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Posts Tagged ‘Counterterrorism’

Byron York writes in the Washington Examine regarding liberal Portland’s politically correct refusal to cooperate with the FBI on antiterrorism:

In 2005, leaders in Portland, Oregon, angry at the Bush administration’s conduct of the war on terror, voted not to allow city law enforcement officers to participate in a key anti-terror initiative, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.  On Friday, that task force helped prevent what could have been a horrific terrorist attack in Portland.  Now city officials say they might re-think their participation in the task force — because Barack Obama is in the White House. . . .

What is ironic is that the operation that found and stopped Mohamud is precisely the kind of law enforcement work that Portland’s leaders, working with the American Civil Liberties Union, rejected during the Bush years.  In April 2005, the Portland city council voted 4 to 1 to withdraw Portland city police officers from participating in the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. Mayor Tom Potter said the FBI refused to give him a top-secret security clearance so he could make sure the officers weren’t violating state anti-discrimination laws that bar law enforcement from targeting suspects on the basis of their religious or political beliefs.

Other city leaders agreed.  “Here in Portland, we are not willing to give up individual liberties in order to have a perception of safety,” said city commissioner Randy Leonard.  “It’s important for cities to know how their police officers are being used.”

Bush was wrong, terrorists don’t hate us because our freedom.

And Obama (and his liberal followers) are wrong, in that terrorists don’t hate us because we’re mistreating certain Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan, though that is their contemporary pretext for attacking the United States and Europe.

Muslims hate us because we’re not Muslim.

The more radical (i.e., pious) ones believe this justifies terrorism.  The less radical believe that they must conquer us through persuasion, coupled with the ongoing demographic and moral collapse of the West.  They hate the West because, historically, the West was Christendom, the great anti-Muslim force in history.  It was other things, of course, the land of Michaelangelo and Kant and Issac Newton.  That is, our identity was not solely anti-Muslim, though it was primarily Christian.  And this Christianity required it to be anti-Muslim in self defense, which the West accomplished with great energy at Lepanto, Tours, and Vienna, as well as the Crusades.

After the Enlightenment, the West lost its way a bit; it stopped being self-consciously Christendom, but it never stopped being the dominant, attractive, wealthy, accomplished, anti-Muslim citadel to which the entire non-Muslim world looked to for leadership, technology, and also a bit of envy. We outshone the Muslim world, and this was unbearable to a people whose political, economic, and social system was supposedly divinely ordained, allegedly a formula not only for other-worldly happiness but also for worldly success.

Portland thought it was safe from this kind of thing because it felt so guilty for being Western and so consciously and publicly distanced itself from Bush’s wars to inculcate western freedoms to illiberal Muslim lands.  But Portland’s deracinated leadership forgot one thing:  that sometimes hate and injustice and aggressive rage arise naturally and predictably from the Others whom they hold so high on a pedestal.  Appeasement does not work to appease the uneappeaseable, world-historical program of Islam, which demands complete submission by every person on Earth.

It’s not clear if an event like this, even if successful, can remove the politically correct scales from the eyes of Portland’s leaders.  Theirs is a web of deception that will likely detect, even in this, a clarion call to redouble their efforts of outreach, tolerance, and the like.  Liberalism like that of Portland’s mayor renders intelligent people stupid and blind to basic reality.  It also can render whole societies dead if they do not have a revival of clear thinking and an affirmation of their right to continue to exist in their traditional form.

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I read (but did not watch) the President’s speech on Iraq.  Of all the things he has done as President, stopping our mindless “stay the course” approach in Iraq has been something I generally approve.  I also think it’s a testament to his relative moderation on foreign policy that our withdrawal has been orderly.  I disagree with conservatives who say we’re “cutting and running” or that his failure to acknowledge the “success of the Surge” shows his bad faith.  The Surge, in fact, while it tamped down some violence in Iraq, has hardly been a success without qualification.  There is still a significant terrorist presence in Iraq.  Its politics are still corrupt, and its likely future will be as a Shia-led Iranian partner. And the Surge is often credited with a reduction in violence caused by the earlier Anbar Awakening, which itself was caused by the mistakes and oversteps of al Qaeda in Iraq.

The original mission in Iraq (of finding and destroying WMDs) turned out to be largely unnecessary.  Upon this, Bush elevated the secondary mission of installing a friendly democracy.  This led to a seven year counterinsurgency campaign that has ended inconclusively.  It likely created as many Iraqi nationalist terrorists as it destroyed Islamist ones.  And for its modest or nonexistent benefits, it did tie down our forces, cost many American lives, destroy much American equipment, and cost a great deal of money over the last seven years.  If the first part of the Iraq mission was defensible, the latter portion was clearly a mistake.

As a work of rhetoric, however, Obama’s speech was uninspired.  He never seems tremendously comfortable in the commander in chief role.  He keeps our troops’ sacrifices and honorable work on the same plane as jobs for steelworkers or healthcare reform. In other words, he misses some of the romance of the soldier’s life that Bush and Reagan understood.  This is one of many reasons a great many Americans view him as an alien figure, who does not share their values.

Where Obama does not get points from me and where he seems particularly confused is on Afghanistan.  He disagreed with Bush and pulled out of Iraq because he surmised, correctly in my opinion, that the mission was a counterproductive loser.  But why then should the same type of mission be pursued in Afghanistan so many years after the 9/11 attacks? Unlike 2001, there are not significant terrorist training camps there; we are dealing there, as in Iraq, with a nationalist and Islamic insurgency fueled by our presence and the various petty and major grievances Afghans have with our lumbering presence.  The main part of the enemy have fled to Pakistan, which is an on again, off again, partner in the war against al Qaeda.  The mere presence of al Qaeda in Afghanistan should not be enough to justify an extended nation-building campaign; al Qaeda is also in Iraq, not to mention Sudan, Yemen, Somalia, and, for that matter, Germany, France, the UK, and the US.  It’s not clear from Iraq that replacing corrupt dictatorships with corrupt, sectarian democracies does anything at all to fight terrorism at a strategic level.  Once again, look at Pakistan, a functioning, long-established Islamic democracy, where large elements of its military and intelligence infrastructure support Islamic terrorists.  In Afghanistan, as in Iraq, limping along with a smaller, but still significant presence, hardly seems the kind of serious change Obama made such a show of in the campaign.  It looks more like hedging his bets in an area in which he is supremely unconfident.  And this course promises to continue blood-letting, expense, and meaningless accomplishments like slightly reducing the daily car-bomb count in countries that have nothing to do with us.

How to use the military to fight terrorism is not an easy question.  But part of the answer seems like focusing on the terrorists themselves and not being terribly concerned with changing the environment that incubates them.  That environment is fueled by a combination of Islam and typical Third World corruption, and it cannot be easily changed.  But what our military can do is blow up camps, lavish informants with cash, use drones to blow up terrorist leaders, bomb terror-supporting countries, sink ships, and otherwise engage in our own version of “hit and run” tactics rather than conventionally, and expensively, trying to transform ancient peoples into good liberal democrats.

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