Confronting Islamic Extremism

 In 1992, Democratic strategist James Carville coined the phrase “It’s the Economy, Stupid” during the Clinton presidential campaign as an internal means of keeping the team on political message.  Twenty two years later, as the world faces increasing threats from Islamic extremists, Americans have been effectively silenced by social pressure to be politically correct and the fear of being labeled “racist.”  Today, political officials have shied away from calling out the duck even though they hear it quacking.  Compounding the problem, the American people do not have the stomach to fight what General John Abizaid, former Commander, U.S. Central Command, characterized as “the long war.”  According to a February 2006 Washington Post article, General Abizaid “invoked the phrase to underscore the long-term challenge posed by al Qaeda and other Islamic extremist groups.”  The weak behavior by the U.S. political machine is a clear signal that our words are empty.  This serves only to embolden the actions of those who wish us harm.  In my last article titled the “Betrayal of Trust,” I pointed out that the State Department does not have a viable foreign policy that is synchronized with our long-term national security strategy.  All one has to do is look at all of the Middle East (ME) countries in turmoil to question the basis of this administration’s “Arab Spring” initiative.  This administration has fanned the flames of extremism and then protested that it did not know what was occurring.  We have no business “nation building” in the ME because we do not understand the culture, the ethnic diversity, and the deeply-rooted sectarian hatred.  We are meddling in affairs that are best addressed by sovereign nations and their citizens.  Until we acknowledge that the “long war” is about religion, we will never understand our adversary, their psyche, their motivation, and how we can defeat them.  For God’s sake, it’s about religion, stupid!

As a man of faith, let me be clear up front that I am not suggesting nor would I support religious restrictions or a war on Islam or any other religion.  However, we have continued to use the standard “frontal attack” kinetic tactics against Al Qaeda (AQ) in the “global war on terrorism” as if we were fighting a conventional military.  AQ can predict our every move.  We fail to know our enemy and we fail to acknowledge the long term goals of Jihad.  Terrorists are laughing at our stupidity and they are emboldened by our buffoonery.  They know that time is on their side.

Between the years 2003-2011, we spent a trillion dollars and most importantly, lost many brave men and women while propping up a corrupt puppet government in Iraq—a government that went back to its sectarian ways as soon as we departed.  It was not a surprise when Iraqi soldiers cut and ran when put to the test.  Iraqi culture does not support the idea of nationalism.  Paradoxically, the U.S. government was nothing short of naïve and arrogant when it complained that it got “stiffed” on its return on investment.  When asked to comment about the recent combined poll [NBC, WSJ & Fox News] reflecting that 58% of the American people disagreed with the U.S. Foreign Policy, while only 36% agreed, Secretary of State Kerry demonstrated willful blindness when he quipped that he “never pays attention to polls.”  The take away from the secretary’s statement is clear; no one in the State Department is paying attention.

The advancements in technology and transportation assets that now enable a user to reach anyone anywhere in the world has brought with it many benefits.  However, with such advancements in the hands of individuals who bring a dark, hateful, and deadly portfolio, those same advancements also provide opportunities for the dissemination of dangerous manifestos.  This is the exactly the case with AQ and their associate groups, all of whom pervert Islam in the name of religion.  The death and destruction they have brought to the world in the name of God and religion is simply evil.  So many Americans have been the victims of these barbaric mass murder attacks in the name of Islam.  Why do we not demand more action from our elected leaders and those in the Muslim community?

The American people are paralyzed by the political correctness movement sweeping the country and by our government’s failure to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.  By failing to ensure our safety, elected officials have forsworn the oath of office.  By verbally attacking the citizenry, elected officials have betrayed the trust of those whom they were elected to serve.  The American people are facing a tenuous future with the growing possibility of another terrorist attack fueled by a perverted religious ideology.  “Tolerance,” elected officials say.  “Tolerance and accommodation.”

The U.S. Constitution grants all American citizens the freedom of religion.  Whether or not a citizen decides to exercise this right of practice is an individual choice.  That is the beauty of democracy and being a free nation.  But those whom we’re supposed to tolerate and accommodate are attacking us.  These are the same people who commit atrocities against children because of their religious beliefs, and who endorse human slavery and trafficking of children.  These are the same people who murder civilians en masse for the purpose of ethnic cleansing, and who institute sharia law against women.  These are the same people who execute and then crucify those who refuse to renounce their faith and adopt Islam.  How can any reasonable person deny that our fight is about religion?

The world today is a very dangerous place.  Even as I write this, Iraq is quickly falling apart and into the hands of terrorists who call themselves the Islamic State of Iraq & Syria (ISIS).  Concurrent with this ongoing terrorist siege of a sovereign nation, the United States has adopted the position that it will not get involved in a “civil war” by siding with the Shiite-led government as Iran has done.  I agree that we should not defend the sovereign country of Iraq.  However, we and other free nations have an obligation to take a stand against terrorism and religious extremism regardless of where they are.   I just hope we are not too late, not only for ourselves, but for the world.

The United States and the rest of the free world should reengage in the “long war,” and end the special protected status and accommodations for those who wage, support, or sponsor terrorism in the name of Islam.  For too long we have allowed countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other nations on the African continent to bully us because we have become weak.  We have surrendered our national dignity in exchange for oil and billions of dollars in foreign military sales, while giving these same countries millions of dollars in foreign aid.  For this, as Rodney Dangerfield quipped, “we get no respect.”  I pose the following question, the answer to which is glaringly obvious:  What do terrorist organizations like Boko Haram, AQ, ISIS, Hamas and Ansar al-Sharia all have in common?

Whether we do it now on our terms, or whether we are forced to confront Islamic terrorists on their terms, it will be about religion.  For these religious terrorists who are soldiers for Islam and who have sworn Jihad against “non-believers,” the fight will go on for a lifetime.  The question that we in the free world have to ask ourselves is: Are we committed to fight for our freedom and the freedom of others against this force of evil and perversion of religion? Or, are we like Eric Bolling, the Fox Network host from “The Five” who believes we should not strike them [the terrorists] unless they strike us?  Sorry Eric, the “Neville Chamberlain” appeasement approach never works with terrorists.

General Abizaid had it right.  Unfortunately, politicians only paid him lip service when he said it would be a “long war.”   This fight is going to be the fight of all fights.  It will test our courage, commitment, and democratic principles.  It will be a hard battle to win, but we will win.  As the saying goes, freedom isn’t free, and we cannot forget those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the pursuit of liberty, freedom, and democracy.  After all, it’s about religion, stupid!