Lessons of Iraq and A-Stan: Infidel Armies Can’t Win Islamic Hearts and Minds

Karzai and Rohani in Tehran, December 8, 2013

Karzai and Rohani in Tehran, December 8, 2013

by Diana West:

I am reposting a couple of columns below from 2009, written at a time before the Obama “surge” in Afghanistan, based on Bush’s “surge” in Iraq, was in full swing.

I have long argued that the Bush surge failed (explanation in three parts here). TheObama surge has failed, too, and for the same basic reason that has nothing to do with leaving Iraq “too soon,” or, I deeply hope, “leaving Afghanistan” in 2014. It is vital to stress that these failures are not due to the bravery and sacrifice and skill of our military forces. These forces have resolutely fufilled their impossible missions, to say the very least. The failures lie in war-planning and political strategy, ignorance and fecklessness, at the highest levels of the Bush and Obama White Houses, in the Pentagon, and in the Congress that failed to check them.

(To such ignorance and fecklessness we may also add an epic show of institutional callousness.)

The simple fact is that an army from Judeo-Christian lands cannot fight for the soul of an Islamic land.

This is the obvious but untaught and thus unlearned lesson of these past twelve years of tragic, costly wars. They call us “infidel.” We think that doesn’t matter. The Koran is their guide and they build their constitutions upon its laws. We help them do so and order our soldiers to risk their lives upholding theses sharia-supreme documents in the fantasy-name of  “universal” rights that exist nowhere but in the West. (See the madness begin here back in 2004). Meanwhile, sharia norms and masked Marxism are eroding liberty in the West while 99 percent of our political leaders do nothing.

They learn nothing, too. They set post-9/11 strategy in Iraq without seeing sharia norms and jihad doctrine as obstacles to “nation-building” on a (flawed) Western model — as though sharia and jihad can be eliminated as the authoritative foundations of Islamic culture by wish or denial. Such a  see-no-Islam strategy was doomed to fail, and so it did. But instead of retooling this failed strategy (which served mainly to the benefit of Iran, China and other enemies), they turned around and implemented it in Afghanistan.

We must win the people’s “hearts and minds,” Gen. Petraeus urged his men back in Iraq.

We must win the Afghans’ “trust,” Adm. Mullen and others   stressed (or buy it).

Thus, our soldiers were ordered to take hills of the Islamic mind-world that infidel armies can never attain.

We must respect their culture, the generals insisted, seeking more and more common ground, but ceding ground (metaphorical and real) instead. Vital ground.

We must protect the Afghan people (at the expense of our own), ordered the COIN corps generals, led by Petraeus, who infamously ordered:

“Walk. Stop by, don’t drive by. Patrol on foot whenever possible and engage the population. Take off your [ballistic] sunglasses. Situational awareness can be gained only by interacting face to face, not separated by ballistic glass or Oakleys.

Such “situational awareness” came at a great and tragic cost – but with little if any lasting benefit. Neither “protecting the population,” nor restricting ROEs, nor insanely profligate public works projects have permitted the infidel counterinsurgency to achieve its goals — winning Islamic hearts, minds or trust.

Cultural prostration hasn’t worked either, but not for want of trying.

We must respect their culture (no matter how barbaric). We must uphold their culture (no matter how vile). We must protect Islam, too. We must submit to its laws, and punish Americans who don’t. And punish Americans.

“Handle the Koran as if it were a fragile piece of delicate art,” a memo to Joint Task Force Guantanamo ordered in January 2003. That wasn’t enough. “We will hold sacred the beliefs held sacred by others,” ISAF declared in 2012.

Soon we will have new and enduring allies in the war on “terror.” What difference will it make if we can only fight together for the other side?

From April and August 2009 — over one thousand combat dead and thousands of combat wounded ago.

From April 3, 2009:

“What Do You Mean: If We Ever Want to Leave Afghanistan?”

