David Dolan is a Jersalem-based author and journalist who has lived and worked in Israel since 1980.
The following is reposted with permission.
Despite the fact that I have lived and worked as a journalist in Israel for over 30 years, I’ve thankfully never had a gun pointed at me in the Lord’s special land. I have dodged bullets a few times, had stones hurled onto my car, and had rockets and mortar shells land nearby, especially when I lived along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon. I have also been in the vicinity of several major terror attacks, including one deadly atrocity just a couple blocks from my home.
I did have a rifle pointed at me on one occasion, but not on Israeli territory. The incident occurred just inside the Egyptian border with Israel. It was 1989, and I already knew from friends and media colleagues that the crossing point into the Egyptian-controlled Sinai Peninsula was rife with corrupt border guards who often demanded money from visitors entering Egypt, especially if they were Americans. One of them took my passport and hid it in a drawer, pretending 30 seconds later that I had not given it to him. I quickly realized he was expecting me to shelve out a bribe to get it back. Living for years in the troubled region, I refused to do so. When I said I would return to the Israeli guard post to protest his theft, another nearby Egyptian security guard raised his rifle and threatened to shoot me. Fortunately the commotion caught the attention of the Israelis some 60 feet away, who came to my rescue.
So the fact that Hosni Mubarak’s police and security forces are rife with corruption has been evident to me for many years. Does this mean I have been advocating the ouster of his autocratic regime? Not at all. This is because I’ve also long understood that the Arab people in general, especially the vast majority who are practicing Muslims, tend to be very proud folks, with the Muslims believing that they are the Almighty’s uniquely chosen sons and daughters, not Christians or Jews. This deeply-held belief contributes to the fact that the Arab masses have often proved to be very unruly, as some of my Arab friends freely admit.
In my opinion, the tendency toward unruliness is the main factor underlining the reality that Arab governments have always been autocratic to some extent, with most wielding iron fists over their citizens. The majority of people are also undereducated in most Arab countries, and often steeped in poverty. This is partly the fault of their dictatorial governments, but also of their Islamic religious systems and overly large family sizes. Therefore “democracy” as we know it in the West is not necessarily the best form of government for Arab societies, with our systems of one-person, one-vote likely to lead to far more oppressive Islamic fundamentalist regimes coming to power in most cases than the governments currently in office.
It took a long time for Israeli government officials to realize that Islamic fundamentalism was and is the main factor in the Arab world’s rejection of a Jewish-run state in the heart of the mostly Muslim Middle East. They largely ignored the fact that the leader of the pan-Arab war against Israel in the 1950s and 60s, Egyptian strongman Gamal Nasser, frequently quoted from the Koran when spouting his anti-Israel diatribes despite the fact that he was backed by the atheist Soviet Union and not religiously observant himself. Nasser was simply bowing to the reality that most of his Arab listeners were mosque-going Muslims who had a visceral hatred for Israel based mainly on their faith. It was no coincidence that the previous leader of the Arab world’s attempt to prevent a Jewish state from being formed, Haj Amin Husseini, was also the Muslim clerical chief in the Holy Land.
In a similar fashion, it took a long time for American and European government officials to acknowledge that Muslim fundamentalist groups were serious when they contended that Islam must and would prevail over the West in the struggle for world domination. The same was true for most academics and media pundits. I was not surprised when several of my American journalist colleagues working in Israel, particularly Tom Friedman of the New York Times and Bob Simon of CBS, criticized me for focusing on the new Palestinian Hamas movement in my first book, Holy War for the Promised Land, published by Thomas Nelson in early 1991. They especially questioned my prediction that the new Palestinian offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood movement (Al-Ikhwan Al-Muslimin in Arabic) would eventually surpass the PLO as the main local opponent of Israel. As I have noted before, my forecast that Hamas would become a major player in the ongoing conflict was not due to some supernatural ability to foresee the future, but because I understood that a literal reading of the Koran and of the Islamic ‘oral tradition’, the Hadith—which I pointed out was a central tenet of the Hamas movement—was the bedrock basis of the pan-Arab rejection of a Jewish state in their midst.
I also came under strong criticism for publicly questioning the wisdom of sending US and other Western forces to Iraq in 2003. It seemed to me, as it did to many of my Israeli government and security contacts, that overthrowing Saddam Hussein—as justified as that action obviously was—would only produce a political vacuum that Shiite fundamentalist Iran would eventually fill. I argued that as evil as the Iraqi dictator was, he was nevertheless an angel compared to the nuclear bomb-seeking devils running Iran.
I also pointed to the questionable contention that ‘democracy’ would be better for the Iraqi people than autocracy, noting that fairly free elections in Algeria in 1991 had been hijacked by Islamic parties who openly vowed to ditch such elections after using them to rise to power. Mirroring this in 2006, Hamas cynically used Palestinian elections, which were part of the Oslo peace process that they fiercely opposed, to come to power. It is simply a fact that a majority of voters in most Arab countries are observant Muslims. This reality will always lead to the triumph of anti-Western forces in uncontrolled Arab elections, period. It is also behind the escalating exodus of Arab Christians from Iraq, Lebanon, the Palestinian-controlled territories and elsewhere in the turbulent region.
Today, we see a growing chorus of American and other western leaders calling for Hosni Mubarak to leave office right away. The likelihood that his quick removal will only lead to the ultimate ascension to power of the fiercely anti-American and anti-Israel Muslim Brotherhood movement is largely ignored, or at least downplayed. Many acknowledge that the radical Islamic group is currently the only organized opposition political movement in Egypt. That being the case, the rush to dump Mubarak before other more secular parties can be functionally established is simply absurd, in my estimation. We are almost inviting the Caliphate-seeking Muslim Brothers to take over Egypt—a recipe that spells disaster for both Israel and the West.
Should the United States and other allies of Mubarak have pushed harder for real governmental reforms and more personal freedoms in Egypt? Without a doubt. However in their defense, most officials presumably understood that to do so in quick fashion was potentially opening a can of worms that would not in the end bring positive changes to the Egyptian people, but actually had the great potential to produce an even more oppressive, anti-Western regime, as may well be the ultimate outcome now.
We are told by the media that the marchers in Egypt have been acting spontaneously and are not organized by any one political party or force. Again, is it just a coincidence that the initial flood of anti-government demonstrators burst onto the streets on January 28 following Friday Muslim services held in mosques all over Cairo, Alexandria and elsewhere? Yes, many of the protesters have been young, Facebook-using moderate Muslims, along with Western-leaning Coptic Christians and secular Egyptians, especially in the early days of the revolt. However, the vast majority today are clearly observant Muslims who despise Israel and resent the powerful USA based mainly on their faith. The same is true with most of the anti-government protestors in Jordan, Yemen and elsewhere.
Israeli official are also looking with increasing trepidation to the north of their country, where sworn enemies Iran and Syria have just succeeded in toppling the pro-Western Hariri government via their Hizbullah ally. This startling development has received very little media attention due to the crisis in Egypt. Is it not likely that this lack of attention is just as the evil regime ruling Iran wants it? The Iranians did not start the anti-Mubarak revolution, but they quickly jumped on board, and surely not with the goal of helping to promote Western-style democratic values in the Arab world’s largest country.
Will Egypt eventually break its peace treaty with Israel? I suspect that in the end, the American-funded and trained army will not allow this to take place. I noted in my latest book, Israel in Crisis, that Egypt is not listed in Psalm 83 as being among a host of regional Arab powers that will attempt to destroy Israel in the prophesied end days, while Jordan, Lebanon and Syria are mentioned, along with the Palestinians. While some are now saying that Egypt will participate in the Gog and Magog war prophesied in Ezekiel 38 and 39, I disagree. If the prophet had intended to pinpoint Egypt it would have been named as such, being a very distinct and powerful nation in ancient times. The listing of “Ethiopia” instead implies a power to the south of Egypt, which is probably today’s Islamic fundamentalist stronghold of Sudan, located in part of the territory where ancient Ethiopia stood.
Whatever the case, we can expect Islamic fundamentalist groups around the world to carry on with their intensifying jihad to topple pro-Western governments, with the ultimate goal being the destruction of Israel and the takeover of European countries and the United States. With that in mind, Western government officials need to tread very carefully as they help bring change to Egypt and the wider Middle East. And of course, everyone needs our prayers, especially the Arab and Iranian Christian minorities who are caught in the middle of the dramas swirling around them.
You can read more about David and his work on his web site, ddolan.com. If you’d like to receive David’s monthly updates, featuring commentary like what you’ve read above, you can subscribe by going to http://www.ddolan.com/subscribe.asp.
“It is the madness of folly, to expect mercy from those who have refused to do justice; and even mercy, where conquest is the object, is only a trick of war; the cunning of the fox is as murderous as the violence of the wolf.” —Thomas Paine, The American Crisis, No. 1, 1776
Michael C. Burgess, the Congressional representative for our little sliver of Texas, has responded to the letter I sent him a week and a half ago expressing my displeasure with the TSA’s new imaging and
groping “enhanced” pat-down policies. His response is below, in its entirety. I have added emphasis in the fourth paragraph not present in the original.
Dear Mr. Turner:
Thank you for contacting me to express your concern regarding the security policies of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). I appreciate hearing from you on this important matter.
As you are aware, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently purchased full body scanners that show the outline of the naked human body and allow TSA to detect high-density bomb-making materials. In response to a large number of complaints from both travelers and employees in the airline industry, DHS instituted a new policy that allows travelers to “opt out” of the digital image scanning. This “opt out” procedure allows for the traveler to step aside and receive a full-body pat-down to check for hidden substances or items on the persons. As a result, TSA and DHS implemented a new “pat-down” procedure that serves as an alternative procedure for those travelers who wish to refuse the full-body scan.
Over the past few weeks, I have received hundreds of phone calls from concerned constituents, and seen news reports of people who are outraged by TSA’s invasive full-body scans and “pat-down” procedures that are now used in the name of national security. After recently flying myself and witnessing how invasive these procedures are, as well as the potential for abuse, I am outraged that TSA chose to implement the new rules without consulting with Congress. TSA is charged with protecting our airplanes from the kind of terrorism we saw in the terror attacks on 9/11, but this should not result in an abuse of power and the exploitation of Americans.
Further disconcerting is the fact that Congress voted overwhelmingly to prohibit the TSA’s use of full-body scanners as a primary screening method. H.R. 2200, the Transportation Security Administration Authorization Act, contained an amendment to prohibit the TSA’s use of full-body scanners as a primary screening method. House Amendment 172 passed overwhelmingly by a vote of 310 to 118, but TSA has ignored this, and plans to deploy over 1,000 machines in use at airports across the country by the end of next year. Although this legislation is awaiting further action in the Senate, the sense of Congress is clear – these invasive methods are not the best use of TSA resources.
In light of our serious concerns regarding the agency’s use of invasive tactics, I joined several of my colleagues in Congress to request that the House Homeland Security Committee conduct a hearing on the new TSA procedures.
It is unfortunate terrorism from abroad has brought us to this point. Rest assured, I am committed to securing our nations’ airlines and preventing another terrorist attack, as well as to protecting your Constitutional rights. Representing an area with several major airports, I have tried to help protect, control, and monitor changes made for better security, without infringing on the very freedoms for which we are fighting. I will continue to support legislation that will strengthen our borders, protect our ports, and help prepare the nation in case of a terror attack.
Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me. I appreciate having the opportunity to represent you in the U.S. House of Representatives. Please feel free to visit my website (www.house.gov/burgess) or contact me with any future concerns.
Michael C. Burgess, M.D.
Member of Congress
The laws of war are the rule of law. They are not a suspension of the Constitution. They are the Constitution operating in wartime. The Framers understood that there would be wars against enemies of the United States—it is stated explicitly in the Constitution’s treason clause (Art. III, Sec. 3). The American people understand that we have enemies, even if Washington sees them as political “engagement” partners waiting to happen. Americans also grasp that war is a political and military challenge that the nation has to win, not a judicial proceeding in which your enemies are presumed innocent. The rule of law is not and has never been the rule of lawyers—especially lawyers we can’t vote out of office when they say we must let trained terrorists move in next door.
As for privacy, Americans are not as self-absorbed as ACLU staffers—who, by the way, reserve the right to search your bags before you enter their offices. If you fret about privacy, it’s Obamacare that ought to give you sleepless nights. The lefties who’ve told us for nearly 40 years since Roe v. Wade that the government can’t come between you and your doctor are now saying you shouldn’t be able to get to a doctor except through the government, which will decide if you’re worth treating—that is an invasion of privacy. Penetrating enemy communications, on the other hand, is what Americans think of as self-defense. It’s what we’ve done in every war in our history. It’s what common sense says we must do to win. And when America goes to war, Americans want to win.
And our reputation in the international community? Reputation with whom? Sharia states where they stone adulterers, brutalize homosexuals, and kill their own daughters in the name of honor? Rogue regimes where exhibitions of American weakness are taken as license to mutilate? Euro-nannies who rely on us for protection because they’re without the will and the resources to do the job themselves? They ought to worry about their own reputations. In the United States, only the blame-America-first crowd gives an Obama-dollar what they think. That crowd does not include about 80 percent of Americans who look around at their country, look at the teeming masses trying to get into it, and figure this is a pretty good place after all.
Our armed forces have become exquisitely sensitive—toward Nidal Malik Hasan and Ahmed Hashim Abed, and one wonders who else. Such sensitivity comes at a price, of course. But for now, at least, that price won’t be paid by those who set the policy.
The SEALs would’ve been better off if they’d just shot the guy dead.
Eric Holder’s move to try the 9/11 masterminds in Manhattan makes it official: This administration has reverted to pre-9/11 “crime” fighting.
Amid all the talk during the attorney general’s surreal press conference of the “crime” committed eight years ago, the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon wasn’t even mentioned.
Lest anyone forget, the military headquarters of the United States was attacked that day along with the Twin Towers.
An entire wedge of the Ring was gutted when the Saudi hijackers slammed American Airlines Flight 77 into it. Nearly 200 military personnel were killed, along with the passengers and crew of the hijacked jet.
The jet was a weapon used to attack the very center of our military. That was not a “crime,” as some say. It was an act of war.
And 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, along with the four other al-Qaida terrorist co-conspirators Holder wants to try, are no mere criminals. They are enemy combatants — and should be treated as such.
Holder clucked that the “trials will be open to the public and the world.” And they will turn into circuses, playing right into the hands of the enemy.
These trials will drag on for years, perhaps even decades, as defense lawyers file endless motions and appeals. Meanwhile, valuable intelligence about interrogation techniques and other methods we’ve used against al-Qaida will be revealed to the enemy during trial discovery.
This move to a civilian court makes no sense at all, except viewed through a political prism.
Spencer: Political correctness would have us believe that the Koran is a book of peace, and that anyone who says otherwise is “bigoted,” “hateful,” and “Islamophobic.” But is it, really? What the Koran really says can easily be verified. If the Koran really curses Jews and Christians (9:30) and calls for warfare against them in order to bring about their subjugation (9:29), it is not “Islamophobic” to forewarn Infidels by pointing this out. It is simply a fact. And it should go without saying that it is not a fact that should move any reader of my book to hate anyone. The fact that the Koran counsels warfare against unbelievers should move readers to act in defense of freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the legal equality of all people, before it is too late.
But most government and media analysts dare not even question the assumption that the Koran is peaceful, for they believe that any insinuation to the contrary is racist, bigoted, and effectively brands all Muslims as terrorists. In other words, they think the implications of the possibility that the Koran teaches warfare against unbelievers are too terrible to even contemplate. Thus, many policymakers simply assume the Koran teaches peace without bothering to study the text. They do this to their own peril — and ours.
Jennifer Rubin, in Commentary:
[I]t suggests that Obama is in his own make-believe world in which dialogue, “respect,” and smart diplomacy are met with goodwill, reciprocal gestures and acts of loving kindness. It suggests that the president has constructed an approach to foreign policy that is divorced from reality. Well, what to do about this?
Perhaps we should try something else. […] Maybe it’s time to reverse decisions to curtail missile defense programs. In other words, respond to the world as we are experiencing it rather than pursuing a fruitless policy of talk, talk, talk with people who don’t want to listen.
This looks good.
“Brothers at War is an intimate portrait of an American family during a turbulent time. Jake Rademacher sets out to understand the experience, sacrifice, and motivation of his two brothers serving in Iraq. The film follows Jake’s exploits as he risks everything—including his life—to tell his brothers’ story.
