Meetings, bloody meetings.
Submitted by Christopher J Ward, Jan 29, 2010 20:56
That was the title of a training film made by English comedian John Cleese, who I don't find very funny except when he made a series of training films. I admit to watching the situation in the US following Fort Hood and the Christmas Day bomber with a slowly growing but powerful sense of despondency. I wondered, like so many, how much had been learned since 9/11 and it appears, very little. In fact, the turf wars and backbiting among officials and the demonstrable weaknesses in Army procedure, together with presidential equivocation make for unhappy reading. For example (i) how could the US military assess the performance of major Hasan and continue to promote him? (ii) Would someone like to explain the utterings of Gen. Casey and why no charges have been laid against the military establishment. (iii) After 40 years of rapid improvement in computer technology, how can a simple misspelling of a name on a watch list baffle the system. With fuzzy logic and "dithering" written into some programs, his name should have been thrown up straight away and even if Christmas brings the Christmas spirit and laxity at airports, he should still not have been allowed on that aircraft. (iv) How can the President of the United States, arguably the most powerful politician on the planet, stand up and announce that America is at war with Al Qaeda and yet not mention fundamentalist Islam and all the other terrorist organizations. I imagine that the Lashka-eToiba leadership must have spent a lot of time laughing. (v) Osama bin Laden declared war on the US before 9/11 and this is not the case of "The Mouse that roared" as evidenced by continuing terrorist attacks and plots uncovered around the world. Why wasn't Islamic fundamentalism part of the keynote address? (vi) How can this same man, justify keeping Janet Napolitano and John Brennan in their respective positions. By any measure of judgment they both deserve dismissal. Napolitano in particular has done much to give succor to wannabe jihadists by the systematic deracination of the language and politically correct descriptions of terrorists and terrorism and I'm sure you don't need me to point out that a terrorist atrocity differs from a man caused disaster. (vii) Reporting on the case of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in the mainstream press has been frenetic and patchy. I would expect this once again to fall into the category of a disturbed individual - honorable mention must be made of the Wall Street Journal, where the reporting was exemplary.
The basic problem that faces the US and the West in general is that we have become too lazy, complacent, and incompetent in dealing with the terrorist problem. The question needs to be asked: "how many Arabic translators does the FBI have on its staff?" Because the last I heard, the answer was none. Samuel Huntington was much derided by far too many in the academic world and we all know without reading Ann Coulter, Mark Steyn and others about the pernicious soft left world of academe, which during the Cold War indulged itself with moral equivalence. The writings of Paul Hollander and Anne Applebaum speak volumes about the vicious nature of Soviet government and yet the mainstream media will give many column inches to persecution of alleged Nazi war criminals without bothering to consider that following the fall of communism, there was no equivalent process to denazification. The leftists in academe, government, and the media are part of the counterculture which holds that Amerika is a fascist state, and the CIA and Mossad were responsible for 9/11 and everything since. As I read widely across the spectrum of American writing, I am forced to conclude that a hardy band would blame the CIA-Mossad-US government-capitalist conspiracy for the fall of the Roman Empire, the great plague, the 30 Years war, the Hundred Years war, the War of Jenkins ear and in the 20th century, the outbreak of World War I, the burning of the Reichsstag and so on.
As I approach the end of my life, I wonder why I bothered to engage in the Cold War on the side of the good guys. That particular unhappy period from 1917-89 will soon be airbrushed out of history. It will be an aberration or deviation in socialist politics and the democide of millions under communist rule merely a flyspeck on the pages of history.
Huntington was essentially correct when he first wrote about the clash of civilizations and I think I read every article connected with the book and the criticism. I understand that he died in near-penury about two years ago - truly, a prophet is without honor or profit in his own land. Until the West learns that this is total war, we can expect terrorism to continue, morphing and reacting and becoming increasingly sophisticated and more impervious to such primitive techniques as profiling.
America is a great power but with fatal flaws and these apply to most of the western liberal democracies. Firstly, we allow (im)migration of Muslims and while not all Muslims are terrorists, most terrorists are Muslim and the practice of the religion requires that they behave in a certain manner which in practical effect means they are strangers in a strange land but they do have a passport and documentation - the KGB and its allies tried to obtain Western passports for various uses but our governments give documentation to those prepared to swear allegiance to the host country. The only problem with that little notion is that swearing allegiance, be it to the Stars and Stripes, the Union Jack, the German tricolor or any other flag is quite meaningless to the genuine Muslim.
Secondly, that most pernicious of policies known as multiculturalism has never been put before an electorate and agreed to by majority in any country in the West. It has been introduced by governments in midterm and I discovered by chance, but it was introduced by LBJ into the US in 1965. This is a disaster because while it all sounds very nice in theory, it enables countercultures to flourish and while some are quite harmless, others most certainly are not.
In short, it doesn't matter how many inquiries you have, who is called or whatever the findings might be, terrorism will continue until the enemy is defeated. Possibly the worst comment on the case of the Christmas bomber is the reported quote above from a national security official about letting terrorists into the country to provide intelligence on where they go, who they meet with and presumably what they are planning. There are too many "ifs' in this line of reasoning and it is doubtful whether the combined might of America's 14 or 16 bodies charged with homeland security would ever be able to monitor the number of people allowed into the country while government continues to cling to absurd ideas and disastrous policies. For what it's worth, I was watching a black-and-white movie on 9/11 and half asleep, I was aroused by a cross to America's ABC in time to see the second plane hit the twin towers. I am absolutely staggered at the growth of the so-called "truthers" and conspiracy theorists who believe this was a self-inflicted wound or deny that it happened at all. On that most dreadful night because I am on the other side of the planet, part of my heart became American. I find it profoundly disturbing that so many lessons have not been learned and that people who try to combat Islamic terrorism are described as being mentally ill and suffering from Islamophobia.