NomDebPlume's 2½ Cents

Because I have an opinion about everything…

Archive for the category “Terrorism”

September 11th… 6 years later


World Trade Center 

Today I think of how quickly everyone forgets the unity and singularity of purpose once known as the years increase between September 11th 2001 and the present.  My sense is that we could not be more divided than we are right now and our enemies probably enjoy the satisfaction of knowing they have not only hurt us physically, but emotionally and politically as well.  I wonder if they knew how quickly we would all turn on one another; I, for one, am appalled at such a realization.

But life goes on for all of us in all our cocoons.  I am keenly aware that Americans are an impatient sort.  Not entirely our fault, I’ll concede, but not always a beneficial quality to possess.  While our desire to see things accomplished “yesterday” has contributed to our success as a Superpower, individually, we want what we want NOW… or sooner.  And when it comes to war, we Americans have precious little tolerance for the unavoidable accompanying discomfort.  Of course, as Americans, we also want THE best, 100% infallible plan that can be carried out neatly and quickly with little to no casualties. 

Sadly, this is not a reality we can know and we all scurry for someone to blame.  Blame makes us feel a little better and gives us a focus so moving forward is bearable.  But what we all really want is for none of this dreaded ugliness to ever have touched our lives in the first place, for our fragile version of innocence to have been left in tact, for those terrorists to have been stopped before they boarded the planes on that fateful day six years ago.  We want what we can’t have, and, heck, we’re Americans… we usually figure out a way to get it!  So instead of acknowledging a pain that cannot be quelled, we collectively grumble, complain, name-call, and viscously blame easy targets.

And today I think: How many years before we figure out that our country’s dissension feeds our enemy while starving our ability to heal and triumph?


“Mideast Terror Leaders Want U.S. to Vote Democrat”

 “Withdrawal from Iraq would embolden jihadists”  – WorldNetDaily


Senior terrorist leaders were interviewed by WorldNetDaily for an article posted on November 2nd, which stated their hope for a Democratic win in Tuesday’s election.  They see this shift in power as beneficial to their objectives because it will ensure victory for the worldwide Islamic resistance.   Not only would a Democratic win prove to the terrorists that Americans are tired, but Abu Abdullah, a leader of Hamas’ military wing in the Gaza Strip, said the policy of withdrawal “proves the strategy of the resistance is the right strategy against the occupation.” 

Muhammad Saadi, a senior leader of Islamic Jihad in the northern West Bank town of Jenin, was quoted as saying the Democrats’ talk of withdrawal from Iraq makes him feel proud: “As Arabs and Muslims we feel proud of this talk, very proud from the great successes of the Iraqi resistance.  This success that brought the big superpower of the world to discuss a possible withdrawal.”   And then there’s Abu Ayman, another Islamic Jihad leader in Jenin, who said he is “emboldened” by those in America who compare the war in Iraq to Vietnam.

Responding to the claim that the insurgents will stay in Iraq for as long as the U.S. is in Iraq, when terrorists became aware of Nancy Pelosi’s recent remarks on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” they dismissed her assertion completely:

Nancy Pelosi’s remarks: “The jihadists are in Iraq. But that doesn’t mean we stay there. They’ll stay there as long as we’re there.”
Muhammad Saadi, addressing those remarks in the WND interview: “Islamic Jihad’s Saadi, laughing, stated, ‘There is no chance that the resistance will stop’.”

And Jihad Jaara agrees.  A senior member of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group and the leader of the 2002 siege of Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, he told WND: an American withdrawal from Iraq would “prove the resistance is the most important tool and that this tool works. The victory of the Iraqi revolution will mark an important step in the history of the region and in the attitude regarding the United States.” Jaara said an American withdrawal would “mark the beginning of the collapse of this tyrant empire (America).”

The far-reaching implications of a withdrawal are expressed this way by Jaara: Vacating Iraq would also “reinforce Palestinian resistance organizations, especially from the moral point of view.  But we also learn from these (insurgency) movements militarily. We look and learn from them.”  This viewpoint is shared by Hamas’ Abu Abdullah, who believes leaving Iraq would “convince those among the Palestinians who still have doubts in the efficiency of the resistance.”   “The victory of the resistance in Iraq would prove once more that when the will and the faith are applied victory is not only a slogan.”

