Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Country's Amnesia

September 18, 2015

With all of the danger and chaos in the world today, including the recent nuclear deal with Iran, it is worth bearing in mind that it has only been 70 years since the end of the Holocaust. Although to some people, 70 years might seem like a long time, I say "only" in the sense that in humanity's long history, its darkest and most gruesome and evil time was only 70 years ago. Yet, despite the enormity of that horror, the world has all but forgotten it. For Americans, despite losing many fine young men in World War II, the Holocaust was something that occurred overseas. The blood of the Jews was spilled, quite literally, on Russian and European soil. But what excuse do Americans have for forgetting September 11, 2001? The horrific attacks occurred only 14 years ago and soaked U.S. soil with the blood of Americans.

In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, Americans united with a great sense of patriotism. They relished the idea of a strong America that would respond appropriately to the terrorist attacks. American flags flew everywhere. The national anthem was song with pride and enthusiasm. That feeling of unity and strength lasted for a while, but the country's amnesia started way before the 14 year mark. To illustrate how far removed from 9/11 we were by 2008, one need only consider the presidential election. If I went into a coma right after 9/11 and came out of it after the election to learn that Americans had elected a president named Barack Hussein Obama, I would not have believed it. That he was such an enigmatic figure who arrived with such a mysterious and anti-American background would have made it even harder to believe. In fact, if I was told there had been a movie made on it, I would have claimed it had to be too farfetched and refused to go. (The best and most interesting movies are often those that seem too hard to believe, but are actually based on real facts and are true stories. This, unfortunately, would be one of them.) In this case, it was not too difficult for many people, myself included, to predict the misfortune to befall America from Obama's promise to fundamentally transform the country.

How did this happen? How did Americans elect Obama, with his radical left ideology, including his ties to anti-American extremists like his reverend, Jeremiah Wright, and friend and terrorist, Bill Ayers (to name just two of his radical associates), only seven short years after 9/11? Why were Americans so open and gullible to accept a transition of the country from strength and pride to weakness, guilt and having a compelling urge to apologize to the world for what it stands for so shortly after 9/11?

Now, 14 years later, it is still painful to watch the news on 9/11. I told myself I would just watch a little of the coverage this year, but pretty soon I was once again immersed in it. How does one watch without being overwhelmed with emotions? The images of the planes hitting the Towers and the Pentagon. The plane in the field in Shanksville, PA. The people jumping from the higher floors of the Towers. The zombie-like people near the Towers covered with debris. The 911 calls. The desperate cries and pleas for help. The interviews. Suddenly, you are back to that devastating time 14 years ago with your heart feeling like it is being ripped out of your chest. And again I have to ask, how did we transition so quickly from a nation coming together as one, with a great sense of strength, pride and resolve, to electing a radical liberal president who was not proud of America, apologized for its history and current ways, and vowed to change it?

The Holocaust took the historical murder of and pogroms against Jews to a whole new, darker level. After the Holocaust, Jews had a better appreciation and were on notice of the atrocities that humanity was capable of, of extraordinary evil that knows no bounds, and swore "Never Again". After 9/11, Americans vowed to "Never Forget". They were on notice of the evil that radical Islam was capable of. Prior terrorist attacks, as bad as they were, did not have quite the same impact. It was the magnitude of 9/11 and the fact that it showed our vulnerability on our own soil that made it hit home all the more. Yet, somewhere along the way, America and Americans developed amnesia and made their decision in 2008 (and again in 2012).

Perhaps it is the Holocaust that has served to so severely frighten Jews over the nuclear deal with Iran. Many, but not all, Jews that is. Others, particularly American Jews, continue to show their unwavering support and devotion for Obama and everything he does. They either are not very familiar with the Holocaust or have had their own amnesia set in. But what about Americans? True, only 21% of Americans approve of the nuclear deal with Iran according to a recent poll, but Obama and other elected Democratic officials have accomplished what was needed to have it pass and rammed down the throats of the American people. Where is the country's outrage? The fear? The outcry? The promise of "Never Forget"? Americans, like world Jewry, know what it is like to be on the wrong end of terror. Most Israeli Jews know enough to listen and take seriously threats from an evil enemy of "Death to Israel". Too many Jews ignored the threats of a different madman in the 1920s and 1930s and paid the ultimate price. Americans should now understand the threats of "Death to America" from radical Islamic terrorists and know enough to take them at face value. 9/11 was a wake up call, an alarm that should have put and kept the country on notice of what could happen. Imagine 9/11 with nuclear weapons, G-d forbid. But, unfortunately, the country's amnesia seems to have gotten the best of it.

