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On Feeling the Pain of a Bombing Victim

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

Following the Boston Marathon bombing, one crucial point will likely remain overlooked. The most loathsome aspect of this or any other terror bombing attack on civilians will always lie in the inexpressibility of physical pain. While all decent people will abhor the idea of bombs expressly directed at the innocent, whether here or in other countries, none will ever be able to process the very deepest horrors of what has been inflicted.

Never.

Human language can never describe such pain. Always, this pain is private and incommunicable. Always, the unique inhumanity of all terror violence must be reduced to a more or less anesthetized inventory of numbered casualties. This reduction will include both the counted fatalities and the “merely wounded.”

Upon reflection, the limiting idea of hard or impenetrable boundaries between humans is not hard to understand. After all, everyone who is human has suffered physical pain. And everyone who has suffered will concur that bodily anguish not only defies language, but is also language-defiling and language-destroying.

Significantly, this inaccessibility of pain, this irremediable privacy of torment, can have markedly wider social and political consequences. For example, in the particular case of recurrent Palestinian terror bombings against Israelis, it has sometimes stood in the way of recognizing such cruel assaults as the visceral expression of sheer jihadist barbarism.

There is never, from the terrorist point of view, any persuasive expectation of being able to transform victims’ pain into influence or power. On the contrary, and also quite predictably, any resort to terrorist carnage and mayhem will stiffen even the most forgiving hearts. So why, then, do terrorists continue to enthusiastically inflict grievous pain upon innocents, gleefully tearing up their unprotected bodies without even a plausible hint of pragmatic benefit?

This is a key question. Are these criminals, whatever their personal and group motives, simply nihilistic, believing in certain distinct patterns of killing for their own sake? Have they merely exchanged one murderous playbook for another, now preferring to trade in Sun-Tzu and Clausewitz, for Bakunin, Fanon, and De Sade?

Here is a partial answer. Recalling that terrorism often is a perverse species of theatre, all terrorists, in precisely the same fashion as their intended audiences, are imprisoned by the stark limitations of language. Even for them, the pain experienced by one human body can never be shared with another. This is the case even if these bodies are closely related by blood, or by any other tangible and usual measures of racial, ethnic, or religious kinship.

In the final analysis, much as we might wish to deny it, the split between one’s own body and the body of another, is always firm and always absolute. Whatever we may be taught about empathy and compassion, the determinative membranes separating our individual bodies, one from the other, ultimately trump every formal instruction. These “membranes,” after all, are stubbornly and irreversibly impermeable.

Sometimes this split may allow even the most heinous infliction of harms to be viewed “objectively.” Here, especially where a fashionably popular political objective is invoked – as in the case of Hamas or Islamic Jihad or Fatah or Hizbullah attacks on Israeli noncombatants – terror bombings can conveniently masquerade as “national liberation.”

For terrorist bombers and their supporters – whether suicide “martyrs” or the more long-distance kinds of killers who employ precision timing devices and who prefer not to die themselves (as was initially the case in Boston) – the violent death that they mete out to their victims is an abstraction. Doctrinally, it is always justified or rationalized, in the name of “political necessity,” or “citizen rights,” or “self-determination,” or “national liberation.” Nothing else needs to be said. Psychologically, if not jurisprudentially, these self-justifications always amount to a full “pardon.”

Physical pain within the human body can destroy not only ordinary language but can also bring about a hideous reversion to pre-language human sounds; that is, to those guttural moans and cries and whispers that are anterior to learned speech. While the victims of terror bombings writhe in agony, from the burns and the nails and the razor blades and the screws (and from shrapnel dipped lasciviously into rat poison), neither the public that must bear witness nor the murderers themselves can ever begin to know the real meaning of what is being suffered.

Toulouse Terrorist was no ‘Lone Wolf’

Monday, May 20th, 2013

Keep in mind the murder spree carried out in Toulouse, France, during March 2012 by Mohamed Merah, a 23-year-old French-Algerian Islamist terrorist and (until his brief and bloody moment of infamy) a petty criminal.

