Missing the point

By ERNEST F. HOLLINGS, former U. S. senator


DEC. 16, 2015 -- First we see the FBI searching the lake to learn when the attackers were radicalized and any accomplices. Then the New York Times headlines (12/11/15): "Pentagon Seeks to Knit Foreign Bases Into ISIS-Foiling Network". Then the New York Times headlines (12/13/15): "U.S. VISA Process Missed Zealotry on Social Media". Then USA Today (12/14/15) headlines: "A New Strategy to Strike at ISIL". Then Ian Bremmer in Time Magazine (12/14/15) outlines six steps to defeat ISIS. Finally this morning, the Wall Street Journal (12/16/15) headlines: "Saudis Form Muslim Antiterrorism Bloc". This is defensive. All the Saudis have to do is stop teaching violence against Christians and Jews.

The media keeps missing the point: there are two religions - two Muslim religions - 1.) The vast majority of peaceful Muslims worshipping Mohammed without violence and 2.) the second Muslim religion, which is called the pure form, Salafi or Wahhabi form that is intolerant of other Muslims; teach Jews and Christians are infidels, ought to be eliminated, ought to be beheaded (Frontline 11/9/2001). The one Muslim religion is nonviolent and the other that we call "extreme jihadist" that are taught violence.

In the ninth grade in Saudi Arabia, pupils are forced to learn violence against Jews and Christians. ISIS is only practicing what they learned in the ninth grade. Tashfeen Malik learned her extremism and violence either at the Wahabi schools in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia. The Salafi or Wahhabi schools are creating more ISIS than we can eliminate. The first step in defeating ISIS is to get a commitment from the government in Saudi Arabia and other countries to stop teaching violence against other religions. Of course, they can teach religion, but not violence against other religions.

We certainly don't want to declare war against the Islam religion. That was Osama Bin Laden's point. He felt that our support of Israel was the "Second Crusade" against Islam. We've just about proved Osama's point. We have troops on the ground in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt, Turkey, Kosovo, Kuwait, The Sinai, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and troops aboard ships in the Persian Gulf.

The other frustration of the American people is that we readily go to war in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, have troops all over the Mid-East, and now hesitate looking for a Declaration of War from Congress and fiddle faddle with the growing threat of ISIS. We keep toying around trying to form a coalition of religions against each other when our troops could clean up ISIS in four or five months.

Senator Fritz Hollings of South Carolina served 38 years in the United States Senate, and for many years was Chairman of the Commerce, Space, Science & Transportation Committee. He is the author of Making Government Work (University of South Carolina Press, 2008).

© 2015, Ernest F. Hollings. All rights reserved. Contact us for republication permission.

About Fritz Hollings

Ernest F. Hollings served the public for 56 years -- 38 years in the United States Senate and as South Carolina's governor, lieutenant governor and a member of the S.C. House of Representatives. Today, Hollings continues to be influential in public affairs and offers this website as a compendium of current and past positions on public issues. Learn more about Fritz Hollings.

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