Posts Tagged Terrorism
If you read one book this year, let it be “I Was Told to Come Alone,” by Saoud Mekhennet, This book is the culmination of the author’s journey to analyze and answer a question by Maureen Fanning, the widow of a New York City firefighter who had died in the collapse of the World Trade Center, on 9/11. Mrs. Fanning directed the title question toward Saoud who, although German-born, is of Turkish/Moroccan descent.
There are two key factors in Ms. Mekhennet’s background that, perhaps, make her the ideal person to even attempt to understand this multi-facetted dilemma:
- As the child of immigrant “guest workers,” Saoud felt the harsh reality of discrimination, oftentimes not being considered “German, German,” even though she tutored other German students in “German”. Many young Muslims in Europe, who perceive being rejected by society, are prone to radicalization!
- Ms. Mekhennet’s parents were born into different sects within the Sunni/Shia schism; however, she and her family had always lived as secular Muslims. In fact, Saoud only came to realize the problem in her later teens, but without any emotional biases. The religious instability caused by the Schism back home, merely fuels the flow of Muslims to the West, further compounding the growth of Terrorism–especially among the young!
Ms. Mekhennet’s journey took her to various countries within the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and Western Europe, during which, Saoud interviewed a number of al-Qaeda, ISIS and Taliban leaders. Even though those interviews placed her at considerable personal risk, as a journalist, she knew that they were vital to her understanding–and explaining–of both sides of the issue.
A considerable amount of this book is devoted toward Ms. Mekhennet’s attempt to understand how and why young European Muslims have become radicalized, and join the Jihad. Is it a legitimate cause, necessary to save the Islamic way of life, or is it a false reality, based on a hijacked version of Islam–merely replacing one version of beliefs for another?
Throughout the book, Ms. Mekhennet also questions the false assertions behind such ideas as Weapons of Mass Destruction, false intelligence reported by various Western agencies, and the lack of concern for civilian deaths. Basically, if we throw off our parochial views and narrow-mindedness, we might begin to understand that there is plenty of blame, for the entire terrorism issue, to go around.
As somewhat of a summation to her journey, Saoud Mekhennet points out that “…some people in Western countries don’t see the hazards of setting standards for others, as if our way is the right way and the only way. This is the same argument that ISIS makes.”
NOTE: And oh, by the way, toward the very end of her journey, Ms Mekhennet solved one of those pesky questions that was on everyone’s mind, when she unmasked “Jihadi John”, who played a key role in those ISIS videoclips!
Throughout history, mankind has been resentful of others. Back in pre-History, various Hominoid species fought each other for supremacy. Slavery came to America some 400 years ago as White men assumed to own Africans, brought forcibly to the Colonies.
Over the years since, various ethnic groups, peoples of other religions or beliefs arrived, and more recently, people of different orientations emerged. Women had demanded equality! Rather than accept, assimilate and take advantage of these changes, many Americans have preferred to maintain the established order—the status quo!
Enter the demagogue to provide that spark, hell-bent on instigating the “Divide and Conquer” strategy. Adolf Hitler took that approach in 1930s Germany when he attacked, in succession: the Communists; the Socialists; the Trade Unionists; the Jews…and then, they came for “Me”. The point of German Lutheran Pastor Martin Niemöller’s eloquent poem “First they came…” was the cowardice of German intellectuals to speak-out, as the Nazi’s purged each successive target group, and thus conquered the entire population by dividing it.
Donald Trump has been using the very same Divide and Conquer strategy, that Hitler did some 80-85 years before, when he announced his candidacy, in June of 2015. After making vague comments about ISIS, China and Japan, he laid into Mexico. “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” How nice of Donald too acknowledge that not all Mexicans are bad!
After Mexico and the Mexican People, Donald Trump directed his hate-speech at ISIS, Syrians and the Middle East, seemingly tossing them all together as if to suggest that all Muslims are terrorists! Notice the biased logic? And of course, as he supports law enforcement, regardless of videos of violent action taken predominantly against Blacks, Donald Trump’s divisiveness is ever-vigilant, and always provocative.
