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Jewish World Review
Dec. 6, 2005
/5 Kislev, 5766
Advice for Rice
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will be spending the week in Europe and apparently the message she will deliver to our so-called allies is as undiplomatic as it is needed: Get serious. It is a message that a lot of other people in this country notably the media and academia should take aboard, as well.
Some in Europe are in a swivet over unconfirmed press reports that the U.S. government has been secretly operating detention facilities in unnamed Eastern European countries and covertly transporting suspected Islamist terrorists through the continent's airspace and airports. Anti-American parliamentarians and bureaucrats have been howling that such alleged behavior violates Europe's norms and treaties and demanded full American disclosure and contrition.
It is time to remind our friends that we are engaged in a war. It is a war we are fighting not just on our own behalf but on theirs, as well. For the Islamists we battle wish to destroy not just freedom in America, but also in Europe.
The more sensible Europeans have begun to appreciate the gravity of their situation. The rioting in France is a foretaste of what must be expected from the populations of unassimilated, disaffected and poor Muslim immigrants who now reside in Western Europe by the millions. Their young people are being systematically recruited and radicalized by Saudi-funded Islamofascist clerics and organizations, particularly in prison.
The danger has only been increased by the European practice of ignoring such problems as long as possible and then, when that is no longer sustainable, of trying to postpone the day of reckoning with appeasement. The outrage currently being expressed at reported CIA activities is, in part, a product of this syndrome.
Condi Rice should impress upon her European interlocutors that neither we nor they any longer have the luxury of waging this war in a half-hearted and irresolute fashion. Our enemies are adept at using Western civil liberties to protect their operations from investigation and prosecution.
Their apologists would risk our ability to enjoy liberty in the future by insisting that we eschew well-established, legitimate and necessary wartime techniques such as covert operations to deny our enemies insights into our counter-terrorism actions, and to defeat their efforts to destroy us. Neither America nor European nations interested in self-preservation can accede to such demands.
As Dr. Rice conveys this "tough love" message to her diplomatic counterparts, a similar theme should be transmitted to the domestic and foreign media and to the Academy. The former is currently roiled by reports of U.S. military personnel selling stories about progress in Iraq to Iraqi newspapers. The latter is pressing the Supreme Court to rule that universities can take federal funds without having to permit military recruiters to do their vital work on campus.
Sen. John McCain took point with the media on Sunday, declaring on NBC's "Meet the Press" that he was untroubled that good news stories about Iraq were being placed in the Iraqi press as long as the articles were accurate and produced by responsible individuals (for example, information operations specialists in the U.S. military). He understands better than most how important it is for those who will ultimately determine that country's fate namely, the people of Iraq to have access to news about real progress being made, not just the violence and setbacks. How different might the polls be here at home if the American people were being given a more balanced portrayal of the facts on the ground over there?
No less in need of a dose of salts are the academic plaintiffs in a case due to be heard by the Supreme Court today [Tuesday]. In Rumsfeld v. the Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights (FAIR), the Court is being asked to strike down as unconstitutional legislation that made federal grants to institutions of higher learning contingent upon their welcoming military recruiters. Ostensibly, the plaintiffs object to what they see as the armed services' discrimination against homosexuals. Their brief cannot conceal, however, a deep-seated hostility towards the military and its mission that is all-too-common in universities today.
This is yet another example of a lack of seriousness about the conflict in which we are engaged: the War for the Free World. It should be the duty of every American institution, not just those who benefit from government largesse, to facilitate and otherwise encourage the recruitment of young people into the U.S. military.
The alternative will not be to prevent the United States from fielding an army. Instead, it will simply be obliged to do so on a compulsory, rather than voluntary, basis. While there is an argument for expecting all Americans to serve their country in some fashion, neither the military, prospective draftees nor, last time I checked, academia want a return to conscription.
We had better be clear with each other, with our allies, with the press and with the Academy: This war is a deadly serious business. We need to use the full panoply of techniques at our disposal to prevail in it. That means employing covert activities, political warfare (including information operations) and recruiting the finest all-volunteer force possible, with the active support of institutions, communities and families. Doing otherwise will not prevent further conflict. But it may end the present one on very unsatisfactory terms.
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JWR contributor Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. heads the Center for Security Policy. Comments by clicking here.
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© 2005, Frank J. Gaffney, Jr