Friday, May 24, 2013

No General: It’s the Ideology, My Friends

Major General Michael Nagata is the Deputy Director for Special Operations/Counterterrorism on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. While that position represents many years of distinguished accomplishment in the military for which he should be congratulated, consider these 10 rather undistinguished words, for which he should be chastised, that he offered to the Senate Armed Services Committee on May 16, 2013:
"The United States is not at war with an idea...."
I am very sorry to say that an otherwise splendid warrior who would declare this represents a highly disturbing sign that the Jihadi Salafist strategy has achieved a significant goal: blinding our highest officials to the threat Jihadis pose to our freedoms.

If I were Commander-in-Chief for a day, I would assign the General to KP for that statement.  I'd then order a homework assignment - that he give me a book report, first, on the stellar "Future Jihad - Terrorist Strategies Against America" by Dr. Walid Phares.  I'd also ask for reports on the many excellent seminars presented to CENTCOM, SOCOM; and on the internal analyses and publications made available to US Special Forces and considered as strategic consensus over the past decade. Then, I would require him to explain why the ideas in Chapter 9 of "Future Jihad", and other similar books by experts who testified to the US Congress over several years, do not leap from their pages with clarity on the origins of Boston foot-dragging, or the scrubbed Benghazi Talking Points, or the misdirection of the video patsy, the tentative Department of Defense response to Islamist violence against Americans at an ill-protected Libyan Potemkin Village or the outrage and horror of the machete attack in London this past Wednesday. The ideas on which we should declare war, or at least strategize our confrontation to the ideology of al Qaeda and its allies and supporters, are the six Jihadi strategic ideas.  They are economic, ideological, political, intelligence, subversive, and diplomatic.
For context, here is the General's testimony on key points (emphases mine):
"The United States is not at war with an idea, a religion, or a tactic. Instead, we are at war against al Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces. The former General Counsel of the Department of Defense, Jeh Johnson, has previously explained publicly the meaning of the phrase "associated force." A group is an associated force, if, first, it is an organized, armed group that has entered the fight alongside al Qaeda; and, second, it is a co-belligerent with al Qaeda in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners. Individuals who are part of this recognized enemy may be lawful military targets.
In applying these principles in this armed conflict, we conduct a careful, fact- intensive assessment to distinguish between, on the one hand, a terrorist who effectively becomes part of al Qaeda, the Taliban, or an associated force by training or co-locating with the group, accepting orders from its leaders, and participating in the group's terrorist plotting; and, on the other hand, the terrorist, who without any direct connection to a member of al Qaeda, embraces extremist ideology found on the internet and self- radicalizes. Both are very dangerous, but the former is part of the congressionally- declared enemy force in a congressionally-authorized armed conflict; the latter, although dangerous, is not part of that enemy force. "

An unnamed military expert with experience in special forces commenting on this testimony said: "When half of the DTO ("Designated Terrorist Organization") on the Department of State list are Muslim Brotherhood-associated or -derived organizations, how can one say we are not fighting an ideology? The military threat posed by these organizations is not existential. The ideology, if allowed to expand and develop, is a threat to democracy and our national interests."
The General is fastidiously wrong, as well, to exclude from the "enemy force" a radicalized physician at Fort Hood - or a pimply-faced teenager in a Boston suburb. I need not list all of those home-grown would-be, or actual mass murderers who have heretofore been radicalized by Islamist, Salafi Jihadi ideas. They ought not need to carry a laminated ID, or show an allegiance to Al Qaida, the Taliban or to any other alphabet soup-named organization to warrant inclusion in the enemy force and a proportional response.
General Nagata, sir, step away from the potatoes, and get thee to the library! Behold the 30-year common thread that runs from economic jihad then - to diplomatic jihad today. Witness how, over time, the six strategies of Jihad have taken root and flowered ominously. Dick, see petro dollars then. Jane, spot CAIR-Ikhwan-friendly advisors to the most senior officials today. Everyone, can you spot former Bush careerists purging the lexicon of Islamist ideas from training for our warriors - or uttering patent nonsense before the Senate Armed Services Committee?
With respect, but great trepidation, our leaders' ideas are wrong-headed about who, and what, is the enemy. It's the ideology, brothers and sisters.

Captain Gary Harrington, U.S. Navy Retired in 1996 after 34 years service with DSSM, LOM, DMSM,MSM,NCM,NAM. Served at Pentagon and in London, Naples, Norway, Tampa, Atlanta, Israel, Vietnam, Turkey, San Diego, Long Beach, Boston, Hawaii, Japan and the Republic of China. Captain Harrington specializes in "War of Ideas Strategies" with a focus on detecting Jihadi narrative. He has served as an assistant to Dr. Walid Phares, advisor to the US Congress and the European Parliament.

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