Among Donald Trump’s questionable comments and actions, once he moved into the White House, was his appointment of Steve Bannon, as a Councillor to the President, and his Chief Strategist. To the horror of many, Trump had also appointed Bannon as a permanent member of the National Security Council, which he has since rescinded. Before joining the Trump Regime, Bannon had been the Executive Chairman of the Breitbart News website, which he had declared to be “the platform for the Alt-Right“ in 2016.
Besides spewing his own racist hate speech throughout his short political career, by positioning Bannon as one of his chief advisors, Donald Trump has brought a key symbol of White Supremacism into the White House with him! In fact, Steve Bannon seems to be one of just a very small number of Donald’s trusted Advisors, along with First Daughter Ivanka Trump, and son-in-law Jared Kushner. No wonder the Hate Groups feel empowered!
Yesterday, when referring to the removal of statues of Confederate generals, Donald Trump suggested that: “(You) can’t change history, only learn from it.” Unfortunately, Donald’s historical studies haven’t seemed to have progressed beyond “Hitler, Adolf!”
Question for Donald Trump: You have vowed to eliminate the various Islamic terrorists groups, which are intent on harming us, just because we differ from them. Well tell me: How do you differentiate ISIS, al-Qaeda and those other groups from the very White Supremacist elements in America, who also wish to cause harm to Americans who differ from them? Can you explain that, Mr. Trump?
NOTE: One of my more popular posts, “Who’s the Puppet Master behind Donald Trump’s Shadow_Government?”, written back in March, had suggested that Steve Bannon was, indeed, the Puppet Master, pulling the day-to-day strings behind Donald Trump’s Regime. I still believe that!
I read this excellent column, by Solomon Jones, a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, reprinted in The Miami Herald. It is a fitting response to Donald Trump’s obnoxious behavior, in heckling Sadiq Khan, the Lord Mayor of London, while he is leading his City, during it’s Time of Sorrow. Realistically, I believe that Mr. Jones has unveiled Donald Trump’s true intentions: No, not America First, his arrogance suggests “Me First!”
When three terrorists killed seven people and wounded 48 in the London Bridge terror attack on Saturday, London Mayor Sadiq Khan released a statement expressing grief and resolve. Then he told Londoners they should not be alarmed by an increased police presence.
Shortly afterward, President Trump renewed a monthslong feud between the two men by attacking Khan’s statement via Twitter.
“At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!’” Trump tweeted.
That reply — based on the wrongheaded notion that Khan was somehow minimizing the attack — was about more than targeting a man who’d called Trump’s views of Islam “ignorant.” It was a message that is in keeping with Trump’s overall goal.
Trump, after all, wants to ban travelers from six majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States. After federal courts blocked the ban, the Trump administration appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which could hear the case this month.
Trump is not waiting for the courts to decide, however. He is attempting to win in the court of public opinion. If that means exploiting the dead in the wake of a London terror attack, he is willing to do so. Perhaps more troubling, Trump is ready to do everything he can to convince us that Muslims — no matter what positions they attain in Western societies — are not to be respected.
Belittling London’s first Muslim mayor on the world stage delivers that message.
Sadiq Khan is a well-respected, British-born Muslim of Pakistani descent. Born to working-class parents in south London, he earned a law degree from the University of North London and climbed the political ladder. He did so even as the British were fashioning the Brexit campaign around the resentment of people who looked and prayed like Khan.
Khan did everything Western society tells brown people to do. He worked hard. He sought an education. He rose through the ranks. He assimilated.
And still, it isn’t enough, because Sadiq Khan is a Muslim, and in the worldview Trump would have us adopt, Khan should be judged on that basis alone.
That kind of prejudice undergirds the very notion of a travel ban, because it assumes that anyone from a particular country who practices a certain faith must have terrorist leanings. It assumes that they inherently possess certain characteristics that make it necessary to treat them differently.
