Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Obama, the Middle East, and Israel, Part Two

For many years I worked in the field of security in various jobs both uniformed and plain-clothes. It was not long before the director of security for my company planted me behind a desk. Not because I had done anything wrong, but because he discovered that he could hand me a stack of printouts and using nothing but paperwork I could tell him where the threats lay. I had zero training for that position. It was sheer instinct on my part, and those instincts have been invaluable to me in the past fourteen years.
When I was young, Robert Ludlum was my favorite author. He could not write books fast enough for me. What I did not realize was that I was unwittingly preparing myself for the post-9/11 world. Many authors spread their knowledge and expertise through fiction, because fiction is easy to read and entertaining. So I was gaining knowledge I did not know I had, which became invaluable. Readers will see what I mean as I go through this series.
After I decided to turn to Israel, I stumbled around at first. I did not know exactly what to study, nor in what order. A few months into the process, I was reading a book while on a break sitting in a restaurant. A man next to me saw what I was reading and held up a book of his own (he had a stack in front of him). He asked if I had ever read that author, I looked, and replied in the negative. He handed the book to me and assured me I would love it.
I did.
The author was Vince Flynn, who was an expert on the Middle East (unfortunately we lost him a few years ago). I devoured that book, and proceeded to go through every book he had written. For the first time I had a glimpse into the inner workings of that region (soon thereafter I discovered Joel C. Rosenberg). Meanwhile, I was watching interviews with so-called experts and slowly gaining a sense of who knew what he was talking about. I was also reading various books on terrorism, I was trying to learn the history of Israel (which is replete with terrorism long before she became a state), and I was trying to trace all of the plethora of terror networks in the Middle East (I later discovered this was a waste of time; the reason will become obvious).
And then I read one book that set me on the right track. You see, until you understand the background of the region - the entire history, all of that stuff we ignored in school - it is impossible to comprehend the Middle East. It simply cannot be done. The book was "A Durable Peace", by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. My regular readers know I consider him to be my unofficial mentor because of everything I have learned from him over the years, but this one book is what pointed me in the right direction. His writing style is quite easy to follow, and he puts things into an historical perspective like nothing else I have read. I would encourage everyone interested in the subject to read it.
The problem is, while I listened to (then) Mr. Netanyahu whenever he was interviewed, I was not hearing him. He warned us. He warned us repeatedly. He warned us urgently, to the point people thought he was delusional. I have always respected him, ever since I first heard him interviewed decades ago. But I, like most Americans, had that pre-Pearl Harbor mentality that said, "We are untouchable. We are over here. That is all over there." Even the 1993 WTC bombing did not faze me. Yes, it was terrible, as was Timothy McVeigh, but isolated incidents like that are easy to rationalize and that is precisely what I (and just about everyone else) did. Another fatal error, literally.
But, there was still one piece of the puzzle left to put into place before I was in a position to begin understanding the world I was now seeing:
Like most Americans, I knew nothing about it. I knew there were things called "mosques". I knew some guy called a "Grand Mufti" participated in the "Final Solution" (although who can pronounce Arabic names, never mind spell them), I knew of Louis Farrakhan (but he is a nut), I knew of the Black Panther Party (but they are just a bunch of thugs). And that was about it. I was completely oblivious to the teachings of Mohammed. I had no clue as to Islam's ideology. I had no idea what is done inside of a mosque.
However, I began hearing isolated voices. People like Pamela Gellar, Walid Shoebat, and Tommy Robinson. By now I was constantly on social media, and I became acquainted with MEMRI, who provides clips translated from the Arabic giving the world a glimpse inside of the Islamic world. I began subscribing to various newsletters that covered the Middle East. I began seeing verses posted on the Internet here and there from the Koran. From what little I was being shown, I resisted reading the Koran at first because it sounded like the last thing in the world I wanted to put into my mind, until someone said Thomas Jefferson had stated the Koran was so dangerous that every American should read it. So, reluctantly, I broke down and obtained a Koran.
With that as a backdrop, in my next post I will begin applying the knowledge I acquired to specific events which have occurred over the past seven years. I was to learn much more throughout the Obama administration, but I wanted to set the scene before launching into specific events, what I know about them, and why I know those things. As I explained in Part One, the purpose of this series is not just to repeat assertions I have made and introduce new ones I have acquired in the past week. I wanted to lay the foundation so that readers know I am not just picking up a newspaper and expounding out of thin air. Now I am ready to get to the "meat".