At this time of year many newspapers and magazines run articles recommending books for your summer reading. A book that probably doesn't show up on any of those lists is one that's worth your time in reading: The Management of Savagery, by Abu Bakr Naji. It can be downloaded as a .pdf file from the Counterterrorism Center at West Point; the URL is http://www.ctc.usma.edu/Management_of_Savagery.pdf.
This isn't easy reading, and being a translation from the Arabic is written in a flowery and somewhat stilted prose much different from what English speakers are used to; nevertheless, it's an important and very frightening look at what some very serious and very dedicated people have in mind for you and I. Naji presents a reasoned and dispassionate analysis of the history of the Middle East and of the reasons for the Russian failure in Afghanistan in the 80's, and then draws lessons from all of this which he applies to a plan to bring down America and bring on a worldwide Islamic caliphate. He espouses three goals (which you can find in their entirety on pages 24 and 25 of the text):
"A - The first goal: Destroy a large part of the respect for America and spread confidence in the souls of Muslims...
"B - The second goal: Replace the human casualties sustained by the renewal movement during the last thirty years by means of the human aid that will probably come for two reasons: (1) Being dazzled by the operations which will be undertaken in opposition to America; (2) Anger over the obvious, direct American interference in the Islamic world, such that the anger compounds the previous anger against America's support for the Zionist entity...
"C - The third goal: Work to expose the weakness of America's centralized power by pushing it to abandon the media psychological war and the war by proxy until it fights directly...As a result...even Americans themselves will see that the remoteness of the primary center from the peripheries is a major factor contributing to the possible outbreak of chaos and savagery."
These are not the wild ramblings of a loopy jihadi, but the coldly calculated thoughts of a very intelligent and very dangerous philosopher of religious bigotry and violence. Unlike many radical Islamic fundamentalists, Naji doesn't reject everything Western; despite his contempt for us, he encourages his readers to study and learn from modern Western management techniques as a way of better fighting us on many levels.
This is tough reading, but it's important. Leon Trotsky once said, "You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you." We could paraphrase him now: "You may not be interested in radical Islam, but radical Islam is interested in you." Now is the time to study your enemy...because he is surely studying you, and his intentions are not benevolent.
Abu Bakr Naji and his kind don't want the kind of world I want my grandchildren to grow up in. The sooner we take them seriously, the better we will be able to counter their intent to employ the management of savagery.
Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.