WASHINGTON – A Marine Corps University professor has become famous practically overnight because he has something President Obama does not.
A plan to defeat jihad.
And he can articulate it simply and convincingly.
Ever since the Orlando massacre it has become practically impossible to tune into Fox News and not see Dr. Sebastian Gorka, the Major General Matthew C. Horner Distinguished Chair of Military Theory at Marine Corps University.
He has also advised the secretary of defense and is lead instructor for the combating terrorism course for the U.S. Special Operations Command, among his many impressive bona fides.
Gorka has become a ubiquitous guest on Fox News not just because his analysis is razor sharp and witty, but because his subject matter has grown more timely by the hour.
The title of his New York Times bestseller released in April is also a bold statement: “Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War.”
Among numerous raves, Conservative Review hailed the book as a “succinct tract that will prove to be indispensable in the United States’ and the rest of world’s coming efforts against the hydra-like enemy that is Islamic extremism.”
Reviewer Nate Madden observed, “Quite simply, it has never been sufficient [for] policymakers and strategists to utter the platitude that the terrorists ‘hate our freedom’ without thoroughly understanding why they do and how they systematically plan to snuff it out. ‘Defeating Jihad’ offers a quick primer to fill the informational gap.”
In his book, Gorka proposes a simple but comprehensive strategy to defeat global jihad. Simple, in that it only has three parts, but comprehensive in that those parts have many details. Those details represent the product of years of study, research and writing on counterterrorism.
These are the three parts to Gorka’s strategy to defeat jihad:
1) Identify the enemy
2) Empower allies
3) Delegitimize the ideology of jihad
And here are the details:
1) Identify the enemy
Name the enemy
Gorka has a simple explanation as to why it is so important to identify the enemy and to call it by name. What’s in a name? Well, he explains, if a patient had cancer but his doctor didn’t want to cause alarm and called it a cold, that would certainly affect the choice of treatment.
Likewise, President Obama has steadfastly refused to identify the enemy as radical Islam.
Gorka says that’s because for the last seven years the White House narrative has been that terrorism is the result of poverty and lack of education, not religion.
But it is essential to identify jihad as fueled by religion, insists the professor.
“It would be incredibly symbolically important and also operationally important. The FBI people I know are fed up with getting PC-stuff down their throats,” wrote Gorka on his website in June.
He added, “Not calling the enemy Radical Islam undermines our allies in the Muslim world, who realize the conflict is a religious war within Islam and the jihadists are winning. It doesn’t help these Muslim allies when the Obama administration says it has nothing to do with religion.”
It is imperative to recognize the enemy is motivated by a religious narrative, but that does not mean it is a war on a religion, maintains Gorka.
“This isn’t a war with Islam. This is a war inside Islam. But the enemy is using religion. We cannot defeat them unless we understand how religion informs their operations and how they define their strategies, their tactics, their procedures and their techniques,” he noted in a lecture delivered earlier this year in Budapest.
“It is time for us to speak truthfully about those who wish to kill us or enslave us. It is time again to speak the words ‘evil’ and ‘enemy.’ And it is time to draw a plan for victory, calling on strategies that have proved themselves against other totalitarian foes,” wrote Gorka in his book.
Refusing to call Islamic radicalism by name is inserting politics into warfare, asserts Gorka.
“Until politics is taken out of national security, we’re all at risk from the enemy whose name the White House refuses to use,” he wrote on his website.
Refusing to recognize radical Islam has also put the fox in the henhouse.
The White House has enlisted the advice of various groups linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, a group Gorka says should instead be recognized as the progenitor of twentieth-century jihadism.
“Washington must resist the continuous lobbying and subversive tactics of groups such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC),” because these Muslim Brotherhood affiliates “helped establish ‘violent extremism’ as the official label for jihadist terrorism, an act of misdirection meant to weaken our ability to identify and defeat the threat.”
The anti-extremist Clarion Project notes that CAIR is “an unindicted co-conspirator in the terrorism-financing trial of the Holy Land Foundation. The federal government specifically identified CAIR as an entity of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee, a secret body set up to advance the Hamas agenda.”
Security experts say the advice given to the White House by pro-Islamic groups has resulted in the scrubbing of religious references such as Islam and jihad from government training manuals.
Clare Lopez, who manages the counter-jihad and Shariah programs at the Center for Security Policy, and who spent 20 years in the field as a CIA operations officer, described to WND in 2014 how the Obama administration “actively purged truthful curriculum about the inspirational relationship between Islamic doctrine, law, and scripture and Islamic terrorism.”
She said U.S. leaders were told what words to remove by groups affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood and that some of those same groups were even allowed to supervise the purge.
Gorka advises reversing all those prohibitions in order to better understand and defeat jihadis.
“For the last seven years there has been a political infection of our threat assessment,” he testified before the House Armed Services Committee in January.
“When the enemy says they’re jihadists, you don’t get to call them unemployed disenfranchised individuals who need a better education. We have to prosecute this war objectively and understand the enemy as they understand themselves.”
On his website Gorka observed, “The idea that federal agencies, armed services, and law enforcement are not allowed to discuss the religious motivation and ideology of our enemies, and that words such as jihad have to be censored out of our lexicon of counter-terrorism and military training has to end.”
“If this administration persists in ignoring the reality that jihadi terrorism is a global phenomenon that has reached our shores and continues to focus instead on concepts such as ‘lone wolf,’ ‘hate crime,’ and ‘the proliferation of weapons in private hands,’ we will continue to see Americans die on U.S. soil,” he added.
In an opinion piece in the New York Post in June, Gorka wrote, “Americans will only be safe again here in America if we speak honestly about who the enemy is and what drives them, and then deploy the kinds of forward-thinking intelligence tools the NYPD deployed after 2001. The tools [New York] Mayor de Blasio has tried to shut down are exactly the kinds of tools that can identify jihadists before they strike.”
Know the enemy
“Just as one must study Clausewitz, Machiavelli, and Napoleon to understand the modern Western way of war,” wrote the professor in his book, “so one must be intimately acquainted with certain key jihadi writers and thinkers if one wishes to defeat our current enemy.”
In an article in Townhall in May, Gorka warned against the president’s “greater concern with not offending Muslims (themselves the largest casualties of jihad) than openly and honestly describing an enemy that seeks to spread its Sharia-based totalitarian rule over the world. In so doing, President Obama ignores Sun Tzu’s dictum about knowing your enemy if you wish to win — at our nation’s peril.”
Gorka believes it is also essential to understand that the Islamic State, or ISIS, poses a new and unique threat to the West because it has declared a caliphate.
It gives jihadis life and hope.
“Most important of all,” he said in Budapest, “is the thing we don’t really talk about, especially in Washington, the thing that really makes ISIS different is what they did two years ago in Mosul. At the end of June 2014, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the chief of ISIS, declared the caliphate reborn. The theocratic empire of Islam was back. Why is this important? Because for 90 years the fundamentalists, the extremists have been trying to do this.”
He noted the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaida and other Islamist groups “have been trying for decades to bring the empire back. All of them failed. But ISIS didn’t talk about this dream – they made it a reality.”
“And it’s still there two years later. This is impressive.”
ISIS has now become main threat to the West because, “It is a real transregional insurgency.”
Testifying before Congress, Gorka noted ISIS has a “mobilizational capacity leaves al-Qaida in the dust.”
That greatly distinguishes ISIS from al-Qaida and makes it even more dangerous.
“This is a graduate level threat. This is a much more advanced kind of threat,” said Gorka in Budapest.
ISIS now holds territory populated by more than 6 million people. It has affiliates in at least seven nations, including West Africa. Additionally, ISIS excels at recruiting: It now has 80,000 fighters.
Gorka points out that ISIS is also the richest threat group in human history, a non-state actor making at least $2 to 4-million per day from illicit oil sales, kidnappings, taxation and other means.
For these reasons, it will not “run out of steam” if ignored.
And this war cannot be fought and won conventionally.
That’s because, as Gorka wrote in the Post, “Instead of spectacular attacks like 9/11, our religiously fueled enemy is using classic guerrilla tactics against large concentrations of unarmed civilians. All you have to do is connect the dots from the rock concert in Paris to the airport check-in desk in Brussels to the Pulse gay club in Orlando.”
