Megadeth ~ Peace Sells
Strategic Awareness of the Threat to America
October 30, 2008
by Jeffrey Imm
Anti-Jihad League of America
Seven years ago, America was under attack. America's first responders, law enforcement, and emergency specialists responded to that attack. Our preparedness specialists provided guidance on the types of terrorist threats that we might be facing in the weeks that followed. Preparedness details about how to respond to potential Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) terrorist threats were distributed.
On September 2001, Congress authorized the use of military force against those responsible the 9/11 attacks and nations that harbored such terrorists. A year later, Congress again authorized the use of military force, this time to address perceived threats by Iraq. America's Homeland Security Department assessed potential terrorist targets and offered recommendations as to appropriate areas and types of threats that were the most likely and most vulnerable for "targeted" use homeland security funding and resources.
These resources were focused on tactical and targeted efforts to protect Americans and prevent terrorism. Such efforts were a reaction to the 9/11 attacks and the realization of the vulnerability of the American homeland to such attacks. Such reactive preparedness was and continues to be a priority for America. But we also need to reflect and gain a strategic awareness of the threat by asking who and what are we fighting, and why are they attacking us. We need to do more than just react, we need to plan, we need to think, and we need a real national strategy on the enemy.
Such strategic awareness and analysis is a part of any major endeavor. For our first responders today in an emergency circumstance, they try to think strategically. They will ask questions to triage an attack - is it an explosion, a fire, a chemical attack, a radiological attack? They will recommend actions, especially in an emergency situation, based on an understanding of the threat. Such strategic awareness and definition of the threat is imperative for effective actions by emergency responders.
Why isn't such strategic awareness an imperative for America's government leadership on the larger, ideological threat that is the basis for Jihadist terror attacks like 9/11?
Seven years after 9/11, most of our resources continue to remain focused exclusively on tactical measures and operations.
Seven years after 9/11, America's governmental leadership still has no strategic definition of the enemy or its ideology.
Seven years after 9/11, America's governmental leadership can't even agree if they should use the word "Jihad."
Blindly reactive measures in an emergency are acts of desperation. But blindly reactive measures in the face of a global ideological enemy are nothing less than disgraceful ignorance. America's first responders, its law enforcement, its armed forces, and its citizens deserve better leadership than that. America is the best educated, most powerful nation on Earth, and yet our leaders refuse to define the ideological enemy we face.
If we want to win the war against our enemies, it is past time for America to stop being desperate and start being smart. We have finite resources that we need to use wisely and effectively. What Americans must demand from its government today is that our leadership honestly defines the ideological threat that our nation is facing, and develops a real strategy to effectively use these resources. We can't afford an undefined "war on extremism" with no clear direction and no clearly defined enemy.
In the previous Congressional authorizations for military force in 2001 and 2002, you will see no mention of the words "Jihad," "Islamism," or "Islamic supremacism." A government definition of "Islamist terrorism" is only found in the 2004 9/11 Commission Report buried on page 562, Part 12 of the Notes, stating "Islamist terrorism is an immediate derivative of Islamism... Islamism is defined as 'an Islamic militant, anti-democratic movement, bearing a holistic vision of Islam whose final aim is the restoration of the caliphate.'" But that definition has been ignored, and you haven't heard your government leaders, foreign policy analysts, or the counterterrorism community talk about that part of 9/11 Commission Report.
Furthermore, in the past year, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) has sent memoranda that recommend that government employees not use such terms as "Jihad" or "Islamism" when communicating on terrorism. The current preferred, inoffensive term for the enemy is "extremists." You will see that term used by our Defense Department in its latest 2008 National Defense Strategy, and it is the term our major government and military leaders use most of the time. We have gone from a "war on terrorism" to a "war on extremism," but we still have no coherent, official definition of the enemy's ideology that we are fighting. When we are this far into a war where our government leaders can't define the enemy any more clearly than just "extremists," we have a bigger problem than "extremists."
What is not being addressed by our government leadership is that we are engaged in an ideological war, a war of ideas. This war of ideas is what Jihadist terror tactics are based on. But this war of ideas goes beyond the tactics of terrorism alone. Our enemy's war on America is also using economic tactics, propaganda tactics, political tactics, demographic tactics, and many other tactics. If we don't honestly acknowledge and address this ideological war, all of our preparedness efforts to protect America will be undermined by other tactics by the enemy to influence and infiltrate America and our government. Moreover, our specific homeland security measures can be compromised by failing to acknowledge and identify our enemy. We cannot win a war without a defined enemy and a comprehensive, multi-faceted strategy to defeat that enemy.
