Monday, June 29, 2009

A Coup For Democracy in Honduras

The recent coup d'etat in Honduras is not a coup against democracy, but one in defense of it, even though it was against an elected president. The Honduran President had violated the Constitution in undertaking to conduct an illegal referendum in order to rule for another term beyond the constitutional limit. In circumventing the constitution, he was emulating his left-wing comrade, the authoritarian Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, who has been trying to spread his style of socialist/communist dictatorship accross Latin America.

The Honduran military was not acting on its own in overthrowing the President, but on the orders of the Supreme Court, with congressional support. The President's moves had also been opposed by his own attorney general. Elections remain on schedule for later this year.

The Honduran coup is like the coup attempt against Hugo Chavez in Venezuela in 2002. At that time, liberals criticized U.S. President George W. Bush for appearing sympathetic to the coup against an elected leader. Bush and other conservatives have been vindicated by the subsequent flagrant authoritarianism by Chavez. Yet the Obama Administration is repeating the same mistake that liberals made in 2002 in regard to Venezuela by condemning the coup in Honduras.

Indeed, the pattern is recognizable at least as far back as the early years of the Clinton Administration, after the overthrow of Haiti's elected left-wing president, Aristide. Bill Clinton demanded the restoration of Aristide, and backed up his demand by sending troops to keep peace after his restoration. Aristide turned out to be authoritarian and had to be forced from power once again during the Bush Administration. By that time, there were few complaints about Aristide's departure, as it had become obvious that he was not democratic. Indeed, his departure has permitted Haiti to become a relatively peaceful representative republic, which makes it an extraordinary event in Haitian history.

Liberals must put aside their sympathy toward left-wing anti-American leaders just because they are democratically elected and remember that history shows that such a leader can be become a dictator, like Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolph Hitler. Thus, a coup that prevents a representative democracy from becoming a dictatorship is not anti-democratic, but pro-democratic. In short, it is not so much how a government came to power that matters but whether that government protects the freedom of its people.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Victory in Iraq

The imminent withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraqi cities is being hailed by Iraq's government as a victory over the insurgency. The withdrawal had been planned long in advance once conditions permitted it to occur. Although the insurgents have not yet been completely vanquished, the move means that Iraqi troops are taking an increasingly lead role in putting down the insurgency themselves, which will allow the eventual withdrawal of all foreign forces, if the Iraqis desire.

It is an appropriate time to consider what American troops, together with their allies in the Coalition of the Willing, as well as the Iraqis themselves, have achieved thus far in the Liberation of Iraq.

First, United Nations resolutions were enforced. The resolutions had required Iraq to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) program, which it had refused to prove that it had done. The Liberation of Iraq removed from power Saddam Hussein's Baath regime that maintained a WMD program. Not only is the regime no longer able to threaten its neighbors and U.S. allies, interests and troops in the region conventionally or by WMDs because it has been removed from power, but hundreds of chemical weapons (WMDs) were discovered and destroyed, as well as many chemicals that could have been weaponized quickly and other materials such as enriched uranium. Baathist leaders who had used WMDs (e.g. "Chemical" Ali) were captured and punished. Enforcement of UN resolutions is critical in international efforts to limit the proliferation of WMDs and keep them out of the hands of terrorists.

Second, the removal of the Baathist regime also represented a victory in the War on Terrorism, insofar as it removed from power a state sponsor of terrorism. Iraq had harbored and financed terrorists, including some who targeted and killed Americans. For example, Abu Abbas, a Palestinian terrorist who had killed an American, had been given safe harbor in Iraq, where he was the conduit for Hussein's funneling of money to Palestinian suicide bombers, some of whom killed Americans. Because state sponsorship of terrorism not only gives terrorists a haven and money, but confers legitimacy to terrorism, the removal of state sponsors of terrorism is critical to defeating terrorists.

Third, Iraq's neighbors no longer must live in fear of another invasion by Hussein -- the world's only serial aggressor since World War II. As a result, the United States no longer needed to maintain troops in Saudi Arabia, where they were targeted by militant Islamist bombers. The presence of American troops in Saudi Arabia was the major source of irritation for Islamists like Osama bin Laden. The U.S. was able to withdraw its troops on its own terms instead of through the intimidation of Muslim militants, while taking away their chief excuse for opposing the U.S.

