Although al-Qaeda’s senior leadership ranks have been dramatically reduced, and while encouraging progress is being made against the Islamic State in Iraq and, to a lesser degree, Syria, these remain resilient and adaptive organizations. While Islamist extremist networks do not pose an “existential” threat to the United States in the way that Soviet nuclear weapons once did, their bloodlust and their ambition to inflict genocidal violence make them uniquely malevolent actors on the world stage.
Nor can they be “contained.” On the contrary, from Afghanistan before 9/11 to Syria and Libya today, history shows that, once these groups are allowed to establish a haven, they will inevitably use it to project instability and violence.
Moreover, the fact is that free and open societies such as ours depend on a sense of basic security to function. If terrorism succeeds in puncturing that, it can threaten the very fabric of our democracy — which is, indeed, a central element of the terrorist strategy.
For that reason, I have grown increasingly concerned about inflammatory political discourse that has become far too common both at home and abroad against Muslims and Islam, including proposals from various quarters for blanket discrimination against people on the basis of their religion.
Some justify these measures as necessary to keep us safe — dismissing any criticism as “political correctness.” Others play down such divisive rhetoric as the excesses of political campaigns here and in Europe, which will fade away after the elections are over.
I fear that neither is true; in fact, the ramifications of such rhetoric could be very harmful — and lasting.
As policy, these concepts are totally counterproductive: Rather than making our country safer, they will compound the already grave terrorist danger to our citizens. As ideas, they are toxic and, indeed, non-biodegradable — a kind of poison that, once released into our body politic, is not easily expunged.
Setting aside moral considerations, those who flirt with hate speech against Muslims should realize they are playing directly into the hands of al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. The terrorists’ explicit hope has been to try to provoke a clash of civilizations — telling Muslims that the United States is at war with them and their religion. When Western politicians propose blanket discrimination against Islam, they bolster the terrorists’ propaganda.
So the upshot of Petraeus’ argument is that we must not say things to which Muslims might object, because this will just make more of them become jihadis. His prescription for minimizing the jihad against the West is for the West to practice self-censorship in order to avoid offending Muslims.
Muslims call this Dhimmitude.
Along with self-censorship we would also need to pay Muslims the ”jizya,” or shakedown money, for them not killing us.
Then, as we saw with the Copts in Egypt, after months or years of self subjugation and impoverishment of ourselves, the Muslims can (and did) declare we somehow broke their unwritten rules and kill us anyway.
Yeah, that seems like a plan……NOT!
David Petraeus has it backwards. Muslims would see any attempt to “get along” as a sign of weakness, and the terrorists would multiply, their attacks become more vile and more frequent.
The solution is strength and resolve, teaching them that any attack will be returned tenfold. Then they will keep their heads down and try hard not to offend us.
For our safety, we should drive them back to the Middle East, where they can rape, torture, disfigure and murder to their hardened little heart’s content, just not where we are.
I wonder if Petraeus has ever met Tom Kratman? If he has, he sure wasn’t paying attention.
Thus our freedom of speech is now abridged out of fear? This brings to mind a lot of questions. Does criticism of the right bring more violence? How about criticism of the NRA? How far are we going to have to bend over to accommodate religious factions?
We authors are frequently assailed here, but I’ve yet to see anyone motivated by that to blow up the commenter.
Yes, we know each other (very slightly). I think rather better of him than I do of most flag officers, letting himself be seduced by a young married tart notwithstanding.
I am still confused as to how stating that we should suspend the influx of Syrian refugees until we have the actual means to be reasonably sure we are not abetting exactly what ISIS has stated they are attempting, bringing in terrorists among the “refugees”, is discriminatory? Further, if Muslims cannot clearly see and understand how those abusing their religion (by fundamentally and literally following their own tenets) are bringing this upon them, why the hell would we want them here?
It would seem that no matter what we do, we “create more jihadists”, so why not piss them off by fending them off rather than by showing our ignorance and weakness?
@Tom Kratman: #5
Well, damn. This is a good day, I just got a reply from one of my favorite authors! (Meaning, you write read-more-than-once books.)
In fact, I just finished re-reading your Carrera series (When’s the next book!??!) and I’m re-reading Countdown now.
You’ve had an influence on my webcomic also, thank you.
Well, you and Robert Heinlin, that is.
@Petercat: Thanks. Which webcomic?
Word—IMHO Gen Petraeus and Gen Mattis the two best military leaders and strategists involved in our most recent conflicts—I would take their military advice over any pol. and would support either for POTUS.
How are you doing? Your thoughts on Trump as potential POTUS?
@Tom Kratman: #8
Strictly for my own fun, I’m retired and bored.
If you want to leave a comment, they’re way down at the bottom of the page.
@Richard Wheeler: #9
Here you and I are in complete agreement. Neither of them are perfect, but they’re both better than anyone who wants the job.
I too admire Petraeus. I think he is referring to bigotry against all Muslims, not just radicals. He met some of the same Muslims in Iraq that I have met. I get weekly emails from Muslim friends from Northern Iraq. They are appalled by jihadist. They agree with us that jihadists are not practicing Islam as it was intended to be practiced. The Al Tamimi tribe invited me and my team to an annual reunion. Tribal members came from all over the middle-east as well as some from the US and Canada. There were as different from ISIS as we are. I believe Petraeus believes that like US brainless teens, Muslim brainless teens can be swayed to be radicals by radicals. I believe it is a situation very similar to Hillary recruiting women into being her supporter by radical lies.
@Randy: He may have too rosy a picture of Islam, but it is still true that one of the huge problems we have with it is that it cannot control its young men. Now the last group of enemies we had that uniformly couldn’t control its young men…no, no, don’t give me any hints…it’ll come to me…feathers…tomahawks…war paint…ah, I give up; premature senility has taken over. Just what was the collective name for those people we crushed and stuck on reservations for their inability to control their young men?
Just imagine this sort of stupidity durimg WW II. “Don’t say mean or derogatoey things about Nazis, or you are aiding rhe efforts of the SS”
Insanity knows no bounds, does it?
If Muslims want to live in our free society, then they have to take their lumps along with the often maligned Christians and Jews who are often attacked for their religious practices and what is in their books.
No Word, Muslims should not get a pass.