Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Politicizing Katrina

It's both fascinating and disgusting to see those on the Christian right (see my post below this one), and the far-left use the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina to push their own agendas while blaming their opponents for a natural disaster.

Yesterday, I read a piece from uber-environmentalist Robert Kennedy, Jr., which essentially blames Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour for increased global warming due to his opposition to the Kyoto Protocol.

Even if we accept human activity related global warming as a fact, it is uncertain whether it would be causing an increase in the number and intensity of hurricanes. An article in the NY Times disputes this theory, and claims that we in the active part of a natural cycle of hurricane activity.

This excellent column by James K. Glassman at Tech Central Station has more.

Pat Robertson Award

Today's winner is Michael Marcavage, the director of Repent America:
"Although the loss of lives is deeply saddening, this act of God destroyed a wicked city," stated Repent America director Michael Marcavage. "From ‘Girls Gone Wild’ to ‘Southern Decadence’, New Orleans was a city that had its doors wide open to the public celebration of sin. May it never be the same," he continued.

New Orleans is also known for its Mardi Gras parties where thousands of drunken men revel in the streets to exchange plastic jewelry for drunken women to expose their breasts. This annual event sparked the creation of the "Girls Gone Wild" video series.

"Let us pray for and help those ravaged by this disaster. However, we must not forget that the citizens of New Orleans tolerated and welcomed the wickedness in their city for so long," Marcavage said. "May this act of God cause us all to think about what we tolerate in our city limits, and bring us trembling before the throne of Almighty God," Marcavage concluded.
I prefer to keep the language clean here, so I will refrain from commenting on Mr. Marcavage and his group.

(Via Andrew Sullivan).

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Hurricane Katrina Relief

Instapundit has a lengthy post which lists a number of organizations that can accept donations for victims of Katrina.

Good News Time

We all could use some good news. Here's Part 34 of Good News from Iraq, Arthur Chrenkoff style.

Bush Urges Palestinians To Reject Terrorism

While it's good to see some pressure being applied to Abbas and the Palestinians, I'm not holding my breath.
EL MIRAGE, Arizona (Reuters) -
President Bush stepped up pressure on the Palestinians one day after a suicide bomb attack, urging President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday to show the "political courage" to rein in militants.

Bush called Israel's withdrawal from Gaza the first step toward creating a democracy for the Palestinians. "It took political courage to make that decision," Bush said of the withdrawal of Jewish settlers.

"And now it's going to take political courage by the Palestinians and ... Abbas to step up, reject violence, reject terrorism and build a democracy," he added during a speech in El Mirage, Arizona.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Middle Of The Road

Michael Barone looks at the possibility of a 2008 presidential campaign between candidates who are each at odds with their own party's base.
A McCain or a Giuliani nomination has the potential to change the regional alignments that have mostly prevailed since the election of 1996, in both directions. Either would almost certainly run better than George W. Bush in the vast suburban tracts of once marginal states like New Jersey and Illinois. But they might fail to draw the huge turnout of cultural conservatives that Bush did in the nonmetropolitan reaches of states like Ohio and Missouri. The 2004 election was a battle for turnout, which Republicans won: John Kerry's vote was up 16 percent from Al Gore's, while Bush's vote in 2004 was up 23 percent from 2000. If it's not clear whether McCain or Giuliani could duplicate the right-wing turnout for Bush, it's also not clear whether Clinton could duplicate the left-wing turnout in 2004, which was motivated mostly by hatred of Bush. We have gotten into the habit of complaining about our polarized politics. Well, complain now, because it may change soon.
(Via Donklephant).

Saudi Clerics Declare Football Un-Islamic

That's soccer to you and me. From the Daily Times (Pakistan):
LAHORE: Ulema in Saudia Arabia have issued a fatwa (religious decree) declaring football an un-Islamic sport, and have urged the youth to quit it immediately, BBC radio reported on Saturday.

According to the report, the clerics urged the youth to indulge in jihad and other constructive activities that could help the Muslim ummah, the radio reported. The ulema argued that football wastes a lot of time and the participants wear shorts, which they said was an un-Islamic dress, the radio reported.Following the decree, some players of the famous Taif Football Club have quit the game, the report added.
Hey, you kids stop playing games, and do something constructive like killing the infidels!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

A Far Left/Far Right Convergence

Something that I have noted before is the similarity between the far Left and the far Right. Victor Davis Hanson has also noticed:
This odd symbiosis began right after 9/11. Then the lunatic Left mused about the "pure chaos" of the falling "two huge buck teeth" twin towers, lamented that they were more full of Democrats than Republicans, and saw the strike as righteous payback from third-world victims.

The mirror-imaging fundamentalists and censors in turn saw the attack as an angry God's retribution either for an array of our mortal sins or America's tilting toward Israel.

In Iraq, the Left thinks we are unfairly destroying others; the ultra-Right that we are being destroyed ourselves. The former alleges that we are bullying in our global influence, the latter that we are collapsing from our decadence.

But both, in their exasperation at George Bush's insistence on seeing Iraq emerge from the Hussein nightmare years with some sort of constitutional government, have embraced the paranoid style of personal invective.

They employ half-truths and spin conspiracy theories to argue that the war was unjust, impossible to win, and hatched through the result of a brainwashing of a devious few neocons.
He goes on to dissect the arguments of those who have attacked him from both the far Right and far Left, and concludes with this:
Such a strange, strange world we live in now of David Duke praising Cindy Sheehan's scapegoating Israel.

George Bush who risked his presidency to free millions of Iraqis is to be the moral equivalent of Jefferson Davis — but perhaps is just as hated by the unhinged Right because he is not enough like their beloved Jefferson Davis.

Forcing imperial Japan to surrender is the same as terrorists blowing up the World Trade Center.

And stopping the genocide of Saddam and promoting constitutional government are warmongering.

And all this nonsense transpires in the midst of a war in which the only way we can lose is to turn on each other and give up.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Media Watch-NPR

Solomonia has a post about Mariam Sobh, who wrote for the Daily Illini, the student newpaper at the University of Illinois, while she was studying journalism there. Solomon chronicles her backround, which includes placing fabrications in her anti-Israel, and ( if there's a difference) anti-Semitic articles.

Possibly her most egregious column was "Stop Turning a Blind Eye". From CAMERA:
Mariam Sobh introduced her Dec 11 [2003] piece with the following statement, purportedly uttered by Ariel Sharon, in order “to show a clearer picture of the Israeli leadership:”

"I don't know something called International Principles. I vow that I'll burn every Palestinian child (that) will be born in this area. The Palestinian woman and child is more dangerous than the man, because the Palestinian child's existence infers that generations will go on, but the man causes limited danger. I vow that if I was just an Israeli civilian and I met a Palestinian I would burn him and I would make him suffer before killing him. With one hit I've killed 750 Palestinians (in Rafah in1956). I wanted to encourage my soldiers by raping Arabic girls as the Palestinian woman is a slave for Jews, and we do whatever we want to her and nobody tells us what we shall do but we tell others what they shall do," Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said in an interview with General Ouze Merham in 1956.

This shocking quote, a staple on Arab propaganda Web sites, is an internet hoax for which the journalism student, not surprisingly, provided no source. There is no record of any “General Ouze Merham” or any truth to the claim that Sharon made the quoted comments. The paper’s decision to run such an inflammatory statement with no attribution is indefensible.
Ms. Sobh is now working for an affiliate of National Public Radio.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Here We Go

From the Jerusalem Post:
Palestinians: Israel poisoned Gaza land

Representatives of various Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday accused Israel of burying "toxic materials" under the rubble of dismantled settlements to prevent Palestinians from exploiting the land.
This is just the beginning (or a continuation of the same old thing). Real or imagined, everything is the fault of those evil Israelis. Whatever goes wrong in Gaza will be blamed on Israel.

NY Times Watch

From Jewish World Review:
Colonel Thomas Spoehr is annoyed with New York Times reporter Michael Moss, for what I think is a good reason.

Spoehr is the director of materiel for the Army staff. He had a good news story to tell Moss, which Moss converted into a bad news story.
According to Colonel Spoehr, he told Mr. Moss a story about improvements that the Army was making to its "Interceptor" body armor. These improvements would protect U.S. troops from some types of ammunition that could penetrate the "Interceptor." The Army was being proactive in making these improvements; the ammunition that this body armor could be susceptible to was not yet being used by Iraqi 'insurgents."
"We're taking what we think is a prudent step to guard against a step (the insurgents) could take, but that's a step that really hasn't developed yet," Spoehr said.
The process of determining exact specifications, and then working with contractors to begin producing the new body armor took a number of months. This was very quick compared to the usual procurement procedures of the Pentagon.
Here's how the story was presented by Moss in the New York Times Aug. 14th: "For the second time since the Iraq war began, the Pentagon is struggling to replace body armor that is failing to protect American troops from the most lethal attacks of insurgents.

