The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (I’m the Vice Chairman) opened a Center for Law & Counter-terrorism the other day. Sounds boring but it’s not going to be. It will be run by Andy McCarthy, who is that rare being, a lawyer who communicates gracefully with the written word. He can write! I don’t mean subpoenas ducas tecum and turgid and thickly-reasoned motions like most of these legal folks. He can do that.
I mean he writes prose that hums in its simple declarative sentences and makes point after point with clarity and force.
The man is both lucid and wildly prolific: churning our newspaper and magazine columns by the dozens and more commentary than you could shake your swagger-stick at.
And this is one of the preeminent former federal anti-terrorism prosecutors in the country.
Last week Andy and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies held a kick-off symposium at the National Press Club in Washington. It ran all morning and I was in the audience.
They debated questions about the War in Iraq, and the Global War on Terror, and whether this country needs a National Security Court. My take on that is that it does. And this IS a war, with combatants in civilian clothes, posing as normal citizens, hiding among the populace like the dangerous creeps that they are.
As someone said at the symposium:” Why is it a war?” The answer is, we have an enemy with motive, with evil intent and enormous resources. We need military means to protect ourselves and our country.
How is this different then fighting the Mafia? Uh, it is totally different. We don’t send the US Air Force, or remote controlled armed-drones with rockets, to fly over Sicily or parts of New Jersey to take them out, now do we?
Traditional criminal law won’t effectively address the problems of crazed terrorists.
Steward Taylor, the lawyer and writer from the National Journal and Newsweek spoke. He was excellent, smart and nuanced as always
In this morning's National Review online, I have an article with Howard Anglin, Esq. on a recent judicial decision out of California authored by Judge Audrey Collins that seriously hampers the government's efforts to restrict terrorist financing. Read the article.
To be fair to Judge Collins, her opinion is nothing like the hatchet job performed by Judge Anna Diggs Taylor on the NSA’s terrorist-surveillance program earlier this year. Judge Taylor’s opinion was roundly — and rightly — condemned as poorly reasoned and unworthy of the legal craft by lawyers from across the political spectrum. Judge Collins’s decision, by contrast, is neither overtly partisan nor irrational. With one exception it is a workmanlike application of precedent to fact. Unfortunately, that one exception has catastrophic potential.
There is, however, a compelling basis for a government ban on any assistance — even self-described humanitarian aid — to terrorists. Because terrorist organizations are not known as models of corporate transparency, there is no way of knowing whether a terrorist entity’s humanitarian arm is funneling money to its militant one. What is more, the fungible nature of money means that donations to the peaceful arm free up money to be spent by the militant arm.
I was awakened this morning by a call from a friend informing me that
Jeane Kirkpatrick had died. Ambassador Kirkpatrick, until fairly
recently, was a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, where I interned
last year, and her office was only a few steps away from my bay on the 11th
floor. She later went on to help found the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.
Jeane would make a point of stopping for a chat every time she passed my
bay at AEI, and we had many fascinating conversations about foreign policy, and I was
constantly struck by her powerful mind, on which, mercifully, age was not taking
Being a somewhat bumptious sort, I would try to tease out her views on
the issues facing us today—at the time, it was the floundering Iraq mission—and
it was clear that her contributions deserved a more public airing. Fortunately,
prior to her death, Jeane had finished writing a new book on foreign policy.
Though I have not yet had the pleasure to read it (it will be published
shortly), I am told by those whose judgment I trust that it is excellent.
I remember one particular conversation with Jeane during which, and this
was the Tory in me speaking, I quizzed her about her role in the Falklands crisis, which had received unfavorable reviews
in Margaret Thatcher's memoirs Downing Street Years. Jeane displayed her
characteristic graciousness, explaining the basis for her skepticism at being
too supportive of Britain's
pursuit of its territorial claim, while conceding that hindsight showed her
fears were too severe.
Jeane explained that she was worried that an embarrassment of the
Argentinean government over the Falklands might lead to its replacement by a communist one. Jeane's thinking flowed from
the powerful, and powerfully American traditions of the Monroe Doctrine, as
well as her own thesis in Dictatorships and Double Standards, which
foreign policy thinkers today, especially those specializing in the Middle East, are I think admonished to read. (A link to the original essay is here, and its book form here).
In vivid detail, Jeane explained that hindsight had vindicated Lady
Thatcher's decision, not her own. Yet, in this concession, Jeane's graciousness
and honor came through, and I came to see that any sensible policymaker in her
place would have had the same fears as her, and would probably have come to the
same decision: I, with all my sympathies for the Anglosphere and the old order,
certainly would have.
