The day we can’t and won’t forget is September 11, 2001. The news of the first plane crash, watching on TV as the second plane took dead aim and hit the World Trade Center, going down into the street from our near by office to look at a small strip of fire way up in the tower, then watching the towers come down. Finally, walking through the dust & debris back uptown. A man in an adjacent office had a breakfast meeting at the World Center that morning. He did not come back to his wife, child, and his co-workers. The removal of the Taleban and the execution of Osama Bin Laden has lessened our burns to some extent.
Seven years later, we were in Mumbai during the attack by terrorist commandoes in November 2008. The next day we walked through South Mumbai and saw a ghost town. A family member died a hero’s death fighting the terrorists. Attending the last rites with hundreds of police officers made us simultaneously proud, sad and extremely angry. These wounds are still raw, very raw. Because the people who masterminded that horror are walking in freedom and gloating.
This week, we saw the horror in Paris. From our personal experiences of NYC & Mumbai, we absolutely know how the people in Paris feel and our hearts go out to them. This is simply the time for all people to feel their sorrow and share it as human beings. Fortunately for them, the scale and death count of the attack in Paris was much smaller than that of the NYC, Mumbai attacks.
Perhaps because the Paris attack wasn’t directly supported by a regime. The horrific attacks on NYC & Mumbai came from the same source, the land of the same regime that has systematically used terrorism against civilians as a tactic of heinous religious warfare. It is a regime that has been hailed as an ally of America while it systematically nurtured and supported vicious killers who fought and killed American troops. This model is now going global, simply because it works and because it has been allowed to work.
This week, one man had enough. Bill O’Reilly, the most successful TV commentator of the past ten years, stood up this week and asked for an embargo against the regime that has been the epicenter of terror – the regime that goes by the utterly heinous name of Land of the Spiritually Pure or Pak-i-Stan. Everybody understands that once a regime labels itself as spiritually pure, it must cleanse out, meaning kill, all spiritually impure people it can. This is why we cannot and will not use the word “pak” or “spiritually/heavenly pure” for that regime or for any regime.
We are glad that Bill O’Reilly stood up this week. We hope others in America join him. But he himself needs to go further. Horrible regimes behave with impunity when they feel they are invulnerable. And the Islamabad regime is vulnerable because they have nuclear weapons and because they know America is fine with them being a nuclear weapons state. That nuclear weapons arsenal is the treasure that is sought by every Islamic terrorist group in the world, most ardently by the Taleban whom that regime nurtures. Everybody in the world is intensely worried about that possibility but no one will do anything about it.
The unfortunate reality is that Bill O’Reilly could not even convince his colleague Geraldo Rivera about the need to punish that “spiritually pure” regime. Why did Rivera oppose O’Reilly’s plan for an economic embargo? Because he said that regime does not pose a threat to America. See how memories of 9/11 get dulled even in Manhattan.
The real answer is simple – America, Russia, China, and India need to get together to de-nuclearize the Islamabad regime under the mandate of the UN Security Council. Each of these countries has suffered in varying degree from Islamic terror emanating from that regime. So this eminently doable. Iran would support it and it would minimize the drive within Iran to build their own nuclear weapon. Cancer needs to be eradicated at the source and not via band-aid on the periphery.
Otherwise the collective we will wake up one day and find a terrorist attack on a major city that makes 9/11 look like a child’s play.
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