Don’t React to Radical Islam with a Radical America

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As I heard a CNN debate yesterday about torture in the wake of the death of Osama Ben Laden, and the talk that water boarding of Khaled Sheik Muhammad led to the first tips of this successful mission, I couldn’t help but sense a level of radicalism portrayed by some of the guests defending water boarding!

If the reaction to Radical Islam is going to be shedding our morals and Radicalizing our responses, then the reversion to barbarism and the return to the 5th century are inevitable and are the ultimate goals of Alqaeda.

We were attacked because of a combination of two things:

1. The radicalization of Muslim fundamentalists into militant and terroristic schools of thought by the oppression and violence of the middle eastern dictatorships mixed with the chaotic structure of Islamic Academic Institution and the “Problem of Resources and Authority” within Islamic tradition.

2. The irresponsible American foreign policy that supports blindly Israel, with its bloody campaigns and excessive use of brutal force against unarmed women and children, and displays impotent bi-standards in dealing with Human Rights Issues, globalization of democracy, and support of dictatorships.

To focus on terrorists as a species rather than a phenomenon can be detrimental to us. Dealing with them as rogue insects, wanting to murder them as fast as possible, with “shock and awe” Hollywood affects, is the approach that many Americans lean towards now a day. These find waterboarding as nothing compared to what they are capable of doing and what lines they are willing to cross in the war for information.

The other way to deal with terrorism, and as the Obama administration has shown signs of, is as a phenomena. Eradicating the roots and putting off the fires… dealing with the causes mentioned above.

Alqaeda has calculated and recalculated over and over for the last 10 years the scenario of Osama’s death. They have decentralized and franchised their operation. The danger of Alqaeda, although blown back, stands sustained. New Osama’s are still created everyday as long as the reasons mentioned above persist.

To face off terrorism, we need to do the following in my opinion:

1. Encourage the reform of the Islāmic establishment by supporting reformists and drying the resources of traditionalists and fundamentalists.

2. Stick to our principles no matter what the cost is, and be consistent in our implementation and exporting of these ideals. It is a war of ideals more than few bombs here or there! If we have to sacrifice half of our population to preserve our ideals, then let it be… for we only exist by our ideals, and we seize to exist without them.  We should stop letting the ticking bomb scenario distort our moral principles and pull us to act like our enemies!

3. Create an objective and unbiased policy for the middle east and all over the world. This can only be done if we limit the corporate and political influence through lobbies and interest groups to our government.

4. Isolate religion further from state and regulate against the media bias and misinformation. We have great universities, and they should be our resource of policy and advice.

5. Announce a war against dictatorship and corruption, which usually lead the youth to turn into radicalization and extremism. Divert our inflated defense budget to supporting education and reform in the world.

6. Create from our foreign study program an ambassador of peace, science, and democracy program. It is a great resource that is unexcavated yet.

In conclusion, our capture and killing of Osama does not validate waterboarding, torture, Guantanamo, occupation, or any Abu Gharib. If anything, it validated the difficulty of fighting this war with might and steel, for it took us 10 years, billions of dollars, two occupations, 10’s of thousands of work hours, 100’s of dedicated professionals, 1000’s of returning coffins, and a lot of destruction to our image to kill the top guy in a non-hierarchial network. In the mean while, the extended unbiased,humanistic, helping and peaceful hand of Google, Facebook, and Twitter, changed half the middle east in two months and destroyed Alqaeda’s outlooks in them. There are much to learn from such contrast.

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About W

Wissam, Wesley, or simply W, is an educator, writer, entrepreneur, engineer, activist, ex-Imam, humanist, liberal thinker with interest and mediocre attempt at many takes of life. A modern confused Renaissance man, who uses doubt as a path for emancipation and science as a road towards enlightenment.

View all posts by W

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