Tag: Terrorism

Israel and Her Neighbors


shutterstock_23337061On May 14, 1948, David Ben-Gurion proclaimed Israel’s independence. If you are interested in the difference between the state established by the Palestinian Jews 67 years ago today and its neighbors – and you have a strong stomach – consider the case of Samir Kuntar.

Kuntar is a Lebanese member of the Palestine Liberation Front terrorist group. On April 22, 1979, Kuntar and three chums landed on a beach in Nahariya, Israel. After finding an Israeli policeman and killing him, Kuntar broke into an apartment belonging to Danny Haran, his wife, Smadar, and their daughters (Einat, 4, and Yael, 2). While Smadar and Yael hid in a crawlspace, Kuntar led Danny and Einat down to the beach. There, according to witnesses, he executed Danny in front of his four-year-old daughter and drowned him in the Mediterranean to make sure that he was dead. Then he smashed the girl’s skull against a rock with the butt of his rifle. Back in the crawlspace, Smadar smothered her two-year-old to death in a desperate attempt to silence her.

In the decades since this terrorist attack, we have gotten used to baroque levels of violence and sadism in the Middle East, so that Kuntar’s crimes seem almost quaintly old-fashioned by comparison. But here is my point. Kuntar was captured, convicted of murder, and spent 30 years in an Israeli prison. (Israel has the death penalty, but it is reserved for those who commit genocide; it does not apply to men who smash the skulls of four-year-old girls). While in prison, Kuntar married Kifah Kayyal, an Israeli Palestinian woman. While they were married, she received a monthly stipend from the Israeli government, an entitlement due to her as the wife of a prisoner of Israel. Also while in prison, Kuntar took online courses from the Open University of Israel, which granted him a Bachelor’s degree in Social and Political Science. In 2008, the Israeli government released Kuntar and four other Lebanese prisoners in exchange for two coffins containing the remains of two Israeli soldiers kidnapped, tortured, and executed by Hezbollah.

The Nature of Defiance


MuhammadThere is an argument about Pamela Geller’s cartoon contest, favored by Bill O’Reilly as well as by many garden variety liberal pundits, that goes like this:

Of course the right to free speech is sacred and the murderers who wish to infringe on that right are vile criminals. Our vigor in the defense of free speech, however, (equally obviously) does not mean that we agree with the speech we are defending. The cartoons that Geller assembled are insulting to 1.5 billion, predominantly peaceful Muslims around the world. We can judge Geller offensive or (as Bill O’Reilly does) “stupid” for deliberately mocking the religion of the benign majority just in order to taunt the violent minority.

I can embellish this argument.

Jihadi Vampires, Jihadi Zombies


GarlandThe attack in Garland appears to confirm the observation that there are two kinds of terrorist attacks. The first kind – which we saw on 9/11, the London Tube and Madrid train attacks, the Mumbai attack, and in the Charlie Hebdo massacre – are made by hardened, patient, and well-trained semi-professionals, whose activities are funded (and often directed) from overseas. In contrast, the second kind — think of the Tsarnaevs or Major Hasan — is typified by amateurishness, lack of planning, and poor impulse control. Moreover, it seems that failure to join the ranks of the former often leads to the latter.

As if their nearly complete failure wasn’t evidence enough, the news in this New York Times piece should confirm that the Garland attack was a strong instance of the latter:

But any secret ties that officials might find may be less important than the public exchanges of messages on Twitter by one of the gunmen, Elton Simpson, in the weeks before the attack. Mr. Simpson, a convert to Islam with a long history of extremism, regularly traded calls for violence on Twitter with Islamic State fighters and supporters, as well as avowed enemies of Pamela Geller, the organizer of the cartoon contest.

The Innocence of Provocation


The good news is that the terror attack on a free speech conference in Garland, Texas was unsuccessful, with two jihadists dead and only the security guard injured (lesson: Texas is a poor choice when selecting a location for terror attacks). The bad news is that the media, having ascertained that the conference participants escaped unharmed, now feel safe to turn their rhetorical guns on the targets of the violence. Exhibit A is the video below of a CNN interview with conference organizer Pamela Geller, who held her own in the interview, of course. But the interviewer, Alisyn Camerota, kept coming back to a line I found astonishing and infuriating.


Two More Questions for Epstein and Yoo


cover170x170Last week, I had the honor of having a post of mine discussed by professors Epstein and Yoo on an episode of Ricochet’s Law Talk podcast. The subject was the appropriateness of the federal government taking the lead on the Tsarnaev (Boston bombing) case despite the crime being committed in Massachusetts by two of its legal residents. Beginning at around 44:45, Yoo described the reasons in favor of it as follows (Epstein largely agreed):

[T]his is a terrorism crime. And the reason it’s a terrorism crime is because it’s politically motivated by people who are attacking us — and it just happens to be that the location is in Boston — because they disagree with our foreign policy and national security policies. And so, if this was just a guy who decided to blow-up a bomb in Boston at the Boston Marathon because he was crazy, or he hated somebody that was in the marathon, or wanted to get attention for himself, or any other variety of reasons that had nothing to do with terrorism, then he might be right…

He continues:

Five Proposals For Reforming The TSA


Your tax dollars at work.Fourteen years is more than enough time for the so-called services of any government agency to go from “controversial inception”  to an “untouchable entitlement.” No agency exemplifies this quite like the the Department of Homeland Security and its enforcement minions at the TSA.

