Patrick O’Hannigan is right: there is as far as I know no program in the DHS, or State, or the Defense Department, or the CIA or FBI that is devoted to learning what the teachings of Islam and Muhammad reveal about the motives, goals, and strategies of contemporary jihad terrorists — and this is a grave and possibly suicidal omission.
To O’Hannigan’s list, on which he generously included me in his American Spectator article “On Forecasting Fratricide in Iraq,” I would add Jihad Watch Board Vice President Hugh Fitzgerald, who has written about this issue so often and so eloquently at this site. Take a look at Hugh’s articles here, and catch up on those you may have missed.
If President Bush had spent more time learning about Islam from people like Robert Spencer, Steve Emerson, Daniel Pipes, Brigette Gabriel, and Bat Ye’or, he might indeed have foreseen the fratricidal nature of strife in Iraq after Saddam Hussein. Were anyone in the aforementioned group not available, the president could have learned much the same thing in consultation with the Kurds, or conversation with still-fugitive author Salman Rushdie, or any Muslim convert to Christianity.
Even those of us who’ve never had a power lunch or darkened the door of a Beltway think tank are pretty sure that Muslim leaders do not offer balloon animals and lollipops to apostates from their faith, or host birthday parties for them down at Dairy Queen.
SO HAS ANYONE ASKED Tony Snow whether people in the president’s inner circle learned lessons from the life of Mohammed, or the etymology of the word “assassin”? Those are leading questions, to be sure, but they’re scrupulously nonpartisan as well.