From August 14, 2009:

“All Those Boots on the Ground and No Imprint.”

Obama’s War of Word Games

obama33By Daniel Greenfield:

One of the biggest questions about fighting terrorism is whether we intend to fight it on the military level or on the ideological level.

Wars have ideological components. Propaganda likely predated the written word. Undermining an enemy’s morale can be a very effective means of turning the tide of battle. But in warfare, the ideology is there to further military aims, while in an ideological war the military is a tool for achieving ideological victories over the enemy.

It’s a fundamental distinction that cuts deep into the question of what we are doing in places like Afghanistan.

The dichotomy between words and bullets could occasionally be ambiguous during the Bush Administration, but there was an understanding that we were out to kill terrorists and their allies. If by killing them, we could discredit their ideology and dissuade fellow terrorists from following in their footsteps, so much the better.

The Obama Administration has shifted the primacy of the conflict to the ideological sphere. Like the rest of the left, it would rather fight ideological wars, which are its strength, than military conflicts, which aren’t.

The left believes it understands ideas, but is much weaker when it comes to military affairs. The left doesn’t really understand ideas, but it does understand word games. To alter language is to alter the consensual reality of a subject population. The Oceanian reality of the media may not do anything to the reality in Afghanistan, but it certainly shifts the reality in America.

One of the first word games that Obama’s national security team pulled was to retire “terrorism” from the vocabulary to avoid any questions about why they were failing to deal with a problem… that suddenly no longer existed.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said that, motivated by a touch of nuance, she was moving away from the word “terrorism” to ‘”man-caused disasters.”

Napolitano’s explanation for this clumsy word game was that she wanted “to move away from the politics of fear toward a policy of being prepared for all risks that can occur”; as long as the risk was kept as undefined as possible.

The “man-caused disaster” was ridiculed off the scene even by the left, but that didn’t end the word games.

Islamic terrorism receded into the distance. The great challenge was CVE or Countering Violent Extremism.

Violent extremism was a little more specific than man-caused disasters, but not by that much. The shift however was a more significant one. We were no longer fighting a war, but working to counter attitudes and ideas. And that would be achieved in ways that included everything from sponsoring Muslim rappers to dispatching the NASA chief on a new mission to seek out Muslim self-esteem.

The Department of Homeland Security’s three broad CVE objectives were understanding violent extremism, partnering with local Muslim communities and with local law enforcement. The first objective, understanding violent extremism, did not mention Islam, demonstrating that this understanding was actually going to be a very deliberate misunderstanding.

Avoiding any mention of Islam had always been the first objective of the ideological component of the war and it was the area where the ideological component of fighting terrorism most blatantly clashed with the practical component.

Since September 11, the evolving tactic of the ideological war was to minimize the effectiveness of terrorism by mentioning it as little as possible and denying its Islamic cred by refusing to associate it with Islam. Meanwhile the practical side of the war required informing as many people as possible of the threat and taking swift and decisive action against a defined enemy.

During the Bush Administration, the ideological component blunted the military component, but did not overshadow it. Under Obama, the military component receded into the ideological war with new barometers of success that did not depend on winning battles, but winning hearts and minds.

There was no reason to believe that the ideological program of denial was in any way effective. The vast majority of Muslims did not get their news from America. Nor were they likely to be fooled by politically correct distortions of news events.

Whether a State Department spokesman chose to call Bin Laden an Islamic terrorist, a violent extremist or an extremely naughty boy would have no impact on the Muslim world. It would only have an impact on Americans.

And that was not accidental.

Where the military campaign was aimed at Muslim terrorists, the ideological campaign was aimed at altering the American understanding of Islam to be more harmonious with liberal foreign policy. And once the ideological campaign succeeded in changing American attitudes, it was assumed that the Muslim world would react differently to this new America.

