Here, courtesy Ron Paul and John Stossel, is a Christmas Eve repast of common but false assumptions about the global jihad and what we can do about it: "Ron Paul on War," by John Stossel.
Stossel starts us off by asking Paul:
Some people say that if we don't attack the enemy there, they'll attack us here.
This is, of course, the Bush Administration's famous and oft-repeated rationale for the Iraqi democracy project. The primary problem with it is that they're already over here, as the JFK Airport plot, the Fort Dix plot, and numerous other plots indicate, and our being over there is doing nothing to prevent their being here.
But while law enforcement officials have so far done a terrific job heading off these plots, little or nothing is being done to deal with the national security aspect of the immigration question, or to challenge the spread of the jihad ideology among Muslims in the U.S. Instead, we are all fiercely exhorted to assume, on pain of being read out of polite society, that Islam is a religion of peace and all U.S. Muslims abhor Osama bin Laden and today's global jihad.
Anyway, here is how Ron Paul answers the question:
Ron Paul: I think the opposite is true. The radicals were able to use our bases in Saudi Arabia and the bombing of Iraq (from 1991 to 2001) as a reason to come over here. If China were to do the same thing to us, and they had troops in our land, We would resent it. We'd probably do some shooting.
In other words, they're just fighting back against an unjustified invasion. They're fighting us over here because we're fighting them over there. And certainly, from the standpoint of Islamic theology, there is something to this. Jihad in Islam is usually fard kifaya, a general obligation upon the community as a whole but not upon each individual in particular; it becomes fard ayn, or obligatory on each individual, if a Muslim land is attacked. So much jihadist recruitment today calls peaceful Muslims to wage jihad by loudly proclaiming that Islamic lands have been attacked, and thus all Muslims are obligated to rush to their defense.
However, it is a false assumption that if we just leave them alone, by leaving Iraq and Afghanistan and presumably also by abandoning Israel, then there will be peace. Muhammad's expansionist imperative is open-ended: "I have been commanded," he said, "to fight against people so long as they do not declare that there is no god but Allah, and he who professed it was guaranteed the protection of his property and life on my behalf except for the right affairs rest with Allah."
Do any Muslims take this seriously today? Well, just the other day a jihadist leader in Uzbekistan declared: "The goal of this campaign is not only Kabul, Kandahar, or Baghdad. The eyes of the nation of Muhammad are set on Washington, London, Moscow, Paris, Delhi, Beijing, and other countries. This is our goal and, Allah willing, we will get there." Will people who think that way drop this goal if American troops leave their countries? Considering the fact that Muslims were conquering nations on the basis of the jihad ideology long before there even was a United States of America, that seems unlikely in the extremely.
After that, Stossel asks Paul:
Is this case not different? Religious fanatics hate us and want to kill us because of our culture.
This question shows the damaging influence of Dinesh D'Souza's silly and stupid book, The Enemy At Home, in which D'Souza contends that jihadists hate us because of popular culture. It also demonstrates ignorance of the fact that jihadists are killing plenty of people who have nothing to do with Western culture. As I asked in my review of D'Souza's book here, are Buddhist schoolteachers in Thailand the exponents of American pop culture? Are Christian schoolgirls beheaded in Indonesia on their way to school the vanguard of an invasion by Eve Ensler? Are churches torched in Nigeria because they are showing blue movies during off hours?
I don't think that's true. It is not Muslim fanaticism that is the culprit. The litmus test is whether we are actually occupying a territory. In the case of Saudi Arabia, that was holy land.
Yes, indeed it was. But here Paul is just making a blanket assertion, again without taking into account the expansionist and supremacist imperative within Islam.
Stossel and Paul go on to joust about the Iraqi democracy project and the idea of America as the world's policeman. I agree that it is impractical, naive, and foolish to think that the United States can plant in Iraq a political system that Iraqis don't appreciate or want, and that the idea that American military force should be used against any and all tyranny, if followed through, would ultimately bleed this nation dry in service of an unattainable goal.
However, all that is really beside the point in this global conflict. As Paul himself says, "If you're attacked, you have a right and an obligation to defend (your) country." Indeed. And more than just our country is being threatened today by the global jihadists, and virtually no one in power understands the nature and the magnitude of the threat any more than do John Stossel or Ron Paul.