Today on the thirteenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks the media cycle is being driven by President Obama’s speech last night in which he informed the world of his plans for Iraq and Syria. How different would our response as a nation be if the Commander-in-Chief were Ronald Reagan?
My Fellow Americans,
Today we face a threat the likes of which we have not seen since the darkest days of World War II and the Cold War.
Our enemy is not ISIS, The Islamic State, or even Al Qaeda, it is the ideology that drives all such barbaric groups.
It is the ideology of Global Jihadism.
In the name of God, the adherents of this world view crucify Christians, behead Americans, and massacre or subjugate any and all who stand in their way, man, woman, or child.
These people are not driven in their ferocious violence by actual grievances, by a need to resist tangible oppression. They are not “freedom fighters.”
Theirs is a totalitarian vision of the world just as binary and absolutist as that of the Third Reich or the political masters of the Soviet Union.
For Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, and his followers in the Islamic State, there will be no negotiated settlement to this war. No ceasefire instrument signed on the deck of an aircraft carrier. For the global Jihadist Movement there is either victory or death. And even in death there is an individual victory with martyrdom in the name of killing the infidel guaranteeing eternal salvation for the jihadist.
Whatever name they go by, Al Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram, Al Shabaab, or The Islamic State, these organizations are cut from the same cloth. There are born of the ideas which founded the Muslim Brotherhood. The conviction that “true Muslims” cannot live under un-Islamic systems; that democracies, those systems in which humans make the laws thus abrogating Allah’s sovereignty, must be destroyed; and that the only choice for the infidel is between conversion or death.
Our Republic was born out of a resistance to tyranny. We all know that America was founded on the principle that each and every human being has unalienable rights.
Why do they have these rights: because they are endowed with them by The Creator. And this is why every soul that walks the earth has innate dignity. A dignity that Global Jihadism wishes to negate and, through its actions, destroy.
Tonight America is declaring war on the ideology of Jihadism and commits herself to destroying not only The Islamic State, but anyone who subscribes to the same beliefs, whatever name they give themselves.
Our nation is often criticized for its unique sense of self, for the idea that we have a special job to do in the World, a Manifest Destiny as some have called it. But let the facts speak for themselves. When a totalitarianism based on racial purity threatened the whole world, and which in the course of six years would result in the deaths of 60 million people, it was America that saved Europe from herself, from the vision of a “thousand-year” Reich.
When a class-based absolutist ideology later threatened not just Europe, but Asia, Latin America, and even Africa with its goal of all humankind yoked underneath the “dictatorship of the proletariat”, again it was America which answered the call, stood firm, supported those who would resist the inhumanity of the Marxist, and ultimately facilitate the collapse of Communism.
The threat is no smaller today. In fact, the religious totalitarianism of the Jihadist Movement has a narrative which in many ways is more powerful that either Mein Kampf or Das Kapital. We never faced members of the SS or the KGB prepared to be suicide bombers. Today we do. From the World Trade Center, to the London Underground, from Amman, Jordan to Bali, we face an enemy who will literally stop at nothing to subjugate or destroy us and our way of life.
But there is good news that I must share also.
Just as we destroyed Hitler’s Third Reich and vanquished Communism, we will destroy the ideology of Global Jihadism.
This will be done not only on the battlefield but in the court of world opinion. We will strike, and strike hard at its forces in Iraq and elsewhere, recognizing as we do so that this type of irregular war cannot be won from 20,000 feet by airpower alone. It will take brave men on the ground to take the fight to the terrorists and insurgents, men who will ideally be from the Muslim allies of the United States. Iraqis, Kurds, Jordanians, even Egyptians. But they will be accompanied by forward deployed members of our Special Forces, those brave Americas who have proven time and again, from battlefields as far apart as Afghanistan and Colombia, that where they can be the back-bone of the local resistance to the enemies of all that is good and fair, the fight is winnable.
Our Muslim and Arab allies must be the frontline in this conflict, but without America’s fighting with them, this war will not be won. Not simply because out forces are so superior, but because if we are not prepared to send our people in harms way to fight the barbarians that wish to destroy our civilization then we send a very simple message to the Enemy and the world: our civilization is not worth saving.
Make no mistake, this will be a long and hard fight, but we have faced off and defeated the enemies of modernity and civilization before and with God’s help we will do so again.
But we must learn the lessons of the past. When fighting totalitarians, it is never enough to defeat them militarily. One must defeat them ideology. We must delegitimize their claims to righteousness and justice. We much demonstrate to the world that our values are the true and universal ones and we are prepared to fight for them.
God Bless our Troops, God Bless America.
Sebastian Gorka is the Matthew C Horner Distinguished Chair of Military Theory at Marine Corps University and National Security Affairs editor with Breitbart.com . Follow him at @SebGorka.