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Saturday, September 04, 2010

Yes, we do have enemies

Daniel Gordis has an article in the Jerusalem Post about what Americans can learn from Israel - we need to learn that yes, we do have enemies. And no matter how politically correct we want to be, we forget this at our peril. He tells this anecdote to illustrate his point.
YEARS AGO, we took our then teenage daughter to an evening sponsored by the army, at which religious parents could ask questions about what the army would be like for their daughters. Some of the parents were downright hostile, clearly opposed to the prospect of their daughters joining the IDF. At one point, an obviously angry father stood up, turned to the base commander and asked (or more accurately hissed), “Do you make the girls work on Shabbat?”

The room was perfectly silent, for everyone knew the answer. No one moved. Even the base rabbi said nothing. He stood at the podium, leaned into the mike and, lost in thought, played with his beard.

Suddenly, one of the three soldiers who’d been brought to address the parents, a young woman with her uniform shirt buttoned up to her chin, her sleeves extending to her wrists and her armyissued skirt down to her ankles, looked the father right in the eye, and without being called on, said to him, “Of course we work on Shabbat.” And then, after a second’s pause, she added, “Gam ha’oyev oved beshabbat” – the enemy also works on Shabbat.

It was a game changer. “What?” she essentially asked. “You think we do this for fun? There are people out there trying to destroy us. Either we’re as serious about this conflict as they are, or they’re going to win.”
And that is not an attitude that American elites have. They would rather concentrate on those Muslims who don't want to kill westerners rather than acknowledge that there are Muslims who are terrorists.
I hadn’t thought of that young woman in years, but ever since the Cordoba Initiative controversy erupted, I’ve remembered her repeatedly. For Israelis do have something to teach Americans, and it’s very similar to what she said to that father. It goes something like this: It’s fine to say that “America is not at war with Islam,” to point out that most Muslims are not terrorists and that many American Muslims are moderates. That’s true, as far as it goes.

But it only goes so far. Because America is at war and its enemies are Muslims. Politically correct hairsplitting runs the risk of Americans blinding themselves to that simple but critical fact. It makes no difference what percentage of the world’s Muslims wants to destroy America. There are enough of them that US air travel is now abominably unpleasant and, more importantly, enough of them that more strikes on America appear inevitable.

The US got lucky on Christmas Day when the bomber headed to Detroit failed to detonate his explosives, and was lucky again in Times Square in May, but less fortunate at Fort Hood. Yet those may be but the beginning. We could, heaven forbid, come to see 9/11 as child’s play.

THE UNITED States’ future is under attack, but Americans resist admitting it. President Barack Obama has sent 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, but he has also said that he intends to pull them out by July. Can we imagine FDR declaring war on Germany, but then adding that the war had to be over in a year, or in two? It would have been laughable. And America would have lost. The US has to decide – is it committed to destroying those who wish it ill, or is it willing to be destroyed by them? Those, sadly, are its only two alternatives.
And more sadly still, President Obama and many in this country have chosen the latter alternative - not explicitly, but in their attitudes that it is worse to cast suspicion on Muslims whether they're doctors corresponding with American-hating radical imams or terrorists found on an airplane trying to set off explosives or mysteriously-funded imams who decline to criticize acknowledged terrorists than to risk seeming Islamophobic. And that is the lesson that Israel can teach Americans - the importance of acknowledging our enemies.

As Cliff May points out in his very effective takedown of Time Magazine, Fareed Zakaria, and Joe Klein.
It all adds up to this: By defending such terrorist groups as Hezbollah, while simultaneously denouncing those attempting to understand the motives and methods of ruthless jihadis and insidious Islamists, Klein, Zakaria, and Time are not just spreading disinformation — serving junk food for thought — they are pursuing intellectual disarmament in the middle of the War against the West.

By so doing, they also undermine those many Muslims who do not want to live under the rule of the Taliban, Khomeinist mullahs, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, and other militants intent on imposing their oppressive versions of Islam on all of us.