“Often humorous, but sometimes downright lethal, Brothers at War is a remarkable journey where Jake embeds with four combat units in Iraq. Unprecedented access to US and Iraqi combat units take him behind the camouflage curtain with secret reconnaissance troops on the Syrian border, into sniper ‘hide sites’ in the Sunni Triangle, through raging machine gun battles with the Iraqi Army.
“Ultimately, the film follows his brothers home where separations and life-threatening work ripple through their parents, siblings, wives, and children. Brothers at War is a rare look at the bonds and service of our soldiers on the frontlines and the profound effects their service has on the loved ones they leave behind. For more information please visit - www.brothersatwarmovie.com.”
The film is executive produced by Gary Sinise (CSI: New York, “Lt. Dan” in Forrest Gump), who said, “The media took the 15 people of Abu Ghraib and made them the face of the military. This [movie] is a true portrait of our military and their families.”
Thanks to the best wife in the world, my Valentine’s Day gift arrived three days early. Last night I was privileged, along with a couple hundred others, to spend some time with General Charles “Chuck” Yeager.
General Yeager has long been a hero of mine. He was one of many reasons I entered Air Force ROTC in college. His exploits, as portrayed in The Right Stuff, kept my friend Matt and I up late into the night on more than one occasion. When she learned he was going to be in town as part of a fundraiser for the C.R. Smith Museum, my wife thought I would enjoy attending, and oh, was she ever right.
We watched a 20-minute clip from a DVD about the general, and then he spoke for about an hour and a half, discussing his experiences from World War II onward, and taking questions from the audience.
Some of his recollections and observations that I can remember, in no particular order:
General Yeager has flown nearly every aircraft in the Air Force inventory, and myriads of planes that never made it in to service.
His favorite jet currently in American service is the F-15E. Given his opinions, one can surmise that he believes taxpayer resources would have been better spent upgrading and improving this aircraft, rather than investing in the F-22 and F-23. He referred to the F-22 specifically, as well as the F-16, as “great for air shows,” but not so great for modern air combat.
In October of last year, he went to France and flew the Airbus A380. General Yeager was very impressed with the “hotel with wings” (his words), and its stability. He told us of the flight tests he took part in with the water drums loaded throughout the fuselage (to simulate passenger and equipment weights), and how they would be moved about to change the plane’s center of gravity, and the 380 would take it all in stride.
During the Airbus visit, he was reunited with some of the Maquis resistance fighters who’d sheltered him for three months after he was shot down over southern France. “There’s not many of them left; they’re all older than me.”
He’s convinced France is the second-best country in modern aviation, behind the United States.
He lamented the consolidation of the aircraft industry in the U.S. When he was a test pilot, flying 25-30 different aircraft each month, the Defense Department could choose from myriad contractors: Lockheed, North American, Grumman, Corvair, Rockwell, Boeing, Bell, Martin, and McDonnell Douglas. It was extremely competitive, and the country was rewarded with the best possible aircraft for the best possible price. Now the industry has contracted to only three players, and these companies are free to “fleece” the government.
On shooting down a Me 262 during World War II: while on a mission, Yeager’s squadron encountered several 262s, but none engaged the P-51s. While passing over a particular area, the squadron came under antiaircraft fire. While spying where the flak was coming from, Yeager noted the guns were protecting a small airfield, and he saw 262s on the ground. He also saw a 262 coming in for a landing. He then lined up behind the 262 and destroyed it; “not very sportmanslike, but what the hell” was the general’s sentiment. He noted with amusement that an antiaircraft battery at the end of the runway had turned its gun on him, now racing down the length of the runway about six feet off the deck, and, missing his Mustang, was hitting its own hangars at the opposite end of the field.
He thought Tom Wolfe’s portrayal of him and the Air Force in The Right Stuff was accurate; “pretty much how it really was.” On NASA, the German scientists who helped build the rockets, Vice-President Johnson: not so much. “There was a lot of embellishment.” (Yeager was a technical adviser for the movie, and flew several of the featured aircraft for the film.)
Regarding the early period of space flight research in the U.S.: the Air Force owned the space program. They were in charge of all the training of pilots-cum-astronauts, ran the test facilities and aircraft, all on a miniscule budget. They did all of this with nary a mention in the press. Then Sputnik went up, Eisenhower made space a priority, NASA was born out of NACA, and the place became a bureaucratic and budgetary mess “and has been that way since.” I gathered that he thought it outrageous that each of the original Mercury astronauts got his own press agent. Yeager has a very strong opinion about the space program, from which one might surmise that today it would be a very different, and likely much more successful, animal if it were still under the Air Force’s purview.
He does not regret ever going into space. He is especially proud that the men who came through the USAF Aerospace Research Pilot School, of which he was the first commandant, were among the Gemini, Apollo, and Space Shuttle astronaut crews.
Though he retired from the Air Force in 1975, he continued to test fly for the Air Force. His payment was a dollar a year. When presented with the offer, Yeager says his only response was “I don’t have to pay for the fuel, do I?” He’s also performed test flights for many private companies, including foreign ones (viz: Airbus, above).
Regarding his selection to fly the X-1: his dad was a natural gas driller in West Virginia, and as a 12 year-old, Yeager would help his dad repair dome regulators, which lowered the pressure of the gas so it could be more easily sent through pipes, atop drilled wells. Part of the gas system for the X-1’s rockets included the same type of dome regulators. Yeager contends “In some ways, I knew the X-1’s fuel system better than the guys who designed and built it, because I grew up with it.” His background knowledge factored in to his selection.
After three months in southern France, the Maquis resistance managed to get Yeager across the Pyrennes into Spain. Spain was neutral at the time, along with Switzerland and Sweden. Combatants who ended up in these countries were expected to pretty much ride out the war there. Spain had no petroleum resources of its own at the time, and due to the war, was having difficulty importing it. The U.S. agreed to an exchange of petroleum for several pilots, including Yeager, who had ended up there. The general joked, “Now I don’t know how many barrels each of us was worth…”
Improvement in technology aside, Yeager is indignant over the number of troops injured and killed by IEDs over the past few years on Iraq. He told us about how the Air Force used to assist the troops on the ground in the removal—via detonation/destruction—of roadside mines during Vietnam. (This involved the Bird Dog observer aircraft spotting and marking new disturbances in the ground alongside the roads, with ground attack aircraft following, strafing the marked positions.) He rhetorically wondered why something similar wasn’t being done in Iraq, and contends it’s because those running the war for the various services didn’t serve in Vietnam.
His last flight in a military jet of any kind was on 18 September 2007. Looking back through old flight logs, he discovered his first official flight in a military aircraft of any kind was 18 September 1942. He was obviously pleased with this 65-year run of flying military aircraft.
He’s a modest man who doesn’t look at his accomplishments in the same light as the rest of us. One can understand that; living in the moment, you oftentimes fail to appreciate it for what it was at the time it happened. Yeager contends that he was simply in the right place at the right time, with the right set of skills.
Given that General Yeager’s 86th birthday will be on Friday, the 13th, a cake was brought out and the entire audience sang “Happy Birthday” to him. He thought it was a kick. He mingled briefly afterward, and had a slice of cake. There was no official signing or greeting line; the general either hadn’t planned to, or was too tired, to sign books and other items. All perfectly understandable.
It was disappointing to not be able to greet General Yeager personally, shake his hand, and thank him for his decades of service. But I am not disappointed in the overall experience. It was fantastic! If you ever have the chance to meet with General Yeager or hear him speak, do not miss such an opportunity with an authentic American hero.
Much love and thanks to Kelly for making last night possible for me! I love you, sweetheart!
Obama’s busy expanding all of the rest of the government except for its primary, Constitutional mission: defending the nation.
With several friends serving our country in the armed forces, I can only pray they continue to have jobs until they are ready to leave the service.
Reducing our troop strength solely on the basis of trends in violence also misses the critical point that the mission of American forces in Iraq is shifting rapidly from counterinsurgency to peace enforcement. The counter-insurgency fight that characterized 2007 continues mainly in areas of northern Iraq. The ability of organized enemy groups, either Sunni or Shia, to conduct large-scale military or terrorist operations and to threaten the existence of the Iraqi government is gone for now. No area of Iraq today requires the massive, violent, and dangerous military operations that American and Iraqi forces had to conduct over the last 18 months in order to pacify various places or restore them to government control. Although enemy networks and organizations have survived and are regrouping, they will likely need considerable time to rebuild their capabilities to levels that pose more than a local challenge—and intelligent political, economic, military, and police efforts can prevent them from rebuilding at all.
American troops continue to conduct counterterrorism operations against Al Qaeda in Iraq, which has not given up, and against Iranian-backed Special Groups, which are also reconstituting. U.S. forces support Iraqi forces conducting counterinsurgency operations in the handful of areas where any significant insurgent capability remains. But mostly our troops are enforcing the peace.
In ethnically mixed areas, American troops are seen as impartial arbiters and mediators. In predominantly Shia or Sunni areas, they are seen as guarantors of continued safety, destroying the justification for illegal militias. American brigades also play critical roles in economic reconstruction, not by spending American money but by helping Iraqis spend their own money. American staffs help local Iraqi leaders develop prioritized lists of their needs, budgets to match those priorities, and plans for executing those budgets. American troops support the Provincial Reconstruction Teams that mentor Iraqi provincial leaders and help local communities communicate their needs to the central government. American soldiers provide essential support to Iraqi soldiers and police working hard to develop their ability to function on their own.
Indeed, American combat brigades have become the principal enablers of economic and political development in Iraq. When an American brigade is withdrawn from an area, there is nothing to take its place—all of these functions go unperformed. Clearly, then, the number of brigades needed in Iraq should be tied not to the level of violence but to the roles the Americans perform and the importance of those roles to the further development of Iraq as a stable and peaceful state.
[Emphasis added. —R]
“[L]et us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us re-consecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.” —Dwight Eisenhower
Clifford D. May, A Hundred Years of War?:
A hundred years from now, Americans might still be fighting militant Islamists in Iraq and other places. What could be worse than that? A hundred years from now, America and the West could have been defeated by militant Islamists.
Al-Qaeda, Iran’s ruling mullahs, Hezbollah, and others militant jihadis have told us what they are fighting for. The well-known Islamist, Hassan al-Banna, described the movement’s goals succinctly: “to dominate…to impose its laws on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet.” He said that in 1928. Who would have believed then that his heirs would acquire the wealth, power, and lethality they enjoy today? Who can say where they may be 100 years from now? Who can say where the West will be? Survival is not an entitlement. Freedom must be earned by every generation.
It is said that generals always fight the last war. But when David Petraeus came to town it was senators — on both sides of the aisle — who battled over the Iraq war of 2004-2006. That war has little in common with the war we are fighting today.
I may well have spent more time embedded with combat units in Iraq than any other journalist alive. I have seen this war — and our part in it — at its brutal worst. And I say the transformation over the last 14 months is little short of miraculous.
The change goes far beyond the statistical decline in casualties or incidents of violence. A young Iraqi translator, wounded in battle and fearing death, asked an American commander to bury his heart in America. Iraqi special forces units took to the streets to track down terrorists who killed American soldiers. The U.S. military is the most respected institution in Iraq, and many Iraqi boys dream of becoming American soldiers.
We know now that we can pull off a successful counterinsurgency in Iraq. We know that we are working with an increasingly willing citizenry. But counterinsurgency, like community policing, requires lots of boots on the ground. You can’t do it from inside a jet or a tank.
Over the past 15 months, we have proved that we can win this war. We stand now at the moment of truth. Victory — and a democracy in the Arab world — is within our grasp. But it could yet slip away if our leaders remain transfixed by the war we almost lost, rather than focusing on the war we are winning today.
“It is the madness of folly, to expect mercy from those who have refused to do justice; and even mercy, where conquest is the object, is only a trick of war; the cunning of the fox is as murderous as the violence of the wolf.” — Thomas Paine (The American Crisis, No. 1, 19 December 1776)
Reference: Thomas Paine: Collected Writings, Foner ed., Library of America (97)
Just seems like something to keep in mind regarding our jihadist enemies…
[T]he world seems to have all but forgotten an Israeli town situated on the border with Gaza that has been under withering and nearly non-stop attack. Sderote has actually been hit with more than 100 Palestinian terror rockets and mortars this week and with more than 1,500 rockets since Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in June. Yet where is the outrage? Where is the international condemnation of the terrorists and the states who support them? How can either side — the Israeli people or the Palestinians who do want peace and security for both sides — ever make peace until these radical Islamic jihadists are stopped?
Read that again. It was a case of mistaken identity; a five year-old boy has the same name as another individual who is on the no-fly list. The Consumerist adds:
When his mother went to pick him up and hug him and comfort him during the proceedings, she was told not to touch him because he was a national security risk. They also had to frisk her again to make sure the little Dillinger hadn’t passed anything dangerous weapons or materials to his mother when she hugged him.
For those of you wondering, “Why the heck would they do all this?”, Bruce Schneier has the answer:
The explanation is simple: to the TSA, following procedure is more important than common sense. But unfortunately, catching the next terrorist will require more common sense than it will following proper procedure.
[Emphasis added. —R]
It’s all theater. It does nothing to protect the public; it simply pulls the wool over the eyes of those who choose to not think about it, to make those sheeple feel better. Five year-olds do not pull off terrorist acts, nor are they engaged in chatter with sleeper cells, which land them on a no-fly list. Any five year-old could figure that out. Okay, that’s not fair. Five year-olds might have a hard time figuring it out. But I know an eight year-old who’d know it was wrong…
“September 11, 2001, was a defining moment in American history. On that terrible day, our nation saw the face of evil as 19 men barbarously attacked us and wantonly murdered people of many races, nationalities, and creeds. On Patriot Day, we remember the innocent victims, and we pay tribute to the valiant firefighters, police officers, emergency personnel and ordinary citizens who risked their lives so others might live. After the attacks on 9/11, America resolved that we would go on the offense against our enemies, and we would not distinguish between the terrorists and those who harbor and support them. All Americans honor the selfless men and women of our Armed Forces, the dedicated members of our public safety, law enforcement and intelligence communities, and the thousands of others who work hard each day to protect our country, secure our liberty and prevent future attacks. The spirit of our people is the source of America’s strength, and six years ago, Americans came to the aid of neighbors in need. On Patriot Day, we pray for those who died and for their families. We volunteer to help others and demonstrate the continuing compassion of our citizens. On this solemn occasion, we rededicate ourselves to laying the foundation of peace with confidence in our mission and our free way of life.” —President George W. Bush
“[A]s we approach the sixth anniversary of Sept. 11, there are suggestions that we should begin to forget the worst terrorist incident in America’s history. Recently, a front-page story in The New York Times suggested it is becoming too much of a burden to remember the attack, that nothing new can be said about it and that, perhaps, Sept. 11 ‘fatigue’ may be setting in.
“9/11 forces us to be serious, not only about those who died and why they died at the hands of religious fanatics, but also so that we won’t forget that it could very well happen again and many of today’s living might end up as yesterday’s dead. That is the purpose of remembering 9/11, not to engage in perpetual mourning. The war goes on and to be reminded of 9/11 serves as the ultimate protection against forgetfulness. Terrorists have not forgotten 9/11. Tape of the Twin Towers is used on jihadist Websites for the purpose of recruiting new ‘martyrs.’
“What’s the matter with some people? Does remembering not only 9/11 but the stakes in this world war interfere too much with our pursuit of money, things and pleasure? Serious times require serious thought and serious action. In our frivolous times, full of trivialities and irrelevancies, to be serious is to abandon self-indulgence for survival, entertainment for the stiffened spine.
“Not to remember 9/11, is to forget what brought it about.” —Cal Thomas
“Last week The New York Times carried a story about the current state of the 9/11 lawsuits. Relatives of 42 of the dead are suing various parties for compensation, on the grounds that what happened that Tuesday morning should have been anticipated. The law firm Motley Rice, diversifying from its traditional lucrative class-action hunting grounds of tobacco, asbestos and lead paint, is promising to put on the witness stand everybody who ‘allowed the events of 9/11 to happen.’ And they mean everybody—American Airlines, United, Boeing, the airport authorities, the security firms—everybody, that is, except the guys who did it.
“According to the Times, many of the bereaved are angry and determined that their loved one’s death should have meaning. Yet the meaning they’re after surely strikes our enemies not just as extremely odd but as one more reason why they’ll win. You launch an act of war, and the victims respond with a lawsuit against their own countrymen. But that’s the American way: Almost every news story boils down to somebody standing in front of a microphone and announcing that he’s retained counsel…[T]hose 9/11 families should know that, if you want your child’s death that morning to have meaning, what matters is not whether you hound Boeing into admitting liability but whether you insist that the movement that murdered your daughter is hunted down and the sustaining ideological virus that led thousands of others to dance up and down in the streets cheering her death is expunged from the earth
“On this sixth anniversary, as 9/11 retreats into history, many Americans see no war at all.” —Mark Steyn
Dear American Soldier in Iraq:
There are a few things you should know about how tens of millions of us back home feel about you and the fight you are waging. These things need to be said…
What has happened is that many Americans, for all sorts of reasons—some out of simple fatigue, some because they do not believe that war solves anything, some out of deep loathing for the present administration—do not believe that what you are doing is worth doing. You know that what you are doing is worth continuing…
You know that you are fighting the most vicious and primitive ideology in the world today. It is the belief that one’s God wants his followers to maim, torture and murder in order to spread a system of laws that sends societies back to a moral and intellectual state that is pre-civilization. You know that the war you wage against these people and their totalitarian ideology is also necessary because a society unwilling to fight for its values does not have values worth sustaining…
We see you as the best and brightest of our society. Even The New York Times, one of the mainstream media publications that do not understand the epic battle you are waging, acknowledged in an article by one of its embedded correspondents that few Americans of your age can come close to you in maturity, wisdom or leadership abilities. It is unfortunate that the battle for moral clarity and moral courage in America is as divisive as the battle for freedom is in Iraq. But that is the nature of the world we live in. And it has ever been so…
You probably knew all this. But you need to hear it anyway.
That, and thank you. Thank you very much.
Mark Steyn, in the introduction to America Alone:
1970 doesn’t seem that long ago. If you’re in you fifties or sixties, as many of the chaps running the Western world are wont to be, your pants are narrower than they were back then and your hair’s less groovy, but the landscape of your life—the look of your house, the layout of your car, the shape of your kitchen appliances, the brand names of the stuff in the fridge—isn’t significantly different. And yet that world is utterly altered. Just to recap those bald statistics: in 1970, the developed nations had twice as big a share of the global population as the Muslim world: 30 percent to 15 percent. By 2000, they were at parity: each had about 20 percent.
And by 2020?
September 11, 2001, was not “the day everything changed,” but the day that revealed how much had already changed. On September 10, how many journalists had the Council on American-Islamic Relations or the Canadian Islamic Congress or the Muslim Council of Britian in their Rolodexes? If you’d said that whether something does or does not cause offense to Muslims would be the early twenty-first century’s principal political dynamic in Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and the United Kingdom, most folks would have thought you were crazy. Yet on that Tuesday morning the top of the iceberg bobbed up and toppled the Twin Towers.
This book is about the seven-eighths below the surface—the larger forces at play in the developed world that have left Europe too enfeebled to resist its remorseless transformation into Eurabia and that call into question the future of much of the rest of the world, including the United States, Canada, and beyond. The key factors are:
- Demographic decline
- The unsustainability of the advanced Western social-democratic state
- Civilizational exhaustion
Let’s start with demography, because everything does.
I’m already enthralled.
The Global War on Terror is not about revenge for 9/11. It’s not about an eye for an eye. It’s not even about eradicating the Taliban. It’s about fighting against the same sort of Master Race mentality that made the Imperial Japanese and Nazi Germany a threat to our people and our way of life. We are the infidels. We are the subhumans to the Islamic sense of racial elitism.
I confess, though I always picked up the superiority aspect of radical Islam, I hadn’t thought of it in the terms of Muslims being a “master race”.
“In the annals of American history, only a few events are so well-known and so deeply rooted in national remembrance that the mere mention of their date suffices to describe them. Of these occurrences, none could have had more significance for our Nation than December 7, 1941. On that Sunday morning… the Imperial Japanese Navy launched an unprovoked, surprise attack upon units of the Armed Forces of the United States stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
“This attack claimed the lives of 2,403 Americans, wounded 1,178 more, and damaged our naval capabilities in the Pacific. Such destruction seared the memory of a generation and galvanized the will of the American people in a fight to maintain our right to freedom without fear. Every honor is appropriate for the courageous Americans who made the supreme sacrifice for our Nation at Pearl Harbor and in the many battles that followed in World War II. Their sacrifice was for a cause, not for conquest; for a world that would be safe for future generations. Their devotion must never be forgotten.” —Ronald Reagan
Today is Veteran’s Day, and we offer our heartiest and most humble thanks for those who have served, and those who are currently serving, in our nation’s armed forces.
“Across America, there are more than 25 million veterans. Their ranks include generations of citizens who have risked their lives while serving in military conflicts, including World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf and the war on terror. They have fought for the security of our country and the peace of the world. They have defended our founding ideals, protected the innocent and liberated the oppressed from tyranny and terror. They have known the hardships and the fears and the tragic losses of war. Our veterans know that in the harshest hours of conflict they serve just and honorable purposes. Every veteran has lived by a strict code of discipline. Every veteran understands the meaning of personal accountability and loyalty and shared sacrifice. From the moment you repeated the oath to the day of your honorable discharge, your time belonged to America; your country came before all else.” —President George W. Bush
This was in my inbox this morning.
The Monsters and the Weak
by Michael Marks
The sun beat like a hammer, not a cloud was in the sky.
The mid-day air ran thick with dust, my throat was parched and dry.
With microphone clutched tight in hand and cameraman in tow,
I ducked beneath a fallen roof, surprised to hear “stay low.”
My eyes blinked several times before in shadow I could see,
the figure stretched across the rubble, steps away from me.
He wore a cloak of burlap strips, all shades of grey and brown,
that hung in tatters till he seemed to melt into the ground.
He never turned his head or took his eye from off the scope
but pointed through the broken wall and down the rocky slope.
“About eight hundred yards,” he said, his whispered words concise,
“beneath the baggy jacket he is wearing a device.”
A chill ran up my spine despite the swelter of the heat,
“You think he’s gonna set it off along the crowded street?”
The sniper gave a weary sigh and said “I wouldn’t doubt it,”
“unless there’s something this old gun and I can do about it.”
A thunderclap, a tongue of flame, the still abruptly shattered;
while citizens that walked the street were just as quickly scattered.
Till only one remained, a body crumpled on the ground,
The threat to oh so many ended by a single round.
And yet the sniper had no cheer, no hint of any gloat,
instead he pulled a logbook out and quietly he wrote.
“Hey, I could put you on TV, that shot was quite a story!”
But he surprised me once again - “I got no wish for glory.”
“Are you for real?” I asked in awe, “You don’t want fame or credit?”
He looked at me with saddened eyes and said “you just don’t get it.”
“You see that shot-up length of wall, the one without a door?
Before a mortar hit, it used to be a grocery store.”
“But don’t go thinking that to bomb a store is all that cruel,
the rubble just across the street - it used to be a school.
The little kids played soccer in the field out by the road,”
His head hung low, “They never thought a car would just explode.”
“As bad as all this is though, it could be a whole lot worse,”
He swallowed hard, the words came from his mouth just like a curse.
“Today the fight’s on foreign land, on streets that aren’t my own,
I’m here today ‘cause if I fail, the next fight’s back at home.”
“And I won’t let my Safeway burn, my neighbors dead inside,
don’t wanna get a call from school that says my daughter died;
I pray that not a one of them will know the things I see,
nor have the work of terrorists etched in their memory.”
“So you can keep your trophies and your fleeting bit of fame,
I don’t care if I make the news, or if they speak my name.”
He glanced toward the camera and his brow began to knot,
“If you’re looking for a story, why not give this one a shot.”
“Just tell the truth of what you see, without the slant or spin;
that most of us are OK and we’re coming home again.
And why not tell our folks back home about the good we’ve done,
how when they see Americans, the kids come at a run.”
“You tell ‘em what it means to folks here just to speak their mind,
without the fear that tyranny is just a step behind;
Describe the desert miles they walk in their first chance to vote,
or ask a soldier if he’s proud, I’m sure you’ll get a quote.”
He turned and slid the rifle in a drag bag thickly padded,
then looked again with eyes of steel as quietly he added;
“And maybe just remind the few, if ill of us they speak,
that we are all that stands between the monsters and the weak.”
Two members of the U.S. Navy SEALs, killed fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, will be posthumously awarded the Navy Cross, the service’s second-highest medal. Danny Dietz and Matthew Axelson, along with a third SEAL, Michael Murphy, were killed while fighting a large enemy force, giving a fourth SEAL teammate a chance to escape.
As the anniversary of September 11th approaches, let us also remember those who struck back at those who struck us, and in doing so, paid the ultimate price. Please consider a donation to the Naval Special Warfare Foundation or the Special Operations Warrior Foundation in names of Dietz, Axelson, and Murphy.
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” —John 15:13
From the “You’ve Got To Be Kidding Me Department”, Massachusetts State Police have lost eight ounces of Semtex being used in a drill for bomb-sniffing dogs.
More proof that more money can’t buy you intelligence. (Massachusetts has some of the highest tax rates in the nation.)
It does not require much observation to understand that there is a large faction on this planet that lives only to see Israel’s destruction. But to stand up in public and declare that Hezbollah is anything but a terrorist organization demonstrates how this deep this hatred runs, and how oblivious to truth these minds have become.
I keep thinking no politician can be as looney as Howard Dean, but then George Galloway keeps popping up to snatch the title.
Tel Aviv may be the economic and cultural capital of Israel, Jerusalem its political and symbolic capital. But the Galilee is where Israelis come to play, the forested and breezy getaway from the sweltering coast and the incessant dramas of everyday life in this region. Israelis were prepared to give up sandy Gaza and might also have been prepared to do the same with the rocky West Bank, if only the Palestinians would behave themselves. Yet places make a nation as much as principles do, and the Galilee was one place no Israeli could part with if his country was still going to be worth living in.
So even as terror-stricken residents of the north flee, the rest of the country is prepared to fight, whatever the cost: A recent poll found that 80% of Israelis support the present military operations, and three-quarters of those would be prepared to launch a full-scale invasion of Lebanon if that is what it takes to defeat Hezbollah. No similar consensus has existed among Israelis since the 1967 Six Day War.
Up in his winery, Mr. Haviv fears that if the war continues, he will have no one to tend the vines and take in the harvest, and an entire season’s worth of business will be ruined. Yet as we stand beside one of his fields, watching an Apache helicopter fire missiles at a Lebanese village visible in the far distance, he muses on what his decision to remain here means. “Being here is part of defending the country. If Hezbollah wins this, the terrorists win this war, and not just against us but against the free world. You think I’m coming down from here? Never.”
Once again, the Israelis seem to grasp the concept of unity in the Long War on Terror, while it eludes many in our nation.
This whole “Numa Numa” thing is out of control.
What swims at 20 miles per hour, can carve out hunks of human flesh, and will attack anything that moves? The Humboldt squid. Brace yourself for a dive with the eeriest beast in the ocean.
A fascinating read.
Jeff has an outstanding parable of the recent Hezbollah attacks on Israel.
If you’d like a first-person account of the Hezbollah attacks on Israel, and the Israeli response, head over to David Dolan’s site and subscribe to his e-mail list.
David is a Christian pastor and author who has been resident in Israel for many years. Last year, David spoke at our church, and even for someone like me, who has followed the Mideast conflict, and the region’s history, for many years, it was eye-opening.
It’s nice to see anti-Semitism alive and well at the Guardian. Then again, at least it’s nice to see a major media source wear its bias on its sleeve, rather than pretend it’s purely neutral.
Will Hutton decides to rebuke Israel for its recent incursions into Gaza, which netted eight cabinet members, thirty members of parliament, and thirty other officials of the Hamas-led Palestinian government, calling these acts, as well as the bombings of infrastructure targets in Gaza, a declaration of war by the Israeli state.
Memo to Mr. Hutton: Well, duh.
Hutton notes “Missiles from Gaza are regularly fired at Israel.” Yet in Hutton’s world, this apparently does not constitute an act of war against Israel by the Palestinian state, despite his earlier statement, “The Hamas government has not yet renounced its commitment to the elimination of Israel or to the use of terrorism.” The “elimination of Israel” as a tenant of what Hutton claims is a legitimate and sovereign government is not a “declaration of war”? I’m not sure how much clearer Hamas, and thus, the Palestinian people, who put Hamas in power, have to be in their declaration of war against Israel to satisfy Mr. Hutton.
Far from being, as Hutton claims, an inexcusable act of war, Israel’s bombings of and raids in to Gaza are more of what Israel needs to be doing to stand strong in the face of an enemy which seeks its utter annihilation. There may be a sliver of hope for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, if Palestinian Prime Minister Abbas were not being undermined by the Hamas majority in the government.
But when a majority of a nation seeks not only the defeat of its neighbor, but the elimination of that nation’s people, there is little reasoning that can be done with such persons to secure peace. Israel must project strength to protect itself, to assure the Palestinians and any other group or nation that it is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure “Never again.”
Writers such as Mr. Hutton would do well to pack away their double standards for the Israeli state and, well, “remain silent” would be the polite term.
Oh, by the way, there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. A lesser man might say something like, “Suck it, mouth-foamers”, but I’ll refrain from engaging in such childish behavior.
At journalism conferences, the question is often brought up whether a journalist should see himself as an American first or a journalist first. Often the consensus is that they are journalists first.
I wonder how many of them would report a story if it would mean the death of their own child. And would any of those reporters who would be journalists first in even that appalling instant cheerfully mis-report a story in order to cause the death of their child? I suspect virtually none would.
If only they loved their country’s young and willing warriors as much as they loved their own children.
But the journalists today are too swept up in their own dance macabre to even notice the murderous consequences of their own malfeasance — or to hear the demands of simple decency.
A majority of those who support the war on terror have long noted this war is with the fringe element of radical Islam, not the entire Muslim world. The Bush administration has made this point in countless speeches on the issue, to the point of nausea whenever the President says “religion of peace”.
Yet what are we to think about this, that it is only “radical” Islam we are fighting, when those supposedly in the mainstream of the Muslim faith, knowing of the spreading of jihadist propoganda in their midst, and perhaps even knowing of jihadist plans of attack, fail to alert the authorities regarding these matters? Is that not tantamount to collusion, and if so, does this not mean we are finding ourselves at war with the entire Muslim world?
From the You’ve-Got-To-Be-Kidding-Me Department, if you’re an illegal alien, get thee to Virginia!
Apparently, so long as you’re not commiting a felony, you won’t get detained and possibly deported. No state law “to make arrests solely on the basis of a person’s immigration status”? Is this a Twilight Zone episode? Is Alan Funt hiding in the bushes somewhere with the camera? Do not law enforcement officers make arrests based on federal law as well as state law? The state of Virginia may not do the prosecuting and deporting, but surely they should be doing the arresting, no?
“I’m sorry for the delay, Mr. Atta. Despite your expired visa, your paperwork for your radiation-materials transport van appears to be in order. Drive safely, and have a nice day.”
Why don’t we just give up right now and hand over the nuclear bomb the jihadists want to wipe us out with, complete with AAA road maps so they can miss the construction on their way to the District?
I wonder if the F-16 pilot who dropped the Zarqawi-killing bombs gets to collect the $25 million bounty. That would be a nice retirement package.
I don’t need anything else special to remember my wedding anniversary. Circumstances of life dictated that forever shall the day of our wedding be shared with that of the invasion of Normandy, and the enormous sacrifice made there by so many. Yesterday marked the second anniversary of President Reagan’s passing, I can think of no better words to remember D-Day, than those spoken by him on the fortieth anniversary of the invasion:
Forty summers have passed since the battle that you fought here. You were young that day and you took these cliffs; some of you were hardly more than boys, with the deepest joys of life before you. Yet, you risked everything here. Why? Why did you do it? What impelled you to put aside the instinct for self-preservation and risk your lives to take these cliffs? What inspired all the men of the armies that met here?
We look at you, and somehow we know the answer. It was faith and belief; it was loyalty and love. The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead or on the next. It was the deep knowledge—and pray God we have not lost it—that there is a profound moral difference between the use of force of liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer… You all knew that some things are worth dying for.
It says a lot about our nation in that too few of us think about those who have given their lives in military service, much less participate in events to commemorate them, on Memorial Day. This was what ran through my head as we drove the Maine coastline today, noting the hundreds, perhaps thousands, on the beaches of York.
To honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, I humbly offer these words from one of our greatest Presidents:
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that this nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow, this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
[With thanks to KnowledgeNews for the text of the Gettysburg Address.]
This likely has made its rounds through the blogosphere already, but I just read in the latest dead-tree edition of Wired that Choose Your Own Adventure books are getting republished, updated for the 21st century.
