In the summer of 2009 Columbia, the magazine put out by the university for its alumni, carried an article about one alumnus, Michael Leiter, Columbia ’91. He had graduated magna cum laude. He had gone on to Harvard Law School. He had clerked for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. In short, he had the right resume, but as with so many who have the right resume, he had never learned how to think. He was used to thinking the thoughts that other people just like him, having gone to the same schools, having collected the same degrees, having bought houses in the same areas and grown used to shopping in the same Whole Foods, all think about the Great Issues Of The Day, including – bien entendu – Islam. As for what is really happening, say, in Western Europe, about that they are only now starting to be aware — possibly because of someone they know who has a house in Provence or Umbria. And so the rumors of unsettlement because of Muslims in Western Europe reaches them that roundabout way.
An excerpt from that article in Columbia demonstrates that the man who has been put in charge of protecting Americans against Muslim terrorism – because he went to Columbia and graduated magna cum laude, and went then to Harvard Law School, and clerked for Stephen Breyer, and because he then decided, so the story goes, impelled by a rush of patriotic fervor after the 9/11/2001 attacks, to go to work for the government – is frighteningly ill-prepared for his task. If we are to take his words seriously, he knows nothing about the ideology of Islam, and is perfectly content to parrot the apologetic nonsense that once might have been dismissed as silly, then as it continued became infuriating, and now, when it is spouted by those who are supposed to be capable of protecting us, is terrifying.
Leiter is merely the Democratic equivalent, in his mental makeup and banality, to the Republican-voting Forty Under Forty honored by some local Chamber-of-Commerce, photographed along with other awardees as they proudly accept their plaques. Listen, then, to Michael Leiter, aged 40, well-degreed but essentially uneducated, in charge of protecting us when we get on a plane, as he who has taken “a leadership role” in the “war against terrorism” or against “violent extremists” or “isolated violent extremists” shows he knows nothing about the ideology of Islam, nothing about the duty and aim of Jihad (the struggle to remove all obstacles to the spread and then the dominance of Islam), nothing about the varied instruments of Jihad (a word he does not use, and which for him in any case would mean only the “terrorism” of those “violent extremists”), nothing, really nothing at all. Well done, Columbia and Harvard Law School. I wonder what the educational equivalent of “an empty suit” would be; possibly Jacques Barzun, former Professor and Provost at Columbia, could even now suggest a word.
Here’s Michael Leiter:
More than 50 percent of terrorism victims in 2008 were Muslim, which is a very powerful reminder that this is not about the West being at war with Islam. This is Al-Qaeda completely perverting a wonderful, peaceful religion, leading to death and suffering for Muslims in many parts of the world. . . Al Qaeda’s ultimate goal is to establish a caliphate across the Middle East into North Africa, and into parts of Asia, and expel the U.S. and Westerners and Israel from that caliphate. This is still at the core of their mission; they believe this, and they believe it very strongly. … There are a wide variety of drivers (political corruption, lack of a political voice and a lack of economic opportunity) behind why a 19 year old in Yemen or Somalia or Islamabad or Morocco would identify with Al Qaeda.
The U.S. is not at war with Islam. Al Qaeda is at war with Islam. The U.S. and Muslim -majority countries throughout the world are actually a partnership, and that partnership involves combating Al-Qaeda, but also building hope inside those countries.
Where should we start? “Building hope” inside Muslim countries? Oh, we know what that means. That means we Infidels, and especially we Americans, hoping to ignore for as long as we can the facts about what Islam inculcates, and determined not to grasp the fact that the economic backwardness and political despotism of Muslim states, indeed their social, intellectual, and moral failures, too, can be attribured to Islam, are going to keep transferring huge sums that we need so desperately into Muslim lands. Why, the news is that Yemen is now to be the latest recipient of American largesse. That largesse, of course, always provides a new source of money for the corrupt regime in power – and all Muslim states in question have corrupt regimes in power. And the more the local Muslim rulers have, thanks to American and other aid, from which to help themselves, the more outraged the populace becomes, and the more that populace turns to the only solution that can possibly make sense to a deeply Muslim population – which is to regard the corrupt rulers as “Infidels” and to demand, as a “solution” to their corruption, more, and truer, Islam.
The Michael Leiters (Columbia ’91, Harvard Law ’94, clerked for Mr. Justice Breyer) will not take the time – they have lost the habit of real study and thought, if they ever had it – to sit down and study the texts, and grasp, really grasp, those texts, and the tenets derived from them, and how they are reinforced in the minds of Muslims, and how Islam, as a collectivist faith, a Total Belief-System, is not the same as any other “religion” (as smiling George Bush appeared to think, and “religion” had saved him). It is completely different in its view of the insignificance of the individual, who is merely a “slave of Allah,” brought up in the habit of mental submission and obedience to Authority, textual and political. Leiter does not grasp the nature of Muslim apologetics, of Taqiyya and Tu Quoque, and does not ask himself what the goals of Jihad are, or why that matters. He is narrowly interested, it seems, only in that group we call Al Qaeda, when there are hundreds of Muslim groups that employ terrorism as their chosen instrument of Jihad, with many sub-groups, groupuscules, and lone individuals also capable of employing terrorism as their instrument of Jihad. He perhaps has never read the Qur’an, with a guide (so much of it is “incondite” as Carlyle said, so much is confused, so much of it requires a Guide To Understanding). I hesitate to ask if he understands what the significance of the Hadith and Sira are, or if he can list ten of the most important episodes in Muhammad’s life, or why that matters so much.
