Friday, April 20, 2007

The VT Massacre and What it Means to the War on Terror


By Emilio Karim Dabul

This past Monday was, unfortunately, the perfect weather scenario for the horrible series of murders that took place at Virginia Tech: endless gray and rain. The day was funereal before the first shots rang out. But before I cast more darkness on a week that has started out worse for the US than any other since 9/11, let me say out front that there's something we can learn here if we're only willing. Namely, that far from being prepared for the next 9/11, the 32 students slain this week in a matter of 20 minutes by one crazed individual should prove beyond any doubt that we have a lot more work to do to come up to speed to protect ourselves against terrorism. If we can learn that lesson now rather than later, then we may have a chance to actually shield ourselves against much greater catastrophe when the terrorists strike again.
You can be certain that Al Qaeda has taken note of what happened Monday and has filed the information for future reference. Think of how many more students would have died if there had been a group of homicide bombers and other armed individuals who had assaulted the campus. 9/11 happened because we did not properly consider or prepare for the unthinkable. And Monday at Virginia Tech took place because we do not like to think of our college campuses, or our amusement parks, malls, and grade schools, as launching pads for massacres. Well, we need to. We're way past the point of having to debate the obvious. America has changed forever since those hijacked planes crashed against the Towers, and our security measures need to be able to meet the threats posed in this new era.

Let me put it more simply: there is no reason in the post 9/11 world that 32 students should have died Monday. Had the school been wired with high tech surveillance from end to end, text messages sent out en masse to students' cell phones after the first shootings, armed guards immediately appeared, and the campus locked down right away, lives could have been saved. What preparation had the school done in advance of this attack to prepare students, faculty, and campus police to respond appropriately? And moreover, tell me, citizens of New York, San Francisco, Chicago, etc., do you know the evacuation plans and procedures you need to follow in the event your city's hit by a dirty bomb, a chemical attack, or, God forbid, an actual nuke? No, I didn't think so. I'm a New Yorker and I don't have a clue what I'm supposed to do if and when that day happens. Why? Because for all our talk about remaining steadfast in the face of terrorism, it's largely been business as usual since 9/11.

Well, here's the problem. If we don't properly prepare for the next inevitable terrorist strike, the country may come to a standstill, business wise and otherwise, that could make 9/11's aftereffects look mild indeed. Follow the continuum here. 2001 was the follow-up from the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993. You can be certain that with the next attack they will top by far what happened a little over five years ago. That's their pattern. It's not a question of when, but how, and they are working on that as I write these words.

We must think of the maniac on Monday as the advance guard from a much greater Army, poised to destroy us if we let them. But we owe our children this much: no retreat and no surrender from the war in front of us, and no excuses from our government or ourselves not to be prepared.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Madame Traitor: An Arab-American's Perspective on Pelosi in Damascus

From: American Congress for Truth

Madame Traitor: An Arab-American's Perspective on Pelosi in Damascus
By Emilio Karim Dabul:

Nancy Pelosi is to world diplomacy what Michael Jordan was to baseball: completely forgettable and unnecessary. But unlike Michael's slightly amusing foray into the Babe's world, there's nothing funny about Pelosi in Damascus. The terrorists and their supporters, who are always looking for weak links and signs that the US does not have the will or backbone to win the war we're fighting with them, just found a great ally in Madame Speaker.

Among the older members of my extended Syrian family, there was a general attitude that kindness equaled weakness. It wasn't that they didn't believe in charity, but that it must be parceled out carefully, because those of ill intent can be quick to take advantage of those they perceive to be gullible and soft. This is what Nancy Pelosi either doesn't understand, or doesn't care about: she's being used by the very people who want to destroy us in another round of window dressing, subterfuge, and deceit. I suspect that Pelosi knows this, but is more intent on trying to undermine the President than in looking at how she could best support national security.

Let's look at the record. Syria has admitted that it has financially supported Hezbollah and Hamas, but says that it doesn't supply them with arms. What's the difference? What do you think these groups buy with the money? How many Israeli and Lebanese men, women and children have been slaughtered because of Syrian backing of these groups? And who do you think Syria supports across the border in Iraq: our troops or the terrorists some blithely refer to as "insurgents"? Without the direct involvement of Syria and Iran, the current terrorism movement in Iraq would have considerably less groundswell.

Pelosi might respond that she's aware of all that, but that she's simply taking James Baker's advice to talk with your enemies. Well, here's the problem: Baker's wrong. Talking to the Syrians has never accomplished anything. They correctly read the signs a long time ago that there would be no real consequences for continuing to support Arab and Islamic terrorist groups. And Pelosi has proven them right again: bend us and we will break.

This needs to stop. Syria and Iran need to know in a very real way that if they continue to support terrorism, they will experience the full wrath of the United States. And there cannot be any negotiating when it comes to this. Moammar Gadhafi -remember that boogeyman?-backed off when we bombed his palace in Libya. Gadhafi's two-year-old adopted daughter died in that raid, which was a terrible tragedy, particularly since he was the one with blood on his hands, not her. Still, Gadhafi crawled back into his hole, and retreated even further when we invaded Iraq, making a public show of acquiescence to the US. He may be crazy, but he's not stupid.

Syria and Iran need to be given fair warning to cease and desist all support of terrorist activities, prove they're doing so, and if they don't, be held to account.

Damascus and Tehran will continue to taunt and undermine us, and the UK, until they know they can't. Assad would be a lot less likely to cut checks for terrorists if he knew it could cost him his job or his life. And the same is true of the little guy in the leisure suit over in Iran. This is what they both understand and respect: force, not treaties and tea.

And Pelosi would probably be adverse to hang out with these guys if she knew F-18s might be approaching. Charging her with treason in the meantime would be appropriate. If the Speaker of the House during the Vietnam War had broken bread with Cambodian leaders, the public would have demanded his resignation and the most severe punishment possible for such a crime. And yet when Nancy Pelosi sits down with our enemies' collaborators, she's given a pass, even praised by those who cheer on any action that goes against the President. Al Jazerra is probably her biggest fan right now, next to the New York Times.

The problem is she's not just hurting the President, she's betraying our troops, and everyone around the world at risk to terrorist attacks, which is most of us.

We should not let her get away with it. We need to hold Pelosi responsible for her actions, as well as Syria and Iran. The three of them have more than proven their status as enemies of the United States.
Emilio Dabul is a Contributing Editor for American Congress for He is a Syrian-American of Muslim heritage and a Middle East commentator.