BOOK: Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War

As we approach Independence Day, I am reading …

Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War by Sebastian Gorka. (UK HERE)

Many thanks to the reader who sent me the Kindle version from my wishlist.   Get a Kindle!  US HERE – UK HERE

This is gripping right from the Prologue, in which Gorka describes his family’s struggle against and torment by the totalitarian Communist regime in Hungary after WWII.  He then concludes his Prologue (my emphases and comments):

Today, as a nation we face a new totalitarianism, one that is potentially even more dangerous than fascism or communism.  [Unlike the Nazis and Commies, jihadists are willing to die.]

Today’s threat is hybrid totalitarianism that goes beyond man-made justifications for perfecting society along politically defined lines and instead uses the religion of Islam and Allah to justify mass murder.

Our enemy today is again a totalitarian. I call it the global jihadist movement. The members of this movement, be they Al Qaeda, ISIS, or Hizbollah, have a vision of the future world that is exclusive and absolutist. Either the whole planet is under their control or they have lost. There is no middle ground. No peaceful coexistence is possible. Ever. The infidel must submit or be killed.

But the center of the enemy’s ideology today is not a state. In fact, the enemy totally rejects the idea of the state as an invention of the infidel West. Nor is its ideology concerned with class distinctions, economics, or “the means of production.” Today our enemy fights not for earthly reasons to serve a tangible here-and-now but to serve a transcendent reality, to serve Allah. But in their absolutist “them or us” attitude, they bear a great resemblance to the Nazis and communists of yesteryear, and that is why I am writing this book.

I grew up in freedom in the United Kingdom. Today I am a proud American, but I will never forget what my father taught me. Freedom is as precious as it is fragile. If you are complacent, there will always eventually come a group that will try to take your freedom away from you by violence and through the subversion of your values.

Every generation must remain vigilant. Each generation must make a conscious decision to protect what we have achieved as a civilization and be prepared to fight— if necessary to the death— to save our loved ones and our children from enslavement to the newest dictatorial ideology, secular or religious.

I grew up knowing these truths in my bones, so as I watched the horrific events of 9/ 11 unfold live on a television screen, it did not take very long for me to understand one thing: the totalitarians are back. This time the dictatorship invokes the name of God, as opposed to the working class or the Führer, but they are back, and they will either kill us or enslave us.

This book is born out of the belief that we Americans can defeat the new totalitarians and that their defeat should be built on the secret plan that America used to defeat our last totalitarian enemy, communism. [cf The Long Telegram]

In fact, you can argue that our current enemy predates even fascism and communism and that we have been at war with the jihadists since at least the Barbary Wars of the eighteenth century.

Perhaps now is the time for us to have a strategy to defeat them. This book is the first cut of that plan.

Sebastian Gorka’s father had been a member of a Catholic underground which worked against the Soviet regime in Hungary.  Gorka is often a commentator on FNC.  You read at his Wikipedia entry:

Sebastian L.v. Gorka is an American writer focusing on irregular warfare, including counterinsurgency and counterterrorism. He is the Major General Matthew C. Horner Distinguished Chair of Military Theory at the Marine Corps University [Oorah] and the Chairman of Threat Knowledge Group. He is a founding member of the Council for Emerging National Security Affairs and served as the Associate Dean for Congressional Affairs and Relations to the Special Operations Community at the National Defense University. Gorka is also currently affiliated with USSOCOM’s Joint Special Operations University and the Institute of World Politics, is a regular instructor for the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School in Fort Bragg, as well as the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division. He has testified before Congress on the threat of ISIS and Global Jihadism, and briefed the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Intelligence Council, the National Counterterrorism Center and the Commandant of the Marine Corps. Born in the United Kingdom to Hungarian parents, Dr. Gorka became an American citizen in 2012.

So, he has chops.

I warmly recommend that you read this, to help you stay up to speed with our latest, deadly threat.