He is, in short, one more of those Victims, who thinks himself a Victor, of the dismal American educational system, that requires so little, and where one simply jumps from prestigious rock to rock, like a trained mountain goat – first from Columbia, in his case, and then to Harvard Law, until you manage to reach the summit, where there are other mountain goats, who have made the same leaps in the same rock-to-rock fashion, and now they are lazily grazing. No one wants to admit he hasn’t really been educated, and still worse, has never acquired the habit of thought and study that matters of supreme importance require. Instead, he relies on “experts.” But who are the “experts”? And what does it tell us when we rely on “terrorism experts” who dine out, for example, on having interviewed Bin Laden in a cave ten years ago, and who, in the past ten years, have given no sign of studying Islam, or grasping, for example, how trivial is Al Qaeda to the Western world compared to what is now happening in Western Europe? There the Jihad is advancing with the deployment of the Money Weapon (mainly by the sinister Saudis, with their tribal dances, all daggers and dishdashas, and their sneers of cold command), well-financed and carefully-targeted campaigns of Da’wa, and – most important – demographic conquest.
Oh, you will say. That’s not part of his, Michael Leiter’s, portfolio. He’s supposed to concentrate on the terrorist threat. He’s supposed to concentrate on Al Qaeda. He’s supposed to concentrate on the terrorist threat from a handful of “violent extremists” who are in Al Qaeda and whom we have been tracking, and will continue to track, until we get our man or men. And then we can all breath a great sigh of relief, and it will all be practically over, just as long as we keep young Muslims well supplied with money (the Muslim oil states have received more than twelve trillion dollars since 1973 alone, but it would be insulting to ask them to share in the effort – they’ve done quite enough for us, as our “staunch allies,” already). They need that money so that they won’t feel that sense of hopelessness that, of course, might lead them to become “violent extremists,” which is something Muslims who are feeling bad tend, it seems, to do.
Never mind that the deaths of Al-Zawahiri and of Bin Laden would mean little, that the running around after them is a misplaced effort, that the real theatre of the worldwide war of self-defense against Jihad is in Western Europe, and the weapons of Jihad that have proven most effective are not terrorism but–let it be repeated again and again – deployment of the Money Weapon, campaigns of Da’wa, and demographic conquest. This is all beyond the Michael-Leiters of this world, on the slopes or off.
But it is not beyond everyone. A great many people in this country have not been ignoring what each day throws up, around the world, in news of Muslim attacks on all sorts of non-Muslims, physically in Muslim lands, and attacks in other ways, attacks on the legal and political institutions, the laws and customs and social understandings and arrangements, in lands where Muslims have been allowed to settle but that are still dominated by non-Muslims. All these attacks are part of the same goal, which is to ensure that all obstacles to Islam are removed, and that everywhere Islam clearly dominates, and Muslims clearly rule.
Alumni magazines, after all, are in the business of publishing puff-pieces about alumni, to make other alumni feel good and send money now, or contact the ever-helpful Development Office which will help you have income for life now, and a great tax benefit, or possibly smilingly help walk you through the estate-tax details of being able to “remember Columbia, Yale, Harvard, Princeton (your university’s name here) in your will.” So it was no surprise – it was probably a Command Performance – for “Columbia” to publish a piece on Michael Leiter that did not take issue with his nonsense. But among the infuriated alumni who did read what Leiter had to say, was Dr. Harold Reisman, of Carlsbad, California, who was prompted to write a letter taking issue. Here’s an excerpt:
Mr. Leiter, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, was interviewed (Summer, 2009). He must have read the Qur’an, Hadith and Sira and knows that vast tracts of the foundational religious texts of Islam concern the dar al-harb, attacks on kafirs, the need for war, rules of war, methods of warfare, dealing with male and female captives, slavery, treatment of subjugated peoples and division of the spoils. Words and aggressive acts of Mohammed account for over 80 percent of the doctrine of Islam. Just how did Islam expand so far and so fast within two centuries of its founding? Yet Mr. Leiter states that Al-Qaeda is “. . . completely perverting a wonderful, peaceful religion…” I suppose it is de rigueur for current government officials to consider Islam a religion of peace. But why, I wonder, do we have to be repeatedly reminded of this counterfactual belief over and over again?
Now who would you rather have in charge – not merely “taking a leadership role” – of the security of our transportation system? Would you choose Michael Leiter, Columbia ’91 and Harvard Law ’95, his background concolorous with that of so many of the Bright Young Things in the Obama Administration who have Gone To Washington to Help Their Country, and who still think about Islam, apparently, what one another thinks? Or would you agree with me, and would you feel a lot safer if someone else were chosen to replace Leiter, someone who grasped the nature of Islam without which no effective measures against Muslim terrorism, or other forms of Jihad, can be taken — someone say, such as Dr. Harold Reisman, of Carlsbad, California?