"The ceramic plates in vests worn by most personnel cannot withstand certain munitions the insurgents use. But more than a year after military officials initiated an effort to replace the armor with thicker, more resistant plates, tens of thousands of soldiers are still without the stronger protection because of a string of delays in the Pentagon's procurement system."

Spoehr told Moss all the things he told me, but there is not a single positive quote in his story.

"You would get the impression that our soldiers were in harm's way or at risk," Spoehr said. "That is not true."

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Australia Says No To Shari'a

From AFP:
Muslims who want to live under Islamic Sharia law should get out of Australia, a senior government minister has said, hinting that some radical clerics might be asked to leave.

Australia was a secular state and its laws were made by parliament, Treasurer Peter Costello told national television late Tuesday.

"If those are not your values, if you want a country which has Sharia law or a theocratic state, then Australia is not for you," said Costello, who is seen as heir-apparent to Prime Minister John Howard.
Is Canada paying attention?

(Via LGF).

Gaza Thoughts

Mark Steyn and David Frum agree that Ariel Sharon agreed to the Gaza withdrawal as a way of calling the world's bluff. Give the Palestinians a state, which takes that issue off the table, and watch it devolve into an Islamist, jihadist nation. The world will come to agree with Israel that the Palestinians cannot govern a state of their own.

Meryl Yourish disagrees with that assessment:
I think the reasons are fairly self-evident: The Gaza settlements were too difficult to defend, sparsely populated, and unpopular in Israeli and world opinion. Now that they've been dismantled, Sharon can say to the world, "See, we did what you've been asking. Now it's time for the palestinians to stop terror." Once again, Occam's Razor applies. The simplest explanation is often the right one. The minute the Gaza withdrawals were over, Sharon said he'd never give up the major Israeli blocs of the West Bank.

The fact that the Gaza Strip will collapse into chaos will also be blamed on Israel. The world keeps moving the goalposts. First it was, "Gaza cannot be a great open-air prison. Get out of the Philadelphi corridor." Now it's "Israel can't control air and sea access to Gaza. Let them have their airport and seaport, and oh yeah, the Egyptians will guard against smuggling." Except they've already stated that they can't possibly catch all the smugglers. So when the "real" missiles (as opposed to "home-made") start landing in Sderot, and Israel tries to do something about it, the world will screech "Sovereignty! Let Abbas take care of it! You can't invade Gaza again!" and, as I said, we will see a louder world outrage than we saw at the hoax of Jenin.

The world will expect Israel to suck it up as their people are murdered. Then again, they always have. This is a lose-lose situation, but at least Sharon can continue to insist that Israel took her first steps on the Roadmap, and it's the palestinians turn now.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

After The Withdrawal-News Roundup

The Good:
Bush: Palestinians must take next step
The Palestinians have the onus of moving forward on the road map, US President George Bush said on Tuesday. In a conversation with reporters in Idaho, where Bush is vacationing, the President made it clear that the Palestinians must take the next step towards peace, by reforming their government and their security forces.
The Bad:
PA won't disarm Hamas, Islamic Jihad
"We [PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei and Musa Abu Marzouk, a senior Hamas leader based in Syria] stressed during the meeting that the Palestinians have the right to continue the resistance [against Israel] and that there would be no attempt to collect weapons from the resistance groups," he [Abu Marzouk] said.

"The weapons of the resistance were founded to defend the Palestinian people and resist the occupation," he added. "The Gaza victory was achieved with the weapons of the resistance, which is the only strategy to drive Israel out of the rest of our lands."
The Ugly:
Palestinians may rename settlements after Arafat, Yassin
(Via LGF).

News From Turkmenistan

First, they ban lip synching. Will the air guitar be outlawed next? (Actually, that's not a bad idea, and didn't I see this in "Bananas"?)

From AP:
He has outlawed opera and ballet and railed against long hair and gold teeth, but now Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov is determined to wipe out another perceived scourge: lip synching.

Niyazov has ordered a ban on lip synching performances across the tightly controlled Central Asian nation, citing "a negative effect on the development of singing and musical art," the president's office said Tuesday.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Media Watch-Shame on ABC

It's Dhimmitude 1, Free Speech 0 at ABC. Radio host Michael Graham has been fired by ABC. Back in July, Mr. Graham said the following on his radio show: "Because of the mix of Islamic theology that -- rightly or wrongly -- is interpreted to promote violence, added to an organizational structure that allows violent radicals to operate openly in Islam's name with impunity, Islam has, sadly, become a terrorist organization. It pains me to say it. But the good news is it doesn't have to stay this way, if the vast majority of Muslims who don't support terror will step forward and reclaim their religion."

This led to an effort by the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) to have the radio host suspended, and then dismissed. CAIR has a history of being very quick to make a lot of noise when anyone is critical of Muslims. They do a good job of playing to the p.c. tendencies of the media. They also claim to be a moderate group interested in protecting the civil liberties of Muslims. However, it is important to know that:
CAIR was founded in 1994 by two former high-ranking officials with the Islamic Association of Palestine, a rabidly anti-Semitic organization known as Hamas' biggest political booster in the United States.
Since September 11, CAIR officials have been careful to avoid the appearance that they support Islamic terrorism. But not before September 11. In November 1999, CAIR President Omar Ahmad addressed a youth session at the IAP annual convention in Chicago, where he praised suicide bombers who "kill themselves for Islam": "Fighting for freedom, fighting for Islam ? that is not suicide. They kill themselves for Islam." (Transcript provided by the Investigative Project.)
Though CAIR's mission is not to serve as an overt Hamas partisan, the organization has refused to specifically condemn the terrorist organization. Ditto for Hezbollah, which is responsible for murdering more Americans than any other terrorist group besides al Qaeda. And CAIR refused to condemn bin Laden or al Qaeda by name until three months after September 11. The Washington Post in November 2001 asked a CAIR spokesman to condemn Hamas or Islamic Jihad. He refused, explaining, "It's not our job to go around denouncing." Asked a similar question about Hamas and Hezbollah by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in February 2002, Mr. Hooper called such queries a "game," and added, "We're not in the business of condemning."
They're not interesting in condemning terrorists, but they are eager to condemn anyone they perceive as slighting Muslims.

Michael Graham released a statement earlier today. Here's an excerpt:
It appears that ABC Radio has caved to an organization that condemns talk radio hosts like me, but has never condemned Hamas, Hezbollah, and one that wouldn’t specifically condemn Al Qaeda for three months after 9/11.

As a fan of talk radio, I find it absolutely outrageous that pressure from a special interest group like CAIR can result in the abandonment of free speech and open discourse on a talk radio show. As a conservative talk host whose job is to have an open, honest conversation each day with my listeners, I believe caving to this pressure is a disaster.

I for one cannnot apologize for the truth and I cannot agree to some community-service style “outreach effort” to appease the opponents of free speech.

Lisa Ramaci-Vincent vs.Juan Cole

The widow of Steven Vincent, a journalist who was killed in Iraq, delivers a much deserved beat-down to Juan Cole:
Yes, Steven was aggressive in criticizing what he saw around him and did not like. It's called courage, and it happens to be a tradition in the history of this country. Without this tradition there would have been no Revolutionary War, no Civil War, no civil rights movement, no a lot of things that America can be proud of. He had made many friends in Iraq, and was afraid for them if the religious fundamentalists were given the country to run under shari'a. You may dismiss that as naive, simplistic, foolish, but I say to you, as you sit safely in your ivory tower in Michigan with nothing threatening your comfy, tenured existence, that you should be ashamed at the depths to which you have sunk by libeling Steven and Nour. They were on the front lines, risking all, in an attempt to call attention to the growing storm threatening to overwhelm a fragile and fledgling experiment in democracy, trying to get the world to see that all was not right in Iraq. And for their efforts, Steven is dead and Nour is recuperating with three bullet wound in her back. Yes, that's right - the "honorable" men who abducted them, after binding them, holding them captive and beating them, set them free, told them to run - and then shot them both in the back. I've seen the autopsy report.

You did not know him - you did not have that honor, and you will never have the chance, thanks to the murderous goons for whom you have appointed yourself an apologist.
Follow the link above for the whole story.

