Thursday, December 13, 2012

Daniel Greenfield article: The Darkness and the Light

Daniel Greenfield article: The Darkness and the Light

Link to Sultan Knish

Posted: 12 Dec 2012 09:02 PM PST
A candle is a brief flare of light. A wick dipped in oil burns and then goes out again. The light of Chanukah appears to follow the same narrative. Briefly there is light and warmth and then darkness again.
Out of the exile of Babylon, the handful that returned to resettle and rebuild the land faced the might of new empires. The Jews who returned from the exile of one evil empire some twenty-six hundred years ago were forced to decide whether they would be a people with their own faith and history, or the colony of another empire, with its history and beliefs.

Jerusalem's wealthy elites threw in their lot with the empire and its ways. But out in the rural heartland where the old ways where still kept, a spark flared to life. Modi'in. Maccabee. And so war came between the handfuls of Jewish Maccabee partisans and the armies of Antiochus IV’s Selecuid empire. A war that had its echoes in the past and would have it again in the future as lightly armed and untrained armies of Jewish soldiers would go on to fight in those same hills and valleys against the Romans and eventually the armies of six Arab nations.

The Syrian Greek armies were among the best of their day. The Maccabees were living in the backwaters of Israel, a nation that had not been independently ruled since the armies of Babylon had flooded across the land, destroying everything in their path.

In the wilderness of Judea a band of brothers vowed that they would bow to no man and let no foreigners rule over their land. Apollonius brought his Samaritan forces against the brothers, and Judah, first among the Macabees, killed him, took his sword and wore it for his own.

Seron, General of the army of Coele-Syria, brought together his soldiers, along with renegade Jewish mercenaries, and was broken at Beit Haran. The Governor of Syria who dispatched two generals, Nicanor, and Gorgias, with forty thousand soldiers and seven thousand horsemen to conquer Judea, destroy Jerusalem and abolish the whole Jewish nation forever. So certain were they of victory that they brought with them merchant caravans to fill with the Hebrew slaves of a destroyed nation.

Judah walked among his brothers and fellow rebels and spoke to them of the thing for which they fought; “O my fellow soldiers, no other time remains more opportune than the present for courage and contempt of dangers; for if you now fight manfully, you may recover your liberty, which, as it is a thing of itself agreeable to all men, so it proves to be to us much more desirable, by its affording us the liberty of worshiping God.

"Since therefore you are in such circumstances at present, you must either recover that liberty, and so regain a happy and blessed way of living, which is that according to our laws, and the customs of our country, or to submit to the most opprobrious sufferings; nor will any seed of your nation remain if you be beat in this battle. Fight therefore manfully; and suppose that you must die, though you do not fight; but believe, that besides such glorious rewards as those of the liberty of your country, of your laws, of your religion, you shall then obtain everlasting glory.

"Prepare yourselves, therefore, and put yourselves into such an agreeable posture, that you may be ready to fight with the enemy as soon as it is day tomorrow morning."

Though the Macabees were but three thousand, starving and dressed in bare rags, the God for whom they fought and their native wits and courage, gave them victory over thousands and tens of thousands. Worn from battle, the Macabees did not flee back into their Judean wilderness, instead they went on to Jerusalem and its Temple, to reclaim their land and their God, only to find the Temple and the capital in ruins.
The Macabees had fought courageously for the freedom to worship God once again as their fathers had, but courage alone could not make the Menorah burn and thus renew the Temple service again. Yet it had not been mere berserker’s courage that had brought them this far. Like their ancestors before them who had leaped into furnaces and the raging sea, they had dared the impossible on faith. Faith in a God who watched over his nation and intervened in the affairs of men. And so on faith they poured the oil of that single flask in the Menorah, oil that could only last for a single day. And then having done all they could, the priests and sons of priests who had fought through entire armies to reach this place, accepted that they had done all they could and left the remainder in the hands of the Almighty.

If they had won by the strength of their hands alone, then the lamps would burn for a day and then flicker out. But if it had been more than mere force of arms that had brought them here, if it had been more than mere happenstance that a small band of ragged and starving rebels had shattered the armies of an empire, then the flames of the Menorah would burn on.

