We are losing our collective anger in regard to the war on terror. We live in a world of instant news, instant communications and instant gratification. Our collective attention span has also grown short.
Unfortunately our enemies, our real enemies, the ones who want to destroy our country, our culture and our way of life do not suffer from this affliction. They have long attention spans, very long. They have the patience, means and resolve to continue their efforts.
We can not allow, even for one moment, anything to weaken our resolve to thwart these terrorists, their efforts, and the efforts of those who support them.
Aside from what I believe to be our shortened attention span is the more important point that we Americans do not understand the true nature of the enemy who is assailing us.
It is vital that the European Nations also wake up to this threat and get their heads out of the sand. They don't even have to be attacked. Just the financial fallout from another catastrophic attack on America or God forbid – The Saudi oil production facilities alone, will put them back into the dark ages.
The first and most important thing to understand is this. They will stop at nothing to destroy us. Biological, chemical, nuclear or conventional they will use whatever means available, to wreak as much havoc and destruction on us as they can.
Sources on the ground doing the hunting, and sources involved in the “after market” processing of the terrorists have all spoken with one voice. This is a voice that you will never see on Network TV, read about in the liberal press or see mentioned in the biased News Magazines. What they have said is this. The general public, the average citizen in America has no inkling of how evil the bad guys really are. Face it folks, these are real bad guys, bad on a scale that is incomprehensible to most people and certainly to a majority of Americans. The detainees at Guantanamo are not a bunch of weekend protesters who have been thrown in jail and are being unjustly treated because of a difference in opinion.
This is not to say all Islamists are against the Christian West; however, the radical terrorist factions are completely tied to a version or interpretation of their religion that completely justifies their actions and vilifies us, the target of their hostilities.
These guys are terrorists, they are our enemy and they are still bent on our destruction. They are willing to do anything to hurt and kill us.
This is not simply Christianity against Islam, although it is so closely tied to religion on the Islamic extremists' side that it is really just a matter of point of view. These extremists certainly do not represent a general Islamic point of view, but there is an undeniable relationship between their Islamic interpretation and their political and extremists views.
Religious beliefs are fundamentally and simply exactly what they are called – beliefs. When it comes to religion, a belief is not something that can be rationally explained or even debated. In many cases it involves an adherence to an idea or mindset that actually becomes stronger if it is ever questioned or challenged in a rational manner. Hell, the Taliban believed that any technology invented after the death of Mohammed (632 AD) should not be used or available to the Muslims under their rule. This includes of course running water and electricity – go figure.
Al Queda, the Taliban, and many other fundamentalist or extremist Islamic sects believe that it is their religious duty to rid the earth of all non-believers and that it is fully justified to accomplish this by any means possible.
I am not saying that this is an Islamic view. It is the twisted view of Islam that these terrorists are using to justify, fuel, and recruit followers and their acts Worldwide.
For instance, the main stated beef with the U.S. by none other than Bin Laden himself was the desecration of the holy land of Saudi Arabia by the mere presence of Non-believers – the U.S. Military presence prior to and since the 1st Gulf War. It is through this hybridization of religion and politics that the Islamic extremists are able to recruit followers and convince them to commit such desperate and suicidal acts. If they weren't promised and did not truly believe that they get an automatic ticket to heaven and other perks awaiting their arrival, I guarantee there would be a lot less guys strapping bombs to their chests, driving explosive laden trucks into market places, or flying airplanes into buildings.
What we have to realize is that the foe we are up against represents religious fanaticism, populated by disillusioned and impoverished youths, driven by a propagated political belief that the West (The U.S.) is responsible for their hardships and that we are bent on the destruction of both their culture and religion. They have educated leaders, a worldwide network, economic funding, backing by large factions within several Islamic Governments and access to weapons that can cause tremendous damage, physically, psychologically, and economically. They have the reasons, the means, the ability, and, as we already know, the resolve to use them
I hope you know why there has not been another attack on the scale of 9-11 in the U.S. It's because we have been catching the bastards. I am literally terrified at the naiveté of the American general public and the liberal points of view regarding this terrorist war. You can't negotiate with these guys, you can't buy them off, and you can't go away and leave them to themselves. We are at war and it has nothing to do with Iraq or Afghanistan. We have had war declared on us and it was not on 9-11-01. It was a long time before that and we were too smug to notice it.
The Muslim brotherhood, and the beginnings of the Iranian backed Hamas based in Lebanon and Syria decided that the West was their target way back in the mid 60's. Hezbollah, Al Queda, Taliban and a plethora of terrorist splinter groups are all great grandchildren of these violent, radical Islamic movements.
There are several reasons why we as Americans have trouble seeing the “big picture” concerning the vast scope and reality of the terrorist threat against us.
1. We play fair. As Americans we are imbued with the concept of fair play. From sportsmanship to justice in the legal system we demand mutual respect between players and an even-handed and fair result. We don't hit you when you're down.
2. Americans are slow to anger and we will take an extreme amount of provocation before we strike back. As a nation, we really do abide by the philosophy of turning the other cheek.
3. Whenever we have been provoked to military retaliation it has been against a visible and palpable enemy. The enemy was usually represented by a country and the battles took place on their soil. We have always gone to war.
4. Even in our most desperate moments we have always gone out of our way to protect the innocents of our enemies at great risk to ourselves.
5. We only do what is necessary. Once our goal has been achieved, victory, regime change, surrender, we stop and start the rebuilding process. We do not fight wars of annihilation and genocide.
Please understand that I am not being naive. I know about our secret wars, our influences in the affairs of other countries and some, but not all of the mistakes that we (our government) have made. However, I am talking about the general views of the majority of average Americans. As much as I've seen and known, I still find it hard to understand the enemy that we now face.
