Losing the War Against Islamic Extremism

Losing the War Against Islamic Extremism

© David Burton 2017

Radical Islam

     Some twelve years ago, I wrote: “The United States has been at war for over thirty years. Over that period of time American service men and women, along with U.S. civilians have been repeatedly attacked by Muslim fanatics or, as I prefer to call them, Islamofascists. These Islamic fundamentalists are indeed the modern-day fascists. Their objective is world conquest and the imposition of their version of Islam on all humanity. They ruthlessly murder Americans, non-Muslims and those fellow co-religionists who do not follow their version of Islam.(Ref. 1)

     Today, the world is losing this war against Islamic extremism or, as I have labeled them, “the Islamofascists”. This is clear when one observes the escalating terrorism that is taking place in Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere throughout the world. The reasons?

  1. The world is not taking Islamic fanaticism seriously enough to realize that it is at war and therefore has failed to get organized to seriously fight the war to defeat this growing threat.
  2. The world is not making the effort to get the moderate segment of Islam to rebel against this fundamentalist threat to themselves and the rest of the civilized world.
     The civilized nations of the world need to open their eyes – to see the obvious; to open their ears – to hear the truth; and to open their minds – to make the hard but necessary choices.

     To defeat Islamic terrorism, there has to be an end to the hypocrisy of Arab leaders and instead meaningful actions supporting the concepts of real peace in a civilized world. Recently, changes in the attitudes of some Arab leaders has occurred. Still more change is needed.


     “Islam is often called the religion of peace and tolerance. Unfortunately, there are many fanatical adherents of the religion who behave in a fashion that is inimical to such concepts. Also unfortunate is the failure of more moderate and liberal Muslims to come forward to rescue their religion from the extremists that have co-opted the religion and given Islam such a bad name throughout the entire world.
     “Many more moderate and liberal Muslims need to come forward to gain control of their religion. Until this occurs, the non-Muslim world cannot trust Islam or put any faith in their claims that Islam is the religion of peace and tolerance. There are, however, glimmers of hope appearing in the Muslim world.
      - - -
     “Are moderate Muslims beginning to see the light and joining in the struggle against radical Islam? Maybe.
     “The militant activities of the Islamic State (IS) and its counterparts have contributed to the rise of moderate Islam in the Islamic world. The fact is that it is Muslims, of all sects, who have suffered the most at the hands of these groups. A 2012 US National Counterterrorism Center report revealed: ‘In cases where the religious affiliation of terrorism casualties could be determined, Muslims suffered between 82 and 97% of terrorism-related fatalities over the past five years.’ The violence has created among Muslims a general feeling of solidarity with the non-Muslim minorities in the Middle East and Westerners who fell prey to these groups.
      - - -
     “While not all of these Arab countries would be considered ‘moderate’, they all appear to have a vested interest in ridding the world of the scourge of {radical extremists like} ISIS. So where are the multitude of moderate Arab and Moslem fighters that could be fighting the extremists? The answer to this question is that many of these Arab armies are busy keeping the despotic regimes in power in the countries where they are located. Might not self-preservation and self-interest induce the ‘moderate’ Arabs and Moslems to join the rest of the world in fighting and destroying a common threat?
     “It may be that a moderate movement in the Islamic world with attitudes very different from that of militant Islam is now developing. Hopefully this movement will strengthen and take a more active and aggressive role in the struggle against militant Islam. What is needed is a flood of Islamic moderation – not just a few Muslims speaking out against the barbarism of Islamic fanatics, but the raised voices and actions of hundreds of millions of moderate Muslims opposing the violent actions of the jihadists. As we so often hear - Deeds speak louder than words! As of today, a start may have been made in this direction, but the all-out condemnation and opposition of radical Islam by moderate Muslims has yet to be fully achieved. Words will not suffice – moderate Muslims must take action!
     “Victory over fanatic Islam requires that we insist that Muslim ‘moderates' whole-heartedly join the fight to defeat and destroy Islamic fundamentalism. There can be no standing on the sidelines. You are either with us or against us! Islamic extremism will not be . . . 'destroyed' unless it is ‘moderate’ Muslims themselves who join in the fight to defeat it.
      - - -
     “ ‘Moderate’ Arab/Muslim leaders and governments are now painfully aware that the excesses of Islamic fanatics threaten not just ‘infidels’ but themselves as well. These ‘moderates’ have seen that Muslims are being butchered and abused by fanatics across the Middle East and elsewhere.  , . . . “ (Ref. 2)

