Today’s Boston Glob has an op-ed piece written by one Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou, who bears the incredibly burdensome title of associate director of the Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research at Harvard University. (His business cards must be the size of a Hallmark card.) In it, Mr. Mohamedou (the Glob doesn’t give his title, but I suspect he must be a “Dr.” of something or other — lunacy of his magnitude is usually rewarded with impressive credentials) asks if it is time for the United States to start negotiating with Al Qaeda.
Mr. Mohamedou spells out his case very carefully, outlining the history of the conflict (largely from their side), citing key moments and rationalizing the various and sundry attacks by Al Qaeda against us. He gives them the high praise of using “military tactics” and calls their terrorists “commandos,” even citing their specific declaration of war against the United States, spells out their casi belli, and reiterates their oft-stated demands in exchange for an end to the conflict.
Mr. Mohamedou does manage to gloss over a few minor points, however, such as their choice of targets (quite often civilian ones) their use of weapons (planes full of innocents, for one), But while most people get outraged over most of these admissions, he’s hoping that we don’t catch on to the biggest scam he’s trying to pull on us:
He’s trying to get us to recognize Al Qaeda as a legitimate “player” on the world stage, and give them the standing they so richly do not deserve: that of a nation-state.
It’s a very well-played gambit. I’m ashamed to admit I very nearly let it slip past me. I nearly didn’t catch what he was doing.
The formula for winning a war is simple. The execution is usually difficult, occasionally impossible, but the basic formula is simple.
1) Identify what your enemy wants.
2) Prevent your enemy from achieving that goal.
3) Persuade the enemy to stop trying to achieve that goal:
A) By killing enough of them so they can’t keep fighting.
B) By destroying their ability to keep fighting.
C) By destroying their will to keep fighting.
In the war against Islamic Fundamentalism, the first step has been achieved. They want to bring about the Caliphate, the Islamic Theocracy. First, they want to unite the Muslim world. Then they want to bring in any land that was ever under Muslim rule. (This means you, Israel and southern Spain, for starters.) Then, eventually, the entire world must be brought before and beneath Islam — and not just any old Islam, but their vision of Islam.
One of the key elements of that plan is to be recognized as a legitimate nation-state. They came very close to that in Afghanistan, when the Taliban and Al Qaeda worked hand-in-hand, and were recognized by some nations as a legitimate government. But when they pulled off 9/11, the United States took that away from them in short order.
Now Al Qaeda is largely stateless. Many of the leaders who brought them to such dizzying heights are now dead or imprisoned. They are reduced to scattered attacks of terrorism, nowhere near as spectacular as 9/11, and never within the borders of the United States.
And in the midst of this, with Al Qaeda struggling for relevance, here comes Mr. Mohamedou, using the soapbox so generously provided him by the Boston Globe, arguing that we should restore them the credibility and the status they once enjoyed and we took away from them at the cost of our dearest blood.
No, thank you, Mr. Mohamedou. I happen to like Al Qaeda’s current position — harried, on the run, decimated, and flailing for survival and relevance. Try peddling your surrender elsewhere.