by Ralph Peters [author, novelist]

As White House staffer Jane Austen put it to Sen. Darcy: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single terrorist in possession of a good bomb must be in want of patient understanding.”

Unfortunately for Washington wonks determined to deny that Islamist extremists are motivated by extremist Islam, the pride and prejudice of Allah’s butchers were on public display (again) this week.

Framed in florid quotations from the Koran, the Gitmo Five – hard-core terrorists, including Khalid Sheik Mohammed – proclaimed in a filing released by a brave military judge that “We are terrorists to the bone” who regard the charges resulting from “the blessed 11 September operations” as “badges of honor.”

Desperate to placate its blame-America supporters, the Obama administration has clamped down on news from Guantanamo. Why? After their lurid criticisms of Gitmo, the Dems now have the world’s worst killers on their hands.

And they don’t know what to do. Responsibility sucks.

At the core of our inability to cope with Islamist terrorists lies Washington’s denial that fanatical Islam is even a factor. Yet refusing to accept that Islam Gone Wild is behind the actions of al Qaeda or the Taliban is akin to insisting that sex has nothing to do with making babies.

Other factors may intensify or accelerate a terrorist’s will to slaughter the innocent. But the dark heart of the matter is that these men believe they’re on a mission from their god to punish the godless (including fellow Muslims who don’t measure up).

Yet, no matter how fiercely our enemies declare that their faith compels them to kill, our elected and appointed officials continue to insist that the terrorists don’t understand themselves – that they’re really driven by economic factors or our own foreign-policy missteps, that their savage interpretation of Islam is only a ploy . . .

Shouldn’t we pay just a little attention to what our enemies say about themselves?

Radical Islam isn’t just a smokescreen. Jihad is real. And it ain’t about who got the Coca-Cola franchise in Khartoum.

As I seethe through DC meetings (always careful to wash thoroughly afterward), I’m continually disheartened by the contortions of “experts” determined to prove that enemies who regard death as a promotion aren’t really devout, that they just need hugs and massive amounts of aid.

A few weeks back, I spoke to a roomful of senior military officers. In response to my suggestion that we should listen to what terrorists are only too glad to tell us, a foreign “counterinsurgency expert” insisted that religion simply isn’t a factor.

To buttress his claim, he cited the survey every Muslims-R-Us analyst trots out: In questioning 138,000 prisoners who passed through US hands in Iraq, barely 10 percent claimed to be motivated by Islam, while 60 percent of the violent actors said they did it for money. (The rest were just in a bad mood.)

Even if every Iraqi told the complete truth, that misses the point. This isn’t about quantity, but the quality of commitment. Terrorist movements never field a majority or even a significant minority of a population. At most, a few hundred fanatics were behind 9/11.

Anyway, who paid the did-it-for-cash bunch? The religious fanatics.

Even in ethnic struggles, such as those in the Balkans in the 1990s, the violence begins with less than 1 percent of the population armed and determined. The ranks of the violent swell for various reasons, but it’s the hard-core believers in the supremacy of their blood or faith who instigate the destruction of troubled societies.

To counter that carpetbagger’s statistics, I pointed out that a sampling of 138,000 German POWs in 1945 would have shown that fewer than 5 percent were unrepentant believers in Nazi ideology. But subtract Nazism from the German political equation, and there would’ve been no World War II in Europe. True believers shatter worlds.

As for the argument that not every terrorist lived in a state of perfect religious purity before jumping into jihad, that utterly misses the point: A society’s prevailing sense of right and wrong is shaped by centuries of religious culture. American atheists conform to behavioral values ingrained in us all by thousands of years of Judeo-Christian authority.

In the Greater Middle East, even lackadaisical Muslims have been molded by the legacy of 13 centuries of Islam. Thus Mom thinks it a splendid thing that her son strapped on a bomb and became a martyr by murdering 40 innocents in a market.

Her culture admires that “sacrifice.” Ours doesn’t.

Listen to the Gitmo Five. Unlike our Washington pols, they have intellectual integrity. They’re telling us honestly who they are and why they seek to kill us.

Our response? “They don’t know what they’re talking about.” ExileStreet

NY Post / copyright 2009 NY Post

Ralph Peters’ latest book is “Looking For Trouble: Adventures in a Broken World.”

Ralph Peters is a retired Army officer and the author of 19 books, as well as of hundreds of essays and articles, written both under his own name and as Owen Parry. He is a frequent columnist for the New York Post and other publications.

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