Friday, October 31, 2014

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett Signs Bills into Law to End Doctor Shopping and “Passing the Trash”

           Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, a Republican, signed a number of particularly significant bills into law, among various legislation approved recently by the Republican-majority state legislature in its last session before the General Election on Tuesday.

            The first law signed by Governor Corbett eliminates “doctor shopping,” the practice of people who abuse prescription drugs by obtaining such drugs from more than one doctor willing to prescribe them simultaneously, by establishing a statewide drug prescription database.  The bipartisan legislation was cited as necessary especially to reduce addiction to cocaine and heroin, to which prescription drug abusers often are attracted, which has caused a spate of overdose deaths this year.

           The second law Corbett signed closes the legal loophole that allows teachers charged with child abuse who are fired by a school district from being hired by other school districts without any disclosure to their new employers of the abuse allegations, a practice known as “passing the trash.”  After the reform legislation was originally met with some resistance from the teachers’ union, the union changed its stance and the bill was approved by the General Assembly without opposition.

Report on Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. James Cawley’s Speech in Reading for Tom Corbett

           Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor James Cawley gave the keynote speech at the Berks County Republican Committee fall dinner in Reading last night, which I attended.  Cawley spoke in favor of re-elected Governor Tom Corbett and himself, as well as the numerous conservative Republican federal and state legislative candidates in attendance, including United States Representative Joe Pitts, in whose district the dinner was held.

            Cawley noted the turnaround of Pennsylvania’s budget and economy from a $4 billion deficit to three straight balanced budgets, and from an over 8% unemployment rate to one around five and a half percent with the creation of 185,000 new jobs.  He noted how Corbett kept his promises to balance the Commonwealth’s budget without raising taxes.  Cawley refuted the myth that Corbett cut education funding by pointing out that despite the end of the temporary boost of Obama stimulus money shortly after the Governor took office, Pennsylvania spends a record amount on its public schools.  He also noted that even though the state’s natural gas industry does not pay a severance tax, it already pays more state corporate taxes than in other states, in addition to impact fees Corbett imposed. 

            Cawley warned the voters not to return to the old tax and spend policies of Democratic Governor Ed Rendell by voting for their liberal Democratic opponent, who had served as the tax collector for the Rendell Administration and who supports U.S. President Barack Obama’s anti-Pennsylvania policies, such as Obamacare and killing the state’s coal industry.  Other than a few basic biographic facts, Cawley observed how little is known about their liberal Democratic opponent, except that he will not reveal his true intentions, such as the specifics about his plan to raise taxes and spend billions of dollars.  

           The audience was optimistic that at this critical political crossroads Pennsylvania voters will not go back to those policies, but will continue with the fiscally responsible policies and reforms of the Corbett-Cawley Administration.

Elections in Ukraine and Tunisia Restore Liberty

           Ukrainians voted earlier this week in parliamentary elections for pro-Western members, who won a majority, in Ukraine’s first popular elections after the overthrow of its oppressive, corrupt pro-Russian government and subsequent invasion by the Russian Federation.  The new President had already been several months ago.  The transitional government ratified a trade deal with the European Union.  The rejection of such a deal by the previous government in favor of one with Russia touched off the protests that lead to its ouster.  The new Government is expected to continue to support an opening with the West, while opposing pro-Russian separatists fighting in eastern Ukraine with Russian support, while trying to improve relations with the Russian Federation as much as possible.  Russian and Ukraine recently reached a deal on natural gas, for example.

            In the first elections in Tunisia since the “Arab Spring” that began there led to the overthrow of the state’s longtime dictator, Tunisians voted earlier this week for members of parliament under a new constitution that guarantees liberty.  Islamist parties lost to secular parties that are expected to form a government that will continue Tunisia’s fight against Islamist terrorists. 

           The free and fair elections in Ukraine and Tunisia exhibited the return to representative government, beyond the good results.  Congratulations to the people of Ukraine and Tunisia.  May you enjoy and ever safeguard your liberty.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Cinfici Is Appointed to the Reading Planning Commission

           My nomination by Mayor Vaughn Spencer of the City of Reading to fill a vacancy on the five-seat Planning Commission was approved by City Council Monday by a vote of 7-0. The Mayor and all members of the Council are Democrats. The term lasts until April 1, 2016.     