The Lebanese historian Antoine Sfeir has written that "to attack the Islamists, to denounce their actions and their lies, is not to attack Islam. To attack the Islamists is, on the contrary, to defend the Muslims themselves, the first though not the only victims of the Islamists." Zakaria, Klein, and others at Time can't seem to grasp this idea. Henry Luce would not have put up with them.


pumping-irony said...

"“Of course we work on Shabbat.” And then, after a second’s pause, she added, “Gam ha’oyev oved beshabbat” – the enemy also works on Shabbat."

Every group from the neighborhood watch to society as a whole needs people who can think clearly and understand what is important and what is frivolous. We have relatively few people like that any more, and they are especially scarce in Washington and the major media. And for those who are wondering, Obama is not one of them.

Karl said...

Instead of bumper stickers that spell out "Tolerance" and "Coexist" in various symbols, how about one that reads "Not in our name" in Arabic?

I'll feel a lot better about a mosque and Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero when I start having to recognize that particular phrase in Arabic.

2421Rich said...

Zakaria, Klein, and the others at Time are as morally immature as children. They believe that keeping an open mind is the height of intellectual honesty and moral superiority. The problem is their minds stay perpetually open, never discerning the good from the bad and that believing that discriminating against evil makes them prejudiced or a racist.
As it has been pointed out by others, having an open mind is only the beginning of the decision making process. After one has observed what is happening and has gathered facts from all sides, you must be able to make a decision as to which position is right and which is wrong, and what is good and what is even better. These poor Liberals are too afraid to recognize good from evil because someone might say they are being politically incorrect.

mark said...

Yes, of course we have real enemies. And we need to focus our attention and resources on fighting them, not chasing after imaginary ones.
The same people who were duped into supporting the war in Iraq by fear-mongering (impending "mushroom clouds") still haven't learned their lesson.
Besides the anti-mosque disgrace, we have shrill republicans crying blathering a Marxist/Muslim/Communist president, headless bodies and terror babies (I'm waiting for some moron to warn us about headless terror-babies). We even have some idiot repub in Colorado mumbling about the insidious UN-led plot regarding bike paths.
With the farce of Pelosi "draining the swamp" and unfufilled promises of Obama and dems, there are plenty of legit issues to tackle. Why do so many of you insist on becoming mired in the disgraceful, cowardly behavior that may be politically beneficial in the short-term, but costs our country it's dignity over time.

tfhr said...


How about this for a bumper sticker - right in the middle of the front bumper of a large SUV or pick-up of your choice:

وأنا لن تقدم

mark said...

Oh yes, tfhr. Nothing demonstrates patriotism and courage more than a bumpersticker.
Just as the "Support Our Troops" phonies continue to ignore the $10B stolen in Iraq (money that was meant to help soldiers accomplish their mission), Never Surrender stickers won't wipe away the cowardice being condoned by republicans today. It certainly won't erase the fact that Bush "surrendered" to OBL when he said he wasn't "concerned", and you and others went along.

tfhr said...


You're pathetic. Bush "'surrendered' to OBL"? Not even Harry Reid says that, mark. He said the "war was lost", but now that seems to have changed as Obama rushed to deliver a half-hearted speech on what he believes will mark the end of combat operations in Iraq. Obama didn't support the war or the methods when he was in the Senate but now that he has a different perspective, he's using Bush's general and attempting a "Surge" of his own. I wish him well but I hope he learns to do a better job backing up his strategy than that sorry excuse for a speech we saw last week.

mark, do you ever wonder why you're the only one that is sure of all of this corruption regarding the $10B figure you're peddling here? I mean the Dems have had the Congress since 2006 and the White House since 2008. Why haven't they brought the scoundrels to justice, mark? You don't suppose they condone that sort of thing do you? Are they corrupt too? All of them? Or are they just that ineffectual? Then again Rangel is still pulling in a huge pay check and dodging his taxes, so I guess....

Hey, while I'm thinking of it, here's a list of "dupes" that believed Iraq had WMDs:

Bill Clinton
Madeline Albright
Sandy Berger
Carl Levin
Tom Daschle
John Kerry
Nancy Pelosi
Al Gore
Ted Kennedy

the list goes on...

