Taking Our Eye Off the Jihadist Ball

Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, a Research Fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, and a Professor of Classics and Humanities at the California State University. He is the author of nine books and numerous essays on classical culture and its influence on Western Civilization. His most recent book, Democracy's Dangers and Discontents (Hoover Institution Press), is now available for purchase.


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Given our economic doldrums and the still metastasizing debt, the legislation raising the debt ceiling won’t keep the economy from dominating the nation’s attention until next year’s election. This means foreign affairs will continue to be an afterthought, at a time when dangerous developments in the Middle East and the war against jihad are happening every day.

Start with Iraq and Afghanistan. The progress made in those conflicts over the last decade remains fragile. Terrorist violence continues in both states: the most recent attacks include seven Taliban suicide bombers killing 21 civilians in relatively stable Kabul, a day after the assassination of the mayor of Kandahar, itself merely the latest in a series of murders of government officials and tribal leaders. In Iraq on the same day, explosions killed 12 soldiers in Tikrit, the site of 3 earlier assaults that left over 150 dead. This June was the deadliest month for American soldiers in two years, some of the attacks perpetrated by Shia militias trained by Iran, whose influence in Iraq is increasing. Though much reduced from previous years, this level of violence––created in part by still unresolved sectarian, tribal, and ethnic conflicts, as well as governmental dysfunction and corruption–– bodes ill for the stability of both countries once U.S. forces leave, their departure creating space within the disorder for the rebuilding of jihadist organizational infrastructure. This “pull-out fever” afflicting American citizens and politicians alike runs the risk of repeating the debacle of Vietnam, when a costly victory won on the battlefield was squandered by domestic politics and a collective failure of nerve.

Speaking of al Qaeda, the death of bin Laden and the degradation of its leadership by drone attacks in Pakistan have not put that lodestar of jihadist terror “on the run,” nor do they mean we can anytime soon “cripple al Qaeda as a threat to this country,” as newly minted Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has asserted. According to Michael Leiter, who recently stepped down as head of the National Counterterrorism Center, “the core organization is still there and could launch some attacks,” and “Pakistan remains a huge problem.” Pakistan is still a duplicitous and unreliable partner in destroying al Qaeda sanctuaries and rooting out jihadist networks, something that cannot be achieved just by drone attacks, which are hostage to Pakistani political disorder, sympathy for the jihadists, and factional interests. Moreover, the center of al Qaeda gravity has shifted to Yemen, which is disintegrating from a civil war pitting the regime of Ali Abdullah Saleh against various tribal militias and jihadist militants, including al Qaeda fighters who are gaining experience and weapons in this war. Yemen is also the hideout of one of al Qaeda’s most dangerous leaders, the American-born, tech-savvy Anwar al-Awlaki, the inspiration and mentor for the Fort Hood murderer Nadal Malik Hasan, the Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and the Times Square bomber Faisal Shazad. Though the latter two attacks failed, we should not rely on the incompetence of al Qaeda’s recruits to keep us safe forever, particularly if Yemen becomes for al Qaeda what Afghanistan was in the 1990s.

Then there is the so-called “Arab Spring,” a wish-fulfilling false analogy with 1989 that blinds many to the dangers of the ongoing revolts against various despotic regimes in the Middle East. In Egypt, the tweeting and telegenic Westernized youth––who convinced many in the West that democracy was on the march in the Arab world––have been shoved aside by the more numerous Islamists, including the Muslim Brothers we keep hearing are pragmatic reformers. A few days ago Islamist demonstrators filled Tahrir Square in Cairo, chanting “Islamic, Islamic, neither secular nor liberal,” while a few dozen secular activists cowered in a tent until they were driven away. One Islamist student made a simple point lost on many Western idealizers of democracy: “If democracy is the voice of the majority and we as Islamists are the majority, why do they want to impose on us the views of minorities––the liberals and the secularists?” Why indeed. Without the foundational ideals of individual human rights, separation of church and state, freedom of speech, and the primacy of law over religious or tribal loyalties, democracy is just machinery that can be used for all sorts of ends, including illiberal ones.

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  • Fred Dawes

    This nation government not the people have no eye on anything but the butt of obama the head muslim. The people must take back this government and that maybe to much for the people for many reason's its dehumananize debasing our way of life, Brainwashing for over 50 years by using P.C. ( from moscow plan 1950 ) invasion by the millions from all over the third world. cruel hoax played on the old and young, ethnic race hate by the third worlds people on Good Americans the triumph of the ideals of the Reich by using the third worlds people the list is endless and we need to fine some state to make a stand before we become the monkeys and that maybe asking way to much.

    • tekow

      A Passage to Israel
      Posted by Ned May Jan 2nd 2011 at 3:40 am in Europe, Israel | Comments (15)
      In the first week of December, our Austrian correspondent Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff was part of a delegation from the European Counterjihad, including members of the “New Right” nationalist parties, who visited Israel. Her report is below.

