Posts Tagged ‘al-Qaeda’

9/11 Again

September 11, 2013

I am not sure just how to say it, but the twelve years since 9/11 have not been what I expected and I am a little disappointed. I had expected that the tragic events on that day would bring Americans closer together. That is the only good that can come of something that takes so many lives. Instead, it seems that Americans are farther apart than ever.

911-fake-planes

I do not expect everyone in a large country like ours to agree on everything. That is not possible in a free country, nor is it desirable. If I wanted a country where every citizen marches in lockstep, I would move to North Korea. What I mean is that ever since the Vietnam War, and perhaps even before, there has been a certain percentage of Americans who simply hate their own country and all it stands for. They often say that they are for peace and social justice, but their actions indicate that they are for a defeated America and for tyranny. They seem to have sided with every one of our enemies throughout the twentieth and the twenty-first centuries, with the exception of the Nazis in World War 2. The various tyrants that these people have supported, the Stalins, Maos, Castros, etc, have always talked a lot about helping the oppressed and it is possible that the Progressives have been naive enough to believe their propaganda more than their deeds. They could fool themselves into believing they supported fellow progressives. I might have thought that these progressive liberal-minded people would at least be able to oppose religious fanatics who scorn the liberal ideals that the progressives say they are for and who want to take the entire world back to the seventh century. I imagined that while Osama bin Ladin never had the sort of military capability of a Hitler, anyone could see that he was just as evil. I thought the progressives would believe that America was in the right, for once, or at least would be too ashamed to show their faces.

We did have unity for a short time, but then the America haters among us crawled out from under the rocks they had hidden under. True to their nature, they blamed America for the terrorist attacks on 9/11. We had it coming. It was wrong to invade Afghanistan to capture bin Ladin. He was a victim. We shouldn’t pursue the terrorists but show contrition for our sins. Thus we get Obama’s World Apology Tours.

I also thought that 9/11 would wake Americans up to the fact that we live in a dangerous world. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, too many Americans started to believe that there was a new world order of peace and prosperity. We didn’t need to worry about any enemies or rivals. Everyone was friends now. We could safely ignore the rest of the world altogether. We could cut back on our military strength and readiness. It was this kind of thinking that enabled President Clinton to not take the terrorist threat of Osama bin Ladin and al Qaeda very seriously. Osama bin Ladin declared war on us, and we ignored him.

9/11 did wake us up, for a few years. Now, I am afraid that too many Americans have fallen asleep again. We elected a fool who believed that all the problems of the world were the fault of his predecessor and all he needed to do was to reset everything and make speeches. He believed, and probably still believes that the melodious sound of his voice and his soaring oratory can end ages old disputes and reconcile enemies. We can see the results in America’s declining influence all over the world.

There is one other thing that did not match my expectations, though I wouldn’t call it a disappointment. There have been no other successful major terrorist attacks against the United States. It would be nice to believe that it was due to the diligence of law enforcement and Homeland Security, but it is more likely the truth that it is a lot harder to plan and execute a really large terrorist attack than anyone anticipated. I think that al Qaeda used up most of its resources in the attack on 9/11 and was never able to recover once we started hunting them in earnest. It is also likely that Osama bin Ladin was not really the terrorist mastermind we took him to be or as he imagined himself to be.

It could be that we were actually lucky on 9/11. Perhaps a more capable or determined enemy with the full backing of a foreign government could have done a lot more damage. We might not be so lucky next time, and there will be a next time. I wish I knew how to wake up my fellow Americans who are forgetting how dangerous the world really is. We cannot turn our backs on the world. The world won’t let us. We may not long have as much margin for error or foolishness as we now enjoy. I hope it doesn’t take more loss of life.

 

 

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Book Burning in Timbucktu

January 30, 2013
English: Image of Timbuktu manuscripts.