He attacked and killed several French Army personnel, blaming it on the war in Afghanistan. Then at 8 in the morning on March 19, 2012, he rode up to the gates of the Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse, part of a national chain of about 20 French Jewish schools:

He dismounted, and immediately opened fire toward the schoolyard. The first victim was a rabbi and teacher at the school who was shot outside the school gates as he tried to shield his two young sons from the gunman. The gunman shot one of the boys as he crawled away, as his father and brother lay dying on the pavement. He then walked into the schoolyard, chasing people into the building. Inside, he shot at staff, parents, and students. He chased an 8-year-old girl into the courtyard, caught her by her hair and raised a gun to shoot her. The gun jammed at this point and he changed weapons from what the police identified as a 9mm pistol to a .45 calibre gun, and shot the girl in her temple at point-blank range. [Source: Wikipedia]

He subsequently explained, before being shot to death in a face-off with French police, that the Jewish children needed to die because “The Jews kill our brothers and sisters in Palestine.”
Did he operate alone? For most parts of the mainstream news reporting industry, the answer was yes. In a blog post ["10-Feb-13: Suicides, haters and lone wolves"], we wrote:

Most media channels, up to and including those reporting on this week’s Spanish/Moroccan jihadist, persist in referring to the lone-wolf profile of Mohamed Merah for purposes of comparison. But Merah made 1,800 phone calls to his 180 contacts. And his brother was arrested almost immediately. And now two additional men. So in what way was he a lone wolf? Could it be that it’s less threatening, less discomforting, to their audiences if they are left to believe the man planned to do the killings on his own, devoid of an ideological/religious background? How unsettling is it for alert news consumers to try to make sense of the seemingly-endless ranks of young European men professing various expressions of the one religion as the justification for their acts of extreme prejudice, hateful murder and self-destruction?

Now here’s a brief update via a Reuters bulletin from yesterday.

France detains suspect in Toulouse killings investigation | Reuters News | May 18, 2013 | PARIS - French anti-terror judges ordered the detention on Saturday of a man on suspicions he aided an al Qaeda-inspired gunman prepare for a shooting spree last year, a judicial source said. Mohamed Merah killed four Jews and three soldiers in and around the southern city of Toulouse in March 2012 before he was shot dead by police. Anti-terror judges have put the unnamed 25-year-old detained man under formal investigation to determine whether he helped Merah steal a scooter that was used in the shootings. Merah’s brother Abdelkader has also been in detention since March last year on suspicion of complicity in terrorism, murder and theft. He denies being an accomplice in the killings… [Reuters]

Another Merah-related terror plot emerged in March. We reported it in “12-Mar-13: French Islamists mark anniversary of the death of Merah, the ‘lone-wolf’ terrorist, via fresh plot to kill innocents

From Reuters today: Three suspected Islamist militants arrested in southern France appeared to be planning an attack in the days ahead, the Paris prosecutor said on Monday, the anniversary of an al Qaeda-inspired shooting that rocked France. Police found weapons and explosives at the home of one of the suspects in the town of Marignane, near Marseille, and intercepted communications between the men suggested they were close to going into action, prosecutor Francois Molins said. The three men, who were taken in for questioning last week with a fourth man who was later released, were to be placed under formal investigation later on Monday… The timing of the arrests was poignant, coming exactly a year after 23-year-old gunman Mohamed Merah began a rampage that killed three Jewish children, a rabbi and three soldiers in the southern city of Toulouse. He was subsequently tracked down and killed in a shootout with police… Molins said the arrested men, in their 20s, wanted to emulate Merah. “It was clear they were training themselves in making explosives based on a jihadist radicalisation, a glorification of Mohamed Merah, and an affirmed desire to go into action.”

There’s little doubt that thinking about home-grown made-in-Europe Islamist terrorists is easier to do when you categorize them as one-man bands. You can’t blame the French for wanting this to be true. The problem is with how reality keeps messing with comfortable theories.
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Islam and its Infidels

Monday, May 20th, 2013

What motives lay behind last month’s Boston Marathon bombing and the would-be attack on a VIA Rail Canada train?

Leftists and establishmentarians variously offer imprecise and tired replies – such as “violent extremism” or anger at Western imperialism – unworthy of serious discussion. Conservatives, in contrast, engage in a lively and serious debate among themselves: some say Islam the religion provides motive, others say it’s a modern extremist variant of the religion, known as radical Islam or Islamism.

As a participant in the latter debate, here’s my argument for focusing on Islamism.

Those focusing on Islam itself as the problem (such as ex-Muslims like Wafa Sultan and Ayaan Hirsi Ali) point to the consistency from Muhammad’s life and the contents of the Koran and Hadith to current Muslim practice. Agreeing with Geert Wilders’ film Fitna, they point to striking continuities between Koranic verses and jihad actions. They quote Islamic scriptures to establish the centrality of Muslim supremacism, jihad and misogyny, concluding that a moderate form of Islam is impossible. They point to Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan‘s deriding the very idea of a moderate Islam. Their killer question is, “Was Muhammad a Muslim or an Islamist?” They contend that we who blame Islamism do so out of political correctness or cowardliness.

