al-Qaeda on the Run? Really??

“If al-Qaeda is on the run, why do they seem on the attack?”

This was a question posed on the Chris Matthews Show this past Sunday. None of the explanations offered were very comforting. I almost wished I hadn’t heard them, but it is a time in the life of America that we need to hear them, we need to know what’s going on. And overall, I think it is better that more rather than less Americans are informed, if only in a general way, as to terrorist activism, especially as it is directed towards this country. We cannot be lulled into a false sense of security.

Unfortunately, the transcript for Sunday’s show isn’t ready yet, so I’ll have to wing it on the notes I scribbled, for now. This discussion grabbed my attention, and kept it. I left with a renewed sense of ‘high alert’. My initial inner response to the near-tragedy in Detroit, on Christmas Day, was more than confirmed; words like ‘harrowing’, ‘appalling’ re-surface in my mind. We need to trust God, but we also need to be aware & take, if we can, necessary actions.

It is possible to view the Northwest Delta Flight 253 incident from a different & even encouraging perspective, however, and that is one of a ‘wake-up call’. It was too close. We now realize how deadly and determined our enemy still is, though it may have appeared otherwise. Additionally, prior to this incident, I’m getting the impression that US intelligence/awareness regarding the growing threat of Yemen, as a terrorist-producing camp/training ground, was rather low-key? Now, it’s ratcheted up…way up. So I have to thank God for giving us the heads-up, in time to do something about it. While on the one hand, laxness in our intel/communications/follow-up etc., etc has been revealed, on the other hand – because of ‘systemic failure’, critical valuable information has also been revealed. Hah. “Praise be to God for His mercy on our great land.” He was tapping America on the shoulder, saying, ‘Pay attention here…’

It is of considerable concern that the expected face of al-Qaeda is changing. Whereas after 9/11, we were wary of obviously Muslim-type characteristics & garb in/on persons who might be acting suspiciously (or not), and geared-up to be on the lookout for such – now, that suicide bomber may instead wear the face of, say, a Nigerian student named Abdulmutallab, or a military man based in Ft. Hood, Texas…or a trusted CIA informant who, as it turns out, is now being called a triple agent. David Ignatius, columnist for the Washington Post , tells us “…there are at least 30 German converts to Islam who are believed to have moved to the tribal areas of Pakistan and may be undergoing training now who will come at us looking nothing like what we expect.” Geographically, we can no longer pinpoint, say, a certain area of Afghanistan as being the breeding ground for our enemies, because the ideology has spread so far around the world, and reached so many places, that it is accurately being labeled as ‘de-centralized’. We can’t simply go to the belly of the beast anymore…it’s all over the place…wearing many & evolving disguises. Mr. Ignatius points out as well that “There was a hope among our terrorism analysts…that the second and third generation of al-Qaeda would not be as formidable an adversary as the first generation was.” but it now appears that they “…are really going to cause us more problems than we thought.”

Oddly enough, while listening to this discussion on Chris Matthews’ program, the parallel of the kingdom of heaven spreading like leaven (Matthew 13:33) occurred to me. I think the idea in the heaven example is that the spread of it is invisible, and eventually reaches the outermost edge. While we most earnestly believe that the spreading of the Kingdom of our God is a good thing!, even if we aren’t aware it is happening – the same cannot be said for jihadist activity. Somehow, we need to be continually aware of its invisible progression, its reach, and somehow, we need to meet it and stop it.

