Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Israel vs. Hamas - Keep the record straight

As we move from TV news channel to channel and from newspaper to newspaper, it's quite noticeable that Israel’s military campaign in Gaza that began Saturday December 27, 2008 has triggered global coverage, some of it is fair and complete and some skewed and misleading.

Coverage began on a good footing and the New York Times' early coverage is a good example. To be expected, BBC has begun tilting the news.

According to CAMERA:

"As in the Hezbollah War of 2006, the story is quickly shifting in some coverage to questions of disproportionate use of force by Israel with focus on relative losses by the parties. CNN’s Rick Sanchez has gone awry in this regard, saying Monday that ”300 people have been killed there in Gaza, as a result of the 17 who have been killed by rocket fire in parts of southern Israel. Now, think about that as we go through the story...”"

It's important to remember context is essential for any news story. And the need to understand Israel's actions can only be had if one considers the earlier events that brought Israel to Gaza.

"1) Israel was motivated to act militarily after eight years of bombardment by Palestinians targeting civilian towns inside Israel – not just after the recent Dec 19th collapse of a cease fire and a week of rocket attacks. Since 2001, 3984 rockets and 3, 943 mortar shells have been launched at Israel. The aim of the intervention in Gaza is self-defense – to end the bombardments of Israel, not retaliation.
"2) Israel withdrew every man, woman and child from Gaza in 2005 (even removing the dead from their graves) in hopes of advancing peace, but instead Palestinian rocket fire dramatically intensified.
"3) Israel is targeting Hamas and, as even Palestinian sources note, a substantial majority of casualties in Gaza have been Hamas members.
"4) Hamas intentionally places its rocket launchers, rocket factories, rocket caches and general armories in civilian neighborhoods. When Israel accurately hits these targets, the missiles and bombs explode in all directions, putting Palestinian civilians at dire risk of injury or death. It seems likely that many if not most of the Palestinian civilian casualties in the present conflict have been caused by secondary explosions when these Palestinian missile and weapons caches are struck. Hamas bears total responsibility for any such resulting Palestinian civilian casualties.
"5) Hamas is sworn to the destruction of Israel and has used the cease-fire to arm itself.
"6) Israel has continued to provide humanitarian aid to Gazans before and during the strife."

Reporting on the news should be factual and contextual. When it's not, there is a price to be paid by the public whose impressions and opinions are formed without full consideration.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Palestinians Need Israel to Win. If Hamas gets away with terror once again, the peace process will be over.

The "usual suspects" are lining up to condemn Israel's response to Hamas attacks from Gaza against the southern part of the country. There will be much hand wringing in world capitals and the media, never a friend of Israel in its conflict with Palestinian terrorists, will soon be picking up the cry against Israel's "disproportionate use of power" or the toll of civilian casualties.
As the father of a terror victim, I admit to my prejudice--by always hoping the Palestinians will see the error in their ways and cease and desist their terror attacks that lead to much hardship for their own people.

From the December 29, 2008 Wall Street Journal--

Messrs. Michael Oren and Yossi Klein Halevi weigh-in on the war between Israel and Hamas now taking place in Gaza.

  • Israel's current operation in Gaza is essential for creating the conditions that could eventually lead to a two-state solution.
  • While a majority of Israelis now believe in the need for a Palestinian state, it's also clear from the failure of the Oslo peace process that "no amount of concessions would grant international legitimacy to Israel's right to defend itself."
  • The parallels between the Gaza operations and the Lebanon campaign of two years ago are there. Israel withdrew unilaterally from Lebanon in 2000 and Hezbullah's build-up of arms and rockets was unchallenged. Israel's unilateral decision to leave Gaza in 2005 resulted in rocket and mortar attacks against Israel's southern cities.
  • "Israelis across the political spectrum agreed that the state had the right, indeed the duty, to protect its people. But one question remained: Would the international community consent?
  • "Without Hamas's defeat, there can be no serious progress toward a treaty that both satisfies Palestinian aspirations and allays Israel's fears. At stake in Gaza is nothing less than the future of the peace process.
Here's the full article:

