Fantasy and Reality: 24 and the War on Terror

Fantasy and Reality: 24 and the War on Terror

By Douglas Hanson

Jack Bauer is a fantasy figure of great appeal because of his singular focus on protecting America from the ravages of terrorism. We’re rightly anxious, and we want someone who gets the job done. Jack throws the rule book out the window and does whatever it takes to kill our enemies.
Even if torture is not your cup of tea, you probably want field operatives and people in charge of our national security apparatus to be determined and relentless. It is, after all, only a television program and a fantasy. But fantasies sometimes seep into our understanding of reality, and down that path lies mental or national disaster
24 may reinforce popular myths about terrorist capabilities and our ability to counter them. Jack and 24 must not be relied upon for any knowledge of real world operations, and it should not overshadow our appreciation of the difficulty of the job ahead.
So in the spirit of good mental hygiene and national security, let me offer some caveats on the line between fantasy and reality when it comes to the actual technologies depicted in 24.
The Suitcase nuke
We are very unlikely to face a suitcase nuke explosion in Valencia or anywhere else, remotely like what 24 brought us in its fourth hour last week. The suitcase nuke threat has been wildly overplayed in both real intelligence estimates and in Hollywood.
We were told that the device exploded on 24 was of Russian manufacture. But that would have meant that the bomb would have consisted of not one, but several suitcases.  Only the US has special atomic demolition munitions which have been manufactured in a simpler, one package configuration. The one detonated on 24 was obviously not a US device. 
One thing that was correctly portrayed is that a “suitcase” nuke is designed to be fired outside the permissive action link (PAL) system.  So, a lone terrorist could in fact detonate such a bomb. But obtaining one, assembling it and getting it to work is another story entirely.
A realistic explosion
Another problem is that the yield of one kiloton as stated for the device was a massive exaggeration; probably by a factor of ten, compared to what any real suitcase-category device could produce.  According to Jane’s, the standard US 155mm atomic artillery fired projectile (AFAP) had a yield of 0.1 kt – one-tenth the yield of the physically much smaller device used by the terrorists on 24.  There was a newer version of the 155mm AFAP developed with an increased yield of up to 0.2 kt, but it was never fielded.
Therefore, a yield resulting in one kiloton in such a small package is well beyond the space and technological capabilities of even first world countries.  As such, the explosion depicted in 24 and the casualty estimates of 100,000 – more casualties than Hiroshima suffered with a 15 kt bomb – are way off the mark.  A suitcase nuke reflecting the power of compact US nukes would not be nearly as large.
For comparison, see this video of a rocket fuel plant explosion (The PEPCON explosion) which was estimated at 0.3 kt; that is, three times the yield of the 155mm AFAP.  See for yourself that the picture takers were in a direct line of sight and lived to tell about it. The picture gives you some idea of the limited yield of these tactical devices.
The omniscient executive
The instantaneous communications and video links from tactical teams and the agents on the scene, sent up to the President, with supporting crossed-referenced intelligence analysis from CTU, makes for exciting TV, but that’s about it.  Such a system, and the experts to man it, would be the envy – the fantasy, really – of every national security decision-maker around the globe; good guys and bad guys. 
If we really had anything like this, Jack Bauer and the CTU should have rolled up most of the terrorist groups way before the wave of terror attacks even started.  And if we had this capability to react, would we use it to pre-empt?
Okay, I realize most people vaguely understand this fancy technological stuff really is fantasy, just like Star Trek. But there is a more subtle effect. Seeing this sort of capability reinforces the popular notion that a President and his staff always have perfect information upon which to make rapid decisions, and then push a button to make great and wonderful things happen. 
The real people fighting the fight

The CTU technologies and the wizzardry of Chloe are the pipedream of techno-warriors and digitized command and control proponents, but we never seem to quite get there, except on TV.  If were able to do this as depicted, we wouldn’t need our hundreds of real Jack Bauers, Presidential advisors, or field generals.
As long as 24 continues to make the left apoplectic about taking out terrorists, it has redeeming social value, I suppose. I’ll certainly watch it. And that is Hollywood’s ace in the hole. 
Our tough men and women are fighting the war on terror under conditions Jack Bauer, torture victim and inhabitant of hell that he may be, could never cope with. So who’s the real super hero?
Douglas Hanson is the national security correspondent of American Thinker

How the AP helped stoke civil war in Iraq

How the AP helped stoke civil war in Iraq

By James Lewis

The Associated Press is among the large news organizations whose reporting in Iraq has been challenged by bloggers. Beyond the specifics of any one incident, a certain pattern and practice of news gathering has made for systematic bias. The end result is propaganda.
Michelle Malkin has a new report on the “Jamil Hussein” fiasco at the Associated Press. “Jamil Hussein” is the alleged Iraqi Police captain who has been cited 61 times by AP, recently as a source for an atrocity story that now looks mighty dubious.
What has been lost in the debate about “Who is Jamil Hussein?” is the substance of his Iraqi atrocity stories peddled by the AP. The most recent ones have been denied by the US military, which has much better sources than the Associated Press. They have also not been confirmed by other news outlets. Whether “Jamil Hussein” was a cover name, an AP fabrication, or a real person is not as important as the content of his apparent disinformation. What was the purpose of the lie about six Iraqis being deliberately burned to death by terrorists? What about the other 60 AP stories that cited “Hussein”? How many lent credibility to other atrocity tales?
Two hypotheses spring to mind. One is that “Jamil Hussein” was benefiting from being an AP source. He was smart enough to know that AP wanted horror stories, and that’s what he gave them. Maybe he was paid. Maybe he liked instant fame. But 61 citations as an AP source suggests an ongoing relationship, one with a clear and sustained purpose.
A more sinister interpretation is that “Jamil Hussein” was a political plant, whose primary goal was to feed atrocity stories to the AP. He could be an Iranian plant in the Iraqi Police, which is heavily infiltrated by Mahdi Army killers who are paid by Iran. They were the ones who shouted “Muqtada Al Sadr!” when Saddam Hussein was hanged. An Iranian mole’s purpose would be to stir up civil war, and at the same time to provide more “evidence” for the American Leftist news narrative that Iraq is a hopeless mess.
So “Jamil Hussein’s” disinformation could have served two goals.
One: to worsen ethnic warfare in Iraq, and
Two:  to demoralize the American home front.
Objectively, AP has clearly served both purposes in the past and continues to do so today, whatever one believes about motive or lack thereof. This is its obsessive story line, and “Police Captain Jamil Hussein” would be seeding prepared ground. That’s straight disinformation practice. Always tell the newsies what they want to hear.
Our Organs of Propaganda — AKA the “news media” — know perfectly well that most of their sources have an axe to grind. When Saddam Hussein was still in power he arm-twisted the Western media for favorable coverage, as we now know from former CNN executive Eason Jordan. The same thing happens every day with other terror regimes like Hamas, Fatah and Hizb’allah, where the media trade access for favorable coverage. That is unbelievably cynical, profoundly corrupt and massively destructive, but it has been routine at least since Stalin’s time. That is why we have Organs of Propaganda, in Karl Marx’s phrase, and not honest news sources.
In this case, the defeatist narrative makes the Western media into propaganda tools for Ahmadinejad, Al Qaida, and the Baath fascists in Iraq.
That is the real take-home lesson about the lies peddled by the Associated Press in the name of “Jamil Hussein.”  If full-scale civil war breaks out in Iraq, and if the Democrats force a military withdrawal after the next election,  this kind of disinformation will have accomplished its aim.
The propaganda war is the real war.

They will not stop

Drudge is headlining the story–and I also just received the mass e-mail from ABC News’s p.r. arm–about a reported al Qaeda plot based in Iraq to send terrorists to the U.S. on student visas. Just like the 9/11 hijackers:

Who’s Afraid Of ’24’?

Who’s Afraid Of ’24’?


