Don’t Defeat ISIS

Devil vs Devil.jpeg

Why are we trying to defeat ISIS?


Yesterday, they gave Axis of Evil Iran some payback. 


Iran, the #1 global sponsor of terrorism, got terrorized.


In a brazen attack on Iran’s parliament and shrine, ISIS attacked these hardened targets.


Now, while all terrorism is terrible and should be condemned, isn’t there an old saying:


“Fight fire with fire.”


In this case, sadly but maybe the truth is the only way to fully defeat terrorism is by:


The only way to win the war on terror is to let terror fight terror!


No, we should not resort to such barbarism!


But as the world allegedly did in the Iran-Iraq war (and so many other conflicts), we armed both sides and let them go at it.


Similarly here, let ISIS and Iran’s terrorists duke it out until they are both gone for good or hopefully they come to their senses and stop the madness once and for all!


Civilians are innocent and should never be targets, but the terrorists killing the terrorists is fair game.


Sure, carrots are preferable to a stick, but have any of the carrots worked at all or are we not at a global terrorism all time high after 16 years fighting the war on terror since 9/11.


Why wait until ISIS and/or Iran hits us again and again with terror wave after terror wave or eventually with unfathomable weapons of mass destruction?


Devil kill devil–and let peace and sanity reign supreme for the rest of the civilized world. ūüėČ


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Bombs But No Strategy

Bombs.jpeg

So the good news is that we have killed about 45,000 ISIS terrorist fighters.


The bad news is two-fold:


First, there are still roughly 15,000-30,000 remaining and more being recruited all the time. 


Second, it took us 49,315 bombs dropped over two years to do this. 


So we are averaging less than 1 kill per bomb!


Sure, we are also hitting other targets like oil and gas infrastructure and tankers.


But about 20,000 of the munitions dropped are GPS precision-guided (e..g Joint Direct Attack Munitions, Small Diameter Bombs, and Hellfire Missiles) and have cost $2 billion!


That comes out to a cost of around $45,000 just for just 40% the bombs to kill each and every ISIS terrorist, and doesn’t even include all the extensive military infrastructure, planes, intelligence, and people.¬†


And this is just a super tiny drop in the bucket compared to the $4-$6 trillion that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, after 9/11, has cost just through 2013. 


–That represents between 20-30% of our our entire $20 trillion national debt!


At this rate, ISIS, Al Qaeda, and the other terrorists may simply be able to cause irreparable damage and even bankrupt America.


How long can we afford to fight these extended and expensive wars against terrorism and never seem to even win–what’s the strategy here? Is there one?¬†


(Source Photo: here with attribution to vaXzine)

To BE Corruption FREE

corruption

Amazing, they were advertising this in downtown Washington, D.C.:

“A Government Free of Corruption”


Wouldn’t this just be completely miraculous!


WE HAVE A DREAM:


– No lies and spin


– No deception and manipulation


– No public and private faces


– No collusion and cheating


– No hidden agendas and backroom dealings


– No hate, bias, and divisiveness


– No denigrating, name-calling, and character assassination


– No bribery and pay to play


– No intimidation, payback, and shadow government


– No self entitlement and self enrichment


– No fraud, waste, and abuse

Imagine instead, if integrity was the essence of good leadership.

Today, in synagogue, the weekly Torah portion was Genesis–where as we all know, G-d created the heavens and the earth.¬†

Genesis 1:2 “Now the earth was chaos and void” (in Hebrew “tohu va-bohu”).

The bar-mitzvah boy, in his speech, joked about how his first 13-years of life growing up was very much tohu va-bohu (chaos), but he was hopeful that with his wonderful parents guiding him, he would get on track and pay more attention to his schoolwork, all the details, and not rush through things. 

I thought to myself, there are probably a lot of people even in their 30s, 40, and 50’s whose life was still tohu va-bohu, but that doesn’t mean we can’t emulate G-d and still create something wonderful from all the chaos, right?¬†

Similarly in the tohu va-bohu chaos of Washington politics, where¬†nearly 80% of the electorate believe¬†that we are going in the wrong direction, it’s not too late to continue make something great that we can all be proud of.

