Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Media Watch


This may be the most biased front page I've ever seen. (Via LGF).

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Roots Of Islamism

Michael Gove has written a new book called Celsius 7/7. The Times has printed excerpts.
Islamists believe in the re-ordering of society to secure total submission to a narrow, puritan and fundamentalist interpretation of Islam. They are conducting a civil war within the Islamic world designed to overthrow existing regimes, which they consider to be unforgiveably apostate, and replace them with a single and unified Muslim state, the restored Caliphate. Islamists believe that the sanctity and culture of Muslim lands are menaced and defiled by Western influences, from capitalism to feminism, which have to be eradicated.

That cleansing process must be accomplished by suicidal violence, because, in the words of Islamism's most influential thinker, Sayyid Qutb, "the death of those who are killed for the cause of God gives more impetus to the cause, which continues to thrive on their blood."

The bloodshed should not stop at Islam's current borders. Not just because those nations which are unIslamic constitute dar-al Harb, the House of War, which constantly threatens the security of the Muslim world. But also because Islamists are driven by a divine mission to ensure the whole earth, in due course, learns to submit to Islamist rule.
...there is a wilful blindness among many in the West who refuse to acknowledge the totalitarian nature of the ideology which drives jihadi warriors. Even though the shelves of every Western bookshop sag under the weight of texts which record the cruelties and barbarism inflicted by totalitarianism in the twentieth century, there seems to be a remarkable reluctance to accept that totalitarian thinking could be behind contemporary cruelty and barbarism.

Instead Western commentators attribute Islamist violence to specific, discrete, grievances such as the presence of American troops on Saudi soil, the failure to establish an Arab Palestinian state or the material poverty of Arab peoples. In every case the blame for Islamist violence is laid at the door of the West, for failing to deliver "justice".

It is a remarkable commentary on the state of analytical thinking in the West that when faced with mass-murderers, who loudly proclaim the ideological basis of their actions and prophesy victory on the basis of Western weakness, Western thinkers respond by denying the ideological motivation of their attackers and instead blame the West for stoking grievances.

The belief that Islamist violence can be explained by these factors is as flawed as the belief in the 1930s that Nazi-ism could be understood as simply a response to the perceived injustices of the Versailles settlement which could be assuaged by re-uniting Sudeten Germans with their Bavarian cousins.
This should be a must-read for anyone who believes otherwise.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Quote Of The Day

The latest dominant trait of the Muslims is victimhood. They think they are being persecuted and killed everywhere in the world. They want the world to take notice of this while the Muslims as a rule feel nothing about those outside the umma who suffer. The feeling of victimhood has something to do with the expatriate Muslims’ inability to integrate among host societies and their dissatisfaction with their own states.
--Khaled Ahmed, in the Daily Times (Pakistan)

NY Times Watch

QandO has the best post that I've seen about the latest controversy surrounding the NY Times:
The media has a responsibility to the public it serves and that is to exercise the proper due diligence when weighing whether to publish a story it has unearthed. The ethical questions surrounding this incident seem pretty clear. Is it in the best interest of the public to know about a legal secret program underway to identify and stop the flow of money to terrorists simply because the potential for abuse exists? Or is it in the best interest of the public that the program remain secret and allow it to continue to protect that very same public from those who would harm them?
Also, there's a roundup at Pajamas Media.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Terrorist Sues British Government

You just can't make up this kind of stuff:
A Palestinian terrorist leader held by Israel filed a lawsuit against the British government for pulling wardens out of a West Bank prison that was later stormed by Israeli forces, his lawyer said Wednesday.

Attorney Kate Maynard said she had filed papers on behalf of Ahmed Saadat alleging his human rights had been violated.
What an outrage.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Follow The (Oil) Money

