Sunday, July 31, 2005

The Hillary Factor

Michael Totten ponders the electability of Hillary Clinton, and concludes that, if nominated, her chances may depend on the Republican nominee:
Swing voters will never love Hillary Clinton. But swing voters don’t have to like who they vote for. They just need to dislike their candidate less than they dislike the other party’s candidate.
As usual, there is a good discussion to be read in the comments to his post.

The Terror-Dictatorship Axis

It appears pretty obvious that the "insurgents" in Iraq are receiving support from someone with deep pockets. A failure of democracy in Iraq would further the interests of the regimes in Syria and Iran. A United States that is bogged down in Iraq is less likely to militarily confront one of those dictatorial nations. Mohammed at Iraq the Model looks at the meddling of Syria and Iran in his country's struggle, and comes to a conclusion:
I would say that the war in Iraq would not stop unless it is taken to another front and our strategy must focus on chasing terrorism and striking its bases and strongholds instead of waiting for it to strike.

The objectives of our mission cannot be accomplished without changing the Syrian and Iranian regimes in any possible way because the battle in Iraq will not stop until guns are heard in Syria and Iran.
These two regimes are looking for half-solutions that prolong their stay for several more years and of course they've learned from Saddam who managed to stay in power for 12 years after 1991 by making full use of half-solutions.
Our current situation cannot tolerate further postponement and every delay will reflect negatively on democracy in Iraq and peace in the Middle East and I fear that the signs of changes that are emerging in Yemen, Lebanon and Egypt would be buried in their cradle before they see the daylight IF the regimes felt safe again.

Bottom line is and to answer the question I put in the beginning of this post I say; No, they haven't won yet but if these two regimes cannot be changed soon (whether on the hands of inside or outside powers) then their chances of winning will be much greater.
While the world has to fight the terror-supporting regimes we will keep fighting terror inside Iraq and only this level of cooperation can save Iraq, the region and the world from the counter attack of the terror-dictatorship axis.

That's a Good Question

Some claim that the London terror bombings are Tony Blair's fault. His support of the Iraqi invasion, and the continuing occupation of Iraq are responsible. Arthur Chrenkoff:
There are 250,000 Iraqis living in Great Britain - that's quarter of a million people, one of the biggest communities in Iraqi diaspora, and just under one sixth of the total British Muslim population of some 1.6 million.

So why, among the original 7/7 bombers, the next lot of recently captured bombers, and all the other people arrested in connection with the attacks, aren't there any British Iraqis?

Hacking al Qaeda

From The Times:
Over the past fortnight Israeli intelligence agents have noticed something distinctly odd happening on the internet. One by one, Al-Qaeda’s affiliated websites have vanished until only a handful remain, write Uzi Mahnaimi and Alex Pell.

Someone has cut the line of communication between the spiritual leaders of international terrorism and their supporters. Since 9/11 the websites have been the main links to disseminate propaganda and information.

The Israelis detect the hand of British intelligence, determined to torpedo the websites after the London attacks of July 7.
Two key ways to break terrorist organizations are to cut their communications and their funding. It's about time for this kind of action to be taken.

(Via LGF).

Howard Dean Speaks (Unfortunately)

Howard Dean continues to drive swing voters away from the Democratic party. I missed this story from last week, but so has the mainstream media. Dean made some comments about the Kelo decision:
"The president and his right-wing Supreme Court think it is 'okay' to have the government take your house if they feel like putting a hotel where your house is," Dean said, not mentioning that until he nominated John Roberts to the Supreme Court this week, Bush had not appointed anyone to the high court.

Dean's reference to the "right-wing" court was also erroneous. The four justices who dissented in the Kelo vs. New London case included the three most conservative members of the court - Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Associate Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor was the fourth dissenter.

The court's liberal coalition of Justices John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer combined with Justice Anthony Kennedy to form the majority opinion, allowing the city of New London, Conn., to use eminent domain to seize private properties for commercial development.
(Via Protein Wisdom).

Saturday, July 30, 2005

The Search For Moderate Muslims

The support and assistance of moderate, tolerant Muslims would go a long way in the war against Islamists. Since the terrorist attacks in London and Egypt, there have been more reports of Muslims speaking out against terrorism. Of course it is important for them to denounce the terrorists and their ideology, rather than just terrorist acts.

It is encouraging to hear this:
Moderate Moslem voices are now being heard, which is a major victory in the war on terror. Since the emergence of radical Islamic terrorism in the 1990s, one of the major failures of religious and political leadership in the world's Moslem community has been their apparent unwillingness to openly criticize fellow Moslems. While this reticence is not unknown in the leadership of other religions plagued by radical extremists, given the strength and lethality of Moslem radicals, this failure to openly confront the extremists has led to considerable public outcry in the non-Moslem world. Of late, however, there are indications that Islamic religious leaders are becoming increasingly aware of how their failure to speak up has served only to encourage the radicals, while further discrediting Islam in the world at large. For some time now Afghan and Iraqi clerics been speaking up, often at considerable personal risk. By ones estimate some 200 Moslem clerics have been slain in the past year or so because they spoke out. And of late, other voices have been raised as well.

In Britain, the Moslem Council of Britain has strongly condemned the recent attacks in London, one spokesman stating "These terrorists, these evil people want to demoralize us as a nation and divide us. All must unite in helping the police to hunt these murderers down."
Unfortunately, whenever I start to feel optimistic, I find that there are still too may people like this:
The most senior Islamic cleric in Birmingham claimed yesterday that Muslims were being unjustly blamed in the war on terrorism and that the eight suspects in the two bombing attacks on London "could have been innocent passengers".

Mohammad Naseem, the chairman of the city's central mosque, called Tony Blair a "liar" and "unreliable witness" and questioned whether CCTV footage issued of the suspected bombers was of the perpetrators.

He said that Muslims "all over the world have never heard of an organisation called al-Qa'eda".
What else is there to know about Mr. Naseem? He "is one of the most respected Muslims in the city and is considered a moderate."

Isn't that comforting?

Friday, July 29, 2005

The Bogus Fatwa

Yesterday, an organization known as the Fiqh Council of North America, in association with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), issued a fatwa against "terrorism and extremism".

CAIR's involvement is an automatic red flag, and I had never heard of the Fiqh Council. My skepticism appears to be well-founded. From terrorism expert, Steve Emerson:
In fact, the fatwa is bogus. Nowhere does it condemn the Islamic extremism ideology that has spawned Islamic terrorism. It does not renounce nor even acknowledge the existence of an Islamic jihadist culture that has permeated mosques and young Muslims around the world. It does not renounce Jihad let alone admit that it has been used to justify Islamic terrorist acts. It does not condemn by name any Islamic group or leader. In short, it is a fake fatwa designed merely to deceive the American public into believing that these groups are moderate. In fact, officials of both organizations have been directly linked to and associated with Islamic terrorist groups and Islamic extremist organizations. One of them is an unindicted co-conspirator in a current terrorist case; another previous member was a financier to Al-Qaeda.
A real problem in the fight against Islamism is the presence of certain groups that claim to represent moderate Muslims, when in fact, they are anything but moderate themselves.

Name Those Nails

Time for some sardonic humor, courtesy of Protein Wisdom. Don't skip the comments.

VDH Friday

Today's offering: "Reformation or Civil War?"
Quite simply, Islam is not in need of a reformation, but of a civil war in the Middle East, since the jihadists cannot be reasoned with, only defeated. Only with their humiliation, will come a climate of tolerance and reform, when berated and beaten-down moderates can come out of the shadows.

The challenge for the Middle East is analogous to our own prior war with Hitler who sought to redefine Western culture along some racial notion of a pure Volk long ago unspoiled by Romanizing civilization. Proving the West was not about race or some notion of an ubermenschen ruling class did not require an “internal dialogue,” much less another religious reformation, but the complete annihilation of Nazism.

So it must be with the latest fad of radical Islamicism. Contrary to popular opinion, there has not been a single standard doctrine of hatred in the Middle East. Radical Islam is just the most recent brand of many successive pathologies, not necessarily any more embraced by a billion people than Hitler’s Nazism was characteristic of the entire West...