Prejudice feeds the false notion that such people are always dangerous, whether they are employed or unemployed, leaders or followers, doctors or lawyers, councilmen or mayors.
They’re all alike.
That mindset allows us to paint people with the broadest of brushes. I know, because that same mindset allowed America to embrace slavery, Jim Crow and the disproportionate economic and social outcomes that both systems produced.
If we believe they’re all alike, then we can establish a Muslim registry, as Trump suggested on the campaign trail.
If they’re all alike, we can have a “complete and total shutdown of Muslims” coming to the United States, which Trump also said on the campaign trail.
If they’re all alike, it doesn’t matter whether they’re Osama bin Laden or Sadiq Khan. They all have the same intentions. They all walk in lockstep. They all look alike, sound alike and think alike.
So why do I care if Trump peddles this kind of foolishness? Because that’s what America said about my people. Such reasoning was used to justify everything from enslavement to lynching to segregation to murder. And it began with attacking our leaders.
Black luminaries from Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Barack Obama were criticized, demeaned and disrespected, all in an effort to show the world that blacks, no matter their achievements, are unworthy of respect.
I recognize that same mindset in the attempt to ban Muslims from our country. Moreover, I see it in Trump’s apparent effort to demean Khan in front of the world.
Khan is not taking the abuse lying down, nor should he. But seven people were killed in the city he governs, and, as Khan’s staff pointed out after reading several insulting tweets from Trump, Khan has a lot to do right now.
He has to lead.
I only wish our president would stop tweeting long enough to do the same.
Solomon Jones is a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News. Readers may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
The horror of the terrorist bombing, at last week’s Adriana Grande concert in Manchester, was indeed horrific. And, as always happens with a young crowd, there were children among those killed. Before responding to those evil acts, I believe that the British Authorities are currently trying to determine the “Who” and “Why”, before they establish a Plan of Action. Everything must be analyzed in detail. (Sorry, Donald!)
But, is the life of a child any more valuable than that of: a young mother, on a night-out, who works to support her young children; the middle-aged husband and father, who teaches in one of the poorest high schools in town; or the retired couple, accompanying their grandchildren? Is one life worth more than another, especially when our very essence can be snuffed-out at any time…in a flash?
To me, all life is equally important; however, when it is one a yours—a spouse, a son or daughter, a grandchild; obviously you look at death differently. I truly understand that! And it doesn’t have to be terrorists to strike at our hearts, and at our very souls. What did it take the mentally unstable mass murderer, at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Connecticut, to execute 20 first graders; or the drive-by gang shooting, taking the life of a little seven year-old girl, playing on her front porch in Miami?
When terrorists use bombs or automatic weapons to kill those who are enjoying life, having fun and not particularly hating anyone, there is no selectivity as to who dies in such attacks. Consider that there were also a number of Muslims who worked at the World Trade Center, and were killed when Saudi terrorists crashed jetliners into the Twin Towers. Once again, by such desperate acts, the terrorists merely reflect their own ignorance, hatred and insecurities.
The murder of anyone—regardless of sex, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual preference— is equally horrendous. I prefer not to point to those of any one group as being particularly saddening, however, because that implies a higher value, to some lives, and perhaps, a lesser importance to others.
And lets’s not kid ourselves: as a nation, we Americans do not have clean hands. Just consider how many civilians have been needlessly killed—“collateral damage”, it’s called—in the unnecessary wars in which America has engaged. Therefore, in a way, we are no better than the terrorists!
#1. I am including a prior post, written just after the Paris Attacks, in November 2015. In it, there is a marvelous letter, from “Le Monde”, written by the father of an infant, advising his little son—when he grows-up—not to hate the people who killed his mother. It’s good advice for Britons, and its good advice for us!
#2. I am also including a post, from the “In Saner Thought” blog, which I have recently come across, and follow. The linked post gave me the idea of placing the terrorist attacks, which caused the deaths of children, into some sort of context.
