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Having reflected on and studied ethical and military principles and issues for nearly 4 decades, the following are my considered thoughts on the recent war and more general principles of war. These are the 12 principles of the aims of war.
Much of the reaction to the Hezb-Allah War - highly emotive and vituperative, with little clear analysis of assumptions or principles. I offer these 12 reflections as a contribution to clarify the basis of our thinking on war itself, and on this conflict.
If those 12 Principles outline a rational, moral, and humane perspective on the use of force by democratic states, then the moral conclusion seems inescapable regarding Israel.
Since it completely withdrew from South Lebanon at 3 am on 24 May, 2000, Israel has suffered over 200 incidents, and 20 murdered [both civilian and IDF] in cross-border attacks, averaging 36 incidents and 20 casualties per year. Only 5 months after withdrawing, on 7 Oct, 2000, it saw 3 soldiers kidnapped from within Israel and murdered by Hezb-Allah, which has used these 6 years to also build up a massive arsenal of 13,000 rockets, in defiance of both Lebanese sovereignty and democracy, and the international community.
Israel's long patience has not borne fruit, as the unprovoked Hezb-Allah triple attack on Wed 12 July, 2006 proved, when first a rocket barrage hit Galillee, then 8 soldiers were murdered [3 within Israel itself ], and thirdly, 2 wounded were kidnapped. And the moral, political and military context in which to evaluate this aggression has to be the [a] nature and [b] strength of the shared genocidal aims, Islamicist ideology, co-ordinated campaigns and militarist methodology of the Triple Axis of Iran, Hamas and Hezb-Allah. Israel, exactly like any other sovereign State, is duty-bound to disarm those who aim to wipe her out.
And the Feb 1985 Hezb-ALLAH "Open Letter"/political statement, the Hamas Aug 1988 Charter, and the repeated public statements of the Iranian Prsident about "wiping Israel off the map", are all sinister delarations of the same genocidal intent. The recent joint statement by the Anglican, Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Lutheran Bishops in Jerusalem is totally one-sided Palestinian propaganda, quite devoid of clear Christian or moral principles, and fails utterly to address the rights of Israel, while ignoring any Arab responsibility for their sad plight.
If more people would reflect on these 12 principles I outlined, and specify which they reject, and why, they might treat us to less operatic denounciation and shrill outrage, but more instructive insight.
Coming soon to an airport or train-station near you.
1. The present World War 4, follows WW3 or the Cold War, which ran from 1947 to 1989 when the Berlin Wall collapsed. The opening salvo of WW4 was on February 26, 1993, with 6 murdered and over 1,000 injured, in the bombing of the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan, New York, for which 6 terrorists, including their Egyptian leader Rahman, were convicted. The frequency, areas, and lethality of attacks, has expanded since, along with their utterly indiscriminate nature.
2. Both Wars share the following 7 characteristics:
[a] global in extent,
[b] involving several dimensions, not just violence, but also economic, and cultural,
[c] extending over many decades,
[d] launched against the West, led by the USA,
[e] based on an ideological, i.e. an anti-totalitarian struggle,
[f] requiring significant mobilisation of resources, and
[g] marked at significant stages by US Presidential Addresses, on Sept 21, 2001 by President George W. Bush to a Joint Session of the 2 Houses of Congress, only 9 days after the bombing of the World Trade Center's Twin Towers, and the Pentagon, by 19 Al-Qaida terrorists, and in 1947 by President Harry Truman, with the ringing Truman Doctrine: "It must be the policy of the US to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities, or by outside pressure".
3. Many weapons and battle-grounds are involved in WW4. They include the following 12 dimensions:
[a] foreign policy,
[ b] media,
[ d ] suicide attacks,
[ e ] Information-Communication-Technology,
[ f ] riots,
[ g ] schools,
[ h ] mosques,
[ i ] ideology - a "war of values" in Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman's phrase,
[ j ] a wide-ranging coalition of disparate internal Western opponents of armed resistance to the aggression, uniting (i) pacifists, (ii) extreme-left-radicals, (iii) Islamist fanatics, (iv) isolationists, (v) legalistic proceduralists, and (vi) conservative "stability"/ balance-of-power "realists",
[ k ] the "5th Column", in the original Spanish Civil War sense of conscious enemies within - a fanatical Islamist fringe, and
[ l ] mostly unconscious "fellow-travellers", in academic, cultural, media and political circles, such as Chomsky, Mailer & Sontag in USA, or Harold Pinter, George Galloway, & Robert Fisk in UK, who systematically blame the West and/or USA, and of course always Israel, for everything, but ignore the actual aggressor, and its totalitarian ideology and ruthless tyranny.
4. There may well be levels of causes, such as structural, motivational, triggering, facilitating or accelerating causes, for specific phases, but central is the underlying aim of restoring a global, Pan-Islamic Caliphate. And consequently it makes little sense to conceal that strategic reality by misleading talk of a "War on Terror" when what we all face is not simply methods of terrorism, or attackers who are Muslims or Arabs, or even inspired by that faith, or their version of it, but a fanatical fringe from within the Muslim world, determined to wage their indiscriminate "Jihad" of terror against other Muslims or others alike, who refuse to follow their absolute commands. It therefore makes more sense to precisely describe the common enemy as what they are, the "Fanatical Jihadi Fringe" - the "FJF".