America must recognize that the enemy is not just terrorism, not just extremism, but the enemy is the ideology of Islamic supremacism itself. The ideological, anti-freedom threat of Islamic supremacism threatens the idea of America, and the natural rights of equality and liberty that America represents.
What is Islamic supremacism? Islamic supremacism is an identity-based supremacist ideology that seeks to establish the superiority of Islam over all other religions and individuals until they "feel themselves subdued" (Qur'an 9:29). Islamic supremacism is an ideology that has a segregationist Sharia legal system, whose exclusionary nature denies freedom of religion and many other fundamental human rights of equality. Islamic supremacism seeks the ultimate establishment of a global Islamic caliphate to govern Earth.
Islamic supremacism has no boundaries. Islamic supremacism has the singular goal of total assimilation or submission of those not assimilated. The infinite activist nature of such a supremacist ideology poses a grave international threat to a civilization that values equality, liberty, and pluralism. Islamic supremacists follow an evangelistic fervor for activist growth not only for the promotion of Islamic supremacist goals in this world, but in support of a supernatural afterlife according to Islam. For Islamic supremacist Jihadists, death is not a deterrent.
Jihadist terrorist tactics are just one tactic of this ideological threat. A year ago, the Holy Land Foundation terror financing trial revealed a Muslim Brotherhood memorandum that called for the infiltration and destruction of the United States from within. We see such political tactics of influence and infiltration going on within our government, our military, our law enforcement, the counterterrorism community, the foreign policy community, and our legislature today. The Muslim Brotherhood organization is a transnational Islamic supremacist organization whose motto is "Jihad is our way, Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope," and whose stated objectives are to build an Islamic caliphate ("Building the Khilafa") and "[m]astering the world with Islam."
But in September 2008, an organization called the U.S.-Muslim Engagement Project issued a report calling for America to "engage" politically with the Muslim Brotherhood; this report also called for America to consider negotiations with the Islamic supremacist terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah. This report has been backed by senior individuals in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, such as Senator Richard Lugar and Congressman Howard Berman. On Capitol Hill, I have heard leading members of the counterterrorism community such as Evan Kohlmann calling for talks with the Muslim Brotherhood, and Peter Bergen calling for "engagement" with political Islamists. In June 2008, the West Point Combating Terrorism Center's Sentinel published an article by Peter Mandaville calling for "engagement" with Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups as part of counterterror practices. Throughout most of 2008, those few in the U.S. military who have tried to speak out against the threat of Islamic supremacism have been silenced, and today we see our military leaders supporting political "reconciliation" negotiations with the Islamic supremacist Taliban in Afghanistan.
Our law enforcement agencies and the FBI have been torn by this failure to define an ideological enemy. At the same time that the FBI is testifying at the Holy Land Foundation trial as to how the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is a front group for the Muslim Brotherhood's Islamic supremacist goals, other parts of the FBI have been told to invite CAIR to provide training for the FBI on their views of Islam. CAIR also has provided "training" and guidance to DHS, TSA, Customs, and other law enforcement agencies. CAIR also attends meetings with an influential advisory panel on homeland security. The Investigative Project of Terrorism reports that "several members of Congress maintain close ties with CAIR" (Jim McDermott, Keith Ellison, Sheila Jackson Lee, Bill Pascrell, Dennis Kucinich). Such congressional representatives have no concerns about CAIR's founder and Executive Director Nihad Awad as a documented supporter of the Hamas Islamic supremacist terrorist group. The American mainstream media frequently contacts CAIR to provide comments on news stories without providing context as to who and what they are - providing further public legitimacy for them. America has similar challenges with other groups associated with Islamic supremacism such as the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). CAIR and ISNA are unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation terror finance trial. The President of ISNA not only spoke at a national political party's presidential convention, she also is on the U.S.-Muslim Engagement Project team calling for engagement with the Muslim Brotherhood.
The influence of such groups has kept many in America's foreign policy and counterterror communities from calling for the confrontation of the ideology of Islamic supremacism itself, which is partly how America has found itself in today's tactical-centric so-called "war on extremism." Such unwillingness to confront the Islamic supremacist ideology has also affected America's legislature. On July 16, 2008, the U.S. Congress voted on a bill to thwart the creation of a "terror lexicon" by the NCTC and DHS which would prevent government use of such terms as "Jihad" regarding terrorist groups or activities. This bill passed (H.R. 5959 - see Section 507 "Jihadists") and those who voted for it clearly support a national dialogue on "Jihad" and its ideological basis. But 180 Congressional representatives also voted against this measure and 10 more abstained from voting.
