Tag Archives: terrorism

The Only Thing We Have to Fear … are Fear-Mongers

With all the sad news of terrorist attacks in Lebanon, France and Mali, the multi-faceted wars in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, and refugees fleeing Syria and other nations, I can’t help but think of the people living in the crossfire of war and terrorism.  I can’t help but cringe hearing or reading the words of politicians running for President; fear-mongering for personal and political gain (i.e. the Iowa and New Hampshire polls).

I am reminded of my mother’s side of the family, who came to the U.S. after World War II.  I would not be here otherwise, if my mother, siblings and parents had not come to America in 1946.  They came to the United States after living under Nazi occupation in northern Italy, and living under the Mussolini regime.

Using the logic of some politicians these days, my mother’s family would have been labeled as Nazi’s or Fascists, just because of where they came from, and who was in power at that time.

They were just working people of little means who lived in and survived the crossfire of war.  Their region was bombed by U.S. warplanes.  Nearby Lucca was hit hard, and churches were bombed.

They were sponsored by a relative who came to the U.S. in 1938 before the war.  They left behind many other relatives.  Today, our extended family is spread across two continents and four countries.

While there are many, many good and decent Italian families who came to United States, a few bad apple Mafia families were also let into our country as well.  I’m sure Donald Trump and Chris Christie are aware of them being in their region.  A fictional TV show was made about some of them (The Sopranos).

There are a few bad apples from every country.  We have a few here as well…  I am more afraid of Four-Pinnochio Politicians like Donald Trump than I am of innocent people fleeing the crossfire of war.

We should not fall into the trap of “fear-mongers”, who want to divide and conquer peoples for their own personal or political gain.

By the way, in addition to the Japanese internment camps in World War II, there was also internment of Italian Americans during WWII.  This is a lesser known fact about WWII.  I only recently learned this from the PBS documentary, “The Italian Americans”.  Coincidentally, that documentary aired the same week that Rudy Giuliani made his comments questioning President Obama’s patriotism.  Rudy Giuliani said:

“I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America,” Giuliani said during the dinner at the 21 Club, a former Prohibition-era speakeasy in midtown Manhattan. “He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”

I wonder if Rudy Giuliani was aware of how Italians were interned during WWII when he made those comments?

Today, Italy and America are again allies and NATO Partners.  Same thing goes for Germany.  Japan is also an ally and trading partner.  Vietnam is now a trading partner.

The world is a lot more complicated then the simple-minded sound bytes from a few fear-mongering politicians.

Our politicians keep telling us that “entitlement” programs like Social Security is going to go bust.  There are not enough people working today to cover the retirees.  Well, many Syrian people are educated (doctors and engineers), and many are entrepreneurs (merchants).

Let’s properly vet those refugees seeking to come to America, and “welcome” them after they pass successfully through the security screens.  Like other immigrants before, like those in my family, they can more safely raise their families, and help build a better country and economy here in America.

Advertisements

Congress Beats War Drum, Time to Play Another Tune

I was able to watch most of Ken Burn’s documentary on PBS about “The Roosevelts”.  All four of Teddy Roosevelt’s sons volunteered for WWI. His youngest son, Quentin died in the war. Also, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s four sons served overseas on WWII.

Since the mid-1960s, the percentage of veterans in Congress has fallen from the 60-70% range to less than 25%.  Today there are a few younger members of Congress who served in Iraq or Afghanistan.  But most in Congress beat the War Drums to send other people’s children to war.

As awful as the beheading of the two U.S. journalists by ISIS is, let’s not forget that there have been similar murders in Mexico by drug gangs in the past decade.  Beginning over 20 years ago, there have been a handful of beheading cases in Detroit, mostly drug gang related. The main difference is that these cases were discovered after the fact, and were not broadcast on Twitter.  They occurred in North America, and not “over there” in the Middle East.

While “something” should be done regarding ISIS, war alone is not the answer. The more the world’s nations can work together, and make ISIS into a pariah, that is despised by most other Muslims in the world, only then things might improve. While the 2003 War in Iraq certainly was not helpful to this situation, it is not solely the problem or fault of the U.S.

Remember, 18 of 19 terrorists on 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia. Yet Bush/Cheney, friends of the Saudis, instead invaded Iraq.

The best that the Saudis can do, apparently so far, is provide training space for “moderate” rebels of Syria. Well, we can probably count the number of “moderates” in Congress on two hands.  So what makes us think we can actually find sufficient numbers of rebels from Syria, whom we could actually trust?

Saudi Arabia has the world’s 4th largest military. Why aren’t they offering to fly over “The Lavant” and attack ISIS?  Is it because they are both Sunni? Saudi Arabia, a very wealthy oil state, should at least pony up for the jet fuel for the war planes of the U.S. and other nations.

Unless Middle Eastern nations put forth significant effort towards diplomatic, humanitarian and military assistance, then we have no business getting embroiled in another “murky” situation in Iraq and Syria.  If neighboring countries in that region don’t offer sufficient help, then we should tighten our security, and begin to address the many domestic issues that already threaten us at home.

Premature Death: Memories and Loopholes

On the morning of September 11th, 2001 (9/11), I remember where I was when I heard that a plane hit the World Trade Center.  I was driving along Route 103, commuting to work.  By the time I reached Chester, I heard another radio report, a second plane hit the towers.  I’ll bet many of you remember the details of that day, especially the thoughts and feelings you had when you learned of the second plane crash.

For a period of time, Americans came together and mourned for our 3000-plus citizens whose lives were taken prematurely.  Most Americans, at least initially, supported the War in Afghanistan.  But when it came to dealing with terrorism by invading Iraq in 2003, the American public became divided, yet again.

I remember where I was when I read about the young innocent children who lost their lives in Newtown, CT on December 14th, 2012 (12/14).  I didn’t find out until my lunch hour.  I had just logged out of my email, and then saw the headline.  “Oh God, not another shooting!”.

Again, the nation came together to mourn.  But when it comes to figuring out how to prevent, or at least minimize the amount of premature death that occurs in our country, we as a people find ourselves divided again.  If we are not pitted against a foreign enemy, we seem to turn in on our fellow citizens, our neighbors.

Speaking of premature death, many Americans (including myself) attended Good Friday service and remembered the story of Jesus’ Passion.  Twelve Fourteen was a “Bad Friday” for the families and citizens of Newtown, CT, and all Americans.  For Christians, on Easter we celebrate Christ’s Resurrection, overcoming death and (our) sin.  But can America as a nation turn the Newtown tragedy, and other gun deaths, into something positive?

This week is the 45th anniversary of the premature death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis, TN by an assassin’s bullet, on April 4th 1968.  Within seven days after Dr. King’s assassination, the U.S. Congress and President Lyndon B. Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1968, which provided for equal housing opportunities regardless of race, creed, or national origin.

Since Twelve Fourteen, it has been 111 days.  Other than speeches, press conferences, hearings, devisive partisan debates and reader comment forums, things are pretty much the status quo, except for in states like Colorado and Connecticut.

Continue reading