“What we've got here is failure to communicate.”
Captain, Cool Hand Luke, 1967
In terms of understanding Islam, that would include a failure, or an outright refusal, to grasp and integrate the truth about Islam and its movers and shakers by especially those charged with the responsibility of fighting the “War on Terror” and securing the safety of this country. Given such a “war,” it is incumbent upon the government, the military, and intelligence assessment agencies to “know the enemy.” As things stand now, in their eyes Islam is not an enemy, but an “innocent” bystander upon which is heaped the “calumny” of associating it with terrorism.
“Islamophobia” in Americans is more the enemy than is the fearful enemy. Within that purgatory of purposeless analytical bean-counting and sand-sifting is a startling and craven ignorance of the actual enemy, enforced by post-modern, left-wing politically correct thought and speech while the Muslim Brotherhood and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation stymie any meaningful investigation and intelligence analysis by determining definitions and “red lines.”
And to paraphrase the Captain in Cool Hand Luke – the Captain, while a villain, is certainly a quotable character – “Some men you just can't reach.” The men who can’t be reached have already submitted to Islam, and accepted the “war” on Islam’s terms, and they are in our government. And they are not only losing the war, but aiding in the enemy’s advance.
A single column review of Stephen Coughlin’s vitally important Catastrophic Failure: Blindfolding America in the Face of Jihad, would not do justice to the book. I can only highlight some of the important, interlinked and salient information presented by Coughlin. Therefore this review will run to two or more columns. Coughlin’s book is literally vital, as vital as the blood that courses through our veins. Catastrophic Failure brings to light everything we should know about Islam and its advocates’ determined campaign to conquer the West, and especially America, and impose Sharia law on the world – and everything our government has consistently refused to know or evaded to a degree that amounts to criminal negligence.
Reading the book was a daunting and, I don’t mind saying so, numbing task, numbing because what Coughlin reveals in it vis-à-vis what our government and the agencies, charged with protecting the country against terrorism and the designs of foreign powers, refuse or are fatally politically correct to learn, are not doing to fulfill their legal and Constitutional mandates.
What Coughlin has assembled is a mountain of information about the perilous deficiencies of our “warfighting” policies and the “efficacy” of the Islamic Movement’s interlocking and integrated stratagems. What he offers resembles a jigsaw puzzle about the size of a football field.
Straight off, in Part I, “The One Organizing Principle,” Coughlin identifies the enemy’s overall tactical method of softening up America for the kill.
Official responses to terrorist acts have “progressively become less reality-based,” writes Coughlin. “As the American people grow more outraged, those professional and constitutionally tasked with keeping them safe continue to lack awareness, understanding, and even professional curiosity about the doctrines that drive enemy action.”
For these enemies, the implementation of Islamic law – shariah – as the governing law of the land is the objective. This is true not only for jihadi groups like al-Qaeda, but also for dawah organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood and ummah entities like the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), a transnational body that makes reasonable claims to represent the ummah, or the entire Muslim world.
The catastrophic failure of American strategy in the War on Terror is the refusal to contend with the convergence of these three forces (jihadi, dawah, and ummah), which, as this book will explain, interact to our great detriment. (p. 26)
(From my Islamic Lexicon: Jihadi: Of Jihad, of a belligerent nature in action; Dawa(h): Proselytizing; recruitment and/or conversion)
More than a decade into the War on Terror, we should have a common understanding of the common objectives of jihadi, dawah, and ummah forces in the Islamic world, as their self-declared “organizing principle” also serves as their single unifying and governing principle. As this book will make clear, such unity of purpose is ubiquitous throughout the published doctrine of the self-described Islamic Movement. This information is too important to ignore or preemptively embargo. We can succeed only by honestly assessing it.
An idolized Mohammad receiving from Allah the Qur’an, which is also a metaphor for Mohammad’s sword, capturing perfectly the iconic mystic of muscle.
The “organizing principle” is Sharia Law -- or Islam, they are one and the same, with Islam as the ideology, and Sharia as its rule book – which Coughlin mercilessly dissects throughout. Everything comes back to Sharia and its enforcement wherever Islam sets down roots and establishes its hegemony. Sharia has governed every action taken by mobs of demonstrating Muslims, by synods of Muslim theologians and intellectuals, by meetings of Islamic heads of state, and in the public relations and press releases of the Council on America-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
In Islamic parlance, or a “logic” that is defined by Sharia, to utter a negative truth about Islam is “wrong” and amounts to “blasphemy.” In essence, internally within the confines of its own practice, truth is irrelevant to Islam. For example, the term “terrorism” is applicable only if one Muslim attacks another Muslim “without right.” Then it’s a heinous crime. Imams, mullahs, and spokesmen for Islam assigned to “assist” American efforts in the War on Terror have frequently lectured our intelligence gathering agencies, including the FBI and the DHS, on the “inappropriateness” of linking terrorism with Islam.
But a Muslim attacking an infidel – or any non-Muslim – is “with right” because it is prescribed in Islamic texts as an obligation. Killing infidels is not seen as “murder” but as an act of legitimate jihad. Killing infidels, within Islam’s measure of right and wrong, carries no moral approbation.
This, Coughlin points out, is the Catch-22 of the government and military analysts; to associate Islam with terrorism is to criticize the “religious’ nature Islam and its adherents, and this is now forbidden.
Faced with knowledge which they would rather not know, our “defenders” adopt a militant, obstinate policy of waffling, and even of perjurious evasion when questioned about whether or not Islam has any connection with terrorism or the slaughter of American civilians and military personnel right here in the U.S. Americans are wary anymore of their government and cast doubt on its willingness or capacity to defend them from the depredations of jihadist killers. Not being privy to the special mentor-protégé relationship between our “defenders” and the enemy, they have noticed a widening chasm between the government’s rhetoric and reality.
For example, it took a few days for the FBI to acknowledge that the attack in San Bernardino on December 2nd that killed fourteen people was an act of terrorism, a few more days to admit that the perpetrators were Muslims, and then a few more days for it to reveal that the killers had been engaged in a long-range plot to do what they did, with myriad connections to known Islamic terrorist groups here and abroad. They were not “lone wolf” actors who had “misinterpreted” Islam, but “foot soldiers” in an ongoing campaign to terrorize the U.S. They were not “extremists,” but Muslim ciphers fulfilling their Koranic obligation to kill the kaffir, even if it meant, ultimately, and as it turned out, dying themselves.
Coughlin reports, on page 354, in Part VII, “Catastrophic Failures”:
In October 2011, the DHS Civil Rights and Civil Liberties division released government guidelines forbidding reference to Islam in presentations and related work product. In keeping with the OIC’s Ten Year Programme of Action [adopted in 2005], “Countering Violent Extremism Training Guidance & Best Practices” formalized the CRCL’s aggressive campaign to counter Islamophobia.
“Islamophobia,” in the context of today’s ongoing “violent extremism” of suicide bombers, knife attacks, and the mowing down of people with automatic weapons, and so on, all committed by Muslims following the path of the Koran, is completely justified and a rational expression of fear of Islam or together with the mockery of Islam and its icons in the face of its “religion of peace” mantra. But it’s “Islamophobia” that the DHS, the FBI, and other agencies are more concerned about, over naming the enemy and hurting his feelings.
In Part VII, “Catastrophic Failures,” Coughlin warns, in the context of the Muslim Brotherhood and its allied Islamic agencies governing the language employed by our intelligence analysts in the War on Terror:
…There is no knowing this enemy without understanding their doctrine. We can lose a war – and our country – for want of facts that could have been known had there not been a policy decision to ignore and misrepresent them….
Today, the Muslim Brotherhood dictates who does and does not do threat analysis for the government on War on Terror issues. The Brotherhood also dictates what can and cannot be discussed. This certainly fulfills key elements of any long-term campaign oriented toward jihad fi sabilillah [jihad in the Cause of Allah]. We ignore these realities at our peril. This is ignorance that kills. [p. 367]
In Catastrophic Failure the reader will learn:
Reason has no role in understanding Islam. Islam is incomprehensible to Westerners – to those who, unlike our government, bother to study it – and even to the brightest Muslim theologian. Islam is seen by its advocates as almost a “solid structure,” a metaphysical entity, or entity that transcends existence or is apart from existence. Allah himself has no form, human or otherwise, and like the Koran, is timeless, having existed before time itself, which Allah presumably created. Myself, when I try to imagine Allah and the Koran having existed before time (which is a contradiction, of course, but what need of causation has Islam?), I keep recalling some of the most outlandish episodes of Star Trek. Coughlin cites a passage from a definitive Islamic text, Reliance of the Traveler, about Allah’s attributes:
W8.0 Allah is Exalted above Needing Space and Time.