Jeane then spoke to me about the profound ambiguity of foreign policy
idealism that animated her Dictatorships and Double Standards thesis, subtly
calling attention to a particular weakness in my own foreign policy thinking. I
would say that if there is one essay that those who
are called neoconservatives should read, it is Dictatorships and Double
Ultimately, difficult policy decisions cannot be entirely based on ex
ante normative ideals, but prudential concerns, animated by history.
Fortunately, this underscores the need for powerfully smart, and idealistic,
statesmen, of which Jeane Kirkpatrick surely was one. Withal, Jeane's
contribution to U.S. foreign policy was very significant, and her death is serious and in many ways
sad, but she leaves behind many friends, a goodly number of acolytes, and a
very, very significant legacy. May she rest in peace.
In the Front Page Magazine Walid Phares writes about the terrorist assassination of Pierre Gemayel. "The assassination of Lebanese Christian politician Pierre Gemayel this Tuesday has revealed that the Tehran-Damascus axis remains busy with terror activities across the Fertile Crescent." In Washington Times he states: "Al Qaeda and its advisers around the world want to provoke an "American Madrid." Portraying the United States as a bleeding bull in disarray, the war room projects its wish to see America's will crippled." In HS Today November Issue Walid Phares has a cover story "Education Versus Jihad". In the San Francisco Chronicle Phares was quoted on U.N. investigation of the last year murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and Bashar al-Assad regime in Damascus ."Any indictment of any Syrian official ... any implication of any Syrian intelligence officer will basically lead to indicting morally and politically the regime," Phares said".
The latest audio by al Qaeda's Iraq commander -- posted 48 hours after the midterm elections -- sends a clear signal to the readers of the jihadi strategic mind: Al Qaeda and its advisers around the world want to provoke an "American Madrid." Portraying the United States as a bleeding bull in disarray, the war room projects its wish to see America's will crippled. The video attempts to do the following: 1. Convince the jihadists that the United States is now defeated in Iraq and beyond. While no reversal of the balance of power has taken place on the ground, the jihadi propaganda machine is linking the shift in domestic politics to a withdrawal from Iraq. It projects the change in Washington as a crumbling of the political process in Baghdad and America's foreign policy. Interestingly, others in the region are also "announcing" the upcoming defeat of America in the war on terror. Hezbollah's Hassan Nasrallah declared: "The Americans are leaving, and their allies will pay the price."
The Fall 2006 issue of the Journal of International Security Affairs published my article "Future Terrorism: Mutant Jihads." In this piece I attempted to provide a global assessment of the Jihadi threat five years after September 11, 2001. Following are the short introductory paragraphs:
The strategic decision to carry out 9/11 was made in the early 1990s, almost ten years before the barbaric attacks on New York and Washington took place. The decade-long preparations and the testing of America’s defenses and political tolerance to terrorism that took place before September 11th—were a stage in the much longer modern history of the jihadist movement that produced al-Qaeda and its fellow travelers. Decades from now, historians will discover that the United States, the West and the international community were being targeted by a global ideological movement which emerged in the 1920s, survived World War II and the Cold War, and carefully chose the timing of its onslaught against democracy. Undoubtedly, the issue that policy planners and government leaders need to address with greatest urgency, and which the American public is most concerned about, is the future shape of the terrorist threat facing the United States and its allies. Yet developments since 2001, both at home and overseas, have shown that terror threats in general—and the jihadi menace in particular— remain at the same time resilient and poorly understood.
October 23, 2006. Published by the History News Network as well as World Defense Review
It seems that the US is having a hard time winning the hearts and minds of Arabs and Muslims, but an equally serious problem can be observed in the intellectual circles of America where some have had a difficulty coming to terms with the terminology of the War of Ideas. If the educated elite of the United States is incapable of identifying the ideology and the strategy of the Jihadists five years after 9/11, we not only have a problem with handling the War in Iraq, but also with the future of American national security as a whole.
War Stories with Oliver North, Fox News Sun., October 15, 2006
FDD Senior Fellow Walid Phares joins Vice President Cheney, Former Director of the CIA and FDD Distinguished Advisor James Woolsey, Bernard Lewis and other experts in the field. In this special report Oliver North explores what every person should know about jihad. In proven "War Stories" tradition, this episode brings historical context to today's events.