Friday, July 08, 2005

Thoughts on the London terrorist attacks

The July 7 terrorist bombings in London remind me of how the U.S. helped create training grounds and recruitment centers for Islamic terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq. The role in Afghanistan was unintentional. Our aim was simply to bolster the Afghan struggle to oust the Russian invaders during the 1980s.
It was all part of the cold war against the Soviet Union. So the U.S. supplied hundreds of millions of dollars worth of modern weapons, notably anti-aircraft missiles, and provided training in military tactics for the forces fighting the Russians. Unfortunately, those forces included Arabs and other Muslims who had come to Afghanistan to conduct an Islamic holy war against the Russian "infidels."
Among them were Osama bin-Ladin and his followers who subsequently used what they had learned in Afghanistan to bring their Islamic holy war to the U.S., Madrid and now, apparently, to London.
President Bush now acknowledges that Iraq has replaced Afghanistan as the world's terrorist center. But it was his own decision to invade Iraq that turned that country into a training ground and recruitment center for Islamic terrorists. It was the most irresponsible foreign policy action undertaken by an American administration in my lifetime. Iraq's president, Saddam Hussein, was clearly a tyrant worthy of being overthrown. But in terms of our much-heralded "war on terrorism," his secular regime was unwittingly a barrier against the Islamic religious fanatics in nearby Afghanistan.
I suppose I ought to be more careful about labeling such terrorists as Islamic. I was amused to read that some Muslim community leaders in London resent that the perpetrators of the subway and bus bombings were quickly identified as Islamic terrorists. They had to concede that the perpetrators were terrorists. But they objected to the religious labeling, disregarding the proud religious declarations of those who were taking credit for the attacks against "infidel Christians and Zionists."
I am always astonished at how "Zionists" are always featured in Islamic enemy lists. Considering the vast numbers of "Christian crusaders" against whom Muslim terrorists are waging their holy war, Israelis and their foreign Jewish sympathizers are indeed a puny lot.
I am also astonished how, in the midst of the critical war against Islamic terrorism, some main-line Protestant leaders in the U.S. are focused on efforts urging major corporations not to invest in Israel. This is to demonstrate their opposition to what they regard as nasty Israeli behavior against the Palestinians. They refuse to recognize that any unpleasantries that the Israelis are imposing on Palestinians are the result of Israel's own battle against terrorism.
And now, perhaps, after his own city's tragic exposure to Islamic terrorist bombings, London's mayor, Ken Livingstone, who has made a fetish of Israel-bashing, will have a greater appreciation of what the Israeli people have been living with for decades.

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