Let’s Get Serious About Radical Islam

In a nationally televised speech on Wednesday, September 10, Barack Obama announced a four-part plan for dealing with the terrorist organization, ISIS.  Here are the four parts of his plan:

  1. A systematic campaign of airstrikes against terrorists.
  2. Increased support for forces fighting terrorists on the ground.
  3. Draw on substantial counterterrorism capabilities to prevent ISIS attacks.
  4. Provide humanitarian assistance to civilians who’ve been displaced by ISIS terrorism.

Does his plan have any chance of success?  No.  Airpower alone will not defeat ISIS.  To defeat ISIS it will be necessary to take and hold ground and to flush the 30,000 or 40,000 jihadists out of the cities and towns where they hide among women and children.  To date, it is only the Kurds who have expressed a willingness to put troops on the ground.  We are told that only 5% of the world’s 1.4 billion Muslims are radicalized, but that comes to 70 million radicalized jihadists.  To put that into perspective, during World War II the combined uniformed forces of Germany, Japan, and Italy totaled only 34.1 million.

Would Obama have gone before the TV cameras to announce his plan unless something or someone forced his hand?  No, this is a man who actually said in his speech that “ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) is not Islamic.”  But just as the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 changed Americans from pacifists to war hawks, literally overnight, the public beheading of two American journalists and a British aid worker has had exactly the same effect.  But, while revenge is sweet and it might make us feel good to see a bit of ISIS blood spilled on the desert sands, the Obama plan will accomplish nothing more than to infuriate more and more young Muslims, driving them into the welcoming arms of al-Baghdadi and his army of lunatics.

So how do we attack the problem?  First, while we’re busily engaged in bombing individual cars and trucks with $110,000 Hellfire missiles, just to make us feel as if we’re doing something to eradicate ISIS, we must pursue a strategic two-pronged non-military effort to, a) Separate the good Muslims from the bad by prosecuting radical Islamists here at home, and b) Use whatever means we have at our disposal to change the hearts and minds of Muslims around the world.

Islam is not a religion, as we understand the term.  Rather it is a complete political, judicial, economic, military, and cultural system, masquerading as a religion.  Its adherents refuse to assimilate into host country cultures, insisting that they be allowed to exist as an independent entity, not subject to the laws of their host nations.  In order to accomplish their ends, they regularly preach the overthrow of their host governments, by violence if necessary.

Accordingly, we must resolve that, “What is sauce for the (Communist) goose is sauce for the (Islamic) gander.”  In order to neutralize Islam’s cultural institutions within our country, we must do as I have previously suggested: We must tailor the language of Section 2 of the Communist Control Act of 1954… a law that has not been struck down by the Supreme Court and which is still on the books… to read as follows:

The American people are determined to eliminate from their midst organizations which, purporting to be ‘religious,’ in the accepted sense of that term, are conspirators dedicated to the destruction of our form of government by force and violence…

“The Congress hereby finds and declares that Islam, although purportedly a religious sect, is in fact an instrumentality of a foreign conspiracy to overthrow the government of the United States.  It constitutes an authoritarian dictatorship within a republic, demanding for itself the rights and privileges accorded to individuals of other religious denominations, but denying to all others the freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution… 

“As a segment of the U.S. population, Islam is relatively small, numerically, and gives scant indication of its capacity ever to attain its ends by lawful means.  The peril inherent in the existence of Islam arises not from its numbers, but from its failure to acknowledge any limitation as to the nature of its activities, and its dedication to the proposition that the present system of government of the United States ultimately must be brought to ruin by any available means, including resort to force and violence.  Holding that doctrine, its role as the agency of a hostile foreign power renders its existence a clear and present danger to the security of the United States.  It is the means whereby individuals are seduced into the service of Islam, trained to do its bidding, and directed and controlled in the conspiratorial performance of their revolutionary services.  Therefore, the organization known as Islam shall be outlawed in the United States.”