Fourth, the Iraqi people were liberated from one of the most brutal tyrants of his time. Liberated from oppression, Iraqis were free to determine their own destiny. They have chosen freedom and representative democracy for their republic, which provides a model for others in the Arab and Muslim world. Oppression is another one of the excuses that terrorists use in order to attempt to overthrow Muslim governments and replace them with more militant Islamist ones. Because of the Liberation of Iraq, freedom is now an acceptable alternative for Arabs and Muslims.

Fifth, the war in Iraq led to an additional victory in the War on Terrorism -- a military victory over al-Qaeda. As in Afghanistan, jihadis from around the Muslim world came to Iraq to fight the Coalition in the hope of defeating it and establishing an Islamist state there. Al-Qaeda was defeated military by the Coalition and the Iraqi government in part because the Iraqi people themselves rejected the foreign terrorists. As a battle in the War on Terrorism, the Liberation of Iraq represents a strategic defeat for al-Qaeda, which has diminished its credibility as a military force.

We should be grateful to the American troops who led the Liberation of Iraq. They have accomplished much in the fight for freedom and against terrorism and militant Islam.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Blog Post Recieves 100th Hit

I am pleased to report a significant milestone for my blog. One of the posts on my blog, "The Rise and Fall of Islamic Civilization," has received its 100th hit. Hits from this post alone have come from the United States and 21 foreign states on 5 continents. I am not including several readers who viewed my blog homepage when this post was still among the seven that are always viewable there, some of whom I know also viewed the post. Several of those searchers who viewed my post viewed the post multiple times (I define a second hit as a visit at least one hour later than the first one) or went on to view other posts, especially "Follow-up to the Rise and Fall of Islamic Civilization."

I am especially pleased that a post on my blog has reached such a milestone, considering that I do not publicly advertise this blog, which has received almost 430 hits overall since April 2, not including my own. Thank you, dear readers, for your support!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Let Us Stand with the Iranian People

In my last post, "Follow-up on the Definition of Terrorism," I discuss how a protest organized by a terrorist group or terrorist-sponsoring regime could itself be an act of terrorism. But the converse -- a protest against a terrorist-sponsoring regime -- could be an act of terrorism, which is a major reason why we must stand with the Iranian people in their struggle for liberty.

The current demonstrations against the Iranian theocratic dictatorship are the largest observed since the Islamic Revolution in 1979. I recall how the daily protests then forced the Shah to flee, which allowed the Islamist forces led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to take power in what has thus far been the only other revolution besides the American Revolution to be successful. The current demonstrations against the Islamist dictatorship represent a grave threat to the Khomeinist regime.

The opposition to the Iranian dictatorship is led by a former prime minister who served during the worst period of oppression of the Islamic Revolution who has accepted the popular demand for reform. Although his proposals represent only modest reform, those Iranians opposed to the regime supported him, as well as another moderate candidate in recent presidential elections against the current president who is backed by the tyrannical mullahs who represent the real center of power of the regime. The dictatorship prohibits more reformist candidates from running for president or parliament. The demonstrators are protesting allegations of voter fraud committed by the regime in the election, in which it claims the incumbent easily won reelection, but their cause is broader than the election dispute; the demonstrators seek the overthrow of the dictatorship. Many of them want it to be supplanted by a representative democracy.

The regime's harsh repression of the peaceful demonstrations underscores the lack of liberty in Iran, in contrast to its neighbors to the east and west, namely Afghanistan and Iraq. The stakes are high for the world and the War on Terrorism, not only because Iran is the mother of terrorism and is seeking to build nuclear weapons, but because it has been an example to militant Muslims as the first modern Islamist state, that is to say one ruled by theocrats who impose Islamic law based upon a strict interpretation of Islamic Scripture. A popular Muslim counter-revolution against Islamist rule in Iran would be a major blow to militant Islam, as it would suggest that Islamist rule is intolerable even for Muslims. Many Muslims, like the people of Iran, crave their birthright of the blessings of liberty. Therefore, let us stand with the Iranian people in support of their freedom.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Follow-up on the Definition of Terrorism

A timely story was reported about the U.S. Department of Defense's employee test that asked a multiple-choice question of what would be an example of "low-level terrorism." I am not certain what was meant by "low-level," as all terrorism terrorizes the populace, the only difference being the degree of terror an attack causes. However, it was not the question that has generated controversy, but the answer.