Though he’s not old enough yet to read on his own and appreciate them, I may have to pick up these titles for my little phisch. I had a great time with them when I was eleven, though I don’t believe I was ever able to successfully navigate The Abominable Snowman without “cheating”.
What happened to all that wreckage from the Twin Towers after 9/11? Twenty-four tons of steel girders ended up in one of the Navy’s latest ships.
There have been many acts of heroism in the Iraq War and continuing liberation that have gone under- or unreported by the media. One such underreported act is that of Paul Ray Smith, the only Medal of Honor winner of the conflict. Sergeant First Class Smith gave his life near the Saddam Hussein International Airport on 4 April 2003, defending his comrades and the wounded in a nearby aid station. Ralph Kinney Bennett has the story.
Vietnam-era traitor Jeffry House, now a “prominent human-rights lawyer” in Toronto, is helping current-day traitors flee from the service they voluntarily enlisted for. (I feel it worth noting that Mr. House is not performing this work pro bono.)
As a father, I can certainly feel for Jeremy Hinzman in that he doesn’t want to go to Iraq, get killed, and leave his son fatherless. I so totally get that.
The fact remains, however, that Mr. Hinzman voluntarily enlisted in the United States Army. Therefore, during the terms of his enlistment, he is to go where the Army tells him to go, even if it is to a place he doesn’t want to go because he thinks the United States, vis-a-vis its armed services, shouldn’t be there.
Mr. Hinzman had a chance to legally leave the Army, and he chose to stay. He should be returned to the United States to stand trial for desertion, and be sent to prison. It would appear the maximum sentence is only five years; still plenty of life to spend with his son.
Please note: You’re not allowed to call yourselves followers of a “religion of peace” if you riot and make death threats over a political cartoon.
A lot of people decry such statements, saying that this is the actions of some muslims, but not most of them. I’m still waiting for the major leaders of Islam to rise up and denounce such violence. Until that starts happening on a regular basis, I have a hard time believing those arguments.
A Patriot Post reader:
In their eagerness to inflict as much damage as possible to the Bush administration record, the Democrats once again are being reckless with the truth and with national security. Some say that the president is spying on American citizens. The president has made clear from the start that the wiretaps were limited to targeting communications from outside the country to individuals in the U.S. with known links to terrorist groups. It’s not an “unreasonable search” to look for the bad guys when fighting international terrorism. The Democrats don’t have a leg to stand on in this issue…and they know it.
How can the Democrats in all honesty criticize the president for intelligence failures and then attack him for being too aggressive in doing surveillance? How do you explain dismantling protections in the midst of a terror war? The Democrats by their duplicity are playing a very dangerous game that could derail the president’s strategy to defeat a deadly enemy. The Fourth Amendment to the constitution protects its citizens from “unreasonable searches and seizures” but who will protect us from “unreasonable” self-serving, seditious and self-destructive politicians?” —Fredericktown, Ohio
Dana Priest of The Washington Post sounds shocked - shocked! - to discover that George W. Bush ordered a complete remobilization and reinvigoration of the CIA immediately after September 11th:
The effort President Bush authorized shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, to fight al-Qaida has grown into the largest CIA covert-action program since the height of the Cold War, expanding in size and ambition despite a growing outcry at home and abroad over clandestine tactics…
This is news? Isn’t this just what W. told the country he would do in the aftermath of September 11th?
Apparently W. meant it. According to the Post’s Ms. Priest, the president signed an order six days after September 11th empowering American intelligence agencies in a way not seen since the Second World War.
Gosh, just as if we had suffered a surprise attack and thousands of our people had been killed in a second Pearl Harbor.
Do you think maybe the president decided to fight this like a world war because, far ahead of his critics, he realized we were in one?
John Fund has a note on Barbara Boxer’s Bush obsession in today’s Political Diary.
Some Democrats have become so obsessed with President Bush’s National Security Agency surveillance activities that they are putting the most rabid of the anti-Clinton Republicans of the 1990s to shame. Take Senator Barbara Boxer, the California Democrat who serves as her party’s Chief Deputy Whip. Last month, during the holiday season, she sent a letter to legal scholars asking their opinions as to whether the Bush NSA program should compel Congress to start impeachment hearings.
With the 2006 midterm elections now upon us, if the Democrats want the American public to take them seriously on matters of national security, perhaps they should quietly decide to make someone else the Chief Deputy Whip.
Ms. Boxer’s letter had been prompted by a December 16 appearance she made at Temple Emanuel in Los Angeles with former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean, who has since become a sort of understudy to former Attorney General Ramsey Clark in his willingness to ascribe all manner of evil intent to conservative presidents. Mr. Dean, who declared the Bush record on civil liberties “worse than Watergate,” told the Temple Emanuel audience that Mr. Bush is “the first president to admit to an impeachable offense.” Ms. Boxer called that “a startling assertion” worthy of Congressional attention. During her duet with Mr. Dean, she made her own startling statement, blurting out that she feared Mr. Bush “would prefer to do away with Congress,” calling for the House and Senate to be disbanded during wartime.
The “worse than Watergate” assertion would be one of the funniest things I’ve read today if it weren’t for Boxer’s own comment about Bush wanting to disband Congress. One has to wonder if she’s truly serious when she utters such nonsense, or is she simply playing to the anti-war radical left? Either way, I think it shows that Boxer isn’t fit for such a high position in one of this country’s two major political parties.
Democrats such as Ms. Boxer are in danger of being viewed as overheated and irrational in their reaction to the NSA story.
Ya think? I think we’re well past the “in danger of” stage.
A new Rasmussen poll finds that 32% of voters think our legal system worries too much about individual rights at the expense of national security. Another 27% say the current balance is about right. Only 29% say there is too much concern for national security at the expense of individual liberties and only one-third of Americans believe that Mr. Bush broke the law by authorizing the NSA to monitor phone calls between terrorist suspects. Only 26% believe that President Bush is the first to authorize a program allowing the NSA to intercept such calls.
If Ms. Boxer and Mr. Dean continue to urge Democrats down the impeachment route, they should recall how much the issue flopped for Republicans in the 1998 mid-term elections. Mr. Clinton became the first president since FDR to see his party gain seats during a mid-term election, in part because voters felt Republicans were spending too much time attacking him rather than addressing other issues.
[T]he establishment media clearly leans toward the view that the NSA leak was in the public interest. Unlike the Plame probe, the Justice Department career employees trying to investigate the NSA case can expect no laudatory editorials urging them to pursue their job relentlessly and, above all, no media bloodhounds conducting their own parallel investigations.
The old adage that politics should stop at the water’s edge was abandoned long ago. Now the idea that all of us, regardless of political stripe, have a stake in preventing harm to national security from unauthorized intelligence leaks seems to have similarly entered the dustbin of history.
The last major war the United States was involved in was Vietnam. The modern Democratic Party leadership all came of age during that war, as did most of the editorial staff in the manistream media. It wasn’t just a defining moment in the modern American left, it was the defining moment, the prism through which the left would view the world from that moment on. Vietnam was justification for every pacifist tendency that every liberal has ever had. When they said that war didn’t solve anything, they could point to Vietnam. When they wanted to show the consequences of war, they could point to Vietnam. When they wanted to show the failure of military force as a tool for political change, they could point to Vietnam. It was the last major war this country was ever involved in. Sure we’ve had military operations, from Grenada to the Gulf War to the Balkans, but Vietnam our last big one, and it was a war we ended up losing. Vietnam has been their de facto answer for everything for the past 30 years.
Iraq threatens their entire belief system.
[Emphasis added. —R]
Jeff takes the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s (“Intelligencer”? Granted, I know it’s a real word, but come one. Couldn’t you have just said “Reporter”?) Thomas Shapley—hereafter referred to as “Tom”—to task for the latter’s confusing of the Valerie Plame non-event and the recent leak on NSA surveillance:
How peculiar indeed that the President and his administration should respond differently to these two situations. How very odd that when something right out of the pages of a movie of the week crops up and administration opponents do their level best to capitalize on it in order to harm the President and obstruct his second-term agenda, that the administration should respond one way, but when a loose-lipped grudge-bearer calls up a reporter and blows the lid on an operation that saves American lives, the administration does something else entirely.
If I didn’t know better, I’d say the White House is doing its job, Tom.
In the great spectrum of Internet privacy dangers, “persistent cookies” sits on the weakest end. Spyware from free downloads cause more security problems than cookies, and even the ones used by the NSA can be blocked by any browser on the market. The AP uses the mistake to make cookies sound vaguely sinister when they’re almost as ubiquitous on the Internet as pop-up ads, if not more so. The Guardian gets even more hysterical, in all senses of the word, when it says that the “[e]xposure adds to pressure over White House powers”.
The silliest part of the story is that no one can understand why the cookies would present any danger to visitors to the NSA website. Both versions of the story call the risk to surfers “uncertain”, but a more accurate description would be “irrelevant”. Even if the NSA used it to track where casual visitors to its site surfed afterwards, it would discover nothing that any casual surfer wouldn’t already be able to access on their own with Google or a quick check on Free Republic. Now imagine who stops to check on the NSA website and try very hard to come up with any good reason to spend precious resources on scouring the web preferences of bloggers and privacy groups instead of focusing on real signal intelligence, which already comes in such volume that the agency has trouble keeping up with their primary task.
[Emphasis in the original.]
Jeff does an outstanding job of showing the flip side of the coin the press doesn’t want to admit:
Yes, the President is responsible for making the decision to go to war based in part on intelligence that turned out to be incomplete. But the President is also responsible for acting with swift resolve to unseat a brutal dictator, terrorist and friend to terrorists. He’s also responsible for having the sheer guts to go it alone when a great many of the West’s liberal democracies shirked their responsibility both as leaders of the world and as members of the Security Council of the United Nations. He’s also responsible for bringing Saddam Hussein to justice, for capturing or killing his cohorts in crime, for cutting off a huge source of funding to Palestinian murder gangs, for shattering Ansar al-Islam, and for freeing the Shiite people of Iraq from decades of illegitimate rule by a Stalinist political party. And in many ways, President Bush is personally responsible for bringing liberty to Iraq for the first time ever, and for changing the history of the Middle East, and the Arab and Muslim worlds.
The Democratic Party’s national leadership has plumbed a record depth in its search to score points against the Republicans. In the past week and a half, both House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean have called for the United States to surrender in Iraq. Not since George McGovern in 1972 has one party called for the United States military to surrender to an enemy during wartime.
Some will object to the word, “surrender,” but there is no other word to describe the immediate withdrawal of troops from the war zone in Iraq. The simple fact is that two of the nation’s three highest-ranking Democrats are advocating an enemy victory over U.S. forces in a foreign land. That not only is appalling in its contempt for the troops who have died to liberate Iraq, it is astonishing in its brazen disregard for the lives and well-being of the Iraqi people.
[Via Political Diary.]
Jeff points to Lorie Byrd’s recent column, and correctly notes how voters should want their elected officials to err: on the side of caution. What really stood out for me when I was reading Lorie’s piece, was this:
[I]t must be pointed out that Democrats are not to be trusted with the nation’s security. They have shown that not only will they endlessly debate until it is possibly too late but that after a military action has been initiated, in the face of difficulties and waning public support, many will back out and abandon the mission and the troops. The approach of the Democrats to the threat posed by Saddam Hussein as outlined in all of the intelligence reports available prior to the war in Iraq stands in stark contrast to that of the Bush administration.
Apparently Brownstein and Vaughn could not find one elected Democrat willing to defend the 2002 vote as right at the time and right in retrospect, which tells us a great deal about the Democrats and national security — primarily that they ought not to be allowed anywhere close to its control.
[Emphasis added. —R]
Happily for Mr Zarqawi, no matter how desperate the head-hackers get, the Western defeatists can always top them. A Democrat Congressman, Jack Murtha, has called for immediate US withdrawal from Iraq. He’s a Vietnam veteran, so naturally the media are insisting that his views warrant special deference, military experience in a war America lost being the only military experience the Democrats and the press value these days. Hence, the demand for the President to come up with an “exit strategy”.
In war, there are usually only two exit strategies: victory or defeat. The latter’s easier. Just say, whoa, we’re the world’s pre-eminent power but we can’t handle an unprecedently low level of casualties, so if you don’t mind we’d just as soon get off at the next stop.
Demonstrating the will to lose as clearly as America did in Vietnam wasn’t such a smart move, but since the media can’t seem to get beyond this ancient jungle war it may be worth underlining the principal difference: Osama is not Ho Chi Minh, and al-Qa’eda are not the Viet Cong. If you exit, they’ll follow. And Americans will die - in foreign embassies, barracks, warships, as they did through the Nineties, and eventually on the streets of US cities, too.
The tin-foil-hat crowd got one thing right after all: The American people have been systematically lied to since 9/11. Not by the President, but by the press.
As usual, Jeff says it better than I was thinking:
It’s as if we’ve got a country full of people who are walking around under the impression that the moon is made of green cheese, repeating it to each other, going on television talk shows to discuss the green cheese issue, publishing lengthy editorials in prominent newspapers about the implications of new revelations about lunar green cheese. It’s positively baffling.
Harry Reid pulled the Senate into closed session Tuesday, claiming that “The Libby indictment provides a window into what this is really all about, how this Administration manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to sell the war in Iraq.” But the Minority Leader’s statement was as demonstrably false as his stunt was transparently political.
What Mr. Reid’s pose is “really all about” is the emergence of the Clare Boothe Luce Democrats. We’re referring to the 20th-century playwright, and wife of Time magazine founder Henry Luce, who was most famous for declaring that Franklin D. Roosevelt had “lied us into war” with the Nazis and Tojo. So intense was the hatred of FDR among some Republicans that they held fast to this slander for years, with many taking their paranoia to their graves.
We are now seeing the spectacle of Bush-hating Democrats adopting a similar slander against the current President regarding the Iraq War. The indictment by Patrick Fitzgerald of Vice Presidential aide I. Lewis Libby has become their latest opening to promote this fiction, notwithstanding the mountains of contrary evidence.
Excellent article, with point-by-point facts which rebuff the “Bush lied” crowd, as well as exposing the outright hypocrisy of leading Democrats.
Al-Qa’ida murdered almost 3,000 Americans on U.S. soil in about an hour back in 2001—almost all of them civilians. The reason no additional American civilians have died in attacks on our homeland is that 150,000 uniformed American Patriots have formed a formidable front on al-Qa’ida’s turf, a very inhospitable region of the world. These Patriots are a proud breed—Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coastguardsmen—and they have chosen to stand in harm’s way in order to defend their families, their friends, their country.
In doing so, more than 2,000 of these brave souls have been killed.
This week, every mass media outlet took a break from their “CIA leak” promotion to run headlines and lead stories about the Iraq death toll reaching 2,000 (1,567 killed in action since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom, 19 March 2003)—as if the death of American Patriot number 1,999 was somehow less important. Typical was this headline from The New York Times: “2,000 Dead: As Iraq Tours Stretch On, A Grim Mark.” But not a whisper in the Leftmedia about the 3,870 Iraqi security forces killed in the last six months alone, in defense of their emerging democracy.
For The Patriot, every death of a member of our Armed Forces is equally devastating, and we mourn each one. Not a day passes without our prayers for both those standing in harm’s way, and their families.
The “dezinformatsia” machines promote this “milestone” for one reason only—to foment additional dissent and rally support against the Bush administration’s national-security strategy, which is to protect our homeland by taking the battle with Jihadis to their turf. In doing so, the Leftmedia has reduced the sacrifice of these young Patriots to nothing more than political fodder for their appeasement agenda.
On the night of 11 September 2001, President Bush told the nation, “We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.” He set in motion pre-emptive operations, which would become the “Bush Doctrine.” Our analysts continue to support the doctrine of pre-emption firmly as the best measured response to the Jihadi threat around the world.
As for those still “Stuck on Stupid”, insisting that there were no WMD found in Iraq, here’s a partial list of what didn’t make it out of Iraq before the invasion: 1.77 metric tons of enriched uranium, 1,700 gallons of chemical-weapon agents, chemical warheads containing the nerve agent cyclosarin, thousands of radioactive materials in powdered form designed for dispersal over population centers, artillery projectiles loaded with binary chemical agents, etc.