5. This aim differs radically from the Kremlin aim in WW3, where the defeat of the West was about seizure of power, not the total elimination of the West. It was about a take-over, with a class-basis, but the "Fanatical Jihadi Fringe" wants to completely replace Western culture and values, and do so with an unchanging and utterly unchangeable 7th-Century dogma. The new threat differs not only in content but in scope, methods and absolutist fanaticism from the Communist period. The "Reds" only wanted power in and over the Western societies, but the "FJF" want our souls - a totally Islamic world, with no minorities, no freedom, and no alternative. There are simply no grievances, limited or large, either in any region or globally, whose resolution can in any way avail to assuage this all-encompassing and unlimited threat.
6. While traditional Islam officially allowed only second class status to non-Muslims, the "FJF" regards all non-Muslims as "Infidels" and "Crusaders", and so as enemies to be wiped out.
7. This global "eliminationalist" and demonising ideology is totally without precedent in world history, as even the Nazi program was aimed at totally exterminating one people, the Jewish people, but not at all non-Nazis, or non-whites.
8. The enemy for the "FJF" equally includes all Muslims who do not share their peculiar minority version of Sunni Islam, and the same method of extermination applies equally to such "traitors", as is manifest in their massive suicide bombings of Shia mosques in Iraq and Pakistan.
9. There is no absolutely no limit to the methods to be used in the total extermination of their enemy, for the "FJF", and equally no illegitimate targets. The choice of beheading is designed both to maximise terror, and to signal their determination to execute all enemies.
10. There is absolutely no possible scope for any negotiation or compromise with the "FJF", or any part of it. This is not because the West or USA does not wish to do so, but because, for the "FJF", there is simply nothing to negotiate.
11. The new threat is essentially "Islamo-anarchist" in structure, and in execution, unlike the Kremlin's centralised & bureaucratic "Third International" political/propaganda apparatus, the clandestine KGB and satellite spy/subversion network, and the Moscow-run "Warsaw Pact" military structure. The operational unit is the "cell", not the "Party", or "movement". Even if its ideology was not absolutist, its structure makes "dialogue" impossible, as well as making interdiction extremely difficult, and even where successful, of limited effect - only a local and temporary result.
12. In terms of identity, the "Fanatical Jihadi Fringe" differs essentially from Pan-Arab Nationalism, in either its Nasserite or Baathist versions, not only in the primacy of its religious core, but in placing identity solely in Islam, and not at all in either national or Pan-Arab, or any cultural or political or socio-economic or national movements.
13. Like Hitler in his "Mein Kampf", the "FJF" aims are totally clear, and we have been fully warned well in advance. We not only have the notorious 1998 "fatwa" of Usama Bin Laden, but their numerous and ongoing tapes. When people tell you that they will kill you, and then start doing exactly that, it makes no sense not to believe them, or not to prepare.
14. The only preparation that can work is, instead of replying when or where attacked, rather to actively counter-attack when-ever and where-ever possible. The whole world, including fellow-Muslims, are all "legitimate targets" for the "FJF". Therefore there can be only one war-aim for all Free Peoples - of all Faiths or none, and in all Continents.
Total and complete victory - the final elimination of this "demo-cidal" threat, this unique campaign of global genocide. Their total and unconditional war on the rest of humanity can only be countered by our total victory. Our choices are either - our total and unconditional victory over this common enemy, or else our total and unconditional surrender.
15. The nature of this unlimited threat, unlimited in intention, and in practice only temporarily limited by unavailability of means, requires not only [a] the physical elimination, not mere dominance over, or routing, of all its active agents, and collaborators, its bases, resources and supplies, but equally [b] the complete elimination of all sources and channels of such an inhuman ideology.
16. The only force that can avail to overcome this global theat is a united global counter-force, linking security, intelligence, military, ideological, economic, and political responses against the common enemy.
17. The area of the past battle-fields is already vast. It includes Spain, Turkey, Balkans, USA, France, Germany, UK, Netherlands, in the Atlantic states, with Morocco, Mauritania, Algeria, Egypt, Palestine, Sudan, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Yemen, in the Arab world, Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia, Northern Nigeria, in Africa, and Pakistan, Kashmir, India, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Chechnya, Central Asia, Southern Phillipines, Australia, in the Asian-Pacific world, all of which have suffered or uncovered major "FJF" plots. But the reach is truly unlimited.
The only threat-assessment that is real is to recognise that there are no safe areas, and no safe times, and no safe communities. Eternal vigilance can be our common watch-word, and our only life-line. But that also means that the greatest threat in the history of humanity can also be the greatest unifying force, and the only one based on our ultimate survival and common humanity. Ironically, the whole world has now been rendered into a "global Israel" by the "FJF".
We are faced simply with a battle for our continued existence. Its either freedom, or death.
The old Cold War era slogan about "Better Red than Dead" is no
longer an option. But resistance and victory is. That is our one
and only option.
Tom Carew lives in Ranelagh, Dublin, Ireland.
Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
September-October 2006 Featured Stories
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Tom Carew lives in Ranelagh, Dublin, Ireland. Contact him at email@example.com