The Looming Tower

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on December 11, 2008

It would surprise most Americans to know that Greeley, Colo., founded as a temperance colony, was such a decadent place that it inspired modern anti-American terrorism. It's surprising, but that's the starting point for Lawrence Wright's Pulitzer-Prize winning book which draws a line from Sayyid Qutb time spent in the post-WWII Greeley to the rise of Islamic terrorism.

If you haven't read Wright's book, I encourage you to do so. For those of you who don't have the time, I want to hit a highlight or two.

First, Qutb introduced the concept of takfir to the world. That concept works this way: All Muslims agree with "A." You don't agree with "A," therefore you're not really a Muslim. Therefore, it isn't a sin to kill you. What is "A?" In the beginning "A" was sharia law and a Muslim caliphate spanning the world. Later, "A" became whatever Qutb or Osama bin Laden or Ayman al-Zawahiri says it is. "A" can change from moment to moment.

This sort of utilitarian theology makes everything OK for the radical Islamists who embrace it. It is why it is OK to use suicide bombers to kill Muslims queued up to vote, because democracy is not a Muslim concept. It is also why it is OK for 9/11 to occur, killing thousands of non-combatants -- including Muslims. Of course, those killed weren't real Muslims, because real Muslims wouldn't participate in the non-Islamic capitalism that was going on in those buildings.

The second thing that jumped out at me in the book was this statement from an interview of Osama bin Laden prior to the African embassy bombings by ABC News' John Miller. After hearing bin Laden say that he doesn't differentiate between the American military and American civilians as targets and predicting the eventual break-up of the United States (a la the Soviet Union), Miller said:

"You are like the Middle East version of Teddy Roosevelt."

It's on Page 300. I cannot make this up.

There are two things to take away from Wright's book. First, radical Islamists aren't people that can be reasoned with. They're like the alien from the movie "Independence Day." When asked by the American president what they can do to stop the bloodshed and carnage, the alien's one-word response is the same bin Laden would give: "Die."

Second, 9/11 likely could've been avoided. The infamous "wall" erected between the government's intelligence side and criminal side ensured 9/11's success for the terrorists. That wall was largely torn down as the Bush administration focused on preventing subsequent attacks. Unfortunately, seven years of success in preventing another major attack has resulted in that wall slowly being re-built. The "rights" of terrorists championed by the ACLU, the Supreme Court and the Democratic left have slowly returned us to the pre-9/11 model of focusing on a successful criminal prosecution after an attack has occurred as opposed to preventing the attack in the first place.

0 comments on “The Looming Tower”

  1. Totally agree, Matt - a great read and a real eye-opener. One thing that I also remember about Qutb is that he is almost certainly full of s**t in a couple of anecdotes he uses about the decadence of the West. Some girl came to his room, looking for sex? Yeah, I wish I had that problem.

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