     We have seen that moderate movements in Islam have repeatedly lost out to the hardliners and how some of the most enlightened people you might meet can be trampled over by the most barbaric. We should remember that the traditions and the foundations on which the religion of Islam is built are deeply troubling — filled with imprecations to violence, oppression and conquest. Sharia, built upon these foundations, is a system of rules which would make any modern citizen shudder. But, we must also remember that the vast majority of Moslems — do no such thing. The majority does not chop people's heads off or "slay infidels wherever they find them". They just get on with their lives like the rest of us. They are parents and children, doctors and neighbors, chiropodists and friends. They are people who live with the inheritance of Islam lingering to various extents in the background of their everyday lives, and upon the memory of this tradition they build their family lives.

     Unfortunately, the “ordinary” Moslem does not have control of their religion. They are not the ones with the power. That is in the hands of the worst people. Recent history has taught us that the only force capable of kicking out Islamic extremists are not the “moderates", but the army. In spite of aspirations which the Arab Spring unleashed, the Islamic authorities and leaders are not on the side of the peaceable “moderate” Moslems. They never have been and perhaps never will be. Democracy is largely an incomprehensible and nonexistent concept in the Moslem world.

     If there is any hope of reversing the modern trends in Islam, it is imperative that we “{t}ell Muslim leaders not just to ‘condemn’ acts of violence but to stop them. Tell them that the era of ifs and buts about the extremists must end. Tell them to put the concerns of the state foremost in the minds of young Muslims, to . . . say a prayer for the {government of the land in which they reside} in mosques as it is said in synagogues every Saturday. Tell them to teach their young that if they feel an urge to get involved in a struggle, they can ... {enlist in the army of the country in which they reside}.
     “In particular, tell them to create swiftly and purposefully a type of . . . Western Islam which not only is not in the hands of fanatics, but cannot be reclaimed by them. Lock the fanatical scholarship out as strongly as historically it has been able to be locked in. I say all this with a sense of hopelessness. There has been no sign, in a dozen years, that any Western country is willing to do anything like this.” (Ref. 3)

     In the war against Islamic terrorism, a critical task is to properly distinguish between allies and enemies. We must understand that “this war of extremism is not between Muslims and non-Muslims. Nor is it a conflict between Middle Eastern and Western cultures.   . . . {Instead, it} is a contest between extremists and moderates. It is a fight between those who want peace and those whose ideologies and claims to power benefit from the perpetuation of war.
     “. . . {We must} not lose sight of the fact that the primary victims of Islamic extremism are, and always have been, ordinary Muslims. The overwhelming majority of Muslims in Iran, Iraq, and Syria, other regions of the Middle East, and Africa want nothing more than to live peaceful, normal lives. They have families to feed and jobs to attend to, just as we do.
     “Tragically, their moderate worldview, and their commitment to the fundamental Muslim principle that religion is not a matter of compulsion, make them the targets of extremists. And in their thirst for revenge and power, such militants would have the entire world believe that Islam and Western democracy are fundamentally incompatible. {That is not necessarily so!}
     “Only if we recognize that moderates in both the West and the Muslim world are suffering at the hands of the same radical ideologies - and come together as one force - can we strike a crucial blow against the Islamic State and its ilk.   . . .
      - - -
     “It is clear that, however strong a country or group may be, it cannot win a culture war if it views 1.5 billion people as enemies. And moreover, such rhetoric plays directly into the hands of Islamic extremists.
     “In the same vein, we cannot win if we act through alliances of convenience rather than common values. Dallying with Iran and Hezbollah in hopes of defeating the better-publicized threat of the Islamic State - essentially pitting one group of extremists against another - undermines the critical task of supporting moderates and fails to strike at the root of the issue.   . . .
     “This war on extremism can only be won with the help of moderate Muslim groups. And our most important friends in these fights are moderate dissidents in Iran, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere, who are at once the natural enemies and the most frequent victims of Islamic extremism. [Emphasis mine] (Ref. 4)

