Thursday, August 04, 2016

Unclear on the Concept

This conclusion is wrong:

Islamic terror could drive Europe into the arms of the far-Right[.]

No, Islamist terror won't cause Europe to embrace the far right. The failure of the existing center-left/center-right parties to fight Islamist terrorism could cause Europeans to embrace the far right (or far left, for that matter).

This mistake is related to my utter frustration with our current leaders who insist that the American people are afraid of jihadis and prone to panicking. If only our population would be more resilient and shrug off deaths that don't match bathtub fall casualties, our president says!

We are not afraid. We are not panicked.

What we are is angry at our bloody-minded enemies, and frustrated that our leaders don't seem interested in waging war on the jihadis and the Islamist ideology that incubates the terrorists:

At its heart, the United States’ strategy was to identify terrorist groups and destroy them. ...

Operationally, the strategy worked. Terrorists were identified and killed. As the organizations were degraded and broken, terrorism declined – but then surged. These endless intelligence and special forces operations may have been brilliantly carried out, but the strategic goal of the United States has not been achieved. The war is not being won and a stalemate is equivalent to a loss for the United States.

The essential problem has been a persistent misunderstanding of radical Islamism. It is a movement, not an organization. Or to be more precise, radical Islamism is a strand of Islam. How large or small it is has become the subject of a fairly pointless debate. Its size is sufficient to send American forces halfway around the world and it is capable of carrying out attacks in Europe and the U.S. Whether it is a small strand or a giant strand doesn’t matter. What matters is that it cannot be suppressed, or at least has not yet been suppressed.

This reflects what I've been saying for a long time. Military action is a holding action to keep the jihadis away from us and provide some protection for the Moslems who reject Islamist thinking. That is the ultimate fight--the Islamic Civil War that is seeking to define what Islam is. Until we can help Islam win that conflict, the nutballs will keep coming at us in periodic waves, individually and in groups organized from cells to caliphates.

Which is why building democracy in Iraq was so important rather than walking away in 2011 as if the battlefield victory was sufficient.

We needed a functioning Moslem democracy within the heart of the Arab world to demonstrate to Arab Moslems that there is an alternative to being governed by autocrats--whether royal or secular--or Islamist dictatorships.

The Arab Spring actually showed that there is a desire for that alternative to the traditional choices. But we've done too little to try to advocate that alternative and put it in practice for the long term victory.

What we want is victory, though it will take a long time to achieve. So let's get on with it.