How Did September 11 Change You?


YouTube and the New York Times have invited you to make a video of yourself answering one of three questions. The video doesn't need to be professional or well-edited. It doesn't need to be filmed by a good camera. They just want to hear you answering one of the questions. Watch their 54-second invitation here:

One of the questions is: "How did September 11th change you?" If you don't want to make a video, we would love to hear your answer. You can leave your comment, or email us and we'll post it for you. How did September 11th change you?




"Fear is the first adversary we have to get past when we set out to battle for freedom, and it is the one that remains until the very end," said Aung San Suu Kyi.

But people fighting for freedom don't need to be completely free of fear to do what must be done. She says her fellow freedom fighters "pretend to be unafraid as they go about their duties and pretend not to see that their comrades are also pretending."

"This is not hypocrisy," she says. "This is courage that has to be renewed consciously from day to day and moment to moment. This is how the battle for freedom has to be fought until such time as we have the right to be free from the fear imposed by brutality and injustice."


How Should We Treat the Muslims in Our Midst?


LIVING AMONG US, we have many Muslims who are undoubtedly as innocent of terrorism, political subversion, and Islamic supremacism as we are. But we have a problem, don't we? These innocent fellow countrymen — and the terrorists, subversives, and supremacists — all call themselves "Muslims."

Many non-Muslims explain the situation to themselves that "
there are extremists in every religion" and let it go at that. But those of us who have studied Islamic doctrine and Islamic history have discovered that "letting it go at that" would be a big mistake. And of course, those who simply look at the news can see that there must be something about Islam that produces more "extremists" than other religions.

In fact, the "extremists" are not any more "extreme" than
the many devout followers of other religions. The difference is that the teachings devout Muslims follow are more definitively hostile toward non-followers than any other mainstream religion's teachings.

So we are in a quandary, and so are the innocents who call themselves Muslims (but who ignore or are unaware of
Islam's intolerant teachings). We don't want to make the mistake of overgeneralizing and becoming hostile to someone just because he says he's a Muslim. But we don't want to support or encourage or befriend a Muslim who is following the teachings of the Koran because it says it's okay to pretend to be a non-Muslim's friend, but to never actually be their friend, and it says "kill the unbelievers wherever you find them." These are not the beliefs or motivations we want in a friend, or in someone we invite home to dinner, or even in someone we speak freely with.

We know how to deal with orthodox Muslims who are actively pushing for concessions from the West, but what about in our personal lives? Should we live in suspicion of all Muslims? Should we automatically hate someone we know is a Muslim? Would you want to live that way? No, probably not. Should you ignore what you know about Islamic doctrine and treat everyone the same? That doesn't seem sensible either.

We're in a real quandary, and so are heterodox Muslims who have rejected the worst of Muhammad's teachings.

Our difficulty can be resolved with a simple change in our personal policy. We can consistently treat the Muslims among us a particular way and it will solve our problem and hopefully bring this issue into the light of day where we can reasonably deal with it like adults.

Before I describe the personal policy I advocate, I need to clarify something. An "innocent Muslim," or what has often been called a "moderate Muslim" would necessarily have to reject jihad except in the sense of a "personal inner struggle." That would be a Muslim who rejects (or is unaware of)
97 percent of the references to jihad in the Hadith. For a Muslim to be truly innocent, she or he must reject (or be ignorant of) much of the "sacred" example of Muhammad, which means rejecting (or being unaware of) the 91 passages in the Koran that tell Muslims to follow Muhammad's example.

An innocent Muslim must also reject (or is unaware of) the
intolerance, hatred, and violence toward non-Muslims in the Koran. And an innocent Muslim would reject (or be ignorant of) the subordinated position of women in Islamic doctrine.

For any non-Muslim who has studied Islamic doctrine, the above description is a reasonable starting point for a Muslim we can welcome in our midst.

What brought this up was reflecting over the last ten years. We started in 2001, about a month after 9/11. And in that time, we've heard from hundreds of Muslims, all of them arguing that we don't know what we're talking about because "true Islam" is peaceful and tolerant.

In all that time, we have never heard from a Muslim — not once — that acknowledged the existence of the immense number of passages in the Koran that non-Muslims find disagreeable — passages that anyone with an IQ over 70 could understand are disagreeable to non-Muslims. And not once have any these Muslims acknowledged the existence of
the egregious example of Muhammad — an example anyone with the slightest amount of human empathy would understand might be offensive or even frightening to non-Muslims.

What we've heard again and again was that it's all taken out of context, and that the terrorists have it all wrong and nobody else except the terrorists believe in or follow such teachings, or the teachings don't exist.

Over the years we've come across a very small number of genuinely jihad-rejecting Muslims, like
Tawfik Hamid. And of course, if someone genuinely rejects the hatred, political ambition and calls to violence in Islamic doctrine, they don't complain to us about what we write here on Citizen Warrior. They don't have a problem with criticism of Islamic doctrine (they are strong critics of the doctrine themselves).

But after rejecting so much of Islam (given our definition of an "innocent Muslim" above), even Muslims have a hard time understanding why such a person would call himself a "Muslim," but who are we to say how any person should define himself?