      (Sarah, the guide [left], ESW translating. Credit: nockerl, Politically Incorrect)

      Israel, 2010: A European Perspective
      by Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff

      This travelogue about an unforgettable visit to Israel is based on my own observations and thoughts as well as other reports such as those by Paul Weston and Brian of London. This is due to the fact that I was busy translating for most of the three days on the road and thus had little or no time to reflect on what I heard.

      It is a sad and unfortunate fact that in Austria anti-Semitism is still a part of everyday life. More than sixty-five years have passed since the end of World War II and the Holocaust, which killed literally countless people, most of them Jews from all over Europe. It is, however, also a sad fact that despite more than questionable legal provisions imposed by European Union, this anti-Semitism has not diminished or even disappeared, but rather has increased.

      I firmly believe that one key to understanding the misnamed “Arab-Israeli conflict” and this inexcusable presence of anti-Semitism in Europe lies in a thorough understanding of the holy book of Islam, which since the 7th century has openly promoted Jew-hatred. It is also necessary to be aware of a sinister project called Eurabia, which, according to its foremost authority, Bat Ye’or,

      represents a geo-political reality envisaged in 1973 through a system of informal alliances between, on the one hand, the nine countries of the European Community (EC) which, enlarged, became the European Union (EU) in 1992 and on the other hand, the Mediterranean Arab countries. […]

      The field of Euro-Arab collaboration covered every domain: from economy and policy to immigration. In foreign policy, it backed anti-Americanism, anti-Zionism and Israel’s delegitimization; the promotion of the PLO and Arafat; a Euro-Arab associative diplomacy in international forums; and NGO collaboration. […]

      [The Euro-Arab Palestinian cult that I often refer to] means precisely this Palestinian centrality that’s promoted in Europe as a key to world peace. However, the Euro-Arab Palestinian cult goes much deeper than a political tool used for a Euro-Arab Partnership policy against America and Israel. It is linked to theological currents of Judeophobia and a replacement theology based on the Palestinization of the Bible and the rejection of its Jewish roots in order to delegitimize Israel’s history and rights on its land. The Euro-Arab Palestinian cult symbolized the redemption of Christianity and Islam and their reconciliation on the ashes of Israel, the work of Satan — a belief propagated by the media’s continuous demonization of Israel, and Palestinian victimization. This cult brings together neo-Nazis, Judeophobes, anti-Americans, communists and jihadists. It is a revival of Nazi anti-Jewish and anti-Christian trends, particularly in its hatred of Christian Bible believers and America, the country that was determinant in the defeat of Nazism and Communism. In the 1930-40s, the Nazis had strong links with Palestinians, and those sympathies and alliances continued throughout the years after World War II, thriving in the Euro-Arab Palestinian cult that submerged Western Europe under the umbrella of the gigantic Euro-Arab Dialogue apparatus.

      Ms. Ye’or adds,

      Although the vast majority of Europeans today are not Anti-Semitic or anti-Israeli, they are immersed in a culture of demonization of Israel, fomented by a European political entity in which nearly everything that is written and said on the Middle East conveys this anti-Israeli mentality. We can recognize in this contemporary phenomenon some aspects of the system of political, cultural, and moral conditioning that led to the Shoah. Reactivated during the past four decades, this Judeophobic conditioning, indirectly, and almost subliminally, is being implemented by the willing heirs of the genocidal fathers. They transmit and spread this Anti-Semitism in a new political and ideological construction, different from Nazism: the Euro-Arab war for the delegitimization and destruction of Israel. […]

      The political themes include:

      • tekow

        (FPÖ-Delegation, left to right: H. Kabas, A. Mölzer, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff [Pax Europa, translation, interpretation], party leader Heinz-Christian Strache. Credit: nockerl, Politically Incorrect)

        (Sverigedemokraterna delegation: Kent Ekeroth, International Secretary [right] and colleague. Credit: nockerl, Politically Incorrect)

        (Vlaams Belang Delegation: Filip Dewinter [left] and colleague. Credit: nockerl, Politically Incorrect)

        (Die Freiheit delegation, left to right: Marc Doll, René Stadtkewitz. Credit: nockerl, Politically Incorrect)

        The delegation was also invited to tour the last Israeli military post close on the border of the Gaza Strip. Contrary to liberal belief, the Gaza Strip is no longer occupied by Israeli troops. Hamas, the rulers of Gaza, thank Israel for its withdrawal by sending rockets into the Israeli cities of Ashkelon and Ashdod.

        For Europeans like us who are not used to a military presence, it was very unusual to see soldiers like this young fellow manning the IDF military base. These 22-year-olds are considered the very best of their generation. Their demeanor shows awareness of the importance of their duty to defend their country.