About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in REVIEWS, Semper Paratus, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, The Religion of Peace and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Mike says:

    It takes a lot to add a book to my queue. Your Reverence’ recommendation and Dr. Gorka’s credentials did it for this book. Thanks for the suggestion.

  2. wmeyer says:

    Good to read your comments, Father. I heard him on EWTN, and he is as clear and direct in person as Allen B. West. And he clearly knows his subject. I was undecided after seeing the reviews on Amazon, but your comments have persuaded me.

  3. The war may be winnable, but not if we stay on our current path. Will anyone listen to Dr. Gorka, or will his advice be summarily dismissed?

  4. glovehead says:

    I saw Dr Gorka and his wife after Mass this morning. If he doesn’t already know (how could he not when it’s from Fr Z), I’ll mention your comments and recommendation.

  5. Augustine says:

    I’m less sanguine about countering jihad. If the devil would concoct an anti Christian religion based on some sort of anti Gospel, that religion would be Islam and that book, the Koran. Since the house of peace is only among those who submitted to the false prophet, not in any way, but only in the way of the one with the scimitar, and those who didn’t belong to the house of war, Islam is a force of destruction of civilizations and if everything that’s true, good and beautiful in man. It cannot be conquered but by saints, like those 20 on the shores of Libya, who welcomed one Mohammedan among their rank as martyrs for Christ.

  6. Maltese says:

    You can win a visible war, but not one that is invisible. There are so many sleeper-cells, and rogue waiting-to-spring wanna-be jihadists out there, in the corners of every part of Europe and America, imported by ad-nauseous politically-correctness, and open borders, that it will take a generation to weed them all out. [Gorka thinks that we have to destroy the “brand”.] I honestly feel sorry for the good, hard-working Muslims who came to the west, and we wanted to assimilate, and create a better life for their children. We will see many, many more attacks in the name of “Islam,” and each time an attack occurs in that false-religion’s name, the people who hold that faith will be further disenfranchised, and their children will be more likely to carry-out terrorist attacks. This is not a war which will be “won” in my lifetime, or the lifetime of anyone reading this.

  7. Maltese says:

    I should add that my best friend, Behzad, was born in Afghanistan to supposed “Muslim” parents, who rejected Islam, and raised their son to be an integral part of American society. Behzad is now a hard-working Engineer in a major American city, and is castigated because of his name, and place of birth (and he is not Muslim.) At the end of the day, we have to remember that Islamic extremism represent only a fraction of the Muslim population. As a traditional Catholic, I reject false religions, but the vast majority of Islamic people only want to work, and provide for their families. I think the solution to the problem is cutting-off the head of the snake, which the US Gov. is doing. ISIS is weakening, since it apparently can no longer funnel oil into Turkey. Russia is sending a warship to Syria to blanket-out some ISIS fires. But, at the end of the day, we have to ask what started the ISIS fire in the first place? It was a misguided attempt at changing regimes throughout the middle east, in the hopes that native populates could “vote-in” a more peaceful society than the dictators before them. That didn’t work very well in Iraq, or Libya….

  8. New Amsterdam says:

    What makes you suggest that the Nazis and Communists were unwilling to die?

  9. DonL says:

    New Amsterdam, I would suspect it was simply because neither the Nazis or Commies sought as their goal to die (that 72 virgins thingy) whereas the Nazis or Commies would accept death only as a byproduct and hardly a desired outcome or measurement of success.
    Now those Bushido driven Japanese might come a little closer to the death is honor code. (Think Kamikazes)Fortunately, the horrible results of WWII also put an end to that centuries old mentality. God does bring some good out of evil.

  10. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Thank you for the recommendation – I’ve enjoyed posts by and interviews with him! (By the way, the combox seems to be behaving oddly.)

  11. Semper Gumby says:

    Thanks for the excerpt Fr. Z, looking forward to reading this book whenever my current travel wraps up.