The sun rose and set again. The day came to its end and the men watched the lights of the Menorah to see if they would burn or die out. And if the flame in their hearts could have kindled the lamps, they would have burst into bright flame then and there. Darkness fell that night and still the lamps burned on. For eight days and nights the Menorah burned on that single lonely pure flask of oil, until more could be found, and the men who for a time had been soldiers and had once again become priests, saw that while it may be men who kindle lamps and hearts, it is the Almighty who provides them with the fuel of the spirit through which they burn.

120 years after the Maccabees drove out the foreign invaders and their collaborators, another foreign invader, Herod, the son of a Roman Idumean governor, was placed on the throne by the Roman Empire, disposing of the last of the Maccabean kings and ending the brief revival of the Jewish kingdom.

The revived kingdom had been a plaything in the game of empires. Exiled by Babylon, restored by Persia, conquered by the Greeks, ground under the heel of the remnants of Alexander's empire, briefly liberated by the Parthians, tricked into servitude and destroyed by Rome. The victory of the Maccabean brothers in reclaiming Jerusalem was a brief flare of light in the dark centuries and even that light was shadowed by the growing darkness.

The fall of the Roman Republic and the civil wars of the new empire, its uncontrollable spending and greed made it hopelessly corrupt. Caesar repaid Jewish loyalty by rewarding the Idumean murderers of Jewish kings, and his successors saw the Jewish state as a way to bring in some quick money. Out went the Jewish kings, in came the son of Rome's tax collector, Herod.

The promises made by Senate to the Maccabees ceased to matter. Imperial greed collided with Jewish nationalism in a war that for a brief shining moment seemed as if it might end in another Chanukah, but ended instead in massacre and atrocity. The exiles went forth once again, some on foot and some in slave ships. Jerusalem was renamed and resettled. The long night had begun.

But no darkness lasts forever.

Two thousand years after the Jews had come to believe that wars were for other people and miracles meant escaping alive, Jewish armies stood and held the line against an empire and the would be empires of the region.
And now the flame still burns, though it is flickering. Sixty-four years is a long time for oil to burn, especially when the black oil next door seems so much more useful to the empires and republics across the sea. And the children of many of those who first lit the flame no longer see the point in that hoary old light.

But that old light is still the light of possibilities. It burns to remind us of the extraordinary things that our ancestors did and of the extraordinary assistance that they received. We cannot always expect oil to burn for eight days, just as we cannot always expect the bullet to miss or the rocket to fall short. And yet even in those moments of darkness the reminder of the flame is with us for no darkness lasts forever and no exile, whether of the body of the spirit, endures. Sooner or later the spark flares to life again and the oil burns again. Sooner or later the light returns.

It is the miracle that we commemorate because it is a reminder of possibilities. Each time we light a candle or dip a wick in oil, we release a flare of light from the darkness comes to remind us of what was, is and can still be.
Daniel Greenfield is a New York City based writer and blogger and a Shillman Journalism Fellow of the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
Posted: 12 Dec 2012 06:53 AM PST
In time for Christmas, the National Intelligence Council is predicting that Islamic Terrorism will end by 2030. And that seems reasonable. What room will there be for headchopping barbarians in the enlightened world of tomorrow where food comes in pill form, flying cars take you around the country in a minute and everyone follows international law.
By 2034, the last murder will have taken place and by 2042, a scientific cure will be found for crime. By 2051, even bad thoughts will have been eliminated, and by 2062, work as we know it will be abolished and everyone will mediate all day on the serious questions of life. "Why are we here? What is our purpose in life? How can there be a National Intelligence Council so devoid of intelligence?"

In the real world, by 2030, there will be thousands of emirates, many no more than small terrorist groups, but some of which control sizable territories. Mali is a reminder that a dedicated Islamist militia backed by oil money can create its own Afghanistan anywhere it likes. And once it has its emirate, then like any good bunch of robber barons, the Islamist militia will take a cut of the drug trade, kidnap the sons of the wealthy for ransom and shake down the international community for foreign aid.

