Common Ground to Define the Enemy Threat
Ever since 9/11, a big problem dividing our free society and confusing our debate about the threats we face has to do with definitions and labels we use to explain our enemy. So far, we have failed to unite in defense of America because Americans have never been clear about what to name that enemy. If we cannot agree on what to name them, we cannot agree on identifying who they are, let alone understand what their motives might be, or how they might plot or attack next.
In national defense, the first requirement is to make an accurate threat assessment. That is possible only if we can identify the enemy as a threat, before he attacks. Without correct identification of the enemy, our national defense can never be proactive. Instead, it can only be reactive, after we have been attacked.
To simplify this task, let’s constrain the topic here to just the deadly enemy threat that we can follow easily enough as the “Islamic Movement.” We can justify that narrow focus most evidently if we merely use the body count of its victims as a primary consideration.
In the 9/11 attacks, that enemy killed almost 3,000 of our non-combatant people inside America. Additionally, over the past several decades, that same ideological movement is responsible for many more thousands of deaths, including many more Americans. In the defensive wars following 9/11, that same Islamic Movement has claimed the lives of more thousands of Americans in military service and left many thousands more gravely maimed and wounded. So altogether, the umbrella of the Islamic Movement is an enemy threat force which, in our most recent era, has violently claimed and severely damaged the lives of tens of thousands of Americans, and of countless more non-American innocents. On the body count criteria, no other ideological threat force can even come close to matching that toll of violence against Americans.
But it raises some questions: Can we accurately identify the Islamic Movement as the umbrella enemy posing that threat? And if we can, then why are our leaders consistently failing to do so? In an attempt to prove the case that the Islamic Movement is the threat, and to end that failure to identify it, we must work from a shared understanding. We can call it our “Common Ground.”
After an unexpected attack, we can usually identify an enemy by tracing back the evidence path leading into the attack. For example, on December 7, 1941, we suffered a surprise attack on our naval fleet at Pearl Harbor. The evidence trail identified the Japanese empire as the culprits, and strategists developed a working plan of how to defend against and counter their next likely moves. Likewise, after the surprise attack on September 11, 2001, we could also easily uncover the evidence trail, down to the identities and prior preparations of the 19 Muslim hijackers on the destroyed airliners.
Points of evidence led 9/11 investigators to find other evidence. In any proper investigation, it is not really a chain of evidence which forms. A chain will be broken with one bad link. Rather, a good investigation creates a best working model that is more like a network of evidence. Each point of evidence can form a node, rather than a single link. Each node can have multiple connection paths to other evidence points and nodes. A competent investigation analysis will compile those nodes and paths into a clear pattern. The enemy thus becomes identifiable, and tts plots and tendencies will become predictable, to establish defense and counter moves.
However, that professional investigation is not the only source which forms our Common Ground understanding of who attacked us and why. Two other major sources are at work. One is an intentional disinformation campaign, orchestrated by a coalition of 1) the Islamic enemy within, which is advising our people in power (think of CAIR); 2) the Leftist enemy within, which shares the same destructive goal as the Islamic enemy (think of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)); 3) the wishful thinking and willful ignorance of our softer leaders, who, despite the professionally compiled evidence trail to the contrary, readily accept the propaganda message put out by the first two on face value (think of George W. Bush and his rhetorical invention, “Religion of Peace”).
A further faulty narrative source comes from the non-professionals, with fringe ideas. As they contribute in the mass media environment, their alternative theories will attract their wishful thinking followers. But a professional evidence model will easily discard those as faulty. Some such narratives are rooted in outright fakes. But they will always be pieces that fail to fit in the large network of evidence. That fact is simply self-evident. You cannot connect a thing that will not connect.
So in the competent investigation, a clear threat assessment model will form, which can be reasoned from the assembled network of well-tied evidence nodes. Non-fitting junk will get debunked and discarded.
So now we run into the main problem in our search for Common Ground understanding of the threat which defines the enemy who attacked us on 9/11. We can form a rational network model of evidence, professionally well-constructed. But, the true narrative from that comes up against competition from other forces in our society who do not want our model to be the narrative.
Our success will require us to keep bringing our factual network of evidence nodes into the Common Ground narrative. We cannot persuade everybody. But we must out-compete parts of those other narratives, which are faulty.
