Our “Flag” is at Half Staff
I don’t know of a person who does not believe that today’s world is truly incomprehensible and unlike any time in our history that they can remember. When watching the news then listening to our politicians, community activists, some of the candidates for the President of the United States, and MSM “news” people, what you are hearing and seeing sounds like it is being broadcast from a mental institution (it that PC?).
Our President’s almost daily denigration of the United States, its citizens, and its founding principles, has created a world-wide atmosphere of Anti-US sentiment.
This has given our external enemies and dissident organizations within the US cause célèbre to attack our existence, our Constitution, our laws, our economy and our way of life.
Internally this has allowed various elements to pit one citizen against another and Externally this has eroded the position of the US around the world by our enemies and allies.
Let’s just pick a few topics and dissect them a bit. We could go on for pages but you can fill in your own examples.
World Wide Terrorism:
Terrorism against the west in particular goes back decades and is not a new phenomena. What is new is that the checks and balances against the wholesale spreading of terrorism have been removed and removed intentionally. Let’s state up front that since the 1900’s, terrorism against the West and its allies has come overwhelmingly from Radical Islamic elements. And, no, this does not mean that all Muslims are terrorists. But, the source of this terrorism is critical in understanding our world today. Also, it really does not matter what name you give to groups, ISIS, ISIL, Al Qaeda, Al Qaeda Iraq, Hezbollah, Hamas, etc.. They can all be just as lethal and by segregating the threat to the west into different “flavors”, allows politicians to claim credit for eliminating or reducing terrorism by attacking one of the specific groups. Until the RADICALIZATION OF ISLAM is eliminated, the threats from Radical Islamic Terrorists will never be eliminated.
There are quite a few historic periods that formed the fight against Radical Islamic Terrorism but for sake of brevity, lets take pre and post 2008 as the periods to be reviewed.
The Beginnings: From 1917 through 2007, the Middle East labored under various externally imposed geographic separations that were designated after WWI and then again after WWII. The Balfour Declaration in 1917 was one of many instruments that was used to carve up the oil reach region amongst the British and the French primarily. Many of the Nations that were created were politically defined to make it easier to divvy up the Middle East for specific European countries to maintain a sphere of influence over their piece of the pie. The pie in 1917 was the recent discovery of oil (1908 in Persia (Iran)) that would be needed to further fuel the industrial revolution in Europe. Generally, British or French protectorates later gave way to other forms of Government and eventually new nations emerged from their protectorate beginnings. Governments that were set up in these new nations over the next 30 years mainly used a centralized control form of governance since these nations borders were in some cases new and in many cases the populace were unfamiliar with self-governing. Many had been a part of the Ottoman Empire and many regions were in fact tribal or nomadic. Some were set up as monarchies with the same underlying central control form of governance. Early in the early 1900’s, the Middle East mainly consisted of the following groups:
British Protectorates: The British held sway over Egypt, Palestine, Iraq, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the UAE.
French Protectorates: France controlled Tunisia, Syria and Lebanon.
Others: Iran was ultimately controlled by the Pahlavi family, Saudi Arabia the House of Saud, while Turkey became independent early on.
The Economies: The economies of these nations were and still are pretty much two tiered. Those in power and those who are not, with the former and their supporters being the affluent class. Egypt was successful in developing a middle class that was all but eliminated with the take over by Abdul Nasser in the 1950’s. Many of the new Nations rulers recognized that their populations had to share in the wealth or they would not be able to remain in power so they instituted a minimum annual income for each of their citizens. This only encouraged no one to work and everyone, especially the youth, to have too much time on their hands. This made them ripe for radicalization. Saudi Arabia is an example of this type of revenue sharing.
The Role of Islam:
Islam is not monolithic in its follower’s beliefs. There are two major Islamic denominations, the Sunni and the Shi’a. The two denominations split in who they think should have been the proper successor as Caliph to the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. The following graphic shows the split between the Sunni and the Shi’a:
The differences between Sunni and Shi’a go beyond the succession lineage after Muhammad. That said, the western observer may not consider the differences to be all that great. But, the differences have also morphed into political and military entities such as in the Shi’a countries of Iran, Iraq, Bahrain and Azerbaijan. Iran has used their geopolitical power to wage one of the most robust examples of state sponsored terror through its support of Hamas and Hezbollah. Iran has used these organizations against Israel and rival Sunni nations as well as the West. Hezbollah is presently engaged in the Syrian conflict on behalf of Iran. Shi’a Iraq under the Sunni Saddam Hussein was kept somewhat stable through Hussein’s brute force. Iran and Iraq had numerous conflicts based on Iran’s desire to rid its neighbor of its Sunni dictator and allow Iraq to become a Shi’a nation and an ally of Iran. This is core in the current ISIS/Iraq/Syria conflict.
Today, the Sunnis comprise 85-90% or 1.02 to 1.08 billion Muslims and the Shi’i, 10-15% or 120 to 170 million Muslims. The Shi’i are the majority in Iran (95%), Iraq (65%), Bahrain (70%), Azerbaijan (75%) and, according to some estimates, Yemen (40%+). Often Syria is misunderstood to be predominantly Shi’a but in fact only 10% of their population is Shi’a. Their presidents have historically been Shi’a thus the alignment between Syria and Iran. Iraq was the opposite. Saddam Hussein was a Sunni in spite of Iraq being 65%+ Shi’a.
The Sunni are predominate in the other Muslim nations. The two belief systems of Islam have historically been a source of friction between the two groups. It is important to comprehend that this divide is much more deeply felt in the Muslim world than say Catholics and Protestants in the US. It has been the source of conflicts throughout their histories. When you hear of potential alliances in the Middle East, remember these divisions. Sunni and Shi’a may align for short time for some perceived advantage but not for a protracted period of time. ISIS is self-described as Sunni.
This period in the Middle East has been colored primarily by the rise of Al Qaeda and ISIS, and the US responses to terrorist attacks around the world but specifically the attack on the World Trade Center in New York on 9-11. The subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, coupled with the rapid, premature pullout of US troops in Iraq, also have played a significant role in shaping the focus of Islamic Terrorism. While the US focused it efforts battling Al Qaeda, the US premature pullout in Iraq gave rise to a new organization, ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
This is why it is important not to place too much emphasis on the name a specific organizations but rather focus on the big picture of Radical Islamic Terrorism. When someone stabs or shoots you, you really don’t much care what that person calls him or her self! It is interesting to listen to “leaders” claim victory over a certain terrorist group while two more spring up in their back yard. They don’t get that the name of the organization is not as important as their shared goal, the defeat of the west and the establishment of their Caliphate, be it Shi’a or Sunni. The more leaders are confused about how to effectively devise a strategy to defeat one or more of these organizations, the more they try to differentiate between the terrorist organizations.
Today’s Terrorism Issues:
- Know Your Enemy: Our Administration cannot attribute the war on terrorism to Radical Islam and that is a false starter when trying to devise a strategy to defeat radical Islamic terrorists. We are facing a disparate enemy who views this war as a religious war that is precipitated by the need for them to establish a Caliphate.
- Show of Weakness: Due to a perceived, albeit real, perception the West, specifically the United States, is not longer a real military threat, we are currently facing a resurgence of terrorism by Al Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram, Hezbollah, Hamas and other such organizations. The largest state sponsor of terrorism, is Iran, funding both Hezbollah, Hamas. We just gave away nuclear capabilities to Iran plus have released $100 Billion to them to spend on fostering even more terrorism and providing R&D capital to further enhance their missile systems and nuclear weapons development. This show of weakness did not go unnoticed by the other terror organizations.
- Military Rules of Engagement: Under our current president, our military cannot bomb targets where a single civilian casualty may be the outcome. Our military cannot detain a militant without first reading the combatants the their “Miranda Rights”. Our President’s first words when discussing any possible military engagement is that we will not have any boots on the ground.
- Sucker Bet: Our President is betting that he can align with Russia and Iran against ISIS and somehow come out on top by playing nice with Shi’a Iran. Don’t worry about Al Qaeda or the other terrorist because we have already defeated them (sarcasm). Iran won the nuclear negotiations and are now doubling down in the fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. The Iranians want desperately to take both Iraq and Syria and solidify them into their sphere of influence or outright annex them. Iraq is predominately Shi’a and they feel that if they can keep Assad or another Shi’a friendly leader in Syria, presumably of the Alawite sect, they can continue to dominate Syrian policy and resources as they have for years. Just to make things interesting, Russia wants to make sure that Syria remain in its good graces in order to continue to have military bases in Syria and port access to the Mediterranean. Since Russia and Iran have had a mutually beneficial relationship for quite some time, the sharing of Syria, and now Iraq would be seen as a positive. Also, an alliance between Russia and Iran, with control over Iraq and Syria, would make Russia a dominating player in the world oil markets, either directly or indirectly, thus making Europe totally at the mercy of Russian oil policy. Russia’s succession plan for Syria includes the promotion of an Alawite Shi’a in Bashar al-Assad’s stead.
Terrorism Recap: Our President’s belief that the US should not be imposing its will on other nations, nor play any kind of a peacemaking role between nations is shaping his rhetoric against the American people and our value systems. He says we are racists for wanting to protect our land first or for saying the terrorism today is Islamic Terrorism. Further, that Christians are not tolerant of Muslims and that Christianity has to somehow bow down to Islamic interests and beliefs.
Black Lives Matter & College Protests
Our President’s seemingly daily rants against our nation’s law enforcement, calling out honest law abiding citizens who question his policies as being racist, sexist, homophobic etc., has divided this nation as never before and emboldened radical elements within our society. Unfortunately, many of those inflamed by his rhetoric are our younger generation who rather than being focused on what they can do for themselves and their country, they are focused on how bad they have it and how it is everyone else’s fault. Many of these are students in our colleges and universities. Being a product of the 1960’s, I totally get protest and understand the need to speak out. But there is also a responsibility to make sure that you are informed and engaged in solutions, not just noise. Further, that you are part of a society and you are not the society.
Lack of Black Leadership: One phenomenon that I have never understood, that post Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Black leaders have seemed to work against the best interests of their so-called constituents. This is also true for many of the Hispanic leaders. They will embrace an issue or a policy just because it is espoused by the Democrat party rather than review issues and policies on their own merits and whether they help or hurt their constituents.
Homicide Rates: (FBI Stats, 2011, White totals include White and Hispanic together)
Blacks comprise approximately 13% of the US population but commit 46% of the total homicides. Black on Black homicides accounted for 91% of the total Black homicides. The Black leadership should focus on the causes of the disparate rate of violence in the Black communities. Focus on high unemployment rates that are being driven by a failed education system, especially in our inner cities, coupled with immigration policies that are allowing illegal immigrants to enter this country and take jobs away from American Citizens. Focus on the high rate of drug use in the inner cities and how to illuminate this plague infecting our young people. Create an economic environment in the inner cities that will incentivize young adults to seek employments rather than enter into the drug business. They deserve better.
Abortion Vs. Murder Vs. Police Killing of Blacks:
Abortion rates among Black (and Hispanics) is very difficult to reconcile with Black Lives Matter. Abortions by Blacks are 38% of the US total abortions. This equates to almost 18,000,000 Black Babies being killed by abortion since Roe V. Wade in 1973. in 2011, Aborted Black babies accounted for 425,000 Black Lives being Lost… This represents the killing of 1.2% of the Black Population of the US every year. This by far exceeds the number of Blacks who murdered other Blacks, 2,447. In 2012, there were 426 people killed by policemen. Of these, 31% or 132 were Black.
Black Abortion Deaths Per Year: 435,000 (2011)
Black on Black Murders: 2,447 (2011)
Blacks Killed by Police: 132 (2012)
Time for Realism
Clearly there is a need for an adult conversation as to why Black lives are being destroyed by drugs, homicides, abortions and deaths at the hands of law enforcement. Why illiteracy rates among Blacks is exponentially higher than Whites. Why the national average for out-of-wedlock birth was 40.7% in 2012 but was 72.2% for Blacks. Real Unemployment among young blacks has been triple that of the rest of the population including Hispanics.
College Black protestors need to focus on realism and take responsibility for their own lives. Many of those who have been vocal are not inner city victims of the economy but are from affluent families. These agitators stand in the way of real solutions for those Blacks and others who are in need of benefitting from the American Dream. They need to recognize that any solution they are looking for has to be within the confines of the US Constitution. They need to understand that their right to free speech has to recognize the right to free speech of others they disagree with. They need to recognize that to be taken seriously that they need to condemn the use of racial slurs by Blacks, including those in the pop culture.
Black “leaders” have sought to blame all of these ills on Republicans in spite of the fact that the Democrats have controlled the presidency since 2008, and had total control of the House, Senate and Presidency from 2008-2010. The conversation has to exclude special interests including the teachers unions, open boarders groups, US Chamber of Commerce, and those who are contributing to the current plight of the Black community.
The divisive rhetoric of our President has to stop. American citizens are not systemically racist, sexists or any other “ist” he uses to describe special those in the White segment of our population. Americans, nor American history, justifies the use of terror by members of the Radical Islamic community, ever. Protecting our boarders is the right of all nations and the US under this President’s leadership, is the only nation who does not protect its country’s borders. Mutual respect of and for all of our citizens has to be the norm again in this nation. All Lives Matter and we should all collectively, and not as disparate groups, fight for each others rights and privileges. These rights and privileges have to be equal for all US citizens, not merely those who perceive themselves as victims.
Terrorist Organizations: http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/des/123085.htm
Sunni vs Shia: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-16047709
Middle East Colonization: http://what-when-how.com/western-colonialism/independence-and-decolonization-middle-east/
Abortion Rates: http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/gpr/11/3/gpr110302.html
Black Police Killings: http://blogs.channel4.com/factcheck/factcheck-black-americans-killed-police/19423
Out of Wedlock Births: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/360990/latest-statistics-out-wedlock-births-roger-clegg