           I thank the Mayor and Council for their confidence and am honored to serve the City of Reading.  

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Conservative Analysis of the Violent Jihadist Attacks in Canada

           I extend my sympathy and support to all Canadians for the deaths of two of their countrymen in two separate incidents this week in which two soldiers were murdered by Canadian Islamists in Canada.

            These acts of treason were acts of violent jihad (Islamic holy war), but not acts of terrorism.  As I have posted repeatedly, terrorism is a strategy of illegitimate warfare that targets innocent civilians in order to intimidate the populace to give into the demands of the terrorists.  These acts targeted soldiers, not civilians. 

Although these jihadists have been described as “lone wolves,” like their fellow American jihadists who beheaded a co-worker in Oklahoma or attacked policemen in New York, these individuals may not have conspired with anyone else and acted alone in carrying out their attacks, but were certainly converted to militant Islam by those who believe it the duty of all Muslims to kill infidels who refuse to submit.  Even if some of these individual jihadists have a degree of mental illness, they are nonetheless vulnerable pray for Islamists.  As in the United States, many violent jihadists, such as the two Canadians, were converted to Islamism while incarcerated.

The acts of violent jihad in Canada were not in retaliation for Canada’s support of the international coalition against the “Islamic State” in Syria and Iraq, as these jihadists both had been inclined toward militancy for a long time before Canada joined the coalition – or even before the U.S. started to lead it.  The “Islamic State” provided a convenient excuse for those who believe it their religious duty to kill by encouraging such attacks against coalition partners.  In other words, these individuals’ violent jihad has been co-opted by terrorism, but the violent jihad is the root of the evil.  Canada was a soft target because of its lesser security precautions and a belief on the part of some Canadians that they would never be targeted, especially by fellow Canadian citizens.  

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper made a strong statement against being intimidated by such acts and reiterating his continued support for fighting the “Islamic State,” as indeed, the attacks validated Canadian the Government’s concern that the enemy was Islamicizing Canadian citizens domestically and even training those who volunteered to join the fight in the Levant and return to threaten Canada, which is why it was among the foreign states denying passports to those who would travel abroad to join the terrorist army and was monitoring suspected domestic Islamists. 

I am confident that Canada will strengthen its security measures and will remain a steadfast ally in the War on Terrorism, as it has been.  May God keep Canada glorious and free.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Tom Wolf’s Leftist Platform: Tax and Spend; Promote Abortion and Gun Control; and Limit Coal and Gas

           As if being anti-coal and natural gas, pro-abortion (including public funding of abortion on demand) and anti-right to keep and bear arms were not out of step enough with Pennsylvanians, Democratic gubernatorial nominee would also be a liberal tax and spender to a massive degree should he be elected Pennsylvania Governor and implement his left-wing platform.

            Here are some of the known planks of Tom Wolf’s leftist platform:

           Raise taxes on those earning above around $70,000 a year by approximately 188% 

           Dramatically increase spending by billions of dollars

           Undo welfare reform by eliminating the asset test for determining eligibility for welfare benefits

           Ignore the state’s worsening multi-billion dollar pension crisis

           Maintain the Commonwealth’s wholesale and retail monopoly on alcohol and continue to prohibit Pennsylvanians from purchasing alcohol out of state

           Impose a moratorium on further natural gas development and impose an additional tax on the natural gas drilling companies, in addition to the high corporate state taxes they already pay

           Support the Obama Administration’s anti-coal policies

           Expand Medicaid under the federalization of health insurance “Obamacare,” which could cost the     Commonwealth millions of dollars and expand a program that is already broken, including funding abortion on demand with taxpayer dollars

           Eliminate reasonable restrictions on abortion

           Redefine marriage to recognize legally homosexual unions

           Require facilities to include “gender” neutral bathrooms

           Require public schools to include “gender identity” and sexual orientation in their curriculum

