In June 1876, U.S. Army General George Armstrong Custer was defeated by Cheyenne Indians at the Battle of the Little Big Horn. In what became known as “Custer’s Last Stand,” defeat was attributed primarily to a false assumption. Custer expected to encounter an enemy force of approximately equal size; instead, he faced a force at least three times the strength of his. That false assumption cost the charismatic general his life—as well as the lives of 267 men trusting in his leadership. Had Custer been better informed—and the threat better understood—disaster may well have been averted.
One hundred thirty-four years later, a false assumption and lack of understanding by President Obama for a threat of a new era could well spell similar disaster—this time for an entire nation.
There is a common thread tying together most terrorist activity occurring around the world today. Whether it is Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Russia, China, Yemen, Lebanon, Gaza, etc., that common thread is Islamic extremism. And, when Islamic extremism raises its ugly head, it matters not that most victims of its violence are fellow Muslims. As was the case in the 20th Century, more Muslims in the 21st Century are being killed by Islamic extremists than by non-Muslims. One can only imagine the threat posed to non-believers by an ideology whose believers do not hesitate to “eat their own” in this manner.
The Bush Doctrine correctly identified the threat by stating: “The struggle against militant Islamic radicalism is the great ideological conflict in the early years of the 21st Century.” But President Obama is issuing new national security guidelines from which any reference to religious terms such as “Islam,” “Islamic extremism” and “jihad” is to be avoided.
According to a U.S. government official, the rationale for this is that there is “a very narrow segment” of the world’s population at risk of turning to extremism but, by using such terms in referencing terrorism, we “risk offending people by creating the impression that we think they are going to go that way, when in fact they don’t.”
By this logic, the administration worries more about offending Muslims—clearly not prone to embracing extremism—by avoiding any linkage between Islamic extremism and terrorism than it does about educating both Muslims and non-Muslims on what the real threat is. In other words, we don’t want to run the risk of alienating non-extremist Muslims by pointing out the 800 pound Islamic extremist gorilla in the room disrupting everyone’s public order and safety.
This approach ignores a few important factors.
First, success in minimizing a threat turns on public awareness and understanding its essence. Not calling Islamic extremism by its rightful name dumbs people down as to what the threat is. Americans understanding this threat by openly discussing it is of far greater importance than concerns over offending non-extremist Muslims.
Second, the legions of Islamic extremist ranks are mostly filled by Muslims who know or care little about whether the U.S. has identified them as a threat. They focus only upon what they have been told by their Muslim extremist religious leaders—i.e., that the West is a threat to them and must be eradicated.
Third, in its effort to avoid the use of any religious reference to Islam that might support Osama bin Laden’s claim the West is mounting an attack upon Islam, the administration fails to recognize an irony: It is assisting Islamic extremists in mounting an attack upon our political system. An Iranian philosopher, physician, scientist and former Muslim, Ali Sina, has said of Islam: “Islam is not a religion. Considering Islam a religion is a foolish mistake that could cost millions of lives. Islam is a political movement set to conquer the world… Islam has one goal and one goal alone: to assimilate or to destroy.”
Thus, while the West strives to provide a nurturing environment for Islam, we also plow fertile ground for the seed of an extremism that seeks the destruction of our own political system. As a believer who came to fully understand the duplicitous nature of Islam, Ali Sina should be heeded.
Fourth, Obama’s national security strategy change could not come at a worse time. An American Muslim cleric believed to be hiding in Yemen, Anwar al-Awaki, recently released a video calling for young American Muslims to wage a holy war against the U.S. His message has received hundreds of thousands of hits—along with blessings and vows to join.
President Obama seeks to maximize political correctness while minimizing U.S. national security interests. As Americans perceive he gives Islamic extremism traction at their expense, Obama may, in 2012, find himself fighting a Battle of Little Big Horn for his political survival. Hopefully, it will occur before America’s “Last Stand” against Islamic extremism does.