Tag Archives: Terrorism

Don’t like reality? Just make up a new one!

Read this post now on The Daily Caller!

http://dailycaller.com/2017/07/24/dont-like-reality-just-make-up-a-new-one/

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When OJ Simpson was granted parole in Nevada last week, I was reminded that reality is a malleable construct in politics. Whether OJ really killed his wife and her companion in L.A. back in 1994 didn’t concern people fed up with a justice system sticking it to black America. Back then, protesters celebrated his acquittal. Many really believed he was innocent.

A result of strained race relations in Los Angeles? To be sure. An anomaly for the professional protester class? Hardly.

Consider the debunked cases of rape by the Duke lacrosse team in 2006 and then the University of Virginia Phi Kappa Psi fraternity in 2014. Proponents of the campus rape “epidemic” had no trouble presuming the guilt of the accused, marching in the streets and venting their rage across social media. It fit neatly into their narrative of white men abusing their privileged status.

Now the latest example of pre-fabricated protected class outrage comes courtesy of Islamist agitators and their apologists in the “international community”.

Last week the Israeli government, reacting to the July 14 murder of two police officers keeping the peace over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, installed metal detectors to screen entrants to the holy site.

A reasonable measure to keep weapons out of a sensitive place of worship? Not according to a Palestinian leadership which incites, emboldens, and rewards acts of terror. On Sunday Palestinian Authority President Abbas reiterated his objections:

“We will not allow the electronic gates to continue [to be placed] there,” he told a convention in Ramallah. “Sovereignty is our full right, and we need to supervise Al-Aksa and stand guard at its gates.”

Violent protests have begun, and international condemnation is sure to follow.

To Abbas, the scandal is not that his constituents gunned down police officers in cold blood. It’s not that the Palestinian Authority continues to use U.S. tax dollars to compensate the families of jailed or slain Palestinian attackers. It’s not that Palestinian media and educational curricula proselytize Jew-hatred in every corner of Palestinian society.

No, the injustice of the magnometers is the challenge to Islamic supremacy. Seizing on an ordinary and customary security device, Arab and Muslim leaders have found another convenient hook to hang their anti-Israel propaganda. It makes no difference that such devices are used at the Vatican, during the Hajj in Mecca, and of course, for entrance to the Western Wall plaza below the Temple Mount. (I’ve been screened every time I’ve entered Judaism’s holiest site.)

Why can’t the Arab world be fair-minded and rational about the whole affair? If people can endure metal detectors at airports and shopping malls, why not at a holy site? I’m afraid it has little to do with sensible policy, and everything to with political power.

Rationalizations for violence, abdication of due process, and moral double-standards obscure a wholesale lack of self-criticism. It’s easier for the Arabs to blame Israel than it is to assess their own political and cultural shortcomings. Likewise, progressive activists blame law enforcement, firearms, the religious right, and “patriarchal society” for the ills of American society. Few acknowledge fault in the decline of marriage, lack of accountability in the welfare state, or the glorification of violence in popular culture.

Across the battle lines for taxpayer dollars, regulatory control, and levers of multilateral institutions, the means always seem to justify the ends, facts be damned. It’s always been about power, not truth.

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Filed under Justice, Middle East, Terrorism

What’s in a terrible name?

terrorism

With little fanfare on Friday, Secretary of State Kerry signed an order removing Cuba from our list of state sponsors of terrorism, leaving only Iran, Sudan, and Syria with the odious designation.

Because the change reverses a number of financial and trade barriers imposed by statute, it paves the way for additional steps toward normalization being negotiated by Washington and Havana.  Opponents have railed against what they view as another unjustified concession to a recalcitrant adversary, but no one in Congress took material steps to block this latest move by the administration.

The point of the state sponsor list is to sanction countries that facilitate terrorist activity directly or indirectly.  On that count, Cuba’s continued inclusion was tenuous at best.  Cuba’s efforts to foment violent revolution abroad are largely a thing of the past.  Its presence on the list has persisted due to Washington’s animosity with the Castro regime rather than any continued material links to terrorist organizations.

So while there may be good reasons to isolate Cuba, and I have weighed in on their respective merits previously in this space, it is also a good thing that we have stopped calling Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism.

One can only hope that the rest of the world begins to show a similar fidelity to labels which are fraught with political meaning.

Let’s begin with “terror” itself.  World leaders and activists regularly throw around the terrorist moniker to discredit anyone who uses force in a way that conflicts with their political agendas.  Since March 2011 Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad has denounced the popular uprising against his government as a terrorist enterprise requiring violent repression.  The actor Morgan Freeman decries the terrorism of police against blacks in urban America.  Even Israel, which should know a thing or two about the importance of political language, regularly conflates Palestinian guerrilla attacks against soldiers with terrorism.

Playing fast and loose with claims of terrorism undermines efforts to build a consensus among civilized people against its use.  We should be clear what terror is and what it is not.

Terrorism means intentional violence against non-combatants to further political, religious, or other ideological aims.  If the targets are soldiers, attacks may be loathsome, but they are not terrorist.  If an action is cruel or repressive, but not violent, it is not terror.  Wanton bloodshed without a political purpose may be criminal, but that does not make it terror.

When we heap derision on conduct by attaching a despicable but inappropriate label, it serves no purpose but to dilute the meaning of the label and to create daylight for justification.

Put another way, if one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, then we have opened the door for political sympathizers to rationalize — or at least accommodate — the indefensible.  If terror is permitted anywhere, it will be possible everywhere.

For years irresponsible petrodollars have funded Islamic terrorist organizations.  Now the Gulf states are seeing how shortsighted it was to enable jihadist violence. With the rise of ISIS, the chickens have started to come home (to Saudi Arabia) to roost.

Ignorant activists, well-meaning or otherwise, stumble into this semantic sinkhole whenever they lash out at their villain of choice with reckless accusations of rape, genocide, Naziism, Apartheid, and the like.  When facts do not match the rhetoric, words lose their force, and moral boundaries become matters of opinion.

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Filed under Terrorism