Posted 1/19/2007

Knowing The Enemy: The anti-war left hates the Bush administration with such a passion it refuses to recognize how dangerous our enemies in the Muslim world are. Now they hate the TV show “24” because it dares to remind us.

In fact, liberal outlets are calling it right-wing White House propaganda. “Dick Cheney is a big fan,” snorts Time magazine, ignoring that the executive producer of “24” is a registered Democrat. It also breathlessly notes that Rush Limbaugh likes the show, so much so he planted “a full-on mouth kiss” on one of its star actresses at a Heritage Foundation forum on terror. That seals it for the left.

It’s serious. Keith Olbermann, MSNBC’s liberal poster boy, actually suggested that the producers of “24” are conspiring with Cheney to keep the public alarmed so they can keep torturing and spying on Muslims.

He and a recent guest who wrote a book bashing Fox, the network that airs “24,” dismissed its apocalyptic new season as far-fetched. As if Muslim terrorists would ever blow up buses or subways or attack cities with radiological weapons.

What really sent them over the edge, however, was last week’s episode showing Muslim terrorists incinerating Los Angeles with a suitcase nuke. No Muslims living in America would ever do that, scoff Islamic apologists. A mushroom cloud? Sounds like more Bush-Cheney fear-mongering!

But if anyone’s divorced from reality, it’s these apologists. Even their own favorite analysts warn that al-Qaida is preparing to carry out nuclear terrorism here. One of them, Michael Scheuer, works for CBS News. The former head of the CIA’s Osama bin Laden unit penned a book, “Imperial Hubris,” that slams Bush over Iraq. He writes columns for such venues as

Yet even Scheuer is sure bin Laden is plotting a nuclear attack against us. The first step, he said, was getting a green light from Saudi clerics to kill up to 10 million Americans with such weapons. Then bin Laden offered the U.S. a truce and even recently invited President Bush to convert to Islam — all in keeping with jihadi military doctrine. And on at least two occasions he has directly warned the American people.

As absurd as such moves may sound to Islamic apologists on the left, they are necessary to satisfy any theological concerns among Muslim clerics, Scheuer explains.

Another terror expert trusted and booked regularly by liberal cable outlets is Ron Suskind. He is the author of “The One Percent Doctrine,” which also heaps scorn on Bush. Nonetheless, he reveals in his book that bin Laden and his deputies met with Pakistani nuclear scientists in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in August 2001 to discuss developing nuclear weapons. Bin Laden suggested he already possessed “enriched uranium.”

If Michael Moore groupies are still skeptical, they can read al-Qaida documents seized by U.S. forces in Afghanistan. They reveal that the terror group’s military committee has a special “Nuclear Weapons Section.” CIA operatives even found diagrams of nuclear weapons in an al-Qaida safe house in Afghanistan.

Time thinks Fox should use “24” to “improve America’s image in the Muslim world.” Instead of, what, depicting reality? The terrorists’ religious ideas already have been sheltered enough from criticism. (So much so that the new Democratic chairman of House intelligence doesn’t even know whether bin Laden is a Shiite or Sunni Muslim.)

If Fox is shocking or scaring the public, good. That’s part of informing the public in wartime about the larger Islamic threat — not just abroad but at home, from sleeper cells hellbent on nuking us and martyring themselves so, yes, they can please Allah and redeem their heavenly virgins.

Too bad Hollywood didn’t air shows before 9/11 that depicted Muslim men at flight schools interested only in learning to fly planes and not land them.

Someone has to think outside the box, unrestrained by political correctness. Kudos to Fox for doing what even the supposedly Islamophobic Bush administration doesn’t have the nerve to do.

After Pearl Harbor, it was a Democratic administration that plastered cartoonish posters of the enemy — portrayed as evil-looking Japanese with buck teeth — all over the country to remind people with whom we were at war. Have you seen even one U.S. government war poster of Osama bin Laden or Ayman al-Zawahri? (If you don’t know who al-Zawahri is, you make our point.)