The four choices for what would constitute an example of low-level terrorism on the Pentagon's test were the following: 1) "Attacking the Pentagon," 2) "IEDs," 3) "Hate crimes against racial groups" and 4) "Protests." The correct answer was #4, "Protests." So-called civil libertarians objected to the implication that dissent equates to terrorism, however an analysis of the question and answers would suggest that the so-called civil libertarians are not necessarily correct.

First, it is necessary to demonstrate why the first three answers are incorrect, and therefore why the fourth answer is the most correct. Attacking the Pentagon would be attacking a military target, which would not represent an example of terrorism, as terrorism targets innocent civilians (by "innocent," I do not mean civilians working for government, such as civilian employees working at the Pentagon, which does not imply in any way that civilian employees of the government are "guilty," as opposed to "innocent," as the latter terms means only that they are not participants in any conflict, such as to be considered a legitimate target in war). Note: The September 11, 2001 attack on the Pentagon is a terrorist attack, however, because of the method of the attack, which was the hijacking and crashing of a civilian airliner into the building. Also, the attack on the Pentagon was part of a coordinated terrorist attack on other civilian targets. However, the September 11 attack was an exception to earlier other attacks on the Pentagon, which were militant attacks like other attacks that target the military, and thus not examples of terrorism. It is critical to understand that attacks on the military are not examples of terrorism because a failure to understand the particular evil of terrorism, which targets innocent civilians, allows both the terrorists and their sympathizers and apologists to make a moral equivalence between terrorist acts and military forced used in resistance to terrorism.

IEDs (improvised explosive devices) are not an example of terrorism because they are weapons, not attacks. Yet even an attack by IED would not necessarily constitute terrorism because the target might be military, or the reason for the attack may not be in order to terrorize the populace. For example, it could be an act by an insane person, a crook, a disgruntled employee or a jilted lover, let alone be motivated by some sort of political reason. Even if it were politically motivated, it would not necessarily be a terrorist act. As I have noted before, terrorism is in the target (innocent civilians, not individuals whom the attacker opposes), not the method.

The third answer, "Hate crimes against racial groups," would not necessarily constitute a terrorist act, even if the attack were some sort of massacre. Genocide is the killing of a people. Terrorists often kill people, but not strictly for the sake of killing out of some bigotry that causes them to want to eliminate entirely that group of people. Terrorists kill some people within a populace in order to terrorize all of the other people in that populace. In other words, the intended target of the terrorist is not only the innocent people he kidnaps, injures or kills, but every other innocent person within that populace because he wants to intimidate them into acquiescing to his demands. A terrorist cannot get a populace to give in to his demands if he kills all of them. A person whose intent is strictly to hurt or kill people is not a terrorist. Regardless of how much hatred a terrorist might have for the people he targets, a terrorist's intent is to terrorize, as the word terrorism implies because a terrorist terrorizes people not necessarily out of hatred for them, but for a political motivation.

The fourth answer, "Protests," is the most correct, even though some protests may not be terrorists act at all because they may have nothing to do with terrorism or resistance to it. Some protests, however, might be examples of terrorism, which makes this answer the least incorrect, and thus the most correct one on the Pentagon's test. A mass protest organized by a terrorist group or terrorist-sponsoring regime is obviously an act intended to terrorize by intimidating a populace to give into the terrorists' demands. It is critical to understand that an act does not necessarily have to injure or cause any damage in order to terrorize people. For example, even though an unexploded bomb planted in a public place does not cause any any physical harm, it is sufficient to terrorize people. Even a false bomb scare has the same effect. Therefore, the media is wrong to call all false bomb scares "hoaxes," as these might be acts intended to terrorize even if no physical harm potentially can be caused, or are intended to probe defenses or cause such weariness as to decrease vigilance (in other words, in order to get people to become complacent and drop their guard). The possession of weapons of mass destruction by a terrorist-sponsoring regime is ipso facto an act of terrorism, such as North Korea's current attempts to intimidate all Americans within range of its nuclear missiles. A protest by terrorists or their sponsors demonstrates the terrorists' zeal for their cause and is an attempt to show their popular support, which suggests that they have adequate motivated personnel in order to carry out numerous attacks.