With that statute on the books we can make it very uncomfortable for radical Islamists.  We can make their presence in our country so unpleasant that they will long for a return to whatever hellhole they and their predecessors crawled out of.  With eyes and ears planted in every mosque and every Muslim cultural center in America, radical Imams such as the late Anwar al-Awlaki could be readily identified and FBI agents could quickly make arrests.

And finally, we Americans have always prided ourselves on our ingenuity.  Whatever problems we’ve confronted, we have found ways to solve them.  So let’s use that ingenuity to change, to the extent possible, the hearts and minds of Muslims around the world.  Consider this example:   I suggest that we conduct a major SOFTWAR campaign utilizing a photographic projection technique called “holography,” the creation of images that appear to be three dimensional, when in fact they are only images created by focused beams of laser light.

We already have made-to-order audiences: hundreds of jihadists and other soldiers of the faith, warehoused in various CIA black sites, as well as prison compounds in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay.  The only thing missing is the Prophet Mohammed, himself.

Scientists have been working since 1947 to perfect 3-dimensional holographic imaging, but the greatest advances in the art were made by physicist Lloyd Cross in 1972.  Cross developed the integral hologram by combining white light transmission holography with conventional cinematography to produce lifelike moving 3-dimensional images.  It gives special effects technicians the ability to produce the Prophet Mohammed, in three dimensions and in living color, and we can make him deliver any message we want, to any audience we assemble.

Imagine the scene in the Pulacharke Prison in Afghanistan, a thousand-year-old stone structure the size of a small gymnasium, filled with radical Muslim clerics and an assortment of al Qaeda and Taliban faithful.  And imagine that one moonless night, at midnight, the Prophet Mohammed appears to the sleeping throng, his image floating in mid-air, high in a corner of the room, some fifteen or twenty feet above the floor.

In a loud booming voice, with a slight echo chamber quality, the Prophet would awaken the terrified throng.  His reason for returning, he would say, is to tell the radical Islamists that they have misinterpreted his teachings and that he looks with great disfavor upon the radical Islamic interpretation of the Quran.  He would declare that Islamic jihad is a great sin, it is Hirabah (prohibited war against society), and that ISIS leader Bakr al Baghdadi is the leader of the Mufsidoon (evil-doers condemned by the Koran).  He would tell them that all those who follow the evil ways of ISIS and the Taliban will suffer Jahannam (eternal hellfire) unless they repent.

With the flick of a switch he would be gone, leaving his listeners trembling in terror at what they had just witnessed.  Could the “second coming of Mohammed” be staged in such a way that the faithful would be left with no doubt that they’d actually seen the Prophet and heard his words?  Of course.  If the “second coming” were properly planned and executed, we could even tell those who witnessed our artful hoax what we’d done and they’d never believe us.  With the average jihadi having the intellectual capacity of an angry chimpanzee, it would be impossible to convince such primitive minds that they had not actually seen the Prophet.

What I suggest may sound a bit “off the wall,” but is it?  There is nothing new about the use of the elaborate hoax as an instrument of war.  World War II is replete with such stories.  Given the computerized advances in cinematic special effects, today’s special effects technicians could produce absolute miracles.  And while it may not be kosher to mess around with someone else’s religion, in the present circumstance we are dealing with religious fanatics whose only goal in life is to kill us all, and for no other reason than that we exist.  Our lives, and the lives of our children and grandchildren, hang in the balance.  Drastic measures are called for.

Unlike soldiers of civilized cultures, jihadists cannot be captured, imprisoned, and sent off to “reeducation” camps… they can only be killed.  And since we can’t begin to think of killing 70 million jihadists, it’s time we got serious about finding more creative ways of defeating the most barbaric enemy in all of recorded history.

