General James Mattis – Attacking the al Qaeda “Narrative”

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The flag of al-Qaeda: aka The Base, Qa‘idat al-Jihad, Islamic Army for the Liberation of the Holy Places, World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders, Islamic Salvation Foundation

[Hat tip to Small Wars Journal]

The following article was written by Jim Guirard on August 7, 2007:

In his June 2007 State Department E-Journal article, New Paradigms For 21st Century Conflicts, Dr. Dave Kilcullen of General David Petraeus’ senior staff in Baghdad called for, among other things, a “New Lexicon” for better defining and more effectively defeating enemies which subscribe to the faith-based mantra of “Death to America, the Great Satan”.

In other public statements and in several Small Wars Journal postings, Kilcullen entered very slowly, very prudently into the virtually verboten realm of attacking al Qaeda-style Terrorism in Islamic religious context, rather than in Western secular terms only — referring to the AQ terrorists as “munafiquun” (hypocrites to authentic, Qur’anic Islam) and pointing out that “they call themselves mujahideen” but are doing barbaric things which are anything but holy.

To which this word warrior says: Spot on! Two small steps for a good man, two giant steps for truth-in-language and truth-in-Islam in the War on al Qaeda-style Terrorism — a.k.a., Irhabi Murderdom and the AQ Apostasy, as this essay recommends as its most appropriate new names.

But even these two measured Kilcullen attacks on the terrorists’ religious legitimacy were in conflict with the State Department’s basic rule in such matters. As stated on page 25 of the US National Strategy For Public Diplomacy and Strategic Communication, the official advisory is, in part, as follows: Use caution when dealing with faith issues. Government officials should be extremely cautious and, if possible, avoid using religious language, because it can mean different things and can be easily misunderstood…

So broad brush is this avoidance of matters and words religious that the traditional “hearts, minds and souls” frame of reference no longer includes the word “souls.”

In respectful contradiction to this “avoid using religious words” directive, this writer has been able to post three recent essays supportive of Dr. Kilcullen’s specific acts of re-labeling and of his general call for a “New Lexicon” for expanding this line of counterinsurgency to its full potential.

The latest of these essays, Petraeus Aide’s Call for a New Lexicon, offers over a dozen of the Arabic and Islamic words which are necessary frames of reference in any such anti-bin Ladenism Glossary, or Lexicon.

Enter Marine Corps Lieutenant General Jim Mattis

By fortunate circumstance, Lieutenant General Jim Mattis, Commanding General of US Marines Forces Central Command and I Marine Expeditionary Force, and the Marine Corps’ premier counterinsurgency (COIN) expert — has just inserted himself into the religious and/or the pseudo-religious aspects of the current war on al Qaeda’s metastasizing cancer of so-called “Jihadi Martyrdom.”

As Mattis has charged in a recent North County Times interview, the al Qaeda narrative in this respect is nothing but tyranny in false religious garb. Although he does not list the specific Islamic terms which constitute that pseudo-religious scam, the most likely ingredients of this patently false but highly seductive, self-sanctifying narrative would be bin Ladenism’s six-word mantra of so-called

(1) Jihad (holy war) by supposed
(2) mujahideen (holy warriors) and UBL-anointed
(3) shuhada (martyrs) destined for a promised 72-virgins
(4) Jennah (Paradise) as reward for killing us alleged
(5) kuffr (infidels) and, in time, the alleged
(6) Shaitan al-Kabir (the Great Satan, America), as well

Notice, please, that the widespread parroting of this AQ-supportive narrative is much akin to the “useful idiocy” of those in the Cold War who parroted (and who demonized those few who would not join them in parroting) the Soviets’ and Fascist Fidel Castro’s deceitful narrative of so-called

(1) Wars of National Liberation by alleged
(2) Progressive Movements and supposed
(3) Patriotic Fronts on their way to heaven-on-earth
(4) People’s Democracy as a reward for killing all of us
(5) Fascists and for defeating the evils of
(6) American Imperialism

The two situations and the patently false labeling sustaining each are virtually identical. They are both highly representative of the problem which the late, great Senator Pat Moynihan and Dr. Fred Charles Ikle — Ronald Reagan’s Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, and now with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) – described in the early 1980s as “semantic infiltration.”

As Moynihan defined the term, Simply put, semantic infiltration is the process whereby we come to adopt the language of our adversaries in describing political reality. The most totalitarian regimes in the world would call themselves ‘liberation movements.’… [substitute ‘Jihadi Martyrs’] … It is perfectly predictable that they should misuse words to conceal their real nature. But must we aid them in that effort by repeating those words? Worse, do we begin to influence our own perceptions by using them?”

Back then, it was a case of Leninist and Castroite “tyranny in false Liberationist garb.” Today, it is the neo-Leninist and fascist-Left equivalent which General Mattis so correctly condemns as being wrapped in “false [Islamic] religious garb.” Indeed, both of these monumental scams are deceitful echoes of the militant atheist Vladimir Lenin’s cynical postulation that:

“We will find our greatest success to the extent that we inculcate Marxism as a kind of religion. Religious men and women are easy to convert and win, and will easily accept our thinking if we wrap it up in a kind of religious terminology.”

The question now is what should be done about it — namely, what is the optimum counter narrative that will begin applying the necessary antidote to the AQ cancer which has spread across the planet? Like any cancer, it is deadly. But like any cancer, it can and must be defeated — both by destroying individual cells and by a death-to-the-source chemotherapy of worldwide “delegitimization.”

[continue reading]

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