As The Patriot noted in October, 2002, our well-placed sources in the region and intelligence sources with the NSA and NRO estimated that the UN Security Council’s foot-dragging provided an ample window for Saddam to export some or all of his deadliest WMD materials and components. At that time, we reported that Allied Forces would be unlikely to discover Iraq’s WMD stores, noting, “Our sources estimate that Iraq has shipped some or all of its biological stockpiles and nuclear WMD components through Syria to southern Lebanon’s heavily fortified Bekaa Valley.”
In December of 2002, our senior-level intelligence sources re-confirmed estimates that some of Iraq’s biological and nuclear WMD material and components had, in fact, been moved into Syria and Iran. That movement continued until President Bush finally pulled the plug on the UN’s ruse.
To that end, we are deeply indebted to our Patriot Armed Forces, who have prevented al-Qa’ida or some other Jihadi terrorist cell from striking a U.S. urban center with WMD. Make no mistake—Islamofascists want to bring America to ruin, and they will use any means at their disposal to do so. Mr. President, stay the course.
[Emphasis added. —R]
Many explanations have been given to account for the almost matchless barbarism into which Palestinian society has descended in recent years. One is the effect of Israeli occupation and all that has, in recent years, gone with it: the checkpoints, the closures, the petty harassments, the targeted assassinations of terrorist leaders. I witnessed much of this personally when I lived in Israel, and there can be no discounting the embittering effect that a weeks-long, 18-hour daily military curfew has on the ordinary Palestinians living under it.
Yet the checkpoints and curfews are not gratuitous acts of unkindness by Israel, nor are they artifacts of occupation. On the contrary, in the years when Israel was in full control of the territories there were no checkpoints or curfews, and Palestinians could move freely (and find employment) throughout the country. It was only with the start of the peace process in 1993 and the creation of autonomous Palestinian areas under the control of the late Yasser Arafat that terrorism became a commonplace fact of Israeli life. And it was only then that the checkpoints went up and the clampdowns began in earnest.
In other words, while Palestinian actions go far to explain Israeli behavior, the reverse doesn’t hold.
If the president were to call for two plus two to equal four, the media would report that such a proposal had the support of only 42 percent of likely voters, and a slippage of even conservative support from 87 percent to 63 percent. Perhaps on the jump page, in the 38th inch of the story in the New York Times, they might get around to quoting a professor of mathematics from MIT to the effect that, in fact, the president was right that two plus two still equals four. But for television and radio break news, the story would end at the polling result, which is bad news for the president.
One doesn’t mind, so much, mainstream journalists being b-st-rds. It’s being such dumb b-st-rds that one finds so irksome.
“We live in circumstances our parents did not live in, or our grandparents. We live in a time in which there is no rival model to the American model for how to run a modern industrial commercial society. Socialism is gone. Fascism is gone. Al-Qaeda has no rival model about how to run a modern society. Al-Qaeda has a howl of rage against the idea of modernity.
“We began in 1945 an astonishingly clear social experiment: We divided the city of Berlin, the country of Germany, the continent of Europe, indeed the whole world, and we had a test. On one side was the socialist model that says that society is best run by edicts, issued from a coterie of experts from above.
“The American model, on the other hand, called for a maximum dispersal of decision-making and information markets allocating wealth and opportunity. The results are clear: We are here, they are not. The Soviet Union tried for 70 years to plant Marxism with bayonets in Eastern Europe. Today there are more Marxists on the Harvard faculty than there are in Eastern Europe.”
—George Will, “The Doctrine of Preemption,” from a speech delivered on 23 May 2005, at a Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar in Dallas, Texas (Reprinted by permission from Imprimis, the national speech digest of Hillsdale College.)
As Mr. Will stated, we had the test of socialism already. It didn’t work. Yet the Left in these United States still insist on socialist policies as means of moving our states and nation forward. What hubris. What do they think they know that will make these policies and institutions work here when they didn’t work elsewhere?
(Don’t bother pointing to Cuba, North Korea, or China, mouth-foamers. The first two aren’t true communist/socialist nations, as they are dependent upon the cult of personality of the leaders. The latter is, well, lucky to have figured out how to ingest just enough capitalism to keep the economy afloat, which further proves that Marxist communism/socialism does not work.)
No, the Defense Department isn’t shuttering personal blogs of soldiers, Marines, sailors, and airmen, but it is asking them to be more careful. I can understand the frustration some of our active-duty milbloggers must feel, but for security reasons, it is better to err on the side of caution and not post something the enemy could potentially use and exploit.
One of the many negative consequences of America’s defeat in The Vietnam War has been the uncontrolled proliferation of Vietnams since then.
Nicaragua threatened to become another Vietnam. Lebanon nearly became another Vietnam. Had Grenada been only slightly larger than a manhole cover and lasted one more hour, it would have become a Caribbean-Style Vietnam. The invasion of Panama was rapidly degenerating into a Narco-Vietnam, right up until we won. Likewise, the First Gulf War was certainly developing into another Vietnam, but then sadly, it ended quickly and with few casualties.
For people of a certain age or political stripe, Vietnam is like Elvis: it’s everywhere. For example, during a long wait at a Chinese Buffet in Georgetown in 1987, Ted Kennedy was reported to have exclaimed “QUAGMIRE!” and attempted to surrender to a Spanish-speaking busboy.
And that was probably the smart thing to do, because the lesson of Vietnam is: it is best to lose quickly, so as to avoid a quagmire.
If you liked what our quick, casualty-saving withdrawal from Somalia did for us at the Khobar Towers, at our embassies in East Africa, at the waterline of the USS Cole, and at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, then you’ll love what a quick “casualty-saving” withdrawal from Iraq will do for us for the next twenty years. It’ll finally make you stop worrying about Vietnam.
Read the entire column for Johnson’s thirteen edifying points, and stop saying every geopolitical event the United States gets involved in is going to disintegrate in to a Vietnamesque “quagmire.”
His latest book, The West’s Last Chance, is coming true before our very lives.
A committee appointed by the British government, composed of Muslims, wants the nation to scrap its Holocaust Memorial Day, in the name of inclusiveness and sensitivity. No word yet on whether they also want to eliminate Passover – said to be insensitive to Egyptians.
The committee recommends replacing the observance (started in 2001 and held annually on January 27) with a Genocide (a.k.a., Victimhood) Day, which would recognize the alleged mass murder of Muslims in “Palestine,” Chechnya, Bosnia, and wherever else followers of the Religion of Peace have come into conflict with the accursed infidel.
In making its case for inclusiveness, the committee somehow neglected to mention the many victims of Muslim mayhem – Armenians, Sudanese Christians, Kosovar Serbs (ethnically cleansed in the wake of NATO’s war on Yugoslavia), and Hindus – to name but a few. If an Arab stubbed his toe on the boot of a Christian knight sometime in the 11th century, it’s a crime against humanity that must be memorialized throughout the ages, according to the imams. On the other hand, the slaughter of infidels is seen as the will of Allah, and worthy of a Heavenly reward.
The committee maintains that Britain’s Holocaust Memorial Day fuels feelings of isolation and alienation among Muslim youth. And, well, to have a special commemoration of the systematic slaughter of one in every three Jews on earth (in an effort to annihilate an entire people), is grossly unfair, the committee suggests.
This is one of numerous matters that goes to the heart of the “clash of civilizations,” the premise of Blankley’s book. Muslims are not interested in assimilating, as has every other ethnicity or religion in the West. They are not interested in tolerating others who are, in the case of the Jews, non-Arab, or, in the case of everyone else, non-Muslim. The people of the West need to wake up to these facts, and quickly.
Surely, you say, not all Muslims feel this way. Surely this is simply those radical extremists the likes of bin Laden, right? Then why is there nothing but silence from the majority of supposedly peace-loving, tolerant, assimilated Muslims in the West?
Jon asked the question. (It makes me feel old to realize he’s talking about high school classes in his remarks.)
I was getting ready for work. Kel and I had just changed places in the shower; she was watching the Today show when they went live after the first plane it. While I was shaving, I watched the second plane fly in to the second tower.
“A second plane just hit!” I yelled in to the bathroom.
“What?!?!?” was the reply from my wife.
“The first plane was no accident,” I told her. The early speculation after the first plane struck was that it was an accident of some sort. I, and millions of others, knew right then it was no accident.
We both finished getting ourselves ready, watching the news the entire time. I was on the road to the office when the first tower fell. Tears were in my eyes, and the thought that kept running through my head was Those poor people…
I was at work for around an hour before they sent us home. At the time, my wife was working in the tallest building in downtown Dallas. Building management shut it down; my wife never even made it up to her office to be sent home. We spent the rest of the day in the living room, glued to the news.
Yesterday, Jeff said:
On another subject, tomorrow is the fourth anniversary of 9/11. What’s there to say about that? It seems like a lot of Americans would like to forget the events of that day. I don’t really blame them. Denial is a legitimate reaction to trauma. But I think we’d be better served by remembering than forgetting. I think we’d be better off taking the day tomorrow to think about what happened on that Tuesday morning four years ago, to remember the shock and the horror and the grief. Because I think that remembering it will honor the dead and fill us with a terrible resolve that nothing like it shall ever happen again.
Likewise, the Toad implores us to never forget.
Our pastor touched briefly on this in worship this morning. Our church is involved in several different areas of providing relief services to persons displaced by Katrina. We’ve adopted 22 families that have been relocated to the Dallas area, among other initiatives. One thing Tim told us was to keep a marathon mindset with regard to this help we were providing. Just as too many people in this nation lost sight of what 9/11 meant for our country, too many people will forget about the hundreds of thousands affected by Katrina in the coming months. We can forget neither.
Keep the long view in mind. Pace yourself; the war against the Islamofascists who attacked us on 9/11 will be a marathon, not a sprint. Do not forget.
Since you won’t hear about it any where else, Arthur Chrenkoff has the latest good news from Afghanistan. It is amazing how much is happening in this now-free nation in such a short amount of time. It truly shows the bias and if-it-bleeds-it-leads mentality of the mainstream press that these stories are not getting more coverage. We wrought this, America, through the service and sacrifice of our sons and daughters in the armed services. They should be proud. We all should be.
Chuck Hagel, Senator, Nebraska-D:
“We should start figuring out how we get out of there,” Hagel said on “This Week” on ABC. “But with this understanding, we cannot leave a vacuum that further destabilizes the Middle East. I think our involvement there has destabilized the Middle East. And the longer we stay there, I think the further destabilization will occur.”
Follow the good Senator’s logic with us:
So according to the good Senator from Nebraska—who cannot be questioned because he has “absolute moral authority” as a Purple Heart-receiving Vietnam veteran—we’re damned if we do, and damned if we don’t, so we may as well damn millions of other people while we’re at it.
What the hell is wrong with people like Senator Hagel, that they wish to condemn millions of people to (a) the constant worry that the dictator’s secret police will whisk them off to a torture room (Saddam’s Iraq), or (b) sudden U.S. withdrawal will plunge them in to a hard-line Islamofascist government (Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, Iran)?
The arguments over whether or not we should have gone in to Iraq are over, people. It’s done. There is no time machine, we can’t go back and change it. (And if we could, would you really? Can you honestly say the Iraqis are worse off now than under Saddam?)
It would be nice to bring most of the troops home. (Note, I did not say “all”. We should always maintain a presence in Iraq as we move in to the future.) However, we can not wholly withdraw overnight and allow the fledgling Iraqi republic to implode. The future of the United States is, for good or ill, now tied to the future of Iraq, and for the sons and daughters of both nations, we owe the Iraqis our continued support.
[Prompted and inspired by today’s Best of the Web.]
So sayeth the editors in this past Friday’s Federalist Patriot (link is a PDF):
The usual Demo-gogue suspects — Kennedy, Kerry and company — are increasing the tenor of their demands that the Bush administration commit to a timetable for withdrawing American troops from Iraq. A few misguided Republicans have even signed on to this legislative folly. Insisting that we cap our military support for the new Iraqi government is a dangerous political ploy intended to help Demos rally their peacenik constituency in the run-up to next year’s midterm elections. Dangerous, because challenging the administration to agree to a timetable only emboldens Jihadis, who would very much like to move the frontlines of the Long War from their turf to ours.
The Demos know President George Bush will not agree to such a timetable. As the president has said repeatedly, “Our exit strategy is to exit when our mission is complete.” Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld protests that any such deadline for withdrawal would “throw a lifeline to terrorists.” Indeed, but it is always easier to sell anti-war rhetoric like “give peace a chance” than it is to advocate peace through superior firepower, and to use force in defense of critical U.S. national interests.
For eight long years, the Clinton administration pursued a policy of appeasement, particularly in regard to Middle Eastern policy and pursuit of Islamic terrorists. Terrorists were classified as mere “criminals” then, including those Jihadi fanatics who first bombed the WTC’s north tower in 1993, who bombed the Khobar Towers in 1996, who bombed our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 and who bombed the USS Cole in2000. Consequently, Clinton’s negligent inaction emboldened this enemy, and the result was a devastating attack on our homeland just months after the Bush administration took office in 2001.
“Peace” had its chance under Clinton, but President Bush made the difficult decision to give war a chance. Remarkably, the outcome has, to date, pre-empted any further attacks on U.S. soil — which was, after all, its primary objective. The transition from an ineffectual policy of containment to one of pre-emption was the most significant strategic military shift since WWII. To be sure, there have been setbacks, and President Bush bears a heavy and heartfelt burden for those uniformed Patriots who have given their lives to protect ours.
If we did check out of Iraq, as suggested by a growing chorus on the Left, al-Qa’ida and other Islamists will not only rule that nation — they will eventually control the entire region, with the possible exception of Israel. The “exit timetable” crowd knows this, but that hasn’t prevented them from using this issue as political fodder — and from using it to undermine support for our military personnel and our operations in the Middle East. Of course, this places both those personnel and our national security in peril.
One need only ask the exit advocates, “Exit where, and for how long?” Because we didn’t finish the job in Operation Desert Storm, we had to return with Operation Iraqi Freedom. Reality dictates that if we don’t finish the job now, we’ll have to return again, and likely at a far greater cost in terms of American lives.
Not only should we not set a timetable for withdrawing from Iraq, but we should seek to establish an alliance with the Iraqi government in order to maintain a strong military presence in the region. How long? As long as there are Islamofascists bent on detonating a nuclear device in some U.S. urban center and sending our nation into economic ruin.
According to The Patriot’s well-placed military and intelligence sources, one closely guarded objective in securing a free Iraq is to establish a forward-deployed presence in the Middle East — a presence that would certainly include personnel but whose primary component would be massive military-equipment depots that could be tapped for future rapid-deployment military operations in the region.
This forward-base objective is critical, given that it will ensure our military presence in the heart of Jihadistan, and an ability to project force in the region quickly without having to ramp up via sea and airlift. This alone will pay rich dividends by way of maintaining peace through preparedness.
The new Iraqi government will likely extend an invitation to the U.S. to establish two bases in southern Iraq now that, as you may recall, our friends the Saudis have expelled our fighting forces from their country. The proposed base locations are nowhere near Iraqi urban centers — which is to say, they are highly securable. We expect this new military presence to consist primarily of limited personnel, but with substantial assets transferred from bases in Germany and elsewhere in Europe.
Of course, those who claim that the U.S. military presence in the Middle East is the problem will wail about the establishment of permanent base operations in the region. Fact is, however, until the last Israeli is dead and the West no longer dominates the world economy (and, thus, culture), Jihadis will not rest.
Previously, this column has outlined the nature of asymmetric threats like Islamist terrorist regimes — some given safe harbor by Islamic states, some seeking to create new Islamofascist states. (See the three-part series on U.S. national security at FederalistPatriot.US/Alexander) On the importance of our holding the frontline against Jihadistan in Iraq, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger recently wrote: “The war in Iraq is less about geopolitics than about the clash of ideologies, culture and religious beliefs. Because of the long reach of the Islamist challenge, the outcome in Iraq will have an even deeper significance than that in Vietnam. If a Taliban-type government or a fundamentalist radical state were to emerge in Baghdad or any part of Iraq, shock waves would ripple through the Islamic world. Radical forces in Islamic countries or Islamic minorities in non-Islamic countries would be emboldened in their attacks on existing governments. The safety and internal stability of all societies within reach of militant Islam would be imperiled.”
Indeed, the safety and stability of the free world would be imperiled.
This is the Long War, Islamofascism is the enemy, and Iraq is the front line. If we are serious about pre-empting Jihadi terrorism (despite Demo political mischief), we must not abandon Iraq. Of course, if we follow the Kennedy and Kerry plan, Islamofascists, who will control the region, won’t have to attack on U.S. soil, they will just cut off U.S. oil — and bring the entire West to its knees — until it submits to Islam.
