Nuclear Iran? (1/2)

June 15, 2007

 

One seldom gets to read an article that comprehensively deals with an issue of major proportion in a global sense as the one below that has been adapted from a speech given on February 13, 2007 in Fort Myers, Florida by Victor Davis Hanson. He is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, a professor emeritus at California State University Fresno and a distinguished visiting fellow at Hillsdale College. His speech was given at a Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar on the topic, “National Security: Short- and Long-Term Assessments.” Due to its length, we will reprint this speech in two parts with the following proviso: “This reprint is with the permission from Imprimis, the national speech digest of Hillsdale College, www.hillsdale.edu.”

The following is the first part of Victor David Hanson’s speech:

“The skirmishes in the occupied land are part of a war of destiny. Read the rest of this entry »


Nuclear Iran? (2/2)

June 8, 2007

 

One seldom gets to read an article that comprehensively deals with an issue of major proportion in a global sense as the one below that has been adapted from a speech given on February 13, 2007 in Fort Myers, Florida by Victor Davis Hanson. He is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, a professor emeritus at California State University Fresno and a distinguished visiting fellow at Hillsdale College. His speech was given at a Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar on the topic, “National Security: Short- and Long-Term Assessments.” Due to its length, we will reprint this speech in two parts with the following proviso: “This reprint is with the permission from Imprimis, the national speech digest of Hillsdale College, www.hillsdale.edu.” The following is the second part of Victor David Hanson’s speech:

 

What Is To Be Done? Read the rest of this entry »


Questionable leadership of the Democrats: Confusing to say the least

May 4, 2007

 

It is very interesting watching members of the Democratic Party in American on television. There are twists and turns on a daily basis that make it very hard to understand their positions. Until they took over both houses in Congress as the ‘Majority’ party, they were unified and focused: They consistently opposed everything Republicans and President Bush in particular proposed, suggested, recommended and acted upon. And they, the Democrats voted accordingly. And they were proud of it, they called themselves the loyal opposition and they considered it virtuous. Read the rest of this entry »


Is there a double standard when it comes to Islam?

April 15, 2007

 

Among the things that irk us here at this site, in no particular order, are intolerance, double standards, hypocrisy, truth twisters, people without convictions and principles, and so called preachers who do not practice what they preach. They could be called other things as well but let’s leave it at that for now. Applying some degree of ‘common sense’ can easily identify these individuals or groups when they act, demand or threaten others or society as a whole. Read the rest of this entry »


Is Islam really a peaceful religion?

February 9, 2007

 

The religion of Islam has been for the vast majority of Christians just another religion about which was not much known beyond facts that their god was being called Allah, his prophet was Mohammed who lived in the seventh century and the equivalent of the Christian bible was the Koran. Their holiest places were in Saudi Arabia called Mekka and Medina. Members of this religion were called Muslims and generally considered peaceful people. As proof for the peaceful nature of Islam we saw in the past prominent sports icons such as Cassius Clay (now Muhammad Ali) and Lew Alcindor (now Kareem Abdul Jabbar) and many others convert from Christianity to Islam. These conversions were fully accepted by the general public.

 

Even though there were numerous acts of terror committed by Islamists (airplane hijackings, the killing of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympic games in Munich just to name a few) since the early 1970’s, these were isolated incidents and we, the general population did not consider there to be a trend. More recent events also did not really wake us up until the horrible events of September 11, 2001. Wow, this was unthinkable until then. Four commercial airplanes being hijacked and used to slam into the World Trade Center twin towers in New York, the Pentagon in Washington D.C. and the intended attack on the Capitol Building or the White House that was spoiled by some brave passengers when that plane was downed in a field in Pennsylvania. We had been attacked on our soil by 19 terrorists of Arab descent, all of them Muslims.

 

This definitely got our attention and since that fateful day in 2001, we have been fighting the War on Terror with some success. But this war is far from over and is expected to last quite a long time into the future. As a result of these events, the general population has spent time trying to deal with this new threat. The acceptance of so-called ‘Multi-culturism’ in the past several decades in our country has had the effect that we have tried not to be judgmental and condemn all Muslims for these terror acts. Far from it, we have been told continuously that Islam is a very peaceful religion and that these terrorists are just a very small band of extremists. Anybody who has stated otherwise has been viciously attacked in the media as intolerant and hateful. We have been told that we should continue to embrace our Muslim brethren and accept the fact, that even they, the vast majority of Muslims, cannot do anything about these terrorists.

 

This brings us to the fundamental question: Who are these terrorists and what produced them? One essential element to be a terrorist is ‘Hate’! It is the fuel that lights their fire and sustains them in their agenda to attack Israel and the West, especially America. We are the central focal point of their attacks. Now then, where does this hatred come from? A new-born baby does not bring hate into the world, it must be taught to hate. Are there parents who bring up their children and tell them from the earliest moment on to hate Americans and all Jews? We find this hard to believe and outright reject this possibility. There must be something more compelling at work to teach young Muslims from an early age to hate.

