Let The Muslims Do It
Monday, July 18th, 2016 @ 12:00PM
September 11, 2001 marked one of America’s and, for that matter, the world’s darkest days as commercial airliners hijacked by Islamic terrorists crashed into the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon, and a field in eastern Pennsylvania killing thousands of innocent people. Since that time, America and, at various times, coalition forces have been engaged in what is referred to as the Global War on Terror (GWOT).
First came the aerial bombardment of terrorist training camps and hideouts in eastern Afghanistan followed by the initiation of a ground offensive to oust the Taliban. A year and a half later came the war in Iraq undertaken by one of the most varied and diverse coalition forces in history.
In the nearly 15 years since the beginning of the GWOT, coalition forces, mostly American and British, have done much to reduce the impact of Islamic terrorism throughout the world and especially in America. Saddam Hussein was captured and executed and a type of coalition government based on democratic elections has been established in Iraq. And though rife with irregularities and accusations of fraud, democratic elections have recently occurred in Afghanistan as well.
No doubt, however, the cost has been high. Many thousands of American and coalition forces have been killed and the total cost of the GWOT now reaches well into the hundreds of billions of dollars. Many people opposed to the GWOT suggest that the cost, in fact, has been too high and the benefit too low to justify the effort. Though such arguments have some measure of validity (the amount of wasteful spending I witnessed while serving in both Iraq and Afghanistan was truly staggering and the number of American soldiers I saw killed as a result of severely limited “rules of engagement” imposed by non-military “politicians” who’ve never worn a uniform and who know nothing about fighting a war was truly heartbreaking). Nevertheless, I truly believe the cost of doing nothing would have been much higher.
Having said that, I submit that I’m convinced there is a better way to prosecute the war in terms of the amount of money spent and the number of American and coalition lives lost – let the Muslims do it. I should mention at this point that this concept is not original to me – many people, both here in America and around the world, feel the same way and have even proposed the same. But there is yet no concerted international effort to bring pressure to bear on Muslim countries to become more involved in the defeat of Islamic radicalism and the resulting campaign of terror, destruction, and murder.
The potential value of such an approach rests in the basic premise of “policing one’s own.” Muslims, by and large, are smart people. Though not necessarily so in Afghanistan, many Muslim nations boast extremely high literacy rates with many of their citizens being among the most highly educated and productive people in the world. So the brain power is there. What seems to be missing is a collective will among the Muslim masses to bring an end to the violence. That isn’t to say that, in a general sense, Muslims condone violence. Most Muslims I know personally (and I know several), want the same things out of life the rest of us non-Muslims want – to believe the way we choose, to live our lives unmolested by radicals and extremists, to marry and have families, to lead a productive life engaged in activities we enjoy, and to live as well as our natural gifts and talents and motivations will allow. And, thus, that’s how most Muslims live their daily lives.
But, with regard to bringing an end to Islamic extremism, Muslims could undoubtedly do more. Though the average Muslim on the street may not have known Osama bin Laden’s location, Muslims know their own – they know who among them supports radical, anti-Western views. And they know what these people are capable of doing in promoting their terrorist agendas. Military successes by Pakistani forces against Taliban and Al Qaeda militants hiding out in western Pakistan several years ago underscore this point – the Pakistanis knew where the militants were and, when they finally made the decision to go after them, the result was deadly as the Pakistani military destroyed numerous extremist strongholds and annihilated hundreds of militants. Application of this technique on a wider scale would yield significant results in the GWOT while reducing the burden of death and treasure borne by America and her allies.
And, in so doing, Muslims would do much to improve the perception of them maintained by the rest of the world. In an ever increasingly interconnected world, the imperative for people of diverse backgrounds and ideologies to reach common ground and get along becomes paramount. To accomplish this goal, we all must assume the responsibility of “policing our own.” To that end, when it comes to policing Islamic terrorists, we would all be better served to let the Muslims do it.