It's amusing to watch you thrash around in these dismal days for Dems but I'm glad to see you still have some fight in you. What could typify that better than your new found bold stance against bumper stickers. Hang in there, buddy! It won't be long now and you'll be able to put a "Question Authority" sticker on your Prius to replace the old one you scraped off when Obama was inaugurated.

mark said...

Yes, tfhr, all those people you listed were duped into supporting the war, as were you. Many of them have acknowledged that, and have regretted their support. Strange that you cite people you seem to disdain to defend yourself. You so hate to admit you were wrong (and I was right) that you are citing Ted Kennedy. Who's the pathetic one?
Any intelligent, objective person will look at the facts now and conclude that the war was a mistake. You are neither, so your whining is understandable. The positive outcomes of the war in Iraq don't come close to matching the negatives.

$10b meant to fight the war on terrorism is missing. That is a fact. That nobody, dems or repubs, seem to care is a disgrace. Do I think dems are corrupt? Absolutely (I've said that many times. It's why I am unafilliated).
I am disappointed in the dems and Obama, but not exactly thrashing around. Dems have overpromised and under-delivered, and deserve to lose power. That is how politics should work. As much as I don't want that weepy drunk Boehner to lead Congress, I've always said we are better off with a divided powers. (If Repubs were really serious about leading, they wouldn't allow Boehner to head the house. There must be better options than him).

tfhr said...


Now Boehner is a drunk? And you know this how? I guess character assassination is preferable to you rather than substantive debate but it sure makes you sound bitter.

That list of Dem leaders is a sample among the many that received the same intelligence reports as did Bush. He acted on the same intelligence they had and carried out the "regime change" that his predecessor, Bill Clinton called for while in office. I bring them up just to illustrate your inability to view this - and most things - with anything which resembles objectivity.

"The positive outcomes of the war in Iraq don't come close to matching the negatives." ~ mark

I shouldn't be surprised to hear you say that. A purist of "Progressive" thought, such as yourself, would welcome a life lived under the complete and total control of government. I suppose you would rather have a "benevolent" dictator as opposed to a mean one with a mustache, but hey, those Iraqis are just Arabs anyway and we all know they're used to being dominated, right?

So you must really be upset with Obama carrying on "Bush's war". Are you upset that he's still in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Guantanamo, or are you more upset by the fact that this is the only arena in which your kindred Progressive has had any success?

Don't worry mark. This will all be over soon and you can get back to carping from the sidelines again.

tfhr said...


Obama has been doing something well while in the White House - I forgot to mention it before. It would seem that he's played about 200 hours of golf! Tremendous! That would be about five 40 hour work weeks in about 18 months - a pretty incredible accomplishment in light of the fact that he's also had an additional 25 days of vacation with his family.

My questions for you are as follows:

Do you play golf?

Why can't he bring Congress along when he's on the links?

Disclosure: I don't play golf and I don't caddy. That's a good thing since Obama has managed to tie up military golf courses all around the DC area which deprives service members and their families of their use while he is being "Presidential".

mark said...

Whoops -I need to correct myself. While those people listed believed Saddam had WMDs, they did not necessarily support the war. They did not buy into the fear-mongering "mushroom-cloud" that made so many weak-kneed. Kennedy and Obama knew that, WMDs or not, pulling resources and attention from Afghanistan was a mistake. Kennedy was right, and brave enough to brush off the moronic charges that being against the Iraq war meant you support Hussein. It must really burn you, tfhr, to know that a man you despised was smarter, braver and classier than you.

Peter said...

The prevailing view is that only a minority of Muslims want to kill or enslave my grandchildren. Okay, I'm fine with that. Of course a minority is anywhere between .0001 percent and 49.9999 percent. No governmental agency has narrowed it down more that that, and I wish they would.