 

Enter those who are the early teachers of young Muslims…the religious clerics be they Mullahs, Ayatollahs, Imams or whatever else they might be called. We all have seen on television some of them in their mosques or even in public places spouting very strong rhetoric against the enemies of Islam, the so-called ‘Infidels’. While we did not understand a word they said (and had to rely on accurate translation of their words), their demeanor was more than convincing. They were spewing Hate as they whipped up their followers during speeches and rallies, which too often were followed by violent acts of terror against mostly innocent people. Of course, we fully realize that one or two such speeches does not possibly produce these kinds of results and we have to check a little deeper by going into the teachings at the religious educational institutions such as schools like the Madrasah and others as well as the mosques where for all we know, the sermons include hateful speech. One similarity that Christians and Muslims share is the fact the religious leaders mostly read and quote from the Holy Book, be it the Bible or the Koran. Is it unreasonable to think that the Koran might include some hateful passages against us Christians, the infidels?

 

Could someone in the know shed some light on this by having open discussions on the subject for us ill informed average citizens? We have heard on numerous occasions that the Koran teaches only such things as peace and justice and encouragement to worship Allah. If that is true, then where is the hate coming from? Are there passages in the Koran that might include encouraging believers to attempt to convert us non-believers to Islam? Are there limits to these conversions, do they have to be peaceful attempts or are there options in methodology that can be applied for those of us who are not willingly want to become members of Islam and can we therefore be eliminated, i.e., be killed in the name of Allah? Did the prophet Mohammed encourage his followers to go out into the world and convert all infidels, even if it means to do so by the sword? And while we are at it, can someone please clear up the so-called myth about the seventy some virgins who are waiting for every martyr in heaven? Is any kind of terrorism an accepted form of martyrdom?

 

We are told that the Islamic extremists are just a very, very small group in numbers compared to the overall Muslim population of well over one billion people. If that is true, then why do we not see a stronger effort on the part of the peaceful Muslims to fight these outcasts? Most certainly, the extremists do not have their own mosques, or do they? Can we not assume that they are members in many mosques all over the world where they go and pray to Allah several times every day and if so, how come the good Muslims tolerate them in their midst? Is it against the Islamic religion to report on them? Can we not expect in exchange for our tolerance towards them some cooperation in the fight against these terrorists? Multi-Culturism should be a two-way street and as a rule, it should apply to everybody who lives not only in America, but for that matter anywhere in the Western world. If we are to accept their customs, i.e., dress code etc, should we not expect them to tolerate our customs without prejudice?

 

These are all questions in our opinion that we should try to address and get answers to from those in the know. A stronger dialogue between Muslim and non-Muslim leaders should possibly be started in a more open way and in public between the various groups, be they Christians, Jews, Muslims or members of other religions, and not just here in America and Western Europe but also in the Islamic countries where for instance, the wearing of Christian symbols such as crosses are forbidden! These efforts should all be coupled with an immediate organized campaign worldwide to flush out those places where terrorists are being trained and indoctrinated. If this means reporting these extremists to the authorities by fellow Muslims, then so be it. As Christians, we cannot enter and violate their mosques and other places of worship; it has to come from within. Otherwise, the great divide between Islam and the other religions will remain if not grow. To remove existing and growing doubts about the peaceful nature and character of Islam, we here at ‘Back to Common Sense’ strongly believe that a major burden falls on the Muslims who want us to believe that.

This article and others on Back to Common Sense are designed to provoke further thought and investigation.   It is not the intent for the articles to be politically biased. Sources are referenced in each article to encourage readers to delve into the supporting material.  We welcome all readers to participate with their point of view either in support or contrary with additional information sources.


War on Terror

January 19, 2007

 

Should we change the Constitution?

    

     The recent days have brought us a plan by President George W. Bush for an increase in mobilizing more military in Iraq in order to get control of the grim situation on the ground there, especially in Baghdad. The President had not even given the speech when the political opposition already criticized his plan. Since his speech on January 10, everybody has now come out and has given us his or her personal opinions and the American people have been polled and they are by a margin of more than two to one against the deployment of additional troops to Iraq. And of course, the media and most politicians in Washington are equally opposed to the President’s plan. Their criticism ranges from “It cannot work” and “It will never work” to Bush does not listen to them or take their advise, is stubborn and incompetent. But then, as one sarcastic man once said: “Opinions are like belly buttons, everybody has one!”

Who is in Charge? 

     This article will not address nor analyze the Pro’s and Con’s of the new Bush plan and the deployment of additional troops. Instead, we would like to remind everybody that in situations like the current one, there is still a Constitution in this country. This constitution is the foundation of our country as its spells out how we are to govern ourselves. According to this document and its many amendments, every four years, the voters of America elect a President to a four-year term by a specifically designed method, i.e., the Electoral College voting system. This has worked for well over two hundred years and we should not try to change it now. The President is also the Commander-In-Chief and that means, he is in charge of the military forces in this country. The constitution also states that only Congress can declare war on another country and that it is up to the Commander in Chief to conduct the war as he sees fit.

