Category Archives: Ground Zero
January 30, 2012
My passion for protecting and preserving freedom is a gift that comes to me from my grandfather, an immigrant who brought my father to this country and whose well-weathered hands mined coal in Southwestern Pennsylvania until he was 72. He left the totalitarian regime of Mussolini’s Italy to bring his family to freedom.
He worked hard and committed himself to creating a better life for his children and grandchildren. He taught me how to treasure the gift of freedom, to have faith in God’s grace, to achieve what American liberty offers to those who work hard and to love and support a family. The Pennsylvania town my grandfather called home is just a few miles down the road from the field where Flight 93 crashed on that beautiful, blue-sky September day; a day when radical jihadists declared war on America, in America, on our own soil. The passengers and crew bravely stood up for freedom.
Some wonder why conservatives like me have such a problem with the oppressive Castro regime of the relatively tiny Island nation of Cuba. We do because we believe in freedom and don’t like the stink of oppression next door. We believe in the God-given dignity of all human beings, and we believe, like the American founders, that religious freedom and freedom of conscience is the foundational freedom for civil and political freedom and rights. Dictatorships like the former Soviet Union and Cuba believed and continue to believe this as well. This is why they seek and sought to oppress the Church and others who believe in the inalienable rights of life and liberty.
It is no surprise that the same Cuban regime that locked hands with the Soviet Union is aligned today with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Though Iran is not secular, the Iranian Mullahcracy opposes freedom, including religious freedom. They are not radical secularists but radical Islamists and the result is the same: They oppose liberty. Tehran has already demonstrated its desire to thwart freedom with whatever tools at its disposal. The U.S. must halt them in their march toward a nuclear weapon before it’s too late.
Some wonder if I can get along with the Muslim world. I understand that there are 1.3 billion Muslims in the world and that many of our allies are majority-Muslim countries. I want to work with those nations and challenge them where and when they are wrong. I also understand, unlike President Barack Obama, that radical Islamists are not going away in 2012, and that we still need to be capable of walking and chewing gum at the same time in our foreign policy. We need to defend America and her interests and values while also engaging with “Three Cups of Tea” (or as many as are necessary) around the world. Conservatives, along with most Americans, desire peace, but we know that freedom is worth defending. Standing with strength and core principles separates the pursuit of peace from appeasement.
President Obama went to Cairo early in his presidency not to stand for our values and interests, but, as his subsequent actions have shown, to just drink tea. In his speech, he sought a “new beginning” for the United States and the world’s Muslims. But he also gave his first interview as president to Al Arabiya television, apologized for America’s past behavior, bowed before Saudi royalty, sided with the Palestinians against our ally Israel, did next to nothing in his first two years to forestall Iran’s development of nuclear arms and released a National Defense Strategy which ignores the connection between radical Islam and terrorism.
I want to work with those in the Muslim world. But unlike President Obama, I will not bow before dictators, fanatics and thugs. I will not ignore the relationship between radical Islam and terrorism. I will not give in to those who oppose freedom. To do so would threaten the safety and security of the American people and turn a blind eye on those who are oppressed and struggling for freedom in other parts of the world.
And what has changed in Egypt since the president’s speech? Yes, an initial new birth of freedom, but the result has thus far been an Islamist parliament in Egypt, turning an Arab Spring into winter. Coptic Christians and other minorities are dealing with the consequences, and there is growing uncertainty and risk for neighboring Israel. This is democracy rushed and reduced to voting alone – rather than one built into the DNA of democracy with properly understood and meaningful protections for political and religious minorities. We abandoned an imperfect but longtime American ally without a better plan B.
This confusion and these outcomes impact our own security, our other allies and the nations now struggling to define the meaning of freedom in the Arab Winter and around the world. This is not what the President of the United States says or does to those who oppose fundamental freedoms like radical Islamists in Egypt or elsewhere.
Much like Ronald Reagan called out for freedom in the symbolic heart of communism, I will call upon the Muslim world to tear down the walls of oppression that oppose freedom of conscience and religion, equality of women, the security of Israel and support violence and Jihadism, which inverts the concept of martyrdom from one who dies for his or her faith to one who kills for his or her faith. I will not coddle those who want to kill and destroy. I will seek peace with those who treasure freedom for all.
Christianity struggled with these issues of freedom of conscience and violence largely hundreds of years ago; Islam is struggling with them now. We will stand with the true advocates of freedom who define freedom not just by a ballot box, but also by meaningful protections for minorities. This is the message of freedom that should be proclaimed and practiced from Cairo to Tehran. This is consistent with universal human dignity, our values and our national security interests.