English: Image of Timbuktu manuscripts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I was a child, Timbuktu generally seemed to mean the farthest possible place it was possible to travel to while still remaining on the planet, an almost mystical city, not one you who expect to travel to. It actually came a something of a shock to me when I saw Timbuktu on a map. I didn’t really think it was a real city.

Well, Timbuktu is real enough and not nearly far from the troubles of the world as the inhabitants might wish. Timbuktu has been in the news quite a lot recently as a battleground in Mali‘s civil war. Recently, Malian and French soldiers captured the city from the Islamic militants who had seized the city ten months ago. The terrorists did not show much respect for the historical or cultural legacy of Timbuktu, and even less respect for the rights and well being of the people there. I read this report from the Associated Press.

Timbuktu, a city of mud-walled buildings and 50,000 people, was for centuries a seat of Islamic learning and a major trading center along the North African caravan routes that carried slaves, gold and salt. In Europe, legend had it that it was a city of gold. Today, its name is synonymous to many with the ends of the earth.

It has been home to some 20,000 irreplaceable manuscripts, some dating to the 12th century. It was not immediately known how many were destroyed in the blaze that was set in recent days in an act of vengeance by the Islamists before they withdrew.

Michael Covitt, chairman of the Malian Manuscript Foundation, called the arson a “desecration to humanity.”

“These manuscripts are irreplaceable. They have the wisdom of the ages and it’s the most important find since the Dead Sea Scrolls,” he said.

The militants seized Timbuktu last April and began imposing a strict Islamic version of Shariah, or religious law, across northern Mali, carrying out amputations and public executions. Women could be whipped for going out in public without wearing veils, while men could be lashed for having cigarettes.

During their rule in Timbuktu, the militants systematically destroyed cultural sites, including the ancient tombs of Sufi saints, which they denounced as contrary to Islam because they encouraged Muslims to venerate saints instead of God.

The mayor said the Islamists burned his office as well as the Ahmed Baba institute, a library rich in historical documents.

“It’s truly alarming that this has happened,” Mayor Ousmane Halle told The Associated Press by telephone from Bamako. “They torched all the important ancient manuscripts. The ancient books of geography and science. It is the history of Timbuktu, of its people.”

This is unfortunate, but not unexpected. There is something of a tradition of iconoclasm among the more fanatic Muslim sects. Muslims generally regard the pre-Muslim past as the time of Jahiliyyah or ignorance. This often leads Muslims to denigrate the pre-Islamic history and culture of a nation and more devout or fanatic Muslims can even systematically destroy artifacts from the past, especially art that is considered pagan or idolatrous. The worst offenders in this regard are probably the members of the Wahhabi sect, prominent in Saudi Arabia. In their zeal to purify the Islamic faith and to ensure that Allah alone is worshiped, the Wahhabi have often attacked long standing customs and traditions of less strict Muslim sects, such as the veneration of saints, Sufi mysticism, and the Shi’ites whom they regard as heretics. The Wahhabi dominated government of Saudi Arabia has been destroying historical sites in Mecca and Medina that are associated with the beginnings and early history of Islam.

I am not certain to what extent the militants in Mali have been influenced by Wahhabism. The story said that they were linked to al-Qaeda and Osama bin Ladin was, of course, from Saudi Arabia. It seems likely that their ignorant destruction of historical manuscripts is derived from the same sort of fanaticism that drives the Saudis to destroy houses and mosques associated with Mohammed and other figures from early Islam.

 

Impeach Obama?

October 28, 2012

Roger Simon at PJ Media believes that if President Obama wins re-election, he should be impeached over his role in covering up details over the terrorist attack on the US diplomatic mission at Benghazi.

If Barack Obama is reelected, will he face impeachment over Benghazi — a yet more unpleasant and far more wrenching result than to lose an election?

It could happen — and in my estimation should happen — the way revelations are playing out over the bloody terror attack that took four American lives and has led to weeks of prevarication and obfuscation.

