I’m republishing this paper as the CIA has lately revealed that it had a secret plan to assassinate top echelons of al Qaeda and other terrorists in which ever country they were living. As readers of the paper will see this is exactly what I suggested the Americans should do back in October 2001 against this unique and deadly enemy.
The following paper is an extract from my book Unveiling The War Against Terror, published in Melbourne on May 9, 2004. The paper was written in early October 2001
A knife was plunged into the back of Western Civilisation on the 11th of September, 2001. The attack of the terrorists on the World Trade Centre and on the Pentagon, was not only an act of war against the United States, but also an attack on Western culture and its institutions, whose pinnacle is cosmopolitan America.
Moreover, it was not an act of emancipation from the imperialist yoke of the US, as some people with a warped cock-eyed historical sense have seen it, but the prelude of a holy war in the name of Islam against the depraved West by a fanatical group of Muslims, who view the US as the embodiment of the West’s evil.
Furthermore, these recruits of fanaticism, as the hijackers were, who were prepared to sacrifice their lives, were not of the mettle of Japanese kamikaze brave warriors, but cowards who could not perpetrate their ‘heroic’ action without the ‘Koranic’ promise of securing a one-way-ticket to paradise for their martyrdom. They were an inferior disgruntled breed, who having been conscious of the fact that in the race of civilisations they had fallen behind, were full of envy, hate and resentment against the West, which in this historical age has won the race. To illustrate, in a simplified way, that this inability of Muslims to contest other civilisations and win, is deeply rooted in their religion, is exemplified by the commandment of the Koran that its believers should pray five times a day. Imagine a marathon race that lasted all day, whose protagonists were of a mixed religious background, and the position of those who would have to stop and pray five times at the finish of the race.
No wonder, that the verdict of history can be so harsh on cultures whose people spend so much time in the affairs of the Other world than in the affairs of the present one. And no wonder, that by the criteria of economic social and political development, countries with such religious rigidity are falling behind countries of the developed world. It is not surprising therefore, that people who are trapped in such religious conformity, will seek and find scapegoats for their own and for their governments’ failings. This is especially so among the educated and demographically increasing younger generations, whose resentment is intensified even more against the West, because their societies cannot provide them with employment, due to the fact that their elitist and authoritarian regimes spend their incomes on conspicuous consumption, on internecine wars, and on overseas investments in the economically developed countries of the world, instead of investing their capital in the industrial infrastructure of their own countries. For all these deficiencies of their own regimes they blame the Americans. The young therefore, become terrorist fodder in the hands of their fundamentalist leaders, such as Osama bin Laden, because all their ambitions and talents cannot find an outlet within the corrupt regimes of their own countries.
What, however, is most disturbing for the West, is that the distorted interpretations of the Koran by the fundamentalist mullahs, motivate a sizeable part of the young to throng behind their fanatic leaders’ calls for a Jihad, in almost all Muslim countries, as well as some Muslims of the diaspora who reside in the West. For if the will of Allah allows killers of innocent people to enter the kingdom of God, then killing of the innocent would be an act of salvation and guarantee for their mass murderers that they would enter infinite paradise. If there are, as it is obvious, some Muslims who cannot see through these distorted interpretations of the Koran, then Western nations have no other option but to respond to the battle-cry of the Islamic leaders and fight them to the end. No civilised human rights laws should protect this murderous mass of fanatics who are determined to bury civilised life. No United Nations human rights shield should protect these terrorists, as well as those who harbour and promote them. When the heart of Western civilisation is the target of these extremists, then the top priority for the west should be their elimination. The only maxim that should apply to terrorist criminals, is that those who live by the laws of the jungle should also be prepared to die by the laws of the jungle. But this is a maxim of the brave. ….
The Inadequacy Of Soft Options
It would be foolish after the ruins of New York to search for soft options. It is for this reason that the humanitarian calls, of well intentioned people -and of the not so well intentioned potpourri of socialists, anarchists, and their fellow-travellers- for peace in conditions of a ruthless war launched by these fanatics against the West, lack historical knowledge and are bereft of reason. To assert, as these groups do, that the terrorist attack in New York and Washington, is the comeuppance of the US for its policies in the Middle East and of its bombing and embargo against Iraq, is to show the ingrained bias and hatred these groups have against the US, as well as display their shallow historical analysis of events of the last fifty-five years. Such assertions are no more than political and historical alchemy, and should be treated with the appropriate intellectual contempt they deserve.
According to article 51 of the UN Charter, in regards to an armed attack against a nation, the US has every right to defend itself against this attack of the terrorists on its soil. Moreover, it has a moral and strategic responsibility to respond to this dastardly strike against civilians with its full might, especially, when this strike is merely the beginning of what is to come, if these fanatics of al Qaeda and other extremists groups happen to obtain biological and nuclear weapons, which they would use with a zealot’s glee against the infidels of the West. Against this apocalyptic threat that confronts the West, the latter has to act with all its power, pre-emptively, fearlessly, and decisively.
The first signs are, that this ‘war’ against terrorism will be unlike any other wars. The battlelines will be three-dimensional. They will involve ‘blitzkriegs’ on the economic, diplomatic and military terrain. But in the diplomatic field it will be the end of diplomacy as we know it. The United States will play hard ball diplomacy on an international scale, and its “mission will determine its coalition”, in the words of its Defence Secretary Rumsfeld. Its foreign policy will be prudently flexible, but it will not allow itself to be beguiled and misguided by the siren songs of that tower of Babel, the United Nations, to open another welter and ‘banter’ on the table of negotiations.
There cannot be a crossing, a meeting of minds, with such ruthless, fanatical opponents. The scourge of terrorism will not and cannot be resolved on the table of prolonged negotiations, but on the battlefield, especially when the time-bomb of biological and nuclear devices is ticking-on. The US military retaliation must be massive and swift. The times are not for timorous leaders, military sceptics, and indecisive Hamlets. President Bush, having an intelligent, decisive administration, shows all the signs that he will tackle this problem, unlike his predecessor, complacent, Hamletinesque Clinton, by grappling the bull of terrorism by its horns. But, he will not be a reckless matador. This is illustrated by the fact, that despite the carnage of New York and Washington and the immense provocation – it was the first time in its history that the US mainland had become a target – this attack was on the Bush Administration, yet the latter did not respond with a knee-jerk reaction, but with prudence, stoicism, and deliberation. It took almost a month before it responded militarily against this challenge of the terrorists. And before it started firing its missiles on Afghanistan, it forged a notable coalition, encompassing Europe and Asia, of which China and Russia are the most important, against terrorism, as a necessary, if not indispensable weapon in its fight against these fanatics.
In his address to the nation, President Bush made it clear, that the war on terrorism will be unconventional, protracted, and not without casualties. It will not be a war fought by divisions and army corps. It will be fought in the shadows of intelligence, since its enemy has a shadowy existence, and by special forces, whose aim will be to take out terrorist bases, and either capture or eliminate its core personnel and its leaders. To borrow an example from the animal world, it will be a war of the hawks against the hedgehogs. The only difference being, that the hawks will not only operate on the ground, but also underground, ferreting out the terrorists from their burrows. The special forces will sweep from the sky, and as soon as they accomplish their mission, they will disappear into the sky again. No time for their enemies to pin them down. The element of surprise will be a great military advantage, and will play a decisive role, psychologically and physically in beating the terrorists.
Also, military strategists should consider the stretching of the unconventionality of the war more widely, by employing and deploying mercenaries against terrorists. There is a vast international pool of veterans highly skilled in the art of combat and clandestine warfare, who would be willing to use their prowess against terrorism. It would be most imprudent for Western governments not to tap this pool of international condottieri and bring it into its war mechanism against terror, because of moral scruples. In crisis conditions, all morality is answerable to the circumstances of the situation, not to ‘god’. No moral norm can be unconditional. Hence, the recruitment of mercenaries is neither immoral nor unconscionable, if it is going to contribute towards the defeat of terror.
The ‘war’ against the Taliban and bin Laden must be fought with all the US armaments, excluding biological and nuclear weapons. The teary comments of parts of the media on civilian casualties, have a misplaced perspective, and weaken the support that the coalition must have among its people to defeat this mortal enemy. No modern warfare can occur without civilian casualties, especially in the case of these fanatics who often use civilians as a shield.
The fact is however, that more civilians are killed by these dictatorial regimes than are killed when these regimes are struck from outside. Saddam Hussein massacred more civilians than the US bombing during the Gulf War. The Taliban and the Northern Alliance have slaughtered more civilians in their fratricidal war against each other, than the US bombing will ever do. In Rwanda, the Hutu regime massacred 800,000 Tutsi civilians in its tribal war against the latter. Where are the tears of the media for the above historical facts?
To accuse the US, that it deliberately targets civilians, is a gross fabrication and distortion of the truth. If its war planners had such an unjust and feeble-minded policy which targeted civilians, then such a policy would jeopardise its moral standing against terrorists, as well as lose in one sweep the support it has from the coalition, that it so wisely and diligently has put in place.
Pessimists Do Not Win Wars
The US has to retaliate with all its might against this global threat of terrorism. It should give no intellectual quarter to the sceptics and pessimists of academia, who claim that the war against terrorism cannot be won. Professor Fred Halliday, in an article published in The Guardian on 27 of October, claims that “eradicating terrorists does not eradicate their cause”. And a war against terrorism is “war against an enemy.of whom action can have no predictable end”. The most effective way to eradicate their cause is to put an end to the perceived invincibility and successes of the terrorists. Even fanatics, once they are deprived of their ‘invincibility’ by being defeated decisively in their operations, will lose their confidence that God is with them, and will abandon their cause.
As to the second contention of Professor Halliday, one can only reply that action against an enemy can never have a predictable end. But because of the unpredictability of war, one does not reel from fighting a mortal enemy who is threatening one’s survival. No one among the North Vietnamese leadership, could predict or even conceive that they could win the war against the United States, but unimaginative, intellectually nipple-fed professors, are always predictable.
The ‘war’ in Afghanistan against the Taliban and al Qaeda, will not be difficult to be won by the Americans. The defeat of the Soviets by the mujihadeen as an example of what would happen to the Americans, is inappropriate. The mujihadeen won the war against the Russians, not because of their formidableness as fighters, but mainly because of the material, logistical support and military advise the US had given it. In this ‘war’ the Taliban is totally isolated, and is not a beneficiary of strategic support and advice. The only support it has, is the support of fanaticism. And while fanaticism might induce courage, it depletes intelligence. But it is by intelligence that wars are won. Wayward, blind courage does not win wars. In modern warfare when one’s opponent is resolute, as the Americans are in this conflict, ‘robots’ which are motivated by fanaticism are destined to finish in a scrap heap of metal. The defeat of the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan, will ease the defeat of all other terrorist networks that exist in other countries. The West cannot rest until the infamy of global terrorism is crushed.