A protest by those sympathetic to, or who are apologists for, terrorists, is not quite as obvious a terrorist act, however, it could nonetheless also be an example of terrorism. If someone improves the morale of an enemy, while harming the morale of the soldiers of his own country, he is aiding and abetting that enemy, which, in wartime, meets the definition of treason. A protest that opposes fighting the enemy is an example of aiding and abetting that enemy. Thus, "peace" protests are truly violent acts, whether intentional or not, just as the so-called peace protests during the Vietnamese War led to the violent deaths of more than a million Indochinese civilians because the protesters achieved their goal of ending U.S. involvement in that war. Protests against the War on Terrorism are protests against fighting the terrorists, which means that they are protests in favor of victory by the terrorists, just as protests against the Vietnamese War were intended to produce a victory by the Communists. Just as Communists and their sympathizers helped to organize the protests against the Vietnamese War, so too do those sympathetic to terrorism or other anti-Americans help to organize protests against the War on Terrorism. Note: I am referring in particular to protests against the War on Terrorism in general, which I have observed firsthand, which are not protests against this or that particular government policy, but against the entire concept of opposing terrorism militarily. Protests that suggest that it is illegitimate to fight terrorists are intended to unilaterally disarm the United States in the terrorists' asymmetrical fight against the U.S.

As I have noted, the goal of terrorists is to intimidate a populace. When some within that populace begin to agitate for acquiescence to the terrorists' demands, even if they are doing so out of fear, they are doing exactly what the terrorists want them to do, even if unintentionally. Thus, they are force multipliers of terrorists, especially within a pluralistic society, even if they are not part of a "Fifth Column" like terrorist sympathizers and apologists. However, such foolish protesters are not guilty of committing an act of terrorism, even if the act is effectively an example of terrorism, because their intent is not malice, but cowardice. I am not referring to such cowards, but to those anti-Americans who protest against the moral legitimacy of any resistance to terrorism at all, who are demagogues because they use the legitimate fear of terrorist attacks as a justification to avoid fighting terrorists, all the while falsely claiming to be patriotic by availing themselves of the right to assemble, and claiming to represent the best interests of the U.S. that they truly despise. They fail to note the qualifier "peaceably" before the right "to assemble" in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. A protest intended to give a military victory to an enemy is not a peaceable assembly, even if no violence occurs at the protest. Protests are violent if they are intended in favor of rewarding violence, whether organized by terrorists or their anti-American sympathizers. Therefore, protests may be acts of terrorism, which would make the fourth answer in the Pentagon's multiple-choice question the most correct one.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Analysis of Recent Foreign Elections

The recent elections for European Parliament represented a general shift toward conservative parties, including some Euroskeptic (those opposed to greater European integration) ones. It is a harbinger for the impending loss of power of the Labour Party in the United Kingdom and victory for the Conservative Party.

Some of the parties that gained seats were labeled “far-right” by the media, even though they are fascist (national socialist), which makes them far-left. At least one of the parties that the media labeled “anti-Islamic” was not, namely the one led by Geert Wilders of the Netherlands, which is anti-Islamist (meaning it is against Islamic militancy), but not necessarily anti-Muslim.

Some in the media have blamed the loss by liberal and socialist parties in these elections on the economy. The fact that leftists were blamed in those foreign states for the recession abroad is inconsistent with the blame by the left in the United States for conservatives for the recession. Indeed, the general anti-incumbent trend during this decade suggests that the recession was not so much caused by government policy at all, especially not conservative policies, but by external forces. The blame by liberals of American conservatives for deregulatory policies is inconsistent with the worse economic downturn being experienced in those European quasi-socialist states with even more regulation. The natural boom and bust cycle seems more to blame for the recession: the global prosperity of the 2000s led to higher energy demand, which led to higher energy prices, which led to higher interest rates, which caused the housing bubble to burst. If government policies played any role in causing the recession, it was excessive regulatory policies, such as the Carter and Clinton Administration policies of encouraging risky lending to home buyers that only contributed to the problem, not insufficient regulation.

