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Saturday, May 10, 2008

If We Can't Call it Islamic Terror, What CAN We Call It?

The US Government wants us to stop using terms such as Jihad and Islam in connection with the global war on terror. As a proud American I would love to follow the wishes of my government but the fact is, I don't know what to call it, we ARE fighting Islamic Fundamentalists. I have thought of some others but they don't really sound that good and they take up way too much space:
  • War Against the Terrorists from that religion that can't be named.
  • War Against the Baby-killers who didn't go to my Hebrew School
  • War Against that Really Big Religion that isn't Christianity or Judaism
  • Fight Against Terrorists from the Religion that doesn't eat pork either
  • Fight Against the Terrorists from the Religion that runs a lot of 7-Elevens (and I don't mean Indians).
  • War Against really bad people who face Mecca when they pray

See What I mean? Everything is too long, until I come up with something that works I am going to stick with Muslim, Islamic, etc. Rick Santorum weighed in on the same Issue today:

The Elephant in the Room: Let's call this 'terrorism' by its real name
By Rick Santorum
It's official: We're fighting . . . terrorists.

You can also call them violent extremists if you like, but never use jihadist or mujahedeen or Islamo-fascist to describe our enemy. These words are deemed pejorative and offensive, according to a recent Bush administration memorandum to federal employees whose jobs involve explaining our ongoing war to the public.

I didn't get the memo, but the headline on the Associated Press story caught my eye. Two years ago at the National Press Club I challenged the president to go on a communications offensive here at home to redefine the war. I argued that using the politically correct expression war on terror was not only objectively false, but also dangerously misleading.

"We are not fighting a war on terror," I said then, "any more than we fought a war on blitzkrieg in World War II."

Blitzkrieg, of course, was a tactic. So is terrorism. In World War II, we fought against German Nazism, Japanese Imperialism and Italian Fascism - militarist, totalitarian ideologies that governed these societies and motivated believers elsewhere to rally and spread these movements across the globe. Terrorism isn't a governing philosophy or organizing principle. It is simply a means to achieve an ideological end, in this case the spread of radical Islam.

I am sure Franklin Roosevelt's candid portrayal of our World War II enemies offended many Germans, Italians and Japanese. But did this motivate our own recent immigrants from enemy countries to oppose America and the war? A few perhaps, but thousands of these patriots who came here for liberty joined our armed forces or the effort on the home front and defended it. My father, an 18-year-old Italian immigrant when the war broke out, was one of them.

But isn't it accurate to say we are at war with terrorists? Yes, but misleading. We are not at war with Colombia's FARC, Rwanda's FDLR rebels, or Spain's Basque separatists. We are at war only with terrorists motivated by Islam who view themselves as true followers, as self-described holy warriors.

At a White House meeting after my press club remarks, I handed the president my speech and told him I thought that we were more apt to lose this war in the streets of America than on the streets of Baghdad. We had to start winning the communications battle at home, and part of that involved coming clean with Americans about whom precisely we are fighting. I suggested, for example, that he abandon the word terror and replace it with Islamic fascism.

A few weeks later, Bush was responding to an impromptu question about a thwarted terror plot in England. For the first time, he described the enemy as Islamic fascists. Then came the backlash - in the media, the Muslim world, and, most important, the State Department. Sources told me that the bureaucracies rose up as one and persuaded the president to never use that term again. He never has.

It is now clear from the recent memo that our government's communications strategy is focused on winning the hearts and minds of moderate (I'm sorry we can't use that word), I mean mainstream Muslims rather than Main Street Americans. After seven years of war (is war still OK or should I say strong disagreement?), we have sanitized and sensitized our rhetoric to the point where Americans still know little about the radical Muslims we fight.

In speeches I give across the country, I ask basic questions about the ideology and motivation of the enemy. The response? Blank stares. Seven years into this war, that's an indictment of our government rather than the intelligence of the public. Why should we learn about radical Muslims if they are not the problem?

Our government in this memo is teaching us a politically correct version of the truth. For example, it tells us that democracy and Islam are compatible. But Islam is less compatible with democracy than is Christianity. Jesus said, "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's." There was from the beginning a recognition of two realms - the sacred and the secular. From Islam's inception there has been one realm. Islamic law (sharia) is the law of the government.

There are Muslim democracies, but to our enemy this is anti-Islamic. Sayyid Abul A'la Mawdudi, a 20th-century leader of the Indian radical Muslim movement, said Islam was the "very antithesis of secular Western democracy." Sayyid Qutb was even more direct. The Egyptian intellectual godfather of the radical Muslim movement said one cannot mix Islamic law (sharia) and democracy because sharia is from God and, therefore, perfect and comprehensive. Democracy is a human system and, therefore, error-ridden and incomplete. Substituting man-made laws for God-given laws is a grave offense.

This conflict, like all great conflicts, is not just a military struggle. It's an ideological struggle, as well. It must be fought in the hearts and minds of people at home and abroad. How can we win a battle of ideas if we don't have the will to set forth what the enemy truly believes? How can we convince Americans it's worth the long and great sacrifice to defend ourselves against this grave threat if we worry more about our image abroad than relating the real story at home?

The young men and women fighting and too often dying in the many theaters of this war know who the enemy is and the gravity of the threat the enemy poses. We owe it to them and their families, to their honor and our security, to tell America and the world the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

3 comments:

Shukri said...

This war is about fighting extremists who kill. These terrorists, like most other terrorists, aren't motivated by religion. They are motivated by perceived wrongs but choose killing as their way of making it "right." This is why we don't call the Tamil tigers "Hindu terrorists" or Kahane Chai, "Jewish terrorists" or the IRA "Christian terrorists" but rather simply, "terrorists". Why? Because if you demonize Hinduism, Judaism or Christianity, you've just expanded your definition of the enemy to include hundreds of millions of people instead of the actual perpetrators who are far fewer in numbers.

Kind regards,
Shukri

Yid With Lid said...

Shukri

The battle in Ireland was always Protestants vs Catholics. The Tamil and Kahane Chai are outcasts in their religion.. Terrorists in Islam are mainstream...thats the big difference

Cindy said...

Shukri,
The difference between Islam and other religions is that there is a political aspect of Islam, not jst influenced by Islam, but actually inherent in Islam that is not in other religions. It is true that Islamist terrorism is motivated partly by perceived wrongs, but those perceived wrongs are largely perceived to be wrong because of the teachings of the Quran, Hadith and Sira regarding how Muslims and the Islamic community are to relate to unbelievers.

Therefore such terrorism really is Islamic terrorism -- or to be fair, at least Islamist terrorism (if one wants to refer to only the Islamist or political sphere of Islam, even though lets face it far more of Islam's texts are devoted to the political than to worship).

Front groups and State Dept would have us invert the truth and instead of "Islamic terrorism" we're to say "anti-Islamic terroism", thus supposedly causing a rift between the violent physical jihadist and those falsely called "moderate" Muslims only because their form of jihad and global domination involves nonviolent tactics (at this point anyway). State wants us to lie in order to change the perception of what Islam really is; problem is, it's written in the texts. How you gonna change that?