25 March 2004

Spiritual Leadership

This week the World is mourning a "spiritual leader". A great man that brought hope to millions of Arabs across the globe. A man who had posted a sign on the door of his mosque saying, "We greet martyrdom with a smile." Sheikh Ahmed Yassin was certainly a "spiritual leader" that all of us should take a moment to mourn for.

Ok, that moment is over. Sheikh Yassin was known for his establishment of the Hamas terrorist movement in 1987. The goal of this movement is the total destruction of the Jewish State of Israel and to put in its place an Islamic State. Not just in the Gaza Strip or the West Bank, but the entire State. The symbol of Hamas is one with crossed swords in front of the Dome of the Rock with an outline of the whole of Israel above the mosque.

One of the basic tenants of Hamas is Jihad, holy war against the infidels. Unfortunately, they’ve been quite successful in this jihad of suicide bombers, and murderous attacks. Hamas has orchestrated 425 terrorist attacks, murdered 377 Israelis and wounded 2,076 more since September 2000. They have been responsible for the deaths of Americans as well. These deaths include the attack in the Hebrew University cafeteria in Jerusalem, killing 5 American students of July 2002. (Jerusalem Post "Israel uses Yassin’s words against him" 3/22/04 )

Jihad is a way of life. Quoting the Oral Tradition of Islam, the Hadith, the Hamas website quotes clearly, "I swear by the holder of Mohammed’s soul that I would like to invade and be killed for the sake of Allah, then invade and be killed,and then invade again and be killed."

Hamas is not above using children in their actions. Even Amnesty International has called on Arab terrorists organizations to stop using children in their attacks. Over the last two weeks, two boys, 14 and 11 years old were found with explosives. The 11 year old was not aware he was carrying a remote control bomb and was safely disarmed by Israeli soldiers. The 14 year old boy was given a vest full of explosives, 100 shekels, and most importantly, the promise of 72 virgins in heaven waiting for him. He too was safely disarmed. (Jerusalem Post "Amnesty to Palestinians: Denounce use of children" 3/25/04)

These are the ideals of Sheikh Yassin. The death and destruction of innocent men, women and children. Meanwhile, world leaders are crying over the death of a mass murderer. A man who murdered hundreds and wounded thousands. A man who no doubt was planning other attacks when Israel killed him.

But that does not seem to matter to the World. Javier Solana, the European Union’s foreign policy chief stated that, "The action of today are bad news for the peace process." (Jerusalem Post "World blasts Yassin killing" 3/22/04) What a brilliant thinker we have here. Move him to the head of the class. Did Solana worry about the peace process when there were Jews being blown to bits? Does Solana consider Jewish deaths "bad news" or only is it bad news when terrorists are being killed?

Israel has made the world a safer place to live in. It’s too bad that nobody recognizes it.

23 March 2004

Terrorism Works

While Wayne State students have been on spring break this past week, there has been quite a bit of action happening around the world. And since none of us want to be caught on Jay Leno’s Jaywalking segment looking like an idiot, let’s do a quick run through of last week’s events.

Terrorism is huge in the news this past week. Starting our review with the attack on the trains in Madrid, Spain, we see that terrorism works. During Thursday morning rush hour, ten bombs went off simultaneously (those clever terrorists) killing at least 190 people and wounding another 1,500. This attack took place just three days before the national elections in that country. Supposedly the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades, terror organization aligned with al-Qaeda, carried out the attack because they were unhappy that Spain was an ally to the United States in the “war against terror.” Possibly because of the attack, the Party helping the U.S. lost the election, and the new party in Spain will be bringing their troops home from Iraq. So what have the terrorists learned? They’ve figured out that if you kill enough people, governments will cave into any demand asked for. This is equivilant to begging a bully not to hit us anymore. Wonderful.

And of course the biggest news over the last couple days was that Israel did the world a favor. Not that the world has realized it yet, because they haven’t. Israel killed Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, the head of the Hamas terrorist organization. Hamas has been responsible for the murder of hundreds of civilians as well as thousands more who were wounded because of their attacks. Americans have been among those who have been murdered. Americans like us who attended Hebrew University in Jerusalem on an academic exchange program.