           Not eliminate real estate taxes

           Eliminate charter schools 

           Implement numerous unreasonable restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms, such as requiring background checks for the transfer of a gun from one family member to another, banning the possession of certain sporting guns, opposing reciprocity agreements with other states for concealed carry permits and giving municipalities the power to restrict even further the right to keep and bear arms.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Debunking Myths about Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett: Education, Pensions, Natural Gas and Taxes

Corbett did not cut education funding
            Pennsylvania received a temporary boost from Obama economic stimulus money in 2009 that Governor Ed Rendell, a Democrat, appropriated into the basic education subsidy for the Commonwealth’s school districts.  The districts were warned the money was only temporary.  As a school director at the time, I warned my district not to use the money for long-term items, such as hiring permanent staff, for example.  Some districts budgeted accordingly, but many did not.  The end of the stimulus money was not a cut, but simply an expected return to previous levels.  School district spending has risen sharply over the years and is now at its highest level ever under the Corbett Administration, although it is worth noting student performance levels do not necessarily correspond to spending levels.  Despite the end of the stimulus and the pension crisis in Pennsylvania, school districts across the Commonwealth hold combined budgetary reserves of several billion dollars. 
The claim that the Commonwealth’s subsidization of the teachers’ pension fund does not count toward the budget is a related myth.  The teachers’ pension fund has counted toward the education budget for the last four decades.  School real estate taxes have risen primarily because of Pennsylvania’s pension crisis.    

Corbett did not under-fund pensions
            Several factors have combined to produce Pennsylvania’s pension crisis before Corbett took office in 2011.  First, benefits were raised in 2001.  The Commonwealth subsequently reduced funding a number of times over the years during previous administrations.  In addition, the fund was depleted by stock market losses after the Panic of 2008. 

Natural gas companies do pay taxes to Pennsylvania
            The comparison of Pennsylvania to other states that impose natural gas extraction fees on gas drilling companies does not account for a key difference: Pennsylvania, which taxes both corporate income and assets, has the highest corporate tax burden in the United States.  Like companies in every other industry, natural gas companies pay corporate taxes.  On top of corporate taxes, the natural gas industry also pays an impact fee to counties and municipalities for road repair, emergency response needs, environmental remediation and other related costs.  These impact fees amount to over $200 million a year.

Corbett did not raise taxes
           Corbett kept his promise not to raise taxes to balance the Commonwealth’s budget, despite a four billion-dollar shortfall leftover from the previous administration.  He also did not raise tax rates.  In fact, Corbett cut taxes, including various business taxes, such as restarting the phase-out of the capital stock and franchise tax and exempting small family-owned businesses from estate taxes.  Corbett did lift an arbitrary cap on gasoline taxes, which are a user fee that periodically must be raised to keep up with inflation, in order to fund an urgent major transportation bill approved by the Republican majority legislature to repair roads, bridges and make other transportation improves.  Without adjusting gas taxes, Pennsylvanians would have had to continue to pay more for every good that was shipped by truck because of longer routes that were necessitated by poor roads and bridges, upon which weight restrictions had been imposed because of structural deficiency.  

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Follow-Up on the Finding of More Chemical WMDs in Iraq

           In my last post, I noted the reported discovery of thousands of chemical weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq that had been retained by the Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein, in violation of United Nations resolutions that required him to destroy the weapons.  Reportedly, the weapons remained dangerous and even potentially lethal for many years after the Liberation of Iraq in 2003, even wounding American and Iraq soldiers.  Some of the opponents of the war have been misinterpreting the evidence that proves Iraq did have WMDs and did pose a threat either to use them itself or give them to terrorists.  

These chemical WMDs and were among those known about by UN inspectors that Iraq was required to destroy, both under the 1991 ceasefire that ended the Liberation of Kuwait and UN resolutions.  Some of them had been left at a staging area or had been transferred there, where they were supposed to be destroyed by Baathist regime.  Despite the threat of war over its retention of such weapons, as well as the chemicals used to make them, such as sarin and nerve gas, Iraq failed to destroy them.  The presence of some of these weapons at the staging area is not conclusive evidence that Hussein’s regime ever intended to destroy them.  Opponents of the war believed either that Iraq had destroyed the weapons or the United States had when the Clinton Administration bombed Iraq to degrade its WMD program or they believed the duplicitous Saddam Hussein’s claims that the weapons had been destroyed.  The critics held firm to this belief without any convincing evidence of the destruction of the weapons, such as the destroyed weapons themselves, or at least videotape or photographs of the destruction of the weapons or the destroyed weapons. 

