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In this commentary, frequent contributor Sam Holliday addresses a current hot-button issue in public policy debate and offers his own unique and probably controversial approach to defining and prosecuting the War on Terrorism.
Readers’ comments are welcome. —Assoc.

Conflict of Wills

by Sam C. Holliday

The so-called War on Terror (also called the Global War on Terrorism and World War IV) is actually a conflict of ideas and wills between the Third Jihad and Western Civilization. Of the many campaigns in this conflict, communication is the one in which Muslim fanatics have had the greatest success. Since 9/11 those advocating a Third Jihad—plus the media of the world still practicing peacetime journalismhave repeatedly shaped opinions throughout the world. What can those that champion the ideas and ideals of Western Civilization do to improve their performance in the communication campaign of this conflict?

Four Ways to Improve Performance
First of all, we should change the words we use. Rather than being called War on Terror, this conflict should be called Warfare on Hirabahists. We should use Hirabah (Unholy Warfare) rather than Jihad (Holy War) and use hirabahists (evildoers that use terror against civilians) rather than jihadists, terrorists, or Islamists. Changing the words we use is not a sufficient answer, but it is a necessary prerequisite for effective communications.

For the definitions of the words terror, terrorists, war, warfare, peace, hirabah, jihadists, and hirabahists and a discussion of these words see: Click on Warfare and then go to Strategy During Warfare (15 Aug 04).

Second, the communications campaign demands a coordinated effort. In the USA the State Department, the Pentagon, the CIA, and Congress must work together. And the efforts of the USA must be synchronized with all others that champion the ideas of Western Civilization. Most of all, this campaign needs those in the media to recognize that in Warfare they are not just journalists, but that they also have a duty to their country as much as any soldier sent into harms way. Therefore, all of those in the media need to determine how their attitudes, responsibilities, and actions during Warfare should differ from what they associate with professionalism during peacetime.

Third, we need to condemn the often-called terrorists, and those who give them aid and support, in religious terms—rather than in Western secular terms. No longer should we adopt the language of those falsely claiming they are fighting a Jihad for Islam. Hirabahists is the correct term for those who bombed the transportation system in London on 7/7, those who did the same in Madrid on 3/11, those who committed the May 03 massacre in Casablanca, those using car bombs in Iraq, those who killed over 3,000 Americans on 9/11, those around the world actively participating in the Third Jihad, and those giving aid and sup-port to the hirabahists.

We should be willing to use accurate words when talking about our enemies-rather than politically correct words. They should readily charge those who use terror in the name of Islam with committing “apostasy” and “istihlal” (Islam’s grievous sin of playing God). In the past the hirabahists have called their cause “Jihad” (Holy War), their assassins “mujahiddin” (holy warriors), or Servants of Allah, or “martyrs”, and their destiny “Jinnah” (Paradise). And all too often, these are the words that the politically correct, and cowardly, in Europe and America have also used. This is both inaccurate and dangerous. We should refer to their cause as Hirabah (unholy war), their assassins as hirabahists (evildoers that use terror against civilians) or Servants of Satan, and their destiny as Jahannam (eternal Hellfire).

Fourth, we need to encourage all Islamic clerics to issue fatwas (religious edicts) that condemn anyone who uses terror against civilians as an “apostate”, or “kafir” (infidel) to authentic Quranic Islam. Those Islamic clerics who will not issue such a fatwa would then be considered hirabahists themselves. In their condemnation the Islamic clerics should state that:

1. Faithful and peaceful Muslims must unite and oppose the blasphemous criminality of those who use terror against civilians, which violates the teaching of authentic Islam.
2. The ongoing attacks on Europe and the USA are not an authentic “Jihad” (Holy War), but a Hirabah (Unholy War)—which in secular terms is called a “crime against humanity”.
3. Those conducting Hirabah are destined for Jahannam (Eternal Hellfire), not Jinnah (Paradise).

Scope of the Conflict
Effective communication is probably the key to victory in Warfare against Hir-abahists. And the stakes are very high, since defeat would mean the end of Western Civilization.

Those that believe in the Third Jihad (hirabahists) claim they have a right to reclaim ALL formerly Muslim-ruled lands, even where Muslims now are a mi-nority. They claim a right to establish the sharia-governed Caliphate over all Muslims. They want Islamist rule to replace secular rule in the Middle East, across North and East Africa, Asia Minor, the Balkans, Southwest Asia, Central Asia, and Indonesia. But the believers of the Third Jihad also want a global Caliphate. That means they want to be the only ones that can proselytize where Muslims are a minority. It is impossible to compromise with the hirabahists be-cause they have unlimited goals. To us their goals might seem unreasonable and unlikely to succeed. Yet they, like Hitler, can do grave harm before their movement’s ultimate defeat.

The goal of the hirabahists is clear, but Westerners and Muslims alike so far have been unable to see it. Most Muslim leaders in secular countries claim that Islam is a religion of peace and pretend that they are mere innocent bystanders to the terror of the hirabahists.

Opposing the hirabahists of the Third Jihad is Western Civilization. The ques-tion is: how does Western Civilization counter the hirabahists? Killing all of those that believe in the Third Jihad is impossible. Somehow Western Civiliza-tion must be able to chance the conditions that breed hirabahists. The West needs the skills to separate hirabahists from other Muslims that do not share their extremist interpretations of Islam and the goals of the Third Jihad.

We needs a communication capability that can maintain the will of all people that believe in the ideas of Western Civilization, expose those who give aid and comfort to the hirabahists, weaken the will of the hirabahists, and encour-age others to join us in efforts to neutralize the hirabahists.

Yet Western Civilization is now ill prepared for this battle of ideas and wills. From 1700 until the 1950s the Modern era was one of Western dominance. Since the 1950s many American and Europeans-particularly those with the most formal education-have unwittingly embraced secular materialist individualism, and the conviction that progress requires universal health, wealth, and rights. They consider hardship, sacrifice, national identity, and patriotism remnants of the past made obsolete by postmodern thought. They are unwilling to return to the values, attitudes and beliefs that made the West so wealthy and powerful. Today secularists in the USA and Europe do not want to admit that it was sacred authority (civic virtues based on shared moral, ethical, and religious beliefs) that made the West supreme as much as it was science, technology, individualism, and secular authority (structures, processes, rules and laws of governance). Sacred authority controls behavior from within individuals. Secular authority controls behavior with rewards and punishments.

The communications campaign is more than what has been referred to as winning hearts and minds, because that has often been limited to economic development and gaining acceptance of Western political ideals. This campaign uses ideas to reinforce or weaken wills; it requires various tools. It includes public diplomacy, a shift by journalists and politicians from what is appropriate for Peace to what is appropriate for Warfare, psychological operations, and covert operations. It uses information (and what our enemies would call disinformation) to inform, influence, and motivate Americans, our friends, and our enemies. We might start with the development of a new version of the World War II Voice of America. Then we might use selective jamming of those channels that spread the word of the hirabahists.

However, nothing should be done by any government in the name of the threat posed by hirabahists to restrict the right of freedom of speech or expression. We must always be careful that we avoid the extreme policies illustrated by Goebbels’ propaganda. It is always necessay to rebuild credibility. Rather we need greater self-control. Journalists and politicians who want to remain part of the loyal opposition need to evaluate their words and actions to make sure there are no unintended consequences. They must say and do nothing that gives aid and comfort to the hirabahists. If they fail to use such restraint their colleagues and the people should shun them. They can only be considered patriotic if their words and actions do no harm to those fighting to neutralize the hirabahists for all of us.

In the USA and in Europe political debates, and activities of the media, must be conducted in a way that does not give aid and comfort to the hirabahists. It requires a shift by politicians and journalists from what is appropriate for Peace to what is appropriate for Warfare. In other words, it requires loyal oppositions to existing governments, but not politicians and journalists undermining efforts to neutralize the hirabahists. 

Published by arrangement with the Armiger Cromwell Center, 1035 Fearrington, Pittsboro, NC 27312-5502.

Sam C. Holliday is a graduate of the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, a former director of stability studies at the Army War College, and a retired army colonel. He earned a masters in public affairs from the University of Pittsburgh and a doctorate in international relations from the University of South Carolina.


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