Okay, so our situation is that we don't know how to treat the Muslims in our midst, and the "innocent Muslims" don't know how to identify themselves as "jihad-rejecting Muslims." Here is the solution: We should stop coddling the innocent Muslims and start being very matter-of-fact about our situation. We need to stop talking around this issue. We need to stop avoiding the source of the problem. We need to deal with Muslims forthrightly with this attitude: "You either firmly reject jihad or we must assume you embrace it. It is counterproductive for everyone for us to bend over backwards trying to prove how tolerant we are."

If Muslims want to be welcomed into this society, they need to start standing up and making their voices heard. They must openly acknowledge and unambiguously and categorically reject the hatred, misogyny, and violence in their core doctrines, or we must assume they don't.

Many of us are reading their source books. We know the doctrine. We would be foolish not to assume a Muslim believes in Islamic doctrine. So it is up to
Muslims to tell us they do not believe in that doctrine, and to say specifically which parts of the doctrine they do not endorse.

What got me thinking about this was
an article by Christopher Hitchens who said that Governor Mitt Romney (a Mormon) firmly stated "that he did not regard the prophet, or head of the Mormon church, as having ultimate moral and spiritual authority on all matters. Nothing, he swore, could override the U.S. Constitution."

Why did Romney feel he needed to say that? Because many of us are aware of Mormon doctrine. So he openly reassured us as to where his loyalties lay.

Have you ever heard a Muslim do this? And yet Muslims are in a worse situation. They experience far more suspicion and hostility in our society than Mormons. But rather than doing what Romney did, what do Muslims do? Usually they blame
us for the suspicion and hostility, and imply the problem is our lack of "tolerance."

So here's the situation: We've become aware of Islamic doctrine and we don't like it, so we naturally wonder where the Muslims among us stand, and instead of saying, "We acknowledge the intolerance and violence of our core doctrines, and we reject them totally," they tend to open up with hostility, and so deepen our suspicions. The hostility and finger-pointing and the avoidance of honesty are exactly what we would expect from someone who
believes in the supremacist, intolerant teachings of Islam.

And weak, vague assurances are not good enough. "
We reject the killing of innocents" doesn't work any more because too many of us know already that nowhere in the Koran does it imply non-Muslims are innocent. It implies just the opposite.

Muslims need to be clear and explicit, and
we need to demand that of them without apology. From a non-Muslim's perspective, our open demand for honesty is a rational response to the facts, and nothing to be embarrassed about.

We need to make it clear what someone must do to be welcome in this society if they call themselves a Muslim. And we need to be clear that our "tough-love" attitude toward them is a sane response to what we know of their ideology.


Imagine you were putting an avowed communist in charge of the Federal Reserve. You wouldn't do it without very firm assurances from him that he
completely rejects the economic model of communism. You have to demand that assurance because you are familiar with the basic tenets of the communist ideology.

You have to assume when someone says he's a communist that he believes in the communist ideology. It's an assumption we can take for granted. Otherwise, what does it mean to say you're a communist?

That's what it means: That you believe in the communist ideology.

Same with Islam: You say you're a Muslim. That means you believe in Islam's ideology. Fine. I am familiar with Islam's teachings. And no, I don't want you running the country or involved in law enforcement or teaching my children or writing textbooks or working in counterterrorism or joining the military, unless you can assure me about what parts of that ideology you reject. This should be plain common sense, but of course, it only makes sense to someone who is familiar with the Islamic ideology.

If you assume it is impossible for a religion to advocate intolerance, supremacism, mysogyny and violence to non-believers, this policy and this attitude would not make sense. If you assume the teachings of any religion could be used to justify anything, it would not make sense to you either. But if you are a non-Muslim and you've read the Koran, you know what I'm talking about.

Others are coming to the same conclusion, and I've seen many more direct challenges to Muslims who say they are moderate. They are being asked pointed questions like, "Do you repudiate what Hamas is doing?" and "I am a Buddhist; do you consider me a kafir?" and they're asked to sign
the Freedom Pledge and if they won't sign it, they are asked why they won't. These are steps in the right direction.

But more interviewers need to become educated enough about Islam that they can ask stronger, more specific questions. And this challenge needs to become incessant from all of us, everywhere. Muslims must be made to face the discomfort. They must realize they have to come right out and say, "Yes, there is a political agenda in Islam, and I completely reject it" or they will not be welcomed or trusted (or invited to any "interfaith dialogs for peace and understanding").

For someone who is unfamiliar with Islamic doctrine, all this would sound terrible and unfair, but we would do the same for any person who openly declared their endorsement of a seditious or treasonous or intolerant or violent ideology and who wanted to live among us as equals.


There are three reasons Muslims are reluctant to say what parts of Islamic doctrine they reject:

1. It says in the Islamic doctrine they can't reject any part of the Islamic doctrine.

2. They fear for their lives. According to Islamic doctrine, the penalty for apostasy is death. They might also merely fear to be ostracized by their community. Heterodoxy, even if not accompanied by the death penalty, can be socially penalized severely in Muslim communities.

3. They don't reject it. They are going along with the Western society program until Muslims have greater political strength, at which time, they will start applying the political, supremacist teachings of Islam. This approach must be fairly common, given the patterns of modern Islamization.