Of course, no Western political leader is going allow that scenario — not even Jacques Chirac or Gerhard Schroeder. These Jihadi cave dwellers, the Islamists who fly planes into buildings and bomb Iraqi children at open markets, don’t share Western (predominantly Judeo-Christian) values. To be sure, they have no compunction about reducing your standard of living to something less than their subsistence — and they will, given the opportunity.
Ben Shapiro takes aim at the anti-war mouth-foamers on the left.
The good rabbi isn’t afraid—like so many in our nation, including the President, I’m disappointed to say—to call a spade a spade:
We were victorious during WW II because daily we were fighting a concrete, named enemy: Germany, Hitler, Nazism, and the German people supportive of the above. In contrast, today, those who show the face of the enemy are called racists. Consequently, we have chosen to call it not what it is — a war against radical Islam — but a war against terrorism, a raceless entity.
Though in all other investigations, evidence, history, and “most-likely” are the tools used to stop the next likely perpetrator, today’s political correctness labels such common sense detective work as “profiling” — the latest concoction of racism. Better to remain less protected and maybe die than to be a profiler or be called a racist. That is how silly we’ve become. Silly people do not, over the long run, win wars.
This is why you cannot give in to terrorist demands. This is why it is pointless to “try to understand why” those who commit horrific acts of violence against innocents to further a religio-political agenda do so.
In a show of force, Hamas founders and political leaders appeared Saturday on a stage together for the first time in 10 years to tell the Palestinian people that the militant group’s armed struggle will go on after Israel’s impending withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.
Less than three days after he urged Palestinians to refrain from excessive celebrations over the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Friday presided over a huge celebration in Gaza City where he declared: “Today we are celebrating the liberation of Gaza and the northern West Bank; tomorrow we will celebrate the liberation of Jerusalem.”
The Israeli government acquiesced to the demands of terrorists. Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the PLO: these are terrorist organizations. They demanded land which was never theirs to begin with—that’s right, the land of “Palestine” has always belonged to some other nation, including Jordan, Syria, and Egypt, so why aren’t the Palestinians sending suicide bombers in to those nations?—through the use of terror. These are not “freedom fighters” or “insurgents,” they are terrorists.
The Israeli government caved, and it got them nothing. The reason is simple: the Palestinians, with the sometimes silent, sometimes vocal, backing of the entire Arab world, want nothing less than the complete and total destruction of Israel. They want all the Jews out of the land, dead or alive, but one could infer preferably dead. They want no Jewish state to exist.
You cannot reason with people like this. You cannot give in to their demands and hope for the best.
You kill them. You achieve total and complete victory, with overwhelming military force. Then you set about dictating the terms of the peace, and you help rebuild. It worked it Japan. It worked in Germany. It will work in Afghanistan and Iraq. It could have worked within the borders of Israel.
I felt “The Patriot Perspective” from today’s Federalist Patriot (PDF file) was worth reprinting.
Spitting on The Few, The Proud…
Upon entering a fine Southern high school with a long and honorable history as a military academy, this columnist’s next nine months would be marked by the official indoctrination (and unofficial hazing) that attended freshman years at most such academies. It was September of 1970. A year later, however, this school, like many others across the nation, did an about-face and abandoned its military tradition. It seemed that public opinion of military service, and thus, parental enthusiasm for military feeder academies, had changed dramatically in the course of just a few years.
Prior to 1967, military service and tradition were still considered good and honorable. But by 1972, acrid protests against our military campaign on the Cold War front in Southeast Asia had taken a heavy toll. Elitist politicos like George McGovern, glitterati like Jane Fonda, John Kerry, et al., along with their Leftmedia propaganda machine, had overturned public support for the defense of South Vietnam and, by extension, support for anyone in a military uniform. There were no more ticker-tape parades welcoming troops home, but plenty of seething glares, name-calling and spitting from “enlightened youth” and their protagonists who tagged all military personnel persona non grata.
Fast-forward about three decades.
After 9/11, America was virtually, and rightly, united behind President George Bush’s campaign against Jihadistan and its asymmetric threat vectors such as al-Qa’ida. Now that support has begun to unravel, however — not because there are 58,000 casualties as there were in Vietnam, but because, once again, as America’s finest are defending liberty at home by promoting freedom in critical regions abroad, the storm clouds of Leftist dissent are gathering. Once again, anti-American protests by political opportunists, Hollywonk elitists and the Leftmedia’s (now 24-7-365) talkingheads, are taking a heavy toll.
Perhaps the earliest evidence of waning public support for the Long War against Jihadistan is the recruiting difficulty for our “all-volunteer” Armed Services. Army recruiters have fallen short of their goals for four of the last five months and may fall well short of their annual objective of 80,000 enlistments, with only two months left in this fiscal year. This will be the first time since 1999 that the recruiting goal has not been met. Guard and Reserve recruitments have also fallen short for the other service branches.Military planners may ask Congress to authorize raising the age limit for Army active-duty service from 35 to 40, and authority to double the enlistment bonus for high-priority recruits (intelligence, infantry, special operations, civil affairs, and linguists) from $20,000 to $40,000. But this is not likely to offset the damage inflicted upon the image of military service by the Left.
Of course, part of the problem is that military service is, as it has always been, tough. But most active duty and reserve personnel are dedicated warriors who complain little.
The real obstacle to the enlistment of new recruits is the desecration of the image of military service by the Fifth Column — the enemy within. The American anti-war movement, led by neo-McGovernites such as DNC Chairman Howard Dean and lawmakers Kucinich, Kennedy and Kerry has not been able to find legs. So rather than target “war,” these malcontents have rallied their minions to undertake counter-recruitment measures, figuring that a nation can’t fight a war without warriors. (Of course, it can’t defend itself either — but the Left refuses to acknowledge that liberating Afghanistan and Iraq, and keeping Syria and Iran at bay, is relevant to our national defense.)
Doing the bidding of big dogs like Dean and the aforementioned KKK are their radical allied organizations like the Campus Antiwar Network, Code Pink for Peace, the Ruckus Society, Earth First, United for Peace and Justice and the Society of American Law Teachers, to name a few. These organizations and a hundred more like them are surrogates for the National Lawyers Guild, the ACLU, the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors, Veterans for Peace, the War Resisters League and The American Friends Service Committee. Their objective is to undermine recruitment efforts by labeling anyone interested in military service persona non grata. It’s deja vu all over again.
Periodic Leftmedia feeding frenzies over alleged “abuse” at places like Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay add fuel to protestors’ efforts to debase military service by equating those in uniform with terrorists. Extending this equation, some of these groups are now deplorably suggesting that American casualties are justified because “freedom fighters” in Iraq are defending themselves against American invaders. (Rhetorical memo to the anti-war Left: What kind of “freedom fighter” detonates a bomb-laden SUV amid a group of Iraqi children receiving candy and toys from U.S. soldiers?)
The emergence of these cadres of Leftist agitators is a serious threat to U.S. national security. Their efforts to undermine the honor of military service in an effort to deter recruitment efforts should not be underestimated.
Predictably, where anti-American sentiments flourish, Jane Fonda can’t be far behind. This week, Hanoi Jane announced plans for a protest tour on buses fueled by vegetable oil to suggest the current conflict in the Middle East is only a “war for oil.” “I have not taken a stand on any war since Vietnam,” Fonda said. “I carry a lot of baggage from that.” (Click here to see some of that baggage, as “Hanoi Jane” mounts an NVA anti-aircraft gun about 100 yards from the “Hanoi Hilton,” where American POWs were being tortured. “It’s another example of the government lying to the American people in order to get us into war,” Fonda says of the liberation of Iraq.
Of course, it is Fonda who is lying to the American people.
Take note, Hanoi Jane and all you counter-recruiters endeavoring to denigrate military service — ditto to Dean and KKK, who exploit the murder of military personnel as political fodder to undermine public support for a Republican administration in advance of midterm elections: Your actions are tantamount to spitting on not only those who wear our nation’s military uniform, but those who have died in it.
Indeed, news about Fonda’s shameless antics was overshadowed this week by the tragic death of uniformed Patriots in Iraq: 21 Marines (20 of them attached to the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines based in Ohio) and eight Soldiers were killed, and others wounded, in roadside bombings and other ambushes by Islamofascist death squads.
Sergeant Justin Hoffman of Delaware, Ohio, was among the fallen. His father, Robert Hoffman, said that Justin believed in the cause he was fighting for, and he challenged his fellow Americans to support the mission in Iraq through its completion. “I have some real doubts whether Americans will stand tall and follow through on it,” Mr. Hoffman said. “It needs to be done, and if they don’t, it’ll be a real disgrace to the lives that were sacrificed.”
If America does not stand firm, there will be many more lives sacrificed — and on American soil.
“The Word of God is like cool water from a canteen,” said retired Marine Corps Commandant Charles C. Krulak. “During the most difficult times, it brings relief and a feeling of renewal that allows us…to accomplish any mission set before us.” To that end, please pray for our Patriot Armed Forces, and especially for the families of our fallen Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, who have died in defense of American liberty while prosecuting the war with Jihadistan.
In their honor, and that of all Patriots standing watch today, we must not allow the Left, in pursuit of their self-serving agendas, to once again treat military uniforms as spittoons. The re-emergence of counter-recruiting/anti-war cadres should be rejected with prejudice.
Well, victory for one thing, as Mark Steyn points out.
Tony Blair, British Prime Minister:
“September 11 for me was a wake up call. Do you know what I think the problem is? That a lot of the world woke up for a short time and then turned over and went back to sleep again.”
This is the third and final part of a series on national security run in the pages of The Federalist Patriot. This part can be found in today’s issue (PDF file), and is reprinted here with permission.
U.S. National Security: The Long War or the Short Surrender
In the 1990’s, with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, there was a new sense of security in the West, particularly in the U.S. But the Free World had unwittingly traded the Cold War for the Long War — “unwittingly” because after eight years of Clinton administration antics, and eight months of the newly-installed Bush administration’s effort to reorder national priorities, most Americans were unaware that another deadly enemy had coalesced in our midst.
That false sense of security terminated abruptly on 11 September 2001, when one of this enemy’s brigades attacked the World Trade Center — for the second time. The first WTC attack on 26 February 1993 was treated by the Clinton administration as a “criminal act.” Subsequent attacks by this enemy against Khobar Towers, our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and the USS Cole were also investigated as criminal acts. The same would have been true after 9/11, except that President George Bush had the resolve to call this attack what it was — an “act of war” — terrorism carried out by an asymmetric enemy calling itself “al-Qa’ida” (The Base), which was part of an international unified Islamic terrorist network supported, in part, by nation states like Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Syria.
This was a new kind of war, but it was war nonetheless.
Unlike symmetric threats emanating from clearly defined nation states like Russia and China — nation states with unambiguous political, economic and geographical interests — this asymmetric enemy defies nation-state status, thus presenting new and daunting national-security challenges for the executive branch and U.S. military planners.
Perhaps the most difficult of these challenges is the task of keeping Americans focused on why this asymmetric threat must be engaged (short of periodic catastrophic wake-up calls). Unfortunately, in deference to sensitivity and diversity, the Bush administration has yet to use the words “Muslim” or “Islamic” when attempting to define or, dare we say, “profile” this enemy. But the Bush administration, and the administrations of our Allies, depend on public support to prosecute the Long War ahead with Islamists.
Targeting al-Qa’ida and its Saudi protagonist Osama bin Laden may have initially precluded diminishing public support for the so-called “War on Terror,” but protests against operations in Iraq and elsewhere are taxing morale both at home and on the warfront. Only two things can curtail this retreat. Either the Bush administration can do a better job of defining this enemy and its lethality, or the enemy can hit us again — and as noted in parts I and II of this series, this enemy has the potential to hit much harder than it did on 9/11.
The latter is assured if the former fails.
President Bush must rightly define this enemy as Islamist zealots of Jihadistan, a borderless nation of Islamic extremists constituted by al-Qa’ida and other Muslim terrorist groups, calling for jihad, or “holy war,” against “all the enemies of Allah.” (If you’re reading this, you are likely a non adherent — and an enemy of Allah.) These Jihadis seek to disable the U.S. economy using any means at their disposal, and thus, undermine our political, military and cultural influence around the world. Ultimately, they want to contain or kill those who do not subscribe to their Islamofascist cult of hate.
The President must also convince our countrymen of the certainty that against Jihadistan, there is no neat Cold War doctrine like Mutually Assured Destruction to stay offensive measures. In this war, the only doctrine that can keep the enemy at bay is that of preemption — and it must be maintained as long as there are Islamists capable of doing the West harm.
President Bush told the nation, “This is a long war, and we have a comprehensive strategy to win it. We’re taking the fight to the terrorists abroad, so we don’t have to face them here at home. We’re denying our enemies sanctuary, by making it clear that America will not tolerate regimes that harbor or support terrorists.”
Indeed, it will be a long war, and his Doctrine of Pre-emption is the best directive for strategy. But short of clear public comprehension of what constitutes “the enemy,” which is a prerequisite to sustained public support, this essential war will be short-circuited, and Jihadis will, once again, move the warfront to our homeland.
There are plenty of domestic enemies who would undermine public support for the war against Jihadistan for purely political reasons. After all, there are midterm elections in 2006 and a presidential election in 2008. Rep. Nancy Pelosi claims, “The president’s frequent references to the terrorist attacks of September 11 show the weakness of his arguments. He is willing to exploit the sacred ground of September 11, knowing that there is no connection between September 11 and the war in Iraq.”
Sen. Harry Reid (who voted for Operation Iraqi Freedom) says, “The president’s numerous references to September 11 did not provide a way forward in Iraq. … ‘Staying the course,’ as the president advocates, is neither sustainable nor likely to lead to the success we all seek.”
John Kerry alleges that President Bush has fabricated a “third rationale” for the war: “The first, of course, was weapons of mass destruction. The second was democracy. And now…it’s to combat the hotbed of terrorism.”
The President, in the national interest, must take the offensive against these opportunistic detractors in order to restore public support and confidence in the Long War. For we can be certain that this war will last beyond his presidency. Just how long might it last? That depends, in part, on how one defines its origin.
If the war began in 627 AD, five years after Islam’s founding, when Mohammed committed his first genocide against a Jewish tribe, then the war is an epic struggle between Islam and other religions, especially against Jews and Christians, which is to say its conclusion is not foreseeable. If the war is an extension of the middle-age invasions of the West by rapacious Islam, whether the start date is the victory of Charles Martel at Tours (732 AD), the back and forth of Crusades (1095-1669) or defeats like Constantinople (1453 AD), the siege of Vienna (1529 AD), the fleet at Lepanto (1571 AD), or the gates Venice (1683 AD), then the war is a clash of civilizations which likely has centuries of conflict yet ahead.
But if the war against Jihadistan began, as suggested here, on 11 September 2001, taking into account that Jihadi attacks on Western targets date back to the 1960s, then it will likely continue for decades. After all, it took 70 years to topple the Evil Empire.
“Our generational commitment to the advancement of freedom, especially in the Middle East, is now being tested and honored in Iraq,” says President Bush. As we approach the fourth observance of 9/11, we can be sure that Pelosi, Reid, Kerry, Kennedy and their Leftist cadre will run a masterful campaign of disinformation. Such a campaign will surely test the resolve of the American people, and the Bush administration would be well advised to begin vigorously cultivating public support by forthrightly defining this mortal enemy.
The Long War may yet end on a day when the West and its beacon of liberty, these United States, surrender. Of course, the consequences of surrender will be much worse than the consequences of the war itself, but a free nation must be free to do as its collective will chooses — even it that means choosing to lose.
For the duration, pray that our capability to defend the U.S. on more than one theater warfronts while prosecuting the long war against Jihadistan is not tested.
Yesterday’s Federalist Patriot (PDF file) contained part two of the series on U.S. National Security. Titled “Homeland Defense,” it discusses the steps taken since 9/11, including the Patriot Act, and looks forward. I’ve reprinted it below.
In Part I of this series, we identified the primary asymmetric national-security threat to the U.S. and its interests and allies around the world: Zealots of Jihadistan, that borderless nation of Islamic extremists constituted by al-Qa’ida and other Muslim terrorist groups, calling for jihad, or “holy war,” against “all the enemies of Allah” — that’s you.
As Congress debated the merits of the USA Patriot Act earlier this week, Jihadis reminded U.K. citizens, and the free world (again) that they have deep-cover terrorist cells in the West which are determined to do us harm. To date, none of the attacks have been as devastating as 9/11, but Jihadis will strike the U.S. again, and hard.
