Monday, 28 August 2006
Ten Questions our soldiers need to ask

Comments and emails from soldiers who have served or are serving in Iraq are important, and welcome. One hopes that these soldiers who have endured the "gratitude" of the non-existent "Iraqi" people, and puzzled over it -- not having been trained at Fort Jackson or Fort Benning or Fort Bragg on anything important about Islam (the Five Pillars of individual worship are hardly what matter -- what matters are the tenets of Islam concerning Believers and Infidels, and how those tenets give rise to attitudes, to the atmospherics, that suffuse Muslim societies and peoples).

Here are some things for General Chiarelli and others, beating their heads against the stone of "counter-insurgency" techniques, should ask themselves:

1) Why is it that the "Iraqis" the American soldiers meet seem to be so graspingly, or cunningly, eager to get, get, get, whatever they can out of us, the Americans, for themselves and their families and their tribes, but so uneager for us or for others in Iraq, other tribes, other ethnic or sectarian groups, to be similarly treated? Why, except for a handful of officers and perhaps a few thousand men, are Iraqis unable to conceive of the greater good of the nation-state of "Iraq"?

2) What effect has Islam, a belief-system that does not encourage but discourages free and skeptical inquiry, have in creating, among Muslim peoples, and certainly in Iraq, a great susceptibility to the most preposterous rumors, conspiracy-theories, and calumniating of the American soldiers who, far from wishing to remain in Iraq, would like nothing better than to leave,and are there only to create --or at least that is what they are told they are doing, told they have a chance of doing -- a society that, presumably, will be so much better run, with that "democracy" we hear so much about (in truth, that "democracy" in the Western sense, with the guarantees of rights for the politically vanquished, and for individuals, does not and can not exist in Iraq or any other society suffused with Islam).

3) What effect on American decision-making, and on American hopes and dreams, did such unrepresentative smooth, secular-seeming, thoroughly Westernized Iraqis-in-exile such as Allawi, Chalabi, Kanan Makiya have on encouraging a misunderstanding of Iraq by those who made and are making policy in Iraq?

4) What effect on American generals and high civilian officials in Iraq have the Christians, who form the household staffs -- the drivers, the cooks, the cleaners, and so much else -- in the Green Zone, and who have furnished far more of those interpreters/translators relied on by the Americans? Have they received a skewed view of Iraq, a view of it as being populated by those who are civilized, quasi-Western men, and are decisions being made on that basis?

5) What effect has the inattention to Islam, or the cursory treatment, or the apologetics (Islam as "one of the world's great religions" instead of Islam as a belief-system that uncompromisingly divides the world between Believer and Infidel) had on American troops, who may -- if they stop to think about things -- begin to wonder about the "mission" that they have been given, and in wondering about it, and not having been given enough information, may become less enthusiastic, even demoralized.

6) What effect has the failure to properly instruct American officers and men in Islam, out of all kinds of timidity and all kinds of ignorance, had on their greater understanding of things? Once they become disenchanted with the mission for which they are risking their lives, and which is unattainable (it is impossible to imagine the Shi'a ever giving the Sunnis what the Sunnis demand, and impossible to imagine the Sunnis ever acquiescing in being dominated by the Shi'a in a Shi'a-ruled Iraq) and, furthermore, deprives the Americans of the ability to exploit the sectarian fissures within Iraq that will have obvious consequences outside Iraq, as Sunnis and Shi'a in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Yemen, Pakistan, and Lebanon are affected by, and identify with, their co-religionists in Iraq.

7) What do General Chiarelli and other generals and higher officers now serving in Iraq think of the Iran-Iraq War? Do they think it was a good thing for the Infidels of this world, keeping Khomeini's Islamic Republic preoccupied for eight of its first nine years in existence, and also using up men, materiel, and money of the aggressive and vicious Saddam Hussein?

8) Why would the consequences of civil strife in Iraq not do the same, in keeping Muslims busy, and buying time? Would not the time being bought, as sectarian (Sunni-Shi'a) and ethnic strife divides and demoralizes the camp of Islam, be an intelligent goal? The Kurds, were they to attain their goal of independence, would show other non-Arab Muslims, such as the Berbers of Algeria and Morocco, an example of what was possible, and in their appeals to fellow Kurds in Syria and Iran, help unsettle both those unsavory regimes. As for the seemingly daunting problem of Turkish opposition that apparently has encouraged the Americans to insist on Kurds remaining within Iraq, that is based on a failure of imagination, and timidity. Turkey is not the "ally" we once thought it to be; based on the assumption that secularism, Kemalism, was permanent. American generals made judgments about Turkey, as they once did about Pakistan, based on their meetings with affable, briskly professional generals -- they forgot, or overlooked, the Muslim masses and the power of Islam in Turkey, and in Pakistan. American guarantees of Turkish territorial sovereignty could be given in order to win begrudging Turkish acquiescence in an independent Kurdish republic, and such a guarantee would have to be honored as well by the grateful Kurds themselves, so dependent on American goodwill, diplomatic, and military support.

And while sectarian and ethnic divisions within Iraq will preoccupy the camp of Islam, there will be time for Americans and other Infidels, watching those conflicts and attaining an even better idea of Islam, to observe and begin to understand that this is not a "war on terror" but a Resistance to a War, the war that Islam naturally makes on all non-Muslims, those who are subjugated, and those who as yet remain unsubjugated in the Dar al-Harb.

9) Why do the officers and men of the American military, repeatedly asked to risk their lives for a mission that is imperfectly conveyed to them because it is both incoherent, and in the end makes no sense, have to endure the continued refusal of their government to teach them effectively about the doctrine, and practice (over 1350 years) of Islam? And does the government bear a responsibility not to have soldiers, who may as they compare their own experience of Iraq and "Iraqis" with what they have been told, may as they become disenchanted and even demoralized, seek for other, false explanations ("So, it really is all about the oil"), rather than the true one: those who make policy had an idea, and now the idea has them. They did not identify the enemy, but merely listed a tactic ("war on terror"). Having failed to identify the enemy (those who participate in, or support in other ways, the Jihad to spread Islam until it subdues its enemies everywhere, until all obstacles to its dominance everywhere are removed, and Islam dominates, and Muslims rule), they also failed to learn about Iraq and its sectarian and ethnic divisions (see: "What Did the Bush Administration Not Know (About Sunnis and Shi'a) and When Did It Not Know It").

10) If the "insurgents" are today Sunnis who refuse to accept the new power arrangements -- arrived at through purple-thumbed process, not mass murder -- how would "reconstruction" and jobs help? Unlike the Communist insurgencies in Malaya, and Greece, and Vietnam, where the conferring of economic benefits could here and there win hearts, win minds, Muslim hearts and Muslim minds are essentially unwinnable by Infidels. The refusal to understand this, the confusion based on personal relations with those who offer feigned affability in order to have the Americans lavish still more aid on them (everyone is waiting to see what military equipment will be left behind, for this or that militia to appropriate, or this or that so-called "Iraqi" army or "Iraqi" police unit to take, and use against its enemies), and to continue to do the work, by risking American lives, what should long ago have been done by Iraqis if indeed there is a sense of "Iraqi-ness" beyond the handful. Asking people, in polls, if they "believe in Iraq" or "want Iraq to remain as one unit" or questions of that ilk do not get to the real problem. One would have to ask Shi'a "would you be willing to remain in Iraq if you had to divide the country's oil wealth, and to share its political power, evenly between Shi'a Arabs, Sunni Arabs, and Kurds?"
Reply: No. And one would have to ask the Sunnis: "Would you accept an Iraqi government dominated by the Shi'a, reflecting their 60-65% of the population, and recognize that Sunni Arabs constitute only 19% of the population, and for decades a Sunni Arab despotism treated Shi'a Arabs and Kurds terribly?" Reply: No.

