Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Who Will Be More Effective Against Terror?

The recent spate of exploding bombs in New York and New Jersey (and a series of stabbings by an Islamist radical in Minnesota - making sure that his victims were not Muslims) once again raises the question of how safe we are from terrorist attacks.

After 9/11 unprecedented steps were taken by the US government to protect us from the kind of savagery perpetrated by suicidal radical Islamists on that day in 2001. Including the creation of the new cabinet level Department of Homeland Security.  For the most part this has kept us relatively safe. At least when compared to European countries. But being ‘relatively’ safe is not the same as being safe – as this weekend has shown.

Thankfully no one was killed or seriously injured from those bombs. But the same cannot be said about other attacks this country has experienced from radical Islam. Boston, Orlando, San Bernardino, among other locations have experienced terrible carnage at the hands of those ‘true believers’.

As much as security has been increased in this country ...and as much as we seem to be safer than Europe, we are not free from the terrorism that is Radical Islam.

One may ask, ‘How can we improve our security?’ What can we do to eliminate or at least significantly reduce the incidence of deadly terror that hasn’t been done yet? This brings me to the current Presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Most people know that I am voting for Clinton… or more precisely against Trump. The reason is quite simple. As bad as Clinton might be, Trump scares me. I don’t want his impetuous hand on the nuclear trigger. Nor do I like his seat of the pants decision making process. Or his waffling on the issues while denying his views have ever changed. Or the other blatant lies which he refuses to acknowledge. Or his penchant for insulting women, immigrants, and the handicapped among others. Or his support from racists, bigots, and antisemites like Louis Farrakhan and David Duke. Or his lack of any experience governing. Or his obvious lack of knowledge on many issues of the day. Any one of those reasons is enough to reject his candidacy, let alone all of them. But I’ve said all this before.

There is one area, however, where his rhetoric is far more appealing. It is his determination to more effectively deal with Radical Islam. While it is true that he has not revealed his plans about how to do that, I like his attitude. So does the electorate, apparently. Mrs. Clinton’s double digit lead in the polls over Trump has completely evaporated. (Although that's probably due as much to her e-mail troubles, her own penchant for lying, health issues, and some foolish statements about Trump voters - as it is to his anti terror rhetoric).This means that half of the voting public in this country prefers Trump over Clinton! And no... half of them are not ‘deplorables’.

I have said in the past that based strictly on what I believe to be a better attitude towards Israel and its current leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, I would vote for Trump enthusiastically. Add to that his greater determination to fight radical Islam, and it would otherwise be a no brainer.

But there are those other ‘little details’ I mentioned. So the ‘no brainer’ is to vote for Clinton. I just wish she would be a little more ‘Trump-like’ in her approach to radical Islam. The initial responses of the two candidates to the bombings in New York and New Jersey tells you the story. 

Trump said that we have to get tougher. Clinton said we need to examine the facts before we make any conclusions. Well… of course we have to examine the facts. But I did not hear any determination in her voice. Not this time and not really ever. What I have heard is a lot of gobbledygook about how it isn’t Islam doing this. It is just Jihadists doing it… as though Islam had nothing to do with it.

First let me reiterate what I have said many times. Most Muslims abhor what is being done by Islamist radicals in the name of their religion. The vast majority of the mainstream Islamic community – both lay leaders and clerics - have forcefully condemned it each time it has happened.

I live among Muslims here in West Roger Park. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t see several women dressed in Burkas walking down the street. They do not bother me in the slightest. They are as peaceful as can be... and very polite on those occasions when I interact with them. In fact there is a Muslim owned and operated grocery store near my home that has a sign in its window saying they carry products bearing an OU, OK, or CRC kosher symbol! 

But you cannot get away from the fact that in just about every single case of recent terror in Europe and in the US, the perpetrators were motivated by a version of Islam that is preached by numerous Islamist clerics all over the world. This is an Islamic problem despite protestation to the contrary by peaceful Muslims and political apologists like Hillary Clinton.

What can Clinton do? …one might ask.  Even if she granted that the problem is sourced in a radical version of Islam (which she hasn’t done and probably never will)? Well for one thing she should be advocating for the kind of extreme vetting of Muslims entering this country that Trump is advocating - and not increasing the quota of Muslim refugees.

Still, my heart goes out to these refugees, the vast majority of whom are suffering the ravages of war and are not terrorists. Of course this Medina Shel Chesed – benevolent nation - should be taking in these refugees under normal circumstances.  But these are extraordinary times that call for extraordinary measueres.

All it takes is one. All it takes is one radical Islamist to sneak into this country disguised as a refugee and perpetrate the kind of terror experienced last weekend in New York and New Jersey by an immigrant from Afghanistan. 

In this regard, Trump is right. Much as we would like to live up to our reputation as a benevolent country, protecting our citizens comes first. Which is why many states (including my own - Illinois) have barred Muslim refugees from entering. There is a reason Europe has had so much terrorist carnage recently. They have allowed a virtual free flow of Muslim refugees into their country. It was therefore impossible to vet them all properly and Islamist radicals snuck in disguised as refugees. While extreme vetting may not be foolproof, it is a lot better than opening up the floodgates.

Would a Trump presidency improve our security? Will his polices more effectively deal with terror? Will his administration be more adept at ridding the world of ISIS and like minded radical Islamists? I don’t know. But I assume he would be listening a lot more to his hawkish advisers than to his dovish ones… as our current President does.

Hillary Clinton whose overly cautious approach combined with a political correctness - both of which mimics Barack Obama’s approach - will produce the same results we have had till now. The last thing we need is more of the same. Ask the families of the victims in Boston, Orlando, and San Bernardino. 

It’s too bad Trump is so unqualified for the job (for all the reasons I mentioned above – and probably a lot more). Because on the issues of Israel and fighting terror, I like what he’s saying a lot more than what I hear Clinton saying.