Homeland Security in the Northeast: Better or Worse?
Marion D. S. Dreyfus
Special to Think & Ask
Half an hour late, Lisa M. Black, director of New York City Public Affairs and legislative media director for the much-storied Senator Joseph (Joe) Bruno (R-NY,) comes in like a whirlwind. Alert, attractive all-American face, hair pulled back tightly in a ponytail to counteract the swampy 100 percent humidity of a wilty Noo Yawk summer day, a mischievous smile topped a fairly low-cut sleeveless white piqué baby doll-style top.
She's like Ari Gold in Entourage, completely on top of it all. Snap: Facts, figures, pending legislation, back-room semi-deals and important state and city pol names rat-a-tatting out of her, shooting fast, smart, knowledgeable answers to every question. She's slightly evasive when we ask about illegal immigration and the people picking up cheap hands in Queens for various construction sites. We all notice. We’re sorry we wasted that prime first 'recognition op' to get her feedback on the matter most on our mind.
Fortunately, T&A is right next to her, so we can snag attention the minute we venture a hand with a more relevant question. Now: Wait for enough of the others to ask her their reportorial bête noirs to get called on. Again. Surprisingly, there's a tinge of resistance to answering: She’ll “get back to” us when she has more time.
It isn't a slam-dunk, this issue of homeland security -- despite its megaton primacy in this target of targets city, others are jingling on her cell to ask about sexy hot-button congestion pricing, education tax credits, and the outsize impact of looming Mitchell Lama housing expirations and associated concerns.
Others clamor for her attention at the meeting, at the toney law firm on the 22nd floor of the Bloomberg building on Park and 59th, with a view downtown that only emphasizes how vulnerable we are to aerial attack or other giga-resident mischief, should that particular avenue be tried again.
She isn't the sole purveyor of this blistering concern --we are interviewing a dozen and some of those in the know-- even on the down-low-in this issue. She is, maybe, the zestiest.
Snap. True to her word, like other exceptional professionals --when they say they will mail or e-mail you a name or give you some time on the phone--they do precisely that. She gets back to us the next morning.
"Fact is," she doesn't shilly-shally when she addresses the homeland security questions, "we’re going to be hit again. We just don't know when.
"Homeland Security is an enormous undertaking. The Federal Department of H.S. has a complex network of over 200,000 non-uniformed employees, but 95 percent of domestic security is handled by localities -- to me, that's a good thing. The NYPD is by far the finest police department in the world, and that should give New Yorkers comfort."
This very morning, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in answer to a question on how many people are working on this H.S. concern, says there are "several thousands of police" working tirelessly on “keeping us safe”-- some uniformed, most not, which accords with views we heard from uniformed beat cops in the World Trade Center area, and in the Grand Central area, special guards called Public Safety Officers in the Business Improvement District (BID.)
Bloomberg carefully shades his answers so as not to be too carelessly definitive. Hearing people from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) talk about the shocking paucity of border control agents down South doesn’t comfort listeners involved with keeping our borders impregnable and our country uncompromised. So Bloomberg, in his affectless, nasal Connecticut mini-honk, has it about right: You don't hand your opponent the exact location, dimensions and keys of your rifle storage unit.
T&A: What about constituent concerns?
Black: With regard to constituent concerns, Senator [Vincent] Leibell [R-NY]-- as chairman of the Senate Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee-- has heard from New Yorkers all over the state. A large number of New Yorkers are concerned about New York State -- New York City, principally (it is after all in the unceasing gun sights, unlike up-staters) being the No.1 target for terrorist activity. The senator has heard some concern for the lack of border protection, up north, going into Canada. Other common concerns are those about air travel, where there’s overwhelming support for security details at area airports.
T&A: What about the delays and irritation factor for travelers?
Black: Hardly anyone minds a few extra minutes on line at an airport for thorough examination -- so long as it keeps them safe. Personally, the level of attention to security at our New York airports provides me with comfort.
T&A: Is there anything new on the horizon on these issues?
Black: A new, very successful concept after 9/11 was the Fusion Center (UNYRIC) in Latham, NY, where there's a joint operation between the Feds (FBI, NSA,) state police, NYPD and military officials. They are run by the state police and act as an information clearinghouse and think tank for anti-terrorism activities. Their basic role is to take in information from frontline departments, process threats, and communicate those back to the localities.
Information we didn’t hear from others.
Interested in the track record of this initiative, we ask how it's been doing. "This Center has been so successful that similar facilities have been created in [Washington] D.C. and Pennsylvania to do the same thing," she said. This Center also provided the background leading to the arrests of the Lackawanna 6 in 2002.