W8.1 Muhammad Hamid: What is obligatory for a human being to know is that Allah the Creator…is absolutely free of need (al-Ghani) of anything He has created, and free of need for the heavens and or the earth. His is transcendently beyond “being in the sky” or “being on earth” in the manner that things are in things, created beings in created beings….Allah Most High is absolutely beyond any resemblance to created things, in His entity, attributes, and acts. (p. 225)
Which more or less casts Allah in the form of a pulsating, formless, faceless, featureless, volitional glob of energy, however conscious and able to cause things and events causelessly. This is the stuff of childish fantasy and magic, albeit an extremely malign form of fantasy subscribed to by the ummah, or the whole adult Muslim population. As it is a beheading offense to portray Mohammad in any form, it is unthinkable to Muslims to give Allah any kind of recognizable form or identity. Arguing with a Muslim about the truth or falsehood of Islam – or the existence of Allah, the historical existence of Mohammad, or even the veracity of the Koran, which I contend was cobbled together by scribes and Islamic theologians over centuries, borrowing piggishly from Judaic, Christian, and pagan creeds – is basically futile, because you will be led in concentric circles by his circular logic, and he will probably wind up stabbing you.
To underline the magnitude of hubris of the Islamic Movement in the U.S., CAIR, an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case and linked to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, in 1997 requested that the statue of Mohammad be removed from the Supreme Court frieze, or at least sanded down so it would not be recognizable. The Supreme Court building was finished in 1935. The bas-relief figures were sculpted by Adolph A. Weinman. There are eighteen of them. The south wall depicts Menes, Hammurabi, Moses, Solomon, Lycurgus, Solon, Draco, Confucius and Octavian, while the north wall depicts Napoleon Bonaparte, John Marshall, William Blackstone, Hugo Grotius, Louis IX, King John, Charlemagne, Justinian…and Mohammad.
Why would CAIR object to Mohammad being in such illustrious company?
1. Islam discourages its followers from portraying any prophet in artistic representations, lest the seed of idol worship be planted.
2. Depicting Mohammad carrying a sword "reinforced long-held stereotypes of Muslims as intolerant conquerors."
3. Building documents and tourist pamphlets referred to Mohammad as "the founder of Islam," when he is, more accurately, the "last in a line of prophets that includes Abraham, Moses and Jesus."
The most laughable objection was the reference to the sword because it insinuated that Mohammad was in intolerant conqueror. That is not a stereotype. The Koran and the Hadith revel in the prophet’s intolerance, butchery, rape, murder, and conquest. If it is a “stereotype” of Mohammad and Muslims it is one perpetuated by Islam’s most sacred documents. If CAIR objected so much to the presence of a sword on Mohammad’s person, I think its spokesmen would have been hard pressed to explain the presence of crossed swords in the Brotherhood’s emblem and in other Islamic organizations’ emblems and symbols. More than that, no one knows what Mohammad, if he existed, really looked like.
Then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist dismissed CAIR's objections, saying that the depiction was "intended only to recognize him [Mohammad] ... as an important figure in the history of law; it was not intended as a form of idol worship." He also reminded CAIR that "words are used throughout the Court's architecture as a symbol of justice and nearly a dozen swords appear in the courtroom friezes alone."
Part II of this review of Catastrophic Failure will touch on Coughlin’s explication of the roles of Sayyid Qutb, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in the emasculation of America’s power to defend itself from “civilization jihad. If there is a "failure to communicate" the peril in which America finds itself, it is not Stephen Coughlin's failure.
Catastrophic Failure: Blindfolding America in the Face of Jihad, by Stephen Coughlin. Washington DC: Center for Security Policy Press, 2015. 788 pp.