All through the 1930s, Winston Churchill tried in vain to convince his countrymen of the magnitude of the evil rising in Germany. Like the prophet Jeremiah, Churchill was repeatedly told to sit down and shut up. Instead of listening to Churchill, England chose to listen to the Great Appeaser, Neville Chamberlain, whose first bit of lunacy was to negotiate with Hitler; the second was to take him at his word.
Does that not remind you of a certain American president who proposed to meet with the modern-day Hitler "without preconditions"?
In case you haven't seen the rip-roaring satire An American Carol, here's the Ghost of Fourth-of-July Past, Gen. George S. Patton, showing the Michael Moore character a scene from Berlin, 1938, starring Adolf and his good buddy Neville....
Well, enough of the "If we didn't laugh, we'd cry" strategy for now. We need to get serious.
Most people don't know that Churchill not only saw the Nazis for what they were, he'd also pegged Islam accurately several decades earlier.
As a 24-year-old cavalry officer, Churchill served in the 1898 battle of Omdurman, in Sudan, in which the British whipped a Muslim army three times their size. That victory left a deep impression on the young Churchill. As he saw it, Western technology, discipline and firepower had overwhelmed a much larger, but more primitive, enemy.
This wasn't Churchill's first contact with Islam. Before Sudan, he'd been posted in the North West Frontier of India, what is now Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan. And he would go on to serve in high positions in Britain's administration of Iraq, Palestine and Egypt; to be involved in the founding of the Anglo-Persian oil company; and to travel widely in the Muslim world, from northwest Africa to Palestine and Turkey. Churchill's knowledge of Islam came not only from books but from experience up-close and personal.
In his book about the Sudan war, titled The River War and published in 1899, Churchill wrote the following:
How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities - but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world....
Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science... the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome.
The same keen powers of perception that Churchill applied to Islam he later brought to bear on Nazi Germany, and in fact saw strong similarities between the Koran and Mein Kampf. In his history The Gathering Storm, we find this reaction to the appearance of Mein Kampf on the world scene:
Here was the new Koran of faith and war: turgid, verbose, shapeless, but pregnant with its message.
Today, modern-day prophets such as Geert Wilders have made the same comparison, in reverse: As radical groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood have claimed to possess the sole accurate interpretation of the Koran -- an interpretation that requires them to make war against Western civilization and to conquer the world -- the Koran is playing much the same incendiary role now that was played by Mein Kampf a few decades ago.
Not that Mein Kampf itself ever went away. The accurate Arabic translation of "kampf" (which in English is "struggle") is "jihad" -- and Mein Kampf, or My Jihad, remains to this day a bestseller throughout the Muslim world.
I've often called Allen West the Winston Churchill of our time. Like Churchill, Allen West has had years of direct experience fighting Muslim opponents in foreign lands. And, like Churchill, West has studied the history and teachings of Islam extensively. But the greatest similarity between the two men is that both of them perceived the essential nature of the enemy at a time when most of their countrymen preferred to ignore it; and in the case of both men, no amount of political opposition would deter them from shouting their warnings from the rooftops.
The question is: Will the American people wait as long to take to heart Allen West's warnings about radical Islam, as the British people waited before they would heed Churchill's alarums about the Nazis?
On the answer to that question may hinge our survival.
Cross-posted at West to the West Wing 2012