There has been a general anti-incumbent trend in the West since a few years after the War on Terrorism, which is to say, well before the global recession, which has become even more noticeable since. It is noteworthy, therefore, that conservatives gained seats in the European Parliament even in states like France and Italy that were led by relatively new conservative governments. The anti-incumbent trend has been noticeable the last few years beyond the West, as well. One of the most noticeable exceptions has been Iraq, which underscores public contentment there with improved security and a rejection of Islamist terrorism.

Incumbent parties also won in two other states recently, India and Lebanon. India’s elections were understandable because it has enjoyed strong economic growth, albeit unevenly. The election victory of the pro-Western coalition in Lebanon despite the strong challenge from the Hezbollah-led coalition is highly significant to the War on Terrorism. A win by the Iranian-backed Shi’ite terrorist Hezbollah would have necessitated a cut-off of most U.S. aid to the fledgling representative democracy and possibly led to a second war with Israel, or at least complicated efforts toward an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord. Sunni Muslims were joined with some Christians and others over the Shi’ite Muslims, who had attracted a bloc of Christians to their coalition. The Lebanese people thereby asserted their independence from Syria, which also backs Hezbollah, the main power-broker in the Land of the Cedars. They also demonstrated that representative democracy has spread beyond Iraq in the Arab world.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Analysis of Recent Media Comments on Terrorism and U.S.-Muslim Relations

In my recent post, "Terrorism" vs. "Militancy," I defined the word terrorism and explained the difference between it and general militancy. Subsequently, there were numerous comments expressed in the media that described certain acts of domestic political violence as "terrorism." I had kept my post general, but in this one I shall be more specific in order to refute the argument that such acts are terrorism.

Anti-abortion militants target the abortion industry specifically because their goal is to limit abortion by targeting abortion centers (which is sabotage) or those that perform abortions. They do not target the general populace. Therefore, they do not terrorize the populace in order to intimidate it into submitting to their demands. Similarly, animal rights militants specifically target research laboratories where animal experiments are performed, not the general populace. Animal rights militants are saboteurs. Environmental militants also specifically target only certain targets they oppose, usually with sabotage. They, too, do not target the general populace. Environmental militant Ted Kazinski, the "Unabomber," only crossed over into terrorism once he threatened to blow up a civilian airliner, which terrorized innocent civilians instead of only government officials or those whom he opposed. Anti-government militants target the government -- not civilians -- which does not terrorize the populace. Such militancy crosses over into terrorism only if the government target is filled with innocent civilians (which is why bombings of embassies are acts of terrorism).

As noted in my earlier post, terrorism is particularly evil because it targets innocent civilians. The word terrorism should not be diluted by applying it to all forms of political violence, which is usually done in order to discredit the cause in support of which the militant acts were performed. Whether the cause is just or not is irrelevant as to whether the militancy constitutes terrorism. Unless the distinction between terrorism and other forms of militancy is learned, terrorism will never be eliminated.

In analyzing President Barak Obama's address to the Muslim world, there was some media commentary that he had broken from the "arrogance" and "bullying" of the administration of President George W. Bush. I submit that Bush was neither the one who was arrogant or the bully in regard to relations between the United States and the Muslim world.

It was Bill Cinton who was arrogant during his presidency when he attempted to force peace upon the Israelis and Palestinians when Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat was not ready to make peace. The result of Clinton's "peace process" was a Palestinian uprising that killed thousands of people, including many civilians, that lasted for years. Clinton had wanted the photo opportunity of the Israeli and Palestinian leaders shaking hands with each other with him in the middle, as well as the legacy of being a peacemaker. He should have pursued a policy of justice instead. Bush pursued a policy of humility and did not try to force peace on parties that were unwilling to make it. For doing so, liberals criticized him for failing to engage as actively as Clinton in peace talks because his humility did not match their characterization of him as arrogant. Bush's policies did not lead to any bloody Palestinian uprising and his overthrow of Saddam Hussein, who had been financing Palestinian suicide bombings, together with Israeli security measures, led to relative peace, with the exception of the 2008 war between Israel and Hamas. Israel even withdrew permanently from the Gaza Strip, which represented more progress than Clinton had made. It is difficult for liberals to accept the fact that phony peace negotiations cause more bloodshed than all-out war and tend to prolong conflicts.

