Jihad Watch Board Vice President Hugh Fitzgerald explains the lack of focus in Washington that could ultimately have disastrous consequences:
Wars are won in all sorts of ways. Hot wars are won on battlefields, by destroying the enemy. But the Cold War was not “won” on a battlefield, but by a long and expensive process of checking Soviet power everywhere, and even outspending the Soviets so that, in the end, a sufficient number of intelligent people, Party members and Party officials, came to realize that the Soviet system was a failure. That failure led them, from the inside, to dismantle that system, in ways that were sometimes precipitous. And they were not aided by such shallow Western “experts” as the loudmouth and self-promoter Jeffrey Sachs, who does a good imitation of the comic Irwin Corey and his “World’s Greatest Authority” act.
The war is one of self-defense. We do not wish the supremacist creed of jihad and dhimmitude to spread. We do not wish those who hold this creed to overbreed, or outbreed, Infidels in the very lands of dar al-Harb. Just look at what is happening all over the Western world, and even in this country where only 1% of the population is Muslim (about 3 million, at most, and most of them not-quite-orthodox Black Muslims). We wish to check it, and to create the conditions in which the failures of Sharia states and semi-Sharia states will be understood by a number of intelligent people born into Islam to be connected to the belief-system of Islam itself — that its traditional laws make it such an enemy of music, painting and the plastic arts, and inculcate habits of mind, ways of thought, that simply do not permit of free and skeptical inquiry.
The major weapon of the current Jihad is money — not money that Muslims have earned, but for the most part money that comes from an accident of geology. And whatever enormous sums the Arab and Muslim oil states have acquired, they have used not to build modern economies, but to buy hundreds of billions of dollars in arms. And their thieving ruling classes — not to be opposed as long as they are Muslims — have their own special expenditures, what with endless villas in Marbella and apartments on Avenue Foch and on the French Riviera, and in London and the Home Counties, and in Aspen, and McLean, Virginia, and so on.
And then there are the armies of apologists, the steady corruption of Western government officials, intelligence agents, diplomats, academics, and all the others on the Arab or Muslim payroll, direct or indirect. Even a well-financed lecture series, with a gigantic honorarium (up to hundreds of thousands of dollars) can be a way to reward an American political figure. Kuwait paid the senior Bush something like a million dollars on his visit to that country once it had been rescued. There is a lecture series at the Fletcher School at Tufts, paid for by an Arab, that has managed to send large sums Clinton’s way, and has given money to others as well. If you want to distribute Arab and Muslim largesse, there is no paucity of ways to do it. And it has its effect. Just look at the absence, over the past 30 years, of any attempt to recapture oligopolistic rents from OPEC, that might have kept 1-2 trillion dollars from flowing to the oil-producing nations.
Everything is finite. We have an army of a certain size. We have a citizen-army that is rapidly degrading in size and quality, given that few people are being recruited. We have Humvees, Bradley fighting vehicles, helicopters, planes — all of them overworked, and degraded prematurely in the desert of the Land of the Two Rivers, Iraq. We have a certain amount of money to spend. The money spent in Iraq might instead be spent on an energy program to deprive the Saudis and Ahmadinejad and others of the wherewithal that is critical to the Jihad — are you quite sure that the $300 billion spent in Iraq would not have been better spent on solar and wind projects, and on nuclear reactors, if we knew three years ago what we know now about Saddam Hussein’s weapons programs? Quite sure?
“Retreat and withdrawal”? This is not “retreat and withdrawal.” Remaining in Iraq is a sign of obstinacy and ignorance, of a weakness of mind, of a failure to understand the real enemy. That enemy is not “poverty” and it is not the absence of democracy. We have “democracy” in Iran and look who won; we have “democracy” in the Palestinian Authority and look who just won. Real “democracy” in Lebanon would be fatal to the Maronites. Real “democracy” in Syria would bring down the Alawites and replace them with “real” Muslims. Neither party understands this. Kennedy and Dean and Kerry are so hellbent on dealing Bush a blow that they have not taken the trouble to investigate for themselves what Islam is all about. Not a single Democrat to date has criticized the continued presence of the Americans in Iraq for the right reasons — that such a presence constitutes a colossal misallocation of resources, and prevents the ethnic and sectarian fissures within Iraq, and within Islam, from being exploited to divide and demoralize the army of those who support actively or passively the Jihad to spread or impose Islam.
But among the loyalists to the Bush Administration, from those who crowed prematurely a year ago about the wonders of blue-thumbed Democracy, and the supposed “revolution” in Beirut, and the belief that the “Palestinians” were nearer to real negotiations for some kind of impossible “solution” because of the demonstration of American “resolve” in Iraq, there is still an inability to allow themselves to break free from blind loyalty to a policy that has been constructed by people they think must be supported, whatever the cost. Nonsense. That is a silly kind of loyalty, and will lead eventually to the coming to power of those who are even worse: who are scowcroftian-brzezinskian “realists” whose “realism” consists of the same appeasement of Saudi Arabia, the same failures to address the energy question, the complete indifference to the tenets of Islam, and of course not a word of alarm about the islamization of Western Europe (these are yesteday’s men, still seeing Islam, as Brzezinski did when he and Carter welcomed Khomeini as a “man of faith,” as a “bulwark against Communism”). An Administration that does not see how remaining in Iraq will lead to the public embracing appeasement, because the policy in Iraq will not, can not, conceivably succeed, is one that does not know how to be calculating. It is important to retain political support for the war of self-defense — a war in which military action will not be the most important part — against the Jihad. That political support is being misued and squandered. The Jihad is worldwide. The venture in Iraq at this point can only be turned to Infidel advantage if, in the spirit of divide-and-conquer, the Americans leave, and let the natural fissures widen — naturally. Jihad is worldwide, and is central, not tangential, to Islam. This does not require “boots on the ground” here and there and everywhere. Not at all. It requires diminishing Muslim oil revenues. It requires mass education of Infidels, including persistent mockery of the press for not dealing truthfully with the tenets of Islam. Infidels should be moving heaven and earth to split, demoralize, constrain, and tie up the forces of that Jihad. Iraq is the perfect place to do it — and in that case, without even lifting a finger. In fact, by simply putting that finger down altogether, and leaving.
That should be our focus. It has not been. The first step to prevailing (which is not the same thing as obtaining “victory” — an inapt word for something that has no end as long as the canonical texts of Islam remain immutable, and the Qur’an is not studied within its context, and seen as a document formed over, and within, time) identifying the enemy we are actually fighting. We have not done so. That this has not yet been done, three years after entering Iraq, and four-and-a-half years after the attacks of 9/11/2001 ought to have made the serious study of Islam the most important undertaking for all those in the Executive and in Congress and in the press as well, speaks ill of this Administration, as well as of its opponents. And increases our vulnerability as we divert ourselves with tarbabies and blind alleys.