The tenth anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001 is, inevitably, a moment not only for remembering, but for reflection. It is a time for thoughtful consideration about how far we have come with respect to learning appropriate lessons. It also affords a chance to make a renewed commitment to ensuring that our nation and people are more secure in the years to come than we were on that horrible day.
To these ends, the Center for Security Policy invited an array of individuals – some of whom are currently in office, many of whom previously held senior positions in the United States government, still others of whom simply bring unique experiences and insights – to engage in such reflection. We are proud to present in the form of brief essays their assessments of whether America is safer today than we were a decade ago, and what more can and must be done.
Our purpose is to provide more than snapshots of a nation at risk and one-off recommendations about how to mitigate the dangers that, regrettably, we continue to face. Rather, we aspire to have these analyses serve collectively as a sort of baseline against which needed corrective actions – past, present and perhaps most importantly future – can evaluated and measured.
A dedicated page has been created at our website, securefreedom.org, to provide a vehicle for the authors to update their analyses and recommendations over time, should they choose to do so. This page also allows others to provide feedback and help track progress towards the realization of such proposed remedies in communities, states and at the national level.
The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Center for Security Policy. All are put forward here out of a sense of appreciation for the commitment to our country of those who hold them and in the hope that, by sharing their insights and suggestions, America will not only be far more secure in the future than it was ten years ago, but than it is today.
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
President and CEO
Center for Security Policy
Are We Safer? An Online Symposium on the 10th Anniversary of 9/11
- Morrie Amitay, Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs
- Michaela Bendikova, The Heritage Foundation
- David R. Bockel, the Reserve Officers Association
- Matthew RJ Brodsky, Jewish Policy Center
- Kevin Brogan
- Richard Falknor, Maryland Center-Right Coalition
- Fred Fleitz, LIGNET.com
- Christopher Ford, The Hudson Institute
- Brigitte Gabriel, ACT for America
- Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., Center for Security Policy
- Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ)
- John Guandolo, Strategic Engagement Group
- Peter Huessy, GeoStrategic Analysis
- Raymond Ibrahim, The Al Qaeda Reader
- Rep. Peter King (R-NY)
- Andrea Lafferty, Traditional Values Coalition
- Frances C. Lane
- Dr. J.P. London, CACI International, Inc.
- James “Ace” Lyons, former Commander-in-Chief, US Pacific Fleet
- Ryan Mauro, Christian Action Network
- Matt Mayer, The Heritage Foundation
- Faith J. H. McDonnell, the Institute on Religion and Democracy
- Jon Perdue, the Fund for American Studies
- Daniel Pipes, Middle East Forum
- Ken Timmerman, Foundation for Democracy in Iran
- Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell (R-AK)
- Tom Trento, The United West
- Michelle Van Cleave
- Diana West, Death of the Grown-Up
- David Yerushalmi, Center for Security Policy
Ten years after the destruction of the Twin Towers by Islamist terrorists, we have been fortunate that there have not been any recurrences of this tragic event here. This is due to a combination of luck, and a number of well-meaning, though still inadequate, steps taken to protect ourselves.
But we have still not done nearly enough to strike at the most dangerous enabler of worldwide terrorism – the Islamic Republic of Iran. With its ongoing support of Hezbollah, Hamas, along with ties to Al-Qaeda, infiltration into Africa, South America, and elsewhere, Tehran is not only seeking regional hegemony, but the eventual worldwide triumph of radical Islam.
Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and its enmity toward the US and our allies cannot be ended by striking any “grand bargain” that would have to rely on false promises and be subject to evasion. We should not expect a shred of goodwill or candor on the part of a mortal enemy. To date, the half-hearted application of sanctions, and feeble support for internal regime change in Iran have not deterred Iran from its pursuit of nuclear weapons. It has both continued and increased its direct support for the killing of Americans and innocent civilians.
If we are to guard ourselves from future catastrophes even worse than 9/11, our government will have to act more decisively and forcefully. In doing so, it will have the support of Congress and the American people.
Morris J.”Morrie” Amitay, is the founder and treasurer of the Washington Political Action Committee and Vice Chairman of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). [Back to top]
The events of 9/11 contributed to one of the most profound changes in U.S. strategic thinking since the beginning of the missile age. With the dawn of the War on Terror, the Bush Administration came to realize that the world was a different place than it had been during the Cold War and abrogated the almost 30 years-old Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. No longer would the population be held hostage to a nuclear strike in the name of “stability.”
This is not to say, however, that the United States or its allies are any safer. Ballistic missile proliferation has continued apace, while both post-9/11 administrations have neglected the most effective means of protecting the nation-space-based missile defenses. While the United States would have to invest resources to reconstitute its ability to develop space-based interceptors, the Brilliant Pebbles program of 1990s has proved that such a system would not only be possible but would also be economically viable.
Yet, while Iran moves ever closer to the development of nuclear weapon and long-range ballistic missile capabilities, the Obama Administration instead chose to cut the missile defense budget in the first year of its administration to the point that it has yet not recovered. Safer? With a limited sea- and ground-based capability – maybe. Considering massive military and modernization programs of other countries’ nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles-not so much.
Michaela Bendikova is a Research Assistant for Missile Defense and Foreign Policy with The Heritage Foundation. [Back to top]
As many of us recall, September 11, 2001 could not have been a more beautiful day in Washington, DC. The sky was a crystal-clear blue and the temperature was in the low 70’s. I was attending a meeting of the Army Reserve Forces Policy Committee in a secure conference room on the Army E-Ring at the Pentagon. Around 9:00 we were interrupted with word of the first plane hitting the Trade Center. Just minutes later, we heard about the second plane. Our collective understanding was that it was an act of terror. We discussed going across the hall to the Army G-3 office to see the television report at our first break.
Thirty minutes later the third plane hit the Pentagon. Although we were only a couple of corridors away, we heard the impact more than felt it. As we exited down Corridor 6 to the South Parking lot, we could only see the smoke. It was only when we made our way back to Crystal City that we learned it was the 3rd plane and not a bomb. But I clearly remember, as I was exiting the Pentagon, I stopped on the A Ring where I could look outside and saw the huge cloud of smoke. My thought then was that I was glad that I was still in uniform because I would still be serving my country as the situation developed. I am a Vietnam veteran and I was not particularly pleased with my service back in 1966-67. I wanted another chance to be a better soldier. As fate would have it, the only friend I lost in the Pentagon was an Army general who I had served with in Vietnam. We had spent a few brief minutes together just the day before.
It is now 10 years later and I have not worn the uniform since 2003. Although I did not get to join the fight in the combat zone, I did have the opportunity to be part of the mobilization of our Reserve and National Guard forces for all that would follow. So, how do I view our men and women in uniform a decade later? I remember saying when I retired from the Army in 2003 that I did not want our citizens to see these brave people as “victims.” It is almost a national pastime to turn people into victims for political purposes. I wanted them to be viewed as the ultimate security of this great nation. People who volunteered to put their lives on the line for their country and its citizens. People we would look up to with pride. I believe that to be true today.
I think we have mostly succeeded in keeping these brave Americans and their families safe from politics, although that gravitational pull is strong for some in politics and the media. I am proud of their service. I am proud of their military leaders. I am proud of their accomplishments. But I am saddened by the faces I see every week in the Military Times of those who gave their lives that they pledged freely when they signed up.
I hope and pray that all come home soon, alive and in one piece and are reunited with their families, friends, and employers who, in the words of John Milton, “also serve who only stand and wait.” It may be reflected glory, but I am particularly proud to have worn the same uniform.
Major General (Ret) David R. Bockel is Executive Director of the Reserve Officers Association. He will shortly assume a new role as Executive Director of the Georgia Military Affairs Coordinating Committee. [Back to top]
Today, the United States is safer than it was 10 years earlier, the day before the attacks of September 11, 2001. But we are not as safe as we could be. The 9/11 Commission concluded in its July 2004 report that the attacks revealed a failure in imagination, policy, capabilities, and management. In the years that followed, the U.S. government’s response to the challenge of international terrorism has been considerable. The Department of Homeland Security was created, combining 22 agencies with a workforce of over 200,000 people and an annual budget topping $50 billion. 263 organizations have been either redesigned or established. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the National Counterterrorism Center were created to advance the difficult task unifying intelligence gathering and sharing efforts across the intelligence community. The intelligence budget has more than doubled from 2001 to over $80 billion. Significant reforms were introduced and implemented, resulting in the disruption of many terrorist plots and bringing to justice many terrorist operatives.
Just as America’s counterterrorism efforts adapted, terrorists’ tactics have also evolved. The attacks on 9/11 may have been carried out by al-Qaeda, but the threat today is not merely from one centralized terrorist group. Bin Laden became the ideological leader of a jihadist movement that spawned many organizations throughout the world, many of which operated without his direction, and will continue to operate now after his death. Al-Qaeda 2.0 has seen the creation of affiliates from North Africa, to the Persian Gulf, to the Philippines and Indonesia. Today, the most substantial foreign al-Qaeda threat is in the Arabian Peninsula, where American-born Anwar al-Awlaki continues to play a leading role. It was in Yemen where explosives were packed into toner cartridges and shipped on Fed Ex and UPS cargo flights to synagogues in Chicago. While the October 2010 plot failed, it demonstrates that terrorists are able to test U.S. counterterrorism efforts in new and innovative ways. This is bound to continue.
Today, the greatest threat to American national security comes from al-Qaeda’s strategy of diversification, or attacks carried out by a variety of perpetrators from different ethnic and national backgrounds. This includes the troubling rise in the recruitment of American citizens and residents—the homegrown terrorist who often engages in a process of self-radicalization. Threats to cyber-security and critical infrastructure systems also remain real and current dangers.
While effective counterterrorism strategy requires a focus on disrupting the capabilities of those who would attempt to harm Americans, it must be understood that Islamist terrorism is not merely about individuals; it is the result of a murderous ideology. Winning the war of ideas is as critical as disrupting and detaining terrorists if the Global War on Terror is to be won in the future.
Matthew RJ Brodsky is the Director of Policy at the Jewish Policy Center in Washington, D.C. and Editor of inFOCUS Quarterly. [Back to top]
John Adams said to his wife, Abigail, that he must study war, so his sons may have liberty to study mathematics and science in order to give their children the opportunity to study art and music. This was his design for a more perfect union, a strategy toward common purpose and a world without war. Adams’ theorized that a just war would bring about a society free from fear, free from want. It had been more than 200 years since Adams’ lessons — and a history of tested theories — when an attack on the U.S. homeland sent America back to school. Once again we have to study war.
Are we safer? Perhaps, under the guise of studying war we are secure in our strength. However, we are still victim to terrorism, suggesting that we are studying war out of scope. In our latest erudition we have not eliminated fear — not in the same fashion in which we eliminated the fear from, say, World War II. We have taken few steps in transitioning our successes to a strategy that brings reassurance to the warzone, or even the homeland. This void in the aftermath of victories creates a fear of winning the war while losing the peace.
Are we safer? Not if safer means more secure in the math and science of a global economy. Our current approach to war does not allow a new economy to take form in a new world. We may need to analyze the wisdom of cutting the defense budget during two wars without creating a Middle East Marshall Plan to fill the needs of a civilized world. Some may argue against this policy – calling it nation-building — but history has shown that after the war, simple commerce provides the first order of well-being. Consider Reconstruction of the South or – after WWII — the math and science of the 50s and 60s and arts and music of the 70s and 80s. Ten years into these wars and we are moving backwards against the prosperity that Adams’ progression dictates.
Are we safer? Not if safer means a freedom from want in our pursuit of a better life for all. Our quest for prosperity has taken a back seat to a misguide stimulus economy, which is being weighed down by missed opportunities to progress passed war. We are ignoring Adams’ lessons of promoting the general welfare from the strategy of war. Efforts of the past such as interstate infrastructure, NASA programs, and defense initiatives are being cancelled or cut. This failure to progress to Adams’ next philosophical level has created a dark cloud of a recession that will not allow prosperity to shine.
Are we safer? Probably, but are we better off? It is not for me to say, but in the pursuit of two wars, the science of global economy lags; the tranquility of the arts is forced to wait. We have been studying war for far too long with no movement toward global security. It is time to progress to a civil society. Perhaps the question should be whether we are advancing the goals of civilization to study math and science to in order to bring about the tranquility of arts and music. In the correct approach to this question we may find the security of which Adams spoke.
Kevin Brogan is a defense policy studies specialist, currently working in the private sector. [Back to top]
“You think we are fighting a war over there. I think we are fighting a war right here.” –Steve Coughlin
American conservatives generally try to move along three essential and closely related lines: pushing smaller government and freer markets; strengthening a culture of Judaeo-Christian values; and maintaining a robust (but prudent) national and homeland defense.
For those of us who have been working side-by-side first with long-time grass-roots conservatives and later with autonomous Tea Parties as that movement took powerful shape, the disaster of 9/11 put security concerns on to center stage.
But the enormous spending and debt challenges we face put even an “adequate” defense capability in danger. Many center-right allies don’t have a grasp of how our military still maintains a Pax Americana and what our world would look without it and what our daily life would become when savage nations would, by virtue of superior military capabilities, be able to intimidate us all.
Moreover one national group urging a smaller Federal government also proposes what is essentially a platform of isolationism. Before the rise of the Tea Party movement, this isolationist group was too often the only organized alternative for citizens opposing to the bigger-government approach of both major parties on the state as well as the national levels. Many if not most of their members joined for that reason, and are consequently teachable about national defense. The professional defense community, moreover, had also overlooked the grass roots with predictable consequences.
Compounding these problems is the apparent alliance of Political Islam with the American Left. And if this was not enough of a danger, last February David Horowitz pointed out the danger of Political Islam penetrating the conservative movement itself.
“Creeping Shariah” may well be weakening our intelligence and counter-intelligence capabilities. And sailing under the protection of political correctness, its adherents and fellow travelers have made some state and local politicians afraid of confronting it.
So what is to be done? Here are a few recommendations:
- On the grass-roots level, defense experts must explain to conservative activists — in plain words — why we need the right levels of support to meet which essential world-wide commitments.
- Activists need to have enough information effectively to urge maintaining and upgrading our nuclear deterrent – – as well as building a homeland defense that would enable us to survive and rebuild after less-understood threats like an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) attack.
- Few conservatives are going to be persuaded about world-wide commitments, however, unless national defense voices are also heard giving priority to pacifying our borderlands with Mexico.
Mark Steyn captured the larger picture just after the 2006 elections:
. . . [Y]ou can’t be in favor of assertive American foreign policy overseas and increasing Europeanization domestically; likewise, you can’t take a reductively libertarian view while the rest of the planet goes to pieces. Someone in the GOP needs to do what Ronald Reagan did so brilliantly a quarter-century ago – reconcile the big challenges abroad with a small-government philosophy at home.
There was once a time in America when “politics stopped at the water’s edge” on defense and foreign policy. Today, however, we must build support for our basic security priorities, not just in Washington, D. C., but among concerned citizens coming together at the local level across the country.
Richard W. C. Falknor is Chairman of the Maryland Center-Right Coalition. [Back to top]
The question is not whether our nation is safer now than it was before 9/11. The question is whether we are safe enough.
Important reforms were implemented after 9/11 allowing better cooperation between U.S. intelligence agencies and foreign intelligence services. Barriers erected between the CIA and the FBI that impeded tracking the al Qaeda hijackers before the 9/11 attacks were torn down. These reforms made a real difference in protecting our nation from foreign threats.
The Bush administration deserves enormous credit for its aggressive programs against al Qaeda. These programs yielded crucial intelligence that stopped over a dozen attacks against the U.S. homeland, U.S. troops, and American allies by radical Jihadist terrorists. Despite an outcry in the media, by Congressional Democrats, and by Barrack Obama, both before and after he became president, that these programs somehow violated the civil rights of Americans, such claims were never proven since they were clearly false.
We learned on December 25, 2009 that we still have work to do to improve our intelligence capabilities when Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian citizen sent on a suicide mission by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), nearly blew up a civilian airliner over the city of Detroit with an undetectable bomb sewn into his underwear. Only the brave and swift action by the plane’s passengers and crew prevented the bomb from detonating.
The Christmas Day underwear bomber illustrated two significant security issues facing our nation today. First, radical Jihadists continue to look for ways to penetrate our security. There have been other close calls like this, including a sophisticated and powerful package bomb that AQAP attempted to ship to the United States by air from Yemen in October 2010 that also was nearly undetectable. This threat requires vigilance and a realization that al Qaeda and its affiliates may be down, but they have not yet been beaten.
The second threat concerns the U.S. intelligence community and how post-9/11 reforms made it more unwieldy and bureaucratic. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence concluded in a June 2010 report that systemic failures across the Intelligence Community contributed to the failure to identify the threat posed by Abulmutallab. We now know that adequate intelligence existed that could have prevented Abulmutallab from boarding a plane to the United States but our intelligence agencies were not talking to each other or assumed another organization was handling certain information, problems that post-9/11 intelligence reforms supposedly addressed. This is a consequence of the 9/11 Commission’s unfortunate recommendation to add another layer of bureaucracy onto the already bloated U.S intelligence community – the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). This new bureaucratic layer has hurt the quality of U.S. intelligence , especially analysis, which in some ways is worse than it was before 9/11. To produce the intelligence our president and his advisors need to protect our country requires a leaner and much more efficient U.S. intelligence community. This should start by dismantling the ODNI and streamlining the operations of America’s 16 intelligence agencies.
We are certainly safer today that we were on September 10, 2001. However, we cannot let down our guard and we must push forward with additional steps to fine tune post-9/11 intelligence reforms to create a nimble and more efficient intelligence community that will be better able to detect and prevent future security threats.
Fred Fleitz spent 25 years working on national security issues for the CIA, the State Department, and the House Intelligence Committee. He is now managing editor of LIGNET.com, a new Washington, DC-based service providing global intelligence and forecasting. [Back to top]
Ten years after the grim September morning on which Islamist terrorists smashed hijacked airliners into the World Trade Center towers in Manhattan and into the Pentagon – and failed to fly a fourth into the Capitol or the White House – Americans have cause to reflect with pride on their government’s successful prevention of further attacks.
On this anniversary, of course, the media will surely serve up a smorgasbord of analyses encouraging reflection upon everything objectionable about the U.S. “war on terrorism.” While there remains much to debate, however, it is difficult to get around the fact that the much-feared “9/11” follow-up strikes have not occurred. To be sure, a jihadist U.S. Army major murdered 12 of his fellow soldiers at Ft. Hood, and yes, terrorists continue to exact a toll upon U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. For the most part, however, the additional homeland attacks we all imagined after September 2001 – and which President George W. Bush once described as his greatest nightmare – are a story of the dog that did not bark. And the reason it did not bark has to do with how resolutely and effectively the U.S. Government responded in tightening domestic security and “taking the fight to the terrorists” overseas.
I’ll grant that we’ve also been lucky. We were lucky that the “shoe bomber” failed to ignite the plastic explosive in his sneakers, lucky that the “underwear bomber” similarly botched his crotch bomb, and lucky that the “Times Square bomber” bollixed up the timer for his car full of explosives. But the oddball tactics explored by terrorists still aiming to knock U.S. airliners out of the sky highlight the jihadists’ desperation, and the fact that so many more “normal” avenues of attack have now been closed. Security is vastly improved, people are vigilant, and the terrorists are being kept off balance by aggressive countermoves that have made it much harder to operate from foreign sanctuaries.
There is a temptation, in conservative circles, to give the Bush Administration all the credit for this. After all, it was the one that made the toughest calls, and it was for its pains excoriated in the international and domestic media for an excess of bloody-minded ruthlessness. Nor can one avoid being struck by the degree to which, after some strident anti-Bush rhetoric and political posturing, the administration of Barack Obama has come to embrace most of the counter-terrorist policies of its predecessor. The prison at Guantánamo Bay remains open, for instance, and terrorists are still subject to potentially permanent detention there or elsewhere; military commissions are still being used to try terrorist suspects; CIA-facilitated “renditions” still sometimes occur; domestic electronic surveillance is today conducted on a considerably broader basis than before 9/11; and security and passenger pre-screening for air transportation is ubiquitous and intrusive. In fact, some controversial Bush-era tactics have been not merely validated by the Obama Administration but today greatly expanded – most notably, the policy of carrying out targeted killings of terrorist operatives by drone aircraft or special operations forces, which today occurs with a frequency, and in a number of countries, notably greater than when Bush left office. (As recently illustrated by the case of clerical firebrand Anwar al-Awlaki, even U.S. citizens can be targeted if they throw their lot in with the terrorists.)
But while conservatives can be forgiven for sneering a bit at the way the Obama Administration’s moralistic self-righteousness has been succeeded by a quiet, almost embarrassed validation of Bush-era counter-terrorist policy, we need to give credit where credit is due. Bush policies did not adopt themselves; they were chosen, and it cannot have been easy for Obama’s team to swallow that pill. As a result, however, it is now possible to point to a bipartisan American approach to counter-terrorism. (In a backhanded way, the current administration has in this respect – albeit perhaps in this one only – lived up to its self-congratulatory hype as a purveyor of “post-partisan” policy.) We conservatives should not demean this, for it is significant.
To be sure, ten years after 9/11, we are a grimmer polity than we were, and some innocence has surely been lost. America has become a country that routinely hunts down and kills individual terrorist enemies overseas – apparently now in preference to capturing and detaining them indefinitely – and its citizens put up with more burdensome security restrictions in transportation and in public places than before, as well as with a somewhat less constricted system of domestic electronic surveillance. There is something to mourn in these shifts.
But there is also much of which we should be proud, for although the terrorists were able to slaughter more than 3,000 Americans over the space of a few hours in 2001, their ambitions to inflict more such grievous blows upon the U.S. homeland have been stymied ever since. We may have lost some innocence, moreover, but America still remains a bastion of civil and political freedom and a locus of economic opportunity in a world not precisely overflowing with either of these things. Liberal political hyperbole aside, we have not “become our enemies,” and we remain a free people with a vibrant society.
It is a mark of the success of the United States’ tough-minded – and now, if belatedly, bipartisan – approach to counter-terrorism that our most pressing political issues today are the domestic challenges of debt, job creation, unsustainable entitlement spending, and the appropriate size of government. After a decade of having avoided further mass-casualty international terrorist outrages on our soil after 9/11, we are happily in a position in which it is possible to imagine having another such decade ahead, in which we can remain free to grapple with such parochial issues without airliners landing upon our heads.
Dr. Christopher Ford is a Senior Fellow at Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C. He previously served as U.S. Special Representative for Nuclear Nonproliferation and as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the George W. Bush Administration, and before that as Minority Counsel and then General Counsel for the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence after 9/11. [Back to top]
In every nation’s history there are events that we say are defining moments — events such as the bombing of Pearl Harbor and 9/11. In turn, events of such outrageous magnitude demand a nation to respond. And in that response I say we find the definition of our nation’s true nature and character. Soon after 9/11 the world saw our response. Our military might went directly to the source in Afghanistan; put Al Qaeda on the run killing top commanders and eventually Bin Laden himself.
That is the military boots on the ground response initiated by Bush and furthered by Obama.
But what is the non military response we offer up in the face of an enemy that is very clear in stating their reasons for attacking us; their holy jihad, their goal of re-establishing the Islamic Caliphate worldwide and subjugating those they call infidels? Simply put, our present Administration and media elites are operating in a state of sheer ignorance and political correctness, twisting like a pretzel trying not to outright identify the motivation behind 9/11 for fear of offending our enemies.
On this 10th anniversary of 9/11 let us remember while fighting this long war openly declared upon us, that…
America stood up to the terror and tyranny of Nazism — and won.
America stood up to the terror and tyranny of Communism – and won.
If we continue to stand up to the terror and tyranny of radical Islam, we will, once again, win.
I know what we face. I lost my country of Lebanon to Radical Islam. I do not want to lose my country of adoption. That is why, after 9/11, I launched what today is ACT for America. ACT for America is the largest national security grassroots organization in the U.S. with 175,000 members and over 600 chapters nationwide with a full- time lobbyist on Capitol Hill. Our voice is heard loud and clear throughout our nation and on all levels of government. The huge outcry against the planned Ground Zero Mosque and the fight against sharia law in state governments across the country are but two examples.
Today, as a strong and resolute counter measure to administration and media indecisiveness and kowtowing, we are on the front lines in our communities and our nation. We are summoned to wake up the apathetic and inspire the despaired, to silence the liars and educate the patriots. For if we fail to inform the ignorant, we will fail to save the informed.
One lesson I learned very early on in life: People treat you the way you allow them to treat you. Evil dwells when courageous people become bystanders. Society deteriorates when apathy replaces activism. Tyranny comes when leaders become mediocre and haters become organized.
For our nation, for our children, and to honor those who lost their lives ten years ago, we must rise in defense of our security, our liberty, our values – and win!
Brigitte Gabriel is Founder and President of ACT! For America. [Back to top]
The most troubling legacy of the past ten years with respect to the effort to secure America from the jihadists who struck us on 9/11 is the systemic failure to appreciate that we confront an enemy within.
I am not talking about individuals who have been dubbed “lone wolves” or “self-radicalized” individuals. Nor am I referring to the al Qaeda teams, Hezbollah cells, the Jamaat ul-Fuqra compounds and other would-be-violent terrorist groups believed (or, in some cases, known) to be at large here in the United States.
To be sure, those adherents to the Islamic politico-military-legal doctrine of shariah constitute a mortal threat. While assorted plots by such operatives have thankfully been detected and prevented over the past ten years, it is worrying that more has not been done comprehensively to put them out of business in this country.
Of even greater concern, however, is the fact that a decade after 9/11, our government remains fundamentally witless about the danger represented by so-called “non-violent” organizations that have exactly the same goals as these “terrorists” – namely, destroying Western civilization from within and establishing a global “caliphate” to rule according to shariah. Such groups and individuals are associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Iranian regime and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). They are more accurately described as pre-violent than non-violent since they believe the use of lethal force is entirely justified to accomplish their ends, provided the conditions are conducive to success.
Far from trying to roll up such operations, the U.S. government under successive administrations of both parties has treated them as leaders of, and virtually exclusive interlocutors with, American Muslims. This practice has: legitimated dangerous enemy operations, often insulating them from effective surveillance and countermeasures; afforded them extraordinary opportunities to achieve what the military would call “information dominance” – defining (literally in some cases) the terms of engagement, our understanding of the threat and circumscribing what we can do about it; and helped such groups dominate their co-religionists in this country, foreclosing a potentially vital source of real help in countering efforts to insinuate shariah into this country.
It is past time to recognize those running such influence operations for what they are: an enemy “inside the wire.” Accommodations – whether in the form of having senior officials, from the President on down, attend their events, meet with them, hire them or negotiate concessions with them – translate into lost ground in what the Brotherhood calls its “civilization jihad.” We can no more afford to allow such losses in this part of the “battlespace” than we can be indifferent to continuing vulnerabilities that the violent jihadists are anxious to exploit to murderous effect.
Once we recognize the true nature of the enemy within, we have a far better chance of doing what we must: Keep America free of the shariah agenda they seek by stealth to impose upon us.
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. is President of the Center for Security Policy. [Back to top]
Since September 11, 2001, we have witnessed unmistakable and frightening growth in radical Islamism and anti-Semitism. The United States has the military capability to combat the militants and the terrorists responsible for radical and senseless violence, and our service members have proven highly effective at fighting that mission. But our long-term challenge lies in fighting the war of ideas. Our nation stands as a beacon of openness, tolerance, and heterogeneity. Americans cherish the values of hard work, independence and freedom. Over the past ten years, we have seen first-hand that these values are not universally shared. The radicals and the terrorists who seek to destroy us, Israel and other nations that promote religious tolerance, freedom of thought and freedom of expression, do not share our values. In fact, they despise these values.
I believe in the power of our ideas and our long held principles. I believe the United States of America serves as an important symbol for those across the world who dream of living in a free society. As long as America stands as the most exceptional nation on Earth, a nation that embodies liberty and a nation that shines the light on despots, tyrants and oppressors, we will be hated by those who run from the light and seek cover from the dark. We treat others the way we would like to be treated. Our nation was built on the respect of everyone’s opinions and religious preferences. Our enduring example of liberty will ultimately prevail. Until then, we must make sure our message, and our example, is seen and heard worldwide. We need not continue to apologize to any other country or any other ruler. Imperfect our country may be, wrong it is not. 9-11 demonstrated that the United States has a mission in this world, a mission to live the truths recognized by our Founding Fathers when they formed this nation.
Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S., is the U.S. House Representative for the First District of Arizona. [Back to top]
The official public outreach campaign to the American people by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is “See Something, Say Something,” which encourages Americans to report any suspicious activity or behavior indicative of a potential act of terror or an ongoing threat to the United States. This seems to be a simple message which does a noble thing by encouraging Americans to participate in the security of their own country in a small but important way.
In that light, it is the intent of this article to give Americans some ideas of how to practically implement the DHS’s “See Something, Say Something” campaign – which has also been adopted by law enforcement organizations around the country. Let’s first take a look at the most significant threat which exists in the U.S. today – the penetration by the Muslim Brotherhood into our national security and foreign policy apparatus with the intent of destroying our ability to function against our enemies.
