December 15, 2003

Spiritual Warfare

In an otherwise excellent article, Steven Den Beste misses a trick when he states "the religious zealots who have been coming into Iraq from outside are pretty much invulnerable to loss of morale".

They are not. Their motivation is to get into Heaven. They would lose heart if they heard they were going to hell for their actions and believed it. They are vulnerable on this front because they believe in a non-hierarchical religion and there is no authoritative opinion. Give them lists of imam after imam, respected by them as graduates of the best theological schools Islam has to offer, and have them teach them that what they are doing is banditry (hirabah) not jihad (holy war) and they stand condemned before God for doing what they do. This, and other actions on the same theme, would cause doubt and attack their fundamental reason for taking up arms against us.

The reason for this obvious error is that it is a US weakness to assume that you *must* keep the 1st amendment's prohibition on playing favorites with religion with everybody and everywhere. It's graduated from a very sensible bit of law to an unexamined fetish. It needs more thought than that. If God's telling you to arm yourself and fight the US, I don't think the freedom of religion clause applies and the government is free to attack on this front.

The problem is that developing a toolset of attacking a particular religion is probably one of the most dangerous capabilities the US government can have. There is good reason for a country that contains just about every faith on the planet to normally abstain from taking part in religious debates. We have allies (contrary to mainstream media opinion) which certainly are more and better equipped to develop such attacks and would not be in such danger if they did so. We need to make use of them. In some limited instances we already are.

Posted by TMLutas at December 15, 2003 08:01 AM