It would take a very brave person, even if he was truly a jihad rejector, to volunteer an admission of apostasy. We must, in a sense, force their hand and then help protect jihad rejectors from reprisals.

This issue must be forced into the open or we will continue to suffer in a confused and paralyzed limbo while orthodox Muslims paint all of us into a corner (the non-Muslims and jihad-rejecting Muslims alike) by continuing their Islamization of the West.


a video profiling three American Muslims, who all presented themselves as regular American citizens, the Muslims seemed baffled as to why non-Muslims might look at them suspiciously, but they also seemed equally self-righteous about how silly and misguided that is, and not one of these American Muslims mentioned the supremacism and intolerance at the core of their doctrines. Worse, they acted as if no such doctrines exist. They acted as if such a notion was preposterous.

One of the women in the video even pointed out that believers of other religions don't get this kind of scrutiny or prejudice. I wanted to tell her, "That's right. It's been a long time since anyone worried about the Amish rioting, beheading people, infiltrating governments, threatening violence to silence their critics, changing the contents of public school textbooks, or blowing up buses.
Ideology actually counts."

We don't have a situation where religions are all the same but one is being picked on unfairly. We have a situation where most religions share many principles about universal love and kindness, but Islam does not. According to Islamic doctrine, Muslims are the best of people and non-Muslims are the worst of people and deserve to suffer in this life and burn in the afterlife.

One Muslim man in the video implied that if only people could get to know him and his family, their suspicions would disappear. I wanted to tell him, "Whether or not your family members are personable is not what concerns us. We wonder whether you believe in jihad in any form. We wonder if you pay your
zakat and thus potentially fund suicide bombers. We wonder if you participate in CAIR or ISNA or any of the other Muslim organizations under the umbrella of the Muslim Brotherhood and we wonder if you've aligned yourself with the Brotherhood's goal to sabotage and undermine our government. We wonder if you believe in reverse integration and if you're striving in the way of Allah to Islamize America. We wonder if you follow the Koranic teachings to never make friends with non-Muslims — to go ahead and fake it, but never actually befriend them or like them."

If he is actively working toward
Islam's prime directive, no amount of "getting to know him and his family" will matter. What might matter is if he acknowledged those teachings and told us he rejected them. That would at least be a start. But in the video, which would make any PR hack proud, you hear nothing that even approaches that level of honesty.

If these American Muslims are really so baffled, they should read their own doctrines. And if they have read them, their "bafflement" is a deceit because anyone reading the Koran or Muhammad's words and deeds would not be baffled in the slightest. It would be obvious what non-Muslims don't like about it.

Why does it matter? These Muslims are not a threat to national security, are they? Why not let them continue in their innocence?
Because they are having children, and in a recent study in Britain, researchers found that second-generation Muslims are more "radical" than their immigrant parents. That is, they hold more orthodox views. In other words, they believe in Islam's prime directive. They are more committed to jihad than their first-generation parents.

Why would this be? Because of what I'm harping on: All these "perfectly nice Muslims" in the video are raising their children without ever telling them that supremacist and intolerant teachings are strewn throughout the Koran and Sunna, and without saying, "but we completely reject those teachings." No, they say nothing of the sort. They do just the opposite. They tell them being a Muslim is wonderful, that the Koran is the word of the Almighty, and that Muslims are being unfairly persecuted by non-Muslims around the world.

So our young Muslim grows up alienated from his surrounding culture and ignorant of Islamic doctrine and yet considering it an elemental foundation of his identity that he is a Muslim. This makes him fairly easy to recruit by devout Muslims who simply tell the kid to read the Koran and discover
his obligations as a Muslim. The teenager is only too eager to see his parents as hypocrites, and becomes a devout Muslim, committed to jihad like it says in the Koran he is supposed to be. The result: Second-generation Muslims are more radical than their immigrant parents.

Another video, this one produced by teenaged American Muslims, who clearly have no clue about the doctrines of their own religion, yet feel self-righteously justified in vilifying non-Muslims who know more about their own religious doctrines than they do: The End of Islamophobia.


In an article entitled,
Why 'Islamophobia' is Less Thinly Veiled in Europe, the author, Robert Marquand, writes, "In university settings and among some Muslim moderates, frank reappraisals of the Koran are under way, which includes a tougher look at its calls for militancy." He presented this fact as if it should put all our worries to rest.

Some Muslims are taking a tougher look? That is not a big relief. Islamic doctrines are clear, straightforward, and easy to find. They don't need to be "looked at" — they have been looked at, studied, memorized, clarified, and analyzed for 1400 years. And they were pretty clear and straightforward to begin with. They don't need to be looked at. They need to be vociferously repudiated, explicitly and forcefully.

Violent and intolerant teachings in Islamic doctrine are not superfluous addendum that can be easily discarded; they are embedded deep in the core of Islam throughout its doctrine and throughout its history. And orthodox Muslims are acting on these passages all over the world, killing people, destroying property, wrecking lives, and worming their way into positions of power. They're doing it right now, today.

Someone will die today because of these doctrines. By any definition, the situation is urgent. A "tougher look" doesn't cut it. Not even close. Does Marquand really think we can all relax now because some Muslim intellectuals at a few universities are taking a "tougher look?" He must be joking.

Marquand quotes Ahmet Mahamat, an immigrant from Chad who lives in France. Mahamat said, "Immigrants are linked to criminality or delinquency or fanaticism." He meant "linked in peoples' prejudiced minds." Poor Mahamat. We are supposed to feel sorry for him. But I wanted to tell him to suck it up and prove people wrong, just like every immigrant group before him has had to do.

Almost everywhere, when immigrants arrive on foreign shores, they face prejudice. And if they work hard and prove themselves loyal members of that society, they are eventually accepted and embraced.

That's how it works. You want to be on our team? Then prove yourself worthy. We don't owe you anything. We've already let you move here — the rest is up to you. If anything, you owe us.

But Mahamat is pursuing the example of Muhammad the Whiner. "I look in the eyes of so many people," he says, "and what I see does not correspond to who I am. They see another me."

I want to tell him, "Look, Mahamat, we know
the ideology you supposedly believe in. You say you're a Muslim. We naturally assume you believe in Islam. We assume you are an adherent of Islamic doctrine, which would mean you believe in the supremacism and intolerance inherent in your ideology. Either stop calling yourself a Muslim or explicitly say, 'I reject jihad, I reject Muhammad's political, supremacist model, and I embrace Western values of freedom, women's rights, religious equality, etc.' It took me all of ten seconds to say that, so what's the problem? If you can't honestly say those things, then our suspicions are correct, so quit your whining and get used to permanent rejection because you do not belong in this society."


When you know something about an ideology, you treat the person differently,
and you should. You don't feed a Jain a steak dinner when they come to your house (Jains believe you should not kill any living creature). You don't invite a Buddhist with you on a deer hunt (Buddhists refrain from harming living beings).

If you know about someone's ideology, you usually will (and definitely should) treat them differently.

And in the same way, if someone's ideology calls for unrelenting jihad against non-Muslims until the whole world submits to Islamic law, generally speaking, you don't invite them to come live in your country and bring their wives. And if they are already in your country, you usually will (and definitely should) be wary of them until they prove their devotion and loyalty to your country and the principles your society is founded on.

This should be common sense. If it doesn't make sense to you, your first step should be to
take the pledge and read the Koran.

For those who unevasively reject jihad in their speech and action, we should treat them like anyone else. No better, no worse.

I know many will think, "I don't care what they
say. They could be lying." And of course that's true. But this is the place to start. The next step is to see if their actions match their words. This is true with anyone. If someone says they are on your team, you don't automatically trust them with your children. You get to know them. If their behavior doesn't match what they say, you stop trusting them, just as you should.

But the point is, none of us should be at all shy about speaking frankly about the principles in Islamic doctrine. Speak openly about it, and ask Muslims directly where they stand.

This policy will be hard on everyone in the short run but ultimately it will solve a huge problem we now face, which is that heterodox Muslims are reluctant to speak up about what they really believe, and that leaves us not knowing how to treat them. Who is committed to jihad and who isn't? We don't know who to trust or how to treat them. We are collectively filled with an awkward uncertainty about Islam.

Meanwhile, true believers in jihad are busy Islamizing the West while we hesitate, paralyzed by our uncertainty. This has got to stop immediately.

We call on all non-Muslims in the free world to join us in this stand — to put the onus on each individual Muslim (not just "Muslim organizations"). We must make this clear to every person who calls himself a Muslim: If you do not openly reject the doctrine of jihad when given an opportunity to do so, we must assume you abide by it and believe in it since it is a central part of your religious doctrine.

The result will be an openness and clarity that will allow us to move forward, stopping the orthodox Muslims from proceeding with their Islamization project, freeing the heterodox Muslims from their prison of silence, and freeing ourselves from having to live with uncertainty, suspiciousness, or hatred in our day-to-day lives.


Breaking OPEC’s Grip


By Robert Zubrin:

“To wage war, three things necessary:
money, money, and yet more money.”
– Gian-Jacopo Trivulzio,
Marshal of France, 1499

A lot has changed since the turn of the 15th century, but Marshal Trivulzio’s famous aphorism still holds a great deal of truth. Yet Americans don’t seem to be heeding its implications. In fact, in waging the war on terror, the United States seems to be doing its best to fund its enemies.

Consider the following: In 1972, the U.S. paid out $4 billion for oil imports, an amount equal to 1.2 percent of our defense budget at that time. In 2006, we paid $260 billion — about half of what we paid for national defense. Over the same period, Saudi oil revenues have grown in direct parallel: from $2.7 billion in 1972 to $200 billion in 2006 — which will likely exceed $300 billion this year. Much of that money is being used to fund an international network of front organizations and Wahhabist madrassas devoted to spreading terrorist ideology. Meanwhile, Iran is using its share of the take to fund its nuclear bomb program, as well as terrorist groups like Hezbollah.

If something isn’t done to break the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) — the cartel that dominates and manipulates the global oil market — the situation is likely to get much worse: With China and India industrializing rapidly, world demand for fuel is going up. OPEC is positioned to exploit this new demand with radical price hikes that go well beyond the 50-percent increase it effected during 2007 alone. Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez and Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are already calling for prices of $200 per barrel. In short, we Americans are financing a war against ourselves — and the way things are going, we may soon be paying the enemy more than we are paying our own military.

The enemy’s unconstrained ability to loot us is also threatening our economy. Consider this: Congress is raiding the public purse to put $140 billion back in the pockets of American consumers, in the hope that this will provide an economic stimulus to prevent recession. Yet by paying $100 per barrel of oil, we are allowing OPEC to set oil prices high enough to take more than triple that amount out of Americans’ pockets. If Chávez and Amadinejad have their way, our economy will soon be drained at a rate of nearly $900 billion per year, an economic de-stimulus tax package six times as large as anything Congress has put on the table to push the other way.

The economic depression resulting from $200-per-barrel oil would be nothing compared with an oil cutoff, which could be accomplished by an OPEC or Arab League embargo, or result from the irrational action of any number of lunatic forces at large in the Gulf. In 1973, the Arab oil embargo threw our economy into chaos — and, at that time, we produced 70 percent of the oil we used annually. Today, we produce only 40 percent of our own fuel, and the consequences of another cutoff would be catastrophic. Our continuing vulnerability on this score is a sword of Damocles hanging over the head of Western civilization — a disaster waiting to happen, and a tool for blackmail that prevents us from taking the necessary steps to defeat the Islamist threat.

In light of this, the top priority of U.S. national-security policy must be to break the oil cartel. This imperative has been apparent since the 1973 oil embargo, but no progress has been made. The only policy solution we’ve tried — domestic energy conservation — has failed, and will continue to fail for two reasons. First — putting aside the near-impossibility of getting American consumers to use less fuel — global demand will continue to grow, so it’s scarcely conceivable that domestic conservation efforts could affect the global oil price. Second, even if we could hypothetically create global conservation, OPEC could simply cut production to keep demand — and prices — high.

However, there is now a way to break OPEC, a surprisingly simple one. What is needed is for Congress to pass a law requiring that all new cars sold (not just made, but sold) in the U.S. be flex-fueled — that is, be able to run on any combination of gasoline or alcohol fuels. Such cars already exist — two dozen different models of flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs) are being produced by Detroit’s Big Three this year — and they only cost about $100 more than identical models that can run on gasoline only. (The switch to FFV requires only two minor upgrades: in the materials used in the fuel line and in the software controlling the electronic fuel injector.)

FFVs currently command only about 3 percent of the new-car market. After all, there is little upside for consumers to own one, with alcohol-fuel pumps being nearly as rare as unicorns. Little wonder: Why should gas-station owners dedicate one of their pumps to alcohol fuels (like E85 — a mix of 85-percent ethanol and 15-percent gasoline — or M50 — a mix of half methanol and half gasoline) when only a tiny percentage of cars can use them? But, within three years of the enactment of an FFV mandate, there would be 50 million cars on American roads capable of running on high-alcohol fuels. Under those conditions, fuel pumps dispensing E85 and M50 would be everywhere — creating, for the first time, an effectively open market in vehicle fuels, and competition for OPEC oil.

By mandating that all new cars sold in the U.S. have flex-fuel capacity, we would induce all foreign automakers who want access to the American car market to switch their lines to flex fuel as well, effectively making flex fuel the international standard. In addition to the 50 million FFVs we’d see in the U.S. in three years, there would be hundreds of millions more worldwide that could be powered by any number of alternative fuels derived from numerous sources around the globe, forcing gasoline to compete everywhere. This would effectively break the vertical monopoly that the oil cartel currently holds on the world’s fuel supply, constraining prices to the $50-per-barrel range (where alcohol fuels become competitive).

Such a development would also create a market that would mobilize tens of billions of dollars of private investment into techniques for the production of cellulosic ethanol and other advanced alcohol fuels. Those investments will further reduce the price of alcohol fuels and will radically expand America’s and our allies’ potential resource base (although methanol already can be produced from any kind of biomass, without exception, as well as coal, natural gas, and urban trash).

With such a production and distribution infrastructure in place, we could proceed to not merely contain the petrotyrranies, but crush them at our pleasure by implementing tax and tariff policies that favor alcohols over petroleum. Instead of sending the U.S. president to beg Saudi dictators for favorable treatment from OPEC dictators, we could defeat these often anti-American and terror-supporting regimes. Effectively, we could take over a trillion dollars a year that is now flowing to the oil cartel, and direct it towards the world’s agricultural and mining sectors instead. This would not only be of great benefit to U.S. farmers and miners, but an enormous boon to the third world, which otherwise faces brutal looting through the regressive tax imposed by OPEC’s unconstrained price hikes. There is not just a strategic and economic case for breaking the oil cartel, but a strong humanitarian case, as well.

The Islamists’ power lies in their control of oil. Our strength is in biomass and coal. These can be readily turned into alcohol fuels. By standardizing technology that makes such alcohols usable to the vehicles on the road, we will open the fuel market in a way that will destroy the monopoly-inflated value of our enemies’ resources, while greatly increasing the value of our own resources and those of our friends and allies.

