One of the joys of this blog has been to introduce so many people to one man I hold above all in
the war on terror Islamofascism radical extremism extremist radicalism IslamoNazism overseas contingency man-caused disasters Islamist terrorism Islamism radical Islamistism.
That man, of course, is the inimitable Abu Qatada.
It all started back in 2003 when Abu Qatada reacted to hearing President George W. Bush declare that Islam was a religion of peace that did not justify violence in any way.
"I am astonished by President Bush when he claims there is nothing in the Koran that justifies jihad or violence in the name of Islam. Is he some kind of Islamic scholar? Has he ever actually read the Koran?"
I've invoked Qatada's words from time to time since. They came back to me lately on hearing the same dreary GWB-style non-sense from Barack Obama ("ISIS is not Islamic") and David Cameron ("Islam is a religion of peace"). Then, testifying before the Senate, John Kerry said: "We must repudiate the gross distortion of Islam that ISIS is spreading."
Setting aside the question of who's "we," Kerry's line rang a bell, too. Who was it that said something very similar in our recent past about some other group of rampaging Muslims on the jihad?
I found the answer in the vault dating back to September 2009. It was Gen. Stanley McChrystal in his famously leaked Afghanistan assesment writing not about ISIS, of course -- still just a bomb fragment in Mohammed's eye -- but about the Taliban and other jihad networks in Afghanistan.
A more forceful and offensive StratCom approach must be devised whereby INS [insurgents] are exposed continually for their cultural and religious violations, anti-Islamic and indiscriminate use of violence and terror, and by concentrating on their vulnerabilities.
These include their causing of the majority of civilian casualties, attacks on education, development projects, and government institutions, and flagrant contravention of the principles of the Koran.
Five years ago, McChrystal's strategy was to "expose" the Taliban's "flagrant contravention of the principles of the Koran," etc. Today, Kerry's strategy is to "repudiate" the "gross distortion of Islam" that ISIS is spreading. Same difference -- although there is more zeal in the act of repudiation than merely exposing.
It didn't work then, and it won't work now because there's one little problem.
According to the Koran and the other authoritative texts of Islam, the Taliban are not anti-Islamic and ISIS is not a distortion.