Militant Islam Declares Crime on America?

“Crown me.” Hussein demanded.

“Check!” Mustafa countered.

“I thought we were playing checkers.” Said Hussein.

“I told you that we were playing chess.” Mustafa glowered at Hussein.

“I told you that I wouldn’t play chess.”  Hussein almost shouted.

“But I started the game.  We are playing Chess.”  Said Mustafa while making a move and smiling broadly.  “And that is Checkmate.  I win.”

It’s rough playing a game when you aren’t playing with the same rules, much less the same game.  Whoever is playing by the rules of the game actually being played has the advantage.

Similarly, it’s rough figuring out what someone is saying when you substitute one word for another when the two words don’t mean the same thing.  This is true in any language.  Since our administration appears to be anxious to find similarities with other cultures in the Mideast, I would like to point out one of those similarities:  Arabic actually has, as English does, different words for different ideas.

English has a word for a holy war by Muslims, adopted from Arabic:  Jihad. The Arabic form of this word is: الجهاد

English has another word that we use that is pertinent in this situation:  War. Arabic has a word for war:  الحرب

English has a word for crime:  Crime.   Arabic has a word for crime:  الجريمة

(Please understand that I do not speak Arabic.  I got these words from several online translators and they appear to be consistent.  If I have called someone’s aunt or mother something vile or insulting, forgive me for my computer skills.)

The point is that Radical Muslims speak Arabic.  If there happens to be a Radical Muslim that doesn’t speak Arabic, he is sure to have a buddy or two that is fluent in Arabic and could explain that there are these different words have different meanings—war (الحرب), crime (الجريمة), and holy war (الجهاد), with war and holy war having some overlap.

Usually, Americans are ridiculed for our ignorance of languages beyond English.  In this case, a valid point can be made that we are extremely ignorant because we can’t even tell the difference among these different words.

Radical Islam declared JIHAD, or HOLY WAR on us.  A HOLY WAR is WAR—make no mistake that they declared WAR on us.  They did not declare CRIME on us.  That is the case unless a whole lot of translators intentionally misinterpreted the word they used as some kind of worldwide joke on us gullible, English-speaking Americans.

The war that we are engaged in is not a traditional kind of affair.  This war may not involve a uniformed military foe with allegiance to a country or countries.  The “battles” may involve more than just our military fighting trained enemy combatants on a battlefield, as we discovered in the bombings of embassies, ships, and living quarters in the 90s.  The weapons may not be “conventional” unless you count commercial aircraft and exploding people as conventional weapons.  Exactly who is fighting in this war may be in question since EVERY American—man, woman, and child—is considered to be an enemy soldier that is a fair target in our foe’s view.  Given all those irregularities in this war, we still have a war on our hands, not a crime wave.

Militant Islam fully understands that this is not a typical war—they are counting on it.  They also understand that they are playing a set of rules that are war rules, not a set of rules that are crime rules.  Like it or not, we are forced to play the game that they are playing if we want to win.  We can’t catch people fighting our military, read them their Miranda rights, and chuck them into a system that assumes they are innocent until they are proven guilty.  If it weren’t actually happening, it would sound like a funny joke or the plot for a satirical book.  Using rules designed to punish criminals is not a reasonable way to treat opponents in a war.

President Obama said that America had shown “arrogance” in front of an international audience in Europe.  If America has shown any arrogance, it is dismissing Militant Islam as merely an assortment of criminals that are not seriously dangerous to our country rather than recognizing them as a foe in mortal combat with us.  Minimizing or embarrassing your opponent is wise strategy in many games, but underestimating your opponent in any game is suicidal.

As deficient as my American History classes were, I did learn that part of the reason that we won the American Revolution was that we refused to play by the traditional game Rules of War.  Consistent with the Rules of War, the British formally lined up.  While the back line was loading, the front line shot, then dropped back to load while the next line stepped forward and shot.  Our Army was supposed to be lining up opposite to likewise shoot and be shot at.

We didn’t follow the then current Rules of War.  In one of the first displays of what might be called guerilla fighting between “civilized” armies, our hastily trained soldiers fought like Indians, hiding behind trees or rocks and shooting at the guys in the deer jacket red outfits.  The British were highly offended at this lack of protocol, but kept a stiff upper lip and continued on as they had been trained.  In other words, we changed the rules, and they ignored it to their detriment.

Our educational system has been deficient in teaching American History in our schools for quite some time.  I don’t remember all of the dates that I was forced to memorize, but I do remember that curious fact about the Revolutionary War:  a war was lost because the other side acted like a four year old saying, “We’re going to play the game MY way.”  It didn’t make sense even to my juvenile mind, to ignore the opponent’s game plan when so much was at stake.

It may be too much to hope that even the experts in the federal government would actually learn from history and think about this.  However, we do have Hollywood, which made a very important movie called Saving Private Ryan.  Did anyone in the administration making decisions on how to treat the guys captured in battle actually watch that movie?  (Or were they too busy watching the message about incompatible format for DVR on the movie Psycho?)  Maybe they don’t know history, but surely they (embodying the new “hip”) can learn from the cinema.  The lessons from Saving Private Ryan:  If you capture an enemy soldier and trust him to turn himself in to someone who can handle him as a prisoner, he won’t keep his word.  If you let him free while the war is still going on, Americans die because of that.

Militant Islam did not declare Crime on us.   They declared War on us.  We can’t choose the game.  They already chose it.  We can’t make them play by the rulebook for a game they aren’t playing.  We need to figure out a way to play the game that is in going on.  More importantly, we need to concentrate on winning that game.  The alternative is too horrible to imagine:  Checkmate.

Published in: on June 15, 2009 at 10:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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