To which, we reply: Yes, certain continuities do exist; and Islamists definitely follow the Koran and Hadith literally. Moderate Muslims exist but lack Islamists’ near-hegemonic power. Erdoğan’s denial of moderate Islam points to a curious overlap between Islamism and the anti-Islam viewpoint. Muhammad was a plain Muslim, not an Islamist, for the latter concept dates back only to the 1920s. And no, we are not cowardly but offer our true analysis.

And that analysis goes like this:

Islam is the fourteen-century-old faith of a billion-plus believers that includes everyone from quietist Sufis to violent jihadis. Muslims achieved remarkable military, economic, and cultural success between roughly 600 and 1200 c.e. Being a Muslim then meant belonging to a winning team, a fact that broadly inspired Muslims to associate their faith with mundane success. Those memories of medieval glory remain not just alive but central to believers’ confidence in Islam and in themselves as Muslims.

Major dissonance began around 1800, when Muslims unexpectedly lost wars, markets, and cultural leadership to Western Europeans. It continues today, as Muslims bunch toward the bottom of nearly every index of achievement. This shift has caused massive confusion and anger. What went wrong, why did God seemingly abandon His faithful? The unbearable divergence between premodern accomplishment and modern failure brought about trauma.

Muslims have responded to this crisis in three main ways. Secularists want Muslims to ditch the Shari’a (Islamic law) and emulate the West. Apologists also emulate the West but pretend that in doing so they are following the Shari’a. Islamists reject the West in favor of a retrograde and full application of the Shari’a.

Islamists loathe the West because of its being tantamount to Christendom, the historic archenemy, and its vast influence over Muslims. Islamism inspires a drive to reject, defeat, and subjugate Western civilization. Despite this urge, Islamists absorb Western influences, including the concept of ideology. Indeed, Islamism represents the transformation of Islamic faith into a political ideology. Islamism accurately indicates an Islamic-flavored version of radical utopianism, an -ism like other -isms, comparable to fascism and communism. Aping those two movements, for example, Islamism relies heavily on conspiracy theories to interpret the world, on the state to advance its ambitions, and on brutal means to attain its goals.

Supported by 10-15 percent of Muslims,* Islamism draws on devoted and skilled cadres who have an impact far beyond their limited numbers. It poses the threat to civilized life in Iran, Egypt, and not just on the streets of Boston but also in Western schools, parliaments, and courtrooms.

Our killer question is “How do you propose to defeat Islamism?” Those who make all Islam their enemy not only succumb to a simplistic and essentialist illusion but they lack any mechanism to defeat it. We who focus on Islamism see World War II and the Cold War as models for subduing the third totalitarianism. We understand that radical Islam is the problem and moderate Islam is the solution. We work with anti-Islamist Muslims to vanquish a common scourge. We will triumph over this new variant of barbarism so that a modern form of Islam can emerge.

Geller Raps Toronto Rabbis for ‘Loshon HaRa’

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

Pamela Geller, a controversial critic of radical Islam, has accused the Toronto Board of Rabbis for “loshon hara” in response to the clerics charging that she “is known for her extreme criticism of Muslims in language that is intended to shock and ridicule.”

The Toronto rabbis had criticized the Jewish Defense League of Canada for inviting Geller to speak at the Toronto Zionist Center on Monday after a Chabad rabbi surrendered to police pressure and cancelled her scheduled speech at his suburban Toronto synagogue.

The 50-member Board of Rabbis said it was “a strong supporter of freedom of speech for all, including Ms. Geller, [but] there was no sense in inviting her here to Toronto to speak before a Jewish audience.”

Calling her views “distasteful,” the Board added, “We dissociate ourselves from the actions of the radical fringe Jewish group that extended the invitation. We call for more events here in Toronto that will build up friendship and understanding between local Jews and Muslims.”

Geller blasted the rabbinical board for not contacting her or citing any quotes in her writings.

“Shame on you; shame on you,” she said of the board to applause. “They’re guilty of ‘lashon hara,’ the evil gossip that is a lie.”

Canada Forces Chabad to Ban Radical-Islam Critic Pamela Geller

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Toronto area police figuratively twisted the arm of a Chabad synagogue rabbi to cancel a scheduled appearance of radical Islam whistleblower Pamela Geller, who last month also was yanked from a speaking appearance  at a New York synagogue.

The latest politically correct censorship keeps Geller out of  the Chabad Thornhill synagogue in suburban Toronto, where she was due to speak next Monday.

Geller has campaigned against the Islamization of America, and she has been behind the anti-jihad signs that were posted in the New York’s subway system.

