As promised, today’s post is the Veterans’ Perspective on some broader thoughts after last weeks latest “wake up call.”
STOP BLAMING – First, we need to point out that if you are using this attack to blame President Obama for not doing more to defeat ISIS – AND/OR – you are using this attack to blame President Bush for historical mistakes, you’re not helping in any way. Or, at a minimum, you are allowing your “political” or philosophical view point get in the way with your analysis of the threat. In order to properly consider this threat, one MUST remove all political and philosophical preconceived notions and conduct an objective assessment of the threat.
AGE OLD DILEMMA – LIBERTY V. SECURITY – As we have said in the past, the age old debate when dealing with Terrorism is where do we want to draw the line between liberty and security. Our enemy is counting on us being divided on these issues. It is one of the ways that they want to defeat us from within. Regardless of which way we go, we are playing into their hands. That is why it is critical that we end the blame game and stop demonizing those who disagree and find ways to come together to develop solutions that maintain some sense of balance between these two competing principles.
MUST CALL IT FOR WHAT IT IS – President Obama’s attempts to not allow our enemy to turn our efforts into a racial or religious attack on the Muslim religion / community are valid concerns. We should not abandon those concerns. But, it is time to recognize that we need to be willing to name our enemy and focus the full spectrum of resources and efforts – social, political, diplomatic, economic and military – on defeating the enemy. It is essential that we are clear and unambiguous in recognizing the religious components of our enemy for the reasons that are explained in the next point.
SOLUTION MUST COME FROM MUSLIMS – We need the Muslim community to stand at the front of this war. If we fail to call the threat for what it is, we will be unable to demand the individual accountability that is required to denounce the teachings of hatred and intolerance. Of course it is impossible to defeat terrorism – and terrorism as a tactic will never be removed from the earth. But the cancer of radical Islam must be addressed head on by the Muslim community. If we continue to pretend that the threat is not presently coming from within the Muslim community, we will fail to mobilize the very community that holds the key to confronting this threat. We need to be very clear that civilized society expects the honest Muslim community to do more to confront the problem even if we must accept that they do so in their own way.
WAR OF IDEAS MORE THAN MILITARY CONFLICT – The terrorists depend and rely upon our liberal culture to give credit to their excuses and explanations. If we hold true to the basic principal that each person is judged based on their own actions and conduct we can cut thru the philosophical and ideological viewpoints that fuel the concepts of extremism. Just as we will not hold ALL Muslims responsible for the acts of a few, we must not give credit to the politics and information campaigns of the extremists that make excuses for hatred and bigotry.
MEDIA & EDUCATORS HAVE ENORMOUS RESPONSIBILITY – The extremists depend on their ability to use the free worlds’ media and educational institutions to portray their struggle as one of powerless victims using the only means available to them to achieve social justice. This simply propagates their justification for criminal behavior and furthers their power and control. Professionals within the Western media outlets and educational institutions need to recognize and take responsibility for their role in this war of ideas. In prior generations media professionals and educators had no problem reconciling their professional ethics with an understanding of their role in the broader struggle of good versus evil.
LONG TERM VIEW IS REQUIRED – As pointed out in our prior article, our enemy is not viewing this fight from the perspective of election cycles or economic cycles. Although they use those concepts to their advantage, they are not in any hurry. We must be willing and able to do the same. This means teaching our children that we are in fact on the side of good versus evil. After all, the long term survival of our values and way of life will require that they have the will to stand and fight evil. The sooner we accept the uncomfortable fact that they will inherit this fight the sooner we can help prepare them to do an even better job at it than we have to this point.
These are some of the basic concepts that a successful strategy to defeat Islamic Fundamentalism must encompass. We are absolutely facing a clash of civilizations in every sense of the word. The only real question is whether the extremists are right in their expectation that we will continue to be divided and unwilling to make the sacrifices and changes necessary for our way of life to prosper or let alone continue.