Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The War on Terror Is Just Beginning

Barack Obama says that the war on terror is over. David Goldman replies that it is just beginning.

Thus far, Goldman has a far better record analyzing the situation in the Muslim world, so we do well to take his view seriously.

Here, Goldman describes the situation that Obama believes is not fraught with danger:

The collapse of Middle Eastern states from Libya to Afghanistan vastly increases the terrorist recruitment pool, while severely restricting the ability of American intelligence services to monitor and interdict the terrorists. In addition, it intensifies the despair that motivates Muslims like the Tsarnaev brothers or Michael Adebolajo to perpetrate acts of terrorism. That makes President Obama’s declaration that America is winding down the “war on terror”–a misnomer to begin with–the worst decision by an American commander-in-chief since the Buchanan administration, perhaps ever.

He continues:

Syria’s crack-up is at the top of the agenda, but the breakdown of putative nation-states extends across nearly all of the Muslim world. As Amos Harel reported in the Tablet symposium, the prime minister of Libya “has to cross checkpoints manned by five different militias, on his way home from office.”  In place of regular armies controlled by dictators, Libya is crisscrossed by ethnic and sectarian militias (including the one that murdered our ambassador last September). Egypt is on the brink of economic collapse and state failure; Iraq is in the midst of a low-intensity sectarian war; Syria’s civil war already is being fought out in Lebanon; and Turkey’s border has become unstable.

A vast number of young men have been drawn into irregular combat. Syria has become the cockpit of a Sunni-Shi’ite war, with Turkey and the Gulf states funneling money and jihadists into Syria while Iran sends Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah irregulars to the aid of the Assad regime. The young men of Libya already are mobilized into militias; Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood cells and Salafists and football mobs are not yet armed, but are organized. Iraq’s sectarians are armed to the teeth, in part thanks to American funding of the “Sunni Awakening” during the 2007-2008 surge. Very large numbers of young men are ready to fight to the death, while the breakup of the fragile civilian society of these countries draws more and more of them into the maelstrom. Terrorism has become a way of life in Syria, where both sides instigate atrocities, in part to intimidate their opponents and in part to bind their own fighters to the cause by making them complicit in such crimes.

Finally, Goldman emphasizes a point that I have often made on this blog. A civilization that has shown itself incapable of building will assert its false pride by destroying what others have built:

Radicalized Muslims must now contemplate the ruin of their civilization from Tripoli to Kabul. Millions of Syrians are displaced and have no homes to go back to. Millions of Egyptians are hungry. Not only the suffering, but the humiliation of the national ruin of Egypt and Syria leave radical Muslims with little to hope for. The motivation to take as much of the world down with them has mushroomed in the context of state failure.

By his analysis, the end of the war on terror is nowhere in sight.


Lastango said...

A couple of points. First, there is no actual "War on Terror", and there never has been. That's a major reason why the potential still exists for mass-scale terror: we continue to refuse to fight to win.

Second, I agree we are indeed just at the beginning of a new terror threat, but for a reason I don't see mentioned anywhere -- our capitulation, most recently in the form of helping depose the regimes in Libya and Egypt. Our government, together with the Europeans, made a cynical choice to back radical Islamists across the Mideast because we perceive them to be the ultimate winners. So we gave them Libya and Egypt to rule. We think we are currying favor. They think we bowed the knee. The Islamists are correct; and perceive us as having paid the dhimmi tax.

Nothing invites attack like open displays of fear and weakness. When we threw our support behind our enemies, we invited them to come kill us. That's why there's plenty more terror to come.

Soviet of Washington said...

Readers may do well to ponder this article by Spengler from 2006 discussing the subject of how many Islamists must be killed to achieve a lasting piece as part of a review of Angelo Codevilla's work.

Personally, I think this will not be sufficient. I agree with Lastango that there will need to be some partial resolution of the 'civil war' within the West as well, since much of the potentency of the Islamist challenge derives from the fecklessness of the current Western elites.

Anonymous said...

Lastsgo: Spot on, my friend. Bravo. We did bow on knee.

Why? We haven't the faintest clue what Islam is all about, let alone what happens when in the hands of radicalized fundamentalists. It is a blunt weapon. There is no room for the niceties of theological disussion or the kumbaya of religious pluralism. I refer anyone to the writings of Bernard Lewis, the West's foremost scholar on Islam. He is most generous to the faith, and the implications are not heartwarming.

"Christian" means someone who follows Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ. Essentially, Jesus preached love. Christians believe Jesus came as God for the fulfillment of the Covenant with Israel. He freed the world from the vacant following of the Judaic Law. He became the New Covenant. This brings freedom to those who believe in Him. It creates a personal relationship with God. That's what Christianity says.

"Muslim" is an adherent to Islam. Islam literally means "submission." Submission to the will of Allah as outlined in the Koran, as transmitted to Mohammed by the angel Gabriel. Sharia is the expanded societal application of that will. It is not negotiable. The concept of justice is distinct, and can be quite brutal to Western eyes. Again, please remember one word: submission. Sharia is imposed. Most Muslims are not fanatical. Iran used to be a fairily liberalized Islamic country.

And please don't buy into this appeasement nonsense portraying Jews and Christians as "People of the Book" and Jesus as Mohammed's first-draft-pick prophet. Those are minor details. It's about submission, and your agreement to that kind of conversion experience may be irrelevant. Infidels don't fare we'll under Sharia. Ask Christian missionaries in the Middle East.

Western Christendom has fallen under the spell of relativism and nihilism. Our decadence is a symptom. After 9/11 there were magazine covers and non-conversations about "Why do they hate us?" Oh, let us count the ways. Pick any relevant Western disagreement about social policy, and that's a good start. We're more than just your average infidels...

The Islamists do not believe in relativism. Theirs is the way of absolutes. One of those absolutes is that you will submit. Good luck negotiating with people like that, meat cleaver in blood-soaked hands. And this London guy is a convert, born andraised in Britain by Nigerian Christian parents.

Our society's present culture and values are no match for such people. In fact, our civilization is a visible sign of weakness to the Islamist, like surrender was to the WW2 Japanese. Please note that the British butcher WAITED for police to come, and had time to make Islamist terror speeches to a few bystanders with camera phones.

We are not ready for this war. After all, what have we learned? What would the self-congratulatory nihilist politicians, academics, journalists and activists suggest we do? They have no answer and instead cue-up the latest divisive domestic policy distraction. The war will begin on Islamist terms, and we in the West will see if we still have the fortitude to effectively defend ourselves and stand for our civilization.