Friday, September 09, 2011

Is America Awake?

Ten Years Later,

They Still Want

To Kill Us All.

Do We Know It?

The tenth anniversary of 9/11 has created a media stir of considerable magnitude. The tenth anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 1951, caused relatively little stir. But by then, we had won World War II.

Anxiety has been augmented by the authorities reporting a "credible threat" of another terrorist attack on the date of the catastrophe in 1991. By the time you read this, another attack may or may not have occurred. If it did, it most likely was on a far lesser scale than 9/11, but may still inflict substantial damage and attract world attention. Unfortunately, to many people in other countries, an attack on the United States would be a cause for rejoicing.

Police Commissioner Kelly tells us that in the last ten years, thirteen credible plots to attack New York City have been foiled. In an article yesterday from The Daily Beast, John Avlon reports that nationwide 45 jihadist terrorist plots have been thwarted since 9/11. Some, like the shoe bomber and the underwear bomber, failed only because of the clumsiness of the plotter. Others were stopped by the excellent work of our intelligence community. Whatever the case, it is conceivable that some day our lucky streak will come to an end.

Meanwhile, the American people have differing levels of awareness as to threat of terror. Our government seems reluctant to think of this ongoing danger as directly related to a radical branch of Islam, which it clearly is. The army report on the Fort Hood massacre, where an Islamist army major, who had made no secret of where his sympathies lay, murdered 13 American soldiers on a military base in Texas, tiptoed around the issue of why Major Nidal Malik Hasan acted the way he did. And army psychiatrists approved his performance despite hearing his tirades about infidels.

Another fact that has remained below the radar screen is that "according to the Bipartisan Policy Center, in 2009 at least 43 American citizens or residents aligned with Sunni militant groups or their ideology were charged or convicted of terrorism crimes in the United States or elsewhere, the highest number in any year since 9/11." One incident in 2009, hardly remembered today, occurred in Little Rock, Arkansas when a Muslim convert, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, the former Carlos Bledsoe, shot at soldiers waiting in line outside a military recruiting office, killing one soldier and injuring another. Many similar incidents have not been widely reported; they have become too common to attract great notice unless there are a number of fatalities.

The departure of American-born Muslim youths from Minnesota to join the jihad in Somalia, although not a crime, is cause for concern. Some of these young men were killed on the battlefield, one was slain when he tried to return to the United States.

A web of organizations in the United States have defended radical terrorists on First Amendment grounds as exercising their religious freedom. The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is as follows:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

There is nothing in the First Amendment protecting bomb makers, or people who commit acts of violence or exhort others to do so. Far beyond shouting 'fire' in crowded theaters, there are ideologues who would set fires in crowded theaters, or buses, or subways if they could. Just this Tuesday, Agron Hasbajrami, an Albanian citizen who had been living legally in Brooklyn since 2008, was arrested and indicted by a grand jury on charges that he provided material support to terrorists and had been planning to join a radical Islamic group in Pakistan. He had purchased a one-way ticket to Istanbul.

The struggle against Islamic terrorism is one that will continue well into the future. It has by no means ended with the death of Osama bin Laden. It is different from our previous wars in that it is not fought by national armies over defined territories, and concluded with the victory of one side and the surrender of the other. The enemy here is a malignant ideology which believes, as a matter of faith, that non-believers must become subservient to one particular theology, and that all who do not should be required to pay tribute, or be put to death..

That may sound ridiculous to you, but if millions of people believe it and thousands act on it, the matter is quite serious. And there may be billions of people who, even if they do not necessarily believe it and are highly unlikely to act on it, would not be enormously upset if that ideology prevailed and Earth became a theocracy.

The struggle for freedom and democracy, values we take for granted, can be a lonely effort. Another human impulse is submission, the desire to be guided by someone else and freed from personal responsibility. We saw that in Jonestown, Guyana in 1978, and in Germany in the 1930's. Circumstances do not require everyone to feel that way, just enough party members to control the government, the army and the police who rule the country.

With the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the world has become more dangerous. The ability of individual non-state actors to do enormous damage has increased substantially and will continue to do so. Technology has brought a dazzling parade of inventions in recent years, especially in communications. The dark side is the ability of bad men to do evil, and we are not worried at this time about the world being ruled by mutant robots.

The survival of representative governments is complicated by the fact that many law-abiding people are unable or unwilling to identify and confront the enemy, despite repeated incidents of violence, like the mass killings in peaceful Norway, of all places. Sure the attackers can be called crazy, but their insanity sometimes takes the form of murdering others on behalf of particular causes. The Norway nut hated Muslims, and his act shows that violence is not confined by ethnicity or ideology. The Son of Sam obeyed his dog and killed retail, but that was 35 years ago, before the AK-47.

It makes good sense, however, to look for violence in or near places where it has occurred, and among people who have repeatedly committed violent aggressive. And it is important that the entire society be made aware of what is going on. The jihadists state their goals openly, as Adolf Hitler did in Mein Kampf, published in two volumes in 1925 and 1926. He followed his course unimpeded for thirteen years, while civilized Westerners, exemplified by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, averted their gaze and swallowed Hitler's lies.

On the tenth anniversary of 9/11, it is as important to look to the future as it is to honor the heroes and recall the past. Our efforts should be devoted to seeing that no such tragedy occurs again, and that the people of the United States and other nations be roused from their self-centered stupor, and begin to take actions to protect themselves before it is too late. At this point in world history, it appears highly unlikely, at least to us, that time is on our side.

StarQuest #778 9.9.2011 1231 words

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