We do have a large baseline in our favor. These are the people who want America to survive. They don’t want to be violently attacked, nor to see other Americans be violently attacked. These are all people who are inherently on our side. But they do not all know or understand our solid network of evidence. Many have been fooled by the false narratives. But these in the baseline are all people we can potentially reach. And we can probably assume that they are the majority of Americans. Preservation of America and of Americans is our baseline Common Ground goal with them.
Let’s not waste much time fighting with the remaining minority who persist outside of that shared baseline. They will never be relevant to our purpose of coming to Common Ground terms to identify, defend against, and counter the Islamic Movement enemy that seeks to defeat and conquer us.
So our Common Ground baseline of societal self-preservationists will naturally include a wide political range of both conservatives and progressives / liberals, Republicans and Democrats. By definition, they will all accept that we were attacked on 9/11 by an outside group of enemy agents. But our terms of how to label that enemy is where we clash. Our goal must be to persuade more of them, by evidence, that the threatening entity is an identifiable ideology of supremacist conquest — the Islamic Movement.
So then, how can we encourage wider usage of our more accurate, evidence-based terms to define this enemy and its motives and goals? After the 9/11 attack, the biggest voices have come to label them “terrorists,” or “killers.” President Bush awkwardly named our national defense operation against this enemy as the “War on Terror.” And to really confuse us all, his invented “Terror” name for the enemy promoted the odd fantasy that there are some non-Islamic terror operatives who we must also be at war with, just to keep it politically correct, perhaps. But even the mass murderous drug cartels to our southern border never quite rated as “Terror” in this war or earlier.
Clearly, it was named to mislead, to exclude the word “Islam.” We can only conclude that the Islamic Movement enemy close to the president was partly responsible for creating that deception.
Using an inadequate label of “terrorist” gives us no predictive ability to prevent attacks. “Terror” fails to explain any motive or ideology or belief or goal behind the attack. We need more clearly defined terms that actually match the attackers’ ideology.
Usage of the term “Islamic Movement” is a step toward more clear labels. We are sometimes more precise, and will just say “Islam,” because then we are speaking true to terms that Muslims use. But sometimes clarity like that comes at risk of losing the attention of many people within our Common Ground. They remain trapped in misguided tolerance indoctrination, and politically correct resistance to what they will perceive as harsh and a turnoff. While we can still logically define the threat as a “Movement,” which connotes an ideology of societal, political, and militaristic aims.
Previous attempts to resolve this dilemma of labels have invented terms for these killers, such as, “Radical Islamic Terrorist” or “Islamist.” These labels are fictional. They do not exist internally inside any Islamic context, among any followers of Islam. But to be clear, Islam does in fact define fighters for Islam as mujahideen.
For example, Quran 4:95 tells Muslims, “Not equal are those believers remaining [at home] – other than the disabled – and the mujahideen, [who strive and fight] in the cause of Allah with their wealth and their lives. Allah has preferred the mujahideen through their wealth and their lives over those who remain [behind], by degrees. And to both Allah has promised the best [reward]. But Allah has preferred the mujahideen over those who remain [behind] with a great reward.”
Mujahideen are those who wage jihad — jihadists. But it is enough to simply point to this and other verses of violence commanded in Quran, to account for the motive of the attackers.
And then, having clearly established ideological identity and motive, we can ask, “Where is this verse taught, as an attack doctrine upon random clusters of Americans? Who are the teachers, and where do their students come from? Who funds the salaries, and the tuition?
Those questions take us off the defensive, and instead shift the burden of defense to where it belongs — onto the proponents of the Islamic Movement in our midst. Their task must first be to perceptibly reduce and then eliminate such teachings of violence among Muslims. It is not acceptable that they will instead deny the terrorist meaning of the verse, as a further tactic against us. Rather, they must actually pursue the funding trail to the mass teachings of Quran-based terror motivation, and cut it off, if they have any authority.
If they lack that authority, then their excuses toward us are just noise. They would fail our Common Ground goal of life and societal preservation in America. They will have proven that they simply cannot promote Quran as a book of peace and tolerance toward non-Muslims, as they come up against more credible voices of violence inherent in the Islamic Movement.
As established above, our Common Ground is always based in American security as a prime goal. We must not leave our fate in the hands of ineffective Islamic leaders among us, who simply say things that we like to hear. Those leaders, if they are to be part of our Common Ground, must be competent to effect life-saving change within the Islamic training system that propagates terror and slaughter out of Quran and other source texts. If that change proves to be improbable, by the weight of modern Islamic scholarship and authority, then the evidence revealed by the failed attempt will simply establish that Quran and other source texts of Islam are in fact the enemy threat doctrine.