Unlike Mark, I know that mistakes are made in every war. Always have, always will. Also unlike Mark, I would like to see all those who wish to kill or enslave my grandchildren to die or be otherwise rendered harmless. And I'm just enough of a redneck to be willing to trade the lives of every Muslim out there in order to prevent so much as a skinned knee on any of those kids.

This may prevent me from going to Heaven.

mark said...

Thanks, Peter, for proving my point about insane paranoia.
You think that up to half of Muslims want to kill or enslave your children. Are you proposing pre-emptive action to avoid that skinned-knee? What might that be?
You're being unfair to "rednecks". Your post is more in line with cowardly lunatics.
There was once a nutjob here (vincent?) who spouted similar lunacy about all Muslims being "vermin" and "goat**ckers". Nobody here had the decency to criticize him (perhaps Betsy eventually banned him), so I don't expect too much this time.

tfhr said...


What has become of Progressives when the very first thing out of your mouth is to accuse Peter of "insane paranoia", John Boehner of alcoholism, etc, etc? Has your position become so weakened by Obama's failures that you default to name calling?

But thanks for coming back anyway and pointing out that the Dems you are attempting to excuse might have some how thought it preferable to have a nuclear armed Iraq, versus actually doing anything about it. Let's wait and see what happens when Iran finally has the capability to "annihilate" Israel, as it has promised. Are you in favor of that? What about NYC? It's the economic and financial center of the "Great Satan", Iran's sworn enemy, and plus, it's packed with Joooos!

Your comment about fear-mongering makes me wonder if you remember Bill Clinton's decision about WMDs at al Shifa. Iraqi aid, al Qaeda involvement, WMDs, Sudan and cruise missiles. Ring a bell?

You've probably forgotten about the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, but Clinton's work with that was key to the authorization to use force in 2003. In fact, the majority of Dem senators supported authorization, including Joe Biden.

Also among the Dem yeas:
Carper (DE)
Lincoln (AR)
Nelson (FL)
Dodd (CT)
Lieberman (CT)(but he's a Jooo)
Feinstein (CA)(ewww, she is tooo)
Cleland (GA)
Miller (GA) (you think Zell's got some jooo in him, mark?)
Bayh (IN)
Harkin (IA)
Breaux (LA)
Landrieu (LA)
Carnahan (MO)
Baucus (MT)
Nelson, Ben (NE)
Reid (NV) (who voted for the war before he lost it AND is a MORMON)
There are more of course but I'm getting tired of this and want to add Hillary Clinton before I remind you that 86 Dems in the House supported the use of force. Kind of makes your limp excuse above sound rather pitiful.

Then there was the Kerry brand of decisiveness - "...for the war before I was against it" - that shows how difficult it is for an elitist creep to talk out of both sides of his face and get away with it these days.

The gist of Betsy's post was about the failure to recognize the threat posed against us by our enemies, or even to recognize our enemies. Failing to do so often makes the rest of us wonder, at best, if you take national security seriously. Or if you've accepted a role, witting or otherwise, as useful idiots enlisted to help with our country's destruction. Maybe you can get a job at Time.

equitus said...

Thanks, tfhr, for bringing it back to the subject of Betsy's post. mark's comments bring the point home very clearly.

But is it me, or does mark seem to be raving a lot more lately? Really lashing out, hurling epithets and wild accusations more than he used to, it seems to me. We can hope his torment will end in a couple of months.

tfhr said...


I see it too. Where he once reveled in snark and enjoyed sniping from the sidelines when in the opposition, it has been demoralizing for mark to see his Progressive politics, personified in Barack Obama, tested and crushed accordingly under the weight of the real world. Atlas shrugged. (Say, that sounds like the title for a really great novel)

Pat Patterson said...

It's called nuance. You gun lovin' troglodytes.

tfhr said...

You know ever since they've come up with guns, it's always been a matter of thinking before instinctually saying "Fire! GOOD!", especially after successfully igniting the grill during a cookout with concealed-carry friends.

B said...

Just found your blog post about Reid being a MORMON. What does that have to do with anything? The vast majority of Mormons voted against him. He's a liar and a cheat and Mormons are not. They are embarrassed by him.