The threat from Muslim terrorists is real. Even an avowed atheist can see that. Listen to Sam Harris, author of “The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason”:

“Unless liberals realize that there are tens of millions of people in the Muslim world who are far scarier than Dick Cheney, they will be unable to protect civilization from its genuine enemies.”

Couldn’t have said it better ourselves.


This Holocaust will be different

Essay: This Holocaust will be different

The second holocaust will not be like the first. The Nazis, of course, industrialized mass murder. But still, the perpetrators had one-on-one contact with the victims. They may have dehumanized them over months and years of appalling debasement and in their minds, before the actual killing. But, still, they were in eye and ear contact, sometimes in tactile contact, with their victims.

The Germans, along with their non-German helpers, had to round up the men, women and children from their houses and drag and beat them through the streets and mow them down in nearby woods or push and pack them into cattle cars and transport them to the camps, where “Work makes free,” separate the able-bodied from the completely useless and lure them into “shower” halls and pour in the gas and then take out, or oversee the extraction of, the bodies and prepare the “showers” for the next batch.

The second holocaust will be quite different. One bright morning, in five or 10 years, perhaps during a regional crisis, perhaps out of the blue, a day or a year or five years after Iran’s acquisition of the Bomb, the mullahs in Qom will convene in secret session, under a portrait of the steely-eyed Ayatollah Khomeini, and give President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, by then in his second or third term, the go-ahead.

The orders will go out and the Shihab III and IV missiles will take off for Tel Aviv, Beersheba, Haifa and Jerusalem, and probably some military sites, including Israel’s half dozen air and (reported) nuclear missile bases. Some of the Shihabs will be nuclear-tipped, perhaps even with multiple warheads. Others will be dupes, packed merely with biological or chemical agents, or old newspapers, to draw off or confuse Israel’s anti-missile batteries and Home Front Command units.

With a country the size and shape of Israel (an elongated 20,000 square kilometers), probably four or five hits will suffice: No more Israel. A million or more Israelis in the greater Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem areas will die immediately. Millions will be seriously irradiated. Israel has about seven million inhabitants. No Iranian will see or touch an Israeli. It will be quite impersonal.

Some of the dead will inevitably be Arab – 1.3 million of Israel’s citizens are Arab and another 3.5 million Arabs live in the semi-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Jerusalem, Tel Aviv-Jaffa and Haifa have substantial Arab minorities. And there are large Arab concentrations immediately around Jerusalem (in Ramallah-Al Bireh, Bir Zeit, Bethlehem) and outside Haifa. Here, too, many will die, immediately or by and by.

It is doubtful whether such a mass killing of fellow Muslims will trouble Ahmadinejad and the mullahs. The Iranians don’t especially like Arabs, especially Sunni Arabs, with whom they have intermittently warred for centuries. And they have a special contempt for the (Sunni) Palestinians who, after all, though initially outnumbering the Jews by more than 10 to 1, failed during the long conflict to prevent them from establishing their state or taking over all of Palestine.

Besides, the Iranian leadership sees the destruction of Israel as a supreme divine command, as a herald of the second coming, and the Muslims dispatched collaterally as so many martyrs in the noble cause. Anyway, the Palestinians, many of them dispersed around the globe, will survive as a people, as will the greater Arab nation of which they are part. And surely, to be rid of the Jewish state, the Arabs should be willing to make some sacrifices. In the cosmic balance sheet, it will be worth the candle.

A QUESTION may nevertheless arise in the Iranian councils: What about Jerusalem? After all, the city contains Islam’s third holiest shrines (after Mecca and Medina), Al Aksa Mosque and the Mosque of Omar. But Ali Khamenei, the supreme spiritual leader, and Ahmadinejad most likely would reply much as they would to the wider question regarding the destruction and radioactive pollution of Palestine as a whole: The city, like the land, by God’s grace, in 20 or 50 years’ time, will recover. And it will be restored to Islam (and the Arabs). And the deeper pollution will have been eradicated.

To judge from Ahmadinejad’s continuous reference to Palestine and the need to destroy Israel, and his denial of the first Holocaust, he is a man obsessed. He shares this with the mullahs: All were brought up on the teachings of Khomeini, a prolific anti-Semite who often fulminated against “the Little Satan.” To judge from Ahmadinejad’s organization of the Holocaust cartoon competition and the Holocaust denial conference, the Iranian president’s hatreds are deep (and, of course, shameless).

He is willing to gamble the future of Iran or even of the whole Muslim Middle East in exchange for Israel’s destruction. No doubt he believes that Allah, somehow, will protect Iran from an Israeli nuclear response or an American counterstrike. Allah aside, he may well believe that his missiles will so pulverize the Jewish state, knock out its leadership and its land-based nuclear bases, and demoralize or confuse its nuclear-armed submarine commanders that it will be unable to respond. And, with his deep contempt for the weak-kneed West, he is unlikely to take seriously the threat of American nuclear retaliation.

Or he may well take into account a counterstrike and simply, irrationally (to our way of thinking), be willing to pay the price. As his mentor, Khomeini, put it in a speech in Qom in 1980: “We do not worship Iran, we worship Allah… I say, let this land [Iran] burn. I say let this land go up in smoke, provided Islam emerges triumphant…”

For these worshipers at the cult of death, even the sacrifice of the homeland is acceptable if the outcome is the demise of Israel.

DEPUTY DEFENSE Minister Ephraim Sneh has suggested that Iran doesn’t even have to use the Bomb to destroy Israel. Simply, the nuclearization of Iran will so overawe and depress Israelis that they will lose hope and gradually emigrate, and potential foreign investors and immigrants will shy away from the mortally threatened Jewish state. These, together, will bring about its demise.

But my feeling is that Ahmadinejad and his allies lack the patience for such a drawn-out denouement; they seek Israel’s annihilation in the here and now, in the immediate future, in their lifetime. They won’t want to leave anything up to the vagaries of history.

As with the first, the second holocaust will have been preceded by decades of preparation of hearts and minds, by Iranian and Arab leaders, Western intellectuals and media outlets. Different messages have gone out to different audiences, but all have (objectively) served the same goal, the demonization of Israel. Muslims the world over have been taught: “The Zionists/Jews are the embodiment of evil” and “Israel must be destroyed.”

And Westeners, more subtly, were instructed: “Israel is a racist oppressor state” and “Israel, in this age of multiculturalism, is an anachronism and superfluous.” Generations of Muslims and at least a generation of Westerners have been brought up on these catechisms.

THE BUILD-UP to the second holocaust (which, incidentally, in the end, will probably claim roughly the same number of lives as the first) has seen an international community fragmented and driven by separate, selfish appetites – Russia and China obsessed with Muslim markets; France with Arab oil – and the United States driven by the debacle in Iraq into a deep isolationism. Iran has been left free to pursue its nuclear destiny and Israel and Iran to face off alone.

But an ultimately isolated Israel will prove unequal to the task, like a rabbit caught in the headlights of an onrushing car. Last summer, led by a party hack of a prime minister and a small-time trade unionist as defense minister, and deploying an army trained for quelling incompetent and poorly armed Palestinian gangs in the occupied territories and overly concerned about both sustaining and inflicting casualties, Israel failed in a 34-day mini-war against a small Iran-backed guerrilla army of Lebanese fundamentalists (albeit highly motivated, well-trained and well-armed). That mini-war thoroughly demoralized the Israeli political and military leaderships.

Since then, the ministers and generals, like their counterparts in the West, have looked on glumly as Hizbullah’s patrons have been arming with doomsday weapons. Perversely, the Israeli leaders may even have been happy with Western pressures urging restraint. Most likely they deeply wished to believe Western assurances that somebody, somehow – the UN, G-8 – would pull the radioactive chestnuts out of the fire. There are even those who fell for the outlandish idea that a regime change in Teheran, driven by a reputedly secular middle class, would ultimately stymie the mad mullahs.

But even more to the point, the Iranian program presented an infinitely complex challenge for a country with limited conventional military resources. Taking their cue from the successful IAF destruction of Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981, the Iranians duplicated and dispersed their facilities and buried them deep underground (and the Iranian targets are about twice as far from Israel as was Baghdad). Taking out the known Iranian facilities with conventional weapons would take an American-size air force working round-the-clock for more than a month.

At best, Israel’s air force, commandos and navy could hope to hit only some of the components of the Iranian project. But, in the end, it would remain substantially intact – and the Iranians even more determined (if that were possible) to attain the Bomb as soon as possible. It would also, without doubt, immediately result in a world-embracing Islamist terrorist campaign against Israel (and possibly its Western allies) and, of course, near-universal vilification. Orchestrated by Ahmadinejad, all would clamor that the Iranian program had been geared to peaceful purposes. At best, an Israeli conventional strike could delay the Iranians by a year or two.

IN SHORT order, therefore, the incompetent leadership in Jerusalem would soon confront a doomsday scenario, either after launching their marginally effective conventional offensive or in its stead, of launching a preemptive nuclear strike against the Iranian nuclear program, some of whose components are in or near major cities. Would they have the stomach for this? Would their determination to save Israel extend to preemptively killing millions of Iranians and, in effect, destroying Iran?

This dilemma had long ago been accurately defined by a wise general: Israel’s nuclear armory is unusable. It can only be used too early or too late. There will never be a “right” time. Use it “too early,” meaning before Iran acquires similar weapons, and Israel will be cast in the role of international pariah, a target of universal Muslim assault, without a friend in the world; “too late” means after the Iranians have struck. What purpose would that serve?

So Israel’s leaders will grit their teeth and hope that somehow things will turn out for the best. Perhaps, after acquiring the Bomb, the Iranians will behave “rationally”?

BUT THE Iranians are driven by a higher logic. And they will launch their rockets. And, as with the first Holocaust, the international community will do nothing. It will all be over, for Israel, in a few minutes – not like in the 1940s, when the world had five long years in which to wring its hands and do nothing. After the Shihabs fall, the world will send rescue ships and medical aid for the lightly charred. It will not nuke Iran. For what purpose and at what cost? An American nuclear response would lastingly alienate the whole Muslim world, deepening and universalizing the ongoing clash of civilizations. And, of course, it would not bring Israel back. (Would hanging a serial murderer bring back his victims?)

So what would be the point?

Still, the second holocaust will be different in the sense that Ahmadinejad will not actually see and touch those he so wishes dead (and, one may speculate, this might cause him disappointment as, in his years of service in Iranian death squads in Europe, he may have acquired a taste for actual blood). And, indeed, there will be no scenes like the following, quoted in Daniel Mendelsohn’s recent The Lost, A Search for Six of Six Million, in which is described the second Nazi action in Bolechow, Poland, in September 1942:

A terrible episode happened with Mrs. Grynberg. The Ukrainians and Germans, who had broken into her house, found her giving birth. The weeping and entreaties of bystanders didn’t help and she was taken from her home in a nightshirt and dragged into the square in front of the town hall.
There… she was dragged onto a dumpster in the yard of the town hall with a crowd of Ukrainians present, who cracked jokes and jeered and watched the pain of childbirth and she gave birth to a child. The child was immediately torn from her arms along with its umbilical cord and thrown – It was trampled by the crowd and she was stood on her feet as blood poured out of her with bleeding bits hanging and she stood that way for a few hours by the wall of the town hall, afterwards she went with all the others to the train station where they loaded her into a carriage in a train to Belzec.

In the next holocaust there will be no such heart-rending scenes, of perpetrators and victims mired in blood (though, to judge from pictures of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the physical effects of nuclear explosions can be fairly unpleasant).

But it will be a holocaust nonetheless.