We also are now witnessing a mass of Islamic refugees fleeing from Syria and Iraq. Europe, which one would think would understand the predicament it is in with its large Muslim population, appears to be ready to double down. Germany, of all countries, not historically the beacon of tolerance, has opened its arms wide for the refugees. It remains to be seen whether the German population is as eager to welcome the refugees as is its Chancellor, Angela Merkel. Hungary, however, is an exception. It is staying truer to historical form and has resisted accepting the refugees, which has earned it much politically correct criticism. Already there are reports and images of violence from some of the refugees who are unhappy with the treatment they have received from the host nations. Welcome to Europe, where Muslims are invited and many Jews are being forced to leave or consider leaving.

The United States and, incredibly, Israel also have been criticized for not taking more refugees. But Israel is a tiny country and already has felt the brunt of refugees from Eritrea in Africa. Obama has pledged to take over 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next year and Democrats are recommending that the United States absorb over 100,000 Syrian refugees. Conservative estimates are that easily 1% of the refugees could be terrorists, and the Islamic State has stated its intention to infiltrate countries through the refugees. The White House and Democrats admit that they would not be able to ascertain whether terrorists would be among the refugees that enter the country. One percent of 100,000 is 1,000 terrorists. Applying the same formula to the estimated 1,000,000 refugees that Europe may accept yields 10,000 potential terrorists. Again, these are only conservative estimates. It took only 19 Islamic terrorists to inflict such wide scale damage to the U.S. on 9/11.

For some reason, the focus has been more on the United States, Europe and even Israel to take in the refugees. But what about other Islamic countries? True, Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon have, but are these the only Muslim countries? Why is there no pressure on Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, the UAE, Iran, Pakistan, Egypt, Indonesia...? There are approximately 1.5-1.8 billion Muslims in the world who have more than enough of their own countries and ample room. Are we to believe that they are not capable of absorbing their brethren? As is the case with the Palestinians, who fled from Israel of their own volition, the Islamic nations sit idly by. It is just a matter of time before they show their lack of appreciation and their "concern" for the treatment and living conditions of their dear brothers and sisters who have the great misfortune of being welcomed by Western countries. In the past, Jews have fled from, not to, Muslim countries. There is nothing to suggest that that would change in the future. In fact, Jews are even being driven out of non-Muslim countries because of Muslims. It is an affront to Israel to even suggest that it has a moral obligation to accept the refugees. The political correctness must stop. Israel is the one and only Jewish country and it has to stay a Jewish country. For those who do not like it, too bad.

It is not just refugees from Islamic countries, but also refugees from African countries, who cannot flee their homelands fast enough. And these are the countries that Obama is proud of. He condemns and insults the country that he governs and Israel, to which various refugees have fled  for years and to which today are most desired destinations, but glorifies the countries people cannot leave fast enough.

I saw other emotional images once again this year as I watched the 9/11 coverage. They were the pictures and footage of our heroes in the FDNY and NYPD, and other first responders. How many of those among us would have been capable of going into the Towers as they were engulfed in flames and billowed smoke, while terrified civilians instinctually tried to find safety? How many of us would have stayed in the immediate vicinity directing and instructing horrified, innocent people? It was not only the courageous of the FDNY that suffered losses that day; many police officers were killed as well. At least we felt some relief and pride in those tough days that followed when law enforcement and firefighters from around the country marched into downtown New York to lend a helping hand. How quickly one can go from hero to villain though in a country with amnesia. We have gone from wearing FDNY and NYPD caps to burning and stomping on American flags in an effort to vilify all law enforcement personnel and even white America because of a few isolated incidents involving law enforcement and blacks, regardless of who was at fault.

Next year will mark the 15th anniversary of 9/11. There promises to be much fanfare, news coverage and attention to mark9/11/16. Much of the country will unite and rally together for a single day, as it seems to do on each anniversary of 9/11. It is fairly easy to predict that the country will then suffer from amnesia again and return to its state of schism. But Americans would be wise to carry that day and the feelings of American pride and patriotism forward to help prevent future 9/11s and worse.

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