Major General Harold Greene, who was murdered by a jihadist in Afghanistan Tuesday, is the highest-ranking American officer since the Vietnam War, 44 years ago, to be killed in combat. Or at least one hopes that he will be accorded the full honors of a soldier killed in combat. With the Obama administration and its compliant Pentagon brass, you can never be sure.
The two-star general was killed, and 15 fellow allied soldiers wounded, not on the battlefield but in the seemingly secure confines of a military base — in this instance, a training school outside Kabul. The shooting spree was carried out not by honorable combatants wearing an enemy uniform but by a stealth terrorist dressed as a member of the allied force whose treachery enabled him to kill and maim.
That makes it eerily similar, although considerably less bloody, than the Fort Hood massacre. In that 2009 attack, 13 American soldiers were murdered, and dozens wounded. The assassin was Nidal Hasan, who was formally a commissioned U.S. Army officer, but in reality a stealth terrorist — the “Soldier of Allah” described on the business cards he carried inside his soldier-of-America camouflage.
At the moment they were killed and wounded, the Americans in Fort Hood were being processed for imminent deployment to Afghanistan. They were headed to fight in the same war in which General Greene was killed by our jihadist enemies — the same “Muslim brothers” Hasan admitted mass-murdering our troops to protect.
Hasan, who screamed “Allahu Akbar!” as he mowed our troops down, acted while in communication with, and under the influence of, Anwar al-Awlaki, a notorious al-Qaeda operative. By 2009, Awlaki was known to have held furtive meetings with two of the principal suicide-hijackers in the days before the 9/11 attacks. He was adept at recruiting and inciting anti-American jihadists, like Hasan. Indeed, he is believed to have inspired other anti-American terror attacks and attempts.
That is why the commander-in-chief, relying on the law of war, authorized Awlaki’s killing by a drone strike in Yemen. Yet the same commander-in-chief and his Pentagon yes-men have adamantly refused to categorize the Fort Hood shootings as related to war and armed combat.
Twice as many Americans were killed at Fort Hood in 2009 while preparing to fight the enemy than at the World Trade Center in 1993 while working at their jobs. The WTC bombing is appropriately remembered as a jihadist attack and was prosecuted under terrorism charges — I was the prosecutor of the cell convicted of “conspiracy to wage a war of urban terrorism against the United States.” Yet, the Obama administration has categorized the Fort Hood massacre at a military installation as mere “workplace violence.” It was prosecuted as simple homicide, not terrorism. Our killed and wounded have been denied purple-heart medals, the honor due to combat casualties of the jihad.
The “workplace violence” tripe is based on the fiction that Hasan was a “lone wolf.” In part, this is a cover-up of fatally reckless government incompetence. Hassan’s military superiors knew he was an Islamic supremacist. The ostensible U.S. Army psychiatrist was quite open about it, even incorporating jihadist ideology into his academic lectures. More to the point, the army was alerted by the FBI and its Joint Terrorism Task Force about Hasan’s contacts with Awlaki. Still, the brass took no preventive action. Instead, they dismissed Hasan’s terrorist contacts as “professional research”; promoted Hasan from captain to major and, ultimately, to lieutenant colonel; and left American soldiers at risk even though the phenomenon of deadly jihadist infiltration — what the military calls “green-on-blue attacks” of the type that killed General Greene — was well known.
But there is much more to this most self-destructive side of willful blindness. Initial reporting from the Associated Press regarding General Greene’s murder elaborated that, while credit for “insider attacks” is sometimes claimed by the Taliban in Afghanistan, other “green on blue” killings
are attributed to personal disputes or resentment by Afghans who have soured on the continued international presence in their country more than a dozen years after the fall of the Taliban’s ultra-conservative Islamic regime. Foreign aid workers, contractors, journalists and other civilians in Afghanistan are increasingly becoming targets of violence as the U.S.-led military coalition continues a withdrawal to be complete by the end of the year [emphasis added].
Now, why would Afghans be “resentful” about the presence of American forces whose mission, for the last decade, has increasingly shifted from promoting American national security to making a better life for Afghans? Why would not only soldiers but civilian contractors and foreign-aid workers — all there to build Afghan democracy and civil society — be “targets of violence”?
The answer is a simple one, albeit one we mulishly refuse to confront.
Under the scripturally based Islamic-supremacist ideology endorsed by some of the world’s most influential Muslim scholars, an infidel force that enters Islamic land for the purpose of installing non-Muslim institutions, precepts, and law must be violently opposed and driven out. That such a Western force has humanitarian motivations, that it seeks to spread liberty not seize territory, is irrelevant. Our sharia-driven enemies have very different notions about what “humanitarian” means; and our idea of liberty — the antithesis of sharia totalitarianism — is not a blessing but a form of blasphemy.
Idealizing liberty as a desire inscribed on every human heart, we act as if it can win on its own. It can’t. Those who have it have to defend it; those who want it have to fight for it. Its committed enemies have to be defeated for it to have a chance.
If Nidal Hasan is a “lone wolf,” then there are millions of them. He is a jihadist operative of this ideological movement, just like al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Hamas, Hezbollah, the terror masters in Tehran, the World Trade Center bombers, and the infiltrator who murdered General Greene.
This ideological movement and the global jihad it fuels cannot be wished away by pretending Nidal Hasan was a “lone wolf”; that terror attacks are “workplace violence”; that a transcontinental terror network can be miniaturized into “core al-Qaeda” and various local franchises with parochial agendas unconnected to the anti-American ideology of Islamic conquest; that the war is happening only in Afghanistan; that the Taliban, Hamas, and Hezbollah are not terrorist organizations — just political parties that happen to have their own military brigades for those occasional times when a stump speech won’t do; or that an American president can “bring an end” to war by withdrawing forces while the enemy is still plotting against our citizens, besieging our troops, and now murdering our generals.
The global jihad is not nearly done with us, even if the president thinks he can make it go away by claiming, repeatedly and delusionally, to have “decimated” it. It is a battle that can end only when one side’s will is broken. There is no middle way with it: You win or you lose. Right now, we are losing.
— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book, Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment, was released by Encounter Books on June 3.