Militant Islam obviously embraces the traditions and goals of global socio-political and spiritual conquest that were common for centuries before and after Muhammad's time. It has successfully exported this cult of conquest to threaten all points on the globe. Meanwhile, other participants in the ancient campaigns of conquest, such as the Catholic church, have abandoned such violent pursuits of empire building. Similar modern adventures such as those of the Axis Powers in World War II, have been defeated.
In the ancient times of conquest, combatants engaged each other immediately and in the open, even if assailants approached by stealth. Today, technology enables individuals or small groups to kill in much greater numbers, either by martyrdom or by secretly placing and remotely detonating lethal devices.
The "War on Terror"Unfortunately, President Bush's "War on Terror" (not "Islamic terrorists") is a doomed enterprise because it is an impossibly poor choice of enemies. Waging war against concepts and inanimate objects is ridiculous. One cannot feasibly win a campaign against a combat tactic, defeat a social condition (President Johnson's "War on Poverty") or prevail against controlled substances (President Nixon's "War on Drugs").
In all cases outside the platitudes of rhetoric, every struggle against an opponent is a human struggle.
As Walt Kelly propheticaly pointed out, "We have met the enemy as he is us."
(Walt Kelly's Pogo Papers, et al; 1952, 1970)
The combination of modern war technology in the hands of stealth fighters and limited rules of engagement against terrorist tactics make it impossible to completely defeat rapidly-growing numbers of terrorists. At best, any limited counter-terrorism tactic is relegated to a stalemate of endless defensive or suppressive maneuvers that merely contain the threat while awaiting the unlikely event that terrorists will abandon their plans.
The unthinkable or the unlikely?If humanity is to continue to evolve away from the politics of conquest and secure the peaceful practice and protection of all religions, what must be done?
A long view of history suggests that one of these things must happen to defeat militant Islamic terrorism's campaign for global socio-political and spiritual domination:
- Overwhelming military defeat, regardless of traditional religious sanctuary or contemporary rules of engagement.
As a desperate approach, some have advocated "fighting fire with fire" - a return to ancient rules of engagement, starting with World War II-style blanket attacks. In this strategy, one militant Islamic-controlled mosque, hatred-teaching educational facility, or terrorist training camp after another is destroyed by missiles in response to each and every further Islamic terrorist attack.
Eventually, militant Islam would be forced to submit and make peace or, ultimately, face the destruction of the Grand Mosque in Mecca. It is thought that the extreme measures of the systematic and utter destruction of many or all of Islam's cherished symbols would be completely demoralizing and subduing to militant Muslims by virtue of the logic that, if Allah had allowed it to happen, it must be according to His will.
More likely, well before the destruction of any major mosque, it would convince moderate Muslims to enjoin the struggle - perhaps on the side of counter-terrorism - perhaps not.
OBVIOUSLY, THIS SOLUTION IS NOT DESIRED BY ANYONE WHO TRULY SEEKS PEACEFUL COEXISTENCE.
- Repeated, compelling public condemnation of terrorism by peaceful Muslims and key non-Muslim influences.
If it is true that militant Islam represents only a small minority of Muslims worldwide, the only peaceful way to effectively defeat militant Islam's goals for global socio-political and spiritual domination may be by securing the cooperation of peaceful, moderate Muslims. The Islamic comunity must be committed to ending this struggle and willing to wrest control of the Islamic faith away from terrorists by refusing to grant them safe harbor.
We ask readers of "Militant Islam 101" to post comments on this blog to identify any additional options for eliminating Islamic terrorism that have eluded our consideration.