Going forward, what does she recommend to ensure continued vigilance?
Black: "Personally, as it relates to my own sense of what's going on here in the city, I think we need to continue to support our local first responders."
She agrees with NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly that we need to increase starting salaries of the NYPD to make it more attractive to recruit and retain members of New York's Finest: "They’re the ones we look to in times of desperation. They need the resources to support that dedication. I also agree [with Kelly] that we need a funding formula that works for NYS."
Adding, "Currently the State Department of Homeland Security employs about 30 personnel -- they have undertaken quite a responsibility. They help keep us safe, but we need to make certain they have the resources proportionate to the level of danger in NYS."
The NY Sun reported on July 12, 2007, that senators Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton are still, after nearly six years, seeking the monies promised to offset the exorbitant cost of local security hires and expenditures, with an assertively pointed headline: Terror Prediction Elicits Exasperation.
The exasperation referred to is reaction to Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff's recent public gaff to the Chicago Tribune that he had a "gut feeling there'd be a terror attack this summer" -- a 'gutsy' sentiment that garnered widespread derision throughout the blogosphere and mainstream media.
In his caustic fashion, the next day, Senator Schumer [D-NY] commented, "Hopefully, Secretary Chertoff's 'premonition' signals a change in his thinking about how much funding to send New York this year."
What we have come to call homeland security, its having gone through a Roget's Thesaurus of prior nomenclatures, requires ongoing dedication to wrestle with the hydra-headed ugly of Islamo-Fascism, striving to assimilate them, somehow, into the fabric of 21st century metropolitan lives.
Since early in this new century, and our profound losses in blood and treasure, we don't easily dismiss these concerns, even when we are on holiday, away from the store --so to speak-- even when we pull up the duvet.
One of the world's leading authorities on terrorism and its effects on the financial markets is Dr. Yossi Ben-Dak.
Ben-Dak is a University of Michigan PhD in Sociology and Conflict Resolution, with academic credentials ranging through an impressive number of different fields including Islam, forecasting methodology, communication, wearable computing, regional development, new and compounded areas of technology and terror as a major phenomenon in global economics. His real-life experience is unmatched when it comes to this troubling topic.
Ben-Dak served as the highest science and technology officer in the United Nations Development Program and visited Islamic Madrasat educational systems in Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Northwestern China. He has researched reconciliation potential in the Muslim and Arab world. Concerned with terror prospects in radical Islam over the past decades, he has authored over 300 policy and reflection monographs. In the past decade he has consulted with investment banks, governments, airlines, governmental and industrial corporations regarding terror and unobtrusive systems of intervention and productive growth, in spite of constraining realities. Like Bloomberg, Ben-Dak does not discuss future modalities of current efforts, but holds views that go against the Pollyanna fecklessness of many of today's go-to talking heads.
A dark, curly-haired --if taller-- Yoda, Ben-Dak has a most serious demeanor delightfully leavened at unexpected moments by a young, airy laugh. In the high-IQ association, MENSA, it is understood that a lightning wit and ready humor are correlates of extreme intelligence. That would seem to be key to understanding Ben-Dak, who though parsimonious with his words is sophisticated in his formulations, as befits his long experience and intellectual firepower. Ben-Dak addresses several of the problems that have still not been addressed since the first WTC bombing in NYC in February 1993.
Ben-Dak: The same systems as were in place before are there still. But what Mayor Giuliani failed to adequately change, Bloomberg hasn't advanced very far, either.
He captionizes the problem caught in the Nicholas Cage film of the 9/11 attack titled World Trade Center.
"Homogenization across different systems and departments," Ben-Dak said. "The problem goes beyond just phones or radios that are disparate or keyed to different frequencies or servers.
"The problem goes to jealously guarded fiefdoms and turf wars. Those who could homogenize, with some difficulty but eventual success, have yet to do so adequately." Ben-Dak circled back to a subject he thinks is getting too little airtime. "Testing. The majority of events that are being intercepted are not 'failed attempts.' The fact that we have discovered them before they became operational is nothing more, it seems, than sheer luck. The majority of these things are likely dry runs. It is inconceivable that so many flukes could afflict so many highly trained, disciplined individuals who are deadly serious about what they are up to."
The summer’s curious airline confiscations that include odd devices like homemade switches, relays, wired clay-like substances, gel-less ice-packs, black-cheese packages duct-taped to alarm clocks, all fall into the category of dry runs, according to anti-terror expert Steve Emerson, speaking on the Glenn Beck show in late July. Emerson is concerned that the confiscations were not accompanied by extensive grilling of those who tried to smuggle them onto airplanes.
