An American Jihad
( Dec., 2001)
By Thomas A. Rice
As I write this – and there’s just no delicate way to put it – the Taliban, and their associated terrorist pals, are getting the ass kicking of their lives. Great portions of Afghanistan are back in the hands of the Afghani people, and there is a general feeling in the United States that, while this is certainly not over, the opening rounds of this war are going favorably.
What I am particularly proud of is the way the American forces have integrated with the Afghani troops. I feel that it is very important that this be seen not as America conquering a nation, but rather America helping the Afghani people recover what has been stolen from them. The Taliban is in disorder, the terrorists, for now, are fleeing, and I even saw a report earlier that some of the senior members of the Taliban leadership have been captured. It would seem that we are succeeding on all fronts.
Yet I am not particularly satisfied.
Think about this. How many times over the past twenty years have you heard some Muslim group or state calling for a Jihad? Almost inevitably, the call to war has been focused directly or indirectly at America. Yet right now, as America stands firmly in the right, I have yet to hear one Muslim group support us with a Jihad against terrorism.
Oh, they’ve given tacit approval, sure. Saudi Arabia even went so far as to declare that the Taliban is no longer recognized as the true leadership of Afghanistan. But have they called for a Jihad against terrorism? Perhaps I slept through that announcement, but I think not. And it’s not as if it’s a tough call to make. Either you think it’s okay for people to hijack your planes and ram them into your skyscrapers, killing thousands of your citizens, or you don’t. There’s no fence to sit on.
Yet it seems to me that many of the Arab nations are trying to do just that. They are qualifying their support, instead of showing complete hostility towards the terrorists. In Pakistan, Muslim clerics called for a Jihad against America, and thousands of Pakistanis crossed the border to support the Taliban, thinking, perhaps, that it was their religious duty to support their fellow Muslim neighbors.
If, on the other hand, Muslim clerics from across the world had called for a Jihad against terrorism, perhaps the lives of many of those same Pakistanis could have been saved. And perhaps cracking the cells that are, apparently, spread throughout the world, would be that much easier. Until the Arab nations work to address the problems within their own governments and societies that are promoting this hostility, America and the rest of the world will never truly be at peace.
Still, we are winning the opening rounds of this war. And while I am sure Osama expected some sort of reprisal, or action against his troops and being, I do not believe he realized that America has it’s own particular form of Jihad, which has, in the past, been referred to as Total War. It’s not based on a single religion, wealth, or ethnicity. It’s based on citizenship, religious freedom, equality, and a deep unbending love of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
I believe he is beginning to understand what, exactly, an American Jihad is made of.
-Thomas A. Rice