Thomas Friedman said it best in a September 13 editorial in the New York Times.  He wrote, “Our staying power is ambiguous, our enemy is barbarous, our regional allies are duplicitous, our European allies are feckless, and the Iraqis and Syrians we’re trying to help are fractious.  There is not a straight shooter in the bunch.  Other than that, it’s just like D-Day.”

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Obama and Putin

As you tuck your children and grandchildren into bed tonight, take a long hard look at them and consider what they may have to face tomorrow, next week, and in the years ahead.  And think for a minute or two about who it is that holds their lives, and yours, in their unsteady hands.

Then picture, if you will, a scene in the White House Situation Room, far beneath the Oval Office, where those who hold our lives in their hands… Barack Obama, Joe Biden, John Kerry, Chuck Hagel, Samantha Power, Susan Rice, Valerie Jarrett, and Michelle Obama, the entire “brain trust” of the Obama administration… are seated around a long table.  They are discussing the ramifications of sending U.S. military might against the butchers of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), balanced against the impact such actions would have on Obama’s legacy, and the impact they might have on Democratic prospects in the November General Election.

One of the items on the table in front of them is the transcript of a September 11, 2013 New York Times op-ed by none other than Vladimir V. Putin, the president of Russia, who has no qualms about thumbing his nose at Barack Obama as he invades and occupies the Crimean Peninsula and large portions of eastern Ukraine.  His decision to communicate directly with the American people through the editorial pages of the Times is a clear indication of how little respect he has for the former “community organizer” from Chicago.

As an indication of the extent to which Obama has fallen out of favor with the leftist editors and publishers who helped elect him, the Times editorial board chose not to waste a single column-inch of newsprint defending Obama against Putin’s well-crafted attack (one popular female comic has quipped that Obama’s approval ratings are now so low that the Secret Service has assigned him a new code name.  His new Secret Service code name is Ebola).

Referring to Obama’s plan to wage an “unbelievably small” attack on Syrian forces… as in poking at a hornets’ nest with a very long stick… Putin set a very clever trap for Obama.  He wrote, “The potential strike by the United States against Syria, despite strong opposition from many countries and major political and religious leaders… will result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria’s borders.  A strike would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism (emphasis added)…”  Frightened off by those cautions, Obama decided not to attack and yet everything Putin predicted came to pass.

Now that we’ve come to know the bloodthirsty nature of the Islamic State a bit better, Putin appears to be the voice of reason, while Obama dithers, plays golf, and attends fundraisers.  And while tens of thousands of men, women, and children are slaughtered by ISIS, a major force in the Syrian conflict, no one in the Obama administration seems to know what to do about it.  Given more recent events in Syria and Iraq with the emergence of ISIS, now known as the Islamic State, one would think that Obama might lie awake at night regretting that, instead of drawing pointless red lines in the sand, he’d made some sort of accommodation, either with the Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad, or with the moderates who opposed him.

What Obama and his “brain trust” apparently failed to comprehend in failing to arm Islamic moderates in Syria, was that the “new wave of terrorism” of which Putin spoke is not likely to be limited to the suburbs of Damascus, the northern provinces of Syria, the north and west of Iraq, or the streets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.  The “new wave of terrorism” that Putin predicted will likely find its way to the streets of New York, Chicago, Washington, and other U.S. cities.

Providing us with a classic example of “do as I say, not as I do,” further proof of why Obama is no intellectual match for the Russian leader, Putin wrote, “We (Russians) are not protecting the Syrian government, but international law.  We need to use the United Nations Security Council and believe that preserving law and order in today’s complex and turbulent world is one of the few ways to keep international relations from sliding into chaos.  The law is still the law, and we must follow it whether we like it or not.  Under current international law, force is permitted only in self-defense or by the decision of the Security Council.  Anything else is unacceptable under the United Nations Charter and would constitute an act of aggression.”

All of this as Russia sends tanks across the border into Ukraine and provides moral and material support for the pro-Russian rebels of eastern Ukraine.  Clearly, his remarks were intended for consumption by the low-information voters who make up much of Obama’s base… at least those who are literate enough to read the editorial pages of the New York Times.