Read more at Front Page

 

Afghanistan’s Benghazi: Grieving Families Want Answers

CH-47_Chinook_flying_night_visionBy Diana West:

Grief and politics don’t mix. When raw, aching grief and the dirtiest kind of politics meet, a hot volcano of pain and outrage erupts that is unstoppable. But it is necessary. It is the only way things might ever be clean again.

I am thinking of recent casket transfer ceremonies that have taken place at Dover Air Force Base, where senior administration officials have used the solemn occasions – Benghazi, the shoot-down of Extortion 17 – less to comfort grieving families than to lay blame, to establish a narrative, to lie.

Think of Sean Smith’s mother. Think of Tyrone Woods’ father. After the Obama administration’s hugs came the Obama administration’s stonewalling. They still don’t have answers about what happened in Benghazi on the night of Sept. 11, 2012.

We don’t either.

We still don’t know who in the U.S. government gave the order not to rescue Americans under fire for eight and a half hours, and how and why such an unconscionable order was given. We still don’t know who convinced senior White House officials to tell grieving parents meeting their children’s caskets that a video-maker, not jihad against the West, was to blame for the assault that took four American lives – or what the political motivation was.

This is a national disgrace.

But before Benghazi, there was Extortion 17, the call sign of a Special Operations mission in Afghanistan on Aug. 6, 2011. Three months after the strike on Osama bin Laden, 30 Americans – including 15 from the bin Laden strike-team unit, Navy SEAL Team 6, and two other SEALs – were killed in the costliest single-day loss for the U.S. military in the Afghanistan war, and the largest SEAL loss ever. A “lucky shot” in the dark brought down the old CH-47 Chinook helicopter attempting to land them in the middle of an ongoing battle in Wardak Province. Or so the U.S. military claims. The families are not so sure.

Then again, they’re not sure about anything. The runaround, the lies, the callous disregard they have received at the hands of the government and military is similar to Benghazi, maybe worse.

“We go to Dover to see bodies, and we’re all in the hangar down there,” Charles Strange, father of slain SEAL Michael Strange, recalled last week before a rapt audience at the National Press Club, where several Extortion 17 families gathered to call on Congress to investigate. “And President Obama comes up to me and he says, ‘Mr. Strange’ – and he grabs me by the shoulders – ‘Michael changed the way America lives.’ I grabbed Mr. President by the shoulders and I said: ‘I don’t need to know about my son, I need to know what happened, Mr. President.’

Strange continued. “The Secret Service guys grabbed me. I’m crying. He went to give me a hug. I whispered in his ear: ‘Mr. President, Is there going to be a congressional inquiry?’ And Mr. President whispered in my ear – and I could feel his lips touch – and he said, ‘Mr. Strange, we’re going to look into this very, very, very deep.’ Well, I haven’t heard nothing.”

Nothing that makes sense, anyway. A military investigation led by then-Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Colt (since promoted to major general) tells us there was no “eye in the sky” that night. Why not? No forces had been sent in to prepare the area. Why not?

More sickening was the fact that rules of engagement prevented suppressive fire from being aimed at the tower firing on the Chinook. Billy Vaughn, father of slain SEAL Aaron Vaughn, recalled how a three-star admiral explained this breach to the grieving families: U.S. forces couldn’t fire back, the admiral said, because “we want to win hearts and minds.” As Mr. Strange later put it: “What about my heart? What about my mind?”

American hearts and minds don’t count with this U.S. government – and that is our national tragedy until we change the government.

What commander is responsible for assembling so many SEALs in one inadequate aircraft, for this particular landing site, for a mission many believe was in fact unnecessary? Extortion 17 took off three months after the strike on bin Laden, three months after the Obama administration blew SEAL Team 6′s cover in the bin Laden raid, three months after intelligence indicated the Taliban were out for revenge. “The chain of command” was responsible, the families were told. Who were they? No answer.

