Part of the essential training of soldiers, those going to Iraq, and those going elsewhere or remaining at home, ought to be about Islam. Not fake Islam. Not the Islam of the Muslim apologists whom too many in the government think are just the people to teach about Islam. Remember that nice Egyptian man, who joined the U. S. Army and was put in charge of teaching about Islam and cultural sensitivity to soldiers, and then turned out to have been involved in the first attack on the World Trade Center?
There should be lectures for this audience, this captive audience of hundreds of thousands, on how non-Muslims are regarded in Islam, how they were treated under the Shari’a, what the Muslim worldview is, and why this belief-system has such a hold on its adherents, why Believers are not allowed to get out but treated, if they dare to question or leave Islam, as traitors.
The Army has not done this. No doubt it fears suits by CAIR, and the reaction of those few Muslim troops (almost entirely black Muslims). But it has somehow to overcome its timidity, just as the C.I.A. and F.B.I. and local police forces need to stop being so protective — fearful, rather — of Muslim sensibilities that they dare not speak truthfully about Islam. We can only hope that on their own, in the interstices of life, those whose duty it is to protect this country will somehow, catch-as-catch-can, learn a little here and a little there about Islam.
It is possible to construct courses that will set out the doctrines of Islam, relying heavily, almost exclusively, on what is to be found in the Qur’an, Hadith, Sira, and in the commentators who are themselves Muslim. It can and should be done.
Meanwhile, the army should make sure that the “training” includes enough to ensure that the soldiers are no longer surprised, shocked in fact, at how those whom they have come to help are never going to regard those Americans as anything other than Infidels, that is, with essential hostility that transcends, or survives, any temporary accommodation for the purposes of self-interest. While they may be eager to use the Americans for their own ends (getting the Americans to fight their internal wars, or soaking them for the very last dollar in aid they can get), those Sunni tribes in Anbar Province who have apparently now turned on Al-Qaeda are not our “friends” and never could be. They have fallen out with Al Qaeda not because Al Qaeda attacks the Americans, but because Al Qaeda has been too zealous in its imposition of its own ways on them, and has killed local sheiks and their relatives.
One reason for the very high degree of demoralization among the most aware and thoughtful troops — the ones who reflect upon their experience — is the gap between what they were told about Islam and about Iraq and their own experience of it.
This cannot go on.
At the various camps in which soldiers are trained, there is a chance to allow hundreds of men to learn something about Islam, something about the 1350-year history of Islam, something about the central duty of Jihad, and the various instruments of Jihad that go far beyond mere “terrorism” or indeed, combat (qitaal). And finally, those officers and men should be required to learn something as well about the fissures — ethnic, sectarian, and economic — within the Camp of Islam.
So far, more than four years into this mistaken campaign, this Tarbaby Iraq, there is not the slightest sign that either the military or the civilian leadership (including members of Congress) have begun to recognize that those who presume to lead us (to “take a leadership role”), those that is whose task is to both instruct and protect us, have a duty to themselves learn about Islam, its tenets, its attitudes, its atmospherics, and about the 1350-year history of Islamic conquest and subsequent subjugation of non-Muslim peoples.
This is not a duty that can be foresworn. It must be fulfilled. Lives, countries, whole ways of life, depend on enough people in our ruling elites, in North America and in Western Europe, learning enough, and in time, and then acting sensibly and appropriately on that basis.