The terrorists have given us much to think about in this article posted by Aaron Klein for WorldNetDaily. Woven between all the quotes and all the malice are claims that they’ve found “the right strategy”, that they feel “proud” and “emboldened”, that they are “laughing” at us and our “tyrant empire”.  They are learning “what works” and what is “efficient”, but perhaps the best advice from the terrorist’s for this Election Day can be summed up by a quote from Jihad Jaara.  Although he is currently in exile in Ireland as part of an internationally brokered deal that ended the previously mentioned church siege, he gave the following quote to WorldNetDaily:

Of course Americans should vote Democrat“.


Read the WorldNetDaily Post

*Some of this post taken verbatim from WND article due to the amount of quotes.

Of Blogs, Terrorism and Torture

As a new blogger, I have already amassed quite an education from reading others’ sites and mulling over the well thought-out opinions contained therein.  The passion with which some write can be startling and challenging, while others seem happy to continue spreading ignorance merely for the sake of hearing themselves talk.  I hope to be counted among the former as I research those things that are important to me before I venture to write one syllable about anything.  Always checking opposing opinions, no matter how unpleasant at times, I know it is a necessity in order to get a complete and honest outlook that may be worth a reader’s time. 

In my cyber-travels, these have been the best blogs of all – those that allow for alternative views and do not automatically dismiss readers and/or commentaries that disagree.  While a meeting of the minds may be too much to hope for, a robust discussion is always fun and can lead to a learning experience for both sides.  And that can never be a bad thing.

With that as a preface, I have encountered so much one-sided writing about the recent squabbling in Congress over the clarification of The Geneva Convention and how it pertains to terrorist suspects held at Guantanamo Bay.  At its core, it would almost seem to be an argument of semantics: “Torture” vs. “Harsh Measures” or “Coerced Interrogation”, “Clarification” vs. “nullification”.  And, sadly, the argument received much mislaid attention from Senator John McCain and General Colin Powell.

To the best of my understanding, no one was asking to back out of the Geneva Convention’s provisions against torture, only wanting the language of article 3 to be clarified so detainees could not claim torture, and CIA Agents could not be prosecuted for trying to ascertain information that would protect our country from further attacks.

Geneva Convention; Common Article 3, 1. (c) prohibits:
Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment.

Exactly what is humiliating and degrading treatment?  Is it sleep deprivation?  Loud music?  Solitary confinement?  A cold room?  Water boarding?  According to Human Rights Watch it is.  But then, according to Executive Director, Kenneth Roth:

These abuses are wrong as a matter of fundamental rights. Though done in the name of protection from terrorism, they are also counterproductive. Fighting terrorism effectively requires not just stopping existing terrorists but also preventing the generation of new ones. By all accounts, U.S. abuses in the name of fighting terrorism have been a boon to terrorist recruiters. The loss of the moral high ground has made it harder to dissuade angry young men from resorting to the deliberate killing of civilians.

Many of the abuses also reflect a counterterrorism strategy that is too narrow. Most experts insist that, in comparison with other law enforcement methods such as surveillance or searches, information garnered from interrogation plays a relatively small role in cracking secretive criminal conspiracies. The most important source of all is tips from members of the general public—ordinary citizens, often from the same community as a would-be terrorist, who might report suspicious activity next door or the approach of a terrorist recruiter. Abusive interrogation can discourage such cooperation because many potential sources of information want nothing to do with “dirty war” tactics that may be used against their neighbors or even themselves. Cooperation from other governments can be similarly undermined.”

Who are these experts he mentions?  And is he suggesting we dance to the beat of a terrorist’s drum in order to appease them, in the hope of dissuading angry young men from resorting to killing civilians?  If we are “nice enough”, they will suddenly be nice to us?  They hate us, they hate what we stand for – that’s not going to change, regardless of how nice we are.

