As an increasingly impatient American public and political class now grasp at anything that might facilitate the extrication of military forces from Iraq (and provide themselves with political cover), it becomes more and more apparent that the situation in Baghdad will go down in history as the U.S. equivalent of Dien Bien Phu — the turning point in a military effort where popular will was lost and the enemy won, if only because their opposition decided to flee the theater of battle.
The present sorry state of affairs was predicted as far back as two weeks after 9/11, by myself and some other pundits. Pointing to a woeful lack of intelligence in the Middle East, the vacillating uncertainty about the worthiness of the cause, the religious fervor of the jihadist fanatics, and the general lack of patience and endurance for the long haul by the American public, the war on terror (and in Iraq) seemed likely to fail.
“To prevail in any war,” I wrote in December 2003, “you first must know your enemy. Americans must understand that the worldwide network of terrorists is not going away until we stamp it out.”
In the current conflict, knowing your enemy means having a thorough understanding of Islam, a subject that, to their detriment, most Americans know nothing about.
There is probably no one in America today that works harder than Robert Spencer, a scholar and writer about Islamic beliefs and traditions, whose mission is to make Americans aware of the true nature of radical Islam, and how this knowledge is indispensable for understanding and combating Islamic global jihad.
Spencer is a director of Jihad Watch, an organization that hosts two Web sites (jihadwatch.org and dhimmiwatch.org) that track radical Islamic news and events, and he has written six books and hundreds of articles on Islam and jihadi terrorism, including the recent best-sellers “The Truth About Muhammad,” and “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades).”
Spencer gives numerous speeches, participates in academic symposia, and is a frequent guest on radio and TV and in documentaries to raise consciousness about Islamic teachings and to combat widespread lies and distortions made by apologists for radical Islam.
In a powerful presentation to the Heritage Foundation last week in Washington, D.C., Spencer outlined the critical issues the West must be made aware of to face the threat that Islamic jihad poses.
“You can’t fix what you won’t admit is broken,” Spencer said, “and you cannot reform what you say does not need reforming.”
Peaceful Muslims have to confront and reform the elements of Islamic teachings and traditions that advocate violence, he noted, if there is to be an end to radicals using these to justify violence.
Spencer detailed several of the most egregious tenets of Islam that need reform, if there is to be any coexistence with the West, with the most fundamental being tolerance of non-Muslims.
The Quran teaches that only Islam is the true religion, and unbelievers have three options: 1) convert to Islam; 2) remain an infidel, and submit to humiliating subordinate status under Islamic law, including paying a hefty poll tax; or 3) wage war with, or be killed by, Muslims.
The rapid spread of Islam throughout formerly Christian lands beginning in the seventh century testifies to the zeal, deception, and savagery that Muslims have demonstrated to achieve their Quran-inspired goal of waging war against non-Muslims and imposing Islamic law first on Muslim states, then on non-Muslim countries.
Spencer pointed out that today, young jihadists are recruited wholesale around the world — even in the U.S. — based on these texts, with the promise to return to Allah’s law.
Western analysts and policy-makers who are not aware or who choose to ignore these fundamental motivating principles when dealing with Muslim states, Spencer warns, do so at their peril.
This is especially true when negotiating with Muslim countries that profess to be our allies, yet continue to fund mosques and madrassas that preach hatred of the West, particularly against Jews and Americans, and are not being called to task.
He has harsh words for the fog of multicultural political correctness in which America is mired — a cloud of self-righteous self-deception that blindly believes the feel-good falsehood that Islam is a “peaceful” religion “hijacked” by a few extremists.
This has dangerously strangled serious discussion of the issues that need to be addressed, Spencer claims, if the West is going to be able to deal with the jihadi threat.
Through his yeoman efforts, Spencer’s message is beginning to gain some traction in popular opinion, along with that of fellow advocates like Nonie Darwish…Brigitte Gabriel, Bat Ye’or, Steve Emerson, Serge Trifkovic, Daniel Pipes, and others who are speaking out.
For their pains, many have received opprobrium from Muslims that are jihad sympathizers, including death threats. I salute their candor and their courage. In hindsight, if Americans had heard and understood their ideas a few short years ago, we might have made a different and more effective intervention into the intractable Middle East situation.