...The Middle East does not need a reformation in Islam as much as a war to eradicate a minority of religious fanatics who are empowered through their blackmail of dictatorships — and to do so in a way that leads to constitutional government rather than buttressing a police state. So far governments have chosen appeasement and bribery — if at times some torture when demands for investigations rise — and so time is running out for the entire region.

There are a million Muslims in Israel — the mother of all evils in the radical Islamic mind. Yet very few have turned themselves into global jihadists, and hundreds are not blowing themselves up daily in Tel Aviv, much less in London or New York. Why? Perhaps the twofold knowledge that they have rights in Israel not found in the Arab world that they don’t wish to forfeit, and they are surrounded by people who would not tolerate their terrorism.
Read it all.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Anti-semitism in the Arab World

Here is a very interesting read in which Matthias Kuntzel discusses the origins of Jew-hatred in the Middle East:
Anti-Semitism based on the notion of a Jewish world conspiracy is not rooted in Islamic tradition but, rather, in European ideological models. The decisive transfer of this ideology to the Muslim world took place between 1937 and 1945 under the impact of Nazi propaganda. Important to this process were the Arabic-language service broadcast by the German shortwave transmitter in Zeesen between 1939 and 1945, and the role of Haj Amin el-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, who was the first to translate European anti-Semitism into an Islamic context. Although Islamism is an independent, anti-Semitic, antimodern mass movement, its main early promoters - the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the Mufti and the Qassamites in Palestine - were supported financially and ideologically by agencies of the German National Socialist government.
(Via Harry's Place).

Media Watch

Davids Medienkritik reports that Spiegel Online is rather loosely translating its articles from German to English. A headline about Iraq at Spiegel Online's English website asks, "Is the Country Heading for Civil War?" However:
In the German version, the headline clearly indicates that a civil war is already beginning, whereas in the English version, the headline is far more speculative and simply asks whether the country could be heading towards civil war. In fact, the article's actual content completely contradicts the English version's altered headline. The eleventh paragraph of the magazine's English translation reads:

"This civil war, which has in fact been underway for some time, isn't just frightening the citizens of Baghdad, whose lives have become a living hell as a result."

So if the civil war "has in fact been underway for some time," why would you lead the story with a headline asking if the country is "heading for civil war?
The English website also lacks some of the content of the original German site:
On the whole, SPIEGEL's "English Site" is noticeably less strident in terms of its anti-American, anti-British tone when compared to its German-language counterpart. Few of the magazine's harshest articles, (the sort that we frequently post about here on Davids Medienkritik), ever make it onto the "English Site." Now why might that be? Is SPON afraid to tell English-language readers what it really thinks of them?
(Via Instapundit).

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Curses

In Israel, the center rules, and a society with a strong center does not tolerate violence from its extremist elements. As a result, extremists have to try different tactics:
Far-right activists instigated a pulsa denura - Aramaic for 'lashes of fire' - death curse against Prime Minister Ariel Sharon last Thursday night in an effort to thwart the upcoming disengagement plan...

...Far-right activist Michael Ben-Horin explained that the point of the curse was to exempt a human from having to kill Ariel Sharon, allowing "the angels of destructions" to do it instead.

Churchill and Gandhi

Two great men, two very different philosophies. One favors confronting tyranny, the other urges pacifism. Can these two men share an apartment without driving each other crazy? (Sorry, it's the heat).

Which one was right, or does it depend on the situation? Does it depend on the foe? Cicero discusses this, with a little help from George Orwell.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Direct From Iraq

I haven't linked to him before, but Michael Yon has been blogging from Iraq, and this is from his latest post, "Empty Jars":
The enemy in Iraq does not appear to be weakening; if anything, they are becoming smarter, more complicated and deadlier. But this does not mean they are winning; to imply that getting smarter and deadlier equates to winning, is fallacious. Most accounts of the situation in Iraq focus on enemy "successes" (if success is re-defined as annihiliation of civility), while redacting the increasing viability and strength of the Iraqi government, which clearly is outpacing the insurgency.

The Mosul police are now strong enough to launch successful undercover operations, and have been fanning out across Mosul and surrounding villages, snooping and listening for snippets. On July 15th, police working undercover in a village Northwest of Mosul heard a group of villagers talking about a weapons cache, but the location was not mentioned. Iraqi forces locked down the village, searched and found a weapons depot from Syria into Mosul. Iraqi police also found and rescued the 28 year-old woman I mentioned briefly in the last dispatch. She was the wife of a Mosul journalist, and had been kidnapped and held for ransom by members of a beheading cell. After the village search, police hauled four men to a Mosul station for interrogation, and alerted the Americans.

Soldiers from A Company, 1-24th Infantry Regiment, headed to the police station to find out what the cops were learning, and I asked LT David Beaudoin, who was leading the patrol, if I could tag along. I had first met Beaudoin some months ago after a car bombing that claimed some of our people. Since that time, I had come to know Beaudoin as quiet, always polite, and well-liked by the soldiers. It was Beaudoin's mannered countenance that everyone saw as we arrived and sat down in a police colonel's office. The colonel was engaged in conversation with the Iraqi journalist, the husband of the 28 year-old woman who had been released.

As details of the kidnapping emerged, the surface of the big picture rippled with a winding current of revision. The kidnappers had threatened to cut off his wife's head, the journalist explained, kill him, and the rest of his family. But they would take $45,000 in exchange for "civility."

Evidently, the journalist had not been targeted for exercizing the power of the press; it was the promise of precedent that attended this abduction. Only months earlier, four men kidnapped the journalist's brother-in-law and demanded ransom of $50,000. The family negotiated the fee down to $5,000. A deal was struck, the money paid, and the "civility" delivered. Now, apparently, the same four kidnappers were back for the balance: $45,000. But the Iraqi undercover police, listening to people talking in a marketplace, picked up the trail that led to the rescue, and their eavesdropping also unleashed a cascade of avalanching proportions.
Here's more:
The Libyan, like so many "jihadists" who come to Iraq itching for action in the holy war, found himself treated as exspendable bomb casing. He started confessing everything. In fact, he had no sooner sat down at the table in the detention facility here on base than he had filled three pages with his detailed handwritten confessions. He had crossed the border from Syria into Iraq on foot, intent on fighting a holy war, as an infantryman engaged in direct combat with American soldiers. He did not want to be a martyr, merely a jihadist. He did not want to die in Iraq. His Iraqis "hosts" had threatened to kill him if he refused to wear and detonate the explosive vest while mingling into a crowd of Iraqi police. But the Libyan did not like that plan and now was angry at the Iraqis who were trying to force a holy jihadist to become an unwilling bomb, and he was telling everything. Another cascade.

A "Million Muslim March"?

Ahmed H. Al-Rahim, an Iraqi-American, looks for Muslims willing to speak out in a real way against Islamism:
It seems that the only time we hear from the Muslim masses is when there are alleged desecrations of the Quran, or of prisoner abuse in Iraq. Where is the Muslim outrage, the mass protests to defend Islam, in whose sacred name murder is committed nearly every day, against what Western leaders describe as a "perversion of its true nature"?

Alas, the battle against Islamism -- and also for the heart of Islam -- has become a battle for the West to fight. As a Muslim, these acts of terrorism committed by fellow Muslims -- and yes, they are Muslims, from whom we cannot distance ourselves by the sophistry that asserts that their version is but a perversion of Islam -- are a great source of shame. But what is more shameful is that there are no mass Muslim protests to speak of against terrorism that is committed in our name. In the same way that Muslims have protested against alleged desecrations of the Quran, they now should be out in full force in the streets of Cairo, London and New York, sending a clear message to the Islamists that Enough is Enough. Why not a "Million Muslim March" on Washington, of law-abiding Muslim citizens clamoring to reclaim their faith from those who would kill innocents in its name? Muslims must no longer stand by while murder and suicide bombings are committed in their name.

(Via LGF).

Oil-for-Food and Overseas Accounts

Why am I not surprised about this? Roger L. Simon has provided extensive coverage of the oil-for-food scandal at the U.N. Today, he points to a story in the Telegraph:
Investigators in the Iraqi oil-for-food scandal have discovered a network of overseas bank accounts operated by Benon Sevan, the former head of the United Nations programme, who is the subject of a criminal inquiry by New York prosecutors.

Officials from investigative agencies, including the UN's Volcker inquiry, say that Mr Sevan has accounts in his native Cyprus, Turkey and Switzerland.
The plot sickens.

And A Farm Animal To Be Named Later

From Sky News:
40 GOATS TO BUY CHELSEA
Former US president Bill Clinton has been offered 40 goats and 20 cows for his daughter by a love-struck African government official.

Mr Clinton was offered the deal on a recent trip to Kenya.

He was offered the animals as a traditional African way of getting a father to give away his daughter's hand in marriage.

The dowry is a very generous one by the country's own standards.
(Via Donklephant)

Bouyeri Sentenced

The killer of Theo Van Gogh has been sentenced to life in prison without parole. PeakTalk has been all over this story. Here's more about the sentence, media coverage, and also some thoughts about the man who was killed.

Monday, July 25, 2005

An Islamist at the Guardian, Part 4

The Guardian strikes back against bloggers.

Scott Burgess returns serve.

For anyone new to this story, see Parts 1, 2, and 3.

Anti-terror Protests in Egypt

As a response to the bombings in Sharm El Sheikh, there have been anti-terror marches in that city, as well as in Cairo. This is a welcome sign, but why don't we hear more about it from the Western media? Glenn Reynolds:
What's depressing is how little attention these demonstrations got from the media (you'll notice that most of the links above are to blog reports, not news stories). If any of these groups had blown something up -- or even just burned President Bush in effigy -- they probably would have made the evening news. But when Arabs and Muslims defy news-media typecasting, they seem to be ignored.
The Arab media has been reporting this story, though.

How Low Can The AP Go?

I second the disgust of Meryl Yourish over this photo from the AP. Printing a picture released by Islamic Jihad terrorists, that shows so-called "activists" who are yukking it up as they prepare to attack an "Israeli target" is just vile, and so reprehensible that words cannot describe it.

BTW, here's the "Israeli target": Dov Kol, 58, and his wife Rahel, 53, were killed, and are survived by their three children.

I guess we know which side the AP is on.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Reaction To The Death Of An Innocent Man

Joe Gandelman has a round-up of reactions to the killing of an innocent man who was suspected of being a suicide bomber in London, along with his own thoughts:
It is a tragedy, but how can officials solve this one? Waiting too long could mean if the person is a suicide bomber police, bystanders, etc could be blown up. Shoot quickly could mean someone who panics at the wrong time, misunderstands what's going on and is either highly suspcious or flees, etc. could wind up on a slab in a morgue.

It's the quintessential debate about balancing rights of the individual and the common good — and it's likely be a huge debate particularly if there are more innocent deaths.
In the end, the terrorists themselves are the ones to blame, due to their strategy of blending into the population. It's unfortunate that they have forced us to make such difficult, and costly (in terms of innocent life) decisions.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Midsummer Mideast Madness

An editorial from today's NY Times:
The second-to-last thing that Palestinians need is an internal civil war between members of President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party and militant extremists from Hamas and Islamic Jihad. It was heartening to see that after a week of the worst infighting in years, the two sides announced a cease-fire - even if they did have a shootout four hours later.
It's refreshing to see that the Palestinians take cease-fires amongst themselves as seriously as they take them with Israel.
But if the Palestinians can't afford an internal civil war, they can afford a war with Israel even less. So while it is nice to see Mr. Abbas trying to quell the Palestinian-on-Palestinian violence, he would do well to focus more of his energy on quelling the Palestinian-on-Israeli violence that has been under way in advance of Israel's planned disengagement from Gaza. Indeed, the so-called cease-fire between Fatah and Hamas apparently just clears the decks for Hamas to refocus on Israel. That was immediately evident this week, when, in announcing the cease-fire, a senior Hamas leader said the organization was doing so "in order to ensure that arms would only be used to resist the Israeli occupation."
That paragraph almost gave me whiplash. Could Hamas and other "militant extremists" be the problem? Hmm?
This really is a textbook case in the myriad ways that extremists can hijack an entire population. No reasonable person can doubt that the Hamas attacks hurt the Palestinians more than the Israelis.
Well, I guess that makes me an unreasonable person. I guess that Israelis who have been under rocket and mortar attacks are also unreasonable people.
That is exactly the kind of violence that has given the Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, the ammunition to destroy the Palestinian police force, freeze the movement of ordinary Palestinians throughout the occupied territories and seal disputed land behind Israel's new security fence. But Hamas appears hellbent on trying to prove to the world that it is their attacks that are driving Israel out of Gaza. So instead of sitting back and waving goodbye peacefully as the Israelis leave, Hamas seems to prefer that the exodus be carried out under fire.
Again, no mention of Israeli civilians who have been under attack, and those who are safer because of the security fence.
Meanwhile, Israel's extremist right wing is doing its own hijacking. While polls show most Israelis support the withdrawal of 8,500 Gaza settlers, you wouldn't know it from the noise being made in Jerusalem, or in the desert near the Gaza Strip, where thousands of religious protesters have camped out, pledging to do whatever they can to hamper the withdrawal. While Mr. Sharon has blocked their efforts so far, he continues to try to advertise the pullback as one undertaken for Israel's own reasons, and not part of any negotiated deal with the Palestinians, or a response to Palestinian terrorism.
Okay, it's moral equivalence time again. Israeli right wing protesters=Hamas terrorists.
The withdrawal from Gaza, handled with sanity, could be a first step toward getting back to the road map to peace. Unfortunately, sanity has not been the norm so far on either side of the Israeli security barrier.
Once more with the same moral equivalence game.

Comparing the Israeli right wing with Hamas and other terrorists, is far from valid. As the NY Times' own columnist, Tom Friedman has pointed out, in Israel the center rules. It has thus far shown the will and the ability to control the extremist elements in its society. The same cannot be said of the Palestinians. The only way for there to be true peace and coexistence in the region is for a strong Palestinian center to emerge. While nobody should hope for violence, it may be that the only way for this to occur is through a Palestinian civil war.

The Times editorial makes no sense in that it does not offer a solution to the violence and stated goals of Hamas. While the Times mentions the roadmap to peace, the Editors might want to review some of the responsibilities of the Palestinians under Phase I:
Palestinians declare an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism and undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt, and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks on Israelis anywhere.
Rebuilt and refocused Palestinian Authority security apparatus begins sustained, targeted, and effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure. This includes commencing confiscation of illegal weapons and consolidation of security authority, free of association with terror and corruption.
This takes us back to the beginning of the editorial. Contrary to what the NY Times argues, could a Palestinian civil war lead to the formation of the strong center that is necessary for peace to have a chance? Is the NY Times condemning the Palestinian Authority for actually attempting to control terrorists, which is clearly laid out in the roadmap to peace as one of its responsibilities?

Update: Welcome LGF readers.

An Islamist at the Guardian, Part 3

Dilpazier Aslam, a member of a radical Islamist group, who I have posted about here and here, has been released from the Guardian's trainee journalist program.

Thanks to Scott Burgess for bringing this story to light.

Update: Val MacQueen has an overview, and wonders if the Guardian knew of Aslam's membership in a terrorist organization before Mr. Burgess got involved.

Update 2: Clive Davis has more. (Via Roger L. Simon).

Friday, July 22, 2005

Pluralism vs. Multiculturalism

It's all about tolerance. From Perry de Havilland:
We do not need Muslims to approve of alcohol or women in short skirts or figurative art or bells or pork or pornography or homosexuality or (particularly) apostasy. We have no right to demand that at all and obviously not all Anglicans approve of some of those things, so why require that Muslims must? No, what we do have the right to demand (and that is not too strong a word) is that they tolerate those things, which is to say they will not countenance the use of force to oppose those things even though they disapprove of them. In fact it is not just Muslims from whom we must demand such tolerance.

Under Construction

Iraqis are working on their own Bill of Rights. Publius Pundit has the details.

TallDave laments the lack of attention that this is getting from the mainstream media.

(Via Instapundit).

VDH Friday

And Then They Came After Us:
Jihadists hardly target particular countries for their “unfair” foreign policies, since nations on five continents suffer jihadist attacks and thus all apparently must embrace an unfair foreign policy of some sort.

Typical after the London bombing is the ubiquitous Muslim spokesman who when asked to condemn terrorism, starts out by deploring such killing, assuring that it has nothing to do with Islam, yet then ending by inserting the infamous “but” — as he closes with references about the West Bank, Israel, and all sorts of mitigating factors. Almost no secular Middle Easterners or religious officials write or state flatly, “Islamic terrorism is murder, pure and simple evil. End of story, no ifs or buts about it.”

Second, thinking that the jihadists will target only Israel eventually leads to emboldened attacks on the United States. Assuming America is the only target assures terrorism against Europe. Civilizations will either hang separately or triumph over barbarism together. It is that simple — and past time for Europe and the United States to rediscover their common heritage and shared aims in eradicating this plague of Islamic fascism.

Third, Islamicists are selective in their attacks and hatred. So far global jihad avoids two billion Indians and Chinese, despite the fact that their countries are far tougher on Muslims than is the United States or Europe. In other words, the Islamicists target those whom they think they can intimidate and blackmail.

Unfettered immigration, billions in cash grants to Arab autocracies, alliances of convenience with dictatorships, triangulation with Middle Eastern patrons of terror, blaming the Jews — civilization has tried all that.

It is time to relearn the lessons from the Cold War, when we saw millions of noble Poles, Romanians, Hungarians, and Czechs as enslaved under autocracy and a hateful ideology, and in need of democracy before they could confront the Communist terror in their midst.

But until the Wall fell, we did not send billions in aid to their Eastern European dictatorships nor travel freely to Prague or Warsaw nor admit millions of Communist-ruled Bulgarians and Albanians onto our shores.

Media Watch-Who Do You Believe? (Update)

Yesterday, I compared two stories; one from Reuters, and one from Haaretz, which were both about the murder of a Palestinian boy. The Reuters article told of unnamed witnesses who blamed Israeli settlers for the crime, while Haaretz reported that Palestinian officials had told the IDF that fellow Palestinians had been responsible.

Reuters has a follow-up:
...senior Palestinian security officials investigating the incident said on Thursday there was no evidence that settlers had been behind the stabbing.

Rase Rajbeh, a Preventive Security official from Nablus, said police were investigating the possibility the boy was stabbed as part of a feud with another Palestinian family or that he was killed by Palestinian criminals.
Of course, that didn't prevent them from printing the original, erroneous report. Why bother confirming a story if it fits your agenda? Does Reuters know the difference between news and propaganda? Does Reuters care?

Trouble in Thailand

The American press hasn't had much coverage of the violence in southern Thailand. For the past 18 months, the government has been battling Islamic separatists in that predominantly Muslim region. Alan Dawson, an editor with the Bangkok Post, looks at the history of southern Thailand, as well as the current conflict:
Last week's attack on a major province capital in the deep South of Thailand has taken the 18-month regional war by a shadowy gang of Islamist separatists to new levels on both sides of the conflict. In their coordinated attack on Yala town, the insurgents showed new expertise they appear to be learning from forces with strong links to international terrorism in Malaysia and Indonesia. The government responded with new anti-terrorism measures that go far beyond even the anti-communist laws of the recent Cold War era.
The escalations from both sides only accentuate the obvious, that the southern insurgency will continue in Thailand. But an even greater danger than a murderous rebellion in the furthest provinces from the seat of government in Bangkok is that the fighting in the South will turn into a full-fledged terrorist campaign with full participation by al-Qaeda and its subsidiaries.
According to Dawson, "there is no history of religious animosity in Thailand," but the insurgency had taken on some familiar tactics, such as beheading. Charles Johnson has been out in front of this part of the story with numerous reports of insurgent violence.

If there's a way to blame this violence on the war in Iraq or on the Israelis (or on the worldwide Zionist conspiracy), I'm sure someone will.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Rites of Passage

There's a great read at Donklephant, written by Callimachus. (Say that sentence five times fast.) My Left Behind is a three part essay about a self-described liberal's political and philosophical journey. I am providing an excerpt, but the entire essay is well worth your time.
I grew up thinking that, and I identified myself as a liberal. What may surprise some of you is, I still do.

A liberal believes change can be good, especially when guided by a spirit of free inquiry and a firm sense of what is right and when it aims to increase human freedom and let people run their own lives. A liberal believes people are basically good, and they can, and want to, make their lives better. It’s a faith enshrined in Bobby Kennedy’s quote (nicked from G.B. Shaw) about “seeing things that never were” and saying, “why not?”

A liberal believes the values enshrined in the Bill of Rights are true human values, not merely cultural artifacts. The West has no gift from the gods, and our citizens are not better than those of other lands, but we’ve set up these principles as our collective guide and have committed ourselves to live by them, when right, and be corrected by them, when wrong.

Many commentaries have been written by the “Left Behinds” since Sept. 11, explaining how we haven’t changed, but our old party and peers seem to have abandoned the ideals we thought we held in common, for the sake of another set that we never realized were their true passion.

Such writing almost forms an online genre, and it has been mocked, sometimes deservedly. Messy break-ups acted out in public, plates flying, shouts of “I feel like I don’t know you anymore!” Possibly all this is no deep matter. The evolution of a mildly radical young man to a mildly conservative middle-aged one is among the oldest stories. Yet I feel neither “conservative” nor evolved. I still believe I’m upholding the values of my liberal youth, albeit in a different form.

Media Watch-Who Do You Believe?

From Haaretz:
Palestinian boy likely stabbed to death in West Bank clan feud
By Arnon Regular, Haaretz Correspondent and The Associated Press

A Palestinian boy was stabbed to death Wednesday in what was likely a brawl between rival clans in the West Bank...

...The circumstances of the killing were not immediately clear and Palestinians initially claimed the boy was stabbed during a violent clash with settlers. The boy's father blamed settlers but said he was unable to identify them for certain.

Later, however, senior Palestinian figures told Israel Defense Forces figures the boy was likely murdered within the context of a clan feud.

The same story, from Reuters:
Israeli settlers kill Palestinian boy -witnesses
Source: Reuters

Jewish settlers stabbed a Palestinian boy to death in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on Wednesday, witnesses said.
The Reuters piece offers fewer details, and states as fact what its unnamed reporter was told by unnamed witnesses.

Then, as way of explanation, Reuters can't help but throw in some slanted rhetoric:
Settler resentment has been running especially high because of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to quit Gaza and a corner of the West Bank next month in what he calls "disengagement" from conflict with the Palestinians.

Palestinians welcome any Israeli withdrawals from occupied land but fear Sharon plans to leave them tiny Gaza while keeping major West Bank settlement blocs.
All of a sudden, Gaza is "tiny." I can't remember it ever being described that way, until Israel decided to leave. I won't even mention the way that some Palestinians are welcoming Israeli withdrawals (with mortar and rocket attacks). Oops, I mentioned it.

(Via Meryl Yourish).

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Put It On My Tab

Andrew Sullivan discovered a mind-boggling statistic in last Friday's Opinion Journal. The column, which discussed the shrinking budget deficit, included this:
Republicans share a hefty part of the blame for creating the most fiscally unaffordable new spending program in the past quarter century: the Medicare prescription drug bill, with an unfunded liability that is larger than the GDP of every other country in the world.
(Emphasis mine.) That is just amazing, and verified by Andrew here.

What They're Saying About Roberts

Captain's Quarters looks at what the major newspapers think about the nomination of John Roberts for the Supreme Court.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

BS Meter Alert

A terrorist speaks:
Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar rejected Palestinian Authority claims that the firing of rockets on Israel was causing damage to Palestinian interests, saying the attacks had brought about the decision to withdraw from the Gaza Strip...

..."Who said that the rockets are harmful to the national interests of the Palestinians," Zahar asked. "History has proven that the rockets have been in the interests of the Palestinians. The rockets have forced Israel to withdraw from the Gaza Strip, and they will end the occupation in the future. It's the resistance, and not the negotiations, that brought about the end of the occupation."
This is such utter and complete nonsense that any comments seem superfluous. Whether the Hamas leader really believes this, or if it is merely political rhetoric is beside the point. Talk like this only serves to damage whatever chances for peace may exist. It also proves (I'm talking to you, Europe) that Hamas is not part of the solution in the Middle East.

Hamas has made it clear (just read their charter) that they want to destroy Israel. Either the Palestinians themselves or the Israelis can do what needs to be done. If there is to be a peaceful, two-state solution, Hamas, and other terrorist groups must be dealt with first.

(via Meryl Yourish)

Code Yellow for Zimbabwe

Arthur Chrenkoff has the details of the new U.N. (T)error Alert System.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Reforming Islam

Irshad Manji, author of "The Trouble With Islam," and seeker of an Islamic reformation, spoke to The Times:
Doesn’t the violent Muslim minority show Islam is flawed? “I ask myself the same question,” she grimaces. Far from regarding Muslims as oppressed they have a “supremacy complex — and that’s dangerous”. This, she contends, is true even among moderates. “Literalists” who consider the Koran the “perfect manifesto of God” have taken over the mainstream; and far from misreading Islam, as Tony Blair and the Muslim Council of Britain insist, terrorists can find encouragement for murder in the Koran...

...“Why do they protest against France for making it illegal to wear hijabs, but not against Saudi Arabia for making it illegal not to wear them?”...

...She recalls asking Mohamed al-Hindi, political leader of Islamic Jihad, where the Koran glorifies martyrdom; he insisted it was there, but even after looking up books and phoning colleagues, he couldn’t find one reference.

“His translator suggested I better go if I wanted to leave alive,” she recalls. “I asked why he had even given an interview, and the translator said, ‘Oh, he assumed you would be just another dumb westerner’.”

Muslims, adds Manji, must find positive role models rather than jihadists: “Martyrs are the rock stars of the Muslim world, shown on the internet against a background of funky music. They feed on the self-esteem crisis of young Muslims.” That could be addressed by history lessons paying greater tribute to the Muslim contribution to the Renaissance.

She denounces terrorism and the response to terrorism, which is not sufficiently robust. It is no good, she argues, for respectable Muslims to say “violence is not the Islamic ideal” if violence has become Islamic practice. And she attacks the proposed religious hatred laws, saying: “Society needs people who offend, otherwise there will be no progress.”

Indeed. But can Manji and her followers provoke Muslims into progress?

Good News From Iraq, Part 31

The news that the mainstream media doesn't tell you-from Arthur Chrenkoff.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

An Islamist at the Guardian, Part 2

A few days ago, I linked to this post at The Daily Ablution. Scott Burgess reported on a man named Dilpazier Aslam is a "trainee journalist" at the Guardian. Writing for an Islamist website, he has called for violence in order to attain the goal of a worldwide Islamic state.

Today, The Independent reports that:
The Guardian newspaper is refusing to sack one of its staff reporters despite confirming that he is a member of one of Britain's most extreme Islamist groups.

Dilpazier Aslam, who has been allowed to report on the London bombings from Leeds and was also given space to write a column in last Wednesday's edition of The Guardian, is a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, a radical world organisation which seeks to form a global Islamic state regulated by sharia law.
The Daily Ablution received a mention in the Independent article, and Scott Burgess is pleased.

Solutions

Johann Hari follows-up on his exploration of the origins of Islamism. This time, he offers ideas on how to defeat the jihadists. He proposes a dual approach:
  1. Empower Muslim women:
    The best way to undermine the confidence and beliefs of jihadists is to trigger a rebellion of Muslim women, their mothers and sisters and daughters. Where Muslim women are free to fight back against jihadists, they are already showing incredible tenacity and intellectual force. In Iraq, mass protests by women stopped the governing council from introducing sharia law in 2003. In Europe and America, from Irshad Manji to my colleague Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Muslim women are offering the most effective critiques of Islamism.

    The jihadists themselves know that Islamic feminism is the greatest threat to their future - that's why, in Iraq, the "resistance" has been systematically hunting down and killing the leaders of Muslim women's rights organisations. No ideology can survive on terrorising half the population indefinitely. When it comes, the Islamic Reformation will be drenched in oestrogen.
  2. Energy independence:
    I have (reluctantly) begun to think that, until we are no longer dependent on Middle Eastern oil, no amount of pressure will make our governments support real democracy and women's rights in the region. The risk of another 1973-style oil-price shock will mean they will always support the "stability" of control over the gamble of proper democracy, no matter how enthusiastically the methods of control are rebranded or relaxed. Until we stop being addicted to the petrol and the status quo in the Middle East, we are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Double Standard Time

Today, the Washington Post declared that the five month long truce between Israelis and Palestinians had come to an end:
The Israeli military killed seven members of Hamas on Friday in rocket strikes that renewed Israel's policy of assassinating militant Palestinian leaders and effectively marked the end of a five-month truce.
Only when Israel responds to terrorist attacks does the mainstream media care. The Washington Post, as well as most other media outlets were content to further the fantasy of a ceasefire despite the numerous attacks on Israeli civilians during the past five months. Indiscriminate attacks on civilians are okay, but protecting your population by responding with targeted attacks on terrorists crosses the line.

No, it isn't just the Washington Post. Meryl Yourish skewers another favorite, the AP, over at The Jewish View.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Media Watch 2-Credit Where Credit Is Due

The Dallas Morning News takes a step forward. It will call terrorists "terrorists". I have reproduced the entire piece:
Two words not uncommon to editorial pages are "resolve" and "sacrifice," especially as they relate to war.

Today, this editorial board resolves to sacrifice another word – "insurgent" – on the altar of precise language. No longer will we refer to suicide bombers or anyone else in Iraq who targets and kills children and other innocent civilians as "insurgents."

The notion that these murderers in any way are nobly rising up against a sitting government in a principled fight for freedom has become, on its face, absurd. If they ever held a moral high ground, they sacrificed it weeks ago, when they turned their focus from U.S. troops to Iraqi men, women and now children going about their daily lives.

They drove that point home with chilling clarity Wednesday in a poor Shiite neighborhood. As children crowded around U.S. soldiers handing out candy and toys in a gesture of good will, a bomb-laden SUV rolled up and exploded.

These children were not collateral damage. They were targets.

The SUV driver was no insurgent. He was a terrorist.

People who set off bombs on London trains are not insurgents. We would never think of calling them anything other than what they are – terrorists.

Train bombers in Madrid? Terrorists.

Chechen rebels who take over a Russian school and execute children? Terrorists.

Teenagers who strap bombs to their chests and detonate them in an Israeli cafe? Terrorists.

IRA killers? Basque separatist killers? Hotel bombers in Bali? Terrorists all.

Words have meanings. Whether too timid, sensitive or "open-minded," we've resisted drawing a direct line between homicidal bombers everywhere else in the world and the ones who blow up Iraqi civilians or behead aid workers.

No more. To call them "insurgents" insults every legitimate insurgency in modern history. They are terrorists.
Is anyone at Reuters paying attention?

Media Watch

With friends like this...
Top terrorist Zakaria Zubeidi made a “guest appearance” in a video prepared by the staff of Reuters news agency in Israel and the Palestinian Authority as a “going away” gift for a colleague, Ynetnews has learned.

Zubeidi, who heads Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in Jenin, has been named by security officials as a key figure in organizing terror attacks on Israeli civilians.
Reuters sure has good contacts with terrorists, don't they?

Terror Arrest Made in Cairo

Biochemist Has U.S., British Connections:
An Egyptian biochemist arrested Friday in Cairo in connection with the London bombings taught at a British university after taking graduate courses in North Carolina.

Magdy el-Nashar, 33, was arrested early Friday, an Egyptian government official said on condition of anonymity because an official announcement of the arrest had not been made. El-Nashar was being interrogated by Egyptian authorities, the official said.

Roots

Most everyone is familiar with the environments and events that led to the emergence of Communism and Nazism. These two forms of totalitarianism challenged Western liberal democracy in the 20th century. Islamism, another totalitarian system, confronts us today. Johann Hari looks at its roots:
For more than 60 years, Britain and America created, armed and funded tyrants across Muslim lands in exchange for access to oil and for co-operation in the Cold War. Whenever there were shoots of democracy or Islamic reformation - like the election of Mossadeq in 1951 in Iran - our governments destroyed them. Any wannabe democrats were swiftly tortured and killed. Generations of Arab democrats - their Garibaldis, Jeffersons or Chartists - were lost to history.

In this warped environment, an undemocratic opposition movement was born. The Middle East was turned into a petri dish for the virus of Wahhabi Islamic fundamentalism. Since democracy was not an option, this austere form of Islam grew in popularity as the only alternative outlet for rage at the obvious corruption of Western proxy rulers. It is a simple philosophy, expressed eloquently by every radical Islamist I have met.

Wahhabis are obsessed with purity. They believe in complete unquestioning subjection to Sharia law, which is the one and eternal source of morality. They believe that reason and democracy are evil sources of "Westoxification", bent on weakening the True Muslims. Every other form of Islam - those practised by most Muslims - are to them as disgusting as Christianity, Judaism or atheism. Although this ideology was born in the Middle East, it has spread across the world, to Indonesia, Chechnya and now - it seems - Yorkshire.

It is tempting to assume that a movement born in reaction to injustice must be just. It is tempting to project your own concerns - your desire for a two-state solution in Israel/Palestine, or for a free Chechnya, or for an end to poverty in the Arab world - on to the bombers. When I sat opposite an Islamic Jihad suicide-bomber in Gaza, I wanted to imagine he was angry about the same things as me. But then he explained that gays and Jews should all be killed, that poverty is a good thing because it makes people more "spiritually pure", and that all women should be shrouded in burkas for life.

We have been here before. In a situation of terrible injustice, a totalitarian movement has been born with goals of its own. Nazism was born in the stunned and cruel humiliation of the Versailles Treaty. Marxist-Leninism was born in the torture chambers of Tsarism and it became its mirror-image. Each created their own set of monstrous injustices to replace the last.

Nobody should now doubt that Islamism is totalitarian. Talk to its followers: they are admirably candid. They seek absolute control of individuals, even if they do not share their beliefs, in order to subject them to a 9th-century code of ethics. Realise their concerns are not your concerns; they have a logic of their own and it was in place before the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The reasoning of the perpetrators is explained in the 2001 book Knights Under the Prophet's Banner by Ayman al-Zawahiri, the man Bin Laden describes as his "mentor". Into the 1990s, the Islamists became frustrated that they could not rally the "Muslim masses" to overthrow their local tyrants. So they decided to strike the "big enemy" - Western states - to re-energise Wahhabi jihadism and precipitate revolutions throughout the Middle East.

So Islamism is more a response to the decisions of Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt than of Bush and Blair. Last Thursday was not the price for Afghanistan and Iraq; it was the price of decades of trading oil for tyranny without any regard to the consequences. These recent wars may have been useful propaganda tools for the jihadists, but saying they were their primary motivations does not match the evidence.
(Via Donklephant).

Thursday, July 14, 2005

An Islamist at the Guardian

Scott Burgess explains.

Our Friends the Saudis

Time to state the obvious:
The US government has suggested wealthy Saudi individuals remain "a significant source" of funds for Islamic terrorists around the world, despite widely-publicized efforts by the desert kingdom to shut down these channels.

The statement by Treasury Undersecretary Stuart Levey before the US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, contrasted with earlier upbeat assessments by US officials that Saudi Arabia was making good progress in stemming the flow of private money to terrorist groups.

Levey said challenges posed by terrorist financing from within Saudi Arabia were "among the most daunting" his agency had to face as it tries to persuade Islamic nations to strengthen controls over their banks and charitable organizations.

"Wealthy Saudi financiers and charities have funded terrorist organizations and causes that support terrorism and the ideology that fuels the terrorists' agenda", Levey told lawmakers Wednesday.

"Even today, we believe that Saudi donors may still be a significant source of terrorist financing, including for the insurgency in Iraq," he added.

US officials expressed particular concern about three Saudi-run charities that operate around the world: the International Islamic Relief Organization, the World Association of Muslim Youth and the Muslim World League.

The Invisible Protest

Did you know that on July 5 over 1000 Iraqis gathered in the city of Qayarrah to protest terrorism? Well, you'd have no way of knowing if you relied on the mainstream media for your news. BlackFive has photos courtesy of Army Specialist David Nunn.

Apropos Song of the Day

"Panic" by The Smiths:
Panic on the streets of London
Panic on the streets of Birmingham
I wonder to myself
Will life ever be sane again?
The Leeds side streets that you slip down
I wonder to myself.
From a discussion forum at the Guardian. (Via Drink-soaked Trotskyite Popinjays For WAR)

Coming to a Theater Near You

Weekend at Hef's

The Sequel

Fighting Islamic Extremism

From The Belmont Club:
The empirical fact is that no group has been killed more often and more brutally by the "Jihad" than Muslims themselves. During the French Algerian war several times more Algerian Muslims died than French. Anyone with a calculator can see the same is true in Iraq. One of the targets of the London bombing was a subway station frequented by British Muslims...

...Logically, a large part of the War on Terror will consist of creating an insurgency within the insurgency. Fighting Islamic extremism must comprise organizing a revolt against Islam's internal oppressors. That would include waging intellectual war against Islamic fundamentalism within its own theological context -- a reformation -- it will include creating clandestine cells to strike at the gangs which beat women and intimidate men within the community. It will require all the skills of a resistance fighter struggling against bearded Big Brother.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Who Needs Facts When There's an Agenda To Push

Martin Kramer looks at the fiction written by Juan Cole:
For a trained historian, even in Middle Eastern studies, Juan Cole is scandalously incompetent when it comes to cause and effect. Here's his latest gaffe, made in the context of the London bombings:

"According to the September 11 Commission report, al-Qaeda conceived 9/11 in some large part as a punishment on the US for supporting Ariel Sharon's iron fist policies toward the Palestinians. Bin Laden had wanted to move the operation up in response to Sharon's threatening visit to the Temple Mount, and again in response to the Israeli attack on the Jenin refugee camp, which left 4,000 persons homeless. Khalid Shaikh Muhammad argued in each case that the operation just was not ready. "

Did Cole read the same 9/11 report as the rest of us? There's not a single passage in the 9/11 report mentioning Sharon's (or Israel's) policies, and I challenge him to produce one. Cole just made it up. And in point of fact, the report's narrative definitively contradicts him.

The report makes it clear that 9/11 was conceived well before Sharon became prime minister of Israel in March 2001.
There's much more.

Taking on The Apologists

Norman Geras has a well written, and well thought out essay. I almost hesitate to provide an excerpt:
Nothing is wrong with genuine efforts at understanding; on these we all depend. But the genuine article is one thing, and root-causes advocacy that seeks to dissipate responsibility for atrocity, mass murder, crime against humanity, especially in the immediate aftermath of their occurrence, is something else.
Read it all.

Connections

Claudia Rosett on the evidence of connections between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda:
The difficulty lies in piecing together the picture, which is indeed murky (that being part of the aim in covert dealings between tyrants and terrorist groups)--but rich enough in depth and documented detail so that the basic shape is clear. By the time Messrs. Hayes and Joscelyn are done tabulating the cross-connections, meetings, Iraqi Intelligence memos unearthed after the fall of Saddam, and information obtained from detained terrorist suspects, you have to believe there was significant collaboration between Iraq and al Qaeda. Or you have to inhabit a universe in which there will never be a demonstrable connection between any of the terrorist attacks the world has suffered over the past dozen years, or any tyrant and any aspiring terrorist. In that fantasyland, all such phenomena are independent events.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Moral Equivalence Watch

At Harry's Place.

Hamas

Is it possible for Israelis and Palestinians to live side-by-side in peace? Maybe, but not if Hamas has anything to do with it. Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar spoke to an Italian newspaper earlier this week:
Hamas would "definitely not" be prepared for coexistence with Israel should the IDF retreat to its 1967 borders. "It can be a temporary solution, for a maximum of 5 to 10 years. But in the end Palestine must return to become Muslim, and in the long term Israel will disappear from the face of the earth."
What else does anyone need to know about Hamas? It's very simple.

P.S. I don't expect to see Reuters or AP picking up this story.

Suicide Bomber Strikes in Netanya, Israel

A terrorist (you won't see that word in the AP story) killed two people, and wounded about thirty, in a suicide attack at a mall in Netanya.

Update:
Islamic Jihad's armed wing, the Al-Quds Battalions, claimed responsibility for the attack. The bomber was identified as 18-year-old Ahmed Abu Halil from a village near Tulkarm. Tulkarm was one of the West Bank cities which was recently handed over to PA.
Update 2: Laurence Simon has pictures from Netanya, and the Ceasefire is nowhere in sight (it's not here, either).

Look, Should We Kill the Infidels or Not?

From MEMRI TV, here is an excerpt from a sermon that was aired on United Arab Emirates TV on July 8:
Preacher: What happened in a certain country, which was mentioned in the media yesterday, is a clear act of aggression, which is totally devoid of any logic, and is entirely unjustified. Whoever carries out such an act is not a Muslim, nor is he a religious person. This is the kind of criminal act that serves only those who wish to destroy mankind, and to thwart civilization and progress. Igniting civil strife and using the tools of war and destruction is the habit of the despicable Jews and Christians of the ancient nations, and the Koran has already deplored them for that.

Evil on Trial

The trial has begun for Mohammed Bouyeri, for the murder of Theo Van Gogh. Mr. Bouyeri has not cooperated with authorities, and seems to be resigned to spend the rest of his life in prison. The case gives us a look at a true jihadist:
First, take a look at the evidence found after his arrest, as described during the court session yesterday:

"Islam-expert Peters declared before the court that Bouyeri is obsessed by death, violence and mutilation. He was able to deduct that from the documents found in the house of the defendant. The police discovered texts calling for the death of infidels and CD-Roms with horrific scenes of mutilations, amputations, and liquidations."
PeakTalk has more, including a link to a psychiatric report:
He's definitely not insane. Muhammad wasn't insane. Osama bin Laden, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the nineteen 9/11 fiends, Ahmed Yassin, Abdullah Azzam, Abu Bakar Bashir, et al.—not one of them insane. We are bewildered by their insane deeds of barbaric violence because we can't understand how anyone in their right mind could do such things. Such things are done with the cool and deliberate assurance that Allah will be pleased.
Update: Bouyeri chose to break his silence in order to confess to the murder in court:
Bouyeri told judges he had acted according to his convictions. Unrepentant, he told the victim’s mother — who was in court — that he did not sympathize with her loss and would be prepared to do the same again.

“If I ever get free, I would do it again," he said.


Update 2: Andrew Sullivan:
Can anyone seriously believe that not invading Iraq would have changed the mindset of this fanatic? Or leaving Afghanistan alone? What we're learning, especially from the home-grown bombings in London, is that our fundamental enemy is a medievalist theological fascism, buried in the recesses of a legitimate religious faith. It would be nice if we could talk these people out of it, or hand them concessions to buy them off, or hug them till they saw the joys of the New Age. Until then, we have to bring them to justice - on the battlefield or court-room. And the people who are most able to bring them to justice are Western Muslims; and the democratically-inclined Muslims in Iraq.

Monday, July 11, 2005

He Gets It

Christopher Hitchens:
We know very well what the "grievances" of the jihadists are.

The grievance of seeing unveiled women. The grievance of the existence, not of the State of Israel, but of the Jewish people. The grievance of the heresy of democracy, which impedes the imposition of sharia law. The grievance of a work of fiction written by an Indian living in London. The grievance of the existence of black African Muslim farmers, who won't abandon lands in Darfur. The grievance of the existence of homosexuals. The grievance of music, and of most representational art. The grievance of the existence of Hinduism. The grievance of East Timor's liberation from Indonesian rule. All of these have been proclaimed as a licence to kill infidels or apostates, or anyone who just gets in the way.

FOR a few moments yesterday, Londoners received a taste of what life is like for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, whose Muslim faith does not protect them from slaughter at the hands of those who think they are not Muslim enough, or are the wrong Muslim.

It is a big mistake to believe this is an assault on "our" values or "our" way of life. It is, rather, an assault on all civilisation...

...The grievances I listed above are unappeasable, one of many reasons why the jihadists will lose.

They demand the impossible - the cessation of all life in favour of prostration before a totalitarian vision.

Calling George Orwell

Anyone who follows the news is accustomed to the media referring to terrorists as "militants", "insurgents", or even "activists". After the London bombings, it was almost refreshing to see the words "terror" and "terrorist" used by the media. However, this didn't last long, and British bloggers have even discovered that the BBC has gone back and altered some of their stories:
"Harry's Place" noted, for example, that on Thursday evening a BBC News webpage headlined "Bus man may have seen terrorist," began "A bus passenger says he may have seen one of those responsible for the terrorist bomb attacks in London. Richard Jones, from Binfield, had got a bus just before it was blown up...."

But on Friday at 10:14 a.m. GMT, that webpage was suddenly changed. The headline now reads "Passenger believes he saw bomber," and the text begins "A bus passenger says he may have seen one of those responsible for the bomb attacks in London. Richard Jones, from Binfield, had got a bus just before it was blown up..."

Early on Friday morning another BBC webpage headlined "Testing the underground mood," spoke of "the worst terrorist atrocity Britain has seen." But at 12:08 GMT, while the rest of the article was left untouched, those words were replaced by "the worst peacetime bomb attacks Britain has seen."
The bottom line, from Andrew Sullivan:
I guess we should be grateful that for around 24 hours, the BBC saw reality, called it terrorism, and reported it accurately. Then the p.c. police took over.

The Reaction 2

Victor Davis Hanson is not optimistic about how the West will answer the London bombings. How to Lose a War:
...most important, the terrorists and their supporters understand that in a strange way the West is not only split, but also increasingly illiberal as well. It has lost confidence in its old commitment to rationalism, free speech and empiricism, and now embraces the deductive near-religious doctrines of moral equivalence and utopian pacifism. Al Qaeda's supporters will say that Thursday's victims were killed because of Afghanistan or Iraq. Westerners will duly repeat the dull refrain that "Bush lied, thousands died" in their guilt-ridden search for something we did to cause this.
If Mr. Hanson is correct, I still believe that the West will defeat Islamofascism. However, it means a longer fight, and more innocent victims.

Arab Media Watch

Little Green Footballs takes a look at how the Arab Media is covering the London bombings. They wouldn't be blaming anyone but the bombers, would they?

"Inaccurate and Biased"

This should be the new slogan of the Associated Press. Two days ago the AP reported on an address given by Tony Blair on BBC radio:
"I think this type of terrorism has very deep roots," Blair said. "As well as dealing with the consequences of this – trying to protect ourselves as much as any civil society can – you have to try to pull it up by its roots. That meant boosting understanding between people of difference religions, helping people in the Middle East see a path to democracy and easing the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, he said.
However, Mr. Blair never mentioned the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. After receiving complaints, the AP issued a correction:
In a July 9 story about Prime Minister
Tony Blair's comments on overcoming global terrorism, The Associated Press erroneously reported that he spoke of easing the conflict between
Israel and the Palestinians. Blair did not specifically mention the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in his interview with the British Broadcasting Corp.
At the very least, the Associated Press is guilty of sloppy reporting. There is no excuse for such inaccuracy, or for editorializing in a news story. These stories go around the world, and can have far-reaching effects. The AP has misrepresented British policy, and displayed blatant anti-Israel bias. They should be ashamed.

Good News from Afghanistan

Part 14, from Arthur Chrenkoff. The news that the mainstream media doesn't (won't?) report.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

The Reaction

Irshad Manji would like to see Muslims take a stand:
A clear repudiation of the London bombings will not bring back the dead. What it can do is help the rest of the world differentiate between the moderates and the apologists.
This is what she expects to hear:
The preachers will express condolences for the victims and condemnations of the criminals. Then they'll add, "But Britain should have never invited this kind of response by joining America in the invasion of Iraq."