As for the charge of bullying made against Bush, it was Saddam Hussein who was the bully, not Bush. Hussein had invaded and attempted to annex all or part of two of his neighbors, which gave him the unique distinction of being the only serial aggressor since the Second World War. I should note that the distinction that Obama and most other liberals as well as isolationists who opposed the Liberation of Iraq, make between Afghanistan and Iraq is not one made by militant Muslims. While Obama and some of the other critics see Afghanistan as a just war and Iraq as unnecessary, militant Muslims accuse the United States of bullying for overthrowing the Taliban regime in Afghanistan that harbored the al-Qaeda terrorists responsible for September 11. Thus, the concern that liberating Iraq angered Muslims, which supposedly proves that Iraq was an unnecessary war, is inconsistent because even liberating Afghanistan had angered them. Liberating tens of millions of Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq from brutal tyrants who sponsored terrorism is the antithesis of bullying.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Obama's Anti-American Address to Muslims Fails to Achieve its Purpose

During his campaign for President of the United States, Barak Hussein Obama and his supporters discouraged the use of his middle name and dismissed any other references to his Muslim background as unfair, but now that he is in office, he uses his background as an asset in his efforts to establish better relations with Muslims abroad.

Obama used much of his address in Cairo to Muslims to criticize the West, the United States in particular, and especially former President George W. Bush. Obama even criticized Western colonization of Muslim lands, even though the U.S. never colonized one square inch of any Muslim state.

Obama says that he wants a new relationship between the United States and the Muslim world based upon mutual respect, as if the liberation by the U.S. under Bush of tens of millions of Muslims from brutal tyrannies was disrespectful. Obama's frequent criticism of the U.S. throughout his speech, makes the U.S. seem weak. His weak foreign policy, characterized by his offering of olive branches to mortal enemies like Iran without preconditions, have thus far proven unsuccessful. Obama's comments on Iran's nuclear program seeme to make a moral equivalence with the possession by the U.S. of nuclear weapons, which will only undermine his own opposition to Iran's nuclear weapons program. Obama's criticisms of the U.S. were disproportionate to his criticisms of Islamic militants. He never even used the words terrorist or terrorism, and yet made a moral equivalence between terrorist attacks by Muslim militants and the aggressive interrogation by the U.S. of three of the terrorists, which was enough for him to claim that the U.S. had failed to abide by its own principles. To make it even worse, Obama blamed the aggressive interrogations on anger, instead of on the intent of preventing any further attacks.

Obama criticized the Liberation of Iraq in three ways, although he did acknowledge that Iraqis were better off now that they are living in freedom than they were under the oppression of Saddam Hussein's Baathist regime. He criticized the imposition of a system of government on Iraq, called its liberation a "war of choice,"as if it were unnecessary, and suggested it were avoidable by declaring that he believed that the war proved that the U.S. should have depended more upon diplomacy. All three of Obama's criticisms were contradictory of his praise for the liberation of Afghanistan from the Taliban.

First, the U.S. did not impose a system of government on Iraq. Saddam Hussein was the one who had imposed a tyrannical system of government on the Iraqi people. I note that his Baathist regime imposed socialism, for example, which was an idea foreign to the Iraqi people. The U.S., out of necessity, did choose a provisional goverment during the occupation, but even some of its leaders, like the Khurds, had been popularly elected, while others were leaders of other opposition parties or were religious or tribal leaders. But the system of government that Iraqis adopted oncen they approved their new constitution for the Republic of Iraq was one that they chose, not one imposed by the U.S. The proof that it was not the same as our system was that although it is representative, it is parliamentary in form, unlike the American system. Also, the Iraqi constitution acknowledges Islam. In short, the U.S. did not impose any system of government on Iraq, but liberated that country so that it could exercise self-determination. The recent reelection of the Iraqi governing party suggests contentment on the part of the Iraqi people, which is hardly a sign that Iraqis consider their government system to be one that was imposed by foreigners. In referring to Iraq's system of government, Obama undermined the premise of his speech of trying to establish mutual respect between the U.S. and the Muslim world by disrepecting the free choice of millions of Iraqis.

