Monday, February 23, 2009

When War Comes to Main Street

We already have sub-state jihadis from Moslem countries waging war against us (though certainly with some state support).

Now sub-state Moslems from Western countries are getting in on the act (tip to Mark Steyn):

We have found electronic components in devices used to target British troops that originally come from Britain," a British explosives officer told Mr. Miliband during a detailed briefing on the type of improvised explosive device (IED) used against British forces.

When asked how the components had reached Afghanistan, the officer explained that they had either been sent from Britain, or physically brought to Afghanistan by British Muslims who had flown over.

The disclosure is the latest in a string of suggestions from British commanders about the connections between British Muslims and violence in Afghanistan.

I don't think this radicalized Moslem effort is the last word in sub-state warfare from inside the West. I think that Westerners will join in the war on terror if they see their own governments refusing to defend the Western way of life that these citizens value. Certainly, many of these types of people have an outlet by joining their military or private security companies. Some can even join the American military.

But in many Western countries, joining their military is not the way to defend the West, since their governments refuse to admit there is a problem with militant jihadists.

For Western citizens who find themselves unable to count on their government to defend the West, what are their options? Well, like their Moslem jihadi sympathizers in their own countries, they too could wage private war:

We face enemies who draw support from traditional states but do not rely on them. Waging war by private groups has been made more lethal by modern technology. Cheap and readily available weapons, modern communications gear (Internet and satellite phones), and WMD--from poison gas to Anthrax to dirty bombs to perhaps nuclear weapons--are no longer state monopolies. Warfare is being privatized by our enemies.

And if our Western governments fail to wage war effectively, will private Western warfare be far behind? Much as vigilantes arise when police and courts cannot provide security, will private groups strike back at whatever target they believe responsible for jihadis?

So tell me, are the governments of the West fighting back against the jihadis sufficiently to stifle this possibility?

And don't count on Westerners angry enough to wage private war to obey the laws of war much more than our jihadi enemies do. Oh, at first this private warfare will be pretty good. But eventually, those waging this type of war will widen its scope. And this will get ugly.

If our Western governments don't get serious about defeating the jihadis and defending the Western way of life and our freedoms, this really will become a war between civilizations as the war becomes part of society.