Anyone at JW from the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines? Anyone now stationed in Iraq? Anyone who has returned from Iraq, still trying to make sense of why those Iraqis were so ungrateful, so clamoring for more and more and more American goodies for themselves and their family and their tribe, but not for “Iraq”? Anyone wondering why they were so eager to have the American soldiers take all the risks, do all the most important and dangerous tasks — whether the Shi’a government urging us to fight the Sunnis (or as they have been called, the “unsurgents”) or the Sunnis now wanting us to protect them from the Shi’a, and even to see if they can inveigle us, the infinitely-foolable Infidels, into now fighting the Shi’a militias?
If so, then you will want to see the recent C-Span interview with Robert Spencer, in addition to, or preparatory to, reading his books. You will thereby find out what the generals and civilian masters would not teach you, would prevent you from learning adequately about — lest it cause you to question all kinds of things, including the “forward strategy of freedom” that makes no sense.
And for that matter, many others connected to the military should watch this video — no, it should be assigned. Do you now teach, or attend one of the service academies, or one of the ar colleges? Perhaps you are, say, a colleague of that nice Vali Nasr, the one who is the son of the famous apologist, and who has tried, out of belief and embarrassment and filial piety, to ignore so much of Islam in order to keep himself a Muslim. Nasr’s current theme is that the American government should “seek to engage” the Shi”a. There’s a whole lot of “seek-to-engaging” going around — it’s the fashion of the month, just the way that word “robust” is now the adjective of the month: “a robust response” and a “robust” this and a “robust” that — lemmings of language, and lemmings of thought. And so there Nasr is, and he sounds plausible, and he tells you why it would make sense — from his point of view — to “engage the Shi’a” in dialogue. And back in Washington, Sunni Arab diplomats are explaining why we should take the side of the Sunnis in Iraq and, by the way, please do pressure Israel into that suicidal “two-state solution” stuff — because you see, it will dampen the appeal of Iran and help relieve us, the Sunni Arab despots.
No, Vali Nasr, sweet as he is, is part of the problem — as are all those sweet-and-reasonable Muslims who want us to do all kinds of things, but never to realize that Sunni and Shi’a alike, and all those who take the belief-system of Islam and the duty of Jihad to heart, regard us as the enemy. Even if they do not participate in Jihad, those who attempt to support or promote it, or to hide its promptings in the immutable and canonical texts of Islam, are part of the Camp of Islam that regards us, the Infidels, as the enemy. And if they regard us, and treat us, as the enemy, then it follows that they are, in turn, for us the enemy. We didn’t cause it. We haven’t been making war, all the Infidels in the world, on Muslims. We haven’t moved by the tens of millions into Muslim lands. Nor has the government of India treated its Muslims the way Hindus have been treated in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Nor have Christians in the West treated Muslims with the same hostility and cruelty with which Muslims have for centuries treated Christians and other non-Muslims, and continue to do so today in any land where Muslims dominate and rule.
It is silly to study “counter-insurgency” techniques in the abstract — as do all kinds of “experts” — with campaigns of the British in postwar Greece and Malaya, and the Americans in Vietnam, in mind. Why? Because in all of those cases the insurgencies were of two, nopn-Islamic kinds. There were the insurgencies of those who simply wanted an overlord, a colonial master, out — as in Kenya with Jomo Kenyatta’s Mau Mau. But in the main, the post-World War II “insurgencies” have been those of Communists, or those claiming they were Communists, motivated by a desire for economic justice. This was the case in Greece. In Malaya, the Communist insurgency was directed at the rich, who also happened to consist mainly of the British. In Vietnam, the war against the French was nationalist with a growing Communist flavor (certainly in what became North Vietnam). The Vietnam War was motivated again by nationalism. The Communists exploited both that and a desire for less miserable economic conditions. In each case, hearts and minds might somehow be won, just a little bit, by improvement in the economic wellbeing — in other words, by making things better.
But that is not what the “insurgency” in Iraq is about. The war in Iraq is about who, within Iraq, is going to possess political power, and therefore whatever wealth — almost entirely oil wealth — there is. It would not matter if the Americans tried to win Sunni hearts and minds or Shi’a hearts and minds. They will, those Americans, remain Infidels, and therefore, in the end, those Infidels will be rejected, even if, for a while, they will be exploited to the hilt, by first one side, and then the other, as the Americans keep believing or pretending to believe or not admitting that they no longre believe, that they are there to “help the (non-existent) Iraqi people,” the people who supposedly “want freedom” or “want democracy” (both words undefined, and for the Administration, it would be dangerous to dare to define them because the absurdity of what we mean by “freedom” and “democracy” and what Muslim peoples mean, would be obvious to all). But that does not mean that we have not been, are now, and will continue to be, exploited by local forces, this or that leader whispering sweet nothings in private even as he denounces the Americans and their allies in public, and certainly will never utter words of praise, or of gratitude, in Iraq, to people in Iraq — but only in the White House, only while addressing Congress.
