Published on April 12th, 2015 | by Rick Robison



Several years prior to the Iraq War, I was there to meet a man. He slipped in next to me and shut the car door. He said nothing as I pulled away from the curb into a sultry Persian Gulf night. We headed west into the desert, the occasional car passing close on the narrow two lane road. What the Arab agent would offer to tell me I did not know, though I did know he was well connected.

Actually, I remember only a few details of that night, visions that still elbow their way into my dreams, or nightmares. Seated next to me in the car, and later directly across from me in the desert safehouse, was an Arab terrorist from one of the most ruthless organizations on the planet, and yes, protected and given safe haven by Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

(I was continually baffled how American media stars, and politicians, insisted on claiming that “Saddam Hussein wasn’t supporting terrorists, therefore we shouldn’t be invading Iraq.” In reality, we had, for some time, penetrated a key terrorist entity, living safe, fat and happy, within the Iraqi regime, protected by Saddam! A well-known terror group that had murdered Americans. How can I make it any clearer? Saddam was supporting terror, and we were in a war with the terrorist enemy, a war that continues today. End of discussion.)

Anyway, the terrorist penetration next to me offered no excuses for the betrayal of his brethren, and he was certainly not concerned about protecting America. He was there for the cash, or so he claimed.

I, however, was skeptical. You could see it in his eyes. I could have just as well been seated next to Vlad the Impaler. I knew every minute we were alone, he was not my friend.

My prime recollection from that night was not that I might be set up, that he might be doubled on me. What haunts me today were his eyes. The Arabs have said for centuries “the eyes are the windows to the soul.” As I searched his that night I found a wasteland. The man revealed neither sadness nor anger, just…nothing. He was a moving, talking mannequin, though a mannequin that might kill if threatened. He had trained the group’s fedayeen (“ones who sacrifice themselves”), their professional assassins and martyrs, and had sent off many to kill and maim, and be killed. Perhaps in the beginning he had been motivated by radical Islamist or Arab nationalist ideology…perhaps, but not anymore. He was spent. He said he wanted to quit “the calling,” though I doubted he was ever telling me his whole story.


This was the terror-boss, the general-manager Americans rarely see, consumed by the incredible brutality and inhumanity around him, and jaded by corruption and greed at the highest levels. Terror creates diseased hearts and deformed minds. But it’s more than a sickness. It’s a prison. As we’ve seen with ISIS, radical Islam feeds on hatred and death. Without an enemy to rape and plunder it shrivels and dies, then, like the black widow spider, turns its reign of terror upon its own. The Islamist creates an inhuman world filled with monsters, as we’ve seen in Iraq, Syria, and Iran, or among Iran’s proxies, Hezbollah, or among the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, or in the Sudan and in Somalia or in Chechnya—a shackled world from which it is nearly impossible to escape. While this former terrorist seated by me was trying, I hoped, I also doubted he would find rest in his new life. Perhaps his willingness to help America to defeat his former brethren was his stab at penitence, but I quickly dismissed that possibility, too.


Though two decades have passed, I still see those eyes, their deep void, their inhumanity. In fact, his eyes were the polar-opposite of the eyes of U.S. troops I’ve met in Iraq and the Middle East, since. Tyranny (and its weapon of choice, terror) does more than terrify and shackle. The tyrant fashions two types of puppet-slaves: The first, by destroying the heart and soul, he turns some into sadistic torturers and murderers of the innocent. More often, however, the tyrant reigns by neutering the masses through fear (terror), creating human-sheep who will never dare challenge the Maximum Leader.

ISIS terror-boss, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is such a creature. But the terror-boss seated across from me that night was the former, his vacant orbs mirror images of the untold corpses he had fashioned from living, breathing human beings.

How different are these modern assassins from the patriots who have fought tyranny from Bosnia to Somalia, from Afghanistan to Iraq, fighting and dying to free Muslim families who have never before known peace, freedom, or hope.

If anyone wonders if America should be waging a War on Tyrants today, before making a snap judgment, do what I’ve done—peer into the eyes of the terror-bosses, the al-Qaeda fighters, the Hezbollah fanatics, the Iranian Ayatollahs, or talk to someone who has. Then search out the American patriots in the handful of lands where we are engaging the enemy right now. Until you’ve walked and talked, prayed and pondered, broken bread and sipped tea, with both sides, do not talk to me of “unjust wars,” of withdrawal, of staying out of the fight, of running away. Do not dishonor our heroes, our patriots (both past and present), with a pathetic rush to surrender as we’ve done in Iraq and elsewhere.

Our enemy always takes such notions just one way.

By their fruits ye shall know them. Show me, prove to me, that the words, deeds, and goals of this terrorist enemy can, under any stretch of the imagination, equate to those of America’s Founders and Patriots—from Yorktown to Tripoli, from Omaha Beach to Baghdad and Fallujah.

“The banner of Islam will necessarily be raised when the land is watered with the blood of martyrs.”

– al-Qaeda Organization Official Statement


We fight not to enslave, but to set a country free, and to make room upon the earth for honest men to live in.”

Thomas Paine, Common Sense (1776)



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About the Author

I have a standing rule to live by…a liberty to follow my own will in all things…and never subject to the inconstant, uncertain, unknown, arbitrary will of another man—Life, liberty, and property.

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