Instead of financing terrorism, we could be funding world development. Instead of selling controlling blocks of Citibank or CNN to Saudi princes, we could be selling tractors to Africa. That is the way to win the war on terror.

— Robert Zubrin, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a contributing editor of The New Atlantis, is an astronautical engineer and author of Energy Victory: Winning the War on Terror by Breaking Free of Oil.


A Fundamental of Conflict


“To wage war, three things necessary:
money, money, and yet more money.”

– Gian-Jacopo Trivulzio,
Marshal of France, 1499


Jihadist Strategies In The War On Terrorism


The following is a transcript of a talk given by Mary R. Habeck, Ph.D., an associate professor of history at Yale University, reprinted here with permission from the Heritage Foundation. The talk was originally published in Heritage Foundation's Policy Research and Analysis.

I AM GOING TO BE TALKING about a group of people who are generally known as fundamentalists, extremists, or (as I have grown to call them) "jihadis." The term jihad suggests what they believe their lives are about — holy war that is directed against people they believe are their enemies and the enemies of theirway of life.

Yet there is more to what they are doing than simple warfare. In fact, I believe they are involved in a war that has a definite strategy behind it, not simply the sort of random attacks that people talk about all the time. However, if you watch the news it is really hard to see that. You look at the news and you see Muslims being killed, you see churches being attacked, you see Jews being killed. You see all sorts of people being targeted and attacked, and in some cases those attacks seem to be counterproductive. After all, it does not make sense to kill the Muslims that you are trying to win over to your side of the argument. It does not make sense to target churches or other places of worship when all this does is win sympathy for the victims of these attacks.

There are also things like the Madrid attack, which, while it seemed to attain their ends, was accompanied by a second plan for a second attack on April 2 — an attack that, if it had been carried out, would have had nothing to do with the elections, or with Spanish participation in Iraq. In fact, it could not have been sold as anything except an apparently random attack — a counterproductive attack on the Spanish. It might have convinced the Spanish themselves to get re-involved in Iraq, or at least (in some way) with the war on terrorism.

However, I am going to argue that, in fact, this is not true. These are not random attacks; they are not entirely counterproductive. They do have strategies that are rational, systematic, and followed rigorously. Unlike other groups — such as the Anarchists of the late 19th and early 20th century (which really did seem to carry out pretty random attacks), or the Communists (whose pragmatism allowed them to pretty much get away with anything as long as they could make some sort of argument that it was helping the cause) — these new terrorists believe that they have an ideology that is so important that it must be followed rigorously. There are many different groups and each one of them is carrying out its own rational systematic strategy.

To understand each attack, therefore, you have to get into the mindset of the group that carried out that attack and not try to make broad generalizations about jihadis, extremists, or fundamentalists. These are very different people and very different groups with very different arguments about how they should be carrying out their warfare. To understand their arguments and attacks you have to understand their ideology, and in some cases understand theological arguments that they are having with the rest of the Islamic world.

Levels of Strategy

I am going to differentiate in this talk between four different levels of strategy or tactics. First, there are grand strategies; then there are military strategies; operations (or operational art, as some people call it); and then there are tactics. I am only going to be talking about the first two levels here, that is, grand strategies and military strategies. —

Grand strategy is basically the same for almost every jihadi group. This is, I think, the only place where you can say that there is something unifying these groups and holding them together. The objective is, almost across the board, the same. They want to restore the greatness of their vision of Islam by defeating every rival to its power. The means by which they are going to attempt this are also the same and fit into this grand strategic vision. They are hoping to create an Islamic state. They all argue about what that means and how it is going to be created, but somewhere they want to create an Islamic state. They also want to defeat all of their rivals through military means — that is, through violence of some sort. Additionally, they hope to win over the rest of the Islamic world to their vision of what Islam is about and how to restore Islam to greatness.

Those three things are the same across the board. If you take a look at these extremist groups, they all agree, at least on those basic principles. The result of this grand strategic vision is that they must take on an immense number of enemies. They must take on, in fact, what they call "The West" (or as some of them say, "the Jewish crusaders"); "the agent rulers" (that is, the rulers in almost every single one of the Muslim states); "the apostates and the heretics," (which means any Muslim that doesn't agree with them as well as the Shi'a groups — because most of the groups I'll be talking about are Sunni). They also have to take on what they call "oppressors," but this is a term that they use in a very specific way and has little to do with the socialist or leftist use of this term. For instance, "oppressors" include all the Hindus in the world.

The military strategies, unlike this grand strategic vision, seem more random. However, the extremists do not attack all of these groups simultaneously. They have, in fact, prioritized which one of these groups has to be attacked first, second, and third; which is the most important; which is the most dangerous; how they are going to carry out these attacks. In other words, they have definite strategies, but differing definite strategies, even about how to carry out these military attacks. Behind the seeming randomness then, even of the military strategies, there are a few basic principles which will help you to understand, when you see on the news that this or that group has carried out an attack on X, Y, or Z, why they might have chosen them and why they might be choosing another group next.

Turning to the Past

Generally, these military strategies are based on something extremists call the "Method of Mohammad." This term comes from a lot of interpretation of the Qur'an and Hadith, but it also comes from something called the Sirah, which are not well known in the West, but are very widely known in the Islamic world. The Sirah are essentially sacralized biographies of Mohammad's life. They tell the story of Mohammad in chronological fashion and provide the kind of historical background and continuous narrative that is missing from both the Qur'an and the Hadith.

