The Grim Milestone of Blogs "I find the language and rhetoric coming from America too confrontational" - Prince Charles "Nuts" - Gen McAuliffe America: Saving idiots from themselves since WWI
Monday, November 22, 2004
From "speaking out":
Earlier this month, a group of about 3,000 Arab and Muslim intellectuals signed a petition demanding that prominent Muslim clerics known for inflammatory views face an international court on charges of encouraging terrorism. Among those they singled out was Egyptian Sheikh Youssef al- Qaradawi, based in Qatar, who has condoned attacks on American civilians in Iraq and sanctioned kidnapping in wartime.
These critics risk religious rulings calling for their deaths. There are very real and dangerous consequences when Muslims don't follow the radicals, and when they do.
Firstly, I was expelled from my school. “Being a good mother doesn’t require education”, Imam said. Secondly, I was forced to wear hijab all the time. Even that I had some problems with breathing, it didn’t matter. I was told to pray to Allah to save my life. Thirdly, I couldn’t use buses, trains and so on. I could only go out with my father. And finally, my mother wasn’t allowed to work. And we plunged into poverty.
Try to understand me, it wasn’t the secular law. We could bring legal proceeding against these criminals. But we could also be killed by our own neighbors for not obeying. And I WANTED TO LIVE, no matter how awful my life was.
At home we always discussed Islam. We read Koran and then compared it with reality. We were stunned. But not by reality. We were stunned because this awful life was required by Koran and Mohammed. It wasn’t terrorism. It was real Islam.
We made up our minds to escape as soon as possible. We saved all our money for a one-way ticket. And while doing it, I went to mosque; was beaten by Muslim boys because my name wasn’t Arab. I was beaten by Imams because I asked too many questions. I was beaten all the time.
After a few years, an awful event happened. My grandfather converted to Christianity openly and was killed near church. I didn’t know why he converted so openly; after all he understood that he would certainly be killed. But when he was at home writhing in pain, he confessed that he had cancer and knew that his death was somewhere nearby. He said he didn’t want to die a Muslim. It would be too shameful for him. I hope now he’s in Heaven or if Heaven doesn’t exist then I hope he’s now safe and happy.
From the "radicals" link:
The Takfir movement's limitless suspicion of outsiders and elusive tactics create huge complications for monitoring and infiltrating. Among Takfir precepts is "taqiyya," or use of deceptions that include blending into non-Muslim societies. This led some U.S. investigators to suspect Takfir links to some of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers, though no clear evidence emerged.
There's also worry about a trend toward smaller, independent Takfir cells that follow their own random agendas.
"Now we have a new generation of fundamentalists," said Mohamed Salah, an expert on Islamic radicals and the Cairo bureau chief of the pan-Arab newspaper Al-Hayat. "The atmosphere in the world now makes it easy for someone to get two or three people together and form a group."
Takfir has cropped up on the fringes of recent terrorist probes.
In Jordan, one of 13 suspects accused of plotting to bomb American targets earlier this year is an alleged Takfir adherent. Moroccan officials have targeted Takfir followers in raids. Last year, French anti-terrorist agents detained more than a dozen suspected Takfir members.
Also last year, Lebanese forces arrested dozens of suspects accused of planning to assassinate the U.S. ambassador and other plots. Some suspects were reportedly Takfir followers.
Belgian investigators, meanwhile, are looking for possible ties between the Van Gogh slaying and threats against political figures including the justice minister and a lawmaker with Moroccan parents, Mimount Bousakla, who has challenged conservative Muslim social codes. Bousakla went into hiding after receiving anonymous calls that included a threat "to ritually slaughter her," Belgian officials said Wednesday.
Van Gogh was shot and then his throat was slashed. He had recently collaborated with Somali-born Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a parliament member, on a film criticizing Islam's treatment of women. She also has moved to a secret location.
"You can't dismiss the influence of Takfir on contemporary terrorism at some level," said Omid Safi, a religion professor at Colgate University. "It brands everyone it opposes as an infidel - including Muslims - and that makes it that much easier to inflict violence on them."
What actions can be taken to create a more moderate, less violent, Islam? This Stephen Schwartz article from Tech Central Station suggests a practical approach. Schwartz assumes the Koran, Hadiths, and Sira will never be changed, and he's probably right.
Some also insist that it is simplistic to blame Wahhabism alone for the present offensive by radical Islam. That is because they do not grasp the nature of Wahhabism or the solution to it. Wahhabism abolishes the tradition of pluralistic interpretation of Qur'an, the hadith, and Islamic law for which the religion was always previously known. To discuss the issues that have been forced on Islam by the terrorists, such as jihad, Muslims must first reclaim the right to discuss the religion on its own terms. That means ending the Wahhabi monopoly on discourse. When I published an exposé of the "Wahhabi Qur'an," in which statements that might be applied negatively to Jews and Christians were printed as if they unquestionably assailed those faiths, I was accused of diverting attention from the original malice allegedly present in the text. But Islamic pluralism, and Islamic moderation, embody the unchallengeable presumption that Qur'an, the hadith, and Islamic law are and always were open to differing interpretations. (Debate over textual interpretation is not the same as ijtihad, or originality in legal judgments, but that should be taken up elsewhere.) Wahhabism, which dominates mosques in the United States no less than in the Saudi kingdom, wipes out such a diversity of views, and replaces them with a single totalitarian dispensation.
The enforced uniformity of Wahhabism must be overthrown; then, with the restoration of Islamic pluralism, every verse in Qur'an, every hadith, and every precedent in Islamic law can be analyzed anew. I believe much can and will be reaffirmed as a foundation for moderation. But it is doubtful that Muslim tradition will be reordered according to the dictates of simplistic and bigoted non-Muslim demagogues. It is peculiar to me, in this context, that the long-standing recognition that Islam is divided between a fundamentalist minority and a nonfundamentalist majority seems to have disappeared from the minds of many Westerners; to them, as to the Muslim radicals, there is only one Islam. Some Western propagandists work overtime to convince the world that fundamentalist Islam is the only expression the faith ever produced, or that because Qur'an has not been expurgated, Muslims will always turn in that direction. Such analysts of the past think little of the future; removing controversial parts of Qur'an or any other part of Islamic tradition would only make them forbidden fruit, and even more attractive as weapons of radicalization.
When these brave pioneers in Islamic thought attempt to bring new, or old, insight into Islamic scripture, I suggest they do so with their heads down and powder dry. The Takfirs and Wahhabis would like nothing more than to kill the "infidels".
The Vatican does damn well in worrying about secularism in Europe as much as about Islam.
I think you are mostly correct. Secularism in Europe goes far beyond avoiding the "establishment of religion".
"In this sense, a struggle exists and so we must defend religious freedom against an ideology which is held up as if it were the only voice of rationality, when instead it is only an expression of a 'certain' rationialism."
European secularism is of the evangelical, sectarian variety. Holding moral values derived from religion has nothing to do with advocating a state religion.
What is prohibited in the U.S. Constitution is the establishment of a state religion. The "wall of separation" between church and state was coined by Jefferson in a letter to a Baptist who advocated a national day of fasting. Jefferson's "wall of separation" letter to the Danbury Baptists (scroll to bottom). Jefferson's letter is often overstated. Jefferson was referring to the federal government, only. Nor was Jefferson an absolutist. How could he be an absolutist? The two religion clauses of the First Amendment are in opposition to one another, and require constant balancing between competing interests.
Recently an Italian politician, Rocco Buttiglione, was ambushed by socialist EU politicians for professing mainstream Catholic beliefs. When the Roman Catholic Church must advocate for religious freedom, and has solid ground on which to stand, secularism has become a religion unto itself.
