Thursday, August 5, 2010

Jihad and Western Liberty

Whatever you may say about him personally (and I do), Newt Gingrich is brilliant, and is as politically insightful as the best among us.

At a recent address to the American Enterprise Institute, Gingrich argued that we need to reframe our understanding of the so-called War in Terror. That name distorts the nature of our present international conflict involving radical Islam.

It began not in 2001, but in 1979 with the Iranian revolution.

It has nothing to do with Gitmo, Israel, America's image in the world, or the presence of American troops in the Middle East. The essence of the conflict is the struggle on the part of radical Islamists to impose Sharia law universally. It is what their religion requires (as they understand it), and technology as well as culotural and political circumstances have opened the opportunity to make great strides toward that end.

It takes two forms: militant and stealth, i.e., the former using violence, and the latter using cultural, intellectual, and political means to achieve the same goal. Framing the conflict as a war on terror takes into account only the former. Iran is the locus of the militant effort. Saudi Arabia pushes the stealth agenda.

Watch the entire speech, "America at Risk: Camus, National Security, and Afghanistan."

Andrew McCarthy has an eloquent summary of the speech and the issue it addresses at NRO, "It's About Sharia: Newt Gingrich Resets Our National Security Debate."

He explains,

  • "The single purpose of this jihad is the imposition of sharia."
  • "Islam is not merely a religious doctrine, but a comprehensive socio-economic and political system."
  • "...the brutality in sharia sanctions is not gratuitous, but intentional: It is meant to enforce Allah’s will by striking example."
  • "It is thus entirely rational (albeit frightening to us) that they accept the scriptural instruction that the very existence of those who resist sharia is offensive to Allah, and that a powerful example must be made of those resisters in order to induce the submission of all — “submission” being the meaning of Islam."
  • "Islamism is not a movement to be engaged, it is an enemy to be defeated."
  • "By pressing the issue, Newt us a metric for determining whether those who would presume to lead us will fight or surrender."

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