From The Gathering Storm Blog

I was re-reading President Bush’s address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People and wondered what he would have said if we knew then what we know now of the Islamist threat to the world.

So I took the most important parts of his speech just after 9-11 and re-wrote portions of it to reflect what we know today that, unfortunately, is not well understood by the general pubic, Congress or the MSM. That we are not fighting a war on terror but a war against an ideology – Islamism. My inclusions are in red.

On September the 11th, enemies of freedom committed an act of war against our country. Americans have known wars — but for the past 136 years, they have been wars on foreign soil, except for one Sunday in 1941. Americans have known the casualties of war — but not at the center of a great city on a peaceful morning. Americans have known surprise attacks — but never before on thousands of civilians. All of this was brought upon us in a single day — and night fell on a different world, a world where freedom itself is under attack.

Americans have many questions tonight. Americans are asking: Who attacked our country? The evidence we have gathered all points to a collection of loosely affiliated terrorist organizations known as al Qaeda. They are the same murderers indicted for bombing American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, and responsible for bombing the USS Cole.

Up to now terrorism has been seen as a criminal offense. Before 9-11 America thought that Al Qaeda is to terror what the mafia is to crime. But that’s not true. Terrorism is a tactic, a weapon. What we are fighting is an ideology. And that ideology has a name – Islamism. Like all ‘isms’, Islamism is a the political tool of those who would use the religion of Islam as support for their virulent agenda of not assimilating Islam in to other cultures like many places in the past, but to dominate all societies and impose their rule of Shariah law.

The terrorists practice a fringe form of Islamic extremism that has been rejected by Muslim scholars and the vast majority of Muslim clerics — a fringe movement that perverts the peaceful teachings of Islam. The terrorists’ directive commands them to kill Christians and Jews, to kill all Americans, and make no distinction among military and civilians, including women and children.

This group and its leader — a person named Osama bin Laden — are linked to many other organizations in different countries, including the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. There are thousands of these terrorists in more than 60 countries. They are recruited from their own nations and neighborhoods and brought to camps in places like Afghanistan, where they are trained in the tactics of terror. They are sent back to their homes or sent to hide in countries around the world to plot evil and destruction.

The leadership of al Qaeda has great influence in Afghanistan and supports the Taliban regime in controlling most of that country. In Afghanistan, we see al Qaeda’s vision for the world. Women are not allowed to attend school. You can be jailed for owning a television. Religion can be practiced only as their leaders dictate. A man can be jailed in Afghanistan if his beard is not long enough.

Once we understand that we are fighting an ideology, as fascism and communism are ideologies, we can readily identify our enemy and answer the question “Who attacked us and why?” And person, organization, institution or nation that actively supports the advancement of Islamism is our enemy.

This support can take the form of Al Qaeda and the Taliban. But I can also take the form of countries which we call allies today and on whom we depend upon economically and politically. But make no mistake. As of today those relationships will be put on notice that if those countries hide and support terrorist camps in their midst, we will work with them in any way possible to remove that threat to our country’s security and to theirs. If those countries refuse to eliminate that threat, we will act unilaterally.

The United States respects the people of Afghanistan — after all, we are currently its largest source of humanitarian aid — but we condemn the Taliban regime. It is not only repressing its own people, it is threatening people everywhere by sponsoring and sheltering and supplying terrorists. By aiding and abetting murder, the Taliban regime is committing murder.

And tonight, the United States of America makes the following demands on the Taliban: Deliver to United States authorities all the leaders of al Qaeda who hide in your land. Release all foreign nationals, including American citizens, you have unjustly imprisoned. Protect foreign journalists, diplomats and aid workers in your country. Close immediately and permanently every terrorist training camp in Afghanistan, and hand over every terrorist, and every person in their support structure, to appropriate authorities. Give the United States full access to terrorist training camps, so we can make sure they are no longer operating.

These demands are not open to negotiation or discussion. The Taliban must act, and act immediately. They will hand over the terrorists, or they will share in their fate.

I also want to speak tonight directly to Muslims throughout the world. We respect your faith. It’s practiced freely by many millions of Americans, and by millions more in countries that America counts as friends. Its teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah. The Islamists are traitors to their own faith. The enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends; it is not our many Arab friends. Our enemy is a radical network of Islamists, and every government that supports them.