Similarly, some of the opponents of the Liberation of Iraq dismiss the significance of the threat from these chemical WMDs, including those not found at the staging area, by describing them as having been “abandoned” by the Iraq regime.  That the chemical WMDs were buried instead of destroyed does not necessarily signify an intention to abandon them, but reasonably suggests an intention to reuse them at a later time, such as after UN sanctions on Iraq had been lifted.  A related argument of war critics and apologists for the Baathist regime is that the chemical WMDs were unknown to Iraq because it had lost track of them, despite the threat of war over its failure to destroy these WMDs and the overthrow of the regime.  However, it is unlikely that a totalitarian regime could possibly lose track of such a valuable state asset.  Such regimes are defined by their total control and are notorious for keeping meticulous records.  At best, it could be theorized that the chemical WMDs, which were artillery shells filled with prohibited chemicals, were deliberately mixed in with conventional shells, which, in a sense, validates the observation by the Duelfer Report that Hussein’s Iraqi regime was in some ways “more dangerous” than previously thought.

Liberal and other opponents of the Liberation of Iraq accused the Bush Administration and other supporters of the war of changing their rationale for the war, but it is the critics who have changed their rationale.  First, they opposed the war beforehand, citing, among other things, the threat from Iraq’s known chemical weapons of mass destruction.  Then, after large stockpiles of WMDs were not immediately found, they claimed the weapons were non-existent – an argument they would continue to make, despite the repeated discovery of WMDs, or at least of minimal threat.  Next, after some chemical WMDs were discovered early in the war in improvised explosive devices set by insurgents, they cited these WMDs as a “new threat” to American and coalition soldiers, as if to blame the Bush Administration for allowing the weapons to escape the implicitly preferred control of Saddam Hussein’s Baathist regime.  In 2006, when the discovery of a tally of over 500 chemical WMDs and counting was announced by the United States, the critics dismissed the weapons as too “degraded” to be a threat, even though they had cited them as a threat in 2003, which is when it mattered whether or not they had remained a threat.  Now, after admitted that the weapons wounded American and Iraqi soldiers for several years after 2006, and thus remained a threat, they are back to regarding these old weapons as a continued threat if they would be mishandled or fall into the hands of Islamist terrorists, instead of remaining in the control of Hussein. 

The fact that Iraq’s chemical WMDs were often hidden and the totalitarian nature of the “Republic of Fear” explain the difficulty in finding them sooner and also exposes another logical contradiction in the arguments of the opponents of the war.  The critics claimed mistakes by the intelligence services in exaggerating or even misleading about Iraq’s WMDs, but apparently these critics had supreme confidence in the same intelligence agencies’ effort to find WMDs that were hidden across a territory the size of California.  If these critics were consistent, they would have criticized the failure of the intelligence agencies to find the WMDs, or at least to find more of them sooner, instead of jumping to the conclusion that because the intelligence agencies they criticized as incompetent could not find the WMDs, the WMDs must not exist.

As I noted in my last post, the Liberation of Iraq was abundantly justified because of the Baathist Hussein regime’s history of aggression and terrorism that made it a threat even without possessing WMDs.  Iraq signaled its intent to continue hostilities both by violating the 1991 cease-fire by shooting at American and Coalition aircraft patrolling the no-fly zones and by refusing to destroy its WMDs, like a convicted felon who refused to allow an inspection of his home to verify whether or not he had guns.  Iraq’s refusal, which was also a violation of UN resolutions, allowed it to continue to intimidate its neighbors.  The Baathist also regime harbored and financed terrorists who targeted and killed Americans and had attempted the assassination of former United States President George H.W. Bush.  All of these acts were sufficient alone to justify war, but made war a compelling choice when taken collectively, as they ought to have been.   

