Dear SWJ Blog,
David Kilcullen of General David Petraeus' staff in Baghdad makes a fine start but has much farther to go in attacking the pseudo-religious scam of al Qaeda-style Terrorism (AQST) in Islamic religious terms.
To date, the State Department, the White House and the Defense Department -- and even the otherwise excellent new COIN Manual itself -- have studiously avoided this approach in favor of Western secular words only. This is because of an understandable but, I think, inordinate fear of making mistakes (as indeed we would from time to time) if we were to begin combating AQST in religious terms and frames of reference.
Such favored Western secular and law enforcement terms as criminals, thugs, bring to justice, killers and even terrorists are quite true but are little better than shooting with blanks when it comes to their impact on hearts, minds and souls (don't forget the "and souls" element) in the Muslim and Arab worlds where --
First, the ever deceitful enemy is incessantly talking in terms of "Jihad" (Holy War) by "mujahideen" and "shahideen" (martyrs) destined for "Jennah" (Paradise) as a proper reward for killing all of us "kuffar" -- us alleged "infidels" and "unbelievers" -- and where
Second, all too many of us tend to confirm the validity of such pro-al Qaeda terms -- and thus to polish Osams bin Laden's and Ayman al-Zawahiri's haloes -- either by repeating these words of self-sanctification or by failing to contest their validity, or both.
Enter now David Kilcullen, who calmly breaks stride by correctly, prudently and one-word-at-a-time referring to these suicide mass murderers as ungodly "munafiquun (hypocrites) who pose as defenders of the faith while simultaneously perverting it." Great!
He then recounts that in the bloody battle for Ramadi "The gangsters called themselves 'mujahideen'' but there was nothing holy about their war." Great, again!
In both cases he challenges the patently false religious claims of the terrorists and implies that they are enemies of Quranic Islam who are using "religion as cynical cover for carnage," a reference which sounds very much like "apostasy" (murtadd) to this reader. Great, for a third time!
In all three of these assertions the man is leveling serious religious charges, not against Islam itself but against a pseudo-Islamic ideology which is in fact the antithesis of the "peaceful, compassionate, merciful, beneficent and just" Allah who is repeatedly so described by the Quran. But to complete the job, both he and those who would follow his example need several additional semantic tools by which to portray these evildoers and their so-called "religious insurgency"
(a) NOT as constituting so-called "Jihad" (Holy War) but ungodly "Hirabah" (unholy war, war against society) and forbidden "Irhab" (Terrorism), instead;
(b) NOT as the "jihadis" and the "mujahideen" they falsely claim to be but as the irhabis (terrorists) and the mufsiduun (evildoers, mortal sinners and corrupters) they really are;
(c) NOT as the Godly heroes of "Jihadi Martyrdom" they falsely claim to be but as the Satanic perpetrators of "Irhabi Murderdom" (Genocidal Terrorism) they really are;
(d) NOT as destined for a virgin-filled Paradise for killing all of us so-called kuffar (infidels) but to a demon-filled Jahannam (Eternal Hellfire) for killing so many thousands of innocents, fellow Muslims, "People of the Book" and "Sons of Abraham," instead;
(e) NOT as the abd'al-Allah (Servants of Allah) they falsely claim to be but as the abd'al-Shaitan (Servants of Satan), the murtadduun (apostates) and the khawarij (outside-the-religion deviants) they really are.
Only once we know such correctly condemnatory words and begin to use them -- prudently but insistently, as well -- might we then begin to undermine the so-called "Jihadi Martyrdom" imagery by which these ruthless killers live, die and expect to enter Paradise as a reward for defeating "The Great Satan." (Realize, please, that according to today's AQ-concocted and universally parroted lexicon, that is who we are. For who other than TGS himself would go about killing "holy guys" and "martyrs" on their way to Paradise?)
While such truth-in-language will not persuade all or even most of today's terrorists of the apostate and satanic nature of their ways, it will in time greatly erode the certainty of their "jihadi" resolve. Those who posit that such killers are "impervious to counter methods" of a religious nature and are "not susceptible to having their hearts and minds won over" may be right. But how will we ever know if we never even try?
In addition to whatever impact such an initiative has on the Hell-bound Terrorists themselves, it will help to strengthen the anti-murderdom resolve of most truly faithful Muslims -- many of whom, like so many of us, are quite thoroughly hoodwinked by AQST's false labeling, by habit of language, by brainwashing, by pseudo-Islamic preachings and by a wide variety of peer pressures into a 'round-the-clock parroting of al Qaeda's seductive but patently false language of self-sanctification.
By painting the truthful alternative image of Irhabi Murderdom (of Genocidal Terrorism), we will begin to expose al Qaeda's grandiose promises as a monumental satanic scam which entices religiously motivated young Muslims into becoming irhabis, mufsiduun, munafiquun, murtadduun and khawarij -- and dispatches them in due course not into Allah's Paradise but into Shaitan's demon-filled Hellfire, instead.
And in that truthful RELIGIOUS frame of reference we might begin to find the much-needed disincentive to the suicide mass murder by which al Qaeda, al Sadr, Hizballah, the Afghan Taliban and their genocidal ilk are now attempting to inflict a "death by a thousand cuts" catastrophe on the entire civilized world.
Of course, those true believers in the al Qaeda Apostasy -- as well as those individuals who are simply criminals, psychopaths, mercenaries, thugs and Caliphate-hungry imperialists -- and will still have to be hunted down and either be killed or be captured and imprisoned.
But is it not also time, as David Kilcullen (and maybe Gen. Petraeus himself?) seems to be recommending, that we at least "GIVE A BLOODY GOOD TRY," as the British and as Kilcullen's own Australians would say, to these long-avoided strategies, operations and tactics for saving not only ourselves but Islam itself from those deviants who would turn that huge and growing religion into nothing but a perpetual killing machine of all Christians, of all Jews and of all Muslims, as well, who happen to disagree?
Finally, as a means of assessing the anti-Terrorism utility of the "war of words" and "war for hearts, minds and souls" recommendations explained above, one might try to picture what the late Osama bin Laden's reaction to each might have been before he was so deservedly cast into Eternal Hellfire some time ago.
(And how is that for a somewhat speculative but quite possibly true "psyop" ending to this story about AQST's satanic mastermind?)
Jim Guirard -- TrueSpeak Institute 703-768-0957 Justcauses@aol.com ... and Truespeak.org
A DC-area attorney, writer, lecturer and anti-Terrorism strategist, Jim Guirard was longtime Chief of Staff to former US Senators Allen Ellender and Russell Long. His TrueSpeak Institute and TrueSpeak.org website are devoted to truth-in-language and truth-in-history in public discourse.