Informed Americans are opposed to those who want to kill and destroy, not to those who want to make peace and treasure freedom for all. I supported America’s security and freeing Muslims and others from oppression in Iraq and Afghanistan. I stood for the Green Movement in Iran when President Obama sat down. I support freedom of religion – for Muslims and other religious minorities – but believe they should provide the same.
I also understand that at this time in history many of the most influential voices in the Muslim world come from intolerant and destructive strains of Sunni and Shia leadership and theology in places such as Saudi Arabia and Iran. Days before the election in 2006, I was still challenging America to stand against radical Islam and Iran at the height of unpopularity of the Iraq war not because of polling but because I felt it was the primary threat facing America. It’s no accident that the vast majority of the 9/11 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia, and that the Iranian regime exports anti-American and anti-Israeli terrorism around the world while pursuing nuclear weapons capacity. Radical Islamists oppose us not because of our policies, but because of our freedom.
As President of the United States, I will stand for America’s interests around the world as well as universal and American values rooted in the God-given dignity of every human being. I understand with the clarity that we saw from Ronald Reagan that these are walls that need to be torn down, not remodeled or repainted. America should unabashedly stand for freedom – this includes freedom of religion and conscience, here in the United States and around the world.
We need to stand with the real freedom fighters. We need to stand with those human rights defenders wrongfully in prison in Cuba, Iran, China and around the world. Just as we did for those who stood up to communism, including Polish activist Lech Walesa and the late Pope John Paul II, who warned of the “death of true freedom” and observed that “freedom itself needs to be set free.” Both have inspired me through my time with them and through their examples.
When Lech Walesa visited our nation a couple of years ago he offered this observation:
The United States is the only superpower. Today they lead the world. Nobody has doubts about it. Militarily. They also lead economically but they’re getting weak. But they don’t lead morally and politically anymore. The world has no leadership. The United States was always the last resort and hope for all other nations. There was the hope, whenever something was going wrong, one could count on the United States. Today, we have lost that hope…
It is time that America stop leading from behind and stand for freedom once again. Pretending that this battle isn’t raging will not protect our families and our interests, nor will it strengthen our allies; it will only diminish our nation, increase our risk and grow our security challenge.
In his farewell address to the nation, President Reagan reminded us of this when he told the story of the USS Midway that was patrolling the South China Sea in the early 1980s. A sailor on the Midway saw a tiny boat, filled with refugees from Indochina, and a rescue launch was sent to them. As the Americans came into view, one of the refugees smiled, stood up and shouted out: “Hello American Sailor. Hello Freedom Man!”
That is who we are: Freedom Men. And Women. And Children. Let us not forget that privilege nor neglect that legacy. Stand for freedom.
- Candidate Rick Santorum: An American Who Gets It and Declares Radical Islam A Threat! (americandefenseleague.wordpress.com)
- Rick Santorum makes hard-line pitch, wins backing of Miami’s Latin Builders (miamiherald.typepad.com)
Via USGS. Please visit their website for the most recent information. After more than 200 aftershocks, information like this comes and goes quick.
The death toll from Friday’s devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit northeastern and eastern Japan will likely surpass 10,000 in Miyagi Prefecture, the prefecture’s police chief said Sunday as Japan grapples with widespread damage and a crisis at one of two affected nuclear plants.
The number of people who have died or remained unaccounted for exceeds 3,200, according to figures confirmed by police.
Some 80,000 people joined more than 450,000 other evacuees from quake- and tsunami-affected regions by moving out of a 20-kilometer radius from the plant a day after one of its reactors partially melted Saturday.
- Japan Update (classicmmorpg.wordpress.com)
- The Latest News From Japan (kaystreet.wordpress.com)
- “Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Death Toll Likely to Surpass 10,000″ and related posts (clevelandleader.com)
- Over 2,000 Bodies found in Miyagi Prefecture After Japan Tsunami (nowpublic.com)
- Death toll may surpass 10,000 in Miyagi (mccannexposure.wordpress.com)
Governor Palin wrote an op-ed on USA Today, and is really using her claws and calling the Obama administration to use United States’ super-power status (that is, if Obama has the balls to do it) and go after Russia and Iran. Governor Sarah Palin is using the same common-sense that I share: Iran is a threat, therefore it must be taken care of; but keep in mind that there are Iranians that want democracy and freedom, and that women in Iran deserve their freedoms too.
There are ways to deal with both issues and still come out on top; but in my honest opinion, the UAE should advocate a very similar position, if they want a similar result that Palin portrays.