The salt in the wound inflicted by the Toronto police ban is that it was instituted by none other than the hate crimes unit of the police. Preaching against hate is grounds for a hate crime in the New Age New Speak.

And it just so happens that the Chabad synagogue Rabbi Mendel Kaplan is the same rabbi who serves as police chaplain.

Therefore, according to the York Regional Police Department’s logic, Geller’s appearance at the synagogue where he is rabbi “would place him in conflict with the values of our organization, which support a safe, welcoming and inclusive community for all.”

That is New Age talk for a “safe, welcoming and exclusive community for all” who are not included, such as Geller.

Police deny that they “threatened” to remove Rabbi Kaplan as police chaplain if he were to allow Geller to speak, but a York Regional Police spokesman told the Toronto Sun that if she spoke at the synagogue, “Then we’d have to reassess our relationship with [him].”

That is not a threat in New Speak. It is a “hint.”

The Jewish Defense League has rescheduled Geller to speak somewhere else in the city, but the police have not yet said she cannot appear.

The Canadians United against Terror group is launching an “anti-bullying” campaign and will picket York Regional Police headquarters Wednesday evening.

They have support from the capital’s newspaper, the Ottawa Citizen.

It wrote in an editorial last week, “The York Regional Police department should be ashamed. ….Insp. Ricky Veerappan, who heads up the force’s so-called Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Bureau, … told a reporter, “Some of the stuff that Ms. Geller speaks about runs contrary to the values of York Regional Police and the work we do in engaging our communities…..

“Veerappan’s conduct is appalling. Canadians expect police to respect Charter provisions protecting freedom of speech. They are not supposed to act as censors at the behest of a particular community.”

By the way, Veerappan is a member of  York Region’s Muslim community, which wanted to bar Geller from the country altogether, according to the Citizen.

Geller is familiar with censorship by those who not politically correct.

The Great Neck Synagogue in suburban New York last month canceled her appearance because of “security concerns.”

The synagogue explained to members on its website, “As the notoriety and media exposure of the planned program this Sunday have increased, so has the legal liability and potential security exposure of our institution and its member families.

“In an era of heightened security concerns, it is irresponsible to jeopardize the safety of those who call Great Neck Synagogue home, especially our children, even at the risk of diverting attention from a potentially important voice in the ongoing debate.”

Is there a concern for security stemming from the spreads of radical Islam in America?

Geller said in response to the ban at the Great Neck synagogue, “It is a very sad day for freedom-loving peoples when fascist tactics trump free speech.”

Chemical Weapons Expert: Russia Is Key to Avoid War with Syria

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

Russia is the only key to end the bloodshed in Syria and to neutralize the chemical weapons threat without a foreign military intervention, according to a former Israeli Dense Ministry chemist who is considered perhaps the country’s best expert on chemical weapons in Syria.

It is totally inconceivable to bomb the chemical and biological weapons because an attack could cause exactly the horrid result that everyone outside of Syria wants to prevent – a large scale humanitarian disaster, retired Lt. Col Dr. Dany Shoham told The Jewish Press Sunday. He is a former macro-biologist and chemist for the Defense Ministry and specialized in chemical and biological warfare in the Middle East.

There are two ways to make sure their chemical and biological weapons will not be used – either by foreign military intervention, which would entail getting rid of Assad and replacing him temporarily with a non-Syrian; or ending the bloody civil war by diplomacy, an approach that is virtually impossible without Russia’s cooperation, he said.

There is no doubt that chemical weapons have been used in Syria, and it is “99 percent certain” that it is Assad and not the rebels who have committed a war crime by unleashing them, in violation of the Geneva Convention and all rules of war, Dr. Shoham stated. “In my opinion, there is only the slightest chance that rebels have used chemical weapons, but that doesn’t mean they won’t do so,” said the former macro-biologist for the Defense Ministry.

Syria is manufacturing the chemical and biological weapons within Syria, but Russia may be assisting Syria, he added.

As for the military option, he pointed out that the United States is “planning and practicing for an operation” in Jordan, using its own officers and soldiers as well as Jordanians.

“Whoever wants to prevent danger ideally should replace Syrian guards,” he said. Dr. Shoham  did not say what would happen next, but it is clear that any foreign invader would be stuck with local resentment far worse than what the United States faced in Iraq after its invasion. A foreign takeover also would likely plant the seeds for an eventual radical Muslim regime that could make the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood look like bleeding heart liberals.

However, the invading force at least would be able to confiscate the chemical and biologic weapons, according to Dr. Shoham. “We know where most, but not all, of them can be found,” he said.