I hesitate to even take the time to respond to the ludicrous statement Mr. Roth makes concerning counterterrorism strategies.  Surveillance, searches and neighbors who garner information is as valuable as that collected from Khalid Shakh Mohammed using harsh measures?  According to ABC News investigative reporter Brian Ross, Mohammed’s interrogation yielded “information that was very valuable regarding one plot which would have involved an airplane attack on the tallest building in Los Angeles”.  Ross spoke of 14 cases where coerced interrogation was used, and in all 14 cases they gave up important information. As a result, more than a dozen plots were stopped.   Works for me.

Now, I have my reservations about water boarding, I will admit.  It does seem to border on torture, but at the same time, it produces no permanent damage.  Contrast that with, say, the commission of a beheading on film for broadcast on the Internet or on Al Jazeera.  And with the question of defendants seeing evidence against them, I also take issue.  I believe it is an integral part of our justice system, yet also believe we cannot reveal CIA identities in the process or allow national security to be compromised.  It’s comforting that an agreement has been reached in Congress that apparently satisfies most on these key points.  

How ironic is it, by the way, that so many people got their undies in a knot over the revelation of Valerie Plame’s identity as a former CIA agent, and now there are those who don’t even blink at the idea of revealing the names of agents in the field to terrorists?  But I digress… :-/

Despite Senator McCain’s and General Powell’s claims of our administration failing to adhere to the higher standard that makes this country great and questioning the moral basis and conscience of those who dare attempt to define Article 3 of the Geneva Convention, I believe the treatment we provide to Gitmo prisoners speaks for itself.  The following can be found at the DOD website and is titled,

“Ten Facts About Guantanamo”

1. The detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility include bin Laden’s bodyguards, bomb makers, terrorist trainers and facilitators, and other suspected terrorists.

2. More money is spent on meals for detainees than on the U.S. troops stationed there.  Detainees are offered up to 4,200 calories a day.  The average weight gain per detainee is 20 pounds.

3. The Muslim call to prayer sounds five times a day.  Arrows point detainees toward the holy city of Mecca.

4. Detainees receive medical, dental, psychiatric, and optometric care at U.S. taxpayers’ expense.  In 2005, there were 35 teeth cleanings, 91 cavities filled, and 174 pairs of glasses issued.

5. The International Committee of the Red Cross visits detainees at the facility every few months.  More than 20,000 messages between detainees and their families have been exchanged.

6. Recreation activities include basketball, volleyball, soccer, pingpong, and board games. High-top sneakers are provided. 

7. Departing detainees receive a Koran, a jean jacket, a white T-shirt, a pair of blue jeans, high-top sneakers, a gym bag of toiletries, and a pillow and blanket for the flight home.

8. Entertainment includes Arabic language TV shows, including World Cup soccer games.  The library has 3,500 volumes available in 13 languages — the most requested book is “Harry Potter.”

9. Guantanamo is the most transparent detention facility in the history of warfare.  The Joint Task Force has hosted more than 1,000 journalists from more than 40 countries.

10. In 2005, Amnesty International stated that “the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay has become the gulag of our times.”

I heard Laura Ingraham claim (on The O’Reilly Factor) that every prisoner over the age of 50 also gets a free colonoscopy, but I haven’t been able to substantiate that.  As someone who suffers from Crohn’s Disease, I decided this might not really help my argument anyway.  Laura was talking benefits, but the word torture came to my mind… :-/

Seriously, though, I would never condone torture – although, there are those who say, “Never say never”.  I consider myself a pacifist, for the most part.  I would not kill another person and, if serving in the military, I would have to do something other than hold a weapon.  I respect John McCain’s service to our country and what he endured as a prisoner of war.  This is part of the reason I can’t understand why he rejects seemingly benign methods of interrogation… certainly when compared with what he experienced.  The same is true for General Powell; I have always had great respect for him as well.  Their rationale for choosing this particular argument puzzles me and leads me to speculate as to their motivation.  It is difficult not to conclude that politics is a major contributor here.  Could Senator McCain be pandering for an upcoming presidential bid?  And could General Powell be thinking “running mate”?

If this is the case, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.  While politicizing and jeopardizing the safety of the citizens one hopes to govern in an attempt to gain that position is reprehensible, unfortunately, there are those for whom it works.  As an average citizen, though, I feel humiliated and degraded.

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