When it comes to the war against radical Islamist terrorism I consider myself a hawk. That being said, I still believe talking to your foe is an important tool in any conflict, no matter how futile it may be. Maintaining an open dialogue — sincere or otherwise — provides another intelligence-gathering opportunity, if only to gauge your opponent’s arrogance, apathy or anxiety. And, in the outside chance that they experience an epiphany, finally coming to understand the reasoning behind your position, it provides a chance for a peaceful resolution.
Military and diplomatic tools are available to us in this most serious of conflicts. Alarmingly, our country’s leaders — and many leaders from the Free World — are not advancing the policy of employing more than one tool simultaneously.
As those in our government who are obsessed with troop reductions and redeployment continue to argue that Iraq was an illegitimate battlefield from the start, radical Islamists headed by al Qaeda are expanding the conflict to battlefields in Somalia, Sudan and Indonesia. Our enemy has not wavered in its dedication to total victory, something we cannot say for ourselves.
In Korea and Vietnam — and to a lesser extent Kosovo and the Gulf war — all our enemies wanted us to do was to leave so they could institute their totalitarian sociopolitical doctrine on the people they strove to control and oppress. All we had to do was cave in to the political pressure that mounted at home, declare victory and “redeploy” to achieve “peace with honor.”
Our current enemy isn’t so accommodating. In today’s conflict, we don’t have the luxury of simply leaving and declaring victory. This time our enemy — radical Islamists who employ terrorism as their chief military tactic — want us all to convert to Islam, live under Shariah Law or die.
This time the tolerant mindset we have fallen into will culminate in the demise, the annihilation, the end of our country. This time, the enemy won’t be satisfied with our soldiers simply leaving the battlefield. This time the enemy will follow us home.
It is because of this that the Western world must dispense with the tolerant attitude of the failed experiment of multiculturalism and dedicate itself to using all tools available to effect victory over the threat of radical Islam.
One of the battlefields the West has yet to exploit is ideology; where the rigid, violent, inequitable tenets of radical Islam would be challenged, re-challenged and then challenged again.
If we are to prevail in this global war against radical Islam we must facilitate and nurture an ideological revolution within the religion. Muslims who would dare do so must be encouraged to revolt against the oppressive and violent tenets of fundamentalist Islam. These brave souls, who, by the words of the Koran, would be condemned to slaughter for leaving the religion, need to be empowered to create a reformed Islam that disavows the violent teachings while embracing the peaceful ones. We have to fully support those who want to establish an alternative to the violent doctrine of seventh century Islam.
This approach bears greater consideration when we take into account that the birthrate among Muslims greatly outnumbers the birthrate in the Western world.
Abandoning the failed experiment of multiculturalism perhaps a bit too late, many countries in Europe are scrambling to protect their national identities while experiencing a diminishing birthrate among their people. According to reproductive rates, the world’s population will be consumed by those who practice the Islamic ideology through simple demographics in a few generations. By the shear power of their numbers they will be able to inundate and monopolize any democracy on the face of the Earth. No amount of military might can overcome this inevitability.
It is precisely because of the probability of the future Muslim-dominated demographic that we must engage radical Islam on the ideological battlefield as well as the military, diplomatic and economic. Islam must undergo the equivalent of Christianity’s Reformation. Otherwise, in the long run, we will lose.
Without doubt, I continue to fully advocate elimination, by any means, of those who choose to slaughter in the name of Allah. With lunatics like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hassan Nasrallah close to attaining nuclear and biochemical weapons, we have no choice but to continue engaging them militarily anywhere and everywhere around the world.
But we must recognize that if we do not engage radical Islamist ideologically, challenging their violent and totalitarian ways, if we do not empower willing Muslims to establish an alternative, we invite the radicals among them to wait out our military and diplomatic efforts as simple reproduction brings about the end of Western civilization.
It is well past time that the political arguments over this conflict were laid to rest. The naive notion that disengagement will bring peace is shortsighted and purveyed only by those ignorant of the true nature of the threat. If the West chooses retreat and appeasement, we will seal our own death warrants.
America and her allies have to evolve from the simplistic idea of choosing only one course of action over another in the conflict with radical Islam. The partisan politics that finds us on the brink of handing Islamist terrorists a great victory in Iraq must be abandoned. It is of paramount importance that America and her allies present a cohesive front, utilizing all of the weapons available — military, diplomatic, economic and ideological — together, in concert, to affect victory in this war for our survival. And most importantly, we need to successfully empower those who would establish an alternative for those Muslims who yearn to be free of the oppression of fundamentalist Islam.
The choice is clear. We can both abandon the multicultural politically correct fantasy of an ideologically symbiotic utopia with those who practice radical Islam and fight this war to win or we can die.
New Media Journal.
Mr. Salvato is executive director of the Basics Project, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, 501(C)(3) research and education initiative.