©1999 - 2005
Edward D. Reuss
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It is ironic that the film "Pearl Harbor" was released during the summer of 2001.  December 7, 1941 has always been considered the Day that would live in Infamy.  The Japanese launched an attack without warning against the Pacific Fleet and thousands of our military were killed and injured. It is fitting that the memory of that attack be etched in the hearts and minds of Americans. It didn't seem possible for any event to overshadow Pearl Harbor until the morning of September 11, 2001.  The suicidal attacks on the World Trade Center were of such ferocity and magnitude that this event has no comparison.


Until that day, I hadn't educated myself about the various terrorists groups. The attack on the USS Cole and the bombing of the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were fully reported, but the names of the suspects and their organizations were unfamiliar sounding to the American ear.
Just as after Pearl Harbor, most Americans were not familiar with Japanese culture or ideals, we must educate ourselves about the twisted ideals of those who would destroy us.  Fortunately, we have among us American citizens who do know their language and weaknesses.

We Americans watched the destruction of Lebanon by the same forces that have launched an attack upon the shores of America.  The City of Beirut had long been a major banking and financial center of the Arabic world.  We watched as the city was destroyed piecemeal over a period of many years. What made Lebanon unique in the Arabic world was the fact that it was the only Arabic nation with a large Christian population.  When President Ronald Reagan sent US Marines to Beirut, the attack on the Marine Barracks resulted in heavy casualties. The lesson was a hard one for us.  However, the Bible says what one sows, one reaps. The cruelty and death that was sown in the fields of Lebanon may come back to haunt those who dealt such harm to the people of that nation.

We must educate ourselves about the nature of those who plan our destruction.
The radical groups who seek to harm us must be studied by all of our citizens. Our enemies have publicly stated that they consider all of us combatants in the struggle. That includes men, women, and children.  If all of us are involved, then we must know our enemies well.

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I have never comprehended how Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party seized power in Germany and led a cultured and civilized nation into the darkest period in Western Civilization. How did he deceive a whole generation of people from which came artists such as Albrecht Durer and Hans Holbein, and composers such as Beethoven, Bach, and Mozart?   I know that the Third Reich has been the subject of many academics, but no explanation can suffice for me. For that reason, no explanation can suffice for the rise of the new tyrants of this world. The common thread that is found in studies of the tyrants of this world is the unquenchable thirst for power. They can never get enough of it.


The followers of Islam must not allow themselves to be misled by leaders seeking power by means of terror.  Are there examples of great leaders of Islam who did not tolerate terrorism?  Saladin was the greatest military leader of Islam during the period of the Crusades. He is honored in our history books for his chivalry and honor during the Crusades.  Yet, even Saladin had to deal with the terrorism of his day. A radical group known as the Assassins under the leadership of one named "Shaikh al jebl  - The Old Man of the Mountain".  Much has been written this radical group, but I recently came across an old text that gave a brief and frightening view of that ancient organization and its teachings.  Here is a brief quote from that book:

During the lifetime of Omar lived one Hassan ibn Sabah, a free-thinker, an Ismailite, and a man of consummate ambition. This extraordinary soul was not content to be a missionary of skepticism; he dreamed of a new power.  He said that with a half-dozen faithful servants he could make himself master of the world.
It is related that after he said this, one of his friends fed him meals of saffron and a certain wine -supposed to be remedies for madness.  Later, Hassan sent a message to his friend: "Which of us is mad now?"
Because, in a way, he made good his prophecy.  At least he became the Old Man of the Mountain.
In the beginning, undoubtedly, Hassan possessed great personal magnetism.  The half-dozen allies that he desired he acquired readily enough by his boldness. He preached a very simple creed: 'NOTHING IS TRUE, AND ALL IS PERMITTED."  And he gained attention by ridiculing some of the traditions of orthodox Islam.
He formed his followers into a secret order, divided into preachers, companions, and fedawi -devoted ones.  These became the real keys to his success.  They were the Assassins garbed in white, with blood-red girdle and slippers; each of them carried a pair of long curved knives.  They were young, and Hassan initiated them into the secrets of hemp eating and the virtue of opium mixed with wine until they became in reality the blind instruments of his will.  He convinced them that death was verily the door to an everlasting delight, of which the drug dreams gave them only a foretaste.
To these youths Hassan appeared to be a prophet more potent than any figure of Islam; to discontented souls he presented himself as a liberator; only to the few subtle minds of his order did the master reveal his real purpose- to win POWER by instilling fear, and wealth by upsetting the existing order of things.
"Bury everything sacred", he explained, "under the ruins of thrones and altars".

Harold Lamb, The Crusades, The Flame of Islam, Chapter V, pages 22-23, International Collector's Library, Garden City, New York 1930


Alamut - "The Eagle's Nest" - was the headquarters of the order of the Assassins.  Here, on the summit of an unclimbable mountain, a walled garden had been built - a garden filled with exotic trees, with marble fountains that tossed wine spray into the sunlight, with silk-carpeted pavilions and tiled kiosks.  The melody of invisible musicians hung upon the air, and all men who entered were wrapped in the dreams of opium, or yielded the bodies of beautiful girls.
And only the young Assassins could enter this paradise.  First, they were given a drug and carried in a coma to the garden, where they were awakened to every delight of the senses. Then, after two or three days they were drugged again and carried out into the castle of Alamut, where they were told that, in reality, they had been allowed to visit the unearthly paradise - the place that awaited them at death. No island of lotus eaters quite compared to the garden of the Eagle's Nest. 

Ibid.  Page 25

The Old Man of the Mountain ruled over an Order of Assassins that feared nothing.  Such a force of martyrs was fearsome indeed. The Assassins attempted to kill Saladin in his camp. Even he was not immune from their terror.  Saladin marched his armies against the Order of the Assassins and crushed them.  Will a new Islamic leader rise and crush the new terrorists that have spread fear throughout the world?

To read more about Terrorism, and order the book:
 "Understanding Terrorism and Managing the Consequences"

Paul M. Maniscalco
Hank T. Christen
© Copyright 2002, 592 pp.

Copyright © 2001 Edward D. Reuss



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