Attacks by Muslims in America start a new phase in our long war

Summary: The recent surge in attacks by Muslims in America mark a new phase in our long war, one long predicted and potentially horrific. We have run wild killing at will in the Middle East. Here are some thoughts about the consequences of this inevitable blowback.

Flames of War Propaganda Video



  1. Blowback.
  2. Escalation.
  3. Muslim violence.
  4. For More Info.
  5. Preparation.

(1)  Blowback

Slowly, a new phase in our long war has begun. While we continue operations in Afghanistan, reenter Iraq, look for ways to get involved in Syria in Ukraine, and expand our involvement in Africa — the blowback I (and many others) predicted has begun with attacks in the “homeland”. On Thursday morning Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez (24) shot four U.S. Marines at a military recruiting center and a Navy training reserve center in Chattanooga, TN. It wasn’t the first, and it won’t be the last.

On 1 June 2009, Carlos Bledsoe killed 23-year-old Pvt. William Long and wounded 18-year-old Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula at an Army recruiting station in Little Rock, Arkansas. The best-known case is, of course, Maj. Nidal Hasan, who killed 13 and wounded 32 at Fort Hood, TX, on 5 November 2009. Since then there have been other attacks by Muslims on members of western military forces.

This year has seen a pick-up in our foe’s activities in America. In April Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud was indicted for planning to attack a (unstated) US military base. Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud planned to attack a base in Texas.  Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez killed 4 Marines and a Navy sailor at Chattanooga TN. Glen Greenwald describes other attacks

Last October in Canada — weeks after the government announced it would bomb Iraq against ISIS — a Muslim man {saw} two Canadian soldiers in uniform and then ran them over, killing one … Omar Khadr was sent to Guantanamo as a teenager and branded a “terrorist” for killing a U.S. soldier fighting the war in Afghanistan during a firefight. One of the most notorious “terrorism” prosecutions in the U.S. — just brilliantly dissected by my colleague Murtaza Hussain — involved an alleged plot to attack the military base at Fort Dix.

Since 9/11 the flames of war have spread slowly across the Middle East and the flames of racial hatred and religious bigotry have spread across America. We have enjoyed fighting on the “global battlefield”, sending our drones and special operations forces to kill and kidnap at will — while seemingly immune to retaliation.

It’s taken a while, but some Muslims in America “are mad as hell and not going to take it anymore” — and begun attacking our military institutions and personnel (a narrower target than the Obama administration’s definition of “combatants” as “all military-age males in a strike zone”. It’s blowback.

(2)  Escalation

What comes next? Attacks in America seem unlikely to decrease America’s offensive programs against Muslims overseas. Nor does it seem likely to slow America’s rising tide of sentiment hostile to Islam.

What happens if these attacks in America continue to increase? Perhaps more prejudice against Muslims. Perhaps renewed determination to intervene in the Middle East. If we have one or more severe attacks in the Homeland, perhaps retaliatory strikes in the Middle East.

This could easily spin out of control. Both sides have people who would benefit if it did so.

(3) About Muslim violence in America

(a) Are these attacks terrorism?

The term no longer means anything in the US other than “violent crimes by people we don’t like”. As such, deciding if these attacks are terrorism is complex. For those interested in such things see these by Glen Greenwald at The Intercept and William Saletan at Slate.

(b) What about all those plots foiled by the FBI?

Many pro-war think tanks and media enthusiastically track arrests in the US of Muslims. I’ve found none that distinguish those arrests which were incited and facilitated by the police and FBI. They find young, often not too bright men and guide them every step to their arrest. Recent cases include John T. Booker (aka Mohammed Abdullah Hassan, age 20) Army Specialist Hasan R. Edmonds (age 22), and Fazliddin Kurbanov (31).

(c) Are Muslims violent in America?

There have been 71 mass murders (4 or more killed) in America since 1982. Many on the Right are only concerned with those killed by Muslims, but multiple studies show that only a minority are done by Muslims (e.g., the West Point Combating Terrorism Center and other studies).

Not only Muslims attack military targets in America. For example, Aaron Alexis who killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard on 16 September 2013 (a history of mental health problems).

Peace and war

(4)  For More Information

See William Lind’s look at the lessons from the Chattanooga shootings. If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about Islam, and especially these…

(5)  Preparation

Survival Guide for Beginners
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SAS Survival Handbook
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25 thoughts on “Attacks by Muslims in America start a new phase in our long war”

  1. This is a result of American weakness, they sense blood in the water and feel that American are ripe to be killed. Why would you feel any fear for killing Americans or supporting those who do? Americas response to 9/11 and terrorist attack going even further back have been mired in guilt and weakness.

    1. Apollo,

      Thanks for the comment. Funniest thing I’ve read in weeks. Delusional, but in a funny way.

      After 9/11 We invade and occupy not one but two nations. We devastate Iraq’s infrastructure, kill tens of thousands. Then we extend the war to a dozen other nations.

