Thursday, August 8, 2002

A Member of the Family

A Member of the Family
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
August 8, 2002

Journalist. Jewish. American.

Daniel Pearl was senselessly slaughtered for having three strikes against him in the eyes of his murderers in Pakistan.

He is yet another casualty in the valiant war against terror being fought by the United States of America – a war that began with the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York City and the attack on the Pentagon in Arlington last September 11.

The heinous butchery of kidnapped Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl this week must be regarded for what it was – another shot fired in the war against the United States, western culture and Judeo-Christian values.

As a brother in the fraternity of journalists Pearl represented what the people in the fight against America fear – a free press guaranteed by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Pearl risked his life to present to the world the stories of the atrocities occurring in Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as other parts of the Islamic world – a world where he spent six of the last 12 years of his career as a foreign correspondent.

Pearl risked his life as a member of the Jewish faith merely by entering a knowingly hostile Islamic world. In his final living and breathing minutes Pearl allegedly said he was Jewish as was his father, just prior to having throat slashed by his murdering captors. Pearl represented what rarely, if at all, exists in the Islamic world – the freedom to worship openly as he so chooses – again, a freedom guaranteed in America by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

As an American, Pearl represented a free and open society, the likes of which hardly exists in the Islamic world – a world where his so-called fundamentalist captors raised hypocrisy to the highest level. A world that attempts to shunt the academic growth of it females, while America not only encourages education of all its citizens, females currently represent greater than 50 percent of all law students in law school.

Those who knew Daniel Pearl described him as a charming gentleman, conscientious in his work and possessing talents as a cook and violinist playing both classical and rock and roll music. He is survived by his parents and wife – seven months pregnant with the son who will never meet his father.

Daniel Pearl’s death must not go in vain. The war against terrorism must be stepped up to demonstrate that the murder of American attempting to do his job will not be overlooked or taken lightly. Journalists must always take precautions while on dangerous assignments, but should not shrink away from such opportunities or champions of terror win.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer living in Alexandria, VA.

Wednesday, August 7, 2002

America: Solo Global Defender

America: Solo Global Defender
Commentary By Sanford D. Horn
August 7, 2002

Germany has shown its true colors. Its so-called leadership has said it will not stand beside the United States in a potential war against Iraq – a war that appears to be more inevitable than a Major League Baseball strike.

The United States, thanks to an unbalanced NATO alliance, has continued to bail out its co-signatories and put its own troops in harms way for the benefit of foreign nations. Unbalanced in that the US responds when it is called upon to aid others, but where are those alleged allies when the call is made the other way?

France is the shining example. Pre-NATO, the US bailed France out of World War I and II. Then, following the creation of NATO, the French dumped Vietnam in the laps of the United States. Years later, how does France pay back the US? By ordering the US not to fly over French air space during a confrontation with Libya. Germany has used the weak excuse that it sees no evidence of an aggressive Iraq, or a connection between Iraq and al Qaeda.

Germany and France are not the only alleged allies of the United States to shun the US. Add Saudi Arabia to that list as well. The Bush administration has defended its position of not admonishing Saudi Arabia for its human rights violations because of six decades of friendship. The Saudi government is a dictatorial monarchy. This is a government that still believes in stoning, beheading and limb removal as a part of its so-called justice system. Women are treated as second-class citizens and its press is overtly anti-American. Economically, the disparity between haves and have-nots is wider spread than most third world nations.

The Saudis as allies? That’s laughable at best. Let’s review. During the Gulf War during the early 1990s the Saudi government demanded that American female soldiers not be allowed in public. The Saudi government banned American soldiers from celebrating Christmas while they were on dangerous missions to defend that Arab country.

Fast forward to a statement issued by Pentagon spokesman Victoria Clarke on Monday, Aug. 5. “Saudi Arabia is a long-standing friend and ally of the United States. The Saudis cooperated fully in the global war on terrorism and have the Department’s and administration’s deep appreciation.”

That is a most disingenuous statement when considering the Saudi origins of 15 of the 19 Sept. 11 terrorists, as well as providing the funding for those attacks. Saudi Arabia is the funnel from which terror attacks and terror funding flows.  Let’s not forget that Osama bin Laden is a Saudi refugee.

Also flowing from Saudi Arabia is the black gold called oil. Many accused Bush I of going to war against Iraq not to liberate Kuwait, but to protect American oil interests. Either way, Kuwait needed liberating. Should US troops been the primary liberators? Probably not. Did the US succeed in its ultimate mission? Yes, Kuwait became liberated. Should the US have had a broader mission that included taking out Hussein? Yes. The Gulf War was a war without surrender. The US liberated Kuwait and went home giving Hussein increased confidence – a confidence that may cost the US lives of troops it should not have to send overseas. Had Bush I finished the job and Hussein eliminated, it’s true, there would have been no guarantee that Iraq’s next leader would have not have been as despotic as its predecessor. However, a message would have been sent that might have prevented the situation the US is in now.

A line must be drawn in the sand and Hussein must be removed. The US should not make the mistake of rebuilding Iraq, for it will ultimately become stronger than it is today. Look at Japan and Germany – defeated by the US in war only to be rebuilt by Americans so that Americans can drive Japanese and German automobiles and rely upon the technology of those two nations while Americans struggle to keep their jobs at home.

Saudi Arabia does not want the US to engage in a conflagration with Iraq because to eliminate Saddam Hussein, would make the Saudi dictatorial monarchy the next worst despotic government to need toppling.

And let’s not forget the oil alluded to earlier. One of the reasons the US is too dependent upon foreign, most notably, Arab oil, is thanks to liberals in this country. Virtually every time there is a suggestion that the US drill for oil either in the Gulf of Mexico or in Alaska or elsewhere in the Arctic region, there are protests from environmental groups for fear that one drop of spilt oil would kill a bird. There is no question that a healthy environment is important, but at what cost? The lives of American soldiers? No. Ridding the dependence the US has on foreign oil would also take the noose the Saudis have around the necks of America.

Besides, when did the US begin to cow tow and acquiesce to the court of global public opinion?

War with Iraq seems inevitable, not because of oil, but because a mad man who has no remorse over the killing of his own citizenry, will use weapons of mass destruction, unprovoked, against the United States. To be on the defensive would mean the US would have suffered a blow first. That blow was dealt last Sept. 11 and connections have been made linking Hussein to bin Laden – a Saudi refugee. If the US thinks Sept. 11 was a one-time act, think again. It was merely a harbinger of things to come – if the US wake up to reality and take preventive steps.

This should not be a partisan issue on Capitol Hill. Nobody wants to go to war.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) said on Sunday, Aug. 4, that, “every day Saddam remains in power with chemical weapons, biological weapons and the development of nuclear weapons is a day of danger for the United States of America.”

“I suspect that al Qaeda elements are in Iraq and there probably is more than enough justification to go into Iraq,” said Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS).

In the words of the late, great Arizona Senator Barry M. Goldwater, uttered during his acceptance speech during the 1964 Republican presidential convention in San Francisco, but applicable here, “extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice, and…moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.”

Sanford D. Horn is a writer living in Alexandria, VA.