web analytics
April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘9-11’

Obama’s Head-in-the-Sand Speech About Terror

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

President Barack Obama’s speech at the National Defense University, “The Future of Our Fight against Terrorism” is a remarkable exercise in wishful thinking and denial. Here is basically what he says: the only strategic threat to the United States is posed by terrorists carrying out terrorist attacks.

In the 6400 words used by Obama, Islam only constitutes three of them and most interestingly in all three the word is used to deny that the United States is at war with Islam. In fact, that is what President George Bush said precisely almost a dozen years ago, after September 11. Yet why have not hundreds of such denials had the least bit of effect on the course of that war?

In fact, to prove that the United States is not at war with Islam, the Obama Administration has sided with political Islam throughout the Middle East, to the extent that some Muslims think Obama is doing damage to Islam, their kind of non-revolutionary Islam.

And how has the fight against al-Qaeda resulted in a policy that has, however inadvertently, armed al-Qaeda, as in Libya and Syria?

Once again, I will try to explain the essence of Obama strategy, a simple point that many people seem unable to grasp:

Obama views al-Qaeda as a threat because it wants to attack America directly with terrorism. But all other Islamist groups are not a threat. In fact, they can be used to stop al-Qaeda.

This is an abandonment of a strategic perspective. The word Islamism or political Islam or any other version of that word do not appear even once. Yet this is the foremost revolutionary movement of this era, the main threat in the world to U.S. interests and even to Western civilization.

If one wanted to come up with a slogan for the Obama Administration it would be that to win the war on terrorism one must lose the war on revolutionary Islamism because only by showing that America is the Islamists’ friend will it take away the incentive to join up with al-Qaeda and attack the United States.

Please take the two sections in bold above very seriously if you want to understand U.S. Middle East policy.

According to Obama:

If the Muslim Brotherhood takes over Egypt that is not a strategic threat but a positive advantage because it is the best organization able to curb al-Qaeda. And that policy proves that the United States is not at war with Islam.

If the Muslim Brotherhood takes over Tunisia that is not a strategic threat but a positive advantage because it is the best organization able to curb al-Qaeda. And that policy proves that the United States is not at war with Islam.

If the Muslim Brotherhood takes over Syria that is not a strategic threat but a positive advantage because it is the best organization able to curb al-Qaeda. And that policy proves that the United States is not at war with Islam.

If a regime whose viewpoint is basically equivalent to the Muslim Brotherhood—albeit far more subtle and culture—dominates Turkey that is not a strategic threat but a positive advantage because it is the best organization able to curb al-Qaeda. And that policy proves that the United States is not at war with Islam.

These and other strategic defeats do not matter, says Obama in effect:

After I took office, we stepped up the war against al Qaeda, but also sought to change its course. We relentlessly targeted al Qaeda’s leadership. We ended the war in Iraq, and brought nearly 150,000 troops home. We pursued a new strategy in Afghanistan, and increased our training of Afghan forces. We unequivocally banned torture, affirmed our commitment to civilian courts, worked to align our policies with the rule of law, and expanded our consultations with Congress.

And yet the Taliban is arguably close to taking over Afghanistan in future. The group has spread to Pakistan. The rule of law in Afghanistan is a joke and soldiers there know that the Afghan government still uses torture.

Today, Osama bin Laden is dead, and so are most of his top lieutenants. There have been no large-scale attacks on the United States, and our homeland is more secure. Fewer of our troops are in harm’s way, and over the next 19 months they will continue to come home. Our alliances are strong, and so is our standing in the world. In sum, we are safer because of our efforts.

Well, it is quite true that security measures within the United States have been largely successful at stopping attacks. But the frequency of attempted attacks has been extensive, some of which were blocked by luck and the expenditure of one trillion dollars. Country after country has been taken over by radical Islamists who can be expected to fight against American interests in future. Obama continues:

So America is at a crossroads. We must define the nature and scope of this struggle, or else it will define us…

But he never actually defines it except to suggest that (1) al-Qaeda has spread to other countries (which does not sound like a victory for the United States) and (2) That its affiliates and imitators are more amateurish than those who pulled off the September 11, 2001 attack. Yet they got away with the September 11, 2012 attack.

