Home
In this issue
December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 1, 2007 / 15 Sivan, 5767

Identifying with jihadists — in the U.S. military

By Diana West


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "If I were a Muslim, I'd probably be a jihadist. The thing that drives these guys — a sense of adventure, wanting to be part of the moment, wanting to be in the big movement of history that's happening now — that's the same thing that drives me, you know?" No. I don't know. And I sorely wish I could tell him so — "him" being David Kilcullen, senior counterinsurgency adviser to Gen. David Petraeus, senior U.S. commander in Iraq.


With this bizarro depiction of jihadists-as-swashbucklers, Lt. Col. David Kilcullen, an Australian Army officer "on loan" to the U.S. government, should probably have been sent back with: "And I suppose if you had been a German during a certain world war, you would have been a Nazi, eh? Who more than those Third Reich 'guys' wanted to be in 'the big movement of history'? Grr. Thanks, mate, but no thanks. Go play Abu Robin al-Hood down under."


Of course, Kilcullen made his outrageous comment almost six months ago to The New Yorker's George Packer and is still on the job. But when a key counterinsurgency adviser in Iraq identifies with jihadists, it's not just a matter of surrealism — hallucinations — at the top. As they say at NASA when things are about to fall out of the sky: Houston, we've got a problem.


Why? Such remarks convey either noncomprehension or indifference to the evil nature of jihad. Or both. Such neutrality, if that's the word for it, also marks Kilcullen's discussion of his big, formative idea: lessons drawn from what he refers to as "an Islamic insurgency in West Java and a Christian-separatist insurgency in East Timor."


In the latter case, the language is jarring for what Serge Trifkovic has described this way: "In the motivation, patterns and perceptions of the actors on the ground — killers and victims alike — East Timor was an Islamic jihad against Christian infidels" that left as many as 200,000 East Timorese dead.


In Kilcullen's Islam-blind view of the world, such events become plain-vanilla conflicts without moral distinction, differentiated only by the advent of global media coverage — a large obstacle, he maintains, to winning counter-insurgencies. Indeed, he compares Indonesia's role in East Timor (where Indonesia ultimately failed, he says, due to global media) with the U.S. role in Iraq. This is a weirdly shocking way to see the American struggle against varyingly jihadist factions — particularly for someone advising the U.S. military.


It's hard to say what's worse: ignorance of jihad, for which there's no excuse at this advanced stage of war, or indifference to it, for which there's never an excuse. Both attitudes deeply imbue U.S. war policy. As Kilcullen would (and has) put it, "the Islamic bit is secondary." Far more important to this Australian anthropologist are what he calls "social networks." Packer writes: "He noted that all fifteen Saudi (9/11) hijackers had trouble with their fathers."


Oh, brother — as if half the people in the world don't have trouble with their fathers (but don't hijack airplanes for Allah).


The New Yorker story continues: Although "radical ideas" lead young men to become jihadists, "the reasons they convert, Kilcullen said, are more mundane and familiar: family, friends, associates."


Sounds like our problem is a cell calling plan, not jihadist Islam. Little wonder Kilcullen is also down on the phrase "war on terror." That's because, as Packer writes, the concept (elliptical as it is) "suggests an undifferentiated enemy" engaged in global jihad. David Kilcullen strives to "disaggregate" insurgencies by disconnecting the Islamic dots linking various terror-states and terrorists. He prefers to see jihadist movements in terms of so many local grievances. It's as if he has taken the defunct Bush doctrine — You're with us or you're against us — and changed it to: You're really not with anyone, and certainly not anyone Islamic.


To what end? Difficult to say, particularly when, according to the New Yorker, his example of "disaggregation" is the Indonesian province of Aceh. Here, he maintains, Western tsunami aid and resentment of outsiders prevented Aceh from "becoming," as the article put it, "part of the global jihad" — a funny sort of victory to claim in a place where, increasingly, sharia rules.


Of course, maybe the man "disaggregates" sharia, too, reducing it to so many differentiated social networks. Just the thing, as Kilcullen might say, for family, friends and associates with that jihadist sense of adventure.


CORRECTION: In the last column about media coverage of American Muslims attitudes on suicide bombing, I attributed the headline "Muslims assimilate better in U.S. than Europe, poll finds" to The New York Times. The headline was from The International Herald Tribune.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


JWR contributor Diana West is a columnist and editorial writer for the Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.

Archives

Up


© 2007, Diana West