The War on Terrorism is actually World War IV. Most people don't appreciate this because of the asymmetrical nature of this war. Nation states are pitted against terrorist organizations and not against other states like in previous World Wars.
In a way, asymmetrical warfare is more dangerous because the enemy could be living amongst us. These men are eager to die so as to be rewarded with Paradise with its carnal pleasures. This is so unlike World War III (i.e. the Cold War) where the free world fought the repressive communists.
They wanted to live and can be deterred by Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). Now we are fighting a bunch of medieval mad men who are not afraid of MAD. What if they get hold of a nuclear device? There are loose nukes in the former Soviet Union. Pakistan has nukes and also plenty of terrorists and their supporters.
The Leader of N Korea is unpredictable and may sell his nukes (he claims to have them) to terrorists. It would not be difficult for a terrorist to smuggle a nuke or two into any western country with their porous borders. If drug smugglers can bring in drugs by the tons, why can’t terrorists bring in a dozen or more nukes?
But there are also similarities with earlier World Wars. The chief similarity is that WW4 like WW3 (i.e. the Cold War) has an ideological component. In their own respective ideologies, both sides think that they are the good guys. On the one side are the people who believe that democracy with all its accompanying civil liberties is the best way for human beings to organize their societies.
The other side spits at democracy and aims for the world to be ruled in accordance to Allah's laws. Democracy means that man is supreme because it is man who makes the laws through elections. The other side believes that it is God who must be supreme in the world.
It is Allah’s laws that must be obeyed and these laws were revealed to their Prophet 1,400 years ago. These militants believe that the world is divided into darul Harb and darul Islam. It is the duty of good Muslims to fight till the whole world becomes darul Islam. Allow me to call this ideology Islamism. For a more detailed insight into the roots of Islamic militancy, please read my article, “Looking for Saladdin”.
In World War III (ie the Cold War), there was also an ideological component. The Communists/Marxists preached an ideology of equality and class struggle to create a Communist utopia. This too had strong appeal for many people in the world. The US and its allies did its best to prove that this is false and tried to show why their vision of the future is better.
But in World War IV, the US has abandoned ideological warfare. It restricts its criticism to only militant Islam and insists that they got their religion wrong. Bush tells us that Islam means peace. No doubt he has good reasons for doing so. He needs the help of moderate Muslim leaders like Musharraf and Megawati to pursue the terrorists. He cannot alienate them. The war in Afghanistan could not be fought without Musharraf's help. Perhaps there is still hope in some quarters that Islam can be reformed.
But the boundary between Islam and Islamism is fuzzy. Most Muslims are not militants and most disapprove of the terrorist tactics pursued by the militants. But the teachings of Islam make it difficult for the moderate Muslims to wage war against the terrorists. It should be clear to a casual observer that the majority of Muslims will instinctively rally to support fellow Muslims when they come under attack no matter how unworthy or how violent these Muslims are. Thus when the US attacked Afghanistan, which was ruled by the brutal Taleban, Muslims all over the world protested. The same thing happened when Iraq was attacked.
Saddam Hussein killed more fellow Muslims than archenemy Israel did, yet many Muslims volunteered to fight for him against Coalition forces. Have you wondered why there was hardly a peep from the Muslim world when Saddam slaughtered fellow Muslims? If Christians were like them, the US would not have interfered in Yugoslavia to save Muslim Bosnians from Christian Serbs.
No doubt Muslim anger over the two wars will swell the ranks of Islamic terrorist organizations. They prefer a fellow Muslim (no matter how bad) to an infidel (no matter how good). The behavior of Muslims can be explained by the teachings of Islam, which puts Muslim brotherhood higher than what is right or wrong. Also, the Koran is peppered with verses like this one, which encourages enmity against infidels:
“Believers, take neither the Jews nor the Christians for your friends. They are friends with one another. Whoever of you seeks their friendship shall become one of their number. God does not guide the wrongdoers.” See Koran 5:51.
The best way to understand Islam is to view it as a warrior’s faith designed to support Arab imperialism in the 7th, 8th and 9th centuries. (See my article, “Once were warriors”.) That is why apostasy ranks so high as an offence and worthy of the death penalty. They see it as a defection to the enemy.
That is also why they reflexively support monsters like Saddam in the Gulf War II and are so ready to believe the most preposterous conspiracy theories. To them, a Muslim in any confrontation with infidels can do no wrong and must be supported. Thus, even the moderates cannot be counted on to support the forces of democracy in World War IV.
Islam also teaches Muslims to see themselves as part of a nation of Muslims who happen to live in different countries – even in non-Muslim ones. Their loyalty to the nation state is subordinated to the loyalty to the Ummah. This is so even if they are second or third generation British or American or whatever. Each new generation will be taught by Islam to maintain its primary loyalty to the Ummah. Even new converts switch loyalty.