Our war against the ideology of Islamism begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every Islamist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated. Both overseas and this country as well.

As before 1941, we have underestimated the power of a fascist ideology. Though many commentators have written about the history of Islamism – and it does have a history – we have ignored the warning signs at our peril. The ideology of Islamism stems from a resurgence of a radical interpretation of Islam advanced by an organization called the Muslim Brotherhood in the early 1900s. Its motto is telling: “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.” In an interview to the London based Asharq Al-Awsat, an international Arab newspaper on December 11, 2005, the current leader of the international Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammad Mahdi Akef stated that “the Muslim Brotherhood is a global movement whose members cooperate with each other throughout the world, based on the same religious worldview – the spread of Islam, until it rules the world.”

The Muslim Brotherhood’s political agenda to impose a radical form of Islam – Islamism – on the world have influenced the terrorist leaders we see today. Examples are Osama bin Laden and his second in command, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Islamists want to overthrow existing governments in many Muslim countries, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. They want to drive Israel out of the Middle East. They want to drive Christians and Jews out of vast regions of Asia and Africa. The violent adherents of Islamism kill not merely to end lives, but to disrupt and end a way of life. With every atrocity, they hope that America grows fearful, retreating from the world and forsaking our friends. They stand against us, because we stand in their way.

But Islamism has its non-violent side, too. They are waging a form of jihad on the free world that is more insidious than the out fright tactics of their terrorists. The non-violent jihads seek to intimidate, infiltrate and misinform us in an attempt to soften us up, so to speak, by confusing our response to their overall aggressive agenda of domination by their Islamist ideology. These jihads must be identified and countered in our freedom loving and pluralistic society for they, though not I themselves violent, have the same objective as the overall Islamist ideology –the imposition of Shariah law upon non-Muslim and moderate Muslim nations.

We are not deceived by their pretenses to piety. We have seen their kind before. They are the heirs of all the murderous ideologies of the 20th century. By sacrificing human life to serve their radical visions — by abandoning every value except the will to power — they follow in the path of fascism, and Nazism, and totalitarianism. And they will follow that path all the way, to where it ends: in history’s unmarked grave of discarded lies.

Americans are asking: How will we fight and win this war? We will direct every resource at our command — every means of diplomacy, every tool of intelligence, every instrument of law enforcement, every financial influence, and every necessary weapon of war — to the disruption and to the defeat of this ideology. That includes the defense of our American culture against the attempts at imposing Shariah law in this country.

We are a country of laws. Laws founded on Judeo-Christian principle, delineated and refined in the name of freedom over two thousand years. No one person, no one organization, or no one religion is above these laws and they will be defended aggressively if violently attacked like on 9-11 or through the intimidation or infiltration of an ideology that seeks to remove our hard won personal freedoms.

This war will not be like the war against Iraq a decade ago, with a decisive liberation of territory and a swift conclusion. It will not look like the air war above Kosovo two years ago, where no ground troops were used and not a single American was lost in combat.

Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes. Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success.

We will starve the Islamists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to this ideology. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Every person, organization and institution has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the Islamists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support Islamism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile and threat to America’s security.

This is not, however, just America’s fight. And what is at stake is not just America’s freedom. This is the world’s fight. This is civilization’s fight. This is the fight of all who believe in progress and pluralism, tolerance and freedom.

We ask every nation to join us. We will ask, and we will need, the help of police forces, intelligence services, and banking systems around the world. The United States is grateful that many nations and many international organizations have already responded — with sympathy and with support. Nations from Latin America, to Asia, to Africa, to Europe, to the Islamic world. Perhaps the NATO Charter reflects best the attitude of the world: An attack on one is an attack on all.

The civilized world is rallying to America’s side. They understand that if this ideology is not confronted , it can not only bring down buildings, it can threaten the stability of legitimate governments. And you know what — we’re not going to allow it.

The course of this conflict between an ideology of tyranny and one of freedom is not known, yet its outcome is certain. Freedom and fear, justice and cruelty, have always been at war, and we know that God is not neutral between them. In all that lies before us, may God grant us wisdom, and may He watch over the United States of America.

Thank you.

Simple changes to his speech to what we know now would enlighten ourselves and our allies and put on notice our enemies and those that appease them – because we know who they are and we are prepared to do what is necessary.

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