Have you heard? The War on Terror is over! In one of the most asinine statements by a “post-American” progressive, Newsweek editor and CNN commentator Fareed Zakaria declares Islamist extremism is defeated. After telling Americans last year to “learn to live with radical Islam,” Zakaria proclaims,
“The enemy is not vast; the swamp is being drained. Al Qaeda has already lost in the realm of ideology. What remains is the battle to defeat it in the nooks, crannies, and crevices of the real world.”
“The focus of our concern now is not a broad political movement but a handful of fanatics scattered across the globe.”
Indeed the changing composition of Islamic extremism does present individuals not clearly affiliated with any established group, most notably Nidal Malik Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter, and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Christmas day bomber. But despite a few independent radicals, Zakaria’s feint of immateriality belies the inherent risks of the continued existence of groups with extreme and violent ideology.
In his article subtitled, How moderate Muslim leaders waged war on extremists – and won, Zakaria reduces the War on Terror to “good foreign policy” in need of “politics, diplomacy, and development” exemplifying the September 10th mentality that viewed terrorism strictly as an international and foreign policy issue. Post 9/11, we recognize that terrorism is more than a foreign policy issue, it’s a foreign and domestic security threat. Since 9/11, there have been 14,942 deadly Islamist attacks worldwide (2001-2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010.) Zakaria’s suggestion that a change in tone, attitude, and openness will eliminate any remaining Islamist terrorists ignores the reality that if they are willing to kill their own children by letting them detonate suicide bombs, then they will also be willing to kill our children for their misguided cause. In the words of IPT News,
“For such a highly influential commentator to foster this sense of complacency is irresponsible and negligent.”
The fact that radical Islamists do send their children to blow themselves up in the name of Islam is so at odds with the following statement Zakaria makes that one has to wonder why he would assert,
“The most important moderates to denounce militants have been the families of radicals. In the case of both the five young American Muslims from Virginia arrested in Pakistan last year and Christmas bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, parents were the ones to report their worries about their own children to the U.S. government.”
Unless it’s part of a calculated distraction, someone of Fareed Zakaria’s intelligence should be loath to cite two examples of parents turning in their children to authorities as proof of moderate Muslims defeating Islamist extremists. The only Islamic states he cites proving his thesis are Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Iraq, each hotbeds of radical extremists who despite overt declarations of opposition to extremism may covertly be provisioning weapons, financing, or logistical support to them. But Zakaria’s article is not written to support his thesis, but rather his political ideology. And here’s where we find the money quote. Zakaria stealthily injects the true reason we believe Islamist jihadism is widespread,
“Republicans have clearly decided that fanning the public’s fears of rampant jihadism continues to be a winning strategy.”
How Republicans manage to be introduced into an article focused on the defeat of radical Islamists by moderate Muslims is almost inconceivable. But Zakaria’s point was never to support his thesis, but to insinuate that radical jihadism only exists out of fear and that fear is spread by Republicans. In Zakaria’s ideology, 19 terrorists crashing airplanes into the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon and Shanksville, PA in no way demonstrates radical Islamist extremism. But his obtuse logic is defied by the facts, and the War on Terror goes on.