American Elephants


Can We Take the Matter of Terrorism Seriously? by The Elephant's Child

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From the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday:

Tuesday’s coordinated terrorist attacks in Brussels have left at least 30 people dead and more than 200 wounded, shut down the capital of Europe and raised security alarms from Frankfurt to London to New York. (See above.) So maybe it’s time we all get over our inordinate fear of Islamist terrorism.

Believe it or not, that’s the not-so-subliminal message we keep hearing from President Obama, even as he condemned the attacks during his visit to Cuba. “Obama frequently reminds his staff that terrorism takes far fewer lives in America than handguns, car accidents and falls in bathtubs do,” reports Jeffrey Goldberg in a lengthy profile of the President’s national-security thinking in the Atlantic magazine. Islamic State, Mr. Obama is quoted as telling adviser Valerie Jarrett, is “not coming here to chop our heads off.”

I suppose it’s tempting to try to minimize the fear of terrorist action, when your foreign policy is entirely guided by your erroneous belief that you have saved America from the misguided efforts of the hated George W. Bush in Iraq, when you promised to end the war, and keep congratulating yourself for so doing, completely ignoring the results of that misguided pullout. But there is something particularly ugly about comparing the death count from falls in the bathtub to what the victims of terrorism and their families face.  Unusually callous.

At Commentary, Max Boot treats the subject with the seriousness it deserves:

As we struggle for an answer to the threat posed by ISIS, it’s worth remembering how the U.S. and Israel in the past defeated suicidal terrorist groups. There is, of course, no simple answer, no magical solution, but the essence comes down to the realization that the threat comes not from demented individuals but from a network run by savvy organizers who are not themselves suicidal. (You don’t see the leaders of groups like ISIS or Hamas wearing suicide vests; it’s rare to even see their children engaging in such acts.) Suicide bombers have to be manufactured. Making the actual explosives is the least of the problems, although that requires significant expertise, too. The real issue is indoctrinating young men (and sometimes young women) to perform the unnatural — and, in Islam, forbidden — act of committing suicide and in the process taking the lives of innocents.

It can take months to recruit and train would-be suicide bombers and then additional weeks and months to locate a target, figure out the optimal time for an attack, and then put the bomber in a position to inflict maximal damage. If a counter-terrorist force can disrupt the —network that makes the suicide bombing possible, then not even the willingness of individuals to kill themselves will suffice to create the kind of mass-casualty attacks that terrorists crave. At most, disorganized terrorists can carry off the kind of small-scale knifings that unfortunately have become all too regular an occurrence in Israel today.  (Do read the whole thing)

We need to start talking about Islam honestly. Many Muslims believe that Islam is a “Religion of Peace,” and treat it in that way.  Osama bin Laden and his followers believed that the rise of the Western world occurred because Allah had turned his face away from Muslims because they were not following the rules of the Koran as the Prophet had taught them, and it was necessary to return to the purity of Islam as taught in the 6th Century.

In America and in Europe, Religion has changed from the days of the Inquisition, the burning of witches. We had more than our share of religious wars — but we also had the Reformation. America had plenty of religious battles in the very early years, but when the Founders wrote the Bill of Rights, they wrote”Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. or prohibiting the free exercise therof, ” which has caused enough problems in its clear simplicity. Americans, excepting parts of the Left, are quite protective of the freedom of religion, and thus very conscious of restrictions on religion as applied to Islam. And the new epithet has become “Islamophobia” to go along with the more usual “racist.”

I see no reason why we should not welcome Muslim immigrants, but they should recognize that some of the customs and rules of the Koran are against the laws of this country. Honor killings will get you sent to the penitentiary, wife-beating is assault, and our culture is far more open to women’s education and accomplishments than is usual in many Muslim countries. It is not discrimination to talk about such things. but just clear and honest.

Terror is supposed to frighten us into submission. That’s why they do it. A little straight talk and a lot less political correctness would seem to be in order.


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