Questions to ask. Questions to be discussed, in the Green Zone or in Forward Operating Bases, or once one is back home, at Fort Bragg, Fort Jackson, Fort Benning, Camp Pendleton, or even in the Pentagon. And for the National Guard and the Reserves, returning to their families across the nation, they should study what they can about Islam rather to discover how ignorance, innocent rather than malevolent, and timidity can give rise to policies as wasteful and ineffective as the one now in place.

There's ten things to think about, ten questions to ask.

War, it has been famously said, is too serious to be left to the generals. For that matter, it is too serious to be left to the civilians. War is too serious a matter to be left to anyone, civilian or military, who refuses to learn what he needs to learn. In the case of fighting the forces of Jihad, that something that needs to be learned is Islam itself, and the sources, promptings, doctrines, and practice of Jihad. And from that study will come a recognition, no longer so difficult, of the fissures in Iraq that present themselves, and that if allowed to develop can only divide and demoralize and otherwise weaken the camp of Islam. Holding Iraq together, and pouring more men, materiel, and money into it from the United States, is not that way. It is the opposite of that way.

Posted on 08/28/2006 10:00 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 28 August 2006
Bjorn Again

Hugh Fitzgerald writes below:


It is the Arrival, and not the Journey, that matters.


Was he thinking of Abba? Unlikely from the context, but you never know, especially as “Arrival” has an initial capital. When I read the final sentence of Hugh’s post, I immediately thought of Abba, cheered up, and forgot all about Sharia law and the impending Islamisation of Europe.


"Arrival" is, of course, the title of an Abba song and of their best album. As well as the wistful title track, there is “When I kissed the teacher” – move over, Nabokov – “Dancing Queen”, “Fernando”, “Money, Money, Money” and my favourite, “Knowing Me, Knowing You”, with its laughter-through-tears “A- ha-a”. Most albums have a dud track, and Arrival is no exception. A reviewer on Amazon tries to praise “Dum Dum Diddle”, but so faintly as to damn it: 

I've never heard a song about someone's violin practicing paying off and wishing for the same kind of attention to the point that the girl wished she was the fiddle so she'd be noticeable. That about sums it up for "Dum Dum Diddle." The synths here somewhat mimic the fiddle, but not that much.

Arrival is also the name of an Abba tribute band, described by none other than the Stoke-on-Trent Police Force as “like a beacon in the fog of tribute acts”. But the best and most famous Abba tribute band is Bjorn Again:


Originally from Australia, this tribute band – technically a franchise, but let’s not get boring – has lasted longer than Abba itself. I have seem them three times at open air picnic concerts, twice at Kenwood and once at Audley End. Everyone, young and old,  gets up to dance, even when it rains. It rained on Saturday through “One of Us” and “Winner Takes it All”. Thousands of umbrellas bobbing up and down defied the elements.


It is now cool to like Abba, provided you like them in an ironic way. I have never been cool, except purely by accident, rather as a broken clock tells the right time twice a day. Unless “uncool” becomes “the new cool”, which is not impossible, I am unlikely to be cool in the foreseeable future. You see, I don’t like Abba in an ironic way; I just like them. I laugh at them too, agreeing wholeheartedly with Hugo Rifkind when he says:


Two things immediately strike you when you pay close attention to the lyrics of an Abba song. One, they are drivel. Two, you don’t know them nearly as well as you thought you did. However many times you’ve wailed along to it in a nightclub, you still probably don’t know where to put “my, my” or “why, why” in Mamma Mia. That rousing bit in the middle begins “Yes, I was broken-hearted,” not “Years”. And it’s no use looking for hints in the general narrative of the song because they’re all written in such crazy, half-baked Scanglish that, invariably, there isn’t one. Who crosses a stream because they have a dream? Why would a dancing queen have a tambourine? And who the hell was Fernando? Dance captain Tim Stanley takes over, post-lunch, and tells us that they had these problems even in the professional show. Originally, they were beginning the chorus to Waterloo with the familiar line — “How did it feel when you won the war?” It took the personal intervention of Bjorn, or possibly Benny, before they realised that it ought to be “I was defeated, you won the war”. Hard to spot, what with it being nonsense either way.


True, of course, but the Scanglish gives the songs an innocent poignancy that they would not have if the band came from Luton. We English tolerate and enjoy the simplicity of the songs because the band is Swedish – or Australian pretending to be Swedish – and the Swedes are a bit of a joke to us:


Swedish man goes into a chemist: “I want to buy a deodorant.”

Chemist: “Ball or aerosol?”

Swedish man: “Neither. I want it for my aerumpits.”


I wonder if they make jokes about us, and, if so, whether they are as good as that one.


Long live Bjorn Again, and through them Abba. Thank you for the music.

Posted on 08/28/2006 10:09 AM by Mary Jackson
Monday, 28 August 2006
A very hard question

Niall Ferguson opines in the LA Times: What if the Heathrow Bombers Succeeded? (h/t: Real Clear Politics ):

An 8/27 would have been diametrically different. From an American vantage point, a successful terrorist plot launched from Heathrow would have been doubly Britain's fault. Its proximate cause would have been a lapse in British security. Its root cause would have been the infiltration of British society by radical Islamism.

As details emerged about the perpetrators, Americans' worst suspicions about Britain would have been confirmed. It has been clear for a while that Britain's Muslim communities are proving fertile recruiting grounds for Islamist extremists, and that it is the disaffected sons and grandsons of Pakistani immigrants who are most susceptible.

Perhaps even more troubling, it has been evident since the arrest of attempted shoe-bomber Richard Reid that ordinary British dropouts can also be lured, via religious conversion, into the terrorist network. Imagine if it had been established that one of the perpetrators of the worst terrorist outrage since 9/11 had been the son of a respected Conservative Party official.

Far from editorializing that "We are all British now," the American media might well have reacted to 8/27 by saying, "The British are all suspects now." The Atlantic would have drastically widened.

The domestic consequences within Britain of 8/27 would have been different too. Far from rallying around a beleaguered leader, British voters would have turned on Tony Blair. Even as things stand, there is complete disillusionment with him. According to a poll published Tuesday in the Guardian newspaper, just 1% of voters think that the government's policy toward the Middle East has improved the country's safety, while 72% think it has made Britain more of a target. An earlier poll for the Spectator found that although 73% of Brits agree with President Bush that we are engaged in a "global war against Islamic terrorists," only 15% believe that Britain should continue to align itself closely with the U.S., compared with 46% who favor closer ties with Europe.

Moreover, whereas 9/11 united Americans (albeit ephemerally), Britain would have been torn apart by 8/27. According to a YouGov poll published in Friday's Daily Telegraph, nearly one in five people believe that "a large proportion of British Muslims feel no sense of loyalty to this country and are prepared to condone or even carry out acts of terrorism." Five years ago, only 32% of those polled said they felt "threatened" by Islam; today, that figure is 53%.
Posted on 08/28/2006 8:06 AM by Robert Bove
Monday, 28 August 2006
causing disturbances on airplanes
Mr Ashraf and Mr Zeb were removed from the late-night Airbus A320 by order of the captain, who had been contacted by several passengers worried by their appearance and behaviour after they boarded the plane. They were said to have been talking loudly in Urdu, and wearing suspiciously heavy clothes. When the airline looked into details of their itinerary, the pair were detained pending further security checks....

Industry sources revealed they booked their flights after the recent security scare began on 10 August, paying £166 each for the day-trip to Malaga. Although they have claimed that the purpose of the visit was to carry out research for a holiday in September, the pair decided to take an evening flight to the resort. It touched down at 7.25pm, leaving them just a few hours in Malaga before they had to check in for the 3am return journey. from this news item

Possible reasons:

1) A desire to soak the Infidels by bringing lawsuits, after authorities -- the plane captain, crew, or others -- remove them from the plane, or hold them -- behave as authorities should, given their behavior.

2) A desire to behave in an ostentatiously disturbing fashion, merely to entertain themselves by following Muhammad's advice to "strike terror" into the "Unbelievers." So for the price of a round-trip Manchester-to-Malaga (holiendo a azahar, not that there will be much of a scent on the tarmac which is almost all they would have had time to visit), you get to frighten those Infidels, perhaps even in a retiree or two with a heart condition, frighten someone unto death. What fun!

3) A desire to behave in on ostentatiously disturbing fashion, as part of a sustained campaign by Muslims to do so here, and there, in order to unsettle everyone, and also to see if over time, with many false alarms, the Infidel authorities will simply not know what to do, for fear of lawsuits and other kinds of trouble. Just keep behaving badly, but always with some kind of plausible explanation (well, we made a mistake -- "we thought the plane returned not at 3 a.m. but 3 p.m. the next day" and "of course we spoke in Urdu, it is our language even if we do know English" and "we were bundled up because we thought the plane might be cold" and...)

1, 2, and 3 are all possible, singly or together.

Posted on 08/28/2006 7:35 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 28 August 2006
Sorry, kids, it's not all about you
Here's a quiz I've prepared for the first day of a freshman comp class I'll be teaching in two weeks at a university in the Financial District.  After they've calmed down while reading my course requirements hand out ("Students sitting on either side of a student using an electronic device will be marked absent"-- thank you for that one, Mike Adams), I announce the questions and tell them they will be responsible for the answers just after Halloween.   Oh, and they need to provide a photo showing each of themselves at the pertinent locations.  (The smart ones do group photos.)

1.  Who first walked what is now Broadway?  Why that route?

2.  Why is Pearl St. called Pearl St.? 

3.  Does the shadow of the Bank of New York fall on the grave of its founder?

4.  Where did the author of Bartleby the Scrivener work?  Why did he a need job?  What is the building's current function?

5.  Who first turned on the lights in the Woolworth Building?

6.  The name of the baseball team that plays in Shea Stadium is an abbreviation of what word?

7.  Who won the 2006 World Series?

Okay, #6 and #7 don't go on the quiz.  The point is to give them something to tuck away in the voluminous backs of their minds that will percolate through Halloween, the traditional Fall semester date by which most of the students have burned out being students. 

The other point is, I take them on walks on nice days so that they can see things they've never seen before and understand with their bodies that NYC wasn't created over the summer.  One student from a previous incarnation of my course once called it "Gym Class."  The name stuck.  Fact is, students are becoming less ambulatory by the semester.  I've observed that the pain of walking on atrophying legs helps reinforce the lesson--that each week they must write a couple pages about something they haven't seen before. 

All this in addition to weekly essays on things like hindsight, foresight and insight.  Anybody who giggles over the name of the first of these topics gets marked absent.
Posted on 08/28/2006 7:23 AM by Robert Bove
Monday, 28 August 2006

"lack of credentials..."
-- from Carl Ernst's list of charges made against Robert Spencer

Ah yes, "credentials." The "credentials" you will find -- the doctorates all in place, the thesis written that neither the writer nor anyone else will ever wish to read -- at, for example, the MEALAC Program of Columbia. "Credentials" whether of the kind awarded to Rashid Khalidi (the quick, no coursework required D. Phil. that for decades taught at St. Antony's, of course -- in its Middle Eastern section not to be confused with its legitimate Russian section, nor with real Oxford colleges with real dons, demanding real work), or Hamid Dabashi (every single one of whose books that are simply compilations of endless details about the vilayet-e-faqih and all its fascinating promoters, with not the slightest sign of a mind at work -- but if you must have a sign of Hamid Dabashi's mind at work, read "The Moment of Myth" for his ex-unque-leone treacly tribute to Edward Said), and Joseph Massad the full-time propagandist, and so many others, all with their "credentials" and "credentials" and "credentials."

Too many people have gone through what passes for higher education in the Western world, in the United States, too many of them have gone on to graduate school and taken the full measure of many of the offerings in history and literature (hard sciences are a different thing), and the fashions (try, for example, in a French department in a thoroughly modern American university, to find among all the fashionable offerings -- "Blacks and Arabs in Contemporary France" or "Francophone Literature" or "North African Literature" or "Postcolonial Discourse: the Case of France" and "Women, the Arabs, and 'the Other' in Contemporary French Literature" -- something, anything, that might give French literature by the French, in France, since the lais of Marie de France and Charles d'Orleans right up to Proust and Perec. Just try. Oh, one or two courses still given on the 19th century novel, and possibly one semester devoted to that trivial thing, "the Culture of France." But that's it. That's bloody it.

You don't have to wait until you have retired from your 40 years of teaching in some once-tweedy English department, all Theodore Baird and Reuben Brower, to write a book deploring what is happening. You don't have to subscribe to The New Criterion. You don't have to belong to the National Association of Scholars. You just have to have a brain, and some education, to realize what is happening -- and to realize it is much more than a matter of the odd Ward Churchill or vacuous Cornel West, and certainly not merely a matter of a certain kind of politics. Who hires these churchills? Who is ecstatic about being able to offer a university professorship to these cornel wests? Who decides that diane ecks are the best one can do if one is Boston's MFA, for example, and wants a series of lectures on Indian Art, when there are so many learned historians of Indian art to choose from. Who? Why?



Posted on 08/28/2006 7:14 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 28 August 2006
divide and conquer

"We should let Israel and Hizbullah weaken each other so that the Muslims can benefit in the long run and will use the opportunity to prepare for the future."
-- from the statement by an Al-Qaeda spokesman in this news article

Erratum Sheet:

For "Israel" read "Sunnis"

For "Hizbullah" read "Shi'a"

For "Muslims" read "non-Muslims"

Posted on 08/28/2006 7:10 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 28 August 2006
America's Muslims Aren't as Assimilated as You Think

Despite propaganda to the contrary about the great American melting pot, American Muslims are following the familiar pattern of growing alienation their belief system makes inevitable. From the Washington Post (h/t JW)

From schools to language to religion, American Muslims are becoming a people apart. Young, first-generation American Muslim women -- whose parents were born in Egypt, Pakistan and other Islamic countries -- are wearing head scarves even if their mothers had left them behind; increasing numbers of young Muslims are attending Islamic schools and lectures; Muslim student associations in high schools and at colleges are proliferating; and the role of the mosque has evolved from strictly a place of worship to a center for socializing and for learning Arabic and Urdu as well as the Koran.

The men and women I spoke to -- all mosque-goers, most born in the United States to immigrants -- include students, activists, imams and everyday working Muslims. Almost without exception, they recall feeling under siege after Sept. 11, with FBI agents raiding their mosques and homes, neighbors eyeing them suspiciously and television programs portraying Muslims as the new enemies of the West.

Such feelings led them, they say, to adopt Islamic symbols -- the hijab , or head covering, for women and the kufi , or cap, for men -- as a defense mechanism. Many, such as Rehan, whom I met at a madrassa (religious school) in California with her husband, Ramy, also felt compelled to deepen their faith.

Posted on 08/28/2006 6:58 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 28 August 2006
Meet the man who invented book signings

Here' Al Gore in Scotland the other day at the Edinburgh Book Festival.

h/t: F&W
Posted on 08/28/2006 6:43 AM by Robert Bove
Sunday, 27 August 2006
Regrets, I've had a few

It's sad, so sad
It's a sad, sad situation
And it's getting more and more absurd
It's sad, so sad
Why can't we talk it over
Oh it seems to me
That sorry seems to be the hardest word


Nasrallah is “sorry” for “the scale of the war” according to the BBC, who admittedly never met a lying terrorist they didn’t believe:


Hezbollah chief Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah has said he would not have ordered the capture of two Israeli soldiers if he had known it would lead to such a war


"Had we known that the kidnapping of the soldiers would have led to this, we would definitely not have done it," he said in an interview on Lebanese TV.


Of course, he means it. Just look at him. He’s all heart – he’s even pointing to it.


You’d buy a second hand car from this man, wouldn’t you?


We did not think that there was a 1% chance that the kidnapping would lead to a war of this scale and magnitude," Sheikh Nasrallah said.

"Now you ask me if this was 11 July and there was a 1% chance that the kidnapping would lead to a war like the one that has taken place, would you go ahead with the kidnapping?

"I would say no, definitely not, for humanitarian, moral, social, security, military and political reasons. “

Sheikh Nasrallah was speaking on the eve of a visit to Beirut by United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan to discuss the expanded UN peacekeeping force to be deployed in southern Lebanon.

A force of 15,000 soldiers, 7,000 of them from European Union states, will be deployed to maintain the fragile ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah.

The force will be led by France until February, at which time Italy will take command.

Israelis can be forgiven if they are less than reassured by this.

Posted on 08/27/2006 5:16 PM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 27 August 2006
Re: What President Bush should say to us, part 2

The problem with the use of the term "Shari'a" is that while it is the ideal, which the more fanatically "immoderate" Muslim states (Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Pakistan, Afghanistan under the Taliban) attempt most closely to approximate in their legal codes, other Muslim states do not. And if they do not, then some Muslims well-versed in taqiyya-and-tu-quoque would answer the definition above by saying that this is an "exaggeration" and just look, look at all the Muslim states that, while independent, have not imposed the Shari'a.

To this one can reply in several ways. First, the Shari'a is aspirational, and not always and everywhere to be imposed at once. But surely Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and the Sudan are four Muslim countries that are very large in land area, contain between two and three hundred million of the world's Muslims, include both the center of Shi'a Islam (Iran) and of Sunni Islam (Saudi Arabia, with its Two Holy Places), and two of the four are currently the greatest recipients of oil and gas revenues and likely to remain so for years to come. So to say that "only four" of the 57 members of the O.I.C. have accepted the full Shari'a should be seen as the taqiyya it is.

And a further reply would note that even in the so-called "soft" states that insist that their legal codes take the Shari'a only as a guide, in fact the treatment of non-Muslims has clearly reflected the legal status they would receive under the full Shari'a. In Egypt, for example, the treatment of Copts is unequal at law. In Kuwait, another supposedly "soft" or "moderate" and progressive Muslim state, the treatment of apostates (e.g., Mr. Qambar) shows that the letter, and where not the letter the spirit, of the Shari'a is to be found.

But despite these caveats, and warnings of how the perfectly sensible suggestion -- a suggestion different from the one I have made before, which is to emphasize Jihad, but Jihad as being understood as a struggle to remove all obstacles to the spread of Islam until, at some point, every part of Dar al-Harb has been subsumed into Dar al-Islam, as it must be, because through not only "qital" (combat) but through the "money" weapon, and the campaigns of Da'wa (the Call to Islam), and the demographic conquest which creates ever-greater pressure on Infidels, in their own Infidel nation-states, to succumb, slowly at first, and then more rapidly, to Muslim demands for exceptional treatment, and then, Muslim demands for actual changes in the political and legal institutions of the Infidel nation-state (the particular name, or history, of the government or people of that Infidel nation-state hardly matter in the calculation of what must be its final fate, for no Infidel state is any more to be accepted as permanent, as would any other).

Or perhaps both can be discussed. The Shari'a has to be discussed, made a deliberate topic, so that everyone -- guests on Charlie Rose, interviewers on Sixty Minutes, Larry King and Christiane Amanpour and local talk-show hosts, even unto the lowliest and tommiest of pontificating friedmans and pretend-inquiring ashbrooks, will be forced to learn about what the Shari'a is.

Nearly five years have gone by, and there is not a single major figure -- outside, that is, the Internet, where all sorts of intelligent life can be detected -- in politics or in the press, who has deliberately taken upon himself the task of learning about Islam, and relating what he learns to his audience, in making sense of Islam's tenets, attitudes, atmospherics, as they explain so much of what is otherwise inexplicable, in Iran and in Iraq, in Saudi Arabia and in Yemen, in Egypt and in Algeria, in the Sudan and in Mauritania, in Nigeria and in Thailand, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, the Philippines, in Bosnia and Kosovo, in France and Spain and England, in Denmark and in Sweden, in Germany and in Russia.