As first noted by The Patriot three years ago, the FBI calculates there is a high probability that homicide bombers, like those who hit London two weeks ago, will target U.S. commercial centers. However, both our military and intelligence sources estimate that far more devastating attacks are on the horizon, indicating it is only a matter of time until domestic Jihadi cells take delivery of fissile weapons (if they have not already) using Russian cores and Iraqi or Iranian technology previously acquired with assistance from Syria by al-Qa’ida. Those estimates indicate Jihadi targets are urban centers in the Northeast and/or in Southern California. Make no mistake, time is on their side.
How do we defend against this imminent threat?
Given that Jihadistan defies the tangible elements and definable characteristics of symmetric threats like uniformed leagues fighting for clear geographic and economic interests, the best defense against this ideological enemy is an effective offense in an attempt to define a warfront. President George Bush’s doctrine of preemption in Afghanistan and Iraq, and precision strikes against Jihadis in numerous other locations, which remain classified, has done that, to the degree possible. Creating a warfront on their turf is essential — “taking the fight to the enemy,” as Mr. Bush says. (The doctrine of preemption is the subject of Part III of this series, “The Long War,” next week.)
Given the fact that there are Jihadis already staged in American urban centers (like those who struck on 9/11), terrorists who will take, or already have taken, delivery of devastating fissile weapons, the U.S. must have a capable tactical and strategic homeland defense, one that is not hamstrung by obsolete constraints instituted when the primary national-security threats were external and symmetric — the USSR and China.
To interdict this internal threat, President Bush created the Department of Homeland Security, reorganized the intelligence community, re-directed certain military assets to supplement homeland defense, and enlisted the support of Congress to pass the USA Patriot Act, which enhanced the ability of law enforcement and intelligence agencies to investigate and track potential terrorists.
Additionally, the administration has enhanced security at coastlines, borders and ports of entry, but (despite a relentless chorus to the contrary) our borders cannot be made sufficiently secure to stop the infiltration of terrorists and their weapons; thus “border security” is not a panacea for containing this threat.
Domestic Jihadi sleeper cells in the U.S., many of which were seeded prior to 9/11, are virtually invisible, supported by hordes of Islamists in domestic mosques, Islamic schools and associations, and other domestic breeding grounds for Islamist hatred. The two most important tools in our domestic inventory to detect and prosecute these cells are DHS and law-enforcement agencies empowered by the Patriot Act — though neither, ultimately, will provide complete protection from the Jihadi threat.
To that end, DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff has completed his “Second Stage Review,” a comprehensive assessment of the Department’s missions, organization and resources, and he has outlined plans to restructure the Department based on this review. Implementation of these plans will allow DHS to implement protocols more effectively to protect commerce, transportation and infrastructure. “Our department must drive improvement with a sense of urgency,” Chertoff says. “Our enemy constantly changes and adapts, so we as a department must be nimble and decisive.”
Mr. Chertoff plans to create an intelligence directorate to aggregate terrorism analysis from law-enforcement and intelligence agencies and will focus DHS resources primarily on prevention of catastrophic nuclear, chemical or biological threats as outlined above. DHS will also launch the Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN-Secret) to share pertinent classified information with state and local homeland-security and law-enforcement agencies. DHS will also implement more stringent immigration and worker-permit procedures.
The most critical defense against the Jihadi threat is the ability of law-enforcement agencies to function within the full limits of their constitutional authority when investigating and prosecuting these terrorist threats. The Patriot Act, as passed by overwhelming majorities of the House and Senate in 2001, clearly defines that authority and removes obstacles which prevented law-enforcement and intelligence agencies from cooperating in these investigations.
Since its passage, more than 400 suspects have been arrested as a result of federal terrorism investigations, and most of them were convicted. Terrorist cells have been dismantled in New York, Oregon, Virginia and Florida, and their support groups have been prosecuted in California, Texas, New Jersey, Illinois, North Carolina and Ohio.
In December of this year, 16 critical provisions of the Patriot Act are set to expire. Fortunately, the House has reauthorized 14 of those provisions with 10-year sunset provisions on the remaining two. The Senate will take up this measure in the fall.
Congressional debate is needed because there are legitimate civil-liberty concerns and, accordingly, The Patriot supports the sunset provisions, but in the estimation of our legal scholars and national-security analysts, stalling legislation over those concerns does not outweigh the risk of catastrophic terrorist attacks.
President Bush, calling on the Senate to renew these provisions, warned, “As we wage the war on terror overseas, we’ll remember where the war began — right here on American soil. In our free and open society, there is no such thing as perfect security. To protect our country, we have to be right 100 percent of the time. To hurt us, the terrorists have to be right only once.” Deputy Attorney General James Comey testified before Congress: “You want to catch a terrorist with his hands on the check instead of his hands on the bomb. You want to be many steps ahead of the devastating event. The way we do that is through preventive and disruptive measures, by using investigative tools to learn as much as we can, as quickly as we can, and then incapacitating a target at the right moment.”
The Senate should not delay renewal of all these provisions because they enable investigators to use the same methods to investigate terrorists that are now used in routine criminal investigations, and they authorize investigators to track computer espionage and cyber-terrorism. To address civil-liberty concerns, the Patriot Act comports with constitutional constraints, requiring, for example, a federal judge’s approval to wiretap a foreign terrorist’s phone, to track his calls, or to search his property.
Congressional Democrats have attempted to hold critical Patriot Act provisions hostage as political fodder, and the consequences of their folly could be catastrophic.
Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., in today’s Political Diary:
Based on scanty headlines, today’s disruptions in London suggest somebody may be trying to demonstrate just how little it takes to shut down a modern city’s public transport network. Early reports indicate smoke bombs and the like, with few serious casualties. Who knows, but let’s riff anyway: Sooner or later, it was bound to develop that the target of Britain’s homegrown Muslim radicals isn’t British foreign policy or U.S. “imperialism.” The targets are British Muslims themselves and their peaceful relations with the rest of British society. The goal is to make all Muslims suspect in the eyes of their fellow Britons, to punish those Muslims who favor quiet assimilation, to make their lives impossible.
We’re talking about something quite different than the Osama bin Laden dream of mega attacks that unite the Muslim world in a showdown with Christendom. Today’s attacks seem more attuned to the Zarqawi playbook in Iraq — and, for that matter, Tamil tactics in Sri Lanka, IRA tactics in Northern Ireland, etc. Domestic terrorists are usually trying to drive a wedge of fear between one ethnic community and the larger society. Whatever the facts behind today’s incidents, British Muslims may have to get used to the idea that they are being deliberately placed in the line of fire by their radical fellow Muslims, with the hope of defeating their intent to live happily, successfully and peacefully amidst a larger, polyglot world. This is their fight too, and perhaps most of all.
It matters little that “the overwhelming majority of Muslims are not terrorists,” to quote a familiar Western mantra. It matters a great deal that most terrorists are Muslims. The sooner Western leaders and Western media begin stating what is obvious to most people; the quicker the real root cause can be dealt with.
The excuses given by Westerners and many Muslim clerics for terrorism are just that: excuses.
The Federalist Patriot started a three-part series in this past Friday’s Digest (PDF file) titled “U.S. National Security: Imminent Threats.” I feel it is worthy to reprint here (with permission). All emphasis has been added by yours truly.
Since the dawn of the American Republic, perilous national-security threats were symmetric, emanating from clearly defined nation-states with unambiguous political, economic and geographical interests.
Such symmetric threats are tangible, which is to say that American political leaders have been able to define them sufficiently so that the American people could generally grasp what constituted “the enemy.” World Wars I and II involved symmetric threats and well-defined adversaries. Military campaigns in Korea and Vietnam, on the other hand, lost public support because the purpose of those campaigns (and “the enemy” in the case of Vietnam) was not clearly defined, and thus, American casualties in those conflicts were not tolerated.
Regarding Vietnam, not only did Kennedy and Johnson err grievously in their arguments for escalating our involvement in that “police action,” but they, and Nixon after them, had to contend with a new arbiter of presidential messages — TV news networks, and their political agendas which were, and still are (with one exception), overwhelmingly left of center. The Leftmedia can completely undermine a President’s call to rally public support against a national security adversary, unless that call is clear and concise.
Having learned hard lessons from Korea and Vietnam, George Bush (41) did a far better job of both defining the enemy and defining American objectives when it came time to engage Saddam Hussein’s million-strong army in Desert Storm. The result was overwhelming public support. But defining the enemy and our objectives in the second round with Iraq has been much more difficult for Bush (43), because the enemy and our objective was, and remains much larger than just “containing Saddam.”
There is an imminent national-security threat, which defies all the elements and definable characteristics of symmetric threats. Thus it is difficult to sustain public support in defense against this threat — particularly when some American political leaders and their Leftmedia minions attempt to deny the threat in a brazen effort to undermine public support for the current administration. This political folly is tantamount to treason as there is, today, a clear and present danger of a catastrophic WMD attack against U.S. citizens on U.S. soil.
Islamist terrorism is an asymmetric form of warfare, one that emerged in the late 1960s when Islamists inflicted terror first against Israel and Western military targets in the Middle East, and then, given rapid growth in the number of Jihadi adherents over two decades, striking targets in Europe. This threat congealed at the end of the Cold War, and in 1993 our homeland became a front line in this escalating conflict with Islamists.
On 26 February, 1993, Pakistani native Ramzi Ahmed Yousef and his al-Qa’ida terrorist brethren (who had entered the United States on Iraqi passports under the control of Iraqi intelligence) bombed the north tower of the World Trade Center in an effort to topple that tower into the south tower and inflict mass civilian casualties. Fortunately, due to Ramzi’s lack of engineering knowledge, his crude truck-bomb didn’t cause the collapse of the building, though it created a six-story crater in the parking garage.
Although Ramzi escaped, several other terrorists were captured and tried. Ramzi himself was finally arrested in 1995, as he was formulating plans to bomb simultaneously a number of U.S. international flights. After 1995, al-Qa’ida Jihadis focused on American targets abroad — the Khobar Towers in 1996, U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, and the U.S.S. Cole in 2000 — all without reprisal from the Clinton administration.
In 2001, Ramzi’s uncle, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (the number-three thug in the al-Qa’ida organization), and Ramzi’s mentor, Jihadi sheik Osama bin Laden himself, revised Ramzi’s plan. Rather than bombing civilian aircraft, they planned to hijack civilian aircraft simultaneously and use them as missiles. On 11 September of that year, one of al-Qa’ida’s U.S. terrorist cells finished the business that Ramzi started almost a decade earlier, bringing down the twin towers of the World Trade Center and targeting the Pentagon and Capitol Building.
The intent of this Jihadi sleeper cell was not just to bring down the WTC towers, but also the U.S. economy, thus breaking the will of the American people in their effort to hold the line against Jihadi expansionism around the world.
On that Tuesday morning, the American people were awakened to an imminent threat to our homeland, and before noon that day, our collective sense of invincibility had all but vanished.
In reality, Western democracies, particularly those seen as the true beacons of liberty, have been at war with Jihadistan, that borderless nation of Islamic extremists that constitute al-Qa’ida and other Muslim terrorist groups, for at least a decade.
A borderless nation? Indeed. The “Islamic World” of the Quran recognizes no political borders. Though orthodox Muslims (those who subscribe to the teachings of the “pre-Medina” Quran) do not support acts of terrorism or mass murder, very large sects within the Islamic world subscribe to the “post-Mecca” Quran and Hadiths (Mohammed’s teachings). It is this latter group of death-worshipping sects that calls for jihad, or “holy war,” against “all the enemies of Allah.” They thus constitute an enemy without borders — a nation of “holy” warriors we at The Patriot call Jihadistan, in an effort to make this enemy more tangible.
Just who are these “enemies of Allah”? In the wake of the most recent Jihadi attacks, the murder of more than 50 civilians in London, a Muslim “scholar,” Hani Al-Siba’I, leader of the Al-Maqreze Centre for Historical Studies in London, made clear just who these Islamist Jihadis consider to be their enemies.
“The term ‘civilians’ does not exist in Islamic religious law,” said Hani. “There is no such term as ‘civilians’ in the modern Western sense. People are either of Dar Al-Harb or not.” Dar Al-Harb refers to the House of War — anyone who is outside the House of Islam or the Muslim faith. In other words, if you are not Muslim, you are an infidel, the enemy of Allah. Even if you are Muslim, but advocate political and economic liberty for your brethren, you are a target. (Consider the number of Muslim citizens in Iraq murdered daily by Jihadis.)
How many members of the Muslim faith subscribe to the notion that non-adherents are infidels? Perhaps fewer than five percent of all Muslims take such a hard line. But to put this in perspective, if just one percent of Muslims worldwide inhabit the national brotherhood of Jihadistan, then there are ten times more Jihadis than there are uniformed American combat personnel in our military service branches.
There has been much hand-wringing this past week by those who just can’t understand how four “British” citizens could have carried out the London bombings against their fellow citizens. But the attackers were not British citizens — they were Jihadi warriors first and foremost. Until Western leaders can clearly articulate this distinction, such attacks will continue to be viewed as detached incidents of terrorism — and not part of a uniform warfront with Jihadistan. Thus, rallying public support for that warfront will remain a daunting task.
Unfortunately, the Bush administration has yet to articulate this distinction in such a way that the American people, who tend to have a very short collective attention span when it comes to national-security issues, can grasp. Thanks to the 24-hour news cycle, millions of Americans can recite all the sordid details about a runaway bride, a celebrity child molestation case and a girl missing in Aruba. But these same Americans know almost nothing about an adversary, which is actively seeking to slaughter us by the tens of thousands.
Fortunately, the Bush administration understands our Jihadi adversary well. As President George Bush correctly noted in October of 2001, “Our war on terror begins with al-Qa’ida, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated. … This war will not be like the war against Iraq a decade ago, with a decisive liberation of territory and a swift conclusion.”
Because Jihadistan lacks any central governing authority (other than the Islamist protagonist of the day — currently Osama bin Laden) or any central funding mechanism (other than the Saudi government and Islamist support groups in the West), its methods are unconventional. That is to say, it will use the most devastating weapon in its arsenal to succeed in its objective of destroying “the infidels.”
Indeed, given that objective, and past performance, what’s to prevent surrogate terrorists from detonating a fissionable weapon in a U.S. urban center? The answer — nothing short of a determined Doctrine of Preemption as outlined by the President Bush, and a good measure of fortune — the continued grace of God.
Doug Giles poses the questions to so-called moderate Muslims that so many of us, perhaps afraid of being politically incorrect, are afraid to ask:
As a moderate Muslim, can we rest assured that you do not believe that warfare and terror are any way to establish your religion in people’s lives? Can we also be certain that those of us who do not believe and will not believe your particular take on divinity can feel completely safe around you and that we can confidently expect you to work with us to build our world into a better place without condemnation being breathed down upon our heads?
Christopher Orlet has a reminder on just who these detainees are, for the benefit of those in America with long-term memory issues.
These are the “victims” we have detained at Guantanamo Bay. Of course Americans who fell into the hands of Taliban and al Qaeda have never once complained about being cursed at or having their holy book desecrated. That’s because it’s hard to complain when you’ve had your throat slit and your head cut off.
The detainee’s biggest gripe remains the high temperatures. This from former Taliban foot soldiers who lived in rocky crags of the Afghani desert. Yes, the heat is awful on the Caribbean beach. That’s why Americans and Europeans spend millions of dollars annually to vacation there.
By all means we should shut down Guantanamo Bay. Then open a new camp at Point Barrow, Alaska, where there will be no more complaining about the hot ocean breezes, and no problems with prisoners throwing urine (because it will be frozen), and where we won’t need Pine-Sol since germs are inactive in subzero temperatures. As for chair tossing, Muslims would probably prefer Turkish carpets to steels chairs anyway. I know the MPs would.
Fortunately there is often a common sense solution to every problem.
Support, among Muslims, for suicide bombing against civilians has also faded. (Only Muslims were asked this question.) The percentage saying the practice is “never justified” jumped since March 2004 from 35 to 46 in Pakistan and from 38 to 79 in Morocco, and jumped since the summer of 2002 (the last time the question was asked in these countries) from 54 to 66 in Indonesia and from 12 to 33 in Lebanon. (The Turks held stable on the issue, with 66% saying suicide bombing is “never justified,” statistically identical to the 67% who gave that answer in March 2004.) Most interestingly, opposition to suicide bombings in Iraq specifically was higher, in several countries, than opposition to suicide bombing in general; 56% of Pakistanis and 41% of Lebanese oppose that “insurgent” tactic, along with 43% in Jordan, where only 11% oppose suicide bombing in general (and by “general,” obviously, they mean “Israel”).