In the United States the "wall of separation" between church and state is secure. Courts have probably built the wall too high in many cases. Secularists are now crusading against any vestige of religious symbolism in the public square. The United States is not a "Christian nation". Neither is the United States a nation where Christian symbols or beliefs should be hunted to extinction within the public realm. It will always be a balancing act between the "free exercise" of religion while avoiding the "establishment" of religion. But when the 'great' battles involve nativity scenes on the lawns of public buildings, "under God" in the Pledge, and tiny crosses on flags, methinks the secularists doth protest too much.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
HOWEVER, radical Islam poses a threat to the socialist distopia EU politicians are trying to create, the Vatican, and basic human rights. I still maintain the jihad is a greater immediate existential threat to Europe. But the secular fundamentalists tend to side with radical Islam for its willingness to confront the United States using terror tactics. The cooperation between medieval theocrats and socialists never fails to amaze me. They are united in their hatred of the United States, and not much else.
Thursday, November 18, 2004
British Jihad, like all jihad, is organized and encouraged in the mosques by imams and radical commanders. Mosques, or wherever Muslims meet to pray five times a day, are the command and control network for militant Islam.
More women being killed for walking in public unveiled
According to some Muslims, these practices are not Islamic: female genital mutilation, honor killings, and veiling. But they only occur in Muslim society. What should I believe: my lying eyes, or Muslim apologists?
European Muslims Fight for the Soul of Islam, allegedly.
If there is any proof the radicals have serious competition, I'd love to know about it. I hope it's not too late to avoid a clash of civilizations which kills millions in the West, but tens or hundreds of millions in the Islamic world. The author has three ideas which should have been implemented six years ago with Usama's open declaration of war on the West, and particularly the United States.
The above suggests three important tasks for Muslim leaders and intellectuals in the immediate future:
First, de-legitimize the political ideology of militant Islamism by exposing its departures from true teachings of Islam; refute its underlying conspiracy theories, its quasi-Marxist blueprint and its misuse of traditional Islamic sources.
Second, help the Western powers formulate better policies to overcome centuries of distrust and misunderstanding.
Third, construct a new interpretation of Islam that will help Muslims break free from medieval traditions and develop modern attitudes compatible with the Islamic faith and morality.
The mullahs of Iran are playing a dangerous game.
In the summer of last year, Iranian intelligence agents in Tehran began planning something quite spectacular for September 11, the two-year anniversary of al Qaeda's attack on the United States, according to a classified American intelligence report. Iranian agents disbursed $20,000 to a team of assassins, the report said, to kill Paul Bremer, then the top U.S. civilian administrator in Iraq. The information was specific: The team, said a well-placed source quoted in the intelligence document, would use a Toyota Corona taxi and a second car, driven by suicide bombers, to take out Bremer and destroy two hotels in downtown Baghdad. The source even named one of the planners, Himin Bani Shari, a high-ranking member of the Ansar al-Islam terrorist group and a known associate of Iranian intelligence agents.
Muslims always underestimate America's will to defend itself. They are part of a long tradition. So did Nazi Germany, the Japanese Empire, and the Soviet Union.
Dear jihadists, let me introduce you to the United States Marine Corps
They say that for the new jihadists the appeal of Iraq has surpassed Afghanistan, a magnet for a generation of Islamic militants seeking to fight the Soviet communists in the 1980s.
"Iraq is an open battleground for jihadists to confront America directly. In the space of a few hours, volunteers can leave their countries and find themselves in the heat of battle (in Iraq)," said a top security official.
Iraq has given Islamic extremists the opportunity to secure a "ticket to heaven" through martyrdom. Easily accessible and with the enemy all around, it has overtaken the Palestinian territories and Chechnya as the battleground of choice.
"The Americans gave the militant extremists a chance they had long dreamt of ... now their enemy has come to them," said a Jordanian ex-intelligence officer.
Only a fool thinks we can appease or reason with this type of warrior. They fight us because their religion tells them it's the only sure way to get to heaven. If we don't fight them in Iraq, our other options include our passenger planes, large celebrations, sporting events, or schools.
But, of course, the actual cause of this jihad philosophy foists the blame on us:
"It has turned many gentle clerics and young men with strong religious convictions, but who (previously) could not stomach the sight of blood, into eager suicide bombers and executioners," said Sheikh Yusef Abu Kutaiba, a Muslim cleric.
Oh, yes, such gentle young men who cannot stand blood. That's why beheading videos are the LOTR trilogy of the Middle East. That's why al-Jazeera is so successful airing beheading videos in prime time, the Muslim aversion to blood.
Muslim clerics really think we are morons.
Monday, November 15, 2004
When the State Department recently designated Saudi Arabia as a "country of particular concern" in its annual religious-freedom report, few took notice. But this unprecedented step may — just may — signal the start of a tectonic shift for the better in the troubled U.S.-Saudi bilateral relationship, and in the broader war against Islamist terrorism.
Saudi Arabia's welcome, if belated, addition to State's religious-freedom blacklist — along with the likes of Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Vietnam — fulfills the clear policy mandate of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (IRFA). This measure explicitly recognizes that religious freedom is inseparable from the full range of other basic human rights, whose promotion and observance in turn advance vital U.S. interests and reflect basic American values. Where religious freedom is threatened or denied, so too are other basic human rights; and such violations of universally agreed-upon norms often reflect wider threats to international public order. Consider only this year's rogues gallery and their handiwork, from ongoing genocide in Sudan to nuclear proliferation efforts by Iran and North Korea.
As part of the annual religious-freedom report, State must designate particular countries that have "engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom" under applicable international law. Designation may or may not result in sanctions, which may be as minimal as a mild private rebuke in the form of a diplomatic note. But what's often overlooked is that this designation is in itself a highly effective sanction, since governments are almost preternaturally averse to public criticism, whether from other states, international organizations, influential NGOs, or the media. And the bigger the megaphone, the sharper the sting of being named and shamed.
Few states are as image conscious and as institutionally thin-skinned as Saudi Arabia.
In Saudi Arabia, "Islam is the official religion, and the law requires that all citizens be Muslims." But the regime's official version of Islam is a narrow, intolerant interpretation of the majority Sunni tradition followed only by a distinct minority of fellow Sunnis around the world:
"The Government enforces a strictly conservative version of Sunni Islam. Muslims who do not adhere to the officially sanctioned Salafi (commonly called "Wahhabi") tradition can face severe repercussions at the hands of the Mutawwa'in (religious police). The Government continued to detain Shi'a leaders. Members of the Shi'a minority continued to face political and economic discrimination, including limited employment opportunities, little representation in official institutions, and restrictions on the practice of their faith and on the building of mosques and community centers."
The situation is grimmer still for non-Muslims, including at least one million Christians among a population of six to seven million guest workers. All public worship is prohibited in principle, and private manifestations of faith (such as possession of Bibles) are often severely punished in practice.
'Fault Lines' of Radical Islam Growing
You know what happens near fault lines? Earthquakes and volcanos.
The most recent hot spots zigzag around the atlas — from Liberia in West Africa to the Netherlands to Southeast Asia. They join a growing roster of places already feeling the strains of religious conflict and terrorism along the edges of the Islamic world — regions as diverse as Chechnya, Nigeria, Spain, Central Asia and the Philippines. Even China is worried about separatist sentiment in its vast and mostly Muslim western province of Xinjiang.
"The militant voices on the street are gaining credibility in more and more places," said Gerges. "That's a worrisome trend."
Part of the reason, many Islamic experts say, can be traced to global communications that forge common points of reference such as al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden's defiance or the guerrilla attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq. But even more powerful rallying cries come from firebrand imams and opinion-shapers: that Islam is under threat and it's the duty of followers to take a stand.
Please notice that it's the "firebrand imams and opinion-shapers" who are causing this. Root causes? Do I smell root causes?
Muslims Say Their Faith Growing Fast in Africa
"There is a kind of statistical warfare with Islam said to be growing by leaps and bounds on one side, and growing Christianity, especially Pentecostalists and charismatics, on the other," said Isaac, an Ethiopian."Statistics have influence. People like to be on the winning side."
But Bah Thierno Amadou, 36, a Sierra Leonian Muslim living in Madagascar, has no doubt his religion is on the march.
"More Africans are converting to Islam. There was hardly any Islam in Sierra Leone in the 1960s. Now it has a big following, and it's getting bigger in each generation," said Amadou, who also lived in Liberia for 16 years. If people like to win, that implies a war or competition of some kind.