Terrorism and the Methodology of the Left

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

The left has a clearly defined set of responses to a terrorist attack. After all the hopes for a properly right wing terrorist have come to naught, it begins the long slow process of rolling back the laws and emotional attitudes stemming from the attack.

For it, terrorism, like anything else, either fits into its narrative or conflicts with it. The narrative defines the world, past, present and future, in terms of the political agenda of the left. An event that clashes with the agenda must have its meaning changed so that the power of the narrative is restored.

Most violent attacks, from a street mugging to September 11, cause people to seek out security by combating the attackers. The left’s task is to shift the narrative so that people see it in an entirely different way. The perpetrators become the victims by the trick of transforming the real victims into the real perpetrators. The lesson shifts from going on the offense to learning not to give offense.

The process is gradual and the playbook is infinite. Weapons of mass distraction are brought out. New villains are introduced and the emotional resonance of the events is drowned in ridicule. The tones are also many, from urging everyone to let love defeat hate to displays of virulent hate against the people “truly” stirring up trouble, but they all share a common agenda. Only the tactics vary.

Unlike the right, the left is systematic. It studies structures and people and plots its lines of attack accordingly. It pits emotion against emotion and law against law. It waits for the initial shock to fade before launching its first wave of attacks over process.

The left’s honest response, the one that shows up on its Twitter feeds and in posts on its own sites, is that the country is overreacting. Some leftists will even be bold enough to say that we had it coming. But its public response is more discreet. It exploits the grief for its own ends, diverting shocked city residents into interfaith memorials, some of which are progressive enough to include denunciations of American foreign policy and vigils for the dead on both sides.

But even here, the left generally restrains itself. It waits until the weeks or months have passed to begin deadening the emotion surrounding the event with sarcastic remarks and jokes until the sacred becomes fully profane. It waits somewhat less time to begin lecturing the country on how our foreign policy made them hate us, knowing that in a contest between the establishment’s narrative of inexplicable Islamic radicalization for unknown reasons and their narrative of American evil, they have the upper hand because they provide a realistic motive and the establishment does not.

Still this too comes later. The left knows that there is a window on human emotion. There is a time when people need to mourn and a time when they will feel a diminishing outrage and even begin to agree with observations whose thrust is that the United States of America is the real terrorist. And so there are things that the left will say on DailyKos and then on Salon that it will not say on CNN or the editorial page of the New York Times.

The editorials explaining how a lack of American support for Chechen independence led to the marathon massacre are coming. They just haven’t splashed ashore in mainstream liberal newspapers yet. Timing is everything and the difference between the left of the counterculture and the left of the culture is that it knows what people will be willing to listen to and when. And it knows where to begin.

Against the horror of the bombing, the left juxtaposes the horror of police state. It pits the fear of terrorists depriving us of our lives and freedoms against the fear of the government doing the same. And considering the history of government abuses, it does not take long for this line of argument to make a compelling emotional dent in the responses of even many ordinary people to the attacks.

The left begins by raising all sorts of procedural questions about how law enforcement and the military are treating the enemy. It develops a burning conviction that our civil rights are the only thing about the country worth keeping. It hammers away at any law enforcement or military mistake, no matter how minor, and collects these together to amass a narrative of the police state.

Restoring the Image of George W. Bush

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

The American people honored the formal opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Center on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas last Thursday. It will house a library which will serve as the government repository for the historical documents of the Bush presidency combined with an institute dedicated to promoting the vision and values of President Bush and the first lady Laura Bush..