At this point in my reasoning, I myself am stopped by the concept of ideology. Ideology trumps everything else. An idea comes from somewhere, and produces, eventually, action. In my research on Thomas Jefferson, I happened across a book entitled “Ideas Are Weapons” (Max Lerner), and at that point also, the concept stopped me, engaging my thoughts…or ideas! Is this the place where engagement must, finally, occur? I don’t know that such genuine ‘engagement’ falls under the heading of diplomacy – my gut doubts that. And I have not a clue how such seemingly impossible events could ever transpire between America & her allies, and what is termed radical Islam. But I remember, in the minutes and hours following 9/11, these Scriptures crossed my mind: “From whence come wars and fightings among you?…ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.” (James 4:1,2,KJV)
I am not an idiot, nor simpleton; I obviously realize that such opposing ‘ideologies’ are not about to sit down over a nice hot cup of tea & clear the air…not today. Bombs are still being planted, exploding…potential attacks, probably beyond what most of us can truly comprehend, are surely still being planned, and planned with relentless patience & precision. (Time magazine columnist Joe Klein quoted a former intelligence official as saying that the suicide bombing attack at the CIA base in Afghanistan “… was extremely sophisticated. It took years to set up. We didn’t think al-Qaeda had that capability.”) Hostages are still being taken, casualties & fatalities are not ceasing and some of our troops, a year or more after coming home, still can’t sleep because of post-traumatic stress disorder. (God, help us, help us all…) Until, somehow, the point is reached where an ‘asking’ such as perhaps has never before occurred in the history of Islam, or Christianity, can take place…until then, as a friend once told me, ‘you have to do what you have to do until God does what He’s going to do!’ Until then, we defend our homeland. But while we do that, perhaps some of us can carry within an awareness of what author Michael Novak, in The Universal Hunger for Liberty, calls ‘our common cause’, human liberty, which he believes is ‘the tie that can reconcile the Western democratic tradition with its erstwhile Islamic foes.’


Author’s note: Michael Novak’s experience & credentials boggle the mind. See ‘Biography’.

Excerpt – ‘His {Novak’s} masterpiece, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, has been reprinted often in Latin America, and was published underground in Poland in 1984, and recently in Czechoslovakia, Germany, China and Hungary. One reviewer called it “one of those rare books that actually changed the world.” ‘


5 responses to “al-Qaeda on the Run? Really??

  1. I think we need two things to occur:1) Muslims must ask themselves if they wish to live peacefully with the West, or support the radical elements of their faith. They can not do both. The radical Islam that is seen as the religious base for Islamic Terrorism is incompatible with Western Democratic beliefs.2) We in the West need to re-examine our own beliefs. Not from a tolerance standpoint (I believe we are doing a decent job of that), but from a "what will we teach in school" standpoint. It has become unpopular in both England and the United States to teach History and Sociology from a standpoint of the good things the West has done. If students have no reasons to believe the West is worth defending, how will they defend it in conversations with others? If they can't defend it in a simple conversation, how are we to ever defend the US on the battlefield of beliefs?

  2. Andy, thanks for this thoughtful response -1) Not sure if this next fits in here anywhere, but it jumped into my mind – when you (we) say 'Muslim', referring to radical Islam followers in this post – whereas not that long ago only 2-3% of Muslims worldwide fell into this category, now, according to Wash.Post columnist David Ignatius & others, "…the US Muslim community for the first time is producing potential jihadis. There are the five from the Washington area who showed up in Pakistan. There was Hasan, who was…MATTHEWS: Nidal Hasan.Mr. KLEIN: …who did the shooting in—at Fort Hood. And up until now we felt that we really, you know, we—that we didn't have a problem with our Muslim community, but we may."I would love for this to be wrong, but I fear it is not, at least to some degree. Hopefully these examples will be in the extreme minority.2) Excellent insight. How does this start happening? In my book, everything starts with prayer, so -getting on that!

  3. In addition to above suggestions, one preparation that is skipped over is:it is time for all the Tax-sheltered Religious Groups in the USA to start building lots more Hospitals.Andy is very accurate in my thinking especially on his number 2: our best high schools are now just standard. That would be sub-standard in my thinking.

  4. Yes, America was NEVER meant to be 'just standard'.A co-worker of mine is going back to school (she's 40-ish) to become a teacher. Recently, one day I found myself hugging her & saying how great it was, that she was doing this – that America needed good teachers. I don't know how I knew that, but apparently on some level I did. As Afghanistan needed a surge of troops, our nation needs a surge of good teachers, and writers of children's books too, re/American history.

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