Six Feet Under (2001-2005)

I thought last night's season finale was very well done, as were the last few episodes since Nate's death. While the series was uneven at times, it sure ended on an up note.

The series began with the death of Nathaniel Fisher, Sr., and we saw his family react to their loss. Nathaniel, Jr. (Nate), moved back home, and the whole family engaged in a whole lot of self-destructive behavior over the course of the series. These flawed people seemed very real. I thought that Nate's inner conflicts made him a great character. In the end, Nate's death made each of his family members look inward to resolve their own issues, and come together. As the season finale reached its conclusion, we were allowed to glimpse into each character's future, and see their inevitable end. This was appropriate for a show that always made us face mortality.

Six Feet Under began in the shadow of The Sopranos, and some people found it weird or depressing. It was a different kind of show, for which HBO deserves credit. I watch very little network television. It would be nice to see the networks taking chances like this. Sometimes the result is pretty special.

Update: Here's an interesting post from The Speculist about this show and the future of death.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

After The Withdrawal

Elie Wiesel:
But starting now, Israelis and Palestinians must face the question: What next?

And here I am obliged to take a step back. In the tradition I claim, the Jew is ordered by King Solomon "not to rejoice when the enemy falls." I don't know whether the Koran suggests the same.

I know only that in my opinion, what is missing from the chapter now closing is a collective gesture that ought to be made, but that hasn't been made, by the Palestinians.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Thoughts on Iran

Republican Senator Chuck Hagel would like the United States to initiate talks with Iran. Last week, President Bush was talking tough, and said that "all options are on the table" with regard to Iran. Obviously, this is meant to imply that military action is an option for dealing with an Iranian government that seeks to develop nuclear weapons.

Uriah Kriegel ponders a different strategy, and asks, "What would Karl Marx do?" Really.
Karl Marx wasn't right about much. But one thing he did get right is the social dynamic leading to political revolution. Genuine revolutions, Marx noted, do not take place in a friendly environment amenable to gradual and piecemeal reform. They are the result of widespread dissatisfaction so strongly suppressed that it eventually erupts, like an overblown balloon, in acts of revolutionary violence and fervor.

In a wonderful historical twist, this piece of Marxist-Leninist wisdom may be the key to the undoing of the Iranian theocracy. But to make it so, the US must play it clever and ignore the Iranian government's repeated provocations.
The Iranian government is unpopular with its own people, especially with the younger generation. The new Iranian rulers seem to be intent on strengthening the enforcement of Islamic law. By provoking the United States and other Western nations, the mullahs can cause a confrontation that can shift the focus of their people from internal matters to a foreign threat, and U.S. led sanctions, if it came to that, would hurt the population more that it would the government.
Our best bet is to ignore the Iranian provocations altogether: not even issue a formal condemnation. We should put our faith in the Marxian mechanism of boiling, seething internal unrest and its revolutionary outburst. Once the Iranians are left alone, left to turn inward and focus on the scope and depth of their own illness, nothing good can happen to the ayatollahs.
Kriegel argues that an Iranian nuclear threat is still far off, which would allow the time to use this approach, while still leaving the military option open if Iran is someday on the verge of having a nuclear capability.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Media Watch: Israel=Colonial Power?

ISRAEL'S PAIN in giving up Gaza may not compare to the hurt that the Palestinians have suffered, but it is real pain nonetheless. Decolonization is never easy when there are settled populations of the colonizers to be considered, as the British and French found in Africa.
So begins an Op-Ed column in the Boston Globe by H.D.S. Greenway. Okay, so now we're equating Israel's occupation of Gaza and the West Bank as the result of a defensive war for survival with the past colonial policies of European powers. The Europeans went into foreign lands, where they exploited the resources and indigenous populations for the sake of establishing vast empires.

Vast empires? I'm starting to see a connection. I better stop before I veer off into Zionist world conspiracy territory. Nonetheless, bias such as this can subtly influence people unless it is exposed for what it is.

An Awakening

From Scott Randolph. Scott's site was down this morning, so I'll reproduce his post in its entirety.
Cindy sealed the deal.
I actually felt myself become a republican today. It was around 10am, when I read the latest update of the Cindy Sheehan saga in CNN.com. I then shot over to read some blogs about it, and perused the comments in some of them, which was nothing but a long series of petty (albeit entertaining) partisan bickering.

Then it happend. The good little democrat in me tied the little noose around his neck and jumped off the stool. He just couldn’t take it anymore.

Take what? The whining. The constant whining by the extreme left about the reasons for war, the incompetence of this administration, and how we’ve all been lied to, and how we should pull out of Iraq immediately, because, *gulp* our soldiers were in danger.

Guess what folks….they signed up to join the Army, not the boy scouts. Anytime your orientation to a new job involves an automatic weapon, you should be smart enough to figure out there’s danger involved. I actually read some people’s comments about many of the soldiers over there being naive….they weren’t expecting to go to war, so, they should be allowed to go home. Wow.

Soldiers know, when they enlist, that it is entirely possible they will be shipped out and never come home. It’s part of the job. The fact that people still walk in to recruiters’ offices and sign that piece of paper make them heroes. To imply that they are simple kids who didn’t know what they were getting into, or even worse, that they died for no reason, or an immoral reason, does a horrible thing. It strips their sacrifice of the honor that it deserves. Even though those folks sitting out there in the Texas fields claim to honor and support the soldiers, they obviously have been blinded by their own selfishness as to the real way to support them.

Because, long story short, we can’t end this war now. That would send the message that those bastardly little terrorists have won. It doesn’t matter if the adminstration told us the desert sand was made of gold, and we are going over there to collect it in little buckets to bring home, the concrete fact that we are at war doesn’t change. We are there, and we have a job to finish. We’ve toppled a regime that was dangerous not only to its own people, but also to the rest of the world. Now, we are there fighting the same terrorists we are fighting in Afghanistan. We’ve given liberty to millions of people, and we’re trying to help create a government, in an area that is very volatile, that will be a bastion of freedom and hope for an entire race of people. I hate the fact that our boys are getting killed over there, and I wish it didn’t have to happen.

But, it is, there’s nothing we can do about it, except for doing everything we can to offer support and hope to the folks fighting over there. Arguing and whining about the reasons we’re there, and the need to come home not only kills morale, but it is a complete waste of time.

I just re-read the above post, and I apologize for the rambling….just needed to vent a little. Here’s a breakdown of the way I see things:

-right or wrong, we’re at war. no amount of yelling will fix that now.
-we have to finish the job. HAVE TO. it may take another 1800 soldiers, but it has to be done
-whether or not we’re there for the right reason, we’ve done something great for that country

I never was a big fan of Bush. But, one thing I do believe….he honestly wants to make this country, and this world a better place. Think about it…the war almost cost him the election. If we hadn’t invaded Iraq, he’d have won in a landslide.

I think it’s just my personality that lead me to this decision. I think the left is too concerned with everyone’s immediate rights and needs, and refuses to sacrifice a bit of comfort and happiness in the present, for something that will make life better for everyone in the future. You can take the environmental stance on that, and I’d have no argument…but I think there enough conservatives concerned with that to make it a moot point.

Mostly, I’m just really pissed off. We’re in a crappy situation, and it’s time for all of America to stand together, put on the big boy pants, and get through the next few years.


What's Next

The Israel withdrawal from Gaza is a unilateral move, and it is not the first concession that has been made to the Palestinians. According to many in the media, the next step also belongs to Israel. The question is always, "what must Israel do next?"

Has Israel ever benefitted from its concessions? Charles Krauthammer:
We are not talking ancient history here; we are talking the past 12 years. Under Oslo, Israel made massive, near-suicidal concessions: bringing the PLO back to life, installing Yasser Arafat in power in the West Bank and Gaza, permitting him to arm militia after militia, and ultimately offering him (at Camp David 2000) the first Palestinian state in history, with a shared Jerusalem and total Israeli withdrawal from 95 percent of the formerly occupied territories (with Israel giving up some of its own territory to make the Palestinians whole).

How were these concessions met? With a savage terrorist war that killed 1,000 Israelis and maimed thousands more.

The Gaza withdrawal is not the beginning but the end. Apart from perhaps some evacuations of outlying settlements on the West Bank, it is the end of the concession road for Israel. And it is the beginning of the new era of self-sufficiency and separation in which Israel ensures its security not by concessions but by fortification, barrier creation, realism and patient waiting.

Waiting for the first-ever genuine Palestinian concessions. Waiting for the Palestinians to honor the promises -- to recognize Israel and renounce terrorism -- that they solemnly made at Oslo and brazenly betrayed. That's the next step. Without it, nothing happens.
(Emphasis mine.)

