May 13, 2004



OK, I have to weigh in on this one. As I understand it, jihad means "struggle," broadly conceived. I wonder how it compares to "crusade." When Billy Graham announces a new crusade, we don't accuse him of encouraging pillage and rape. But some do promote our involvement in the Middle East as a crusade against Islam. One of the problems we have in this struggle is that our leadership lacks a deep cultural understanding of Arabic societies generally.

The problem with the "war on terror" is that it is a war that lacks a military solution. We are contributing to radicalization of the populations of Middle Eastern nations. We simply lack enough bombs and enough prisons to "take care of" our enemies. The Israelis have deployed military force against the Palestinians for over 30 years. Have they exhausted the supply of suicide bombers? Sure, military tactics will be required for specific situations and targets, taking out Al Qaeda leadership, etc., but these are primarily intelligence/police operations. Until our political leadership "gets it" that there is no military solution to this war, no objective that can be reached through force, we will be in for one bad mistake after another.

Media Hound

The term 'jihad' does NOT mean 'struggle.'

     Understanding Jihad
     Dr. Israr Ahmad

     In endeavoring for the establishment of the ascendancy of
     Islam over all other systems of life, members of the Islamic
     movement will have to go through the following stages:

          * Passive Resistance, enduring all verbal and physical
             persecution without retaliation;

          * Active Resistance, challenging the un-Islamic system
             when there is enough strength available to do so;

          * and finally, the Armed Conflict (or a non-violent and
             disciplined popular movement)

     This is the essential prerequisite for Islamic Renaissance,
     as it constitutes the only methodology to generate the
     dedicated and committed man-power to undertake the Jihad
     for the establishment of the domination of Islam over all
     other systems of life, all over the world.

     (link has since been removed by Washington University)

I agree some don't "get it" but our political leadership
are not among those who come to mind...


Damn, you're doing a fine job! I'm moving you up to the First-Blog-Visited position. Perhaps I've coined a new web acronym, FBV?


One major reason it's not called "the War on Militant Islam" is political.

Some (many? hard to say) on the Left and in the Arab world are already sure it's "a war against Muslims and Arabs", even while the President bends over backwards to tell everyone that Islam Is A Religion Of Peace and racial profiling is prohibited by both law and active policy.

Imagine the response should the word "Islam" appear anywhere in the name of the war?

(On the other hand, it's fair to point out the probably most of those who would react in such a way are already "lost" to reason, either from ideology (the Leftists above, again, not all of them) or from long-term and current exposure to not only anti-American but simply lying state media (the Arabs, see above disclaimer). But why encourage such beliefs?

Plus, while the focus of the war is on militant Islam, there is action against narcoterrorists in South America.)


I'm not even comfortable with using the phrase "militant Islam" or "extremist Islam" for exactly that reason. Too prone to misunderstanding. Is someone extrememly devout "extreme?" What about a Salafist who is peaceful and renounces the violent form of Jihad?

That's why I stick with the term IslamIST, which strictly refers to Islam as a political ideology, the desire to install Islam as a form of exclusive government.

Media Hound

I'm always amused at CNN's Lou Dobbs, who has a strict policy
of using the term "radical islamist" -- which is redundant.

Dobbs caught some heat, by the way, for using this term.

I also recall a style guide sent out (I think by the Associated
Press to its journalists) that stated their reporters should avoid
using the terms "islam" and "terrorism" closely in a story, and
NEVER to use the term "islamic terrorist" to describe islamic

I wish I had saved it; it was sent out a few days after Sept 11th.


I would caution anyone to refrain from getting caught up in the war of words. Those who blah blah blah, are always informationally out of the loop and only as dangerous as we let them be. More importantly, behind the words, out there in the field, the neighborhoods of Iraq, the doers are doing while the talkers are talking. Like Rumsfeld I do not read the paper and when the narrowminded uninformed show up on cable; I change the channel. There are some great old movies if I feel I have to watch tv. Very busy am I, I also have faith in my country, our military and the president and his cabinet. Nothing can change that; certainly not the uniformed immoral liberals whose only cause is to try and defame a great president.


I'd caution you on two pts. First, you've gotta know to at least an extent what the press is saying: if you care about the military, and the war, you've gotta know what the big stories are and how they're playing even if you yourself don't believe them.

Second, don't conflate immoral and liberal. If you want to conflate "wrong" and liberal, go for it, but most liberals argue from a base of assumptions they root in the same starting values, I bet, that you do.

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