The Muslim Brotherhood Movement: Founded in Egypt in 1928 with the sole purpose of re-establishing the Global Islamic State (Caliphate), the Official Muslim Brotherhood (MB) By-Laws state the MB is “an International Muslim Body, which seeks to establish Allah’s law in the land.” The By-Laws further define the MB’s objectives: “Insist to liberate the Islamic nation from the yoke of foreign rule…the need to work on establishing the Islamic State…the sincere support for a global cooperation in accordance with the provisions of the Islamic Shariah.” Most disturbing is this: “The Islamic nation must be fully prepared to fight the tyrants and the enemies of Allah as a prelude to establishing the Islamic state.”
The MB Creed states the MB works to achieve the Islamic State under Shariah via Jihad: “Jihad is our way and martyrdom in the way of Allah is our highest aspiration.” And finally, Shariah (Islamic Law) approved by the Muslim Brotherhood in the form of the Fiqh Council of North America and the International Institute of Islamic Thought – the most authoritative MB bodies officiating Islamic Law in North America – officially defines Jihad as “war against non-Muslims to establish the religion.” It should be noted that this definition of “jihad” in MB approved doctrine (The Reliance of the Traveller) can be found in authoritative Islamic Law (Shariah) published in English in Beltsville, Maryland, distributed to mosque book stores across America, and is sold on amazon.com. In other words, this doctrine is widely distributed within the Islamic community in America by the Muslim Brotherhood, and is taught in nearly all Islamic schools in America.
Strategic Muslim Brotherhood documents found in an FBI raid in 2004 in Annandale, Virginia at the home of a senior Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood leader were entered into evidence in the largest terrorism financing and Hamas trial ever successfully prosecuted in U.S. history – The United States versus the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development or “HLF.” HLF was demonstrated to be a Hamas front organization funneling millions of dollars overseas to finance Jihad. At the time of its indictment, HLF was the largest Islamic charity in the U.S.
These MB documents, as well as financial records, recorded conversations, testimony, photographic evidence, and a massive amount of other evidence revealed the most prominent Islamic organizations in the United States are controlled by this same Muslim Brotherhood who defines their goal in America as a “Civilization Jihad.” The Muslim Brotherhood controlled groups include the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), the Muslim Student Association (MSA), the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA), the Muslim American Society (MAS), the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) – a Hamas front organization, and many others. In fact, hundreds of financial documents reveal that ISNA and NAIT directly funded Hamas over a period of years. For those unaware, Hamas is a designated Terrorist Organization by the U.S. government.
With that in mind, I would like to go back to the DHS Campaign – “See Something, Say Something.” As a citizen, here is my input for anyone at DHS interested in pursuing known threats to America:
- I see Hamas leader Nihad Awad (Senior CAIR official) walking down C Street near the U.S. Capitol
- I see the President of the Islamic Society of North America, Mohamed Majid, at his Islamic center in Sterling, Virginia – the All Dulles Area Mosque Society (ADAMS)
- Now I see Mohamed Majid walking around federal buildings in Washington, DC
- I see Mohamed Elibiary (Terrorist/Hamas supporter) walking around outside DHS Headquarters
- I see Muslim Brother Yahya Hendi (Fiqh Council of North America) walking around the Georgetown University campus
- Now I see Hendi at the Bethesda Naval Medical Center
- I see senior Muslim Brotherhood leader Sayyid Syeed (ISNA Director) near the front doors of the State Department
- Now I see Syeed and Mohammed Elsanousi (ISNA Director) on Capitol Hill
- I see leaders of the Muslim Student Associations on nearly every major college campus in America
- I see Hani Sakr (Senior Muslim Brother leader as detailed in HLF evidence) in Columbus, OH
- I see Muzammil Siddiqi (ISNA/FCNA) wandering around near the White House
- I see Ihsan Bagby (ISNA/CAIR etc) wandering around the University of Kentucky campus
- I see Hamas leader Muneer Awad (CAIR-OK) wandering around Oklahoma…
I keep seeing some things and saying some things. Why isn’t anyone doing anything?
John Guandolo is the Vice President for Strategic Planning for the Strategic Engagement Group (SEG). He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, served as an Officer in the United States Marine Corps, and was a Special Agent in the Washington office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He is an author of Shariah: The Threat to America. [Back to top]
A decade after 9/11 it is hoped America’s security establishment better understands what threats we face of which the attacks of 9/11 were one facet. The answer to that question remains incomplete. After the end of the Cold War we were attacked repeatedly by what were termed terrorists. But we never explicitly connected these attacks to two broader elements, both of which pose a mortal threat to our country and its constitution. The first was the sponsorship of terror as a tactic of a hybrid warfare being waged by states such as Iran, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Libya against the United States and its allies. Remember, Libya supplied the majority of the terrorists attacking Iraq traveling the rat lines through Syria. The second was the extent to which these states used what I term “jihadis” to do their dirty work and infiltrated such groups or created them for their own murderous purposes (Hezbollah, the Taliban and Hamas, for example).
Taking down the regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq appeared to recognize the role of states in the threat we face but we never carefully connected the two regimes to the terrorism we faced. Yes, the Taliban gave sanctuary to Al Qaeda and yes Saddam gave support and funding to terrorists. But both efforts soon were transformed into nation-building under the idea that governments at least a modest stone’s throw from some elements of “democracy” might be less hospitable to supporting, training and financing terrorists, especially if these same countries were to develop biological and nuclear weapons with which to surreptitiously attack the United States and its allies.
So America remains confused—why are we in Iraq if Al Qaeda primarily remains in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere? And this is where things got complicated, unnecessarily. The drive-by media had a template or narrative of the origins of the terror attacks against us especially on 9/11. Al Qaeda, we were told endlessly, had grievances against us especially the lack of a Palestinian state.
But 9/11 was an attack not of Al Qaeda operatives, anymore than mob hits are solely the work of “button men”. The earlier World Trade Center attack in 1993 was not an Al Qaeda operation but one connected to Iraq. Saddam wrote checks of $300,000 to Al Qaeda’s number two leader. Also, Iran helped the 9/11 operatives travel unnoticed to and from their training centers, a fact now confirmed by a US court.
And so successive president’s devoted enormous time to the “peace process” which inexplicitly was to include Syria, which is a card-carrying member of the axis of terror that is at war with us! But the terror states do not want peace with us or two states living together—a Palestinian state and the state of Israel. They want to bring us down.
And added to this poisonous brew are the Muslim clerics and Imams and self-appointed leaders who seek to spread the cults of Wahhabism and Khomeinism along with their totalitarian culture we call “sharia”. So we face not only hybrid warfare—those using our vulnerabilities against us. We face a hybrid enemy—states and terror groups. They appear to attack randomly; they claim to be righteous; they claim to represent all Muslims; or they claim a right to hegemonic empire. But their murderous ways are no different than the murderous ways of the original state sponsor of terrorism the Soviet Union. It is also not coincidence that Soviet client states included Syria, Libya and Iraq! And now Iran and Syria, among others.
The liberation of Iraq and Afghanistan can end up of benefit to this country and her allies. The Arab Spring, having grown out of a vegetable cart owner burning himself alive, was not aimed at expanding some Muslim empire over the earth or even the Middle East. It was aimed at the brutal regimes—many of them state sponsors of terrorism—that deny opportunity and liberty to hundreds of millions of people. Whether the future expands liberty or extends the totalitarian darkness of the mullahs in Iran and the clerics in Afghanistan is the great challenge of this new century.
Peter Huessy is President of GeoStrategic Analysis, founded in 1981.
Are we safer? In order to decide whether we are safer today, a decade after the events of 9/11, we must first establish who “we” are.
If “we” means the immediate us, you and me, this particular generation, then the situation is slightly improved: Osama bin Laden, who came to personify al-Qaeda, is dead, as are other reportedly high level terrorists. According to White House counterterrorism chief, John Brennan, al-Qaeda is “On a steady slide. On the ropes. Taking shots to the body and head.”
Conversely, if “we” means Western civilization, including future generations, then the situation is dire, gone from bad to worse. The fact is, from a macro perspective, even if al-Qaeda were totally eradicated tomorrow, the threat to the West would hardly recede, for al-Qaeda was never the source of the threat, but simply one of its multitudinous manifestations (other threats include the stealth jihad to overthrow Western civilization from within).
Even the Obama administration is inadvertently beginning to acknowledge the existential nature of the conflict (though of course without articulating it as such): it recently declared that lone wolf terrorists-jihadists who have no connection to al-Qaeda other than that they share the same Islamist-inspired worldview, people like the Fort Hood jihadist, the Christmas Day Bomber, the Shoe Bomber, ad infinitum-are a greater threat than al-Qaeda. That is, jihad metastasized.
To better appreciate the “big picture,” consider how at the turn of the 20th Century, the Islamic world was rushing to emulate the victorious and confident West-best exemplified by the Ottoman empire itself, the preserver and enforcer of Islam, rejecting its Muslim past and trying to modernize. Today, 100 years later, the Muslim world has largely rejected secularism and is reclaiming its Islamic-including jihadist-heritage, lashing out in a manifold of ways.
Likewise, consider how many Islamist leaders, organizations, and terrorists have come and gone in the 20th Century alone-many killed like bin Laden-only for Islam to grow more hostile towards the non-Muslim West than at any time in the modern era.
It is in this context that the overall significance of eliminating this or that terrorist or organization must be understood.
In short, we need to get beyond obsessing over names and faces-al-Qaeda and bin Laden, for example-and begin focusing on the ideas and motivations that create them-that is, if “we” encompasses more than this generation.
Raymond Ibrahim, an Islam-specialist and author of The Al Qaeda Reader, is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum. [Back to top]
On September 11, 2001, when nearly 3,000 innocent victims were murdered by al-Qaeda, our Nation came face-to-face with a threat that many did not realize was imminent. In the ten years that have passed, I have been dedicated to securing our homeland from terrorists. Today, our homeland security is improved, we are safer, and it would be much more difficult for al-Qaeda or its affiliates to orchestrate another attack of the same scale in the same manner.
We are safer, in part, because law enforcement and our Intelligence Community are better able to share vital information to combat terrorism and protect the homeland, aided by the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security and other post-9/11 government reorganization efforts.