      But for some people no amount of killing is enough. Best to laugh at you, rather than cry for America.

  2. “What explains a foreign policy under which the strongest nation on earth regularly allows itself to be thwarted by petty despots? America wages a putative War on Terror, while Iran—the world’s most active state-sponsor of terrorism, the patron of the terrorist group that is second only to al Qaeda in the number of Americans it has slaughtered, the theocracy that stormed our embassy and held fifty-two Americans captive for over a year as its ayatollahs’ minions pranced in the streets and chanted “Death to America”—escapes any military reprisal from us. . . .

    Why are we reluctant to stand up to other nations, when we enjoy undisputed military superiority? There is certainly no physical impediment that keeps us from protecting America’s interests. There is, however, an intellectual one: the widely accepted idea that the pursuit of self-interest is morally tainted.

    The premise shaping our foreign policy is that we must sacrifice ourselves for the sake of weaker nations because self-interest can’t be the standard of our actions. . “

  3. It is not a joke, but what is a joke is the name of your site. Fabius Maximus did not save Rome, Scipio Africanus did, and he did it by taking the war to CARTHAGE. How can we win this war if we even refuse to even name the enemy? Which is Islamic in nature? What did Iraq have to do with Islamic Totalitarianism? Imagine the biggest terrorist attack in America’s history and we attack Iraq and Iran or at the very least Saudi Arabia. No we attack Iraq because it was the weakest and easiest target, attacking Iran which is the beacon and light for Islamic movements around the world would have required us to actually take a moral stand and name the enemy and condemn their ideology.

    1. Apollo,

      I suggest that you read any introductory history book. Or read what Romans wrote about FM after the war (which they understood better than you).

      As for the “who saved Rome” game — that’s quite daft. As with any such large event, many people contributed. The Fabian strategy of 217-211 preserved Rome’s strength and allowed rebuilding of its power (lost in part by defeats during this period when they abandoned it, and suffered horrific defeats). After 210 BC Scripto Africanus used Rome’s rebuilt strength to defeat Carthage.

  4. A Fabian strategy will not win a war, it just keeps you from losing.Hannibal was just a symptom, and was nothing without Carthages support. If you want to win a war you have to eliminate the cause of the threat which was Carthage itself. And that means going on the offensive which is what Scipio did. And that is what we must do against Iran.

    1. Apollo,

      Your comments tell us what we need to know. Your description of our actions after 9/11 was delusionally false. Your description of Roman history would be failed for History 101 (do you really believe the Romans didn’t understand their own wars?). Your theory of warfare is silly — for example, a purely defensively strategy is often the best (e.g., as should have been adopted by the South in the Civil War).

    2. Apollo,

      I looked at Nothing Less than Victory: Decisive Wars and the Lessons of History. As a polemic, it’s great. As an analysis of history, it’s daft.

      “The goal of war is to defeat the enemy’s will to fight. But how this can be accomplished is a thorny issue. Nothing Less than Victory provocatively shows that aggressive, strategic military offenses can win wars and establish lasting peace, while defensive maneuvers have often led to prolonged carnage, indecision, and stalemate.”

      It’s a version of the ever-popular for laypeople genre “the one way to win.” In fact there is no one master methods. Sometimes offensive strategies work best (he cherry-picks those well), sometimes defensive ones work. Based on a quick look using search for mentions of Fabius Maximus, in his pages about the Punic War he gives little attention to the years of the Fabian strategy (217-211), focusing instead on the years 210 and afterwards when Rome was strong enough to take the offense and win.

      Note that the book frequently mentions the importance of breaking the enemy’s “will to fight.” That insight goes back to Sun Tzu, who expressly disagreed with this daft focus on force. To mention just one…

      “Therefore, to achieve a hundred victories in a hundred battles is not the highest excellence; to subjugate the enemy’s army without doing battle is the highest of excellence. Therefore, the best warfare strategy is to attack the enemy’s plans, next is to attack alliances, next is to attack the army …”

      If General Lee had acted on this insight — of which he was quite aware — then the South might have won. However he agreed with Lewis. There are many other examples in history.

  5. There is nothing false about it. Was Iraq Islamic? No, it was secular, but allowed to become Islamic by the U.S. because we were for democracy not American self defense. Talk about sacrifice, and talk about shooting yourself in the foot. Sure defense is important, if the the south was willing to live with a permanent hostile enemy to the north then yes defense would be the right course. But if your enemy is eternally hostile to you then only offense will end the long term threat. Apparently, you can also live with a permanent hostile enemy, just let Islamic Totalitarianism gain strength and power while we have to live in fear of being murdered . The goal should’ll d be to get back to where we were before the Islamic movement had any strength power. Remember a time where you could make fun of Muhammad and not live in fear? How did we get to this point we are in now?

    1. Apollo,

      If time were unlimited I’d explain the multiple fallacies beyond your quite delusional summary of events. But experience has shown me that people indoctrinated in right-wing faux history and faux economics are immune to fact and logic.