An active Iraqi WMDs was never necessary as a justification of war, but the Hussein regime’s retention of its WMDs after the end of sanctions was, in fact, an additional specific justification cited by the U.S. and only added to the urgency to act, especially after the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks.  The U.S. was concerned that Iraq’s retention of its WMDs suggested its intent to restart its WMD program after the lifting of sanctions.  

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Thousands More Lethal Chemical WMDs Have Been Found in Iraq, Wounding Soldiers

           The liberal New York Times reports that 5,000 chemical weapons of mass destruction (WMDS) have been found so far in Iraq – a figure that is ten-fold the number previously reported by the United States in 2006 – and that this number was known beforehand but not previously publicly disclosed.  The true number of Iraqi WMDs may never be known because of improper documentation and disposal methods in battlefield conditions that disincentivized proper reporting, according to the Times report.

The Times further reports that – contrary to critics of the Liberation of Iraq who had dismissed the lethality of Iraq’s chemical WMDs that had been discovered – these chemical munitions remained dangerous to the point of being lethal and even wounded several American soldiers from 2004 to as late as 2008 and also Iraqi soldiers as recently as 2010.  The soldiers were wounded through exposure to nerve or blister agents from artillery shells with chemical warheads, according to the report, and mishandled during their removal and destruction.  These chemical WMDs were either set up by insurgents, knowingly or not, as improvised explosive devices that targeted American and allied troops, or were scattered among stockpiles of conventional munitions, the Times reports.

The Times report exposes the necessity of providing proper care to soldiers wounded by Iraq’s chemical weapons because they had not received appropriate care, as well as to award them Purple Hearts for being wounded in action. 

These chemical weapons were among the stockpile Iraq’s Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein had either never disclosed or never convincingly proved it had destroyed, as it had been required to do under United Nations resolutions.   Despite the claim of the Times in its report that the Administration of U.S. President George W. Bush justified the Liberation of Iraq because of its insistence of an active Iraqi WMD production program, the concern that Iraq had retained a stockpile of WMDs was sufficient to justify war, apart from the reason that its WMDs were of concern in the first place, which was Iraq’s history of military aggression and state sponsorship of terrorism.  The report proves not only that Iraq was, indeed, a threat because of its WMDs, but that American and allied forces were successful in eliminating far more WMDs than previously known.  Alas, the Times report suggests that more Iraqi chemical WMDs may get into the hands of the “Islamic State,” which had already captured Iraq’s chemical weapons storage facility.

For more on the justifications for the Liberation of Iraq, including its chemical WMDs, see two comprehensive website compilations of links.  The first was posted in July of 2010 by a commenter, “Free Stinker,” on a discussion forum entitled “The Invasion of Iraq – Still the Right Thing To Do” on the Newsbusters website, which includes links to U.N., U.S. government and mostly liberal news media reports about Iraq’s use and retention of prohibited WMDs and chemicals and their discovery after the Liberation of Iraq, its overall WMD program, as well as Iraq’s possession of banned missiles, history of serial aggression, extensive sponsorship of terrorism and attempted assassination of former U.S. President George H.W. Bush:  An additional justification cited by the forum commentator was Iraq’s violation of the 1991 cease-fire that ended the Liberation of Kuwait.  I note Iraq’s cease-fire violations especially in the three years from the year 2000, the last year of the Clinton Administration, through the beginning of the Bush Administration until the Liberation of Iraq in 2003.  Violating the cease-fire signified Iraq’s intention to continue hostilities, for Hussein considered “The Mother of All Battles” never to have ended.  Indeed, Iraq was at war with the United States and its coalition partners from 1991-2003, long before George W. Bush became President, which was one reason Clinton had made it American policy to overthrow Hussein.  The second compilation appears on the “That’s Right I Said It” blog of U.S. Navy veteran Joe Kidd:, which particularly includes links to U.N. and U.S. documents and reports from a wide spectrum of the media about the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein’s retention of prohibited WMDs and chemicals the discovery of them and related materiel over several years, and Iraq’s overall WMD program, including October of 2010 reports about the WikiLeaks publication of secret U.S. documents that describe the finding of WMDs in Iraq. 