     Politicians and some “experts” have too-often been following the same pattern of overreacting to the most recent events and losing sight of the reality that the war on Islamic extremism is going to be very long and drawn out and there is not likely to be any major turning points in the near future. “Years of new tragedies . . . are almost inevitable, and the struggle against extremism is going to be a long, long battle of attrition.
     “. . . the best counterterrorist efforts in the world cannot protect any country, particularly the open societies in the West, from every attack; and . . . no victory against any given movement can be decisive. The forces that have created violent Islamist extremist movements over the past decades - and that came home to Americans on September 11, 2001 - are simply too great for any lasting near-term victory . . .
     “Here, it is critical to keep ISIS in perspective. The Islamic extremism that drives ISIS is only one of the world’s sources of terrorism and insurgency by non-state actors, and ISIS is only one such movement. There are similar extremist groups in many countries with large Islamic populations. They include Al Qaeda Central in Pakistan, the Al Nusra Front in Syria, and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Saudi Arabia and Yemen – just to name a few.
      - - -
     “Europe, the United States, and countries without large Muslim populations are not the victim of some ‘clash of civilizations,’ and certainly not one that can be solved by calling for tolerance or religious education. Every death and casualty matters, but France, the United States and other ‘outside’ states are only minor targets that are the spillover of a massive clash to shape the future of Islamic civilization. Horrible as every pointless death from terrorism in the West is, it must be compared to violence within Islam that has killed hundreds of thousands of Muslims in recent years, halted economic life and development in several countries, and produced millions of displaced persons and refugees.
      - - -
     “. . . {Islamic} theology is only one of the forces that lead men and women to join extremist causes. Islamic extremism feeds on population growth that has produced populations five to six times the level in 1950. The end result is a ‘youth bulge’ with vast numbers of young men without real jobs, that face disguised unemployment that offers no future or a role at the bottom of a middle class where there is no real way forward, and that face major problems in affording marriage, homes, and children. These same forces create even more problems for increasingly better educated young women, and who have expectations and hopes of their own.
      - - -
     “. . . this population growth will ensure that alienation, anger and commitment to extremism will continue for decades unless . . . properly addressed. They also create forces that ensure that many young people will leave the Islamic world for Europe and the United States. Inevitably; some will find they face new and equally serious sets of problems. This in turn means that some . . . will turn to extremist movements and terrorism in the West.
     “Counterterrorism . . . has . . . done a great deal to defend and deter against terrorism in the West.   . . .
     “{However, T}he best counterterrorism efforts in the world . . . cannot prevent more tragedies like Paris, the World Trade Center – and ones that are far worse. They at best treat the symptoms of violence and extremism and not the causes. In fact, the scale of these causes is so great that every ‘victory’ against a current extremist or violent movement will inevitably be followed by new such movements and new violence.
     “The struggle to change this reality will – at best – be a long, long struggle, and there will be many tragedies . . . to come. Real victory can only be won by years of reform within the Islamic World, and outside aid that does as much as possible to help create governments that rule through success, rather than through repression. Treating the symptoms through counterterrorism does buy time and reduces casualties. Real victory can only come if – and only if – the Islamic world can treat the causes.” [Emphasis mine] (Ref. 5)


     If we are to stop losing the war against Islamic terrorism, we need to eliminate the destructive efforts of liberal bullies who are brow-beating us into self-defeating actions to avoid “offending” their sensibilities. The simple fact remains that while all Muslims and Arabs are not terrorists, the preponderance of terrorists now wreaking worldwide terror and atrocities are Muslims, or maybe, more correctly, Moslem extremists or Islamic fundamentalists. It’s time to stop the foolishness and call a spade a spade. We cannot win by tying the hands of those who are in the front lines of the war on terrorism. We cannot win by being afraid to identify the Muslim terrorists as Muslims.

     “The NYPD has had a stellar track record of protecting the city from another 9/11, foiling more than 20 planned terrorist attacks since 2001. But some worry the department is losing its terror-fighting edge as it tries to please Muslim grievance groups.
     "Last year, for instance, it censored an anti-terror handbook to appease offended Muslims, even though it has accurately predicted radicalization patterns in recent ‘homegrown’ terror cases. Rank-and-file NYPD officers, detectives and even intelligence and counterterrorism units are officially barred now from referring to the handbook or the scientific study on which it was based.
     “Former law-enforcement officials fear its removal as a training tool may be hurting efforts to prevent terrorist activity, such as the vehicle-ramming attacks plaguing European cities.
     “ ‘The report was extremely accurate on how the radicalization process works and what indicators to look for,’ said {a} former deputy inspector general of the New York state prisons’ criminal- intelligence division, who also worked with the NYPD’s intelligence division for several years.
     “{The new York }Mayor . . . agreed in January 2016 to purge the remarkably prescient police training guide ‘Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat’ to help settle a federal lawsuit filed by the ACLU and Muslim groups who claimed the NYPD’s anti-terror training discriminated against Muslims.
     “Written 10 years ago, the seminal NYPD report detailing the religious steps homegrown terrorists take toward radicalization is now more relevant than ever, with recent terror suspects closely following those steps. But in 2007, the same year the study was released, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) organized a protest against it, complaining it ‘casts suspicion on all US Muslims.’ Even though federal law enforcement has long-shunned CAIR as a suspected terrorist front organization, ‘groups like CAIR were insistent on having it removed, and the New York mayor caved into them,’ . . .
     “Under the city’s unusual settlement agreement, the NYPD as well as New York state agencies were forced to remove its 90-page anti-terror study . . . from databases and no longer rely on it ‘to open or extend investigations’ into terrorist activities. Also, police must now commit to ‘mitigating the potential impact’ of any counterterrorism investigation on the Muslim community.
     “The deal has had a chilling effect on other city police forces’ ability to use fact-based, trend analysis to develop terrorism cases, experts say. They warn that purging such studies deprives local law enforcement of the ability to understand how ISIS and other jihadists recruit, organize and operate — which is critical to disrupting terrorism plots.
      - - -
     The authors of the report . . . examined hundreds of ‘homegrown’ terrorism cases and found that suspects followed the same ‘radicalization’ path. Key indicators include: alienating themselves from their former lives and friends; giving up cigarettes, drinking and partying; wearing traditional Islamic clothing; growing a beard; becoming obsessed with Mideast politics and jihad; and regularly attending a hardline mosque. In other words, the more they immersed themselves in their faith, the more radical they grew.
     “ ‘The ultimate objective for any attack is always the same — to punish the West, overthrow the democratic order, re-establish the caliphate, and institute Sharia’
     “ ‘You can take all the terrorist cases since that report and compare the information on the subject and the case and see stark similarities to what {the report} laid out,’
     “The terrorists who carried out recent attacks in Boston; Fort Hood, Texas; Little Rock, Ark.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; San Bernardino, Fla.; Orlando; Philadelphia and at Ohio State University, among others, followed a similar pattern of radicalization. In each case, the Muslim attacker was influenced through ‘incubators of extremism’ within the Muslim community, including Islamic student associations, schools, bookstores and mosques. Jihadi websites also played a role, but what unifies them all is Islamic doctrine.  . . .
     “. . . {A} former Homeland Security counterterrorism analyst . . . says the feds are plagued by their own PC censorship. Bowing to pressure from CAIR and other Muslim groups, Homeland Security and the Justice Department have purged anti-terrorism training materials and fired instructors deemed offensive to Muslims. CAIR-launched protests also helped convince the FBI to recently suspend an Internet program aimed at preventing the radicalization of Muslim youth.
     “ ‘If we fail to correct this situation, it is inevitable that more attacks will occur,’ warned {the former Homeland Security counterterrorism analyst}” (Ref. 6)

     It’s unbelievable but true that we have allowed CAIR and the ACLU to dictate what tools our law enforcement agencies can use in their fight against Islamic terrorism because it might offend their delicate sensibilities!

     CAIR is an organization that In 2007, was named by U.S. Federal prosecutors as an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas funding case involving the Holy Land Foundation, which in 2009 caused the FBI to cease working with CAIR outside of criminal investigations due to its designation, while the ACLU has done nothing in recent memory but defend every liberal cause and egg-headed position in opposing journalistic and academic freedom while tying the hands of those trying to defend the people of America from criminals and terrorists. The ACLU has become too political and too liberal. The ACLU opposition to the fight against Islamic terrorism began after the September 11 attacks, when the ACLU challenged many of the measures the federal government had taken to combat terrorism, including the passage of the Patriot Act. Its opposition to the war on terrorism has continued to this day.

