October 27, 2005
Who Are We Fighting For Anyway -- Déjà Vu
In Lizard's Tongue number 3, I asked the question "who are we fighting for anyway?" If America is the champion of liberty everywhere but guardian only of our own, then why are we fighting in such far-flung lands as Iraq, Afghanistan, Columbia, the Horn of Africa -- and the Philippines?
My answer is the same as President Bush's: because if there ever was a time when we could retire behind the walls of Fortress America, counting on the two oceans to more or less protect us from attack, that era vanished in a blaze of bombings more than thirty years ago.
And today, we see just what the president meant by that. In Suspected Muslim Militants Caught in Philippines, from AP via FoxNews.com, we learn that seven Islamic terrorist converts were just captured in Zamboanga City, at the tip of the Zamboanga penninsula (south) on the island of Mindanao. This is an area of the Philippines that has seen almost continuous battles for a number of years between the terrorist groups Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah (both affilliated with al-Qaeda) on one side and the Philippine Marines and American forces on the other. (The Moro Islamic Liberation Front, MILF, is another Islamic terrorist organization based in Mindanao; but it's currently in peace talks with the Philippine government in Manilla. It does, however, give save haven to members of Abu Sayyaf and JI, from which they can strike against targets across the South Pacific.)
The group whose leader and six other members were just captured, the Rajah Solaiman Revolutionary Movement, is small compared to the two above; but it is also linked to both of them and to al-Qaeda as well. In fact, Philippine authorities on terrorism believe Rajah Solaiman was deliberately recruited and trained by Abu Sayyaf in order to take the terrorist campaign to new level... because the leader of Rajah Solaiman, Hilarion del Rosario Santos III, and most of his followers are Christians who converted to Islam, presumably in order to join the jihad.
This is truly bizarre. They are not Arabs, of course; they are not even natively Islamic. Why on earth would people convert to a religion and immediately begin planting bombs and massacring the innocent in the name of that religion? This indicates that the appeal of lawlessness to the hopeless spans culture and religion: militant Islamism has become the "lingua franca" of barbarity. Anybody or any group with a grievance and smouldering hatred can convert to Islam and receive an immediate terrorism indulgence.
Here is more on Rajah Solaiman from Newsweek International Edition from May 2005:
[Wally] Villanueva calmly entered the office of Norberto Gonzales, national-security adviser to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and in the presence of a NEWSWEEK reporter, surrendered himself.
The nondescript young man, it turns out, was a radical Muslim convert, one of dozens wanted on an arrest warrant in connection to deadly terrorist attacks and recently planned bombings in the Philippines. Filipino authorities hope his ongoing interrogation will reveal the whereabouts of other converts believed to be lurking in Manila, waiting to strike. "This is a bigger threat [than past terrorist plots]," says one official from the government's new antiterrorism task force. "Muslim converts are now one of the strategies that [terrorist groups] like to employ." [Emphasis added]
Abu Sayyaf, which dates back to the early 1990s, has promoted its goal of a Muslim state through repeated terrorist attacks and kidnappings. But a previously little-known Islamic group called the Rajah Solaiman Movement, whose membership consists of Filipino Christians who have converted to Islam, is now one of the top worries for the country's intelligence services.
Filipino authorities say the group's members have been trained, financed and directed by Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiah, a regional terrorist group with links to Al Qaeda, for at least two years. They claim the movement has dispatched dozens of its operatives to Manila to plan and carry out terrorist attacks.
The AP story makes clear the American military implications of this arrest:
Santos' group allegedly hid about 1,322 pounds of explosives, including TNT, that the military seized in a hideout in Manila's Fairview residential district in March. Soldiers arrested a brother of Santos in connection with the seizure, military officials said.
National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales said the explosives appeared to be intended for a 2,204-pound truck bomb that militants planned to use against the U.S. Embassy. That plot, along with other planned bombings by the group in the capital, was foiled with the seizure of the explosives, he said. [Emphasis added]
This is exactly why "Fortress America" cannot work. There simply is no way to tell whether someone entering the United States is a Filipino Christian -- or a recent convert to militant Islamism bent on jihad. Unless we have a workable plan to hermetically seal-off our borders (including all 12,000 miles of coastline), we cannot rely upon stopping these demonically possessed, sociopathic, "ticking time bombs" at the border. Unless we are forward-deployed, disrupting their plans at the source, we will lose this war.
That is why it is so vital to keep the reins of government out of the hand of the unserious, such as Howard Dean, John Kerry, or even Hillary Clinton, for all that she talks a great fight. Certainly, neither she nor her husband had any plan for aggressively assailing these terrorist groups in their heartland... so instead, we had to deal with them in ours.
It was there in the Philippines that the first glimmerings of the 9/11 attacks were planned. From Robert D. Kaplan's essential Imperial Grunts, about America's forever-war with terrorism around the globe:
It was in Afghanistan that AbuSayyaf's founders, Abduajak Janjalani and Abdul Murad, befriended Mohammed Jamal Khalifa -- Osama bin Laden's brouther-in-law -- and Ramzi Yousef, the organizer of the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993. In 1995 in Manila, Abdul Murad and Ramzi Yousef planned an attack on Pope John Paul II during the pontiff's upcoming visit to the Phiippines.
Following a fire that erupted as they were mixing explosives, Murad was captured; the Philippine security services are believed to have tortured him.
Murad gave Philippine investigators the password to his computer that was recovered from the burned-out apartment. On the hard disk they found the details of several terrorist plots, including one to use eleven jetliners to crash into CIA headquartes and other prominent buildings in Washington and New York. [Emphasis added]
It was this plot, hatched in Manila, that evolved into the most horrific act of terrorism ever committed on American soil.
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, October 27, 2005, at the time of 6:47 AM
TrackBack URL for this hissing: http://biglizards.net/mt3.36/earendiltrack.cgi/158
The following hissed in response by: matoko kusanagi
Dafydd,you didn't listen to my argument for calling them Islamic fundamentalists at all, did you. In the study of evolutionary theory of religion and the biology of belief, the same subset of individuals will find most types of fundamentalism appealing. The more extreme the fundamentalism is the more appealing it becomes. Look at american prison conversions, for example.
BTW, word on the street is that Miers has withdrawn.
The following hissed in response by: John Sobieski
Regarding why "Fortress America" cannot work alone, we certainly are not taking the necessary steps to at least keep the gates closed. Our borders are porous, our immigration appeals process is a dream come true for immigration lawyers with its endless appeals and bountiful 'exceptions' to removal. If we could establish discrimination against Muslims in immigration, if we could limit the growing Islamic influence on our society, our work environments, our k-12 textbooks, our universities.
There is lot we can do, it depends upon a willingness to recognize options if we can drop the pretense of political correctness and mulitculturalism. The assumption that Islam is a valid religion was just there. Now we know more, we understand more about jihad, it's centrality to Islam; how Islam has all the traits of a cult (harm and harass even kill the apostate, hatred of the 'others', there are many, and Islam has them all.) Fortunately, I, in America, can say that.
The above hissed in response by: John Sobieski at October 27, 2005 5:29 PM
The following hissed in response by: matoko kusanagi
King John! We are honored. Do you hope to reproduce your exploits at the gates of Vienna?
Islam is no cult. It is a CSS (Culturally Stable Strategy), like all religions.
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