Going to war against a Movement
I wrote some thoughts down, posted them on my Facebook page and wrote a truncated version to the Orlando Sentinel, which was printed as a letter to the editor. So, here are some further ramblings.
9/11 was a tragedy. We have had a few in our history. The greatest war toll of American dead happened within our own borders between 1861-1865. Dec. 7th, 1941 was a tragedy. We went to war against two sovereign nations: Japan and Germany. We won. They both are functioning democracies today.
You cannot go to war against a Movement. A Movement has no borders, no nationality. A Movement starts from within. A Religious Movement is the most dangerous and the most difficult to control.
The world is expending blood and treasure to try to stifle Al Queda, ISIS and their offshoots. They do not need territory to operate. All they need is six or eight talented geeks in a room somewhere and the Internet. They just have to “radicalize” a dozen disenchanted, angry individuals in any given country and you’ve got a Paris, a Brussels, a New Jersey, a Manhattan.
We watched the two Libertarian candidates on TV the other night. You know, they made some sense. Among other things they want to do in shrinking government is to eliminate the Department of Homeland Security. “Look,” they said. “We’ve got the FBI—some of the finest trained police forces in history. Why do we need these guys?”
Well, think about it. Did Homeland get the New York, New Jersey bomber? No—it was good police work. With all the billions we have spent to destroy this Movement, with all the blood and treasure we have expended in a 1200-year-old war that does not threaten our homeland—how many “victims of terror” have been killed in the U.S. since 9/11? Ninety four. That includes San Bernardino and Orlando. That is 6.2 per year. Chicago or even Orlando should have it so good.
The sound of a paper bag popping in a U.S. Mall can send shoppers screaming to the exits. This means the Movement is somewhat successful. Israel seems to know how to handle the problem. The Movement in Israel is perpetrated by Arab schools in their textbooks, in their mosques and in their social media. It is championed by their so-called government in Ramallah. Yet, when the Arabs of Israel, including the West Bank, are polled as to where they would rather live in a Two State scenario—over 80 percent say Israel. Looks like the ISIS philosophy is not working so well there.
Eventually we will have to put some sense in our policies and strategies. We are still building nuclear submarines with 200 nuclear missiles onboard. If each of these ships were a nation they would be a nuclear power. A tank plant in Lima, Ohio, continues to build tanks the army does not want, but it provides jobs for the congressman’s constituents. Are we planning a war against Russia? Then say so. ISIS and all of Islamic Terror is a different problem.
In its earliest centuries, the Jews had slaves and stoned people to death. We grew out of that. The Christians burned people at the stake, slaughtered entire Jewish towns on their way to kill Arabs in Jerusalem. They too grew up. Islam is 1200 years younger than Christianity. They too will grow up. I don’t believe we have time to wait.
You don’t stop the Movement by banning people from immigrating to the United States. The New Jersey bomber was eight years old when he came here. The Orlando Killer was born in Queens, New York (same as Donald J. Trump).
The best shot, however slim, is the reformation of Islam. In 1979 a bunch of radical Islamists took over the Kabba, the holiest place in Mecca. It took French Commandoes to get them out. The Saudis then made a deal with the attackers. “We will finance your Madrasses to preach your deadly philosophy anywhere in the world. Just leave us alone.”
And they did. The result has been the radicalization of most of the Islamist world and their exported offshoots around the rest of the world.
If we are looking to stop this Movement; if we have any chance at all, it is in stopping the Saudis—as the New York Times calls them, “Both the firemen and the arsonists of this philosophy.” That’s because now, it has come back to bite them with a war in Yemen where fellow Sunnis are attacking The Kingdom.
So, there is a chance. But time is short. We have to have better intelligence and more sophisticated cyber capabilities. And we cannot do the job without the support of moderate Islam. Silence on their part is not an option. As it turns out, it’s everybody’s war.