Second, Obama dismissed the Liberation as a "war of choice." All wars are wars of choice, even invasions by foreigners, as one could choose to make peace or even surrender instead of resisting. But what Obama and other liberal critics of the war, as well as isolationists, mean is that the U.S. could have survived without having liberated Iraq, as if U.S. survival were the standard for justification of war. Apparently, the survival of individual Americans does not justify war to them. Iraq's almost daily firing of missles at U.S. aircraft and its harboring and financing of terrorists who had targeted and killed Americans were acts of war, but to Obama, these attacks on the U.S. were tolerable acts, as was Iraq's defiance of United Nations resolutions to disarm its weapons of mass destruction programs. But one of the lessons of September 11 is that the U.S. must not tolerate terrorism anywhere. Obama made no mention in his speech of Iraq's sponsorship of terrorism.

Obama's third criticism of the Liberation of Iraq is that it might have been avoidable had the U.S. made more use of diplomacy. Apparently, 12 years and 14 U.N. resolutions was not enough diplomacy. And when liberals and isolationists argue that the U.S. should have relied more upon diplomacy, I ask: diplomacy with whom? With Saddam Hussein? He was already bound by a cease-fire and U.N. resolutions. No, they apparently mean diplomacy with the French and Germans. And to do what? To buy Hussein more time to stall weapons inspectors while he undermined the sanctions? The evidence learned since his overthrow is that he did retain some chemical weapons and materials and could have restarted his weapons of mass destruction program quickly once the sanctions, upon which he was cheating, had been lifted. Hussein also had missiles with ranges longer than permitted. Indeed, American troops in Kuwait were within his range, which refutes the notion that he did not pose a threat to Americans. Obama did not explain what he meant by more diplomacy. But he did attempt to justify more diplomacy by quoting Thomas Jefferson, who said "the less we use our power the greater it will be." However, Obama should contemplate why Jefferson used power against Muslims for economic reasons --the wars against the Barbary pirates.

In all his criticisms of Bush's decision to liberate Iraq, Obama contradicts his justifications for the war in Afghanistan. Obama, like other liberals opposed to the Liberation of Iraq, claims the U.S. imposed democracy on Iraq, but does not complain of an imposition of democracy in Afghanistan. He calls the overthrow of a terrorist-sponsoring regime in Iraq with the blood of Americans on its hands a "war of choice," but regards the overthrow of a terrorist-sponsoring regime in Afghanistan that itself had never attacked Americans as justified. The Taliban, had never attacked Americans, although it had harbored terrorists who did. Hussein had both harbored terrorists who had targeted and killed Americans, as well as financed suicide bombers who also had targeted and killed. Obama makes the same error as other opponents of the Liberation of Iraq in claiming that Iraq had never attacked Americans. Finally, Obama complains of insufficient diplomacy after 12 years in Iraq, but does not complain of the shorter wait in Afghanistan. In short, Obama, like other supporters of the War in Afghanistan who oppose the Liberation of Iraq, are inconsistent because they oppose the Liberation of Iraq for other reasons, either because of ignorance of the facts or political opposition to Bush, or as political cover to conceal their discomfort even with the overthrow of the Taliban, as many isolationists and those on the far left opposed.

Moreover, Obama's criticisms of the overthrow of Iraq's terrorist-sponsoring regime disrepects the American troops he commands who have been serving there. Instead, he should express gratitude to them for their service in the War on Terrorism. As I have noted in previous posts, Obama mostly has continued Bush's policies in the War on Terrorism, including in Iraq, but Obama's statements continue to be irresponsible. Going to such absurd lengths to seem humble in order to be sensitive to any Muslim perception of American arrogance only makes the U.S. seem all the weaker to its enemies, and therefore, all the more contemptible. Indeed, Obama undermines his own policy of mutual respect between Americans and Muslims if he fails to demonstrate enough respect for America, for if he cannot respect America, he cannot expect Muslims to reciprocate. Furthermore, no one can win an idealogical conflict, such as the struggle against Islamic militancy, by undermining the truth, as Obama does every time he criticizes the U.S. for defending itself and its allies against Muslim militants.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Monthly Blog Hit Report

I am pleased to report that in the two months since I installed my blog's new counter,, my blog has received nearly 320 hits. Almost 20 people visited my blog directly or after searching for my name, while nearly 220 others landed on my blog after searches led them to various posts.

