The Corner

Don’t Be Willfully Blind

Just read the book! I cannot stress enough how important a book Andy McCarthy’s Willful Blindness is. He’s brutally honest about the threat we face, and our failures in combating it (including being hard on himself where he believes there are lessons to be learned). We have a Q&A up on it today (Sean Hannity did a great interview with him yesterday; Mark Levin has him on his radio show tonight); here’s just a piece of it:

Lopez: You argue that “international terrorism is not the type of national challenge the criminal justice system is designed to address.” You say that “trials in the criminal justice system don’t work for terrorism. They work for terrorists.” So how do we deal with terrorism and terrorists, realistically, ASAP?

McCarthy: Well, I am not against using the criminal justice system as a component in a comprehensive government response to the jihadist threat. I object to its being the centerpiece of a national counterterrorism strategy, as it was until 9/11, because as a national security matter, that’s counterproductive — it endangers us more than it helps. But when people are arrested in the United States plotting terrorism, and we can prosecute them without having to provide mounds of discovery and testimony describing our intelligence about, say, al-Qaeda or Iran’s Republican Guards Corps, then those are cases we should do. And since the best analyses indicate the jihadist threat is more atomized now — i.e., that the ideology is so widely available by the Internet and other means that cells are often forming without the mediating influence of an established terrorist organization — that means we should be able to do criminal cases against such cells without having to compromise our intelligence and our methods and sources for obtaining it.

A national-security strategy to combat Islamic militancy, however, has to have a strong military component. There is simply no substitute for killing and capturing jihadists. We haven’t been hit again since 9/11 because we have often killed and captured more terrorists in a day in Afghanistan or Iraq than we did in the eight years between the time the World Trade Center was bombed in 1993 and its destruction in 2001.

We also have to be realistic about the ideology at the root of this challenge. When we are not chanting the “religion of peace” mantra, we are encouraging Islamic reformers. Of course, nothing needs reform unless it is problematic in the first place. Islam is, to put it mildly, problematic. We don’t need to insult Muslims gratuitously, and we shouldn’t. Neither, however, do we need to pretend we think Islam is a net-positive.

Behind the operatives doing the killing are legions of sympathizers pushing soft jihad — pushing for Islamicization of our culture, court recognition of Islamic legal principles, sharia-compliant financial arrangements, sensitivity-training for our law enforcement and intelligence officers (who are now taught that jihad is the inner struggle to become a better person despite its undeniable history as a military struggle), special access to government agencies for dubious Islamic interest groups, extraordinary limits on free speech in order to suppress information about connections between Muslims and savagery, etc. In their own way, these creeping developments are more insidious for our way of life — with its separation of the religious and political realms — than the bombings, suicide hijackings, riots-on-demand and other less subtle forms of intimidation.

This all needs to be discouraged, and that can’t be done by only applying law enforcement or the military. You have to apply pressure diplomatically, by immigration restrictions, by an aggressive Treasury that tracks and seizes funds. It has to be comprehensive, and it has to start from the premise that, while we hope Islam reforms itself (something we can’t do for Islam), we make no apologies for the fact that we are not an Islamic society and have no intention of becoming one.

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