Barack Obama is given to making extraordinary pronouncements. Many of the more dramatic assertions seldom are based on facts, reason, or reflection. Put aside, if you can, the hyperbole which often accompanies wishful thinking about domestic social problems; poverty, public education, and public health. The President’s public rhetoric on foreign policy, questions of national security, is unique, bordering on the delusional. To paraphrase Jack Kennedy; getting it wrong at home might be tragic, but getting it wrong abroad could be fatal.
The other day, President Obama claimed that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was not Islamic, a little like claiming that the Vatican has nothing to do with Catholicism. Put aside for a moment the illogic of using the phrase “Islamic State” and then denying the adjective in the next breath.
If ISIS is not Islamic then the Crusades and the Reformation were not Christian. If ISIS is not Islamic then the French had nothing to do with the Great Terror. If ISIS is not Islamic then Russians had nothing to do with totalitarian Communism. If ISIS is not Islamic then Germans had nothing to do with National Socialism or the Holocaust. If ISIS is not Islamic then behavior has nothing to do with beliefs!
Surely beliefs and actions are different things, but the cause-and-effect relationship between ideology and acts is well established by science and history. If Muslims cannot agree on the particulars of Islamic legitimacy, who is some American politician from Chicago to claim to know what is, or what is not, Islamic?
There is no Muslim Pope or baptism. If ISIS zealots say they are Muslims, they should be taken at their word — especially if they submit, grow a beard, don a burka, and subscribe to jihad (holy war). If terror and religious fascism is anything today, it is as Islamic as any mosque.
Blatant, now flagrant, attempts to separate Islam from the acts of its adherents, terror and jihad, is now an American national mantra. The ad vericundium spin began early with John Brennan. As White House advisor, now CIA Director Brennan’s propaganda defined jihad as ritual cleansing, twisting or minimalizing the more obvious and lethal meaning of holy war.
How is it that team Obama feels compelled to contradict the confessions of Islamic terrorists? Jihadists are very candid about their motives, quoting the authority of the Koran, the Hadith, and Mohamed with predictable regularity. Terrorists are open about their ideological/ religious inspirations. Why should we not believe what they say about themselves?
The Brennan/Obama spin seems to be a kind of prophylactic denial — denying the worst (and religious motive) before it happens. ISIS is clinical proof that denial does nothing to halt the spread of viral ideology, toxic hate, or barbarous terror.
There is some method to the madness and mendacity of Brennan’s self-serving appeasement. Severing the connective tissue between ideology and atrocity in advance allows terror to be treated as unrelated incidents; random criminal behavior not acts of war. Fidelity to the criminal charade, allows the Oval Office to avoid tough choices like a declaration of war against ISIS — or Jihad.
Different notions of globalization separate the democratic West and the theocratic East today. For Social Democrats, the global village means civility, cooperation, and commerce. For Muslim thugs, globalization means Islamic imperialism: beards, burkas, and bigotry.
Administration spin would have you believe serial beheadings in Mosul are not much different than a mugging in Central Park; or have you believe that mass murder by an Islamist at Fort Hood, Texas is simply another case of workplace violence.
Separating ISIS, or any other Islamic terror group, from Islam sends the worst possible message to all Muslims. Excusing or absolving the elusive “moderate” Muslim (49 nations, 1.5 billion adherents, the Arab League, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference) from responsibility or needed reforms is madness. How does the global Ummah qualify as a “great” culture when the radical minority acts like barbarians and a passive majority behaves like children? Islam is responsible for itself, or it must be put outside the community of civilized nations; indeed, beyond the pale by any metric.
ISIS is the linear, if not logical, descendant of two modern phenomena; imperial Sunni Islamic dogma (Wahhabism / Salifism) and misguided allied support for the Arab Spring/awakening. America and the EU still cling to the canard that democracy is the default setting for Muslim states if and when autocrats are toppled. In fact, in nearly every case, theocratic Islamic social pathology has filled the void created by the “regime change” follies. Listing the number of failed Arab states at this point would be nearly tautological.
Islamist ideological exports from Arabia, like the Ebola virus to the south, are now global threats. Egypt has finally seen the light with the Muslim Brotherhood, and the generals in Cairo are again in the process of attempting to eradicate al Ikhwan within its borders. Ins’Allah and Godspeed!
The sheiks and princes of Saudi Arabia and the Emirates, however, are still working both sides of the street, dancing with the devil; providing refuge, ideology, financing, recruits, and weapons to a host of Sunni jihadists including ISIS.
ISIS is now the literal cutting edge of Sunni Islam, at once a defining movement and a cultural acid test. Of 49 states with Muslim majorities, only five pathetic Arab oligarchs, ten percent, have offered to enter the ISIS fight. And even these are doing little or nothing.
Such evidence suggests that the Muslim majority is either a co-conspirator, cowardly, or too bovine to make either team. The lack of a global Muslim response to ISIS puts the lie to the “great religion” and moral equivalence shibboleths that the Obama/Brennan/Kerry team has sought to peddle for six years.
We should note here that the American Secretary of State, John Kerry, now claims that Jewish or Israeli behavior is helping to recruit ISIS foot soldiers. Anti-Semitism is ever the canary in the geo-political sewer.
Blaming Jews is sport for the foreign policy establishment in the West. Vichy and Quisling ride again! Alas, Scandinavia is once more in the vanguard of the bigot brigade. Sweden has recognized the Fatah/Hamas caliphate in Palestine.
Traditional anti-Semitism on both sides of the Atlantic is now augmented with Muslim migrations to the campuses and capitals of the democratic world. Sadly, the social democratic Left is just as good at excusing bigotry at home as it is at rationalizing Islamism and terror abroad.
Self-interest might suggest that Islam would smite ‘apostates’ like bin Laden and al Baghdadi. Not likely! Bin Laden sought and received sanctuary in Afghanistan and Pakistan for a decade. He was killed by Americans not Muslims. Similar Islamic miscreants now luxuriate and fester in the Emirates and the Levant.
If the Arab League and the OIC are expecting the Kurds, Turks, or NATO pilots to crush ISIS, the greater Muslim world is truly delusional too.
ISIS is Islamic precisely because the silent, passive aggressive, Muslim majority makes ISIS possible. Just as Islam originated in Arabia, ISIS is the linear descendent of the militant, imperial, now fascist quarter of the Ummah.
Surely acts are more significant than ideology, but the ideological roots of irredentist Islam are clear. The poisoned tree is rooted in historical Mohammedanism, more recent imperial Islamism (aka Salifism), and all those oil oligarchs wealthy enough to provide sanctuary — and buy policy, politicians, and academic apologists in Europe and America.
Despite Barack Hussein Obama’s pandering, a preponderance of evidence suggests that ISIS is as Muslim as Mecca. The immediate future and that passive aggressive Islamic mainstream will determine whether all of Islam becomes ISIS. Short of a declaration of war, it’s hard to know what side of history the fearful West and the theocratic East will favor.
Truth doesn’t care whom she offends. History is written by winners. A declared war will eventually be necessary and even then only a total victory will be sufficient to end the pandering in the West — and end caliphate fantasies in the East.
G. Murphy Donovan writes about the politics of national security.