Western countries are already paying their Jizya as foreign aid, trading cash for the promise of stability. The United States and its allies have paid out fortunes to Afghan and Iraqi militias during the past two wars. And that doesn't even begin to take into account the sheer amount of money spent on development in the Muslim world. It is likely that the United States has spent more on Jizya, the traditional protection money payment of the Dhimmi to the Muslim, than every other nation had throughout all of history. And that's just the down payment on the big bill.

Back when the Marines first saw action against the Barbary pirates, most nations found it easier to pay the savages than fight the savages. There are countless such private deals that have been made already and there will be countless more made to allow Western countries, and their companies and NGOs to function in territory controlled by Islamist Emirates. And that territory will include international shipping lanes.

The world could end Islamic terrorism by 2030, or at least depress its stock by quite a bit, but that would require doing something about the supply of terror preachers, oil money and spare males, and we have no interest in doing that. Instead the new program is to invest in Political Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood while maintaining selective peacekeeping operations against some of the more odious Islamic Emirates.

By 2030 there will be a hundred miniature Afghanistans, especially across Africa, while international peacekeeping forces composed of a combination of local militaries and NATO troops try to push out the local bands of Salafi holy warriors, and their pirate camps, brothels and drug labs. There will be drones over the skies of a hundred deserts fighting Toyota pickup trucks with bands of hooded men firing machine guns. There will be wire transfers from a dozen Islamic finance institutions wending their way from the great oil economies of the Persian Gulf and American soldiers, most of whom will have more in common with the special forces operator than the infantryman, who have never seen a conventional war fought in their lifetime, heading in on another rescue mission in the territory of a Terror Emirate.

Imagine the conflicts of the Cold War if instead of a single snakehead in Moscow, there had been a million Communist millionaires across the world, and if the Viet Cong were coming out of Oakland. Imagine the Drug War if the drug lords weren't just savages, but savages fighting for a world government that would turn us into their serfs. Imagine World War II if the Nazis were a religion that anyone could convert to and immediately become a member of the master race with the right to rob, rape and kill anyone from the inferior breeds.

But you don't have to wait for 2030 to see that world. It's already here.

By 2030, Europe will have an even bigger gap between the rich and the poor. Terrorism will be fought with surveillance cameras, DNA banks, numberless informants, some of whom may be double agents, constant technological innovations, many of them imported from the otherwise verboten Jewish State, and federalized police forces that are hard to distinguish from a police state. The new police state will be able to access the entire contents of any computer or mobile device at a click. Even speech that is still permitted today will lead to prison sentences at worst or at best, mandatory reeducation at special centers organized to combat extremism.

The bombs will still keep going off, but they will be a nuisance. Europeans will learn to adapt to the occasional suicide bombing the way that Israelis have. A bomb will go off, the survivors will be carted away to be treated by nationalized medical staff from the same religion as the bombers, who will occasionally help the bombers finish the job, the broken glass will be swept away and the television channels and newspapers will praise the spirit of a people unwilling to give in to extremism and hatred, while prominently featuring the half-hearted condemnation of a local cleric.

The No-Go Zones will grow and slowly turn into emirates. The authorities will make deals with the local gangs, who will act as Islamist militias. There will be lashes and honor killings in the formal setting of Islamic law and no one will pay attention. Urban and suburban enclaves will eventually become indistinguishable from Gaza. By 2030 the first crude homemade rocket, made with plans offered on the internet, may rise into the Parisian sky aimed at the Eiffel Tower.

By 2030 there will be more Muslims in the United States than there are now in France. There will be at least one Congressman who was not only sworn in on the Koran but who announces that his program is to implement full Islamic law. There will be at least one Muslim cabinet member in every single administration, regardless of party. The Muslim liaison may even be promoted to full Czar in charge of Muslim relations.

Like Europe, the United States will operate a paranoid surveillance state that its critics decry, even while both the state and its critics support the Muslim immigration that makes such a surveillance state mandatory. And to remind everyone of that there will be occasional terrorist attacks, some thwarted, some not, including possibly one big one, when an Islamist terrorist group finally gets its hands on chemical or nuclear weapons from one of the Islamic states in Egypt, Pakistan, Syria or the country formerly known as Saudi Arabia.

The America of 2030 will operate on the contradictory paradigms of Muslim affirmative action and Muslim wars. It will spend nearly as much trying to buy off Muslims as it will spend on trying to kill their terrorists. Half its intellectual capital will be sunk into praising Islam while the other half will be spent trying to find more elegant ways to stop Muslim violence and kill Muslim terrorists. Homo Americanus circa 2030 will be a veteran of two dozen wars in the Muslim world and two-hundred Muslim affirmative action programs. By 2030 the best way to get a job in the lagging American economy will be to be a Muslim.

The Russia of 2030 will be a Eurasian Empire that will incorporate Islam on equal terms with the Russian Orthodox Church. Muslims will be encouraged to think of Eurasia as their Caliphate and it will enforce Islamic law, with its own religious police, which will answer to Moscow. The Eurasian Union will be a decaying lawless territory run by warlords who pay tribute to the head warlord in Moscow. Some of those warlords will be Christian and some Muslim. In the cities they will look like the mafia and in the rural territories they will be conventional feudal lords.

Some Eurasian Muslim warlords will provide training camps and money for Islamic terrorist groups on the condition that they don't attack them. Many of the Jihadists of 2030 will come out of these camps, going off to fight in Asia, Africa, the Middle East or Europe, and returning with trophies of war, slaves and tales of adventure that encourage other young men to follow in their footsteps.

Other countries, including possibly the United States, will set up similar terrorist training camps on their own territory for Islamist groups plotting to carve out their own Emirates in Russia. By 2030, there will be little Afghanistans everywhere, with Jihadis training in Arizona and North Dakota for attacks on Russia's Eurasian holdings, Jihadis training in Russia for attacks on America and Europe, and Jihadis training in China for an attack on everyone.

By 2030, most countries will have come to view Islamic terrorism as a strategic asset, the way that Saudi Arabia and most Muslim countries do. They will recognize that the only way to transform the strategic liability of Muslim terrorism into an asset is by funding it and aiming it at their enemies. This will not be an entirely new strategy, but it will be taking place on an entirely new scale, and there will be a dramatic expansion by Islamist militias, many of whom will gain valuable experience, training and weapons by serving as the barbarian armies of a decaying West that they will use to conquer the West, the way that the Goth ancestors of Westerners did.

The Western leaders of 2012, like their ancient Roman counterparts, have come to admire the virtues of the savage more than the virtues of their own civilization. By 2030 it will be clearer than ever whether the outcome of their bloody halfhearted campaigns to civilize the savages with doses of democracy and civic institutions will have led to civilized savages or the savaging of civilizations.

Is this world of 2030 inevitable? Not at all, but considering current trends and policies, it is a far more likely outcome than the end of Islamic terrorism.
In 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono put up billboards with the message, "War is Over! If you want it" to protest against the Vietnam War. That's the magical thinking policy that Washington DC runs on now and the National Intelligence Council, under the Director of National Intelligence, who deleted any mention of Al Qaeda from the Benghazi talking points, reflect that magical thinking.

Will Islamic Terrorism end by 2030? It can if we want it to. There are two sure ways to end a war; either by winning it or by losing it. The world's most famous cokehead and mental patient duo meant the latter when they offered their Viet Cong Christmas greeting, but winning wars is still an option. It just isn't the option that we've chosen. The hearts and minds way of war will take us to the 2030 that I have described. And that 2030 will take us to a 2060 and a 2090 where the war is over because we weren't willing to fight our enemies as ruthlessly as they were fighting to destroy us.

Islamic terrorism can be over by September 12, 2030 if we decide to fight it the way that most of us thought we would on September 12, 2001. We can give our children and grandchildren the gift of a world without Islamic Terrorism. Or we can give them the nightmare of another 18 years of Islamic terror.
Daniel Greenfield is a New York City based writer and blogger and a Shillman Journalism Fellow of the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

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