“Washington weasel terms like ‘lone wolf’ are designed to dissuade the public from thinking there’s a link between all of these attacks, a connective tissue that ties them to 9/11, Ford Hood, Chattanooga and the Boston bombings. But that link exists: It is global jihadism, the ideology that ISIS has taken to the next level and that is committed to killing or enslaving all Americans.”
Recognize the enemy is here
“To be very clear: The enemy is already here — and he wants to kill us at home,” Gorka wrote in the Post.
He described the jihadi presence in America as startling, especially given the number of those who would rather wage war here than go overseas.
“We have killed or arrested 101 people linked to ISIS,” in the last two years, and they are dispersed across the country, not concentrated in one place.
“This is a real threat. It’s not a hypothetical one,” he said in Budapest.
“And here’s the really bad news,” Gorka warned: “Half of them wanted to go overseas, 20 percent were managers, but, 33.3 percent of everyone we’ve ever intercepted has no intention of going anywhere. They have decided the best way to serve the new emperor and the new caliphate is to kill infidels at home.”
He referred to an unclassified report his Threat Knowledge Group published in January (The Islamic State and Information Warfare: Defeating ISIS and the Broader Global Jihadist Movement) that “concluded the likelihood of a Paris-style attack happening in America isn’t a question of ‘if”, it is a question of when.”
“We published that report one week before the San Bernardino massacre.”
He indicated more such catastrophic attacks are sure to follow, and repeatedly, unless there is a change in strategy.
Recognize the enemy’s motivation
Gorka maintains that, just as the jihadis’ identity is religious, it is important to recognize their motivation is religious, too.
They are not moved to kill because of economic or political reasons. They have no “root grievances.”
Their motivation is simply to wage jihad and to establish a worldwide caliphate, that is, an Islamic empire.
Gorka says that is not a perversion of Islam, but a use of select Quranic precepts to inspire jihadis.
In his book he maintains groups like al-Qaida and the Islamic State “are not in fact ‘perverting’ religious texts but skillfully applying those alleged revelations that best support their cause.”
The professor credits much of the Islamic State’s success in creating such a large following to the style of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and how he presents himself as religious leader rather than a guerrilla fighter.
Osma bin Laden wore battle fatigues, but Baghdadi wears the costume of an imam, an Islamic priest.
That is important because theirs is a religious cause, and the establishment of a global caliphate is why they fight. It’s that simple.
Recognize the enemy’s goal
The global caliphate is the jihadis’ ultimate and only goal.
That makes them implacable because nothing short of global domination will satisfy them.
Gorka believes jihadis have much in common with previous totalitarian regimes bent on world domination, including the former Soviet Union. And that means much can be learned from the tactics the West successfully employed to win the Cold War.
“Consider that communists were – and Islamic extremists are – animated by a dictatorial ideology, seeking world domination by means peaceful and violent, overt and covert,” he wrote in Townhall.
“There can be no co-existence with such expansionist enemies: When President Ronald Reagan — who had confronted communists face-to-face during his Hollywood days — said that his Cold War strategy was ‘We win, they lose,’ this was not mere hyperbole. He knew America, he knew his enemy, and made his life’s work defeating it.”
Gorka added, “Contrary to the arguments of President (Obama), we must not dismiss the historical Cold War model. A clear-eyed assessment of the Islamist’s goals, strategies and tactics reveals chilling similarities with the communists,” adding, “similarities between groups like al-Qaida or the Islamic State and USSR are too numerous and fundamental to be ignored.”
“The existential threat to America today comes from the global jihadi movement, of which the Islamic State is the most dangerous expression,” he wrote in his book.
2) Empower allies
Muslims must fight the war
Gorka believes it is essential to understand this is not a war against Islam, it is a war inside Islam.
And that means the warriors to defeat the jihadis should come from inside Islam.
The professor says America’s Muslim allies must make up the bulk of boots on the ground. It is their region and their religion which are at stake and form the battlegrounds, both physically and ideologically.