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Political Weasels

Unfortunately, petty politics is more important than principle to some (many?) of our lawmakers. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is a perfect example.

The American Bar Association concluded that John Roberts is "well qualified" to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. This is the ABA's highest rating. However, Mr. Leahy was not impressed:
Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.), the Senate Judiciary Committee's ranking Democrat, thanked the group for its "effort and input" but said its vetting process had "limitations," pointing out that the review was completed before the release of documents that are emerging now about Roberts's work and views during part of the 1980s, when he worked in the Reagan White House and Justice Department.

Democratic senators and liberal advocacy groups emphasized that the ABA had not attempted to evaluate Roberts's judicial philosophy, which they said is a significant factor in whether he deserves to be confirmed.
However, in 2001, the Bush administration decided "to eliminate pre-nomination review of potential candidates by the" ABA. This was due to a perceived liberal slant of the association. What did the Senator from Vermont think about this?
Strong support for the ABA's contribution to the process came from Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), ranking minority member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), ranking minority member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts.

In a March 16 letter to President Bush, Leahy and Schumer said that the " ABA evaluation has been the gold standard by which judicial candidates are judged, which is why presidents have rarely elected to proceed with a nomination after the ABA found the candidate unqualified in the confidential pre-nomination stage."

Leahy and Schumer were joined by former Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) at a March 27 news conference, where all three senators emphasized the value of the " peer review" the ABA provides.
Mr. Leahy has had an interesting change of attitude towards the ABA's evaluations. This just serves to make it easier for his opponents to marginalize him as part of the far-left. There's nothing wrong with opposing Mr. Roberts for legitimate reasons, but the knee-jerk, anti-Bush strategy which is evidenced by this change of heart about the ABA only makes people like Mr. Leahy look bad. It can alienate moderates who will be swing voters in future elections.

The Bush administration has thus far been keeping quiet about the ABA's rating of Mr. Roberts.

(Via Case in Point).

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Kelo: The Aftermath

From USA Today:
The city of New London, Conn., deserves a chutzpah award. In 2000, it condemned 15 homes so a developer could build offices, a hotel and convention center. Susette Kelo and her neighbors spent years in a legal battle that culminated in June, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against them.

That was painful enough. But while the homeowners were battling in court, New London was calculating how much "rent" they owe for living in the houses they were fighting to save. (The city's development corporation gained title to the homes when it condemned them, though the owners refused to sell and haven't collected a cent.)

The homeowners could soon be served with eviction notices, which is justified by the court ruling. But the rent is something else. For some, it comes to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Terror Bombings in Bangladesh

AP:
More than 100 homemade bombs planted by suspected Islamic militants exploded nearly simultaneously across Bangladesh on Wednesday, killing two people, including a young boy, and wounding at least 125.

About 50 people were arrested, a state-run news agency reported. There was no claim of responsibility, but leaflets from a banned group seeking the imposition of Islamic law were found at many scenes.

If only the U.S. would get out of Iraq...
If only the oppression of the Palestinian people would end...
Never mind.

Media Watch

On a recent trip to Iraq, Matt Lauer was told by soldiers that morale was good. This led to the following exchange:
LAUER: Don't get me wrong, I think you're probably telling the truth, but there might be a lot of people at home wondering how that might be possible with the conditions you're facing and with the insurgent attacks you're facing... What would you say to people who doubt that morale could be that high?

CAPTAIN SHERMAN POWELL: Well sir, I'd tell you, if I got my news from the newspapers I'd be pretty depressed as well.
(Via Instapundit).

U.N. Watch

Apparently, the United Nations is paying for Palestinian propaganda. From the New York Sun:
The United Nations bankrolled the production of thousands of banners, bumper stickers, mugs, and T-shirts bearing the slogan "Today Gaza and Tomorrow the West Bank and Jerusalem," which have been widely distributed to Palestinian Arabs in the Gaza Strip, according to a U.N. official.

The U.N. support of the Palestinian Authority's propaganda operation in the midst of the Israeli evacuation of Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip has provoked outrage from Israeli and Jewish leaders, who are blaming Turtle Bay for propagating an inflammatory message that they say encourages Palestinian Arab violence.
(Via LGF).

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

More Gaza Thoughts

Hamas banner: "The blood of martyrs has led to liberation."

Is the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza based on negotiation and the roadmap to peace, or is it a victory for terrorism?

Lee Harris:
If there is a roadmap to be found in all of this, it is a roadmap that informs the terrorists that what is required in order to defeat the West is just a bit of patience and persistence -- and, of course, the blood of future martyrs. This, of course, is not how the Bush administration sees it, nor is it how the current Israeli government sees it. But it is certainly how the militant Palestinians see it -- and, in the end, it is their interpretation of the Gaza pull out that will matter.

We can tell them that it was Western goodwill and Israeli generosity that had prompted the withdrawal; but the militants will conclude that their triumph was their own doing, brought about by Yasser Arafat's Intifada.

Gaza Thoughts

Roger L. Simon has a concise and dead-on post about events in Gaza, which concludes:
...if events continue without a major snafu, the ball will soon enough be in Mohammed Abbas' court. Gaza will be his playground and he will have Hamas and Islamic Jihad to deal with. I don't envy him.... As we used to say on our own playground, "No backsies!"
If the Palestinians want to prove to Israel and to the world that they are deserving of a state, they should endeavor to make Gaza a model of such a state. Of course, if this fails to occur, I'm sure that the blame will go to Israel.

Hitchens On Cindy Sheehan

Christopher Hitchens is certainly not afraid of controversy, and he examines what he sees as wrong about Cindy Sheehan's protest in Crawford, Texas. His conclusion:
Casey Sheehan joined up as a responsible adult volunteer. Are we so sure that he would have wanted to see his mother acquiring "a knack for P.R." and announcing that he was killed in a war for a Jewish cabal? (a claim that has brought David Duke flying to Ms. Sheehan's side.) This is just as objectionable, on logical as well as moral grounds, as the old pro-war argument that the dead "must not have died in vain." I distrust anyone who claims to speak for the fallen, and I distrust even more the hysterical noncombatants who exploit the grief of those who have to bury them.

Good News From Iraq

Part 33, from Arthur Chrenkoff.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Someone's Off His Meds

SEOUL (AFP) -
CNN founder Ted Turner arrived in the North Korean capital Pyongyang, North Korean official media reported.
South Korean officials said Turner was visiting the Stalinist state to discuss a project
to turn the De-Militarized Zone (DMZ) dividing the two Koreas into a nature reserve.
Are we looking at a new reality show?

(Via LGF).

On Cindy Sheehan

Cindy Sheehan suffered a great loss, and she has a right to speak her mind. However, it is disconcerting to see her being exploited by the anti-war crowd.

It is also disturbing that she has chosen to be associated with the Crawford Peace House. Solomonia details this group's anti-Semitism. Especially notable is the fact that the CPH has recently altered the home page of their website. (Original here; altered version here).

Solomonia concludes:
Cindy Sheehan's sacrifice is unfathomable, but as an adult, responsible for her own actions, her politics and public statements are open to examination because she has put them out there, and as I said at the beginning, she has tied her cart to a decrepit, decidedly Judenhass horse.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Shari'a Swimtime

First, Virginia Tech offers gender-separated classes for Saudis. Now, Sound Politics reports that public funds may be involved in paying for a program in Seattle called "Muslim Sister Swim", which is restricted to Muslim women and children. Contributor Stefan Sharkansky reaches this conclusion:
But if there's ever a reason for taxpayer dollars to be used to support an immigrant's culture, it should be to support them in learning to shed whatever aspects of their culture are incompatible with American culture. The last thing we need to teach immigrants is to expect publicly-subsidized religious apartheid.
Is it going to come to this?

Capra vs. Moore

Callimachus looks at propaganda of the past, and of the present:
Capra's raw material was millions of feet of confiscated or captured newsreels and propaganda films; he even used Japanese samurai movies and domestic dramas from the 1930s. With his legendary cutting-room skills and his eye for bold juxtapositions he made America and her allies shine (including the murderous Soviet Union), and showed off the Axis -- not just its leaders but the whole people of Italy, Germany, and Japan -- as demonic: regimented nations of ruthless killers, blindly devoted to their leaders. The enemies' menace contrasted with the freedoms and accomplishments of the Americans and their allies; the free world and the fascists; the Allied "way of life" vs. the Axis "way of death."