Funny enough, after the bombings in Spain, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin called for “the entire international community” to unite against terror, the entire international community certainly has united. (news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/europe/3504046.stm) However, it was not against terror - but in support of it.

When Israel cut the head off the snake of Hamas, many world leaders except for the United States condemned the action. Javier Solana, foreign policy chief of the European Union, stated that, “These type[s] of action do not contribute to dialogue and peace in the region...” (Jerusalem Post “World Blasts Yassin Killing” jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/Printer&cid=1079929448131&p=1078027574121) Really? Yassin was a man who had dedicated his life to the destruction of the Jewish People. There was no talk of peace from Yassin - only suicide bombings. But yet, he is mourned by the World. When both Britain and Iran agree on an issue, there is something to wonder about. 

Americans wonder if the government had information about earlier opportunities to kill Bin Laden prior to 9/11. If the government did have a chance to get rid of him and had saved those 3,000 lives but didn’t, they would be as responsible as Bin Laden. But America didn’t know. Israel had an opportunity to kill a man who had the blood of hundreds on his hands. Not to kill him would be irresponsible and only let Yassin continue in his planning and mass murder. Israel took that chance and is paying for it in world opinion.

What have we learned from this past week’s events? We have learned that terrorism works. Spain is a quick study. Israel is another. World reaction is telling. Words are cheap. Words such as, “Let us all unite against terrorism”. But when it comes to actions -- goodness, we must forbid anything that resembles self-defense against murderers.

09 March 2004

Guilty Until Proven Innocent?

In these days of corporate scandals and wrongdoing, it is always nice to see the bad guys taken down from their pedestals. Kenneth Lay of Enron, Scott Sullivan and Bernard Ebbers of WorldCom are just a few. Most recently, we have been hearing Martha Stewart’s name among the wrongdoers of the worst kind.

The government had originally charged her with stock fraud, for selling her stock of ImClone before it lost money. But this main charge was dropped because of a lack of evidence. Secondary charges against her included, obstruction of justice, false statements, and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

When looking at the main charge of stock fraud the secondary charges make sense. Of course anyone who is charged with stock fraud is going to do what they can to stay out of jail. However, when the primary charge is dropped, these secondary charges are ridiculous.

In truth the only thing that Martha Stewart did wrong was maintaining her innocence throughout the entire case against her. “I have done nothing wrong, I believe in the fairness of the judicial system and remain confident that I will ultimately prevail.” (U.S. News & World Report 3/15/04 “Not a Good Thing”) This is what the federal government calls an “obstruction of justice.” By sticking by her word that she did nothing wrong, the government went ahead and has spent 10 million dollars of our taxpayer money to make sure Stewart went to jail even though there was no case against her.

Business Weekly associate editor, Diane Brady commented that, “The Securities & Exchange Commission has a powerful arsenal....[but] using the criminal justice system to make the point -- or to deter others -- is overkill.” If she had done something wrong the SEC could have fined her or kept her from serving as a director of a public company. Why go to the criminal court system?

Is this an instance where a powerful woman gets taken down where powerful men do not? A N.Y. Post reporter commented, “Nothing infuriates a jury like a woman who refuses to cry, to cave, to kneel before them.” While no feminist myself, it might be something to think about.

Another point to consider is the damage that has been done to the American public. Very little. Enron changed their books to show that they were making more money than they were in reality. Kenneth Lay and the bigwigs of Enron even looted their own company. Billions of dollars were lost by shareholders of that company. And hundreds of jobs along with it. Quoted in Business Week, Thomas Dewey, a securities litigator said, “It is hard to see what harm has been visited on people by her actions.”

The case against Martha Stewart from beginning to end was an opportunity by the Federal Government to make an example of someone rich and famous. There is nothing more to it. Unfortunately, the American public is cheering. So much for justice.