Is the War on Terror Over? Are Islamists Now ‘Legitimate’?

There’s a bunch of good news coming from one senior official in the State Department. According to this unnamed source, “the war on terror is over,” and “people who once might have gone into al Qaeda see an opportunity for a legitimate Islamism.” That may be true if—and only if—you accept the Obama Administration’s outlook on the Muslim world and the aftermath of the war in Afghanistan—and if you believe that Islamist ideology can, in fact, be legitimate.

The news of this new perspective comes from the National Journal, which reports that the White House has come to believe that it “has no choice but to cultivate the Muslim Brotherhood and other relatively ‘moderate’ Islamist groups emerging as lead political players out of the Arab Spring in Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere.”

Before even considering whether the war on terrorism is over, it’s worth dissecting the unnamed State Department official’s shocking claim about the nature of Islamism. Though Islamists and terrorists might disagree on strategy (not all Islamists would state that the slaughter of innocents is acceptable), their goals are indistinguishable from those of al-Qaeda—a totalitarian society lacking in fundamental human liberties, including fair justice for all, freedom of expression, and economic and religious freedom. To argue that it is a legitimate ideology is on par with saying that totalitarianism, fascism, and communism are legitimate as well. Is that truly the view that President Obama wishes to adopt?

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