by ANDREW C. MCCARTHY:
We explained in yesterday’s Ordered Liberty post that the publication of jihad heavyweight Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s communiqués, disseminated from the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, herald the return of the pre-9/11 paradigm: jihadist terror treated as a mere law-enforcement problem, not a war. Now, we turn to the propaganda aspects of KSM’s published writings, which – so far as we know at this time – include an Islamic-supremacist manifesto (published by the Huffington Post) and a lengthy letter to a social-worker pen-pal in Britain (reported on by the Guardian).
Let’s start by observing that it would have been inconceivable during, say, World War II, for the U.S. government to permit imprisoned German or Japanese enemy combatants (of which there were thousands) to enable publication of ideological propaganda from American detention facilities. It would have been nearly as inconceivable for American lawyers to argue that alien enemy combatants had a “right” to communicate with the outside world this way, or for American news outlets to publish enemy propaganda under the guise of “news” reporting. The two latter institutions have changed for the worse, and the government (very much including the courts) is bending to accommodate, rather than resisting, the Lawyer Left and the media.
For the reasons detailed in yesterday’s post, this is an alarming development. The national imperative in wartime should be victory over our enemies. We should not be at war unless we have that commitment – it is a profound betrayal of the young men and women we put in harm’s way to enable our enemies. KSM has no constitutional rights, we owe him only humane treatment, and it is ludicrous to suggest that he has a right to get his messages out to the world while he is lawfully detained as an enemy combatant.
Yet, the Obama Defense Department told Fox News that it is capable of vetting jihadist communications to ensure that their publication poses no threat. Even assuming for argument’s sake that the government has such a duty – and it does not, there should be a blanket prohibition – the claim is laughable.
As I demonstrated in yesterday’s post, the communications of imprisoned jihadists, even those that seem ostensibly harmless, increase the prestige of the inmates in the eyes of Islamic supremacists. They can be exploited by the imprisoned jihadists’ confederates for purposes of fundraising, recruitment, and calls to violence. It is not a matter of what our genius government analysts believe they can divine in the way of jihadist commands and coded messages. It is a matter of how the jihadists on the outside can use communications from imprisoned terrorists to promote anti-Americanism and jihadism.
But even putting that aside, our government is incompetent when it comes to vetting jihadist communications. It cannot be competent because it has spent the last quarter century putting its head in the sand on the matter of Islamic supremacist ideology and the nexus between Islamic scripture and jihadist violence.
Back in 2008, I wrote a book called Willful Blindness about what even then was a longstanding dysfunction. Yet, things have gotten much worse, particularly under Obama’s watch. The government has now purged information about Islamic supremacism from instruction materials used to train our military, intelligence and law-enforcement agents – effectively giving Islamist organizations and operatives (many with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and red-carpet access to the administration) a veto over what our investigators and analysts may be taught about the ideology that catalyzes the threat to our nation.
The resulting debacle is elucidated by the press reporting on KSM’s communiqués, which shows why information of this sort should never be published in wartime. The HuffPo story uncritically reports, for example, that KSM is now trying to persuade people to come to Islam peacefully and that forcing people to convert to Islam is against the Koran. The obvious agenda is to put KSM – the most evil mass-murderer ever to be in American custody – in a more sympathetic light, or at the very least to bleach away any nexus between Islamic principles and atrocities committed by Muslims in the name of Islam.
But KSM has not changed and neither have his beliefs – they remain as enduring as our conscious avoidance of his ideology.
In point of fact, Islamic law teaches that, before waging offensive jihad, Muslims must first invite non-believers to accept the truth of Islam. Doctrinally, this summons to Islam is a necessary precondition to waging violent jihad. There are numerous examples of bin Laden and Zawahiri (bin Laden’s deputy and now the leader of al Qaeda) issuing public statements calling on infidels to accept Islam. Under their interpretation of sharia, it is a box they are supposed to check before they start blowing things up and steering airplanes into skyscrapers.
The reporting makes much of KSM’s assertion that the Koran forbids forcible conversion to Islam. The narrative now making the rounds is that KSM “has renounced violence,” as Canada’s National Post puts it.
Even a cursory familiarity with Islamic supremacist ideology would put this specious claim to rest. It is true, in the most narrow of senses, that Islamic doctrine forbids forcible conversion: Muslims are not supposed to hold a gun to your head to force you to convert. But Islamic doctrine endorses violence for the purpose of promoting Islam, and conversion is not close to being the most significant way of promoting Islam.
Read more: Family Security Matters