In the face of this deliberate refusal by many in American government leadership to acknowledge and define the enemy ideological threat, it has become the responsibility of the American people to take action. The American people must reach out to its elected representatives and hold them responsible for their positions and priorities in clearly defining an enemy ideology and developing a strategy to combat it. Individual Americans must also help educate their fellow Americans on the ideological threat of Islamic supremacism. The one way to guarantee that Islamic supremacists win the war of ideas is for Americans not to fight back in such a war.
We should be encouraged to know that we do have some legislators that understand the threat, and we have some in other government and military organizations that understand the threat. In August 2008, a group of civilian and contractor employees of the U.S. Central Command issued a Red Team report that challenged the efforts of the DHS and NCTC to create a "terror lexicon" prohibiting the use of the term "Jihad."But as Islamic supremacist groups continue to seek to influence and infiltrate America, it is also our personal responsibility to fight back, to influence our fellow American and our representative government officials. This is our war and our responsibility as individual Americans.
We can win. We must remember that America has a history of confronting such a supremacist ideological enemy. In America, there was a terrorist organization which once had 4 million members - the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan.
The federal grand jury designated the Ku Klux Klan to be a "terrorist organization" in 1870. One hundred years later, the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan continued to be a threat to America, and its killings and terrorists actions had not yet ended. But what happened in America in the 1950s through the 1970s was the recognition that to diminish the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan terrorism, America needed to confront the ideology of white supremacism itself - in every aspect - in our schools, in the work place, in churches, on buses, in entertainment, in the news media, in sports, and every part of American life and national dialogue.
In every corner of America, the war of ideas was waged against the white supremacist ideology - in the homes, in the schools, in the houses of worship, in sports, in entertainment, over the airwaves, in the print media, in the military, in law enforcement, in the political arena, and in the hearts and minds of Americans everywhere. There was no part of America where advocates of white supremacism could spread their propaganda of hate without a fight. It was a take-no-prisoners war of ideas where the white supremacist politicians' venomous propaganda was defanged by reason, truth, and justice, and was exposed for the savagery that it truly represented.
The federal government and the FBI did not fear a "war of ideas" nor did they look for someone else to lead the charge - it was a national, concerted war of ideas, where everyone - the school teacher, the newspaper writer, the FBI agent, the baseball player, and the average citizen - all played a role, all shared in the sacrifice necessary in attacking the white supremacist ideology - and America did not fear using the name or identifying the enemy as the white supremacist ideology. The war against the white supremacist political ideology was hardly just a war on white supremacist terrorism or the Ku Klux Klan's terrorist tactics. It was a war of ideas that would validate America's identity, America's values, and America's dignity. It was a war that honored the sacrifices of those who gave their lives for defining the ideals of America.
While there remain some fringe elements in our society that continue to promote the anti-American ideology of white supremacism, that ideology of hate and fear, that ideology that rejects the inalienable right of equality, has been rejected, disgraced, and confronted throughout American society. American did not and does not fear to confront the outcast anti-American ideology of white supremacism.
Did the FBI consult George Wallace or the American White People's Party on how to fight white supremacist terrorists? Did America refuse to confront the white supremacist ideology for fear of creating new Ku Klux Klan terrorists? America's history shows that we did not. But such absurd, politically-inspired tactics are being used in efforts to "engage" with Islamic supremacists today.
America has the historical lesson in fighting supremacist-based terrorism that to make any significant progress, you need to confront the ideology that such terrorism is based on. America learned that by confronting a supremacist ideology that is against our natural rights of equality and liberty that we could undermine the beliefs that inspire such hatred, inequality, violence, and terrorism. It took America 100 painful years to learn that lesson. It is a lesson that we dare not forget in confronting the ideology of Islamic supremacism today. Despite all of our efforts to fight terrorism and to ensure America's preparedness, there are an infinite number of ways that terrorists can attack. We have seen that in the terrible loss of life over the years by terrorist attacks in India (60,000 dead), the Philippines (120,000 dead), Thailand (2,700 dead), in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Pakistan, in Israel, in Russia, in Europe, and of course, in America. How do we prepare for an infinite variety of potential terrorist tactics in any city at any time? Of course, we can't, even with our best efforts. While our tactical preparedness efforts are vital to our security, without a strategic awareness and focus on the ideological threat, our efforts to keep Americans safe will constantly be undermined.
