Anti-Terror Weapon: ‘Off With Their Heads’
An American tradition has been to make the other guy speak our language. If you have ever traveled overseas you know what I mean. Americans speak English, and demand that the other guy understand. (Have you ever seen an American tourist speak English v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y to a non-English speaking native?)
Americans also expect the other guy to do it our way. Now, don’t get me wrong: Our way (of government) is one of the best ways humans have ever devised in the world’s long, battle-scarred history. The American free market system generates greater productivity than any other system. The American rule of law has created a society with greater freedom, a higher degree of personal safety, and greater personal opportunity than anywhere else and at any time in human history. So, our way is not necessarily a bad way to go.
One of the problems we face, however, is that not everybody understands or believes in our way. For a person raised in another system, where the idea of “innocent until proven guilty” is unknown, a trial might very well be a guaranteed ticket to jail or even worse. This is true across the entire spectrum of what we believe and how we live our lives.
Our society is secular, but one can make a strong argument that the basis of our society comes from the Judeo-Christian tradition. This gives us a particular point of view from which we examine everything, a point of view that we have in common with other Judeo-Christian societies.
At this point in our history we find ourselves in mortal conflict with another kind of society, one with a different basis, one that perceives nearly everything dramatically different than we.
Islam is not just another religion, even though it shares a common origin with Judaism and Christianity. In previous articles I have examined in significant detail how Islam differs from other perspectives.
Now we will look at one aspect of Islam, one little part that is not necessarily common to all variations of Islam, but that is significant to the Wahhabi sect, the sect that underlies nearly every Islamic terrorist faction in today’s world.
In our own Christian experience, we have people who are completely committed to a literal acceptance of the Bible. Depending on the particular line of thought, these people occasionally come up with startling interpretations of Christianity. This forum does not seek to judge these people, but only to use their example as a template for understanding that the same thing happens in other religions, and specifically within Islam.
Although Wahhabi proclaims itself as moderate, and many aspects of Wahhabism may well be moderate, it still remains the source for most of the violence in modern Islam. The Wahhabi interpretation of Islam accepts the apparently violent exhortations of the Qur’an as its driving doctrine, and conveniently ignores its calls for reason and peaceful responses.
This same literal acceptance underlies some beliefs that can appear very strange to Christian perceptions. The Qur’an and associated Fatwas (refer to “Wahhabi Islam – the Real Enemy of the West,” DefenseWatch, May 30, 2003, for more information on Fatwas) promise paradise for the martyr. This promise becomes a firm belief that the warrior who dies “defending” Islam will spend eternity in Paradise in the company of 78 virgins – at least, such is their initial status. This incentive is a powerful reason for a Wahhabi warrior to go down fighting, and if captured, to resist every attempt to extract information. A prisoner’s eventual death at the hands of his captors guarantees martyr status just like a battlefield death.
The Qur’an’s exhortations to avoid the flesh of swine becomes for the Wahhabi not only a prohibition against eating pork, but sets up a situation where a true believer cannot enter Heaven if he is buried in the skin of a pig. Furthermore, the highest positions in Paradise are preserved for martyrs who enter whole, with their heads attached to their bodies.
When our military captures these fanatics, and then treats them with the respect and dignity mandated by the Geneva Accords, and eventually frees them, all we have accomplished is to create a cadre of heroic potential martyrs. When we killed Saddam’s sons and presented photos of their intact bodies to the Iraqi people we transformed these sadistic killers into Allah’s own martyrs, and – in the minds of the faithful – rewarded them with the best Paradise has to offer, including those virgins to ravage. This inspires others to emulate their heroism, and in the process more American soldiers die needlessly.
There is a workable solution that will stop these fanatics in their tracks: We should talk to them in a language that they invented, one that they understand completely.
We should have beheaded Saddam’s monster sons, and placed their pigskin-draped heads atop long poles in the center of Baghdad. Then, one by one, as we capture other high-ranking members of the old regime, their pigskin-draped heads should join the rotting heads of the Hussein brothers.
Shocking as this might seem, there appears to be a precedent for such action. A story has circulated for years about General Pershing’s handling of Moro Islamic terrorists in 1902 in the Philippines. While I have no independent verification of the story, its persistence lends it credibility. General Pershing’s troops had captured 50 Moro terrorists following a significant run of Islamic terrorist acts against Americans. He had them tied to posts execution style. His men slaughtered two pigs in front of the terrorists. The soldiers then soaked their bullets in the pigs blood, and proceeded to execute 49 of the terrorists by firing squad. Then they dumped the bodies in a hole and covered them in pig’s blood and entrails. They let the last man go. From this point on for the next 42 years, there were no further Islamic attacks on Americans.
capture known terrorists, before we remove their heads, we should also subject them to intense pain for as long as possible, and broadcast their mortification to the entire Islamic world. Our purpose here is to discourage the would-be martyr who believes he can overcome the other adversities, or to address the non-believing participant for whom the beheading and pigskin have less meaning.
This is a powerful incentive in the opposite direction of the Wahhabi promises. To Western sensibilities it seems bizarre and barbaric, but to the Wahhabi terrorist it is a perfectly normal way of controlling the enemy’s behavior. The practice has endured for over 15 centuries in the Islamic world precisely because it works. It is their language of choice.
Of course I understand how callous these actions would appear when conducted by American troops, troops who are trained to observe the Geneva Conventions and the Law of Land Warfare. I also understand that such actions will almost certainly result in calls for war crimes trials and other similar actions against the men who perpetrate them.
These negative outfalls must be balanced against the benefits which, I believe, will far outweigh the potential downside. We aren’t dealing with rocket scientists here. When these primitive Bozos understand unequivocally that we absolutely will not tolerate terrorism, then we save American lives, possibly by the thousands. I, for one, am perfectly willing to spike Saddam’s head to keep my wife and children safe.
We can send an unequivocal message to any person who chooses terror: “We will fill your remaining days on Earth with unspeakable pain, and then guarantee that you are denied Paradise forever.”
So, Mr. President, Mr. Defense Secretary: Off with their heads ….
Robert G. Williscroft is DefenseWatch Navy Editor