The Threat to Worldwide
Values - A Personal Response
I mourn the
thousands of innocent people killed on September 11, 2001 and for the dedicated
heroes who tried to rescue them at great personal cost. I mourn also for our
fallen troops and for the innocent civilians killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. I
fully support our brave and determined troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other
nearby areas who have fought to uphold the moral principles we here hold so
close to our hearts. In the events that have followed, our world-wide
reputation has been tarnished, in ways unthinkable to us and to our world-wide
friends just a few years ago.
I strongly endorse our country's determination to stamp out those who have
brought such tragedy to our nation and others throughout the world.
We must name those terrorists that have brought this tragedy to our nation and
to so many in the world.
These terrorists are extremist Islamists who are bent on waging Jihadist war on
all those who are against them and their narrow interpretation of the Qu'ran.
These Jihadists, who until recently were led by Osama bin Laden, among others,
make alliances with ANYBODY in order to achieve their long-term objective. That
objective is the annihilation of all who stand in their way. That includes not
only us here in the United States, but free people everywhere (including
moderate Muslims who do not subscribe to the extremist views of the Jihadists).
Continued funding from the Wahabbis of Saudi Arabia has infiltrated much of the
academic and political thinking in our country and clouded our perception of
the extremist danger. The only real way to stop this risk is by helping
Americans and all free-thinking people understand the real danger of extremism.
I commend three sources for increasing your understanding of this fundamental
issue and its influence over the last 1400 years. All three sources are
available from Amazon or Barnes & Noble (and from most public libraries).
The first is Bernard Lewis' The Crisis of Islam (Holy War and
The Boston Globe has called it "A lucid and concise work by the great
Mideast scholar" "an indispensable primer." This book opened my
eyes to the many aspects of the Muslim history and culture which have been on
our world scene for centuries, but of which I personally was woefully ignorant.
It is a very worth-while read.
The second book is an absolute must for your reading. It is Walid Phares'
Dr. Phares discusses Middle East conflicts within the UN Security Council and
provides advice to the US and other western governments on international
terrorism. He teaches at Florida Atlantic University where he reveals many of
the fundamental misunderstandings about the aims of al-Qaeda, Hezbollah and
other Islamic terrorist organizations. He illuminates the connections between
Jihadism and nation states around the world and illustrates how terrorism could
play out on a global scale. Future Jihad also shows how our defenses
have been infiltrated, identifies the future generation of homegrown terrorists
and reveals the strategies these terrorists are adopting.
I recommend his book without hesitation. It's a frightening read because it's a
long overdue wake-up call on the true name of terrorism and the source of 1400
years of hatred, beginning with the split between Shiaa and Sunni elements.
Jihad is a name you won't forget, after you fully understand its meaning to
third book is in a completely different category. It asks that you join in
understanding from an Islamic perspective those Muslims who strive to reconcile
their religious values living in the modern world vs those Muslims who always
revert to the 7th Century and the "fundamentals" of their faith.
The book is Reza
Aslan's No god but God.
Reza Aslan very
clearly identifies that the root cause of the current problem with the Islam
faith (and he is a Muslim) is that it has been hi-jacked over the centuries by
misogynistic men with a tribal mentality. They
have substituted the original doctrine of equal rights of that faith
with the rigidity of masculine dominance, most specifically their
self-declared radicalized version of the Qu'ran, including the imposition of
harsh Shariah law in many countries.
Their first target
is not the West, or Jews, or Christians, or Zionists, or Crusaders, or any
other outsiders (what the Jihadists term "the far enemy"). Their first
target is those hundreds of millions of Muslims who do not share their
puritanical world view ("the near enemy").
Perhaps the most
hopeful development in this internal battle to define the faith and practice of
over a billion people is that Muslims themselves are becoming increasingly
aware that they are as much endangered by the extremist agenda as are the
of those Wahhabists who wish to return Islam to some imaginary ideal of
original purity must be once and for all abandoned. Islam is and has always
been a religion of diversity.
Mr. Aslan states
that in reality The Islamic Reformation is already underway.
"Reformations, as we know from Christian history, are bloody events...and
the Islamic Reformation has some way to go before it is satisfactorily
In my viewpoint, we do indeed need to identify
and support moderate Muslims who are struggling mightily in Iraq and elsewhere
to stand up against the extremist Islamists, those minority Jihadists who
falsely claim they represent all of Islam.
However, if these moderate Muslims cannot or will not stand up to the
extremists because of threats to their families or themselves, then I think our
common cause with them, unfortunately, is foundering if not indeed lost, at
least for now. I believe those of us not of the Muslim faith must face up to
this reality, and recognize the implications, hard as it may sound for them,
and for us.
Why? Because we, as world-wide-citizens, need to stand fully prepared to
fight those radical Jihadists. I hope I am wrong in the timing, but I believe
it will probably take some generations for the new Islamic Reformation to win
the battle for the soul of Islam against the extremist Jihadists.
Therefore, we, as world-wide citizens, need to fully recognize the
threat to our country's safety posed by this small group of minority extremists
and stand fully prepared to fight those radical Jihadists.
We have finally withdrawn from a war in Iraq that many of us said we should
not have entered. The Kurds, the Shiites and the Sunnis are working with their
best-intentioned efforts to implement an enduring constitution. Will they -
with our help - succeed? Or will the bitter lessons of history repeat
the leadership of President Obama, we have finally directed our military and
economic resources in the correct area: the mountains of Pakistan, where the
terrorists fled, the breeding grounds of the Jihadists.
recriminations do absolutely no one any good at this point.
I do, however, believe we need to realistically assess the validity of our
continuing military presence in this broad area, especially in Afghanistan
where the lessons of history teach us that the tribal loyalties most often win
out in the struggle to overcome corruption in government.
More to the point, our US concept of "democracy" is most likely
not be the true motivator for peoples in this area (of Afghanistan, Iraq
and Pakistan) that so many here in our country seem to take for granted.
We absolutely need to remain determined to stamp out terrorism, most
especially as a threat to our citizens here at home. We must remain fully
committed to deploy our resources to that end. We need to help others, but we
need first to stay strong ourselves in our own self-defense. Only in that way
can we help others.
I personally believe we must withdraw ALL our troops from Afghanistan,
Iraq, and all countries in that part of the world as soon as reasonably
possible, hopefully within months. We must stop the drain on our economy and
the damage we are doing to our own troops, physically and mentally. We do
have a responsibility to compensate the countries we have invaded and occupied
for the damage we have done to them. But they do not in any way want us there.
The lessons of history tell us, again, that tribal mentalities there continue
to dominate any form of democracy we are trying to impose upon them.
I, like most American citizens, remain fully confident that we in the United
States will indeed stand together and never, ever, let our faceless enemies
destroy all we hold dear. They have not won. Nor will they ever. We will prevail. So, "Lord, be with us always, and help us to
think very carefully before we act."
I would certainly appreciate hearing from you with your individual
responses to my thoughts above. Just send me an Email
today. Put "My Reply" in the subject line, with any comments you may
choose to make. I will forward your replies, if you so indicate, both to
President Obama and to our congressmen. I welcome your thoughts and ideas and I
thank you very much!