War on terror is far from over

April 27, 2012


“The war on terror is over,” or so claims an unnamed senior State Department official, as reported by National Journal’s Michael Hirsh in his recent article “The Post al-Qaida Era.”

Really? Well, if the war is over, I must have missed the peace treaty signing ceremony. I also haven’t noticed a decline in incendiary rhetoric, or the disarmament — or at least laying down of arms — that usually accompanies the end of war. Does this mean we can do away with full-body scanners and TSA pat-downs?

Those who believe the war against radical Islamists is over never really believed we were fighting one. They have been in denial from the start. Each time they have been proven wrong — the land for peace formula between Israel and her enemies is just one example among many — they have simply moved on to the next level of denial. Now they have reached rock bottom with nowhere else to go and are telling us we can live with Islamism.

Hirsh references Reuel Marc Gerecht, senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a nonpartisan institution focusing on national security and foreign policy, whom he calls one of the “smarter hardliners on the Right.” Hirsh says Gerecht is among an emerging group of policymakers and analysts coming to realize that “the Arab world may find another route to democracy — through Islamism.”

This is preposterous. It is like saying the route to women’s rights is through patriarchy. War is peace. George Orwell lives! Radical Islamists have made it perfectly clear they have no interest in joining the democratic process. They are at war. They are at war with the West.

Gerecht’s kind of thinking is beyond self-delusional. It is suicidal. Any hope that the Arab Spring and the Middle East elections that result will make any difference in the way radical Islamists deal with or perceive the West is misplaced. Elections are meaningless without a framework guaranteeing individual rights. History is full of examples where elections brought to power dictators who then either gamed the system so their re-election was guaranteed or made sure there were no more elections.

Closer to reality is a report in the April 15 London Sunday Times. Reporter Hala Jaber writes from Cairo about the forthcoming Egyptian elections: “Voters fear the imposition of the veil and a harsh penal code if radicals win the election.”

Ask the radical Islamic cleric Abu Qatada if he thinks the war against the West, which is the proper way of framing this conflict, is over. British Home Secretary Theresa May has possibly blown an opportunity to deport Qatada because of a bureaucratic snafu over a deadline for his appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. Now there is a good chance that Qataba, described by a judge in Spain as Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe, could be released from prison instead of being deported to Jordan as planned.

Just because the leadership of al-Qaida has been killed, imprisoned or forced to run, does not mean that the fighting stops. In fact, though the “war on terror” may be over as a concept, White House spokesman Tommy Vietor assured Michael Hirsh, the war against al-Qaida rages on. But the war is much broader than al-Qaida. Terrorism flows from a belief system and worldview that will not be crushed because a few al-Qaida leaders are gone.

The secular left refuses to understand this. Terrorism is not the only tool in the arsenal of radical Islamists. Infiltration, Islamic schools, the building of mosques in the midst of the “Great Satan,” the running of Muslim candidates for public office, the demands for more “rights” and civil liberties, while Islamists deny such things to the nations they dominate — all of this and more proves the war by whatever name one wishes to call it is not over. In fact, it is just beginning.

Radical Islamists are attempting to unify the Muslim world under Sharia law and other dictates of the extremist wing of the religion. If they succeed, they will most assuredly redouble their efforts to eliminate Israel and come after America.

The war on terror continues. We need to fight it to win it.

— Cal Thomas is a columnist for Tribune Media Services.


Fossick 1 year, 11 months ago

jafs: "Or just a frightened/angry mob with weapons?"

God love you, jafs, you really don't grok what happened on the fourth flight of 9/11, do you? For years and years, if a plane was hijacked, it was in the passengers' best interest to be calm and to ride it out. The plane would land in Cuba, the plane would leave. No harm, no foul. Passenfer acted accordingly.

Fast forward to 9/11. Suddenly panes hit buildings rather than the Havana concourse. The first 3 hit buildings, but the fourth, which knew of the first 3, crashed while the passengers tried to re-take it. The game had changed. Now the passengers knew that passivity was no longer the ticket to survival. Now survival means stopping the hitchhiker. A dozen would-be miscreants subdued by passengers in the time since provide the proof. Do you want links?

Do you really believe that two nightsticks for each row in a plane constitutes "an angry mob with weapons?" How do you let these same people vote? The "weapon" which can subdue a terrorist but not a cockpit door is the best kind of weapon - it's like a gun that only shoots rapists. Every "Take Back the Night" chantress should dream of such an invention.

If you do not trust the people to protect themselves, how do you trust them to choose the people who are charged to protect them? Who watches the watchers?


JayhawksandHerd 1 year, 11 months ago

The more of these stories I read, the more I wonder if the terrorists have already won.


KansasLiberal 1 year, 11 months ago

The war on "terror" will never end because it was never meant to end. It was designed to be a money maker for the military industrial complex and it has done that perfectly.


50YearResident 1 year, 11 months ago

Cal is right about this one. The war on terror has just started. It will not end anytime soon. Until we acknowledge who the enemy is, we will not win the battle.


jhawkinsf 1 year, 11 months ago

World War Two killed tens of millions of people. Cutting 4% from a budget is now described as a "war" on whatever is being cut. What we really have is a policy of disrupting terrorism. And perhaps an assault on the English language.


Paul R Getto 1 year, 11 months ago

Good points, Jack. I always thought it was curious to go to war against a noun. We are dealing with some nasty people, but they no more represent their religion than the Phelps do theirs. Take it slow and low and build lots of schools when we can. The key here is to educate a generation of girls and women; they can eventually tame the men.


JackMcKee 1 year, 11 months ago

It's a war on an idea. Of course it's never going to end. What we can end is the war on our civil liberties.


BornAgainAmerican 1 year, 11 months ago

A Muslim officer crying "Allah Akbar" while shooting up an army base is considered to have committed "Workplace Violence" while an American citizen boasting a Ron Paul bumper sticker is classified as a "Domestic Terrorist".


its_just_math 1 year, 11 months ago

"It is now clear that George Bush's misnamed 'War on Terror' has backfired — and is now part of the problem.....the War on Terror is a slogan designed only for politics, not a strategy to make America safe. It's a bumper sticker, not a plan." ---John "Two Americas/Sugar Daddy" Edwards


jafs 1 year, 11 months ago

Oh my - Muslims are building schools, mosques, participating in our political process, and exercising their rights under our constitution.

Whatever should we do?

I know - let's deny them those rights because they're Muslim - oh wait, we can't really do that with any integrity. Hmm.

Thomas manages to ignore a fundamental distinction, between Muslims and radical extremist Muslims, commonly called Islamists. This is a rather large and glaring jump, and a dangerous one.

We can't possibly "win" any sort of conflict with the intolerant by simply becoming more intolerant ourselves.


FalseHopeNoChange 1 year, 11 months ago

If the 'war on terror' is over. Let's save money and get rid of the TSA. The 'Islamic Brotherhood' has a seat in the white house. Napoleontano 'allows' them to cross the southern borders 'without' being checked out. So why not?

Excellent article


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