Nearly ten years into the War on Terror, now referred to as an overseas contingency operation by the Obama administration, and the gray, generic platitudes about the enemy persist. Who is the enemy? many would answer al-Qaeda and the recently deceased Osama Bin laden. according to the mainstream script he was a fanatic who hijacked and used true Islam, "the religion of peace," for his own ends. What are those ends? To punish America for its haughty imperialism and support for Israel. Unfortunately you do not have to talk to Michael Moore to hear this version of reality, you can read the former head of the CIA's Bin Laden unit Michael Scheuer.
The biggest problems with this whole line of reasoning is that it narrowly defines the enemy, reducing it to a small band of international criminals that can eventually be wiped out with drone attacks. Drone attacks are good, but regular enemy attacks continue to occur in places like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen and Somalia. Can drones solve this? maybe if the enemy really were just al-Qaeda, but we face a large Islamic terrorist movement I refer to as militant Islamism. Its adherents rally around the believe Allah commands faithful Muslims, through his revelations to Muhammad, to wage jihad against non-Muslims and apostate Muslims until there is only Islam.
You might respond with incredulity at their ambition, but we discount their sincerity at our own peril. Al-Qaeda is a relatively recent phenomenon, but the imperative to fight jihad for Allah is more than fourteen centuries old. Our military and political leaders are not doing us any favors when they fail to understand the true nature of the enemy.