I remember not long after 9–11–01 when the Global War on Terror was broadcasted & its critics boasted the counter of “How can you fight (and win) a war on an idea?” There were many valid points to this question. How does one fight a war against a tactic of violence? How does one fight a war against Islamic Extremist beliefs?
After nearly 15 years of pondering this thought while working & living on the “frontlines” if you will, of the GWOT in places like Iraq, Afghanistan & Yemen and with the most recent attack in Orlando as fresh reminder of its continuance, I propose a different idea. The reverse should be the question we ask: How does Islamic terrorism fight a war on an idea? The fact is America is not a country it is an idea and it is not an American invention. It is a notion owned by a plethora of nations and organizations and people. It is one of liberty, diversity & equality.
Al Qaeda, Daesh & the like cannot win a war against this idea. A key symbol of this fact is how the new World Trade Center building has lit its spire in a rainbow color in support of the Orlando shooting. So after nearly 15 years since one of the most spectacular attacks in modern history the target of the attack is standing tall and expressing support for the most recent attack.
No, Islamic extremist cannot win its war against the idea of liberty & diversity. It can attack Istanbul, London, Sana’a, Paris, Sydney, New York, Baghdad, Brussels & Madrid. However you cannot kill an idea. The proof of concept is on extremism not on the harbingers of liberty. Our flexibility, inclusion & diversity is explicitly the foundation of our idea & the fundamental attribute that keeps us stable like an earthquake proof building. We sway & shake but never break.
The fact alone that we have a discotheque filled with LGBTQ peacefully celebrating Pride weekend is indicative of the nature of our idea. One that we do not need to impress upon others with violence though instead we broadcast the idea & it is “our home grown freedom fighters” around the world like Malala that you must struggle with; not the other way around.