A quarter century has passed since Israel last claimed to go to war in the name of peace. "Operation Peace for Galilee" -- Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon -- failed to convince the international public and even many Israelis that its goal was to promote reconciliation between Israel and the Arab world. In fact, the war had precisely the opposite results, preparing the way for Yasser Arafat's disastrous return to the West Bank and Gaza, and for Hezbollah's ultimate domination of Lebanon. And yet, Israel's current operation in Gaza is essential for creating the conditions that could eventually lead to a two-state solution.

Over the past two decades, a majority of Israelis have shifted from adamant opposition to Palestinian statehood to acknowledging the need for such a state. This transformation represented a historic victory for the Israeli left, which has long advocated Palestinian self-determination. The left's victory, though, remained largely theoretical: The right won the practical argument that no amount of concessions would grant international legitimacy to Israel's right to defend itself.

That was the unavoidable lesson of the failure of the Oslo peace process, which ended in the fall of 2000 with Israel's acceptance of President Bill Clinton's proposal for near-total withdrawal from East Jerusalem and the territories. The Palestinians responded with five years of terror.

Yet much of the international community blamed Israel for the violence and repeatedly condemned its efforts at self-defense. The experience left a deep wound in the Israeli psyche. It intimidated Israeli leaders from taking security measures liable to be denounced by the United Nations and the European Union, or worse, result in sanctions against the Jewish state.

One consequence was an Israeli reluctance to respond to periodic Hezbollah provocations following Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000. This hesitancy allowed the Shiite terror organization to amass a rocket arsenal with the proclaimed intent of devastating Israel's population centers.

Finally, when Hezbollah unleashed its weapons in July 2006, Israel was widely accused of responding disproportionately. It was pressured into prematurely ending its defensive operations in Lebanon, and compelled to accept an international "peacekeeping" force that has permitted Hezbollah to rearm far beyond its prewar levels.

Israelis are now asking themselves whether their Lebanon nightmare is about to repeat itself in Gaza. The parallels are indeed striking. As in Lebanon, Israel in 2005 unilaterally withdrew to its international border with Gaza and received, instead of security, a regime dedicated to its destruction. The thousands of rockets and mortar shells subsequently fired on Israeli neighborhoods represented more than a crude attempt to kill and terrorize civilians -- they were expressions of a genocidal intent.

Israelis across the political spectrum agreed that the state had the right, indeed the duty, to protect its people. But one question remained: Would the international community consent?

That question grew urgent in the days before Dec. 19, when the tenuous cease-fire between Israel and Hamas expired. Nearly 300 missiles landed in Israel, paralyzing much of the southern part of the country. Yet Israeli leaders held their fire.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni flew to Cairo to implore Egyptian leaders to urge restraint on Hamas, and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told viewers of Al-Arabiyah Television that Israel had no interest in a military confrontation. If Israel was guilty of acting disproportionately, it was in its willingness to seek any means, even at the risk of its citizens' lives, to resolve the crisis diplomatically.

Yet the U.N. Security Council abstained from condemning Hamas and convened only after Israel resolved to act. The U.N.'s hypocrisy, together with growing media criticism of Israel, is reinforcing Israeli concerns that territorial concessions, whether unilateral or negotiated, will only compromise the country's security and curtail its ability to respond to attack. This fear is compounded when Israelis consider withdrawals from the West Bank, which is within easy rocket range of its major population and industrial centers.

Gaza is the test case. Much more is at stake than merely the military outcome of Israel's operation. The issue, rather, is Israel's ability to restore its deterrence power and uphold the principle that its citizens cannot be targeted with impunity.

Without the assurance that they will be allowed to protect their homes and families following withdrawal, Israelis will rightly perceive a two-state solution as an existential threat. They will continue to share the left-wing vision of coexistence with a peaceful Palestinian neighbor in theory, but in reality will heed the right's warnings of Jewish powerlessness.