Then Putin played to the uncertainty expressed by Obama, Kerry, and other senior officials, who were always careful to hedge their public statements on the source of nerve gas attacks against Syrian civilians.  In each instance, they suggested that they were “pretty sure,” or “almost certain,” that it was the Assad regime that was responsible for launching chemical weapons attacks against innocent women and children.

Putin wrote, “No one doubts that poison gas was used in Syria.  But there is every reason to believe it was used not by the Syrian Army, but by opposition forces, to provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons (the Obama administration), who would be siding with the fundamentalists…”

Of course, as Obama told us in his September 10, 2014 address to the nation, “ISIS (the Islamic State in Syria) is not Islamic.  No religion condones the killing of innocents.”  Does he think we’re a nation of fools?  Would he have us believe that the butchers who sliced off the heads of two American journalists are just a bunch of disgruntled postal workers?

But not all Russians and not all Russian news media treat Obama with the same diplomatic equanimity expressed by Putin.  Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister and former NATO ambassador, Dmitry Rogozin, has been quoted as referring to the United States under Barack Obama as “a monkey with a hand grenade.”  Rogozin’s characterization is indicative of the total lack of respect for Obama that is regularly found in the pages of Pravda.

When I worked in Russia during the early to mid ‘90s, some of my Russian friends joked that, during the Soviet era, “There was no Pravda in Isvestia, and no Isvestia in Pravda (where Pravda means “truth,” in English, and Isvestia means “news).”  But Pravda has gained new credibility in the West since the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

In a September 2013 Pravda article by Xavier Lerma, the writer suggests that “Obama’s buffoonery selling the war against Syria has hit a wall, thanks to President Putin’s firm stance and leadership…  Russia, who has slain its Red Dragon long ago, is now facing Puff the Magic Dragon… blowing smoke in his people’s eyes and spreading democracy with bombs…

“Puff must face reality and will try to save face.  He will blame the Republicans who stand in his way and his worshipers will pity and love him.  Playing the race card once again, (he) will bring more power to his throne.  The Saudi King, whom Obama bowed to and Bush kissed, will try again and again, demanding Obama attack Syria, trying to bribe Putin, or threatening Russia with terrorists.”

The Pravda article mocked Obama, saying, “Conservative Americans and those in the world are seeing Barry falling apart at the seams when he goes against Putin…  President Putin can stand alone and speak without a teleprompter or notes and argue reasonably.  He can give interviews anytime without worry because he does not have to try to remember a lie or wonder what to say.  He only has to give facts, which are easy to remember.”

In summarizing Pravda’s critique of Obama, Vietnam veteran Leon Puissegur suggests that Americans should “take Pravda’s condemnation of Obama as a ‘lesson learned,’ and that we should never vote another person into the office of President who only has experience as a ‘community organizer…’ ”  Sadly, this great nation, once the envy of the world, is now forced to suffer the humiliation of having our national leader insulted by friend and foe alike.

Yes, Pravda speaks the truth.  We have sent a “community organizer” to represent us in an epic struggle against a tough KGB Colonel.  It’s as if we’d sent PeeWee Herman to fight for us, while the Russians sent Mike Tyson.

We should not forget the scene at the South Korean summit in which Obama leaned over toward outgoing Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, reassuring him and asking that the Russians give him a bit more time to liberalize the American position on missile defense systems.  He said, “This is my last election.  After my election I have more flexibility.”

Yes, Obama’s now has the “flexibility” he coveted and he has used it to set the United States on a downward spiral from which we may never recover.  As Jodie Miller of the Media Research Center quipped in a September 2 comedy sketch, “In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, President Obama is threatening to hit back.  He threatened to impose the same economic sanctions on Russia that he imposed on America back in 2009.”  Like the late Rodney Dangerfield, Obama gets no respect.  But then, Dangerfield had a few redeeming qualities.