They have not felt that responsibility. They have not understood, not been forced to understand, not forced themselves to understand, the intellectual work now to be required of them. They will do everything they can, it seems, to resist such work. Too bad. No one can now offer an opinion on anything -- on Israel's understanding of what it faces, nor the understanding of those who would impose on it a "two-state solution" that is hopeless, and dangerous, and will only whet rather than sate Muslim appetites, on America's understanding of why the currently-stated goal of American policy in Iraq is both unrealistic, and exactly the opposite of what the American goal should be, if Islam and its menace were to be rightly understood. No one has bothered to find out about Islam. Not those who have continued to support a war in Iraq that, once the scouring for weapons was over, lost its only legitimate rationale, and who are now trying the trick of dampening, by slow degrees, their three-year enthusiasm, as they try to backtrack or to distance themselves from their former opinions, without quite admitting how wrong they have been. And those opposed to the war in Iraq are mostly opposed for all the wrong reasons, which is why when one is opposed for the right reasons, one feels compelled to carefully explain the right reasons for opposing the war, in order to clear up what otherwise would be almost certain confusion.

Raising the matter of the Shari'a puts on the spot all those who make pronouncements -- the buchanans and novaks, brothers under the skin, just beneath the first layer, to the coles and kosses, all of whom have ignored Islam because it would take too much time, it is too complicated for them, it isn't really relevant --any absurd excuse will do.

Everyone will have to recognize, and to study, and no longer to ignore, the legal status of non-Muslims and women under Islam, and with the rights accorded even to individual Believers in Islam, which is a collectivist belief-system that has no discernible interest in the freedom of conscience, much less other conceivable rights, that are accorded to individuals under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

So whether one wishes to go by the South Face (Jihad) or the North Face (Shari'a) to obtain one's purchase on the slippery and sometimes sheerest rock-face of Islam, it can be said of all intrepid mountaineers, that in this case, climbing to reach the summit of understanding, and to look down with an inobnubilated view of men and events that can only be understood or made sense of once one has attained to that summit of understanding, can be done by one route, or another. One person will have his trip made easier by personal experience of living as a non-Muslim in a Muslim society; another will have himself whisked to the top once he has digested the testimonies of ex-Muslims, those essential defectors from Islam. Still another may have that summit-experience given to him when he discovers that a smiling Muslim apologist in his town has all the time been saying quite other things to Muslim audiences, and that these have been caught on tape, or overheard by an informant. Some by one path, some by another, some whisked to the top by motorized vehicles on narrow roads hewn by previous travelers, some making the slow trip on their own, pedibus calcantibus.

In this case, it is the Arrival, and not the Journey, that matters.

Posted on 08/27/2006 3:19 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 27 August 2006
What President Bush should say to us, part 2

Diana West speculates here (h/t JW)

At home, the line of defense is clear. It is our border. My new strategy calls on us to think of our border as more than just a line on a map. We need to see the border as a cultural line also, a defining line of freedom against proponents of sharia, which, I cannot emphasize enough, poses a direct threat to our founding principles of liberty and equality. It is that simple. There is a crucial military component to the anti-sharia defensive, which I will outline momentarily. But without taking civil precautions at the border, even a decisive military victory abroad could be nullified by non-violent means at home.

How? Through largely unregulated immigration of peoples from "sharia states" -- those regions whose governing traditions derive, wholly or in some important part, from the edicts of Islam. If such an influx continues, Islamic law will be accommodated, adopted and even legislated, at least in some jurisdictions, according to majority will. We know this to be true because such a "sharia shift" is already transforming what sociologists call post-Christian Europe into an increasingly Islamic sphere. If we do not want to see such changes here, we must act. Accordingly, I am asking Congress to amend our laws to bar further Islamic immigration, beginning with immigration from sharia states. This, the most crucial domestic component of my anti-sharia program, will undoubtedly be regarded as the most controversial because it necessitates making a definitive judgment against the laws promulgated by Islam, a religion. This may appear to go against our cherished tradition of religious tolerance, not to mention good manners. But if the laws promulgated by Islam directly threaten freedom of conscience, freedom of expression and religion, women's rights and key concepts of equality -- and they do -- it is a sign of intellectual rigor mortis not to say so. And I do say so, but, again, not to launch a transformative military or cultural offensive against Islam, but to initiate the mobilization of a defensive movement to prevent the Islamization of American law and liberty....

Posted on 08/27/2006 3:14 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 27 August 2006
The Long War

Andy McCarthy has a n interesting review of Lawrence Wright's The Looming Tower in NR also (subscription required):

...Until his “martyr’s” death by execution in 1966, Qutb — as successor to Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna — plotted relentlessly against Nasser’s regime and its animating idea of secular Arab nationalism. His competing antidote for the ills of the Muslim world was radical Islam, stressing a concept that serves as Wright’s leitmotif: takfir. Roughly equating to Islamic excommunication, it is the notion that the faithful may legitimately claim for themselves the power to declare their fellow Muslims traitorous apostates. Takfir comes to justify, in the radical mind, the murder of anyone who does not accept the “pure” version of Islam that courses through Sunni Wahhabism — the regnant theology of Saudi Arabia, where the royal family has long maintained a tenuous truce with religious authorities. Qutb profoundly influenced two of the book’s three central figures: bin Laden and his eventual Qaeda deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

The evolution of the 20-year bond between these two men is Wright’s principal and most fascinating focus. Both are scions of families prominent in the modern history of the Middle East. Bin Laden’s legendary Yemeni father, Mohammed, is key to understanding the Saudi regime’s indulgence of its bête noire, Osama. Through talent and grit, Mohammed rose to become the kingdom’s chief builder, linking his clan inextricably to both the Saudi royal family (which he once bailed out financially) and Islam’s most revered sites. Zawahiri, a trained physician, was born into a family renowned in medicine, religion, and Egyptian politics. One uncle was a student and confidant of Qutb, while another was the rector of Cairo’s al-Azhar University, as close an analogue as there is to papal status in Islam.

Zawahiri, older and more intellectual but decidedly less charismatic than bin Laden, began when he was only 15 to form the cells that would become al-Jihad, the terror organization narrowly dedicated to supplanting Egypt’s secular government with a sharia state. Even then, he exhibited a penchant for alienating such natural allies as the Muslim Brotherhood (which he decried for its occasional willingness to work within the political system) and the infamous “Blind Sheikh,” Omar Abdel Rahman (whose reckless bloodlust he believed undermined the cause, and whose U.S. followers bombed the World Trade Center in 1993).

Wright strongly suggests that the drift of both Zawahiri and bin Laden from regional jihadist goals to an epic clash of civilizations was driven by shame. Implicated tangentially in the conspiracy that resulted in Sadat’s 1981 murder, Zawahiri is beset by the infamy of having turned state’s evidence after being tortured in Egypt’s notorious prisons. (With a transparent nod to the mainstream canard that terrorists are created not by doctrine but by such state abuse, Wright confusingly intimates that the torture radicalized Zawahiri — even though he elsewhere recounts that Zawahiri was a “committed revolutionary” for many years before his incarceration, and later concludes that “torture did not so much change Zawahiri as purify his resolve.”)...