If this technique reminds you of Michael Moore, it ought to. He did the same thing, but with the morality and virtues in photo-negative.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

There Will Be No Peace

With terrorists promising to continue their "resistance" after Israel's Gaza withdrawal, it should be clear that there will not be peace until these groups are controlled or eliminated; preferably by the Palestinians themselves. This is their obligation under the roadmap to peace, which seems to be ignored unless it is being used to criticize Israel. Remember this:
Hamas and Islamic Jihad also held separate celebrations in the Gaza Strip, where leaders of the two groups announced that the fight against Israel would continue even after the "escape of the Zionist enemy" from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank. They also declared that their groups would not abandon their weapons after the disengagement and would not join the PA security forces.

Local reporters were invited on Friday to watch more than 1,000 Hamas gunmen in military fatigue and armed with AK-47 rifles and RPG rocket-propelled grenades stage a mock attack on an Israeli settlement. It was the biggest show of strength by Hamas's armed wing in years.

At another Hamas rally in Jabalya refugee camp, thousands of Palestinians attended a "graduation ceremony" for new recruits belonging to the movement's armed wing, Izzaddin Kassam.

Addressing the rally, which was held in a football stadium, Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar said: "This [Hamas] army will continue to defend the Palestinian people. As long as one inch of our land remains under occupation, these weapons will remain in the hands of the Hamas soldiers. These young men will continue to train others until all Palestinians are turned into fighters so that we could liberate Palestine from the [Jordan] river to the sea."
[Emphasis mine].

Friday, August 12, 2005

IBD On "Able Danger"

Investor's Business Daily offers a harsh editorial concerning the "Able Danger" controversy, in which a secret military intelligence unit identified Mohammed Atta as a potential threat in 1999. Pentagon lawyers rejected the unit's recommendation that the information be turned over to the FBI in 2000.
Weldon [Curt Weldon, R-PA] noted: "They put stickies on the face of Mohammed Atta on the chart that the military intelligence unit had completed, and they said you can't talk to Atta because he's here on a green card."

Lee Hamilton, co-chair of the 9-11 commission, said the commission "did not learn of any U.S. government knowledge prior to 9-11 of surveillance of Mohammed Atta or of his cell . . . Had we learned of it, obviously it would've been a major focus of our investigation."

But they did learn of it. The New York Times reports that the 9-11 commission staff had the Able Danger data but decided not to share it with the panel members because the information sounded inconsistent with what they thought they knew about Atta.

Commission staffers plan a trip to the National Archives to retrieve their notes on Able Danger's findings. Yes, the same National Archives where Clinton National Security Adviser Sandy Berger was caught stuffing classified documents about terrorist threats down his pants, presumably to remove them from public scrutiny.



The Fruits of Appeasement

While we're waiting for the UN to give Iran a good scolding about their nuclear program, here's what the Iranian chief negotiator for nuclear affairs, Hosein Musavian has to say:
Thanks to our dealings with Europe, even when we got a 50-day ultimatum, we managed to continue the work for two years. This way we completed (the UCF) in Esfahan. This way we carried out the work to complete Natanz, and on top of that, we even gained benefits. For 10 years, America prevented Iran from joining the WTO. This obstacle was removed, and Iran began talks in order to join the WTO. In the past, the world did not accept Iran as a member of the group of countries with a nuclear fuel cycle. In these two years, and thanks to the Paris Agreement, we entered the international game of the nuclear fuel cycle, and Iran was recognized as one of the countries with a nuclear fuel cycle. An Iranian delegate even participated in the relevant talks. We gained other benefits during these two years as well.
(Via LGF).

Totten vs. Pape

I have said before that we are engaged in a war against Islamism, rather than a war on terror. In an interview in The American Conservative, University of Chicago Associate Professor Robert Pape contended that suicide terrorism is a response to foreign occupation, rather than a tactic of Islamic fundamentalism. From that we can conclude that ending foreign occupations will put an end to suicide terrorism.

Michael Totten's response:
It's total nonsense.

First of all, let's get one thing out of the way. "Terrorism," suicidal or otherwise, isn't the enemy. Totalitarian Islamists are the enemy. They won't go away just because Western troops go away. Terrorism is merely the tactic they use against Westerners because they're too militarily incompetent to use anything else.
Naturally Islamists want to push Westerners out of what they think of as their part of the world. That's one part of their plan. But it's only one part. Westerners and other non-Muslims are also attacked when they get in the way of Islamist imperialism.
Terrorism is not about us. It's about them and their totalitarian designs.
Robert Pape thinks we should withdraw from the region completely and "secure our interests in oil," as he put it, from a distance. If we take his advice we won't end the threat from our enemies. We'll give them military victories for free. And we'll throw our liberal Muslim friends to the Islamist wolf. It's the most disgraceful and despicable thing we could possibly do, not to mention one of the dumbest. Empowered liberal-democratic Muslims with guns will defeat the Islamists in the end. We can't do it without them, and they can't do it if they're languishing in mass graves and dungeons.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Time For A Screed

And that's a good thing, when it comes from James Lileks:
The Presbyterian church - not the members, but the learned elders - has announced it will use the church’s stock holdings to target Israel for being mean to the Palestinians. But they’re not anti-Semites. Heavens, nay. Don’t you dare question their philosemitism! No, they looked at the entire world, including countries that lop off your skull if you convert to Presbyterianism, and what did they chose as the object of their ire? A country the size of a potato chip hanging on the edge of a region noted for despotism and barbarity. By some peculiar coincidence, it just happens to be full of Jews.

The right and the left take turns deciding who’s going to be anti-semetic this century. For some time now the hard left in the West has led the charge against the Jews – or, as the sleight-of-hand term has it, the Zionists. The adolescent spirits of the left love nothing more than a revolution, a story of a scrappy underdog rising up against a colonizing power, and the Palestinians, with their romantically-masked fighters and thrilling weapon-brandishing, fit the bill. Plus, there’s something so deliciously naughty and transgressive about calling Jews the new Nazis – if it feels that good, it must be right.

Doesn’t matter that one side is a liberal democracy that grants rights to women and non-Jews, and the other side has thugs and assassins for rulers and sends its kids to summer camps where they learn the joys of good ol’ fashioned Jew-killin’; doesn’t matter at all. According to the script of the hard left, Israel was created when some Europeans (hisssss) invaded the sovereign nation of Palestine, even though we all know the Jewish homeland is somewhere outside of Passaic. Then for no reason Israel invaded the West Bank and Gaza – which for some reason had not been set up as New Palestine by the Egyptians and the Jordanians, but never mind – and made everyone stand in line and get frisked. Those who joined the line in ‘67 are just getting through now. Evil Zionists.

It's A Grand Old Flag

Hamas is hard at work preparing for the Israeli pullout from Gaza. Working the propaganda mill to its full extent, they seek to claim credit for Israel's withdrawal. Hamas flags will fly in Gaza, and the hyperbole attack is ongoing:
"With the blood of our martyrs we kicked the enemies out," read one new Hamas banner in Abu Khaled's shop, alluding to a Palestinian revolt that raged from 2000 until a ceasefire this year that has been generally heeded by militant factions.

"Gaza is the start of liberation and it will not be the last departure of the occupation," said another banner in the shop, whose walls were adorned by posters of Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, assassinated by Israeli forces in 2004.
Of course, it's all very simple. Hamas is looking for increased support in order to further its agenda of eliminating Israel. They see this as a first step to that end. The reality is that a strengthened Hamas would hurt chances for a peaceful two-state solution, and would cause Palestinians more hardship. The only path to peace is the repudiation of terrorism, and for the middle to rule.

Islamists On The Dole In Britain

Omar Bakri Mohammed, at best a terrorist sympathizer, left London for Lebanon several days ago. This followed Tony Blair's announcement that he would seek to expel Muslim extremists. According to the Telegraph, Bakri...
...receives £331.28 a month in incapacity benefit and £183.30 a month in disability living allowance because of a leg injury he suffered in his teens.

Both payments will continue for at least six months while he is abroad, as long as he plans to return, as will the housing benefit on his home in Edmonton, north London, and his council tax benefit.

His wife, who remains in Britain with their seven children, can also continue to claim a benefits package thought to be worth at least £1,300 a month. Bakri drives a Toyota people carrier worth £30,000, paid for under a scheme called Motability.

