Jihad Watch Board Vice President Hugh Fitzgerald deftly and clearly explains how we can win the war:
The problem continues as long as the idea that this is a “war” that “can be won” continues. This is a war, a continuous war. It has no end. “Winning” does not exist. Islam will not disappear. What one can do is to make it less attractive, both to those likely pockets — as easily identifiable by Infidels as they have been identified by the Da’wa bearers of Islam — of psychically and economically marginal populations in the Infidel lands, and to those born into Islam itself.
We need not send more troops — in fact, it would be altogether more useful to remove our troops from Iraq, which is a colossal misallocation (not before, not in 2003, not in 2004, but NOW) of resources, of men, of materiel, of money, of military morale. The long-term damage being done to the citizen-soldiers and to the professional army is considerable, and this at a time when we need to keep morale high for a much longer and more sustained effort. That damage is increased by the obstinacy with which some continue to identify with the original plan: their “intelligence failure” is over not WMD but of the nature and menace of Islam. That menace is rooted in its texts. Has anyone in the Pentagon other than Bernard Lewis’s acolytes read those texts, or considered that Lewis himself, a supporter first of Oslo, and now someone who cannot admit how wrong he was about the nature of Iraq, Iraqi society, and even about Islam? Lewis” under-appreciation, to put it mildly, of Bat Ye’or and Ibn Warraq, and his susceptibility to Turkish flattery, has helped to prevent him from seeing that the vaunted Kemalism is temporary, while Islam is permanent, and Islam is not something that “went wrong” but that has always been wrong, and has been held in check in recent centuries only through the fact of its own weakness.
Still more disturbing is this:
“Another change being discussed in an ongoing interagency review by the Pentagon, State Department, CIA and White House National Security Council is a strategy that emphasizes this is a war that targets Islamic extremism, not Islam itself.”
But it is “Islam itself” that is a threat, in Europe as well as in Asia, indeed everywhere — if you are an Infidel. It cannot be said by those in government, though it can, with increasing force, by others: think of what Oriana Fallaci has accomplished by giving voice to what so many think in Italy. But the fact that we need not say that this is a war in which Islam is the menace does not mean that we need not take note of harsh realities. For nobody knows when and under what circumstances any “moderate” Muslim may metamorphose into an “extremist.” Nobody, in any case, can provide a definition of “mainstream” or supposedly “moderate” Islam that would allay our fears. There is no such definition, or rather, in the end that definition amounts to a Muslim who does not believe in what is written in the Qur’an, the Hadith, and Sira. That is to say — a non-Muslim Muslim. The refusal to analyze to the bottom of things is astonishing. The laziness, the fear of what might be discovered, is killing us.
Everything must start with words, with the way in which the conflict is presented. For obvious reasons, government officials cannot talk about “Islam” tout court. They need to find a way to discuss it — a way that will express much, if not all, of what needs to be stated both to the Western populations. Those populations are partly ignorant, partly confused, and certainly full of unease as to how things are confusedly being presented. Officials need to find a way to signal to Muslims that we understand the problem is not a “handful of extremists” and not “Wahhabists.” And we need as well to use a language that will give heart to those in Europe — and there are tens of millions — who are disgusted with the foreign policies of their own countries and of the E.U., and who feel — far more keenly than we do — the menace of Islam. The American presence in Iraq is seen by such people not as a crime, but as a blunder. They are wrong in part: the initial invasion was not a crime nor a blunder. But remaining in Iraq is a blunder born of criminal negligence of Islam, its theory and practice.
What language should be employed by our rulers, whose duty it is to protect and instruct us? Begin with the word “Jihad.” Talk about the “ideology of Jihad.” Talk about a “war of self-defense against the Jihad.” Talk about “the Jihad” — the struggle to spread Islam throughout the world, and to conquer lands for Islam — is not central to Islam. Pretend, if you will, that Islam is not what it is, in order to say, better than has been said to date, what it is.
Assure everyone that “of course most Muslims do not believe in Jihad.” Of course they do. But what will those smiling and plausible people do? Some will tell the truth: Bin Laden tells far more of the truth about Islam, and so does Al-Qaradawi. Khomeini was a truth-teller about Islam. His spirit informed more of Islamic history in Iran than did that sport, the short-lived father-and-son Pahlevi dynasty, though even “nice” Iranians of the “Reading-Lolita-in-Tehran” sort will not admit it to themselves — or may not even know it, so uninformed are they about the mistreatment of non-Muslims in Iran over the past thousand years. They might begin by studying Mary Boyce on Zoroastrians, or Lawrence Loeb on modern Iranian Jews, or going back to the Armenian chronicle of Arakel of Tabriz under Shah Abbas.
Stop talking altogether about “handfuls of extremists.” Indeed, stop the misleading and dangerous use of such terms as “extremist” and “moderate.” Cease to transfer any Infidel wealth to Muslim nations and polities — Egypt, Jordan, the “Palestinian” Authority. Let them find their support from rich Arabs, or not find such support. If the former, then some of that discretionary income that the rich Arabs use to fund mosques and madrasas around the world will be soaked up — and soaking up that money, until it can be significantly diminished by an intelligent energy policy, is what Infidels need to do. And if the latter, if the rich Arabs refuse to pay Egypt, Jordan, the “Palestine” Authority and so on, the result will also be salutary — a growing resentment among the poor Arabs against the rich Arabs, with all that might result from that. Have we forgotten that before there was the highly desirable (from the Infidel point of view) Iran-Iraq War, there was, in the Yemen, in the early 1960s, a war between two Yemeni factions, the so-called “Royalists” backed by Saudi Arabia (I once roomed briefly in Madrid with a louche Belgian who had run guns to those Royalists; a most amoral and disgusting person) and the leftists backed by Egyptian troops supplied by Nasser. That bloodletting between leftist Egypt and rightist Saudi Arabia should, from the Infidel point of view, have gone on forever.
It is said that this Administration is “tough” and “calculating.” Nonsense. It is not nearly tough or calculating or realpolitik enough. It may begin to be only when its leaders have taken the full measure of Islam and its theory. It is not hard to read Qur’an, Hadith and Sira — what is hard is to understand just how these texts pervade the lives of Muslims, and color attitudes even of those who never go to mosques and are scarcely observant; there is a failure to understand just how unusually penetrating Islam can be, how it supplies not just a religious faith, but a complete and coherent and, for Infidels, threatening system. A failure of imaginative sympathy, that is a failure to understand how this operates, can be remedied if only, instead of apologists or semi-apologists of Islam, one listens to the “defectors” from Islam as one once would have listened to defectors from the Soviet Union. It is really no different.
When Ibn Warraq and Ali Sina have their private meetings with Bush and Rumsfeld, we will know that we are getting somewhere.