 

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Obama’s No-Win Dilemma

Most of the nation states of the Middle East, as we know them today, were created in 1916 by the Sykes-Picot Agreement, otherwise known as the Asia Minor Agreement, between Britain and France.  The states created include Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, and Syria.  In that agreement, national boundaries were drawn without regard to sects, Shiite or Sunni, and without regard to tribes or clans, setting up an explosive mixture of religious animosities.

After the creation of Iraq and Syria, the French and British drew a line from the Mediterranean due east to Mount Hermon.  North of that line, the French created a coastal nation, largely Christian, called Lebanon.  While south of that line, between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, the British created a coastal Arab nation which they called Palestine.  The territory south of Iraq and east of the Jordan River was divided between two Arab tribes that were allied with the British during World War I, but who didn’t care much for each other.  The Sauds were given a large tract of land called Arabia… hence Saudi Arabia… while the Hashemites were given a much smaller territory east of the Jordan River, which they named Trans-Jordan… now Jordan.  Thus, six nations were created between the Mediterranean and the Tigris, and south of Turkey.  These six nations became seven when the United Nations created Israel in 1947.

As might be expected, the many disparate religious sects found it difficult to occupy the same territory and chaos reigned for most of the next century.  For example, in early August we learned that some 40,000 Yazidis, a minority religious sect, had taken refuge on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq.  Their choices were to either stay on the mountain, short of food and water, or they could descend the mountain and be slaughtered by terrorists of the Islamic State in Syria (ISIS).  The Yazidis were aware that ISIS forces were beheading children elsewhere in Iraq, so rather than risk that terrible fate, many families killed their own children by throwing them off the mountain.  Within a week of that report, Yazidi women were also found to be leaping to their death from the mountain rather than face being captured, raped, and sold into slavery.

In other reports, hundreds of Shiite soldiers of the Iraqi military were captured, executed, and buried in mass graves… some of them while still alive.  These were the same ISIS jihadists who  recently posted a YouTube video showing American newsman James Foley being beheaded by his captors.  According to best estimates, some 191,000 people in Syria and Iraq have lost their lives in sectarian fighting since March 2011.

A strong case can be made that the map created in 1916 is now being redrawn through force of arms, and that what is now occurring in the region represents nothing more than a realignment of national boundaries, consistent with religious convictions and backed by the use of terror and military might.  It is a struggle in which western powers find it difficult to decide who’s who without a scorecard, or to find any clear national interest amidst all the violence.

It is into this maelstrom of warring factions that the United States and its coalition partners waded in 2003 to depose the Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, foolishly believing that the many warring states and factions could be defeated, pacified, or managed.  To paraphrase an old Mark Russell line, “Their plan was to make the Shiites and the Sunnis act like Christians.”

What they should have understood, but didn’t, is that no amount of bombing and no amount of ground forces can win a war against the forces of Islam… in the same sense that Germany and Japan were defeated in World War II.  The best we can ever hope to accomplish is to contain the forces of Islam in their home countries and to do whatever is necessary to protect our homeland from ISIS-style atrocities.  So whatever “strategy” Obama ultimately decides on, it must have an international component and a domestic component… neither of which involve military power.

For example, what few Americans understand about the James Foley video is that it was far more than an unspeakably grisly scene; rather, it was a political statement intended for American audiences as a means of terrorizing them, frightening them into putting anti-war pressure on Congress and the Obama administration.

Even the normally clueless New York Times appears to have recognized the “information warfare” subtleties of the Foley video.  In a story dated August 30, the Times reported that, “ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, is using every contemporary mode of messaging to recruit fighters, intimidate enemies, and promote its claim to have established a caliphate, a unified Muslim state run according to a strict interpretation of Islamic law.  If its bigotry and beheadings seem to come from a distant century, its use of media is up to the moment.”  As crude and cruel as the beheadings were, the video message is proof that radical Islam is far more adept at the use of modern communications than any western power, including the United States.

