I find it interesting when German friends lambaste me as a fear monger for having the audacity to point out that their wonderful nation - an exemplar of excellence in areas ranging from philosophy to music to manufacturing - has a radical Islamic terror problem on its hands. Because the Munich shopping mall terrorist is said to not be directly inspired by ISIS or its ilk is the exception that proves the rule. Gruesome Islamic terror attacks in Nice, Brussels, and Paris, and increasingly now in Germany, show that radical Islamic terrorists are tightening their noose around the Bundesrepublik Deutschland, which has taken in over one million migrants from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan in the last year alone.
On March 2, 2011, Arid Uka, a Muslim Albanian born in Kosovo, shot dead two U.S. airmen with a handgun at Frankfurt Airport.
As you remember, the U.S. led a reluctant European coalition to protect Albanian Muslims living in Kosovo from genocide during the Kosovo War of 1998-1999. We are still waiting for the thank you note.
On September 18, 2015, Rafik Mohamad Yousef - linked to al-Qaeda by German police - stabbed a German policewoman in the neck in West Berlin.
On May 10, 2016, a knife-wielding man shouting "Allahu Akbar" killed a passenger and injured several others during a train station attack in the Bavarian town of Grafing near Munich. As is often the case in Germany, the killer was deemed "mentally ill" because he had no documented connections to radical Islamic terror groups.
On July 18, 2016, a teenage Afghan refugee hacked German train passengers with an axe while shouting "Allahu Akbar" ("God is Great!"). Police later found a handmade ISIS flag in his room. He came to Germany as an unaccompanied minor in 2014.
On July 22, 2016, Ali Sonboly, an 18-year-old of ostensible German-Iranian descent, who was obsessed by mass shootings, killed nine people, including himself, and injured several others at a Munich shopping mall. The murderer was described as "mentally ill" because he had seen a psychiatrist, taken psychiatric meds, and had no apparent connections to radical Islamic groups like ISIS, even though, according to eyewitnesses, he shouted "Allahu Akbar" during the attacks.
On July 24, 2016, a still unnamed 27-year-old Syrian refugee exploded a bomb outside a music festival in the city of Ansbach, injuring 15 people and killing the suicide bomber. A mobile video pledging allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghadi was found among his effects. German open-border apologists and radical Islamic appease-niks should be (but won't be) taken aback by the bomber's stated motive that this was "an act of revenge against Germans because they obstruct Islam."
Beyond these attacks, there have been several planned attacks on New Year's Eve celebrations and at soccer matches that were thwarted before they occurred, including a match between Germany and Holland in Hanover in which German Chancellor Angela Merkel - she of open borders and open hearts - was expected to attend.
I point out these Islamic-inspired attacks to give lie to the oft-repeated nostrum that all Islamic refugees inside Germany are "already victims" and should be treated with compassion instead of suspicion. The insane heights of this delusional POV were reached in pro-asylum claims around the 1200 German women who were sexually assaulted by refugees, asylum seekers, and illegal immigrants over New Year's Eve and into New Year's Day 2016.
The party line view was that two obviously connected facts - the vast majority of the New Year's attackers were Arab or North African Muslims as well as migrants - must be kept separate, even though there is a name, taharrush gamea (trans: "group sexual harassment in a crowd"), for these deliberate rapes in Arabic. Germany's laughable answer to the New Year's debacle is - straight out of the Netflix series Lilyhammer, the Nordic satire of European post-War PC insanity - a sexual assault law with the slogan "No Means No," but no fundamental change in the country's asylum, border, or deportation policies. Those poor, pitiful Muslim migrants, they just did not know it was verboten to gang rape women.
Nevertheless, even with the growing threat posed by radical Islam, and the anti-progressive ideas embedded within the culture of Islam itself, you can perversely understand German denial. Given its history of bellicosity and mass annihilation, Germans want to avoid war at all - and I mean all - costs. They want to continue with their post-Wall Love Parade, which means putting out the sajada (prayer rug) for millions of Muslim migrants, while stamping out any vestiges of overt or subliminal Islamophobia. Anything less than this welcoming spirit is viewed, in the current diktat out of Berlin, as decidedly "un-German."
While I acknowledge the beautiful sense of atonement behind this compassionate German attitude, I think it is misplaced in size and kind.
Indeed, rather than aggressively taking the fight to ISIS in Syria and Iraq, or at least creating safe zones for refugees there, here is the Angela "We Can Do This" Merkel plan to deal with the growing Islamic terror and crime threat on German soil: 1. Deny the problem, or at least deny it is large and growing; 2. Explain attacks away as examples of "mental illness," even when they are not due to mental illness or even when mental illness is coexistent with stated jihadist motives; 3. Admit millions of un-vetted refugees from Muslim countries without vigorous questioning - especially no questioning of the hundreds of thousands of young, healthy, military-capable men under the age of 30 - on why they are not back in their home country fighting for its survival; 4. Be extra nice to Muslim refugees, give them food, housing and succor; 5. Claim that "immigrants" are no more likely to commit acts of terror than legal citizens (a clever straw man used in the U.S. to deny the existence and severity of illegal immigrant crime); 6. Condemn any attempt to question this policy as Islamophobic; 7. When in doubt, blame Israel and the U.S.
If we just welcome Muslims, if we try hard to understand their "plight," and make resettlement of them easy and comfortable, goes the Merkel POV, they will be nice to us. And 99% of the time that is likely correct. Not because of any kindness from Germany, but because 99% of Muslims are law-abiding people who want to get on with their lives in safety and peace.
