In 2004, the U.S. officially recognized a genocide taking place in the Darfur region of Sudan. Although atrocities continued, the weight of this acknowledgment reverberated throughout the world. The global citizen could no longer claim ignorance regarding the atrocities taking place in Sudan. But neither the U.S. nor Israel have taken what you might think would be an easier stand, to recognize the almost century-old Armenian genocide. It’s important that they do so.
During the Holocaust, Pope Pius XII might have saved hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Jews by publicly denouncing Hitler early in the War. A public, vocal, and direct denunciation of Hitler’s murderous intentions would have reached the ears of Catholics throughout the world, including German Catholics, who were one third of the population of Germany. Clearly stating the deadly ambitions of the Nazis and serving as a vocal defender of the Jewish people might have prevented the destruction of countless lives. Jews throughout Europe, especially in Poland and Russia, might have been warned of impending danger from the words of such an influential and global figure.
Today, Israel and the U.S. are not in the same position as Pope Pius XII. The Armenian population of Turkey, or anywhere else in the world currently does not face the same threat as European Jews during the Holocaust.
However, they once did face the same fate.
IAVA volunteer embraces an amputee at Dodger Stadium. From ptsddiary.com.
Contrary to popular belief, our soldiers are currently fighting three wars – two in the Middle East and one at home. With politicians and pundits endlessly evoking the “war on terror” and security concerns, it is the men and women who serve in our Armed Forces that back up all the tough talk and rhetoric. However, when these brave souls return from combat, our society is not adequately prepared for their arrival. The regrettable treatment of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan is shameful.
Over two million men and women have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, and more than 40 percent of these soldiers have served at least two tours. In addition, around 300,000 troops have served three, four or more times. As a result, American soldiers today have spent more time in combat than at any point in U.S. History.
A Pentagon report in 2006 stated that the Army was “stretched to breaking point.” That year, a Congressional report claimed that “this strain, if not soon relieved, will have highly corrosive and potentially long-term effects on the force.” In 2009, Secretary of Defense Gates warned that “the Army faces a period where its ability to continue to deploy combat units at acceptable fill rates is at risk.”
Nine years after the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil, it is difficult to imagine Newt Gingrich wire transferring millions of dollars to Osama bin Laden. It is also hard to envision Rush Limbaugh sending a shipment of weapons to Al-Qaeda. However, many “well meaning” American figures are aiding bin-Laden and his cohorts with words almost as lethal as explosives or ammunition.
Unable to defeat the United States militarily, Al-Qaeda’s primary influence stems from its ideology. In a 1998 interview with Osama Bin Laden, ABC reporter John Miller uncovered the heart of Al-Qaeda’s philosophy through bin-Laden’s own words: “The terrorism we practice is of the commendable kind for it is directed at the tyrants and the aggressors and the enemies of Allah, the tyrants, the traitors who commit acts of treason against their own countries and their own faith and their own prophet and their own nation… Our religion is under attack. They kill and murder our brothers. They compromise our honor and our dignity and dare we utter a single word of protest against the injustice, we are called terrorists.” Under the banner of protecting his twisted interpretation of Islam, bin-Laden justifies his actions by saying Islam is “under attack” and that Muslims should protect their prophet and brothers from American aggression.
Philosophically, his objective is crystal clear. He needs to portray America as hating Islam, slandering the “honor” and “dignity” of Muslims, and as a real threat to Islamic culture. To combat this mentality, conservatives like Newt Gingrich have used the following logic: “There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia… America is experiencing an Islamist cultural-political offensive designed to undermine and destroy our civilization. Sadly, too many of our elites are the willing apologists for those who would destroy them if they could.”
“You don’t want a messianic apocalyptic cult controlling atomic bombs,” he said. “When the wide-eyed believer gets hold of the reins of power and the weapons of mass death, then the world should start worrying, and that’s what is happening in Iran.” Israel, Netanyahu told me, is worried about an entire complex of problems, not only that Iran, or one of its proxies, would destroy Tel Aviv; like most Israeli leaders, he believes that if Iran gains possession of a nuclear weapon, it will use its new leverage to buttress its terrorist proxies in their attempts to make life difficult and dangerous; and he fears that Israel’s status as a haven for Jews would be forever undermined, and with it, the entire raison d’être of the 100-year-old Zionist experiment.
Jeffrey Goldberg’s The Point of No Return, The Atlantic September 2010
Contrary to Netanyahu’s cries, Iran is not a crazy state… Of course, Israel’s own nuclear arsenal should be sufficient to deter Iran… Israel will still have a larger arsenal than any of its neighbors, including Iran, for years if not decades.
Bruce Reidel’s If Israel Attacks, The National Interest September-October 2010
Imagine that at some point next year, Israel destroys Iran’s nuclear facilities. Video of explosions in Isfahan, Qom, and other sites are endlessly replayed for a stunned world audience to see. Almost immediately, Russia and China contemplate a UN Security Council Resolution condemning the unilateral attack. Arab nations like Saudi Arabia, who stand to benefit from Iran’s momentarily weakened nuclear program, vehemently denounce the bombings. The United States, aiming to quell the ensuing political fallout, carefully distances itself from any involvement while simultaneously trumpeting the benefits of Israel’s decision. Then something takes place that foreign policy hawks rarely contemplate.
What if you opened up your email and saw the following headline: “Join us in our opposition to a planned synagogue near Wall Street.” Then, after reading further, it blamed the entire Jewish community for the depraved actions of a few. Imagine if the letter spoke at length about Bernie Madoff, Andrew Fastow, Jack Abramov, Ivan Boesky and even Meyer Lansky and David Berkowitz to create a picture of Jews far removed from reality. Needless to say, the first words out of your mouth might be “anti-Semitism.”
In this imaginary world, however, most Americans are now open to this train of thought. Pundits on radio and television echo the sentiment that the financial collapse we all experience is the work of Jewish bankers who’ve lauded risky financial instruments. Then, just as they reject the notion that a synagogue of all things could be built near the site where so many people had lost their American dream, pundits don’t forget to mention that most Jews are good people and that a synagogue built farther away from Wall Street might make more sense. “It is insensitive to build a synagogue near Wall Street,” is a phrase heard countless number of times. In addition, educated people of all backgrounds pontificate the potential dangers of allowing this synagogue to be built: “What if more Bernie Madoffs have their Bar Mitzvah at this synagogue?”