Brennan insisted that “violent extremists” (not “jihadists”) are extreme not because of their beliefs but because they suffer from certain conditions—lack of political outlets and of jobs. Those conditions may make some people more receptive to terrorist recruitment, but the essence of the problem is the ideology. Outside the world of Islam, many millions of people are unfree and unemployed, but the problem of terrorist violence is nowhere near the magnitude of the problem in Muslim communities. President Obama has come around to calling ISIL “jihadists,” but he still relies on a CIA director—the man who runs the institution responsible for informing the government about what our enemies believe—who insists on dancing around the problem.
ISIL isn’t murdering the Yazidis or brutalizing Iraqi Christians because of some policy dispute with the United States. The things they do that appall us as inhumane are things that ISIL fighters believe are religious requirements for them. Their extremism is not rooted in frustration about a lack of democratic politics. The ISIL murderer who decapitated the journalist James Foley apparently came from Britain, after all. Nor is Islamist extremism necessarily rooted in poverty; remember that the captain of the Sept. 11 hijackers was an engineer. Ignoring ISIL’s Islamist ideology is like trying to understand the Cold War without reference to communism or World War II without reference to Nazism.
How does the U.S. government counter this ideology? Part of the answer is systematically supporting people within the Muslim community who will tell ISIL, “You claim to speak for Islam, but you don’t speak for me.”
Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/08/six-strategies-obama-could-use-to-fight-the-islamic-state-110448_Page2.html#ixzz3C4QISMfe