Why was there no gunship escort that night? What happened in the final minutes of Extortion 17? The black box was never recovered, the military insists. Really? What about the seven Afghan soldiers who joined the mission at the last minute, replacing Afghans previously scheduled to fly? No one knows the identities of this last-minute group, or why they flew that day. More troubling still, military investigators didn’t interview Afghan commanders to find out.

Why not? To win their “hearts and minds,” too? The word for that is “submission.” Such submission also explains the appalling inclusion of an imam at the casket transfer ceremony in Afghanistan – a ceremony preceding the transport of the dead bodies, American and Afghan, to Ramstein Air Base in Germany, where they would finally be identified. (This makes families wonder whether American sons lay in caskets draped with the Afghan flag.) There, in the midst of an otherwise ecumenical ceremony (devoid of any mention of Jesus Christ), the imam invoked Allah, while establishing that Muslims reside in heaven and non-Muslims reside in hell.

Standard Islamic fare, to be sure, but this is the same supremacist basis of the jihad that killed the men of Extortion 17. No wonder the families are doubly outraged.

As should we all be. Congress must investigate Extortion 17 and find out exactly what happened, and who bears responsibility. It is the very least we can do for our people.

How Many Americans Has Obama Killed?

two-senators-were-asked-whether-obama-should-be-impeached-over-benghazi-450x337By Daniel Greenfield:

Three days after the tenth anniversary of September 11, left-wing activist Spencer Ackerman struck a blow for Muslim terrorism by denouncing FBI training materials as Islamophobic.

The training materials dealt with such topics as the doctrinal basis for Jihad and the origins of terrorism in Islamic law. The story spread into the mainstream media, and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, whose leaders had endorsed terrorist groups and helped raise money for terrorists, began pressuring the FBI to recant the threat of Islamic terrorism.

In February of 2012, Amine El Khalifi was arrested for plotting to carry out a suicide bombing in the US Capitol building. Before he began his mission, he visited the Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center, whose former Imam was Al Qaeda leader Anwar Al Awlaki and whose parishioners included Fort Hood terrorist Nidal Hasan. At his sentencing, El Khalifi said, “I just want to say that I love Allah.”

But that did not stop the FBI from announcing a few days later that it had completed purging references to Islamic terrorism from its training materials. A month earlier, Tamerlan Tsarnaev had begun his trip to Russia and by the time he returned, the training materials meant to prepare agents for the reality of the terrorist plot that he and his brother would carry out had been buried out of sight.

Where El Khalifi had failed in Washington, the Tsarnaev brothers would succeed in Boston.

The counterterrorism information purge had been completed by the time the lead Boston bomber returned to America, but it had begun earlier under Obama.

The 9/11 Commission Report had freely used terms like “Jihad,” “Takfir” and “Islam” to define the nature and motivations of the enemy. But the 2009 National Intelligence Strategy did not mention them. Neither did the FBI counterterrorism lexicon. They had been replaced by “violent extremism.”

Violent extremism is generic. Predicting an attack requires specifics. Investigators cannot stop undefined crimes or arrest undefined suspects. The less information they have to work with, the more likely the terrorists are to succeed.

Islam is the crucial link between disparate terrorist groups from Dagestan to Thailand, from Mali to Afghanistan, from Israel to Nigeria and from the United States to Chechnya. Without the Islam factor, there was no reason to suspect that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a threat to anyone except the Russians.

The old FBI training materials had explained what Chechen, Pakistani, Egyptian and Nigerian terrorists had in common. In the new ones there was a great empty space in which facts died and lives were lost.

Read more at Front Page

 

Extortion 17 to Benghazi to Obama

seal-team-6-2-ts300

The United West: Navy SEAL Team VI Families to reveal governments culpability in death of their sons in the fatal helicopter crash in Afghanistan following the successful raid on bin Laden’s compound.

