The Definition of War

The president it seems has a problem with definitions.  If Dan Quayle was ostracized from political life for misspelling the word potato, then it would be an exercise in intellectual dishonesty to give a commander in chief a pass for not understanding the definition of the word “war”.

            Quoting the president’s speech during 9/11 ceremonies at the Pentagon, President Obama said, “As Americans, we are not and never will be at war with Islam.”

            This word was used as a noun by the president and more specifically as a condition, a state of being or place. War, as defined by dictionary.com in this context (second entry) is defined as such:  “A state or period of armed hostility or active military operations”.  This statement does not require both parties to acknowledge a state of war in order for it to be real.  Denial does not make this war less real.  Just because we haven’t officially declared it, doesn’t mean that state does not exist.

 The vast majority of the Muslim world holds the United States in great disdain.  This is not by happenstance.  This is learned behavior.  Friday prayers throughout the eastern world are strewn with chants of “Death to America”.  Effigies of American Presidents are burned daily throughout the Middle East to the cheering of large crowds.  From sermons, to the official policies in foreign nations, the religious and political leaders of the Muslim world instill the notion that Islam is at war with the United States.  The evidence of this war is easily visible.  Now among the violence in Egypt and Tunisia, The Muslim Brotherhood has stated they will unseat any leader allied with the United States

Starting with the first bombing of the World Trade Center in Feb of 1993 and the killing of U.S Soldiers in Somalia in October of that same year to the bombing of the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in August of 1998, the pre-established acts of war were already present.  Later in October of 2000, the USS Cole was bombed while docked in Yemen.  Then, as if the United States wasn’t listening, September 11, 2001, 4 planes were hijacked in an attempt to land a lasting strike against America. 3 of those planes succeeded.  Although no major attack has successfully touched U.S. soil since by agents of Al Qaeda, other men acting under the authority of Islam have succeeded.  The most notable was the attack on November 9, 2009 at Fort Hood, Texas by an American Muslim soldier, killing 12 other service members.

These acts of war are not all trained terrorist actions.  Churches, Bibles and American Flags are destroyed or confiscated in many Muslim nations daily.  American products are considered contraband and can only be found on the black market.  Price gouging or full export embargos from Muslim nations in Africa, Asia and the Middle East on products like energy, exotic spices and foods to textiles to manufactured goods are all designed to weaken the country they label the Great Satan.

Attempting to lift the spirits of the nation during his 9/11 speech President Obama went on to say, “We will not let the acts of some small band of murderers who slaughter the innocent and cower in caves distort who we are.  They dotted our will but as Americans, we persevere.”  Although the definitive acts of terrorism were carried out by only a small few, the hate, money and rhetoric that fueled it are is widespread throughout the eastern Muslim world.

The fact of the matter is these acts have left deep scars on the nation both at home and in our world reputation.  The spiraling economy can easily be traced to the airline shutdown that occurred after 9/11 and from the change in government spending and security that followed.  Additionally, the loss of 3000 people on 9/11 now is only a small part of the actual death toll that includes the death of 4400 American service members in Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention the death of scores of innocent Iraqi and Afghan citizens.  Each American death is considered a victory and each Muslim death a martyrdom that are used daily to tarnish the image of America in Mosques throughout the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

All the while, the president does not acknowledge we are at war.  It is not a war as we traditionally know it, but whether or not we as Americans declare we are at war or not doesn’t change the facts.  There are those in Islam, many in fact, that consider themselves at war with America and it is the people of Islam who are being pitted against America by their leaders.

The real casualties of this war are not the political and religious leaders of our two societies, but the people that make up the followers of Islam and the citizens of America.  The loss of commerce, culture and most importantly life that the people most affected by this conflict endure are the true casualties of this war and to not acknowledge this fact is bordering on dereliction of duty.  It is a war and it takes no great vision to see that.

If I were advising the President, there would be only one way to tackle this problem and that is to stop ignoring it.  So let this article be my open advice to President Barack Obama.  Mr. President, Islam is at war with us.  It is a war of weapons, ideas and cultures.  Admit that and then take to heart the oath you swore to faithfully execute the office of the President of the United States.