Politics & Policy

Wanting a War They Can’t Win

Pointless jihad dreaming.

I have a very juvenile habit. Okay, I have lots of juvenile habits. But the relevant one today is that I often find myself daydreaming about what it would be like if America were invaded. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen Red Dawn so many times, but I can’t help it.

I don’t know who could manage it, exactly. The Soviets are gone. The Chinese and the Indians have the manpower, but lack the means. And, well, that’s about it. It’s silly to even contemplate anybody else trying (“Lock up your daughters! The Danes are coming!”). Still, it’s fun to think about, especially when you’re out West driving through places like Texas or Wyoming. The simple fact is this country is, for the foreseeable future, impregnable to a conventional invasion.

Even if the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines behaved little better than a Frenchman upon hearing David Hasselhoff sing “Brick House” in German, the United States would still be essentially unconquerable. We have over 100 million guns in this country. Pick-up trucks and SUVs are still the most popular vehicles. We’ve got millions of very smart people who know how to MacGyver all sorts of cool stuff and who know how to live off the land.

Americans refuse to take orders from our democratically elected leaders, which is why, for example, we still don’t know the metric system. The idea that we would lay down and follow the orders of Jian Zemin’s colonial governor is batty. Americans would disperse into the hills, mountains, and forests from coast to coast and become a never-ending sprinkler system of whup ass on the ChiComs, or whomever, until they shagged their butts back to Beijing or — more plausibly — asked for citizenship here and opened up a Footlocker.


Anyway, like I said, this is a juvenile (and very male) line of inquiry. On a scale of seriousness it ranks slightly higher than asking who’s stronger, Superman or the Hulk, and just below the question, “If men had tails, would we wear them inside our pants or outside?”

Which is why I find these stories about Muslim fanatics trying to launch a “holy war” so bizarre. I would think they are flat out hilarious, except for the fact that these idiots keep murdering innocent people on the basis of their crackpot fantasies. The latest case in point arrived just this morning. The Associated Press reports that two Pakistani immigrants were arrested in Florida for planning to attack a National Guard Armory and blow up some electrical transformers and some elderly Jews in South Florida. These Keystone terrorists hoped this would result in a holy war that would engulf the United States and the Islamic world.

But these morons aren’t alone in such thinking. In fact, there are literally tens of thousands of people living in the West who think the same way. Every now and then one fanatic or another announces that what Islam needs is an all-out brouhaha between Muslims and America. Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the spiritual leader of Hamas declared a couple months ago: “Sons of Islam everywhere, the jihad is a duty — to establish the rule of Allah on earth and to liberate your countries and yourselves from America’s domination and its Zionist allies, it is your battle — either victory or martyrdom.”

Such fantasies are soaked deep into the Arab and Muslim psyche and faith. In its origin Islam is a religion of the sword and in certain corners of the globe it remains such. The faith actually divides the world into two camps, the House of Islam and the House of War. It is the ultimate goal and duty of Islam, according to the zealots, to bring the House of War — by force if necessary — into the House of Islam.

Because so many Muslims believe as a matter of religious truth that a full-blown, all-out, full-tilt boogie for burkas and beheadings kind of war will, by definition, result in the global “rule of Allah,” there’s a tendency to see war as a solution to any problem you might be facing. It’s sort of like seeing global war as a winning lottery ticket that would solve all your problems. In 1964, for instance, Yasser Arafat believed — and announced — that his failed attack on a water pump in Northern Israel would lead to jihad and the ultimate destruction of Israel.

Osama bin Laden, we all know, believed and hoped that the 9/11 attacks would result in a holy war. Meanwhile, his organization and those associated with it are so high on their crack hookahs they think a holy war will result in Islamic dominion over all or most of India, Russia, and China too.

What’s my point? Simple: These people are frickin’ nuts. If they were allowed to drink booze, I’d say they were talking with their beer muscles. I know it’s fun for these loons to imagine a bunch of Dervishes pouring into downtown Cleveland whirling their scimitars as we fat and spoiled Americans drop our Big Macs and run for our lives, but that will never, ever, happen.

Think of the “best case” scenario for these terrorists: The entire Muslim world rises up for a jihad against the United States. This what they wish for, right? Well, this alone qualifies them as idiots.


I’m no Victor Davis Hanson, but it seems to me that even without nuclear weapons, we could probably defeat all 57 members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference— combined. We’d need to be convinced that our survival was on the line and be thus committed to total war like we were during WWII or the Civil War. But that’s sort of implied when you use phrases like “global holy war,” and talk about the mass conversion and/or the mass slaughter of Christendom, right?

Oh sure, we might need to reinstate the draft, cut some fat from the next farm bill, load up on a couple of more air wings and de-mothball a few ships, but it’s totally doable when you think about it. It’s not like we’d have to take the fight to Chad, Oman, and Cameroon all at once or on their timetables.