On Thursday, Donald’s Trump’s (not ours, anymore) Military dropped a GBU-43, a 22,000 pound bomb, on a series of suspected ISIS caves, in the Achin district of Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan. Various Jihadist groups—such as al-Qaeda, ISIS and the Taliban—have located their training camps in such areas over the years. Perhaps, Donald feels that he displayed some humane restraint by not going all-out, and using the even larger GBU-77, which weighs 30,000 pounds.
The benefit of this area, near Pakistan, enables the terrorists fighters to cross the border, when they are feel threatened. And then, they return to their caps, once the danger has passed. Thursday’s show-of-force serves no purpose–besides enabling the generals to play with their “Toys of War. Meanwhile, when the Big Show subsides, the residents of those caves will merely find similar accommodations nearby.
Terrorists organizations, and perhaps ISIS more than others, operate as independently controlled cells, located around the world. Like the Hydra of Greek Mythology, when the head of one is cut-off, the hydra just grows two more. And in this case, there is no one head or one cell, to begin with. So, as we found in literally every war since Vietnam, superior firepower can “Win the battles, but lose the War!”
In fact, such outlandish demonstrations generally accomplish little when the assumed audience remains mired in the age of donkeys and mud huts. And, while Thursday’s absurd detonation will possibly provide ISIS with valuable recruiting propaganda, it is most important to remember that those donkeys can traverse the hills of Afghanistan, while our tanks cannot! In fact, such demonstrations of firepower do little to enhance our image, or win friends, in the Developing World!
The next Federal Budget hasn’t been finalized; however, the Trump Regime had suggested slashing the State Department and Health and Human Services, while increasing our Defense Budget, which is already as large as those of the next ten countries combined. Just think how cost-effective it would be to spend that same money, through State and HHS, to: build hospitals and schools; fight malaria and tuberculosis; and provide clean water and electric power. In other words, we could get more bang-for-the-buck, and enhance our reputation–by doing Good!
Donald Trump has a reputation for: his ignorance about complex issues; excessive hubris; and surrounding himself with Yes-Men. Although he boasts about having generals in his Cabinet, I seriously wonder whether he even listens to them! But, I am still concerned about what this fool might do next! And now, Mr. Trump has, once again, raised the issue of a pre-emptive strike on North Korea. Need I say more?
The attached Miami Herald article, from parent McClatchy Washington Bureau, suggested yesterday that the bombastic attack, on a maze of reinforced caves in Afghanistan, might have all been for naught.
The following video is analogous to Donald Trump’s personal reaction to his BIG BANG! Once again, he just played through it!
trumpAnyone with TV or broadband access, undoubtedly saw videos of the dead and wounded, following a poison gas attack, in Syria on Tuesday. The U. S. responded with a massive 59 Tomahawk Missile attack on the Shayrat Airfield, the base which the U. S. believes that the planes, loaded with the Sarin-laden bombs, took-off from. Russia helicopters also uses that base, however! It is unclear as to whether the Syrians, or the Russians, heeded the advanced-warning of the attack; however, there did not appear to be any aircraft debris on the field, in photos that I saw on the following day.
It is commonly believed that, since the War began six years ago, President Bashar Assad’s forces have killed 500,000 of his own people. The photos of dead and wounded, after the Sarin air strike, were horrible to watch; but still, I remember the lifeless body of a three year-old boy, a couple of years ago, who drowned while crossing the Mediterranean, with his mother and brother. That still photo reminded me of just about any small child, just curled-up sleeping; but, that small boy was dead! Why hasn’t anyone acted before—the U. S., Russia, the U. N., the Arab League, etc? How approaching this problem like the seven nation Nuclear Agreement with Iran?
Why didn’t Donald Trump delay the meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, iust a day or two, so that he could devote his full attention to the missile attack? Or, he could have changed the venue to the White House, rather than to his Mar-a-Lago estate. How much time did the two presidents, and their various advisors waste, in flying down to Palm Beach? And that faux “situation room”, with flags a-flutter, truly looked just like a group of businessmen waiting for their dinner reservation. The flags were a photo-op give-away, in a room where tough decisions were charaded to be made? And, no jackets off. sleeves rolled-up?
