Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.
Many in the chattering classes in the United States recently devoted their energy to the controversy about ABC’s television film “The Path to 9/11.”
Partisanship seems to dominate virtually every discussion these days. So it was no surprise that, just as Republicans have sought to minimize the lack of attention paid to the terror threat by the Bush administration, so, too, have Democrats resisted the notion that the failures of the Clinton administration be highlighted, as the film did with some respects.
With so much attention devoted to wacko conspiracy theories about the 9/11 attacks available on the Internet, and with seemingly more respectable conversations conducted by our political elites devoted to assigning blame to their foes and absolving their friends, intelligent discussions of the issue have been largely crowded out by the din of nonsense.
That makes for good shouting matches on the all-news cable stations, but like many Americans, my tolerance for the genre is limited. The painful truth about 9/11 is that outside of a few experts on the issue – such as scholar Daniel Pipes or journalist Steven Emerson – there were precious few writing and speaking about the danger of Islamic terrorism before Sept. 11, 2001.
And these men were routinely ignored or derided by more influential figures in the media, academia and halls of power. If the FBI and CIA operatives failed to gain the attention of their political masters for an all-out commitment to resist the murderers before that date (a sore point for some viewers of the ABC film), it was because so few were prepared to speak out about the danger at that time.
Hence, the political support necessary for the drastic increase in intelligence and military resources devoted to the fight was simply lacking. If extraordinary measures such as federal forces’ eavesdropping on suspected terrorists are still considered controversial today by some, even more limited measures aimed at rooting terror front groups were unthinkable prior to 9/11.
And that should lead us all directly to the present-day issue of Iran. Just like Al Qaeda, which, as many have observed, “hid in plain sight” from the view of the West, Iran’s drive to produce nuclear weapons has been anything but a secret.
When not denying the Holocaust or threatening to destroy Israel, Iran’s loopy leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has openly bragged about the possibility. The Tehran regime even held a bizarre public ceremony back in April replete with costumed dancers to commemorate its latest step toward processing uranium in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.
And Iran is not only working on a nuclear capability, it is also striving for the acquisition of missiles that will deliver such weapons not only to Israel (the Iranians’ presumed first target) but to Western capitals, too. As former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated, there is no comparison between the Iranian situation and that which confronted the West prior to the invasion of Iraq. Unlike then, “we’re not guessing” about what they’ve got, “we know.”
The prospect of a regime run by Islamist fundamentalist Shiites gaining such a weapon and their ability to use it is one that ought to scare every sensible person in the West.
Some experts tell us that we must learn to live with a nuclear Iran. They have a point, because unless the United States and its allies start acting as if this really matters, it’s only a matter of time before Tehran succeeds in its quest.
But the problem with the notion that this prospect can be lived with lies in the very difference between past nuclear threats and this one. A nuclear Soviet Union was certainly a dangerous foe, but as Netanyahu pointed out, the Soviets would never do anything that endangered their own survival. Thus, whenever disputes between the Soviet Union and the West went to the brink, Moscow was generally as interested as Washington in edging away from the precipice.
But the notion that we can be just as confident about deterring the mullahs of Tehran is highly dubious. Ahmadinejad and his religious mentors buy into an ideology that prizes celestial martyrdom, not terrestrial conquest.
In addition to hoping to generate the return of a “Twelfth Imam” – a Shiite messiah – some in Ahmadinejad’s circle have already made plain that even if Iran were to suffer a nuclear response from Israel after a strike on the Jewish state, they would still “win” since more of them would be left, and those who died would be happy martyrs.
About the Author: Jonathan S. Tobin is senior online editor of Commentary magazine and chief political blogger at www.commentarymagazine.com, where this first appeared. He can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
Is the global community clear in its response to these extremist groups?
Like our fabled character, Don Quixote, President Obama has constantly spawned his own reality.
Boroujerdi was informed that “the pressures and tortures will increase until he has been destroyed.”
Can teenagers seriously be expected to behave properly when they are surrounded by so much suggestive material? Is it fair to expose them (and ourselves) to so much temptation and then tell them, “Just say no”?
Washington remains ignorant of the need to dismantle alliances with various Muslim countries.
Defeating IS requires bombing its strongholds and recognizing the violent nature of Islam.
Abbas again used the UN to attack Israel, distort history, and undermine prospects for peace.
Israel and the Palestinian Authority cannot even agree to move their clocks back on the same day.
Shemita is about relating to each other by temporarily eliminating gaps of wealth power & status
David transcended adversity to become a leader; Who are we to make excuses for a lack of greatness?
sympathy: Feeling sorrow or pity for another’s tribulations; Empathy:sharing an emotional experience
Last week the president announced a four-point plan. Unfortunately, there’s little buy-in from our European and Middle Eastern allies. Here’s my own four-point plan that may be more palatable to our allies.
Rosh Hashanah has an obvious connection to God’s Kingship. We constantly refer to Him during the Asseres Yemei Teshuvah as Melech/King. The nusach of the tefillah, referring to Rosh Hashanah as “a remembrance of the first day” (of Creation), implies a certain dimension of divine kingship operating at the time of Creation and replicated every […]
Yes, God judges, but His judgment is that of a loving father who longs for his child’s quick return.
Anti-Semitism has returned to the mainstream of European society and Israel has become its focus.
One of the key talking points by apologists for Hamas in the current conflict is that it isn’t fair that Israelis under fire have bomb shelters while Palestinians in Gaza don’t have any. Among other factors, the lack of shelters accounts in part for the differences in casualty figures between the two peoples. But somehow […]
How will all this end? Hamas seems to think it will be Netanyahu who will blink first.
Nothing short of a stroke that will decapitate the leadership of this group will convince the Arabs that Hamas has made a mistake.
Z STREET will have the ability to compel IRS officials to testify as to their practices and produce all records.
“Death of Klinghoffer” opera frames the issue as Israel’s existence being the real crime.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/clear-and-present-danger-2/2006/09/20/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: