During the last month we were given several stark reminders about the nature of the extremist elements who threaten us.
The latest came Monday when a man in a wheelchair blew himself up at an Iraqi police station, killing several police officers as well.
Moroccan authorities arrested 32 members of an Al Qaeda linked terrorist network which was planning to assassinate cabinet ministers and members of the small Jewish community there.
We learned that a recent suicide bombing which claimed the lives of about 100 people in a Baghdad market was actually carried out by two mentally incompetent women from a mental health facility. They were unwittingly rigged with explosives, sent into the crowded market by terrorists, and then remotely detonated.
In a series of reports in February, we followed the attempts of jihadists to take over the country of Chad. Chad has been of assistance with aid to the victims of genocide in Darfur and is instrumental to new humanitarian initiatives in Sudan backed by the U.N., E.U., and the African Union. But in a pre-emptive strike, the armed opposition of Chad backed by the Sudanese government and Wahabi extremists attacked and nearly took down the Chadian government. The Janjaweed fundamentalists nearly consolidated a larger power base in the region from which they would surely continue to inflict their terrorism on any one not like them. As if the suffering in Sudan weren't enough, these belligerents thought it also necessary to prevent anyone from coming to their aid.
We were also treated to two Al Qaeda videos, one of which showed a training session for young boys being taught how to kill and kidnap, and another of the rescue of a young boy who had been kidnapped. He was being held for ransom, threatened with death if his family did not pay. Experience tells us the terrorist's beheading threat was not idle.
Using the mentally and physically handicapped as human bombs, kidnapping and killing children, teaching children to kill, engaging in the atrocities taking place in Darfur and attacking those who would assist the victims should remind all of us what it is we face in the world.
Given the nature and facts of this threat, it is imperative that we understand and analyze the positions of those who seek to represent us in D.C. on the issues of extremism, Iraq, the rest of the war on terrorism, national security, and the military.
In addition to our newspapers, one of the most public sources for a candidate's stand on the issues comes from their websites. As of Monday, the following information was found for our Senatorial candidates on the topic:
Tony Raimondo's lone reference was three sentences, "our national security demands a fresh approach. We face new challenges every day. These new challenges demand new leadership with new ideas."
Scott Kleeb's lone reference was listing as one of the challenges we face, "a global threat of extremism."
It's fair to assume that their very recent entry into the fray explained the lack of information about their positions and more could be expected in the future.
Pat Flynn's website provided more detailed information on the issue, everything from Iraq to illegal immigration, including: "One way we will guarantee the freedom and security of our country is through a strong National Defense." He states that "The war on terror is winnable, and that includes the current battlefront in Iraq. I believe Iraq is the center of the war against al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations in the world today. It is clear that these groups are being funded and armed by terrorist stronghold countries, and their resolve to win is great. Our resolve must be greater!"
He further adds, "We need to support our military with renewed troop strength, hardware updates, and a missile defense shield."
Mike Johanns has a section on the War on Terror with the following, "Islamic terrorists, who have proven they hate America and have no regard for innocent human life, have declared war on the United States. It is a long-term threat that requires our constant vigilance and courageII do not agree with those who advocate surrender and retreat in Iraq. I believe we must support our military and work for a quick and victorious resolution to win the war against terrorists and extremists who threaten free people and seek to do our nation harm."
Analysis will be made of all the information available on these positions for the candidates in future columns. If anyone decides to run against Adrian Smith the same will be done for that race.
It should be an interesting run into May.