    As we all know, there is a day-to-day conflict against Islamist networks and cells, and also a long-term effort against Islamism. The Muslim Brotherhood, Salafi Islam, Wahabbi Islam etc. aren’t going away soon. Indeed, the hesitancy, even fear, displayed among many Western leaders, academics, journalists, and entertainers by not using the term “Islamism” indicates that Islamists are imposing their will on us. Gorka’s book calls for that imposition of will to be reversed. Excellent.

    A brief note on the saying “the vast majority of Muslims reject terrorism.” That, even if true, is irrelevant. There are many forms of non-lethal Islamist activity- some rather blatant, others rather subtle- that support the spread of Islam and Sharia law. From the Islamist perspective, whether he or she is pro-terrorist or not, Sharia law and the Koran are to conquer the world. Islam is to be advanced from Muslim lands (known as Dar alIslam: the House of Submission to Allah) into the non-Muslim lands (known as Dar alHarb: the House of War, or better yet, The Battlefield).

    Wahabbis, Salafis, etc. seek to have the human race largely behave like a 7th century tribe of the Arabian desert- ruled of course by Arabic-speaking caliphs, imams, qadis, and ulema (Sharia court magistrates and Islamic scholars.)

    During the Cold War leftists in the West often did not like being called Communists, preferring a term such as “socialist”, while at the same time these people were often fascinated by the tyranny of the Soviet Union. Gorka’s book could aid Western leftists and socialists with overcoming their fear of referring to Islamists as Islamists, and also aid them with discarding their fascination with totalitarianism.

  12. Pingback: PODCAzT 147: Fulton Sheen on Patriotism | Fr. Z's Blog

  13. YoungLatinMassGuy says:

    “Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War”

    No. That title is a dead giveaway that the entire premise is 100% wrong, and every copy of this book will either be burned by a future totalitarian caliphate that rules the globe with an iron fist stomping on throats of conquered kafirs, or be used in future history classes scattered throughout the Solar System during a new Gold Age of Humanity on why it took so long for us to finally defeat islam.

    “Defeating Jihad” is NOT a “Winnable War”.

    From the amazon link: “Our enemy is the global jihadi movement, a modern totalitarian ideology rooted in the doctrines and martial history of Islam.”

    You cannot defeat jihad without also defeating islam itself.

    Jihad is as much a part of islam as fasting during ramadan, or praying five times per day. muhammed practiced jihad. muhammed commanded his followers to fight jihad. If you think that “defeating jihad” is the goal, you’re not going to get very far. Sooner or later some muslim is going to get it into his or her head that the way to Paradise is to die in Jihad, and they’re going to start killing people.

    If you want to keep the part of islam that you like, and ignore the violent parts that you don’t like, that isn’t going to work.

    Like after World War 2 there was a “denazification” of Europe, we’re going to need a massive “deislamification” of the muslim world. We are going to have to teach people that a ma nin his fifties having sex with a girl who was nine years old was not a prophet.

    Read the book “Caliphate” by Tom Kratman. It depicts a future, about 100 years from now that I don’t want to see, but one I don’t think can be avoided as long as people continue to ignore the AK-47-carrying elephant in the room called islam.

  14. New Amsterdam says:

    Thank you, DonL. I see your point.

  15. AvantiBev says:

    “If the devil would concoct…”? Who do you think was in that cave posing as “Gabriel” in 610 A.D. with Mohammed?

  16. Mike says:

    If you think that “defeating jihad” is the goal, you’re not going to get very far. . . .  we’re going to need a massive “deislamification” of the muslim world.

    Assuming the latter is true, how will we achieve it? Denazification got Europe through the remainder of the 20th Century because the continent was able to fall back upon the vestiges of its Christian heritage. Having allowed that heritage to be supplanted by the chimera of “healthy secularization,” Europe now contains a void that aches to be filled, and the Enemy is filling it with islam.

    If our goal falls anywhere short of the Social Reign of Christ the King, we enslave ourselves and future generations. And we can expect to be called to account for it. I’m enjoying Dr. Gorka’s book thus far and am eager to learn how he addresses the question.

