Friday, March 25, 2016

Not because of the 'occupation'

How painful indeed when the illusion of an entire continent blows up in its face.

Not because of the 'occupation'

By: Boaz Bismuth

March 23, 2016
On Nov. 14, a day after the appalling terrorist attacks in Paris, French President Francois Hollande declared that France was at war. It was precisely the last thing that the citizens of France in particular, and Europe in general, wanted to hear. Hollande also announced a state of emergency in the country following the attacks, which were likely planned in terrorist states like Syria, Iraq and Belgium.
Even before trying to understand why, the people of France, along with their European compatriots, wanted to know how long their daily lives would be disrupted. A war on terror you say? Come on, we live in Europe, not the Middle East. "When Europe opens its mouth," former French President Francois Mitterrand once famously quipped, "it is only to yawn." Thus, when living in a state of denial, the results are sure to follow. Welcome to "Brusselistan!"
How symbolic that the two horrific bombings in Brussels, which claimed the lives of at least 30 people, occurred at the airport and the "Europe" metro station, adjacent to European Union headquarters. These were not random targets chosen by the Islamic State group, which perhaps wants to show us that the capital of Europe is now a capital of terror. It is the best place from which to send a menacing message to the "infidel crusaders who have more dark days ahead." And in some type of sick competition, it is also a message to al-Qaida: We too know how to carry out coordinated attacks.
For anyone who forgot, last Friday the Belgians breathed a collective sigh of relief. Salah Abdeslam, one of the Paris terrorists, was captured in Molenbeek, a suburb of Brussels that has morphed into a "made-in-Belgium" jihadist breeding ground under the nose of the authorities. Residents of Molenbeek are Belgian born and educated, and receive social welfare benefits; and in retrospect, unofficially of course, also assume a license to kill other Belgians. The reason? Jihad. Not the occupation, not a sense of despair, not George W. Bush -- jihad. After Iraq and Syria, they are thinking to themselves in ISIS, why not expand the caliphate to Belgium as well?
The manhunt for Abdeslam took four months. A petty criminal, who in the name of Islam became an arch-terrorist. It was clear to everyone that his associates -- those who helped him carry out his attack, escape and hide -- were still walking around free. It was only logical to expect more attacks. We can even assume that after Abdeslam was caught, they realized the need to carry out their pre-planned attacks quickly, as he would likely divulge information during his interrogation. Apparently, however, the Belgian security forces were busy patting themselves on the back instead of interrogating him properly.
And while the lawyers and court were busy discussing the terms of Abdeslam's extradition to France, his pals were setting the wheels in motion for their coordinated bombings.
I lived in Europe for many years. And for many years the Europeans didn't want to listen to a word about terror. There was always a reason: It was either terror against Jews, or America, or against the imperialists. Other times it was because of the war in Algeria or the war in Iraq. The Kurds, awkwardly, were always rather forgotten.
The Europeans always found an excuse for the acts of terror on their soil. For whatever reason, it made them feel better. And when the excuses run out there is always the ultimate go-to, responsible for all the acts of terror on the continent: the Zionist occupation and oppression of the Palestinians. After all, everyone knows that Abdeslam couldn't sleep at night because of the "bitter fate" of his brethren in Gaza. Really, enough is enough already! Can the pundits in Israel please stop spewing this nonsense at every turn?
The enemy is already within
But please, ladies and gentlemen, don't stress the Europeans out with talk of war. Don't stress them out with Islamic terror. Incidentally, try not to stress U.S. President Barack Obama out either. It is too romantic and pleasant living in denial, in a world where everyone loves everyone and there are no wars; and where Muslim immigrants from Iraq and Syria integrate seamlessly without dangerous jihadist infiltrators among them.
Perhaps, despite everything, Tuesday's bomb blasts in Brussels can snap the continent out of its daydream. The horrors afflicted on Brussels were due to the laxness of the Belgian security forces and the government's blindness. And their failures came at a heavy price. How many more attacks are needed, how many more casualties, for the other foot to drop and the realization that we are not just at war, but a third world war between the enlightened world and forces of darkness. Between those who would drag us back to the seventh century, or worse, bring the seventh century to our doorstep.
We should not fault the European citizen. Europe, steered by the powers that be, is no longer built to fight wars. Its governments have downsized their military and intelligence budgets significantly. As for Europe's large, sensitive Muslim populations, their sensibilities must not be offended at all costs, even if it requires turning a blind eye. How painful indeed when the illusion of an entire continent blows up in its face. Perhaps it would be better for Europe to keep its eyes shut, or, alternatively, conclude yet again that the "reason" for their ills is none other than the "Palestinian problem."
Europe wanted to believe that those watershed years of 732, 1529 or 1638 -- when the Muslims threatened to conquer the continent -- belonged to the past. Europe, doesn't understand that the situation today is much worse. Then, as we know, the Muslim invader was blocked by walls. Today, the enemy doesn't even need to invade. He is already there, at home; he only needs to prepare a homemade bomb and step into the street. He also sees no army standing in his way.
Were we to go back in time to March 25, 1957 -- when the Treaty of Rome was signed and the EU was essentially created -- and tell the Europeans that 59 years later Britain would issue a travel warning to Belgium, we can assume we would be institutionalized. But "Belgistan" is already something else entirely. It is truly dangerous to go there. If the slumber continues and Europe loses this fight, our grandchildren will be learning the continents of North and South America, Africa, Asia and "Europstan." And I can already see some pundit explaining to the viewers how the Jews are responsible. What, you didn't know? This is all happening because the Palestinians are being oppressed. It's all good, just as long as there is a reason not to go to war.

…we have to be clear that Muslims who endorse Islamic supremacism, who want our Constitution supplanted by sharia, are on the wrong side of this war, regardless of whether they cross the line into violence.

…it is going to take American military commitment to destroy them — not to carry out an experiment in democracy -building, but to eradicate the threat to our nation and our allies.

Brussels and Willful Blindness

March 22, 2016 
Defense Secretary Ash Carter happened to be scheduled to testify before Congress today. Thus, he provided the government’s first reaction to the jihadist atrocity in Brussels, in which 31 are dead (the toll is expected to rise) and scores of others have been wounded. Secretary Carter called the attacks a “tragedy.”
The mass murder obviously has tragic effects for those killed and wounded, and for their families, but this is not a tragedy. It is a war crime targeting a civilian population in the course of an ongoing war, which — notwithstanding the reckless posturing by the commander-in-chief — is not close to “winding down,” much less being over. It was simply shocking this morning to watch split screens. On one, we saw President Obama spend fleeting seconds on a peremptory acknowledgement of the attacks before moving on to his long, celebratory speech about how he has put the Cold War to rest in Cuba by working with “President Castro.” On the other screen, Belgians chaotically fled fire and debris while emergency personnel rushed the wounded to ambulances and carried out the dead.

Our enemies are at war with us. They continue to execute acts of war, not tragedies, against us. We cannot “end” the war by withdrawing from it; we can only lose that way. We cannot prevail, or even adequately protect ourselves, without seeing the enemy plain: radical Islam — Islamic supremacists determined to impose sharia on the world, with jihadists as the pointy end of the spear, and ideological sympathizers as their support system.

Because the latest round of war crimes occurs in the context of our momentous decision about who will be the next commander-in-chief, it is worth observing that Ted Cruz, whom I support (and on whose advisory team I serve), has stressed a recognition that the enemy is radical Islam. This is not just campaign rhetoric. We know, nearly a quarter century after the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, that jihadist cells arise and thrive in ideological enclaves; that is where the radicalization, recruitment, fundraising, plotting, and injection and protection of jihadist immigrants occurs. We cannot deny reality by rationalizing that if we admit the truth we will be misunderstood as being “at war with Islam” — as in all Muslims.

What we like to think of as “radical Islam” is actually a legitimate and rabidly anti-Western interpretation of Islam that is followed by millions of Muslims. It is irrelevant to non-Muslims in the West whether theirs is a correct or incorrect construction of Muslim scripture. The remorseless fact remains that its adherents believe it — with a fervor that inspires the kinds of attacks we’ve seen today and have seen over and over again. Those adherents include Muslims who lack the commitment to carry out attacks themselves but nevertheless provide moral (and other) support to those who do, and who populate the Western immigrant enclaves in which the ideology thrives.
It’s a welcome fact that there are other ways of interpreting Islam that do not endorse war and hostility against the West; those who offer these interpretations are our allies, and we should be encouraging them rather than turning to enemies such as the Muslim Brotherhood to help us conduct “community outreach.” Still, the fact that there are pro-Western Muslims and authentically tolerant interpretations of Islam does not — and cannot be allowed to — obscure the fact that Islamic supremacism is a mainstream construction of Islam. It is not “false” Islam, or “anti-Islam.” It is Islam that competes, violently, with other constructions of Islam.

It is not our job to broker the claims these competitors make regarding what is the “true Islam.” It is our job to protect ourselves and our allies, and to crush the jihadist armies and cells that are prosecuting the war against us. If we do not acknowledge what the threat is and where it is coming from, we will continue to embrace the policies that empower the enemy. In a time of war, we cannot indulge a policy of mass immigration from countries where sharia supremacism is a significant presence.
With respect to Muslim immigrant communities that are already here, we must have sensible surveillance policies that identify and focus police attention on mosques and community centers that endorse anti-Western Islamic supremacism. That is not a dragnet against all Muslims; it is the arena where pro-American Muslims can step up and help us. No law-enforcement or intelligence agency wants to waste its time and resources investigating innocent people. But we have to be clear that Muslims who endorse Islamic supremacism, who want our Constitution supplanted by sharia, are on the wrong side of this war, regardless of whether they cross the line into violence.

Finally, we cannot tolerate jihadist safe havens anyplace on earth. The administration recently conceded that it has no strategy to deny the Islamic State — which has claimed responsibility for today’s attack — their sanctuary in Raqqa (to say nothing of their other strongholds). Let’s be clear: If ISIS is orchestrating attacks on the West from Syria and Iraq, that is an American national-security challenge, not just a civil war in a faraway place. American national-security problems cannot responsibly be delegated to other forces who will carry out our defense and war-fighting responsibilities for us. This is our problem.

There has not yet been a serious bombing campaign against ISIS and al-Qaeda in Syria and Iraq, and it is fair enough to say that the number of troops we may have to commit hinges on how committed we are to an intense air campaign. We should not delude ourselves, however: The jihadists are planning to attack the United States as well as Europe, and it is going to take American military commitment to destroy them — not to carry out an experiment in democracy -building, but to eradicate the threat to our nation and our allies.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is as senior policy fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.

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