Ben Affleck has a case — a bad case — of Islamophilia. By now the exchange on Bill Maher's show is everywhere, as well it should be. Maher and Sam Harris argued that much more than just a tiny fraction of the Muslim world holds extreme views, such as the death penalty for apostates. Affleck retorted that calling out Islamic radicalism in this way was “so gross" and "racist," like calling someone a “shifty Jew.” New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof essentially agreed, saying that the position held by Maher and Harris “does have the tinge a little bit of the way white racists talk about African-Americans."
The War on Terror Spectator
On Monday, Attorney General Eric Holder, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, and New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo sounded the alarm about the escalating danger of a terrorist attack on America by ISIS and other jihadists. Too bad the Obama administration lacks the resolve or sense of urgency to meet this danger head on. Worse, political correctness is hindering New York, a likely target, from tracking and stopping the jihadists in our midst.
Holder announced “pilot programs” to “raise awareness,” bringing together religious leaders, community leaders, and law enforcement to build “community partnerships.” Sounds heartwarming. The White House will also hold a “summit” next month on how to stop extremism. I hope they serve a delicious lunch. Summits and community organizing won’t deter jihadists who are threatening to raise the black flag of the Islamic State over the White House. But here are steps that actually would.
President Obama is poised to announce his strategy for battling ISIS overseas. Better late than never. But Obama still has said nothing about stopping jihadists from bringing their terror here. It’s up to Congress to act on this urgent issue. Congress should reverse Obama’s dangerous new policy of granting asylum to people with terrorist connections. Federal law bars it, but on February 5, the administration went around Congress and loosened the law to welcome asylum seekers who have provided only “limited material support” to terrorists.
Next, Congress should outlaw visas to “study” at unaccredited institutions, which often are nothing more than visa mills. Finally, Congress needs to crack down on overstaying visas. Five of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers had overstayed tourist visas, and another was on a student visa. Of course, immigration offers huge benefits to our nation. And not all terrorists are foreign born. But these weak links in enforcement have to be closed to thwart another 9/11. That’s not anti-immigration. It’s anti-terror.
The words still resonate today, seventy-three years later. On December 8, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, his polio-stricken legs encased in iron braces enabling him to stand at the podium, asked Congress for a declaration of war against “the Empire of Japan.” FDR’s famous speech came immediately after the perfunctory acknowledgement of the vice president and speaker of the House. The speech described the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, and opened like this:
Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.
The speech, delivered at 12:30 p.m., was short and to the point.
Is World War IV on the verge of beginning? With President Obama in the role of the reluctant leader whose actions have invited global catastrophe?
As the 100th anniversary of what is known to modern history as World War I is marked, it is perhaps time to recall that once upon a time the “Great War” as it was called in its day was known in the aftermath as “the war to end all wars.” The phrase was associated with President Wilson, who also said the U.S. needed to join the fight in Europe to “make the world safe for democracy.”
In recent months, the Obama administration has been roundly criticized for its perceivably rudderless foreign policy. Following Secretary Kerry’s failed attempts at a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, the administration was in need of a win.
That win has come not a moment too soon for the Yezidi people of northwestern Iraq. Trapped by the Islamic State (IS/ISIS) on Mount Sinjar, they’re outgunned, and without water. But last night, President Obama authorized humanitarian airdrops to the Yezedi refugees. In the same speech, the president also approved the use of airstrikes, if necessary, in order to stop the advance of the fanatical religious group.
“The U.S. cannot and should not intervene every time there is a crisis in the world,” the president said. But he added, “We can act, carefully and responsibly, to prevent a potential act of genocide.”
“Today, America is coming to help.”
A search for the good guys and bad guys of Iraq commenced during a hearing in the House Committee on Foreign Affairs with representatives from the Departments of State and Defense on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was the first "bad guy," in the view of Congress. A few representatives are still making thinly veiled accusations about incompetence on the part of Bush for sending troops into Iraq, or Obama for taking them out, but most seem to agree that Maliki is out of favor.
On the other hand, several congressmen expressed support for the Kurds, both in general and in their desire for an independent state. One remarked that no American troops were lost in the Kurdish territories during the Iraq war, thanks to the friendliness of the Kurds.
Warm wishes were also expressed towards Jordan, while any partnership with Iran was roundly condemned.
It should come as no surprise to anyone that our secretary of state, John Kerry, was caught on a hot mic bashing Israel during a commercial break while in an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday. Kerry sarcastically characterized the IDF’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza as a “hell of a pinpoint operation” while on speaker-phone with an adviser.
After all, it was less than three months ago that Kerry said Israel could become an Apartheid state if a Palestinian state were not established. This comment, made behind closed doors during a sitting of the Trilateral Commission, put Kerry on the defensive for a few days before he issued a classic non-apology apology.
Anyone who obtained too much power in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq had two choices: join the Ba’ath Party or die. Joseph Kassab, a medical researcher at the University of Baghdad, chose a third option—flee to the United States. Thirty-five years later, he describes his success here as “an American dream story.” But he is a Chaldean Catholic, and he worries for the fate of his people, the Christians of Iraq.
“Do we want our people to leave Iraq? The answer is no,” he told TAS. “Our ancestry in Iraq goes back 2,000 years before Christ.”
The Christian population of Iraq, which has its roots in the ancient Assyrians who embraced Christianity in biblical times, numbered 1.3 million before 2003. Over the next decade, nearly a million Christians fled to neighboring countries. Many who became refugees fled to the West if they could.
Most joined the Chaldean Christian community in Michigan, which began in the 1870s. They had helped build the automobile industry, saving factory wages to bring family members to the land of opportunity. The Detroit community of Chaldeans now numbers 200,000 and has associations for every profession from pharmaceutics to CPAs.
Much about the Obama administration’s foreign policy has been an embarrassment. Some of its failures, such as Iraq, must be shared with its predecessor. In Egypt President Barack Obama and especially Secretary of State John Kerry incompetently followed in the footsteps of several administrations.
Three years ago Hosni Mubarak’s dictatorship ingloriously collapsed. Although student-led protests in Cairo triggered the regime’s demise, it was Mubarak's plan to move from military rule to family rule that led the generals to abandon him. The Obama administration was constantly following events, first embracing Mubarak, then calling for a negotiated transition, and finally endorsing his overthrow. The Egyptian people ignored Washington at every turn.