“What was their ethnicity? Where do they come from? What is their political affiliation? Where were they educated?” asks Emerson. “All these are critical to an understanding of what the ‘passengers’ were planning with these odd carry-ons.”
Rich Galen, a strategist advising the current White House administration, who served six months in Iraq, in his July article, "Chertoff's Innards," likened Chertoff's inauspicious off-the-cuff remark to his "aunt's bunions on the weather."
Ben-Dak believes, in re Chertoff's 'gut' remark, that Chertoff couldn't really say what he might have said, so he compromised and opined what became a fairly ridiculed offhand remark.
"His compromise between saying nothing at all. Or too much."
T&A: How do you define the problem today?
Ben-Dak: What exactly is behind this thing we call terror? My main conclusion is that the simplest of observations is missing in the Western media. Specifically, when describing suicide murderers, you should talk about money, power and cold-blooded murders, then see who is behind it. Have you seen a single Muslim cleric blow himself up? Any number of [Muslim] politicians or religious leaders who sacrifice themselves for the cause recently? Ever? You don’t find a relative of anyone influential in the Arab world or anyplace that has radical involvement in such self-destructing terror. Basically, you don't really expect any religious leaders to do that themselves -- or their sons. I’m extremely amazed at how many of the people we call suicide murderers are outcast women, naïve children, mentally challenged, or young hotheads.
Commentator and strategist Dr. Daniel Pipes, also the director of the Middle East Forum monthly, has been studying and speaking on these issues for close to 40 years. He corresponded with T&A on these exigent concerns.
In response to where he sees a shortfall of focus, Pipes said, "There is a reluctance to address the ideological basis of the war." He has saluted President George W. Bush, for the most part, on the president's staunch recognition of the dangers posed by Islamic extremism, though he holds the President’s feet to the fire for bending to PC linguistic fashions of the moment. Bush wavers in all-important anti-terror word usage.
Insofar as NYC preparedness goes, Pipes observed: "Although we have advanced, so have our enemies." And as for the current safety of our region, "The NYPD has been monitoring the mosques to good effect." He faults local law enforcement with a mantra he repeats at every policy analysis and presentation throughout the country, several of which this reporter has attended. Each of which, by the way, is greeted by vociferous, sometimes violent Arab Muslim ‘student’ protests occasionally threatening enough to shut down discussion altogether. Pipes gets numerous death threats, and has a security detail. "Authorities still fail to acknowledge that the Islamist problem is almost exclusively a Muslim problem."
Beefing up security and safety? Pipes doesn't mince words. "We must accept the fact that, just as all rapists are men, all Islamist terrorists are Muslim." Weblog - www.danielpipes.org/blog; www.meforum.org
Only a year ago, Muslim writer and pundit Abdelrahman Al Rashid, manager of pan-Arab TV network Al-Arabiya Television, said much the same thing. He launched a storm when he stated, not unlike the words of sentinel Pipes, "While all Muslims may not be terrorists, all terrorists are now Muslims."
To professor Yahlah Osephi [not her real name], a political science and tenured teacher at one of the city's major colleges, who specializes in these areas here and abroad, there are numerous current issues that few are paying heed to. Because she would be at some risk for speaking pubicly, she requested we use a pseudonym and would not provide any biographical details for publication.
T&A had a brace of prospective interviewees who refused to disclose not only what they did (undercover work) or where they did what they did, but even their names. Their spouses, who all bore different surnames than their husbands, were forbidden to provide any information beyond the fact that they "worked on homeland security" and couldn't imperil their spouses, even by indirection or accidental mention of a city or industry. No telephoning or cajolery would persuade them to share either duties or insights.
Osephi on the recent 'doctor' plots: "Recent situations in England and Glasgow do not seem likely. These are physicians, well aware of chemical and biological reactions. They are trained and knowledgeable in what they were doing. That even one attack would 'fail'-- let likely alone two or three in such a short space of time? These so-called foiled events are more in the way of testing."
The autopilot bots in jihadi factions or vanilla terror freelancers were testing the reactions of local or international defense forces, to Osephi.
T&A brought up the so-called "six Imams" flying from Minneapolis/St. Paul using suspect, provocative behaviors in 2006. The majority of blogger reactions at the time, for instance, from those who keep a weather eye on these events, showed a preponderance of agreement on this aspect of the 2006 krypto-event. Readers didn’t buy the notion that six Muslim men were simply innocent flying male Gidgets without portfolio.
