The New Enemy
Origins of the Enemy
We are at a war today with a new enemy. I believe it is accurate say that we are in WWIII.
This war started many years ago. The exact moment when is difficult to say.
Initially we called it terrorism.
A plane would be hijacked, and people inside held as hostages.
The hijackers espoused some political reason for the hijacking, and made demands.
There was the terrorist attack on the Israeli athletic compound at the Summer Olympics in Munich, and the ensuing death and destruction.
The capture of a cruise liner and the wanton brutal murder of a crippled Jewish passenger, with his body shoved overboard.
There was the uprising in Iran accompanied by the taking of American hostages by the Iranian revolutionaries.
The barracks of U.S. Marines were blown up in Lebanon by a Hezbollah suicide bomber, murdering well over 200 Marines.
There was the first bombing of the World Trade Center in NYC by al Qaeda.
There was the damage to the USS Cole in Yemen by a suicide bomber, and the deaths of U.S. sailors on board that ship.
There were many other terrorist attacks in between.
Always attributed to “terrorism”.
Always terrorist acts by terrorists.
During the early years of new enemy’s formation, terrorism was considered a tactic not an enemy—it was a tactic used to frighten people into submission to some cause or demand of the terrorists.
And then there were unintended consequences that helped to shape the new enemy.
For example, with the support of the United States in Afghanistan the Russians were eventually defeated by Afghan warriors. This was the terrorist birthplace of Osama bin Laden, and the clearly identifiable root of al Qaeda (“the base”).
As America started to populate various countries in the Middle East such as Saudi Arabia, with U.S. industry and military the terrorists were increasingly linked to particular radical political movements or state sponsors.
There was a growing outcry from terrorist groups, and from state sponsors, for the United States to retreat from its strong partnership with Israel, and to withdraw its military from the Middle East.
Bin Laden and al Qaeda is a defining example of this outcry.
Gradually the United States became an enemy; known as the “Great Satan” to forces that were becoming a more formalized and identifiable opponent of the United States.
Eventually a Jihad (“holy war”) was declared by bin Laden against the United States—an overt act of war.
This was a rallying cry to all people of the Islamic faith to follow the dictates of the Koran, and take up arms against the United States, the infidel.
Those who did not wage jihad against the Great Satan were not considered to be “true believers”.
Enter the culture of hate, and the overt declaration of war against the United States.
Bin Laden and his al Qaeda became the first enemy to openly declare war on the United States.
Now it was clear that an identifiable enemy existed, and this enemy was planning attacks against the United States.
Also, the new enemy constituted a brand of radical Islam.
By referring to the Koran and a call to all believers in Islam to follow bin Laden into a Jihad against the United States, this new movement was branded radical Islamic jihad.
For the United States, there are questions that need to be answered.
One of these questions is “which Muslims inside the U.S. have decided to take up this call to Jihad, and which ones have not?”
Another question the United States must answer is “exactly which believers in Islam in the U.S. became sympathizers of the Jihad?”, because Jihad involves not only the “violence of the sword”, but also the acts of those who aid and abet this violence.
Therefore, one may define the new enemy as radical Islamic jihadists and their sympathizers.
World War III: The U.S. Awakens
It was a peaceful morning in Carleton Place, Canada on September 11, 2001 where I was visiting a friend.
Carleton Place is a small town about 45 minutes south of Ottawa.
I was just getting adjusted to a new day when suddenly the phone rang.
On the other end of the line was my son James phoning from Southern California.
His voice was filled with alarm, sadness, and anger.
He said” Dad, turn on the television, a plane has just flown into the World Trade Center.”
I thanked him for the call, we hung up, and I raced to turn on the TV.
When I saw the initial pictures on TV the first tower was already burning.
A second plane then crashed into the Tower, and it was obvious we were under attack.
A rage that exits to this day welled up inside me. I remember the feelings that I had, as I watched the brutal and murderous progression of events.
On first impression I was uncertain of the extent of the attacks. Then I learned of the Pentagon plane crash, and the destruction there, and then both of the Towers collapsed.
Then there were accounts of a plane in Pennsylvania, and that Air Force fighter jets were being scrambled possibly to take down the United Airlines Flight in Pennsylvania.
It was a horror, and nightmare unfolding before my eyes and the eyes of the world.
I remember that the rage I felt was overwhelming
This was a devastating blow to my country.
My first thoughts were directed toward revenge to all fanatical terrorists, to hunt down every last one of them and kill them.
Five years later, I still feel this way.
This became the awakening that was needed to put the United States on notice that we were at war—”what else would the nation need?” I thought.
I didn’t suspect that there would be people odd enough in this country to actually doubt the events that had occurred, or who would soon forget the devastating attack that we had sustained on our own soil.
But these people exist.
As the day progressed speculations started to emerge that it was al Qaeda behind the attacks—bin Laden.
As the death toll slowly came in from the WTC and the Pentagon and about the passengers on the four planes that had crashed, nearly 3,000 people had been killed by these fanatics.
Al Qaeda was operating training camps with the approval of the Taliban government in Afghanistan.
The response of the United States to the 9/11 attack was rapid. Within days we invaded Afghanistan, and were hunting down the Taliban and al Qaeda.
But bin Laden escaped and remains at large to this day! This is a public relations issue that the Bush Administration lives with today.
In many Muslim countries there was open celebration in the streets—bin Laden had just struck a blow against the Great Satan, and bin Laden was their hero.
The enemy was coming into focus—radical Islamic jihadists and their sympathizers, the new enemy.
War in Iraq: A Digression?
Iraq and Saddam Hussein had been an enigma to the civilized western democracies ever since the Gulf War when Iraq had invaded Kuwait.
After Iraq had been defeated in the Gulf War, Hussein had been under UN sanctions, and had refused to allow inspectors into his country to look for Weapons of Mass Destruction, and he had used these weapons on both the Iranians during Iraq/Iran war, and on the Kurds in his own country to put down an uprising.
And then previous UN inspections had also confirmed the existence of WMD in Iraq.
So there was solid evidence that Iraq had had these weapons, and the refusal of Saddam Hussein to allow UN inspectors into examine the WMD sites and programs only fueled suspicions that Iraq had something to hide.
After the attack by al Qaeda, there was concern by the Bush Administration that Saddam Hussein might cut a deal with terrorists to give them WMD that could be used against the United States.
In spite of these facts, China, France and Russia all had large investments in Iraq, depended on Iraqi oil, and were at odds with the Bush Administration’s, and even the UN’s position on Iraq.
After all, France, Russia and China had not been the victims of 9/11. The United States had, and it was our problem, not theirs.
Nevertheless, and without UN approval, the US and the UK combined with a few smaller ally nations to invade Iraq.
After the fall of Baghdad, there were no WMD to be found anywhere.
After a quick victory over the overt armed forces of Saddam Hussein, and his eventual capture, and the complete destruction of his regime, the real war started.
This struggle with insurgents and al Qaeda terrorists, including Saddam’s previous forces has raged until this day.
The only region in Iraq where there is real peace is in the Kurdish North. That may even change with Iran and Turkey concerned over factions of Kurdish rebels located there.
Not only has there been raging fighting with insurgents and al Qaeda forces, there has been sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shiites that has taken thousands of Iraqi lives.
There seems to be no way to curtail this slaughter.
While it is a fact that a new government has been elected, and a new constitution adopted by popular voting, the other menacing forces have caused Iraq to become a dark hole in the war on terror.
The Iraq war has become an increasingly unpopular war in the United States and has had a significant negative impact on the Bush Administration’s ratings.
But President Bush has been adamant in his defense of the war, and the number of troops committed to Iraq may even increase in future months.
Right now there is no exit strategy from this war, and our troops may have to remain there indefinitely.
Possibly there may have to be a permanent base that remains there to secure this front in the war against the enemy. We must not leave.
One approach to a resolution of the Sunni/Shiite sectarian violence is to carve up Iraq so that each major group has its own territory, and to guarantee that the Sunnis who populate an oil poor region in Iraq receive a proportionate share of the oil that exists in the Shiite region.
The Kurds in the north possess enough oil to secure their future. In the Kurdish north there is peace and progress at the present time.
This would allow each group to have a form of strong regional or provincial government, but be integrated through a central government.
As a closing statement on Iraq, only history will decide whether the invasion of Iraq brought a better way of life to the inhabitants and the region.
At present the Kurds in the north definitely are prospering, and this is one positive result of the war.
Another is that Saddam Hussein is gone, and on trial for war crimes. His regime has fallen.
On the downside the slaughters continue in Baghdad, and other cities where the Sunnis and Shiites populate Iraq. And al Qaeda has infested the country since the war began.
Organization of the Enemy: State Sponsors, Charismatic Leaders, Grass Roots Support, Decentralized Cells and Decentralized Guerilla Fighting Units
Very basically, the enemy is organized into a complex web consisting of state sponsors and those they sponsor, charismatic leaders, grass roots support and decentralized cells and decentralized guerilla fighting units.
A twisted extremist Islamic ideology of violent jihad links these elements together.
This jihad ideal permeates in all directions, and gives life to the movement.
It radicalizes and gives directional force to all jihad believers.
Each follower, therefore, becomes an autonomous jihadist to whom there is little need to give any direction or supervision.
State sponsors are the most easy to locate.
We know who they are and where they are.
We know who they sponsor also. For example Iran and Syria both sponsor Hezbollah.
Hezbollah is intertwined with the Lebanese people, their government, and also constitutes a guerilla military force in Lebanon. Hezbollah is part of the social and political fabric of Lebanon.
The money to support Hezbollah comes primarily from Iran. Both Iran and Syria cooperate to furnish logistical efforts in transporting military materials and weapons to Hezbollah.
In addition, it is now well considered that there are Hezbollah agents and cells in the United States that are planning and waiting on instructions to make strikes in this country.
Hamas exists in Palestine, and, like Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas is part of the social and political fabric of Palestine.
Hamas is sponsored by Syria, and, like Hezbollah, is devoted to the elimination of Israel.
Hamas shows no signs of softening its objective of eliminating Israel.
Iran also sponsors the insurgents and al Qaeda fighters in Iraq, and supplies materials and technology that are used in making improvised explosive devices (IED).
Iran, being a Shiite nation, also is interfering in the internal politics of Iraq by engaging in direct discussions with the Iraqi Shiites, and the Shiite militias.
These state sponsors of terror, Iran and Syria, operate in the open with impunity.
The charismatic leader who stirred the most attention was bin Laden who is now dead..
He issued statements and directions (“calls to jihad”) to the masses of Islamists, and directed statements to the United States and the other western democracies, usually in the form of warnings of impending terrorist strikes.
Bin Laden formulated ideological thought which inculcated itself into the very fiber of the global jihad movement.
It was often his ideals that embeded themselves into the masses of individual Islamists stirring them on to global “holy war” and martyrdom.
Bin Laden had been a coordinator of jihad training camps and terrorist strikes, a source of fund raising, and an ideological inspiration for the radicalization of the Muslim world.
To an extreme extent, radical Islamic jihad relies on ideals to energize it. Therefore, charismatic leaders like bin Laden are crucial to the internal operation of the radical Islamic jihad movement.
Without such leaders issuing their calls to jihad, and giving specific directions, the radical Islamic jihad movement would lack an important energizing ingredient.
That is why it is important to track down and eliminate these people, because no matter what propaganda may flow out of al Qaeda it actually does serious harm when their inspirational leaders are removed.
The jihad movement relies on a series of reinforced messages from these leaders.
A good example of grass roots supporters are the Islamic funding sources and preachers of hate that are spread throughout the world.
Many of them are here in the United States.
Some of them are wealthy Saudis.
The world is filled with them.
Western Europe has plentiful numbers of them.
They populate local mosques, and Islamic learning centers everywhere.
Many of them are imported by loose immigration practices.
Some are local converts to Muslim.
They embed themselves into the social, educational, and political fabric of the countries they populate, and are growing in numbers. This is rapidly occurring in the United States.
They are an increasing part of a geographically dispersed and organizationally decentralized force of radical Islamists.
A difficult part of our counterterrorism efforts is to detect which of these growing numbers of Muslims may be radicalized, and plotting to bring down our nation, and other western democracies.
Electronic eavesdropping is crucial to identifying the radical Islamists who are planning terrorist attacks.
Our survival depends on these tools.
As has been said we have to be correct every time to prevail in our attempts to prevent these terrorist plots from materializing.
The radical Islamists only have to succeed once. The difficulty of detecting every plot is enormous.
Defeating the Enemy
This is an enemy that must be ground down. Consistent grinding away is the course to an ultimate hard fought victory.
This will be a long and difficult war. It will be fought on many fronts, geographical, psychological, political and operational.
It is a global war.
It is a guerilla war. The enemy hides in the population, hides in holes, hides in houses.
The enemy is nimble, clever and moves quickly.
The enemy is geographically dispersed.
The enemy is decentralized. Its decision making powers and ability to take independent actions are disseminated widely.
We will defeat this enemy only if we understand this enemy.
We will defeat this enemy only if we are united against it.
This enemy values martyrdom more than it does life.
The enemy relies on terror or fear to achieve its ends.
The enemy is both process oriented and goal oriented. Terror and martyrdom comprise the processes that it implements. Death and destruction of the United States are its main goals.
The enemy is patient. It will wait years to attack. It seeks maximum death and destruction.