My Trip Through Islamic America

My Trip Through Islamic America
By Dr. L. John Van Til | January 22, 2007

Last fall I visited Dearborn, Michigan, to attend a high school class reunion. I arrived early enough to drive around my old neighborhood. To my surprise, it had become almost totally an Arab population. Every business I passed displayed Arab-English signs, and on the front lawn of one of Dearborn’s public schools was a 5-by-7 foot “Peaceful Ramadan” sign. Apparently, the Supreme Court’s rules about religious symbols on public school property are not honored in Dearborn. It would be interesting to know why. After settling in to visit with old classmates, the conversation eventually turned to the size and nature of Dearborn’s Arab community. I told them about my profile of Osama bin Ladin and about his Declaration of War against the West—in particular, against the United States and Israel. When I noted that the bin Ladin family was Yemeni-born, some of them expressed fear that there might be jihad cells among the thousands of Yemeni in their town.

We also discussed the Danish cartoon issue and how, in my view, that issue had laid bare the underlying strategy of the huge, worldwide jihad movement—i.e., war against Jews and Christians. Indeed, reaction to the cartoons demonstrated how extensive jihad influence had become in the West, especially in Europe. After a few days’ hesitation, during which millions of Muslims around the world proclaimed their indignation, most European editors pronounced the cartoons distasteful and refused to publish them. And what was the jihad strategy in this situation? Its leaders wished to suppress free speech around the world in the name of Islam.

I also told my friends that there were three or four basic facets of Islam that ought to concern all Americans. The most important of these is its transnational nature—a little known characteristic of Islam. It refers to Islam’s claim that it always stands above the laws of every nation because it is ultimately a religious rather than political movement. Westerners need to understand that there is no distinction in Islam between religion and politics, no separation of church and state. Thus, in the case of the recent American-supported constitutions of Afghanistan and Iraq—constitutions loudly proclaimed to be democratic—each has a clause stating that Islamic law transcends all other laws. This means for them, and all Muslims with few exceptions, that they have a greater loyalty to Islam and its worldwide goals than they do to the nation in which they happen to live. My friends obviously wondered where ultimate loyalty lay among Muslims in America.

Second, Muslim countries have produced millions of young men who are trained in the “virtues” of jihad. They are happy—no, overjoyed—to support jihad as they ponder eternity with scores of young virgins for their personal entertainment. Parenthetically, it is striking to note that in Islamic countries, birthrates are two to three times greater than among European natives. Surely this spells doom for Europe in the next decade or two. This is another example of the old axiom: Demographics are decisive in defining the future.

Americans also ought to take notice of the fact that no Islamic leaders, anywhere in the world, have clearly condemned jihadists. Time and again when asked directly whether they condemn the practice of jihad, Islamic leaders everywhere fail to clearly state their opposition to it. Indeed, there is plenty of evidence that many mosque leaders in the West actively support jihad efforts since Osama bin Ladin and his kin went on the war-path in the late 1980s.

I discussed one more facet of Islam: Jihadists and their supporters are engaged in a religious war against the West, something Washington leaders avoid stating. This war is but a late chapter in the 1300 year fight Islam has waged against all non-Muslims, the medieval crusades being the most notorious example.

Driving home from the class reunion, I wondered how our elected leaders in Washington could be so slow to understand the meaning of the bombing of the USS Cole and embassies in Africa, not to mention the first attempt to destroy the World Trade Center in 1993. And then 9-11 happened. Why is that disaster not called what it was, like the embassies and the USS Cole, a jihadist act in a religious war against us? It certainly is accurate to call the jihadists terrorists as the president does, but that is not enough! It would convey more of a sense of urgency for the president to call these radical Islamic acts “jihads” because they are another chapter in the on-going religious war against the West by radical Muslims. Likely that designation would not be politically correct, or even multi-culturally correct. It is time, however, to move beyond those social fads and do some plain talking about what we face.

Will it take another 9-11 or worse to wake up the American people to the fact that we are in a serious struggle for the survival of our civilization? Hopefully the alarm will go off and shatter our drowsy apathy toward the jihad movement’s threat.