     One of the reasons that we have been losing the war against Islamic extremists is that too many world leaders won’t face reality and won’t take action because they are afraid of offending the liberals and PC (politically correct) bullies in their countries. What we need if we are to reverse the trend and start to win the war against terrorism are strong leaders who are not afraid to call terrorists what they really are – terrorists. We need national leaders who won’t pussy foot by calling these terrorists misguided souls or freedom fighters or any other wimpy designation. We need leaders who are not afraid to stand up and brand Islamic terrorists as Islamic terrorists. We need real leaders who will lead and not be led around by the nose and who are not afraid of offending Moslems by using that term when referring to Islamic terrorists. We need leaders who are not afraid to take on the terrorists and fight them tooth and nail instead of cowering, appeasing, and hoping that the threat will simply disappear.


     The West supposedly declared a war on terror more than a decade ago. Yet in the wake of the rising number of terrorist attacks in Europe and elsewhere, most people feel less secure now.

     Despite spending years developing security arrangements and investing billions of dollars in the process, the West is less secure now than ever. From lone gunmen with histories of mental illness killing civilians at random to terrorist cells discovered with replica police uniforms and elaborate plans for attack, it is becoming increasingly clear that global jihad is on the rise. The UK is under increasing threat from radicals in its Moslem society. The United States, whose Muslim communities have been less susceptible to jihadist ideology, sees sporadic attacks from lone wolf terrorists.

     Military action abroad and police action at home attack the symptoms of terrorism, but not necessarily the cause. The cause is easy to diagnose – fundamentalist radical Islamic ideology, exemplified by “the extremist ideology of Wahhabism, the puritanical, reactionary, xenophobic sect of Sunni Islam that is the ideological bedrock of the state of Saudi Arabia. Foreign policy, social economic factors, alienation, identity are often invoked in explaining the rise in radicalization. Sure enough they have a role, but all are secondary exacerbating factors. The primary cause is ideology. And this ideology is on the march.
     “{In the case of } Wahhabism, {it} began in the 18th century in what is today Saudi Arabia with Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab.   . . . al-Wahhab suggested that fellow Muslims had strayed from the authentic teachings of Islam. He called for a return to fundamentals.   . . . this return to fundamentals involved . . . strident opposition to any doctrinal ‘deviation.’   . . . Muslims who deviated from al-Wahhab’s teachings were designated ‘apostates’ – an offense that . . . carried the death penalty. So al-Wahhab excommunicated in one fell swoop the overwhelming majority of the world’s Muslims, calling for all those to be converted to his ideology or be killed in an effort to purge Islam from what he called ‘unsanctioned innovations'.
      - - -
     “For reasons of political expedience, Ibn Saud, after whom modern-day Saudi Arabia is named, . . . courted Ibn Wahhab and his sizable band of militants, co-opting him into plans to assume political control over the Arabian Peninsula. They formed an alliance: al-Wahhab provided religious legitimacy to the aspiring royal who in turn ensured that Wahhabism became the official doctrine of the new Saudi state.
     “The pillaging of the villages of so-called apostates and destruction of religious sites continues to this day.   . . .
      - - -
     “A cultural aberration in the middle of a desert could have remained a local Arabian phenomenon, but instead spread more or less unchecked over the last half century – a consequence of the discovery of oil in the region. The Saudi Kingdom, founded in 1932, became one of the most politically influential players in the world economic system.   . . .
      - - -
     “. . . {In}the Wahhabi world view . . . only puritanical fundamentalist practitioners of Islam count as people worthy of equal moral consideration,   . . . The result is an extremist cult with profound commitment to a them-versus-us world view. The descent into violence was inevitable.
     “Wahhabi history in Arabia reveals the threat. The preachers refrain from advocating violence to avoid falling foul of the law. But they do emphasize anti-Semitism, misogyny, interacting with non-Muslims only in cases of necessity and ex-communicating Muslims who do not subscribe to the conservative, isolationist ideology. The sect lays the intellectual foundations for jihadism.  . . . these non-violent extremists lead converts to the door of violent extremism and that door is opened by the likes of Al Qaeda, Boko Haram or the Islamic State.
     “The ongoing fight is not between Islam and secularism. It is a fight between the most bigoted sects of Islam and everyone else, be they Muslim or Western. Most of that fight unfolds in the Islamic World with atrocities exceeding the scale of the Paris attacks nearly every day in some Muslim country.
     “This fight will be won or lost in the Muslim nations.
     “There should be no doubt, what we fight against is visceral bigotry. And most of that bigotry is bankrolled directly or indirectly by the Wahhabi establishment in the Gulf with petrodollars. Until the West puts a stop to the propagation of Wahhabi ideas through charities, preachers and embassies, the bigotry and terror will continue. No amount of resources spent on policing the internet or surveillance at home will prevent the onslaught of martyrs threatening the lives of ordinary citizens in the West.
      - - -
     “The royal family {of Arabia} has been digging their own graves for generations, and the alliance with Wahhabi bigotry is no longer a political asset. The Saudis must change Arabia and stop feeding the blood-thirsty beast of Wahhabism – for their own survival, the good of Islam and the sake of world peace. Westerns and Muslims alike must prepare to do whatever it takes to convince Saudis to change.” (Ref. 7) Let us not forget that Osama bin Laden, the founder of al Qaeda and the leader of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, was born in Riyadh, Arabia and raised in Arabia. Let us not forget that fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 attackers were citizens of Saudi Arabia!

