By Dr. William A. Cook
Now that the President and the Congress have corrected our Bill of Rights to remove the articles that prevented securing the nation against “terrorists,” articles V, VI, and VII, rights that interfered with our government’s ability to search and seize what they know must be “terrorist” related documents secured within our homes, as well as the necessity to convene a grand jury to hear charges brought against a citizen and to bring the accused before an impartial jury, inconvenient problems when time is of the essence, and, finally, to declare habeas corpus null and void, the country can move with alacrity to ensure that our freedoms are protected, freedoms as defined by President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff. Thank God. These rights, designed and created by our forefathers at the founding of the nation, rights they conceived as protective against the British Crown, come out of a different age, an age without the insight now evident in our leaders.
Unbeknownst to most Americans, but even more significant to the securing of America against the infidels that threaten our way of life, was the inclusion of the “Insurrection Act” in that same signing of the Military Commission’s Act on September 28. That allows our President to take complete control of our National Guard and deploy federal troops to quell any insurrections within the United States, a move that not only ensures that we will be protected by the wisdom of our President acting alone without the encumbrance of the outdated Posse Comitatus Act that prevented our Chief Executive from deploying troops within the U.S. or from consulting with the Congress that could subvert his decisive actions against those he has determined are “terrorists.”
All true patriots must applaud these actions that reconsider the value of ancient laws and behavior that purportedly protected individual rights when in fact they prevented our President from protecting us against unseen terrorists in our midst. Indeed, all such restrictions that limit executive power by forcing inefficient and cumbersome processes on his authority must be repealed. Our modern civilization with its advanced technology and immediacy of communication necessitates application of contemporary responses to actions that in prior ages, especially those that were prevalent in the Dark Ages, be expunged and our more civilized procedures implemented.
Recently, our brothers in arms against world terrorism, the American Israeli Political Action Committee through one of its many pro-American publications supportive of America’s threatened position, pointed to other examples of outdated behavior that have been resurrected and employed against the western forces of good as they attempt to bring our civilized democratic form of government to recalcitrant and feudal governments that dominate the mid-east.
All of us raised in this postmodern world that has stripped the mask of apparent rationality away from contemporary life are indebted to the Jewish World Review for providing us the opportunity to read Victor Davis Hanson’s insightful essay, “The Dark Ages – live from the middle East.”
Indeed, as Hanson bemoans, we are stunned and sickened as students of history to witness a return to the barbarous practice of beheading as resurrected by Iraqi “terrorists,” a horrible throw back to ancient Rome and the Reformation, days of superstition and theological dispute when truth was absolute and power wielded by those entrusted with a God given mission. Certainly we have evolved from such barbarity as Israel’s practice of extrajudicial execution attests, a clear case of pre-determined justice and one adopted by our President, since the politically elected Prime Minister or President can assert his divinely prescribed status as God’s law enforcement officer by expeditiously ridding the world of a known “terrorist” without the encumbrance of arresting the criminal, charging him with a crime or bothering with a trial.
I would mark as a particularly stunning example of such civilized postmodern practice the assassination of Sheik Yassin in March of 2004 when the world witnessed an unarmed, half-blind, crippled, 67 year-old paraplegic summarily executed with two missiles from F-16 warships, a decided improvement over the messy, blood strewn hacking necessitated by the butcher that beheads a victim before the digital camera.
Unfortunately, in this instance, the act had to take place on a crowded street as the Sheik emerged from a mosque resulting in bystanders being slaughtered and their blood, along with that of the victim, strewn all over the cobble stones. Circumstances sometimes detract from the progress made by the Israelis since 1947. However, we must not overlook the civilized way in which this execution removed the hangman from the scene, a decided advantage over the Dark Age practice where the viewer must watch the butcher slit the throat of the guilty party. We can rest assured that the pilot of the F-16, no doubt a Lieutenant in the Israeli Air Force, not a hooded Hangman, did not see the victim that he slaughtered nor the bloody mess he left behind.
Victor Hanson does not stop with beheading; he presents a veritable litany of Medieval practices reinstituted by our current crop of infidels including censorship, sexual inequality, anti-Semitism, displaying heads on poles for public display, threatening a minority like Jews in places like Paris, closing down theatrical productions deemed offensive to Muslims, and numerous other atrocities brought back from the Dark Ages. Thank God we live in an enlightened age when such barbarism is not tolerated by the civilized nations of the west, particularly the United States and Israel, our displaced self living precariously in the Islamic fascist mid-east.
Consider, after all, how we have progressed to avoid censorship by “clerics and the state,” the reality for those who lived during the Inquisition and the politically stringent times when Popes ruled with an iron fist. Today our principles and values are tended to by ardent divines and Rabbis who condemn such medieval behavior as birth control, gay and lesbian flouting of their amoral actions, sexual equality, and indigenous rights like the “Right of Return” by beaming their views off of satellites and gaining control of politicians by mass voting and financial coercion. Many left-wing liberals decry such use of modern technology as a means of imposing conservative values on entire populations, a form of censorship executed by evangelical right-wing fanatics and Zionist zealots. But this surely is just sour grapes casting carefully constructed contemporary strategies into the same derogatory barrel as Dark Age methodologies.
