is clear that President Bush regards his campaign against Al-Qaeda's
terrorism as defining his Presidency. There are many other terrorist
groups, such as the Irish Republican Army and Islamic terrorists
operating out of Pakistan in Kashmir, but Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda
are the focus of his concern. ("Al-Qaeda" means "the base.")
speech before Congress set forth an all-or-nothing strategy.
He said that he will not relent in his pursuit of the accomplices
of those men who he said had attacked the nation on September 11.
He defined his new foreign policy clearly: those who harbor terrorists
— Al-Qaeda terrorists — are against the United States.
has adopted the "unconditional surrender" military policy that was
first articulated and applied in American history by the North during
the American Civil War, and was continued by Franklin Roosevelt
and Harry Truman in World War II. America abandoned unconditional
surrender in Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf War. Now Mr. Bush has
returned the nation to the older policy.
strategy of unconditional surrender has to be fought with unconditional
force. When a President allows an enemy no conditions for surrendering,
his goal is total victory. Total victory leads to total aggression.
In the Civil War, this meant that the Union's military terrorized
civilians in the South who were perceived as giving aid and comfort
to enemy military forces. During World War II, the tactics of total
war became familiar on all sides. (I recommend the 1989 book Total
War, co-authored by my former teaching assistant colleague,
R. John Pritchard.)
are now seeing the familiar tactics associated with the strategy
of unconditional surrender: war on civilians. Wherever Osama bin
Laden is, he is not likely in Kabul, where our planes are bombing
daily. He is not in any city. He is one of those caves where the
President said in his speech to Congress that we will chase him
out of. Bin Laden is not going to be hit by cluster bombs —
"land mines from the sky" — which our planes are dropping
on civilian urban areas.
cluster bomb contains 200 "bomblets" that scatter over a large area.
Unexploded cluster bombs on the ground act as land mines when touched.
These cluster bombs are yellow. So are the food packages that we
are dropping into Afghanistan. This has created a major public relations
problem for the United States in Afghanistan. The military is now
broadcasting radio messages in the local languages, telling people
to be careful when they pick up anything
yellow. I wonder: How many Afghans have radios? I hope they
all listen to the right station.
for Mullah Omar, who leads the Taliban, one of our unmanned reconnaissance
Predator aircraft had him and his convoy in its sites, but the micro-managing
Air Force general back at Florida's Mac Dill Air Force Base refused
to allow an immediate attack because his Judge Advocate General
— a lawyer — refused to approve it. After all, no one
was sure that Omar was in the convoy. Omar got away. (This story
was reported by Seymour Hersh in the September 22 issue of The
it's total war on civilian-occupied areas in Afghanistan, but it's
limited war inside Air Force law offices in Florida. CMA is still
the supreme tactic among senior military officers, no matter what
the President's official strategy is.
a September 23 e-mail report by James Joseph Sanchez, a Ph.D. in
Middle East studies, the author describes the Al-Qaeda network,
which is interlinked with many legal Islamic organizations worldwide.
uninformed gloating, Al-Qaeda ["The Base"] and the Taliban are not
isolated, either geographically (even if Afghanistan is landlocked)
or politically. Leaving aside the question of the Taliban's well-known,
direct ties with the vast smuggling trade between Europe and South
Asia, the Taliban and especially Al-Qaeda have a vast support infrastructure
throughout the "North" (that is the "West" plus Russia and Eastern
Europe). And despite the incessant chatter about Osama Bin Laden's
putative $350 million fortune, it is clear that in addition to,
but isolated from, the military infrastructure of Al-Qaeda, in Europe
there is a parallel infrastructure that is a source of money, recruits
and technology for Al-Qaeda. . . .
I assume that addressing the underlying problems that create the
environment out of which groups like Al-Qaeda is politically impossible,
it seems likely that successors to Al-Qaeda will arise one after
another, forever.) It is worth remembering than neither the UK
nor the United States have ever succeeded in destroying an ethno-religious
support network underpinning military-terrorist networks: dozens
of such networks exist in both nations and even more in Canada.
. . .
a loosely linked, worldwide military movement, is characteristically
seen as having at its core the Afghan Arab veterans from the war
against the Soviets. Numbering some 50,000, drawn from a dozen
countries, the Afghan Arabs are far less numerous than the larger
recruiting base from which the open support networks of Al-Qaeda
and Taliban can potentially recruit from in the vast and rapidly
growing Muslim community of the West, even leaving aside the intense
and rather surprising drive to win religico-ideological converts.
is no way that the United States is going to stamp out the Al-Qaeda
network in the narrow sense, let alone the broader Muslim network
that Sanchez describes in detail. The more military pressure that
we bring on Afghanistan, the more the Islamic world will provide
volunteers to fight.
is now happening in England. In an October
30 article in the London Times, we read of the rage of
young male Muslims in the town of Luton.
THERE is a terrible, visceral rage among Luton's young Muslim brotherhood,
a fury so powerful that already dozens of men, all British born
and highly educated, have disappeared to fight for the Taleban.
It has left parents terrified, the town's mosques full of loathing
and yesterday, as The Times discovered first-hand, seen journalists
and photographers physically attacked. . .
a minute of arriving outside the mosque, this Times reporter and
cameraman were set upon by a Muslim man, who had rushed, enraged,
from a halal butcher shop.
insult Islam, you corrupt Islam!" he screamed, smashing the camera
to the ground and grabbing another photographer by the throat.
"You don't understand how angry we Muslims are!" Five other Muslim
men joined him, surrounding us, as he demanded the other camera.