Concern over the threat of Islamic extremism is widespread in several of these countries, with the percentage deeming the threat “very great” or “fairly great” at 47 in Turkey, 53 in Pakistan, 73 in Morocco, and 45 in Indonesia. Interestingly enough, respondents in different countries define “Islamic extremism” differently. In Lebanon, Jordan, and Morocco, the prevailing view is that Islamic extremism means “Using violence to get rid of non-Muslim influences in our country.” But to pluralities in Turkey and Indonesia, it means “advocating the legal imposition of strict Shari’ah on all Muslims.” The respondents in those two democracies, it seems, are less worried about their Muslim extremists killing people than they are about their getting elected — another point in democracy’s favor, I’d say.
As Mr. Tarbin says, it’s not all good news, but at least it’s trending in the right direction.
So what’s amazing isn’t the number of attacks we’ve lived through — it’s the lack of attacks. September, 2001. Bali, Indonesia, October 2002. Madrid, Spain, March 2004. Now London, July 2005. On average the terrorists seem able only to strike once a year. And note the death tolls: U.S., some 3,000. Bali, 202. Madrid, 191. London, about 50.
Now, if terrorists could strike more often, of course they would. If they could kill more people in each strike, of course they would. So it’s reasonable to conclude that, since so much time goes by between attacks and since fewer people are killed in each attack, our policies toward terrorism are working.
What are those policies? Well, fighting back, for one.
As eight of the most powerful world leaders were convening in Gleneagles, Scotland for the G8 Summit trying to figure out how to battle poverty, salvage human lives, stop the AIDS epidemic in Africa and keep our globe from warming … what does militant Islam do to help? Well, they set off four bombs in the heart of London killing 50+ people and seriously injuring over 700.
The idea that al-Qaeda was no threat until we created it does not stand the slightest scrutiny of events in the 1990s — from the first attack on the World Trade Centre in 1993, to the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000 and, of course, the September 11 atrocity a year later. And no one seriously thinks that only America was in their sights. The ideology of Islamism doesn’t stop at the superpower’s borders; its ambitions sweep through Europe; indeed that is where it is breeding so many of its jihadists.
The fight in Iraq is not, as the opponents claim, a self-inflicted wound, suddenly giving rise to new threats on our homeland from people we should have left well alone. We are, steadily, beating the terrorists in Iraq. Not only in the military operations, but also by demonstrating who and what the enemy really is. And thereby creating the only real long-term conditions for safety from Islamo-fascism —- free states that do not deny the most basic human rights to their peoples. The people who murdered innocent Londoners yesterday are the same people who are murdering innocent Iraqis.
On a day like today, when al-Qaida has struck a hammer blow against the West and hurt us badly, of course it seems tempting for us to circle our wagons, call in our dogs and hunker down.
But it would be a mistake.
Whatever terrorists want us to do, we have to do precisely the opposite, and with renewed vigor in the wake of every agonizing but futile attack. Terrorists want us to stop supporting Israel; we respond by increasing our ties with Israel. Terrorists want us out of Iraq; we renew our commitment to the Iraqi people. Terrorists want to turn Afghanistan back into a failed state that they can dominate with their particular brand of twisted, medieval authoritarianism; we dedicate ourselves to making Afghanistan a free and prosperous member of the community of nations no matter what the cost.
If we continue to defy terrorists — if terrorism continues its unbroken string of utter failures — sooner or later young Muslim men are going to reach the realization that murder is not noble. If we bring liberty and prosperity to those dark, shadowy corners of the world where the light of freedom does not shine, sooner or later the people who live there are going to believe that there are better opportunities for them. If we prove to the world that we will not bend to the will of suicide bombers, of hijackers, of the murderers of the innocent, sooner or later those things will simply disappear.
It’s just a matter of time.
Unfortunately, time is what too many Americans are unwilling to give to the cause of extending liberty, to eradicating terrorism. Our fast-food, instant-on, access-always culture has put us in a collective mindset that any problem can be handled in an unrealistically short amount of time, when the hard truth is that most problems can not be wrapped up within months, or even years, much less overnight or within the confines of a thirty-minute sitcom.
Here is a news flash, people: we are still in Germany. (Though not in the numbers we used to be.) We are still in Japan. World War II has been over, as of August of this year, for sixty years, and we still have a presence within the borders of our former enemies. This will not change with Afghanistan. This will not change in Iraq. If it does, especially in the near term, you can bet hostile regimes will rise again in those nations, and the sacrifices made by 1,700+ American service personnel will have been for naught.
This talk, especially from our elected representatives, to cut and run from Iraq, hide behind our own borders, and hope the evil Islamic boogeymen don’t get us, is utter nonsense. Such actions will not stop terrorists. Only when they are captured or dead, only when it has been shown that acts of terrorist violence will not bring about the desired behavior, when it has been shown that terrorism is not effective, will the terrorists be stopped.
Stop your sniveling, Durbin. Put a sock in it, Sanders. Rein in the rhetoric, Rangel. You are not helping the situation. You are clouding the issue because of some blind hatred for the sitting President, for some misguided sense of patriotism that dissent in a time of war is acceptable. Dissent was fine two and a half years ago, when this country was discussing what course of action to take.
Now, the course of action has been determined and taken, and it’s time for you to sit down, shut up, and stand behind the administration that is taking the fight to the terrorists. Take an example from the Republican Party after December 7, 1941. They may not have liked FDR, or his domestic agenda, but by God they were behind him one hundred percent in prosecuting the war against Japan and Germany, the latter of which never attacked the United States. I only bring up this last point, since the left/Democrats seem intent on keeping in focus the fact that Iraq never attacked the U.S.
In nearly four years since September 11th, there have been only two terrorist attacks directed against America or its European allies: Spain, 3/11/04, and today, 7/7/05, in Britain. Two. That’s all. You want to say that Iraq, has nothing to do with the war on terror? How many attacks might have we faced if Saddam was still in power, aiding and abetting any terror group that wanted to strike against Hussein’s perceived enemies? Would Paris have been targeted? Rome? You ostriches, as Jeff is fond of calling you, had better get your heads out of the sand. Go read The Last Jihad, if you want to see what a future President may have had to deal with if the U.S. hadn’t taken action against Saddam. War, indeed a horrible, horrible thing, is, as times, necessary.
And now they’ve gone and pissed off the Brits. Along with the Israelis, the British invented modern counter-terrorism. The SAS cut its teeth in the Middle East, and honed them to a razor’s edge against the IRA. These Islamofascists have no idea what bottle they just uncorked in Londontown.
This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful. It was not aimed at Presidents or Prime Ministers. It was aimed at ordinary, working-class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christian, Hindu and Jew, young and old. It was an indiscriminate attempt to slaughter, irrespective of any considerations for age, for class, for religion, or whatever.
That isn’t an ideology, it isn’t even a perverted faith - it is just an indiscriminate attempt at mass murder and we know what the objective is. They seek to divide Londoners. They seek to turn Londoners against each other. I said yesterday to the International Olympic Committee, that the city of London is the greatest in the world, because everybody lives side by side in harmony. Londoners will not be divided by this cowardly attack. They will stand together in solidarity alongside those who have been injured and those who have been bereaved and that is why I’m proud to be the mayor of that city.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those killed and wounded in London.
Perhaps before she shows precisely how much she’s gone off the deep end, Helen Thomas should actually talk with the families and loved ones of servicemen killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“I know people are pushing you, but please don’t pull the guys out of Iraq too soon. Don’t let my husband — and 1,700-plus other deaths — be in vain. They were over there, fighting for a democratic nation, and I hope you’ll keep our service members over there until the mission can be accomplished.”
Mrs. Owen’s husband, Staff Sgt. Mike Owen, was killed in Iraq last year. She was part of the military family meeting with President Bush prior to his speech at Fort Bragg last Tuesday. She spoke the above words to the President, and gave him a blue bracelet with the name of her husband and another soldier on it. The President was wearing this bracelet during his speech.
I suppose we should be thankful that at least Ms. Thomas is now honestly editorializing in the open, given how she did so as an official White House “correspondent” for so many years.
Like Jeff, I would like to see the Democratic Party come back to the roots it showed during the days of Truman and Kennedy, with regard to national security. If we can agree, for the most part, on this one area of policy, then all the domestic stuff we quibble over, such as Social Security, Medicare, et al, might get more attention.
Because I love our two-party system and I respect the members and leaders of the Democratic Party, I offer them this piece of advice at absolutely no charge: When you guys stand so close together, it’s easy to paint you all with the same brush. If you don’t like being accused of being weak on terrorism or of not being serious about the war — and based on your reactions to Karl Rove’s speech last week, it’s clear that you don’t — then take a cue from Senator Hagel of Nebraska. When somebody from the furthest extents of the far left says something ridiculous, don’t just sit there and let it happen. Stand up behind a podium tell America that that’s not what you stand for, that that’s not what you believe in, that those are not your ideas.
You’ll be better off as a party, and we’ll be better off as a country, if you stop letting groups like Move On speak for you.
‘[I]llegal immigration’ is an oxymoron. If it’s immigration, it is not illegal, and if they are here illegally they are not immigrants, are they?
Maybe it’s time that a more accurate term be coined to describe these people. I’ll start the process — how about ‘foreign trespassers?’
This is now the official term in use at Retrophisch™ Central.
This pretty much says it all.
So the Toad directed my attention to a rant by Kim du Toit on how the ATF views law-abiding gun owners, in light of quotes from Gerald Nunziato, the former head of ATF’s National Tracing Center. I think it’s pretty clear how this government bureaucracy views gun owners, simply from the name of the agency. After all, we’re just a bunch of beer-swilling, tobacco-chewing or cigarette-smoking rednecks who like to go blow holes in highway signs, aren’t we?
Muslim activist groups like CAIR wonder why a lot of Americans don’t trust Muslims. Maybe it’s because if everyone knew what was really going on behind the doors of the mosque, no one would trust them.
The same imam who demanded that the men continue in the path of jihad did a complete 180-degree turn in this session, stressing instead the suras that promoted the “brotherhood” between Muslims, Christians and Jews. “After all, we worship the same God, and follow the teachings in the books he gave each of us. We are all the same, we are all People of the Book,” he stressed.
The differences between the sessions were striking. Clearly the second session was a recruiting session.
Were the women aware of what was being taught in the first session? Certainly those women who spoke Arabic should have been.
The reason for concern is obvious: Two different doctrines are being promoted. One peaceful, friendly, warm and fuzzy doctrine is being used to draw people in, with a focus on the well-being of their children.
But the Arabic-speaking sessions clearly have an anti-American tone.
Link to a legitimate news story showcasing a civil acts violation in the United States as a result of the PATRIOT ACT. Good luck.
To date, not one court or congressional committee has found evidence of any abuse of the powers under the Patriot Act.
Not one civil action has been filed against the government under Section 223, which allows citizens to seek damages for any willful violations of the Act.
Today President Bush posthumous awarded the Medal of Honor to Sergeant Paul Ray Smith of the U.S. Army. Sergeant Smith, in April of 2003, led a counter attack against members of Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guard who had ambushed Army troops at the Baghdad Airport. His actions saved more than 100 men. Only three Medals of Honor have been awarded since the Vietnam War.
We are grateful for people like Sergeant Smith, and our hearts and prayers go out to his family, especially his children. Were that more of our countrymen of Sergeant Smith’s mind.
The AP editoralizes:
Italy said Tuesday it will start drawing down its 3,000-strong contingent in Iraq in September, putting a fresh crack in President Bush’s crumbling coalition.
Yet these same left-of-center “reporters” have also spent a considerable amount of “news” space editoralizing that the United States was acting “unilaterally” in Iraq, and echoing the words of Senator Kerry, who said our allies were just “window dressing.”
So which is it? Do we have allies or not? Are they simply “window dressing,” or are they actually participating in combat, supply, and support missions? Make up your minds, “reporters.” You do not get to have it both ways.
With the democracy domino wobbling and threatening to fall in Lebanon, there is a lot at stake for many in the region. The Wall Street Journal sums it up (paid subscription required):
An estimated one million Syrian guest workers reside in Lebanon and remit their wages to relatives back home, and Syrian officials have plundered much of the international aid Lebanon received over the past decade. The Bekaa Valley also serves as a lucrative transit point for narcotics and other contraband. Without Lebanon, Syria’s economy might collapse. So, too, might the Assad dynasty: Bashar’s grip on power is far less sure than his father’s, and the loss of prestige that a withdrawal from Lebanon would entail might well be politically fatal to him and the minority Allawite clique through which he rules.
For Iran the stakes are strategic. Its elite Revolutionary Guards operate terrorist training camps in the Bekaa. Iran has also placed upward of 10,000 missiles in Lebanon, including the medium-range Fajr-5 rocket, bringing half of Israel within their reach. It thus maintains the option of igniting a new Mideast war at any moment, as well as a hedge against the possibility of a pre-emptive Israeli strike on its nuclear installations. Yet if Syria withdraws, no pro-independence Lebanese government will indulge Iran’s military presence. The Lebanese have had enough of allowing their territory to serve, Belgium-like, as the battleground of choice for foreign powers.
For Hezbollah, the stakes are greater still. During the years when Israel maintained a security zone in southern Lebanon, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah could present himself as a patriot fighting occupation. But Israel removed its forces from Lebanon in 2000, and now Nasrallah’s support for Syrian occupation exposes a different set of motives: not patriotic, but Jihadist. And the last thing the Jihadists want is for Lebanon to again become a flourishing, pluralist, cosmopolitan Arab state. Syria’s withdrawal would likely precipitate a Lebanese decision to enforce UN Resolution 520, which requires the Lebanese Army to patrol its border with Israel, a function now performed by Hezbollah. At length, it could lead to the disbanding of Hezbollah as an independent militia, though its terrorist wings would likely continue to operate.
So let’s see: Syrian influence is weakened, the dictatorial ruling party is squashed, and the democracy domino potentially falls in that nation. Iran’s influence is further weakened, and its military presence threatening Israel loses ground; actual, physical ground. Lastly, Hezbollah’s power is further weakened, and the organization is exposed for what it truly is and always has been: a group of terrorists.
Tell me, o occupiers of the Left and haters of America, democracy, and liberty, what is the down side?
Peggy Noonan points to civil defense, not Social Security or tax cuts, as the real number-one domestic issue. The one no one is talking about.
A U.S. Marine, Staff Sgt. Steve Reichert, has scored a kill shot while engaging the enemy in Iraq, and the shot was over a mile away. For his actions, Staff Sgt. Reichert has been awarded the Bronze Star for Valor.
In the after-action report, the platoon leader made a remarkable account: that Reichert made the shot from 1,614 meters – about a mile away. His accuracy was the deciding factor in the outcome of the firefight.
For the math-impaired, 1,614 meters translates in to 1765.0918662 yards. There are three feet in a yard, so that number times three yields 5,295.2755986 feet. Staff Sgt. Reichert scored a kill shot at fifteen feet beyond a mile. Boys and girls, that’s a long, long way for a rifle shot.
I wonder what goes through the minds of terrorist scum…when their fellow thugs are being systematically plucked out of the gene pool from that distance.
Indeed, snipers are extremely effective psychological weapons of war. Not to mention, the most cost-effective weapon available on the battlefield, even with their expensive training. A well-trained sniper with a few missions under his belt is worth his weight in gold, silver, platinum, and any other precious metal. Combined.
For the math-impaired reading the story linked above, a thousand yards is more than half a mile.
From the “Religion of Peace” Department, Jeff Jacoby:
In which country are Muslims being taught the following lessons?
“Everyone who does not embrace Islam is an unbeliever and must be called an unbeliever… . One who does not call the Jews and the Christians unbelievers is himself an unbeliever.”
“Whoever believes that churches are houses of God…or that what Jews and Christians do constitutes the worship of God…is an infidel.”
To offer greetings to a Christian at Christmas — even to wish “Happy holidays” — is “a practice more loathsome to God…than imbibing liquor, or murder, or fornication.”
Jews “are worse than donkeys.” They are the corrupting force “”behind materialism, bestiality, the destruction of the family, and the dissolution of society.”
Muslims who convert to another religion “should be killed because [they] have denied the Koran.”
Democracy is “responsible for all the horrible wars” of the 20th century, and for spreading “ignorance, moral decadence, and drugs.”
If you guessed Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, or any host of Muslim nations, well, you’d probably be right. But the point of the article is that it’s happening here in the States.