March 28, 2016

TUNKU VARADARAJAN: Reverse Swing: After the horror in Brussels.

1. This isn’t the latest “chapter” of terrorist violence against a Western city by the Islamist death-cults that began a transnational jihad on September 11, 2001. It is the latest paragraph. Attacks are getting ever more frequent. It is ghoulish, I know, but I predict another Brussels-style assault on a soft urban European target within a month, especially as Islamic State continues to take a pounding on its own soil. The increased incidence of terrorism isn’t merely because IS is now alive to the ease with which acts of carnage can be conducted in open societies. It is also because IS is on the back foot in Iraq and Syria, and taking the war to the streets and subways of Europe makes tactical sense. . . .

5. The fight against terror needs to become more sophisticated. Even as there is — and must be — a drive to capture or kill Islamist terrorists, our combat must also include a war for Muslim minds. Bernard Lewis, the great historian of the Islamic world, once told me, “Women are half the world, and mothers of the other half.” The terrorists are men, but it is in women that we must place our faith. Efforts such as those by Edit Schlaffer, the Austrian founder of Women Without Borders, are priceless. Her NGO’s project, Mothers Against Extremism, recruits Muslim mothers as foot soldiers against jihad. Muslim mothers can shield their children from toxic ideologies and fight the myth of jihadi masculinity that fuels IS. Terrorism may be learned at radical mosques and training camps, but it can be fought most effectively at home.

You know, I used to feel strongly that way. Now I’m leaning more toward the Curtis LeMay approach, I’m afraid. I’m hoping that something will happen to make me feel more optimistic.