Their sense of fury was frightening. . . .
want to die there," Mr Abdullah said. "These are well-educated
people. They have families. I knew Afzal. He loved his wife. But
you must understand: all Muslims in Britain view supporting the
jihad (holy war) as a religious duty. All of us are ready to sacrifice
our lives for our beliefs. I am jealous of Afzal. He has reached
continued: "There are people leaving all the time. Not just in
Luton, but all over Britain. We, as Muslims, don't perceive ourselves
as British Muslims. We are Muslims who live in Britain. All we
want to do is go to Afghanistan to defend the honour and sanctity
such talk, which dismays the elderly leaders of Luton's 22,000
Muslims, lurk the seductive, articulate disciples of Sheikh Omar
Bakri Muhammad, leader of al-Muhajiroun, the British Islamist
organisation that encouraged Mr Munir and Aftab Manzoor, the other
dead man, to join the jihad. Sheikh Omar, who is under investigation
for allegedly issuing a fatwa against the Pakistan President,
General Musharraf, described the two men as "martyrs beyond a
organization identified in this article as being behind the Luton
exodus, Al-Muhajiroun, is the one described in Sanchez's report.
It is connected to the Al-Qaeda network. It has a Website: www.almuhajiroun.com.
means the "Emigrants" and is explicitly an institution dedicated
to the mobilization of Muslims in the North for (as it defines them)
Islamic goals. Al-Mujahiroun was established in 1995, being a splinter
group that broke off from Hizb-ut-Tahrir. The leader of Al-Muhajiroun
is Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammad. Al-Muhajiroun is quite open, completely
legal and quite dedicated to the destruction of all governments
and societies in the North and their replacement with Taliban-like
operates within a vast network of organizations and in numerous
ephemeral coalitions of organizations: while many of these groups
are simply being used as camouflage by Al-Muhajiroun, the unbreakable
lockstep between Al-Muhajiroun and the little known (but quite
busy) Taliban Council of Europe reflects a genuine alliance.
know now that President Bush was putting together an anti-Taliban,
anti-Osama bin Laden military coalition as early as March,
2001. Bin Laden (or someone) launched a pre-emptive strike on
September 11. This persuaded the President to launch a direct military
strike against an Islamic country.
jihad against the United States has now begun. The entire Islamic
world has become a recruiting ground for this jihad. The President
is about to receive a history lesson in Islamic studies. These radicals
are part of a long tradition of Islamic war against the West. They
do not forget. They do not forgive. This war will still be in operation
long after Mr. Bush has joined his father in retirement. I don't
expect it to end in my lifetime, or my son's lifetime.
some point, Mr. Bush may realize that he has bitten off far more
than he or his successors can easily chew. At some point, he may
realize that his military strategists' policy of bombing civilian
areas has backfired. He may even conclude what is obvious to me:
his military campaign in Afghanistan matches his own definition
of terrorism. This is taken from Executive
Order on Terrorist Financing: Blocking
Property and Prohibiting Transactions With Persons Who Commit, Threaten
to Commit, or Support Terrorism ....
the term "terrorism" means an activity that: (i) involves a violent
act or an act dangerous to human life, property, or infrastructure;
and (ii) appears to be intended: (A) to intimidate or coerce a civilian
population; (B) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation
or coercion; or (C) to affect the conduct of a government by mass
destruction, assassination, kidnapping, or hostage-taking.
word "or" indicates that not all three features must be present
to define terrorism. One is sufficient.
President has admitted publicly that he had a major problem with
drinking. He said that he quit drinking in 1986. He went cold turkey.
This is not an easy thing to do. He did not attend Alcoholics Anonymous
meetings, he says, unlike his predecessor as Governor of Texas,
Ann Richards, and unlike the late Bob
Bullock, the Lieutenant Governor of Texas under Bush, who was
a good friend of Bush, despite being a Democrat.
President says that his conversion to personal faith in Christ got
him sober and has kept him sober. Billy Graham was an instrument
in his achieving sobriety. I have no reason not to believe Bush's
am quite serious about the following. He is now in a fearful position.
What does an incumbent President do for help with this problem?
What does a wartime President do? He perceives himself as a wartime
President. If the pressure to start drinking again begins to get
to him, does he start attending AA meetings? With how many Secret
Service agents? "Hi, I'm George B., and I'm an alcoholic." "Hi,
George!" This is not a joke. I am very serious about the implications
of this affliction.
leaders can carry on a war as alcoholics. Stalin was an alcoholic.
So was Churchill. The best book I have ever read on alcoholism dealt
with both leaders: James
of Rage, Vessels of Power: The Secret History of Alcoholism
(1994). But every alcoholic is different. No alcoholic knows today
what he will do tomorrow. This is why AA members adopt "one day
at a time" as their recommended personal chronology.
is a reason for the biblical warning, "It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:
Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of
any of the afflicted (Prov. 31:4-5).
want President Bush to stop the bombing the afflicted. I want him
to abandon his military strategy of unconditional surrender and
his foreign policy strategy of "with us or against us." But if he
re-thinks these strategies, he will face the problem of guilt. Christianity
teaches that a man's guilt was taken care of judicially by Christ
at Calvary, but this intellectual knowledge does not always produce
when I pray — as I do daily — that Mr. Bush would stop
listening to the military strategists who designed this policy of
bombing cities, I also pray that he will stay sober.
twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous are not well known to the general
public. The first three are the most famous.
We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives
had become unmanageable.
Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore
us to sanity.
Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care
of God as we understood Him.
is the ones lower on the list that could, at some point, become
a problem for the President.
Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to
make amends to them all.
Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when
to do so would injure them or others.
Bush needs our prayers, both to abandon his present military strategy
and to deal successfully with his publicly confessed condition.
We critics should not complain about his unwillingness to do the
first if we are unwilling to give him support on the second.
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