     According to testimony before Congress in March of 2015 by former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich, “There are three key, sobering observations about where we are today which should force this thorough, no-holds-barred review of our situation. These three points — which are backed up by the facts — suggest the United States is drifting into a crisis that could challenge our very survival.
     “First, it is the case that after 35 years of conflict dating back to the Iranian seizure of the American embassy in Tehran and the ensuing hostage crisis, the United States and its allies are losing the long, global war with radical Islamists. [Emphasis mine] We are losing to both the violent jihad and to the cultural jihad. The violent jihad has shown itself recently in Paris, Australia, Tunisia, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Gaza, Nigeria, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Yemen, to name just some of the most prominent areas of violence.
     “Cultural jihad is more insidious and in many ways more dangerous. It strikes at our very ability to think and to have an honest dialogue about the steps necessary for our survival. Cultural jihad is winning when the Department of Defense describes a terrorist attack at Fort Hood as ‘workplace violence.’ Cultural jihad is winning when the president refers to ‘random’ killings in Paris when they were clearly the actions of Islamist terrorists and targeted against specific groups. Cultural jihad is winning when the administration censors training documents and lecturers according to ‘sensitivity’ so that they cannot describe radical Islamists with any reference to the religious ideology which is the primary bond that unites them. In the 14 years since the 9/11 attacks, we have gone a long way down the road of intellectually and morally disarming in order to appease the cultural jihadists, who are increasingly aggressive in asserting their right to define how the rest of us think and talk. [Emphasis mine]
     “Second, {under the Obama administration} it is the case that, in an extraordinarily dangerous pattern, our intelligence system has been methodically limited and manipulated to sustain false narratives while suppressing or rejecting facts and analysis about those who would kill us. [Emphasis mine]
     “For example, there is clear evidence the American people have been given remarkably misleading analysis about al-Qaeda based on a very limited translation and publication of about 24 of the 1.5 million documents captured in the Bin Laden raid. A number of outside analysts have suggested that the selective release of a small number of documents was designed to make the case that al-Qaeda was weaker. These outside analysts assert that a broader reading of more documents would indicate al-Qaeda was doubling in size when our government claimed it was getting weaker — an analysis also supported by obvious empirical facts on the ground. Furthermore, there has been what could only be deliberate foot-dragging in exploiting this extraordinary cache of material.
     “Both Lieutenant General Mike Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and Colonel Derek Harvey, a leading analyst of terrorism, have described the deliberately misleading and restricted access to the Bin Laden documents. A number of intelligence operatives have described censorship from above designed to make sure that intelligence which undermines the official narrative simply does not see the light of day.  . . . Basing American security policy on politically defined distortions of reality is a very dangerous habit which could someday lead to a devastating defeat.
     “Third, it is the case that our political elites have refused to define our enemies. Their willful ignorance has made it impossible to develop an effective strategy to defeat those who would destroy our civilization.
