In “Why Are They at War With Us?” in Human Events, January 12, Pat Buchanan agrees with Barack Obama (although they are working, of course, from vastly different premises) that the global jihad is all the result of American actions, and that therefore changes to American foreign policies can end it. Buchanan ignores the Islamic imperative to wage jihad warfare against Infidels regardless of what those Infidels are doing or not doing.
Buchanan quotes Osama bin Laden’s explanation of why the jihadists are at war, but he does so from the standpoint of an ignorance of Islamic theology that assumes that bin Laden is stating the entire case here:
[…] Why is al Qaeda at war with us? What is its motivation?
It was Osama bin Laden himself, in his declaration of war in 1998, published in London, who gave al Qaeda’s reasons for war:
First, the U.S. military presence on the sacred soil of Saudi Arabia. Second, U.S. sanctions causing terrible suffering among the Iraqi people. Third, U.S. support for Israel’s dispossession of the Palestinians. “All these crimes and sins committed by the Americans are a clear declaration of war on God, his Messenger and Muslims,” said Osama.
He began his fatwa quoting the Koran: “But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them, seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem of war.”
To Osama, we started the war. Muslims, the ulema, must fight because America, with her “brutal crusade occupation of the (Arabian) Peninsula” and support for “the Jews’ petty state” and “occupation of Jerusalem and murder of Muslims there” was waging war upon the Islamic world.
Terrorism, the direct killing of civilians for political ends, is al Qaeda’s unconventional tactic, but its war aims are quite conventional.
Al Qaeda is fighting a religious war against apostates and pagans in their midst, a civil war against collaborators of the Crusaders and an anti-colonial war to drive us out of the Dar al-Islam. On Sept. 11, they were over here — because we are over there.
Buchanan seems to assume that they would not then be “over here” if we were not “over there.” This of course ignores the fact that the Qur’an directs Muslims to continue to wage war against Infidels not just “until persecution is no more,” but until “religion is all for Allah” (Qur’an 8:39). As the influential Pakistani jihad theorist Maulana Maududi put it, “the pupose for which the Muslims are requird to fight is…to put an end to the suzerainty of the unbelievers so that the latter are unable to rule over people. The authority to rule should only be vested in those who follow the True Faith.”
This is a far cry from “they were over here — because we are over there.” But Buchanan knows nothing of this Islamic imperative, and imagines that it does not exist.
Nothing justifies the massacre of Sept. 11. But these are the political goals behind the 9/11 attack, and this is why Islamists fare well in elections in the Middle East. Tens of millions of Muslims, who may despise terrorism, identify with the causes for which Osama declared war — liberation of Muslim peoples from pro-American autocrats and Israeli occupiers.
Here again is another manifestation of what’s wrong with the idea that “terrorism” as such is the problem. Buchanan has no idea how many of those “tens of millions of Muslims” who “despise terrorism” simply see it as tactically wrong, but have no problem with Islamic supremacism and the subjugation of Infidels under Sharia. But he clearly has no idea, once again, that such things even exist.
Americans are being killed for the reasons Osama said we should be killed — not because of who we are, but because of where we are and what we do….
Flatly wrong. Americans, and Copts in Egypt, and Nigerian Christians, and Buddhists in Thailand, and Hindus in Kashmir are being killed because they are kuffar, as per the Qur’anic imperative to convert, subjugate or kill the People of the Book (9:29) and convert or kill the pagans (9:5, 4:89, etc.).
Like Europe’s Thirty Years’ War — among Germans, French, Czechs, Dutch, Danes, Swedes, Scots and English, Catholics and Protestants, kings, princes and emperors — the Muslim world is roiled by conflicts between pro-Western autocrats and Islamic militants, Sunni and Shia, modernists and obscurantists, nationalities, tribes and clans. The outcome of these wars, the future of their lands — is that not their business, and not ours?
The Muslims stayed out of our Thirty Years’ War. Perhaps we would do well to get out of theirs. But as long as we take sides in their wars, those we fight and kill over there will come to kill us over here.
This is payback for our intervention. This is the price of empire. This is the cost of the long war.
Buchanan manifests an all too common ignorance. This is the fruit of not knowing or caring, or understanding the relevance of, the contents of the Qur’an and Sunnah. Unfortunately, the jihadis know very well what those sources say.