Marines.Together We Served

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Terrorist Goals

As you are only too aware, another would-be terrorist bomber attempted to blow up a part of Times Square in New York two weeks ago. Our response was to send drones to the terrorist training area in Pakistan and launch eighteen Hellfire missiles into the enclave of those responsible for training Faisal Shahzad, the confessed Times Square bomber. This training area is designed specifically to recruit and train those who will be sent to our American cities to blow up as many people as possible. That is their stated purpose. Who are these people? They call themselves the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Our State Department has known about them for some time but only now, after a near disaster was averted, has this group been placed on the Terrorist List. Comforting, isn’t it?

Or how about the comments made by various officials that Shahzad acted alone in his nefarious deeds? This is most likely true, because the stated purpose of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan is clear, as evidenced by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY). “We know they run active training camps where people, including Faisal Shahzad, learn how to carry out terrorist attacks," Schumer said of the TTP. "They've publicly committed to killing Americans, and, in a video that surfaced last month, they pledged to make U.S. cities their 'main target,'" Schumer said. Well, golly! That sure makes me feel better!

Here’s my question: When are we going to get off the dime and take these Islamist terrorists seriously?

Go back with me to another time which wasn’t so long ago. I’m referring to the presidency of Ronald Reagan. Many of you will remember that he came into the office of the presidency with 52 Americans having been held hostage in Iran for 444 days. These hostages were released twenty minutes after Reagan was sworn into office. Why? Because the Iranians believed he would make good on his campaign promise to get the hostages back – whatever it took.

In a speech given at the Annual Convention of the American Bar Association, July 8, 1985, Reagan made numerous cogent remarks about the terrorists. Consider the following – then ask yourself: Are we any better off than we were twenty-five years ago? Have we really learned anything about these Islamist terrorists?

“There is a temptation to see the terrorist act as simply the erratic work of a small group of fanatics. We make this mistake at great peril, for the attacks on America, her citizens, her allies, and other democratic nations in recent years do form a pattern of terrorism that has strategic implications and political goals. And only by moving our focus from the tactical to the strategic perspective, only by identifying the pattern of terror and those behind it, can we hope to put into force a strategy to deal with it.”

Later in his speech, President Reagan made these observations. “And all of these states are united by one simple criminal phenomenon -- their fanatical hatred of the United States, our people, our way of life, our international stature. And the strategic purpose behind the terrorism sponsored by these outlaw states is clear: to disorient the United States, to disrupt or alter our foreign policy, to sow discord between ourselves and our allies, to frighten friendly Third World nations working with us for peaceful settlements of regional conflicts, and, finally, to remove American influence from those areas of the world where we're working to bring stable and democratic government; in short, to cause us to retreat, retrench, to become Fortress America. Yes, their real goal is to expel America from the world. And that is the reason these terrorist nations are arming, training, and supporting attacks against this nation. And that is why we can be clear on one point: these terrorist states are now engaged in acts of war against the Government and people of the United States. And under international law, any state which is the victim of acts of war has the right to defend itself.”

The goals of the Islamist terrorists have stayed the same: They want to destroy the United States in every way possible. They want to kill every last one of us. And they want to rule the world.

No amount of sticking our head in the sand will make this go away. We can try and make nice to them until the cows come home. It won’t work. It is seen as weakness on our part. They view such piety as cowardice and have nothing but utter disdain toward what they perceive as weakness. On the other hand, they do respect strength of force.

Toward the end of his speech, Reagan said, “So, the American people are not -- I repeat -- not going to tolerate intimidation, terror, and outright acts of war against this nation and its people. And we're especially not going to tolerate these attacks from outlaw states run by the strangest collection of misfits, loony tunes, and squalid criminals -- [laughter] -- since the advent of the Third Reich.”

Reagan closed with this sober quote from another president. “Teddy Roosevelt -- and he is a good President to quote in these circumstances -- put it so well: ‘We, here in America, hold in our hands the hope of the world, the fate of the coming years; and shame and disgrace will be ours if in our eyes the light of high resolve is dimmed, if we trail in the dust the golden hopes of man.’ And that light of high resolve, those golden hopes, are now ours to preserve and protect and, with God's help, to pass on to generations to come.”

It is clear what the goals of the terrorists are. But what are our goals?

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