Readers were attracted to my blog by 34 posts, including several from as far back as January, not including those who visited my blog homepage directly. Several of these readers also viewed my blog homepage or went on to view other posts, including several in addition to the 34 posts upon which they landed.

Hits have come from 34 states and the District of Columbia, as well as 26 foreign states on six continents! The most hits in the United States have come from California, New York, New Jersey and Florida. The most foreign hits have come from the United Kingdom, Canada and Malaysia.

My blog's most popular post has been The Rise and Fall of Islamic Civilization (with hits from the U.S. and 14 foreign states on 4 continents), which has recieved over 70 total hits. The next most popular posts have been Father Stanley Jaki, Rest in Peace, Obama Did Not Inherit the Economy From Bush; The Economy, Deficit and Debt at George W. Bush’s Inauguration and Lepanto, by GK Chesterton.

In addition to the hits from the Holy See and the New York Times mentioned in my first monthly blog hit report, since then other interesting hits came from JP Morgan Chase, the Faculty of Advocates, the Province of British Columbia and the U.S. House of Representatives. Hits have also continued to come from numerous secondary schools, colleges and universities.

Thank you for visiting my blog, dear readers, especially those who are Followers, or who post comments, or have passed along comments to me externally from my blog. I appreciate your support!

"Terrorism" vs. "Militancy"

The recent shooting of Army personnel in Arkansas by a Muslim apparently motivated by Islamic militancy, which followed a shooting days before of a notorious abortionist, raises the question of the definition of terrorism, in order to answer the question about whether such domestic political acts of violence constitute terrorism. These attacks were examples of militancy, not terrorism.

The word terrorism has been used so broadly that it has become diluted. Thus, its degree of evil has been minimized. When one labels all forms of violence as terrorism, one minimizes the particular evil of terrorism. Indeed, terrorism has been confused with all acts of political violence -- and even some that are not political. On the other hand, terrorism has been confused with other great evils such as mass-murder motivated by revenge or genocide. In short, terrorism has become so broadly used a word that it has lost its meaning.

Terrorism is the deliberate targeting of innocent civilians with violence or the threat of violence in order to intimidate a certain populace into demanding that its government change its policies according to the wishes of the terrorists. Although I could write an essay explaining each point in great detail, I shall let the above definition suffice for now.

Indeed, not all forms of political violence are acts of terrorism. Terrorism is a strategy defined by its target, not its cause. Whether a certain cause is just or not is irrelevant to the definition of terrorism. Therefore, it is not true that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. The particular evil of terrorism is that it targets innocent civilians instead of political or military leaders.

Terrorism is not defined by its methods, either. A bombing, for example, even if motivated by political purposes, is not necessarily a terrorist attack. A bombing may be motivated by political opposition or revenge, or be intended to target only a few individuals, neither of which would be intended to intimidate the populace.

Those who target political leaders or military forces are "militants" and could be called "insurgents" or "guerrillas," while those who militants who target property are "saboteurs" specifically. Attacks that are targeted on specific individuals with whom the attacker has a grievance are not terrorists because the target is not innocent civilians with the intent to intimidate them. In contrast, although some people might be frightened by attacks that target others, such attacks are not terrorism because the intent of a terrorist is to intimidate all innocent civilians within a certain populace, not to harm just certain individuals.

Most political acts of violence that have occurred within the United States have been called "terrorism" by the media, politicians and other commentators. These acts are not terrorism, but are militancy of some kind or another, in contrast to the September 11 Attacks. All such militancy is unacceptable and must be prevented or punished, but it is not the same thing as terrorism. Even the legitimate exercise of self-defense by the United States or others is called "terrorism" by its foreign and domestic opponents, but the charge is baseless because legitimate self-defense targets enemy military forces in order to prevent more attacks, not innocent civilians.

The purpose of the War on Terrorism is to eliminate the threat of terrorist attacks against Americans or their interests, but although one of its aspects is to eliminate terrorism against the United States in particular, its broader aspect is to eliminate all militancy that is hostile to the U.S. Islamic militancy, both abroad and domestically, especially continues to pose a threat to Americans. It must be resisted in all its strategies and tactics.