Both compilations include reports of Iraq’s violations of the arms embargo and intent to restart its WMD development program after obtaining the lifting of sanctions.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Additional Observations on the War on Terrorism

           In my last post, I observe how the terrorists are losing the War on Terrorism, despite recent gains.  The purpose of this post is to make other general observations about the war.

           The civil war in Syria has pitted terrorist against terrorist, as al-Qaeda and the “Islamic State” fight the Iranian-backed terrorist-sponsoring Baathist regime of Bashar Assad and its ally, Hezbollah, the terrorist organization that had more American blood on its hands than al-Qaeda before the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks.  Because it is in the interest of the United States and its allies in the War on Terrorism that neither side wins they must be careful not to advantage one side or the other.  It is not surprising that there is also a split within the Sunni Islamist camp, with the “Islamic State,” formerly “Al Qaeda in Iraq,” which had been in Iraq since before the overthrow of the Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein in 2003, as Islamists vie for supremacy in order to make themselves caliphs.  The U.S. and its allies may take advantage of these splits, but cannot rely upon them.

            A series of recent comments by world leaders were worth posting.  I note Egyptian President Abdel el Sisi’s observation of the global threat to peace and security by Islamists who intend to establish a worldwide caliphate under strict Islamic law.  I also note Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s observation that Islamist terrorists target their victims not because of their government’s policies, but because of who the victims are, that is, those whom they regard as infidels who refuse to submit.  Finally, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before the General Assembly of the United Nations drew a parallel between Iran and the terrorist organizations it supports, like Hamas and Hezbollah, and al-Qaeda and the “Islamic State.”  Although Iran, Syria and Hezbollah are Shi’ites while al-Qaeda and the “Islamic State” are Sunnis, they are all Islamists, that is, militant Muslims who believe in spreading Islam by any means necessary, including violence, and imposing strict Islamic law.  An analogy is the difference between Marxist-Leninists and Maoists, both of whom are intent on conquering the world by any means necessary to impose Communism.  Indeed, despite their differences with Sunni Muslims, the theocratic Islamic Republic of Iran has been the model throughout the Islamic World for Islamic law and the Mother of Terrorism.  In fact, Iran even supports Sunni terrorists like Hamas and Islamic Jihad when it is expedient.  The strategy of Al-Qaeda and the “Islamic State” of trying to spark sectarian war between Sunnis and Shi’ites to weaken the Iraqi government has been ineffective, as Sunnis and Shi’ites live peacefully together in the same towns, worship at the same mosques and even intermarry and have not been fooled by the terrorists’ strategy.  In short, despite the religious differences between Shi’ite and Sunni Islamists, Netanyahu is right that they are two sides of the same coin. 

           U.S. President Barack Obama has ordered the American military to augment the civilian American government effort against the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa.  This strategy is prudent for safety reasons, as modern travel and commerce increase the threat of contagion, but also to prevent political instability from which Islamists might take advantage in these weak states, some of which are recovering from years of bloody civil wars.  Obama’s anti-Ebola strategy is thus similar, in terms of the War on Terrorism, to former President George W. Bush’s efforts in Africa versus Malaria and the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, in addition to the good will it fostered.

The Terrorists Are Still Losing

           The thirteenth anniversary last month of the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks committed by al-Qaeda Islamists marked another year in which federal civilian and military officials and their supporters have helped to keep the American homeland safe from major terrorist attacks on the scale of September 11.  Since then, there has been a widespread sense that the United States and its allies are losing the War on Terrorism to Islamists, but recent losses notwithstanding, the forces of counterterrorism have been winning.

            Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamists are regaining or even seizing new territory in some places, especially in the Levant, Libya and Nigeria.  They have even been able to establish safe havens in some of these areas while resisting destruction in some of the key fronts of the War on Terrorism.  However, al-Qaeda and its allies were defeated last year in Mali, where they had seized much of the north, and have been prevented from recapturing key towns there while the tide had long turned against the al-Qaeda affiliate in Somalia before an American air strike decapitated its leadership last month, as Somali troops, backed by African forces and supported by American air strikes, have been steadily gaining ground.  Continued progress is also being made against the al-Qaeda affiliate in the Philippines.  Al Qaeda had been crushed several years ago in Algeria and effectively eradicated in Saudi Arabia

            Meanwhile, the overthrow of the repressive Islamist government in Egypt that had replaced an ally has been of benefit to the War on Terrorism.  Egypt has exhibited strong counterterrorism cooperation with Israel and Libya, as well as support for American-led efforts against the “Islamic State,” while continuing to battle Islamists in its Sinai Peninsula

The recent American and allied air strikes on the “Islamic State” in Iraq, joined by Arab and Western allies, have reversed or at least slowed the terrorist army’s progress in some areas, but it is hoped that a more aggressive military campaign against the Islamists in Iraq and Syria will shift the momentum against the enemy more dramatically.  The new government for Iraq and the U.S.-brokered power sharing agreement and new government in Afghanistan is expected to result in a renewed effort on those two critical fronts in the War on Terrorism.  Despite the presence of terrorist rebels in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, and even the occupation of significant territory by them, the elimination of the terrorist-sponsoring regimes that controlled most or all of these states has been helpful in denying them the full resources of state sponsorship and the advantages of safe haven. 

As the U.S.-led War on Terrorism is targeted at global terrorist organizations that threaten Americans, it is not limited to al-Qaeda and its allies or even to Islamists generally because terrorism from any source can be threatening to Americans.  Indeed, terrorism anywhere is a danger to all mankind, but militant Muslim and Communist terrorists, because of their ideologies of world domination by any means necessary, are particularly a global threat to Americans and their interests, directly or indirectly.  I observed in my post, Progress on Many Fronts in the War on Terrorism, from November of 2013, the recent progress being made by the U.S. and its allies not only against Islamist terrorists in Asia, Africa and Europe, but military successes achieved in various decades-long conflicts against non-Islamist militant Muslim terrorists in the Philippines, Communist terrorists in Colombia and Peru and the defeat of Marxist Kurdish rebels in Turkey, for example.

Militant Muslim or Marxist terrorists had also been set back or decisively defeated elsewhere around the world since the beginning of the War on Terrorism.  Since earlier in the war, after its last rocket attack on an American military base, the Communist Japanese Red Army has gone dormant.  Also earlier in the war, Greece was successful in dismantling a leftist terrorist organization while Spain’s socialist Basque separatists have given up their terrorism campaign.  The British have continued to make significant progress in eliminating the left-wing terrorist threat in Northern Ireland.  Meanwhile, in action against terrorists who were neither Muslim nor Communist, Sri Lanka had crushed Tamil terrorists – the only non-Muslim terrorists who practiced suicide bombings.  

Despite the recent resurgence of al-Qaeda and other Islamist terrorists on some fronts, they have been losing the War on Terrorism, as counterterrorist forces around the world have been defeating terrorists of various kinds through improved law enforcement, increased intelligence sharing, cutting off of funds to terrorists and military action.  Cogent religious and ideological arguments and providing more attractive political and economic systems have also been helpful.  Not giving in to terrorists’ demands has been an essential part of counterterrorist strategy.  Continued vigilance is critical in the long fight against terrorists.   

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Disabled Veterans for Life Memorial Is Unveiled

           The Disabled Veterans for life Memorial was unveiled today in Washington, D.C., at a prominent intersection near the grounds of the United States Capitol to honor all living and deceased American veterans who were permanently disabled.  The focal point of the memorial is a star-shaped fountain.  The granite monument is lined with trees and features glass panels with inscriptions and artwork, as well as bronze sculptures.  A ceremonial gas flame sits strikingly in one of the pools of water. 

            The privately-funded memorial had been approved by Congress and signed into law by the President in 2000, after a two-year effort by its proponents, who had formed the Disabled Veterans’ Life Memorial Foundation.  Its location and design were approved by all the relevant federal agencies.  The only public funding for the memorial was received via a surcharge from the sale of coins commemorating disabled veterans struck by the Mint in 2010, after having been approved by Congress and signed into law by the President in 2008.  After its dedication today, the memorial was turned over to the National Parks Service.

           May the memorial remind all Americans of the sacrifices made by veterans for the liberty every American enjoys.