The Gaza crisis also has implications for Israeli-Syrian negotiations. Here, too, Israelis will be unwilling to cede strategically vital territories -- in this case on the Golan Heights -- in an international environment in which any attempt to defend themselves will be denounced as unjustified aggression. Syria's role in triggering the Gaza conflict only deepens Israeli mistrust. The Damascus office of Hamas, which operates under the aegis of the regime of Bashar al Assad, vetoed the efforts of Hamas leaders in Gaza to extend the cease-fire and insisted on escalating rocket attacks.

In the coming days, the Gaza conflict is likely to intensify with a possible incursion of Israeli ground forces. Israel must be allowed to conclude this operation with a decisive victory over Hamas; the untenable situation of intermittent rocket fire and widespread arms smuggling must not be allowed to resume. This is an opportunity to redress Israel's failure to humble Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006, and to deal a substantial setback to another jihadist proxy of Iran.

It may also be the last chance to reassure Israelis of the viability of a two-state solution. Given the unfortunate historical resonance, Israel should refrain from calling its current operation, "Peace for Southern Israel." But without Hamas's defeat, there can be no serious progress toward a treaty that both satisfies Palestinian aspirations and allays Israel's fears. At stake in Gaza is nothing less than the future of the peace process.

Mr. Oren is a fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem and a professor at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Mr. Klein Halevi is a fellow at the Shalem Center's Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sami Al-Arian - About to catch a break?

Admitted terror supporter Sami Al-Arian might catch a break next month when a court rules on a motion to dismiss contempt charges. Al-Arian's request is based upon the prosecutor's strengthening of the plea agreement Al-Arian signed in connection with his admitted support of Islamic Jihad, a violent terror group responsible for the murder of many dozens of civilians in Israel.

Of course, Al-Arian's release is hypothetical at this time and is being drummed up by his supporters.

According to the Tampa Bay Tribune report,
Charles Rose, a law professor at Stetson University, said if he were Al-Arian's attorney, he would have strongly advised him not to testify with the immunity order he was given. The order put Al-Arian at high risk of criminal prosecution, no matter what he did, Rose said.

"This was in no way done for the benefit of the defendant," Rose said.

One reason is that obstruction of justice is not a clearly defined crime, Rose said. Prosecutors have a lot of leeway in deciding when to bring such charges. With obstruction of justice added to the immunity order, the prosecutor could decide Al-Arian was obstructing justice if the prosecutor didn't like Al-Arian's testimony before the grand jury.
The court is expected to rule on Al-Arian's request in mid-January 2009.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The New York Times: Separating the Terror and the Terrorists

The December 14, 2008 column by The New York Times public editor Robert Hoyt, Separating the Terror and the Terrorists, caught my attention because it touched upon an issue of great concern to terror victims and their families-- the general reluctance of the media to call a spade a spade. It was worth a letter to the public editor and off it went. The Times published it as the lead-off letter under Letters To the Public Editor-- Other Voices: When Labels Carry Moral Weight.

The points made by Mr. Hoyt:

"When 10 young men in an inflatable lifeboat came ashore in Mumbai last month and went on a rampage with machine guns and grenades, taking hostages, setting fires and murdering men, women and children, they were initially described in The Times by many labels.

They were “militants,” “gunmen,” “attackers” and “assailants.” Their actions, which left bodies strewn in the city’s largest train station, five-star hotels, a Jewish center, a cafe and a hospital — were described as “coordinated terrorist attacks.” But the men themselves were not called terrorists."

Mr. Hoyt attempts to explain the "reluctance" of the Times and other news sources to call a terrorist a terrorist.

In the newsroom and at overseas bureaus, especially Jerusalem, there has been a lot of soul-searching about the terminology of terrorism. Editors and reporters have asked whether, to avoid the appearance of taking sides, the paper bends itself into a pretzel or risks appearing callous to abhorrent acts. They have wrestled with questions like why those responsible for the 9/11 attacks are called terrorists but the murderers of a little girl in her bed in a Jewish settlement are not. And whether, if the use of the word terrorist can be interpreted as a political act, not using it is one too.

