Skip to comments.Discussing Islam: A Religious Taboo : We can kill our enemies but can't discuss their beliefs.
Posted on 01/24/2013 6:36:46 AM PST by SeekAndFind
Can we at least agree that reports of al-Qaedas death have been greatly exaggerated? Youll recall that Peter Bergen, a director at the New America Foundation and the national-security analyst for CNN, began pronouncing AQ dead last summer. At the Aspen Institute, he even gave a speech titled Time to Declare Victory: Al Qaeda Is Defeated. He defended this thesis repeatedly, including in a debate with me on Wolf Blitzers show on CNN.
President Obama has not gone quite that far. Prior to the election, in stump speeches round the country, he said al-Qaeda had been decimated. And even in his inaugural address this week he claimed that a decade of war is now ending. (He also spoke of peace in our time a phrase made infamous by British prime minister Neville Chamberlain at Munich in 1938. Is it possible Obama did not know that? Worse, is it possible that he did?)
The evidence that AQ is alive and lethal is abundant. To cite just a few examples: the French ground war in Mali against AQIM (al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb) and associated forces, the hostage-taking in Algeria by self-proclaimed jihadists closely linked to AQ, the surge of AQ-connected fighters in Syria, and, of course, the 9/11/12 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi by AQ-affiliated groups.
I do not stress this to disparage anyone. Nor do I intend to pat on the back those of us who have maintained that AQ and other jihadist groups are neither dead nor dying but rather evolving in ways that merit both study and concern. Serious analysts sometimes arrive at wrong conclusions. But serious analysts acknowledge their errors, attempt to determine what data or misassumptions led them astray, and work to reshape their narrative in conformance with reality. Serious analysts are acutely aware that no strategic mistake is more dangerous than telling yourself you are winning when you are not.
Last weekend, I spoke with someone Ill identify only as a senior American military official. It required no prompting from me for him to express his frustration over top officials in the Obama administrations continuing to insist that the global conflict is receding. Challenging that notion is difficult because within the administration it is forbidden to speak or write openly about the ideology of those fighting us. To do so, the official said, would be inflammatory, requiring discussion of the role of fundamentalist Islamic theology. In a sense the literal sense what we have here is a religious taboo.
The irony is glaring: American officials can kill our enemies (mostly with drones). They just cant analyze, criticize, or challenge the beliefs that motivate them. Fighting a kinetic war is permitted, but waging a cognitive war is prohibited. If we are to avoid defeat, we need to be fighting both.
Closely related to the AQ is dead thesis is the Muslim Brotherhood is moderate thesis. The most recent contradictory evidence: videos of Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi three years ago, when he was a leader of the MB, urging parents to nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred for them, for Zionists, for Jews. The hatred must go on for God and as a form of worshipping him. In addition, he called Jews and Israelis the descendants of apes and pigs.
Here in Israel, where Im spending a few days reporting, few people were surprised by those remarks. And, to be fair, vicious and even genocidal Jew-hatred has echoed throughout the Middle East at least since World War II, when Arab lands were barraged by Nazi propaganda (as meticulously documented by historian Jeffrey Herf) and within secular as much as Islamist regimes. That fact, however, can hardly be reassuring.
Among the reasons for Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahus (narrow) reelection victory this week: A majority of Israelis have come to the conclusion that at this moment no Palestinian who wields power is willing to negotiate with them, much less make peace with them. That situation will not change as long as so many Arabs and Muslims deny Israelis both their history (Israelis are, unquestionably, living in a part of their ancient homeland) and their humanity (which is what is intended when Morsi talks of apes and pigs).
Perhaps youll object that Morsi has not broken Egypts peace treaty with Israel and that he helped broker a ceasefire in the most recent battle between Hamas and Israel. I would respond: Morsi is not stupid. He is not prepared to win a war against Israel today or tomorrow. He is desperately in need of financial aid from the U.S. He is putting his interests ahead of his values for now.
At the same time, hes working to reconcile Hamas and Fatah, the factions that rule Gaza and the West Bank respectively, and to create a united Palestinian government. Hamas, of course, is committed to the elimination of Israel and to the elimination of as many Israelis as possible. Hamas is not planning to moderate that position. On the contrary, it expects Palestinian president and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas to more openly support resistance, which means the use of terrorism and other violent means to weaken and eventually annihilate Israel. (Abbas recently told a Lebanese television station that before World War II, the Nazis and the Zionists collaborated.)
Can we at least agree that reports of the death of the peace process have not been exaggerated and that Israelis constructing apartment buildings in and around Jerusalem, their capital, is not the reason why?
Clifford D. May is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on national security.
Will read later
OBL was a good muslim and he followed the writings of the koran to the letter.
There are millions of OBL out there.
And they read (or have it read to them) the koran (and hadith) and believe it is the word of god.
And they will follow that word as they believe they are doing god’s work.
There is only one way to deal with a fanatic who thinks they are following god’s word as they rape your daughters and enslave your sons and blow up your buildings.
Just what Barack Obama declared at the United Nations in September of 2011.
It’s not a religion. It’s a world-domination ideology cleverly disguised as a religion. Anyone who belongs to a group that believes in supremacy and murder, such as Nazism, must be expelled from this country.
I assumed then that al-Qaedas reported death was part of the state-controlled media’s campaign to keep Obama in power. My view has not changed.
Ideologies easily become religion to the masses. Communism is a religion not just a political ideology. Your beliefs ( or non belief in some cases) and your set of values by which you live is your religion.
RE: Anyone who belongs to a group that believes in supremacy and murder, such as Nazism, must be expelled from this country
The Islamists and their supporters living in the USA are clever in doing the following to exploit our tolerance:
1) Make people believe that they are a religion of peace ( Heck, even GW Bush fell for it ).
2) Hide behind the First Amendment.
AQ was very much declared “dead” until first a certain Bengazzi and an Algeria took place.