Who Will be Our Warriors?

The answer to that question depends on who our enemy is

By Jim Glennon  |   Nov 17, 2015

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
—George Santayana (1863 – 1952) philosopher and novelist

I’ve heard variations of that quote over a period of many years. I find it appropriate today as we find ourselves in a very dangerous position: failing to recognize who are enemies are and what are their true intentions.
So let’s address the basics.

ISIS stands for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. ISIL stands for Islamic State of Iraq and Levant. Levant, I have read, refers to other parts of the Middle East beyond Syria that they plan on seizing. Whatever ultimate letter of the name, this group that refers to themselves as the Islamic State, is an extremely violent jihadist organization that’s in full swing, murdering in the most gruesome way scores of the people they don’t like.

Their goal is to establish an official and recognized state (country) ruled by a global Islamic caliphate. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is the self-appointed caliph, and he describes himself as a ruler “by order of God.”

His goal—the ISIS/ISIL goal—is to murder the helpless, conquer territory, and spread terror around the globe in order to establish their version of Sunni Islam as the ruling power on earth. Or at least that’s how they lure their recruits.

Why does this matter to law enforcement? I’ll explain.

They’re Here

Last week Paris experienced a well-funded coordinated attack by these murderous miscreants directed at the most helpless of that nation: it’s unarmed, unguarded citizens. Hundreds were wounded and as of this writing there are over 130 dead. Soft targets, as we say: men, women, and children. The goal was to kill, strike terror and seek revenge for the French efforts to stop their advancement in the Middle East.

And they’re coming here. In fact, we already know that they are here. And they will, unfortunately, kill many in this country in the not too distant future.

So I have a couple of questions.

1. Since they refer to themselves as Islamic, should we?
2. Are we ready for this type of warfare on our soil?

Why certain politicians refuse to use the word Islamic when referring to this particular group of terrorists is explained in many ways but can be paraphrased as: “Terrorists are not religious. They are hijacking a religion, and attaching the word Islam to acts of violence and terrorism paints a broad brush over the many of millions in the Islamic religion.”

Poppycock I say.

There are two reasons many won’t use the two words (Islamic terrorists or radical Islam) together:

1. Political correctness run amok.
2. They think the rest of us are stupid.

P.C. run amok: I heard a lecturer years ago—a Middle Eastern Muslim, by the way, who is now an American citizen—tell the class this: “We are going to political correct our way into extinction!” His point was simple: If you refuse to recognize your enemy, you are doomed to lose. One of our problems is that we live in a P.C. world while battling a very non-P.C. enemy.

They think we’re stupid: Many, many politicians believe that we as a society aren’t smart enough to understand the difference between peaceful people who are also Islamic and radical murderous jihadists who want to take over the world in a violent manner. Even if those two people claim the same religion as their own, I think most of us know the difference.

Are there some racists of every sort of every color of every religion walking the streets of this country? Yep. And guess what: They will always exist. But, the vast majority of people in this country, in my experience, aren’t overt practicing racists.

We all—and I do mean all—have biases. But do most of us spend our lives trying to marginalize and subjugate others? I travel from one end of this country to the other all the time. I’m in airports, hotels, coffee shops, restaurants, bars, planes, buses, trains—and what I find is that most Americans judge others by the content of their character. Most genuinely try to overcome our ingrained prejudices and treat others well, despite our differences. And for those who would act on their bigotry in violation of the law, we have police officers.

Which brings me to the second point of my article.

Who Will Act

Our civilian police officers are the very first line of defense in this war on terror. How do I know this? Because I know a little about the Islamic State and what they are after: soft targets. We’re first responders. We try to stop the immediate threat and render aid to the injured.

Are all terrorists Islamic? Of course not. We, as officers, learn about and train for dealing with anyone who seeks to disrupt and/or destroy our way of life: Sovereign Citizens, The Earth Liberation Front, KKK, etc.

But since 9/11 and with the rapid violent rise of ISIS/ISIL we are morally and duty-obliged to prepare for their threatened and impending attacks.

The question is: Are we really prepared?

The answer: No. Not even close. And it’s getting worse.

Why? It’s a corollary of the above. The public has been fed a lie by some in the media and political class. They’ve come to believe that we (law enforcement) are the real threat. The police are the ones with malevolent motivations who can’t be trusted.

The fallout?

Many major law enforcement associations now advocate that police officers be less assertive, less proactive and train less on use of force. They want to eliminate any reference to the “warrior mindset” within the law enforcement profession. They are encouraging agencies to discontinue making traffic stops for minor moving and equipment violations. They denounce pretext stops and profiling in any form.

In other words, they want to sideline the best of the best who are out there actually catching and stopping criminals and potential terrorists.

And how can we expect the vast majority of Muslims—good, hard-working Americans—to come forth with information they might have about the bad guys given the recent vilification of the police? Intel is based on hard work and trust. Our critics seeks to erode both.

In the meantime, too many American politicians continue to describe the police as “thugs,” “murderers,” “racists” and “dimwits.” (I’ve heard them all.) But referring to terrorists the way the terrorists refer to themselves, as Islamic? No way! Can’t do that!

Here’s the bottom line: American citizens—regardless of ideology, color or religion—have enemies. Innocent people who go about their daily lives rarely considering that some pervert in the name of his or her religion or creed is going to make a statement with their blood.

Based on what we know about Islamic terrorism, we know the terrorist(s) will attack the soft targets: malls, schools, restaurants, ballgames. And they will kill the innocent in a bid to sow uncertainty and fear in our populace.
The police will be the first line of defense. They will have to be warriors.

Conclusion

So let’s end with two questions.

1. Are the officers of this country ready to take on these type of people and deal with this type of violence?
2. Is this country willing to prepare our officers for that duty?

We’ll see.

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Jim Glennon
Lt. Jim Glennon (ret.) is the owner and lead instructor for Calibre Press. He is a third-generation LEO, retired from the Lombard, Ill. PD after 29 years of service. Rising to the rank of lieutenant, he commanded both patrol and the Investigations Unit. In 1998, he was selected as the first Commander of Investigations for the newly formed DuPage County Major Crimes (Homicide) Task Force. He has a BA in Psychology, a Masters in Law Enforcement Justice Administration, is the author of the book Arresting Communication: Essential Interaction Skills for Law Enforcement.