Osama bin Laden is dead, but that certainly does not mean that the threat from al-Qaeda, its affiliates, or its adherents is dead. In fact, in many ways the threat has evolved.
Islamic terrorist organizations have increasingly turned to recruiting and radicalizing from within the Muslim American Community – focusing on U.S. citizens and those who are in this country legally. In just the last two years or so, the trend has manifested itself at Fort Hood, Times Square, a Little Rock military recruiting center, and the New York City subway system – all targets of successful, failed, or planned attacks by U.S. citizens or legal residents who trained with, had contact with, or were inspired by al-Qaeda or affiliated leaders.
In March, I convened a series of hearings to examine this radicalization threat, which the Obama Administration agrees is a problem (Attorney General Eric Holder said this threat is what keeps him awake at night). Despite enduring constant criticism from liberals in Washington and in the media, I will continue with the hearings.
Rep. King is the Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security and a Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. [Back to top]
There is nothing that strikes deeper at the heart of the American experiment than a test of our liberties — the right to free speech, and the right of religious freedom. It was because of these liberties that Islamist terror struck on September 11th, 2011, costing thousands of lives and bringing the realities of the world a bit closer to home.
Ten years later, the Islamist threat remains.
Yet the tactics have changed. Rather than planes, Islamists use mosques as nerve centers for resistance. Rather than terrorists, Islamists use imams and lawyers to drive the point home. Rather than bombs, Islamists use deceit and deception to say one thing while the realities on the ground are far different.
Take for instance Imam Feisal Rauf, the presumed leader of the Islamist faction in the United States. At an March 2011 panel at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. it was Rauf who opened up a direct attack on America’s foundational constitutional protections and rights. Rather than allowing Islam to be engaged in the public square critically, Rauf considers any criticism of Islam as “libel” — a hate crime.
When I watched this in the audience, I sat there outraged. I could see the writing on the wall.
Now we know the brazen truth. Rauf opened the Islamist playbook and removed any doubts about the true nature of the Islamist agenda. In short, while keeping up an ecumenical front, Rauf and other Islamists intend to openly use American laws to crush dissent, demanding our laws silence any criticism, concerns, or questions about the Islamist threat.
The list doesn’t stop there. The so-called Cordoba Mosque at Ground Zero? Keep in mind that the Moors, when they conquered Cordoba in the 7th century, converted the Christian cathedral into an Islamic “victory” mosque. For Islamists to spike the football in New York City at Ground Zero with a victory mosque of their own is outrageous enough.
But to be condemned as inciting “hate crimes” by questioning the prudence of such a move? Westerners may consider this to be offensive. Islamists have another term for such a struggle: jihad.
This jihad is being waged on multiple fronts, whether it is in chicken processing plants in Tennessee or in “no go” zones in Dearborn, Michigan. This jihad is cultural, legal, spiritual, and as we saw 10 years ago on September 11, 2001 — manifests itself in violence.
America is not the first nation to be confronted with the Islamist threat. Ironically, it was Thomas Jefferson who inaugurated the first pre-emptive war against Islamist terror, then in the form of the Barbary Pirates. “Millions for defense, but not one penny for tribute” was our battle cry then. With a firm reliance upon God, we should be willing to meet the forces of Islamist terror fearlessly, and without shame.
Andrea Lafferty is the director of the Traditional Values Coalition. [Back to top]
Are We Safe Yet? In terms of the clear danger presented on September 11, 2001, yes, we are safer. The multiple attacks orchestrated by Al Qaeda jolted America out of its complacency and ended any illusion of a Cold War “peace dividend”. Just being the sole remaining superpower would not ensure that the “Pax America” would continue unchallenged into the twenty first century.
The Bush administration countered with a War on Terror with three decisive components. First, the conflict was taken outside the continental United States. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq sought to root out the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks and weapons of mass destruction that could be used for subsequent attacks. This massive investiture of time, money and manpower kept the pressure on the terrorists and reduced their international effectiveness. Second, a massive effort was made to shore up homeland security– from protecting ports and airports to improving intelligence collection and sharing. To date, we have succeeded in thwarting 9/11 “copy cat” attempts. Third, a concerted effort was made to build and deploy a missile defense system. Over the past decade great strides were made in the sea based component and the selection of deployable options for the rest of the architecture. What began in the Bush administration continued. Paul Gigot in reviewing Dick Cheney’s memoir, In My Time, noted: “In nearly every particular, Barack Obama has either embraced or been forced to accept the national security policies devised by the Bush administration.” (The Wall Street Journal, 3- 4 Sept 2011).
To remain safe, we must maintain our vigilance and constantly calibrate our national security apparatus to address persisting and emerging threats in what remains a dangerous world. We all know that our nation is carrying too much debt. But we need to prune prudently– cutting unnecessary expenditures without jeopardizing the constitutional mission of “providing for the common defense”.
A quick tour d’horizon reminds us that the proliferation of missile and weapons of mass destruction technology is still a global threat. While the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) has succeeded in interdicting the transit of some of the components of weapons of mass destruction, there is much more to be done. Denuclearization of the Korean peninsula is yet to become a reality. Iran, which continues to develop both its missile and nuclear programs, announced in 2010 that it had enhanced its uranium enrichment technique to fifteen percent. (Christopher Ford, “From Rags to Enriches: Lasers and Uranium Production”, New Paradigms Forum, August 24, 2011)
The regional picture is just as challenging. China made quantum leaps in acquiring US technology and in modernizing its armed forces over the past decade. Recently, General Electric announced intentions to share advanced avionics with a Chinese firm to develop a commercial aircraft destined to rival that of Boeing and Europe’s Airbus. (Howard Schneider,”GE ‘all in’ on plane deal with China,” The Washington Post, 23 August 2011.) The increasing sophistication of the People’s Liberation Army forces is well documented in the Pentagon Report released last month. In the Middle East unrest, tribal tensions and Islamic militancy pose a threat to nascent democracies. Recently, US intelligence discovered a plot by jihadists to subvert the post Gadhafi government in Libya. (Bill Gertz, “Jihadists plot to take over Libya”, The Washington Times, 5 September 2001). The Europeans continue to grapple with stagnating economies and a waning interest and capability to be a United States defense partner.
It is no small order to address these threats and challenges while ensuring that the United States is a stable “rule of law” nation intent on attracting, not losing, global business. To the extent we succeed, we will be safer.
Frances Caroline Lane is national security analyst. [Back to top]
The world is still a dangerous place. The September 11th attacks erased the long-standing belief that the U.S. homeland was impervious to attack and gave Americans the worst kind of introduction to Islamic fundamentalist terrorism. That day also ushered in a new era for American national security; one defined by asymmetric threats. The U.S. now had to prepare against a broad and unpredictable spectrum of risks from both state and non-state actors whose abilities and goals differed significantly. While the U.S. has stepped up to the challenge of protecting itself in this new environment over the past decade, we cannot give in to a false sense of security again.
The capture and killing of many of Al Qaeda’s leadership, highlighted by Osama bin Laden’s demise this May, is certainly not the end of terrorism. Al Qaeda and other fundamentalist terrorist groups still operate on a regional level. The threat to Americans by violent, radicalized individuals, exemplified by the Ft. Hood shootings in 2009 and the Times Square bomber in 2010, also cannot be ignored.
The revolutions of the Arab Spring will also take many seasons to take hold. The grass-roots movements behind the protests will struggle to institutionalize change. They are challenged by a lack of experience with democracy, such as a functioning judiciary, free press, and institutional accountability. Another question is how secular and moderate Muslim groups will deal with radical Islamic elements in their countries. For example, the Muslim Brotherhood formed the Freedom and Justice Party in Egypt in June and is part of the current coalition government. Despite the changes, there is no guarantee of even Arab-style democracies.
Uncertainty underlies another national priority: cyber security. Cyber attacks are anonymous and unpredictable – and growing. There were nearly 42,000 cyber attacks against federal government networks in 2010, 40 percent more than 2009. About 85 percent of U.S. companies have experienced one or more malicious attacks, potentially costing larger organizations millions of dollars. These attacks target classified information, corporate intellectual property, and critical infrastructure, such as power grids, transportation, and financial networks. While Russia and Israel are considered to be the larger troublemakers in cyberspace, China has the fastest-growing and most active cyber attack program of all nations. Despite this, there is little definition of the range of cyber threats, the authorities to counter them, and the international rules of cyber engagement.
Ten years after 9/11, the outlook for U.S. national and globally security is cautiously optimistic. Al Qaeda may be down, but it is far from out. And the roots of Arab democracies are still trying to take hold. The same advancements in technology that bring the world together also threaten to tear it apart.
Today’s asymmetric threat environment is characterized by many new challenges. However, one mission has always been the same – to keep America safe.
Dr. J. P. London is Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board, CACI International Inc. [Back to top]
Reflections on 9/11 and whether we are safer now requires a review of the circumstances that led up to 9/11. The fundamental reason which created the circumstances leading up to 9/11 was our “failure to act when challenged.”
The first challenge occurred when the Carter Administration failed to take effective action when the Ayatollah Khomeini regime captured our Embassy in Tehran in November 1979. At that time, I was the Director, Political-Military Affairs for the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and proposed to the acting Chairman of the JCS that we mount an operation to capture Kharg Island, Iran’s main oil export depot. It was basically undefended and would have been a prime target for our U.S. Navy Seals and Special forces.
Capturing Kharg Island would have put the U.S. in a commanding position on demanding the immediate release of our diplomats and the return of our Embassy. It would have sent a powerful signal to the fledgling Khomeini theocracy in their early fragile days that they must conform to international norms or suffer severe consequences. Regretfully, President Carter dismissed that option out of hand. Instead, the Administration displayed a paralysis and inability to act. The failed rescue attempt in April 1980 only compounded the problem and created an image of the United States as a “paper tiger.”
