It's Religion

Trying to learn the cause of the massacre in San Bernardino, I listened to the Sunday talk shows that were all over the lot. Then President Obama appeared that evening and called it an "act of terrorism that was inspired but not directed by members of the Islamic State and Syria.". Neither President Obama nor the talk shows mention religion. But there are two Muslim religions -- 1.) The 95 percent of peace loving Muslims that worship Muhammad and 2.) The Salafi or Wahhabi version of the Muslim religion that is intolerant of other Muslims and teaches that Jews and Christians are infidels and "free game for violent acts" (Turki Ali Al-Ahmed 11/9/2001). This Salafi version is taught in the ninth grade to fourteen year olds in Saudi Arabia. ISIS is only practicing what they've learned in the ninth grade.

Osama Bin Laden believed that the United States' support for Israel in the Mid-East was a "Second Crusade" against Islam. He complained so much that he was run out of Saudi Arabia to Yemen. Then he was run out of Yemen to Afghanistan where he holed up training a bunch of Saudi's in the "no man's land" situated in the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. He put the U.S. on notice with the blowing up of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. But we didn't listen. Then Osama Bin Laden put the U.S. on notice with his assault on the USS Cole with twenty one U.S. sailors killed. But we didn't listen. Then 9/11. Fifteen of the nineteen terrorists that flew the planes into the World Trade Towers and Pentagon were Salafi educated Saudi Arabians. Instead of invading Saudi Arabia, I have yet to know why we invaded Afghanistan. The only war we've won since World War II is Charlie Wilson's War when we dislodged the Soviets from Afghanistan. Afghanistan is governed by the warlords and the warlords were very grateful for ridding their land of Soviets. Now, we act like there are two kinds of Muslims i.e. regular peace loving Muslims or extreme jihadist Muslims -- ISIS. But there is no mention of religions.

As The Week article: "How Saudi Arabia exports Radical Islam" (8/15) writes; "In order to stop ISIS you must first dry up the ideology at the source." As Nassim Micholas Taleb writes on 11/22/15, "We must take our fight to the preachers and financiers of terror." In short the government of Saudi Arabia. In Saudi Arabia there is no separation of Church and State. The Saudi government controls religion and education. The Salafi version believes that Christians and Jews are infidels -- ought to be eliminated -- ought to be beheaded, is required study in Saudi Arabia. Beheading is typical in Saudi Arabia and ISIS is only practicing what they learned in the ninth grade.

Now we've proved Bin Laden's case. We have troops on the ground in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt, Turkey, Kosovo, Kuwait, The Sinai, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and troops aboard ships in the Persian Gulf. We've given cause to peace loving Muslims much less the Salafi version or ISIS. We didn't hesitate calling for a coalition saying "it's your fight" when we dispersed troops to those countries and the Persian Gulf. Now is the time for President Obama to put troops on the ground in Iraq and Syria and clean out ISIS. We've already wasted $500 million training the Iraqi Army that when confronted, ran. Now is the time to get a commitment from the government in Saudi Arabia and other countries to stop teaching violence against other religions. They can continue to teach religion but not violence against other religions.

Senator Hollings of South Carolina served 38 years in the United States Senate, and for many years was Chairman of the Commerce, Space, Science & Transportation Committee. He is the author of "Making Government Work" (University of South Carolina Press, 2008). You can learn more about Hollings online at