Authorities in Massachusetts have identified suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing on Monday as Dzhokhar and (the now-deceased) Tamerlan Tsarnaev, two brothers of Chechen descent originally from Kyrgyzstan. Many Americans haven’t heard of the place; most couldn’t find it on a map. Nearly all would be unable to say why people from there would want to kill people from here.
Welcome to the phenomenon of global jihad. It is time to dispense with the illusion that we are safe from foreign threats because we have put, as President Obama repeatedly insisted during the last campaign, “al Qaeda on the path to defeat,” thanks to the death of Osama bin Laden and the drone-delivered thinning of the ranks of his lieutenants.
The Chechen jihadists in Boston may or may not have been associated with, or even inspired by, bin Laden’s terror network. But in the days and weeks to come we are likely to discover that they identify with its goals: 1) imposing the supremacist Islamic doctrine of shariah – a totalitarian, brutally repressive and anti-Constitutional ideology – on the entire world, Muslim and non-Muslim alike. And 2) recreating a caliphate (or a similar theo-political entity) to rule according to that doctrine.
The same is true of other violent jihadists of the Sunni and Shia stripes, including, respectively, the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia and the regime in Iran. Ditto the so-called non-violent Muslim Brotherhood. In fact, that organization – which is the mother-ship for virtually all modern Sunni jihadists – favors an approach better described as pre-violent: The Brotherhood is perfectly prepared to use violence when it will be effective. Until then, they will adopt other measures (which they call “civilization jihad“) to create conditions that would be conducive to the realization of the goals they share with all other Islamists.
My preliminary read on the Brothers Tsarnaev is that they, too, were committed to the triumph of shariah. And whether they were associated with one or the other of these groups, factions, or sects, or if they were self-taught and operating alone, it seems likely that they embraced that doctrine’s requirement to wage jihad against infidels – something they evidently did with pressure-cooker improvised explosive devices near the Finish Line on Monday.
Literally by the minute, we are learning more about their backgrounds and behavior. With luck, we will also know shortly whether they were aided by accomplices or organizational infrastructure that may still pose a threat.
What we know already, however, is that there are perhaps hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of others like them around the world. Folks who believe that their god commands them to engage personally in holy war against the infidels and non-shariah-adherent Muslims (whom they call apostates).
What is particularly worrying is that this is not a new revelation. We have been on notice of this fact since well before 9/11. And yet we have at times ignored it – or, in some cases, denied it assiduously. And that is not simply true of average Americans. It has been the widespread practice within administrations of both parties, beginning in earnest under George W. Bush and metastasizing greatly in the Obama presidency. (For a detailed treatment of how this has happened and why, see www.MuslimBrotherhoodinAmerica.com and The Muslim Brother in the Obama Administration www.horowitzfreedomcenter.org.)
We have thus systematically violated one of the cardinal principles of warfare dating back at least to the ancient Chinese strategist Sun Tsu, who warned that you cannot defeat an enemy you do not know. Worse, we have allowed an enemy we could and should have known long ago to dictate to us what we are allowed to understand, think, and do about them.
For example, the Obama administration has purged the files and training materials of federal law enforcement, intelligence, homeland security, and defense agencies of information that might “offend” Islamists. That would include knowing such truths as that it is the orthodoxy of Islam (although a practice not embraced by all Muslims) to engage in jihad to advance the supremacy of shariah.
Even more alarming, the U.S. government now operates under guidelines for training in “countering violent extremism” (the euphemism it adopted in lieu of the Bush administration’s preferred euphemism for jihad, “terrorism”) that make matters infinitely more dangerous: those using federal funds for such training must now first consult with “community partners” about the trainers and their materials. Those partners appear to be Muslim Brotherhood operatives and front groups.
Whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, we are a nation at war. And not simply in Afghanistan, but worldwide. Not with every Muslim, but with every Muslim that believes shariah must reign supreme and will do whatever is necessary to bring that about.
Those enemies fully understand and embrace this war. They regard our efforts to pretend otherwise or to accommodate, placate, or appease them as submission. According to their doctrine of shariah, the appropriate response to the infidel submitting is, in the words of the Koran, to make them “feel subdued.” And that is a formula for more violent jihadism, not less.
At a moment when our elected representatives are contemplating immigration “reform” that would likely have the result of enabling, among others, still more global jihadists into our country, we need to grasp the lessons of the latest Boston massacre. We must be clear about the enemy, vigilant against his jihadist techniques – both the violent and pre-violent ones – and adopt the war footing required to prevail over this threat here at home and elsewhere, before more of us suffer the perils of global holy war.
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. formerly acted as an Assistant Secretary of Defense under President Reagan. He is President of the Center for Security Policy (www.SecureFreedom.org) and host of the nationally syndicated program, Secure Freedom Radio.