Osephi concurred: "The six Islamic clerics were absent any real weapons or seeming ill-intent. Yet what did they do? They made an enormous fuss, spoke Arabic loudly, called out what seemed like aspersions, referred to [Osama] Bin Laden and Saddam, requested special treatment, changed seats, sought seatbelt extenders, and in general made themselves impossible to ignore? Testing. Asking for legal challenges, seeking to test how solid the reaction of airline officials might be. Even pushing the limits -- how many stunts will politically correct American passengers swallow without complaint? When the traveling clerics were asked to deplane, it looked like another civil rights controversy against post-9/11 airport security."
Lawrence Wright authored the prescient 1998 anti-terror NYC-based thriller The Siege (directed by Edward Zwick.) His looks strangely evoked Democrat prez-hopeful John Edwards, at least to us. Wright said the underlying reason terrorists are so hell-bent on conquering all of us is to "erase the history of their centuries-long humiliation" at the hands of the West.
"We love life," he said, "and they love death." They will keep annoying and pestering us, Wright said, until "we are overextended, until we give up, depleted. And they will have won." Wright calls Al Qaeda, no irony, "a suicide machine." As to why they threaten us so relentlessly, he adds coolly. "AQ is an instinct, a reaction. Like a snakebite. They don't need to run a country. They don't have welfare. Or politics, theory or higher education departments."
They conceive of themselves as pure. "Where purity is a program," Wright observed, "terror is not far behind."
Strategist and military consultant Edward Luttwak, speaking with us from across the Atlantic, where he was attending the nuptials of his offspring, had little to say about homeland security here. But having lived for years in Italy, he noted how Rome handles its potential 'terror visitors.' We have been to Luttwak's capacious Chevy Chase, MD, residence, surrounded by Luttwak's extensive military library. He served as a consultant under President George Herbert Walker Bush, in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Council and the US Department of State. We were glad to re-connect with his insights on military strategy and oppositional engagement.
In answer to the money question, local homeland security, Luttwak responded that he does not follow it, per se. "I work only on interceptions overseas, not in H.S. activities. I do know that the lack of sophisticated advisers on duty for passport control at airports in the U.S. is a missed opportunity for agencies tasked with our safety." On the other hand, with the benefit of his years in Italy, "Italians recruit suspects right there at the airports, apparently with good results."
Luttwak expands his answer. "In Italy, all foreigners meet visa officers, then go to passport control. After that they disappear. If not hooked the first time, they are targeted with the second pass-through. If the foreigner comes from a known jihadi township, he fails to obtain entry."
Different from the scenario at JFK International.
'Speculative novelist,' Amazon's appellation, Greg Bear, whose latest mainstream work is Quantico, maintains "Domestic terrorism is the worry," unlike the thinking of the people who think a "drive-by three-week guard training" of the Grand Central BID say, will do anything to stanch a violent or catastrophic attack. There are several dozens of the latter in the BID zone around Grand Central. They do not carry guns. They carry Walkie Talkies.
To which, Osephi cautions: "They don't need to come here by plane. They’re already here. They've been here for years. The fact that they haven't 'done anything' yet just means they are disciplined."
Another who is no wide-eyed naïf, Rabbi (Sensei) Gary Moskowitz, his website headline, surprises one with his Kelvinator attitude. A martial arts expert who has trained hardcore military in the Israeli Defense Forces as well as local Big Apple Finest, he has a chill appraisal of the current situation that bypasses tooth decay sweet-talk. During the time of the infamous Crown Heights riots, in 1991, in which Yankel Rosenbaum, a rabbinical student who happened to be walking on the street, was set upon and knifed by a mob of some 19 neighborhood black teens, he worked closely with the victim's brother, Norman Rosenbaum. The murder followed the accidental death of a child in a traffic mishap during the difficult days of David Dinkins' blighted mayoralty.
The sensei, open and youthful at initial glance, is a guy you wouldn't want to mess with in an alley. An ordained rabbi and former NYC police officer, he's also an ultra- martial arts hard-body. This puts him in the camp of, well, probably a very small club; a club of maybe one.
T&A: What are some of the changes or modifications you introduced, Rabbi Moskowitz, to enhance safety in the city?
"[Call me] Gary, please. Small differences can make for a big end result. In Israel, I was part of a special unit that had to go into especially sensitive situations. Rather than appear in heavy military gear and uniforms, which would make everybody edgy and resistant, I counseled them to go in wearing civvies. The potentially explosive problem the IDF expected in various confrontational areas failed to ignite."
T&A: What about the U.S., especially the NYC region?
"The FBI only has about 11,000 agents--but to utilize their resources to the fullest, even with such a relatively small cadre, they hook up with various NYC task forces to expand their reach," Moskowitz said.
According to the FBI's website the numbers were:
- Total FBI agents: 28,576
- Total special agents: 12,156
- Total support professionals: 16,420
- More than 1,200 analysts; 1,000 informational technology experts
- More than half the force have advanced degrees; there are chemists, geologists, mathematicians, even metallurgists in the mix
- More than 2,400 speak a second or third language with native proficiency Post-9/11 hires: 5,606 (2,731 special agents; 2,875 support) –According to Senator McCain, when we spoke, this is pitifully undermanned, and many thousands more need to become proficient Arabic speakers
- Of the above: Minorities and women agents--16,000
- Agents stationed abroad: 200
- Global legal attachés: 47
- Several hundred local contingent staffers: short-term or occasional
The sensei/rabbi speaks very quickly, and is quite sure of his insights about controlling malfeasants. Moskowitz can be forgiven if he's not up on the very latest figures. He is up instead on modalities that offer assistance in our battle: He advises deputizing officers for the day, adding substantially to the FBI's digits. They expand their reach, yet don't become top-heavy with permanent overhead. More important, "The local deputies know the area, so they come in ready for action, aware of what's going down. The DC FBI guys wouldn't be anywhere near as alert to the region's problems as the local deputies," he said.
Demonstrating he isn't all talk, he enumerates other initiatives he brought first to the Israeli special units ("YOMAM-yechida moshallim m'yuchedet") before applying them in New York.
"Special agents wear local clothing, not uniforms, to cut down on potential tension. They avoid nightsticks that cops have usually used. Instead, they use restraint tactics: Special holds from jujitsu. A strategic elbow or twist to the wrist that won't create permanent trauma, but stops rampaging. Japanese police use it all the time."
He advocates high-power, focused light instead of regular flashlights. Outside of the force, he now teaches the NYPD how to trap felons and provides specialized training, and feels he makes a much more pronounced impact. He likes being a consultant, he says. "Avoids any problems with nepotism and cronyism."
As a way to better protect police officers, his security program focuses on several modalities. In the course of his workweek, Moskowitz goes to churches and synagogues--especially down South, he adds--to ensure the safety of houses of worship. He advocates an Easy-Pass for synagogues and churches: Regular congregants have their photos on a card, with recommendations from three well-known local citizens, so established, legit locals vet them. Ministers and rabbis won't have to worry about strangers suddenly dropping in, unscheduled. If a newcomer wants to attend services, Moskowitz advises them to call ahead to the synagogue or church of choice. Such prescreening will obviate unwelcome surprises experienced in many schools or meeting halls in Iraq. www.keepamericasafe.org.
The sensei acknowledged the way former Police Commissioner William Bratten, and current Commissioner Raymond Kelly, as well as Mayor Giuliani, controlled crime in the city. He does concede, "Giuliani hauled in lots of teens who may have been innocent. They were off the streets. They hadn't done anything, maybe, but they now had a police sheet. But crime plummeted."
Not missing a beat, he adds that a strong part of any grounded security program is that people must sue organizations that support pro-terror, bringing criminal charges against such groups.
"The writ of mandamus should be invoked far more often." For example, Yasir Arafat, to Moskowitz, should not have been permitted to leave the States back in Giuliani's tenure without being hauled into court for his multiple crimes against New Yorkers and other Americans. "The government didn't do its job," he states. "Likewise, law enforcement knows about the illegal interstate trade in cigarettes, narcotics, prostitution and gas that’s been funneling money directly to terror groups for a long time."
Ken Smith, a Libertarian retired businessman and blogger based in the Midwest, now an investment analyst, said, "I firmly believe the believing public ought to be imprisoned for purposive ignorance." To Smith, citizens owe it to themselves to defend themselves, more than depending on state or municipal authorities. Knowing more. Voting. Being on the alert.
T&A: If this is as widespread as it seems to be--just this week Texas wholesalers became suspicious of a group of Middle Eastern men coming in and buying over 1,100 prepaid cell phones, going from store to store to divert suspicion-- why hasn't the FBI moved aggressively?
Moskowitz: The State Department has quashed tight surveillance on these suspect or pre-criminal acts because they were after other goals that would have been soured by prosecuting these crimes.
With a rueful throwaway, Moskowitz noted what has long rankled pro-Israel advocates: "Arab countries have about 55 embassies. Lots of diplo jobs. Israel? One embassy: Not many sinecures there."
Another reason the pressure stayed away from overt Muslim extremist activities, according to Moskowitz: "The FBI told me that the State Department pressures them to open dossiers to 'balance the violence' from the extremist Arabs. They sought out fringe Jewish groups that barely moved the needle in terms of any violence at all. But their computers and documents were seized, and the newspapers made a big deal out of nothing." He added that every two-penny demonstration and rally "is 'way overprotected by police and security. Total waste of resources," he sighs.