When it comes to Islamist doctrine, however, Wright does not merely bowdlerize its centrality to al-Qaeda’s savage campaign; he affirmatively contorts it. On display here is the all-purpose, politically correct Weltanschauung: The religion of peace has been wantonly hijacked by terrorists. When Wright returns repeatedly to takfir, he discusses it as a “heresy” within Islam — though, as Bernard Lewis has explained, heresy is itself a concept foreign to Islam. But if takfir is intramurally controversial, that is only because it provides a justification for killing Muslims. This glides past the elephant in the room: Islam regards non-Muslims as lesser beings. (Even Wright concedes, in passing and without analysis, that, for example, non-Muslims are deemed unfit to enter Mecca and Medina.) Justifying their killing requires no similar casuistry. To circumvent the inconvenience of injunctions in the Koran and other Islamic teachings that clearly support killing of infidels and apostates during jihad, Wright simply ignores them — reporting instead the more benign scriptures (which actually came earlier in time, and were thus superseded by the more bellicose suras of Mohammed’s Medina period). Again without irony, the author goes so far as to claim that prior to World War II “there was little precedent in Islam for . . . anti-Semitism,” right before recalling “the time when the Prophet Mohammed had subjugated the Jews of Medina.” Wright also resorts to psychobabble: Top 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta’s “turn to terror,” we are told, probably “had as much to do with his own conflicted sexuality as it did with the clash of civilizations.” This makes explicit the suggestion Wright made implicitly regarding Qutb: These guys are levying war not because they believe, with some justification, that their religion commands it; they simply can’t relate to women.

The Looming Tower
is a good read for those seeking historical details about al-Qaeda and its prime movers. For explanations, better to look elsewhere.

Posted on 08/27/2006 3:04 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 27 August 2006
Too Darn Hot

John Derbyshire has one in NR (dead tree version) too:

...I am not a hot-weather person — am, in fact, strongly sympathetic to the folk-anthropological notion that vigorous civilization cannot arise in a seriously hot climate. How did people in hot places get anything done before air conditioning came in? Heat is another country: They do things differently there. Or rather, if they have any sense, they do nothing at all.

There is a slight inconsistency in our expectations of human life under conditions of great heat. On one hand, we reflexively associate heat with passion, for reasons not too difficult to fathom. When Peggy Lee’s recording of “Fever” was rising in the British pop charts 50 years ago, it was thought indecently suggestive, and there were calls for it to be banned from BBC Radio:

Now you’ve listened to my story
Here’s the point that I have made:
Cats were born to give chicks fever,
Be it Fahrenheit or Centigrade . . .

Yet at just about the same time, Ella Fitzgerald was recording Cole Porter’s “Too Darn Hot”:

According to the Kinsey Report
Every average man, you know,
Much prefers his lovey-dovey to court
When the temperature is low . . .

So is heat conducive to romance, or not? We seem to have more evidence here, if more were needed, that those benighted 1950s — back before we Boomers came along to uncover the full, immutable truth about human life, nature, and society — were an era of pitiful sexual confusion and ignorance. The truth, I think we all know, is that while moderate heat is a romance enhancer, too much is too much.

As with sex, so with violence. The expression “long hot summer” actually migrated from the first zone to the second, beginning as the title of a movie about erotic passion in a sweltering southern town, ending as a code phrase for the mayhem that ensues when too many young men go out into the street to escape stifling-hot apartments. Sociologist Eric Klinenberg, in his book about the great Chicago heat wave of 1995, notes that while crime goes up in summer because the heat drives people outdoors, “when the heat becomes too extreme, crime rates actually decrease because would-be criminals become too lethargic to engage in crime.” Ray Bradbury’s short story “Touched with Fire” has a character who claims to know the precise turnaround temperature: “More murders are committed at ninety-two degrees Fahrenheit than any other temperature. Over one hundred, it’s too hot to move. Under ninety, cool enough to survive. But right at ninety-two degrees lies the apex of irritability, everything is itches and hair and sweat and cooked pork . . .”

Posted on 08/27/2006 2:39 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 27 August 2006
Divided Hearts

Our Theodore Dalrymple also has his usual honest and enlightening piece in this week's NR (subscription required - boo hiss). A snippet:

...Despite my liking for the [taxi] driver as an individual, whom I adjudged sincere in his moderation, I could not entirely disembarrass myself of a residual prejudice against him: He was, after all, a Muslim, and I recognized in myself something discreditable that has become visceral, not under fully conscious control, namely a distrust of more than a billion people because of their religion... prejudice is of recent, not distant, origin. Of course, I had long realized that the political traditions of the Muslim world were very different from those of my own country, and in my opinion inferior to them; but that was true of much of the globe, and extensive travel had taught me that the nature, virtues, and charms of a society were not completely captured by a description of its political institutions. Politics is not all.

The Islamists have changed all that. No doubt that was their intention: They invited, and wanted, a binary view of the world in order to overcome and defeat the half of it that they consider ungodly, evil, and an impediment to perfection on earth, and not coincidentally to their absolute power. Their success has been to instill apocalyptic visions in people who were previously immune to them.

So as I rode in the taxi, the word taqiyya, usually translated as “dissimulation,” kept running through my mind like a refrain. Taqiyya is the principle by which a Muslim may disavow his religious beliefs if it is necessary for him to do so. I am no Islamic scholar, but it seems to me that the application of the concept has been extended. Where once it meant that a Muslim could deny his faith if he were threatened with death unless he abjured it, it has come to mean lying to promote any religiously desired end. Taqiyya has always been more important for Shia than for Sunni Muslims, but is permitted to the latter.

On, I found the following, allegedly true story: A Shia and a Sunni Muslim were traveling to London to attend an Islamic conference. En route, the two of them discussed the need for unity between the two main branches of Islam, and the Sunni argued that the Shia resort to taqiyya was an obstacle to that unity. At London Airport, the Sunni told the immigration officer that he had come to England to seek medical treatment, while the Shia said that he had come to visit friends. The Sunni said to the Shia afterwards that an Islamic conference provided healing for the soul, while the Shia said that it provided an opportunity to visit friends. According to the author of the article on the Web, both had indulged in laudable and justifiable taqiyya.

This is not taqiyya to save life: No one was threatening the two of them with death unless they entered Britain. It was lying because the end was believed to justify the means, and possibly for the sheer malicious pleasure of deceiving someone (an infidel immigration officer) you cannot believe to be the equal to yourself...

Posted on 08/27/2006 2:32 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 27 August 2006
Terror in the Skies

Andy McCarthy has a fantastic piece in NR (subscription required). A snippet:

A breathtaking jihadist plot to blow as many as ten U.S. airliners out of the trans-Atlantic sky after take-off from London’s Heathrow Airport could well have reprised the horror of 9/11. Still, however thankful all of us must be about the two dozen arrests that have taken place in England and Pakistan since August 10, the preemption of this scheme will prove very discomfiting for liberals and civil-libertarian extremists who have barnstormed for five years against all sensible counterterrorism measures.

First and foremost, the successful thwarting of this plot demonstrates again that there is no substitute for spies. While the investigation was a model of international cooperation and brought to bear several sophisticated surveillance techniques, it appears to have been triggered by an informant’s tip — after which authorities managed to infiltrate the terror plot with an undercover agent. While perhaps not privy to the highest echelon of the vast conspiracy — which may have involved more than four dozen operatives — the agent gave investigators access to key details over many months....