     “For example, the president’s own press secretary engages in verbal gymnastics to avoid identifying the perpetrators of violence as radical Islamists.   . . .
     “This is Orwellian double-speak. The radical Islamists do not need to be delegitimized. They need to be defeated. We cannot defeat what we cannot name.
     “There has been a desperate desire among our elites to focus on the act of terrorism rather than the motivation behind those acts. There has been a deep desire to avoid the cultural and religious motivations behind the jihadists’ actions. There is an amazing hostility to any effort to study or teach the history of these patterns going back to the seventh century.
     “Because our elites refuse to look at the religious and historic motivations and patterns which drive our opponents, we are responding the same way to attack after attack on our way of life without any regard for learning about what really motivates our attackers. Only once we learn what drives and informs our opponents will we not repeat the same wrong response tactics, Groundhog Day–like, and finally start to win this long war.
     “Currently each new event, each new group, each new pattern is treated as though it’s an isolated phenomenon — as if it’s not part of a larger struggle with a long history and deep roots in patterns that are 1,400 years old.
     “There is a passion for narrowing and localizing actions. The early focus was al-Qaeda. Then it was the Taliban. Now it is the Islamic State. It is beginning to be Boko Haram. As long as the elites can keep treating each new eruption as a freestanding phenomenon, they can avoid having to recognize that this is a global, worldwide movement that is decentralized but not disordered.
     “There are ties between Minneapolis and Mogadishu. There are ties between London, Paris, and the Islamic State. Al-Qaeda exists in many forms and under many names. We are confronted by worldwide recruiting on the Internet, with Islamists reaching out to people we would never have imagined were vulnerable to that kind of appeal.
     “We have been refusing to apply the insights and lessons of history, but our enemies have been very willing to study, learn, rethink, and evolve.
     “The cultural jihadists have learned our language and our principles — freedom of speech, freedom of religion, tolerance — and they apply them to defeat us without believing in them themselves. We blindly play their game on their terms, and don’t even think about how absurd it is for people who accept no church, no synagogue, no temple in their heartland to come into our society and define multicultural sensitivity totally to their advantage — meaning, in essence, that we cannot criticize their ideas.
     “Our elites have been morally and intellectually disarmed by their own unwillingness to look at both the immediate history of the first 35 years of the global war with radical Islamists and then to look deeper into the roots of the ideology and the military-political system our enemies draw upon as their guide to waging both physical and cultural warfare.
     “One of the great threats to American independence is the steady growth of foreign money pouring into our intellectual and political systems to influence our thinking and limit our options for action.   . . .
     “Sun Tzu, in The Art of War, written 500 years before Christ, warned that ‘all warfare is based on deception.’ We are currently in a period where our enemies are deceiving us and our elites are actively deceiving themselves — and us. The deception and dishonesty of our elites is not accidental or uninformed. It is deliberate and willful. The flow of foreign money and foreign influence is a significant part of that pattern of deception.
     “We must clearly define our enemies before we can begin to develop strategies to defeat them. [Emphasis mine]
     “We have lost 35 years since this war began.
     “We are weaker and our enemies are stronger.   . . .” (Ref. 8)