Example ready to hand: At the anti-illegal immigration rally in New Jersey on July 28, for instance, there were some 100 pro-No borders activists vs. some 450 strict borders advocates. There were approximately 20 sheriff’s SWAT guys in bulletproof Kevlar gray, face visors, guns, truncheons. There were 20 to 40 state troopers in high boots and navy uniforms. Choppers hovered overhead. There were at least a handful of police with rifles. We were frisked, wanded, our backpack was gone through, and our water bottles and flag sticks were confiscated. All this to stand and listen to speakers on a lawn on a blistering hot Saturday in clean, domestic Morristown. Overkill? It would have been, except that during the morning, some one had called in a threat to the life of the mayor (who had that week voted to enforce the strict laws against hiring illegals.)
Moskowitz: "The legal system ensures that during discovery, defendants will have their financial assets frozen and be forced to open their books. Information gleaned from these disclosures of private records makes it easier to prosecute--and jail--them."
We must, he said, carefully check organizations that claim to be Muslim "charities," but whose dollars go to Hamas, Hezb'Allah, Fatah or other State Department-flagged terror groups. Some "Museum" associations, on closer examination, have turned out to be "Muslim" associations. People have donated to them under false pretenses. During her senatorial campaign, for instance, Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) was forced to return $75,000 that came under a false name, but from such a "Museum" front for a terror-support group.
T&A: How about the future?
Moskowitz: We aren't doing anything we should be doing, really. Mostly, it's cosmetic. The public must be educated. It's not the fault of the buy on the beat, or the police in general. Everybody must realize that--like every supermarket in Israel--people must be routinely searched. We have to be better prepared, and we aren't. Be pro-active.
He hits at the PC hot button: "We have to racial-profile. We have to be careful and to discriminate, look for certain criteria, of course. It's just common sense. But peaceful, moderate Arabs must speak up."
Abbe Stubenhaus, genial green-eyed, salt-and-pepper-bearded principal of a parochial high school in Brooklyn, father of three, has an abiding interest in safety and security. He puts plainly what many have been saying for years on the talk-radio circuit.
He said, "Where are all the Muslims who disagree with those who insist on calling suicide bombers and terrorists 'extremists'? It's difficult to believe that one billion people are all busy. What are they--all doing the dishes? Don't they listen to the news?" [The oft-cited 1.1 billion of Muslims may be inflated, since demographers put the numbers at between 700 million to 800 million.]
"Some ostriches insist on calling the jihadi conscript murderers ‘exceptions.’ Remember Huey Newton? [Black Panther founder, ca. 1966-72] Newton said, 'If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.' These 'silent majority' Muslims who fail to speak up are as much a part of the problem as their more activist brothers," he said.
In a recent article in his respected online magazine, World Net Daily, Joseph Farah, an Arab-American evangelical journalist who began WorldNetDaily.com, one of the internet's premier, most comprehensive, sites for Mid-East commentary, suggests a redirection of efforts in order to bring an end to the worldwide terrorist threat.
The mustachioed Farah, in person as elegantly understated as he is relaxed and clear on his mission, has the charm of an evolved John Cusack. Farah suggested, "Peace can only be achieved, as Ronald Reagan and Winston Churchill instructed us, by striving for strength and sticking to principle. Peace is nearly always an option for those facing armed aggression. You can usually achieve it through surrender. But that usually brings about other consequences, like loss of freedom."
Farah suggested we stop gorging on the goal of an amorphous and indefinable "peace" and start stressing "freedom" for all. Farah: People who are free will be interested in maintaining a peaceful country.
Funding those who support terror directly or indirectly has only encouraged the name-brand terror troops here and abroad. "It is time to change our policy from one that has not produced results," he said. Farah's suggestions seem valid.
Homeland Security tsar Chertoff seems to be unduly solicitous of Muslim sensibilities, such as the population of Dearborn, MI, according to journalist/crusader Debbie Schlussel, who calls this city 'Dearbornistan' for its massive Muslim count and its strong pro-Wahhabist bent in polls and support; residents who fail to decry not only fanatics waging war on us from their original homelands, but also support actual jihadis. Chertoff’s campaign of late has been to urge ‘compassion and understanding,’ Kumbaya respect for this religion that advocates cutting us off by whatever means.
