Friday, May 31, 2013

Fearing Neither Demons Nor Congress

One hundred thousand Christians are killed for their faith each year. Yet so far there hasn't been a general violent response. Will it remain a one-way street of jihadi violence against us if we end the legal basis of our war on terror and try to arrest our way out of this fight? Or will Westerners wage war on their own?

Instapundit notes this story:

A top Vatican official has said around 100,000 Christians are killed every year for reasons linked to their faith and pointed to the Middle East, Africa and Asia as the biggest problem areas.

Monsignor Silvano Maria Tomasi was quoted by Vatican radio on Tuesday as saying that the figures were "shocking" and "incredible".

I find the figures shocking and incredible, too. So much so that I won't accept the number any more than I accepted farcical Lancet estimates of Iraqi dead. But a lot of Christians are killed and a lot more are persecuted. Of that there can be little doubt. So Instapundit's question is very relevant regardless of how many are killed:

Will a new version of the Knights Templar arise?

The Knights Templar were an armed charitable organization with its own economic base that fought to protect Christians in the Holy Land.

Certainly, the military component of the Long War on Islamist terrorism is a limited component of the war that seeks to cure the Islamic world of its societal problems that breed and support such terrorism, but it is a necessary part of that war.

And if our government doesn't fight it, why do we assume private Christians (or Westerners assumed to be part of Christendom) won't wage a war against Islamist terrorists or even all Islam the way individual Moslems and organizations wage war on the West today without much in the way of state support? I've warned about this for years.

As I wrote in 2006:

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?

This is but one component of a trend to privatized warfare (and only 99 cents!), but it is potentially the most bloody if it comes about.

Despite the president's recent speech that set the stage for checking out of the war on terror, we are still waging the fight. Sixty thousand of our troops are still waging the war (from behind) in Afghanistan and our drones are still active despite promises of severe limitations:

A U.S. drone strike killed the number two of the Pakistani Taliban in the North Waziristan region on Wednesday, three security officials said, in what would be a major blow in the fight against militancy.

But at some point, if President Obama gets his way (and if our enemies cooperate) and even repeals the legal basis for the war on terror, we will end our government's participation in the war. As our enemies continue to wage war on us, don't be shocked if Westerners band together in private association to fight the jihadis when our governments can't or won't.

If you think this is ridiculous, consider that China's apparent one-way cyber assault on our corporations is leading some to worry about whether these companies might counter-attack if we do nothing, as a recent report by the private Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property addressed:

Commission co-chair Dennis Blair, the ex-director of national intelligence, said governments should also toughen laws to prevent a "cyber war going on well outside the control of governments, the consequences of which no country wants."

Indeed. But if the government doesn't act, somebody will--whether better or worse than the government can. So I don't think it is far-fetched that private citizens might wage an overseas war on terror.

I'd expect the first such groups to arise in Europe. With our more integrated Moslems here and the distance to the heart of the Islamic world, we won't feel the effects as rapidly. And we've been fighting the war for over a decade, so it will take longer for people to react to the failure of our government to fight.

But European governments have largely checked out of the war already and Europeans are already reacting to the unrest and terror erupting from their less assimilated Moslems that periodically rock European cities. When they see the last Western power capable of fighting refuse to fight, the pool of recruits in Europe is already fairly large.

They might even use the old name.