To say we are living in difficult times is a gross understatement. In actual fact, we are living in extremely dangerous times! They are dangerous for two main reasons: Our civilization is under attack not only from without but also from within! Indeed, the West is at a crossroads. Our very survival lies in the balance! Either we win this, or our civilization will bite the dust. This reminds me of Churchill’s fine and sage words: Without victory, there is no survival. Let that be realized. No survival. …
The West has been under fire ever since 9/11, and even before that. But we have not risen to the challenges we face. The seriousness of the situation has been magnified manifold by our constant refusal to accept the reality of the challenges we do face.
To win a war, the war has to be defined in clear terms. No wars are won when the enemy is not defined. It is virtually impossible to win a war when a clear line is not drawn in the sand. There must be a clear line of demarcation. We don’t have one. So, as a result, we are fighting a war many are quite unable to understand. No wars are won that way. To win a war, the people, das Volk, the electorate, has to comprehend what the government is doing, comprehend why the war is being waged. It has to understand the objectives of that war. Moreover, it has to understand that sacrifices have to be made for a finite period of time.
Even today, even in these hedonistic times, if the electorate is made to understand that sacrifices have to be made in order to secure ultimate victory over the enemy, if the electorate is made to understand that the very survival of our way of life is at stake, then they will be prepared to make those sacrifices. However, one thing must be realized: No war was ever won without sacrifices!
Unfortunately, George W. Bush has failed to bring the people along with him in his ‘War on Terror’. There is constant bickering, and there are constant internal battles, too. Many people, Republicans and Democrats alike, do not agree with the way the President has waged this war; and in my opinion, with good reason. He has also failed to raise the morale of the people. Raising the morale of the people is extremely important. So important that it was one of Churchill’s trump cards.
For a start, trying to wage a ‘War on Terror’ is like trying to catch flies in a high wind: One minute they are here; another, they are there. Further, they multiply rather readily, too; so when, after great difficulty, a few have been caught, the new ones, younger ones, are around to bother us. So this was his first big mistake: To try and define the enemy as an ugly offshoot from a rather beautiful tree. The tree, in this case, is Islam, of course; and Bush seems convinced that it is a religion of love and peace. He sees the bastardized version of Islam that the ‘Islamists’ practise as a mutation, a sick mutation, from the real creed. Sadly, George W. Bush is greatly mistaken. He neither knows the history of Islam and how it has been spread nor does he understand its true nature!
It is my belief that one of the most important attributes of a leader of any Western country from now on is a thorough understanding of the nature of Islam. Just as Nazism was a huge threat for the free world in the 1930’s and 40’s, and just as communism was a huge threat to us after World War II, so Islam is a huge threat to the free world today. So it is imperative that our leaders know exactly what Islam is, what Islam’s aspirations are, and what are Islam’s means of achieving its goals. Without this profound understanding, we cannot hope to survive. Our civilization will go the way of many before it! It will be snuffed out.
It is a fact of life that what happens in America is of paramount importance to the rest of the free world. Europe and Australasia, for example, take their lead from the American President, even though it may sometimes appear as though they might not. Garbled messages coming out of the White House do not inspire confidence in the rest of the world. The rest of the free world thirsts for a strong US president to give a lead. Unfortunately, George W. Bush has not provided the free world with the lead they so desired.
The US is the beacon of freedom. If its light goes out, it will plunge the world into complete darkness. This is a fact of life.
Seven of the President's main errors of judgment immediately come to mind. They are:
He has failed to understand the true nature of Islam.Recent developments have done nothing to aid President Bush’s credibility; indeed, they have conspired to detract from it.
He has failed to define the enemy clearly.
He has failed to draw a sharp line of demarcation between the enemy and us. This has been made particularly blurred because he has tried to engage the enemy in this war against themselves. That is never a good strategy. It is a particularly poor strategy with Muslims, because they have such a great sense of loyalty to each other. Indeed, to a Muslim, it is a cardinal sin to go against his brother or sister in Islam!
He has chosen to fight a ‘War on [Islamic] Terror’ – a war which could, and probably will, go on for decades. The people will surely tire of this war, even if they haven’t done so already. It is also a very costly war, because it is a war without end. Waging such a costly war might well bankrupt America. Many wars do bankrupt the nations that wage them. If this happens, the President will have played right into the hands of Osama bin Laden, since one of OBL’s goals was to bankrupt the nation in the first place. If America is bankrupted, it will have to go cap in hand to the rich Arab world for handouts! This will surely be disastrous for the ‘Land of the Free’!
He has chosen to try and bring democracy to the Middle East. This was a particularly grave error of judgment because Islam and democracy are totally and utterly immiscible. The President has repeatedly refused to accept this; but it is a fact. Why are they immiscible? For several reasons: First and foremost among them is the fact that for a democracy to function properly, there simply has to be a strict and clear separation of church and state, a clear separation of the secular from the sacred. The separation of mosque and state is something which the Islamic world does not have (apart, perhaps, in Turkey where it has been kept separate only with the aid of a very strong military), and nor will it ever if Islam survives as a religion in its true form, since Islam rejects the concept of separation - totally! One of the defining characteristics of Islam is that there is to be no separation of politics and religion. The both simply meld into one. This is one of the Prophet Muhammad’s injunctions. How, then, can we hope to bring democracy to them? It goes against the teachings of their Prophet. Further, and very importantly, democracy is considered to be a Western form of government. All things Western are viewed with great suspicion in the Islamic world. But there is one more thing to consider: In a democracy, all power filters up to the leadership from the people via the polls; in a theocracy, the typical and natural form of government for Muslims, all power filters down to the leadership, and further, from Allah and His final Messenger! These circles simply cannot be squared.
Fact is that Iraq is now on the brink of civil war. Even today, the headlines in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Switzerland’s prestigious and extremely unsensational newspaper reads Im Irak droht ein Bürgerkrieg, which loosely translates as ‘Civil looms on the horizon in Iraq’. The BBC, also not known for its sensationalism, also has a story today on the threat of a civil war in Iraq. It’s entitled Iraq's civil war nightmare. If civil war breaks out in Iraq, the President’s foreign policy will be in tatters!
He has failed to give a clear signal to the Islamic world in the ‘cartoon war’ that freedom of speech and freedom of expression are of extreme importance in a free and democratic society. In fact, the White House said very little about it, except to say that it disagreed with the printing of the cartoons. Hence, the President has shown, yet again, that he is willing to appease the Islamic world, probably for the sake of contracts. The West’s insatiable desire for contracts is at variance with its need to survive as a civilization. There comes a point when we have to say: Principles come before contracts; principles come before greed!
One very positive thing can be said about the Islamic world: Muslims put their religious principles above economic considerations. (Does this, perhaps, make them unassailable?) We have seen this to be true over the cartoon controversy. Businesses in many countries in the Islamic world are asking people to boycott Danish products. Many of those businesses must have large stocks of goods from Denmark which they would prefer to let perish rather than to make a buck from their sale. Why? On a point of principle! How many Western businesses would do the same for Jesus? This willingness to sacrifice for their strong beliefs is, of course, a great strength to the Islamic world. It puts power in their elbows!
He has made a grave mistake in pushing for the six ports to fall into the hands of a firm in the UAE. It makes no sense because their loyalty is to their Muslim brothers, not to the infidels! And in any case, even if this firm can be trusted, the American people, by and large, are not in favour of such a move. Indeed, they are deeply suspicious of it, as indeed they should be. It is uncomfortable for them. So this decision can do nothing but further alienate the President from the people, his electorate. Moreover, it is a decision which has GREED written all over it!
There is no doubt that Bush should have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Denmark in its fight for freedom of the press and the freedoms of speech and expression. That he has failed to do so is no testimony to his determination to ensure the survival of the free world. Indeed, it makes a mockery of it.
George Bush should under no circumstances allow the sale of the ports to the UAE. His credibility depends on the sale not going through. How can he expect the people to take his ‘War on Terror’ seriously when they see that he is prepared to take such risks with America’s ports?
If Iraq slips into civil war, it will further dent his popularity and credibility. Indeed, it could be a deathblow to this President, his administration, and any credibility that may remain.
As they say in German, Vorsicht ist die Mutter der Weisheit, or, translated, caution is the mother of wisdom. It would pay President Bush to be more cautious! He can ill afford this credibility deficit. The rest of his term in office depends on it.
Cross-posted to A New Dark Age Is Dawning
Mark is the author of the book, The Dawning of a New Dark Age: A Collection of Essays on Islam