This inability to respond only unleashed a series of kidnappings and other terrorists acts sponsored by the Khomeini regime, culminating in the bombing of our Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon in April 1983, followed by the U.S. Marine Barracks bombing on October 23, 1983, killing 241 of our finest military personnel. We had positive proof the orders for the bombing came from Tehran. The U.S. Navy working with the CIA, had its planes loaded and were ready to totally eliminate the Iranian sponsored terrorist group, the Islamic Amal forerunner to Hezbollah, who were holed up in the Lebanese Army barracks above Balbek. They had taken over these barracks on September 16th, 1983 with the help of the IRGC. Unfortunately, it was the Secretary of Defense, Caspar Weinberger who prevented our retaliating strike from occurring.
Again the U.S. seemed paralyzed by a terrorist act. Our only response was to move the Marines offshore. Such an inability to act became Osama bin Laden’s rallying call “when Americans suffer casualties, they will cut and run” – and the perception is that’s what we did! During both the Carter and Reagan Administrations, had we taken the military actions which both those terrorists’ acts called for, we could have changed the course of history. Instead, we unleashed a series of bolder terrorist actions aided and abetted by Iran, culminating in their support for the 9/11 hijackers.
Today, we face a more ominous threat of a nuclear weapon equipped Iran. With Iran’s acts of aggression against the United States for over 30 years, we certainly can make the case for neutralizing their nuclear weapon infrastructure, but once again when challenged, we have failed to act. Iran with its apocalyptic mindset does not make me feel any safer today on the tenth anniversary of 9/11.
Admiral James “Ace” Lyons (Ret.) is former Commander-in-Chief of the US Pacific Fleet. [Back to top]
The war on radical Islam cannot be reduced to a war on Al-Qaeda. The U.S. has indeed done tremendous damage to Al-Qaeda’s operational capabilities, and Al-Qaeda’s own lack of strategic thinking and missteps have helped us accomplish that. We are safer from Al-Qaeda, but that does not mean we are safer from radical Islam. Across the Middle East, the Islamists have the momentum, carefully exploiting the gains by genuine reformers. It is an exciting time to be an Islamist.
The Muslim Brotherhood has never before stood on the precipice of making such tremendous gains. They have been helped by the West’s eagerness to embrace moderate Muslim groups, reaching out to every group condemning 9/11. Compared to Al-Qaeda, most Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood, appear moderate but their goals are the same. The Brotherhood and similar Islamists are simply more patient and intelligent and therefore, more threatening.
There are several Islamist campaigns that are succeeding in their incremental, long-term approach towards winning global Sharia-based governance. There is a quiet effort to build Muslim enclaves throughout the West, including in the U.S. This campaign is helped by the lack of assimilation by Muslim immigrants in Europe, leading to the creation of what has been dubbed by Dr. Daniel Pipes, “No Go Zones.”
The most successful group in building these enclaves in the U.S. is Muslims of the Americas, which is tied to the Pakistan-based terrorist group, Jamaat ul-Fuqra. The group boasts of having 22 “villages” around the country and some are dozens of acres large. The Christian Action Network’s 2009 film, “Homegrown Jihad: Terrorist Camps Around U.S.” exposed the group and how these “villages” are used to spread radical Islam and even provide guerilla warfare training. After the film’s release, we received a secret MOA videotape showing such training at the group’s headquarters in Hancock, New York, called “Islamberg.”
The MOA has an array of front groups, including the United Muslim Christian Forum. They are trying to reach out to gullible Christians, elected officials, and even law enforcement personnel to show how “moderate” they are. The mayors of Owego and Binghamton, New York have praised the group, apparently unaware of its extremist beliefs and ties.
This is an example of how the Islamists are taking advantage of the West’s short attention span. They know how far to push without awakening the public to what’s happening. The failure (thus far) to stop the Ground Zero Mosque is discouraging, but the anger over the project is encouraging. It shows that the country is still capable of taking a stand, but it is not often that the Islamists do something so blatantly offensive and high-profile as the Ground Zero Mosque.
Those that are determined to fight the spread of radical Islam must reach out to communities to educate them about the ideology, instead of just Al-Qaeda. The synagogues and churches need to be mobilized. Muslims who truly stand up against radical Islam must be welcomed and upheld. After 9/11, almost every American wanted to do something but was never told what to do. This isn’t just the government’s fight. This is our fight; all of us.
Ryan Mauro is the founder of WorldThreats.com and national security analyst at Christian Action Network. [Back to top]
Before the September 11, 2001, attack by al Qaeda, outside of New York City and Los Angeles, the vast enterprise of federal, state, and local entities that comprise our domestic security paid no meaningful attention to the threat of terrorists. Despite ten years of bombings across the globe beginning in 1991, including the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, America really was a sleeping giant. Our national slumber ended ten years ago.
Just the fact that most Americans now readily acknowledge that terrorists want to attack us domestically and, even if grudgingly, accept the vast majority of measures erected after September 11 makes us safer. At times, those measures did in fact work to keep us safe. Other times, pure luck or incompetency kept us free from catastrophic harm.
So, we should rightly celebrate the last ten years and the efforts of thousands of men and women who work tirelessly to keep us safe. That said, the financial cost to put in place all of the measures-from a new federal department to wars overseas to tens of billions of dollars in grants to states and localities-has been too high. The damage done to our Nation’s federalism principle also suffered these last ten years.
We could have achieved the same level of security and a much lower cost financially and constitutionally.
As we point out in our new Heritage Foundation report, “Homeland Security 4.0: Overcoming Centralization, Complacency, and Politics,” too often the response to September 11 involved federalizing functions that had historically and constitutionally rested with states and localities and ignoring the vastly greater experience and resources residing in our states. Despite decades of community policing work, the federal government came to see local law enforcement as a mere data collector and not the robust tip of the spear it actually is.
Similarly, as naïve as it may sound, politics inserted itself in too many places after September 11. Specifically, homeland security grant programs intended to build critical capabilities in high risk places became political pork barrel programs where everybody lined up at the trough. Likewise, some have tried to use cargo security to increase longshoreman union membership no matter the harm to the economy of slowing down supply chains. And, of course, there is our airport passenger screening process that lacks common sense and adheres too much to political correctness.
We can and must do better, especially given the fiscal crises at all levels of government. Because our enemies must only succeed once to harm us, our homeland security enterprise must not rely upon luck and incompetency to remain safe. It is time we renewed our belief in federalism and exercised some fiscal restraint. Our safety is best secured outside of Washington, D.C.
Matt Mayer, a former senior official at DHS, is a Visiting Fellow with The Heritage Foundation and President of The Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions, as well as the author of “Homeland Security and Federalism: Protecting America Outside the Beltway.” [Back to top]
When the foundations are shaken, what can the righteous do? Psalm 11: 3
Perhaps I don’t have a right to feel as devastated as I do by 9/11. Some would say that it did not affect me “personally,” as I lost no family members. But everything changed on that cruel, sunshine-filled morning and can never be the same again. We not only lost the people and all the potential contained within each one killed in the jihadist attacks, we lost the innocence of a 9/10 world, the privilege of living in a country where thousands of our best and brightest young men and women did not have to offer their lives in military service, and the illusion that we live in safety.
Yet even with that illusion shattered, and that awareness supposedly being used to protect us from further attacks, we are not safer on this tenth anniversary of 9/11 than we were in those halcyon 9/10 days. With all the military battles we have won, we seem to continue losing what Walid Phares calls “the war of ideas.” A critical component of that loss that I see in my work as an activist for victims of religious persecution around the world is our inability to connect the dots between events.
I always believed Christian and Jewish communities would stand against Islamic radicalization in America. Having seen the persecution and outright slaughter of Christians and Jews in the Islamic world, as well as the imposition of Shariah in countries that formerly had secular governments, I thought they would understand that Islamic supremacists have the same agenda for the United States. But it seems not only do some Christian and Jewish leaders scoff at this possibility, they actively undermine those who offer such warnings. They fulfill the agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood: “destroying the Western civilization from within” – “sabotaging its miserable house by their hands.”
People are outraged by the slavery and murder of black Africans in Sudan. They are horrified by the murder of hundreds of innocent little children in Jos, Nigeria. They are shocked by the assassination of a great man like Shahbaz Bhatti in Pakistan. And they are sickened by the slaughter of the Fogel family in Israel. But to borrow from Charles Krauthammer’s statement about President Obama’s reaction to the jihad murder of two American soldiers in Germany, they treat these incidents like a “bus accident” – tragic, but random, unconnected with everything else that is going on in the world. They refuse to see reality, or as Melanie Phillips suggests, they treat factual reality as an option that they can discard in favor of a more acceptable scenario. Incident after incident proves that “by their fruit you shall know them.” Will the factual evidence ever be piled so high that these deniers and appeasers cannot possibly refuse to connect the dots? We will not be safe until that happens.
Faith J. H. McDonnell is the director of the Religious Liberty Program and Church Alliance for a New Sudan as well as the Institute on Religion and Democracy. [Back to top]
Latin America since 9/11: Are we safer after a decade of ‘benign neglect’? The “corset effect” is the term used to describe the displacement of cocaine production and narcotrafficking routes that occurs after an increase in interdiction efforts in a particular area, as illustrated by the shift in power from the Colombian cartels of prior decades to the Mexican cartels today.
Similarly, when a proactive strategy is used against terrorists groups, the survivors tend to move to new areas devoid of the rule of law, where ideological kinship and freedom of movement allow their continued plotting against their perceived enemies. And while narcotics trafficking is buoyed by the ineluctable laws of supply and demand, international terrorism survives only on the demand from despotic regimes to use it as an adjunct of political power, and as an insurance policy against regime change. After a decade focusing on Iraq and Afghanistan, the Hindu Kush may no longer be the safest redoubt for scheming jihadis, but the nascent left-wing regimes in Latin America have arisen as ready replacements.
Shortly after the attacks of September 11th, the Organization of American States (OAS) issued a declaration that promised defiantly that, “Individually and collectively, we will deny terrorist groups the capacity to operate in this Hemisphere. This American family stands united.” But that sentiment of solidarity proved to be short-lived.
