Using every tool in the war against radical Islam
by Frank Salvato
When it comes to the war against radical Islamist terrorism I consider myself a hawk. I believe that when a self-declared enemy states in no uncertain terms that they want to kill you and defeat your forces to the point of annihilation you are smart to believe them and to act accordingly. Add to that the fact that Islamist-based terrorist organizations have been attacking the United States and her allies for decades, killing citizens and soldiers alike, and only the masochistic would advance the insanity that the solitary solution is political.
That being said, I still believe that talking to your foe is an important tool in any conflict, no matter how futile the exercise may be. By maintaining an open dialogue – sincere or otherwise – it provides another intelligence gathering opportunity, if only to gauge your opponent's arrogance, apathy or anxiety. And, in the outside chance that they experience an epiphany, finally coming to understand the reasoning behind your position, it provides a chance for a peaceful resolution.
These are but two "tools" among many – military and diplomatic – that are available to us in this most serious of conflicts. Alarmingly, our country's leaders – and many leaders from the free world – are not advancing the policy of employing more than one tool simultaneously; disturbing in a conflict where we should be using every tool available to us concurrently.
As those in our government who are obsessed with troop reductions and redeployment continue to argue that Iraq was an illegitimate battlefield from the start (hint: the enemy doesn't think so), radical Islamists headed by al-Qaida are expanding the conflict to battlefields in Somalia, Sudan and Indonesia. Our enemy has not wavered in its dedication to total victory, something we cannot say for ourselves.
Since the end of World War II, the concept of accepting nothing less than total victory where our military confrontations are concerned has eluded the American people. In every conflict since 1945 the United States has settled for declaring victory rather than achieving victory. This is due in no small part to the fact that in most every case politics, enabled by international cowardice, has tread where military expertise should have held sway. For whatever reasons the American people have come to accept this as tolerable.
Up until now, this mindset hasn't endangered the homeland. In Korea and Vietnam – and to a lesser extent Kosovo and the Gulf War – all our enemies wanted us to do was to leave so they could institute their totalitarian socio-political doctrine on the people they strove to control and oppress. All we had to do was cave-in to the political pressure that mounted at home, declare victory and "redeploy" to achieve "peace with honor."
Our current enemy isn't so accommodating. In today's conflict we don't have the luxury of simply leaving and declaring victory. This time our enemy – radical Islamists who employ terrorism as their chief military tactic – want us all to convert to Islam, live under Sharia Law or die. This time the tolerant mindset we have fallen into will culminate in the demise, the annihilation, the end of our country. This time, the enemy won't be satisfied with our soldiers simply leaving the battlefield. This time the enemy is going to follow us home.
It is because of this that the Western world must dispense with the tolerant attitude of the failed experiment of multiculturalism and dedicate itself to employing all the tools available to affect victory over the threat of radical Islam.
One of the battlefields the West has yet to exploit is that of ideology; where the rigid, violent, inequitable tenets of radical Islam are challenged, re-challenged and then challenged again.
If we are going to prevail in this global war against radical Islam we have to facilitate and nurture an ideological revolution within the religion. Muslims who would dare to do so must be encouraged to revolt against the oppressive and violent tenets of fundamentalist Islam. These brave souls, who, by the words of the Quran, would be condemned to slaughter for leaving the religion, need to be empowered to create a reformed Islam that disavows the violent teachings while embracing the peaceful ones. We have to fully support those who want to establish an alternative to the violent doctrine of 7th Century Islam.
This approach bears greater consideration when we take into account that the birthrate among Muslims greatly outnumbers the birthrate in the Western world.
Abandoning the failed experiment of multiculturalism perhaps a bit too late, many countries in Europe are scrambling to protect their national identities while experiencing a diminishing birthrate among their people. Conversely, the Muslim birthrate on the continent greatly surpasses the birthrate of Europeans. Left to the singular device of reproduction the world's population will be consumed by those who practice the Islamic ideology through simple demographics in a few generations. By the shear power of their numbers they will be able to inundate and monopolize any democracy on the face of the earth. No amount of military might can overcome this inevitability.
It is precisely because of the probability of the future Muslim dominated demographic that we must engage radical Islam on the ideological battlefield as well as the military, diplomatic and economic. Islam must undergo the equivalent of Christianity's Reformation otherwise, in the long run, we will lose.
Without doubt, I continue to fully advocate for the elimination, by any means, of those who choose to slaughter in the name of Allah. With lunatics like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hassan Nasrallah close to attaining nuclear and bio-chemical weapons we have no choice but to continue engaging them militarily anywhere and everywhere around the world. But we must recognize that if we do not engage radical Islamist ideologically, challenging their violent and totalitarian ways, if we do not empower willing Muslims to establish an alternative, we invite the radicals among them to wait out our military and diplomatic efforts as the simple act of reproduction brings about the end of Western Civilization.
It is well past time that the political arguments over this conflict were laid to rest. The naïve notion that disengagement will bring peace is short-sighted and purveyed only by those ignorant of the true nature of the threat. If the West chooses retreat and appeasement we have literally sealed our own death warrants.
America and her allies have to evolve from the simplistic idea of choosing only one course of action over another in the conflict with radical Islam. The partisan politics that finds us on the brink of handing Islamist terrorists a great victory in Iraq, even as they expand the field of battle in Africa and Indonesia, must be abandoned. It is of paramount importance that America and her allies present a cohesive front, utilizing all of the weapons available – military, diplomatic, economic and ideological – together, in concert, to affect victory in this war for our survival. And most importantly, we need to successfully empower those who would establish an alternative for those Muslims who yearn to be free of the oppression that fundamentalist Islam inflicts.
The choice is clear. We can both abandon the multicultural politically correct fantasy of an ideologically symbiotic utopia with those who practice radical Islam and fight this war to win or we can die.
Frank Salvato is the managing editor for The New Media Journal. He serves at the Executive Director of the Basics Project, a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(C)(3) research and education initiative. His pieces are regularly featured in over 100 publications both nationally and internationally. He has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor, and is a regular guest on The Right Balance with Greg Allen on the Accent Radio Network, as well as an occasional guest on numerous radio shows coast to coast. His organization, Basics Project, is partnered in producing the first-ever national symposium series on the threat of radical Islamist terrorism. His pieces have been recognized by the House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict. Mr. Salvato is available for public speaking engagements. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyright © 2007 Frank Salvato