In a recent post, I had suggested that Congress needs to reaffirm its sole authority to Declare War! Whether we like it or not, Syria is a sovereign state. Also, as a signatory to the United Nations Charter, we can only use military force on another country’s soil, either with its consent, in cases of self-defense or with the approval of the U. N.
As morally warranted as last Thursday’s attacks might have been, what the Trump Regime did was unconstitutional, and also against International Law. The U. S. Department of Defense justified the attack as being: “intended to deter the regime from using chemical weapons again,” That is clearly NONSENSE!.
An initial use of force against an enemy, by the way, would generally be the first of several, or ,many, narrowly-focused actions, designed to progress toward a long-range, strategic mission. So far, however, since no end-game has been revealed, it certainly appears that the Trump Regime is just making this up as it goes along!
During the Administration of President (and former General) Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Defense Department formulated its “First Offset Strategy”, which has always been expected to be an on-going blueprint, for keeping militarily our superiority over the Soviet Union. Ike’s Plan was to take advantage of on-going advanced technological applications within our weapons arsenal. Currently, that top tier of adversaries is composed of Russia and China, with lesser adversaries grouped accordingly. Two years ago, Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work, described the newest version of that blueprint, the “Third Offset Strategy”, to a group of U. S. partners and allies. In his presentation, Mr. Work said:
“While the United States and our closest allies fought two lengthy wars over the past 13 years, the rest of our — the rest of the world and our potential adversaries were seeing how we operated. They looked at our advantages. They studied them. They analyzed them. They looked for weaknesses. And then they set about devising ways to counter our technological over-match.”
Donald Trump boasts about his unpredictability. After the Election in November, when he received the full Presidential Briefing, he allegedly asked: “Since we have nuclear weapons, why don’t we use them?” So here we are, just three days after the (conventional) attack on Syria, and he’s already talking about installing nuclear weapons in South Korea. He had also suggested sending a (presumed) special ops team to assassinate Kim Jong-Un, the Supreme Leader of nuclear-armed North Korea.
Donald Trump boasts about being unpredictable and, with his lack of any clearly defined strategic objectives, as well as his total disregard for the Rule of Law, I am deeply concerned about the potential outcome. He does;t seem to realize that Power Kills, and that means real people’s lives! Under his misguided “Leadership”, Donald Trump could transform America into just another irrational state, but with a vast nuclear arsenal!
Given Mr. Trump’s unprecedented conceit, he doesn’t realize how ignorant he is about: knowing where the Syrian attack might lead America to militarily; the disapproval that the recent action might bring from the International Community; the ramifications from ignoring the U. S. Constitution and the International Rule of Law…and, now he wants to “Do it again”–in North Korea. The GOP seems enamored with him; but, only so they can push through their Draconian laws. But, when will the American People put a stop to this Megalomaniac?
Over the past couple of years, the political environment among many Americans has become heated. Friend against friend, neighbor on neighbor, they are now embattled; but, they often know little more than the political slogans or the soundbites, and there is little focus, if any, on understanding, either the underlying causes, or finding possible solutions.
Over the next several weeks, I intend to describe some of these issues—how they appear on the surface, and what, I believe, the underlying problems might be. If Americans wish to work together, we can possibly find workable solutions. But first, we need to take the political boxing gloves off, and discard our biased emotions.
For some of these problems, I have already posted blogs: the Infrastructure Scam; the impact of Immigration Policy on our economy; Institutionalized Racism in our Public Schools, etc. But, only when we consider these issues, as part of a greater, and even more important, problem—Preventing the Destruction of America—might we possibly find solutions!
I don’t claim to have all of he answers or, perhaps, even know all of the questions. But, if America keeps festering from within, What Will We Become?