Notice what comes next though:
He says the wars pursued by President Bush are powerful recruiting tools for Islam in many parts of a continent with long memories of 19th century cooperation between European missionaries and colonisers.
"He (Bush) says he's a Christian and he does things to destroy people's lives and property who are Muslims. Africans identify with the victims of Bush, because they suffered under the European colonisers, also Christians," Amadou said.
Balanced, and confusing. Muslims want to win and listen to their leaders, but complain about the other side trying to win. Girlie men.
Rethink nuclear nonproliferation, before it's too late.
by Henry Sokolski
AS THE UNITED STATES and its allies give Tehran its fifth chance in nearly two years to suspend activities that could bring it within weeks of having enough enriched uranium for a large arsenal, the question arises: Isn't there a better way to prevent states from getting nuclear weapons? The answer is yes, but only if we and our partners are willing to be much more aggressive in adapting existing nonproliferation efforts to today's threats.
NUCLEAR TERRORISM: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe (Times Books / an imprint of Henry Holt & Co.; August 9, 2004).
Sometimes a book title is good enough.
Israel's Nuclear Weapons suggests that there may be over 400 deployed nuclear weapons awaiting any enemy, or enemies, of Israel.
Playing a game of national chicken against Israel, as Iran is doing, may well result in a head-on collision which destroys most of Iran and several surrounding nation-states.
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
Vatican awakening to jihad? I sure hope so.
Can we stick a fork in the "root causes" crap which permeates socialist-leftist thinking yet? It's done.
You'd never know there was any good news in Iraq unless you read this Opinion Journal feature which comes out every two weeks. Or you can read military blogs.
Amir Taheri is a great editorialist who I've mentioned before. Iraq: time to look to the future is brilliant.
What has happened in Iraq, however, was not imposing democracy by force. It was removing those who used force to prevent the emergence of democracy. Using force to remove impediments to democracy is nothing new. It has happened many times in history. The English and French revolutions were instances of using force to break the structures of tyranny that prevented democracy from emerging. Today, India is the world’s largest democracy because the British used force there to destroy the feudal society of Maharajas and Nawabs and other despots who would never have allowed the people any say in decision-making.
I think Prince Charles has converted to Islam. This exegeses on Islam is as one-sided as they get.
If you are like me, a Bush voter, you might be sick of the name-calling from the many leftists who can't imagine any reason for your vote other than assuming you are a theocratic, redneck, bigot. The Values-Vote Myth by David Brooks (NYT) is a good refutation. It's the Moderates, Stupid by a Clinton Democrat is even better.
The Vatican is still battling "secularism" in Europe. I think they should deal with the jihad first.
Here are two great articles from TCS. Wired Islam, can it help defeat the jihad? Yes and no. The jihadis are all over the Internet. Two, Elections and the Muslim World makes several critical points. One, terrorism is not new to Iraq. Saddam's regime waged an ongoing terror war against his own people. When the government has a monopoly on terrorism, it destroys any competition. Also, it's another example of leftist bigotry (my description) to say Muslims are not capable of freedom and democracy.
The obvious link between these claims is, broadly, the belief that the Muslim world is impervious to democratic change and that any action by us to implement it will only raise greater obstacles to progress. One must first understand that this stereotypical conception of global Islam is grossly ignorant and prejudiced. It much resembles the common Western apprehension that all Muslim countries live under exclusive sharia law, that none is pluralistic, and that Islam is universally jihadist. None of these views is accurate.
Let us begin with the issue of American invasion and the purported reaction to it. It has become a cliché of Bush-haters to assert that Islamist terrorism has grown since the intervention in Iraq, but even a superficial examination of Islam worldwide reveals a much better situation than many Westerners imagine. In Iraq itself, the Saddam regime exercised murderous terrorism against the Shia majority and the Iraqi Kurds, but with Saddam gone, that can hardly be said to have increased. The rebellion of Moqtada ul-Sadr has been neutralized and Iraqi Kurdistan is essentially pacified. The Saudi-inspired terrorists in Falluja have already begun to alienate their base by their attempt to transform the city into a fundamentalist redoubt.