This historic moment is an important transition to a possibility continually suggested throughout the two presidential terms of George W. Bush: that history would validate and look positively on his global and national service.  This analysis examines some important positive corrections to the memory and future understanding of President Bush.

Correction #1:   President Bush was an impressive presidential leader who returned civility for incivility

President Bush endured a now four decade long tradition of demonizing Republican presidents since Richard Nixon.  The overriding bias of academics, journalists and Hollywood producers consistently suggests to the general public that these public servants from this political party are unusually unethical, deceptive, ignorant, and harmful to the nation.  President Bush endured a high watermark of our intellectual communities’ tradition of demonizing a president.  President Bush remains one of the most unpopular political figures of modern times.

Despite this long tradition, the president continually displays a positive attitude toward the nation, his critics and even the current president who replaced him.  President Bush does not participate in the partisan attacks that dominant the current American civic practice.  His restraint and civility remain a model for good leadership and a path back to a better form of politics.

Correction #2:  President Bush was a great military leader who defeated Osama Bin Laden’s rival vision of America the “paper tiger”

Without question, the events of September 11, 2001 set the rhetorical frame from which one begins to understand the Bush presidency.  Envisioned by terror mastermind Osama Bin Laden, the grand attack on U.S. soil was the culmination of a growing program of terror.  Designed to demonstrate to the world Bin Laden’s view that the United States was a paper tiger – as demonstrated on the streets of Mogadishu and the nation’s general reticence for war – 9/11 was a capstone symbolic humiliation of the United States. Bin Laden believed that all people would follow his model of the “strong horse.”  Bin Laden’s increasingly brazen attacks were designed to attract admirers and future participants in his holy war.

President Bush set aside promises to not engage in “nation building,” issued in the presidential debates of 2000, to strategically restore America’s image as an active military power.  Combat operations around the world but principally expressed in Afghanistan and Iraq, brought to a decisive end the cowering legacy of Vietnam.  America was willing to deploy hundreds of thousands of its precious men and women to fight on the ground with the barbaric cruelty of Islamic supremacists bent on terrifying the world into submissive silence.  A predictable pattern of limited American casualties forming the understood calculation for expelling American military force was brought to an end as thousands of our soldiers died in foreign lands.

Instead of withdrawing in shame from Iraq in 2007, President Bush surged and restored order to the country in direct defiance to an anti-American war movement that had historically dictated U.S. military deployment to the satisfaction of dictators abroad. In 2013, the risk of U.S. military intervention remains more robust than anytime since Vietnam and America appears as the global “strong horse.”  In his two terms, there were no major terror attacks on the United States.

Correction #3:  President Bush was a prudent and effective leader in fiscal and economic policy

The rapid decline and collapse of the American economy in the latter half of 2008 has perpetuated a notion that President Bush can and should be blamed for all economic ills.  Taking note of where the nation left the fiscal and economic tracks is easy to do.  In January of 2007, the nation strongly ushered the Democratic Party into congressional dominance.  Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid took emphatic control of American fiscal policy and leaders like Barney Frank took the reins of congressional oversight for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac– the nation’s largest holder of mortgages.  In 2007, the unemployment rate was 4.7 percent.  The annual deficit had fallen from a high of half a trillion dollars in 2005 to less than 170 billion dollars.  The declining deficit was a function of growing revenues and a growing economy.  2007 stands as the final year of unblemished American prosperity, the clear departure point where American fiscal and economic policy left the tracks.

The April 14 World

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

The day before the Marathon Massacre, the New York Times had scored plaudits for running an op-ed by one of Osama bin Laden’s bodyguards complaining about his hard life in Guantanamo Bay.

On April 14th, the paper of broken record paid 150 bucks to an Al Qaeda member for the opportunity to complain about being force fed during his hunger strike. On April 15th the bombs went off.

The attacks of September 11 introduced a dividing line between awareness and disregard. There was the world of September 10 and the world of September 11. In one world the planes passing in the sky were a minor reminder of our technological prowess. In the other, we were at war.