All Victor Davis Hanson is doing is stating the obvious, but are there leaders bold enough to take whatever actions are necessary?
Take away the $300-500 billion in windfall profits piled up in the coffers of the oil-exporting nations recently, and Hugo Chavez becomes just another spluttering Castro, hardly able to pay for his bankrupt populism in Venezuela, much less export it beyond his borders. Without petroleum largesse, Iran's Mohammed Ahmadinejad could afford neither a multi-billion-dollar nuclear weapons program nor costly subsidies for terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas. Vladimir Putin's crackdown on capitalists, political freedom, and further Russian reforms comes only because he controls energy exports vital to the world economy.
Because of its dependency on Middle East gas and oil, Europe's high talk about human rights doesn't apply much to Arab extremists with energy-rich patrons in the Gulf. America is in a war against Islamic fascism, yet treads carefully around Saudi Arabia, despite the kingdomÍs subsidies to America-hating madrasahs. When poor oil-importing countries in Africa and Latin America make sacrifices to enact tough market reforms, their hard work only helps to enrich failed states like Iran, Libya, and Venezuela lucky enough to have an accidental resource beneath their feet that was found, exploited, and mostly purchased by the Westerners they demonize.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Briefly

Winds of Change takes on Jim Moran.

Strategy Page looks at the state of the Palestinians.

Second Thoughts On The Gaza Beach Explosion

Human Rights Watch is backing off from its claim that Israeli shelling was responsible for the deaths from an explosion at a Gaza beach:
While sticking to its demand for the establishment of an independent inquiry into a blast on a Gaza beach 10 days ago that killed seven Palestinian civilians, the Human Rights Watch conceded Monday night for the first time since the incident that it could not contradict the IDF's exonerating findings.
Unfortunately, the initial knee-jerk response to blame Israel cannot be rescinded, and I expect that we will eventually see what damage such a reaction can cause.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Thoughts On The Gaza Beach Explosion

Charles Krauthammer:
Let's concede for the sake of argument that the question of whether it was an errant Israeli shell remains unresolved. But the obvious question not being asked is this: Who is to blame if Palestinians are setting up rocket launchers to attack Israel -- and placing them 400 yards from a beach crowded with Palestinian families on the Muslim Sabbath?

Answer: This is another example of the Palestinians' classic and cowardly human-shield tactic -- attacking innocent Israeli civilians while hiding behind innocent Palestinian civilians. For Palestinian terrorists -- and the Palestinian governments (both Fatah and Hamas) that allow them to operate unmolested -- it's a win-win: If their rockets aimed into Israeli towns kill innocent Jews, no one abroad notices and it's another success in the terrorist war against Israel. And if Israel's preventive and deterrent attacks on those rocket bases inadvertently kill Palestinian civilians, the iconic "Israeli massacre" picture makes the front page of the New York Times, and the Palestinians win the propaganda war.

But there is an even larger question not asked. Whether the rocket bases are near civilian beaches or in remote areas, why are the Gazans launching any rockets at Israel in the first place -- about 1,000 in the past year?

To get Israel to remove its settlers, end the occupation and let the Palestinians achieve dignity and independence? But Israel did exactly that in Gaza last year. It completely evacuated Gaza, dismantled all its military installations, removed its soldiers, destroyed all Israeli settlements and expelled all 7,000 Israeli settlers. Israel then declared the line that separates Israel from Gaza to be an international frontier. Gaza became the first independent Palestinian territory ever.

And what have the Palestinians done with this independence, this judenrein territory under the Palestinians' control? They have used their freedom to launch rockets at civilians in nearby Israeli towns.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Holiday In Afghanistan

The NY Times provides a forum for a former detainee at Guantanamo Bay on its op-ed page.
In the early summer of 2001, when I was 19, I made the mistake of listening to my older brother and going to Afghanistan on what I thought was a dream vacation. His friends, he said, were going to look after me. They did — channeling me to what turned out to be a Qaeda training camp. For two months, I was there, trapped in the middle of the desert by fear and my own stupidity.
The writer, Mourad Benchellali, is from France. Who needs Paris, when you can go on a "dream vacation" in Afghanistan.
I was seized by the Pakistani Army while having tea at a mosque shortly after I managed to cross the border. A few days later I was delivered to the United States Army: although I didn't know it at the time, I was now labeled an "enemy combatant." It did not matter that I was no one's enemy and had never been on a battlefield, let alone fought or aimed a weapon at anyone.
Two months at a terrorist training camp, and suddenly everyone thinks you're a terrorist. How unfair.

Mr. Benchellali, who describes himself as a "quiet Muslim", faces charges in France for the time that he spent in the al-Qaeda camp. Do you wonder what this misunderstood man's family thinks about his travails? Well, they have problems of their own:
A court on Wednesday convicted 25 people for their roles in preparing an attack in France in support of Islamic fighters in Chechnya.
In handing down sentences, the court followed the prosecutor's office by giving the maximum 10-year term to the group's alleged chemicals expert, Menad Benchellali. However, Menad's father, Chellali Benchellali, an imam, or prayer leader, in the Lyon suburb of Venissieux, received only an 18-month suspended prison term -- far lower than the prosecution's demand for six years behind bars.

The court convicted 24 defendants of criminal association in relation with a terrorist enterprise, a broad charge used by France to sweep wide in bringing terror suspects to justice. One other was convicted of using false papers.

The Benchellali family was at the center of the case, with Menad's mother, Hafsa, and brother, Hafed, also on trial for roles in the plot to carry out an attack in France.
Is Mourad Benchellali the innocent man that he claims to be, or is he just a participant in the family business?

(Via Roger L. Simon).

A Question From Canada

Canadians are looking more closely at their society in the aftermath of the recent arrests of jihadists in Ontario. They are asking the question: Is Islam a religion of peace?
The recent disruption of an alleged homegrown Islamist terror plot has caused many Canadians to ask: How can multiculturalism -- which preaches tolerance above all else -- be squared with a militant, intolerant creed that demonizes non-believers?
When the Koran is cited by Muslims in response to questions about violence, it is often discussed in such a way as to shut down a meaningful exploration of the text. One or two mild passages are usually offered, as if these fully represented the contents of a scripture containing 6,000-plus verses. But the Koran -- literally "recitation" -- is a collection of diverse materials that include polemic, praise, eschatology, law, narrative, battle calls, and details of the domestic life of the Prophet.

In particular, the sourcebooks contain a great deal of material relating to violence. This article reviews that small part of the material that is directly relevant to any debate about the link between Islam and terror: the commands to fight and kill.
Read it all.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Alberto's Devastation

If you have been lucky enough the miss the media's overblown coverage of this season's first named storm, here is a special report from Glenn Reynolds, on location in Florida.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Media Watch-Deaths In Gaza

1) Reuters:
Hamas fired rockets at Israel on Saturday, formally ending a 16-month-old truce, after seven Palestinians on a Gaza beach were killed by Israeli shelling.
Reuters definitively states that it was Israeli shelling that killed Palestinians, even though later in the article, the certainty of this statement is questioned. Of course, this serves to place blame on Israel for the act, as well as for the end of a non-existent Hamas truce.

2) AFP:
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has expressed regret over the death of eight Palestinian civilians who were killed by shelling of a beach in the northern
Gaza Strip.
3) AP: Continue to blame Israel first, but later on, you see that more doubts are emerging.
Pounding on the sand, Houda Ghalia shrieked for her father after he was killed with five of her siblings at a seaside picnic by what Palestinians said was an Israeli shell.
Israel expressed regret Saturday for the killing of eight civilians, but stopped short of taking responsibility, saying an investigation was under way.

Israel's military chief said the killings may have resulted from a misfired Palestinian rocket. Palestinians insisted they were caused by an Israeli artillery shell.
4) Jerusalem Post:
The IDF probe investigating the deaths of seven Palestinian civilians, caused by an explosion on a beach in Gaza on Friday evening, concluded that chances were slim that the accident was caused by IDF shelling.
Aha. This article also presents evidence to support this conclusion. The claims in the other articles were based on hearsay and supposition.

Is this just bad journalism is it anti-Israel bias? Well, one other line from the AP article supports the latter:
Israel often fires artillery at Gaza, responding to Palestinian militants who launch homemade rockets at Israeli towns and villages.
Israel targets the terrorists who are responsible for firing rockets indiscriminately into civilian areas. However, is seems that AP wants you to think that Israel's anti-terror attacks are no different, and are not targeted any differently than Palestinian terror attacks.

As this story continues to develop, we'll see whether the wire services issue updates.

Update: The media is reporting the Israeli side of the story, although not is as much detail as the Jerusalem Post (link above).

LGF has more.

Update: Here is an excellent analysis from neo-neocon.

Quote Of The Day

"When I become chairman [of a House appropriations subcommittee], I'm going to earmark the sh** out of it."” --Democratic Congressman Jim Moran (Virginia's 8th district).

While Moran's seat in the House may be safe enough for him to make such idiotic statements, this doesn't seem like the best strategy for Democrats who hope to gain control of Congress. But what do I know; I'm only a swing-voter.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

The Secret Is Out

I've known about this for years.

Coulter Wars

From Andrew Sullivan, Quote of the Day #2:
But the problem with Coulter is that she is a form of camp, is she not? The minute you take her seriously, you lose grip on her reality. She's not a social or political commentator. She's a drag queen impersonating a fascist. I don't even begin to believe she actually believes this stuff. It's post-modern performance-art. I think of Coulter in that sense as more at home on the pomo-left than the Christianist right (which is why the joke, ultimately, is on the Republicans who like her). Devoid of sincerity, detached from any value but performance, juggling rhetoric for its own sake, she is Stanley Fish's model student. Half the time, I tend to think that a Hannity or O'Reilly or Malkin actually believes their own rhetoric. With Coulter, I don't believe it for a second. And so her vileness cannot be taken seriously. She is worse than vile. She is just empty.
Just ignore her, and maybe she'll go away.

Hitchens On The Demise Of Zarqawi

Quote of the Day #1:
If we had withdrawn from Iraq already, as the "peace" movement has been demanding, then one of the most revolting criminals of all time would have been able to claim that he forced us to do it. That would have catapulted Iraq into Stone Age collapse and instated a psychopathic killer as the greatest Muslim soldier since Saladin. As it is, the man is ignominiously dead and his dirty connections a lot closer to being fully exposed. This seems like a good day's work to me.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

"Speculating is Strictly Forbidden —Violators Will be Fined"

Michael Yon:
In the matter of Haditha, what we do know is that an investigation is underway. The results of that investigation have not been issued publicly and it is uncertain whether those results will include criminal charges. Because we have one of the only militaries on earth that actually investigates its own troops so openly, at the end of the day, we can and do hold our people to very high standards. Granted, in this case, apparently it took a media pry-bar to crack the lid, but we also have one of the only militaries in the world where a writer — even one who is flagrantly anti-military — can embed with combat troops.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Covering Terrorism the MSM Way

After reading quite a few articles and blog posts about the Canadian terror arrests, I came across a column by Andrew C. McCarthy that echoed my own thoughts:
Instinctively, the mainstream media went into its now-familiar coverage template, Phase One of which avoids like the plague any mention of the fact that accused terrorists are Muslims.

As Cliff May and I noted here on NRO, and Roger Simon detailed on his website, readers of the New York Times were told that the 17 men arrested “represent the broad strata of our society … Some are students, some are employed, some are unemployed.” In point of fact, however, they represent a very narrow stratum of Canadian society: They are Muslims, many of whom attend the same mosque, the Al-Rahman Islamic Centre for Islamic Education in the Toronto suburb of Mississauga.

Not only were all those arrested Muslims. The reported evidence against them fits to a tee the shopworn pattern of Islamic terrorism repeated for much of the last two decades. Young men were radicalized at the local mosque and its companion school by elders preaching from the Koran. They participated in paramilitary training in rural outposts. The training involved firearms and communications equipment. The plotters may have conducted surveillance on specific targets. And they ordered prodigious amounts of explosives components—in this case, tons of fertilizer in preparation for the construction of crude but deadly effective ANFO (ammonium nitrate and fuel oil) bombs.
Read it all.

Update: A good example.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Protests Continue In Iran...

...Mainstream media remains silent. Gateway Pundit is all over the story. Meanwhile, Judith Apter Klinghoffer covers the lack of coverage.

The State Of The Left

Peter Beinart, making sense:
This horrible story from Haditha powerfully underscores the liberal vision, which is this. We are not angels: without sufficient moral and legal restrictions, and under conditions of extreme stress, Americans can be as barbaric as anyone. What's makes us an exceptional nation with the capacity to lead and inspire the world is our very recognition of that fact. We are capable of Hadithas and My Lais, so is everyone. But few societies are capable of acknowledging what happened, bringing the killers to justice, and instituting changes that make it less likely to happen again. That's how we show we are different from the jihadists. We don't just assert it. We prove it. That's the liberal version of American exceptionalism, and it's what we need right now in response to this horror.
Take a look at the comments to his post to see a lot of what is wrong with the American Left today.