The Other Election Issue

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This article is reprinted from City Journal.

While Americans contemplate “fights to the finish” and “tense battles” between Democratic and Republican candidates in Tuesday’s midterm elections, let’s be sure to remember the real wars being waged against America and its allies in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Yemen.

The latest news provides a searing reminder of the nature of our enemy. In Baghdad on Sunday, terrorists affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq—a militant group connected with al-Qaida in Mesopotamia—took nearly 100 hostages in a church filled for Sunday services. Iraqi security forces stormed the building to free them. Hussain Nahidh, a police officer on the scene at the Sayidat al-Nejat church, located in the heavily guarded Karada neighborhood, told the New York Times that the terrorists’ two suicide vests had been filled with ball bearings “to kill as many people as possible”—and they did. The latest figures from the Iraqi Interior Ministry show 58 dead and 75 wounded. “You can see human flesh everywhere,” said the deeply distraught officer. “Flesh was stuck to the top roof of the hall. Many people went to the hospitals without legs and hands.”

Earlier in the day in neighboring Turkey, a suicide bomber killed himself and wounded 32 people as he boarded a bus in the busiest square in the heart of Istanbul, Turkey’s commercial capital. No one immediately claimed credit for the attack, which occurred on the last day of a unilateral, two-month ceasefire declared by the Kurdish Workers Party, known as the PKK, a rebel group that has been battling the Ankara-based government since the early 1980s. While the PKK has previously conducted suicide attacks, there is no shortage of militant groups, Islamic and secular alike, that might have carried out the attack, even in Islamist-leaning Turkey.

Then consider the latest developments in the foiled, or failed, package-bombing plots attempted by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP. The result of a merger in 2009 of the main al-Qaida branches in Saudi Arabia and Yemen—among the wealthiest and poorest Arab countries respectively—AQAP is now heavily influenced by Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who is reportedly responsible for its newfound deadly creativity.

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  • jim


    "It's the economy, stupid!" So said Bill Clinton back in the '90's, and the far left continues to use "the economy" as the scapegoat for all the ills caused by their own agenda. Just yesterday the liberal Juan Williams on Fox News claimed that voter anger was caused by "the economy" in his pathetic and transparent attempt to deflect criticism of Obamacare, big government, high taxes, the socialist ideology of the Democrats, and the War on Terror.

    "The economy" – not only an attempt to deflect criticism of the socialist agenda of the far left – but now being used by Muslims and their dhimmis to deflect criticism of Islam.

  • mxew of seoul

    judith, may i correct the error of your thought. it is not a perverted form of islam, it is islam. as erdogan, pm of turkey said, there is no moderate islam, there is no extremist islam, there is only islam and any form of jihad against free people (infidels) is lawful under shariah law. that particular statement makes you a dhimmi, one who always apologies to the islamic master to avoid punishment, such as rape, murder of family members, enslavement or other evil. erdogan also said that the mosque is our helmet, the minarets our swords and the faithful our soldiers. obama tends to agree with them, he wrote that if the political winds blow against him, he'll bend to islam. a good article, but a bit more study of political islam and its totalitarian theological intolerance of free people and its absolute intent to destroy all who object to its barbaric, brutal, cruel ninth century construct that wants to smite with a moral, intellectual and spiritual blight all who lie under its iron yoke and groan beneath its pitiless sway.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    While the PKK has previously conducted suicide attacks, there is no shortage of militant groups, Islamic and secular alike, that might have carried out the attack, even in Islamist-leaning Turkey.

    Only someone as dumb as Judith Miller could compose a sentence as stupid as that one! Damn… must be getting pretty desperate, having to resort to publishing the writings of that mentally incompetent loon.

  • Alexander Gofen

    Mxew of Seoul is absolutely correct. It is not "in the name of a perverted interpretation of their faith": it is exactly in accordance with the faith called Islam. Particularly Islam empowered with trillions of petro-dollars and taking full advantage of the demise of the West!

    Defeating the enemy will require a whole lot of things! We are nowhere near where we ought to be.