- The Washington Times - Monday, March 20, 2006

The third anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq has been marked by antiwar demonstrations, polls suggesting evaporating public support for the effort to consolidate that country’s liberation and paroxysms of doubt by America’s finger-in-the-wind politicians. It seems like a good time to reflect anew on the true nature of the conflict and why we have no choice but to wage it with tenacity to a successful conclusion.

Fortunately, we are greatly aided in that task by the timely arrival of an extraordinary film: “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West.” Viewing this documentary should hereafter be considered a prerequisite for participating in the debate about the national security challenges we face, and what must be done to address them.

“Obsession” is an unblinking, and deeply disturbing, portrait of our most immediate and dangerous enemy, in Iraq and elsewhere — the ideology best described as Islamofascism.

The film’s conclusion is as inescapable as it is well documented: Adherents to this totalitarian political movement are determined to destroy the Free World, whose nations, values and institutions are seen as impediments to the global triumph of the Islamists’ preferred, Taliban-style religious rule. For our enemies, Iraq represents but one front in a world war. And we, too, must recognize it as such.

The full dimensions of that War for the Free World are laid bare in “Obsession” from an extraordinary array of sources. For example, penetrating analyses are provided by internationally renowned Western experts like Sir Martin Gilbert, Alan Dershowitz, Daniel Pipes, Caroline Glick, Steven Emerson, Robert Wistrich and Itamar Marcus.

The insights of a number of courageous anti-Islamist Muslims (in some cases, former Muslims) are, if anything, even more compelling. These include observations of the daughter of a terrorist, Nonie Darwish; a former Palestinian terrorist, Walid Shoebat; an Israeli-Arab journalist, Khaled Abu-Toameth; an American imam, Khaleel Mohammed; and two prominent expatriate writers, Salim Mansur and Tashbih Sayyed. They describe with authority our common foes’ determination and ruthlessness.

Lest there be any doubt, however, about the magnitude of the challenge freedom-loving peoples face, the footage in “Obsession” drawn from Islamist sources themselves (notably, their various state-owned and terrorist-sponsored television outlets) is dispositive. It features imams calling for death to America; officials of Mideast governments making plain the destruction of the United States is God’s will; even tiny children regurgitating their desire for death while killing Israelis, Americans and other infidels.

The impact of the images of Muslim kids brandishing weapons, marching in goose step and giving stiff-armed salutes in mass demonstrations underscores a point made in the film by the late Alfons Heck, a former Hitler Youth Group leader in Nazi Germany: Islamofascism is really just the latest in a series of totalitarian ideologies bent on destroying the Free World.

“Obsession” makes clear that, like the Fuehrer, the Islamists will not be content with denying the people of Iraq accountable, representative government. Neither would their appetites be sated by destroying the State of Israel.

In fact, even seemingly less momentous forms of appeasement — such as negotiating with the Islamofascist Iranian regime — will simply confirm our avowed enemies’ contempt for us, and their confidence in the ultimate victory of their cause.

The connections between the Nazis and the Islamofascists are rooted in more than shared ambitions of world domination and violent methods. As Matthias Kuntzel, a professor at the University of Hamburg and noted German expert on the two ideologies has observed, “Although Islamism is an independent, anti-Semitic, anti-modern mass movement, its main early promoters — the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and [Haj Amin el-Husseini,] the Mufti [of Jerusalem] and the Qassamites in Palestine — were supported financially and ideologically by agencies of the German National Socialist [Nazi] government.”

As it happens, Professor Kuntzel participated last week in a Paris conference co-sponsored by the Center for Security Policy to discuss “Democracies in the face of Islamist Confrontation.” The conferees — involving a number of anti-Islamist Muslims as well as non-Muslims from Europe, North America and North Africa — made plain one other ominous parallel: The rising threat of Islamofascism and anti-Semitism within Western European societies today has taken on the feel of the early 1930s, replete with political instability, mounting public unease and a misplaced confidence that accommodating violent ideologues will translate into at least temporary tranquility.

Totalitarianism’s return would come as no surprise to Eric Hoffer, whose extraordinary 1951 book “The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements” reads as though written yesterday. Hoffer recognized “All mass movements generate in their adherents a readiness to die and a proclivity for united action; all of them, irrespective of the doctrine they preach and the program they project, breed fanaticism, enthusiasm, fervent hope, hatred and intolerance; all of them are capable of releasing a powerful flow of activity in certain departments of life; all of them demand blind faith and singlehearted allegiance.”

We are, in short, once again under assault from such a mass movement, one that appeals to large numbers of people, calls on them to die for the cause and will stop at nothing to obtain its totalitarian goals. Unfortunately, in two respects, the threat posed by Islamofascism is even greater than its totalitarian predecessors: Many of its adherents are inside Western societies and are adept at exploiting their political movement’s patina of religiosity to exploit, to the Free World’s detriment, our civil liberties rooted in religious tolerance.

Consequently, as a practical matter, we have no choice but to fight the Islamofascists, both abroad and at home. Surrender, whether in Iraq or elsewhere, is not an option.

Frank J. Gaffney Jr. is president of the Center for Security Policy and a columnist for The Washington Times.

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