by Joe Shea
American Reporter Correspondent
November 30, 2009
THE WAR AGAINST THE CALIPHATE
BRADENTON, Fla., Nov. 30, 2009 -- The President has already met with his top military and civilian defense advisors and has ordered a surge in U.S. troop deployment in Afghanistan, so what I have to say to him is too late to make much difference. After months of deliberation, another 30,000 troops are on their way to a nation that in the space of a decade has become a fractured pawn in the game that Islamic extremists play.
But the game has taken an important new turn that Americans, the President and his advisors appear not to recognize: Osama bin Laden is not trying to conquer Islamic countries, much of whose populations already regard him as the true spiritual leader of Islam.
Instead, he is building the Fifth Caliphate to consolidate all of Islam under his rule, independent of national borders and elected or hereditary rulers. As Caliph, he would be the Imam, a spiritual and governmental leader of all those who profess his faith.
What this means for the President is that his new troops, and those already there, are confronting a new enemy, and it is the most fearsome enemy of all, and one that many say never can be defeated: it is an idea.
Unlike territorial conquests, the aim of Osama is to achieve the conversion of all secular, fence-sitting or moderately committed Muslims to a newly invigorated Islam that adheres to the strictest interpretations of the Koran. It is the Islam of the Taliban, Al Qaeda and hundreds of similar organizations that have spread throughout the Islamic world since Al Qaeda's successful attacks on America on Sept. 11, 2001.
As an idea, it requires military victories less than a rapidly evolving consensus in which ordinary Muslims adopt Osama as their leader and his form of Islam as their faith. With the conversion of enough people, what we Americans once called "a shift in the wind" would occur.
National governments in the Middle East would lose what little legitimacy they have and the orders that count would come not from Damascus or Cairo or Riyadh but from the cliff dwellings of South Waziristan, where Osama bin Laden is reportedly hiding, from Qom and from Teheran, where the conversion to Osama's Islam is almost complete.
Thus, Sunni and Shia ayatollahs and Islamic extremists like Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would not lose their influence by virtue of their beliefs, which would be tolerated, and retain their powers of state, but would find themselves and their laws spiritually subordinate to whatever version of Sharia (Islamic law) that Osama declares. But those who resist, starting with Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak, the royal family of Jordan and the Saudi princes, will be ignored -at first - and, if they fail to convert, will be jailed or killed as the Fifth Caliphate rises.
The four caliphates that preceded Osama's all fell victim to the divisions based on ego, greed and geography that are a natural result of the establishment of unbridled power. Osama bin Laden, by contrast, has no rival in Islam. His victories are secure.
The first signs of the Fifth Caliphate were nothing more than passing references to "the Caliphate" that largely went unnoticed when they appeared on a very few Islamic fundamentalist Websites. And while those mentions were a dramatic signal to the West, the Fifth Caliphate awaits yet another victory on the battlefield to truly be born.
What Osama bin Laden will do is probably unlike anything any strategist of war has ever done before. Once our 100,000 U.S. and allied troops are positioned in Afghanistan, he will attempt to use his spiritual authority as Imam of the Fifth Caliphate to turn all those millions already converted to his brand of Islam against them, all at once. In that process, he may even be anointed the "Mahdi," the last successor of the Prophet.
One day it will seem we are in a country where most people welcome us and the recognized government holds sway almost everywhere. A day later we will be in a country where no one but elected officials will dare offer support, where newly appointed councils of those faithful to the Caliphate assert their authority over any government's, and where every true Muslim is expected to take part in jihad against us. At that point we have moved from a place of relative honor to a very large trap that closes in on us with every passing day.
There are no troops or armies powerful enough to resist an idea. You cannot incinerate its leadership, which is everywhere in the Middle East. You cannot burn its books or publish its secrets or defy its leaders, because there is consensus and wide distribution and no substantial divisions like those that toppled the first four caliphates. Like the Middle East now faces the unified economic power of the European Economic Community, the West will face the unified power of the Fifth Caliphate.
I'd like to direct these next remarks to President Obama. Mr. President, the battle between Islam and the West is one that is historically engendered and cannot be avoided. What can occur is a negotiated peace.
While virtually everyone will tell you that it is far too early to start negotiations with some "imagined" entity called the Fifth Caliphate, your goals as a military leader should be formed in recognition of the historical absurdity of a divided Islam and the very probable unification of that faith under a single charismatic leader.
Granted, it is hard to fight something you cannot see and don't truly believe exists. But if the Great Reversal - the huge trap - that Osama has planned occurs, that fantastical improbability will instantly be fact. Under those circumstances, with an entire population against us, it may not even be possible to retreat.
It is odious to most Americans that a long protracted war must be fought to ensure a civilian democracy in Afghanistan and solidify the same in Iraq and Pakistan. And it is odious to us, too, that the likelihood of extremism's eventual triumph demands our continued presence and the grievous loss of American life. We are a people of strong will, and we will not stand to see ourselves broken by a stronger one.
Those competing forces of emotion and ideology demand a new compromise with Islam itself. Before a very great bloodletting that is soon to come is attributable to Americans, we will be wise to place ourselves not at the center but at the very boundary of the War against the Caliphate. We must weigh for ourselves, in our own conscience as Americans, the wisdom of supporting demonstrably corrupt, non-democratic governments against a Caliphate formed on the basis of Islamic tenets that are even more durably opposed to corruption and unsavory leadership than are Judeo-Christian principles, with their tolerance of and compassion for sinners and sin alike.
We have nothing to fear from an honest government of any character; it is the leadership of those who betray their stated principles that we should fear most. We can take responsibility for the many deals that empowered the corrupt and impoverished the weak in nations throughout the Middle East, and the many unreasonable steps we have taken to ensure that cling to power. We can withdraw from a conflict in which a relentless inevitability gains momentum as we fight against the invisible army of an idea.
Absent such recognitions, our inevitable pursuit of defeat and withdrawal awaits us. Who are we fighting? Where are we fighting? What are we fighting? Is it the day-to-day depredations of the religious enemy? Are we engaged in a war that can be won with the seizure of any land or territory? Or are we fighting an idea whose time has come in satisfaction of a demand for revenge that has already been exacted in hundreds of thousands of innocent lives? That motive is beneath us.
We are fighting now in Afghanistan for the world's largest heroin dealer, and to the degree we fight in Pakistan, we do so for one of the world's most corrupt governments. We are withdrawing from Iraq at a time when the forces we fought there have reconsolidated and are again mounting their deadly attacks on soldiers and civilians, even as the government we formed considers new ways to delay and destroy the establishment of a free and open democracy. We cannot dictate the future of the Middle East, or shape our policies solely to ensure the survival of one nation or the supply of one resource. We must resolve those problems and move forward.
Our future must lie in commerce with a world at peace. That is where the jobs are, where progress lies, where innovation and technology can truly make a difference. Let us fight for that, and not for evil governments. Thank you for listening, sir. I am proud to have voted for you.