While we have brave men and women in our armed forces, in law enforcement, and in emergency preparedness dedicating their lives to such security efforts, their sacrifices are being undermined by those who call for "engagement" with Islamic supremacist groups, by those who call for political "reconciliation" with Islamic supremacist groups, and by those who are in denial that the ideology of Islamic supremacism even exists. Those who are undermining our efforts by surrendering in the "war of ideas" against Islamic supremacism send the message that Islamic supremacism will not be confronted. This gives increasing legitimacy, credibility, and influence to those individuals and groups supporting Islamic supremacism. How can efforts at reform succeed while Islamic supremacist groups gain increasing influence? Moreover, as Jihadist tactics are based on the ideology of Islamic supremacism, ultimately the increasing empowerment of Islamic supremacist groups will also result in the creation of more Jihadists to attack America. Thus, those who support "engagement" and "reconciliation" with Islamic supremacist groups are undermining our national security. They refuse to acknowledge the history of America in its painful 100 year war with white supremacism and are ultimately heading America on the path of an inconsistent, wasteful, and prolonged war with Islamic supremacism by refusing to confront that ideology.
Some seek to justify negotiating with Islamic supremacists today based on "relativism." Such relativists argue that ideologies that do not respect equality and liberty are not inherently wrong, but are relatively equal for those with different beliefs and other cultures. Such relativists argue that America should not try to confront such supremacist ideologies. What these relativists have forgotten is who and what America is. These relativists have forgotten what it means to be an American.
Our Declaration of Independence states that: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
In Washington, D.C., the words "All Men are Created Equal" are chiseled in a marble monument. In New York City, we have a Statue of Liberty. Equality and Liberty are the twin towers of America that will never fall as long as we defend the ideas that make us America.
We must never forget what America really is. America is more than our buildings, our cities, our communities, and individual citizens. Of course, all of that is America too and we must defend and protect that. But America is also a bulwark and a defender of the natural, "inalienable" rights of equality and liberty. America represents the idea that men and women will fight to defend these natural rights of equality and liberty. Such defense of equality and liberty is not merely support for so-called exceptionalism of American values, but is our defense of what America's founding fathers viewed as "inalienable" human rights for all people, for all of humanity. This is America's identity, our legacy to humanity, and the responsibility handed down from George Washington and our founding fathers to all of us today.
That responsibility is what it means to be an American.
By our very identity as Americans, we have the obligation and the duty to confront those ideologies that are against equality and liberty, such as Islamic supremacism. We must mobilize our elected representatives and the American people in every area of life to take on this war of ideas. We must reveal those Islamic supremacist groups that seek to infiltrate America for what they are. We must not allow those who lack the courage or knowledge of what it means to be an American to represent us here in this country or to represent us to people around the world. We must demand that our government leaders acknowledge the ideological threat of Islamic supremacism to America. We must not tolerate leadership that continues to be in denial of this threat and that continues to refuse to develop a comprehensive, multi-faceted strategy against this threat.
In America, every life is precious. Unlike our enemy, we do not "love death." Our respect for human life is another one of the human, inalienable rights that we defend as Americans. We respect and admire the sacrifices made by our law enforcement, our emergency rescue teams, our armed forces. We mourn every loss of life. We respect those who sacrifice their lives for our national cause.
Our brave men and women deserve the same type of courage that they give, and they deserve the same type of sacrifice that they make. This is why we must never tolerate a war without a strategic direction, without a defined enemy, and without a defined enemy ideology. Their sacrifices must never, never be made in vain. Those who have lost their lives and those who have dedicated their lives in such struggles must never be taken for granted. That would be inherently un-American.
The courage that we show in confronting this Islamic supremacist enemy is not only our personal sacrifice, it is also the courage of our convictions. It is our public demonstration and commitment to the inalienable human rights of equality and liberty. The world is watching America to see whether it truly believes in equality and liberty enough to confront the ideology of Islamic supremacism.
Do we? The decision that our nation makes will decide the future that our children will inherit.
But there is only one choice that respects our identity as Americans. There is only one choice that we can live with. There is only one choice that has any honor whatsoever. We must confront the Islamic supremacist enemy and we must win the war of ideas in this nation. We must set an example for those who seek freedom around the world.
We must Fear No Evil.
America's war on Islamic supremacism could someday be the example by which all free people in the world defy those who would impose Islamic supremacism on the world. Someday your children and your children's children could say, this was when America stood up against Islamic supremacism. This was when America believed in itself more than it feared the threats of those who would destroy it. This was when America chose to be an example of hope and courage to the world.
This was when America proved once again that it was "the land of the free and the home of the brave."
[Postscript - see also Sources documents for additional reading and background information.]