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We must know what motivates our enemies

Jack Kelly

By Jack Kelly

Published Dec. 1, 2014

  We must know what motivates our enemies

Four police academy graduates were posing for a photo in New York City Oct. 23 when Zale Thompson, 32, struck one in the head with a hatchet, another in the arm. In multiple posts on his Facebook page, Mr. Thompson endorsed jihad and called for “guerrilla war” in America.

The day before, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, 32, killed a guard at Canada’s war memorial in Ottawa, then wounded a security guard in the Parliament building. Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau was on a Royal Canadian Mounted Police watch list of Canadian supporters of the Islamic State. So was Martin Couture-Rouleau, who two days before the shootings at Parliament ran down two Canadian soldiers outside their base in Quebec.

In Moore, Oklahoma, Sept. 26, Alten Nolen, 30, beheaded Colleen Hufford, 54. He was trying to behead a second woman when he was shot. A convert to Islam, Mr. Nolen had posted a grisly photo of a beheading on his Facebook page.

“Kill the disbeliever, whether he is civilian or military,” an Islamic State leader urged supporters in the West five days before Mr. Nolen cut off Ms. Hufford’s head.

Her murder appeared to be “workplace violence,” said the FBI. Which is how the Obama administration officially characterized the 2009 murders of 13 soldiers at Fort Hood by Nidal Malik Hasan, who was shouting “Allahu Akbar” as he gunned them down.

In the report of the 911 Commission, the word “Islam” appears 322 times, “Muslim” 145 times, “jihad” 126 times. But in the national intelligence strategy the Obama administration issued in 2009, those words don’t appear at all, according to Katherine Gorka of the Council on Global Security.

To know your enemy is the key to victory, said Sun Tzu (544-496 Before the Common Era). We’re losing a war that was all but won when President Barack Obama took the oath of office because of his bizarre refusal to recognize the true nature of our enemy.

The term “Islamist” was coined to distinguish between Muslims generally, and those who seek a worldwide “caliphate” ruled by Islamic law.

Sunni Islamists — al-Qaida, Hamas, the Islamic State, the Muslim Brotherhood — seek to return to how Abd al-Wahhab (1703-1792) imagined Islam was practiced in the 7th century.

Salafis (the Arabic word for ancestor) are heretics, said Muslim scholars in Wahhab’s day and ours. They’ve “hijacked” Islam, said Egyptian writer Aly Salem. But to insist their motivation isn’t religious would be comic, were its consequences not so tragic.

The biggest threat to the United States is individuals who self-radicalize and launch attacks on their own, said the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

Freelance jihadis don’t “self-radicalize,” said Andrew McCarthy, who prosecuted the mastermind of the first World Trade Center bombing.

“Terrorists are radicalized by a scripturally based doctrine,” he said. “They terrorize because the doctrine instructs them to do so.”

They pick their targets without guidance from foreign terrorist groups, but “the so-called lone wolves of recent days … aren’t loners, they’re members,” said Michael Ledeen, who was a consultant to the National Security Council. “They’ve been inspired by local or online jihadis.”

Many have drug habits or mental problems, and criminal records. “Why is it that it is always those who fail in school or in life who turn to such religious extremism?” asked Somali journalist Bashir Goth.

Because “Islamist fanaticism offers the powerless, bitter and hopeless license on earth and luxury in paradise,” said Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, a retired Army intelligence officer.

These misfits tend to be radicalized in mosques, but President Obama won’t let the FBI surveil mosques. We can’t contain the epidemic of “workplace violence” unless we recognize jihadis for who they are, look for them where they are to be found, discredit the ideology that motivates them. Moderate Muslims won’t be offended.

“How far can we allow these fanatics to use our religion for their own political goals?” Mr. Goth asked. “We have to speak out. If we don’t do it today, we won’t be able to do it tomorrow. Because there will be no tomorrow as our country descends into 7th-century Arabia.”

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JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration.

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