[To order William Kilpatrick's new book Insecurity, click here.]
My new book Insecurity is a comedy about political correctness run amok in the government and the military. But, as recent events show, there is a decidedly unfunny side to the world that political correctness is helping to create.
Up until recently, the colloquialism “heads will roll” referred to a threat to fire employees. Nowadays, however, that phrase is more likely to evoke its original literal meaning—as in the beheadings that have become a common feature of the daily news cycle. The streets of Mosul in Iraq are reportedly lined with the severed heads of police and soldiers—victims of the ISIS jihadists. A photo circulating on the web shows one of the recently released Taliban leaders in the days before his capture posing with his trophy collection of five lopped-off heads. Those who thought that decapitation went out with the French Revolution have come in for a rude awakening.
It’s disturbing to realize that such things can happen in this day and age, but we in America tend to console ourselves with the reassuring thought that, thank God, it can’t happen here. Or can it? Why shouldn’t it happen here? Or, to put it another way, “Who’s going to stop ‘em?”
The most obvious answer to that question—the one that will jump most readily to mind—is the Army. And certainly, the U.S. Army is more than a match for any invading force of Middle Eastern jihadists. But, although our army can repel armed jihad, it’s not very well-equipped to resist the other kind—namely, stealth jihad. And if the conquest of America ever comes—as Islamists say it will—it will come about through stealth jihad.
What is stealth jihad? It’s the incremental spread of Islamic law in a society by means of activism, propaganda and lawfare, and by the gradual co-option of schools, courts, and media. It’s the long march through the institutions that the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci recommended to European communists. Leftists have already co-opted many of society’s institutions. What’s to prevent jihadists from doing the same?
Stealth jihad is much more difficult to detect and resist than the armed variety. It’s not the type of aggression the Army is trained to deal with. And, in fact, the Army has proven itself on several occasions to be an enabler of stealth jihad. Take the case of Major Stephen Coughlin. He was the Army’s top expert on Islamic law until he made the mistake of pointing out that Islamic law obliges Muslims to wage jihad. The Army didn’t cotton on to that idea and Coughlin was dismissed from his Pentagon job as an intelligence contractor. The official attitude was nicely captured by an admiral who, upon hearing Coughlin’s assessment, replied that he would first “have to check with my imam on that.”
You can see why the military has to contract out for its intelligence. Why would a high ranking officer have to consult his imam? Well, for reasons of political correctness, of course. It would be offensive not to bring the imam into the loop. For similar reasons, General Petraeus used to visit provincial leaders in Afghanistan dressed up as Lawrence of Arabia, and for similar reasons a manual for U.S. troops in the region directed them to avoid “making derogatory comments about the Taliban,” “any criticism of pedophilia,” or “anything related to Islam.”
Luckily for stealth jihadists, the resurgence of militant Islam happened to coincide with the emergence of political correctness. The long march through the institutions needn’t take that long when the institutions are putting out the multicultural welcome mat. Just as bacteria feeds on sugar, stealth jihad feeds on political correctness.
“Jihad” is not the kind of thing one mentions in polite society. And for having the temerity to bring up the subject in connection with Islam, Major Coughlin lost his army contract. Coincidentally, he was terminated at the behest of one Hesham Islam, a special assistant to the deputy secretary of defense. As the deputy secretary is rumored to have said, “I’ll have to check with my Islam on that.”
Islam? In the Pentagon? Well, never mind. Better not go there. Apparently Mr. Islam was in charge of outreach to the Muslim community. He outreached to the Islamic Society of North America and to other Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups and invited them to luncheons in the Pentagon. In this, he was carrying on a long tradition of Pentagon outreach. For example, shortly after 9/11, future terrorist leader Anwar al-Awlaki was invited to attend a luncheon at the Pentagon because the Secretary of the Army was anxious to diversify his dinners with some moderate members of the Muslim community.
At that time, the FBI was already aware that al-Awlaki was tied to the 9/11 hijackers, but apparently the Army was not (presumably their intelligence contractors were on vacation). This state of unawareness seems to have persisted for a long time. At about the same time that Major Coughlin’s superiors were checking with their imams, Major Nidal Hasan, an Army psychiatrist at Fort Hood, was checking with his own imam about the fine points of jihad, and whether or not killing U.S. soldiers would qualify one for martyr status.