In the Wall Street Journal today, Peggy Noonan described a recent focus group led by Democratic pollster, Peter Hart, where all 12 voters (Democrats, Republicans, and Independents) unanimously and sadly agreed that “America was off track.”¬†

In fact, one person wisely intimated that things seemed to go off track with 9/11 and “never quite recovered.” ¬†Unfortunately, more than the World Trade Center came down in America that fateful day.¬†

But it’s not the first time in history that things have been tohu va-bohu, and perhaps it’s okay…that why G-d teaches us things can change for the better…order and sense and progress can be made to rise from all the chaos.

The good news is still out there, “And G-d said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.”¬†ūüėČ

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

To Evil ISIS

terrorism

I was thinking of holding this photo for “the next” big terrorist attack (G-d forbid).¬†


But it’s just two days before 9/11, and I thought of all the victims of ISIS terror and said, why wait.


So this is to memorialize all the victims of ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Taliban, Boko Haram, the PLO, BDS, and other vile terrorist groups.


For all the victims–men, women, and children–you brutally and ruthlessly:


Beheaded.


Crucified.


Hung.


Shot.


Stabbed.


Stoned.


Threw off of Roofs.


Burned Alive.


Ran over with tanks and other vehicles. 


Poisoned. 


Abducted.


Raped.


Tortured.


Imprisoned. 


Enslaved. 


Sold.


Made refugees. 


Bombed. 


Gassed.


For the mothers and fathers you made childless.


For the children you made orphaned.


For the husbands and wives you left widowed. 

May the one G-d in heaven recompense you for all your evil deeds, may he thwart all your plans and attempts to harm, kill, and destroy, and may he thrust his heavenly spear of judgement through your devilish hearts and straight into the endless depths of Hell. 


(Source Photo: America)

A Terrorism Wake-Up Call To Western Civilization

“On her way to work one morning

Down the path alongside the lake

A tender-hearted woman saw a poor half-frozen snake

His pretty colored skin had been all frosted with the dew

“Oh well,” she cried, “I’ll take you in and I’ll take care of you”

“Take me in oh tender woman

Take me in, for heaven’s sake

Take me in oh tender woman,” sighed the snake


She wrapped him up all cozy in a curvature of silk

And then laid him by the fireside with some honey and some milk 

Now she hurried home from work that night as soon as she arrived 

She found that pretty snake she’d taken in had been revived

“Take me in, oh tender woman¬†

Take me in, for heaven’s sake

Take me in oh tender woman,” sighed the snake


Now she clutched him to her bosom, “You’re so beautiful,” she cried

“But if I hadn’t brought you in by now you might have died”

Now she stroked his pretty skin and then she kissed and held him tight 

But instead of saying thanks, that snake gave her a vicious bite

“Take me in, oh tender woman¬†

Take me in, for heaven’s sake

Take me in oh tender woman,” sighed the snake


“I saved you,” cried that woman

“And you’ve bit me even, why?

You know your bite is poisonous and now I’m going to die”

“Oh shut up, silly woman,” said the reptile with a grin¬†

“You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in¬†

“Take me in, oh tender woman¬†

Take me in, for heaven’s sake

Take me in oh tender woman,” sighed the snake”


(Source Lyrics The Vicious Snake by Oscar Brown Jr. and the Reading By Donald Trump)

What The Pope Knows That Our Leadership Doesn’t

Crushed Trophy.jpeg

In response to the deluge of terrorist attacks across Europe, but also all around the world, culminating this week in the murder of an 85-year old Christian priest in France (his throat was slit in church by ISIS), the pope said the following:

The world is at war, because we have lost the peace.”

