The terrorists and their protectors (JERUSALEM POST OP-ED) By MICHAEL WIDLANSKI 03/26/12)
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Terror aims at the human mind.
The goal is seizing the mind, not territory. Terrorists want to get
into our head, while we, to survive, need to get into theirs.
The average citizen does not have time to study Arabic or Farsi, and
he or she must rely on the gatekeepers of our minds – our media, our
academia and our government/intelligence agencies.
These elites are essentially our public intellectuals. They should be
our best and our brightest, the guardians of Western democratic
society. Instead they became our worst and our dimmest, purveyors of
a politically correct and factually inaccurate ideology of idiocy, a
doctrine of willful ignorance.
This is true in the United States, in Europe and in Israel.
Top anti-terror officials in the Obama administration give speeches
at NYU or Georgetown describing the beauty of Islam and speaking of
jihad as a spiritual journey. The New York Times wins prizes for
disclosing the most sensitive counter-terror surveillance programs, a
program to monitor phone communication and a program to monitor money
Meanwhile, the Associated Press launches a real jihad, a holy war,
against the New York City Police for being too watchful of the same
Muslim community that spawned the NY attacks of 1993 and 2001.
These same institutions did not launch serious investigations of the
mosques in Brooklyn, Queens and Jersey City after the World trade
Center attack of 1993 or the attack of 2001.
Nor have they probed the way Islamic terrorists are manufactured
inside prison systems in America, Britain and Israel.
Inside Israel, many of our elites automatically support protests by
Palestinian security prisoners inside Israeli jails, and they also
protest when Israeli officials try to stem the tide of illegal
immigration by thousands of Sudanese and others who swamp our borders.
Our media, many in academia and even officials in government prefer
to claim they see a plague of what they call Islamophobia – an
unreasoning fear of Islam, and a rise in hate crimes against Muslims.
This is not true.
Actually, the terror attacks in France this week, and the earlier
Iranian attacks in Thailand, India and Kazakhstan show increased
attacks on Jews.
There is no wave of hate crimes against Muslims in America, in Europe
or in Israel, and there is no phobia of Islam, no Islamophobia.
Actually, our elites exhibit Islamophilia – a reflexive love or
protection of anything Islamic. I discuss the intellectual basis for
these trends in my book – Battle for Our Minds: Western Elites and
the Terror Threat. Here are some highlights of the intellectual
perversion that infected our elites for the past two generations,
causing America to be unready for 9/11 and Israel to be unable to
admit the mistakes of the Oslo Process of 1993: Prof. Edward Said
redefined Middle East studies for Western universities, but he knew
almost no Arabic, and he used no Arabic sources in his work. Yet,
Said became the gold standard for Middle East studies in the United
States, and he was consulted on hiring decisions in this field,
though he was himself a professor of English.
Edward Said became a virtual patron saint for MESA, the Middle East
Studies Association. On September 11,2002, MESA presented its first
annual Edward Said Award, on the first anniversary of 9/11. Said
campaigned against anyone who said Ayatollah Khomeini was an
extremist, and he lampooned and harpooned anyone who said Saddam
Hussein was a vicious tyrant. Said’s views, not those of Bernard
Lewis, were published in the New York Times.
Said’s popular teachings promoted the careers of Said “wannabes” like
John Esposito at Georgetown, and Fred Halliday at the London School
of Economics who spoke of the “myth” of Arab-Islamic terror before
9/11, while focusing, after 9/11, on the supposed persecution of
Muslims rather than on growing Islamic terror.
Then there’s Michael Scheuer, the CIA’s “hunter” of Osama bin Laden,
who never served as a field agent knew no Arabic, and misidentified
Islamic holy sites. Scheuer admired bin Laden, blamed the US and
Israel for vexing him, and called American Jews a dangerous minority
that threatened America’s interests.
Scheuer even says that they have to be destroyed.
Paul Pillar, a top CIA Middle East analyst, showed a colossal off-
base percentage for his predictions over a decade: claiming before
9/11 the US was not threatened by terror, then, that Iran was not
seeking an atom bomb, and that the US should reach out to Iran and
Syria, despite their terror roles and their bloody, repressive
Like Scheuer and Pillar, CIA director George Tenet never was a field
agent, and he promoted their writings and their careers even as he
censored talented field agents who said the CIA had become “too
political” and was unprepared for terror.
CNN’s Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Peter Arnett, producer Robert
Wiener and news director Eason Jordan played ball with Saddam
Hussein’s government, ignoring some of his worst atrocities; CNN’s
Wiener removed all the Jewish mezuzahs from the doorways of CNN’s
rented offices in Jerusalem.
Tom Friedman, who got a Pulitzer Prize for directly blaming Israel
and its ally, Sa’ad Haddad, for the Sabra-Shatila massacre of 1982,
passed up countervailing evidence, including his own face-to-face
interview with Sa’ad Haddad.
To battle terror efficiently, citizens must re-establish a cadre of
Middle East specialists who are experts in history and language
rather than politically correct nostrums that lead only to wishful
thinking and strategic surprise.
The writer, an expert on Arab politics and communications, is the
author of Battle for Our Minds: Western Elites and the Terror Threat,
published in March by Threshold/Simon and Schuster. (© 1995-2011, The
Jerusalem Post 03/26/12)
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