I've been thinking for a few years that what we're in now could be properly called WWIV (with what we refer to as 'the Cold War' actually being WWIII--there was nothing 'cold' about the Sino-Soviet-US engagements in Vietnam and Korea).
But the previous World Wars involved nations and alliances of nations. The Great War was a disaster of misunderstandings and nationalism. WWII in the West was about domination and in the Pacific it was about economic ambitions. WWIII was fought over clashing ideologies--fought by free nations against Soviet and Chinese proxies.
Most believe the Cold War ended with the collapse of the USSR but blood is stilling being spilt as the ideology fails to give up the ghost. Rebel Maoist and Marxist factions like Shining Path and FARC are active in South America and states like Venezuela and Cuba still foment socialist revolution. It's very troubling indeed that Ugo Chavez has met with Islamists recently.
Given the fact that this present global struggle is being fought by an alliance of nations (loosely--the West) against an extra-national but specific enemy with a religious belief that the entire world must submit to a 7th century doctrine, then perhaps we should drop 'the Global War on Terror', I should drop 'WWIV', and we name it what it is--as this scholar pointed out almost five years ago.
From the archives of National Review Online:
September 9, 2002, 9:15 a.m.
Jihad and Jihadist Bombers
What’s in a name?
By David G. Littman
What's in a name? Well, the truth. A year after the momentous 9/11 tragedy inaugurated a new era of jihad wars, we should not be asking for whom the bell tolls; it is tolling day and night for free people worldwide. And it will continue until some self-evident truths are recognized, described, understood, and outlawed by the democratic governments of the world, if not by the United Nations.
These truths have been purposely obfuscated by simplistic and misleading terms such as: "terrorism," "fascism," "suicide bombers," "poverty and education," "political motivation." They should be named explicitly for what they are: "jihadist bombers" or "martyrdom bombers," for whom the "jihad ideology" and a "jihad war" against the infidels — as stated by bin Laden in 1998: "Do jihad against the crusaders and Jews," and since by al Qaeda — are considered divine duties, leading to a delicious, eternal paradise.
The eminent American scholar Franz Rosenthal, who, 50 years ago, translated Ibn Khaldoun's classic Introduction To History, also wrote a key article "On Suicide in Islam" for the Journal of the American Oriental Society. In his 1946 study Rosenthal notes: "The great authorities of the hadith leave no doubt as to the official attitude of Islam. In their opinion suicide is an unlawful act....On the other hand, death as the result of "suicidal" missions and of the desire of martyrdom occurs not infrequently, since death is considered highly commendable according to Muslim religious concepts. However, such cases are no[t] suicides in the proper sense of the term."
The proceedings of the 1968 Fourth Conference of the Academy of Islamic Research, linked to Al-Azhar University, were published in Arabic and English by the Egyptian General Organization for Government Printing Offices (Cairo, 1970). Besides a number of incendiary articles — on such themes as "The Jews are the Enemies of Human Life as is Evident from their Holy Book" — there is a whole section on jihad. Having published large extracts in 1971, I am familiar with many explanations of jihad, the smaller and the greater. One prime example from these proceedings will suffice. It is by the then secretary-general of the Academy of Islamic Research, Dr. Abdul-Haleem Mahmoud, who was later to become the rector (imam) of the renowned Al-Azhar University. Here is his expert analysis, in the official English translation: "If Jihad leads to martyrdom, the destination is Heaven and approach to Allah. In the Holy Quran and the honourable tradition [hadith], there is a most magnificent and beautiful presentation of the martyr's status in the after-life."
Twenty years later, in 1988, the Charter of Hamas offered stereotyped images of a culture of hate, and is committed to an ideology of jihad. Article 8 — the slogan of the movement — induces its adepts to kill infidels in Allah's name: "Allah is its goal, the Prophet its model, the Qur'an its Charter, jihad its path, and death for the cause of Allah its most sublime belief." The current Islamist ideology of jihad is essential to this charter, which was inspired by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, its founder and spiritual leader. All appeals to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, other U.N. bodies, and to High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson — whose six-year mandate ends on September 10, 2002 — to denounce this genocidal charter, which contravenes the 1948 Genocide Convention (Article III of which condemns any "direct and public incitement to commit genocide"), have been to no avail.
And so we continue to find out about hate speech such as this: On April 4, 2002, "The great Imam of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Muhammad Sayyed Tantawi, demanded that the Palestinian people of all factions intensify the martyrdom operations against the Zionist enemy, and described their martyrdom as the highest form of jihad... He emphasized that every martyrdom operation against any Israeli, including women, children, and teenagers, is a legitimate act according to religious law, and an Islamic commandment..."
An al Qaeda-affiliated online magazine Al-Ansar*, dated August 24, 2002, includes an article by correspondent Seif Al-Din Al-Ansari entitled "On the importance of Jihad as a Means of Destroying the 'Infidel Countries.'" There one finds explanations such as: "By means of Jihad, Allah tortures them with killing; by means of Jihad, Allah tortures them with injury; by means of Jihad, Allah tortures them with loss of ruling; Allah tortures them by means of Jihad — that is, with heated water that draws its fire from the military front..."
This fateful issue — "martyrdom bombings"/"jihadist bombings"/"jihadist bombers," not "suicide bombers" — can no longer be ignored. All Muslim leaders, both spiritual and secular — and particularly the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), representing 57 Muslim countries at the United Nations — should speak out unequivocally in order to make it clear to the world, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, that this interpretation of the historical jihad-war ideology is in total contradiction with Islam today, with the U.N.'s International Bill of Human Rights, and with humanitarian law. This culture of hate must be outlawed.
New jihadist attacks are expected at any time. The current policy of silence on such a grave religious matter — both by Muslim spiritual and secular leaders, and by the international community — implicitly condones a great evil of our time. In doing so it is encouraging future jihadist bombers, whose actions should long ago have been condemned by Muslims as a defamation of Islam. If these genocidal teachings are not called by their proper name, humanity's future promises to be bleak.
— David G. Littman is an historian and an NGO representative of the Association for World Education to the United Nations in Geneva where he has been active on numerous human-rights issues since 1986.
Humanity's future has always been bleak but we've always managed to muddle through. I'm just not a bleak kinda guy.
In point of personal belief I reckon there's one cardinal sin that trumps the other seven (lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride). Despair. Despair leads to giving up--and that's downright unAmerican.
Islamic Rage Boy, as this image has been named across the web, is as good a (maybe better) picture of what we fight as any of Hussein or Khomeini. He looks pretty intimidating at first but upon further examination he's just an angry sack of rage hormones. I could kick his ass.
Usama bin Laden has called it the Jihad War. How about that? Something we can agree on.
I say as the Romans did to any that wish to dictate: