Skip to comments.My Gloom-By Daniel Pipes
Posted on 12/20/2005 10:35:53 AM PST by elizabethr
My Gloom By Daniel Pipes FrontPageMagazine.com | December 20, 2005
Unlike most Americans, 9/11 made me feel more secure. Finally, the country was focused on issues that had long worried me.
The FBI is engaged in the largest operation in its history, I wrote in late 2001, armed marshals will again be flying on US aircraft, and the immigration service has placed foreign students under increased scrutiny. I feel safer when Islamist organizations are exposed, illicit money channels closed down, and immigration regulations reviewed. The amassing of American forces near Iraq and Afghanistan cheers me. The newfound alarm is healthy, the sense of solidarity heartening, the resolve is encouraging.
But I agonized whether it would last. Are Americans truly ready to sacrifice liberties and lives to prosecute seriously the war against militant Islam? I worry about US constancy and purpose.
And right I was to worry, for the alarm, solidarity, and resolve of late 2001 have lately plummeted, returning us to a roughly pre-9/11 mentality. A number of recent developments leave me pessimistic. Within the United States:
The USA Patriot Act, a landmark of post-9/11 cooperation between the military and law enforcement, passed the Senate 98-1 in October 2001. Last week, the same bill stalled in the Senate. The mainstream media does not take Islamist aspirations seriously and sees the war on terror basically as over, as shown by Maureen Dowds comment that the Bush administration is trying to frighten people with talk of Al Qaedas dream of a new Islamic caliphate. Harvard and Georgetown universities each accepted US$20 million for Islamic studies from a Saudi prince who overtly promotes his governments Wahhabi outlook, Alwaleed bin Talal. A Florida jury somehow managed to overlook the massive evidence of Sami Al-Arians leading role in Palestinian Islamic Jihad and acquit him on this charge. One leading Islamist organization, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, boasts an endorsement from Wells Fargo Bank, an invitation from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and a letter of congratulations from the presidents brother, Jeb Bush. Another, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, hosted representatives of the departments of Justice and State at a conference last week. Then U.S. foreign policy:
Fixated on the goal of perfecting Iraq, where no major danger remains, the Bush administration seems to be allowing the Iranian regime to build nuclear weapons, stipulating only that the Russians carry out the uranium enrichment, an ineffectual safeguard. Pursuing its democracy campaign to its logical conclusion, Washington is signaling a willingness to deal with Islamists in Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, and elsewhere, thereby bolstering radical Islams power. Then international setbacks:
Elite opinion ascribes the French intifada only to faults in French society, such as unemployment and discrimination. When one leading intellectual, Alain Finkielkraut, dared bring Islam into the discussion, he was savagely criticized and threatened with libel, so he backed down. The July transport bombings in the United Kingdom seemingly highlighted the dangers of homegrown Islamism. Five months later, however, lessons learned from this atrocity have been nearly forgotten. For example, the Blair government appointed an Islamist banned from entering the United States, Tariq Ramadan, to a prestigious taskforce; and it abandoned efforts even temporarily to close down extremist mosques. As Israels population lurches leftward, led by a defeatist government (We are tired of fighting, we are tired of being courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies, declares Vice Prime Minister Ehud Olmert), it forgets the lessons of Oslo, appeases its enemies, and virtually invites more violence against itself. Rudolph Giuliani worries that we are going backward in the fight against terrorism. Andrew McCarthy concludes that the September 10th spirit is alive and well. Steven Emerson tells me that pre-9/11 political correctness has re-asserted itself.
And I worry that not even a catastrophic act of terror will return a desensitized West to its post-9/11 alarm, solidarity, and resolve. John Kerrys notion of terrorism as a nuisance similar to prostitution or gambling has taken hold, suggesting that future acts of violence will be shrugged off. And, even if mass murders do wake the public, a next round of alertness will presumably be as ephemeral as the last one.
If there ever was a crisis, it is over. Life is good, dangers are remote, security appears adequate
(Denny Crane: "I Don't Want To Socialize With A Pinko Liberal Democrat Commie.Say What You Like About Republicans. We Stick To Our Convictions. Even When We Know We're Dead Wrong.")
I don't believe this. Major danger stilll remains. Iraq could still spiral into civil war without the steady focussed hand of President Bush.
President Bush will continue as long as necessary. And I don't believe for one minute he is unaware of the dangers in Iran.
Thank you for using "normality" and not "normalcy."
Imagine how even patriots felt after years and years of losing battles in the American Revolution?