But then there's this knotty little problem of the 1%. This 1% trope has been used to denigrate wealth and job creators on both sides of the Atlantic. However, it is also useful in describing the tiny majority of people who cause the majority of crime, terror and mayhem on the planet.
On some sick level, it seems at times that the 1% who are radical jihadists are weirdly protected by the 1% who are uber wealthy, since the latter are most able to buy off the jihadists should they pose an imminent threat to their interests. I am talking to you Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, UAE, Kuwait and Yemen.
I hesitate to make any comparisons here to Germany's Nazi past, because, as I noted in a previous piece in this space, such comparisons are usually wrong, insensitive, and insulting on face.
However, I beg your indulgence in this one case. During the rise of Hitler and his henchmen, evil was spotted early on. And, as in our current moment, those in positions of power jockeyed around that palpable evil for their own advantage, some of them throwing their own people under the bus to save their necks and fortunes.
We do not need to retell all the details of that sordid tale. However, we do need to grasp how the tale applies to our present encounter with radical Islamic terrorism.
The problem with seeing the current moment clearly is that the resident evil comes shrouded under the burka of discrimination and victimhood. Muslims are the primary victims of ISIS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and their twisted ilk. Germans were also the primary victims of Hitler's reign of terror.
Thus, many reason, just as surely as you cannot blame the German people for the rise of Hitler, surely you cannot blame Islam or Muslims for the actions of a tiny majority of barbarous nihilists grossly manipulating Islam for vile and grandiose ends.
Or can you?
I believe you can and you must. It is my belief, as I noted in this space after the San Bernardino shootings, that unless moderate Muslims become proactive state's witnesses in fulsomely and quickly outing jihadists in their midst, we will never get a handle on radical Islamic terror, even with all the drones, advanced surveillance, and special forces at our disposal. And those well-meaning, but misguided, leaders who are laying down the welcome mat to a massive influx of unvetted Muslim immigrants must proactively help us in this effort or be forced to answer for the violent consequences of their enabling and inaction.
Alas, today's Germany has another - and typically stalwart, tone deaf and extreme - opinion. Still suffering PTSD from not only the reign of the Gestapo, but the more recent state surveillance by the Stasi, most Germans are not only viscerally opposed to an increase in state surveillance powers - the German intelligence agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst, is handcuffed in ways that UK and US intelligence services are not - but they genuinely believe that a welcome wagon is the one true antidote to Islamic terror.
Any sensible American, and certainly anyone working in American intelligence, has to smile. Regardless of whether moderate Muslims warm to this generous outpouring of German Wohlwollen, unrepentant and irredeemable jihadists are not reachable by it. They will continue to use uber tolerant Germany as a safe haven from which to plan and launch attacks on the West, as did Mohammad Atta, who used his Hamburger Terrozelle to help plot 9/11. Moreover, jihadists will use whatever tolerance they are given as a gullible concession, and will exploit it for maximum terror effect.
Nevertheless, one has to feel compassion towards German altruism. After all, Germany has been spared the large-scale terror that has inflicted its EU neighbors Belgium and France.
Of course, this is a matter of statistics. Germany has not yet built up a critical mass of Arab and North African Muslims, and, thus, radical jihadists (statistically, as German intelligence has confirmed, for every 1000 Arab or North African Muslim refugees one can guarantee at least a few jihadists), but they are on their way. After awhile, the numbers will start to move against the German people. And as knifings and rapes turn into gun and bomb attacks, or worse, the Germans will finally learn again what those of us who woke up after 9/11 know all too well: you can't appease evil.
On September 29, 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain tried to appease Adolph Hitler via the Munich Pact, which vainly hoped to stop German advancement at the newly created "Sudetenland" (the German-speaking part of then Czechoslovakia). However, Hitler merely took our weakness as a green light to continue his annexation of neighboring countries, and to launch a Jewish resettlement policy that culminated in the Holocaust. That was Britain's and America's Munich Moment.
Germany now faces its Munich Moment.
Contrary to what Germany's dime store peaceniks believe, there is black and white in this world. As a Zen Buddhist and student of Nietzsche, I know all about living "beyond good and evil." However, as an enlightened Japanese Zen Master lectured me back in 1983, America needs to accurately perceive the threats it faces and strike back.
Meditation without fear is enabled by an environment free from terror. However, you cannot conquer terror by indulging in magical new age affirmations or sitting in the zendo adopting a pose of non-attachment. As I learned from stalkers and criminals all my life, evil men will gladly steal what you love if you fail to defend it. Likewise, radical jihadists do not give a rat's ass about your pseudo-enlightenment.
Lead astray by false prophets touting delusional schemes of unbridled tolerance, we have still failed to fully fight back against radical Islam almost 15 years after 9/11. However, as recent surveys suggest, and the surging popularity of Donald J. Trump confirms, a majority Americans are willing to admit that we are, in fact, at war with radical Islamists and are at long last ready to do whatever it takes to win.
Germany is not yet at this inflection point. But it is getting there.
German friends, you are no less a people of peace and goodwill if you choose to acknowledge that there are visitors in your country, growing by the day, who mean to do you harm, regardless of how nicely you treat them. You need to proactively stamp out this threat before it metastasizes into something that threatens your democracy, your values, and your carefully cultivated way of life.