I wrote the article below the broken line for the National Interest’s foreign affairs blog this week. The Islamist bombing in Sweden last Saturday (11 December 10) has again given the U.S. government and its allies a chance to understand that the primary motivation of Osama bin Laden al-Qaeda, their allies, and those they inspire is to be found in U.S. and Western policies and their impact in the Muslim world, and not in the West’s lifestyle and political systems. This is the umpteenth chance Western leaders have had to find this key insight in the aftermath of an Islamist attack. Will they take it?
Early evidence suggests they will not. Swedish officials are already authorizing increased funding to find out what “radicalizes” young Swedish Muslims, and have cried out against those who “poison the minds” of those young men. U.S. officials, too, have ratcheted up their tearful whining about the “increasing radicalization” of young, U.S.-citizen Muslims, and the Congress is about to hold hearings on “radicalization.” The latter, of course, will result in borrowing more money from the Chinese and the Saudis to greatly increase funding for the wizards of social science to “study” radicalization and its causes.
After a long and expensive study, the social-science frauds will find numerous untrue causes for radicalization — the intolerance of Americans, growing Islamophobia, the activities of the political right, etc, etc, etc. They will then draft a plan that yields substantial new spending and the further regulation of U.S. society according to the “progressive (read socialist)” ideals of the Democratic party and its acolytes who dominate the U.S. academy.
Armed with these findings, Washington will march forward to “perfect” U.S. society to make it more welcoming to Muslims, while al-Qaeda and its allies continue to grow in numbers and military capability because their motivation is based on the foreign policies that our genius social scientists and august political leaders argue have nothing to do with the war the Islamists are waging at us. And so we will continue down the road toward economic ruin, increasing Islamist attacks in the United States, and ultimate defeat.
How can it be that a very dead Islamist bomber educated at the UK’s Bedfordshire University is so much very much smarter than Bill Clinton (Yale and Oxford), George Bush (Yale), and Barack Obama (Columbia and Harvard)? Simple, the dead Islamist saw the world as it is, the others see a world that exists only in their arrogant and Ivy League-damaged minds.
The configuration and physical impact of the bomb detonated last Saturday in Stockholm is best left for forensic specialists to evaluate. For the rest of us, the most important aspect of the event is that it constitutes yet another warning for the unctuously self-righteous, effeminate and oblivious West that Islamist attacks are based on what we do, not who we are and how we think.
Taymour Abdul Wahab, the dead bomber, claimed his attack was motivated by Sweden’s contribution of five hundred troops to the U.S.-led Afghan war, the media’s printing of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad and other Western actions harming Muslims. In other words, he was willing to die because of what he saw as lethal Western attacks on his faith and brethren; the bomber’s e-mail to police told non-Muslim Swedes: “Now your children, daughters and sons will die like our brothers and sisters are dying.” Wahab did not claim that he acted because of his hatred for women in the Swedish workplace, local elections in Stockholm or the existence of democracy in Scandinavia. Since 9/11, hatred for Western actions in the Muslim world invariably has been identified by Islamist attackers in the United States, Australia, Britain, and other European countries as their principle motivation. Now popularly referred to as “home-growns,” the great bulk of the evidence clearly shows these young Muslim males are motivated by the West’s policy toward Muslim peoples and nations.
In reality, the attackers have not been “home-grown” in the sense of being alienated or, to use the current social-(psuedo)science buzzword, “radicalized” by their immediate cultural and political surroundings. Most were educated, well-adjusted and functioning members of the Western state in which they lived. It was Western foreign policy vis-à-vis Muslim lands—what the Stockholm bomber called the “war being waged on Islam”—that nurtured their eagerness to defend Islam and Muslims by waging war at home. It was not the lifestyles of their fellow countrymen.
The endlessly repeated assertions by Western leaders and government-grant-hungry social scientists that the so-called home-grown attackers have been “radicalized” by Islamist scholars and preachers who are not orthodox Muslims, or by some disfigured, hijacked form of Islam, or by hatred for gender equality and liberty are nonsense elevated to common wisdom. They now have us fighting a “criminal” enemy that does not exist, rather than the growing, scripture-based and religiously motivated Islamist enemy that is on offer. We have ignored this reality and are near disaster because we take comfort in the reassuring but utterly false notion that the Islamists are limited in number, un-Islamic and basically criminals. As long as we continue to do so, the number of Muslims in the West—most, like the Stockholm bomber, with college degrees and jobs—willing to pick up arms or bombs will increase, and this proliferation will soon bring the war more fully and bloodily to Europe and the continental United States. And we will have only ourselves to blame. We have been too arrogant to listen to the enemy and understand his motivation; too self-blinded by political correctness to recognize the seriousness, religious legitimacy and breadth of his threat; and too effete to draft and then implement a strategic military-economic-political/diplomatic plan to decisively defeat him.
Finally, for terrorism “experts” who continue to insist that bin Laden and al-Qaeda are no longer influential players in the Islamists’ war, three items are worth noting. First, the Stockholm bomber named his son “Osama.” Second, an al-Qaeda-related website—Shumukh al-Islam—carried a statement by the al-Qaeda-backed Islamic State of Iraq’s War Minister Abu Sulieman al-Nasser identifying Wahab as the bomber, displaying Wahab’s picture, and announcing that the Stockholm attack is “only the beginning of a new era in our jihad … we will strike at the heart of Europe.” Third, both of his targets—a country supporting the U.S. in Afghanistan and those blaspheming the Prophet—have long been designated as key targets by Osama bin Laden.
At day’s end, sadly, Western governments are likely to ignore Wahab’s gift of a life ring, and instead will move quickly to waste inordinate amounts of taxpayer money on stoking up the useless de-radicalization programs advocated by social-science charlatans.