Unfortunately viewing this threat, this war, through American eyes has not prepared us for the following:
1. By our standards, this enemy does not fight fair. They do not formally declare war. Hell, there is no country they represent. They sneak attack at unprotected targets and will kill and destroy as many Americans as they can. We ceased bombing during the Muslim Holy Days. Do you think they would hesitate to strike at us on Christmas or any Jewish Holy Day? For them this is total and all out war. Because they do not represent any country, they are not bound by any treaties, United Nations agreements, or the Geneva Convention. They can and will use any weapon available, no matter how ruthless or heinous, regardless of the opinions and conventions of the rest of the world. They exist totally outside the boundaries of country or nation and are unlike any foe we have ever faced.
2. This enemy is like no other we have ever encountered. The terrorist Islamic militants. They live by the idea of an eye for an eye. They hate us and believe we are responsible for all of the poverty, oppression, and inequities that are rampant within their own countries and governments. How much vengeance do you think they want to extract?
3. The enemy is not confined within any borders. They strike out of nowhere and fade back into the ocean of humanity. They can strike us from any corner of the earth – anywhere that we have a military, business, or civilian/tourist presence. They have brought the battle to us, to our soil. This enemy could be living right among us. They may be legitimate U.S. citizens. For all we know they could be our next door neighbors.
4. Their targets are our innocents. The nature of terrorist attacks is to terrorize, to break the will and spirit of the enemy without engaging in direct military action against the enemy. These bastards are targeting innocent Americans, our Non-Combatants, our women, our children. These innocents are not considered collateral damage. In this war they are the target.
5. The enemy in this war is bent upon our destruction. Their goal is to eliminate us from this earth. They will use any and all means necessary to do so and they will not stop until they have accomplished their goal, or until we have stopped them.
JIHAD, THE HOLY WAR
This is a concept that is so foreign to the Western mind that it is hard to comprehend. Simply put, to create a Jihad you need a Muslim cleric of some influence to issue a decree that a conflict is in direct defense of Islam in that the enemy is out to destroy Islam and represents a direct threat to the faith. By doing so, in terms of the Koran, they are able to label the conflict a Holy War and issue a decree for Jihad. What this does according to the Islamic faith is guarantee all Muslims who die in the new Holy War, will automatically become martyrs and be given free passes to heaven and various other amenities thereafter. In theory, the Jihad also represents a call to all Muslims to join in the cause, since it is another tenant of the Islamic faith that, if the Muslim faith is attacked, it is the obligation and duty of all other Muslims to join in defending the faith. What a great recruiting tool.
Until the majority of Americans realize the nature and ruthlessness of the enemy that we face in the War on Terror we run the risk of letting our guard down. When the President or any of the Defense establishment mention that this may be a decade's long struggle, they are being honest. It will be very tough to keep our momentum and vigilance at the level necessary to combat this foe. We don't have a target, there are no battle lines, the enemy moves among us and could strike any target at anytime in any number of ways. It is hard to maintain focus when there is no target. This may in the end be the greatest test our nation has ever faced. I believe that this is the beginning of a war of civilizations and it is not that we (the West) have designs for the elimination of Islam but that there are those in Islam who surely have designs on the elimination of Christianity, Judaism and Western Civilization.
Take a look at the schools of the Islamic fundamentalists (Madrasah) funded by the Wahabinists of Saudi Arabia (our allies). They teach no useable skills – none. No math, no writing, no science – just an endless rote memorization of the Koran and a vicious, vitriolic hatred of the West – The United States of America. These are state sponsored schools that are found throughout the Islamic nations of the Middle East. Where do you think the graduates of these schools eventually end up?
We can not stand down in this conflict – there will be no negotiations or surrender. Right now as you read this there are hundreds of these Islamic Jihadists plotting attacks against us and thousands waiting in line to carry them out.
Ernest Emerson – 10/29/03
Mr. Emerson just like you stated this is not a war we can just pull out of. I’ve heard so many say just bring home our troops and they’ll fight it out for themselves. And again they are terrorists and they the terror they inflict is not against themselves but against the innocents of the world over! The people who are looking for a brighter future for themselves and others. Hope is not a “western” ideal! It’s something every human is born with the ability to look forward and hope to achieve great things and leave they’re mark on world as we know it. It would be so much easier if there were a way to rationalize with these terrorists. But the human ideal to achieve greatness is a razors edge of madness. For an Islamist to become a martyr for their belief they are idolized not vilified! They get a billboard and become national hero!! Our allies train, fund, and give these maniacs safe haven. For myself and all other patriots (true patriots) there is no end in sight and no safe haven so until more Americans wake up and become “true patriots” I’ll be sleeping with one eye open and one hand on my CQC-7. Thank Mr. Emerson for a well educated article and for trying to open as many eyes to this ever present problem we as a country have, but so many refuse to see. Keep it up and your fans and followers will keep helping get the word out!
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Islamic: peaceful, normal, true Muslims that love America( like me)
Islamist: backward, uneducated non-Muslims who don’t understand true Islam
I am forwarding this, with your name at the bottom for credit. This is a very concise way of putting the problem. The ultimate guerrilla warfare!! Until our politicians, as well as other governments that are supporting these factions, decide to reign in this terror; we will continue to have this fight. It may never go away for this or the next generation……..
I realize my commentary qualifies to some degree as preaching to the choir, but our collective apathy and ambivalence towards the ever-growing number of ‘true believers’ you reference in your blog could not be more profound given this event of the last 24 hours: