The United States has been in many “wars” since the end of WWII:
1961 War on Organized Crime
1964 War on Poverty
1969 War against Tobacco
1971 War on Drugs
1971 War on Cancer
1987 War against AIDS
1988 War against Global Warming
2001 War against Terror
What do all of the above “wars” have in common? Answer: none have been won. Organized crime, poverty, cigarettes, drugs, cancer, and sexually-transmitted diseases continue to exist and are part and parcel of the human condition or, in the case of climate change, is a continuing part of planetary growth. These wars are often propaganda pieces that throw money at a problem but have little efficacy in eradicating it.
The war on terror is no exception. However, it is unique in that “terror” has become such a nebulous term that government leaders prohibit themselves from even identifying its sources.
As has been repeated many times in the more conservative media, “terror” is not what has to be eradicated. Jihadists, or Muslim radicals, are the ones who have been responsible for nearly all the world’s terror attacks for the last few decades. It is they who must be fought.
Islam is recognized as one of the world’s “great” religions. Like the Bible, the foundation of Judaism and Christianity, Islam’s Koran has been used as justification for extreme violence. So, do all of these religions condone violence today? The Bible is full of extreme acts against the enemies of the Jews, including injunctions to wipe them out completely. In a more modern era, the Crusaders wiped out the Jews, on orders from the Pope. But today, neither Judaism nor Christianity utilizes the Bible as a justification for perpetrating acts of terror.
Islam, sometimes called “a religion of peace,” has not lived up to that nickname. While I used the term “radical Muslims” to describe jihadists, that’s really a misnomer. Perhaps a better word would be “strict Muslims,” because jihad was not left by the wayside after Mohammed’s death. It is mainstream Islam, a living, breathing reality for millions of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims.
The definition of jihad is a war or struggle against non-believers, unless the word is being used in the context of a personal struggle. Millions of Muslims may not be perpetrators of jihad, but hundreds of millions are enablers and supporters of jihad against infidels (non-believers).
Recent polls prove this to be true. The highly respected Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life: (2013) reports that:
“On the question of whether attacks, such as suicide bombings, on civilians are ever justified in defense of Islam, Muslims in America are strongly on the less-violent end of the global spectrum. About 1 percent of US Muslims say violence is ‘often’ justified, versus 3 percent globally. Although there is general disapproval of violence, a few nations such as Afghanistan and Egypt have much larger than average numbers – 39 percent and 29 percent, respectively – who view attacks against civilians as often or sometimes justified.” (Christian Science Monitor)
The takeaway from this poll is that, globally, 3% of Muslims “often” think violence against infidels is justified. That comes to more than 50 million Muslims who condone violent jihad. Americans have less to fear. About 1% of the US population is Muslim, so “only” about 30,000 American Muslims think terror against infidels is “often” justified.
Let’s not forget that Islam is the world’s fastest growing religion. According to CNN.com, Muslims will be nearly one-third of the global population by mid-century. Even now, the US has a lot to worry about with 30,000 jihadi sympathizers. How many of those go beyond sympathy and are willing to be jihadi terrorists? No one knows exactly, but the rise of ISIS, which includes many converts, often Westerners, doesn’t give us much comfort.
The idea of the US bringing in scores of thousands of “refugees” from the Middle East is disturbing for several reasons. ISIS is composed of Sunni Muslims, who constitute 85-90% of the faith. Their mission is to kill infidels in pursuit of a Caliphate. (The infidels are mostly Shia Muslims, i.e. Iranians or Saudis, and non-Muslim minorities.) Those fleeing the Middle East and Africa are overwhelmingly Sunni, so are they really refugees, or economic migrants? They aren’t content just leaving their country of origin, but persist in traveling past Turkey, Greece, or Italy until they get to their desired destination, which is usually a wealthy, northern European country.
Most of those fleeing their Muslim lands are single men of working age who elect not to fight. Some of the emigrants are jihadi infiltrators in disguise. Perhaps an even bigger problem is how the children of the families who emigratde will turn out. In today’s Europe, there are thousands of discontented Muslim youth who are wreaking terror in France, Belgium, the UK, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, etc.
There is no winning a War on Terror. The first step to defeat jihadism amongst us is to identify and name the problem. That is no guarantee of winning, but it is a prerequisite to be in the fight.