Why is this so? Much of it is due to the managed expectations of Americans themselves. Far from being resentful, many Americans seem grateful at the FAA’s overturning of its long-overdue ban on such brazenly unpatriotic behavior as reading a Kindle after the plane has left its gate.

No longer is the government the last one in the room to get the joke – that attribute belongs to government’s primary constituency: progressives.

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Some here perhaps recall a rather controversial decision made by the Obama Administration whereby five gitmo prisoners, the Taliban Dream Team, were exchanged for one Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, there was a bit of discussion here about it at one time. This was a surprising move at the time as there were some questions regarding Bergdahl […]

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Some mayors, such as the mayor of New York, incite violent crime. Others, such as the former mayor of New York, bring down violent crime. And then there is Nir Barkat, the mayor of Jerusalem, who personally brought down a violent terrorist today. Abraham Goldstein, a 27-year-old Haredi father of four, was walking along when, […]

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Dithering Toward Brutality



Of all the aspects of the Rite of Christian Initiation classes and discussions I’ve had — with one teaching or concept yielding beautifully to the next as though a flower were opening to reveal succeeding layers of transcendent wonder — very little has captivated me like the quest for a patron saint. My admittedly rudimentary understanding of Catholic doctrine and history tells me that the saints are not mere corpses whose visage here and there adorn stained glass. On the contrary, they are intercessors on our behalf, whose devotion offers an example to emulate, and whose wisdom offers guidance to those who will listen.

Very well then. I’ve been invited to choose one who will be, upon confirmation, my Patron Saint. The Catechism describes the term, “communion of saints,” as “…the communion of ‘holy persons’ (sancti) in Christ who ‘died for all,’ so that what each one does or suffers in and for Christ bears fruit for all.” In that regard, during my quest I’ve been struck by the writing and philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas who, among other things, further developed Just War Theory as espoused by St. Augustine.

A Random Day In A Random Life


It’s Friday morning. I wake up early to shower and dress, so I’ll have time to attend random religious services at a random house of worship before work. I take special care to put on my random fringed vest and a random head covering. Then breakfast — a random round bread with a hole in the center.

That morning, I receive a call from a random place in the Middle East. It’s my older daughter, who is spending a year studying random religious texts in a random seminary. I ask about her plans for the upcoming random day of rest. We wish each other a peaceful day of rest in a random language.

Militarize the Police


The Charlie Hebdo killers are dead.

Now that the sound of the gunfire and flash-bang grenades has died down, I want to take this opportunity to point out the sound that we aren’t hearing: the feckless bleating of the people who two months ago were decrying the “militarization” of the police.

‘God Cannot Be Mocked’


As a teenager, I was easily offended. Any perceived slight would earn an immediate “That’s not fair!” to which adults within earshot would either roll their eyes or ignore. (I didn’t think that was fair either, nor do my tween daughters today.) At 15, I became an evangelical Christian and appended this teenage whininess to my faith. When evil sinners denigrated my God or my inchoate beliefs, I would angrily condemn their blasphemies. After all the Good Book states, “God cannot be mocked.” The Big Guy upstairs needs an uptight high schooler to defend His honor!

Wednesday we had a vastly more violent reaction to religious offense. As is all too common, Islamist radicals murdered individuals who mocked not their God, but a flawed human whom they claim as a prophet. Jihadists never seem as defensive about Islam’s other prophets, be they Jesus, Moses or Jonah. No, only the scimitar-swinging Mohammed is so fragile that he cannot even be illustrated without a bloodbath of vengeance.

Well, That Happened


Most post-9/11 Islamic terrorists in the West — the Madrid and London bombers excepted, though even the more recent of those happened nearly 10 years ago — have been hopeless amateurs, incapable of causing more casualties than a typical spree-shooter. If your global Jihad can’t predictably out-perform lone nut cases such as Adam Lanza, James Holmes, and Jared Lougfner, that speaks poorly for you.

This morning’s attack on on the left-wing French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, however, appears to be something different. Obviously, we’re still learning details and we don’t know how this one will end, but the basic facts show a level of competency we haven’t seen from domestic terrorists in a while. Any idiot can ambush a cyclist, set-off a pair of pressure-cooker bombs, or go on a suicidal shooting-spree, but attacking a specific, symbolic location in broad daylight — whose inhabitants knew themselves to be serious targets — with multiple, highly-armed assailants who planned to get away and did takes some degree of planning, skill, and smarts. I’ll concede I’m mildly impressed in addition to being disgusted, saddened, and angered.

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This odd video on CNN’s website about the “Five things to do if you are Taken Hostage” left me with more questions than answers.  In a hostage situation, does wearing skinny jeans and hiking boots at fifty-five years of age help one blend in? Does strange video editing and odd wardrobe reminiscent of a certain commercial with […]

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Here in Sydney, “backlash” warnings began with in minutes of the siege hitting the news.(“Not all Muslims” and all rest of the patronising rubbish). Even the PM: “We must not change our generous society”. (I quote from memory fairly accurately I think). It’s as though we were being softened up to make concessions *already* — […]

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In Sydney today, Islam’s Bad Cop is doing his bit now; “Good” Cop will extract more benefits and concessions later. “Outreach” prestige, money. High level meetings with “community” “leaders”. Transforming a free society just a little more — their way. Our conservative government (confusingly for Americans, the Liberal Party) is nearly as pernicious in this […]

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Senator Diane Feinstein is in the news today because she is promising to release a report she and fell Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee (Republicans refused to collaborate) that will accuse the CIA of torture that produced no useful intelligence when it used “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques.”  As with so many things from the Dems […]

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