  17. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Following up on DonL’s comment, there is the subject (or are the subjects) of willingness to die – and of something other than simple willingness, in the interpretation of ‘martyrdom’. I have heard good things of Bernard Lewis’s The Assassins: A Radical Sect in Islam (1967, new preface 2003), but have not read it yet, beyond a preface sample at Amazon – which is worth reading.

  18. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    In his preface, Lewis says,of the medieval ‘Assassins’, “to have survived a mission was seen as a disgrace.” But he contrasts the modern practice of attackers deliberately killing themselves as a means to killing others, and describes it as the “blurring” of a “vital distinction” by “some twentieth-century theologians”. Yet various versions of the twentieth-century idea seem to have been taken up widely, by assorted Sunnis and Shiites. I wonder if Dr. Gorka sheds any light on this, and on actual and further possible opposition to this twentieth-century idea by other Muslim scholars, at al.?

  19. RichR says:

    Bought the book. I’m enjoying it very much. Thanks FrZ!

  20. Semper Gumby says:

    Venerator: A good article on this topic is by David Bukay in the Fall 2006 issue of Middle East Quarterly entitled: The Religious Foundations of Suicide Bombings. Here’s three brief excerpts:

    “Not as theologically important and seldom cited by modern jihadists are the Assassins, a twelfth and thirteenth century Shi‘ite movement which staged assassinations against prominent political leaders who did not share their ideas. While their actions do not directly affect the intellectual evolution of contemporary suicide bombers, their actions demonstrate precedent and the ability of theologians to interpret Islamic doctrine to justify suicide terrorism.”

    “Many jihadists cite the works of Taqi al-din Ahmad Ibn Taymiya (1263-1328), an Islamic scholar born in Harran, in modern-day Turkey, who wrote extensively on the need for jihad…Modern jihadists have used his fatwas commanding Muslims to fight the Mongols as precedents legitimizing suicide bombing. Mawdudi, Banna [founded the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928], and Qutb have also developed Ibn Taymiya’s philosophy, writing extensively on jihad as the means to fight the re-emergence of the age of ignorance [the age before Mohammed]…

    “While much of the exegesis developed out of Sunni jurisprudence, the [Shiite] Islamic Republic in Iran encouraged the phenomenon [of suicide terrorism.]”

    Bukay also mentions verses such as Koran 2:154 and 3:157.

    Hope this helps, Venerator.

  21. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Semper Gumby,

    Yes, indeed – thank you!

    A bit of looking around led me to an interesting Daniel Pipes article which included this link to it:

  22. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Meanwhile, from one of Dr. Gorka’s fellow contributors, in a rather translatorese style, and without source-link, a variously saddening story:

  23. Semper Gumby says:

    Venerator: Thanks for the article about the French Salafis and the removal of the memorial to the massacred monks, I had not seen that.

    An article you might be interested in is at FrontPage Magazine titled “The Muslim Brotherhood: Origins, Efficacy, and Reach” by Raymond Ibrahim Aug. 27, 2013. This article identifies numerous MB front groups in Europe and the US.

    In addition to front groups there is cross-pollination. For example, see an article in USA Today from July 1 by Imani Jackson titled “How Palestinian Protesters Helped BLM.” The article mentions a liaison trip, yet another, between the US and “Palestine” by various groups such as Dream Defenders and PICO- a “network of faith-based groups.” Here’s a brief excerpt:

    “Members of BLM teamed with Dream Defenders, a liberation organization that fights for, among other things, an end to wars of aggression all over the world. The delegation met with grassroots organizations in Ramallah, Jerusalem and Haifa…”

    “…The delegation that went to the Middle East attempted to “build real relationships with those on the ground leading the fight for liberation,” said Ahmad Abuznaid, the chief operating officer of Dream Defenders who organized the trip.”

  24. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Semper Gumby,

    Thank you! I find Raymond Ibrahim grateful reading whenever I encounter him, but that one does not ring a bell!

    Various of David Bukay’s references in the article above seem accessible only to Arabic speakers, but I look forward to following up some of the others.

Comments are closed.