Fighting Radical Islam
Fighting Radical Islam: America First
by Byron King
“…The Internet has given radical Islam its day-to-day communications and connections to the world at large. And Western complacency (“What, me, worry?”) has given radical Islam its fifth-column in every target set. (For example, the 9/11 hijackers were hiding in plain sight, taking flight lessons, marrying German girls and collecting welfare in Hamburg…)”
In his column at the Asia Times online, today, Spengler makes some interesting parallels with fighting and winning the Cold War – in strategy, operation and tactics. If you want intelligence – says Spengler, in an article entitled ‘How America can win the intelligence war’ – first you start a war. In other words, if you apply enough pressure, you’ll find out who the enemy is, what it wants, and how it might be defeated.
But it seems to me that the war has already commenced, with the other side taking the initiative while we were otherwise occupied. The fall of the Shah (thanks to Jimmy Carter) gave radical Islam a state sponsor, and a set of secure internal lines of communication for intellectualizing and planning a war against the West.
Afghanistan gave radical Islam its boot camp and advanced infantry training, in learning how to fight a militarily sophisticated foe.
The Internet has given radical Islam its day-to-day communications and connections to the world at large. And Western complacency (“What, me, worry?”) has given radical Islam its fifth-column in every target set. (For example, the 9/11 hijackers were hiding in plain sight, taking flight lessons, marrying German girls and collecting welfare in Hamburg.)
Fighting Radical Islam: What Are We Defending?
And when you are fighting a war, you have to decide what targets you want to defend. Just what is it about “the West” that we want to hold up to the world as being worth defending with our blood and treasure? Are we defending “our way of life,” in the immortal words of former Secretary of State James Baker? Like the right to engage in soccer hooliganism? Reality TV? Young girls wearing dog collars and lots of skin piercings and tattoos? Roe vs. Wade: partial birth abortion? Supermarket shelves filled with processed foods full of salt and high fructose corn syrup? Two million people incarcerated in U.S. jails and prisons at any given time, many for non-violent offenses? If that is what we are defending, then let’s surrender.
OK, so maybe the part about not fighting for the right to consume high fructose corn syrup is a bit over the top. Are we defending our right and ability to drive gas-guzzling SUVs? At $2.00 per gallon of gasoline, and rising, we may just decide for reasons of pure economics that SUVs are not all they are cracked up to be. Are we defending our right and ability to gear the economy to the stock market and the housing market? Ugh…what a depressing thought, to fight for the right to flip houses in the Southern California real estate market. How about defending a Western society in which vast portions of the social economy are nothing but big welfare states? Whether it is “free” medical care in Canada and Europe, or “free” medicines in the U.S., or the U.S. Social Security Ponzi Fund, is this what we are fighting for? I mean, I am willing to fight these al-Qaeda bastards, but I am not so enthusiastic about making the world safe for a $2 trillion federal budget that is filled to bursting with pork (no pun intended about the pork).
Fighting Radical Islam: Past U.S. Fighting
Historically, a period of warfare has been the time during which the nation and its society were overhauled to some extent, maybe minor or more likely major. Look at the before-after pictures of the U.S., with respect to the Civil War, Spanish-American War, WWI, WWII and Vietnam. These are different places, different value systems, different economies, different cultures, different obligations to the world at large, and different civilizations, in a sense. (For example, Charles Lindburg’s “America First” ideas seemed so smart in 1940, and so quaint in 1945…)
Whatever we do to confront radical Islam and battle al-Qaeda, the U.S., in all likelihood, will not be the “same” nation after the fight as it was before it. We need to figure out what it is that we want to keep safe from the tumult and shouting, what is worth preserving intact, and not giving it to the breakers. And we ought to figure out what is not worth defending about what we do as a society, so as not to waste resources fighting for losers and losing causes.
Spengler says that “To win to its side the best men and women of the Islamic world, the United States must make clear what it wants from them.” Yes, but first the U.S. needs to focus its thinking on what it wants from itself.
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Byron King is a graduate of Harvard University and currently serves as an attorney in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.