Our Greatest Crisis Is Not ISIS, But Our Denial of It
By: Rabbi YY Jacobson
Terror in Turkey - Three Options
When faced with a gruesome enemy, there are two approaches: Retreat in fear, or go on the offensive.
But what if the enemy will pursue you wherever you are, so that retreat is ineffective? The only option then, it would seem, would be to take on your enemy and crush it; you’ve got no choice.
However, what if that goes against your entire way of thinking? If it runs contrary to everything you told yourself about the world around you? Then there is only one option left—and it is the most dangerous of all: deny the reality of the enemy; make believe he does not exist.
Two centuries ago, the French tyrant Napoleon Bonaparte was master of Europe. In Spain, an embattled English army under the Duke of Wellington was resisting his advance. One day a young lieutenant came into the British general's tent clutching a map in his trembling hands:
"Look, General the enemy is almost upon us!"
"Young man," the general replied coolly, "Get larger maps, the enemy won't seem so close."
This sums up the Presidency of Barack Obama.
After the Islamic State began releasing videos of American citizens being beheaded, White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett reportedly told President Barack Obama that Americans were worried that they would soon bring this violence here to the United States. Obama was unfazed.
“They’re not coming here to chop our heads off,” the president promised.
In his 2016 State of the Union address, Obama blithely dismissed the Islamic State as “fighters on the back of pickup trucks” who he said “do not threaten our national existence.”
As Marc A. Thiessen explained in a recent Washington Post column, Obama has openly declared that climate change is a much higher priority for him than terrorism because “ISIS is not an existential threat to the United States. Climate change is a potential existential threat to the entire world if we don’t do something about it.” Indeed, According to the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, who spent hours interviewing Obama about his foreign policy doctrine, the President “gets frustrated that terrorism keeps swamping his larger agenda” and “his advisers are fighting a constant rearguard action to keep Obama from placing terrorism in what he considers its ‘proper’ perspective, out of concern that he will seem insensitive to the fears of the American people.”
The “proper” perspective. No wonder, Mr. Thiessen points out, the president keeps getting the terrorist threat wrong. No wonder, just before the Islamic State took over large swaths of Iraq, Obama said stopping them was not “something that we have to wade into” because they did not pose “a direct threat to us.” No wonder, the day before the Islamic State carried out its massacre in Paris, Obama boasted “we have contained them.” No wonder, the day before the San Bernardino, Calif., massacre, Obama assured Americans they were safe from a Paris-style attack, declaring “The American people should feel confident that, you know, we are going to be able to defend ourselves and make sure that, you know, we have a good holiday and go about our lives.”
Well, on June 12, 2016, 49 Americans in Orlando were busy going about their lives when an Islamic State terrorist murdered them in cold blood. Almost the same numbers of travelers in Turkey were going about their lives this past Tuesday, June 28, 2016, as they were blown to pieces.
Responding to criticism of President Obama’s handling of terrorism, White House press secretary Josh Earnest boasted recently of all the setbacks the Islamic State has experienced in recent months, noting that in Iraq “45 percent of the populated area that ISIL previously controlled has been retaken from them. In Syria, that figure is now 20 percent.”
That’s like a patient who ignored a cancer diagnosis bragging that he finally reduced the tumor in his lung — glossing over the fact that he let it spread and metastasize to his other organs. If he had attacked the Islamic State cancer early, Obama could have stopped it from spreading in the first place. But instead, he dismissed the terrorist group as the “JV team” that was “engaged in various local power struggles and disputes” and did not have “the capacity and reach of a bin Laden” and did not pose “a direct threat to us.” He did nothing, while the cancer grew in Syria and then spread in Iraq. Our leaders did nothing as thousands were slain in the most barbaric ways, as genocide and ethnic cleansing became a fun sport, as thousands of girls were sold as sex slaves.
Now the cancer has spread. Its goal is to sow destruction and death everywhere, from Sydney to Orlando.
According to a recent CNN analysis, since declaring its caliphate in 2014, the Islamic State has carried out more than 90 attacks in 21 countries outside of Iraq and Syria that have killed 1,390 people and injured more than 2,000 others. The Islamic State has a presence in more than a dozen countries and has declared “provinces” in Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Washington Post reported in 2015 that “since the withdrawal of most U.S. and international troops in December, the Islamic State has steadily made inroads in Afghanistan” where it has “poured pepper into the wounds of their enemies . . . seared their hands in vats of boiling oil . . . blindfolded, tortured and blown apart [villagers] with explosives buried underneath them.”
Gun Control Debate
Astoundingly, in the aftermath of the Orlando blood bath, our President and many leaders went back to call for gun control.
Sure, anyone with a questionable background and possible link to terror groups and a Jihadist inclination should never be allowed to purchase a weapon. That is common sense. That law should be implemented immediately. But to see the core of the issue as gun control would be akin to saying that the key solution to defeating Nazi Germany in 1945 was to avoid selling guns in Europe to anyone who wanted to own them.
There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. FYI, Mohammed is the most popular name for a child today on our planet. If we are to assume that the large majority of them are peaceful citizens, and only a very small fraction, say five percent of Muslims, believe in Jihad, we have on earth today 80 million (!) people who are ready to do what the Jihadist in Orlando did! That is 80 million who are ready to die so that all “infidels” die!
And even if you are a staunch optimist and claim that only one percent of Muslims embrace Jihad, that is an awful 16 million—more than the entire Jewish nation.
And what if the number is higher than five percent?
Does nobody get this?
Tuesday, June 14, 2016, President Obama, explaining why he doesn’t use the phrase “radical Islam,” asked the question, “What exactly would using this label accomplish? What exactly would it change?”
The question itself indicates the mess we are in. As Ed Rogers put it in a recent essay, the difference is that calling these terrorists what they are — radical Islamists — would be reassuring to those Americans who have doubts about Obama’s proficiency as commander in chief. After all, he is the one who used the term “jayvee team” to describe the Islamic State. He is the one who declared Iraq “sovereign, stable and self-reliant.” He is the one who took six years to declare the Ft. Hood shooting a terrorist attack and not an incident of “workplace violence.”
Using the phrase “radical Islam” isn’t about trying to make the Islamic State “less committed to trying to kill Americans.” Mr. President, it is not about the Islamic State, it’s about you. Your specific refusal to use the term rattles Americans and increases doubts about your grasp of the threat that the Islamic State presents.
Some people like to boast that our Nobel Peace Prize-winning president ended two wars. The fact is, this president has neither won nor ended any wars. At the end of his eight years in office, the United States will be facing more grinding conflicts than existed when he won the presidency.
When it came to terrorist networks, the George W. Bush administration had a mantra: We’re going to fight them over there so that we do not have to face them here at home. Obama abandoned that mantra. And now the danger is getting closer to home with each passing day.
The enemy is ruthless and cruel—a throwback to the 7th century. The greatest crisis today is not ISIS; it is a lack of leadership to confront it, or even demonstrate that it understands what we are dealing with.
At such times, what the world needs is resolute and confident leadership. We need leaders who can name the enemy, who can articulate the evil facing us, and then go ahead to vanquish it. Sadly, we got neither.
Imagine if in 1945, Roosevelt and Churchill would declare that the most serious issue facing humanity was global warming. We would deem them insane. Well, today, we have young Islamists blowing themselves up around the world every week, killing and maiming thousands upon thousands of innocents; we have ISIS operatives everywhere, and our leaders are out for lunch. Do they really not realize the depth of cruelty, barbarity, and hatred we are facing?
What type of brainwashing and venom does it take to inspire a 17-year-old to enter the bedroom of a 13 year old Jewish girl and stab her 18 times?!
It baffles me why is it that as ISIS paraded down public highways in Iraq, with thousands of fighters cheering and dancing we did not bomb them and finish them off? Why did we allow--and we still allow--this most vicious cancer to enjoy the time and freedom to grow and spread around the world?
In this week’s Torah portion, ten of the spies whom Moses had sent to spy out the land came back with a report calculated to demoralize the nation.
“We came to the land to which you sent us. It flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. However, the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large ... We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are ... The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height ... We seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.” [Numbers 13: 27-33]
How could they say such nonsense? They had left Egypt, the greatest empire of the ancient world, after a series of plagues that brought that great country to its knees. They crossed the sea that split. They stood at Sinai. They ate the manna.
But they were struck by fear—and this is the nature of fear. When you are afraid of something, it often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Those who say, “We cannot do it” are probably right, as are those who say, “We can.” If you lack confidence you will lose. If you have it – solid, justified confidence based on preparation and past performance – you will win.
In every generation, we need the leaders who will fearlessly define the enemy, and then fearlessly advance to defeat it.
Source: The Yeshiva.net
Source: The Yeshiva.net