America is fortunate, he maintains, to have good allies in waiting, including Jordan and Egypt.
“We have to empower our Muslim allies in the Middle East who are most at threat from groups such as ISIS, and which, in the final analysis, have to be the face of a victory against Islamist extremism and terrorism,” Gorka wrote on his website.
“This includes the Jordanians and especially the government of [Egyptian] President Fatah al-Sisi, a brave Muslim who has been rejected by this administration.”
Gorka believes U.S. troops do have a vital role to play, but not as direct combatants.
He believes our Sunni allies will not “destroy this enemy unless we assist them, which means redeploying our troops as advisers to the region.”
Additionally, the professor argues in his book that the U.S. should have learned a painful but essential lesson: “Afghanistan and Iraq should have taught us the folly of ‘nation building.'”
The U.S. military can’t fight endless insurgencies to guarantee the peace, he maintained.
Technology will not win the war
Gorka stresses that brutal, low-tech wars are the new normal, despite the U.S. military’s infatuation with high technology.
The Pentagon may imagine the warrior of the future as equipped with weapons out of the film “Iron Man,” but he, or she, will be fighting a war on a much more basic and barbaric playing field.
That’s because the enemy is fighting a low-tech war.
“In the last 14 years, the most dangerous weapons used against our servicemen and women have been IEDs and RPGs. An artillery shell with two wires coming out of it, or a grenade on an unguided launch platform—that is how the enemy fights us, and that is the challenge, how to deal with the low-tech threats and understand it’s not just about our high-tech applications,” Gorka stated in his testimony before Congress.
“War is not driven by technology – it is driven by passion. It’s ugly. And it’s getting worse,” said the professor in Budapest.
He cited data collected by the University of Pennsylvania on the 460 conflicts in last 200 years showing that less than 20 percent were wars between nations. Eighty percent were unconventional conflicts, such as those waged by al-Qaida and ISIS.
Gorka said those wars have been “different than the kind of wars we would like to fight.”
Recognize we are losing the war
President Obama recently suggested the U.S. is winning the war against ISIS because it is on the defensive and has lost some territory in Syrian and Iraq.
He was contradicted just two days later by his own CIA director, John Brennan.
As WND reported, testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 16, Brennan did not portray the coalition as winning at all. In fact, he described no progress in blunting the Islamic State’s power.
“Unfortunately, despite all our progress against ISIL on the battlefield and in the financial realm, our efforts have not reduced the group’s terrorism capability and global reach,” testified Brennan.
He even suggested the coalition was a long way from winning, adding, “The resources needed for terrorism are very modest, and the group would have to suffer even heavier losses of territory, manpower, and money for its terrorist capacity to decline significantly.”
Noting the distinct discrepancy in the assessments, Gorka posted on Facebook, “I guess President Obama missed the memo?”
But it’s not just overseas where the jihadis are surging. The enemy has taken the war to America with a vengeance since Obama has been in office, and especially since last year.
Jihadi attacks on U.S. soil jumped in Obama’s first year in office in 2009, then skyrocketed last year.
Gorka used the chart above in his Budapest talk to make his point.
“2015 saw the highest incidence of jihadi attacks on U.S. soil since Sept.11th.”
He emphasized, “We are not winning this war. Not America, not Europe. 15 years later, we are still losing.”
Gorka says there is only one appropriate response.
The United States must declare war on the jihadis.
“America is at war. The events in Orlando represent a sea change in the United States. Or at least they should,” the professor declared on his website.
“The administration of President Obama now has an historic opportunity to declare to the world that we are at war and our enemies must be crushed.”
3) Delegitimize the ideology of jihad
In a nutshell, Gorka finds that jihad has just become too appealing and glamorous.
“Too sexy,” said the professor in Budapest.
The way to nullify that appeal is to discredit jihad.
And the way to do that is to use social media to delegitimize the ideology.
Gorka calls for the West to launch a counter-propaganda campaign.
And that is where the lessons from Cold War become so vital, because it was when the Soviet citizens lost faith in the cause that the Iron Curtain came crashing down.
“My book is based upon my experience growing up in the Cold War, having parents who escaped the communist nation of Hungary in 1956. We have to do what we did during the Cold War, but now with a different ideology.”