The preacher is expected to return for an angioplasty procedure.
Efforts are underway to prevent Bakri from returning to the country.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Terror Suspects Detained in Turkey

From the Jerusalem Post:
Turkish police detained more than 10 people Wednesday suspected of preparing an attack on Israeli tourists, including one who they believe was tied to the 2003 Istanbul blasts that left some 60 people dead, private NTV television said.
Since Friday, more than 5,000 Israelis on five separate cruise ships have been turned away from Turkish ports due to intelligence that an al-Qaida-linked attack was imminent, and the Israeli government has warned its citizens not to travel to a defined strip of coastline along the Turkish Mediterranean.

Update: There are conflicting reports regarding the accuracy of this story.

Corporate Environmentalists?

Some companies have discovered that by 1) recycling their waste, and 2) becoming more efficient so that they produce less waste, they can reduce costs. At the same time, being a "green" company is good for public relations.

From Wired News:
Each week, hundreds of new Subaru and Isuzu cars and trucks roll out of the Subaru factory in Lafayette, Indiana. What doesn't come out of the plant is garbage. When the garbage truck rolls up to the curb in front of your house each week, it hauls away more trash than is generated by the manufacturing processes at the factory.

The factory is the first auto assembly plant in North America to become completely waste-free: last year, 100 percent of the waste steel, plastic and other materials coming out of the plant were reused or recycled. Paint sludge that used to be thrown away, for example, is now dried to a powder and shipped to a plastics manufacturer, ending up eventually as parking lot bumpers and guardrails. What can't be reused -- about 3 percent of the plant's trash -- is shipped off to Indianapolis and incinerated to generate electricity.
(Via Donklephant).

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Multiculturalism And The Tolerance of Hate

Irshad Manji, in today's NY Times:
As Westerners bow down before multiculturalism, we anesthetize ourselves into believing that anything goes. We see our readiness to accommodate as a strength - even a form of cultural superiority (though few will admit that). Radical Muslims, on the other hand, see our inclusive instincts as a form of corruption that makes us soft and rudderless. They believe the weak deserve to be vanquished.

Paradoxically, then, the more we accommodate to placate, the more their contempt for our "weakness" grows. And ultimate paradox may be that in order to defend our diversity, we'll need to be less tolerant. Or, at the very least, more vigilant. And this vigilance demands more than new antiterror laws. It requires asking: What guiding values can most of us live with? Given the panoply of ideologies and faiths out there, what filter will distill almost everybody's right to free expression?

Neither the watery word "tolerance" nor the slippery phrase "mutual respect" will cut it as a guiding value. Why tolerate violent bigotry? Where's the "mutual" in that version of mutual respect? Amin Maalouf, a French-Arab novelist, nailed this point when he wrote that "traditions deserve respect only insofar as they are respectable - that is, exactly insofar as they themselves respect the fundamental rights of men and women."

Media Watch-AP

Israel certainly has reason to be concerned about arms smuggling into Gaza after its withdrawal from the area. As a result, Israel is proposing that the border crossing be moved to a location where Israel, Egypt, and Gaza all meet. The crossing would be manned by Israelis, Egyptians, and Palestinians.

Arms smuggling into Gaza, especially through tunnels, has been problem in the past, and it would assuredly increase after the Israeli pullout, unless proper security arrangements are in place.

The AP, as usual, takes a particularly harsh tone, as it focuses on Israel the bully:
Israel ruled out giving the Palestinians their own gate to the world, insisting Monday it will control traffic in and out of Gaza after Israeli settlers and soldiers leave. Palestinians complained Israel is unwilling to loosen its grip on the coastal strip.

Just a week before the pullout begins, Israel's Security Cabinet met to consider how to deal with the crossing point at Rafah between Gaza and Egypt. Rather than endorse a plan for international inspectors to handle customs and security, the Israelis insisted on moving the crossing to the point where Gaza, Egypt and Israel meet — and on retaining Israeli control.
Emphasis is mine. Yes, it's all about Israel not wanting to give up control. I'm sure that international inspectors would do a great job (of looking the other way).

Does The Left Want To Lose in Iraq?

Christopher Hitchens wonders whether the left is more interested in political aims than in the ideals that they profess:
Do they suppose that a defeat in Iraq would be a defeat only for the Bush administration? The United States is awash in human rights groups, feminist organizations, ecological foundations, and committees for the rights of minorities. How come there is not a huge voluntary effort to help and to publicize the efforts to find the hundreds of thousands of "missing" Iraqis, to support Iraqi women's battle against fundamentalists, to assist in the recuperation of the marsh Arab wetlands, and to underwrite the struggle of the Kurds, the largest stateless people in the Middle East? Is Abu Ghraib really the only subject that interests our humanitarians?

The New York Times ran a fascinating report (subscription only), under the byline of James Glanz, on July 8. It was a profile of Dr. Alaa Tamimi, the mayor of Baghdad, whose position it would be a gross understatement to describe as "embattled." Dr. Tamimi is a civil engineer and convinced secularist who gave up a prosperous exile in Canada to come home and help rebuild his country. He is one among millions who could emerge if it were not for the endless, pitiless torture to which the city is subjected by violent religious fascists. He is quoted as being full of ideas, of a somewhat Giuliani-like character, about zoning enforcement, garbage recycling, and zero tolerance for broken windows. If this doesn't seem quixotic enough in today's gruesome circumstances, he also has to confront religious parties on the city council and an inept central government that won't give him a serious budget.

Question: Why have several large American cities not already announced that they are going to become sister cities with Baghdad and help raise money and awareness to aid Dr. Tamimi? When I put this question to a number of serious anti-war friends, their answer was to the effect that it's the job of the administration to allocate the money, so that there's little room or need for civic action. I find this difficult to credit: For day after day last month I could not escape the news of the gigantic "Live 8" enterprise, which urged governments to do more along existing lines by way of debt relief and aid for Africa. Isn't there a single drop of solidarity and compassion left over for the people of Iraq, after three decades of tyranny, war, and sanctions and now an assault from the vilest movement on the face of the planet? Unless someone gives me a persuasive reason to think otherwise, my provisional conclusion is that the human rights and charitable "communities" have taken a pass on Iraq for political reasons that are not very creditable. And so we watch with detached curiosity, from dry land, to see whether the Iraqis will sink or swim. For shame.

Good News Time

Afghanistan. Chrenkoff. Part 15.

Monday, August 08, 2005

IBD on CAIR

I have commented about the need for moderate Muslims to assert themselves, and reclaim their religion from Islamists. One present danger is the claim of certain Muslims that they are moderates and represent mainstream Islam, when they actually have an Islamist agenda. One such group is the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Investor's Business Daily reports:
CAIR should know better than anyone who does fit the terrorist profile. Three of its own officials were recently convicted of terror-related crimes. One even worked for Hooper. He's now in prison for conspiring to kill Americans.

A lawsuit filed against CAIR by the family of former FBI official John P. O'Neill, who was killed on 9-11, charges that the group, which evolved from a known Hamas front, is "a key player in international terrorism."

Congress is investigating CAIR and has repeatedly invited its executive director to deny the mounting terror charges under oath. But Nihad Awad, a Palestinian American, refuses. If CAIR is not tied to terrorism, why not clear the air at a televised hearing?

Tellingly, CAIR after 9-11 refused to single out al-Qaida or
Osama bin Laden for condemnation. After the London bombings, it endorsed an anti-terror edict so broad it was meaningless -- and one that was loaded with qualifiers.

Instead of condemning attacks against British or American or Israeli non-Muslims, it hedged by denouncing "all acts of terrorism targeting civilians" and "innocent lives" -- leaving non-Muslims to wonder if they fall into those categories, knowing that jihadists don't necessarily consider them innocent or civilian.

(The vaguely worded edict was written by Hooper pal Taha Jaber al-Alwani, who happens to be an unindicted co-conspirator in the ongoing terror case against Sami al-Arian, the alleged U.S. leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad.)

We wonder who and what CAIR, which calls itself a civil-rights defender, is really protecting when it fights targeted profiling at train stations and airports.

CAIR may talk a good patriotic and moderate game. But it has a secret agenda to Islamize America.

Before 9-11, its founder and chairman, Omar Ahmad, also a Palestinian American, told a Muslim audience: "Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Quran should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth."

Before coming to Washington, Hooper himself is on record stating: "I wouldn't want to create the impression that I wouldn't like the government of the United States to be Islamic."
Sometimes, these people make it easy; just look at their own words.