So why does the United States, the most powerful and resourceful nation on Earth, not have a sophisticated information warfare, or SOFTWAR, capability to use against radical Islam?  Why has the Obama administration not spread the word throughout the Muslim world, covertly, that members of ISIS are not good Muslims?  Instead, they engage in Hirabah (prohibited war against society), and that their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is a Mufsidoon (an evil-doer condemned by the Koran).  Why are we not spreading the word throughout Islam that those who follow al-Baghdadi and ISIS will surely suffer Jahannam (eternal hellfire) unless they repent?

While ISIS is experiencing some success in Syria and Iraq, they should not deceive themselves that the caliphate they are establishing can ever encompass any major portion of the western world.  Aside from protecting the lives of U.S. citizens who live and work in the Middle East, our primary national interest is in seeing to it that they do not establish a foothold on our shores.

So, as sympathetic as I may be to any dilemma that might cause Barack Obama some sleepless nights, I understand that no amount of conventional military power will stop the ISIS onslaught in that region of the world.  Any time we spend debating whether or not to commit military forces against ISIS, or how much, is wasted time.  Instead, we should be spending our time thinking in terms of how to discredit radical jihadists throughout the Muslim world through the skillful use of information technology, and how we might protect our American homeland.  King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has recently warned, “If we ignore (ISIS), I am sure they will reach Europe in a month and America in another month.”  We simply cannot allow that to happen and military power is not the answer.

Instead, we must make the Muslim presence here so unpleasant that they will long for a return to whatever hellhole they came from.  To do that, we must make membership or participation in any organization advocating the violent overthrow of the U.S. government a major criminal offense.  In the spirit of Eisenhower’s signing statement as he signed the Communist Control Act of 1954, we must resolve that, The American people are determined to eliminate from their midst organizations which, purporting to be “religious,” in the accepted sense of that term, are conspirators dedicated to the destruction of our form of government by violence and force…”

To accomplish that end, the Congress should take immediate steps to amend Section 2 of the Communist Control Act of 1954 to read as follows: “The Congress hereby finds and declares that Islam, although purportedly a religious sect, is in fact an instrumentality of a foreign conspiracy to overthrow the government of the United States.  It constitutes an authoritarian dictatorship within a republic, demanding for itself the rights and privileges accorded to individuals of other religious denominations, but denying to all others the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution… 

“As a segment of the U.S. population, Islam is relatively small numerically and gives scant indication of its capacity ever to attain its ends by lawful political means.  The peril inherent in the existence of Islam arises not from its numbers, but from its failure to acknowledge any limitation as to the nature of its activities, and its dedication to the proposition that the present constitutional government of the United States ultimately must be brought to ruin by any available means, including resort to force and violence.  Holding that doctrine, its role as the agency of a hostile foreign power renders its existence a clear present and continuing danger to the security of the United States.  It is the means whereby individuals are seduced into the service of Islam, trained to do its bidding, and directed and controlled in the conspiratorial performance of their revolutionary services.  Therefore, the organization known as Islam shall be outlawed in the United States.

With that statute on the books we can make it very uncomfortable for radical Islamists.  With eyes and ears planted in every mosque in America, radical Imams such as Anwar al-Awlaki could be quickly exposed and FBI agents could be on the scene within hours to make arrests.

An old adage tells us that “the enemy of my friend is my enemy,” but, as much as that adage has been applicable throughout history, it does not apply in the Middle East today.  Recent events in that part of the world should be enough to convince us that the enemy of my enemy is also my enemy.  Other than Israel, we have no “friends” in the Middle East; there are only enemies and potential enemies.

Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “Never interfere with an enemy while he’s in the process of destroying himself.”  Will Barack Obama be wise enough to take that advice?  We shall see.

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