Below is her op-ed, in which the All-American values and strong sense of freedom should be a priority, not only for Iran, but for us as well.
Iran continues to defy the international community in its drive to acquire nuclear weapons. Arab leaders in the region rightly fear a nuclear-armed Iran. We suspected this before, but now we know for sure because of leaked diplomatic cables. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia “frequently exhorted the U.S. to attack Iran to put an end to its nuclear weapons program,” according to these communications. Officials from Jordan said the Iranian nuclear program should be stopped by any means necessary. Officials from the United Arab Emirates and Egypt saw Iran as evil, an “existential threat” and a sponsor of terrorism. If Iran isn’t stopped from obtaining nuclear weapons, it could trigger a regional nuclear arms race in which these countries would seek their own nuclear weapons to protect themselves.
That wouldn’t be the only catastrophic consequence for American interests in the Middle East. Our credibility and reputation would suffer a serious blow if Iran succeeds in producing its own nuclear weapons after we’ve been claiming for years that such an event could not and would not be tolerated. A nuclear-armed and violently anti-American Iran would be an enormous threat to us and to our allies. Israel in particular would face the gravest threat to its existence since its creation. Iran’s leaders have repeatedly called for Israel’s destruction, and Iran already possesses missiles that can reach Israel. Once these missiles are armed with nuclear warheads, nothing could stop the mullahs from launching a second Holocaust. It’s only a matter of time before Iran develops missiles that could reach U.S. territory.
Even without nuclear weapons, Iran has provided arms used to kill American soldiers and Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan. Iran is also the biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world. It has shielded al-Qaeda leaders, including one of Osama bin Laden’s sons. Imagine how much worse it would be for us if this regime acquired nuclear weapons.
President Obama once said a nuclear-armed Iran would be “unacceptable.” Yet, Iran’s nuclear progress still continues unchecked. Russia continues to support Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactors. It also continues to sell arms to Iran — despite the Obama administration’s much-touted “reset” policy with Russia. The administration trumpets the United Nations sanctions passed earlier this year, but those sanctions are not the “crippling” ones we were promised. Much more can be done, such as banning insurance for shipments to Iran, banning all military sales to Iran, ending all trade credits, banning all financial dealings with Iranian banks, limiting Iran’s access to international capital markets and banking services, closing air space and waters to Iran’s national air and shipping lines, and, especially, ending Iran’s ability to import refined petroleum. These would be truly “crippling” sanctions. They would work if implemented.
Some have said the Israelis should undertake military action on their own if they are convinced the Iranian program is approaching the point of no return. But Iran’s nuclear weapons program is not just Israel’s problem; it is the world’s problem. I agree with the former British prime minister Tony Blair, who said recently that the West must be willing to use force “if necessary” if that is the only alternative.
Standing with the people
But we also need to encourage a positive vision for Iran. Iran is not condemned to live under the totalitarian inheritance of the Ayatollah Khomeini forever. There is an alternative — an Iran where human rights are respected, where women are not subjugated, where terrorist groups are not supported and neighbors are not threatened. A peaceful, democratic Iran should be everyone’s goal. There are many hopeful signs inside Iran that reveal the Iranian people’s desire for this peaceful, democratic future. We must encourage their voices.
When the brave people of Iran take to the streets in defiance of their unelected dictatorship, they must know that we in the free world stand with them. When the women of Iran rise up to demand their rights, they must know that we women of the free world who enjoy the rights won for us by our suffragist foremothers stand with our sisters there. When Iranians demand freedom of religion, freedom of conscience and freedom to simply live their lives as they choose without persecution, we in the free world must stand with them.
We can start by supporting them with diplomacy and things such as radio broadcasting, just as we did with those who suffered under the former Soviet Empire. Most of all, we should support them with confidence in the rightness of the ideals of liberty and justice.
Just as Ronald Reagan once denounced an “evil empire” and looked forward to a time when communism was left on the “ash heap of history,” we should look forward to a future where the twisted ideology and aggressive will to dominate of Khomeini and his successors are consigned to history’s dustbin.
It’s all over Twitter, huge on Twitscoop. Obama has done it again. He’s backing up the “mosque” near Ground Zero.
Via Big Government:
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama on Friday forcefully endorsed building a mosque near ground zero, saying the country’s founding principles demanded no less.
“As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country,” Obama said, weighing in for the first time on a controversy that has riven New York and the nation.
“That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances,” he said. “This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable.”
Obama made the comments at an annual dinner in the White House State Dining Room celebrating the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
Mediaite posted the video where Obama made these remarks: