Formerly the editor of the New York Times editorial page, Andrew Rosenthal gives us an indication about why he is no longer the editor of the New York Times editorial page.
In a post yesterday, Rosenthal was trying to refute one of Donald Trump’s pronouncements about Islamic refugees. Lighting on the fact that Trump had said that he would impose extreme vetting for Muslims who live in countries which have terrorism problems, Rosenthal replies that that would include just about every country.
In his words:
Given that most of Europe, a great deal of Asia, the entire Middle East, and virtually all of Africa have been compromised by terrorism (not to mention the United States), it’s hard to imagine what countries would not make Trump’s T List. Even Russia, run by Trump’s buddy and role model, Vladimir Putin, has problems with terrorism, including Islamist terrorism.
Rosenthal fails to note that this is the legacy of eight years of our citizen-of-the-world president. Under Obama, terrorism has metastasized. Our cosmopolitan president rode into office on a promise to end wars. He has made surrender the hallmark of is foreign policy. Terrorists saw it as a green light.
Under Obama’s aegis many of the leaders of Europe, led by German Chancellor Merkel, have happily opened their nations to droves of Muslim refugees. As of now Merkel has allowed in well over a million new refugees.
What could go wrong?
Less than two weeks ago people were marveling at the fact that France had seen more terrorism than Germany. And, the truck murderer in Nice was not even a refugee. France was, in many ways, paying the price for its own open-arms policy. Recently, France stopped taking in refugees, but its past behavior is coming back to haunt it.
And then, in Germany a series of terrorist or would-be terrorist attacks have caused Mrs. Merkel to feel some political heat. Of course, Merkel’s government has adopted a tactic that has been perfected by the Obama administration. If you do not call it terrorism it isn’t terrorism. Voila!
Merkel cannot, of course, blame the NRA for axe and machete attacks, so her government prefers to pretend that the killers are crazy.
The Debkafile website recounts the stories. It is fitting that an Israeli site would present the news, because these types of attacks have been happening in Israel for quite some time now. And the world, that is, the European cognoscenti have happily exculpated the terrorists while blaming the Israeli victims.
Anyway, Debkafile reports:
Two Syrian refugees committed acts of terror in different Bavarian towns Sunday, July 24, the third and fourth violent attacks in Germany in less than a week. One Syrian, a 21-year old, used a machete to murder a pregnant woman in Reutingen near Stuttgart. He was arrested - but only after a motorist saw him attacking two more people and ran him down. Local police assured the populace that there was nothing more to fear since the attack arose from a private quarrel between the Syrian man and a female colleague at work.
This did not explain why the attacker went on to stab another two victims.
On the same evening another Syrian blew himself up at a wine bar near Nuremberg, killing himself and injuring a dozen others:
That night, in Ansbach, southwest of Nuremberg, a second Syrian refugee of 27 - denied asylum in Germany a year ago but allowed to stay - was refused entry to a three-day summer popular music festival when he aroused the suspicions of guards at the gate. They let him go without asking to search his rucksack. He then went straight to a nearby wine bar and detonated the device he was carrying, injuring 12 people, three of them seriously.
Government officials explained that the suicide bomber was disgruntled because he had been turned away from a music festival.
One recalls with Roger Cohen, that the war in Syria was the fault of the Obama administration. It was one war that could not be blamed on George W. Bush.
One week earlier another Muslim, an Afghani refugee, attacked train passengers with an axe and a knife. Authorities took pains to avoid calling it terrorism:
The first of the four attacks was carried out by a 17-year old refugee from Afghanistan exactly a week ago on July 18. Wielding an ax and a knife, he wounded eight people on a train near Wuerzbuerg, not far from Munich, before he was shot dead by police.
Although an ISIS flag was found in his room and the Islamic State claimed the Afghan axeman as “one of its soldiers,” the Bavarian interior minister said only, “There may be an Islamic background to this but that is far from clear at this point.”
And then, of course, there were the Friday shootings at a mall in Munich, committed by a German citizen of Iranian origin. His name was Ali David Sonboly. As you know, the British media has managed to remove his Islamic first name, the better to allow people to think that he was not an Islamist. Perhaps they wanted people to think that he was a Jew.
Six attacks in twelve days. Yet, German authorities do not consider it a wave of terror, because that would suggest that Merkel’s policies have been less than successful. Or better, that she opened Germany to violent murderers and thugs.
As for the overriding question-- was the reign of terror planned and organized by ISIS or al Qaeda or some other international terrorist organization-- Col. Ralph Peters declares the question to be immaterial.
Terrorism is terrorism, he says, regardless of whether it is being perpetrated by an organized conspiracy or whether it is being initiated by so-called lone wolfs.
The problem, Peters says, is that terrorism has gained a cachet, a prestige. It offers disaffected Muslim youths, people who do not know enough to participate in the economy, a way to draw attention to themselves and to their religion. It makes them feel empowered. Of course, the terrorists are not all Muslims. A small minority has a different religious background. And yet, Islamist terrorism is still the most pervasive, the gold standard, if you will.
These are individuals who could never find their path until they found their way to fanatical faith. It’s about the need to submerge the failing self in something greater, something transcendent. When your prison is the world, a suicide mission’s the ultimate get-out-of-jail-free card.
Repeatedly, we mock Islamist terrorists as being “not really religious” because they haven’t devoted their lives to arcane details of scripture. We’ve lost our sense of the soul’s desperation and the ecstasy of union with the divine, of God’s wonder, real or imagined. Religious knowledge has never been as important as religious feeling.
For Islamist fanatics, the act of terror is not only empowering — at the end of a powerless life — but blessed. Until we grasp that, we’ll keep being surprised.
Instead of struggling to explain away every new mass killing as “not terrorism,” we must recognize that the scope and scale of terrorism’s expanding. What was once an anomaly is now a ready-to-hand solution for a widening variety of misfits.
The Munich shooter collected literature on mass killings and had an online trail of studying slaughters. He spotted a growth industry and joined.
Some of these terrorists might very well be crazy. But, there are many different ways to express craziness. If you are crazy enough to want to get attention for doing something that will occupy a lot of space in the papers, you might convince yourself that becoming a copycat terrorist is just the way to go.