We've got to last and endure in our resolve to see this Iraqi war to a victorious end. Everything depends on it. And we are winning!
There is only one way to wake everyone up and it is to call the war by its proper name. Few are brave enough to do that.
Sorry, Danny--I love ya, and I read your Mid-East reports religiously, but I can't follow you there. Sacrifice liberties? I'm willing to die fighting militant Islam, and I'm willing to die fighting government tyranny. And if it has to be one or the other, then I don't much care which it is. As for me, give me liberty or give me death.
In a broad way I agree with this. But I'm not sure how important the Patriot Act is, for instance. It seems to me that Homeland Security is a monstrous, badly run bureaucracy that has done a mediocre job.
It's much more important to weed out all the deadwood in the system. The well-known rogue leftists in the CIA. The corrupt leadership in the FBI. The weasels in the Department of State. The clintonoids in the Justice Department.
It's also time to start holding the press accountable for treason. Maybe they have a right to constantly undermine the country with lies, but they don't have a right to publish classified information. The leftists themselves made that argument with the bogus Plamegate matter. We should hit back where security has actually and flagrantly been violated by the press and those in government who break their oaths by leaking to the press.
Many of these offenders are well known. A list of guilty parties in the CIA was posted here just a couple of days ago.
I know what it would be if I were President, but that's been beaten to death and proposing an overwhelming and final finish to the 1300-year-long war between Western Civilization and barbarism would prevent my election!
The pretense that the UN really had anything to say about whether OIF would go forward is going to end up costing us another 9/11. Once you concede the transnational socialists their worldview (UN has the final say, etc.) then you give an incalculable boost in terms of legitimacy to their entire agenda.
I recommend some background reading:
A parochial view of this war is counterproductive and will get people killed.
Who is this guy? He was HAPPY that we were attacked??!!?
He is not happy we were attacked. What he is saying is that 9/11 woke Americans up. He is gloomy because he sees them going back to sleep. No, people do not want to live in a constant state of fear, but if you don't fully grasp what it is you need to be fearful of, then you can't fight it. I say call it what it is - the War on Islam. Bring the truth of it out in the open. Let's fight this very real war before it is too late.
Welcome to FR, btw...
If possible, could you direct me to that thread?
I'm interested in comparing those named to the public membership roster of the CFR.
I did some searching for it, but I can't put my hands on it at the moment. It was on one of the Plamegate threads, not as the main post but in the Replies. Some blogger had posted the list of names, and someone else and I copied it over as replies on the thread, so the list appeared twice as I recall. I wanted to put it on record somewhere here in case it disappeared at the blog.
Sorry I can't be more help. Maybe someone else will pitch in with the answer.
These guys would know.
Cannot forget the social, cultural anesthesia of the Left's 'political correctness'. . .
There is a difference between "alertness" and "chronic state of terror."
Whether the American people as a whole are prepared to sacrifice anything, is a valid question, considering most of us have not been called to the challenge. Our troops and their families are sacrificing, but many more Americans howl their outrage if they so much as have to stand in line and take off their shoes at the airport.
Like John Kerry, promising to meet any attack with a stern response.
I'd prefer to maintain vigilance and preparedness now, and lessen the chances of having to "deal with" terror again--ever.
He did not say 'happy'. . .and only offers he felt secure in knowing that at last, perhaps; we would be forced to recognize an enemy; that he has long been aware of. . .
Pipes knows better than that. The danger that remained in Iraq was that it would experience a period of instability culminating in a government that would offer state support to terrorism a la Saddam Hussein. There is no guarantee that a democratically-elected government will not do so in the future; however, it is considerably less likely than one consisting of a single autocrat. People who insist on perfection in the upcoming government are not only being unrealistic (mostly deliberately) but nearly certain of disappointment.
Iraq was a major battle won in the overall campaign against Islamist terrorism, but the Iranian-influenced arm that is now predominant remains to be addressed properly. Pipes seems to think that Americans have been lulled by the inevitable wind-down in Iraq, and he may be right, but the Iranians themselves will see to it that the condition does not stay very long.
I think the real issue is whether the American electorate will tolerate proactive efforts with respect to Iran or wait until Iran forces the issue by an act of terrorism that must be answered. Pipes fears the latter if I understand his argument correctly, and I'm inclined to agree with him, but the fact is that it isn't just the U.S.'s responsibility to confront the Iranian aggression and, I am afraid, the Europeans (especially) who have had such a field day in endless criticism are going to have to step up to the role. That involves more than endless negotiation and hand-wringing. Are they up to it?
No, they aren't. So I'm stuck agreeing with Pipes in pessimism here.
Agree. My post was a response to ellenrigby see post#8
I think the real issue is that Americans are sleeping while Islam gains ground in our own country.
Regarding CFR overlap, Leslie Gelb would be a name that comes to mind. There are also some financial ties through philanthropies that trace back to Rockefeller and Ford Foundation money (historically the main financiers of CFR since WWII). But I think CFR is broader in scope than the individuals involved and there are some other think tanks that are probably more directly associated with the persons of interest, notably the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) and various affiliated groups. CFR kind of split into a couple different spinoffs after the Vietnam War, with the IPS faction going off in one direction. I think the individuals under discussion have tended to form their own IPS-style "mini-CFR" think tanks, which I'd need to refresh my memory on the names of--there are so many these days. The Fourth Freedom Forum and Secure America Project (tied to David Cortright of Win Without War) are a couple Joseph Wilson and some of the usual suspects from the CFR's IPS wing (Anthony Lake, Morton Halperin) as well as Robert McNamara (who has kind of floated from the non-IPS wing of CFR towards the IPS types since Vietnam) were hanging around recently that you might look into.
Meant to ping you on #25 also.
Thanks, much obliged.
The link to the Yahoo source has been broken since it was posted, so I don't know who is named beyond the few at the head of the article.
Here's the text from the Yahoo link, sans formatting. Also, if you scroll down to Post 51 in that "26 Former U.S. Officials Oppose Bush" thread there's a roundup with background profiles.
26 Former U.S. Officials Oppose Bush
Sun Jun 13,10:29 PM ET
WASHINGTON - Angered by Bush administration policies they contend endanger national security, 26 retired U.S. diplomats and military officers are urging Americans to vote President Bush (news - web sites) out of office in November.
The group, which calls itself Diplomats and Military Commanders for Change, does not explicitly endorse Democrat John Kerry (news - web sites) for president in its campaign, which will start officially Wednesday at a Washington news conference.
The Bush-Cheney campaign said Sunday it would have no response until the group formally issues its statement at the news conference.
Among the group are 20 ambassadors, appointed by both Democratic and Republican presidents, other former State Department officials and military leaders whose careers span three decades.
Prominent members include retired Marine Gen. Joseph P. Hoar, commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East during the administration of Bush's father; retired Adm. William J. Crowe Jr., ambassador to Britain under President Clinton (news - web sites) and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Reagan; and Jack F. Matlock Jr., a member of the National Security Council under Reagan and ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1987 to 1991.
"We agreed that we had just lost confidence in the ability of the Bush administration to advocate for American interests or to provide the kind of leadership that we think is essential," said William C. Harrop, the first President Bush's ambassador to Israel, and earlier to four African countries.
"The group does not endorse Kerry, although it more or less goes without saying in the statement," Harrop said Sunday in a telephone interview.
Harrop said he listed himself as an independent for years for career purposes but usually has voted Republican.
The former ambassador said diplomats and military officials normally avoid making political statements, especially in an election year.
"Some of us are not that comfortable with it, but we just feel very strongly that the country needs new leadership," Harrop said.
He said the group was disillusioned by Bush's handling of the war in Iraq (news - web sites) and a list of other subjects, including the Middle East, environmental conservation, AIDS (news - web sites) policy, ethnic and religious conflict and weapons proliferation.
There is some form of control in all types of worldly government, that's what the term denotes. I'd rather have some temporary restrictions to my liberties rather than the permanent enslavement our enemies have told us overtly (Islamofascists) and have implied through their political platforms (Marxist Democrats) is their common goal. The only difference between these two types of totalitarians is that one side believes in a god.
If we could be sure it was temporary, I'd probably say the same. As it is, I'd rather see every private citizen armed, than create a new enforcement agency.
(thanks. . .missed that) and agree with your above.
Also believe however, that thanks to our enemies here at home; the radical Left; our culture; our 'mind-speak' impacts all we do. . .we seem now to be forever saturated with their mind-numbing, anesthesizing, reality-altering political correctness which simply smothers the sense out of people.
There is a thread of Liberalism attached to every every life-altering/life-threatening dilemma we currently face.
What Pipes describes is the 'frog cooking' in essence; and with all our great efforts to the good. . .we still have way too many frogs in the pot. . .and Liberals stirring it.
What a revoltin development. This article crystallizes many of the trouvling thoughts I've had about America's resolve 4 1/4 years post 9/11. I hope it doesn't take a WMD attack on American soil to jolt us back to reality.....