At that time, Hugo Chavez had already made state visits to embrace Saddam Hussein, Muammar Qaddafi and Mohammed Khatami, and was already welcoming terrorist operatives into Venezuela from the Middle East. Still, two U.S. administrations, Republican and Democrat, have treated the region with so-called “benign neglect,” while Chavez has used state oil money to help elect other terror-supporting allies in neighboring countries.
One of those allies, Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega, was the last to draw the U.S. into the region in a kinetic operation in the 1980s. But what is often forgotten is Ortega’s involvement in the precursor to 9-11, the World Trade Center bombing in 1993.
Nicaragua then, like Venezuela today, had become a mecca for international terrorists. The Economist magazine reported in June of 1998 on the menagerie of terrorists that had gathered in Managua under the aegis of the first Ortega administration: “Beside sundry Latin Americans, they include left-overs of Germany’s Baader-Meinhof gang, Italy’s Red Brigades, Basque separatists, Islamic fundamentalists, Palestinian extremists and others. They have been able to stay because the Sandinistas, in their last weeks of power, gave them Nicaraguan passports.”
Those Nicaraguan passports showed up in the apartment of the Islamist terrorists that bombed the World Trade Center in 1993. But it was not until a month after September 11, 2001 that the U.S. would finally confront the Nicaraguan foreign minister, and a day later a State Department official would single out three members of Ortega’s FSLN party for harboring terrorists in Managua.
Since then, U.S. engagement in the region has continued to wane, even as country after country has fallen to far-left regimes whose administrations are now manned by ex-terrorists and anti-American radicals that fully subscribe to their cause.
Almost monthly now a new report comes out warning of Iranian Quds Force or ETA terrorists operating in Latin America, yet we remain unable to even muster the votes to pass a trade agreement with Colombia, our strongest anti-terror ally in the region. And the OAS, so supportive a decade hence while the rubble was still smoldering at Ground Zero, now serves as a U.S.-funded Interests Section for the regimes that call 9-11 our comeuppance.
While one administration could have been said to be “distracted” by two wars and the building of a counter-terror infrastructure, the current and the next administration would be wise to watch our flank. While the passage of time often brings improved knowledge of the terrorist threat and better tools to defeat it, unfortunately, it also tends to dull our resolve.
Jon Perdue is Director of Latin American Programs at the Fund for American Studies. [Back to top]
Three weeks after 9/11, I wrote an article titled “Why This American Feels Safer” in which I noted that, unlike the 2/3s of my fellow countrymen who felt “less safe” than before the atrocities, I felt more secure. Twenty-two years after radical Islam started making war on the United States (counting from the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979), Americans finally took this threat seriously. “The newfound alarm is healthy, the sense of solidarity heartening, the resolve is encouraging.”
At the same time, I expressed a “worry about U.S. constancy and purpose,” fearing that the “United We Stand” spirit and resolve would dissipate over time. Has it, in fact, withered?
Trends over the past ten years are so complex and contradictory that I could argue both sides of the answer. If vigilance has prevented a repetition of 9/11, counterterrorism has reached the point that a White House policy document dares not even refer to terrorism in the title.
That said, overall, I think we are safer, and for one main reason: However much politicians, journalists, and academics obscure the nature of the threat and the proper response to it, 9/11 began a discussion about Islam and Islamism that has not stopped. As the years go by and its quality improves, I am increasingly heartened.
Daniel Pipes is president of the Middle East Forum and Taube distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution. [Back to top]
Even as you read this, armed agents of the Islamic Republic of Iran are plotting to kill Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan. Using the Qods Force, the overseas expeditionary unit of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is funneling arms, money, materiel and kill orders to his thugs. In Iraq, they are primarily Shias, who these days use monikers such as the Promised Day Brigade, Asaib Ahl al-Haq and Kataib Hezbollah; in Afghanistan, they are the Taliban and its ally, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the Wahhabi extremist who received hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. weaponry from our Pakistani “allies” during the 1980s fight to expel the Soviets from Afghanistan. Thankfully, the Treasury Department (not the CIA or the Pentagon) has pointed out these linkages between Iran and its Sunni proxies in a series of press releases and terrorism designation orders over the past few years.
That Iran should be arming and aiding Shiite and Sunni groups alike may come as a surprise to the grey beards at the CIA, who for decades have persisted in dividing the terror masters along sectarian lines. As Jim Woolsey told me when I was writing Countdown to Crisis: the Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iran, “the conventional wisdom is idiotic.” The intelligence community analysts who argued that Sunnis and Shias wouldn’t cooperate in killing Americans and attacking Israel reminded him of the experts in the 1930s who said the Communists and the Fascists would never work together. “Then, whoops, here comes the Hitler-Stalin pact. Intellectuals get involved in policy analysis and they think the intellectual roots of a movement are more important than the fact that they are totalitarians. This is extremely dangerous,” Woolsey said.
Despite the sacrifice and brilliant performance of our military, we are on the verge of losing both Iraq and Afghanistan to the Islamic Republic of Iran; and yet, we persist in pretending Iran is not at war with us. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta appears to have gotten the surprise of his life during his inaugural visit to Iraq as Defense Secretary in July, where he declared that, by God, Iranian agents were killing Americans and we were going to defend ourselves! Apparently, someone at the CIA had forgotten to draft the memo informing him that this has been going on since coalition forces first entered Iraq in March 2003.
Here at home, the apologists for the Islamic Republic, such as Trita Parsi and his mis-named National Iranian-American Council, would have us believe that we can reach an accommodation with the terror masters in Tehran. Essentially, what Parsi and his ilk are suggesting amounts to unilateral surrender: acknowledge that we have been bested by the ayatollahs and allow them to dictate the terms of our submission. In exchange, they might release the U.S. hostages they regularly take (former FBI agent Robert Levinson, the two hikers” captured along the Iraqi border, various Iranian-Americans “arrested” while visiting family) and stop killing our troops. Maybe.
Instead, we should be hitting the Iranian regime where they fear it the most: in their freedom deficit, by massively aiding the secular pro-freedom movement inside Iran. A good first step would be to take the Free Life Party of Kurdistan, PJAK, off the Treasury Department’s list of Specially-Designated Nationals, where they never belonged in the first place.
Ken Timmerman is President and CEO of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran. [Back to top]
“Wake up. Look at the television. Our country is under attack.”
That’s how I dragged our kids out of bed – here in the Alaska time zone – the morning of September 11. We held vigil throughout much of the day, prayed, cried, and found joy in the fact that some we had feared dead turned up alive. My wife had worked in the area of the World Trade Center before she moved to Alaska in 1990, and her sister’s husband was there. It turns out his crew of electricians had just left the roof of one of the towers and he was down on the street watching the airplanes hit.
We heard later that friends who refused to believe the all-clear signal are alive today because they kept trudging down the stairs. It was another few days before we knew the fate of a 90-year-old friend, who lived in an apartment so close that we had always met in the Twin Towers for breakfast. (He’d been packed off to a hospital, disoriented but fine.)
We were so far, and so close. Other families we know did not have happy endings that day. In the end, like everyone else, we were shocked, sad, and outraged. Our world was so small. The victims were so innocent. Mass murder and genocide were scourges we’d all hoped mankind would leave behind in this new millennium.
Since 9/11, I have said my prayers and paid my respects at two of the three ground zeroes. I have seen my friends and countrymen go off to war, and seen many – too many – return in wooden boxes. As a nation, we look for a “new normal” – one where our liberty and basic security is maintained. As always, these goals conflict.
For me, 9/11 has two lessons:
First of all, if we leave ourselves vulnerable, evil people will exploit our vulnerabilities. America was warned about the threat of hijacked aircraft – in government assessments and even in a Tom Clancy novel. We ignored them. Are we ignoring other threats based on wishful thinking? Missile attack from aggressors – whether state-actors or terrorist networks? Electromagnetic Pulse – where one well-placed detonation can disable our power and electronics? (We’ve been warned about that by a Congressional Commission and a far-from-fanciful novel, too: William Forstchen’s One Second After.)
Secondly, freedom must be constantly defended. The forces behind the 9/11 attacks abhor freedom, abhor democracy, abhor women’s rights, abhor education. It is a force which preys upon fear and ignorance. Our own response – which appropriately checks our vulnerabilities – must never check back our freedom.
Mead Treadwell serves as Lieutenant Governor of the State of Alaska. [Back to top]
A decade ago, I had no reason to believe that today I would be actively involved in fighting against an anti-Western Islamic ideology within cities and towns across America. It is now axiomatic, Americans are engaged in a “hot” war in several global theatres and we are confronting an equally dangerous cultural jihad within our courts, schools, media, universities, indeed in every aspect of American life.
Has this asymmetric civilian effort helped make the United States safer from Muslim terrorists or is it simply an illustration of well-intended people, tilting at windmills? In light of systemic failures of our Federal government, a less-safe, post 9/11 America is a sad fact. In order to correct this dangerous state of affairs and help decrease the Islamic threat condition, the creative use of direct citizen involvement will be required on a regular basis.
Though not for everyone, but simply as an illustration, I work with a team of people who believe it is important to enter the domain of the jihadist and expose the Imams, leaders and their messages through lawful and intelligent methodologies. My purpose in these few words is not to analyze one of our tactical operations but to point to the quality and character of the “new citizen,” who understands that they too must protect America from Islamic terrorism, in what will be a very long battle. Recently, our team set out for a well-known Islamic Center in a major US city.
As we neared the target, I stopped to drop off my three passengers, a former Catholic nun, a network engineer who wanted more meaning in his life and a retired CIA operations officer. The plan was simple. Individually enter the Islamic Mosque at different times and set up in prearranged positions with prepared questions and video cameras rolling. Our objective was clear cut, gather intelligence and expose terrorists in our continuing effort to make America safer from evil Muslim jihadists.
Comparatively, on this tenth anniversary of our contemporary “day of infamy,” we are actually less safe than we were on September 10, 2001 because those who are required to clearly identify and name the enemy have failed miserably, thus putting our nation at an unnecessary threat level.
