Thursday, 29 March 2007
Iran releases hostage marine's 'anti-war' letter
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Iran has released a second letter from kidnapped British marine Faye Turney in which she calls on Tony Blair to withdraw British troops from Iraq.

The letter was released by the Iranian embassy in London, which stated that Turney was the author. The veracity of the letter could not immediately be determined. But it is so obviously balderdash. Anybody can make a spelling mistake but the idiom is not current English. She would write to her MP, not "the representitive of the house of commons"  And why have they waited 2 days before releasing it? It is dated, under her signature, a strange place in itself, 27/3/07. Only released late today, the 29th.

faye turney second letter responded furiously tonight to the letter.

Britain

Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett accused Iran of an "outrageous and cruel" attempt to use the young mother-of-one for propaganda purposes.

Shadow Defence Secretary Liam Fox said: "This is an abuse of the rights and dignity of our service personnel.

"The content of the letter is not credible and it represents a grotesque, cruel and counterproductive act of propaganda."

There were immediate fears Leading Seaman Turney wrote the letter under duress, with Mrs Beckett expressing "grave concerns" about the circumstances in which it was prepared.

Some language experts are already questioning the letter's validity, the suggestion being that the language used indicates the letter is an English translation of a Farsi original.  And look at her signature, cowering in the bottom corner, half the size of the rest of the writing.

And Captured sailor Faye Turney was "clearly coerced" into writing a letter in which she apparently called for British troops to withdraw from Iraq, a former hostage in Iraq said.

John Nichol, an ex-RAF navigator who was shot down in 1991 and held captive during the first Iraq War, said the 15 seized sailors and marines would be trying to placate their captors.

It was wrong to attempt to second guess why Leading Seaman Turney might have written the letter because she was in a "parlous situation", he added.

Mr Nichol told Sky News: "Faye was clearly coerced into making the TV broadcasts that we saw yesterday and today.

"She was clearly coerced into writing the letter, and she was clearly coerced into writing the letter that's been released this afternoon. No serviceman or woman is going to volunteer to do that sort of thing.  No serviceman or woman is going to pick up a pen when captive and write to their dearly beloved MP. It's a nonsense.

I don't know what level of coercion was used, and in many ways it doesn't matter.  But she was under duress when she wrote those things and said those things. The captured service personnel will be trying to keep the situation calm.”

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Posted on 03/29/2007 4:28 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Thursday, 29 March 2007
Let's Play "Guess The Religion!"
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From Rush Limbaugh's website:

HAGEL:  America finds itself now in a dangerous and isolated position in the world.  We are perceived as a nation at war with Muslims.

RUSH:  You idiot!

HAGEL:  This debilitating and dangerous perception must be reversed, as the world seeks a new center of gravity for this new century.

RUSH:  You, sir, are... I'm going to refrain from name-calling.  He says we are perceived as a nation at war with Muslims?  Senator, you are an elected senator.  You are one of 100 special people in the world's greatest deliberative body.  It is Muslims who are at war with us!  Does 9/11 exist in your memory bank, sir?  What did we do to cause this?  I want Senator Hagel to explain this.  What in the world did we do to cause it?  He must have the view that if we're at war with Muslims, we must have attacked them at some point.  The problem is we didn't defend ourselves against their attacks for 20 years.  Now all of a sudden we are, and we've got senators in the United States, from the Republican Party, who are concerned the world thinks that we are at war with Muslims -- and so the only way to make the world love us is to surrender and give up!  It was just a few short weeks ago that this very Senator, Chuck Hagel, rejected any concept of a timeline for withdrawal.  

By the way, we're going to start a new game on this program, and I'm going to include Senator Hagel in this game.  It's called Let's Play "Guess the Religion!"  Two stories. The first is a story out of France. There were riots on a Frech subway yesterday by "youths." Youths rioted. What youths? Who besides militant Muslims are rioting in France?  So Let's Play "Guess the Religion!"  Here's another story: "Students Held Hostage in the Philippines -- Gunmen who say they have grenades seize group near Manila's city hall.  Gunmen demanding improved housing for children seized a busload of day care students and teachers Wednesday as police surrounded the stalled vehicle in downtown Manila.  Hostage takers scribbled in large letters on a sheet of paper taped to the bus windshield, they were holding 32 children and two teachers, were armed with two grenades, an assault rifle and a pistol.  They said they were demanding improved housing and education for 145 children in a day care center where the incident appeared to have begun."  

It would be hard to house kids when they've been blown up.  You have to admit that.  

So I wonder what religion these people are.  "Guess the Religion!" of these "gunmen" in the Philippines.  The Philippines is a hotbed for Islamofascism, as well as much of that region of the world.  Yet here is the brilliant Senator Hagel suggesting that we are "perceived as a nation at war with Muslims."  I'm going to tell you something, folks. You go through life governing your own life on the basis of what you think others think of you, and you are a failure, and you will amount to nothing but a hill of beans.  Who wants a hill of beans?  You will be nothing, if your whole life is devoted to trying to be everything somebody you respect wants you to be, or somebody you don't even know wants you to be.

In this case, Senator Hagel is concerned about a bunch of small fry countries who depend on us for much of what they have and much of their progress.  He's concerned what they think of us.  He's concerned what they think of him.  This is a recipe for disaster. It's a recipe for failure. In individual terms, it's a best-guaranteed way to make sure you never amount to who you really are, because you're going to spend your whole life trying to meet the expectations of others, make others happy, make others not angry, not offend them or whatever.  This is embarrassing that somebody who apparently has this degree of intelligence, to be elected to the United States Senate, has this kind of an outlook and worldview.  

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Posted on 03/29/2007 4:05 PM by Rebecca Bynum
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Thursday, 29 March 2007
New Word of the Day
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New word, to go with "androlepsy": Gynolepsy.

Definition:

The seizing of female hostages, civilian or military, by the forces of one government, in order to engage in diplomatic blackmail of another government.

I hope the boys at Walton Crescent are reading this. If they look, they'll find a lot at here and at JW, especially in the Archives, that will come in handy for their purposes.

This site, they will discover, has singlehandedly and singlemindedly brought back into modern circulation by using correctly a great many words once deemed archaic, or too rare to be usefully employed.

Among them is Shakespeare's beautiful "bezonian" ("Under which king, bezonian? Speak, or die."). For example, there have been many variants of the following phrase:

"Kalashnikov-clutching black-balakalava'ed bezonians, goosestepping smartly down the boulevards of Beirut or Baghdad."

Along with its slow but steady turning around of the S. S. Narrenschiff just before it turns into the S. S. Naufragium, this website offers, at no additional cost, possible immortality by way of its proffered uses, on a well-visited website, of certain unusual words, the archaic, the rare and -- as one can see from the initial paragraph above -- even the words that are products of sudden flights of lexicogeny.

Your every mental need, or almost every need, attended to right here.

Accept no substitutes.

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Posted on 03/29/2007 3:35 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 29 March 2007
A Madrasa In Pakistan
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As Robert Spencer says, there is no "effective theological response to Muslims" who take their Islam seriously. That is, there is no effective Islamic theological response to Muslims who take their Islam seriously enough to want to individually participate in the Jihad. But what is most troubling to the Pakistani authorities is not the fact of Jihad.

After all, Parvez Musharraf, the other generals, and the I.S.I. have all been waging Jihad in any way that they could. These many and various ways have included surreptitious support for terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir and India for many decades. They have also helped bring up the baby of the Taliban and then, when it was ready, sent it back to Afghanistan -- not on spring break but to stay and to bring "stability" through murder and mayhem, just the way that Hitler did, or to a lesser degree, Mussolini. Stability, stability.

No, what worries the Pakistani authorities about the jihad-preaching madrasa in Islamabad are two things:

1) The open declaration of Jihad demonstrates to Infidels by the silence of the other Pakistanis that indeed, there is NO effective theological response to the jihadist version of Islam, none whatsoever. For those who are learning about jihad in this mosque are good Muslims, believing and perhaps acting on orthodox teachings of mainstream Islam. And this is embarrassing, for eventually even the stupidest or most blind of Infidel governments and reporters might begin to figure out the realities of this situation. Why, even some people in the 1930s figured Mr. Hitler out -- and told the world exactly what he was about. But few listened, until events made it impossible any longer for them to stop up their ears and minds.

Unfortunately, the progress of Islam, and of the worldwide Jihad, has at this point a great many agents in place. Those agents have the ability to confuse and bring lawsuits and distract and act aggrieved. And so many local Infidels seem to be altogether willing to act as helpmeets in this effort, out of stupidity, or cupidity (there is a whole lot of Arab money being spread around), or timidity (can you imagine rulers in the E.U., or in North America, openly identifying the menace of Islam and listing the various instruments of Jihad, or the goals of Jihad, which is a central duty imposed on all Muslims?). Some Infidels, of course, suffer on the other hand from rigidity (we can't change our policies, we can't see things afresh, we can't analyze things anew. It would take too much effort, and we're just too busy).

2) Authorities in Pakistan, as in other Muslim countries, are also worried that open jihad preaching such as what goes on in this madrasa will ultimately manifest itself as opposition to the government, whether to the illegal arrogation of power by Parvez Musharraf (who remains both President and head of the army, which violates the Pakistani Constitution), or the corruption that is such a noticeable feature of almost every Muslim country, where inshallah-fatalism prevents real economic development -- so the road to riches is to seize and retain control over the state, and then to help themselves to whatever wealth may be available.

Such wealth comes from two sources, oil and Infidel aid:

1) The oil money. Think of the Al-Saud grabbing large amounts of the oil revenues for the princes, princelings, and princelettes of one particular family, a family that even named the whole country after itself. Or on a lesser scale, think of those grandiose sheiklets of the Gulf sheikdoms.

2) The disguised Jizyah of aid given by Infidel donors. How do you think Arafat, or his henchmen including Abbas, have the apartments and villas and bank accounts they all do? Or how do you think Mubarak pays for his Family-and-Friends Plan? Who pays for Queen Noor, or Abdullah's mediagenic wife's dresses, or their stays in hotels around the globe? (Abdullah, to be fair, does not have his father's tastes, and doesn't quite run up the "hotel-or-residence" call-girl tab that, through the C.I.A., American taxpayers were paying for for decades, as they also did for Sukarno and others, all in order to please the "plucky little king" Hussein of Jordan.)

Hussein’s proclivities may have been embarrassing, but they never embarrassed Jordanian officials the way this madrasa embarrasses those in Pakistan. For Hussein’s call-girls never threatened the whole deceptive edifice. This madrasa does.

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Posted on 03/29/2007 3:23 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 29 March 2007
Islam welcomes you to the 7th Century
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27 Sep 1990, Abadan, Jazire-ye Abadan, Iran --- An Iranian soldier watches as smoke billows from multiple burning oil refineries in Abadan, Iran. Abadan, which contains a high concentration of oil fields and refineries, became a front-line city during the Iran-Iraq War, resulting in most of the city being destroyed by Iraqi attacks. Image by Henri Bureau/Sygma/Corbis

And Iran invites the 7th Century for itself, as Sadaam well knew.  Its surprisingly paltry oil refineries, easily reached by fighter and/or bomber aircraft based on carriers now in the Gulf, are all it has gas-wise:  Iran imports most of the gas it uses. 

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Posted on 03/29/2007 3:25 PM by Robert Bove
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Thursday, 29 March 2007
Tension On The Faultlines Of Islam
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Dozens of young women from a religious school in Pakistan's capital, Islamabad, have broken into an alleged brothel and kidnapped the owner.

The women, from the nearby Jamia Hafsa madrassa, burst in late on Tuesday, demanding the premises be shut down.

The women say they have a right to end immoral activity under Islamic law. --from this news item

Was this one of those brothels specializing in offering virgins to visiting rich Arabs? No, probably not. The Arabs prefer their girls to be non-Muslims. It adds so much to the pleasure. A little symbolic victory, over the Infidels, who allow "their women" (that's how the Muslims think: "our women" and "their women") to be treated so. Of course, there are hundreds of thousands of Iranian girls who have been forced by the conditions of the Islamic Republic into prostitution, and many tens of thousands are now servicing Arabs. And that's fun too -- it's fun for the Arabs to have those Persian girls, those Persian Shi'a girls, to play with and despoil, every which way.

Teheran is full of prostitutes. And young Iranian girls are sent by the tens of thousands to the rich Arab states of the Gulf. This is a matter that could, and should, be emphasized by Western propaganda, to foment fury, by the Iranians, at the primitive Arabs, or to foment fury, by embarrassed Iranians, at their own lords of Muslim misrule who have so mismanaged everything as to create the situation that forces these girls into prostitution in the first place -- not least because of all the money going into the nuclear project, and now, the further sums that will be incurred in order to buy goods and services that the U.N. will embargo.

But is this made much of by the Americans in their broadcasts into Iran, to merely report the truth -- a truth which all Iranians have had hints of, in any case -- in order to increase the hostility and rage of Shi'a Persians against Sunni Arabs.

No. Of course not. That would be wrong. That would "increase tension." That would cause "instability" in the Middle East, and we can't have that. We don't want to do anything that would further divide Shi'a from Sunni, Persian from Arab. Nor, heaven forfend, would one not wish to make Iranians more anti-Arab, lest some of them also begin to translate their anti-mullah views into something else, into seeing Islam as that "Arab gift" that represents a more primitive people, who brought a "gift" that alas, keeps on giving, and that some Iranians may wish at this point to give back, or throw into the wastebasket of history, and possibly rediscover their own pre-Islamic roots.

Zoroastrianism as the fashionable belief-system of choice? Impossible? A crazy idea? Are you quite sure? Wasn't Bahai'ism a way for both non-Muslims, especially Jews and Christians, to seek, as it turns out vainly, a way to better their status, and a way for Muslims disenchanted with Islam to find another way, a way that seemed to offer a family resemblance to Islam, and thus perhaps, they may have thought (they didn't know Khomeini or his epigones), would save them from the wrath of true-blue Believers.

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Posted on 03/29/2007 3:05 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 29 March 2007
Christian Killed For Evangelizing in Ethiopia
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 WASHINGTON, Mar. 29 /Christian Newswire-(thanks to the Poetess): The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) has just learned that an Ethiopian evangelist named Tedase was beaten to death by militant Muslims on Monday, March 26th, as he and two young women were on a street evangelism assignment in Jimma, Ethiopia. This marks the second time in six months that Christians residing in Southeast Ethiopia have been attacked and killed by extremist (Wahabbi) Muslims.

On Monday afternoon Tedase and two female coworkers were conducting street evangelism on Merkato Street in Jimma, Southern Ethiopia. Merkato Street runs by a Wahabbi Mosque. As the team was walking by the Mosque, a group of Muslims exited the Mosque and began to run after them to confront them. Tedase's female coworkers ran away from the mob but Tedase continued on. The Muslims caught up with Tedase, pulled him into the mosque, and savagely beat him to death. Sources from Jimma reported that Tedase was beaten with a calculated intention to kill him. This was no accident or case of mob frenzy getting out of control. His body was later taken to the hospital for an autopsy and he was buried Tuesday, March 27.

Our sources also reveal that Jimma Christians were conducting an evangelism campaign, and news of the outreach was spreading among Jimma residents as well as militant Muslim groups in the area. The Muslims that belonged to the Wahabbi sect purposefully beat Tedase to death as a message to Christians that they are ready to combat evangelism.

Aftershocks of the September 2006 Pogrom

This most recent incident in Ethiopia confirms ICC's decision to include this country in its Hall of Shame list, which highlights nations where Christians are enduring the most severe persecution. It is important to note that the Muslims who attacked Tedase belonged to the Wahabbi brand of Islam, an extremist sect imported from Saudi Arabia. It is clear that the Christians in Ethiopia are feeling Saudi Arabia's influence, particularly in Jimma, a Muslim dominated area where local authorities are almost exclusively Muslim. It was only six months ago, in September of 2006, that Muslim extremists burned down a number of churches and parishes, as well as Christian homes. As many as 2,000 Christians were displaced by the attack, an attempt to intimidate Christians with the hopes of converting them to Islam...
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Posted on 03/29/2007 2:48 PM by Rebecca Bynum
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Thursday, 29 March 2007
They Won't Follow Us Home If...
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If we "succeed in Iraq" -- and according to President Bush we "must not, we dare not, fail" (words to that effect) -- then all manner of things shall naturally be well. The Arab lion will lie down with the Israeli lamb, no doubt just before Eid al-fitr. The Muslims in southern Thailand will suddenly discover that those origami-birds dropped on them from on-high, as a goodwill gesture, meant a lot to them, meant so much that they will stop decapitating Buddhist teachers and monks and villagers. The Muslims of Bangladesh will stop beating Hindus to death, and the Muslims of Pakistan stop killing Christians, and the Muslims of Kashmir and the rest of India stop putting bombs in Mumbai, or attacking the Indian Parliament. In Indonesia the Hindus and the Western tourists in Bali on whom they depend will no longer be bombed, and the Christians under sustained attack in the Moluccas will also suddenly be objects of affection by the circumambient Muslims.

It will be wonderful. Muslim swords, into Muslim plowshares, everywhere you look.

And not least in Spain, Al-Andaluz -- still remembered in street names and other toponyms all over the Arab world. Why, the American consulate in Jiddah sits at the corner of Al-Andaluz and Palestine Streets (convenient for attackers to remember).

Yes, if we bring "democracy" to the "ordinary moms and dads" in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East, do you doubt that not only will "they" not "follow us home" (because "they will follow us home" if we fail to achieve the mission of the Bush Administration, and bring that "democracy" to the "ordinary moms and dads" of a unified Iraq), but that in Cordoba, they will forget about their sinister demands and practically become Christians themselves.

Oh, it will all work out. Just keep focussing monomaniacally on Bush's "plan" for Iraq, and they just won't follow us home.

But what are all those Muslims doing in Cordoba now? And in Grenada? And in Paris and London and Amsterdam and Malmo and Marseilles and Brussels and Antwerp and Leeds and Bradford and Madrid and New York and Houston and Hoboken and Los Angeles and Dearborn? It looks as though "they" have already been "following us home" -- we the Infidels -- for quite a while now. Apparently they didn't even wait to find out how Iraq would turn out before "they" decided to "follow us home."

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Posted on 03/29/2007 2:42 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 29 March 2007
Keep The Focus Where It Belongs
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HAIFA, Israel - Arab lesbians quietly defied Islamist protesters and a social taboo to gather at a rare public event Wednesday in a northern Israeli city. --from this news item

Query: are these "Arab lesbians" loyal to Islam? Do they, that is, take advantage of the tolerance of Israeli Jews, or for that matter other Infidels when they meet in the West, but never quite connect the ferocity of the murderous hatred directed at them, by other Muslims, with Islam itself?

One is made uneasy by too great attention given, say, to the mistreatment of this or that subset of the general Muslim population - Muslim women, or Muslim homosexuals, say -- and not to what is surely the main problem for Infidels: the treatment, or attitudes, or teachings, or tenets, in Islam, about not Muslim women or Muslim homosexuals, but of all Infidels.

For we have seen too many cases where those who claim to be "Muslim feminists" quickly become defenders of Islam, turning away criticism of it (see Fatimia Mernissi, see Leila Ahmed) because they will not permit, cannot tolerate, non-Muslims being critical of Islam, or being allowed themselves to connect the mistreatment of women in Muslim countries with the texts and attitudes of Islam, as clearly revealed in Qur'an, Hadith, and Sira (yes, of course, Muhammad was a great lover of women, he treated all nine or eleven of his wives so very well).

One wonders how many of these "Arab lesbians" have made the connection between the Total System of Islam, its ferocious intolerance, and their fear of meeting anywhere in the Middle East except in advanced, Western, tolerant Israel? Do they support the continued existence of the one state that offers them the freedom to meet? Do they make the connection between the ferocious intolerance and violence in so much of Islam (see Ayaan Hirsi Ali on this, in her recent memoir) or do they simply refuse to ponder that matter, to make the connection?

Infidels should keep their interest focussed on how they, the Infidels are treated, and not give exaggerated attention to the way that any particular subset of Muslims are treated by Islam. It is not a victory for Infidels if this or that Muslim state, like Iraq under Saddam Hussein, allows women, too, to acquire the skills necessary to participate in harming Infidels. One thinks of "secular" (but under it all, still very Muslim) Saddam Hussein, who allowed "secular" Iraqi women to study abroad and thus become experts in chemical and biological weapons (remember Dr. Germs?), which from the Infidel point of view is not an advance at all, but a greater menace.

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Posted on 03/29/2007 2:07 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 29 March 2007
First, count blessings
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Snow drops are long gone, but crocus and dafs are now in bloom down the street on the grounds of Borough Hall, Brooklyn.  And witch hazel is still in bloom:


Now, consider: Had Islam overrun Europe in the 8th Century or even as late as the 17th Century, would the camera have been invented?  The Internet?  The eyeglasses or contact lenses through which many of you are peering at your screen?  This English language?

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Posted on 03/29/2007 2:06 PM by Robert Bove
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Thursday, 29 March 2007
Pied Piper pickle
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Yes, Nabokov uses the word "pied" in Speak, Memory,  but he follows it with "piper".

"Piper" comes exactly 100 pages after "pied", which can't be mere coincidence. In fact he even says it twice: "Piper, piper!" This shows a guilty conscience about having put pied to the wrong thing earlier in the book.

It takes an English context to show Nabokov what to do:

Such things as the hot muffins and crumpets one had with one's tea, or the newsboys' cockneyish cries of "Piper, piper!" mingling with the bicycle bells in the darkening streets, seemed to me at the time more characteristic of Cambridge than they do now.

He's even put in Carry-On-film-style double entendres about hot muffin and crumpet. Great stuff. You know, if he'd stayed in England he could have ended up writing scripts for Round the Horne.

All this proves that I'm right, if proof were needed.

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Posted on 03/29/2007 11:17 AM by Mary Jackson
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Thursday, 29 March 2007
If One Wants To Help Muslims
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After having been born and raised in Egypt, after having spent a lifetime of study of Islam and especially of the treatment of non-Muslims under Muslim rule, after having observed from very close to inside (with all kinds of contacts in high places, who provide her with information) the machinations at the U.N., and the E.U., and in the various Foreign Offices and governments of the nations of Western Europe, and having warned two decades ago about the unchecked and possibly inevitable islamization of Western Europe and what it would mean, Bat Ye'or has grimly concluded that entanglements, including those which result from a naive attempt to improve things, by the Western governments and peoples, with Muslims, can only lead, always and everywhere, to a waste of Infidel resources, a clouding or confusion of Western minds, a constant inveigling by the Muslims involved for more, more, more - more aid, more reconstruction, more diplomatic surrenders by Israel, more willingness to cave into the most incredible Muslim demands in the Lands of the Infidels so as not to "offend" the world's Muslims, and in the end, a loss by Infidels and a gain for the world-wide Jihad.

Bat Ye'or advocates reducing links with the Muslim world to an absolute minimum. No immigration from Muslim lands. No time-wasting and confusing and self-defeating "dialogues" which end up being exercises in Infidel self-flagellation, and Muslim taqiyya-and-tu-quoque. None of it.

I agree. And while we must keep buying the oil, and in order to recoup some of the expenses, must for now continue to allow the rich Arabs to buy all of their goods and services from us (not one rich Arab state has managed to create a modern economy, and inshallah-fatalism is likely to continue to prevent the development of such economies, along with the sheer laziness amounting almost to inanition, displayed by the undeserving, bored, entirely unadmirable inhabitants of the oil-rich Muslim Arab states).

No more trying to transplant "democracy" and help "ordinary moms and dads." If one really wished to help Muslims, what is it one would wish to do? One would wish that they themselves could find a way out of Islam. And how to do that? By helping to force Muslims everywhere to begin to make the connection between the various kinds of failures, political, economic, social, moral, and intellectual, of their own societies whether in Muslim-run countries or those they sometimes manage to set up, as a kind of alternative universe, in Muslim colonies in the West, and Islam itself. Stop giving Muslim states the disguised Jizyah of foreign aid. Let them go hat in hand to rich fellow Muslims, and ask for a little sharing of the wealth among the Umma. Stop providing the benefits, taken such fantastic fiddling advantage of, by Muslims all over the ludicrously generous welfare-states of Western Europe, now being impoverished by the demands and the fiddling of those Muslim populations, who also swell the expensive-to-maintain prisons.

The West should stop trying to hold them up, and instead, allow them to wobble and topple and be convulsed with their own troubles, for that is the only way to permit Muslims, or some of them, to come to the realization, as Ataturk did, that Islam itself had to be constrained as a political and social force.

And that, not Bush's crazed messianic plan for Iraq, is the only real way to "help Muslims" and, not incidentally, do the only thing we should really care about, which is to make our own Infidel institutions and arrangements and understandings, able to withstand the renewed menace, given those OPEC trillions and those tens of millions of Muslim migrants, of the duty, fallen only into desuetude, for a while, out of weakness and not out of a change in Muslim doctrine, of Jihad.

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Posted on 03/29/2007 11:05 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 29 March 2007
Ain't We Got Fun?
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New Duranty: Income inequality grew significantly in 2005, with the top 1 percent of Americans — those with incomes that year of more than $348,000 — receiving their largest share of national income since 1928, analysis of newly released tax data shows.

The top 10 percent, roughly those earning more than $100,000, also reached a level of income share not seen since before the Depression.

While total reported income in the United States increased almost 9 percent in 2005, the most recent year for which such data is available, average incomes for those in the bottom 90 percent dipped slightly compared with the year before, dropping $172, or 0.6 percent.

The gains went largely to the top 1 percent, whose incomes rose to an average of more than $1.1 million each, an increase of more than $139,000, or about 14 percent.

The new data also shows that the top 300,000 Americans collectively enjoyed almost as much income as the bottom 150 million Americans. Per person, the top group received 440 times as much as the average person in the bottom half earned, nearly doubling the gap from 1980.

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Posted on 03/29/2007 11:01 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Thursday, 29 March 2007
First Mosque in America
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"The first Muslim Mosque in America was in Ross, ND. This is something most people don't know. Why? Because those Muslims embraced the ideals of America, not the ideals of jihad. I bring this up because I disagree that Islam is incompatible with Democratic Freedom. When given the chance the Muslims in Ross ND chose the ideals of Democratic freedom, something many if not most Muslims would choose - if they had the choice. I think AL-Dins bird in a cage analogy is a very noteworthy one."-- from a reader

This makes no sense whatsoever. Because some Muslims opened a mosque in "Ross, ND" that means they "embraced the ideals of America, not the ideals of Jihad"? But if they had opened the mosque in Newark or Dearborn they would presumably not have "embraced the ideals of America"? Why does where a mosque is opened, or when, have anything to do with figuring out the "ideals" of the Muslims who erect or attend that mosque?

You further claim that the "ideals of freedom" are something that "many if not most Muslims would choose -- if they had the choice." On what evidence, textual in the Qur'an and Hadith, or otherwise, do you make such a remark? What is it about, for example, Spencer's 2003 article showing how unlikely and naive the notion of transplanting "democracy" to Iraq is, and how much against the spirit and letter of Islam not only the political theory that legitimizes or justifies government in a Social Contract Theory, beginning with the justifications for the state having a monopoly on violence that were presented by Hobbes and then, quite differently, by Locke and also by Rouseau with his General Will, and then elaborated upon right up through Mill and Bentham, to Michael Oakeshott and then Judith Shklar and John Rawls.

And if one defines "democracy" as we now do, with such things as the Bill of Rights or its equivalent in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, how do you reconcile Islamic teachings, and the unequal treatment of non-Muslims, the failure to guarantee free exercise of conscience (including the right to leave Islam), and free speech (see those Danish cartoons, or anything smacking of criticism of Muhammad or Islam), with those individual rights that are deemed not mere later and unimportant accretions on the essence of democracy, but in fact indispensable to its practice in the advanced world -- that is, our world?

What some mosque in Ross, ND is supposed to prove, and the rest of what you write in the same vein, is both unclear, and bizarre.

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Posted on 03/29/2007 10:40 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 29 March 2007
Forcing Priorities
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"And then there is the question of Iraq's petro wealth. Given what the Iranians have been doing with theirs since the Islamic revolution, leaving Saddam in charge of the Iraqi treasury or allowing the theocratic fascists to succeed him would be a greater global threat than allowing Afghanistan or Somalia to fall."-- from a reader

Really? So you think we should stay in Iraq to prevent those "theocratic fascists" as you call them to take over? But haven't they already done so, everywhere south of Baghdad? And don't the Shi'a now ruling give every sign of being far more likely to become "theocratic fascists" rather than the other kind, the kind of "fascist" that Saddam Hussein was, the non-theocratic fascist?

And why do you apparently mentally resist the notion of letting Iraq dissolve into a state of permanent hostility and warfare, where no one side ever rests easy, nor any of its circumjacent neighbors? What is it about that that you can't accept?

What was the Islamic Republic of Iran doing with its oil wealth, within a year of its establishment, during the period 1980-1988?

It was spending every cent it had on fending off the armies of Iraq. And that kept it from making all kinds of mischief elsewhere. Virtually all it could do, for that eight-year period, was fend off the forces of Sunni-ruled Arab Iraq.

And during that period, too, Saddam Hussein could do nothing else. It was only later, when that war ended -- it should have gone on forever -- that he began the mass killing (as opposed to the small-scale killing) of the Kurds in the Anfal campaign, and the killing of Shi'a in the south. It was only after that war ended that he invaded Kuwait. And it was only after that war ended, that the Iranians, in a big way (they always had time to send a few agents to kill, in places like Paris, the more outspoken enemies of the regime, like the elegant Shahpour Bakhtiar, or to encourage local succursals in Lebanon to bomb Marine barracks), could give their total attention to what, of course, they have been concentrating on for the last 20 years: making life as unpleasant or dangerous for all freenthinkers in Iran, and supporting anti-Israel and anti-American and other anti-Infidel forces everywhere, with no need to worry about an invasion from Iraq.

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Posted on 03/29/2007 10:25 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 29 March 2007
Watch From A Beautiful Distance
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"everything I have been reading tells me that a majority of Islamic countries are edging closer each day to revolution by well-funded jihadists who despise their corrupt governments as much as they hate us."-- from a reader

No. The ruthless and well-financed governments of the Sunni Arabs will crush all resistance. But in any case they too are our enemies, and I don't see what Saudi Arabia could be doing, with its vast funding of mosques and madrasas and hate literature and campaigns of targetted Daw'a and front men and groups and armies of Western hirelings, that would or could be worse.

Which is worse: the Slow Jihad of Mahmoud Abbas, or the Fast Jihad of Hamas? They are both a mortal threat to Israel. Ideally what one would like is for those you describe as "jihadists" to be fighting the regimes all over the Arab and Muslim world, instead of having their rage at those regimes being continually and cleverly turned outward, toward us. I think it would be just fine if the Al-Saud faced a strong and persistent internal revolt, including growing unrest among the Shi'a in the Eastern (Hasa) Province. And I hope the Bahraini Shi'a protest the attempt by the Sunni ruler (who calls himself "King") to give citizenship to 50,000 Sunnis from Iraq, including several thousand former army and secret police members --in order to help keep those restive Shi'a down.

Oh, it will be fine. It will be a spectacle. It will be something to watch, and to learn from -- and I gather from your notion that we should stay in Iraq to learn about "the behavior of the enemy and related tangents." Yes, let us and the Europeans, and others learn: but from "a beautiful distance," to end this view of a not-distant-and-not-nevsky prospect on a strangely gogolian note.

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Posted on 03/29/2007 10:16 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 29 March 2007
Enemy Behavior
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"As others have noted, this excercise does afford us an excellent opportunity to study first hand the behavior of the enemy and related tangents: organization and national origin (movement) of the leaders of the most important groups..."-- from a reader

This sounds like some crazed preparation for a seminar paper at some service academy or Fort Leavenworth. For god's sake, we don't need to keep 160,00 troops, or 16,000, or 160, in Iraq any more to "afford us an excellent opportunity to study first hand the behavior of the enemy and related tangents" --please, what's next, pie-charts and bullets, and "organizational development" chatter where the Next New Thing, as business schools have their Total Quality Management or Just-in-Time Fads (see Harvard Business School for the latest examples -- they don't miss a trick), takes over from the sensible understanding of what makes the enemy tick (hint: Islam makes the Muslim enemy tick, and the doctrine and duty of Jihad, using whatever instruments are available and prove effective).

We don't have limitless money, war matériel, and men to keep in Iraq in order to learn -- the law of diminishing returns on that upward-sloping but now fairly flat learning curve about "the behavior of the enemy" -- what we need is to divide the world, with an Africa Segment and a NATO Segment, and a Russia Segment, and so on, with the possibilities for penetration by the forces of Islam, and the possibilities, by the Infidels, to halt and reverse that penetration, and to figure out the kinds of points of entry, as in Darfur and southern Sudan, that could for a small price buy a very large advantage (in Darfur and Sudan, the world's liberals could hardly object to "humanitarian" intervention, and it would be hard for the Arab League to attack us for remaining until such time as the black Africans in Darfur and the southern Sudan can vote in a referendum on "independence"), and so on.

We don't need to stay in Iraq to observe "enemy behavior." We've seen it. The soldiers have seen it. They can see it in Gaza and the West Bank. They can see it in Somalia. They can see it in southern Thailand and in Kashmir. They can see it in the Moluccas. They can see it in Beslan and Moscow, and in Madrid and London. And in New York and Washington. It takes various forms. But the intended victim is always the Infidel, and the intended goal is always the same: to remove all obstacles to Islam, until Dar al-Islam swallows up Dar al-Harb, and as has been said many times, "Islam dominates and is not to be dominated." Islam, and the history of Islamic conquest, are what the American military, like the civilian leadership, needs to study -- not remain in Iraq for all the world like business school students picking up pointers, at this point, for theoreticians of "counter-insurgency" (with their apparent overlooking both of Islam, and of the fact that there is not one but many insurgencies, and however hostile each group may be to one or more of the others, they are all of them hostile to the Infidel Americans, but are not above using those Americans, inveigling and manipulating those apparently endlessly naive Americans,including officers, to get what they want out of them, including all kinds of goods and services.).

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Posted on 03/29/2007 10:07 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 29 March 2007
My schedule
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1:00 pm  Fly to Pittsburgh

6:30 pm to Saturday evening:  Liberty Fund Colloquium (tr.: "bunch of eggheads all trying to talk at same time") with title "Liberty & Responsibility in Mozart's The Magic Flute."  Includes:

Friday 8:00 pm  Performance of Magic Flute at Pittsburgh opera house.

Sunday midday:  Fly home to tax due notices from accountant, winter-wrecked garden, ancient & dysfunctional car, bickering kids, impossible deadlines, etc. etc.

I'm hoping, at any rate, that this colloquium will cure me of my Papagenophobia.

And in the who-knew? category, I've been reading up my Mozart & note that Prof. Chailley (The Magic Flute—Masonic Opera)  thinks "Papageno" should be pronounced Italian style, with a soft "g."  This is news to me, and to every opera company I have ever seen do a Flute.

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Posted on 03/29/2007 10:06 AM by John Derbyshire
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Thursday, 29 March 2007
Recognizing Realities
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"We may not be able to prevent a wholesale murderous civil war in Iraq, but we should not encourage it either."-- from a reader

Who is encouraging it? It will happen. It will happen because the spirit of compromise upon which that famous "reconciliation" within Iraq that McCaffrey and others consider to be now the key, cannot and will not happen. We needn't encourage a thing. We need only leave. And in any case, whenever we leave, the same unwillingness of the Sunnis to acquiesce in their loss of power and status, the same inability of the Shi'a to give up what they have at long last obtained (and no doubt, in a certain sense, deserve), will ensure that.

No one has said we need to "encourage" civil war in Iraq. We need only exploit the pre-existing weaknesses and divisions within the enemy camp, if we first properly identify that enemy camp, and then properly recognize those pre-existing divisions.

My sympathies are selective: they go to the men and women, the American men and women, serving in Iraq, as part of the military. Some Iraqis are nice, a handful are even noble. But that may have been said, I suppose, of a few of the people who were bombed in Berlin (a very few), or in Tokyo by American bombers. That's what wars do, what they are about. You must be selective. And you certainly do not hold back and endanger the lives of servicemen, or of civilians, out of undue solicitude for those who, had they not been born into Islam (and it was through no fault of their own, as I always am careful to write), might be just swell. But they have been raised in societies suffused with Islam, and puts a permanent barrier between us -- unless of course they are like Ibn Warraq, Ali Sina, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Nonie Darwish, Wafa Sultan, and others, in which case they are a self-selected intellectual and moral elite, that consists of those born "through no fault of their own," into Islam, but managed to fight their way out.

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Posted on 03/29/2007 9:59 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 29 March 2007
Doc-in-a-Box
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Good Third-World-brain-drain piece in Foreign Affairs.

As the populations of the developed countries are aging and coming to require ever more medical attention, they are sucking away local health talent from developing countries.

The Doc-in-a-Box scheme is at the end.

The friend who sent this notes that just as First-World health-care requirements (and ability to bid high for them) will increasingly suck talent away from poor countries, something similar will happen with public health inside the U.S.  As Boomers retire and begin to swamp our health-care system with demands, for which they can bid high, they will suck resources away from the underclass.  (Which my friend, not very politely, refers to as "our own 'Third World' populations.") 

Either that, or we shall beggar ourselves with over-taxation from trying to keep up health-care provision for everyone. 

Which shall it be?  Scott Hodge's fine piece in America's Newspaper of Record this morning offers a clue.

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Posted on 03/29/2007 9:55 AM by John Derbyshire
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