Who was his imam? It was none other than the ubiquitous Imam Anwar al-Awlaki. The FBI knew about these communications between Hasan and al-Awlaki (there were eighteen in all), but decided that no action was necessary. Many of Hasan’s own colleagues in the Army thought of him, in the words of one, as “a ticking time bomb,” but they also took no action. Hasan’s stealth jihad was not particularly stealthy. In fact, he wore his jihadist sympathies on his sleeve, but the etiquette of political correctness required that his fellow officers look the other way lest they be accused of Islamophobia.
Who’s going to stop ‘em? As we can see, the Army isn’t particularly effective at spotting stealth jihad. And, although the FBI has a better record in this regard, it too is hampered by PC protocols. Who else, then, can we look to? The CIA? A couple of years ago a Washington Post article revealed, without naming names, that the then-current chief of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center had converted to Islam six years before. The lengthy piece treats the conversion as a mere point of interest—the kind of minor detail that would not be of any real concern to the Post’s sophisticated readers. Although converts to Islam have a higher incidence of radical activity than the general Muslim population, the WaPo reporter gives no indication that anything could possibly go wrong. On the other hand, maybe it’s fortunate that somebody in the higher ranks of the CIA knows something about Islam, seeing that John Brennan, the CIA chief, seems to know so little. He has been in the habit of defining jihad as “a holy struggle…to purify oneself or one’s community.” If that’s so, then it must follow that a stealth jihadist is like a secret Santa who quietly goes around performing acts of purification without even waiting to be thanked.
If not the CIA, then maybe the police? The trouble is, the only police force with a highly effective counterterrorism program, the NYPD, recently bowed to pressure and shut down a major component of that program—its surveillance of certain mosques and Muslim student associations. The surveillance operation was deemed “offensive” by the Muslim community.
How about Congress? Congress is on guard, but not against stealth jihad. When, in the summer of 2012, five House members requested an investigation into Muslim Brotherhood penetration of the government, they were scolded by fellow Congress members for being offensive and insensitive to the Muslim community. The five were particularly concerned that the Department of State had been taking actions that “have been enormously favorable to the Muslim Brotherhood and its interests.” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s top aide, Huma Abedin, had close personal ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, and the five thought someone should look into the matter.
Was there any merit to the concern over Abedin? We may never know. It was enough to know that the request was “ugly,” “vicious,” “hurtful,” “outrageous,” and “dangerous.” In short, the investigation was never conducted. House and senate members seemed more worried about the possibility that they could be accused of “McCarthyism” than the possibility that Islamists could be infiltrating the government. Judging by their reaction, “infiltration,” like “jihad,” was no longer a suitable topic for polite company.
To sum up, neither the Army, the FBI, the CIA, the police, nor Congress seem up to the task of resisting stealth jihad. That leaves…the president. At about the same time that the House five were making known their concerns about actions that “have been enormously favorable to the Muslim Brotherhood,” the president was making plans to send F-16s and Abrams tanks to assist the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. In the president’s mind, the real danger emanated not from the Muslim Brotherhood, but from “those who slander the Prophet of Islam.” Meanwhile, his Department of Justice was busy purging FBI training manuals of guidelines for spotting stealth jihadists. As DOJ spokesman Dwight Holton put it, “training materials that portray Islam as a religion of violence or with a tendency towards violence are wrong, they are offensive, and they are contrary to everything that this president, this attorney general and Department of Justice stands for. They will not be tolerated.” Henceforward, the Federal Bureau of Investigation would have to confine itself to inoffensive investigations.
When he was released from an American detention camp in Iraq in 2009, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who is now the leader of the ISIS terrorists in Iraq, told his captors, “I’ll see you guys in New York.” Hint to Mr. Baghdadi: If anyone questions you when you come to New York to scout for targets, just tell them that their questions are deeply offensive to you and to the whole Muslim community. They’ll give you the keys to the city.
Heads should have rolled (in the metaphorical sense) a long time ago in the Pentagon, the State Department, the CIA, the DOJ, and among the president’s foreign policy advisors. Because that never happened, heads are rolling (in the literal sense) all over the Muslim world. Because our leaders have chosen to put their heads in the ground regarding the nature of jihad, a lot more heads may soon be on the block.