Notwithstanding this unimaginable tragedy of our federal government, I have great hope that America will be made safer because of people like my three colleagues and their courage and determination to be the civilian “tip of the spear,” in this civilizational jihad. My friends understand the immediate necessity of protecting the USA from all enemies, even those hiding under the guise of a religion, exploiting western attributes of free speech while planning death, destruction and Islamic revolution.
Interestingly, my circle of friends has transitioned over these past ten years as have my interests in life and my focus on pragmatic and existential issues that ultimately matter. I now spend countless hours with committed patriotic friends, people who will shout, “I will go,” when called upon for action. As a result of this sacrificial attitude my disgust for our federal failures turns to hope and confidence, that once again, free people, standing on bedrock principles, empowered by unity of purpose, indeed will ensure that America is victorious over yet another campaign by the enemy against that which is right and just and true.
Victory is not obtained cheaply therefore a successful formula for winning this “war on terror,” requires both a top and bottom component working in a unified but separate manner, all with the same operational objective in view. At the top, our federal officials must repudiate the choke-hold of political sensitivities and understand that certain moments in history require putting the feelings of the few behind the security of the many.
In addition, at the bottom, in the street, from the historic depository of American fortitude, I implore good Americans of all stripes to come out of your slumber; plumbers, teachers, veterans, tired, old, young, e pluribus unum, and take to this epic fight. Whatever you have or have left, we can use it, we need it, America needs it, in fact your country needs you right now, right here, sign up, today…before it’s too late. We do not have another ten years to figure out how to get this right.
Oh, by the way, we have another operation planned…I’ll pick you up in an hour.
Tom Trento is founder of The United West and an author of Shariah: The Threat to America. [Back to top]
Highest on the list of “lessons learned” from the terrorist attack of September 11 was the need for a retooled U.S. intelligence capability that could “connect the dots” (according to the bumper sticker version) and keep us safe. Fast forward ten years and (classified) billions of dollars. Is U.S. intelligence in fact better, more agile, more capable today?
Judging by results, the short answer would seem to be yes. A decade of concentrated resources, energy, and creativity — plus at times the courage and sacrifice of brave individuals to whom all Americans are indebted — has transformed the U.S. intelligence enterprise to fight the war on terror. Intelligence successes range from the spectacular (such as penetrating Bin Laden’s compound) to the silent and deep: it is not by accident that America has not been hit again since 9/11.
But pull back the curtain and another chorus emerges:
- Intelligence support to military operations has been its defining center, yet “our vast intelligence apparatus still finds itself unable to answer fundamental questions about the environment in which we operate and the people we are trying to persuade.” (MG Mike Flynn, head of military intelligence in Afghanistan, January 2010.)
- What passes for domestic intelligence remains a catch-as-catch-can collage among Homeland Security agencies, FBI field offices and local law enforcement self-help, with “no unified national intelligence collection plan or even a recognized set of national intelligence requirements.” (Hon Charlie Allen, former DHS Undersecretary for Intelligence, February 2011.)
- The office of the Director of National Intelligence, created in 2005 to integrate, manage and improve U.S. intelligence, is roundly criticized for being just an added big layer of bureaucracy that lacks the necessary “authority,” “vision,” “coherence” [take your pick] to succeed.
- And in my old business of counterintelligence, there seems to be collective amnesia over what Ames, Hanssen and other espionage cases taught us about needing a better way of finding and stopping foreign spies.
Optimizing U.S. intelligence to fight a war on terror has necessitated tradeoffs in resource allocation, analytic effort, intelligence collection and other operations. Meanwhile, the rest of the world has not taken a time out. With U.S. attention diverted, traditional adversaries and some new ones have seized the opportunity to advance old agendas and exploit new relationships.
Moscow is bent on reconstituting a lost empire as the Russian people see democracy slip from their fingers. An increasingly aggressive China is building a blue water navy, cyber-attack tools and a military presence in space. And no one can say what the future holds for the Middle East where rebellions are replacing long-standing rulers in contests of historic change and unknown direction.
History looks back on the attack on Pearl Harbor as the morning that “awakened a sleeping giant and filled him with a terrible resolve.” There is no question that the events of September 11 instilled a similar resolve in our Nation’s leaders on that terrible day. Yet ten years later, I fear we may find ourselves more asleep to the larger threats ahead than we were on September 10. If so, the fault will not in the stars, or even in our adversaries, but in our own attitudes.
America, we hear, is in decline. Time to pull back from our far reaching presence in disparate corners of the globe. Time for others (the French, for example) to pull their own weight. Surely U.S. intelligence capabilities are good enough for a nation that has debilitating joblessness, a huge deficit and other economic worries at home. Aren’t they?
National leadership that manages expectations downward will tend to lead in that direction. And so we are told that soft power is the wave of the future. Speak loudly and carry a small stick. And leave U.S. intelligence to muddle through. Until the next time something goes horribly wrong.
Michelle Van Cleave was head of U.S. counterintelligence under President George W. Bush. [Back to top]
It is something to have gone ten years without an Islamic attack of similarly gigantic proportions to those of September 11, 2001, but it is not enough. That’s because the decade we look back on is marked by a specifically Islamic brand of security from jihad. It was a security bought by Bush and Obama administration policies of appeasement based in apology for, and irrational denial of Islam’s war doctrine, its anti-liberty laws, and its non-Western customs. As a result of this policy of appeasement – submission — we now stand poised on the brink of a golden age.
Tragically for freedom of speech, conscience and equality before the law, however, it is an Islamic golden age. What’s worse is that our central institutions have actively primed themselves for it, having absorbed and implemented the central codes of Islam in the years since the 9/11 attacks, exactly as the jihadists hoped and schemed.
Take the US military.
In Afghanistan, our forces are now “trained on the sanctity of the holy book [the Koran] and go to significant steps to protect it,” as the official ISAF website reported last year.
Are they similarly trained to take “significant steps” to “protect” other books? Of course not. It’s reckless and irresponsible to demand that troops make the protection of any book a priority in a war zone. But it’s not only the case that US troops have become protectors of the Koran in the decade since 9/11. “Never talk badly about the Qur’an or its contents,” ISAF ordered troops earlier this year. Did the Pentagon say that about Mein Kampf or the Communist Manifesto? They, too, were blueprints for world conquest the US opposed. Of course, the Koran is different — at least according to Islamic law, and that clearly makes it different for the Pentagon. Not incidentally, the ISAF directive further cautioned troops to direct suspects to remove Korans from the vicinity before troops conduct their searches – no doubt for the unstated fear that infidel troops might defile the protected book.
“None may touch the Koran but someone in a state of ritual purity,” the Islamic law book Reliance of the Traveller declares. And “ritual purity,” naturally, is a state no non-Muslim can achieve under Islam.
Since when did Uncle Sam incorporate Islamic law into military protocols? Since 9/11.
Take the State Department.
In July, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced a collaborative effort between the United States and the OIC, newly repackaged as Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (it used to be “C” for Conference). The get-together planned for Washington, DC is supposed to implement a non-binding resolution against religious “stereotyping” (read: Islamic “stereotyping”) that passed in March at the United Nations Human Rights Council. Such “stereotyping,” of course, includes everything from fact-based assessments linking Islamic doctrine and Islamic terrorism, to political cartoons. This makes this US-led international effort nothing short of a sinister attempt to snuff free speech about Islam. Which also makes it a US-co-chaired assault on the First Amendment. While this is treachery on the part of the US government, it also happens to be part and parcel of the OIC’s official ten-year-plan.
Since when did Uncle Sam get in the business of doing the bidding of the OIC? Since 9/11.
Such is the state of appeasement and Islamization ten years after the Twin Towers collapsed. Out of the clouds of dust and fire a golden age begins. Until we throw off this mental yoke of submission, it cannot be our own.
Diana West writes a weekly column that appears in about 120 newspapers, including the Washington Examiner. Her first book, The Death of the Grown-Up: How America’s Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization, was published in 2007. She is an author of Shariah: The Threat to America. She blogs at dianawest.net. [Back to top]
It would seem self evident that a decade after 9/11, we are both safer and less safe from the threat of jihad-both the foreign sourced jihad and the domestic variety. We are certainly safer post-9/11 because we are, as a nation, at least aware of the foreign and domestic threats. The Patriot Act is an important legislative regime to provide the intelligence and law enforcement tools to interdict threats. We are also safer because after the Center for Security Policy’s Team B II Report entitled, “Sharia: The Threat to America,” became must reading for all serious participants in the public discourse on this national security threat, there is at least the public cognizance that sharia is the normative threat doctrine that animates the mujahideen the world over. Indeed, this public discourse regarding the threat from sharia is best demonstrated by the Muslim Brotherhood-OIC-Secular Progressive “Syndicate” that has formed to deny the brute facts of the sharia threat doctrine exposed to all.
We are, unfortunately, less safe in at least two critical ways. First, the Obama administration, and indeed, the professional bureaucracy, which remains in place irrespective of the occupant in the White House, continues to worship at the altar of political correctness which demands a willful blindness to the threat emanating from a sharia-centric Islam. This studied ignorance prevents a serious governmental discussion about the role sharia plays in animating and directing jihad. Second, our national foreign policy and war doctrines are guided by a nation-building notion that is predicated upon the empirically false axiom that all nations and religions are essentially alike in their desire for freedom and prosperity. This becomes operationally a commitment to counter-insurgency warfare which in turn is built on the failed doctrine that limited war and “democratization” can convert hostile nations and peoples into peaceful allies and friends. If these policies and doctrines continue, the public discourse will be effectively mooted as we lurch from one Arab Spring turned sour to another.
David Yerushalmi is a lawyer specializing in litigation and risk analysis, especially as it relates to geo-strategic policy. Mr. Yerushalmi is today considered an expert on Islamic law and its intersection with Islamic terrorism and national security. He is the general counsel of the Center for Security Policy and an author of Shariah: The Threat to America. [Back to top]
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