He recommends a massive campaign to counter enemy propaganda using social media, but reminiscent of tactics the West employed against the Soviets, such as the establishment of publishing houses in Europe with CIA funds and the dissemination of news on Voice of America radio broadcasts.
Gorka elaborated, “The West won the Cold War by delegitimizing communism. We have to delegitimize the new totalitarian ideology of jihad. Only then will we win. Not by killing our way out of it, because they can always recruit more. We have to make the ideology bankrupt.”
“Ultimately we will win when the ideology of global jihadism is no longer attractive to young men and women from Orlando to Brussels, from Paris to San Bernardino. That can only be done through a strategic-level counter-propaganda campaign driven by the White House, in exactly the same way that we did during the Cold War,” Gorka further explained on his website.
Key to victory
The professor suggests turning the tables on one of the jihadis’ key strengths.
ISIS is exceptionally good at social media and using it for propaganda.
Gorka noted FBI Director James Comey has testified ISIS has more than 20,000 social media platforms.
“Not subscribers – platforms,” he marveled in Budapest. “They post more than 50,000 jihadi social media messages every day! These guys are good, and they understand how to do propaganda in the age of social media.”
But Gorka also sees the jihadis’ reliance on social media as a liability that can be exploited. That’s because they “blab” on social media.
“ISIS and all jihadists tell their recruits what they want them to do, often in English, on unencrypted sites. This is enormous. We have to use that open-source intelligence and exploit it to protect ourselves.”
He said there are tons of open-source (publicly available) information on jihadis’ goals and tactics.
“Social media and open-source Intelligence exploitation will be key to our victory,” flatly declared Gorka.
That is why we need to change tactics, he testified before Congress.
“Apart from its physical capabilities, ISIS is a master of Information Warfare. What I have been trying to convince this city of for many years now is that we have not even begun to engage in the information operations battlefield. We do almost everything at the tactical level and have allowed political correctness to infect the way we do Information Operations and Psychological Warfare.”
America must delegitimize the ideology of the enemy or become trapped by “endless rounds of ‘whack-a-mole’ against the growing ranks of jihadists,” Gorka stated in his book.
“Your children, my grandchildren, will be hunting jihadists a hundred years from now unless we take down their ideology of Global Jihadism. And the only way we can do that is if we finally remove politics from threat assessment,” he told Congress.
Force is only part of the solution
The West can’t win the war with the jihadis without winning the debate over who has the better vision for the world.
That’s because, Gorka notes, it doesn’t matter how many jihadis we kill, they will always replace their fighters. They have a virtually inexhaustible supply and are skillful recruiters.
He describes a war unlike one any living American has faced. The frightening reality is the battle has come to the homeland.
“We’re all on the frontline of this war. And, God forbid, if you are targeted in an attack, remember your options. Run if you can run. If you can’t run, hide. And if you can’t hide: fight. With whatever you can — a chair, a fire-extinguisher, your fists. Even a man with a rifle can’t stop 100 people rushing him all at the same time,” the jihad expert wrote in the Post.
No one knows when he or she may suddenly find themselves in a firefight, whether in San Bernardino, Orlando, or the next city to come under attack.
That’s why, Gorka concluded in his book, “Every American has a mission to execute.”
In a radio interview in June, host Gayle Trotter mentioned, “My favorite of your suggestions is obtaining conceal carry licensure for those willing to take on the responsibility.”
“Only if you are prepared to take all the responsibility onboard that being a licensed concealed carrier means,” the professor replied. “San Bernardino proves it. We are all on the front lines of this war.”
But, he also maintains anyone and everyone can contribute to the cause simply by just spreading the truth about jihad.
One need not “be a member of Delta Force or an intelligence analyst deep in the bowels of the CIA to be part of the effort to defeat the global jihadist movement,” he concludes in his book.
“The most important contribution you can make, whatever your ‘day job’ happens to be, is to be an educator.”
“Every American should own a Quran,” the professor counseled.
“You owe it to yourself, your family, and all the Americans killed on 9/11 and since to know the truth.”