The issue comes up most often in connection with the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, and to the dismay of supporters of Israel — and sometimes supporters of the other side, denouncing Israeli military actions — The Times is sparing in its use of “terrorist” when reporting on that complex struggle.

He concludes by writing

I do not think it is possible to write a set of hard and fast rules for the T-words, and I think The Times is both thoughtful about them and maybe a bit more conservative in their use than I would be.

My own broad guideline: If it looks as if it was intended to sow terror and it shocks the conscience, whether it is planes flying into the World Trade Center, gunmen shooting up Mumbai, or a political killer in a little girl’s bedroom, I’d call it terrorism — by terrorists.

Now that caught my eye and off a letter went to the public letter. Here's my response as printed:

Re “Separating the Terror and the Terrorists” (Dec. 14):

I write as the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered by Islamic Jihad in April 1995.

While I appreciate your approach to the use of “T-words” for a situation that “shocks the conscience,” it is, because of its subjective nature, nothing more than a small step, albeit in the right direction.

The general refusal of The New York Times and its writers and editors to recognize that people who intentionally target and murder civilians, whether on a bus in Gaza or in a hotel in Mumbai, are attempting to alter a political situation (the classic definition of terrorism) and are therefore terrorists defies logic.

STEPHEN M. FLATOW West Orange, N.J., Dec. 15, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

Torture or Interrogation -- It's not black & white

The New York Times December 18, 2008 editorial, The Torture Report, sent shivers up and down my spine because of the implications that the Times' views, if accepted without comment or disagreement, would have on our security. Thank heaven for The Wall Street Journal.

In its editorial, the Times stated that a "bipartisan" report issued by the
Senate Armed Services Committee has made what amounts to a strong case for bringing criminal charges against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld; his legal counsel, William J. Haynes; and potentially other top officials, including the former White House counsel Alberto Gonzales and David Addington, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff.

These policies have deeply harmed America’s image as a nation of laws and may make it impossible to bring dangerous men to real justice. The report said the interrogation techniques were ineffective, despite the administration’s repeated claims to the contrary.

Hogwash. The Times continues to recognize the existence of a legitimate debate as to what constitutes torture.

Comes today The Wall Street Journal to the rescue with The Real 'Torture' Disgrace.
The release of Carl Levin's report on the Bush Administration's alleged "torture" policies was a formality: The Senator's conclusions were politically predetermined long ago. Still, the credulity and acclaim that has greeted this agitprop is embarrassing, even by Washington standards.
According to the familiar "torture narrative" that Mr. Levin sanctifies, President Bush and senior officials sanctioned detainee abuse, first by refusing to accord al Qaeda members Geneva Convention rights, and second by conspiring to rewrite the legal definition of torture. The new practices were then imposed on military leaders and spread through the chain of command. Therefore, Mr. Bush, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and their deputies are morally -- and legally -- responsible for all prisoner abuse since 9/11, not least Abu Ghraib.
Nearly every element of this narrative is dishonest.
Mr. Levin claims that Bush interrogation programs "damaged our ability to collect accurate intelligence that could save lives." The truth is closer to the opposite. The second-guessing of Democrats is likely to lead to a risk-averse mindset at the CIA and elsewhere that compromises the ability of terror fighters to break the next KSM. The political winds always shift, but terrorists are as dangerous as ever.
In 1997 I wrote Israel's Fine Line, it appeared in The New York Times. I argued that the interrogation of captured terrorists requires investigators to act in ways that may not be appropriate in symmetrical warfare. Terrorism by its nature asymmetrical as the victims are civilians and the perpetrators most often hide in civilian clothes and behind civilians.

Although the Times will have us believe the opposite, it's not enough to ask "pretty please" when dealing with these murderers.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Mark Steyn - Silence=Acceptance

Writer Mark Steyn writes in National Review Online, "Rabbi Holtzberg was not murdered because of a territorial dispute over Kashmir or because of Bush’s foreign policy."

Shortly after the London Tube bombings in 2005, a reader of Tim Blair, the Sydney Daily Telegraph’s columnar wag, sent him a note-perfect parody of a typical newspaper headline: “British Muslims Fear Repercussions Over Tomorrow’s Train Bombing.”

Indeed. And so it goes. This time round — Bombay — it was the Associated Press that filed a story about how Muslims “found themselves on the defensive once again about bloodshed linked to their religion.”

Oh, I don’t know about that. In fact, you’d be hard pressed from most news reports to figure out the bloodshed was “linked” to any religion, least of all one beginning with “I-“ and ending in “-slam.” In the three years since those British bombings, the media have more or less entirely abandoned the offending formulations — “Islamic terrorists,” “Muslim extremists” — and by the time of the assault on Bombay found it easier just to call the alleged perpetrators “militants” or “gunmen” or “teenage gunmen,” as in the opening line of this report in the Australian: “An Adelaide woman in India for her wedding is lucky to be alive after teenage gunmen ran amok…”
Steyn points to the silliness of the media in describing the Mumbai terror attack and worrying about Muslim sensibilities when reporting the news.

There's a problem, dear reader, and it stems from Western indifference to the Islamic agenda. As Steyn says,

We are told that the “vast majority” of the 1.6-1.8 billion Muslims (in Deepak Chopra’s estimate) are “moderate.” Maybe so, but they’re also quiet. And, as the AIDs activists used to say, “Silence=Acceptance.” It equals acceptance of the things done in the name of their faith. Rabbi Holtzberg was not murdered because of a territorial dispute over Kashmir or because of Bush’s foreign policy. He was murdered in the name of Islam — “Allahu Akbar.”

I wrote in my book, America Alone, that “reforming” Islam is something only Muslims can do. But they show very little sign of being interested in doing it, and the rest of us are inclined to accept that. Spread a rumor that a Koran got flushed down the can at Gitmo, and there’ll be rioting throughout the Muslim world. Publish some dull cartoons in a minor Danish newspaper, and there’ll be protests around the planet. But slaughter the young pregnant wife of a rabbi in Bombay in the name of Allah, and that’s just business as usual. And, if it is somehow “understandable” that for the first time in history it’s no longer safe for a Jew to live in India, then we are greasing the skids for a very slippery slope. Muslims, the AP headline informs us, “worry about image.” Not enough.
Justice for terror victims demands more than what is being done now.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Wiretaps and the War on Terror - Lawyer Interference?

The Wall Street Journal reports on Ray Kelly's Wiretap Alarm subtitled, "New York's police chief v. the lawyers on antiterror warrants."

India's three days of carnage stand as another warning about how easily terrorists can perpetrate a major attack. So when top New York City counterterrorism officials declare that U.S. intelligence laws are shackling their powers to prevent the next Mumbai, it ought to raise more than eyebrows.

Instead, almost nobody seems to care. Seven years without an attack on the U.S. mainland has created a growing public complacency. And the anti-antiterror lobby has exploited that complacency to assail and constrain critical Bush Administration intelligence programs, making it harder to intercept terrorists before they strike. As a consequence innocent Americans may be killed.
It seems that it is not the so-called FISA Courts that are impeding the issuance of wiretaps, but U.S. Department of Justice lawyers who are so doing. In what is termed "an extraordinary exchange of letters," New York's police commissioner takes the U.S. Department of Justice to task for "'unduly constraining'" his high-priority "'international terrorism investigations in the greater New York area.'"

Mr. Kelly was furious and let Mr. Mukasey know it in a searing critique. Someone leaked the October correspondence late last month, and though each party blames the other, both have since walked back from public conflict. In any event, whoever leaked made his point. Mr. Kelly's letter exposed a "lack of urgency and excessive time lags" in processing FISA applications; as well as a bureaucracy that insists on "frequently long and unjustifiable delay," even "weeks of delay." This is disturbing enough given fast-moving terror plots.

Readers should know that it was Commissioner Kelly who addressed the threat of attacks on New York City's subways by directing his department to make bag and backpack searches at subway entrances in July 2005. New York Starts to Inspect Bags on the Subways. Although challenged, the searches were upheld.

The truth of the matter is that
"Most antiterror victories are invisible, and the best evidence of success -- being spared another attack on U.S. soil -- has the effect of increasing public skepticism about the seriousness of the threat. If the Mumbai terrorists had been rolled up beforehand on the evidence of a wiretap, to the extent that anyone noticed, the media response would have been to scoff at their haplessness and maybe something about "fear mongering."

Now nearly 170 people are dead. Ray Kelly is warning that it can still happen here, and that it is more likely to happen if we let lawyers make decisions that our chief security officials should make.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Mumbai Terror Attacks - What's the local news saying?

The story surrounding terror attacks lasts only as long as there's room on the front page. One day's crisis becomes next week's old news. The memory of its victims soon fades away. So I thought I would take a 5 minute look around the news about the Mumbai terror attacks. To my pleasant surprise, a major story has arisen.

From the Associated Press, December 8, 2008, "Pakistan arrests suspected Mumbai plotter."

"Security forces overran a militant camp on the outskirts of Pakistani Kashmir's main city and seized an alleged mastermind of the attacks that shook India's financial capital last week, two officials said Monday."

Is this event a demonstration of resolve by Pakistan or a one-act play to get India and the United States off its back?

From the Times of India – "26/11 terrorists trained by Pak army, navy instructors: Report"

"The ten terrorists involved in the Mumbai attacks were among 500 men trained to "elite" commando standards by the Pakistani army navy instructors and were directly supported by the ISI, a media report here said on Sunday.

"The Indian intelligence have the names of the 26/11 terrorists' ISI trainers and handlers and have intercepted internet phone calls between them, The Sunday Times said."

Much is still to be revealed about the plotting, planning and execution of the Mumbai attacks. Mourning for the lost will soon become, however, a private affair.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Terrorism Down the Road - Does there have to be a patsy?

I will start out by saying that I love Peggy Noonan. A speechwriter during the Reagan administration, you can now find her columns in opinion section of the Wall Street Journal. Today's column, "'At Least Bush Kept Us Safe' --The two words Democrats don't want tacked onto that sentence."

Who in America gets credit for the absence of a terror attack here since 9/11? Was it the result of President Bush's efforts to combat terrorism domestically as well as internationally? Was it just luck as in the case of the plot to use poison gas in the New York City subway system when a member of the terror cell turned chicken and ratted out his brothers in arms?

Talking about a Christmas gathering, she writes:
There was no grousing about John McCain, and considerable grousing about the Bush administration, but it was almost always followed by one sentence, and this is more or less what it was: "But he kept us safe." In the seven years since 9/11, there were no further attacks on American soil. This is an argument that's been around for a while but is newly re-emerging as the final argument for Mr. Bush: the one big thing he had to do after 9/11, the single thing he absolutely had to do, was keep it from happening again. And so far he has. It is unknown, and perhaps can't be known, whether this was fully due to the government's efforts, or the luck of the draw, or a combination of luck and effort. And it not only can't be fully known by the public, it can hardly be fully known by the players at all levels of government. They can't know, for instance, of a potential terrorist cell that didn't come together because of their efforts.
And it is precisely this that requires America to be on high alert. Even if it is dumb luck that has protected us since 9/11, you cannot let your guard down for a second. The people planning our destruction are looking for our weaknesses, the proverbial chink in our armor. And we must not let up for a second. (See, the New York Times report from August 1997, Police Break Up Suspected Bomb Plot in Brooklyn.)

Congress has issued a report boldly stating that the "margin of safety is shrinking, not growing."

