The Left’s Seven Tragic Terror Lies
by RALPH PETERS
May 11, 2012
If they did not put our troops, our citizens and our country at risk, the Left's fantastic lies about terror and terrorists would be hilarious. The Left's self-righteous nonsense in this sphere has no grounding in empirical or historical reality, but, then, reality has long been a greater threat to the Left than Islamist fanatics (the last thing any Leftie wants to do is to face the vast human wastage generated by the addictive, enervating and morally debilitating hook-the-poor social programs of the last five decades).
So, when it comes to addressing the real and deadly terrorist threat, the American left responds in the best Marxist-Leninist-Maoist-Chavista and community-organizer traditions: When the facts aren't palatable, make up new "facts." And political correctness has worked its poisonous tentacles so deeply into the American body politic that not even our generals challenge the ludicrous claims the Left hurls at us in its neo-Bolshevik bullying mode of shouting down every last unwelcome truth.
Of course, the left's lies are countless, but the hard left has mastered the art of reducing the most complex human challenges to bumper-sticker slogans as nonsensical as they are reassuring to the herd (the wildly counter-factual prize probably goes to a leftie favorite, "War never changes anything." On the contrary, war has always changed a great deal, which is why we have wars). These happy-face mantras never rise above intellectual flatulence, but the massed sheep on the Left enjoy the aroma ("Yes, we can!").
The problem, of course, is that many of our national leaders have been brainwashed with the same slogans. The Left has mastered another technique dictators forged long ago: Repeat a lie often enough and it will be taken as truth. And, of course, our media play along.
So let's give the slogan-hucksters a brief time-out and dissect just seven of their favorite lines:
One: Killing terrorists only turns them into martyrs. Nope. Killing terrorists turns them into dead terrorists. Of all the terrorists we've killed since 9/11, how many are celebrated as martyrs in the Muslim world today? Remember the Butcher of Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi? The Left solemnly warned us that killing him would turn him into a martyr and mobilize the Muslim world against us. Didn't happen. Instead, his fellow Arabs spit upon his grave. And what about the big lad, Comrade Osama? We heard no end of grave pronunciamentos from "public intellectuals"and other fellow travelers that killing him would not only make him a martyr, but lead to an explosion of Muslim fury. Well, check it out: Not a single serious demonstration marked the one-year anniversary of his death (by the way, I'm growing confused: Were any SEALs actually in bin Laden's compound, or did President Obama take down Osama alone, with his bare hands? That seems to be the White House position of late).
Killing terrorists doesn't create problems. It eliminates specific problems and reduces others. What creates problems is capturing terrorists. That's when they become martyrs, inspiring kidnappings and other attacks to free them, and leading Leftists to champion them as "prisoners of conscience" and victims of vile American oppression. Witness the recent courtroom circus at Guantanamo, where monstrous terrorists (men who should have been dead at least eight years ago) have been granted a global platform for their cause.
As a former intelligence officer, I sympathize with those who believe we need more interrogations, but I'm still for killing every terrorist we can find right on the spot-until a grown-up president revives serious clandestine operations in which the CIA can capture, strenuously interrogate then execute known terrorists without it ever becoming public knowledge. The only problem with waterboarding is that somebody told.
Two: We can't kill our way out of this. Actually, we've been killing our way out of "this" with great success. In fact, killing terrorists has been the only thing that has worked. And one thing Obama-terrified of a terror attack on his watch-has gotten right has been to increase the number of lethal attacks on terrorists and to favor killing them over capturing them (Obama did learn the real lesson of Guantanamo-kill, don't capture--although he isn't going to inform his base). Had Bush killed as many terrorists with drone strikes and special ops as Obama has, the Left would have cried out for him to be tried as a war criminal. And what do you think Obama's base would have had to say if Bush had authorized killing Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen? (Just to be clear, I'm glad Awlaki's dead.)
Leftists (see Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Mao, etc.) don't really object to war and violence. They just want to be in charge of it. For the left, it's rarely about what's done, but about who's doing it: The left's moral compass realigns on command.
We have 2,000 years of documented history of insurgencies led by religious fanatics (in every religion, by the way). In those two millennia, there is not a single example of a faith-fueled rebellion or terrorist movement that did not require extensive bloodshed to defeat it. Not one example in 2,000 years. And, indeed, resolute powers proved very, very good at killing their way out of it.
Three: Terrorists have rights. Sorry, that isn't true, either. Legally, an insurgent who does not wear a distinguishing uniform, emblem or badge is an "unlawful combatant" under the much-cited, but rarely read, Laws of Land Warfare, including the Geneva and Hague Conventions. An unlawful combatant may be executed on the spot or, if you want to put a coat of wax on the paint job, after a quick tribunal in the field. We have invented rights for terrorists. And government and even military lawyers have been only too glad to go along, some because of ambition, others because they are cowed by the commissars of political correctness who now dominate our legal system at every level below the Supreme Court.
As for "human rights for terrorists," that's a judgment call. And my call is "No effing way, dude." When a human being chooses to become a terrorist and massacres the innocent, he or she exits the human race.
Four: Formal trials will show them the superiority of our system of justice. You are a no-go at this station, as the drill sergeants used to say. Take yet another look at the Gitmo fiasco: You think those prisoners respect our system of justice? They're gaming it brilliantly, turning it into an international mockery. Or are we to think that our judicial system, military or civilian, will so impress other terrorists that they'll abandon their zealotry and head for the nearest Burger King? Perhaps we're supposed to believe that these terror trials (when we finally get around to them) will somehow deter hardened terrorists, striking fear into their black little hearts? Tell me how it deters a hardcore fanatic to find out that, if the Americans capture him, he'll get the first dental care of his entire life, medical care better than that provided to many law-abiding U.S. taxpayers, special halal (religiously correct) meals, free legal representation, endless appeals, plentiful recreation, and communal incarceration with his fellow perverts on a tropical beach? That's supposed to be Club Dread? U.S.-citizen convicts in our Federal prisons get far fewer privileges than terrorists who murdered 3,000 Americans. And the Left still complains about their treatment (not so much now that Obama's president, though-although he was going to close Gitmo in one year). Our legal system has about as much deterrent value against fanatical terrorists as a Hershey Bar.
And did I mention the tens of millions of taxpayer dollars devoted to incarcerating these mass-murderers every year? We're not a shining example of justice. We're a laughingstock.
Five: The only path to peace is negotiations. I was bewildered, yet again, when our president, in his recent re-election-campaign speech at Bagram airbase in Afghanistan said, first, that we would never allow the return of the Taliban to power, then, minutes later, that we secretly have been negotiating with the Taliban to bring them into the Afghan government. Even in Vietnam, we displayed more decency than that. But let me clarify: My bewilderment did not stem from our president's shameless duplicity (for political reasons, he launched his disastrous surge, now, for other political reasons, he's ending his surge and "fixing" the problem he himself created-Obama has the integrity of an offshore telemarketer selling timeshares). No, my bewilderment stemmed from the media's utter failure to call the president on this blatant contradiction. But, then, our president can stop the sun in its course, walk on water and heal the sick all at once, as far the media are concerned...so he surely can perform the miracle of simultaneously keeping the Taliban out of Kabul and welcoming them back to Kabul. Much easier than turning water into a nice little unoaked chardonnay...
Negotiations are the opium of the diplomats. Again, in 2,000 years of factual history of religion-fueled insurgencies, not one has been quelled through negotiations. The basic problem is that fanatics on a mission from their god do not feel obligated to keep promises to unbelievers-even if they are cornered into making promises for tactical reasons or just to buy time. In political and even some ethnic insurgencies, negotiations may have a place. But in religion-driven uprisings and terror movements, negotiations are one hundred per cent worthless. You have to kill the buggers.
Which brings us to:
Six: It's not about religion. This is one of the biggest hoots of all time. Our enemies are jumping up and down, telling us that their every action is done in the name of their god, and our response is "Oh, they don't really mean that!" Even our military is so pathetically cowed by the politically correct atmosphere in Washington that the generals play along while the troops pay the price. A good rule is that, when your enemy tells you what he's fighting for, willingly sacrifices his life for it, and attracts recruits by preaching it, you will benefit from listening to what he's saying. Our enemies do, indeed, know what they're fighting for. We're the ones who don't. Oh, and you don't become a suicide bomber because you expect a pay raise.
This is not a religious war for us, but that's one more factor that makes the struggle asymmetrical. We're fighting for our values and to protect ourselves. Our enemies believe they're on a mission from their god to punish us for our sins, heresies and international hamburger promotions. Islamist terrorists even justify the slaughter of their ostensibly less-devout co-religionists in the name of purifying the faith or other equally ugly rationales (al Qaeda has slaughtered far more Muslims than it has killed Westerners). Yet, we insist that the problem is just local politics, or underdevelopment, or social alienation, or childhood trauma, blah, blah, blah.
Islam as a whole is not attacking us, nor is every Muslim consumed with dreams of anti-Western jihad. But we have been and are being attacked by a lethal, utterly committed minority of Islamist fanatics who believe their actions are sanctioned and required by their deity. If we can't even face that, we're not only fools, but cowards.
One of the funniest jokes-within-the-joke on this subject has been Western, post-Christian commentators claiming that what al Qaeda does isn't really jihad. News flash: We don't get to determine what is or isn't jihad. Muslims do. And even Muslims who despise al Qaeda acknowledge them as jihadis. It's as if the late Monsieur bin Laden had tried to tell us which Christians qualify as born again.
Seven: It's about us. This claim arises from the perverse narcissism of the Left that revels in the notion that all of the world's ills are the fault of America, capitalism and those of us who actually pay taxes. But for al Qaeda and that ailing organization's deformed offspring, we're just a convenient, distant and instantly recognizable symbol. After all, you couldn't really claim that Luxembourg was the Great Satan and attract many followers. Jihad goes better with Coke.
Historically, our country's behavior has not been flawless. But only God is perfect. And, taken as a whole, our influence on history and humankind has been overwhelmingly positive. But the American Left, the global Left and Islamist terrorists have one thing in common: They cannot tolerate or endure our success. For the Left, we're intolerable because we've exposed their ideologies as worthless (which doesn't stop them from conducting further experiments on the poor), while, for the Islamists, we've embarrassed their faith by triumphing in every sphere of human endeavor, while Allah's children still can't build a decent bicycle.
The problems that give rise to Islamist terror are home-grown: The comprehensive failure of a civilization that cannot escape the deadening strictures of a still-immature faith that has not gotten beyond the late-medieval Christian age of theological scholasticism, obsession with the outward manifestations of faith and public conformity, and superstition. In Western terms, al Qaeda's burning witches (although, to be fully accurate, the witch-burnings were a reactionary response to the later stress the Renaissance placed on traditional cultures...but, then, why should I care about accuracy, when the Left shuns facts like the Plague).
Humiliated by their own massive failure, Islamist fanatics take refuge in a vision of a Muslim golden age that never really existed. Among left-wing fellow travelers in our own country, the terrorists' benign counterparts are the vortex-visiting, crystal-clutching, part-time-barista believers that Atlantis will rise again and all wrongs shall be righted (and practitioners of Tantric Yoga will live in rent-free condos). Failed human beings and failed civilizations need someone to blame and something greater than themselves to believe in. And Uncle Sam is the number one choice of lazy minds everywhere for the name on the blame-line, while aberrant religious faith, whether manifested by incendiary devices or too much sandalwood incense, is the default position for the children of failure.
Or course, facts, evidence and logic don't really matter to the Left. The fundamental draw of the Left is that it promises an escape from reality (and from hard work). But even if we succeed in demolishing each one of the myths listed above, the Left would still have an eighth, indestructible, all-purpose myth to fall back on:
"It's all Bush's fault."
Ralph Peters is a retired Army officer (and former enlisted man), and the author of the new bestseller, Cain at Gettysburg.