Op-EdOpinion

MUHAMMAD: Efforts to Fight ‘Radical Islam’ Critically Flawed

The reprehensible attacks recently in Beirut and Paris and the downing of a Russian passenger aircraft mark a brutal escalation of the war against innocents by those who call themselves the “Islamic State”— ISIL. Except for some of the rhetoric they recite, they are in no way Islamic. Their reckless disregard for lawful, civilized behavior excludes them from eligibility in the community of nations — states.

I offer prayers and solace to all those in distress, and I condemn all such cowardly and vicious acts of violence and hatred.

While I’m condemning, I condemn the theft by European tribes of the Western Hemisphere from the indigenous nations and then the murder — the genocide —committed against the Native people in North America. I condemn the theft of millions of Africans brought to these shores, forced into slavery for 300 years, and then held in “free slavery” for the last 150 years. That free labor made this country rich and strong.

But these most recent atrocities, all of them, the Russian plane, Beirut and Paris, reveal that those who would wield terror against unsuspecting noncombatants have elevated their tactics and ability to go undetected. Police, military, and intelligence agencies have a grave dilemma on their hands: While the perpetrators know their secret plans, those who would protect society don’t know what they don’t know.

Sadly, U.S. political actors — especially Republicans who are mostly clueless concerning the goings on of the national security apparatus — are trying to score points in the presidential contest. This is no longer a game. None of the “players” today can “win by winning.”

This is a fundamental “game changer” because the opponents in this struggle have raised a generation of adherents who literally live in order that they may die a glorious death for the cause in which they believe.

Since the U.S. “shock and awe” invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the destruction of the government that contained the forces now warring against the U.S., a generation of young people has grown to maturity only knowing the United States and other Western countries as occupiers, as murderers of their fathers, brothers, uncles, mothers and sisters. Many of those children have grown to adulthood, desiring to become martyrs in the struggle against the U.S. and Europe, in the same way children in this country grew up desiring to be the next “American Idol” or a first-round draft choice of a professional sports franchise.

Do you remember when President George W. (for Worst in history) Bush — wearing combat gear himself as though he had himself fought — theatrically landed a jet plane on an aircraft carrier that flew a banner reading “Mission Accomplished”? The people of the region, whose lives were crushed under the U.S. military jackboots, also remember.

Former diplomats warned U.S. leaders who didn’t listen: Your strategy of “fighting the terrorists in Baghdad so we won’t have to fight them in Brooklyn” is a flawed policy.

The wanton disruption of the lives and lifestyles of people from Afghanistan to Iraq, to Libya in 2011 and then on to Syria only released an evil genie from the bottle. Armed with weapons they seized after the downfall of the governments in Iraq and Libya and the turmoil in Syria, the bitter refugees of these U.S.-instigated crises are now the so-called “jihadists” who are wreaking havoc against those who tormented them —t he United States, her European allies, and the puppet governments those Western, modern “imperialist” powers left behind.

How do you defeat an enemy who believes his or her martyrdom is a victory over you? If you kill him, he believes he has won. If he kills you, he knows he has beaten you. Such an adversary cannot be beaten by simply beating him. The more martyrs this country produces, the more the young want to become martyrs.

Sadly, the American political thinkers are only too happy to oblige those who would be martyrs by bombing and droning and vowing to do more and more of the same. Now, after more than a decade of our fighting “radical Islam” with a notion of “winning,” the jihadists are stronger than ever before.

Abandon the misguided thinking. Islam is not America’s problem: In Islam can be found the solution to the problem.

After Paris and wherever is next, the West can’t “win” by winning.

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Askia Muhammad

WPFW News Director Askia Muhammad is also a poet, and a photojournalist. He is Senior Editor for The Final Call newspaper and he writes a weekly column in The Washington Informer.

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