Afghanistan

Nine years ago, the United States experienced the most horrible attack on US soil since the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Mainstream media is going out of their way not to show the terrible images from this day. Youtube has some weird censorship in place. Try to search for “911” or “911 footage” or any other similar terms and you will get this message: No videos found for “”

Well, with a little creativity you can still find video of the horrible events of 9/11/2001. Florida Pundit believes it is appropriate for people to witness and remember these horrible acts on the anniversary of the attack.

When I grew up in the 1970s in Central Europe, my school never hesitated to show us the graphic videos of Nazi atrocities committed against Jews. These were acts that were committed when our grandparents were young adults. It was a good and effective way to show how evil can come to power even in a place that, based on its contributions to science, philosophy and the arts, was a center of the best of humanity.

Similarly, we should not shrink from showing what radical Islam did on 9/11/2001. We will know that the lessons of 9/11 have been learned when Islamic schools in the Middle East and elsewhere show these images to their students to make sure this never happens again. Unfortunately, we appear to be a long way from this becoming a reality. We hope that the vast majority of Muslims who live peaceful lives will have the courage to confront the evil that has bred in their midst and will become active participants in eradicating radical Islam.

Here is a collage of live news reports on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, when everyone initially still hoped that the first plane to hit the World Trade Center Towers was a tragic accident, and, during live coverage the second plane hitting the second Tower, made it obvious that this was a terrorist attack:

Here is another video of the events of 9/11/2001. Never forget!

If you search on Youtube for other video, please ignore all the crazy 9/11 truther videos that don’t seem to be censored the way the real events are censored. There is a lot of stupid commentary on 9/11 out there, most recently all the dumb coverage of an idiotic Florida pastor who wants to burn a book and the excuses made for the demagogues in the Islamic world who want to make this a cause for killing more people.

Radical Islam is evil. Period. A few enlightened Muslims recognize this and are calling for reform. We applaud these voices of reason and support them in their difficult task.

In the meantime, we cannot shrink from the responsibility of fighting radical Islam everywhere in the world. We must not lose the will to defend Western values of freedom, tolerance and democracy.

We need to have the resolve that Winston Churchill expressed in 1940 about facing the Nazi menace:

{ 0 comments }

Sometimes bizarre events are triggered close to home. Terry Jones, a preacher at a small church in Gainesville, has announced plans to burn copies of the Quran, Islam’s holy book, on Sept. 11, the ninth anniversary of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks.

Florida Pundit does not support burning of books. It is a tactic that has been used by Nazi and communist totalitarians to suppress opposing points of view. In so far as a book makes an argument that you disagree with, an appropriate response is a better argument. Burning books either signifies that you have run out of ideas or that you are reacting purely emotionally.

In any case, the announcement by one relatively insignificant preacher in Gainesville has unleashed protests around the Islamic world from Indonesia to Afghanistan where protesters were shouting “Death to America.”

General Petraeus, the commander of our troops in Afghanistan has condemned the planned book burning saying that it could put the lives of American troops in danger and damage the war effort. We certainly understand Gen. Petraeus’ concern which should give the preacher in Gainesville cause for abandoning his plans.

However, the biggest issue with this planned event is not the book burning itself, but the extreme reaction across the Islamic world. Reasonable people would recognize the insignificance of this pastor and ignore him. Instead, there is an expectation across a significant portion of the world’s Muslim population that non-Muslims have to adhere to Islamic codes of conduct and have to show universal respect to Islam and the books and institutions it considers holy.

Imagine someone announcing that they will burn Bibles in protest of some event or other. Our media yawns and moves on to a more interesting story. You certainly would not see protests erupting across the world and threats to non-Christians would be unimaginable. You can google “bible burning” or similar terms and find that it occurs occasionally, but there is no outrage comparable to what happens anytime someone does something to offend Islam.

A previous incident where more than 100 people were killed by Islamic fanatics was the 2005 publication of cartoons making fun of Islam by Danish cartoonists. Most Western media indulged in an orgy of political correctness. This even included a book published by Yale University Press about the controversy which refused to show any of the cartoons.

We live in a society where the right to free speech includes the right to express ideas that may offend others. You can respond to the offensive idea, but acting violently against the speaker or other innocent bystanders (for example, our troops in Afghanistan) is totally unacceptable, immoral and illegal.

