that must be taken in order to have any chance at prevailing in the protracted war with the global Jihad.  It is in view of this reality that I am convinced the decision to expand the Afghan war will prove a deadly delusion! 




Harlem New York

March 2, 2010

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