The trouble with this line of reasoning is that terrorists have never needed an Iraq debacle to justify their violent jihads. What exactly was the Iraq of 1993, when Islamic radicals tried to blow up the World Trade Center? Or of 2000, when the USS Cole was attacked? Hell, that assault took place after U.S. military intervention saved thousands of Muslims in Bosnia.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Way Out There

Are they off their meds or are they self-medicating? Michael Totten reports on the intellectual discourse at Portland Indymedia.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Help Wanted

While I agree overall with Tom Friedman's belief that the Muslim world must help us to defeat the extremists in their midst for their own sake, I would like to interject:
Because there is no obvious target to retaliate against, and because there are not enough police to police every opening in an open society, either the Muslim world begins to really restrain, inhibit and denounce its own extremists - if it turns out that they are behind the London bombings - or the West is going to do it for them. And the West will do it in a rough, crude way - by simply shutting them out, denying them visas and making every Muslim in its midst guilty until proven innocent.
I don't see this as rough or crude, when we are talking about our survival. These actions, along with killing terrorists, are what we have to do. I am not talking about discriminating against all Muslims, but we must do what is necessary to ensure our security. If moderate Muslims speak out, they make our job easier, and allow us to use less extreme methods.
And because I think that would be a disaster, it is essential that the Muslim world wake up to the fact that it has a jihadist death cult in its midst. If it does not fight that death cult, that cancer, within its own body politic, it is going to infect Muslim-Western relations everywhere. Only the Muslim world can root out that death cult. It takes a village.
It could be a disaster if we did any less. Yes, we need the help of the Muslim world, but the ball is in their court; they need to step up to the plate. (Insert your own sports analogy here).
What do I mean? I mean that the greatest restraint on human behavior is never a policeman or a border guard. The greatest restraint on human behavior is what a culture and a religion deem shameful. It is what the village and its religious and political elders say is wrong or not allowed. Many people said Palestinian suicide bombing was the spontaneous reaction of frustrated Palestinian youth. But when Palestinians decided that it was in their interest to have a cease-fire with Israel, those bombings stopped cold. The village said enough was enough.
The bombings stopped cold? While there has been a decrease in terrorism in Israel, there are terrorist acts still occurring, and the IDF has foiled the plans of would-be suicide bombers.

Where is the Gandhi of Islam?

This is an excellent opinion piece by Charles Moore.
It is only when you start thinking about what we are not getting from leaders of British Muslims, and indeed Muslim religious leadership throughout the world, that you start to see how much needs doing. The moderates are not pressed hard for anything more than a general condemnation of the extremists.

When did you last hear criticisms of named extremist groups and organisations by Muslim leaders, or support for their expulsion, imprisonment or extradition? How often do you see fatwas issued against suicide bombers and other terrorists, or statements by learned men declaring that people who commit such deeds will go to hell?

When do Muslim leaders and congregations insist that a particular imam leave his mosque because of the poison that he disseminates every Friday? When did a British Muslim last go after a Muslim who advocates or practises violence with anything like the zeal with which so many went after Salman Rushdie?
Read it all.

Quote of the Day (Irony Watch)

"Targeting civilians in their transport means and lives is denounced and rejected," Moussa Abu Marzouk, deputy chief of the political bureau of Hamas.

Meryl Yourish tries to watch her language while digesting this quote from Reuters. She also looks at the media's coverage of terrorists, militants, and insurgents. What's the difference? What determines which term the media uses for someone who kills civilians, and what does it say about the media?

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Enemies and Allies

1. From Norman Geras:
Across the globe, the enemies of democracy have shown themselves ready to commit any crime, to use any means, violating every human norm, every civilized code of warfare, one way and another killing people at random: the innocent, the old, the young, people of any class, any faith, any colour, with only the common feature of being in the wrong place when the appointed time comes, and of being human beings - with their lives, with their hopes, with the people they love and who will grieve for them. The murderers strike regardless. Count the ways...
2. This is why I'm glad and proud that we are allies of the British.

Initial Reactions

The ways that people are responding to the London bombings are quite predictable. Hawks see this as more reason to fight the war on terror more vigorously (kill the terrorists), while doves see these terrorist attacks as a (justifiable?) response to the actions of the U.S. and the U.K.

One thing that is certain is that both sides will reiterate their arguments over the coming days.

Think about this: While western leaders were meeting in Scotland to discuss aid to Africa, terrorists were targeting innocent people with bombs. It's pretty clear who are the good guys and who are the bad guys.

London Bombings

The UK Blogs Aggregator is a good source of information about today's bombings in London. Instapundit also has plenty of links.

Update: A claim of responsibility for the bombings has been made.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

A Tale of Two Protests

The mainstream media is quick to report on a story of about 200 people protesting President Bush's trip to Denmark. Mudville Gazette has the details, and more about a larger protest that is not getting nearly as much attention.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Good News From Iraq

While the insurgents in Iraq have so far failed in their attempt to start a civil war, they seem to be involved in one of their own:
American troops on the Syrian border are enjoying a battle they have long waited to see - a clash between foreign al-Qa'eda fighters and Iraqi insurgents.

Lesson Learned?

Those who invoke the memories of Vietnam in speaking of the current situation in Iraq fear that we are involved in a quagmire that can only get worse. Some say that our troops should withdraw right away, and others would like to see a timetable for withdrawal.

Even if there are parallels between Vietnam and Iraq, what is the lesson to be learned from the former conflict? Is it that we should pull out before the situation escalates any further? However, maybe we need to take a different view, and look at the consequences of not doing what it takes to finish the job. Victor Davis Hanson examines the real lesson of Vietnam:

The perception of American weakness prompted communist adventurism from Afghanistan to Central America. Few in the Middle East thought there were any consequences to taking American hostages, or killing American soldiers and diplomats. The Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and Saddam Hussein alike little feared "the pitiful, helpless giant" (Richard Nixon's phrase).
There are lessons here. When the United States has stayed on after fighting dictatorial enemies — admittedly for decades in Italy, Germany, Japan, Korea and the Balkans — progress toward democracy and prosperity ensued. Disengagement from unresolved messy problems — whether from Europe after World War I, Vietnam in 1973, Beirut after the Marine barracks bombings, Afghanistan after the Soviet defeat, or Iraq in 1991 — only left murderous chaos or the "peace" of dictators.
This present war is not just about the Sunni Triangle, but whether reformers of the Arab world will step forward to emulate a fragile democratic Iraq that survives the jihadist counterassault. For the last three decades, Middle East autocratic regimes either attacked their neighbors or reached understandings with Islamic terrorists to shift blame for their own failures onto an apparently unconcerned United States.
That deeper pathology was at the root of the September 11, 2001, attacks on America. If not stopped now, it will result in many more attacks to come here at home.

Played Out Hairstyle Dept.

The Manolo is wise. Phil Spector is just plain nuts. Robert Smith is disturbing. [You mean he wasn't always disturbing? -ed.]

Martyr Kits

The NY Post has obtained documents that reveal how would-be suicide bombers can see that their families are taken care of financially after they have completed their despicable missions.
These [martyr] kits ensure that the families of Hamas, PLO and Palestinian Islamic Jihad killers get generous "charitable donations" from Saudi Arabia-based organizations and, while he was in power, Saddam Hussein.


Much of the kit's paperwork carries the corporate logo of the Arab Bank — the Middle East's most important and influential financial institution — and the numbers of the accounts through which his family was paid.


Replete with florid Arabic tributes to dead terrorists, the paperwork explains the manner of death, making it clear that the bank knew exactly whom it was giving money to and why.
A spokesman for the Arab Bank denied that it would do business with known terrorists or terrorist organizations.

ET Is Not Happy...

...And he has an attorney.

At least that makes more sense than this lawsuit:
A Russian astrologer is suing Nasa for crashing a probe into a comet, claiming it has distorted her horoscope.

Marina Bai is seeking $300m (£170m) in damages, saying the probe's impact on Comet Tempel 1 violated her "life and spiritual values".

Monday, July 04, 2005

A Very Special July 4th Commentary

I don't know how he did it, but Iowahawk has managed to obtain a holiday message from Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi.
Americans are famous for their diversity, and nowhere is this diversity more on display than in the various ways we celebrate the Fourth of July. Whether you are a traditional infidel enjoying hot dogs and cold watermelon, a recent immigrant infidel celebrating your new citizenship with a colorful piñata full of sweet treats, or like me, a not-as-yet-arrived-there-American who celebrates our independence through videotaped beheadings, we Americans have an almost infinite variety of ways of ‘lighting up the Fourth.’
Update: Some people are offended by Iowahawk. Hey, it's called satire. If it gets you so worked up, that speaks volumes about you. You're doing a good job at alienating moderates, and pushing them towards the Republicans that you hate so much.

Update II: Al-Zarqawi responds.

Independence Day 2005

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.