Christmas, Terror and The War of Ideas

The attempt on Christmas to bring down a Northwest flight as it approached Detroit is a reminder.  The reminder, however, appears to be, in the main, a shallow one.  Media coverage focuses on the TSA, what new security measures might be enacted, watch lists; who are on those lists, security in foreign airports and who knew what when.  Was the bomber an “official” member of al Qaeda?  Official, as if al Qaeda handed out membership cards as opposed to propagating an ideological point of view.  

Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. of New Jersey in an interview with CNN, incomprehensibly, referred to the bomber as an infidel, twice.  Clearly, Mr. Pascrell has been sucked in by the “Islam is a religion of peace” apologists.  He apparently enjoys little if any understanding of the ideology or of the threat. None of these points of focus address the realities of Jihadist thinking, the hotbeds for its dissemination or what must be done to combat a growing ideology of intolerance and hate.

We are no longer engaged in a War on Terror, we comfortably apply Orwellian subterfuge; Overseas Contingency Operations.  Senior administration officials will not allow the words war on terror to escape their lips.  We apologize for the application and promotion of our values and our confidence in those values.  We shrink from overt pride in what America is and what America has accomplished.  We apply the Geneva Conventions to those not covered by those Conventions.  We grant the security of Constitutional protections to the masterminds of horrific acts of terror.  We look on meekly as American lawyers engage in “Lawfare” on behalf of those that would end our history of prosperity, freedom and common sense; those same lawyers are now employed by our own Justice Department.  We argue that to actually fight back is wrong, as it will simply result in more Jihadists.         

We need look to our English brethren as an example.  England has apologized for radical Islamist movements for decades.  They have funded schools and organizations that view Western thinking and culture as a horrendous enemy to be defeated.  England offers extreme protections to radical Islamic mosques and organizations, demanding that nothing be uttered that might offend frail Islamic sensibilities.  Political correctness in England has run amok and the England of Churchill and Thatcher is rapidly fading to a distant memory.  Our own Homeland Security Department has opined that the most significant Jihadist threat to America will likely originate in England.  Why?  Organized British Jihadists are protected under the rubric of political correctness and moral relativism.   

England is deep in the malaise of their political correctness and moral blindness.  We  move in that direction. 

The Cold War was, in its essence, a war of ideas; liberal Democracy versus Communism.  A war of ideas based on individual freedoms versus the needs of the state; the rule of law versus rule of the elite, individual achievement versus central planning.  Without a moment’s hesitation, it is not difficult to declare that the ideology of freedom and individual rights won that decade’s long struggle!

We are once again engaged in a war of ideas, if only we could achieve the clarity to see it as such.  We do not!  Our leadership engages in effortless relativism contending all religions are equal, all ideas are equal and all ideologies have value.  We see a President quote selected verses of the Koran in speaking to the Muslim world when the immediately following verses tell a very different story and define a very different context for the predominant interpretation of Islam.  We ignore growing movements in Islam that define domination, subjugation of unbelievers and holy war as dogma, the word of God, not to be questioned by mortal man.  We acquiesce to the idea that a medieval interpretation of Islam, set in stone a thousand years ago is a perfectly acceptable militant ideology for the modern world.         

The Christmas plot should be a reminder that to mitigate radical Islam we must aggressively engage the war of ideas.  There has been, in all of history, no more successful set of ideas than the ones that founded the great Western democracies.  We have no reason to apologize for those ideas or the results of those ideas.  We have not reason to accept a substitution based on relativism.  We can and should take unmitigated pride in what we have accomplished and who we are.      

We must, as Australia has done, say NO!  No, we will not cast away our culture, our values or our founding ideals to accommodate you.  Come to these shores to be an American or an Englishman or a Swede.  Come to these shores to better yourself and your children as have generations before you.  Practice your beliefs in peace and leave others to their faith, also in peace.  Do not come to these shores to bend us to your will!  Australia has said by way of two Prime Ministers from different political parties, welcome to our country, but if you despise our culture and our ways, you are also welcome to leave and please do so with haste!  Come to Australia to be an Australian or go home!

The war of ideas cannot be fought as an apology.  The war of ideas cannot be fought with appeasement.  The war of ideas cannot be fought on a foundation of cultural or ideological guilt.  The war of ideas must say to Muslims, as it has said to Eastern Europe, Central and South America, India, Japan, Germany and the former Russian Republics; there is another path, a better path.  There is a path to achievement and prosperity. This path requires that you abandon your own war on the ideas and beliefs of others you must also abandon those that would lead you to a path of violence and domination.   

We must deliver the message that the wrong path is expensive.  I recall a West Wing episode where Toby, in an argument with his Congressperson ex-wife over a speech that decried radical Islamic terror ended the argument nearly screaming “They’ll like us when we win”.  That simple insight is a reality we have yet to fully understand or embrace. 

We must also, unfortunately, punish those that embrace the path of violence and the ideology of religious domination.  During the peak of the Roman Empire a Roman citizen was safe, without escort, nearly anywhere in the empire.  The regions under Roman control knew that if a single Roman citizen was injured or killed, hundreds would die as penance.  The Romans, typically, needed to apply that punishment only a very few times before the message was clear, we may need to do the same 

It’s not the TSA or the various watch lists that will enhance our security.  It’s not a new requirement that will keep you in your seat for the last hour of international flights that will defeat terror.  It’s not improving security at the airport in Lagos Nigeria that will make us safe. It’s not any number of reactive activities that will create the conditions for security.

Only an unfettered, all out, war of ideas will move the needle.  A war fought on the air waves, in the media, by diplomats, by American political figures, in newspapers, leaflets and debates on Al Jazerra.  We don’t need to improve security in Lagos Nigeria we need to ban American air carriers from doing business there and anywhere else where the threat is clear, as it is in Nigeria.  We need to gather allies to do the same, deliver the Roman message economically.

The enemy views this as a generation conflict, we do not.  The enemy is patient, we are not.  The enemy maintains an ideological motivation that we do not.  The enemy is unrepentant, we apologize.    

The enemy is at its most basic, a set of ideas.  Last I checked  TSA was ill equipped to fight a war of ideas.