If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle. – Sun Tzu, The Art of War
In his recent article, Pat Buchanan purports to define why al Qaeda is at war with us. Instead, he recites enemy propaganda serving only to reinforce their talking points while continuing to convolute the real motivation behind their actions.
Over eight years since 9/11, it is amazing that a prominent conservative would not understand the fundamental motivation and doctrine driving those who have and continue to attack us. This is not rocket science.
Raymond Ibraham’s analysis in his invaluable book, the Al Qaeda Reader, best summarizes it. On page xii he explains that radical Islam’s war with America and the west is not finite and limited to political grievances real or imagined but is existential, transcending time and space and deeply rooted in [the Islamic] faith.
Pat mentions only half of al Qaeda’s binary worldview in his article, the dar al-Islam (the land of Islam). By failing to even mention the dar al-Harb (the land of warfare), he fails to acknowledge that Islam, by doctrine (Koran 9:29), views the entire non-Muslim world as a land that must be subdued under Islamic rule (read sharia law). This is explained in the primary text of Islamic Law, Reliance of the Traveler by Ahmad ibn Naquib al-Misri (page 605).
What Buchanan also fails to mention, is taqiyya – the Islamic doctrine of deception, the understanding of which is fundamental to understanding the threat. Muhammad himself said war is deceit. (See “Summarized Sahih Al-Bukhari” by Muhammad Muhsin Khan, p. 614) Here again, Mr. Ibraham has done yeoman’s work analyzing and explaining the doctrine of taqiyya and its impact on jihadist terrorism in his article, “How Taqiyya Alters Islam’s Rules of War.”
As we learn from Reliance of the Traveler, by Islamic law there are things Muslims are required to know and there are other things we, as non-Muslims, are allowed to know. In fact, Islamic law requires lying at times (it is obligatory to lie if the goal is obligatory.) (See pages 8-14, 732 and 745).
As a result of their binary world view, al Qaeda has two main audiences: the Muslim world (the ummah) and the non-Muslim world, consisting of the United States and the rest of the Western world. As such, it uses markedly different approaches to address each group.
When speaking to America and the Western world, al Qaeda turns statements made by what Lenin called the “useful idiots” into popular propaganda. They frequently cite Michael Moore, William Blum and other liberal commentators.
In contrast, when speaking to their constituents — the Muslim World — bin Laden and Zawahiri instead use formal Islamic theology and sharia law as levers to enforce Muslim compliance. Those who don’t comply are labeled apostates, who, by sharia, must be killed and will inhabit hell. (See “Reliance of the Traveler,” pp. 595-98 and 848).
Written for Muslim audiences, they [al Qaeda’s Islamic theological treatises] are rarely translated into English or disseminated to a non-Muslim public. This is unfortunate since they reveal much more about al Qaeda’s ideology than the more famous political [propaganda] speeches. In these theological tracts, al Qaeda gives Muslims reasons why they should hate and fight the West that differ from those they give in their political speeches. (“Al Queda Reader,” p. 2)
There’s a difference between reciting the enemy and knowing the enemy. Buchanan confuses the two concepts. Which is why his cry for appeasement is misguided. He implies that if we packed up and came home (from Iraq, Afghanistan and all other Muslim countries), and adopted an isolationist foreign policy, then they would stop attacking us. Wrong.
Not only would this hand them a strategic victory, but they’d simply find another reason to continue to attack us. Islam cannot be appeased. (Koran 9:29)….