 

Press Release:

NAVY SEAL TEAM VI FAMILIES TO REVEAL GOVERNMENT’S CULPABILITY IN DEATH OF THEIR SONS IN FATAL HELICOPTER CRASH IN AFGHANISTAN FOLLOWING SUCCESSFUL RAID ON BIN LADEN’S COMPOUND

(Washington, D.C.). Three families of Navy SEAL Team VI special forces servicemen, along with one family of an Army National Guardsman, will appear at a press conference on May 9, 2013, to disclose never before revealed information about how and why their sons along with 26 others died in a fatal helicopter crash in Afghanistan on August 6, 2011, just a few months after the successful raid on the compound of Osama Bin Laden that resulted in the master terrorist’s death.

Accompanying the families of these dead Navy SEAL Team VI special operations servicemen will be retired military experts verifying their accounts of how and why the government is as much responsible for the deaths of their sons as is the Taliban.

The areas of inquiry at the press conference will include but not be limited to:

1. How President Obama and Vice President Biden, having disclosed on May 4, 2011, that Navy Seal Team VI carried out the successful raid on Bin Laden’s compound resulting in the master terrorist’s death, put a retaliatory target on the backs of the fallen heroes.
2. How and why high-level military officials sent these Navy SEAL Team VI heroes into battle without special operations aviation and proper air support.
3. How and why middle-level military brass carries out too many ill-prepared missions to boost their standing with top-level military brass and the Commander-in-Chief in order that they can be promoted.
4. How the military restricts special operations servicemen and others from engaging in timely return fire when fired upon by the Taliban and other terrorist groups and interests, thus jeopardizing the servicemen’s lives.
5. How and why the denial of requested pre-assault fire may have contributed to the shoot down of the Navy SEAL Team VI helicopter and the death of these special operations servicemen.
6. How Afghani forces accompanying the Navy SEAL Team VI servicemen on the helicopter were not properly vetted and how they possibly disclosed classified information to the Taliban about the mission, resulting in the shoot down of the helicopter.
7. How military brass, while prohibiting any mention of a Judeo-Christian God, invited a Muslim cleric to the funeral for the fallen Navy SEAL Team VI heroes who disparaged in Arabic the memory of these servicemen by damning them as infidels to Allah. A video of the Muslim cleric’s “prayer” will be shown with a certified translation.

“This press conference takes on special significance given that our government has over the last twelve years since September 11th committed brave American servicemen to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that, in large part as a result of politics, were poorly conceived of and implemented, resulting in the deaths of thousands and the maiming of tens of thousands of our brave heroes. To make matters even worse, America has effectively lost these wars,” stated Larry Klayman, legal counsel for the families.

See also:

SOS: Save Uncle Sam

afghan21Written by: Diana West

The Wall Street Journal reports this week about a new draft handbook for US troops in Afghanistan designed to prevent their Afghan “partners” from murdering them. (And yes, we’ve seen this same material before.)

The problem, according to  the Army, is  “ignorance of, or lack of empathy for Muslim and/or Afghan cultural norms” on the part of US troops.

The solution, according to the Army, is for  troops to accept these same Muslim and/or Afghan norms — or else be killed. In effect, then, Uncle Sam is  ordering  Americans  to submit to Islam or die — exactly the choice offered to infidels vanquished by jihad. As far I can tell, the main difference is Uncle Sam will require them to salute while submitting.

I simplify, of course, but I do not exagerate. Say, Joe American hears about  boys being sodomized by Afghan Army personnel. Such pederasty is in accordance with “Muslim and/or Afghan cultural norms.” According to Uncle Sam, Joe American must say  nothing, must ignore the issue altogether — or  risk being killed.

Say Joe American observes the enslavement of Muslim and/or Afghan women — another “Muslim and/or Afghan cultural norm.” It makes Joe mad. But zip it, Joe — or die.

Christians and Jews who have lived under Islamic law across the centuries would recognize the diminished state of the American soldier circa 2012 as that of the classic dhimmi: the non-Muslim subject to Islamic law; his silence, his acquiesence the humiliating price of existence. Similarities to the janissaries, the Islamized forces stolen as children from Christian populations by the Ottomans to enforce Islamic law under the caliph, are also increasingly evident.