Despite the obvious importance of such measures, the capacity of the U.S. intelligence community to plant moles in the terror networks most threatening to Americans was drastically degraded after the Cold War, particularly during the Clinton years. Thus, real public attention to this topic would severely damage the credentials of many a grandstanding critic of “intelligence failure.” Dots, after all, must be collected before they can be connected. As such critics, naturally, are celebrated allies of privacy activists, spying is a topic better left unexplored.

Even more inconvenient for Bush-bashers is the role of coercive interrogation tactics. It now seems clear that the audacious British plan was stopped in the very late stages — and suspects were abruptly rounded up before they could either start the bombing or flee — because Pakistani authorities arrested top suspect Rashid Rauf and subjected him to questioning that, to put it mildly, did not involve Miranda warnings or other enlightened Western practices...

Posted on 08/27/2006 2:16 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 27 August 2006
Summer Camp

All the Palestinian factions have been talking about social welfare in the past several weeks, including Islamic Jihad [which runs a summer camp for youngsters] according to this news item.

There is another kind of camp that also furthers the Jihad, but not in quite so direct a way, indeed in a way that might not be recognized at all. That is the so-called "Peace Camp" filled with Arab (normally "Palestinian") and Jewish campers. These camps are not, of course, paid for equally by Arabs and Jews. They are entirely paid for by naive and sentimental of Jewish lovers of an abstraction called "peace" or "understanding," and who think that "bringing together" young Arabs and Jews will somehow cause some magical "understanding" that will transcend...oh, transcend something, but since that something, the belief-system of Islam that informs, and suffuses the minds, the beliefs, the attitudes, of those implacable Arab children, and leave those hopeful "all we want is peace" Jewish children left to be run roughshod over, as the Jewish children can offer not a clear sense of their own rights, their own legal, moral, and historic claims (how many of them know, for example, of the treatment of Jews under Muslim Arab rule, from Yemen to Morocco, over 1300 years? how many of those Jewish children have any knowledge of what it is that really underlies the "grievances" of the "Palestinians" or how many of them even known when, and why, that "Palestinian people" was invented?)

So they go off somewhere, to a summer camp. The Arab children are happy to pocket the free vacation, and happy not to find "understanding" or -- what's that other idiotic phrase -- "common ground" -- but to press not only false symmetries (the Jewish children being susceptible to this idea of "we have both suffered" which then leads, by degrees, to "we, the Palestinians, have suffered so much at the hands of you Jews" and slowly, but surely, the whole thing turns into, for the Arabs, a way to press their claims, and for the unwary, and certainly unprepared Jewish children, who really came thinking that this would be a way to "share experiences" as they talk about peace, or play the flute, or something, to "get to know each other" and from that, as the Camp Grant-Seekers will tell the Ford, the Soros, the Thousand Foundations, "to share their common humanity." It's all nonsense, nul, chepukha. These "Peace Camps" are always and everywhere so constructed, and cannot but be constructed, to further the Arab cause, and nowhere are the Jewish students able to mount a coherent and aggressive defense against the aggressiveness of the well-schooled Arab contingent, who of course will, at the very least, establish from the get-go a moral symmetry that betrays the astonishing asymmetry of power and of goals(Israel would like merely to exist, and does not desire to wipe out the twenty-two, richly-endowed Arab states, comprising about 1,000 times the land area of tiny Israel; the Arabs want, through Fast Jihad or Slow Jihad, through military or economic or demographic conquest, or a mingling of the means, to destroy the possibility of a Jewish sovereign state, period).

The Arab students -- save possibly for one, or two -- always put their aggrieved faces, and grievances, on display, always go on the attack, always demonstrate a pathological inability to see things other than in the ingrained ways that Islam teaches them to see things. And even if they never mention the word "non-Muslim," never even mention Islam, they have no need to, for the effect on their absolutely unyielding world-view can be seen. The young Israelis, even more ignorant of Islam than their elders, and just as ignorant of their own country's history as, say, young Americans, so unable to cope with the constant rhetorical assault, offered in a framework where they feel -- as the Arab contingent does not -- that it would be against the spirit of the camp to present too stout a defense of the Jewish state, and of its claims which, to anyone not infused with either Islam or that pathological mental condition we call antisemitism -- are overwhelming and utterly convincing.

In what is assumed, in what is not taken into account, in the choice of topics and choice of what not to ever mention, in the way in which campers are selected and in the propagandizing atmosphere of these camps (see the description of the worst of these "Peace Camps" - the Edward-Said-Daniel Barenboim camp for young Jewish and Arab musicians -- that appeared a few days ago in the Times, a story whose author, Alan Riding, appeared not to have any idea of how morally offensive the whole operation, and even what he described (including the atmosphere of intimidation and propagandizing that had most of the Israeli students succumbing to their organized, carefully lead Guide and Indoctrinator -- Miriam Said was photographed doing her sweet and sinister best for the Lesser Jihad, that is for "Palestine" -- and voting for some kind of moral-equivalency (between the terrorists of Hezbollah and the IDF) Statement to be carefully placed in the programs for these camp-following concertizers. A half-dozen of the Israelis, and one lone Egyptian girl, out of 80 or so of the students, managed to withhold what must have been terrific pressure. It was disgusting, the whole description of this farcical effort at "getting to understand each other" that was, and is, and always will be, just one more element in the attempt to demoralize the Israelis (creating an atmosphere where those young Israelis were steadily assaulted verbally, and emotionally, and put in a position where they felt unable to withstand the pressure, disgusts).

The Arab contingent in any one of these phony Peace Camps, whether based on music, or some other pretense or moral cover, will never be able to get beyond their deep sense of grievance, a grievance that the Israeli children, like good Westerners everywhere, will endow with a justification that comes only from that sense of grievance. If they feel so aggrieved, if they cannot conceivably show the slightest understanding of the other, Israeli side, if they are completely unyielding, then that is taken, not as a sign of their moral obtuseness, and the deep fanatical miscomprehension that comes from viewing the universe through the prism of Islam (or through the related lens of islamochristianity, that hybrid belief that allows Christian Arabs to curry favor with the naturally dominant Muslim Arabs, and at the same time to maintain that loyalty to Uruba, to Arabness, that is entangled so tightly with Islam, that even many (not the Maronites, not always the Copts, but many) --Christian Arabs find it impossible to separate from Islam and from the Lesser Jihad against Israel.

On the one side, those earnest young Jewish musicians, or chess players, or would-be journalists, trying to find "common ground," trying to "get to know" the young "Palestinians" or other Arabs who show up for the all-expenses-paid-by-Jewish-donors summer camps, and of course trying to win over those Arab campers by showing the maximum degree of sweet reasonableness that the Arabs then require them to turn into self-abasement.

And on the other side, those determined young Arabs, at the same camp, seeing it as a place to have fun, to get some training, and of course not to find "common ground" or to "see the others just as young people like themselves" -- in the hopeful rhetoric, sometimes malevolent and fake, and sometimes merely the result of terminal naiveté.

Those who find me too severe are invited to see this article on the Music Camp for Arabs and Jews, the one that Edward Said (malevolent and fake) and Daniel Barenboim (terminally naive) founded, and about which Alan Riding wrote, not making moral sense of what he reported on, in The New Duranty Times, a few days ago.

