Identifying the Source of Terrorism: Connecting the Ideological Dots

by | Apr 13, 2004 | POLITICS, Terrorism

In her testimony before the 9/11 commission, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice spoke of our “inability to connect the dots” that lead to 9/11. She blamed “legal and the bureaucratic impediments” that kept “the FBI and the CIA from functioning really as one.” Hopefully these internal dots will not be overlooked in the future. But […]

In her testimony before the 9/11 commission, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice spoke of our “inability to connect the dots” that lead to 9/11. She blamed “legal and the bureaucratic impediments” that kept “the FBI and the CIA from functioning really as one.”

Hopefully these internal dots will not be overlooked in the future. But it appears a much worse “inability to connect the dots” is still not being addressed. With a few exceptions, our government is unwilling to openly name Islamists as the enemy and fight them as a matter of principle. It began within days after the 9/11 attacks when President Bush proclaimed that Islam had been “hijacked” and “perverted” by the terrorists. A Bush advisor said, “Nothing this evil could be religious.” And someone from the State Department referred to 9/11 as “an act of intolerance, which … has, in our view, nothing to do with Islam.”

More recently, our government allowed Afghanistan to adopt a ideologically mixed constitution in which Islamic law is set to undermine Western legal protections:

In a carefully balanced wording, the country will be renamed the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, combining democracy and religion. There is to be a system of civil law, but no law will be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of Islam. [Afghan Council Gives Approval to Constitution, New York Times, January 4, 2004]

A similar interim constitution has been adopted in Iraq where armed Islamists have been allowed to grow into the threat that our troops are fighting at this very moment:

[A spokesman for a Iraqi council member] said the draft charter will recognize Islam as “a source of legislation” — rather than “the” source as some officials had sought — and that no law will be passed that violates the tenets of the Muslim religion. [Iraqis agree basic law draft, CNN, February 29, 2004]

But this problem goes back much further than the Bush Administration. The Ayn Rand Institute recently released a must-read editorial by Onkar Ghate:.

The squabbling and finger-pointing surrounding the 9/11 commission only serve to obscure the fundamental lesson of that horrific day. Whatever errors or incompetence on the part of a particular individual or intelligence agency, what made September 11 possible was a failure of policy. Our government, whether controlled by Democrat or Republican, had for decades conducted an accommodating, range-of-the-moment, unprincipled foreign policy. [Diverting the Blame for 9/11]

The editorial rightly criticizes President Bush’s approach to the War on Terrorism, not because he has gone too far (as leftists would have us believe), but because he has not gone far enough. It argues that while the Iraq war was justifiable, leaving intact militant Islamic regimes like Iran’s is not. The jihadists our troops are today fighting and dying to defeat are supported by Iran.

According to the Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran:

More alleged “Pilgrims” are set to be send to Iraq supposedly in order to commemorate the Shia ritual of Arba-in. In reality these so-called Pilgrims are Iranian Intelligence officers and Arab mercenaries trained, by the Islamic republic regime, with the task of creating more complication for America in its War Against Terror and to avoid the stabilization of Iraq.

Benefiting of the Tehran based Arab speaking “Al-Alam” Satellite TV Network, the regime is intending to create more and more turmoil in Iraq as the US Presidential Election is approaching. Several members of its National Security Council and Intelligence believe that more shocking images will hit American’s minds and will push them toward voting for the US Democratic Candidate. They strongly believe that John Kerry, as he has stated, will open negotiations with them and will reward them with parts of their requests if elected as the next US President.

Mr. Kerry who’s benefiting of some very friendly US based Iranian lobbyists’ advices has qualified the tyrannical and terrorist Islamic republic as a “Democratic frame” and promised to “Repair damages done by the Bush administration”. [More trained “pilgrims” to enter Iraq, Apr 2, 2004]

There have been exceptions from the Bush Administration. In her testimony, Rice alluded to a policy shift from “tit-for-tat, tactical” responses to broader “strategic” responses after 9/11. Secretary of State Colin Powell acknowledged in his testimony that “Islamic extremists and jihadists” are the source of most terrorism (without the usual “religion of peace” qualifications):

JAMIE S. GORELICK, commission member: And would you agree that our principal adversary right now is Islamic extremists and jihadists?

COLIN L. POWELL, U.S. secretary of state: I would say that they are the source of most of the terrorist threats that we are facing.

And our military recently demonstrated a willingness to attack mosques when such “sacred places” are used for military purposes by the enemy:

After the insurgents holed up in the mosque struck a humvee vehicle with an RPG, lightly wounding five soldiers, the marines opted for their heavy weaponry. First a warplane fired off guns, then a Cobra helicopter shot off a Hellfire missile at the mosque and finally an aircraft dropped a laser-guided precision bomb, Byrne said. The roar of jets shook the city, caught in the midst of a brutal urban battle pitting the marines against the insurgents who have bled the coalition forces for months and ambushed and mutilated four US contractors last week.

[…] The head of the Marines First Division, General James Mattis, defended the attack, warning if rebels used places of worship in their war against US forces, his troops would not hesitate to strike them at sacred sites. “If they barricade themselves inside a mosque, we are not going to care about the mosque anymore than they do,” Mattis said. [AFP, US marines bomb Fallujah mosque, Emphasis added]

The Administration appears to be getting better at connecting the ideological dots, and there’s no doubt the alternative this November would refuse even to see the dots, but we still have a ways to go.

Cartoons by Cox and Forkum.

Allen Forkum is half of the political cartooning team of Cox and Forkum.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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