The diplomatic option so far has not taken hold for the simple reason that without Russia, it can’t happen.

“The solution has to come from Russia. Russia has to force Syria diplomatically,” he said, and “America knows it.”

How and when they might happen is conjecture, but Dr. Shoham pointed out that President Barack Obama will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in five weeks.

The two leaders spoke by phone last week, and the White House stated, “President Obama and President Putin reviewed the situation in Syria, with President Obama underscoring concern over Syrian chemical weapons,” and they agreed to “stay in close consultation” by instructing their foreign ministers to continue discussions on Syria.

President Obama and Putin are due to meet in June during the Group of Eight industrialized nations meet in Northern Ireland.

Moscow is invested up to its neck in the Syria military arsenal, and if it does not want to see it boomerang on itself by letting it fall in the wrong hands, Putin will have the opportunity to play the role as world leader and twist Assad’s arm – if it is not too late.

Boston Bombers Wanted to Attack July 4th, but Couldn’t Wait

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

The Boston Marathon bombers had planned to stage a major attack on a crowded area of the city during July 4th Independence Day celebrations, but they struck on Patriots’ Day because they had assembled their pressure cooker bombs sooner than expected.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, whose brother Tamerlan was killed in  the massive manhunt for the perpetrators of the Marathon bombings, told the FBI that had planned grisly “fireworks” by attacking a large celebration along the city’s Charles River.

Having finished constructing the bombs in Tamerlan’s apartment ahead of schedule, they drove around Boston until they decided to strike at the finish line of the Marathon, where three people were killed. Many of the more than 260 who were wounded lost logs and arms.

One law enforcement official told The Washington Post that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s version may not be true because the bombs were so complex that it is not certain they could have built the bombs as quickly as they claim without outside help.

Both law enforcement officials expressed some skepticism about Tsarnaev’s account, saying that the complexity of the bombs made it unlikely that the brothers could have completed them as fast as he claimed.

“Maybe we will never know. This is the story that he is telling us,” the official said.

The younger Tsarnaev said he and his brother struck out of anger at the United States for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They also were influenced by radical Muslim clerics who incite their followers to kill and be glorified by Allah.

Regardless of whether the brothers acted alone, and regardless of the fine legal point distinguishing between “terrorists” and “murders,” there is a basic similarity between them and terrorist organizations, particularly  Al Qaeda, Hezbollah and Hamas.

All three of these terrorist groups are involved in Gaza, which Hamas controls but with increasing difficulty because of their rivals’ appetite for blood.

That is a common thread, or gene, that seems to connect terrorists and murderers.

Hamas has amassed thousands of tons of explosives and advanced weapons far beyond what most people imagine. Hezbollah in Lebanon has stockpiled so many missiles it has been described as having more  than any government in the world outside of the United States.

Like the Tsarnaev brothers, these terrorist groups live by a creed of  “attack or perish.”

There mission in life is to kill Jews, Westerners, Christians, homosexuals and even Muslims who are in anyway linked to one of the above.

That is why every senior Israeli military officer involved with Gaza and Lebanon has said that it is only a matter of time until the “next round” will come and with worse consequences than the previous.

That’s is why a “ceasefire” agreement is only a pause, and why the “Second Intifada” is not the last.

When Hamas first began attacking Israelis more than 20 years ago, it was with primitive Kassam rockets. With each round of violence, their missiles reached deeper into Israel.

Everyone knows they had longer-range missiles, but the government agreed with “ceasefires” to calm down the terrorists – until their need for rage could not be contained any more.

Before the IDF’s Operation Cast Lead counterterrorist campaign four years ago, Hamas struck Ashkelon and Ashdod.

Before and during the Pillar of Defense campaign last November, they struck Tel Aviv and  the outskirts of Jerusalem.

They have even more devastating weapons, such as anti-aircraft missiles than can down a commercial airline,. That is why military and civilians airlines have changed their landing and take-off patterns to steer clear of Gaza.

And that is why Dzhokhar and Tamerlan did not wait for the Fourth of July.

Unless terrorists and murders disarmed, they usually are driven buy their objective to use the rigger finger, and nothing usually stops them except bullets.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev no longer is around to attack more Americans in Boston, Times Square or anywhere else. Tamerlan probably die in jail if not executed.

No one knows if America is seething with a few, or dozens or hundreds or thousands of terrorist-in-the-making.

But wherever they are, like Hamas, Hezbollah and  Al Qaeda, they will attack as soon as they can – unless someone gets them first.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/boston-bombers-wanted-to-attack-july-4th-but-couldnt-wait/2013/05/03/

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