Tuesday, April 04, 2017
The Counter-Jihad Trickle
I've spoken of the "Counter-Jihad Mainstream", that broad quasi-movement of people out there gettin' it done -- writing books, attending seminars & colloquia, participating in various activist events and demonstrations, debating Muslims and/or Islamopologists, being interviewed on each other's Internet radio and/or video shows, presiding over popular blogs, getting invited to brief police and intelligence groups... have I left out anything?
Gettin' it done. But what exactly is this "it" they're gettin' done?
Therein lies the rub. I won't go into details at length about this now, since I've written about it many times before (see this Google page for a few of my previous essays). In a nutshell, the Counter-Jihad Mainstream pursues a soft approach to the problem of Islam -- chiefly by ignoring (when not positively softening) the crucial corollary problem: the problem of all Muslims.
If this is the Mainstream of the Counter-Jihad, what's left over? Either an eensy minority, or perhaps a Silent Majority, most of whom apparently (if they exist) are too timid to pipe up and make their disagreements known to the Counter-Jihad Mainstream. And perhaps many of them coast along under the vague hope that if enough incoherent nougat from the Counter-Jihad Mainstream is thrown on the wall of the broader PC MC Mainstream, something will eventually stick.
Anywho, these thoughts were occasioned by a breath of fresh air I suddenly gulped yesterday evening (I almost choked in my surprise), in the form of a blogger who, as far as I can tell, is decidedly and appropriately tough on the issue. I speak of Chris Logan, who's blog is Logan's Warning (it's been on my blogroll for some time). I don't read his blog frequently enough, perhaps; but all along I knew he was tough, I just didn't know how tough, and subliminally I dreaded being disappointed, as I have been so many times before by other seemingly tough-talking Counter-Jihadists, by seeing sudden signs of nougaty softness.
My experience last night had its amusing moment: I noticed his latest piece was a critique of Ayaan Hirsi Ali. So far, so good. While I used to be a loyal supporter of Ayaan, I've become increasingly dismayed by her calls for Islamic "reform" and her partnering up, practically, with that pseudo-reformer snake Maajid Nawaz of late. So I settled into Logan's exposé with eager anticipation. Then midway in my reading, I had an odd experience: It might have been my inattentive reading, or it might have been Logan's typographical layout which was a little confusing, but I found myself reading some lengthy text that struck me as markedly soft. I paused, leaned back in my chair, and thought: "Good God, even Logan is a Counter-Jihad Softy? What the hell is going on...!?"
Stuff like this:
The dominant strategy from 9/11 through the present, focusing only on Islamist violence, has failed. In focusing only on acts of violence, we have ignored the ideology that justifies, promotes, celebrates, and encourages violence, and the methods of dawa used to spread that ideology. Without question, certain military operations against jihadist groups could be conducted more effectively. The virtual abandonment of Iraq, the overreliance on air power and drone strikes, the belief that terrorist networks can somehow be decapitated: all of these have been fundamental tactical errors.
This is typical of Counter-Jihad Softies: they begin by sounding fairly tough, and yet my semi-conscious weariness already picked up, peripherally, fine cracks of nougat, which I was willing to forgive temporarily (the "Islamist" violence), since I already had respect for Logan and wanted to see where he was going with this. I read on:
Nevertheless, a return to the highly effective counterinsurgency tactics of the Iraq “surge” and its counterpart in Afghanistan, while necessary, cannot be regarded as a sufficient response to the threat we face. Plainly, we cannot continue to fight political Islam by engaging in large-scale foreign military interventions.
This was my first slap of cold water. I thought, "Huh??? Logan is commending our disastrous "Surge" policy? And what's this about "political Islam" -- that Daniel-Pipesian nonsense picked up eagerly by pseudo-reformers Maajid Nawaz and Zuhdi Jasser...?"
I read on:
The American public has not unreasonably lost faith in that approach. So what else can be done?
First, we need a paradigm shift that recognizes how violent jihad is intertwined with the ideological infrastructure of dawa.
Ah great, I thought -- a new paradigm! Who doesn't like new paradigms? Let's continue:
In the old paradigm, we focused on combating Islamic terrorism In the new paradigm, we must continue to seek the destruction of groups like the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, but we must also
develop a suitable strategy to combat dawa.
Okay, I thought, dawa is bad, we can all agree on that. And since dawa is a central part of mainstream Islam, so far so good, I guessed...
This will reopen—if it was ever over—the contentious debate on how to balance civil rights with the need for security. There are trade-offs to be made here, as always. It is clearly fatalistic to suggest, as the Obama administration did, that Americans must learn to live with the terrorist threat and that, on the basis of statistics, Americans are more in danger from their own bathtubs than from Islamist terrorists. The terrorist threat cannot be measured only by the number of successful terrorist attacks. The threat also includes the many attacks that were thwarted by effective security measures and, more importantly, the unknown plots currently being hatched, and the probability that such plots will grow more numerous and more dangerous in the future.
Again, it sounded good, other than that annoying "Islamist" that was beginning to stick in the craw.
Bathtubs do not plot to overthrow the American way of life. The Islamists do.
Oh brother, there it is again.
Now the next couple of sentences is where I checked out of Motel Counter-Jihad:
It is the job of Congress to find the right balance in the face of this specific threat between our rights and freedoms and a policy package that is effective in combating the threat. Protection of the religious rights of the members of the Muslim minority who are not engaged in Islamist dawa should be an integral part of that package.
I thought, "What in tarnation...!!!??? Logan is concerned about Muslims who are "not engaged in Islamist dawa"...!!!??? Have I entered the freaking Twilight Zone...!!!???"
After a few moments of doing something else to clear my head, I realized what had happened. I had mistaken an extended quotation from Ayaan Hirsi Ali herself for Logan's own thoughts on the matter. What passed for robustly anti-"Islamist" rhetoric -- the mealy-mouthed pablum of the Counter-Jihad Mainstream retailed by Ayaan -- was being rightly condemned by Logan. Sanity restored. Thank you, Logan.