Who Are We Fighting?

“We still have no strategy for dealing with this enormous long term threat. In many ways, the willful blindness of our elites has actually gotten worse.” — Newt Gingrich

The following excerpt was recently reproduced in an email from Gingrich Productions. It is from Newt Gingrich’s book Winning the Future (2005), where he is discussing the threat of radical Islamism:

Recent Islamic protest in Dearborn, MI

Recent Islamic protest in Dearborn, MI

“We have two immediate opponents, the irreconcilable wing of Islam and the rogue dictatorships that empower the radical Islamists. The irreconcilable wing of Islam considers America the great Satan. The Islamists cannot reconcile with a secular system of laws. They cannot tolerate a West that maintains a presence in the Arabian Gulf or that would defend Israel’s right to survive as a country. They cannot tolerate freedom of speech, freedom of religion, or freedom for women. In short, their demands are irreconcilable with the modern world.

Politically correct secularists cannot understand that we are participants in a global civil war between the modernizing and irreconcilable wings of Islam. While the irreconcilable wing must be fought militarily, this is also a cultural, political, and economic war (as was the Cold War). This war is not primarily about terrorism, it is about an Islamist insurgency against the modern world.

A reasonable estimate would be that this war will last until 2070 (the Soviet Union lasted from 1917 to 1991, or seventy-four years). An optimist could make a case for winning by 2025 or 2030. Alternatively this conflict could be a fact of life for several centuries (as the Catholic-Protestant wars were during the Reformation and Counter Reformation).

Because secular post-modern analysts refuse to take religion seriously, we describe “suicide bombers” while our opponents describe “martyrs.” We see them as psychologically deranged where they see themselves as dedicated to God. We focus on body counts while our opponents see their dead as symbols for recruitment. We focus on weeks and months while our opponents patiently focus on decades and generations. We think of trouble spots while they think of global jihad. We are in a total mismatch of planning and understanding.

We are hunting down al Qaeda (a loose grouping of 3,000 to 5,000 people) while our opponents are vastly larger. As one counter-terrorism analyst suggested to me “about the time we wipe out al Qaeda there will be five to ten new organizations of equal or greater size.” We can reasonably guess that about 3 to 4 percent of the 1.3 billion Muslims on the planet are potential terrorist recruits — a pool of 39 to 52 million young men. There might be more than 10,000 potential recruits for every current member of al Qaeda.

Islamist rally in Amman Jordan - Reuters

Islamist rally in Amman Jordan (Reuters)

Virtually every expert believes the number of militants available to the Irreconcilables is growing much faster than we are killing them. We have no effective communication counter-strategy to the television stations like Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya that serve as multimillion (maybe multibillion) dollar force multipliers for the insurgency. Consider the tiny cost bin Laden pays for an audio tape that these stations broadcast to more than a third of the Arab world at no cost to al Qaeda.”

Still as relevant as it was when it was written seven years ago.

I think this is a realistic and very sobering look at the situation and the long fight ahead. Whomever wins the upcoming elections, presidential and congressional, I sincerely hope they can clearly see what it is that threatens the U.S., Israel, and freedom everywhere, and they can implement a workable plan to counter the enemy here and abroad, at every level. It will be extremely difficult, but it is absolutely necessary for our survival. If they don’t, well, the “irreconcilable wing” will soon be nuclear-armed, they have an apocalyptic agenda, and they aren’t exactly known for their tolerance of those who don’t submit, who resist conversion to their worldview.

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