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Posts Tagged ‘U.S. policy’

Refusing to Be Terrorized

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Two out of three governments agree that dealing with terrorism is all about having the right attitude. That, “Yes, we’ve been bombed, but we’re ready to pick ourselves up and get on with our lives without drawing any conclusions from what happened,” attitude that politicians patriotically advocate as soon as the carnage is over.

“Americans refuse to be terrorized. Ultimately, that’s what we’ll remember from this week,” Obama said in his radio address.

But of course Americans were terrorized. Obama’s message is that in response to the terrorism, Bostonians won’t spend the rest of their lives locked in their homes, at least not until the next time there’s a terrorist on the loose. But then again neither are Rwandans or Sudanese. This isn’t so much an inspirational message as a pat on the back from a government that once again failed in its duty to keep Americans from being terrorized.

If America had refused to be terrorized, the Tsarnaevs would not have been admitted to this country or would have been shown the door once they started adding terrorist videos to their playlist. Instead Tamerlan Tsarnaev was free to slap around his girlfriend while his brother Dzhokhar was adding classic hits to his YouTube playlist like “We Will Dedicate Our Lives to the Jihad.”

That ditty, from the hit-master behind “Hey, Shahid,” “The Holy Jihad (Rise Muslim)” and “Insallah, We are Waiting for Paradise” contains lyrics like “Paradise’s rivers softly chime/The 72 virgins lovingly whisper” and “Infidels rule the earth/for the faithful life is torture.”

But while infidels might still rule the United States, though there are serious questions to be raised about who is ruling Michigan or New Jersey, life was hardly torture for the Tsarnaevs who drove luxury cars, attended good schools and got good media coverage. The good media coverage continued even after their bout of mass murder as the New York Times feature story on them was headlined, “Far From War-Torn Homeland, Trying to Fit In.” And who can blame them for trying to fit in by practicing some of their native customs of mass murder.

At some point refusing to be terrorized looks a lot like refusing to pay attention to what terrorism is. After September 11 the government encouraged everyone to get back out there and shop. The message now is take in an interfaith service and then visit your local mosque for a sanitized tour that explains how peaceful Islam really is. There’s a lot of talk about finishing the marathon and MoveOn.orging on our way past the unpleasantness.

But there are two standards on being terrorized: When a mentally ill man shoots up a school, then everyone is obligated to be terrorized all the time. Children can be seized for chewing a pop tart the wrong way and the leading leaders tow around selected parents of victims to demand that the pesky Bill of Rights take a back seat to a special moral superiority vote from a former Democratic member of congress whose great achievement in life was getting shot in the head by another mental patient.

The next Adam Lanza is just around the corner. But the next Tamerlan Tsarnaev isn’t worth bothering with. Gun control is an urgent issue, but mass immigration from terrorist countries isn’t.

Talk of refusing to be terrorized smacks of governments handing out coping mechanisms for preventable acts of terror. And once we start going down that road, it’s worth remembering that the timeless coping mechanism for that sort of thing is Stockholm Syndrome. Indeed the old Stockholm cure is popular in the media which is already beginning to disgorge explanations of alienation that will show that Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev didn’t kill on their own, we made them killers by not showing them enough love.

It’s not the role of governments to tell people how to get over a terrorist attack. Nor is it the role of government to violate the Bill of Rights using the act of a lone madman as a pretext. But it is the role of government to stop an international campaign of terror by a fanatical ideology from reaching these shores using the blunt tool of immigration.

Refusing to be terrorized is as simple as refusing to accept more immigrants from Muslim countries. It’s not the least repressive measure ever, but it beats interfering with the civil rights of hundreds of millions of Americans who are not members of terrorist groups.

Al Jazeera: US ‘Increasingly Irrelevant’ to the Arabs

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

“U.S. policy in the Arab world has long been widely unpopular, to put it mildly,” on Sunday Sarah Mousa wrote in Al Jazeera. Although President Obama’s 2009 speech in Cairo were met with great enthusiasm, she continues, “the Arab uprisings transformed many peoples’ views on the role played by the US in their region. While Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did offer verbal support to most of the protest movements, hypocritical selective support, initial American hesitation in backing the uprisings and past policies bolstering dictatorships were not forgotten.”

Mousa, a graduate from Princeton University and a 2010-2011 Fulbright Scholar in Egypt, states: “More crucially, it became clear to many that the outcome of the uprisings was up to them, and not to U.S. policymakers. In the case of Egypt, U.S. statements only called for Hosni Mubarak to step down when it became entirely clear that it was inevitable. While the gesture may have been appreciated by parts of the Egyptian opposition, it was not viewed as a significant turning point.”

Obama’s visit to Israel and the PA were received coolly by Palestinians, writes Mousa. “Young activists referred to the speeches as ‘insipid’ and ‘sycophant.’ The part of Obama’s Jerusalem speech that many Palestinians paid most attention to was an interruption by Palestinian audience member Rabeea Eid: ‘Did you really come here for peace or to give Israel more weapons to kill and destroy the Palestinian people? Did you happen to see the apartheid wall on your way here? There are Palestinians sitting in this hall. This state should be for all of its citizens, not a Jewish state only.’”

We’ve all seen the clip where, as the noisy Eid was being dragged out of the hall, Obama referred to the interruption as a good display of “lively debate.”

Recordings of the incident quickly spread throughout the Palestinian Internet. Obama’s failure to effectively address Palestinian rage on the student’s points, just as Eid was being dragged away and handcuffed, made him a mockery in Palestinian eyes, argues Mousa.

“The U.S. is increasingly irrelevant to movements throughout the region,” she concludes. “In his March visit to Cairo, Secretary of State John Kerry extended invitations to meet with members of opposition parties. Many turned him down. Distour party member Gamila Ismail explained her rejection of the invitation in a scathing letter to Kerry, in which she criticized self-interested U.S. policy that has supported repressive regimes in Egypt for decades.”

Ismail also wrote Kerry: “This is a revolution that will teach the world, as Obama, your president, has said. And we want to teach the world and be a model for it. And we will become different than what you see. Your embassy reports see that we do not deserve anything except this [limited] amount of democracy. And that this [limited] amount is ‘enough’.”

Interestingly, as America is achieving a steady decline in reliance on Middle Eastern oil, American foreign policy no longer views the region with the urgency it did only a decade ago – and the Arab intelligence gets it.

How I wish Benjamin Netanyahu would get it, too.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/al-jazeera-us-increasingly-irrelevant-to-the-arabs/2013/03/24/

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