The Federalist Digest --
From Issue #01-41

United We Stand...?

Second Opinion

Osama bin Laden has declared "jihad" (holy war) against the United States. Bin Laden's mouthpiece, Abdul Hai Mutmaen, noted that the declaration was an obligation upon Muslims worldwide. "We want this, bin Laden wants this and America will face the unpleasant consequences of the attacks," he said.

For the record, in addition to the many hate-filled Muslims associated with Louis Farrakhan's anti-Semitic "Nation of Islam," there are an additional 1.1 million Muslims now in the U.S. on temporary visas. Many among their ranks will heed the call for Jihad issued by Osama bin Laden and his Islamic extremist mullahs. Jihad is a call to ALL Muslims — not just bin Laden's terrorist cadre — and no wide, bright line separates peace-loving Muslims from Islamic extremists.

Some are still arguing foolishly that it is "divisive" to call the September 11th perpetrators "Islamic terrorists," and that they should instead be termed only "terrorists." Again for the record, homegrown politically motivated murderers Timothy McVeigh and Ted Kaczynski were, by any fair standards, mere unappellationed "terrorists," not part of any widespread movement calling on networked cohorts worldwide to arise in mutually supportive aggressions. The ranks Osama bin Laden speaks for have as their goal a pan-Arabist union; their tool du jour for igniting the imaginations of potential Muslim followers is radical Islamic governance of that empire. (Of note, Iraqi tyrant Saddam Hussein was moved to invade Kuwait by a pan-Arab vision based in Ba'athist socialism; he made common cause with Islamic extremists like bin Laden only after he found himself scant in allies during the Gulf War 10 years back.)

As sage commentator Wesley Pruden noted,

"President Bush is correct when he says that America's war on terrorism is not a war against Islam, but Osama bin Laden is correct as well, that resurgent Islam is hostile to the secular West, proving once more than even the devil can quote scripture. The distinction that gets lost is the distinction between Islamists of a totalitarian ideology that seeks to destroy everything that is not Islamic, and the millions of Muslims who intend unbelievers no harm or ill will. But the Islamic world is far more sympathetic to the Islamists than we want to believe it is. We indulge naivete at our deadly peril."

The crucial distinction, which is indeed painted with a wide, bright line, is between warring views of what kind of moral creature man is. We and our anti-terror allies believe that humans are morally choosing creatures of free will, and proper governments are ordered in consonance with the freedom of citizens to do good or ill. To our enemies, the conscience must be coerced — and even "conversion by the sword" is desirable, until enough conquered submit to their will.

Of course, this also accounts for the reluctance, discussed above, of some of our overseas anti-terror allies to offer explicit statements of their opposition to Osama bin Laden ... and by extension, their opposition to his Islamic extremist adherents in their countries. Pruden continued,

"We're asked to understand this reluctance, and we should, but we should also recognize the origin of that reluctance. The leaders of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, of Egypt and the Gulf states, understand the cause very well, that it is resurgent Islam and not mere terrorism that has challenged the secular West."

John O'Sullivan, another wise observer concurred:

"We in the West cannot afford to be overly patronizing about this, however. For radical Islamism is a violent, heretical and politicized perversion of Islam — in exactly the same way that Communism and Nazism were violent, heretical and politicized perversions of enlightened Christian democratic humanism in the West. It marries religion, resentment, violence and modern political technology in pursuit of totalitarian power — just as they did. And because all these doctrines are what Burke called 'armed doctrines,' they have to be defeated both spiritually and on the battlefield. The West can and will defeat radical Islamism on the battlefield; it is just a matter of time. Once that has happened, the mosque can begin to demolish its spiritual claims. But not until then, alas."

How, then, to deal with the truly divisive elements here at home ... before these views become deadly? Our country must exercise greater care and concern with immigration matters. The primary objective of immigration must be reinstated as assimilation into citizenship — at least for a short term permitting in only those entrants who wish to become Americans, and who support our Constitution's principles of freedom of conscience. And foreign nationals now residing here, but who are reasonably suspect of supporting our terrorist enemies, should be repatriated immediately — and only allowed return under heightened scrutiny of their backgrounds.

As our esteemed colleague Paul Craig Roberts concluded,

"The United States and Europe are endangered not by national sovereignty and civil liberties, but by immigration policies. It is folly to be allied with Israel against its Muslim enemies and simultaneously to keep one's borders open to Muslim immigrants. ...Unless the United States and Europe exercise care in their response to terrorism, they will become more oppressive than the Taliban. ..Good judgment is always in short supply. In times of crisis, it can altogether disappear. We need to keep this in mind and consider whether it is better to restrict immigration instead of our civil liberties."

Such initial self-defensive measures would offer an excellent start for homeland defense. Once implemented, these protections would assure we need expend less concern on that nasty subsequent phrase, "...divided we fall."

The Federalist is an advocate of individual, family and community governance, rights and responsibilities as espoused by our nation's Founders, and as originally intended by our Republic's Constitution as set forth in the Federalist Papers. The mission of our Editorial Board is to provide Constitutional Conservatives with a brief, timely, informative and entertaining survey and analysis of the week's most significant news, policy and opinion. The Federalist is an antidote to the liberal rhetoric of the mass media.

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13 oct 2001