     Now then, let’s review what has happened in recent years. On October 2, 2002, the members of Congress voted to authorize the President to go to war, i.e. use military force if the President thought it was necessary. The President then pursued through the United Nations Security Council by means of another resolution to compel Saddam Hussein to comply with previous U.N. resolutions. Failure to do so could result in drastic measures including the use of military force. This then resulted in the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 and the overthrow of the Hussein regime.

     From the beginning of that war, the critics warned that the President had not sent enough troops to Iraq and that he had turned a deaf ear to those Generals who advocated this. This criticism has been consistent throughout the past years. The sectarian strife in Iraq has had a devastating effect on the situation there and the relatively young government, elected in a free election by the people of Iraq, is having severe difficulties to get a hold of and uniting the country and its religious divided populace. The Iraqi military and police forces are not strong enough to do the job by themselves and U.S. forces find themselves in the middle of what seems to be a near civil war, it is a truly bad situation.

What is President Bush Doing? 

     The President has now decided that the previous strategies have not worked out and he has decided, after lengthy discussions with his advisors in the military and his Administration to deploy another 20,000+ troops to Iraq. This is in his judgment a new attempt to counter the continuing insurgency and the sectarian violence by using different rules of engagement in a new strategy requiring more troops. The next several months will tell if his new plan will work since it also relies heavily on stronger participation by Iraqi forces and cooperation by the Iraqi government.

     In summary, President Bush is not yet ready to accept defeat but thinks instead there is still a good change of winning this war. As President he also represents this country and has contact with foreign leaders and hears their opinions and we are not privy to that until some time in the future. As Commander in Chief, he had to console many families of falling soldiers and he told everyone he met on such somber occasions that “their son or daughter, brother or sister or father had not died in vain but for a good cause while defending the freedom of America.” Can we really fault him for thinking this? Would not every President console the loved ones of falling soldiers this way? Would not every President try every possible way to win this war instead of just accepting defeat as inevitable? What if President Frank D. Roosevelt in June 1944 upon hearing of the thousands of casualties the American forces had suffered on D-Day in France had decided that they could not win that war and just pull out?

     Regardless of which side any individual stands on the war in Iraq, there are three choices for everybody: One can agree, one can disagree or one can openly critique and oppose the President. Those are our constitutional rights. But we should also remind ourselves that we only have one President at a time and cannot change that unless we revise the constitution. We cannot remember a time in American history when a President had to ask Congress for approval and support for an increase in American troop deployment. This has never happened. Congress has the power to stop funding a war but a President does not have to ask for approval of military application.

     It is ironic in all this that all those earlier Iraq war critics proposed a larger deployment of troops to Iraq and constantly criticized the President for ‘under deployment.’ Now these same folks and self-anointed experts cry wolf that the President does exactly that. This smacks of raw political action by the President’s opponents for whom he could never do anything right. We have to also recognize that the additional troops will not exceed the maximum troop levels in previous years in Iraq when up to 160,000 troops where there to fight this war. The current deployment increase would not exceed this number.

Should we replace our President with a Prime Minister? 

     If this is to be the norm from now on in that politics and polling by the American people will determine the course of actions any President can take, then we should seriously consider changing the Constitution. Maybe instead of electing a President, we should just leave it up to Congress to appoint a Prime Minister as they see appropriate. This could happen at any time by giving the appointed person either a vote of confidence or kick him/her out of office by giving him/her a vote of ‘No confidence’. Italy, for instance, has done this since World War II and they have had about fifty Prime Ministers since then. If we were to follow suit in our country, we could change Prime Ministers every couple of weeks, months or years depending on how Congress evaluates his/her performance in office.

     We here at Back to Common Sense do not believe this will ever happen in America. Our constitutional system has worked well for us and it is not broken, therefore there is nothing to fix. The more than a dozen or so members of Congress who are declared or yet undeclared candidates for the Presidency in 2008 should just state their positions but refrain from this constant drumbeat of severe criticism of the President. Besides, do they not realize that this is certainly undermining the morale of our fighting men and women in uniform?

     Unless something unforeseen happens to him, George W. Bush will be the only President this country will have between now and January 2009. There cannot be a Presidency by consensus or committee unless we ignore (and therefore violate) or change our Constitution. Is anybody ready and compelled enough to take on this task? We do not see anybody in the current crop of politicians who is willing to go there. Therefore, we think that the presidential hopefuls and wannabees should concentrate on presenting themselves to the American electorate in a positive way with ideas of what they would do if elected President. All other Bush critics should just bide their time, hold their fire, keep their powder dry as the saying goes and see what happens with this new plan for Iraq. If it fails, you will have even more to criticize by stressing that you had it right all along. If it works, you will have something to apologize for. Only time will tell.

     This article and others on Back to Common Sense are designed to provoke further thought and investigation.   It is not the intent for the articles to be politically biased. Sources are referenced in each article to encourage readers to delve into the supporting material.  We welcome all readers to participate with their point of view either in support or contrary with additional information sources.