Down With Multiculturalism

Johann Hari has written another excellent essay. In this one, he looks at multiculturalism in Britain:
I am the child of an immigrant myself, and I believe we should take more immigrants and refugees into Britain, not fewer. But it is increasingly clear that, forged with the best of intentions, multiculturalism has become a counter-productive way of welcoming people to our country. It promotes not a melting pot where we all mix together but a segregated society of sealed-off cultures, each sticking to its own.
We have been acting as though there is one thing called "Muslim culture", and elderly imams or enraged, misogynistic young men are its only voice. A few weeks ago, it was driven home to me how wrong this is. I wrote about how the best way to defeat jihadists was to empower Muslim women, and I was inundated with e-mails from Muslim women, many explaining how the logic of multiculturalism weakened their hand.
So to multiculturalists, we have to ask: which Muslim culture do you want to preserve? The jilbab-wearing culture of Shabinah and the mullahs, or the culture of the hundreds of Muslim girls who curse them? All immigrant communities are divided and diverse; it is a form of soft racism to assume they have One Culture that should be respected at all costs.

But multiculturalism binds the hands of those who want cultural change in immigrant communities by demanding tolerance and respect for reactionary traditions. At a time when there is a battle within British Islam whose outcome will affect us all, is it wise to continue like this?

It is not too late to unpick the dysfunctional logic of multiculturalism. We can actively promote dialogue, meeting-places and inter-breeding. No more funding of divisive faith schools. No more separate community centres.
Britain has the highest rate of mixed-race partnerships anywhere in the world, largely due to sexual relationships between white and black people in London. This - not multiculturalism - is the British tradition to promote. No more bland "tolerance": let's have rows and laughs and sex. Our future lies in this glorious mixing of races, not in separating them out and hermetically sealing them off in their own outdated "cultures".

Undercover In The Academy Of Hatred

A Sunday Times reporter went undercover to investigate Muslim extremists in London:
DURING a two-month undercover investigation The Sunday Times has amassed hours of taped evidence and pages of transcripts which show how Bakri [Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed] and his acolytes promote hatred of “non-believers” and “egg” their followers on to commit acts of violence, including suicide bombings.

The evidence details how his group, the Saviour Sect, preaches a racist creed of Muslim supremacy which, in the words of Bakri, aims at one day “flying the Islamic flag over Downing Street”.

In his two months with the sect, our reporter witnessed a gang of Bakri’s followers brutally beating up a Muslim who challenged their views. He listened as a succession of “religious leaders” ridiculed moderate Muslims and repeatedly justified war against the “kuffar” — non-Muslims...

...At their meetings — which often included school-age teenagers — they were fed a constant diet of propaganda warning that the kuffar are out to destroy them.

Integration with British society is scorned, as is any form of democratic process. Followers are encouraged to exploit the benefits system. They avoid jobs which could bring them into contact with western women or might lead them to contribute to the economy of a nation they are taught to despise.

In regular lectures and sermons it is instilled into them that Islam is a religion of violence. While publicly they did not defend the London attacks, they speak differently in private.

Dhimmitude at Virginia Tech

About sixty faculty members from a Saudi Arabian university are taking classes at Virginia Tech, a public school. The classes are being taught in gender-separated classrooms, as is the custom in Saudi Arabia. "This is the way they teach their courses over there, and this is the way they wish their courses to be taught over here," Tech spokesman Larry Hincker said. The university, he said, chose to respect the Saudi culture "rather than impress our culture on them."

An editorial writer at the Roanoke Times thinks differently:
... such segregation still rankles -- as an affront to U.S. law and ideals, as a capitulation to Saudi Arabia's oppression of women, as a Saudi failure to reciprocate American academics' efforts to honor local customs when abroad and as a missed opportunity.
I hope VA Tech hears from alumni, students, Virginia taxpayers, and anyone else who is concerned about this disturbing support of practices that most Americans find unacceptable.

Peter Jennings Dies at 67

AP:
NEW YORK - Peter Jennings, the suave, Canadian-born broadcaster who delivered the news to Americans each night in five separate decades, died Sunday. He was 67. Jennings, who announced in April that he had lung cancer, died at his New York home, ABC News President David Westin said late Sunday.
I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Jennings several years ago. From my encounter with him, I got the impression that he was, to put it simply, a nice guy.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

The Need For An Islamic Reformation

Salman Rushdie:
What is needed is a move beyond tradition -- nothing less than a reform movement to bring the core concepts of Islam into the modern age, a Muslim Reformation to combat not only the jihadist ideologues but also the dusty, stifling seminaries of the traditionalists, throwing open the windows to let in much-needed fresh air.

Media Watch-USA Today

What better way is there to wrap up a story about the sixty year anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, then to throw in a completely gratuitous slap at the President?
The A-bomb indeed was hell for Japanese who lived in or near Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But it also was the high-water mark of WWII because it ended the hell for all others fighting that conflict.

Truman will be remembered as the president who brought us both victory and peace in a war that was justified and necessary. By contrast, self-proclaimed "War President" George Bush has brought us neither victory nor peace in the Iraq war, which former president Jimmy Carter this week called "unnecessary and unjust."
(Via LGF).

Saturday, August 06, 2005

The Anti-Israel Bias Continues

Is the rare act of violence by an Israeli extremist equivalent to scores of terrorist attacks by Palestinians? The AP thinks it is. Meryl Yourish dissects their all-too typical bias.

Friday, August 05, 2005

An Israeli Terrorist

Yesterday, an Israeli army deserter, who was a member of a right-wing group, killed four Israeli Arabs when he opened fire on a bus. Natan Eden Zada was then killed by an angry mob.

I knew right away how the Israeli government would react, how Palestinians would react, and how the rest of the world would react. Omri Ceren echoes my thoughts:
When a Jewish terrorist kills Arabs - and let's be clear, this one's a terrorist - Jews condemn him for it. When an Arab terrorist kills Jews, Arabs celebrate.
When an Arab mob savagely lynches a Jew for killing Arabs, the world yawns. When highly trained and disciplined Israeli operatives target a Palestinian terrorist who is literally in the act of terrorism, it's highly "controversial".
After a horrific terrorist attack committed by a Jew, it's just kind of expected that Arabs will violently riot. When Arabs commit the most unthinkable crimes, bombing civilians and then the medical personnel who come to help them, Israelis are urged to consider the day after.
Mired in their own victim-hood, Israeli Arab organizations are of course calling for a full strike. In far more serious situations - with civilian murders sanctioned at the highest Palestinian levels - Israelis were always urged to make one more painful concession for peace.
And of course, the biggest difference is that when a Jewish terrorist kills Arabs, Jews call him a terrorist. When an Arab terrorist kills Jews, he's something else.

A Day at the U.N.

Starring John Bolton:
3:17 p.m. -- The afternoon sun is getting hot; Bolton discovers the shade is stuck. He calls building services. He is informed that the shade has been stuck since 1966, that the U.N. Commission on Window Treatments was convened in 1967 to address the matter, and is scheduled to meet again in 2006, once India withdraws its objections to giving the rotating chairmanship to Yemen -- as one of the founding countries, it has the right to the chair, but when the nation split in two its claim to the chair was remanded to a subcommittee, which went on a fact-finding mission to a French drape manufacturer and never reported back aside from annual expense accounts from a beach house in the south. The Plenary Commission on International Shade Accords, a separate body, has recommended that any action on drapes or curtains be postponed until the U.N. building is renovated, or that a large movable curtain be erected across the street to block the sun, but this debate has been stalled over an amendment condemning Israel's treatment of Venetian blinds in the Gaza Strip. Of course, now that Israel has begun withdrawal from ...

3:24 -- Bolton hangs up, cuts the cord, and the shade comes down.

4:07 -- At the cafeteria, Bolton gets a doughnut and a cup of coffee; the cashier informs him she'll put it on the U.S. tab. Bolton insists on paying himself; she shrugs and asks for $428.26.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Today's Sermon

This little diatribe was aired on Palestinian Authority television on May 13, 2005:
We have ruled the world before, and by Allah, the day will come when we will rule the entire world again. The day will come when we will rule America. The day will come when we will rule Britain and the entire world – except for the Jews. The Jews will not enjoy a life of tranquility under our rule, because they are treacherous by nature, as they have been throughout history. The day will come when everything will be relieved of the Jews - even the stones and trees which were harmed by them. Listen to the Prophet Muhammad, who tells you about the evil end that awaits Jews. The stones and trees will want the Muslims to finish off every Jew.
Robert Spencer has more on the preacher.

(Via PowerLine).

NY Times Watch

From PowerLine:
Air America--or Air Scamerica, or Air Enron--is engulfed in scandal. It now appears clear that the far-left radio network obtained critical funding by misappropriating money earmarked for poor children and Alzheimer's victims from the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club, a nonprofit organization.
Oddly enough, the NY Times, which, according to Michelle Malkin, has printed 59 stories that mentioned Air America since March 2004. Thus far, they have not had a story about this scandal. In fact, the silence from the mainstream media, except for a few right of center sources, has been deafening. I guess if your friends are involved in a scandal, even if it involves taking money intended for needy people, it isn't newsworthy.

On the other hand, digging in the muck in order to find something to sling at Supreme Court nominee John Roberts, is a much better use of the NY Times' resources. The paper has an investigative reporter examining the adoption status of Roberts' children. Could this be worthy of a little scorn?

George Galloway, Grade A [Expletive Deleted]

I can think of a few colorful descriptive terms for British MP George Galloway, and a quick search shows what the blogosphere is saying about him. I've tried to keep the language here clean, so I'll just provide Mr. Galloway's own words, and you can provide your own commentary.

The following are excerpts from interviews and a speech by British MP George Galloway, which aired on various Arab channels on July 28 and 31, 2005.

"Two of your beautiful daughters are in the hands of foreigners - Jerusalem and Baghdad. The foreigners are doing to your daughters as they will. The daughters are crying for help, and the Arab world is silent. And some of them are collaborating with the rape of these two beautiful Arab daughters."

"It's not the Muslims who are the terrorists. The biggest terrorists are Bush, and Blair, and Berlusconi, and Aznar, but it is definitely not a clash of civilizations. George Bush doesn't have any civilization, he doesn't represent any civilization. We believe in the Prophets, peace be upon them. He believes in the profits, and how to get a piece of them. That's his god. That's his god. George Bush worships money. That's his god - Mammon."

"Most of the children, most of the schools, most of the buses, were bombed by the United States. Let's keep this clearly in perspective: Most of the children who died in Iraq were killed by George Bush, not by Zarqawi. Most of the schools that were wrecked, buses that were bombed, hospitals that were destroyed, lives that were taken, were taken by George Bush, not by Zarqawi. Number two: Most of the resistance in Iraq is not Zarqawi, It's not foreign, whatever "foreign" means when Iraq is occupied by 250,000 foreign armies. Most of their resistance are Iraqis resisting the foreign occupation of their country. Most of the operations which they carry out are against the occupying forces and their collaborators, and this is normal in every liberation struggle."

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The Murder of Steven Vincent

NEW YORK (Reuters) -
Free-lance journalist Steven Vincent, who was killed in
Iraq this week, was an art critic inspired to write about war after watching from the roof of his New York apartment as the World Trade Center towers fell.

Author of a well-reviewed book on Iraq called "In the Red Zone," Vincent documented his regular trips to Iraq on an Internet blog that touched on everything from Islamic feminism to arts and shopping in supermarkets in Basra.

Vincent was found shot dead in Basra on Tuesday. His Iraqi translator was also shot and injured.
Much more information and analysis here.

The War on Islamism

As I said yesterday, we are not fighting a "war on terror". We are fighting Islamists who declared war on us. Michael Totten elaborates:
“War against terrorism” is pathetic and always has been. It’s a cliché now to point out that terrorism is a tactic not an enemy. World War II was not a “war against U-boats” or a “war against kamikazes.” World War II was a war against Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and the Empire of Japan.
Clearly this war is different. It’s asymmetrical. It functions like a global civil war, rather than a state-on-state fight, which is perhaps fitting in the age of globalization. But I can’t understand why so many people have such a hard time figuring out who the enemy is just because this war is different. Paul Berman figured it out easily and wrote the following in The American Prospect shortly after September 11, 2001.

"Some people have emphasized that, so far as we know, not one of the national states in the Middle East or anywhere else seems to have been directly responsible for the attacks. Thus it is said that without the involvement of a national state, we cannot properly speak of something as capacious as war (as if wars can take place only between national states--when the great majority of wars in recent years have been, in fact, civil wars, meaning, conflicts in which only one side possesses a state). This is another way of making the same minimizing point: that we are not facing any kind of substantial or well-organized enemy, even if we have suffered a disastrous blow. But we are facing a substantial and well-organized enemy. Our enemy is the combat wing of radical and Islamist movements that are genuinely enormous." [Emphasis added.]

Exactly. Shouldn’t that be obvious by now? It was obvious to some people then. While the conservative administration sputtered incoherently, a liberal essayist put it right. If more of Berman’s fellow liberals were as perceptive as he is, we wouldn’t be having this argument over basics right now. We wouldn’t be arguing about the Bush Administration either because the Bush Administration would no longer exist.

Wasn't There Already A Cease-Fire?

From AP:
A major Palestinian militant group promised Wednesday it would fire no more rockets at Israelis during Israel's planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, after a barrage inadvertently killed a 5-year-old Palestinian boy.
Oops. I guess rocket attacks are okay, until you miss and kill Palestinians. Someone should sell them better weapons.
The pledge by Islamic Jihad could ease the pullout, set to begin Aug. 15. Islamic Jihad has been responsible for many attacks on Israeli targets in recent weeks, making the group one of the biggest threats to a smooth withdrawal...

...The group has attacked Israeli targets repeatedly throughout a six-month truce between Israel and the Palestinians, saying it was acting to avenge Israeli violations. Its attacks have included two suicide bombings during that time.
That's a great truce they had going.

Meryl Yourish has an analysis of the usual bias in earlier reports of this story.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

You Didn't Hear It From Me

An unnamed source has alerted me to a post by Roger L. Simon about the Washington Post's liberal use of unnamed sources in a story about a U.S. intelligence review of Iran's nuclear program:
"It's a full look at what we know, what we don't know and what assumptions we have," a U.S. source said.

A U. S. source!? They actually printed that with a straight face. (I assume they did anyway.) What, pray tell, is a "U. S. source"? I guess they mean someone in the government, but it could just as well be your Aunt Fanny in Nome, Alaska. And they say bloggers don't have editors!

Is the War on Terror Over?

It is, if you ask Juan Cole:
The Bush administration is giving up the phrase "global war on terror."

I take it this is because they have finally realized that if they are fighting a war on terror, the enemy is four guys in a gymn [sic] in Leeds. It isn't going to take very long for people to realize that a) you don't actually need to pay the Pentagon $400 billion a year if that is the problem and b) whoever is in charge of such a war isn't actually doing a very good job at stopping the bombs from going off.
This leaves Michael Totten speechless, so he responds with a photo-fisking of Cole.

Personally, I don't like the term "war on terror". It smacks of political correctness. We are fighting Islamism; a totalitarian belief system based on Islam.

Which leads us to the subject of Iran, of which Dr. Cole has this to say in the same post quoted above:
It will be argued that Iran is trying to get a nuclear weapon. But a) we don't know that for sure; and b) even if it were to succeed in doing so, how would it be different from the Soviet Union, which hated us much more than Iran does and which had thousands of warheads pointed at us? So far no two countries, both of which have nuclear weapons, have fought a major war with one another, and the reason is clear.
Well, I'd say that it's pretty clear that Iran has a nuclear weapons program, and did the Soviet Union really hate us much more than Iran does today? That is a highly debatable point. At least the Soviet Union was led by people who did not want to die. Sting wondered "if the Russians love their children, too." It appears that they did. The Soviets were not led by a fatalistic ideology. The Soviets acted in a manner that we would view as rational. A society that encourages martyrdom and supports terrorists who target civilians is not a society that I want to see with a nuclear weapon.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Good News From Iraq

Part 32, from Arthur Chrenkoff, and it's a looooong post. Someone tell the mainstream media.

Coming Next: Jihad Jumble

You just can't make stuff like this up:
From a word game in The Muslim Link, an English-language bi-weekly paper serving the Baltimore and Washington, DC metro areas:

* Iraqi City where scores of Muslims die everyday [sic] from civil strife that started as a result of the US invasion (7) — Baghdad
* Manned by US soldiers who frequently fire on innocent people trying to drive through these 'gates' (10) — Checkpoint
* No. VA Islamic scholar and cancer phD [sic] researcher given life sentence for speaking freely (8) — Altimimi
* This 'blockade' enforced by the US around Iraq after the first Gulf war killed 2 million Iraqi children (starts with s, ends with s, 9 letters total) — sanctions.
(Via LGF).

The Old Poisoned Banana Trick

From The Age (Australia):
The teacher could not believe what he overheard. The "visiting" imam was launching into a tirade against the Jews and Americans that bordered on the ludicrous.

But then came the clincher, he recalled. "The imam told the students that the Jews were putting poison in the bananas and they should not eat them."
I don't know about "bordered on the ludicrous". I'd say the imam has passed through ludicrous on the way to delusional.