See what happened to Walker, the American Taleban and that Sergeant in the 101st Airborne. Thus Muslims living in non-Muslim countries are a potential fifth column. (But they are not the only fifth column. The left wing in US and Europe with their PC (politically correct) ideology is also giving aid and comfort to the enemy just as they did in the Cold War.)
In World War IV, the US has handicapped itself by making false declarations such as “Islam is peace”. All world wars have at least three components – the military, ideological and the economic. In World War III, the ideological component was more important than the military one. In World War I and II, it was the military component that was more important. Yet by praising Islam, Bush and Blair have already given up the ideological warfare without firing a shot.
You cannot defeat Islamism without defeating Islam. It is like trying to fight Communism while praising Marxist economic theories! In the Cold War, the US and its allies did not hesitate to argue that Marxism is a false ideology. Marx's ideas are wrong and cannot lead mankind to a better future. The democratic world must make the same case against Islam.
Otherwise, we cannot win without relying heavily on the military component, which means more bloodshed. Perhaps we cannot win at all. Remember what Sun Wu said in his classic, “The Art of War”. The side with the higher moral standing is more likely to win. To do this, a leader must convince his people that their cause is just. You cannot persuade your people to make exertions if they do not understand what they are up against. Thus the burden of ideological warfare falls on groups like FFI.
FFI people are a special breed. They are the “irregulars” in this ideological war. The “regulars” of course refer those soldiers in uniforms funded by taxpayer's money. “Irregulars” refer to fighters that sprang up from the grassroots like the minutemen in the US Revolutionary War against Britain or the Spanish guerrillas that fought Napoleon.
Our weapon is the pen and not the sword. But we must get the message out to both Muslims and non-Muslims. The Soviet Union imploded because the people there realized that Communism does not work. The Voice of America, BBC and others understood the nature of the beast and brought the message home to the Communist bloc. We must do the same for Islam. We must convince Muslims that Islam is false just as Communism was false. Both cannot give mankind a better future.
If we fail, WW4 could turn out to be a “hot” war like WW2 and not a relatively bloodless war like the Cold War. Nobody wants that. What would happen if a Muslim terrorist group gets hold of a nuclear device and destroys New York City? I think the US will retaliate by destroying Mecca because Islam cannot survive the destruction of Mecca.
The city is so central to their faith. Without Mecca, a Muslim cannot practice the Haj – one of the five pillars of Islam. Muslims are also required to pray five times a day facing Mecca. But praying five times a day to radioactive rubble somehow seems meaningless. They will question why Allah did not save the city with his angels and the loss of faith would be sudden. There is a precedent of sorts for this.
In the WW2, the Japanese believed their Emperor to be a God. See my article, “The Mujahideen and the Samurai”. They were even afraid to look at him lest they be blinded. So they turned their eyes away whenever he passed by in his motorcade. They also believed themselves to be descended from Gods and so are invincible. As what General Yamashita told a defeated British General after the fall of Singapore, “We are descended from the Gods. You are descended from monkeys. In a war between Gods and monkeys, the Gods will win.”
Perhaps it was their beliefs that gave them the courage to attack the US even though the US economy was 15 times the size of Japan's at that time. All these beliefs quickly crumbled when Japan was defeated and occupied. Today, no Japanese believes that their Emperor is a God. Of course I don't want to see any city getting nuked. Belief in Communism as a superior system crumbled without recourse to nuclear war. Islam may do the same if the message goes out to the Muslims in time.
The third component of WW4 is economics. Oil is the only major commodity produced in the Muslim world. But it is a very essential item. Islamic radicalism started to rise after the 1973 oil embargo where oil prices quadrupled overnight. The wealthy Saudis began to spread their intolerant version of Islam by building Madrassahs and mosques around the world.
Oil production is expected to peak sometime in the next 5 to 25 years. When oil peaks, oil prices will rise sharply unless we find a replacement. Also the Gulf States will account for a larger percentage of world production – putting the world in a precarious situation. World War IV can be won if we learn a lesson from World War I.
In WW1, the British took a gamble and converted their navy to run on oil even though Britain did not produce oil. The German High Seas fleet was mainly a coal burning fleet. Oil made the British ships faster, had greater range and more quickly refueled. In 1916, the two navies met at the Battle of Jutland and the British won. The North Sea was under British control for the remainder of the war. To win WW4, we must find a replacement for oil just as the British replaced coal with oil.
Bush is trying to lessen dependence on Saudi oil by liberating Iraqi oil. But in the long run, we need alternate source of energy.
In the First World War, the free world fought against Royal dictators. In the Second World War, the democracies fought against Fascist right wing dictators. In the Cold War, the free world struggled against Communist dictators. Now in World War IV, freedom is again under threat from would be Islamist dictators. Victory would depend on how well we learn the lessons from the previous World Wars
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