Beheadings of innocent human beings are unspeakable acts reflecting the barbaric savagery of the Islamic “holy war” against the West — against us. Yet despite the intentions of their perpetrators, they have had an unexpected utility. Their gruesome images have entered the living rooms and consciousness of ordinary Americans and waked them up.
The barbarity of the Islamic movement for world domination has actually been evident for decades: in the suicide bombing of the Marine compound in Lebanon in 1982, in the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, in the suicide attacks on Jews — men, women, and children — during the second Palestinian Intifada in 2000, in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001, and in the beheadings perpetrated in Iraq by al-Qaeda’s Abu al-Zarqawi and the Salafist group known as Ansar al-Islam during the Iraq War.
Unfortunately, the response to these barbarities on the part of the Democratic party and the liberal elites has been to condemn and marginalize anyone who called them barbarous. In their eyes, it is racist to use the word “barbarism” to describe the acts of any Third World people. To associate Islam with the Islamists was Islamophobic. President Obama is still trapped in this time warp, denying in so many words that the Islamic State is Islamic. For America’s commander-in-chief to make such an obviously moronic statement about his country’s enemy in wartime reflects how deeply settled is the ideology of protecting the Islamists (and jeopardizing the innocent). Even Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, could not bring himself to describe the enemy as Islamic. Settling on “War on Terror” as a descriptive term was a way of eliding the fact that the savagery was motivated by not by nihilism but by Islamic faith. The Obama Democrats have gone even deeper into denial, eliminating “War on Terror” from the government vocabulary and replacing it with “overseas contingency operations.”
For more than a decade, a handful of conservatives, of whom I was one, tried to sound the alarm about the Islamist threat. For our efforts, we were ridiculed, smeared as bigots, and marginalized as Islamophobes. In 2004 I published a book called Unholy Alliance about the Islamist movement and the support it was receiving from the American Left. For my concern, Harvard professor and Islam expert Noah Feldman dismissed me as a “relic” in the New York Times Book Review. It was the last time the Times mentioned one of my books.
In 2006 and 2007, I organized nearly 200 “teach-ins” on American campuses, which I called “Islamo-Fascism Awareness” weeks. The idea was to legitimize the term “Islamo-fascist” as a description of the enemy confronting us. These demonstrations were attacked by the Muslim Students Association, which is a recruiting organization for the Muslim Brotherhood, and by Students for Justice in Palestine, a front for the terrorist party Hamas. They also inspired the contempt of the liberal Left. Joshua Micah Marshall of Talking Points Memo devoted two YouTube videos to ridiculing me for holding the demonstrations. Campus leftists called the students who organized them racists, bigots, and Islamophobes.
Resolutions denouncing critics of Islamic misogyny and terror as “Islamophobes” were unanimously passed by leftist-run student councils at UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, and a dozen other elite schools. Lengthy reports on the menace of Islamophobia targeted me and other speakers at our campus demonstrations, including Robert Spencer and Daniel Pipes. These reports, costing tens of thousands of dollars to produce, were published by FAIR, CAIR, the egregious Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Center for American Progress — the brain trust of the Democratic party.
And then came ISIS. The horrific images of the beheadings, the reports of mass slaughters, and the threats to the American homeland have accomplished what our small contingent of beleaguered conservatives could never have achieved by ourselves. They brought images of these Islamic fanatics and savages into the living rooms of the American public, and suddenly the acceptable language for describing the enemy began to change. “Savages” and “barbarians” began to roll off the tongues of evening-news anchors and commentators who never would have dreamed of crossing that line before, for fear of offending the politically correct.
Virtually every major Muslim organization in America is an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, the fountainhead of Islamic terror. Huma Abedin, who was deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (and is still Clinton’s confidante and principal aide), comes from a family of Muslim Brotherhood leaders. Yet legislators who have the power to investigate these matters are still intimidated from even raising them. Representative Michele Bachmann, who did raise them, was excoriated as a racist not only by the Left but also by John Boehner and John McCain.
Language is a weapon in the battle against the threat we face. We cannot fight a war effectively when we cannot name the enemy or describe his methods or examine his influence on our own policy. The Islamic State has created an opportunity for common sense and realism to prevail. The tragedy is that it has taken the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Muslims and Christians in the Middle East and the ongoing extermination of the Catholic presence in Iraq to begin to wake people up. And, unfortunately, the president is still asleep or, less charitably, is hostile to American purposes, is hostile to the military that defends us, and identifies more with the Islamic world that has produced these forces who would destroy us than with the country he is sworn to defend.
David Horowitz was one of the founders of the New Left in the 1960s and an editor of its largest magazine, Ramparts. He is the author, with Peter Collier, of three best selling dynastic biographies: The Rockefellers: An American Dynasty (1976); The Kennedys: An American Dream (1984); and The Fords: An American Epic (1987). Looking back in anger at their days in the New Left, he and Collier wrote Destructive Generation (1989), a chronicle of their second thoughts about the 60s that has been compared to Whittaker Chambers’ Witness and other classic works documenting a break from totalitarianism. Horowitz examined this subject more closely in Radical Son (1996), a memoir tracing his odyssey from “red-diaper baby” to conservative activist that George Gilder described as “the first great autobiography of his generation.” His latest book is Take No Prisoners: The Battle Plan for Defeating the Left (Regnery Publishing).