Thursday, December 31, 2009

FSM’s Experts Weigh In on Security Issues as We Look Toward 2010 (Part Two of Two)

FSM National Security Team

Editor’s note: As we approach the end of 2009 – the first year of a new administration and the end of nearly a decade of fighting jihad – we asked our writers to share their thoughts on where we’ve been and where we as a nation and a culture have yet to go.

Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman:
High Time for Profiling

Profiling potential terrorists is the best idea for keeping us safe--although not foolproof. It will always be possible for some European or American convert to pass themselves off as an ordinary citizen, as was done by one half-Pakistani recently who had changed his name to travel below the radar. Anybody wearing a burka should be personally patted down, and I think we do need more puffer machines, which speeds up security checks. I have only encountered one once.

But most important, we must not let these villains frighten us. There is a limit to how much damage they can do even if they succeed – and this should reassure us that we will survive all their attacks.

Finally, we had better have a look at our own universities and their Muslim Student Associations, along with co-opted Middle East Studies professors. Intimidation and brainwashing is not education.

Gabriel Garnica, Esq.:

National Security is Not Graded on a Curve

We are increasingly surrounded by, even led by, those whose measure of success, whose standard of excellence, is based on the pathetic curve of present education. Who can forget that pathetic teacher whose incompetence led to a class average of 50 on some test, and who then tried to conceal his incompetence by grading on a curve so that this 50 magically became a 70, creating a fictitious sense of normality, of order, and of quality? Mathematicians and statisticians will tell you that the so-called bell curve was never meant to be applied to small groups, and that using it on such numbers is a distortion of basic statistical principles. That may be so, but this has never stopped those who live in the fiction of their own competence from doing whatever is necessary to appear qualified, seem prepared or, for that matter, create the illusion that they have a clue as to what they are doing.

As we end another year, another decade, and begin new ones, we tragically find that our national security is being led by people whose standard of quality, even excellence, is based on their own bell curve. This is the curve that allows international peace awards based on pretend accomplishments or allows anyone pretending to lead any part of our national security to say, with a straight face, that the system worked on cue when we almost had a plane blown out of the sky a few days ago. While there are many who owe their very political success to the diluted and distorted perceptions of competence and quality, this will not do for our national security. While there are those who would grade their performance a B+ with free-falling approval ratings and growing stacks of evidence confirming their incompetence, this will not do for our national security. Our national security cannot be, can never be, graded on the curve that fools use to conceal their incompetence. This great country deserves a national security with a face of resolve, determination, and courage, not the deer-in-the-headlights version we are being fed today. We should and must aspire to so much more.

Peter Huessy:

Focus on Financiers of Jihad

The U.S. administration may move to adopt strategies stop nuclear terrorism as one of its top priorities for 2010. That is a good thing. There is no greater threat facing this country and its friends and allies. However, any such strategy has got to face up to one aspect of the war on terrorism which we have tended to forget: the role of state governments, intelligence services, and military entities in supporting terrorism with sanctuary, financing, weapons, training and direction. While lone “wolves” such as Maj. Hasan and Farouk Abdulmutallab can do grave harm to our individual citizens, it is states and their terror group co-conspirators such as Iran, Syria, North Korea, as well as their complicit allies in China, Russia, Venezuela, Cuba and elsewhere, and their combined awesome capabilities such as nuclear and biological weapons and the missiles to deliver them that could fundamentally destroy our country.

A North Korean freighter was carrying Chinese weapons to terror groups in Sri Lanka and Iran; Credit Suisse and other major banks have repeatedly been implicated in supporting Iranian investments and arms purchases; Norwegian and Russian weapons have ended up with the FARC after transiting Venezuelan territory as part of potential plots to destroy Mexican oil pipelines into the US; while a Chinese company was indicted in April for supplying Iran with missile and nuclear weapons technology. Can someone connect the dots?

Legislation now before Congress would cut off business entities from doing business with the U.S. if they do business with Iran. In 1993, the US inexplicitly adopted a policy of treating terrorism as a law enforcement matter, an after-the-fact get the bad guy’s strategy. Prevention and pre-emption must be the watchwords of the day. Nice talk, appeasement and concessions, from whatever quarter, however beneficial to our “poll numbers,” will not win out the day. We should completely try up the financial lifeline of the terror masters and their allies and use whatever military capability we need to protect America and put these murderers completely out of business. That would be getting serious about “providing for the common defense.”

Rita Kramer:

The End of American Exceptionalism?

2009 has been a terrible year for those of us who believe in America’s unique character, history and destiny. We have seen the beginnings of a transition from a free nation, a land of economic opportunity, to a statist country in which economic outcomes are enforced. We have seen legislation passed unread by our legislators whose votes are secured by means of corruption. We have seen the appointment of men and women who do not value this country’s achievements and traditions and are determined to change it – into a socialist utopia. Ideologues rule, and their aims are the result of 40 years of miseducation in our country’s schools, colleges, universities, and the teacher-training institutions that draw in the least accomplished, subject them to the propaganda of multiculturalism and disguised racism, and send them out into the classrooms where they spread the idea that our country is exploitive and unfair, and that only a redistributive egalitarianism can correct its wrongs.

No nation can survive for long unless its young grow up believing it is worth defending. And while our educational system from top to bottom emphasizes group identity – self esteem based on racial, gender, or ethnic characteristics among the young and cynicism about our democratic values in higher education – there is little room for love of country. We have pushed pride in America out of our schools along with any knowledge of our history or understanding of our institutions.

As the government weakens our safety by diluting measures that have protected us over the last decade and failing to stand up to the thugs who threaten us from abroad, where can we look for our defense unless we begin where it starts, with our young. We no longer educate for citizenship or indeed for academic excellence, having decided that our schools are not for transmitting our culture but bringing about political change.

How can our schools be improved to bring us from the bottom rung of measures of achievement among students in developed countries to schools that encourage and provide for the abilities that produce innovative thinkers who can carry our culture forward? A beginning would be to scrap the fiction that everyone can be educated to the same degree and end the practice of repeatedly lowering the bar in order to effect equal outcomes. Not all children are equally capable of learning because not all children are equally interested in learning. Until we are ready to admit that demonstrable fact we will be wasting the talents and potential of our best students in the service of a foolish dogma that flies in the face of reason and experience.

We must scrap the idea that our schools are laboratories for radical social change and restore an emphasis on the understanding and appreciation of Western culture and American society. It won’t be easy. It means fighting powerful entrenched interests – the teachers’ unions, the education bureaucracy, the race hustlers, the mass media – but unless we rescue our young from ignorance and mediocrity and encourage them to feel pride in their country, how can we expect them to defend it, and what will be left to defend?

Herbert London:

Undermining our Ability to Cope with Security Threats

In my judgment, national security has been put at risk through a misguided belief that enemy combatants should be tried in civilian courts and by the continued apologies for American actions in the past. As I see it, these conditions expand constitutional rights to unreasonable limits in the first instance and demoralize national foreign policy sentiment in the second case.

Since the U.S. had been an exemplar for establishing international equilibrium and the rule of law, these assertions undermine the nation's reputation and ultimately our ability to cope with terrorist threats.

Mark Silverberg:

Failing to Understand the Threat

In the years that have passed since 9/11, I have come to believe that those to whom we have entrusted our security in Washington fail to understand the nature of the war in which we are engaged. While Western society is the product of the Enlightenment and the Renaissance, those who seek to destroy our way of life believe that Allah has pre-ordained the victory of absolutist Islam as it was practiced in medieval times. What we see as compromise, our enemies see as weakness. While we speak of globalization, modernization, tolerance, multiculturalism, democracy and co-existence, our enemies believe that the key to Paradise is a suicide belt, instilling fear, justifying violence, and a return to a purist interpretation of Islam that legitimizes stonings, decapitations, female mutilations, d'himmitude, subservience and domination. Until the mosque becomes detached from the state; until those who seek a global Islamic Caliphate, and those who sponsor that quest are defeated, we must be on the offensive.

Existential issues are not subject to negotiation, compromise or appeasement as we seek today with the mullahs of Iran. Try as it may, America cannot escape its destiny as the defender of the Free World. Our enemies, most notably the Islamic regime in Tehran have thrown the gauntlet to us, and like it or not, we must respond. As Patrick Henry said on March 23, 1775: "We can no longer indulge in illusions ....For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it ....We have done everything we could to avert the storm, but it is now upon us....If we wish to be free, we must fight." We are approaching a conflict with Iran, whether we want one or not. Our only choice is whether or not we will choose to strike a decisive blow and achieve victory or whether we will continue to allow our hands to be tied by world opinion and our own fears and illusions. We have delayed too long and deluded ourselves for even longer. I hope we choose wisely, and hope we do so soon.

Ben-Peter Terpstra:

The Long War Continues

After 9/11, left-wingers weren’t the only people talking about a long war. “The attacks on New York and Washington were disaster-plus incidents,” I wrote in 2001 (October, 22).”Consequently, America is now faced with the prospect of another drawn-out war.”

In 2009, the War on Terror continues. But here’s where leftists and conservatives differ: I celebrate the fact that millions of Muslim women are free to vote. Left-wingers don’t. Next stop? Iran, I hope. As a wise man said, “If you want peace, prepare for war.” I say, if you want women’s rights, prepare for more wars. .

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