In the Sirah, Mohammad is portrayed as the perfect man. Because he is the perfect man, he will have the perfect method for applying Islam. In fact, some believe that his early successes were miraculous — so miraculous that they could only have been supported and helped by God. Therefore, the logic goes, if followers want to experience the same successes, they have to follow his footsteps exactly, precisely following the "Method of Mohammad." In other words, the strategies that I am going to look at today were taken from an attempt to recreate, precisely, Mohammad's life and what he did in order to make Islam successful 1,400 years ago.

The First Stage. What is this method? It begins where Mohammad began, which was in the city of Mecca, a place that was hostile to his message and that persecuted the early Muslims. This was the place where he began what was called the Da'wah — the call to Islam, the call to repent, to turn to God, and to follow the commandments of God. There was no violence allowed at this stage. Mohammad created a very small group, a jama'a which met in secret for fear of persecution, but was slowly inculcated into Islam as a way of life. It became, in fact, a small vanguard with an "Amir"a leader. In this case, that meant Mohammad. —

As you can see, this easily translates into the modern world — the creation of a small vanguard that will lead the rest of the world to the light of Islam (or at least some people's vision of Islam). This vanguard will not, at first, practice violence, but will instead be inculcated into the true Islam, and what the true Islam entails for their lives. It consists of "true believers," a small vanguard that always has a leader. There is a Hadith from the traditions of Mohammad that says, "Wherever there are three Muslims, there must be an Amir." There must be a leader and they take this literally. Wherever there are three of these extremists together, they truly believe that one of them must be the Amir. Notice also, that in their vision, this is done in secrecy. Therefore, you are allowed to do this in secrecy, away from the prying eyes of the unbelieving world. That is the first stage.

The Second Stage. The second stage in Mohammad's life and in their method is the Hijrah, the migration away from Mecca (an unbelieving place) to Medina (a place that was more accepting and open to the message of Islam). Once there is a dedicated vanguard, in other words, you have to migrate away from the unbelieving society to someplace where there is already an Islamic society or you must create one yourself, because that is what Mohammad was forced to do (i.e., use a small vanguard to create the perfect Islamic society). Therefore the argument is, "We must do exactly the same thing. The vanguard of true believers must migrate away from the unbelieving society to someplace that is either more open to our ideas, where there is already an Islamic society, or we must create one of our own to become stronger."

The Hijrah is taken so seriously that there are several groups that have named themselves after those people who immigrated — the Muhajiroon. They call themselves this in several different countries. Osama bin Laden talked about this stage and believed that when he was leaving Saudi Arabia to go first to Sudan, and then to Afghanistan, he was taking part in this stage of the "Method of Mohammad." He believed he was migrating away from the unbelieving Saudi Arabia to the perfect Islamic state in Afghanistan. Other groups have been no less certain about this. Some have migrated within an Islamic country (for instance, within Egypt or within Algeria) to set up their own mini-Islamic state in those countries.

The Third Stage. The third stage is Medina, a stage that includes the creation of an Islamic state and the permission to use violence. Almost immediately after Mohammad arrived in Medina, he set up, with the help of his small vanguard of dedicated believers, an Islamic state that would implement the new creed of Islam fully. Today there are various places that might act as that Islamic state. And several extremist groups believe that you must create an Islamic state before you can proceed to the next part of the Medinan state, which is jihad .

In this part of the third stage, the belief goes, Muslims are allowed to take part in violence for the sake of Islam. This is what happened in Mohammad's life. It was at Medina that he was first allowed to use violence against the unbelievers, those who had been oppressing him, those who had been persecuting him, and then gradually those people against whom he was allowed to carry out this warfare included most of the unbelievers in the Arab peninsula.

Many of the groups that we hear about on the news believe that they have created this Islamic state and that they are now allowed to carry out this jihad against people in the West and elsewhere. It is here that you find the biggest split among these groups and the strategies that they are willing to follow because once you have decided to carry out violence, the question becomes who exactly you should be carrying this violence out against.

Who Are the Targets?

There are basically three different strategies that have been adopted by these groups. If you look at all the groups out there and who they have decided to attack, the targets fit into one of these three groups.

The first group has decided that we need to attack the "near enemy" first, followed by the "far enemy." The second group has decided to attack the "greater unbelief" first, followed by the "lesser unbelief." The third group has decided to attack the "apostates" first, followed by the "unbelievers." All of these come from the "Method of Mohammad." All of them can be read into the Qur'an, the Hadith, and the Sirah.

The "Near Enemy." Who is the "near enemy" and who is the "far enemy"? This is where you have people disagreeing. When Mohammad was deciding who he was first going to confront with violence, he was surrounded by people who did not support him, and it was those people he was first forced to engage with violence — those people who lived directly around him. Later, he was allowed to carry out violence elsewhere in order to spread the message of Islam.

