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Our Sharia-Compliant Afghan War
Our policy in Afghanistan is part tragedy, part farce.


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Andrew C. McCarthy

In a better time, when the burdens of war were shared by an engaged nation and not shouldered exclusively by military families making up less than 1 percent of the population, the high farce that is the Afghanistan mission would have been obvious before President Obama uttered one word on Wednesday night. All you’d need to know is the story that came to light the day before.

Turns out that the U.S. government has embraced a core tenet of sharia — that archaic corpus of Islamic law that Mitt Romney recently assured us would never gain traction in America. Patrick Poole reported at Pajamas Media on Tuesday that the secretary of the army has just granted “conscientious objector” status to Pfc. Nasser Abdo, a Muslim American soldier who refused to deploy to Afghanistan. Heeding the admonitions of CAIR and other Muslim Brotherhood operatives, the Pentagon accepts the claim that sharia forbids Muslims from assisting infidels in a war against Muslim forces in an Islamic land.

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News Flash One: The war in Afghanistan, an Islamic land, is a war waged by infidels (that would be us) against Muslim forces — the Taliban, al-Qaeda, the Haqqani network, etc.

News Flash Two: The operating theory of the American counterinsurgency (COIN) strategy in Afghanistan is that the hearts and minds of the population of this tribal sharia society will side with us non-Muslims in a war against their fellow Muslims, most of whom are also their fellow Afghans.

Which is to say, our strategy is insane.

That does not mean our troops cannot kill a goodly number of jihadists. They have done that, and they will no doubt continue to do that as long as U.S. and allied forces remain in Afghanistan. Naturally, the number of terrorists we manage to get will dwindle as we draw down, while our diminishing numbers will make our own troops increasingly vulnerable to attack. But, sure, we can stick around forever, killing pockets of jihadists and overtaking their strongholds, however temporarily.

That, however, is not victory. It is an ever-worsening stalemate. Victory, under our chosen strategy, can never be achieved. That is why Obama, Gen. David Petreaeus, and COIN enthusiasts everywhere resist mention of the V-word.

“Victory” has been downgraded to “success,” but even success is not much discussed — and that is because, as conceived, success is a pipedream too. The idea is that we stay and hold the Taliban et al. at bay until we have finally trained enough Afghan soldiers and police officers to fight the Taliban for us. Because once we win over their hearts and minds, the theory goes, these Afghans will believe they are actually fighting the Taliban for themselves — fighting “their war,” not ours, as the heady plan was explained by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the former theater commander and Kennedy School fellow who now teaches international relations at Yale. It’s all very cerebral, psychological, and sophisticated, the kind of war professors could love.

There’s just one problem with it. Okay, there’s a ton of problems, but let’s get to the big one: If we acknowledge that sharia is a valid reason not to send an American Muslim to fight against his fellow Muslims in Afghanistan, what on earth makes us think the Afghan Muslims are going to fight their fellow Afghan Muslims in furtherance of American national-security interests?

The sharia objection Private Abdo successfully posed to his deployment is not frivolous. To the contrary, from the perspective of a devout Muslim, it is ironclad. The animating theme of Islamic law is the supremacy of Islam and the imperative that it reign over the earth, that Muslims overcome non-Muslims. Consequently, infidel forces are generally regarded with hostility in Islamic countries (particularly if they are pursuing their own, rather than Islamic, interests). This is why politicians in the new Afghan and Iraqi “democracies” get such mileage out of America-bashing. Their populations, which are nearly 100 percent Islamic, despise America. In these places, the very thought of Muslims helping non-Muslims make war against Muslims is anathema.

Reliance of the Traveller, the classic manual of Islamic law accepted throughout the ummah, instructs believers that there is nothing “more heinous in Allah’s sight” than “the killing of a believer.” How, you may ask, are we to convince Afghans that when we kill Taliban operatives we’re not killing believers, and that when they kill them for us, they won’t be killing believers either? Here, our Beltway solons get downright Jesuitical, maintaining that these Taliban characters are not really Muslims but, yes, “violent extremists” who have perverted Islam. But behold: Even in the West Wing faculty lounge, they don’t really buy this fairy tale. That’s why such pains were taken to give Osama bin Laden a fastidiously Muslim funeral, during which American naval personnel actually prayed for Allah to pardon him and grant him every blessing of paradise before feeding him to the sharks.



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