How to Defeat Jihad

David Horowitz's West Coast Retreat, Palos Verdes, CA, April 8-10 2016

Bruce Thornton

What I want to do is remind us that the war we're talking about has been going on for 14 centuries. It started in the 7th Century A.D. when Muslims conquered the Greco-Roman, Jewish-Christian Byzantine Empire. It conquered places like Egypt.

It's interesting that people say Egypt is the largest Arab nation in the Middle East. Why are there Arabs in Egypt? The guys who built the pyramids, the guys who were Pharaohs, they were not Arabs. They were Egyptians. They, the Arabs, were there as conquerors, as the descendants of conquerors, colonizers and imperialists. They conquered Spain. They held it for 7 centuries until they were driven out. They were defeated in 732 at the Battle of Tours by Charles Martel. Fell when they were attempting to move up into France. They continually raided the Rhone River Valley. They occupied Southern Italy and Sicily. They occupied the Balkans.

It wasn't until 1683 that at Vienna, September 11 and 12 -- make what you will of that date -- that they suffered a devastating defeat. And until the rise of modern jihadism they never again challenged Europe. In fact, they began a series of retreats. There's one date that's very interesting and that's 1699. That was the Treaty of Karlowitz. And you say, "Well, what's the big deal about that treaty?" That was the first time a Muslim power ever had to sign a treaty which was to a Muslim disadvantage. In 1798 Napoleon invades Egypt. And the only reason that came to a bad end is the British destroyed his fleet and he abandoned his army. [The Ottoman Empire remained undisturbed --though weakening -- until 1924.]

Ottoman Empire.jpg

1924. Well, what happened in 1924? The dissolution of the Caliphate. When after 9/11, Bin Laden referenced a catastrophe, he wasn't talking about 1948 was he? He said it was 80 years ago. What happened 80 years ago? The dissolution in 1924. The dissolution of the Caliphate.

So in other words, my point is that we are in a war that has been going on for 14 centuries. And the Taliban have a saying, "You have the watch as we have the time." They are in a spiritual -- I'm using that word neutrally -- a spiritual reality in which this century, that century -- Israel's not even 100 years. We can wait. Crusaders were there 200 years, we got rid of them. We are obsessed with the here and now and we think the past doesn't matter. But the past matters very much. And in their mentality this is an ongoing eternal war between the believers and the infidels. And this is where we are at now. We are in a war. A long war.

The second point is what's the nature of the enemy? Now, we all know and I know this group knows because you've had the opportunity to listen to people like Robert Spenser, we know that jihad is a central doctrine of Islamic theology. It is not an aberration. It is not some sort of self-improvement or anything like that. It is a communal obligation of the Muslim people. So we know that. But there's another dimension to the enemy that we have to keep in mind as we go forward in terms of how do we fight this enemy and that is, what's curious about Islam is that it is, as I may, theologized tribalism. It is very tribal. And you can talk about the American Indians. You can talk about the Gauls that Caesar fought, the Germans that Caesar fought, the Britons that the Romans fought.

Any tribal people, they have some similarities. And one of them is the tribe is everything and everybody else is nothing. The tribe is everything and everybody else is nothing.

A lot of tribes don't even have a word for humans. Humans are themselves. Islam follows this. [The tribal Arabs created Islam and made Islam a tribe.] There's the Dar al-Islam, the Dar al-Harb. There's the world of Islam, the believers, and there's the world of war, [everyone else]. That's it.

So they have built in a kind of supremacy as we see in Islam today. Their belief, as Quran 3:110 says, is that they are the best of peoples, that Allah intends to rule the whole world. They really believe that. That's why they're continually at war with the infidels, particularly the infidel West.

There are two other dimensions of tribalism that are, I think, key for understanding this enemy. One is the role of prestige. What I was just talking about, Islam the tribe, that notion that "we" are the important people. We are the ones that deserve to rule the world. It's very different from the ancient Hebrews being the chosen people. They were never told go kill all the gentiles the way the Quran says slay the idolater wherever you find them. That's a huge difference.

But they are universal in their aspirations. And their prestige, their esteem, is huge. For awhile after 9/11 we kept hearing, "Well, you know they feel bad because Europeans have been picking on them and everything." And I think that I wrote at the time that their problem isn't low self-esteem. Their problem is too damn much esteem. Right? They think too highly of themselves. And that needs to be knocked out of them. They need to be humiliated. They need to be convinced that, sorry, in the real world that we live in, you're not so special.

So one of the things that we have to think about is defeating them -- not just defeating them militarily, but humiliating them. Now that's going to sound really kind of archaic and old-fashioned and mean and everything, but you know what, that's exactly what the Allies did in World War II, wasn't it?

The point of unconditional surrender was that they had learned in World War I, when Germany did not surrender there was an armistice signed with its army still in France and Belgium, and they never knew they were defeated. So they spent the next 20 years scheming, long before Hitler came along, to get back to the position that they thought they deserved as the greatest power in continental Europe.

So next time around in World War II they had to be thoroughly defeated and made to know that no, sorry, you're not the super race. Germans do not have a right to rule everybody else. Similar thing happened in Japan and they've been very good global citizens since then.

Now think about it: The Arabs attacked Israel three times, in 1948, 1967, 1973. What price did they pay for those defeats? What Arab capital was bombed, occupied, the way Berlin was occupied? When have they ever paid a price for their aggression? They sided with the Axis powers in World War II. What price did they pay? In Egypt the green shirts, including people like Anwar Sadat, were colluding with the Nazis against the English in the north and then the Americans in the North African campaign. What price did they ever pay for that? They have never, ever in the modern period suffered a mind-concentrating lesson about the stupidity of their beliefs. And then we wonder why they keep coming back and they keep fighting.

So what this means is they have to be defeated militarily, whatever that takes. That means killing a bunch of people. And I know nobody wants to hear that today. Oh, you're just a warmonger; you're a chicken hawk; you're this; you're that. Sorry, that's just the way it's been since humankind were bashing each other's brains out with rocks.

They have to be defeated military. They have to suffer the wages of their aggression. They have to live it every day. Their people have to live it every day until they realize, at least for now, this is a bad idea. We'll still be Muslims, but this whole jihad thing, I think we'll tone it down a little bit. We won't press it too much.

Now what do we [in the West] do? We do the opposite, don't we? Gee, how did we offend you after 9/11? What did we do? And all this nonsense about Sykes-Picot. It's driving me crazy, Sykes-Picot. 1916, Sykes-Picot. Sykes-Picot had nothing to do with what happened in 1918, 1919. But ISIS puts up a billboard in its territory that says, "We will draw our borders, not Sykes-Picot." Sykes-Picot didn't draw the borders of Jordan and Iraq or any of that. That's historical falsity.

So how do we fight this enemy? For one thing, let's get the history straight. Let's get the history of 14 centuries of Islamic aggression and violence against the West straight. Don't let people talk to us about colonialism. There were no European colonies in the Middle East. And I couldn't believe Charles Krauthammer, one of the smartest guys around, was talking about Sykes-Picot and the colonial borders. I threw a shoe at the TV. What are you talking about? That belonged to the Ottoman Empire until 1919. And they're the ones that decided to throw in with the Germans because they thought they could get back their European empire that they had lost in the preceding decades. Has nothing to do with colonialism.

And by the way, don't ever let Islam, [one] of history's most brutal successful imperialist powers, whine to us about imperialism or colonialism. [270 million murdered during their various conquests is one estimate.] Egypt is an Arab colony. North Africa is an Arab colony. Anywhere there's an Arab Muslim outside of the Arabian Peninsula there is a colonist, a descendant of a colonist, of an imperialist or at best an immigrant.

So we shouldn't put up with this false history. First thing, get the history straight. We saw this mistake made by the British in the decades before World War II events -- oh, you know, really, World War I was our fault and we were kind of mean to the Germans. We provoked this huge mistake. Because the Germans were like Muslims back then, [the superior tribe].

Winston Churchill's first two books are great reading and they're a manual of how to fight this war. Not how to defeat jihad, but how do you defeat the enemy that believes in jihad? That's the second one. The first one is a history of the Malakand Field Force. You know, the Brits have India, and where Pakistan and the Afghan border is today, the same people that are the Taliban today, their ancestors were there. Every so often they would start preaching jihad and they'd go on a rampage, and the British had these mobile field forces. They'd send them out there. They'd track them down. They'd kill a bunch. They'd disarm the rest. They'd burn their villages and then they left. They didn't say we're going turn you into a liberal democracy. They didn't say we're going to build schools and have three cups of tea with you, right? They didn't say we're going to liberate your women or convert you to Christianity. No. They didn't say we will ever leave. They didn't put a date certain on it. Everybody knew if you do this again we will be back again. And if you do this forever we will be back forever. Because they understood the nature of the enemy.

And the second, the River War, which is a brilliant book by the way. And as you know, in 1885 a guy called the Mahdi -- now you know from Shia Islam the Mahdi is the messianic figure that's going to usher in, I don't know what he's going to usher in, but anyway. One of these rose up in Khartoum, built a huge army, started attacking the expatriates there, the Europeans. And the famous Charles Chinese Gordon, British general, was there overseeing their evacuation. They overran Khartoum and they killed him in 1885.

It took 13 years, 1898, and the British put together a huge expeditionary force. Churchill got himself to go -- Kitchener didn't want to have anything to do with him because he knew he was a publicity hound; he used his mother's influence. And the big battle at Omdurman near Khartoum took place, and it was a huge slaughter.

And Kitchener went to the tomb of the Mahdi -- he had died before then -- broke the tomb open, dragged the body out and he threw it into the Nile. See, he understood you humiliate and you damage their prestige and you say, if I may quote Bin Laden, "We're the strong horse and you're the weak horse." There was nothing that they wanted there in Sudan. They didn't want to colonize it. There was no oil. There was nothing there they wanted. They turned around and they went back home.

If we don't start getting that mentality, if we keep thinking that we can bribe or negotiate or sweet talk or understand or tell them how wonderful their religion is and how much we love it and do all the things that [we are currently doing], which are absolutely wrong things to do, then if you say, "How to defeat the jihad?" we're not going to defeat jihad. It will be incremental. It will be insidious and at one point in the near future we're going to wake up and we're not going to recognize the country we're in.

Bruce Thornton is a military historian and a Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

To view the entire panel on this subject, of which the above essay (edited for clarity) is a part, click here.

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This page contains a single entry by Omnia21 published on May 30, 2016 11:37 AM.


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