Totalitarianism to Terror

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), February 4, 2013 | Go to article overview

Totalitarianism to Terror


Byline: Peter Hannaford, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

This book may prove to be the most important one you will read this year. It puts in clear perspective what every American should know, to wit: The War on Terror is really a war against ideologically driven radical Islamists.

An inescapable conclusion after reading the seven essays that make up the book is that the ultimate aim of radical Islamism is a worldwide totalitarian state, with many of its operational aspects drawn from Islamic sources. Make no mistake, it is a state they want and one that would control every aspect of human life.

Since the 1980s, terrorism, in the form of suicide bombings and assassinations, has been a means the radical Islamists have used to work toward their first objective: causing Western - and especially American - influences to exit the Muslim world.

Patrick Sookhdeo, in The West, Islam and Counter-Ideological War writes, Jihadism is neither flimsy nor merely a modernist byproduct of 20th century stresses, but rather makes a point of rooting itself deep within the body of Islamic tradition and is very adept at negotiating the seams. By understanding the potency of its attraction and taking it seriously as an intellectual movement . . . a more thorough groundwork can be laid to the construction of a consistent counter-message to Islamic radicalism.

The Bush administration and most especially the Obama administration have bent over backward to show that we are not at war with Islam generally. This has sometimes taken the form of kumbaya sessions at the White House that later turned out to include people with ties to extreme Islamist groups. The Obama White House has used such tortured locutions as overseas contingency operations to describe our military actions against al Qaeda and other Islamist extremists. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano famously described one terrorist incident as a man-made disaster.

Robert Reilly in Public Diplomacy in an age of Global Terrorism: Lessons from the Past makes the point that dismantling the United States Information Agency in 1999 was a major mistake. Its public diplomacy function was put into the State Department, where it is a third-level activity. Public diplomacy, by its nature (fighting intellectual battles outside the bounds of traditional diplomacy) when practiced effectively, often is in conflict with the diplomatist role of State's representatives.

He notes that our current broadcasting into Muslim lands largely consists of American popular music, but has no intellectual content to convey ideas of morality, freedom, liberty and democratic processes.

Mr. Sookhdeo sounds a cautionary note about gradualists in the Islamist movement. These are distinct from the huge body of personally moderate Muslims (probably about 99 percent of the world's 1 billion members). The gradualists (Egypt's Mohammed Morsi comes to mind), who include the Muslim Brotherhood, aim at implementing jihad in all spheres of human activity, including violent military jihad when the situation calls for it. …

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