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The ability of al Qaeda to so threaten a wide expanse of the U.S. diplomatic mission as to force the closing of our diplomatic posts in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia is truly remarkable. This is especially so given the president’s constant refrain that as the result of his efforts, al Qaeda is on the run and in steep decline. Indeed, one tally has it that Mr. Obama has publicly touted al Qaeda’s demise some thirty-two times since the Benghazi attack last September 11.
This episode certainly demonstrates much about the president’s credibility when it comes to his foreign policy. But in a larger sense, it speaks to something that is usually explored all too gingerly, if at all: What exactly is the place of terrorist groups in the Third World?
In fairness to the president, he is not necessarily wrong when he says the al Qaeda infrastructure that produced the logistically complicated attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 9/11 has been substantially diminished. But it is also quite evident that a dispersed group, more or less loosely connected and able to avoid detection, can be just as dangerous.
In any event, it seems we are still learning the lessons of the Vietnam War, the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan. After years of enormous expenditures of blood and treasure, the U.S. was unable to achieve anything approaching clear victory against indigenous ragtag military forces that seemed able to disappear into the general populace at will only to surface the next day to fight again.
Third World insurgencies have long been viewed as things separate and apart from the indigenous populations. In truth the insurgents are part and parcel of those populations, even if most individuals do not participate in the violence. Until we recognize that fundamental truth, America will continue to be drawn into wars on the premise that our military strength can eliminate an extraneous threat.
Support for the Vietnam War, already on the decline, cratered when the Vietnamese communists mounted their 1968 Tet Offensive. Militarily, Tet was a disaster for the communists, but it demonstrated their resiliency and broad reach, which served to dishearten most Americans.
Similarly, the broad threat to our diplomatic presence in parts of the world is disheartening but should also tell us that the threats do not depend on terrorist infrastructure alone.
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Latvia, July 4, 1941 they forced many Jews in the shul putting it on fire; everyone was burned alive
There’s blood on the reporters’ hands AND New Israel Fund for funding groups feeding lies to the UN
Respect & appreciation for our country is not only a civic value but an essential Jewish one as well
Israel, like the non-radical Islamic world. will be happy see the ISIS beheaded for once.
Kids shouldn’t have “uninstructed” Internet access, better to train them how to use it responsibly
What if years from now, IS were to control substantial territory? What world havoc would that wreak?
Rambam writes the verse’s double term refers to 2 messiahs: first King David; 2nd the final Mashiach
The Gaza flotilla has been rightfully and legally blocked by Israel’s Navy, with greetings from Bibi
The president described the attack as “an act that drew on a long history of bombs and arson and shots fired at churches, not random, but as a means of control, a way to terrorize and oppress…”
“The only [candidate] that’s going to give real support to Israel is me,” said the 69-year-old Trump.
And whereas at the outset the plan was that Iran would have to surrender most of its centrifuges, it will now be able to retain several thousand.
Now oil independent, US no longer needs its former strategic alliances with Gulf States-or Israel
Can adoption agencies limit the placement of children to heterosexual couples only?
It wasn’t too long ago that Mr. Erdogan, in his determination to burnish Turkey’s credentials as an Islamist state at the cost of the secularism that had brought much economic and political success to Turkey, upended his country’s decades-long cooperative relationship with Israel.
Does the pope really believe that Father Dehon’s destructive anti-Jewish calumnies do not disqualify him from the highest honor of the Catholic Church because in his time everyone did it?
There was something else of great importance in play – something we would have liked to see him take into account before deciding to stand with the boycotters.
“Let’s get something straight so we don’t kid each other…[the Iranians] already have paved a path to a bomb’s worth of material,” said Mr. Biden. “Iran could get there now if they walked away in two to three months without a deal.”
Beyond the particulars of this tragic death, however, we should all be concerned about the possibility that a criminal prosecution in a major American city is being driven by fear of mobs in the street.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/learning-from-history/2013/08/07/
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