At the Manhattan offices of the Republican Women’s Club on July 28, Senator John McCain (R-AZ,) in a dusky rose tie and impeccable black suiting, reaffirmed to T&A the primacy of this issue today, and noted with some impatience that not one of the Democratic candidates in the recent July YouTube/CNN ‘debate’ had been questioned on the ‘runaway Islamic radicalism’ that is “probably more important than any other single issue of our time.” In person, McCain looks one straight in the eye with disarming charm. He is not as tall in person as he appears on TV, but makes up for it in quick affability and candor. The fabled temper was in check, even when pestered with the same question, and the same questioner, four straight times.
Joanna Marzullo, slender, attractive and articulate president of New Yorkers for Immigration Control and Enforcement (deliberately the same acronym as the US border control ICE, ‘because they are congruent in philosophies and goals,' they claim) said, in answer to our question about how she regards the safety situation in the region following 9/11:
"Since then, we still have some of the same bureaucratic incompetence, despite slight strides to protect our country. For example, people from known terrorist-generating countries were told to register with immigration a few years ago. However, those that were here illegally or fraudulently, by and large, were allowed to remain.
"I have made calls to NYC's ICE to report illegals and I am always told that I will not be updated as to what action they take against the illegal, if any. At the very least, I believe that Immigration and Customs Enforcement should be held accountable to the American people--Americans who report known illegals should be briefed as to the actions taken against the undocumented alien they have reported. It is this clandestine bureaucratic buffoonery that was a precondition for the 9/11 attacks. That was a precondition for the 9/11 attacks," said Marzullo.
T&A: Do you feel safer than before, Joanna?
Marzullo: Do I personally feel safer? No, I absolutely do not think we are safe, and know that most, if not all, of my NY ICE members feel the same. Our Commander-in-Chief, Bush, could have militarized our borders during any time of his presidency if he had honestly prioritized border security.
And as for how I might suggest changing the status quo, of course, there are things that the government should be doing, but isn't. How about enforcing current immigration law for a change? Before we start contemplating giving millions of illegal aliens a 'path to citizenship' (amnesty) why don't we enforce current immigration law? Laws like employer sanctions, which make it illegal to hire non-citizens and provide for a fine. We already had an amnesty in 1986, when there were, at most, 3 million illegal aliens. That was only some 20 years ago, and now we are already contemplating another amnesty, and this time there are over 12 million illegal aliens in our country. The solution is NOT accommodation to illegals, but enforcement of current immigration law. Secure the border, of course, so that the deported can’t simply just walk the border again, back into our country. Right now, we’ve had illegals with multiple deportations return to America again to commit more crimes. For example, an illegal alien named Hugo Hernandez, someone who’d already been deported multiple times for assaulting other officers, assaulted NYPD Officer Angel Cruz, recently.
T&A: Has Marzullo any particular bone to pick with the current NYC mayor, or his policies, in a city where she makes her home? There's definitely a bone of contention with Bloomberg.
Marzullo: His billions have buffered him against the realities of NYC's inundation with illegal alien trespassers--realities as to their net cost to the average American. Illegals are undercutting the wages of Americans and legal immigrants as well as devastating our educational and healthcare system, just to name a couple of the detrimental effects of illegals. On May 30, NY ICE was forced to move from our protest in front of Bloomberg's home, which exemplifies the mayor's hypocrisy – he’s all for allowing millions of illegal aliens to trespass our borders, yet we can’t stand in front of his home to call attention to it? Bloomberg should stop allowing NYC to be a 'sanctuary city' for illegal aliens, and allow the NYPD to ask about the immigration status of its arrestees. Currently, the NYPD is handcuffed when it comes to asking about an arrestee's immigration status--and this occurs while at least 25 Americans are killed daily by an illegal trespasser who should never have been in our country to begin with. (numbersusa.com)
Some agree. In a July 5 article posted on the Elaph website, Kurdish journalist Tariq Hemo, who lives in Germany, authored "The Western Countries Are Reaping the Harvest of too liberal immigration policies. He who sows the wind reaps the storm."
Dan Henninger, of The Wall Street Journal and, from this observer's personal experience (he was a guest on a radio talk program this reporter produced after 9/11,) hardly a loose cannon, points out that the universally acclaimed internet also bears grave risks, in the form of easily transmitted propaganda missives that are as deadly, and as unstoppable, as a brushfire in a windstorm.
Henninger, writing in a mid-July editorial in The Journal, has a different take on our danger:
"There is no more unchallenged verity in our times than that the World Wide Web, the Internet, is a boon to mankind. But as with nuclear or biological warfare, the web is a dual-use technology. Technically adept Muslims, using out-of-the-box PC software and hardware, are outputting an electronic torrent of slick websites, discussion forums, videos, e-magazines and long-form movies, all with one purpose--to incite Muslims to join the jihad against the enemies of Islam in Baghdad, London, Glasgow or New York. Forget those Iraqi attack videos on YouTube; this is a sophisticated, global propaganda operation."