Some examples may prove my point. When that naïve, intervening college liberal, Rachel Corrie, stood in front of an American made caterpillar that was demolishing a home in Rafah, a home that had no official Israeli building permit, she broke the law, pure and simple. That some bellow that she was exercising her first amendment rights to free speech is not just absurd, but in Israel, does not apply to an American supporting the Palestinian terrorists. Consider the outrage that ensued when the American premier of a concert created to honor Rachel Corrie was prevented from taking place in Anchorage and the subsequent outrage that followed cancellation of the play My Name Is Rachel Corrie, outrage that condemned American Jewish influence, particularly that controlled by AIPAC, a much maligned Jewish lobby. Certainly these cancellations cannot be compared to the world-wide outcry that attended the publication of the Islamic cartoons or the voices raised against the Pope for referencing a medieval ruler’s portrayal of Mohammed. We need only note that our Congress voiced their condemnation of the implied “censorship” that erupted in the Arab world over these publications and their continued support of the Israeli government’s demolition program and its justice system that found the caterpillar driver innocent even though he managed to not only drive over Rachel’s body but put his machine in reverse so he could complete his innocent demolition.
Now I’ve heard some refer to the execution of Saddam Hussein’s sons as a barbarous display of American arrogance and power. Their concern focused on the photos taken of the two men after they were killed, the subsequent funereal reconstruction of the faces to ensure universal recognition of these brutal murderers and torturers, and the world-wide display, repeated over and over again on TV, as comparable to the actions of Xerxes and Attila “who stuck their victims heads on poles for public display,” as Hanson notes. How ludicrous can the critics get; how can one compare George W. Bush to Xerxes and Attila? The very thought is repugnant, even though one might argue that our technology makes possible what these two gentlemen might have desired but could never even dream about.
Let me conclude this defense of Mr. Hanson’s recital of the atrocities being perpetrated by our infidel enemies by noting what might be the most despicable behavior demonstrated by our Dark Age Islamo-fascists, “the veiling of women from head-to-toe, trapped in arranged marriages, subject to polygamy, honor killings and forced circumcision.” While we understand the reasons that Jews and Americans, indeed most of our western neighbors, circumcise their infants, the practice cannot be compared to that practiced in the mid-east. After all, the Jewish custom is thousands of years old, a tradition that pre-dates even the medieval ages.
Obviously, the west does not veil its women except in Las Vegas type shows where they are allowed to strip off their garments to display how free they are of male dominance. Needless to say, the practice of polygamy is practiced by a fanatical minority, arranged marriages only by the aristocracy, another minority, and, while we do not practice honor killings, we have managed to limit the murder of multiple women to serial killers, the deranged in our otherwise polite society. Some have attempted to make the practice of pornography and exploitation of women in Israel and the U.S., a multi-billion industry, comparable to Islamic treatment of women, but, I daresay, no one in his or her right mind could possibly see such a comparison.
So let us conclude this recitation of behaviors the Arab nations wish to export to Israel and America by noting Hanson’s great fear, the potential annihilation of Israel by radical Iran and the “nightmarish” world they intend to inflict on America, Israel’s ally. While we in our postmodern world have “sophisticated cell phones, CAT scanners and jets” we cannot rest on our civilized, progressive laurels. We are “fragile. “Technology used by the civilized for positive purposes can easily be manipulated by barbarians for destruction,” Hanson comments, and well he should.
We need only remember the horrific crisis Israel faced just a month ago in Lebanon when two of its soldiers were “kidnapped.” Israel, as is its wont, undertook decisive action to return the soldiers to their homes, an action that required the leveling of southern Lebanon, the destruction of much of Beirut, the infrastructure of the state including roads, ports, water treatment plants , electrical generating stations, displacement of almost a million people, and the killing of over 1300 civilians in addition to the distribution of thousands of cluster bombs to remind the people not to support the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers. Who can question Israel’s condemnation of Iran for suggesting that Israel be eliminated when they are faced with enemies that can capture two of their soldiers? And who can question Israel’s attempt to bring its civilization to the barbaric Palestinians.
Have they not taken control of all but 14% of their land, built a state of the art road system to convey Jews throughout the occupied territory, constructed a security barrier to ensure that the Palestinians keep their terrorist activities on their side of the fence, and have punished wrongdoers in Gaza these past four months by pulverizing their economy as well as their homes. All of this demonstrates how technology can be used for peaceful purposes as Hanson notes.
Indeed, as Victor Davis Hanson so eloquently states, “The Goths and Vandals did not sack Rome solely through the power of their hordes; they also relied on the paralysis of Roman elites who no longer knew what it was to be Roman …” Thank God that our President and his compatriots in Israel have not fallen prey to the Roman lethargy; rather they have, these elites that govern our democratic systems, taken firm control by removing the barriers that gave rights to the citizens so that, in their wisdom, they can maintain peace and security both in America and in the mid-east.
-Dr. William A. Cook is a professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California. He can be reached at: cookb@ULV.EDU.