     As the year 2017 unfolds, there is a glimmer of hope that the mistakes and ignorance of past years, the misguided actions of past American administrations and the previous refusals to understand the fundamentalist Islamic threat here in America and abroad may be coming to an end. A new administration in America is discarding the failed policies of its predecessors; Europe is responding to the terror in its midst with more vigorous and appropriate actions than in the past, while Moslem nations are indicating a greater willingness to join in the battle against Islamic terrorism. If these trends continue, we can begin to win the war on Islamic extremism and end the global terrorism that radical Islam has spawned.


     “The formulation of sound national policy requires finding the right overarching concepts. Getting the ‘big ideas’ right is particularly important when major developments appear to have invalidated the concepts upon which previous policy and strategy were based — which now appears to be the case in the wake of the Arab Spring {policy initiated by Barack Obama at the inception of his presidency}.
     “To illustrate this point,  . . . the surge that mattered most in Iraq was not the surge of forces. It was the surge of ideas, which guided the strategy that ultimately reduced violence in the country so substantially.
      - - -
     “Now, nine tough years later {2016}, five big ideas seem to be crystallizing as the lessons we should be taking from developments over the past decade.
     “First, it is increasingly apparent that ungoverned spaces in a region stretching from West Africa through the Middle East and into Central Asia will be exploited by Islamic extremists who want to establish sanctuaries in which they can enforce their extremist version of Islam and from which they can conduct terrorist attacks.
     “Second, it is also apparent that the attacks and other activities of such extremists will not be confined to the areas or regions in which they are located. Rather, as in the case of Syria, the actions of the extremist groups are likely to spew instability, extremism, violence and refugees far beyond their immediate surroundings, posing increasingly difficult challenges for our partners in the region, our European allies and even our homeland.
     “Third, it is also increasingly clear that, in responding to these challenges, U.S. leadership is imperative. If the United States does not lead, it is unlikely that another country will. [Emphasis mine] Moreover, at this point, no group of other countries can collectively approach U.S. capabilities. This does not mean that the United States needs to undertake enormous efforts to counter extremist groups in each case. To the contrary, the United States should do only what is absolutely necessary, and we should do so with as many partners as possible.  . . . And, if one of those partners wants to walk point — such as France in Mali — we should support it, while recognizing that we still may have to contribute substantially.
     “Partners from the Islamic world are of particular importance. Indeed, they have huge incentives to be involved, as the ongoing struggles are generally not clashes between civilizations. Rather, what we are seeing is more accurately a clash within a civilization, that of the Islamic world. And no leaders have more to lose should extremism gather momentum than those of predominantly Islamic states. [Emphasis mine]
     “Fourth, it is becoming clear that the path the United States and coalition partners pursue has to be comprehensive and not just a narrow counter-terrorism approach. [Emphasis mine] It is increasingly apparent that more than precision strikes and special operations raids are needed. This does not mean that the United States has to provide the conventional ground forces, conduct the political reconciliation component or undertake the nation-building tasks necessary in such cases. In Iraq at present, for example, it is clear that the Iraqis not only should provide those components, but also that they have to do so for the results achieved — with considerable help from the U.S.-led coalition — to be sustainable.
     “Fifth, and finally, it is clear that the U.S.-led effort will have to be sustained for what may be extended periods of time — and that reductions in our level of effort should be guided by conditions on the ground rather than fixed timetables. [Emphasis mine] While aspirational timelines for reductions in our efforts may have some merit, it is clear from our experiences under both post-9/11 administrations that premature transitions and drawdowns can result in loss of the progress for which we sacrificed greatly — and may result in having to return to a country to avoid a setback to U.S. interests.
      - - -
     “A comprehensive approach is neither easy nor cheap.   . . .
     “The Long War is going to be an ultramarathon, and it is time we recognized that. [Emphasis mine]  . . .” (Ref. 9)

  1. When will America realize that we are at war?, David Burton, sonofeliyahu.com; Article 10, 11 December 2005.
  2. Radical Islam Can Only be Defeated by Moderate Muslims, David Burton, sonofeliyahu.com; Article 243,
    21 December 2015.
  3. Are we losing the war for the soul of Islam?, Douglas Murray, The Commentator, 30 October 2013.
  4. Commentary: The path to victory in war against extremists, Tom Ridge, philly.com, 15 April 2016.
  5. Paris, ISIS, and the Long War Against Extremism, Anthony H. Cordesman,
    Center for Strategic & International Studies, 14 November 2015.
  6. The purge of a report on radical Islam has put NYC at risk, Paul Sperry, New York Post, 15 April 2017.
  7. Why the West Is Losing the Battle Against Radical Islam, Azeem Ibrahim, YaleGlobal Online, 26 February 2015.
  8. We’re Losing the War Against Radical Islam, Newt Gingrich, National Review, 26 March 2015.
  9. 5 ‘big ideas’ to guide us in the Long War against Islamic extremism, David Petraeus, The Washington Post,
    15 April 2016.


  27 April 2017 {Article 287; Whatever_54}    
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