But, remember, this would be the most favorable scenario for the jihad-fantasy crowd. In reality, most Islamic countries would say, “I’ll pass on this holy war, catch me at the next one” once they saw the Arsenal of Democracy pull into their harbors or fly overhead. In fact, some Muslim countries would probably take our side. And let me tell you something: this world-historical title fight goes from eight rounds to two if Turkey or Pakistan joins our team.

And speaking of our team, if fate says its go-time for an all-out holy war between the West and Islam, we’d hardly be alone. I know, I know, France doesn’t seem like much compared to us, but they stack up pretty well against, say, Tunisia, Bahrain, and Togo, and so long as none of these countries learn to speak German, the Frenchies would do just fine. And, yeah, the Russians may have an awful hangover these days, but I’d pick them over the Maldives and Mozambique any day of the week. I don’t know how fired up the Chinese and Indians would be, but if the “Jihad or Bust” crowd wants to take on the whole world, they’d have to deal with them too.

And, of course, there are our mates the British, the Australians, and the Canadians. Whenever it’s go-time the English-speaking crowd rolls up its sleeves and the Brits know a lot about their old colonies. And, oh yeah, let’s not forget the Israelis. They’ve managed to beat the stuffing out of the “combined might of the Arab world,” as the saying goes, more than once. I can’t imagine they’d stand-pat for the big one.

And then there’s their team. Don’t get me wrong, there are a couple of bruisers on their bench. Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey: These are serious countries with some legitimately experienced, though comparatively unimpressive, militaries. But, tell me, how exactly are these guys going to bring the fight to us? Their troop ships are going to land in San Diego or Boston….how? They’re going to stop us from parking our aircraft carriers wherever we want with…what? I missed that, explain again how their supply ships get past our destroyers and submarines?

And, now that you mention it, who’s supplying the Muslim countries to begin with? Right now, if you subtract oil, the entire Arab world exports less than Finland’s five million citizens. It’s not like they have sufficient agriculture and industry to keep fighting for long, especially considering that most of that stuff would be cratered by B-52s in the first weeks of this supposed epoch-shattering eschatological event.

Of course, this is all profoundly juvenile. None of this will happen. But as day-dreamy as this rundown may seem, it is actually vastly more realistic than the visions of Ottoman pashas lounging on Chicago’s Gold Coast and Saudi princes living on Park Avenue. Osama bin Laden, the twitchy little perv that he is, may dream of putting a burka on Britney Spears and taking one off Leonardo DiCaprio, but it ain’t going to happen.

It would be one thing if this relatively small band of fanatics were murdering people in pursuit of something achievable. You know, if their goal were simply to get McDonald’s out of Cairo or our airbases out of the Gulf. But, if you take them at their word, their ultimate goal is to bring about the total destruction of democracy, America, and the Christian and Jewish faiths. As a practical matter, to believe that this can be achieved through an all-out battle between our team and theirs is like believing war will make squares into circles and ducks will crap plutonium.

This doesn’t mean these daft murderers aren’t dangerous. They are. But they are tactically dangerous. Strategically, they’re cuckoo for Coca Puffs. They can blow up things and kill people. But their ultimate goal, victorious jihad against the “infidels,” is no more likely to happen than the Hale-Boppers were likely to get picked up by an intergalactic shuttle bus. So think about this the next time you hear some knee-jerk pundit exclaim that if we do X or Y we will give Osama bin Laden or the Islamo-fascists “exactly what they want.” What they want isn’t going to happen. Period. If they even get close to what they wish for, they will be very, very sorry.


1. I am pleased to announce the birth of Jonah Frago. Born on May 25th at 6:10 PM, weighing in at 9lbs., 12 oz., and 21 3/4 inches long. The son of proud Goldberg File readers, I wish I could say this beautiful boy was named after me, but it’s more like my name inspired his parents in much the same way my parents decided to name me Jonah after they’d met the Jazz musician Jonah Jones. Congratulations, Fragos! And hey, Jonah, get used to the whale jokes as quick as you can because they will never, ever, stop.

2. Speaking of the widespread appeal and influence of this column, let me share a quick story I’ve already recounted in The Corner. The other day the Fair Jessica and I were hiking in Turkey Run Park in Virginia. We passed a nice couple on a trail with a toddler and a baby. The mom wanted to introduce her older kid to Cosmo. As the little boy was petting Cosmo, the boy’s dad said, “Oh, sure, I know Cosmo. He’s the Wonderdog. He’s famous.” This story sparked a controversy in The Corner; everyone believed Cosmo was famous, no one believed I went hiking.

3. I’m typing quietly because my beautiful bride is being interviewed in the living room by ABC News. Presumably she will be on tonight.


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