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Needed: Leaders to Speak the Truth about Radical Islam

ISIS Burns Alive Jordanian Pilot

Fifty years ago I started the Viguerie Company with the idea that I could help build the conservative movement by helping conservative organizations and candidates market themselves and their ideas to an American public hungry for the truth about the challenges facing our country.

In the fifty years since I began hand-copying the names of Goldwater donors onto a yellow legal pad, a lot has changed in the marketing and communications business, and I have dedicated much of my professional life to learning all I can about how to market ideas, products and people. Even today, after these many years in the business, I still spend 2-3 hours six days a week studying marketing.

One immutable lesson I have learned in those fifty years is that people respond to a clear contrast – they want clarity – especially in matters of national crisis and national security. This is a truth that great American political communicators of the past – Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan – understood instinctively.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, when we wrote direct mail copy for our many conservative clients that advocated for a strong national security policy, we helped them bring clarity to, and eventually win, the battle of the narrative about the Soviet threat.

And as Ronald Reagan built the coalition that eventually brought him to the White House, he also built a coalition that supported his plan to marshal all of our national power to defeat the “evil empire” of the Soviet Union.  

In Reagan’s great March 8, 1983 “Evil Empire” Speech he made the case to the National Association of Evangelicals for gathering all of our national power to defeat the Soviet Union. To many readers today, the speech may seem dated, focused as much of it is on rebutting the proponents of the nuclear freeze.

But there’s one key passage that sums-up the whole speech with the clarity necessary to convince Americans to support Reagan’s policies to defeat the Soviet Union, “…if history teaches anything, it teaches that simple-minded appeasement or wishful thinking about our adversaries is folly. It means the betrayal of our past, the squandering of our freedom.

This understanding of the need for truth, clarity and contrast has for some reason vanished from our national conversation about the threat radical Islam poses to our national security and indeed to our very national existence as a constitutional republic.

In the aftermath of 9/11 President George W. Bush used the phrase “religion of peace” to describe Islam, and attempted to sell the idea that the terrorists who perpetrated that act of war were perverting the religious beliefs of the great majority of Muslims.

However, as Newt Gingrich recently observed, “There is one common pattern occurring everywhere across the planet and that is radical Islamist, who hate our civilization, are prepared to cut off our heads, and are determined to impose their religion by force.”

Yet our leaders, especially President Barack Obama and leading Democrats, such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, refuse to even name the threat, let alone tell the truth about it.

Rather than name the enemy, Democratic national leaders are unwilling to utter the words “radical Islam,” or “Muslim terrorist.” Even though one of our most savage enemies, the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, has “Islamic” in its name, the White House will contort the English language to avoid the words “Islam” and “Muslim” or use the acronym ISIL for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, apparently missing the irony.

As for the national Republican Party, that would like us to believe they are the party of a strong national defense, when Louisiana’s Governor Bobby Jindal spoke the truth about the threat of the Muslim colonization of America, the Republican establishment ran for the hills. They preferred the wishful thinking about our adversaries peddled by George W. Bush that “Islam is a religion of peace” over the truth that Jindal had the courage to tell the American people.

During the Cold War, it became an article of faith among Democrats and establishment Republicans that America must accept the existence of the Soviet Union and simply live with the threat of international Communism and nuclear annihilation.

Reagan and conservatives saw Soviet Communism as an existential threat not only to the United States and Western civilization, but to all peoples and we had no interest in merely containing communism and living with an endless “Cold War.”

Reagan rejected the immoral idea that Soviet Communism should merely be “contained” to the people they had already enslaved, opting instead for a policy of confronting and rolling back the Soviets in every sphere of national power; economic, cultural and in a very carefully calibrated military competition.

Today, we are confronting the same kind of existential threat in the rise of radical Islam including a nuclear armed Islamist Iran and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and its self-proclaimed Caliphate.  

Do we live with the never-ending threat that a nuclear Iran and the savage Islamic State of Iraq and Syria represent, or do we confront them and roll them back as Reagan did the Soviet Union?

Ronald Reagan was right in many things, particularly that “wishful thinking about our adversaries is folly.” The only way to win this war is to communicate about radical Islam as Reagan and conservatives did about the Soviet Union; with honesty and with clarity about the threat and about what it will take to win.

It is past time for conservatives, and anyone else who loves liberty, to name the threat – it is radical Islam – and to say with clarity we are willing to use all of our national power to defeat it.

P.S.  Anticipating the usual charges of “racism” for speaking this truth, we conservatives must not be deterred.  Also, many Muslims came to America to live under the peace, security and equal justice that this country offers.  Our conservative principles and the American rule of law are such that we treat each individual according to his or her character.  When we show with courage the conviction of our principles, we will prevail.

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Radical? No

It is not "radical" islam that is the problem, it is just islam. The very tenets of islam teach the murder of unbelievers and apostates as one way to try to get to heaven. The murderers and terrorists are simply the devout muslims. Any supposedly peaceful muslims are peaceful in spite of their religion, not because of it. They are either ignorant of, or have found they cannot live by, the tenets of their own religion. All muslims are only one step away from becoming terrorists given that all that is required is the decision to become a devout muslim. The terrorists have long declared they are the true followers of islam and they are right.

Reagan and Islam

Reagan seems to have known things which unfortunately Bush and Obama seemed to ignore. While it seemed that Reagan ran scurrying into the night with his tail between his legs when he cut and run from Lebanon, in reality he did the right thing. We've lost two more wars in the middle east! Let's not get into another!

Islam

Richard,

You and your Conservative HQ program appear to be the smartest Lincoln style Tea Party Republican group on the Internet.

With that said, I feel free to question a term I see used by many people discussing terrorism emanating from Islam -- it's usage even used by Conservative HQ.

I speak of the term, "radical Islam." I believe the "so-called" religion, Islam, is a radical departure from all other religions of the world. And so, referring to "radical Islam" is no different than saying "bad evil" or "sweet sugar."

In WWII we did not differentiate between good Germans and Nazis. All good Germans, if they operated in a clandestine way, did so voluntarily. When we bombarded Germany they could have been in a targeted area. In short, the whole of Germany was our target. Should not the whole of Islam be the target of all countries threatened by Islam?

Big question: Why do all Islamists not abandon their native "religion" and adopt any other religion of the world that is peaceful and does not advocate such rigid and violent conformity?

To conclude, would it not be reasonable to identify the source of such terrorism as simply "Islamic terrorism," not "radical Islam" -- because all of Islam is radical?