Clifford May
Clifford May
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Faith, fanaticism and fantasy in the Middle East

September 17, 2014  •  The Washington Times

"God created war," Mark Twain theorized, "so that Americans would learn geography." That's as true today as it was two centuries ago. How many of us would be able to find Yemen, Somalia and Mali on a map if not for the conflicts raging in those lands?

These days war also presents an opportunity to learn a little history and theology. To do that, though, you have to separate the factual from the fanciful.

In his prime-time address to the nation last week, President Obama acknowledged that in the current era, "the greatest threats come from the Middle East and North Africa." He added: "And one of those groups is ISIL — which calls itself the Islamic State."

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Thirteen years after 9/11

September 10, 2014  •  The Washington Times

Do not call what happened 13 years ago this week a tragedy. It was a terrorist atrocity, an act of war and a war crime. These are very different.

The self-proclaimed jihadis responsible for hijacking commercial jets and using them as missiles targeted the World Trade Center because it was a Western financial capital, a place where men and women of many ethnicities and religions worked in peace to create prosperity. Another plane was flown into the Pentagon — the brains of the greatest liberation army the world has even known. One more jet was meant to hit the political heart of the Free World — the Capitol or the White House — but Americans on that flight refused to surrender and thereby won a battle.

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World's policeman: A job Americans don't want to do

September 3, 2014  •  The Washington Times

President Obama has been taking a lot of heat for acknowledging he doesn't "have a strategy yet" for dealing with the jihadis butchering Iraqis, Syrians, Christians, Kurds and Yazidis, while in their spare time attempting to weaponize bubonic plague for use against others on their extensive to-kill list.

Perhaps the president deserves at least faint praise for recognizing, albeit reluctantly and belatedly, that the most significant global-security threat of the 21st century requires more serious attention — and a plan.

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Jihadism and 'the language of good and evil'

August 28, 2014  •  The Washington Times

"The battle of Waterloo," the Duke of Wellington is supposed to have said, "was won on the playing fields of Eton." The battle against the Islamic State could be lost on the campuses of American universities.

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An ominous post-9/11 warning

August 20, 2014  •  The Washington Times

Two recent interviews have been the topic of lively debate within the so-called foreign policy community. First, President Obama told The New York Times' Thomas Friedman that he envisioned a world in which wars end with "no victor, no vanquished." Can you imagine Franklin Roosevelt or Winston Churchill embracing such an idea? Even more inconceivable: that those who proclaim themselves jihadis would do anything but laugh their heads off (you should excuse the expression) if they heard it.

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