Senator McCain agrees. Strongly.
Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) expressed his thoughts on security (and Iraq) this month in a speech on the Senate floor about the defense authorization bill.
Because the U.S. has not been attacked in almost six years, "I worry that many Americans are in denial about the threat from terrorism," he said. "To me, this is the central challenge of our age."
The foregoing, largely from experts in seeking or eliminating those who seek to destabilize and disrupt our country and our families, are not tidy answers to one of our most profound and vexing concerns. Though they do not "agree," as one editor was wont to say, as they could only if they are in the same room discussing the identical document or discussion, most come down on the same cautionary side. As it should be, whether one is 'right' or 'left.'
Winston Churchill, with regard to diplomatic courtesies between England, Germany and Japan, said, "When you have to kill a man, it costs nothing to be polite." The police departments of our states and their brother services, like the FBI, are plenty polite, given what is facing them for years on end. Yet they suffer disproportionately the unjust deaths that come from those decidedly unconnected to the Churchillian tradition.
Extending the thought, the Third Law of Thermodynamics says that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. That may be a physics ironclad, but one hopes the actions undertaken in response to continual provocations and civil disturbances from the rabid Islamist camp will not have provoked reciprocal sign-ups to the fanatic Allah-call, which is a frequent refrain of the American and British left. Defense, in the eyes of the knowledgeable, does not further incite the savagery of these minions on a mission. Such opponents of civilization do not need our self-defense to evoke their already fully saturated fanaticism. An entire lifetime of brainwashing and madrassa 'teachings,' reinforced by cleric sermons and 5-times-a-day reminders of hate, does nicely to inculcate concrete commitment to murder.
Far from a 'religion of peace,' which for a period of months even our sitting president kept repeating, Islamist clerics have seemingly weaponized Islam's hadith and Koran into a war manifesto against the West, even fellow Muslims.
Not spoken of much, though a contender for potential massive headaches, are shipping containers at New York-area and surrounding ports. Radio hosts address the problem frequently, especially on WABC and WOR radio: Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Michael Savage, Monica Crowley and cohorts. The former percentage of containers coming into port in vast, truck-sized containers was for years less than 1 percent. The rate now, according to best estimates, is somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 percent. One tends to consider that figure too optimistic. There are, eyeball assessment, literally thousands of the rust- or mustard-colored corrugated steel boxes, all potential lethal messengers of destruction. Unless more is done to examine their contents.
The issue is enormously delicate, fraught with the pitfalls of potential prejudice, PC sensibilities, and all sorts of other barometric inconstants. Given the hair-trigger public mood, as thousands from New York to Basra are dispatched under Islam's pennant, failing to block it head-on is increasingly intolerable.
Inasmuch as reaction by the West to terror in increasingly pernicious escalations, and as the extremist Wahhabi juggernaut has been mushrooming even against those countries and administrations that have appeased terror, it is a fair guesstimate that our judicious response to repeated destruction of life and property in dozens of countries once untroubled by Islamic radicalism has not aggravated the escalation. Response is in fact stemming an unfettered explosion of attacks wherever Muslims and potential terror proponents now reside. Similar reasoning is that, were we to terminate our forceful responses, the reactions would be increased mischief from the same unceasing uncivil sources.
The aim of discipline in good parenting is to educate, not punish. The goal is to show the child where he’s making a mistake and direct him on the proper path. While terrorism isn’t a family affair, not disciplining the ungovernable terrorist will, like the bad parent, reinforce the idea that any horrific act is okay--nothing has been done to indicate that the world won't tolerate such savagery. The Crusades, excessive as they are to us today, actually put an end to rampant Islamic expansionism--and bloodshed inspired by the Islamic sword--for several hundred years.
Raising the bar, our modern penchant for compassion and understanding has produced monster aberrancy, a delinquent culture of shock troops that is running amok.
What the anti-terror experts all echo is that we must not stand aside while Montessori-like clouds of empathy envelope men who reject both our disinterest and our misconceived "compassion."
Is there a convenient or comforting answer? There doesn’t seem to be a neat, bow-tied solution to these vexing issues. Maybe there’s no answer. Or we could just be idolatrous at the sovereignty of soccer god David Beckham and wife Victoria, the very posh Posh Spice.
Another view. A great man said the following, nearly 100 years ago:
"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat." Delivered by President Teddy Roosevelt at the Sorbonne, 1910.
He could just as easily have been speaking to us now.
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