There was no such clear dividing line when September 11 faded from memory and we returned to a September 10 world. Nor is there an exact date for when we will return to an April 14 world in which it is okay to pay a terrorist in exchange for his propaganda. But if the media has its way, that day can’t come soon enough.

A day after the bombings, the New York Times wrote that a decade without terror had come to an end. But the terror had never stopped or paused. The FBI and local law enforcement had gone on breaking up numerous terror plots to the skepticism and ridicule of the media which accused them of violating Muslim civil rights and manufacturing threats.

Some of those plots seemed laughable. A man setting up a car bomb near a Broadway theater where crowds waiting to see The Lion King musical, kids in tow, were lining up. A plot to detonate bombs in the Grand Central and the Times Square subway stations. Underwear bombers. Shoe bombers. It became fashionable to laugh at them. Silly crazies trying to kill people in ridiculous ways. Almost as silly as trying to hijack planes while armed only with box cutters and then ramming those planes into buildings.

Liberal urbanites stopped breathing sighs of relief every time a terror plot was broken up and turned on law enforcement. There were suspicions that these were just setups. Representatives of Muslim groups complained that law enforcement was taking confused kids and tricking them into terrorist plots that they never could have carried out on their own.

But there was only one way to find out.

Last year the Associated Press won a Pulitzer for its attack on the NYPD’s mosque surveillance program. But that was the April 14 mindset. Now after April 15, the police are once again heroes and any editorials from imprisoned terrorists complaining about the lack of new Harry Potter novels at Gitmo have temporarily been placed on hold. But the police know better than anyone that it will not take very long for them to go from the heroes to the villains. The period of consciousness after April 15 will be much shorter than after September 11.

The long spring in which Americans didn’t have to turn on the news and see bloody body parts everywhere was made possible by the dedicated work of the very people the media spent a decade undermining. The media was undermining them on April 14, but two days later it was acknowledging that the temporary peace brought about by the work of the very people they despised had made their temporary ignorance of terror possible.

We don’t know who perpetrated the Marathon Massacre, but many of the Muslim terrorist plots broken up by the authorities would have been as deadly. And there will be others like them in the future. The one thing we can be certain of is that terrorism as a tactic is here to stay.

While law enforcement pores over the wreckage, the media is examining the political fallout. It is waiting for the time when it will once again be safe to pay terrorists for their propaganda. If the bomber turns out to be anything other than a Muslim terrorist, then they can get into their limos and drive back to that Sunday, April 14, when it was safe to be pro-terrorist. If he turns out to be in any way associated with the right, then they can celebrate hitting propaganda pay dirt. But even if he’s only another Unabomber or even another Bill Ayers, the false spring of April 14 will still beckon.

FACTA Hurts Everyone, Especially Americans

Friday, March 15th, 2013

What could be wrong with Congress trying to catch the bad guys, in this case, folks who use offshore tax havens to avoid paying their fair share of taxes?

It seems as if the legislation meant to catch tax evaders caught a lot of other folks in its net, too.

While it seems like a law designed to catch tax cheaters is a good idea, it’s implementation is making life difficult for the tens of thousands tax-abiding Americans residing abroad (including Israel) who now are facing difficulties at banks and foreign investment houses.

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act of 2010 (FATCA), imposed upon foreign banks and financial institutions the obligation to identify American account holders or face a 30% tax penalty.

Backdrop to FATCA

The U.S. government needed to raise revenues, and thought it had a good target: levying taxes on money hidden in accounts in foreign banks and financial institutions.

In order to go after these concealed assets, America needed to go after the banks and financial institutions that help hide them. Who would have thought it possible that America could flex its muscles overseas and force foreign banks to report their customers to a foreign government? Apparently the threat of extracting taxes and fines on the foreign institutions itself was a great motivator and Uncle Sam managed to remove the veil of secrecy on Swiss accounts when it successfully negotiated a settlement with UBS. In order to avoid criminal prosecution by the Justice Department, UBS paid a large fine and disclosed details about thousands of the bank’s American depositors.

