Friday, January 06, 2006

Waging Peace in the Horn of Africa

From the Leavenworth Lamp:

CAMP LEMONIER, Djibouti - Service members on an important front in the Global War on Terror are fighting hard, but not with weapons.

"We're waging peace as hard as we can," the commander of Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa told American Forces Press Service Monday.

Marine Maj. Gen. Timothy Ghormley said the command has not had to fire a shot in anger.

"The French had to kill a hyena once," he said.

He said Marines, airmen, sailors and Soldiers in the command are strengthening and stabilizing the nations of the region.

"We are setting the conditions for victory," the general said. "We're avoiding another Iraq or Afghanistan."

Here's how this works, contrary to popular belief, we are not at war with "Islam" as a whole, but at war with the nihilistic Wahabi/Salafi religio/politico concept of a sect of Islam which unfortunately, like the idea of Communism, promising to lift people out of their dire and down trodden existence if they just believe enough and kill or subjugate all of the people that are not like them, particularly the US or the Western European states (of course, history of colonization and mistreatment by European nations in the not so distant past helps the Islamist claim).

However, this strain of Islam, promising things it cannot deliver and, if it did, would certainly result in more misery around the world, has appeal simply because people in specific conditions don't have much left to believe in except their faith and hope that faith will eventually pay off in the rewards spoken of in the Qur'an. Lo' and behold, some men come along (arguably, well educated, middle class idealogues - like the leaders of the bolshevik revolution) promising exactly that.

These men spread this ideology. If we do not do small things to counter that ideology now, then it becomes a global war, not just against terrorists, but against an entire "religion" or against an enemy so large we are forced to commit "total war" as opposed to "small war".

There is a difference, though many people do not recognize it, whether insisting that this IS war against "Islam" as a whole or those who insist that no such war exists and we should mind our business, staying out of these countries' business.

Of course, the last group is the group that also insisted that we need not fear the expansion of Communism, never understanding that it was not necessarily the utopic idea of communism, but the expansion to areas with vital resources that would have isolated the US economically (as much as we did to the USSR) and caused our own collapse.

That is in fact the danger of Islamist Wahabi/Salafism. If it suceeds in expansion and take over of specific nations with both military and economic strategic importance, it will change the world as we know it and we will be forced to commit war beyond our current actions in order to survive. Further, since the very ideology of Islamist Wahabi/Salafism is predicated on the destruction of all other nations, it is likely that, however much we may want to avoid war, the enemy will not let us do so because it understands what is at stake and how far he must go, even if we do not.

So, the truth is, we should be alarmed about the spread of this ideology, but we should also understand that our options are currently open to things less than war and we are taking those options. On the otherhand, it is neither alarmist nor nihilistic nor warmongering to point out that the growth of this ideology and expansion of tactics and attacks may well be in our future more than we care to imagine or understand.

Burying your head in the sand will not change it, though you may be more surprised than others when it happens.

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