This War Started With Strategic Blunders - Part One
In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, it became clear that the symbolic carnage inflicted on a prominent part of the US's economic powerhouse, the gaping hole inflicted in the heart of the US military and the attempted strike at the head of the US Government were unprecedented in scale and effect.
President George W. Bush responded to a reporter's question on 16 September 2001, with the following:
We need to go back to work tomorrow and we will. But we need to be alert to the fact that these evil-doers still exist. We haven't seen this kind of barbarism in a long period of time. No one could have conceivably imagined suicide bombers burrowing into our society and then emerging all in the same day to fly their aircraft - fly U.S. aircraft into buildings full of innocent people - and show no remorse. This is a new kind of -- a new kind of evil. And we understand. And the American people are beginning to understand. This crusade, this war on terrorism is going to take a while. And the American people must be patient. I'm going to be patient.
"We haven't seen this kind of barbarism in a long period of time." Now what is the President referring to?
"This crusade, this war on terrorism is going to take a while..." What was the President alluding to?
"And the American people must be patient..." Have they been?
Nearly five years on, after experiencing many visibile and invisible changes to our lives, many billions of dollars later, a disasterous war later, several key dead or captured "terrorists" later, the wings of "terror" are spreading further and deeper.
We have a "terrorist" army at Israel's doorstep lobbing Katyushas and Zilzals into populated towns. We have had "youths" rioting in the streets of Paris. We have seen French "youths" torture a French Jew for days in a Parisian apartment without any neighbours coming to his aid. We have had a filmmaker almost beheaded in broad daylight in the streets of Amsterdam with a knife impaled in his chest by a "mentally deranged" man. We have seen pack rapes of young women of European descent by educated "youths". We have seen the murder/attempted murder of a married couple on the streets of Copenhagen, Denmark, by relatives of the couple for marrying without their consent. We have seen the attempted lynching of an Afghan "apostate" whose misdemeanor was to love the loveable teacher named Jesus. We have seen Danish residents ferment hatred, violence and destruction in foreign lands for cartoons published in a Danish newspaper. We have seen "terrorist" sympathisers march on the streets of the USA and UK calling the destruction of their own country. We have seen men of British descent decide that murdering hundreds of their own countrymen is righteous. We have seen Americans grow beards and fight soldiers from their own country on foreign soil.
The "War on Terror" has to date been executed with an enormous regard for the sensitivities of those most able to end the war but most unwilling to do so. This has been the greatest strategic blunder. We have Islamic leaders, scholars and adherents residing in the West who are unwilling to speak out against the treachery of some. Yet, we remain silent too. We do not demand that they stand up and be counted. We do not demand that they speak out as "moderates" against the "extremists" because to do so would not be nuanced.
But we compound this strategic error by inhibiting the ability to counter it. We silence those who have taught us about the Islamic tactics of taqqiya, Dar-al-Harb vs. Dar-al-Islam, hudna et al. by calling them "Islamophobes". These ad-hominem responses to critique are the degenerate children of the blaze of post-modernism that swept through our societies in the later 1900s. We have lost the ability to reason, consider and learn from history. Moreover, we blame ourselves, our own cultures and ideologies for the pain and suffering that blight the non-Western world.
Malcolm Muggeridge described this condition quite poignantly:
It is difficult to resist the conclusion that 20th century man has decided to abolish himself, tired of the struggle to be himself, he has created boredom out of his own affluence, impotence out of his own erotomania and vulnerability out of his own strength. He himself blows the trumpet that brings the walls of his own cities crashing down, until at last having educated himself into imbecility, having drugged and polluted himself into stupefaction he keels over a weary old brontosaurus and becomes extinct...
This is an ominous prophecy. Are we going to wake up before the barbarians sack our civilisation?
In short, as Mark Steyn puts it,
Absent a determination to throttle the ideology, we're about to witness the unraveling of the world.