Posted on 08/27/2006 10:16 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 27 August 2006
Re: Fox Journalists Released
At the press conference, Steve Centanni stated that he and Olaf Wiig "were forced to convert to Islam at gunpoint."

Will Reuters, which thought the "conversion" was newsworthy, report on that?

Or will we get the usual slew of "mainstream" Muslim experts who tell us that in Islam "there is no compulsion in religion," and that jihad is "the inner struggle against sin"?

Posted on 08/27/2006 10:04 AM by Andy McCarthy
Sunday, 27 August 2006
Mainstream Media Don't Do Shame

It's been quite a year for the MSM, hasn't it: Mike Wallace does Neville Chamberlain; wire service photogs do jihadist-friendly special effects; the New York Times, Washington Post, the networks, etc. outsource themselves in Lebanon to al-Jazeera.  It's almost hard to remember that their Year of Shame began with MSM coverage of Hurricane Katrina.

But computer genius and retired Newsday reporter Lou Dolinar does remember.  In a remarkable piece (h/t: NYPost) on his Website, Dolinar explains what went right during those terrifying, bleak days in New Orleans:

Do you remember the dramatic TV footage of National Guard helicopter landings at the Superdome, as soon as Katrina passed, to drop off tens of thousands saved from certain death? Of the corpsmen running with stretchers to carry the survivors to ambulances and the medical center? Or the reports on how the operation - with Coast Guard helicopters, regular military units and local first responders, too - went on for more than a week, saving more than 50,000 lives?

No? That's because the national media imposed a near-total blackout on the nerve center of what may have been the largest, most successful aerial search-and-rescue operation in history.

In fact, they got the Katrina timeline exactly backwards: Help wasn't late to arrive. The most important work - lifesaving, search and rescue - got done in the first four days after the hurricane passed.

On this anniversary week of Hurricane Katrina, we'll hear endless rehashing of the manifold failures of FEMA and the Bush administration - much of it deserved - and endless chanting of the "help was late" meme. What we won't hear is what congressional reports have since shown: Three other agencies anticipated the crisis and swung into action as soon as the storm passed.

Read it all.

Dolinar's article has some mileage on it, he explains:

It originally appeared Sept. 15 in an abbreviated form on Tom Bevan's Real Clear Politics, and as the lead item of the New York Post's op-ed page. Rich Lowry at National Review wanted more reporting to hear what the rescuers themselves had to say, The article [...] ran  in their Oct.10 issue.

If you want to learn more about what really happened, required viewing is SOS: Coast Guard Rescue on the Discovery Channel, which features dramatic rescue footage of the New Orleans operations. Also take a look at the current issue of Popular Mechanics, an old favorite of mine that's turned into a serious red-state journal of science, technology, and technopolitics.
Posted on 08/27/2006 9:46 AM by Robert Bove
Sunday, 27 August 2006
Mosques: reality vs fantasy

“Militants inside the Al Qadir Al Kilami mosque fired small arms, machine guns and rocket propelled grenades at U.S. forces…” – from this news item

The entire Muslim conquest resulted in the destruction, or appropriation, of synagogues and temples and churches. Many think it all happened long ago. They flip through a book on Islamic Art and discover that the first mosque known to have been built in India was built over what remained, after destruction by Muslim conquerors, of a Jain temple. Hindu scholars have compiled a two-volume work, its pages filled merely with a laconic list of the thousands of Hindu temples, and vast temple complexes, with their artwork as well, destroyed by the Muslims, their carved stones quarried for the erection of mosques.

All over the Christian world, too, tens of thousands of churches and Christian libraries and other structures were destroyed, or were turned into mosques if the structure was famous enough. Think of the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, built partly on what was once the Church of John the Baptist. Think of the Hagia Sophia, its crosses ripped out, its wall-paintings vandalized, itself turned into a mosque until finally Ataturk managed to make it into a museum. (But suggest to even the outwardly most advanced, most secular Turks that Hagia Sophia should be returned to use as a church, and they look at you as if you were completely mad -- and in a sense, they are right). Think of the hundreds of churches in Constantinople alone, destroyed. There is a maquette of Constantinople in 1453, showing all of those churches on the second floor of the Museum of Greek and Roman Antiquity in the Topkapi complex. Few visitors ever go there -- the day I went, I was the only one. But there you will see those churches, and a list of all those known to have once existed and then wiped from the face of the earth by Muslims.

But that was then, some will say. That was in the bad old days. Those things don't happen now.

Don't they? What about the Hindu temples in present-day Pakistan and Bangladesh? What about the Hindu temple razed just last month in "moderate" and "forward-looking" Malaysia, the big economic success story in the Muslim world? (Its success, of course, is owed to the Chinese and Hindus who are forced to pay, through the Bumiputra system, a disguised Jizyah to the Muslims.) What about those synagogues in the Old City of Jerusalem, every single one of them destroyed by the Jordanians when they held that city from 1948 to 1967, in addition to their razing of the entire Jewish Quarter? (That is why, when you visit it, you notice that it consists almost entirely of new buildings, though done in the old manner.) What about the ancient tombstones in the old Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives, ripped up and used to line the Jordanian army latrines?

What about the destruction of Orthodox churches and monasteries in Bosnia and Kosovo, wherever Muslims have been able to have their way? And what will happen if they get full control of formerly Serbian areas, as they may get because of the idiotic appeasement of local Muslims by the American and the other Western governments? All of those governments should be standing by Serbia, at this point, all the way.

The American soldiers who went off to Iraq did not know that mosques would be centers from which they would be attacked. They did not know that mosques were used as barracks -- as places where, the Muslims understood, they could exploit the innocence of the Infidels and their desire not to offend. They knew that the Infidels had made the choice not to offend, and to treat mosques as merely "houses of worship" rather than as what they are -- centers for the promotion of the duty of Jihad, places where people are not given sermons using words such as "charity" and "mercy" and "hope" and "love" but rather different words -- "struggle" and "war" and "Infidel" and "umma al-Islamiyya" and "Jihad" and "Jihad" and "Jihad." This happens today in so many mosques, in too many mosques, in so many places, in too many places, for it to be merely a matter of this or that singularly fanatical imam.

Start seeing mosques for what they are. They are far more than "houses of worship." Far more, and therefore far less entitled to be treated as if that is what they are. If Hizballah holes up in a building, that building is not sacrosanct. Sunnis blow up Shi'a mosques, and Shi'a blow up Sunni mosques, in Iraq and in Pakistan. Mosques are attacked all the time, from those who seized the Grand Mosque in Mecca in November 1979 (which hastily-converted French troops finally managed to dislodge), to those who attack the mosques of their political, sectarian, or ethnic rivals whenever the spirit moves them. And it so often moves them.

American soldiers in or returning from Iraq now know what they should expect from inside those mosques. And so do the security services who have raided, and who have monitored, and who keep under surveillance mosques in England, mosques in France, mosques in Italy, mosques in Germany, mosques everywhere.

Stop pretending that a mosque is merely an innocent "house of worship." Stop fooling yourself, and others.

Posted on 08/27/2006 7:42 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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