Unless we become a nation united, we will argue ourselves literally into oblivion.
It is a safe bet, though, that Mexico is not coming to such a violent state all on its own. Think for a moment about the increased incidence of beheading. To cut a long story short, you only have to think for a moment to realize that this signature technique of Islamists is on the rise and not by coincidence.
Think how much is gained for jihadis, by joining in the fray south of the border, in fact by ramping up the fray as much as possible.
A patient and very canny enemy would be quick to make use of the confusion along the border to slip operatives into the country, knowing that they have safe haven in mosques across the nation. All the safer because almost certainly very, very few who attend a particular mosque would have any idea that it was used for such activity. You cannot give away what you do not know. If it takes longer to move operatives around because even other Muslims are being protected from the knowledge, so what? Anyone paying attention knows with great clarity that al Qaeda is nothing if not patient and canny.
Such an enemy would be certain to realize that anything that contributes to the chaos on our border is to his advantage. Escalating any sort of violence along the border would be especially appealing if it can be related to the movement of drugs. These produce a cash flow of obvious value, and there is the additional benefit of insuring that the infidel speeds up his own demise by getting increased access to the drugs without which he can apparently simply not get along.
If I am an al Qaeda or Islamic State planner, then I am sending my best trainers to every drug gang in Mexico, offering to help train them in tactics that could increase their effectiveness, both at distributing drugs and at taking control of the countryside. If I am a drug cartel leader or hopeful, how could I say no?
Any increase in violence that accompanies the effort is to the good. As a jihadi, if I also get a cut of my clients’ drug money, so much the better. Then I can afford to send even more trainers and operatives. I will defeat my enemy with the money he gives me to feed his weaknesses.
How could it get any better? It is a tactic with no downside. It costs little to support my trainers in Mexico. If they are at all effective, they generate capital by taking some off the top for their help. And no matter which gang is rising in any region, it is to my benefit all around. I can even trust my trainees to die happily if Gang A wipes out Gang B and their trainers. They have died in service of the cause. Seventy-two virgins await them.
All this adds up to a very unpleasant certainty. The United States is headed for another major attack, and sooner rather than later. There can be no doubt whatsoever on this score. Operatives are already in place around the country, unless the jihadis are simply inept and have completely missed this opportunity. Is there anyone daft enough to characterize al Qaeda or the Islamic State in this way?
No diplomacy, no containment efforts, no international efforts can prevent this in the absence of even the pretense of controlling our borders. More than failing to protect against this threat, we cannot seem to get ourselves as a nation to accept that that threat is there, and that we can and should to defend ourselves against it. Or that the threat is there regardless of what we do or say in the world. The stupid things we do from around the world from time to time certainly provide a boost for the enemy’s marketing efforts and about as much pretext as any jihadi could ask for, but they are not the cause of jihadi actions. To believe otherwise is to ignore all of Islamic history and the enemy’s own contemporary declarations of purpose.
The Islamists know exactly what they are about. They are continuing a fourteen hundred year old campaign to bring the enlightenment of Islam to the infidel. Everything is fair. There are no limits, no restrictions. There may be moderate Muslims who do not support that notion, but they have no more influence on the Islamists than anyone else. Call the moderate Muslims the “reform Muslims”. They take pleasure in the nonviolent portions of the Qur’an, setting aside its injunctions to fight infidels until there is no more fitnah in the land and all religion is for Allah. They are happy to practice their religion in a pluralist society, allowing others to do likewise. Call the Islamists the “orthodox Muslims”. They take every page of the Qur’an seriously and quite literally. They have every intention of seeing to it that all religion is for Allah. In a reprise of the sometimes willful ignorance of German citizens through the rise of Nazi power, many “reform Muslims” will accept our nation’s fate stoically, whether it be with the Islamists or otherwise. Insha’Allah. (إن شاء الله). If this is the will of God, so be it.
Some will say that it is just nuts to impute to al Qaeda, the Islamic State, and their ilk such a grandiose plan as I have described. They are overlooking all the signs that Islamists see indicating their inevitable, even pending, victory.
Islamists undoubtedly draw a straight line from the collapse of the World Trade Center towers to the collapse of the U.S. and world economies. They have brought this about.
Have no doubt. This is how the situation is being sold in quarters where it counts, where support for such attacks is high and where resources are being sought and obtained. Nothing attracts money like success. Striking in the infidel’s own cities, bringing down the infidel’s economy, and then huge portions of the world’s economy as well, all make for a pretty good résumé. Wouldn’t you hire someone with that track record if destruction of the U. S. were your goal?
One great problem we have as a nation is that we are not exactly a nation right now. We do not understand what we have and what we offer that unite us. We do not believe as a nation that we are, in spite of faults, a force for good. And we do not have enough sense of history to understand that there is actually an enemy committed to our destruction. On the rare occasion when we do admit the possibility, we do not respect that enemy sufficiently to understand the patience, the resolve, the connection to history, the passion in the beliefs, the ingenuity, the genius of that enemy.
If you are still naively racist or “modernist”, you may believe that the enemy is backwards, because you see styles of dress that “look funny” to you, or you see primitive conditions prevailing everywhere your enemy holes up. These are distractions and utterly irrelevant. This enemy may be “backward” in some trivial sense of the word, but he and she are not stupid, or slow, or ever distracted.
The next large attack in the U. S. will be breathtaking. It will be widespread and coordinated. In 2001 a few cities and highly prized targets were involved. By 2014 at the very latest, there will be an attack on a much grander scale, assembled from far more and much simpler strikes, utterly audacious in concept, and stunningly simple. (I have left this in for the record, and am extremely happy to have been wrong on this point. I do not for a moment take the success in preventing such a large attack so far as evidence that such planning is not under way. I was wrong on the timeline, but I maintain my conviction that the event is all but inevitable. And, whether it can be pulled off or not, it is undoubtedly a subject of wide discussion and planning.)
Anybody who laughs at the possibility or minimizes the likelihood is simply not paying attention, or else has a reason to want you not to pay attention.
In a world where some will argue complexity everywhere in order to avoid clarity anywhere, we must figure out, as a nation, that the choice now is as simple as it was when Benjamin Franklin first published his famous cartoon: Join (Unite), or die.