The FATCA Legislation

FATCA imposes an obligation on foreign financial institutions to register with the IRS if they have depositors or conduct financial transactions with U.S. citizens or businesses. Registration includes an agreement to identify and report information about American-held accounts directly to the IRS.

Critics of the legislation, and particularly the foreign financial institutions, view it as an improper extension of the enforcement powers of the IRS into foreign countries. However, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Great Britain were the first nations to lend legitimacy to FATCA by agreeing to comply with the legislation’s mandates.

Impact of FATCA on Americans Living Abroad

Foreign banks are concerned about the additional costs to them associated with complying with FATCA disclosure rules. Rather than incur these expenses, foreign financial institutions are closing their doors to Americans living abroad.

As a result, it’s difficult for many American expatriates to find a bank or financial institution that is willing to do business with them. Americans living in foreign countries for legitimate reasons are being lumped with tax evaders and tax cheats by foreign banks that are wary of subjecting their institution to FATCA disclosure requirements. These Americans are being treated as criminals by foreign banks seeking to avoid FATCA.

In the end, the law-abiding American expats and foreign financial institutions are the biggest losers from the FATCA legislation, since the bad guys will probably find a way around the system anyway.

American expatriates (olim included) are being subjected to many new regulatory requirements by Uncle Sam. My new book, The Expatriates Guide to Handling Money and Taxes, discusses how expats can become compliant with the IRS and gives strategies for dealing with common financial problems faced by expats. Jewish Press readers can get the book at a discount by using the discount code JPRESS.

After Afghanistan

Monday, March 4th, 2013

Some wars are lost in a matter of moments, others stretch on indefinitely. The defeat in Afghanistan crept up silently on the national consciousness and even though we are negotiating with the Taliban, the “D” word is hardly used by anyone.

According to Obama, in one of his interminable speeches which all run together and sound the same, there really isn’t a war, just a mission, and the old mission is now becoming a new sort of mission, and the missions, all of them, whether in Afghanistan or Iraq, have been successful which is why we are wrapping them up, except that we aren’t really. And that’s about as clear as the message from the big white building with the neatly mowed lawn out front gets, except for the part about how its occupant singlehandedly parachuted into Pakistan, killed Bin Laden, and then stopped off for some curry and a humanitarian award.

Had McCain won in 2008, we would no doubt he hearing a lot about the “D” word and the quagmire in Afghanistan. But the “Q” word doesn’t really get mentioned either. No war has been lost. Only a mission is ending. And missions, unlike wars, can be defined in so many creative ways that it’s hard to know what to make of them. It’s easy to tell when a war has been lost, but a mission can never be lost, only renamed. And renaming is what Obama did to the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan. Those wars weren’t lost; they’re only hiding out in the history books under new names and identities.

Wars are usually remembered according to the proclivities of their historians. The history books tend to record the Republican presidents of the last hundred years as either losing wars or winning wars that weren’t worth winning. Democrats however usually win every one.

The Korean War and the Vietnam War were not that far in perception at the time, but are worlds apart in the history books. Had John F. Kennedy lived to serve out two terms and then passed on the big chair to his brother, would the history books even record that the United States lost the Vietnam War? Or would it, like Afghanistan, have gone down as a story about a difficult temporary intervention that ended successfully under the leadership of a wise and caring president?

It is difficult to imagine the left’s narrative of the last century with such a big and meaty chunk taken out of it. What would have become of Oliver Stone’s career without the JFK assassination and the mythology of a cruel and senseless war in Vietnam? Or imagine the last decade if Biden and Gore had managed to talk Clinton into going after Saddam. As entertaining as such speculations might be, renaming missions and tampering with the history books does not alter the outcome of wars.