In our time, we may also understand this as  another  iteration of  the Hair-Trigger Moderate (introduced back in The Death of the Grown-Up). The syndrome describes  the society-wide phenomenon of curbing speech about Islam to prevent something, anything from setting the hair-trigger moderate off (tick, tick, tick…). This  should, but doesn’t, reveal the “moderation” to be the fraud that it is. We saw this  when George W. Bush recanted the word “crusade” after 9/11/01 (mustn’t offend, or else alienate our  “friends”). We see it in this Army draft manual in 2012  (mustn’t offend, or else receive a bullet/axe in the  head). We see it everywhere in between: in the elimination of “jihad,” “Islamic terrorism,” etc., from contemporary debate, in the Danish cartoon “crisis,” in government prosecutions and persecutions of Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff in Austria,  Lars  Hedegaard in Denmark, Tommy Robinson in England, in the Obama administration’s scapegoating and incarceration of the maker of “Innocence of Muslims,”   in the “Istanbul Process.” Such self-gagging  reflects the influence — the ascendance — of Islamic law. It reflects our own rush to  dhimmitude.

And especially so in the US military, now mired in  Islamic quagmires for more than a decade. Other  “cultural norms” US forces must accept without objection include dog torture, desertion, drug use, and even sympathy for the Taliban.

Yes. Among the Army draft handbook’s “taboo conversation topics” are  “making derogatory comments about the  Taliban.”

You can rub your eyes, but that’s what it says. The US and Afghans are  partnering in the first place because We and They are supposed to have this common enemy, the Taliban. But say something bad about the Taliban and  your “brother in arms ”  might get mad enough to kill you.

On first glance, we can read this as evidence of Uncle Sam’s certifiable dementia.  But maybe we should think of it instead as a clear admission: Uncle Sam knows we have met the enemy and he is … in our pup tent. Uncle Sam knows our Afghan “allies” have more in common with the enemy than with Us, the People, but he continues with the doomed, damned mission anyway. Why? Have we been subverted to Islam’s ends? In a word, yes. Is there hope of reversal? Not much, not really, unless something changes in the body (and brain) politic. When/if that happens,  we might look back on this Army draft handbook  as plea for help: Uncle Sam crying out to be rescued from the tiny band of extremists that has seized control of American interests.

Petraeus Betrayed His Country Before He Betrayed His Wife

Diana West

Was David Petraeus as great a general as the write-ups of his downfall routinely claim? This is a provocative question that I will begin to answer with another question: Did America prevail in the Iraq War? I suspect few would say “yes” and believe it, which is no reflection on the valor and sacrifice of the American and allied troops who fought there. On the contrary, it was the vaunted strategy of the two-step Petraeus “surge” that was the blueprint of failure.

While U.S. troops carried out Part One successfully by fighting to establish basic security, the “trust” and “political reconciliation” that such security was supposed to trigger within Iraqi society never materialized in Part Two. Meanwhile, the “Sunni awakening” lasted only as long as the U.S. payroll for Sunni fighters did.

Today, Iraq is more an ally of Iran than the United States (while dollars keep flowing to Baghdad). This failure is one of imagination as much as strategy. But having blocked rational analysis of Islam from entering into military plans for the Islamic world, the Bush administration effectively blinded itself and undermined its own war-making capacity. In this knowledge vacuum, David Petraeus’ see-no-Islam counterinsurgency (COIN) doctrine would fill but not satisfy the void.

The basis of COIN is “population protection” — Iraqi populations, Afghan populations — over “force protection.” Or, as lead author David Petraeus wrote in the 2007 Counterinsurgency Field Manual: “Ultimate success in COIN is gained by protecting the populace, not the COIN force.” (“COIN force” families must have loved that.) Further, the Petraeus COIN manual tells us: “The more successful the counterinsurgency is, the less force can be used and the more risk can be accepted.” “Less force” and “more risk” translate into highly restrictive rules of engagement.

More risk accepted by whom? By U.S. forces. Thus we see how, at least in the eyes of senior commanders, we get the few, the proud, the sacrificial lambs. And sacrificed to what? A theory.

The Petraeus COIN manual continues: “Soldiers and Marines may also have to accept more risk to maintain involvement with the people.” As Petraeus wrote in a COIN “guidance” to troops in 2010 upon assuming command in Afghanistan: “The people are the center of gravity. Only by providing them security and earning their trust and confidence can the Afghan government and ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) prevail.” That was a theory, too. Now, after two long COIN wars, we know it was wrong.

COIN doctrine approaches war from an ivory tower, a place where such theories thrive untested and without hurting anyone. On the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, however, the results have been catastrophic. Tens of thousands of young Americans answered their country’s call and were told to accept more “risk” and less “protection.” Many lost lives, limbs and pieces of their brains as a result of serving under a military command structure and government in thrall to a leftist ideology that argues, in defiance of human history, that cultures, beliefs and peoples are all the same, or want to be.

Attributing such losses to Petraeus’ see-no-Islam COIN is no exaggeration. In his 2010 COIN guidance, Petraeus told troops: “Walk. Stop by, don’t drive by. Patrol on foot whenever possible and engage the population.” As the Los Angeles Times reported last year, “The counterinsurgency tactic that is sending U.S. soldiers out on foot patrols among the Afghan people, rather than riding in armored vehicles, has contributed to a dramatic increase in arm and leg amputations, genital injuries and the loss of multiple limbs following blast injuries.”

Indeed, the military has had to devise a new category of injury — “dismounted complex blast injury” — while military medicine has had to pioneer, for example, new modes of “aggressive pain management at the POI (point of injury)” and “phallic reconstruction surgery.”

But not even such COIN sacrifices have won the “trust” of the Islamic world. On the contrary, we have seen spiraling rates of murder by our Muslim “partners” — camouflaged by the phrase “green on blue” killings. COIN commanders, ever mindful of winning (appeasing) “hearts and minds,” blame not the Islamic imperatives of jihad but rather summer heat, Ramadan fasting and the “cultural insensitivity” of the murder victims themselves. Such is the shameful paralysis induced by COIN, whose manual teaches: “Arguably, the decisive battle is for the people’s minds. … While security is essential to setting the stage for overall progress, lasting victory comes from a vibrant economy, political participation and restored hope.”

Notice the assumption that something called “overall progress” will just naturally follow “security.” Another theory. It didn’t happen in Iraq. It hasn’t happened in Afghanistan. Since nothing succeeds like failure, the doctrine’s leading general was rewarded with the directorship of the CIA.

There is more at work here than a foundationally flawed strategy. In its drive to win Islamic hearts and minds, COIN doctrine has become an engine of Islamization inside the U.S. military. To win a Muslim population’s “trust,” U.S. troops are taught deference to Islam — to revere the Quran; not to spit toward Mecca (thousands of miles away); and to condone such un- or anti-Western practices as religious supremacism, misogyny, polygamy, pederasty and cruelty to dogs. Our military has even permitted Islamic law to trump the First Amendment to further COIN goals, as when ISAF commander Petraeus publicly condemned an American citizen for exercising his lawful right to freedom of speech to burn a Quran.

This explains why the reports that CIA director David Petraeus went before the House Intelligence Committee in September and blamed a YouTube Muhammad video for the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, sounded so familiar. Whatever his motivation, it was all too easy for Petraeus to make free speech the scapegoat for Islamic violence. But so it goes in COIN-world, where jihad and Shariah (Islamic law) are off the table and the First Amendment is always to blame.

If there is a lesson here, it is simple: A leader who will betray the First Amendment will betray anything.