But at the same time, our leader is self-congratulating himself, declaring his next in line for the Pennsylvania Avenue throne, and mocking the daily terror threats we face, calling ISIS the “JV [junior varsity] team” declaring them “not an existential threat, and insisting “no boots on the ground.”¬†

From the attacks on 9/11 to Orlando and Fort Hood, from the attacks on Charlie Hebdo to Paris and Nice, from the multiple attacks on Germany this past week to those in Belgium in March, from the Madrid train bombing in 2004 to the London bombing in 2005, to the daily terrorist attacks throughout the Holy Land of Israel, and the non-stop violent killing of  millions around the Arab countries of the Middle East, North Africa, Asia and beyond, I ask:

Why is the Pope better informed than our leadership, and who will fight for us? ūüėČ

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Defeating Terrorism Not Optional

Military

So in today’s New York Times Sunday Review, David Rieff provides some insights on the state of terrorism¬†that we are living with.¬†


Two very concerning points he makes:


1) A resignation that not much can be done: There are limited security resources, but infinite points for terrorists to strike. As he says, “Not all these attacks can be stopped….there is no way to police every subway station, cafe, and public square.”


2) Many of our leaders are in convenient denial or disengaged: They see the daily terrorist attacks and their response is a rote rejoinder to either join for a brief memorial, slough it off altogether, or even make a joke of it¬†(as if murder is a laughing matter). Rieff repeats even a recent interview with President Obama where he makes light of the impact of terrorism in that doesn’t pose “an existential threat to the United States of the world order.” Unless of course, it escalates and involves weapons of mass destruction or potentially taking out significant portions of our nation’s critical infrastructure.


This just seems so different that how our nation has raised itself up in past conflicts and to win them: 


In World War II, the Allies were committed to defeat Nazi Germany, and they did, including through D-Day, one of largest and bloodiest invasions in history. 


President Reagan helped win the Cold War, by labeling the Soviets the “evil empire” and setting America on a major military buildup, one that the Soviet Union could not afford and eventually withdrew from.¬†


After 9/11, President Bush vowed that we would get Osama Bin Laden “dead or alive,” no matter how long it takes, and eventually we did!


Over and over, the odds were not great and the stakes were enormous, but a positive attitude and the commitment to win took us a long way. 


In contrast now a attitude of defeatism has set in with Rieff declaring that “the stark truth is that the number and lethality of terrorist attacks are far likelier to rise than to diminish in the near future,” and as he quotes the French Prime Minister Manuel Valls as saying, “Times have changed, and we should learn to live with terrorism.”


How can anyone agree with that–should we really resign ourselves to learn to live with random acts of violence, murder, and terror?¬†


Rieff ends with that “the best we can hope for is to hold on to enough of our humanity to have a chance of clawing back the rest when the war ends, as all wars do.”


I do not believe that this is good enough!


Not identifying the enemy, disengaging from global events or leading from behind, appeasement of sworn enemies, removing sanctions and releasing terrorists from GITMO, getting soft on terror saying it’s not so bad out there that “the birds were [still] chirping and the sun was out,“, and giving up on defeating it…is a losing attitude and proposition and one that will only result in more heartbreaking and innocent deaths.¬†


Dismissing or belittling the issue, defeatism, and jokes will not defeat terrorism, but a commitment to do whatever it takes to save lives and protect our nation will, as has been the case from Hitler to Bin Laden, and so it will be again.¬†ūüėČ


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

2 Jobs Are Better Than 1

2 For 1

So this is a funny story that my friend reminded me (honestly, I had almost completely forgotten about it)…


We were in college (business school) looking for our first real corporate jobs for the Summer. 


With G-d’s blessing, I ended up with 2 nice offers.


But my good friend didn’t have a job.


So I offered one to him.


I was still a kid…what did I know!


I told one company that I accepted and the other company that I had a friend that was interested (of course, I would vouch for him). 


So on day 1 of the Summer job, my friend shows up there in the World Trade Center on the 99th floor (yeah, this is before 9/11 took the whole place down).


The corporate folks talked about it for 5 minutes and said he could stay.


Voila now we both had summer jobs!


Honestly, I can’t believe we ever had the chutzpah, but in those days people helped each other out more.¬†


2 4 1 and 1 4 All. 


And that’s how we both got started in the NY business world. ūüėČ


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Turn, Press, Pull — Gonna Get Ya

Controls.jpeg

So as I go around town, I see more and more of these industrial-type control panels. 

The problem is that they are stupidly in the open and unprotected or otherwise easily defeated.  

While probably not a serious threat of any sort, this one apparently is a unit to control some fans in an underground garage open to the public. 

You see the knobs you can just turn.

And one with a yellow warning sticker above it.

As if that will keep someone with bad intentions from messing with it. 

You also see the red and yellow lights…hey. let’s see if we can make those flash on, off, on.

Panel 13, nicely numbered for us–let’s look for 1 to 12 and maybe 14+.

It just continues to amaze me that in the age of 9/11 and all the terrorism (and crime) out there that many people still seem so lackadaisical when it comes to basic security. 

Anyone in the habit of leaving doors and gates open, windows unlocked, grounds unmonitored, computers and smart phones without password protection, data unencrypted and not backed up, even borders relatively wide open, and so on. 

Of course, we love our freedom and conveniences.

We want to forget bad experiences.

Could we be too trusting at times?

Maybe we don’t even believe anymore that the threats out there are impactful or real.

But for our adversaries it could just be as simple as finding the right open “opportunity” and that’s our bad. ūüėČ

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Terrified Of Terrorism

Terrorism

Sure there are terrorism scares that are just hoaxes, and generally-speaking, we feel quite protected by our nation’s values, wealth, and entrepreneurial spirit, by Homeland Security, and by being surrounded with the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and our friendly neighbors Mexico and Canada.¬†

So we can be very assured–no fear, right? ¬†That’s what we need and want to function normally in every day life.

But perhaps behind the veil of daily bravado is a not-so subtle fear about something really bad happening again–whether a 9/11 or a San Bernardino or a Boston Bombing or anything in between or even possibly¬†more extreme, including attacks on our critical infrastructure (via kinetic means, cyber attacks, or EMP weapons) or even attacks with WMD (from anthrax to nukes in suitcases)–there is certainly plenty of attack vectors, means, and bad actors.¬†

It was interesting-scary, the other day, there was a video circulating on Facebook of a “radical Muslim”-like character with a turban or something distinctive (I can’t really remember) and carrying a backpack. In scene after scene, the character goes up to innocent bystanders and throws his backpack in their direction. The people didn’t know him or what was in the backpack or why he was throwing it in their direction. Yet, over and over again, the people jumped up hysterically in fear running for cover like there was very possibly no tomorrow.¬†

Similarly, we watch on the news almost daily of terrorist attacks around the world–school attacks, beach attacks, restaurants and cafe attacks, theater attacks, grocery store attacks, house of worship attacks, funeral attacks, ambulance attacks…and there literally is no end to this list of what and who is considered a legitimate target by terrorists–we all are.

In the last couple of weeks, there was surveillance captured of¬†Muslim women visiting a number of synagogues in Miami around the same time and asking questions suspiciously–could they have been staking these out¬†for possible future attack, similar to the attack on a Jerusalem synagogue with butcher knives, axes, and guns that massacred people praying and in devotion to their maker?

In the last half a year, we have seen terrorism morph in Israel from volleys of missiles indiscriminately shot at cities, tunnels to attack and abduct, and suicide/homicide bombings to become up close and personal butcher knife attacks in the throat, chest, and back of victims old, young, man, women. Everyone who is available to kill is being called to martyrdom, even the most little children being indoctrinated to slash and thrust a knife into any unsuspecting victim. 

So as we listen and watch the goings-on in the world and we say to ourselves those attacks happen in Paris and London and Turkey and Ukraine and Libya and Tunisia and Nigeria and Yemen and Lebanon and Syria and Iraq and Kuwait and Pakistan and Afghanistan and India and Indonesia and and and…but not [so much] over here.¬†

We say it, and we hope it, and we pray it, but in the back of our minds we instinctively fear otherwise. 

So while panic is certainly not helpful, perhaps phony bravado is not what is really needed either, but rather a renewed focus, investment, and commitment to our security–with more gates, guns, guards, intelligence, and advances in technology to stop the next attack(s). ūüėČ

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Irina Slutsky)