From the early days, the left had gloated that Afghanistan would become another Vietnam. And like the appointment in Samarra, in attempting to escape that Vietnamness, it repeated many of the follies of Vietnam and few of its triumphs, failing to press the advantage while expending thousands of lives based on abstract theories hatched by the bright boys in Washington and fraudulent books passed on by the wives of generals to their husbands.

We are now in the Afghanistanization stage, hanging around a country for no particular purpose, except that we aren’t very good at departures and the men who made this mess still think that Karzai and his crew can make this work if we provide them with some more training and air support without being shot in the back.

And when we have finally left and Karzai’s cobbled together government collapses, its ministers absconding to Paris and Pakistan with suitcases full of stolen aid dollars, what comes after the war?

The old conflict aimed at denying Al Qaeda one base of operations had been outdated a few years after it began. That was something that Bush instinctively understood and that his critics have only slowly become aware of. Al Qaeda is not a country or an ethnic group. It is a religious vanguard that was always meant to serve as the core of an international Islamist terrorist movement. That function had been fulfilled long before an old man watching porn in a covert compound with no authority over anyone except his many wives was finally put down the hard way.

Early Responders (Video)

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013
For a while now, Elie has been part of a first-responders group of young men who answer any beeper call within reach of wherever they are. At our recent conference, Dave Carroll sang a song that I’ve come to like very much (it’s called Everyday Heroes Song) and is featured on his site.

“When People in the world need saving the saviors who answer the call Don’t get paid anymore for danger or get to pick the one’s they want They just go to where the few will go and maybe lay it all on the line As they do their job, and do it one more time.” I wanted to support Elie’s group and so I invited them to set up a table at the conference to tell others about what they do and some people even donated money for their organization. The men who did the videos included my son-in-law, who recently finished the army after giving two years of service to our country, and three others – who not only videotape, but are also first-responders.

All together, there were four different organizations of first-responders represented in some way at our conference. At one point, someone in the hotel, floors above us, had called for help of some sort. I never did find out, but in seconds, Elie and the others went running out of the conference to see if they could help.

I thought of the song as I waited to know they’d returned to the conference and all was well. Silly that I worried, knowing where they were but I just can’t get passed that feeling when Elie goes running somewhere. But he goes, they went … in seconds…they were off.

Cause they made a promise and here they come Someone hurtin’ called 9-1-1 And the siren’s sayin’ hope is on the way There’s a hero racing to help a stranger today If you haven’t seen Dave’s video, here it is again….

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pm3eHZnfjPI]

Was the ‘Ground Zero’ Mosque a Con Game?

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Visit Rubin Reports.

I’ve pointed out months ago my view of the “Ground Zero” mosque controversy that I thought it was more of a con job than an Islamist offensive. The developer and the imam seemed to be shady people who were trying to promote their careers and seemed to believe they were going to collect a lot of Saudi money.

I also predicted that the mosque/community center tower would never be built. Now, one of the project’s backers has launched a law suit full of detailed allegations, including a claim that the imam spent $3 million of the money raised on a good time for himself. I don’t know if these claims are true but presumably a lot more will come out in the law suit about the story behind this controversial project.

Ironically, the mosque/community center project generated too much publicity, after being rushed through a city council willing to do anything to prove it wasn’t Islamophobic, including observe the city’s own regulations and procedures. This brought criticism and public attention.

In other words, this wasn’t really an issue of religious freedom versus bigotry or a choice between “Islamophobia” and jihad but a cautionary lesson about how the fear of seeming to be a “racist” or “Islamophobe” can be manipulated to fool people into forgetting law and logic.

If the whole issue would have been kept quiet, the likely outcome wouldn’t have been jihad next to the World Trade Center ruins but the enrichment of those involved. At any rate, let’s see what evidence is provided in the court case.

Visit Rubin Reports.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/rubin-reports/was-the-ground-zero-mosque-a-con-game/2013/02/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: