I have been writing about terrorism now for 13 years. Like many other writers, the tragic events of 9⁄11 in September, 2001 were one impetus for my inquiry into the goals and methods of terrorism. The other impetus is a growing recognition that terrorism often seems to work exactly as it is planned to do: it so strikes fear into the minds of otherwise good people that they begin to submit to the moral framework of the terrorists and begin to adopt the cause of the terrorists.
Unfortunately, during the Obama Presidency, both politicians and left-leaning journalists have scoffed at the proposition that terrorism poses any existential threat. That is because they define “existential” narrowly to mean anything that could defeat, destroy or wipe out America. They do not, as I do, define existential to include not just living but living “free” and having individual human rights, a fair Justice System and the other Constitutional protections. For me, submission to the ideology of Islamists destroys bit by bit what I see as “free” existence. To the extent that we give in, submit to, respect, tolerate or empathize with the cause of the terrorists, we have lost our freedom and have gone down the road to submission, whether or not our militaries are defeated in “conventional war.” We can look at opinions in the media and the universities to see this empathy, or look at how the Democratic Party is considering a Muslim with contacts among Islamist terror supporting organizations to be the Chair of the DNC.
“Live Free or Die” is the official motto of the U.S. state of New Hampshire, adopted by the state in 1945. How things have changed in American political culture since 1945.
The Left and the Obama administration see an existential threat as one only coming from major nuclear powers. They ignore that Obama’s Iran “deal” will allow Iran to give nuclear weapons to its terrorist proxies.
The Left seems to be mostly concerned that the government will in response to terrorism pass tough security laws that will inhibit the “rights” of Islamists and their supporters or at least be offensive to them. Some naively think that the purpose of terrorism is only to wage an asymmetrical type of warfare against more military strong foes and hence to eventually defeat them, and anything short of that is not an existential threat.
Simonsen and Spindlove, in their textbook on terrorism, entitled Terrorism Today: The Past, the Players, the Future, say that terrorism, by its violence against civilians, brings awareness of the alleged grievance, uses the media to spread knowledge of the cause, and provokes fear, all of which attempt to secure policy changes and weaken government’s resolve. Attaining these policy changes occurs as a fearful people seek to feed the wild animal in their midst, hoping that its appetite for more random violence will be sated.
Terrorism is the modus operandi of Islamists – the overtly violent jihadists seeking to spread Sharia Law and a restoration of an Islamic Caliphate. Obscene acts of violence, often involving suicide bombing are then followed inevitably by apologists and propagandists alleging that Islam is a “religion of peace” and that terrorism can best be fought by more understanding, tolerance, compassion and acceptance of political Islam’s goals.
If the goals of terrorism are meant to support a submission to its radical ideology and Sharia Law and induce tolerance for its illiberal policies and separatist illiberal communities within the liberal democracies, and eventually to bring Islam to the world, then tolerance, empathy, compassion, and acceptance are a delusional response to the problem. The successful way to stop terrorism is to convince the proponents of terrorism (including the passive supporters in much of mainstream Islam who fail to stand up in opposition to the jihadists) that the goals above-mentioned will not be achieved by their terrorist acts, and they will in fact be met with a strong resolve within Western nations to reject this attempt to diminish our fundamental human rights, individual freedoms and liberties and the hard-won rights of women, gays, children and ethnic and religious minorities.
The Americans, by allowing a UN Security Council resolution saying Israel illegally occupies the older part of the historical capital of Israel in Jerusalem, have shown terrorists the way to success.
In my book, Tolerism: The Ideology Revealed, I explore the ways in which our political culture has moved to change its policies as a reaction to the fear caused by catastrophic terrorism. It is my belief that the fear has caused us to become irrationally accepting and tolerant of many actions that are contrary to our most basic traditional values.
On March 26th, after the attack in Belgium, Gwynne Dyer, who is a London-based commentator carried in 45 different countries, published an article which my local newspaper headlined and subtitled as follows: “Belgium and the true risk of deadly attack: Terrorists are not an existential threat, they are a lethal nuisance, no more than that”.
Dyer took exception to a Belgian politician stating the terrorist attacks in Belgium meant that Belgium was now living through the darkest days since the end of the Second World War.
Most of us would have thought that statement to be unremarkable, but Dyer minimized these tragic events, (and their symbolic effects) by sarcastically stating, “Can any country be so lucky that the worst thing that has happened to it in the last 75 years is a couple of bombs that killed 34?”
Dyer minimizes terrorism by saying it is a “statistically insignificant risk – (people) are in much greater danger of dying from a fall in the bath than of dying in a terrorist attack.” This of course misses the very essential nature of terrorism: bathtubs have no agenda and we can have hundreds of people slip and fall without any danger to our political culture and commitment to freedom. However, every major terrorist attack is followed by renewed calls for acceptance and tolerance of Muslims, including the radical ones who create “no-go” areas and seek to reverse the separation of church and state, or mosque and schools.
While the political and media “elites” dismiss the terrorism as insignificant, regular folks understand what is actually happening to their societies. According to a leaked government report carried last February by Britain’s The Express, some 20% of the migrants have already been charged with some crime. The people sense this change, and sense the betrayal of the elites.
By July 30, 2016, Dyer argued that combating terrorism at home implied a war with Europe’s own Muslim citizens. This, he then says is exactly what ISIS wants. Says Dyer: “they want to stimulate anti-Muslim hatred, turn the majority against this underprivileged minority and ensure the victory of … neo-fascist, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant” parties.
“Why does Islamic State want an anti-Muslim backlash in European countries?” he asks. “Because it will radicalize many more European Muslims … Islamic State’s ideology claims that the whole Muslim world is under attack by the evil West, and that only ISIL can defend it successfully.”
I instead argue that terrorism is meant to result in terror, which in an overly tolerant, submissive West, losing its loyalty to Judeo-Christian ethics, eases submission to the Islamist message – that the Caliphate will be revived, that Europe will be taken back again as in the 12th century, as the rest of the world chooses between the embrace of Islam or dhimmi status, subject to Sharia Law. Dyer’s approach is meant to disarm the West from its resolve to stop the march of Islamism by falsely asserting it is just an attempt by one organization to gain power in the Arab world, rather than a world-wide problem..
With the election of Trump, it is now time to challenge that agenda of minimizing the real effects of terrorism, and using words from an alternate leftist universe, such as calling Major Dr. Hassan’s attack on the soldiers of Fort Hood “workplace violence” or calling terrorists “lone wolves” if the direct chain of command cannot be discovered. We hope to see a resurgent West understand the nature of this War and make a better effort to win this War. Writing from his home in England where separatist enclaves of intolerant Islamists are resulting in separatist “no go” areas and terrorist attacks, Dyer’s approach does nothing to encourage Muslim immigrants who might be inclined to assimilate to British, Canadian, or American values; instead he parrots a rather discouraging anti-Western message that Islamism is partly the West’s fault, that it must learn to live with it as it is not an existential threat to our culture of freedom and human rights, but a mere nuisance.
In the new era of a Trump presidency, I am hoping to see Americans join hands with Israel which has dealt with terrorism since the founding of the State. In Israel, of course, there is a existential physical threat, where tiny Israel is surrounded by hostile states and pseudo-states that make it clear they want to destroy the country and kill or deport most of its citizens. Hopefully, with an understanding of just how terrorism creates an existential ideological threat to America by its Islamist enemies, America will move forward as a strong, free, and proud nation.