Noonan asks,

Why does Congress prepare such reports? To inform, and to win support for new plans. To show they are doing something. And to be able to say, in the event of calamity—forgive my cynicism—that they warned us. This hasn't been the first such report. It won't be the last. But it comes at a key moment for Mr. Obama, because it gives him a certain amount of cover to be serious about what needs to be done. What's at stake for him is two words. When Republicans say, in coming years, "At least Bush kept us safe," Democrats will not want tacked onto the end of that sentence, "unlike Obama."

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Happenings in the Back Country of Pakistan - Police living and leaving in fear

MSNBC says "Pakistan police losing terrorism fight" and lays out an AP report: Officers outgunned and underfinanced compared with insurgents .

"BADABER, Pakistan - Brothers Mushtaq and Ishaq Ali left the police force a month ago, terrified of dying as their colleagues had — beheaded by militants on a rutted village road before a shocked crowd.
They went straight to the local Urdu-language newspaper to announce their resignation. They were too poor to pay for a personal ad, so the editor of The Daily Moon, Rasheed Iqbal, published a news story instead. He has run dozens like it.
"They just want to get the word out to the Taliban that they are not with the police anymore so they won't kill them," said Iqbal. "They know that no one can protect them, and especially not their fellow policemen."

Tough crowd these Taliban. But importantly, the Pakistan government does not seem interested in bolstering their police by paying them more money, or dare I say, taking the battle against the Taliban seriously.

Some ally we've got there in Pakistan.

Mumbai Attacks - Pakistan in the Spotlight

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice was in Pakistan following a visit to India, the New York Times reports. The Times reports on troubling links between Pakistan and the terrorists who murdered 170 last week in Mumbai.

According to the Times, "The new links to Pakistan added fresh complications to American diplomatic efforts to secure cooperation between India and Pakistan, which has questioned some of the evidence that Pakistanis were involved. On Thursday, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice met in Islamabad with Pakistani leaders, a day after meeting with Indian leaders, to urge that the two countries work together to find the attackers and bring them to justice.

“Pakistan should also take the necessary steps to prevent any non-state actors from indulging in such activities against any country from its soil,” Ms. Rice said, according to a statement from the Pakistani prime minister’s office."

Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistani guerrilla group, is believed to be behind the attacks. As the home to hundreds, if not thousands, of Islamic madrases, Pakistan attempts to keep both ends of the candle lit. At one end is American aid, the other is freedom from attacks by Jihadist terror groups given sanctuary in Pakistan's northwest territories.

The Pakistani government has a lot of soul searching to do. Any more evidence that Pakistani government indifference led to the attacks could be disastrous for the subcontinent.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Media Narratives Feed Terrorists

Brett Stephens writing in the Wall Street Journal points out that the media could bear some responsibility for stoking the fires that drive terrorists to commit their atrocities.

Case in point,
For purposes of self-justification, Azam Amir Kasab, the only terrorist taken alive in last week's Mumbai massacre, offered that the murder of Jews in the city's Chabad House was undertaken to avenge Israeli atrocities on Palestinians. Two other terrorists cited instances of anti-Muslim Hindu violence as the answer to the question, "Why are you doing this to us?" before mowing down 14 unarmed people at the Oberoi Hotel. And if dead terrorists could talk, we would surely hear Abu Ghraib mentioned as among their reasons for singling out U.S. and British hostages.
According to Stephens, "ne suspects the terrorists spent far too much time listening to the BBC World Service."

Some examples of media excess that gave rise to "grievances" against the West:

  • In the spring of 2005, Newsweek ran with a thinly sourced item about the Quran being flushed down a Guantanamo toilet. Result: At least 15 people were killed in Afghan riots.
  • The refusal of French reporter Charles Enderlin and his station, France 2, to retract or even express doubt about his September 2000 report on Mohammed al-Durrah, the 12-year-old Palestinian boy allegedly killed by Israeli soldiers during an exchange of gunfire in the Gaza Strip -- an exchange Mr. Enderlin did not witness.
Read Media Narratives Feed Terrorists