The scandal thus far has at least tarnished and quite possibly implicated everyone from the CIA director, to the secretaries of State and Defense, to the UN ambassador and, of course, the president himself — with no end in sight, because Obama, normally loath to expose himself and even less so in an election season, refuses to answer questions on the subject.

It’s not the crime, but the cover-up, we learned in an earlier impeachment, only in this case the crime may be just as bad or worse.

 

In fact, under this scenario — a Romney popular victory mitigating (no pun intended) an Obama Electoral College triumph – I think impeachment proceedings will almost certainly begin in the House. Moreover, the ramifications of such an impeachment would be greater than Watergate and Monicagate — relatively minor internal events in comparison, the former concerning the break-in of a political office during an election that was already won and the latter, well, adultery in the White House… or more precisely lying under oath about adultery in the White House.

Neither was about anything nearly as important as the seemingly negligent deaths of American personnel, the evolution (actually diminution) of American foreign policy and its possible implications thereof for the health, even the survival, of Western civilization and its values.

We live in a time when the hopelessly inept producer of an unwatchable film is asked to take the fall for an ongoing, indeed centuries old, ideological conflict pitting democracy against religious fascism, with our current administration promulgating the absurd self-aggrandizing delusion that the assassination of a leader of that fascism (bin Laden) and a few of his henchmen (al-Awlaki, etc.) would be an end to their cause. As if.

All those factors hover around Benghazigate like flies around a fetid lamb carcass in a Middle Eastern bazaar. They are fair game for the next Bob Woodward and we may have already found one in Jennifer Griffin of Fox News. She has done a yeoman job investigating the horrifying events on the ground in Libya the evening of September 11 with our noble warriors left to die by some or all of their superiors. But does she have it right or was she too misled?

Well, maybe. Time will tell — or it won’t. Most recently we have learned that we may have had support gunships over Libya when the massacre was occurring, one — with a laser beam trained on the enemy — begging to provide support. As the poet would say — an unholy mess!

So who’s to blame in all this? Fingers will point in every direction, but as we all know the fish rots at the proverbial top or, more politely, the buck stops with the president. Obama admitted as much. Only he hasn’t taken the buck. Not even a penny. He hasn’t said a word, at least one that makes any sense. He’s trying desperately to fly through to November 6 on the wings of the mainstream media, aka the Cricket Club. But a few of those crickets, in and outside the MSM, are starting to chirp. Soon it may be a cacophony.

Still does this all rise to the “high crimes and misdemeanors,” that term of legal art that constitutes the hurdle for impeachment? If this were a Republican administration, we all know the answers to that.

But I say, if this doesn’t, what does?

Or look at it this way — which is the worse, lying to cover up a party office break-in, lying under oath about extra-marital sex with an intern, or lying to the American public about a terror attack that resulted in the deaths of four of our worthiest citizens while covering up the continued power and presence of al-Qaeda and its allies throughout the Islamic world and maybe beyond?

This would probably be the right thing to do, but not the smart thing. I haven’t been following the details of this emerging scandal as I ought to have dove, but at the very least it would seem that the Obama administration is guilty of serious negligence in the safety of our diplomatic facilities in a most dangerous part of the world. It gets even more serious because Obama didn’t want to admit that this was a preplanned terrorist attack and instead blamed a video that no one has seen.

The problem is that impeaching Obama would be difficult unless some new revelations turn the great majority of the people against him. If the Republican controlled House of Representatives begins impeachment proceedings, the Republicans will be seen as sore losers intent on reversing the outcome of the 2012 election. The Democrats will surely close ranks to defend Obama, as will the mainstream media. Even if the Republicans capture the Senate, there is no way that they get get the two-thirds majority needed to convict. I think that it will take a long time for the Republicans to recover from the mess impeachment would make.

On the other hand, the scenario of Obama losing the popular vote but winning the electoral vote is a distinct possibility and that would make a mess too. The best thing to do is make sure he doesn’t get a second term.

 


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