Imam Anwar al Awlaki held two important positions in the cobweb of international Jihadi terror. First, he was one of the emerging younger leaders of al Qaeda after the killing of Osama Bin Laden. Out of Yemen, from which his family originates, he had built a network of recruits capable of performing missions in the Arabian Peninsula, but also communicating with the Shabab of Somalia and many cells inside the West. His reach in recruitment was as far as Jihadists have been indoctrinated. The Nigerian Abdelmutalib, known as the Christmas day bomber in the US, was also connected to the Yemeni-based cleric. In a sense, al Awlaki was one of the most effective al Qaeda international officers. His loss will undoubtedly be felt –at least for a while - within the ranks of the network.
Official estimates suggest that Iran might be able to strike the United States with an ICBM as soon as 2015. But under current White House plans, a US missile-defense system capable of stopping it won’t be ready until 2020 — or later.
When businessman Herman Cain was first thinking about throwing his hat in the ring in the Republican presidential race, I met him in the greenroom at Fox. He was delightful: brilliant, elegant, charming. I knew instantly that he was going to light a fire under the then-sleepy field of candidates. I then interviewed him on my radio show and was impressed by his forceful advocacy of conservative economic and constitutional values. I immediately “hearted” Herman Cain.
As the son of Cuban exiles, junior Florida senator Marco Rubio should be particularly sensitive to attempts at painting a people as crazed criminals, often done in service of an underlying political agenda. But in his speech last week at the Jesse Helms Center in North Carolina, Senator Rubio said, “The American armed forces have been one of the greatest forces of good….They stopped Nazism and Communism and other evils such as Serbian ethnic cleansing.”
I once heard someone say, “George W. Bush got elected because he seemed like the kind of guy you could get a beer with. Romney seems more like the guy who’d fire you.” In terms of image, Romney should loosen up a bit, get someone to muss his hair. On substance, he should make the case for digging ourselves out of the mess created in part by ideologues–as opposed to effective, realistic managers. He should also give Americans some straight talk about our economy–and the fact that it is cyclical, which means that there are no simple, instantaneous, total fixes (No hopey changey dreams that materialize just because we speak beautifully about it).
A New York Times article made it seem as if the friendship between Prime Minister Netanyahu and congressional Republicans were a new development. In fact, their bond goes back many years, involving political connections and shared convictions about economics, security, and many other things. More here.
This year brought the Council of Europe’s report on the murder-for-organs scandal involving top echelons of the Kosovo Liberation Army, now wearing suits as Kosovo’s “legitimate” rulers. While top Albanian and Kosovo officialsarebeing indicted for corruption, war crimes, illegal weapon hauling, and deep mob ties, a Brooklyn man from Albania was arraigned last week on charges of providing material support to terrorists and planning to join a radical group in Pakistan — just months after an Albanian Kosovar shot five American servicemen in Frankfurt, killing two. (Which hearkens back not only to last year’s “NorthCarolinaEight” that included two Kosovo Albanians and targeted a Marine base, but also to the 2007 Ft. Dix plot in which three Albanian-Americans wanted to “kill as many American soldiers as possible”.)
For a brief moment after 9/11, America, jolted by the shock of the assault, seemed to suddenly reclaim the values that had previously sparked its greatness. Our celebrity-infested media discarded its usual triviality in deference to the heroic valor of men in uniform. Firemen and policemen were restored to a place of honor in our society when all New Yorkers showered them with boundless gratitude and appropriate awe, while the rest of the nation joined in solidarity. There seemed to be hope for a significant culture change for the better, with a citizenry reminded of the challenges of war and the incredible regard for bravery in action.
Along with the fact that periodically some portion of the world seeks to destroy the Jews, is the reality that in every case, some portion of the Jews seeks to help them.
I don’t know how to explain the phenomenon, but I’ve read historical accounts of it in which the anomily has been given a name – conversos, kapos – and I’ve run into it in our own day.
I think the fact that there are Jews here and in Israel who align themselves with those who would just as soon see them killed or kill them themselves, tells us several things about the human psyche and the time of man.
The first and most important thing it revelas is that we are engaged in another sweeping anti-Semitic episode that will eventually rival and possibly surpass in ferocity and geography, any that has come before.
I’m not sure if the majority of the modern-day kapos think that by “showing” their enemieis they’re on their side, they will be spared, or if they just are unable to recognize an enemy when they encounter one.
I am sure some believe they are nobly standing up for “what’s right,” having swallowed whole the entire Arab revisionist historical narative, but it doesn’t matter. The outcome is the same.
Historians may one day come up with a name for the Jews who stood with the Islamo-Fascists and anti-Semites in these days. Jewslamists, maybe.
I’ll bet the Jews who converted or faked conversion to satisfy the Inquisitors found ways to justify doing that. And the ones who turned in their neighbors or collected their hair or eyeglasses or otherwise collaborated with their neighbor’s and familie’s executioners with the hope the Nazis would spare them – or even in the twisted belief that somehow the Nazis were right – justified that behavior, as well.
And today’s counterparts also feel justified in turning on their own people and aiding and abetting their own people’s sworn enemies, mostly by providing propaganda material.
To find a gentile anti-Semite who prefers the Arab lies to the truth, while unfortunate, is common and unsurprising.
To run into a Jewish one, while not surprising, is still shocking and terribly sad.
And, I’m not sure how to approach such a person, which is why I avoid the subject with anyone I wish to have in my life whose own predilictions on the issue are unknown to me.
It’s a cowardly approach, I know.
But sometimes, broaching the issue is unavoidable.
I have such a case now.
When I knew this woman, I was 10 and she was my 16-year-old guitar teacher, and I thought she was the coolest thing ever.
We “bumped into” each other on Facebook the other day, and she noticed some of what I’ve written on Israel and noted we may disagree on the subject.
Eventually, she told me that if I think Israel is anything but an apartheid state seeking to do harm to its Arab residents then I have my head “buried deep in the sand.”
She knows this because she reads Ha’aretz occasionally.
My response was this:
“I follow the news very carefully, and the news of Israel most religiously (so-to-speak), and am very familiar with its faults and foibles, which are no less or greater than any other collection of human beings. Though held to a higher standard of behavior than any other country, Israel is, in fact, similar to some and better than many – and immeasurably better than most of its closest neighbors. It is in the unique position of having to decide if its constitution is to become a suicide pact or if it can find a way to survive as the world’s only Jewish country and maintain its humanity. (The U.S. faces similar questions, BTW).
But, in any case, it is the last bastion of protection for world Jewry, and is surrounded by homicidal neighbors bent on the destruction of the nation and the people. It’s a position the Jews have been in before, only this time, we’re armed, which is a good thing.
And, like all those other times before – the Assyrians, Babylonians, Romans, the Inquisition, the Crusades, the Holocaust – there are Jews who, for whatever reason, are unwilling or unable to recognize their own enemy or understand that their enemy knows them whether they see it or not. So, history shows us that those of us who take the side of the anti-Semites, and there always are some, wind up in the same ovens as the rest of us, every time.”
In the ongoing, debate, we see two camps. One stating that we were defeating the enemy until Washington changed direction three years ago, and another boasting that America was losing the war until three years ago when a change of direction brought victory in sight.
When I spoke to my longtime friend, Michael Touhey, he shared with me his trepidation about the upcoming ten year anniversary of September 11. “I want to be the man I was before 9/11,” he told me, “the man open to wonder and spontaneity.”
One need not be Carnak the Magnificent to predict what’s going to happen around the Palestinian-occupied disputed territories and worldwide later this month during and after the upcoming U.N. General Assembly session.