By: Benjamin Weingarten
Without America there would be no Islamic State.
Indeed, without America there would have been no Cold War. Without the Cold War there would have been no need to arm and train the Mujahideen against the Soviets. Without the Mujahideen there would have been no Al Qaeda. Without Al Qaeda there would have been no Iraq War. And without the Iraq War there would have been no Islamic State. Or as President Barack Obama put it:
ISIL is a direct outgrowth of Al Qaeda in Iraq which grew out of our invasion which is an example of unintended consequences which is why we should generally aim before we shoot.
Such is the pretzel logic to which one must subscribe if one is to believe the president.
Which is to say that Barack Obama’s argument during a recent interview with VICE News is patently absurd.
(Image Source: VICE News/YouTube screengrab)
But there is something worse than the absurdity of the president’s remarks, his implicit banal Bush-bashing and unwillingness or inability to ever take responsibility for anything – the least of which includes his failure to negotiate a status of forces agreement with Iraq.
President Obama’s argument in the main is that America’s actions in the Middle East create terrorists. But by invoking “blowback,” he is parroting precisely the propaganda that Al Qaeda, Islamic State and other jihadist groups want us to repeat, while ignoring the self-evident truth that their actions come not from without but from within. In so doing, as when he raised the scepter of The Crusades, the president provides a veneer of legitimacy and even moral standing to genocidal Islamic supremacists who seek to destroy Western civilization and create a global caliphate.
The words of Osama bin Laden himself are germane to this argument. Witness what Al Qaeda’s godfather said during a May 1998 interview with ABC’s John Miller:
The call to wage war against America was made because America has spear-headed the crusade against the Islamic nation, sending tens of thousands of its troops to the land of the two Holy Mosques over and above its meddling in its affairs and its politics, and its support of the oppressive, corrupt and tyrannical regime that is in control. These are the reasons behind the singling out of America as a target.
…The wrongs and the crimes committed against the Muslim nation are far greater than can be covered by this interview. America heads the list of aggressors against Muslims.
…They rip us of our wealth and of our resources and of our oil. Our religion is under attack. They kill and murder our brothers. They compromise our honor and our dignity and dare we utter a single word of protest against the injustice, we are called terrorists. This is compounded injustice.
In a particularly nauseating portion of the interview in which Miller implores bin Laden to “give us the true picture that clarifies your viewpoint” – as opposed to the “distorted picture of Islam, Muslims and of Islamic fighters” presented by “American politicians,” bin Laden continues [emphasis added]:
The leaders in America and in other countries as well have fallen victim to Jewish Zionist blackmail. They have mobilized their people against Islam and against Muslims. These are portrayed in such a manner as to drive people to rally against them. The truth is that the whole Muslim world is the victim of international terrorism, engineered by America at the United Nations. We are a nation whose sacred symbols have been looted and whose wealth and resources have been plundered. It is normal for us to react against the forces that invade our land and occupy it.
Ignored however is the rest of bin Laden’s message [emphasis added]:
…[O]ur call is the call of Islam that was revealed to Mohammed. It is a call to all mankind. We have been entrusted with good cause to follow in the footsteps of the Messenger and to communicate his message to all nations.
…In our religion, we believe that Allah has created us for the purpose of worshipping him. He is the one who has created us and who has favored us with this religion. Allah has ordered us to make holy wars and to fight to see to it that His word is the highest and the uppermost and that of the unbelievers the lowermost. We believe that this is the call we have to answer regardless of our financial capabilities.
This too answers the claims of the West and of the secular people in the Arab world. They claim that this blessed awakening and the people reverting to Islam are due to economic factors. This is not so. It is rather a grace from Allah, a desire to embrace the religion of Allah.
…I am one of the servants of Allah. We do our duty of fighting for the sake of the religion of Allah. It is also our duty to send a call to all the people of the world to enjoy this great light and to embrace Islam and experience the happiness in Islam. Our primary mission is nothing but the furthering of this religion.
This bin Laden interview is crucial because it illustrates the two-sided nature of Al Qaeda’s rhetoric and the rhetoric of jihadists more broadly — appealing on the one hand to the West’s materialism, and on the other to the Middle East’s idealism.
Indeed one of the primary but underappreciated elements of the global jihad is the subtle psychological warfare in which bin Laden engages above by way of the materialist argument.
Understanding the West’s unhealthy sense of guilt and shame, bin Laden portrays jihadists as the oppressed to our oppressor, the victim to our aggressor. Bin Laden knew that repeating such arguments — regardless of their veracity — would have a profound effect on the Western consciousness over time.
Conversely, playing on our moral relativism, multiculturalism and religious tolerance, bin Laden knew that we would fail to internalize his idealist worldview: A worldview formed by the Islamic doctrine that animates jihadists and lays bare their goals, strategies and tactics.
We have accepted the former (materialism) but ignored the latter (idealism), which explains in part why we are losing to the global jihad.
If you disagree with this assertion, consider that we in the West ask “Why do they hate us?” We search in vain for “root causes” of radicalization, and tell ourselves that a group that calls itself Islamic State and follows Muhammad literally perverts Islam or has nothing to do with it at all.
Meanwhile, our enemies self-identify as Islamic jihadists — a jihad compelled by the corpus of Islamic texts – whose end goal is to make the entire world submit to Allah’s rule.
President Obama either out of political correctness, ignorance or a more nefarious impulse damages America’s cause by parroting the victimology that Osama bin Laden knew Western progressives would buy hook, line and sinker.
He gives credence to our enemies’ arguments while implementing an agenda ostensibly to combat them wholly consonant with such a worldview, and thereby wholly ineffectual.
This is the far more consequential and far more dangerous takeaway from the president’s interview than the tired invocation of “Bush’s fault” that Obama’s critics have harped on.
Feature Image: AP Photo/Irwin Fedriansyah