Mrs. Clinton is wrong. Empathizing with our enemies and rationalizing their motivations results in nothing more than dangerous circular logic.
The President is wrong. It’s not some small cadre of “extremists” here and there, it’s a movement with clearly stated goals and objectives. It is about religion: the jihadists tell us over and over again that it’s about religion, that that’s their singular point of motivation, and yet our President, President Holland in France, and Chancellor Merkel in Germany all “know better,” repeatedly stating that terrorism by Islamic radicals is not about Islam.
President al-Sisi in Egypt, a Muslim, has adopted the cloak of Anwar Sadat and called for a reformation of Islam. He did so at Al Azhar University, a focal point for the interpretation of Sunni Islam throughout the Muslim world. His address was delivered to a gathering of Islamic scholars, and the message, barely reported in the West, was that a new way of thinking must be evolved and that Islam must undergo revolutionary change.
The solution to terrorism must be based on a variety of considerations. The first was best said by Sun Tzu: “If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.” That, in essence, is the fundamental question we must resolve. Who are we? Are we confident in our belief system, values and culture? Are we confident of who the enemy is? Can we call it by its name and identify it without consternation or reservation? Or, are we to slip further into a moral relativity that cultivates “empathy” for evil? Do we appease a 7th century social construct?
The answers to these questions form a singular point of departure: we either do or do not have the will to defend who we are and what we have built.
Our definition of “moderate” must face the realities of what moderation is in the Islamic world. If you support Hamas or Hezbollah, if Israel does not have a right to exist, if any form of criticism is justification for violence, you’re not a moderate. If you subscribe to Mohammed’s teaching in the later part of his life, and refuse to recognize his teachings in the earlier phase, you’re not moderate. If women are chattel, you’re not a moderate. If honor killing is an acceptable form of family law, you’re not a moderate. If you insist on submission of the unbelievers, you’re not a moderate.
The definition of hate speech has evolved to include nearly anything that is offensive, and yet Islamic hate speech is condoned within the context of religious freedom. Even our concept of free speech comes with certain limitations that revolve around libel and putting others in danger. But many mosques in the West engage in hate speech against the infidels, and we condone it. We must come to know what is being said in those mosques, not for their treatment of faith but for incitement to violence.
Instead of seeking better knowledge of an enemy who has declared himself, we sit by as more cuts are now proposed for our military. We are voluntarily putting ourselves in a position where, even in the event of the will to fully engage terrorism, we may be unable to do so.
Political correctness has been rampant for the past six years. We must abandon political correctness. Terror is not workplace violence; it is terror. We have to be able to call it what it is, and we have to be able to recognize its motivational sources within Islam. Political correctness must be overwhelmed with facts. Globally, since 9/11, Islamic terrorists have carried out nearly 25,000 attacks of one sort or another. In December 2014 alone, they left nearly 2,500 dead and 2,200 injured as the result of terror attacks.
We must unleash the intelligence community, which has been hamstrung by political correctness as well as a certain justifiable risk aversion in the people, motivated by the current administration and the political class in general. We must also reorganize our military priorities to face the threat as it is.
It can be argued that our commitment to victory, regardless of consequence, was last seen in WWII. We’ve not had a clear, unadulterated victory since then, and that must end. Collateral damage will occur; innocents will meet their end, just as they did on 9/11, on the London subway, at the Madrid train station and now in Paris. We must be aggressively unrepentant and lay the onus for the need for military action where it belongs: at the feet of those who would support, organize, motivate and engage in terror.
There has to be a cost for the use of terrorism as a tactic to intimidate, silence, or destroy. The cost must be extreme, because the enemy is. For one of ours, a hundred of yours. The difficult fact for many to absorb is that terrorism will be mitigated only when the cost of its application is unbearable. We know who the leaders are; we know where the training camps are; we know the routes by which weapons are delivered. The Romans ruled their vast empire in this way. An attack on a Roman citizen resulted in a village being razed. It did not take long for the message to be delivered.
We can deliver the same message, if the will exists to do so.