President Obama recently declared that it was time to end our war on terror. Some consider this stupid because individual terror attacks still go on, but I think the President is right. Unless we plan to invade Pakistan or Saudi Arabia and clean out their Islamists, we no longer have a war in which a country is involved. He did not say that terrorism was over; but these nasty terror cells can be managed by police and FBI and tried as criminals.
President Obama does have a dilemma with what to do about closing Guantanamo Prison. Some of the Muslims rounded up after 9/11 may not have been terrorists at all, but were sold to the US by Afghan and Pakistani opportunists. Although Congress rejects closing the prison, it is more than time to resolve this messy issue. Public pressure will help.
But Guantanamo is not the only problem that this “war” has surfaced. Other than the “drug war,” we have never fought another war that seemed so endless. But in history, every war ends, and this one will too, as shown below:
• Assassin Cult. The world’s first terrorists were 11th and 12th century Persian Shiite Muslims, the cult of the Assassins. This cult recruited young men, doped them with hashish and staged sexual orgies for them in their befuddled state; when they awoke, they were told that they would have more of the same in Paradise if they took the oath to the Brotherhood. This group could assassinate anybody anywhere in the then known world; no leader was safe. This movement was brought to a stop when worse terrorists, the Mongol hordes, destroyed their mountain castle (and Baghdad as well).
• Anarchists. Lethal 19th century Anarchist terrorists assassinated seven world leaders, including American president McKinley, and carry out public bombings. They were put out of business by the eruption of World War I, a horror set off by an Anarchist assassination.
• Islamo-Fascism. Our struggle today is not against terror, which is just a tactic, but is against a form of Islam that has lured young men (and some women) with nothing else in their lives to give them hope. When Muslim terrorists say that Islam is their motive, why do we look around for other motives?
The FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist list goes back to 1950, long before 9/11/01, and is comprised of just those terrorists who attacked American interests. All 31 of them were men and all of them Muslim, except for one radical Animal Rights extremist from San Diego. For the complete list, see Daniel Pipes #1247, “Lessons From the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists.”
Terrorism inevitably exhausts itself. The terrorism within Northern Ireland’s long struggle with England finally came to an end through both exhaustion and increasing Irish public distaste; an agreement was made in 2007 signed on by the two deadly enemies.
Even Palestinian terrorism (aircraft hijacking, murder of Israeli athletes at the Olympics, and then suicide bombings) is going to end. The Palestinians are clearly exhausted by their decades of refusal to recognize Israel’s right to nationhood. As their great population explosion has turned into a population crash, there will be far fewer disposable young men (and women) to engage in terror. The centuries of close-cousin marriages have also taken a toll on a dearth of viable babies. Time to negotiate peace.
Finally, every religion goes through phases of dead-end violence. In antiquity, a fanatical form of Judaism launched suicidal terror attacks on the Roman occupiers of the Holy Land. They lost, and Judaism morphed into a benign and peaceful faith. Catholicism’s Inquisition endeared them to nobody and birthed Protestantism. Protestantism went through a nightmare period of religious war, witch hunting, and murderous bigotry. This ended with the emergence of secular governance in today’s developed world.
Islam’s struggle against modernity will also end because, with its neo-fascist political ideology, Islamism is a dead end. Even the far more competent Nazi regime lasted only 12 years. If Islam has a future, it will have to become a personal, not a political, religion.
Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman is a historian, lecturer, and author of Ten Inventions that Changed Everything. You may contact her at Lfarhat102@aol.com or www.globalthink.net.