Tags: Exclusive Interviews | Homeland Security | ISIS/Islamic State | MidPoint | War on Terrorism | jihad | unappealing

Military Prof: 'You Have to Make Jihad Unsexy'

By    |   Monday, 12 January 2015 05:57 PM

Ground combat and airstrikes alone will not put an end to terrorism inspired by radical Islam; the ideology itself has to be attacked culturally and made to look absurd in the eyes of the young people who are potential jihadist recruits, a Marine Corps University professor told Newsmax TV on Monday.

"I have nothing against killing terrorists, but you can't kill your way out of this war," Sebastian Gorka, who teaches military theory, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner. "We tried the body-bag-counting methodology during Vietnam and it didn't work then, and it doesn't work now with jihadists."

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"So what do you do?" said Gorka. "You have to make jihad unsexy."

Gorka said that more than 15,000 Westerners alone have joined the Islamic State (ISIS) as willing fighters for the movement's radical leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, according to unclassified intelligence estimates.

"Al-Qaida dreamt of figures like that, was never able to recruit in the thousands," he said. "This group can.

"What happens when those people go back home? What happens when those at least 100 Americans that are fighting in Syria and Iraq — who learned how to use automatic weapons and how to create IEDs — come back to Minnesota? Come back to Boston?

That's the real threat," said Gorka.

But neutralizing the threat, and the adopted ideology, is made more difficult by the disinclination of Western policy elites to call it by its name — radical Islam — out of a misplaced fear of stigmatizing all Muslims, said Gorka.

"We have to make it uncool to be a jihadi, and when you're not allowed to talk about jihad — when you're not allowed to talk about the religious motivations — it's very hard to attack this ideology," he said.

"The average American knows what the threat is and where it comes from," said Gorka.

"The problem we have is with the people here in Washington, the people on the Hill and the decision makers that see themselves as post-modern, secular, super-sophisticated, and [who] don't get religion, don't have faith, and as a result don't really understand the logic of a suicide bomber or someone who says, 'I'm going to create a religious paradise on this earth for my creator.'

"The problem is with this city, with Washington, and it's up to us, the American voters, to make them understand that this is not how you win a war," said Gorka.

Until then, he said, the West's military "Whac-a-Mole" approach to terrorists — "drone strike here, deploy units over there" — will not suffice.

"Killing terrorists is a good thing," said Gorka, but he asserted that a comprehensive anti-terror strategy must also address "the reality that you can kill a medium-ranking or even high-ranking jihadist with a Reaper strike, with a UAV strike, but what happens if 15 people volunteer to replace him?

"It's a never-ending cycle and, in fact, your actions can become the recruiting platform for the enemy," he said.

Gorka also discussed the cyber-attack on Monday against the Twitter feed of U.S. Central Command by a person or group that posted pro-Islamic State images and messages as well as internal Central Command documents at the site, which the military has shut down until further notice.

Whether it's the work of the Islamic State itself or other self-styled "hacktivists," Gorka said that "the fact is, the Internet has been used since its inception by malefactors."

He said the 2009 Fort Hood massacre carried out by an Army major and psychiatrist, Nidal Hassan, was one example of the Internet's facilitating violent jihadism. Hassan was in "regular Internet contact" with the American-born radical cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki, who later died in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen, said Gorka.

While agreeing that cyber-warfare is a necessary component of the fight against radical Islam, Gorka said that ultimately the battle to stop future Fort Hoods or Charlie Hebdos will have to be won in the space between people's ears.

"So, whether you're an Algerian living in France or whether you're an American major of Palestinian descent in Fort Hood, the thing that connects you is the ideology," he said.

"We haven't even really begun to effectively counter that ideology, whether it's in the Internet, in the mosques, in the cultural centers," said Gorka. "And that's going to be where our real victory is accomplished."

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Ground combat and airstrikes alone will not put an end to terrorism inspired by radical Islam — the ideology itself has to be attacked culturally and made to look absurd in the eyes...
jihad, unappealing, unsexy, professor
Monday, 12 January 2015 05:57 PM
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