Charles Krauthammer used his Wasington Post column last week to address the Obama administration's refusal to identify those with whom we are at war - what should be step one if we are to engage in and win the war on terror. This from Mr. Krauthammer:
The Fort Hood shooter, the Christmas Day bomber, the Times Square attacker. On May 13, the following exchange occurred at a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee:
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.): Do you feel that these individuals might have been incited to take the actions that they did because of radical Islam?
Attorney General Eric Holder: There are a variety of reasons why I think people have taken these actions. . . .
Smith: Okay, but radical Islam could have been one of the reasons?
Holder: There are a variety of reasons why people --
Smith: But was radical Islam one of them?
Holder: There are a variety of reasons why people do these things. Some of them are potentially religious-based.
Potentially, mind you. This went on until the questioner gave up in exasperation.
A similar question arose last week in U.S. District Court when Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square attacker, pleaded guilty. Explained Shahzad:
"One has to understand where I'm coming from . . . I consider myself a mujahid, a Muslim soldier."
Well, that is clarifying. As was the self-printed business card of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter, identifying himself as SoA: Soldier of Allah.
Holder's avoidance of the obvious continues the absurd and embarrassing refusal of the Obama administration to acknowledge who out there is trying to kill Americans and why. In fact, it has banned from its official vocabulary the terms jihadist, Islamist and Islamic terrorism.
Instead, President Obama's National Security Strategy insists on calling the enemy -- how else do you define those seeking your destruction? -- "a loose network of violent extremists." But this is utterly meaningless. This is not an anger-management therapy group gone rogue. These are people professing a powerful ideology rooted in a radical interpretation of Islam, in whose name they propagandize, proselytize, terrorize and kill.
Why is this important? Because the first rule of war is to know your enemy. If you don't, you wander into intellectual cul-de-sacs and ignore the real causes that might allow you to prevent recurrences. . . .
I am glad to see a major columnist finally address this issue. It is simply amazing to me that in the U.S., nine years after 9-11, we still have our government pretending that Islam generally is unrelated to terrorism, let alone the real facts, that it is Wahhabi/Salafi Islam and the sects it has heavilly influenced, including Khomei Shia'ism, that are the driving forces behind Islamic terrorism. I have been driving this point home for years, including most recently in National Security At The End Of Obama's First Year:
The physical war on terror is necessary to stop the immediate attacks. But it is in the war of ideas that the true battle lies, for if we do not stop the radicalization of Muslims, then the war on terror will never end. . . .
The threshold issue in the war of ideas is to identify who, as a group, constitutes “radicalized Muslims.” Islam, like Christianity, is subdivided into numerous different sects, many of which, such as Sufi for example, are peaceful and counsel coexistence. Individually, there are hundreds of millions of Muslims in the world, most of whom would make good citizens, good friends, good neighbors and good family members in the West. Only a portion of them become “radicalized” whether as members of al Qaeda or some of the other radical Islamic groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, the Taliban, and Jamat-I-Islami to name but a few. Those who belong to these groups do in fact share a common thread – virtually all are adherents to the Salafi/Wahhabi school of Islam or a school, such as Deobandi, that has been heavily influenced in all relevant respects by Salafism. . . .
. . . In the war of ideas, one of the most important steps that Obama could take would be to publicly shine a light on Salafism, both as the feeder for radical Islam and for the barbarity of some of its dogma. That would go very far to starting the type of discussion that could actually bring some semblance of evolution and peaceful change to Salafism. Ignoring Salafism - which, according to ex-CIA agent Bob Baer we have done ever since the 1970's when the Saudi's first began to buy influence in the American body politic - allows it to metastasize in the dark. And it is metastasizing at rapid speed today on the back of Saudi petrodollars. That is a recipe for disaster.
This is a critical issue that will mean losses in American blood and gold until we begin to engage in the war of ideas. The tack taken by the Obama administration is 180 degrees of wrong.