Name That War ... But Don’t Stop There
Max Boot’s April 25 “Name That War” column in the Wall Street Journal describes in great detail the enormous amount of time and energy being expended on the issue of what the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) should be called instead: the Long War, the War on IslamoFascism, the War on Militant Extremism, the War on “Whatyamacallit,” etc.
All things considered, the best option by far is to leave well enough alone. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
First, it is indeed a WAR, rather than a mere conflict or fight or struggle or campaign. We went through years of useless debate over such labels before settling correctly on the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
Second, it is indeed GLOBAL, rather than merely national or regional or hemispheric or parochial. It is center stage and primary “theatre” of a truly worldwide phenomenon.
Third, the al Qaeda-inspired enemy is a new ideology (a new pseudo-religious frame of reference) whose center is indeed Terrorism—not “Terror” but (al Qaeda-style) TERRORISM.
Remember, please, that World War II was waged not only against Hitler and Mussolini but more so against the crypto-socialist ideologies of Nazism and the Fascism which these evil men and their acolytes invented and fomented worldwide.
And remember also that the decades-long Cold War was not so much against Marx, Lenin, Stalin and Mao but more so against the Marxism, the Leninism, the Stalinism and the Maoism which these equally evil men fomented and tried to inflict on all of mankind.
That “extremely long war,” which began in 1918 with the advent of the Soviet State (and still goes on is in some parts of the world) was not against communes but against the Communist ideology which sought to communize the planet as a means of controlling it forevermore.
Even now, long after the lives of its fascist-Left founders, as many as 1.5 billion people still live under single-party Communism—whose self anointed “leaders” have always masked themselves as merely “Socialist” and “Populist” and “People’s Democratic,” just as today’s genocidal al Qaeda, al Sadr, Hizballah and similar Terrorists so cynically mask as godly and heroic “Jihadis” and “Mujahideen” and “Martyrs.”
Getting Serious About Labels
For those among us who sincerely do want to apply proper labels to the current crisis, its warring parties and their motivations, there are many more truth-in-language and truth-in-Islam missions to be performed—each of which will help the world to determine who are the “good guys” and who are the “bad guys” in the vital hearts, minds and souls aspects of the broader War on al Qaeda-style Terrorism.
As former Secretary of Defense and of Energy and CIA Director James Schlesinger testified to Congress in the mid-1980s, most human beings tend to “favor good and oppose evil but they need to know which is which. They need to know who the fellas are in the white hats and who the fellas are in the black hats”—followed by words of wisdom to the effect that in the absence of such clarity hundreds of millions of decent people will march off in support of forces and causes which have labeled themselves as holy, godly and just but which are exactly the opposite.
At that same time and in this same vein, the late great Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan worried deeply about the Cold War dangers of “semantic infiltration”—which he defined as “... the process whereby we come to adopt the language of our adversaries in describing political reality. The most totalitarian regimes in the world would call themselves ‘liberation movements.’ It is perfectly predictable that they should misuse words to conceal their real nature. But must we aid them in that effort by repeating those words? Worse, do we begin to influence our own perceptions by using them?”
If Schlesinger and Moynihan were to examine the current “players” and their causes in the increasingly deadly GWOT, they would notice that al Qaeda’s twice-declared “Jihad (Holy War) Against America and the West”—notice that they call it WAR—rests squarely on the legitimizing power of half a dozen Islamic religious words and frames of reference.
Simply stated, these terms are “Jihad (Holy War) by mujahideen (holy warriors) and shahideen (martyrs) destined for “Jennah” (Paradise) as a proper reward for killing all of us “kuffar” (infidels)”—and, of course, for destroying “al Shaitan Akhbar” (the Great Satan, America).
Both these great men and all of us might then find it useful, first, to avoid repeating these al Qaeda words of self-sanctification and thereby polishing the terrorists’ halos every time we do and, second, to begin using the moth truthful antonyms of these words, instead. This would be by routinely labeling these suicide mass murderers
(a) NOT as waging so-called “Jihad” (Holy War) but ungodly “Hirabah” (unholy war, war against society) and forbidden “Irhab” (Terrorism), instead;
(b) NOT as the “jihadis” and the “mujahideen” they falsely claim to be but as the irhabis (terrorists) and the mufsiduun (evildoers, mortal sinners and corrupters) they really are;
(c) NOT as the Godly heroes of “Jihadi martyrdom” they falsely claim to be but as the Satanic perpetrators of “Irhabi Murderdom” (Genocidal Terrorism) they really are;
(d) NOT as destined for a virgin-filled Paradise for killing all of us so-called kuffar (infidels) but to a demon-filled Jahannam (Eternal Hellfire) for killing so many thousands of innocents, fellow Muslims, “People of the Book” and “Sons of Abraham,” instead;
(e) NOT as the abd’al-Allah (Servants of Allah) they falsely claim to be but as the abd’al-Shaitan (Servants of Satan), the murtadduun (apostates) and the khawarij (outside-the-religion deviants) they really are.
Only once we know such correctly negative words and begin to use them proactively might we then begin to destroy forever the so-called “Jihadi Martyrdom” imagery by which these ruthless killers live, die and expect to enter Paradise.
And by painting the truthful alternative image of Irhabi Murderdom (of Genocidal Terrorism), we will expose al Qaeda’s grandiose promises as a monumental satanic scam which perverts religiously motivated young Muslims into irhabis, mufsiduun, murtadduun and khawarij—and dispatches them not into Allah’s Paradise but into Shaitan’s demon-filled Hellfire, instead.