The Sunnis and Shi’a will use the Americans, as best they can, to promote their own quite different interests. Among those interests will be obtaining as much money — billions and tens of billions — for themselves, or their families, or their tribes, as they can, not for “Iraq” or the “Iraqi people.” It will mean trying to inveigle the Americans into training their troops, not the troops of the enemy, and since the Americans have little idea who is Sunni and who Shia, who Arab and who Kurd, all kinds of fooling can go on. And along with the training, various forces in Iraq — not “Iraqis” but Shi’a Arabs and Sunni Arabs and Kurds — will try to obtain as much American miiitary equipment, now, or later when the Americans leave, as leave they will, either now, as part of a larger thought-out scheme, or if not now, then later, possibly as part of no scheme at all, but rather in a furious reaction to the squandering of resources, after the next presidential election (Bush has no notion, apparently, of attempting to insure that appeasement will not follow upon, as it could in reaction to his clinging to the tarbaby of Iraq).
Not the “Iraqi people,” but the various Muslim groups in Iraq, divided along ethnic and sectarian lines (divisions between Arab and non-Arab, and Shi’a and Sunni, that predate the founding of the United States by a thousand years), will never, can never, be truly grateful or for that matter even be truly friendly with American Infidels. It can’t happen. And this is why all that advice from various “counter-insurgency experts” — including the Australian army man who so impressed James Fallows (who consulted “sixty experts” to find out what he thinks he knows about how to deal with the Jihad) and Francis Daly, a “counter-insurgency expert” (from campaigns against non-Muslims, some 40 years ago) who, writing in the New Duranty Times, does not mention Islam at all. In his Op/Ed piece, Daly appears not to have any idea that the belief-system of Islam not only matters, but is indispensable for understanding what these so-called “insurgencies” in Iraq or elsewhere are all about. They are about power, about power within the Camp of Islam, where ethnic and sectarian and economic differences do divide. And they are about all Muslims within the Camp of Islam against the entire Camp, as they see it, of Non-Muslims. Not to be assuaged by the hearts-and-minds of lavishing economic development on anyone.
Indeed, the plutocrats of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf sheikhdoms have used much of their wealth to pursue and promote the Jihad. The better off Muslim states are, the more disguised Jizyah they receive in the form of foreign aid, and the more flows that manna from Allah known as oil revenues, the more powerful the forces of Jihad become. Prior to 1973, the doctrine and duty of Jihad existed, as it had existed and had been acted upon by Muslims for 1350 years. But it had fallen into seeming desuetude only because, in the past hundred years, the Western world had not only been more powerful but was seen to be obviously so. What changed everything was the OPEC oil money — some ten trillion dollars since 1973 — and the millions of Muslims permitted to live behind enemy lines, in Infidel nation-states. In those states they can and do cause all kinds of trouble. They interfere with how those states preserve their political and legal and social institutions, and with how they attempt to exercise their own foreign policy: the French government is backing out of Lebanon because it is terrified of the reaction of the Muslims within France, though no one has yet noted this.
Any “counter-insurgency” class in the American military, or in any Infidel military, that does not deal with Islam, with what is contained in the texts — Qur’an, Hadith, and the biography of Muhammad the Perfect Man — is useless. Any course that presumes to pretend that an “insurgency” in a Muslim country is just like an insurgency by those Communists in postwar Greece or Malaya, or by those Mau Mau in Kenya, and can be dealt with using the same “hearts-and-minds” strategy supplementing military campaigns, will be false, will be missing the essential significance of Islam. It will be, in short, worthless.
It may be that “counter-insurgency” experts of an older generation will refuse to consider this — after all, it puts a burden on them. It requires them to learn, and in detail, what Islam teaches. Not what “extremist” Islam teaches, but Islam tout court. It requires them to learn about the attitudes that arise in any society, or environment, suffused by Islam and its teachings. For one need not be a mosque attender, need not have gone to a madrasa, need not even be very devout to nonetheless exhibit all the features of the much more militant Muslim. These features include not owning up to the contents of Islam, but offering that sly blend of taqiyya and tu-quoque argumentation that we are all so familiar with (google “Taqiyya and Tu-Quoque”). In other words, many lax or unobservant Muslims, as long as they continue to identify themselves as Muslims and hence, as members of the umma, will continue to defend Islam and to support it by protecting it from inquiring Infidels — and in other, more dangerous ways as well. We Infidels simply have to rely on the historical evidence, on the evidence of our senses, and on the evidence of those Infidels who grew up in Muslim-dominated societies (Copts from Egypt, Maronites and other Christians from Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Hindus and Chinese from Malaysia or Indonesia), or from societies where there is a Muslim population large enough to support activities threatening to the larger non-Muslim society (as in India). Finally, and perhaps must usefully, we must rely on the evidence provided by the “defectors” from Islam, such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ibn Warraq, Ali Sina, Irfan Khawaja, Azam Kamguian, Nonie Darwish, and tens or hundreds of thousands of others, whose names are not household words, but whose private testimony is devastating.
Whatever “techniques of counter-insurgency” may work against those who are fighting for Communism and economic “justice” has no relevance at all to the problem of fighting the belief-system of Islam. That this has escaped so many of these counter-insurgency experts is not surprising. In the same way, those in the “spreading democracy” business — who get government and foundation money, of course — will be the last ones to admit that the “all people want freedom” business is silly, dangerous, and fails to consider the nature of Islamic religio-political theory on the basis for any ruler’s legitimacy. And those who are in the “moderate Muslims are the answer” racket, also to obtain still more, ever more, government and foundation grants and the contributions of individuals, will not admit just how shaky, mutable, and unhelpful to Infidels reliance on that concept of “moderate Muslims” is. They will never admit that the supposed usefulness of “moderate Muslims” against the immoderate ones is no substitute for the real divisions within Islam — sectarian, ethnic and economic — that have been written about here at Jihad Watch some 500 times. But of course, others have a market niche to protect. If the money rolls in to support the idea of encouraging “moderate Muslims” and only worrying about those “Islamists,” then “Moderate Muslims” (the “answer”) versus “Islamists” will be the theme, as it will be the content of course, of the next grant application.
And finally, the experts in “counter-insurgency” whose discussions of “Islamic insurgency” or “Shi’a insurgency” or “Sunni insurgency” always focusses on that noun, that so-easy-to-deal-with noun, and never on those difficult, but far more freighted with significance, adjectives — “Islamic,” “Sunni” and “Shi’a.”
It’s time they all gave themselves an education in the doctrine, and practice, of Islam. Once they see the world through the prism of Islam, once they understand the uncompromising division of that world between Believer and Infidel, Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Harb, they will think anew about “insurgency” and about what the war aims of Infidels should always be. “Freedom” and “democracy” are both flatly contradicted by both the letter and spirit of Islam. According to the tenets of Islam, reinforced by the attitudes and atmospherics to which those tenets give rise in any society suffused with Islam, political and all other forms of legitimacy are conferred not by the expressed will of mere men, butr by the revealed will of Allah in the Qur’an (as glossed usefully in the Hadith), and expressed most closely in the Holy Law of Islam, or Shari’a. “Freedom” in the Western sense is allowing mere men to dictate what should be on earth, and that, in Islam, makes no sense.
The Administration has been incoherent in its understanding of both Islam — no one appears to have thought the main task, after 9/11/2001, was to undergo real study of Islam, — and words such as “freedom” and “democracy” were used without any study of whether or not, in the history of Islam, these words had ever meant anything, or what, if used today, they could possibly mean. Of course the Shi’a were as enthusiastic about the ballot-box to validate the transfer of power to them, and so would the Sunni Arabs have been, had the latter constituted not 19% of the population, but 60-65% as the Shi’a Arabs knew they did.
The American government, instead of taking as its goal the weakening of the Camp of Islam, continues to squander resources attemptinig to create a unified Iraqi nation-state that will be impossible of attainment, and that, were it to be attained, could not possibly be an “ally” of the United States, but would inevitably revert to Islam, to the Arab League, to the Organization of Islamic Countries, and the best chance offered up to the Infidels in a very long time, for exploiting both sectarian (Sunni-Shi’a) and ethnic (Arab-Kurd) divisions within Islam, would have been lost, in what would then be one of the most colossal failures of foreign policy in American history.
Time to get an education.