Who is today's "near enemy" according to these groups that use this particular strategy? It is anyone in the Islamic lands — those who have occupied Islamic lands, those who have taken away Islamic territory, and even the rulers of some of these countries who call themselves Muslims. It encompasses those enemies that are directly inside these countries. They must be taken on first and defeated, and then afterwards, we can spread the message of Islam — without violence if possible, but with violence if necessary — to the rest of the world.

The "Greater Unbelief." The second strategy attacks the "greater unbelief" first, followed by the "lesser unbelief." The "greater unbelief" becomes that major enemy that has worn many guises over the centuries and which was embodied first by the Romans, then by the Greeks, and finally by the United States. The U.S. is considered that "greater unbelief" that must be taken on and defeated, whether its citizens are in Islamic countries or elsewhere. Once they are defeated, it is believed, all the rest of the "unbelievers" will fall into line. Terrorists then believe they can take on the "lesser unbelief" — all the other enemies of their vision of Islam — after the U.S. is gone.

"Apostates." The third strategy attacks the "apostates" first, followed by other "unbelievers." The "apostates," as I mentioned, include the heretics within the Muslim world (e.g., the Shi'a). There are groups that are dedicated to the idea of a systematic, rational strategy to first defeat all the apostates, whether they are the rulers like Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf or whether they are groups of people who follow a vision of Islam that terrorists do not agree with (such as the Shi'a, the Ahmadi or others). The idea is to defeat them first and then go outside of these Islamic countries and take on the rest of the "unbelievers."

If you look at what is going on in the world today, every single one of these terrorist groups subscribes to one of these strategies and uses it in order to pinpoint who and when they will attack.

After the Jihad

After his triumphal stay in Medina, Mohammad was able to leave and return to Mecca and take the city without a fight. It became a part of the Islamic state without a fight or a battle — the doors were open and he was welcomed in.

These people also believe the same thing. They believe that once they begin this jihad and once they set up this Islamic state and carry this fight to the "unbelievers," that all of the places that have been the centers of unbelief in the Islamic world (especially Saudi Arabia) will open up and become part of their Islamic state. The belief insists that one by one, they will all join with the extremists as they show success in other countries.

These strategies define what is happening in the world today. If you look at the attacks that are going on, this is how you can tell precisely which group you are dealing with and which strategy they are following. Listen to what they are saying. I have been amazed by the things they are willing to say, the things they are willing to put on a Web site (in what are called khutab — the preaching on Friday afternoon). Throughout the Islamic world you have people who are willing to say exactly what they believe, even if they are in the most extremist vein. You do not have to translate, decode, or decrypt these things — they are perfectly willing to share their strategies with the rest of the world.

Recent Attacks Explained

I encourage you to take a look at these English jihadi sites and see for yourself. It now makes sense why Madrid was attacked on March 11. After all, the terrorists had been talking about that attack long before anything had happened in Iraq (and long before Spain had decided to go to Iraq). The jihadis were talking about carrying out some sort of huge attack on Spain.

Why? Because Spain has been occupying "Islamic land" for the past 600-700 years. These terrorists believe that they are actually beginning with the "near enemy" by taking on Spain and occupying Andalusia. They believed that by carrying out these attacks they would win over the Muslims within Spain and North Africa, who would then join up with them to return Andalusia to the Islamic fold. From this standpoint, it also makes sense that they do not care about other Muslims being killed To people with this mindset everyone who does not agree with them is an apostate or a heretic. Otherwise, they would have joined up with them. Therefore, it does not matter if other Muslims are killed because in the long run they believe the grand strategic vision and military strategies will eventually bring success.

Using this logic, it makes sense to attack the United States, because if you can destroy the United States (the "greater unbelief"), then terrorists who follow this particular strategy believe they will not only have eliminated their greatest enemy, but will then be able to return in triumph to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and elsewhere and win over the rest of the Islamic world without a fight.


The Latest From Bill Warner


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Is it Fair to Paint All Islamic Schools of Thought as Violent?


The following is a chapter of Islam 101:

Islamic apologists often point out that Islam is not a monolith and that there are differences of opinion among the different Islamic schools of thought. That is true, but, while there are differences, there are also common elements.

Just as Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant Christians differ on many aspects of Christianity, still they accept important common elements. So it is with Islam. One of the common elements to all Islamic schools of thought is jihad, understood as the obligation of the Ummah (the global Muslim community; the body of Muslim faithful) to conquer and subdue the world in the name of Allah and rule it under Sharia law.

The four Sunni Madhhabs (schools of fiqh [Islamic religious jurisprudence]) — Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'i, and Hanbali — all agree that there is a collective obligation on Muslims to make war on the rest of the world.

Furthermore, even the schools of thought outside Sunni orthodoxy, including Sufism and the Jafari (Shia) school, agree on the necessity of jihad.

When it comes to matters of jihad, the different schools disagree on such questions as whether infidels must first be asked to convert to Islam before hostilities may begin (Osama bin Laden asked America to convert before Al-Qaeda's attacks); how plunder should be distributed among victorious jihadists; whether a long-term Fabian strategy against dar al-harb is preferable to an all-out frontal attack; etc.

Islam 101 was written by Gregory M. Davis, author of Religion of Peace?: Islam's War Against the World, and the producer/director of Islam: What the West Needs to Know.


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