Bombing Daesh is a necessary part of the anti-radicalization effort.
Finally, I am going to talk about how bombing Daesh is a necessary part of the anti-radicalization effort. We hear a lot from others in this place about de-radicalization.
However, strangely, we rarely hear them actually define the radicalization that we face. If we are going to talk about de-radicalization, we have to have a good understanding of what kind of radicalization we are up against.
Let us be clear. Daesh is a deeply ideological organization. It is thuggish, violent, and evil, but we should not infer from these things that it is thoughtless. Its members are thinking about how to enact a very particular and, most would agree, very misguided version of Islam. Whatever we call it, Daesh is a religious group with particular beliefs that we would do well to understand if we care about de-radicalization.
Daesh is trying to recreate an imagined eighth century caliphate, a caliphate that applies a particular conception of Islamic law and, necessarily, that caliphate has certain very particular requirements for its existence. A caliphate is a particular form of religious organization, understood in various different forms of Islamic political thought as encompassing both religious and political control. In particular, it ruled by a caliph, thought of to be the successor of the prophet Muhammad. Many different Muslims look in their history to the idea of a caliphate, and there have been different caliphates with different kinds of legacies, most of them of course looking nothing like Daesh, the so-called Islamic State.
The last caliphate, the Ottoman Turkish caliphate, was headquartered in Istanbul. It disappeared in 1924 after it was ended by Kemal Ataturk as he turned Turkey into a secular state. For some Muslims, and many of those who are not Daesh supporters, the existence of the caliphate is theologically very important and they look to its eventual re-establishment.
Daesh represents the most serious attempt to resurrect a caliphate in almost 100 years. The particular school of thought that Daesh belongs to would identify a number of key conditions for a caliphate to exist.
First, the caliph must be a Muslim adult male Qureshi, which means a member of a particular Arabic tribe to which Muhammad also belonged. Second, the caliph must demonstrate good moral character. Many would, of course, dispute that the current proclaimed caliph, Al-Baghdadi, meets these conditions, and certainly many Muslim theologians have argued persuasively that his actions are essentially anti-Islamic and immoral. However, in the eyes of his followers, he has met these conditions. He certainly is Qureshi. In any event, there is not very much that we can do to convince them that he does not fit conditions one and two. The third, and perhaps most important, requirement for a caliph is that he must have authority. A person who meets conditions one and two but has no army or territory is still disqualified from being a caliph unless and until he acquires territory.
This House needs to understand that Daesh is trying to enact this fantasy. It's members are not just thugs; they are thugs with a particular religious agenda.
All this history is important for our motion today because the most important thing we can do to counter radicalization is to take away Daesh's territory. Without territory, even in the eyes of its followers it will cease to be a caliphate. We need to wreck this fantasy. We need to show vulnerable men and women who might be susceptible to the arguments of the radicals that there is indeed no real caliphate to join. We need to do this and, frankly, we need to do this right away. The longer the supposed caliphate exists, the more persuasive the arguments of its boosters will sound.
Daesh is not al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda is a para-state organization that hopes at best to pave the way for the emergence of a caliphate. It did not have anything near the ambition of Daesh. However, Daesh is seriously and ambitiously evil. It is playing for keeps, and we do not know what hell we are in for if we do not stop this madness now.
I have two young children. I want to be able to tell them that we got the job done, and we did not leave this for generations to come. We have a moral obligation to protect the vulnerable. Maintaining our collective security commitment is critical for our own security. Bombing, defeating, and destroying Daesh is the necessary step toward effective anti-radicalization.