Given the threat from terrorist who are claiming the spread of Islam as their cause, what is remarkable is how rare the media can find instances of hostility towards Islam. Americans are a tolerant people and are perfectly capable of distinguishing between radical Islam and Muslims that live peacefully amongst us and are integrated into American society.

We shouldn’t be afraid to speak out against followers of Islam when they behave badly and incite violence in reaction to an event, however ill-conceived, that cannot justify such a reaction if we want to continue to live in a free society.

{ 1 comment }

During the confirmation hearings for General Petraeus assuming command of our forces in Afghanistan, Petraeus skillfully communicated that the deadline for starting the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan in July, 2011 is not something any military commander recommended.

In his testimony today, Petraeus started chipping away on the deadline that President Obama announced to appease his leftist constituency.

Petraeus is in a strong position to change the dynamics of the war in Afghanistan. No other general would have the credibility to say what Petraeus is saying without getting fired by our thin-skinned president. Eliminating talk of a deadline for withdrawal is key to success in the counter-insurgency war in Afghanistan.

No deadline for withdrawal does not mean endless US casualty. Without a deadline, Afghans will have more confidence that supporting the fight against the Taliban will not get them killed because of a premature US withdrawal. This leads to more success in fighting the Taliban which will reduce the number of US casualties.

We have had the American military for more than sixty years in Germany and Japan and for over fifty years in South Korea. There isn’t much objection to this because American troops are not killed in these countries. We may never get to the peaceful conditions of Germany, Japan and South Korea in Afghanistan, but a drastic decrease in casualties will make our presence there as long as needed less of an issue to the American people.

{ 1 comment }

President Obama’s today accepted General McChrystal’s resignation after the publication of an article in Rolling Stone magazine in which McChrystal and his staff were critical of administration officials. McChrystal never challenged Obama’s policy and most of the critical comments came from his staff.

The subordination of America’s military to elected civilian leadership is an important foundation of constitutional government. General McChrystal and his staff said nothing in the article that would constitute subordination. Nevertheless, it was an error in judgment to let a reporter hear what undoubtedly many in the military would say amongst themselves in private conversations.

President Obama could have asked General McChrystal to stay on as the leader in the war in Afghanistan without weakening the principle of civilian leadership over the military. There were differences of opinion on whether McChrystal should stay among conservative commentators. The strongest argument for retaining McChrystal was that we need continuity in leadership during a critical phase in the war.

Given Obama’s decision to accept General McChrystal’s resignation, appointing McChrystal’s boss, General Petraeus to lead the war was the best possible outcome. General Petraeus successfully turned around the war in Iraq and created conditions under which a democratically elected Iraqi government with all its imperfections could govern.

President Obama today gave a speech which has been described as the best speech of his presidency. He did indeed commend McChrystal on his outstanding service and he restated the mission in Afghanistan.

There are still issues with Obama’s policy. The most fundamental is that Obama has set July of 2011 as the date for American troops to withdraw from the fight against the Taliban. In a war, you simply cannot let the enemy know that if they hold out long enough, their opponent will withdraw. Afghans have no confidence that their government army will be ready to continue the fight on their own.

Given the credibility and respect that General Petraeus has among all mainstream Americans, he has the opportunity to convince the Obama administration to back off from a fixed withdrawal date and put in place a policy that we will withdraw only when the Taliban has been decisively defeated. We don’t have to stay in Afghanistan forever, but if we let our enemies know that we will not leave before the fight is over, the vast majority of Afghans who oppose the Taliban will not be afraid to support the fight against the Taliban helping us to a faster victory.

General Petraeus deserves our unambiguous support. We wish him well on his new assignment.

{ 1 comment }

Brad Thor reports on Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government and Big Journalism web sites that he has learned from key intelligence sources in Pakistan and Afghanistan that Mullah Omar has been captured. Mullah Omar was the Taliban ruler of Afghanistan who hosted Osama bin Laden in his Afghanistan when bin Laden planned and executed the 9/11 attacks.

Brad Thor is a best selling author who has written well-researched novels on the war on terror. He undoubtedly has a lot of good sources, but it is hard to assess whether his sources are reliable on this until there is confirmation from the government of Afghanistan, Pakistan or the US.

Brad Thor writes great thrillers on the War on Terror. Hopefully, this report is not fiction.

5/11 Update: A day after this first came out The Jawa Report is the only other source that “confirms” it without providing any further detail. No major news outlets have been able to confirm this report. The story is not quite dead yet, but, as expected, highly unlikely.

{ 1 comment }