We're in a fight for America's survival

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Mark S. Koopman
  • Air Warfare Battlelab commander
Last week, we once again celebrated the birth of our great nation and its independence. Although July 4th fell in the middle of the week this year, many of us probably made time to join our families and friends and enjoy our hard-fought freedom.

But how much longer will this last? Radical Islamists preach loudly that America's days are numbered. This time of year, as we celebrate the victory of our war for independence we should, at the same time, think about the war we're in right now because this one is for survival.

I recently attended a presentation by Dr. Lani Kass, special assistant to Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley and director of the Air Force Cyberspace Task Force. A former professor of military strategy and operations at the National War College, she helped develop the national strategy for combating terrorism and the military's Global War on Terrorism strategic plan. During her presentation, she detailed why we're at war with radical Islam, outlined their agenda and what we need to do to win this war.

After Sept. 11, 2001, most Americans asked the questions, "Why did they do this to us, and why do they hate us?" According to Doctor Kass, the reason stems from the history of Islam. Between the seventh and mid-16th centuries, Islamic culture was among the world's most dominant. For more than nine centuries, Islamic academia, medicine and science remained unrivaled. Islamic expansion and dominance declined in the 17th century following the advance of western culture and religion.

Those who follow radical Islamic believe it's God's will they dominate the world. They hate western culture because they feel the western world took their position in the world away from them, and they want it back.

Their intent was clearly outlined in a map posted on a Muttahida Jihad Council Web site titled, "The Map of United States of Islam." It shows the current Islamic dominated regions and the expected end state at the end of this century. By the year 2100, every nation and person on earth, including the United States, will follow the law of Islam.

The diversity of this intent, their level of hatred for western culture and their message of world domination became very clear to me recently while watching an interview of a captured terrorist leader. He was the mastermind behind hundreds of bombing deaths that targeted only westerners. He didn't operate in Afghanistan or Iraq or even the Middle East. He isn't affiliated with Al Qaeda but aligns with Osama bin Laden's principles that it's OK to kill civilians in the name of Islam, our arrogance is to blame for 9/11 and western cultures must give back everything taken from Muslims. He is Abu Dujana, the leader of the most notorious terrorist group -- in Indonesia.

We are in a fight for our lives.

To win this fight, we must first understand the fight we are in, Doctor Kass said. We must understand this war is unlike anything we've ever fought. It's not like World War I, World War II or the Cold War, because the foes we fought in those wars wanted to live.

Radical Islam, on the other hand, have developed a "culture of death" where they either meet their objective or die trying. In their narrow view, we must surrender and convert to Islam, or we must die. There is no middle ground or room for negotiation.

According to Doctor Kass, people in the United States fall into two groups. We are either sheep or sheepdogs. The sheep know wolves are stalking them but keep their heads down and continue to graze hoping the wolves will attack other sheep in the flock and not them. The sheepdogs know the wolves are out there, but they do something about it to protect the flock.

I feel there's a third type out there -- people who think we shouldn't fight this war and just pull back our troops. They're convinced if we leave the terrorists alone they'll leave us alone. However, this live-and-let-live philosophy is flawed, even suicidal. In the long term, radical Islam's strategic vision doesn't just include taking back their land and regaining the dominance they lost. They want to control the entire world. Those who do not submit to Islam must die.

As a military member, I'm honored to serve with the "sheepdogs" protecting our country, and I'm proud to be one of them.

When will this war end? It's tough to say right now. However, Doctor Kass provided a clue, "When they learn to love their children more than they hate us."

As you once again celebrate our nation's independence and its birth, ask yourself what kind of person you are. Then look around at what you have and understand if we lose this war we lose our freedom, and without freedom we have nothing.