      Two quick notes:

      (a) “Was Iraq Islamic. Not, it was secular.” It’s political regime was secular. The people were overwhelmingly Islamic. It’s a vital distinction.

      (b) Got to love “{Iraq} was allowed to become Islamic.” So few words, so many fallacies. As if a nation with an overwhelmingly Islamic population didn’t have high odds of getting an Islamic polity eventually, or that the US had some God-like power to shape events (despite the failure our vast investment of resources produced).

    2. “Was Iraq Islamic? No, it was secular, but allowed to become Islamic by the U.S. because we were for democracy not American self defense.”

      I wasn’t aware the U.S. “allowed” anything. It seems to me that the capsule history of our glorious Mesopotamian adventure goes something like, “After an initial satisfying blitz, a befuddled flock of American viceroys spent the next decade reacting to events that they never quite understood, let alone controlled.”

      And if you think even **one** of the Beltway Caesars behind the Iraq invasion gave the slightest damn about “democracy” in any meaningful sense of the word, I have a wonderful portfolio of investment opportunities specially selected for you.

  6. You actually have to read the book, he would not recommend going on the offensive against Russia during the cold war nor if you are Finland in WW2. Obviously he sets up the proper context. You have to have a long term vision of the world you want to live in, just like our enemy has. It’s s not just about stopping your enemies immediate plans but long term.

    1. Apollo,

      No I “don’t have to read the book.” Right-wing polemics are not my interest, although it seems to have given you a weird and dogmatic view of history.

      I suggest you read some of the prominent books about geopolitics and military affairs. I recommend starting with Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, Clausewitz’s On War (abridged), any of Martin van Creveld’s books, or Rupert Smith’s The Utility of Force. For less technical but easier reads, I recommend any of John Keegan’s (all well-written, but quite educational).

  7. You are deliberately missing my point. You are right Saddam was secular, so why did we attack it? While Iran is explicitly Islamic and even better there is hostility amount it’s young people against the regime, on those two points alone Iran was a better target. Read the Constitution of Iraq and Afghanistan it speaks for itself, Bush himself said that If Iraq votes for theocracy that is fine because that is democracy. It’s like winning would war two and allowing Japan to vote back National Shinto and Germany to reconstitute the Nazi party, then what was the war for?

    1. “You are deliberately missing my point. You are right Saddam was secular, so why did we attack it? While Iran is explicitly Islamic and even better there is hostility amount it’s young people against the regime, on those two points alone Iran was a better target.”

      Yeah, anybody can see how Iran, with more than twice the population of Iraq AND lots of mountainous terrain, would be a pushover. (Even more of a demographic imbalance if you exclude the Kurds from the Iraq population tally, which is realistic.) And everybody knows how all those Iranian youngsters would welcome an American “liberation” with flowers, because of Twitter, or something.

      I can’t see what point you’re making by raising these questions, because the answers seem almost self-evident to anybody with a working memory and an atlas.

      Iraq was supposed to be a cost-free pushover, with the additional appeal that its conquest would help mend various psychological issues Bush the Lesser had toward his father. (I think this aspect is seldom given the weight that it deserves. It’s a whomping huge symptom of the rot of our “republican” institutions.) The Bush gang was stuffed with… creatures… who actually **believed** they’d pull off a cost-free war. But not even those bullshit artists could fool themselves into believing that Iran offered any “cakewalks”.

  8. That review you linked to is false John David Lewis was no neoconservative. He was a critic of Bush and all his policies during his life. You just want to paint him as that so you can just ignore his work.

  9. About the semantics of “war” and “terrorism” — It’s too true that there are people on both sides who’d love to see things escalate to an all-out “war of civilizations”, and they’ll always focus on and amplify outrages. But the thing I keep coming back to is that nearly all these attacks seem to be the work of young male doofuses. These guys always seem to be deeply adrift, with a total experience as practicing Muslims measured in — months? Weeks? Similarly, their attacks have all the tactical cleverness of your average liquor store robbery.

    I guess what I’m saying is, while these clowns are good at stoking hysteria (along the way making life hard for American Muslims), I can’t see them as the kind of guys who won at Constantinople, if you get my drift. True, times change….

    1. Snake,

      I agree on all points. But that was equally true of the assassins at Sarajevo on 28 June 1914. The spark can be small and still have large effects.

      One scenario would be more attacks in the US spark US retaliation abroad at the “sponsors”. Think of what a firebrand like “President McCain” or most of the GOP candidates would do if they had control of the US military. Things would get out of hand quickly.

  10. “Snake”, did I say It would be easy? No I was saying that if you are at war with Islamic Totalitarians how can you ignore the bigger st threat of all, which is Iran. And the fact that their is pro Americanism within their young population is just another reason that made Iran a better target. But even if none of that were present would not change the fact that Irans theocratic regime must be destroyed.

  11. Given that prisoners convert to Islam behind prison walls. Would it be far fetched that by simply locking those men up. We are giving more vectors to the spread of Islam among prisoners?

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