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Friday, March 31, 2006

 

Dafydd Explains the Government

Excerpt:

Just forget everything. Forget everything They ever taught you -- it's garbage anyway.

Yeah, yeah, I know what you learned; I learned it too. There are three branches of federal government, not two:

But those are just the branches of the temporary government, the elected/appointed wing. There is another wing of the government... the permanent government. And that comprises only two branches:


Thursday, March 30, 2006

 

Immigration and American Culture

Peggy Noonan in the WSJ:

It's the broad public knowledge, or intuition, in America, that we are not assimilating our immigrants patriotically. And if you don't do that, you'll lose it all.

We used to do it. We loved our country with full-throated love, we had no ambivalence. We had pride and appreciation. We were a free country. We communicated our pride and delight in this in a million ways--in our schools, our movies, our popular songs, our newspapers. It was just there, in the air. Immigrants breathed it in. That's how the last great wave of immigrants, the European wave of 1880-1920, was turned into a great wave of Americans.

We are not assimilating our immigrants patriotically now. We are assimilating them culturally. Within a generation their children speak Valley Girl on cell phones. "So I'm like 'no," and he's all 'yeah,' and I'm like, 'In your dreams.' " Whether their parents are from Trinidad, Bosnia, Lebanon or Chile, their children, once Americans, know the same music, the same references, watch the same shows. And to a degree and in a way it will hold them together. But not forever and not in a crunch.

So far we are assimilating our immigrants economically, too. They come here and work. Good.

But we are not communicating love of country. We are not giving them the great legend of our country. We are losing that great legend.
What is the legend, the myth? That God made this a special place. That they're joining something special. That the streets are paved with more than gold--they're paved with the greatest thoughts man ever had, the greatest decisions he ever made, about how to live. We have free thought, free speech, freedom of worship. Look at the literature of the Republic: the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Federalist papers. Look at the great rich history, the courage and sacrifice, the house-raisings, the stubbornness. The Puritans, the Indians, the City on a Hill.


The genius cluster--Jefferson, Hamilton, Adams, Madison, Franklin, all the rest--that came along at the exact same moment to lead us. And then Washington, a great man in the greatest way, not in unearned gifts well used (i.e., a high IQ followed by high attainment) but in character, in moral nature effortfully developed. How did that happen? How did we get so lucky? (I once asked a great historian if he had thoughts on this, and he nodded. He said he had come to believe it was "providential.")


We fought a war to free slaves. We sent millions of white men to battle and destroyed a portion of our nation to free millions of black men. What kind of nation does this? We went to Europe, fought, died and won, and then taxed ourselves to save our enemies with the Marshall Plan. What kind of nation does this? Soviet communism stalked the world and we were the ones who steeled ourselves and taxed ourselves to stop it. Again: What kind of nation does this?

Only a very great one. Maybe the greatest of all.

Do we teach our immigrants that this is what they're joining? That this is the tradition they will now continue, and uphold?

Do we, today, act as if this is such a special place? No, not always, not even often. American exceptionalism is so yesterday. We don't want to be impolite. We don't want to offend. We don't want to seem narrow. In the age of globalism, honest patriotism seems like a faux pas.

And yet what is true of people is probably true of nations: if you don't have a well-grounded respect for yourself, you won't long sustain a well-grounded respect for others.

Read the rest.

 

Times Blows .... The Story

Having invested a lot of it's fast fading reputation in the NSA spying story, the New York Times misrepresents what a panel of FISA judges told a Senate panel.

Via Powerline:

New York Times reporter Eric Lichtblau has a considerable career investment (and, I suspect, an ideological investment as well) in the idea that the NSA program is illegal. It would seem that Lichtblau's preconceptions and biases prevented him from accurately reporting what happened in the Judiciary Committee hearing yesterday. His suggestion that the main thrust of the judges' testimony was to "voice skepticism about the president's constitutional authority" is simply wrong; in fact, I can't find a single line in more than 100 pages of transcript that supports Lichtblau's reporting. It's a sad thing when a once-respected newspaper can't be counted on for a straight account of a Congressional hearing.

Click on the link for the rest of the commentary and a link to the actual transcript so you can judge for yourself.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

 

Iraqi Economy Expanding

With all the bangs and killings that are the daily diet of "news" from Iraq, ever wonder what most people are doing? Ever wonder about the Iraqi economy? Would it surprise you to know that:

Iraq's GDP per capita has more than doubled between 2003 and 2005. Compared to pre-war levels the increase was 31 percent. And the future looks bright. According to the Brookings Institution Iraq Index the Iraqi economy is expected to have a real GDP growth of 49 percent in the period 2006-2008."

I thought it would.

 

Unfathomable Zealotry (The Collective Madness of Islam)

I rarely agree with Richard Cohen, the Liberal columnist for the Washington Post, but this is an article that makes a deeply troubling point.

What strikes me about the threat to execute Abdul Rahman, the Afghan who converted to Christianity, is not that Afghanistan remains deeply medieval and not even remotely the democracy that George W. Bush would like it to be, but that with the exception of the (largely) Christian West, the rest of the world has been mostly silent. The Americans have protested, the Brits have protested, the Vatican has protested and so (I assume) have some others. But if there has been a holler of protest from anywhere in the Muslim world, it has not reached my ears. That is appalling.

[snip]

"The world is too much with us," Wordsworth once wrote. This is certainly the way I feel. To be confronted on an almost daily basis with the horrors of Iraq is profoundly disturbing. The torture and decapitation of huge numbers of people, the casual homicides, the constant suicide bombings -- all of this makes you wonder about your fellow man. It is no longer possible, as it once was, to see the world only from your front porch, being disturbed only by the ringing of the bell on some passing ice cream truck. In Africa, Asia, too much of the world -- it is Joseph Conrad much of the time: "The horror! The horror!"

But you can say that these horrors are usually being inflicted by a minority. You say it is a few crazed terrorists of Iraq who are doing the killing. It is not most Iraqis. You can say the same about suicide bombers and torturers and rogue governments, like the one Saddam Hussein once headed. You can take solace in numbers. Most people are like us.

Then comes the Rahman case and it is not a solitary crazy prosecutor who brings the charge of apostasy but an entire society. It is not a single judge who would condemn the man but a culture. The Taliban are gone at gunpoint, their atrocities supposedly a thing of the past. In our boundless optimism, we consign them to the "too hard" file of horrors we cannot figure out: the Khmer Rouge, the Nazis, the communists of the Stalin period. Now, though, this awful thing returns and it is not just a single country that would kill a man for his beliefs but a huge swath of the world that would not protest. There can be only one conclusion: They were in agreement.

Read the rest.
The groupthink of the Muslim world is frightening.

 

Fukuyama's fabrication

Charles Krauthammer is an elegant and clear headed essayist and thinker. Fukayama, on the other hand, has proven himself to be ... what shall we say ... totally wrong when he declared, in the book that made him famous, "The End of History."

It's also interesting when those who once stood by you switch sides when that becomes convenient. I find honest opponents far more honorable than those who switch sides and in doing so, leave a knife in your back.

That is why this article by Krauthammer on Fukuyama is so telling.

It was, as the hero tells it, his Road to Damascus moment. There he is, in a hall of 1,500 people he has long considered to be his allies, hearing the speaker treat the Iraq War, nearing the end of its first year, as "a virtually unqualified success." He gasps as the audience enthusiastically applauds. Aghast to discover himself in a sea of comrades so deluded by ideology as to have lost touch with reality, he decides he can no longer be one of them.
And thus did Francis Fukuyama become the world's most celebrated ex-neoconservative, a well-timed metamorphosis that has brought him a piece of the fame that he once enjoyed 15 years ago as the man who declared, a mite prematurely, that history had ended.


[snip]

I happen to know something about this story, as I was the speaker whose 2004 Irving Kristol lecture to the American Enterprise Institute Fukuyama has now brought to prominence. I can therefore testify that Fukuyama's claim that I attributed "virtually unqualified success'' to the war is a fabrication.

Read the whole thing, it's devastating. I will be surprised if Fukuyama survives this.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

 

Payback Time

From Strategy Page:

Deaths from revenge killings now exceed those from terrorist or anti-government activity. Al Qaeda is beaten, and running for cover. The Sunni Arab groups that financed thousands of attacks against the government and coalition groups, are now battling each other, al Qaeda, and Shia death squads. It's not civil war, for there are no battles or grand strategies at play. It's not ethnic cleansing, yet, although many Sunni Arabs are, and have, fled the country. What's happening here is payback. Outsiders tend to forget that, for over three decades, a brutal Sunni Arab dictatorship killed hundreds of thousands of Kurds and Shia Arabs. The surviving victims, and the families of those who did not survive, want revenge. They want payback. And even those Kurds Shia Arabs who don't personally want revenge, are inclined to tolerate some payback. Since the Sunni Arabs comprise only about 20 percent of the population, and no longer control the police or military, they are in a vulnerable position.

Read the whole thing. There is a certain amount of payback that is needed to clear the air. Our war on Saddam was - as wars go - quick and fairly bloodless. The Iraqi supporters of Saddam did not fight and die, they took off their uniforms and faded into the population, only to try to regain their former power. Now it appears that the bullies are getting a taste of their own medicine.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

 

If Today's Reporters Had Covered World War 2

See reply # 4:

Mr Steyn has got it spot on, as usual, and I agree with the previous message writer about the Western press. Can you imagine trying to fight World War Two with the media in its current abject state? RAF pilots would have laid down their lives in the "so-called" Battle of Britain, the Allies would have fought "what they described" as a war on tyranny, and the soldiers who first entered Auschwitz would have discovered "what they claimed" was an extermination facility. What a gift to Hitler these journalists would have been. Thank God their type wasn't much in evidence back then. Cheers, Mark, keep it coming!
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Operation Iraqi Freedom: Just the facts, please

In the middle of life and strife it is necessary to stop and reflect on what we are doing and why we are doing it. It is necessary to reflect on context, lest we become reflexive, reacting to the latest issues laid before us and find that we have wandered from the path that leads us to eventual success.

In the case of Iraq and the War on Terror (WOT) we get all tied up in the minutia spouted by the talking heads.

Here is a clear exposition of the geopolitical situation we find ourselves in.

OIF, like Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, is much more than a bid to keep conflicts with terrorists on their turf. It is a determined effort to establish a functional democracy in the heart of a region critical to U.S. interests -- a region ruled by secular and theocratic tyrants who have become state sponsors of the Islamic terror alliance, which declared war on the U.S. and our Allies.

The first round fired against the U.S. homeland in this war was not 11 September 2001.

No sooner had we relaxed our national defense posture as Cold War tensions between the U.S. and Soviet Bloc adversaries subsided than our homeland was attacked by a second-tier adversary, radical Islamists.
On 26 February 1993, a terrorist cell headed by al-Qa'ida operative Ramzi Ahmed Yousef (who entered the U.S. on an Iraqi passport) bombed Tower One of the World Trade Center in an effort to topple it into Tower Two and murder up to 30,000 occupants of those buildings. Fortunately, due to Ramzi's lack of engineering knowledge about where to park the truck bomb, Tower One withstood the blast.


In 1995, after Ramzi's capture, he was being flown to New York for prosecution. As the transport helicopter passed the WTC towers, an FBI agent removed Ramzi's mask so he could see that the towers were still standing. Ramzi commented gravely, "We are not done yet." Indeed, Ramzi's computer, seized in the Philippines before his arrest in Pakistan, detailed a plan to hijack commercial aircraft and use them as flying bombs against U.S. targets -- which his cadre succeeded in doing on 9/11.

For eight long years after the first WTC bombing, the Clinton administration refused to take the domestic terrorist threat seriously enough to make deterrence a priority. Eight months into George Bush's first term, it became resoundingly clear that a small terrorist cell armed with nothing more than box cutters could, in a matter of minutes, kill thousands of Americans and cause in excess of $250 billion in damages to the U.S. economy.


The 9/11 attack demonstrated that not only are there Islamist factions intent on the wholesale slaughter of Americans on U.S. soil, but that those factions won't hesitate to use the most destructive means at hand. In other words, they will certainly detonate nuclear or radiological devices in U.S. urban centers, given the accessibility to such weapons and an operational capability to deploy them.

President Bush's 2002 NSS recognized this threat, and his 2006 NSS reaffirmed that the best method to deter asymmetric nuclear attacks is to pre-empt them through short-term tactical operations combined with long-term strategic operations. The short-term operations consist of military interdictions in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world, to kill terrorists and disrupt their operations. The long-term operations consist of both military and civil actions designed to democratize the Middle East's political and economic culture so that it no longer serves as a breeding ground for our terrorist adversaries.

Clearly, then, while the tactical and strategic operations in Iraq come at great cost, they are absolutely necessary. Indeed, they are the best, if not only, method for preventing an asymmetric nuclear attack on our homeland. However, some national-security analysts now consider such an attack "inevitable" because deterrence operations are a decade late.

Despite enormous progress in our tactical and strategic operations to seed democracy in a region that has known only tyranny for its entire history, the Democrats and their Leftmedia have politicized these operations for one stupefyingly inane purpose: To undermine support for the Bush administration, and thus, Republicans in the upcoming midterm elections.

Read the whole thing…

Thursday, March 23, 2006

 

Willing to Die for Christ

When was the last time you can remember being in fear for your life for being a Christian? Sure, you may have been scorned or ridiculed by Liberals. Under legal attack from atheists. And totally ignored by the MSM. But has anyone ever threatened you with death unless you renounced your faith?

And if this happened to you, what would you do? How important is Christ to you?

I hope none of us will ever be put to this test, but there is a man in Afghanistan who is under sentence of death for converting to Christianity. And he could save his life by renouncing Christ. And he refuses!

Read more….

UPDATE: Mark Steyn chimes in.

 

Ann Coulter on Polls

Read the whole thing, it's hilarious. Excerpts:

The media are constantly telling Americans what they believe: You are dissatisfied ... You are getting more dissatisfied ... You are slowly becoming utterly dissatisfied ... Your dissatisfaction is now reaching a fever pitch!

News coverage of public opinion polls is barely justifiable in an election year. When there's no horse race, these cooked-up polls are nothing more than the mainstream media's long, monotonous brainwashing of the public.

At least the old subliminal ads for popcorn in movie theaters operated by stealth. Today's mainstream media engage in open conditioning of the public in a fantastical scheme to shift public opinion.

Noticeably, there's always an odd disconnect between what the polls say and what people actually do.

Despite the fact that – according to the polls – the "American people" are fed up with the war in Iraq, only a few hundred anti-war protesters showed up in New York City last weekend. The naked cowboy in Times Square gets a bigger crowd than that.

Despite the fact that polls show the public is ready to throw in the towel on Iraq, members of the House of Representatives, or "the people's house," recently voted 403-3 against withdrawing the troops.

Despite the fact that 70 percent of the public thinks Bush is doing a lousy job, when they had a chance to put someone else in the White House a mere 15 months ago, they decided to keep him.

There is, however, one poll taken by millions of Americans every day, year in, year out. Based on plummeting viewers, circulation numbers and ad rates, we can say with some certainty, the American

 

Boola boola, you son of a bitch

More on the Taliban Goebbels who is attending Yale. It turns out that he defended killing Christians who preached the gospel.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

 

The Self Made Eunuch

Glenn Reynolds in TCS Daily talks about the reason for the decline of newspapers. It’s worthwhile reading the whole thing. While Glenn lists a number of reasons for the decline in readership, let me get personal. There are two reasons that I no longer read the Virginian Pilot:

First, the stories it carries are already old by the time they reach my box in the morning. To get a comprehensive overview of the important events of yesterday and today, I turn on my computer and go to a few web sites that provide that service: Drudge, Instapundit, and Free Republic to name just three. There is literally nothing of importance that happens in this world that is not covered - or linked to - by a relatively few web sites.

Second, I really resent being insulted by people I pay. As Glenn says:

…I'd stop insulting readers. As Malone notes, many newspapers lean left; they're out of touch, as numerous surveys demonstrate, with the attitudes of most Americans. Often, like George Clooney (spokesman for another declining industry), they celebrate this disconnect. They shouldn't. People don't like being preached to, or manipulated, and they are increasingly unwilling to pay for that now that they have alternatives. So stop; give them the news, with as little bias as possible.

Now, while I do not read the Virginian Pilot for the news (my wife likes it for the discount coupons) I do glance at the editorial section. It’s the part that gives me insight into what Liberals are thinking.

As an example, I happened to notice that the editors of the Pilot are siding with censors. This should not really surprise me. After all, they supported the McCain-Feingold ban on public speech just prior to an election and have given numerous reasons for deciding that their customers should not view the famous 12 cartoons of Mohammed. They, along with virtually all other members of their dying breed, decided that discretion was the better part of valor. Who knows, there could be a few dedicated jihadis residing in Tidewater Virginia, and the next thing you know, CAIR could be picketing the Pilot offices and fatwas could be issued decreeing “Death to the Pilot Staff.”

I have to admit - as the man said who saw his mother-in-law go over a cliff in his brand new car (an old and terribly incorrect joke) - that would create mixed emotions.

But I digress. The Pilot favors censors because a Rabbi was going to refer to the Hamas terrorists as having “blood stained hands” in a prayer before a session of the Virginia Senate.

The Pilot editors objected because they considered referring to terrorist as having blood stained hands controversial! Well, yes, they admit that Hamas is classified as a terrorist organization (they noted that this was merely the opinion of the State Department ) and is responsible for “its share of violence,” (I suppose that Hitler was responsible for his share in World War 2) but … to say this is to be “inflammatory” and “divisive.”

Well, yes, I suppose if you are a terrorist or side with terrorists, you may not go along with the rabbi's description. But if you are a normal person, informed of any moral sense, calling cold stone killers bloody is not controversial.

There is something so wrong, so morally repugnant about the editorial attitude that it virtually defies classification. Has moral relativism has so invaded the shriveled souls of people who write these words that they now wish to withhold judgment on groups who regularly bomb civilian buses, stores and restaurants. Who proclaim their desire to finish what Hitler started?

It is rare that one witnesses self emasculation, leaving us with moral eunuchs, but the war we are in has provided us the opportunity to see more than one example. And this one happened right here in our home town.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

 

Abortion Nation

From the Wall Street Journal
By James Q. Wilson

When South Dakota passed a law banning all abortions save those that threaten the physical health of the mother, opponents of abortion were cheered and defenders of it outraged. I think both sides were mistaken.

Roe v. Wade, decided in 1973, did not create abortion, it created a right to an abortion. The decision had few merits on constitutional grounds and it was a disaster on political ones.


For nearly a quarter of a century American politics has been convulsed by a polarizing debate. No one can become the Democratic presidential candidate without favoring abortion and (so far) no one can become the Republican candidate without opposing it. This has driven the candidates and parties far apart even though most Americans occupy a middle ground on the issue.

Abortion has become the key test for selecting people for high-level judicial offices. When Sen. Charles Schumer says he favors using "ideology" as a test for judges, the ideology he has in mind is abortion. When other senators oppose a "litmus test" for judges, the test to which they refer is about abortion. We closely watch Supreme Court decisions to see if they will oppose even the slightest restriction on this "right."

By contrast, abortion is scarcely an issue in most European democracies, not because the people who live there have views radically different from American ones, but because legislatures, not courts, authorized abortions using language that tried to strike a reasonable balance among competing views.

When other countries authorized abortions, they did not authorize a right to one. Their laws were designed to give varying degrees of respect to unborn life. (Only in China is there a law as permissive as that conferred by Roe v. Wade.) When Prof. Mary Ann Glendon surveyed abortion laws here and abroad in the late 1980s, she found that in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the U.K. there existed pre-abortion waiting periods, mandatory counseling, time limits of when during a pregnancy an abortion could occur, and a requirement that several physicians agree on the need for an abortion.

Suppose, in response to a lawsuit brought against the South Dakota law, Roe were overturned. Abortion would not disappear. Women would not visit quack doctors or travel to Sweden. Abortion would be legalized in many states (it was legal in five before Roe was decided), but having been made legal by state legislatures, the laws would, as in Europe, accommodate the diverse views of proponents and opponents. Ardent defenders of abortion would realize that, in exchange for a small bus fare, a woman in South Dakota could go to a nearby state where abortions were easy to obtain. Ardent opponents would know that if they wished to live in an abortion-free state, they could move to one.

In making these decisions, the states would be exercising their police powers; that is, their right to pass laws that protect the lives, health and morality of their citizens. The federal government has no such police power; it can only act in ways that can be plausibly derived from the Constitution. The Framers would have never imagined that the national government would pass laws about abortion -- or marriage, or parenting, or private sexual acts.

There are, of course, checks on the states' police powers. They cannot be used in ways that plainly deprive people of rights guaranteed by state or federal constitutions. A state regulation must be reasonably related to the provision of a public good. But within those limits, states can and do regulate sex, marriage, divorce, parenting and communicable diseases.
The states should also decide about gay marriage. Some conservatives are urging Congress to propose a constitutional amendment banning this, but this would be a mistake. People should vote on this matter and about the conditions of life they wish to experience where they live. Though I oppose gay marriage, voters in some states may approve it. If they do, we will have a chance to learn what it means in practice, with the costs and benefits falling on people who have accepted it.


Moreover, a state-by-state vote on the matter provides an opportunity for gay advocates of this policy to make their case. A constitutional amendment would deny them that opportunity, leaving them perpetually angry. Since feelings run high on this matter, it would be a mistake to let it be decided as the right to abortion was decided. If there were the gay marriage equivalent of Roe v. Wade or a constitutional ban on it, we would infect the nation with the divisive anger that followed Roe and our earlier attempt at alcohol prohibition.

If there is to be a constitutional amendment, it would be better if it said this: "Nothing in this Constitution shall authorize a federal judge to decide that a marriage can be other than between one man and one woman." If I could think of language to bar judges from making other social policy decisions, I would add it, but the words fail me.

The rising demand that every personal preference become a constitutional right is a worrisome disease. People, of course do have rights; the Constitution and the first 10 amendments spell most of them out. That document defines the essential requirements of life and liberty. Adding new invented rights by either a ratified amendment or judicial overreaching is a mistake.

 

MANIFESTO OF 12 (The Virginian Pilot Still Refuses to Publish the Pictures)

Together facing the new totalitarianism

After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new global totalitarian threat: Islamism.

We -- writers, journalists and public intellectuals -- call for resistance to religious totalitarianism.

Instead, we call for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values worldwide.

The necessity of these universal values has been revealed by events since the publication of the Muhammad drawings in European newspapers. This struggle will not be won by arms, but in the arena of ideas. What we are witnessing is not a clash of civilizations, nor an antagonism of West versus East, but a global struggle between democrats and theocrats.

Like all totalitarianisms, Islamism is nurtured by fears and frustrations. The preachers of hate bet on these feelings in order to form battalions destined to impose a world of inequality. But we clearly and firmly state: nothing, not even despair, justifies the choice of obscurantism, totalitarianism and hatred.

Islamism is a reactionary ideology which kills equality, freedom and secularism wherever it is present. Its success can only lead to a world of greater power imbalances: man’s domination of woman, the Islamists’ domination of all others.

To counter this, we must assure universal rights to oppressed people. For that reason, we reject “cultural relativism,” which consists of accepting that Muslim men and women should be deprived of their right to equality and freedom in the name of their cultural traditions.

We refuse to renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of “Islamophobia,” an unfortunate concept that confuses criticism of Islamic practices with the stigmatization of Muslims themselves.

We plead for the universality of free expression, so that a critical spirit may be exercised on every continent, against every abuse and dogma.

We appeal to democrats and free spirits of all countries that our century should be one of enlightenment, not of obscurantism.

Signed,

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Chahla Chafiq , Caroline Fourest, Bernard-Henri Lévy, Irshad Manji , Mehdi Mozaffari, Maryam Namazie, Taslima Nasreen, Salman Rushdie, Antoine Sfeir, Philippe Val, Ibn Warraq


CLICK ON THE LINK AND READ THE WHOLE THING

Saturday, March 18, 2006

 

So Saddam Didn't Cooperate with Al Qaida You Say...

We wonder what will come out of the massive document dump that the government is now making avaialble to the Internet.

But here's one little tidbit:

SADDAM HUSSEIN'S REGIME PROVIDED FINANCIAL support to Abu Sayyaf, the al Qaeda-linked jihadist group founded by Osama bin Laden's brother-in-law in the Philippines in the late 1990s, according to documents captured in postwar Iraq. An eight-page fax dated June 6, 2001, and sent from the Iraqi ambassador in Manila to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Baghdad, provides an update on Abu Sayyaf kidnappings and indicates that the Iraqi regime was providing the group with money to purchase weapons. The Iraqi regime suspended its support--temporarily, it seems--after high-profile kidnappings, including of Americans, focused international attention on the terrorist group.

The fax comes from the vast collection of documents recovered in postwar Afghanistan and Iraq. Up to this point, those materials have been kept from the American public. Now the proverbial dam has broken.

 

New York Times Hoaxes

From PowerLine:

On March 11, the New York Times printed the gripping story of Ali Shalal Qaissi, the Iraqi in the most famous photo from Abu Ghraib..

[snip]

It was indeed a gripping story. And, needless to say, one that suited the Times' political agenda. Just one problem, though: it wasn't true. Qaissi is a hoax. This morning's Times includes the following correction:


A front-page article last Saturday profiled Ali Shalal Qaissi, identifying him as the hooded man forced to stand on a box, attached to wires, in a photograph from the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal of 2003 and 2004. He was shown holding such a photograph. As an article on Page A1 today makes clear, Mr. Qaissi was not that man.


Read the rest....

UPDATE FROM THE BELMONT CLUB:

The Man Who Never Was

Friday, March 17, 2006

 

Blurring the lines. Homosexual "Marriage" vs. Polygamy.

Charles Krauthammer makes a point I was derided for making a year ago. If it is discriminatory to deny a homosexaul couple from marrying. by what stretch of the imagination is the number two the sacred limit?

Excerpt:

As Newsweek notes, these stirrings for the mainstreaming of polygamy (or, more accurately, polyamory) have their roots in the increasing legitimization of gay marriage. In an essay 10 years ago, I pointed out that it is utterly logical for polygamy rights to follow gay rights. After all, if traditional marriage is defined as the union of (1) two people of (2) opposite gender, and if, as gay marriage advocates insist, the gender requirement is nothing but prejudice, exclusion and an arbitrary denial of one's autonomous choices in love, then the first requirement -- the number restriction (two and only two) -- is a similarly arbitrary, discriminatory and indefensible denial of individual choice.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

 

The Falling Man ...Never Forget



His identity has not been confirmed, though many have speculated over the last 4 1/2 years. Tom Junod wrote an extraordinary piece for Eqsuire in September 2003 on "The Falling Man," offering several possibilities. His piece ended with this one:

Jonathan Briley worked at Windows on the World. Some of his coworkers, when they saw Richard Drew's photographs, thought he might be the Falling Man. He was a light-skinned black man. He was over six five. He was forty-three. He had a mustache and a goatee and close-cropped hair. He had a wife named Hillary.
Jonathan Briley's father is a preacher, a man who has devoted his whole life to serving the Lord. After September 11, he gathered his family together to ask God to tell him where his son was. No: He demanded it. He used these words: "Lord, I demand to know where my son is." For three hours straight, he prayed in his deep voice, until he spent the grace he had accumulated over a lifetime in the insistence of his appeal.

The next day, the FBI called. They'd found his son's body. It was, miraculously, intact.

The preacher's youngest son, Timothy, went to identify his brother. He recognized him by his shoes: He was wearing black high-tops. Timothy removed one of them and took it home and put it in his garage, as a kind of memorial.

Timothy knew all about the Falling Man. He is a cop in Mount Vernon, New York, and in the week after his brother died, someone had left a September 12 newspaper open in the locker room. He saw the photograph of the Falling Man and, in anger, he refused to look at it again. But he couldn't throw it away. Instead, he stuffed it in the bottom of his locker, where—like the black shoe in his garage—it became permanent.

Jonathan's sister Gwendolyn knew about the Falling Man, too. She saw the picture the day it was published. She knew that Jonathan had asthma, and in the smoke and the heat would have done anything just to breathe. . . .

The both of them, Timothy and Gwendolyn, knew what Jonathan wore to work on most days. He wore a white shirt and black pants, along with the high-top black shoes. Timothy also knew what Jonathan sometimes wore under his shirt: an orange T-shirt. Jonathan wore that orange T-shirt everywhere. He wore that shirt all the time. He wore it so often that Timothy used to make fun of him: When are you gonna get rid of that orange T-shirt, Slim?

But when Timothy identified his brother's body, none of his clothes were recognizable except the black shoes. And when Jonathan went to work on the morning of September 11, 2001, he'd left early and kissed his wife goodbye while she was still sleeping. She never saw the clothes he was wearing. After she learned that he was dead, she packed his clothes away and never inventoried what specific articles of clothing might be missing.

Is Jonathan Briley the Falling Man? He might be. But maybe he didn't jump from the window as a betrayal of love or because he lost hope. Maybe he jumped to fulfill the terms of a miracle. Maybe he jumped to come home to his family. Maybe he didn't jump at all, because no one can jump into the arms of God.

Oh, no. You have to fall.

Yes, Jonathan Briley might be the Falling Man. But the only certainty we have is the certainty we had at the start: At fifteen seconds after 9:41 a.m., on September 11, 2001, a photographer named Richard Drew took a picture of a man falling through the sky—falling through time as well as through space. The picture went all around the world, and then disappeared, as if we willed it away. One of the most famous photographs in human history became an unmarked grave, and the man buried inside its frame—the Falling Man—became the Unknown Soldier in a war whose end we have not yet seen. Richard Drew's photograph is all we know of him, and yet all we know of him becomes a measure of what we know of ourselves. The picture is his cenotaph, and like the monuments dedicated to the memory of unknown soldiers everywhere, it asks that we look at it, and make one simple acknowledgment.

That we have known who the Falling Man is all along.

 

What is the Constitution?

Ruth Bader Ginsburg has some unsettling ideas about the Constitution which are examined in Powerline.

The real issue here is: what is the Constitution? Justice Scalia has famously noted that the Constitution is a legal document which, like all legal documents, says some things and does not say others. In Justice Ginsburg's view the Constitution is, on the contrary, a roving charter for nine individuals to decide what "basic fairness" requires. It should hardly be necessary to point out that the former understanding, which was universal until quite recently, is a charter of freedom, inasmuch as the people's representatives can vote on amendments. Conversely, the "basic fairness" approach is a form of tyranny in which a small elite can impose its policy preferences on the rest of us.

It is also utterly unworkable. There is a reason why people reduce legal documents to writing: it's the only way to know what the deal is. Under Justice Ginsburg's approach, the "law" is ineffable. There is no way to know from one day to the next what it might be.

 

Mark Steyn: "If the Koran Permit, You Must Acquit"

A must read...


Abu Hamza is the most famous of Britain's many incendiary imams, a household name thanks to the tabloids anointing him as "Hooky" - he lost his hands in a, er, "accident" in Afghanistan in 1991. Recently on trial in London for nine counts of soliciting to murder plus various other charges, he retained the services of the eminent Queen's Counsel Edward Fitzgerald.

Mr. Fitzgerald opened the case for the defense by arguing, according to The Daily Telegraph, that "Hamza was urging his followers not to murder British people but to fight in holy wars where Muslims were being killed in Afghanistan, Algeria, Bosnia, Kosovo and Palestine." Asked if he had ever intended to urge or incite murder, Hamza replied: "In the context of murder, no. In the context of fighting, yes."

Hmm. Mr. Hamza wants to see a caliph installed in Downing Street and to have Muslims "control the whole Earth."

And, of course, wanting Muslims to control the whole Earth is not against the law, nor, as his counsel argued, is advocating the more robust methods of bringing it about. As The Times of London reported:

[snip]

WELL, IT'S ingenious, and, though Mr. Hamza was sadly found guilty, who's to say it won't work for the next A-list jihadi? If Koran permit, you must acquit. To convict would be multiculturally disrespectful. If the holy book of the religion of peace recommends killing infidels, who are we to judge?

Indeed, much of the developed world seems to have already internalized that rationale: Islamic mobs riot, loot, burn embassies and kill people around the world, and the fury of Western elites is reserved for those hapless Danish cartoonists for being so "insensitive.

 

Censure Feingold

Terence Jeffrey in Townhall compares Bush, FDR and Truman:

Unlike Sen. Russell Feingold, the Wisconsin Democrat seeking to censure President Bush for ordering the interception of communications in and out of the United States involving persons with suspected links to al-Qaeda, Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt had no qualms about warrantless eavesdropping to protect the United States against attack.
Neither did Harry Truman.


There is a difference, however, between the eavesdropping Roosevelt and Truman authorized and the eavesdropping Bush is doing. Roosevelt and Truman did it in peacetime without congressional authorization. Bush is doing it during a war that Feingold voted on Sept. 14, 2001, to authorize.

 

Abortion and "Settled Law"

As Paul Greenburg notes:

Never mind that the meaning of Roe v. Wade itself has been anything but settled since it was first handed down. It keeps growing, mutating, metastasizing. Like any other tumor.

Lest we forget, the Roe decision was going to be modest in its reach when it was handed down on Jan. 22, 1973. No less an authority than its author, Mr. Justice Harry Blackmun, asserted in a private memo that the court was not creating "an absolute right to abortion."

That naive interpretation of what he and his colleagues had wrought was echoed publicly by Chief Justice Warren Burger: "Plainly, the court today rejects any claim that the Constitution requires abortion on demand."
And yet, plainly, over the decades to come, abortion on demand has become the law of the land - and one of the most divisive, corrosive and continuing of American issues. For when it comes to interpreting judicial rulings, each generation is at the mercy of the next, with its own felt necessities.

 

Jonah Goldberg on French Rioters ... No, Not Those French Rioters!

Excerpt:

The Sorbonne takeover is the most interesting and revealing part of the story because these are the best students France has to offer. In other words, these kids should have the least trouble finding work. But they're revolting because they understand that France isn't an egalitarian society - French propaganda notwithstanding. It is a system designed to lavish job protections, perks and, most of all, the French "lifestyle" on the upper-middle class. France pretends to be a great civilization, but in reality it wants to be an Epcot Center attraction, a "FranceLand" where everything is comfortable and protected. Liberating the job market, even a tiny bit, threatens a system designed to keep the French upper crust from working too hard and to keep those brown-skinned and lower-class slobs out of the best jobs and cocktail parties.

 

Claude Allen Finally Makes the NY Times

In “Welcome to my world, Claude Allen” Ann Coulter reminds us of the fact that the MSM (or as Rush Limbaugh puts it: the “drive by media”) has ignored successful blacks in the Bush administration – until they can run them down.

I guess the only way we'll ever find out how many blacks have worked in the Bush administration is to wait for them to get in trouble someday so we can read the breathless, triumphant stories on the front page of the New York Times about a black Republican scofflaw. It's amazing that anyone has ever heard of Condoleezza Rice -- she's never even been arrested for jaywalking.

Claude Allen, whom I first heard of this week, was a top adviser to President Bush for more than 4 1/2 years. Soon after Bush was elected in 2000, he made Allen the No. 2 official at the Department of Health and Human Services. Allen later became Bush's domestic policy adviser, meeting with the president several times a week.


In 2003, Bush nominated Allen to a federal judgeship on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals -- which nomination was then blocked by the party that wouldn't exist without black votes. Deploying their usual strategy against black Republicans, Democrats raised questions about Allen's "legal credentials": Democrat-ese for "He's black, so he's probably not very smart." Allen went to Duke Law School, where he was remembered fondly by law professor Walter Dellinger, later Clinton's solicitor general.

During the entire time this talented, intelligent, magnificently conservative black man held high positions in the Bush administration, he was mentioned in only 11 articles in The New York Times. (A small part of Times Executive Editor Bill Keller dies every time the paper is forced to mention any black top officials in the Bush administration. It might remind people that the most highly placed black in the Clinton administration was his secretary, Betty Currie.)

But since Allen was accused of stealing from department stores a few weeks ago, the Times has mentioned him in seven articles -- including a major front page article on Monday, coverage more appropriate to the first moon landing. This makes Allen the first black alleged thief whose photo has ever appeared in the New York Times

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

 

When God Is a Monster

Excerpt:

The children climb down into the crater left by an explosion and start picking up scraps of twisted metal. "Allah is great!" they shout before the camera hones in to show what one boy is holding: torn fabric, the colour of the camouflage fatigues worn by US troops. The next scene shows the same children holding aloft a human leg, shreds of the same camouflage fabric hang from it and the foot is clad in a military-style boot. The children trample the leg and kick it around in the dust.

[snip]

The Children's Crusade involved Christian children, some as young as six, making a pilgramage to take back the Holy Lands from the Saracen infidels.

It was a very sick thing, just about everyone agrees, that children should get the idea to go fight for God, and that some adults along the way should encourage or aid them in their pilgrammage.


Except... not really. Adults actually attempted to discourage the children from going off to Crusade, and many of the child-crusaders were turned back at the various cities en route to the Mediterranean port-cities which were the gateway to the Holy Land.

And, oh yeah: despite the venom leftist writers pour on the West for this sickest of all sick crusades, it seems the Children's Crusade probably never really happened at all, but was just a folk-tale that got recorded as "history."

But adult Muslims really are encouraging children to kill, themselves as well as others, for "God."

"God" wants children to commit suicide-murder.

One would think that "God" could manage his executions and bombings without resorting to the agency of children, but that's just me.

Thanks to Allah.

 

MEET THE 7-YEAR-OLD RACIST POET

From Michelle Malkin:

White Nationalism Put U In Bondage
White nationalism is what put you in bondagePirate and vampires like Columbus, Morgan, and DarwinDrank the blood of the sheep, trampled all over them withSteel, tricks and deceit.Nothing has changed take a look in our streetsThe mis-education of she and Hegro — leaves you on your knee2growBlack lands taken from your hands, by vampires with no remorseThey took the gold, the wisdom and all of the storytellersThey took the black women, with the black man weakMade to watch as they changed the paradigmOf our villageThey killed the blind, they killed the lazy, they wentSo far as to kill the unborn babyYeah White nationalism is what put you in bondagePirates and vampires like Columbus, Morgan, and DarwinThey drank the blood of the sheep, trampled all over them withSteel laden feet, throw in the tricks alcohol and deceit.Nothing has changed take a look at our streets.

 

Supporters of Freedom are Fools?

Excerpt:

Back in the Cold War, those of us who supported the Bukovskys and the Sharanskys were often told by the Walter Durantys of that time that we were fools, because we were only making things worse for the dissidents. But they were the real fools, and morally corrupt fools at that. So will it be today, provided that George W. Bush and his people have the tenacity to join this epic struggle, which uniquely fuses high virtue with fundamental national security.

 

Journalism and Prostitution

If you haven’t noticed, “Journalism” is a profession in the same sense as prostitution but without the same rigid entry requirements or the need to provide value.

I sstole it, but, God help me, It's great.

 

Fantasies About Jihad

The term "whistling past the graveyard" is not heard very much any more, but it describes what many people are doing when thinking about Islam. Islam is not now, and has never been, a "religion of peace." (It may be a religion of submission, but that is a very different thing.)

But what do you do when you are confronted with a reality so awful, that it terrifies you? For many people (perhaps most) the reaction is to suppress or deny reality. That is what most of the political leaders in Europe and many in the United States are doing with the otherwise-horrible reality of Islam.

Click HERE for a brilliant description of how the Dutch politicians are dealing with this problem.

Excerpt:

Blakeman introduced me to an official of the Dutch Ministry of Integration, who spends her days in dialogue with Dutch imams and other Muslim leaders. We began a wide-ranging discussion about the nature of the jihad threat and the proper response to it. In the course of this I asked her how many Muslim leaders she encountered who were ready to lay aside attachment to the Sharia, accept the Dutch governmental and societal structure and the parameters of Dutch pluralism, and be willing to live in Dutch society as equals to, not superiors of, non-Muslims indefinitely. She told me that there were only very few, but insisted that we had to work with those few, and indeed had to place our faith and hope in them, for otherwise the future was impossibly bleak. I asked her if she had read the Qur’an. She told me no, she hadn’t, and wouldn’t, because she didn’t want to lose all hope -- and because whatever was in it, she still had to work to find some accord with the Muslim leaders, no matter what.

I urged her to ask the imams with whom she spoke questions that made their loyalties clear, insofar as they would answer them honestly. I urged her to ask them whether they would like to see Sharia implemented in the Netherlands at any time in the future, and whether they were working toward that end in any way, peaceful as well as violent. I asked her to ask them whether they would be content to live as equals with non-Muslims indefinitely in a Dutch pluralistic society, or whether they would ultimately hope to institute Islamic supremacy and the subjugation of non-Muslims.

She couldn’t ask them those questions, she told me. Such questions would immediately put their relationship on a confrontational plane, when cooperation was what they wanted, not confrontation. But, I sputtered, you’re not getting cooperation as it is. The confrontation is already upon us. What is to be gained by pretending that it isn’t happening?

Monday, March 13, 2006

 

Feingold on the Constitution

Earlier in his career the Senator from Wisconsin sponsored legislation that "fixes" the blatant corruption of our national legislators by making it a crime for citizens to make political comments near an election.

That may not be possible to top, but Russ Feingold continues in the tradition of all witch hunters by introducing a resolution to censure the President for eavesdropping on al Qaida.

By Scott Ott.

 

Burning Down Churches

Speaking of the three college students who burned down a string of churches.

Excerpt:

Stories about the three in the Birmingham News point, in the first place, to lots of alcohol use, or rather abuse, since all were underage. Then there’s a reference, in a New York Times article, to marijuana. Last but not least, two of the three called themselves Satanists, which one said was "not about worshipping the devil, but about the pursuit of knowledge." At least one apparently ridiculed—perhaps light-heartedly, perhaps not—a fellow student who attended chapel at Birmingham-Southern, a school affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Another wrote this on a webpage: "Let us defy the very morals of society instilled upon us by our parents, our relatives and of course Jesus."

 

Yale Enrolls Taliban Goebbels

The two most dysfunctional management cultures I know of right now are the Bush White House and Yale University. From Katrina to Harriet Miers to Dubai, Team Bush is showing signs of being insular, burnt out, and desperately in need of new talent. The White House is also beset by an increasing number of leaks, the clear result of people frustrated that the higher-ups don't appear to be listening.

The president's alma mater is experiencing a similar flood of leaks, as the community there reacts to omertà the university has practiced in refusing meaningful comment on its admission of a former top Taliban official, Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi. Beyond a single vague 144-word statement (later expanded to 281 words, including a defense of Yale's not hosting a ROTC program), Yale won't let anyone comment officially, citing student privacy issues and hoping they can keep silent and last out the storm. But unofficially, some Yale administrators are privately trashing critics. One even anonymously sent scathing emails to two critics calling them "retarded" and "disgusting."


Read the rest.

UPDATE:

David Gelernter Makes the point about the "Taliban Goebbels" here

Thursday, March 09, 2006

 

Glenn Reynolds Takes One for the NY Times

IN WHICH I DEFEND THE NEW YORK TIMES AND OTHER MEDIA: Quite a few commentators (e.g., Michelle Malkin and Mark Steyn) are criticizing the New York Times and other media outlets for playing down the Islamic angle to the U.N.C. terrorist attack of Mohammed Taheri-azar.
There's no question that this angle is being downplayed. But it's arguable that the papers are doing this to reduce the likelihood of copycats. This doesn't appear to have been any sort of organized attack, just a lone-wolf effort by a guy who's not too sharp. It's still terrorism, of course, of a sort -- after all, Eric Rudolph was a lone-wolf guy who wasn't too sharp, though he seems to have been considerably sharper than Taheri-azar -- but in some ways it's more like the school shootings of the 1990s than real Al Qaeda type terrorism. Hyping those shootings led to copycats, and made the killers look like martyrs to disturbed potential imitators. There's a pretty good argument that the same applies here, and that it's more responsible to address this in fairly muted tones.


Before I begin my criticism, let me assure the good professor that I agree with him in most cases. In those areas where we disagree, it’s because he is of an agnostic-Libertarian bent and I am more of a Christian-Conservative.

However…

The argument that the papers are downplaying the Islamic angle to reduce the likelihood of copycats is laughable. It is indisputable that the NY Times and its old media acolytes view the world and national events virtually completely through a political prism. In those rare cases where they appear to acknowledge the Islamic problem –as in the ports controversy – it is simply as a way of wielding a handy political cudgel with which to beat Bush and split Conservative ranks.

Otherwise, for the legacy media there is no Islamic problem. “Bush lied, people died” remains the meme around which all events are interpreted. To have actual Islamic terrorists show up with the desire to kill us undercuts this message and simply will not be allowed to appear in print.

Witness their reaction to the now infamous 12 cartoons. Their newly minted “sensitivity” toward one particular religion – Islam – not only led them to abandon their much ballyhooed determination to defend free speech and a free press, they even managed to take the part of the Islamofacists against the editors of the paper that originally printed the innocuous cartoons.

The point Glenn makes about this being a lone-wolf attack is also irrelevant. How many times must it be pointed out that this war is not a war of nations and uniformed armies? It is a war of ideology in which individuals can be motivated to kill the enemy: us. It may be helpful, but it does not require a troop, a base and an organized group. One Imam preaching to one acolyte can create one jihadi. The suicide bomber operates alone. The actual organized terrorists operate in groups of a few dozens or hundreds, rarely thousands and certainly not in massive 20th century regiments, divisions and armies. For the author of “An Army of Davids” to have such dreary conventional ideas of how this was is being waged is disturbing.

And finally Glenn describes Taheri-azar as “not too sharp.” While I agree that standards at UNC are probably abysmal and even the most prestigious colleges are largely diploma mills, our friend did graduate from UNC Chapel Hill after studying psychology and philosophy. Our would-be assassin may have a bizarre mental outlook and may be a failure as a mass murderer, but there is no evidence that he is dumb.

Regarding the issue of copy-cat killers, I am afraid to say that examples of Islamic killers number in the thousands, using weapons ranging from beheading knives to fully loaded passenger aircraft. I’m afraid that that horse is well out of the barn. Our problem is not copy cat killers; it is a failure to identify the enemy. That can get a whole lot more of us killed.

I like you Glenn, but this excuse for the legacy media is too lame to pass the laugh test.

 

Hillary Can't Remember


 

War is Hell

The Belmont Club reminds us that wars we won were not fought by the nice rules that civilians who snipe with words, far from the battle lines, like to make for those who bleed and die:

All this killing during a peace is getting rather sickening. Bondoc, the accused mayor . . . was captured by Major Napoleon Valeriano's commando force of Philippine MPs. Valeriano is a friend of mine who heads a special headquarters intelligence team for MPC (PA) [Military Police Command (Philippine Army)]. These Filipinos run around Central Luzon with skull and crossbones flags flying from their jeeps and scout cars.... Cruelty and lust for murder are commonplace. Philippine Army MPs take but few prisoners. They merely shoot their newly captured Huks, often in the back of the head. It is hard to prove sedition, the true crime, against these folks, so why waste time with legal proceedings. On the other hand, MPs live but a few agonized moments after the Huks capture them. Both MPs and Huks have told me they learned to kill during the Jap occupation.

 

The MEMRI video

Arab-American Psychologist Wafa Sultan: There Is No Clash of Civilizations but a Clash between the Mentality of the Middle Ages and That of the 21st Century

 

Is Tim Russert Evil?

We've already noted the media's recent selective quoting of General George Casey, commanding general of the Multinational Forces in Iraq. This past weekend another fine example of the technique played out on national television.

See the comments. Here's an example of how the media lie to the American people:

In arguing a position, you take everything being said as confirming your position - irrespective of WHAT IS BEING SAID. Reporters are not asking a direct examination (like a lawyer) they are cross-examining people, because, by God, they know what the truth is and they are going to "catch" the speaker in a lie. And since the pursuit of the truth is really a HOLY calling, if by lying to a speaker I can get him to reveal his own lies - AH HA! I have fulfilled my scared mission. Hence the use of cut off audio/video clips.

"Mister Russert, someone accused you of (insert evil horrible unspeakable crime here), and they also accuse you of (next crime). I mean this is a serious charge - Is that who you ARE? I mean isn't there more, or is that who you ARE? They are referring to Mr. Russert, the journalist - you, right?"Russert: Yes, that's me....bu.." audio/video cutoff - Russert keeps talking off the air "but I can prove that these charges are false and that this is slander on my honest good name." Hello? Can you hear me? Is my mike on?"

"Yes, viewers. Sadly you heard it here first. When asked about whether it was he who commited these terrible (insert crimes here), Russert's response was "Yes, that's me.." I never would have believed it if I had not heard it with my own ears - you heard it too. So sad, that what lawyers would call an "admission" should be the end of a long journalistic career."

 

America's Majority

Click on the link and see the TV Ads and videos.

 

Steyn on the Long War

Excerpt:

My worry is that on the home front the war is falling prey to lack-of-mission creep -- that, in the absence of any real urgency and direction, the "long war" (to use the administration's new and unsatisfactory term) is degenerating into nothing but bureaucratic tedium, media doom-mongering and erratic ad hoc oppositionism. To be sure, all these have been present since Day One: The press have been insisting Iraq is teetering on the brink of civil war for three years and yet, despite the urgings of CNN and the BBC, those layabout Iraqis stubbornly refuse to get on with it. They're happy to teeter for another three years, no matter how many "experts" stamp their foot and pout their lips and say "I want my civil war now." The New York Times ran a headline after the big bombing: "More Clashes Shake Iraq; Political Talks Are In Ruins." The "political talks" resumed the day after publication. The "ruins" were rebuilt after 48 hours.

The quagmire isn't in Iraq but at home. For five years, beginning with the designation of "war on terror," the president's public presentation has been consistent: Islam is a great religion, religion of peace, marvelous stuff, White House Ramadan Banquet the highlight of the calendar, but, sadly, every barrel has one or two bad apples, even Islam believe it or not, and once we've hunted those down we'll join the newly liberated peace-loving Muslim democracies in a global alliance of peace-loving peaceful persons. Most sentient beings have been aware that there is, to put it mildly, a large element of evasion about this basic narrative, but only now is it being explicitly rejected by all sides. William F. Buckley and George Will have more or less respectfully detached themselves from the insane idealism of shoving liberty and democracy down people's throats whether they want it or not. And, on the ports deal with Dubai, a number of other commentators I respect plus a stampede of largely ignorant weathervane pols have denounced the administration for endangering American security on the eastern seaboard. I can't see that: The only change is that instead of being American stevedores employed by a British company they'll now be American stevedores employed by a United Arab Emirates company.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

 

Why the 21 Muslim Cartoons Must Be Published

From Front Page, we get the clearest exposition yet why newpapers and magazines and TV networks MUST publish those 12 cartoons of Mohammed. Will they (my paper is the Virginian Pilot) listen? Why, as we enter the 21st century is there even a question about defending freedom of speech?

This is not merely a symbolic expression of support; it is a practical countermeasure against censorship. Censorship— especially the violent, anarchic type threatened by Muslim fanatics—is effective only when it can isolate a specific victim, making him feel as if he alone bears the brunt of the danger. What intimidates an artist or writer is not simply some Arab fanatic in the street carrying a placard that reads "Behead those who insult Islam." What intimidates him is the feeling that, when the beheaders come after him, he will be on his own, with no allies or defenders—that everyone else will be too cowardly to stick their necks out.

The answer, for publishers, is to tell the Muslim fanatics that they can't single out any one author, or artist, or publication. The answer is to show that we're all united in defying the fanatics.
That's what it means to show "solidarity" by re-publishing the cartoons. The message we need to send is: if you want to kill anyone who publishes those cartoons, or anyone who makes cartoons of Mohammed, then you're going to have to kill us all. If you make war on one independent mind, you're making war on all of us. And we'll fight back.


Read the whole thing.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

 

AP Lies About What's on the Katrina Tapes

From Captain's Quarters:

Excerpt:

Later in the call, White House aide Joe Hagin asks specifically about the condition of the levees. Gov. Kathleen Blanco tells him that no failures were confirmed -- yet.

"We keep getting reports in some places that maybe water is coming over the levees," Blanco said. "I think we have not breached the levee. We have not breached the levee at this point in time.

From Power Line:

The AP article is fatally compromised by its factual errors, and adds nothing to our understanding of the issues surrounding Hurricane Katrina. It also raises an important point about the leaks that form the basis for many news stories these days. The AP took what appears to have been a substantial quantity of leaked material, and turned it into a brief against the Bush administration. Whether the documents themselves contain anything noteworthy, and whether, on balance, they support the AP's tendentious interpretation, is impossible to tell. In view of the fact that no one trusts the AP, the New York Times and other news outlets who make use of leaked documents and other materials to report on them objectively, here is a modest proposal: let us see them. If the AP will release the leaked materials, the rest of us will quickly figure out what significance, if any, they have.


UPDATE: Wizbang has more, including a link to the AP video, which confirms that the discussion was about levee overtopping, not breaching.





 

where the moderate Muslims are

Instapundit asks.


The forbidden cartoons of Mohammadness have been published more widely in Muslim countries than in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada combined. In Malaysia alone, three newspapers ran images – compared to just two newspapers in Australia.

Not a single major US daily went near them.

Including the Virginian Pilot.

 

Is Islam Compatible with a Free Society?

The Adventures of Chester asks this key question because the way we answer guides us to very different actions:

To say yes to our question, one assumes that there are aspects of being Muslim and faithful to Islam, that can coexist peacefully with liberty, tolerance, and equality. The strategy that follows is one of identifying the groups and sects within Islam that adhere to these notions of their religion, and then encouraging them, favoring them, propagating them, and splitting them off from the elements of Islamic practice that are all too incompatible with the portions of modernity that invigorate men's souls: free inquiry, free association, free commerce, free worship, or even the freedom to be left alone.

To answer no, one states that Islam itself is fundamentally irreconcilable with freedom. This leads to a wholly different set of tactical moves to isolate free societies from Islam. They might include:
-detention of Muslims, or an abrogation of certain of their rights;
-forced deportation of Muslims from free societies;
-rather than transformative invasions, punitive expeditions and punitive strikes;
-extreme racial profiling;
-limits on the practice and study of Islam in its entirety
And even some extreme measures if free societies find the above moves to be failing:
-forced conversion from Islam, or renunciation;
-colonization;
-extermination of Muslims wherever they are found.
These last are especially ghastly measures. But a society that thought Islam incompatible with freedom might in the long term slip towards them.

 

Passing Faces, or What Reuters Won't Tell You

From Belmont Club:

Excerpt:

The power of private individuals to move around information is pretty amazing. Reader G. sends facsimiles of the death warrants Saddam Hussein is accused of signing in Iraq. In his enclosing letter, Reader G. adds "the executions of 148 people had been carried out and that some of the named people were mistakenly released instead of being executed, and that other prisoners not on the list were executed by mistake!" The facsimiles are shown below...

[snip]

The documents revealed some unbelievably terrifying facts about the Dujail massacre; can you imagine that when orders were given to execute the 148 "convicts" the prison authorities executed only 96 of them. Why? Because the remaining 48 "convicts" had already passed away during "interrogation"!! What kind of interrogation was that killed one third of the suspects?!

[snip]

From two synoptic sources, we get complementary information of the same subject. Now here's a link to a Reuters story describing the presentation of the very documents described above.....

[snip]

The Reuters story actually has far less detail than Iraq the Model, but it confirms the readers account about some prisoners being executed or released "by mistake". Nowhere to be found in the Reuters report, however, is Iraq the Model's report that about 48 convicts had died under torture before they could be executed, and that's an historical mystery waiting to be solved.

[snip]

It struck me that without Iraq the Model the fate of those 48 tortured men might never have been known to the non-Iraqi audience. Not that it would bring them back, but "information warfare" in the sense of speaking the truth in the face of the lie or remembering what would otherwise have been forgotten is by definition a private act. It's an outcome of free speech.

Read the whole thing...

 

Steyn on the UN

At one level, the United Nations is merely the latest variant on the Congress of Vienna held almost two centuries ago—a venue where the great powers sit down to resolve the problems of the world to their mutual satisfaction. Unfortunately, unlike Lord Castlereagh, Prince Metternich and Talleyrand, none of whom would be asked to audition for a “We Are The World” charity fundraising single, the UN has become the repository of all the West’s sappiest illusions of one-worldism. Let me give an example. Nearly three years ago, the space shuttle Columbia crashed, and Katie Couric on NBC’s Today show saluted the fallen heroes as follows: “They were an airborne United Nations—men, women, an African-American, an Indian woman, an Israeli....”

By contrast, there’s a famous terror-supporting Islamist imam in Britain, Abu Hamza, who, when the shuttle crashed, claimed it was God’s punishment “because it carried Americans, an Israeli and a Hindu, a trinity of evil against Islam.” Say what you like about the old Islamofascist nutcake, but he was at least paying attention to the particulars of the situation, not just peddling, as Katie Couric did, vapid “multi-culti” bromides. Why couldn’t Katie have said the Columbia was an airborne America?

After all, the “Indian woman,” Kalpana Chawla, was the American Dream writ large upon the stars: she emigrated to the U.S. in the 1980s and became an astronaut within a decade. What an incredible country. But somehow it wasn’t enough to see in the crew’s multiple ethnicities a stirring testament to the possibilities of her own land; instead, Katie upgraded them into an emblem of what seemed to her a far nobler ideal—the UN.

In the days before Miss Couric’s observation—this was in 2003, just before the Iraq war— there had been two notable news items about the United Nations: (1) The newly elected chair of the UN Human Rights Commission was Colonel Gaddafi’s Libya; and (2) it was announced that in May, the presidency of the UN Conference on Disarmament would pass to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. But as Katie demonstrated, no matter what the UN actually is, the very initials evoke in her and many others some vague blurry memory of a long-ago UNESCO benefit with Danny Kaye or Audrey Hepburn surrounded by smiling children of many lands. There were many woozy Western leftists who felt—and still feel—that the theoretical idealism of Communism excused all its terrible failures in practice. The UN gets a similar pass, but from a far larger number of people. How else to explain all the polls in Europe, Australia, Canada and even America that show large numbers of people will only support war if it’s approved by the UN?

In fact, however, the UN is a shamefully squalid organization whose corruption is almost impossible to exaggerate. If you think—as the media and the left do in this country—that Iraq is a God-awful mess (which it’s not), then try being the Balkans or Sudan or even Cyprus or anywhere where the problem’s been left to the United Nations. If you don’t want to bulk up your pension by skimming the Oil-for-Food program, no need to worry. Whatever your bag, the UN can find somewhere that suits—in West Africa, it’s Sex-for-Food, with aid workers demanding sexual services from locals as young as four; in Cambodia, it’s drug dealing; in Kenya, it’s the refugee extortion racket; in the Balkans, sex slaves. On a UN peace mission, everyone gets his piece.

Didier Bourguet, a UN staffer in Congo and the Central African Republic, enjoyed the pleasures of 12-year-old girls, and as a result is now on trial in France. His lawyer has said he was part of a UN pedophile network operating from Africa to southeast Asia. But has anyone read anything about that? The merest glimpse of a U.S. servicewoman leading an Abu Ghraib inmate around with girlie knickers on his head was enough to prompt calls for Donald Rumsfeld’s resignation, and for Ted Kennedy to charge that Saddam’s torture chambers were now open “under new management.” But systemic UN child sex in at least 50 percent of their missions? The transnational morality set can barely stifle their yawns. If you’re going to sexually assault prepubescent girls, make sure you’re wearing a blue helmet.

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What I Have Learned In 15 Years

Tom McMahon on the meaning of life (and what it's like to raise a brain injured child): A MUST READ.

It was 15 years ago today that our 8-year-old son Ryan suffered a severe brain injury that left him unable to walk or talk or feed himself. He was in the hospital (in two hospitals, actually) for over six months, and ever since has lived with us at home. I thought I would share some of the lessons I've learned in these past 15 years:

[snip]

I don't know about tomorrow
I just live from day to day
I don't borrow from the sunshine
For its skies may turn to gray
I don't worry o'er the future
For I know what Jesus said
And today I'll walk beside him
For he knows what lies ahead

Many things about tomorrow
I don't seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand
...




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