Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Comparatively Petty Argument

In their November 14, 2015 debate, Martin O'Malley, Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton all emphatically refused to use the term "radical Islam" when asked about the term by moderator John Dickerson.   O'Malley contended "radical Jihadis" is "calling it what it is" while Sanders insisted "I don't think the term is what's important." Clinton would concede only "We are at war with violent extremism. We are at war with people who use their religion for purposes of power and oppression. And, yes, we are at war with those people. But I don't want us to be painting with too broad a brush."

Rick Santorum was not amused and tweeted "Yes @Hillary Clinton we are at war with radical Islam! You are not qualified to serve if you cannot even define our enemy!"  Similarly, John Ellis Bush, imagining a declaration of war, tweeted "Yes, we are at war with radical Islamic terrorism."
Appropriately amused, however, Mike Huckabee tweeted "You're all grown up now. You can do it. Three words. Ten syllables. Say it with me: "Radical Islamic terrorism.'"

Carefully avoiding the phrase "radical Islamic terrorism" or "Islamic terrorism" is, as Huckabee infers, more humorous than dangerous.   Hillary Clinton, for her part, at least noted that Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, and Jordan are among the countries which "are going to have to take on ISIS."

More appalling than failing to acknowledge the obvious- that Islamic terrorism is destabilizing the Middle East and  poses a grave threat to world peace- is the utter hypocrisy of many GOP presidential contenders.  Observing the last Republican debate, David Masciotra  explains that several candidates

openly used the phrase “World War Three,” while others discussed the group of evil barbarians as if they had invaded New York and were marching toward D.C. as they spoke. Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are not exactly the equivalent of Winston Churchill, and the American people, who panic on command, are not particularly resilient. Ernest Hemingway defined courage as “grace under pressure.” American politicians, and the Americans who empower them, are currently failing to act with grace while under no pressure. One could only imagine the nightmare of chaos and hysterics that awaits should ISIS actually attack.

Senator Ted Cruz left no room for interpretation when he pounded the podium to announce that the “biggest threat we face is radical Islamic terrorism.” Fear of terrorism dominates the discourse.

Any time a conversation about terrorism begins in a political debate or on cable news, there is not an elephant, but an unacknowledged gas-guzzling sports utility vehicle in the room that exposes the utter hypocrisy and insincerity of America’s declaration of war on “radical Islam.”

One of America’s closest allies is Saudi Arabia. The alliance is mostly a one-way relationship in which the United States is subservient and obsequious – essentially a harem to the Saudi royal family, who collect all the benefits and rewards.

Saudi Arabia is the country most responsible for the rise of radical Islam, and the largest benefactor to Islamic terrorist organizations. According to multiple sources of American intelligence and Indian intelligence, the Saudis have spent billions to build mosques, madrasas and cultural centers dedicated to the promotion of Wahhabism – the small but growing sect of Islam insistent on literal interpretation of the Quran, and violent jihad.

The Kingdom also may have been the "principal financier," as former Senator Bob Graham (D-Fl) puts it, behind the attacks of 9/11/01. Graham and Representative Walter Jones (R-NC) are among the current and former members of Congress who have read the 28 pages redacted from the report issued by a joint Senate and House report on "intelligence community activities" before and after 9/11/01.  The section, entitled "potential sources of foreign support for the September 11 hijackers," was classified by the Bush Administration and efforts to have its 28 pages released have been stonewalled by the Obama Administration (CNN report from 9/14, below).

"The information contained in the redacted pages is critical to our foreign policy moving forward and should thus be available to the American public," Jones maintains. It also is crucial to the understanding that the debate over the use of the term "Islamic terrorism" pales in comparison to the importance of assessing the role of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states in the fight against radical Islamic terrorism.

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