        In essence, what these young people are doing day and night is defending us and our freedom. Instead of demonizing them, we should thank them. Perhaps one day, when we have lost this freedom, we will understand what it means to patrol in the desert, in the heat, in the dust, while we in the West rant about “evil Israel”. Shame on us and our politicians!

        Those of us in the European Counterjihad are well aware that defending Western civilization means defending the frontier of Islamic hatred, Israel. As the English writer Paul Weston said so aptly in his speech at the Gush Katir museum in central Jerusalem

        Western Civilisation was founded on Judeo-Christianity. It was born near here, on the slopes of Mt Sinai where Moses received The Ten Commandments, and it is defended here, in Israel, the focal point of Islam’s attack upon the West.

        When we call for freedom and democracy, then by default, we stand with Israel. When we call for truth and honesty with regard to Islam, then we stand with Israel. When we call for bravery, determination and sacrifice in our struggle against Islam then we stand with Israel. When we call for the right to free speech and the right to a peaceful existence, then we stand with Israel.

        When we call upon God to help us defeat evil, then we stand with Israel. When we call out the traitors, the appeasers, the propagandists and the anti-Western haters within Europe’s political and media class, then again we stand with Israel.

        The Western liberals who proclaim the area as “occupied” are known historically as the Useful Idiots. The City of Ariel, which did not exist in 1978, is now inhabited by Jews. And they inhabit it for a very good reason.

        Israel is only 70 km wide. From a mountain-top just outside Ariel, one can view with the naked eye Jordan on one side and the Mediterranean on the other. And through the valley that cuts through this mountainous region there are two roads. Just two roads.

        One road leads to Iran, via Iraq and Jordan. An armored column would come this way and this way only, so to control the hill tops around the area is a matter of geo-political importance.

        During the 1967 war, the Muslim Arabs installed “Long Tom” cannons on the mountain tops, from where they shelled the civilians living in Tel Aviv, a mere 45 KM away.

        When you next get involved in an argument with a liberal/leftist about the “occupied territories of the West Bank”, it might be a good time to point out the political/war realities. Islam wants the area back, because the Israelis would be rendered defenceless if they gave it up. Hence the concerted efforts of Islam and their Western useful idiots to do just that.

        Again, Brian of London observes,

        Off the bus we stopped and listened to the story of archeological find of Joshua’s Alter as told by our guide, Sarah. This was simultaneously translated into German by Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff. There’s a good version of the story she told online but one of the key points is that when excavated the only animal bones found were from kosher animals and specifically the sort described in Leviticus as being suitable for sacrifice. That would be an odd co-incidence if this land had not been inhabited by Jews.

        I

  • Watchman

    America and France and any other free world governments should get their staff out and let them kill each other. After that just start carpet bombing OR drop the nukes. One down and just a few to go. Screw Russia about sanctions. Aren't they the ones who built Irans nuclear energy operation or, as it's really called, buildnuclearbombswhilesayingit'sjustforenergy. Russia needs to know we're still the top dog on the world block.

  • TheBigFig

    Watchman,

    I agree with you 100%. We need to make these third world nations into parking lots. We are throwing billions of dollars into these corrupt governments and its a total waste of men and money. Obozo has his head so far up his ass, he could do anything right. Bomb them back to the stone age. Hopefully we throw out muslim lawn jockey out in 2012.

  • Jim Swarthowe

    Don't forget how securing the border with Mexico fell off the radar screen when Obamma took office. This entire O administration is empty promise after empty promise, and no one says boo! The mass media gives hima free pass at every blunder.

    I can see it now….the history books will hail Obamma as a hero, and all negativity relating to this admiinistration will be blamed on W. Bush.

  • Jim Swarthowe

    In WW2 we only beat the japs and germans when we started bombing their homelands….schools, villages, shoping centers, churches, homes, etc.

    It is the only way we can win. This Polically Correct crapolla (rules of engagement, fighting only in defense, etc.) is going to be our demise.

  • mrbean

    The effort on the war in Afghanistan is all smoke and mirrors. Vince Lombarbi once said; "Fatigue makes cowards of us all" and this is indeed true. We still have not learned since Korea and Vietnam that it is true; Quitters never win and winners never quit!"

  • StephenD

    Awww. Her son is trained to self flagellate to "prove" his commitment to the ideology of a trade route bandit from 1400 years ago.
    What mother wouldn't be proud?!?
    Mr. President, tell us again of the "great contributions" Islam has made to humanity.

  • TexExpatriate

    While everyone is worried about the Middle East, Muslims are taking over the state of Michigan. From Michigan the threat will spread south, east, and west. Arabic already is the third choice of languages when you call the state's agencies. Arabs and Muslims need to be removed from the United States—even those Muslims who are native born and converted.