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Battle for Our Minds: Western Elites and the Terror Threatby Michael Widlanski
Synopses & Reviews
After thousands of people were murdered in simultaneous terror attacks on September 11, 2001, the New York Times said the violence came “out of the blue.” Nothing could have been further from the truth.
Arab-Islamic terrorists had been attacking the West for years but the reports were dismissed as the work of “madmen” and, in fact, all the while recruiters and fund-raisers for Arab-Islamic terror were receiving academic and economic sanctuary in some of Americas most esteemed institutions. Had Osama bin Laden been held accountable in 1992, 1996, and 1998, and had his followers been called out, his Al-Qaeda network wouldnt have become a clarion call for anti-Western terror. Now as new attacks, aborted and otherwise, are carried out from London to Mumbai to New Yorks Times Square, Western elites—academia, the media, and government officials—have once again been fueling that same dangerous complacency that is leaving us as vulnerable as before.
In Battle for Our Minds, Michael Widlanski delivers a powerful and sound argument for turning around this willful ignorance, and explains exactly how it can be done: by facing and genuinely understanding the precise motives and mind games behind those who want to destroy us. He names the officials, media pundits, and academics who have hindered the battle against Islamic terror, in turn obstructing a logical fight to stop it. Clearly, a lack of factual accuracy is sabotaging the Western mind, and Widlanskis anger is justified: Why has an all-out “holy war” been softened into the more liberally acceptable “spiritual struggle”? Why, pre-9/11, were the terrorist threats made in New York City mosques ignored? Why did we go out of our way to give bin Laden a proper burial out of respect to an ideology that erased the World Trade Center? Why is President Barack Obama so hesitant to offend the enemy by calling it what it is: Islamic Extremist Terror? How can we stop it if, out of a weak and outrageous political correctness, we refuse to even recognize it?
Dr. Widlanski lays out a commonsense, no-holds-barred solution to an imperative and increasingly dangerous global dilemma. This is not a witch hunt, nor a temporary Band-Aid, but a comprehensive strategy built around a hard-hitting truth carefully omitted from every liberal media outlet, and downplayed, overlooked, and incorrectly assessed by the FBI, CIA, and the State Department: terrorist “martyrs” want to change the course of history. By convincing them that their acts are futile, the tide turns and we can prevent further acts—and win the battle for our minds.
IGNORING OR BELITTLING THE EXTREMIST IDEOLOGIES SPARKING TERRORISM IS ITSELF AN IDEOLOGY— THE WESTERN IDEOLOGY OF POLITICAL CORRECTNESS. THIS IDEOLOGY HAS ALREADY COST MANY LIVES.
Several European leaders have recently shown that they are moving away from the politically correct path that avoids criticizing Islamic extremism and instead has enshrined it as part of multiculturalism. German chancellor Angela Merkel, French president Nikolas Sarkozy, and British prime minister David Cameron, all of whom have large Muslim minorities in their countries, have now said that that path is a dead end.
After the London bombings then-prime minister Tony Blair said the war with Arab-Islamic terror was a battle whose roots were ideological: “This is the battle that must be won, a battle not just about the terrorist methods but their views. Not just their barbaric acts, but their barbaric ideas. Not only what they do but what they think and the thinking they would impose on others.”
Fortunately, a growing number of Western leaders is starting to recognize ideology as a key to Arab-Islamic terror. To fight terror we need also to combat these ideological motivators directly in what has sometimes been called “the battle of ideas.”
From political communications expert Dr. Michael Widlanski comes a rich and detailed portrayal of how intellectual arrogance and complacency in our government has led to a failure to effectively use counter-terrorism intelligence.
When 3,000 people were murdered in simultaneous terror attacks on September 11, 2001, The New York Times said the attacks came “out of the blue.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Arab-Islamic terrorists had been attacking the West for a decade—in Arabia and Africa, but the attacks began to focus on America itself with the World Trade Center strike in 1993. Dr. Michael Widlanski describes other attacks and plots that were largely forgiven, ignored, or botched by academia, media, and government in this provocative book. He paints a chilling portrait of how our top analytical institutions were unaware as terrorists bragged about their plans, in mosques in New York and New Jersey, while professors, the media, the FBI, the CIA, and CNN all dropped the ball.
Terrorists want to get into our head, not into our house. Their goal is not seizing territory, but rather, controlling the mind—including manipulating communication and public opinion. Combating terror means fighting on the battlefield of the mind. Battle for Our Minds confronts this battle, and shows how the West has been defeating itself.
Timely, informative, and thoroughly researched, this is an eye-opening portrayal of the top echelons of our country’s counter-terrorism system.
About the Author
Dr. Michael Widlanski is a specialist in Arab politics and communication whose doctorate dealt with the Palestinian broadcast media. He is a former reporter, correspondent and editor, respectively, at The New York Times, The Cox Newspapers-Atlanta Constitution, and The Jerusalem Post. He has also served as a special advisor to Israeli delegations to peace talks in 1991-1992 and as Strategic Affairs Advisor to the Ministry of Public Security, editing secret PLO Archives captured in Jerusalem.
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