When I said Osama was endorsing Kerry I only had the early translations. As it turns out, he promised to attack the Red States. I'm glad this had almost no effect on the election (according to exit polling). Even Kerry would have chased Osama, I'm pretty sure.
Janet Daley is one of my favorite new columnists. Bush's 'crime'? Just being a patriot.
Like most expatriate Americans living in Britain, it was a phenomenon I am unlikely ever to forget. The response to the deaths of 3,000 civilians, by comment writers in the Left-wing newspapers and the producers of "flagship" BBC current affairs programmes, was to orchestrate abuse of the bereaved country. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when I read a leader in Saturday's Guardian which pronounced with brazen sanctimoniousness: "The attack of September 11 2001, an event of historic seriousness, created an unprecedented outpouring of solidarity worldwide."
Oh really? Well, then the Guardian must have been wildly out of step with world solidarity at the time because it was gleefully leading a chorus of "America got what it deserved". And the BBC - sorry to return to this again but it remains burnished in my consciousness - staged an edition of Question Time in which anyone who expressed sympathy for the US was howled down.
Anybody who says that this kind of pathological hatred - the kind that relishes the loss of innocent life as a well-deserved "lesson" - would evaporate with the election of John Kerry, or any other contender who was remotely in tune with the American political culture, is trying very hard to deceive himself or the rest of us.
Perhaps there is a clue to the psychological logic of this argument in the Guardian leader's triumphal conclusion: "Three years later, much of that solidarity has been squandered."
Are the people who attacked the US at the time of 9/11 now trying to justify that gratuitous viciousness by claiming that it has been, as it were, retrospectively justified by the invasion of Iraq?
Will we ever know the truth about Flight 800? Clinton wanted terrorism which could help him politically. Fighting the jihad might have reduced his Muslim vote.
Saturday, October 30, 2004
The first thing to notice about the statement is that it is geared for the American and European audience. There are none of the usual calls to kill the Americans, pagans, Zionists, polytheists, Christians, Europeans, or infidels on Muslim lands. Quite the opposite. Osama recycles many of the Left's talking points. That his statement received applause on last night's Bill Maher show is a testament to Osama's genius as a politician. Sadly, Osama's statement is a greater testament to the failure of the mainstream media, and to Leftist stupidity, or the Left's outright support for the terrorists' goals.
The mainstream media has never made much of Osama's fatwahs. The 1996 and 1998 fatwahs provide more insight into Osama and the jihadist movement than any ten 'terror experts' on television or in the print media. I've spent hours pouring over the fatwahs. What Osama did in his latest statement is carry over many of his earlier talking points from the fatwahs and geared them to the American -- but especially the European -- public. Osama's only mistake, which will not be pointed out by the mainstream media wholly behind John Kerry, was using too many of the Democrat's talking points, including Michael Moore. Osama knew he could take this risk because there is no higher goal in mainstream journalism than electing John Kerry.
Osama's greatest accomplishment was giving a statement which could be interpreted as support for Kerry, or if one is a contrarian for Bush. Though I am a contrarian by nature, the facts on the ground preclude the conclusion Osama would like to see George W. Bush retain his office. President Bush is the first American president to attack private terror funding sources, nations which support the terrorists, and to topple two governments which harbored terrorists and provided them with logistical support and training. Osama is on the run, unable to carry out the huge attacks he did throughout the 1990's, culminating in the second WTC attack on September 11, 2001.
The unholy alliance between Osama and the Left is nothing new. Al Qaeda released a statement during the Democratic primary season which used Howard Dean's talking points. Will the Left or the mainstream media ever wake up and realize they are being used? I doubt it. The anti-American obsession is the defining characteristic of the Left in America and Europe. Osama has learned how to use this to greatest advantage. The media has already decided to bury (thanks, LGF) the real story, Osama's use of leftist talking points.
What was Osama trying to accomplish? Some suggest he has endorsed Kerry, as I did above. It is not that simple. Osama knows there is no greater hatred in Europe than the hatred for the United States. Osama's goal is to further divide Europe from their only means of military protection, the United States. Osama knows Sweden, which he mentions by name, is a nation with a large, growing, and radical Muslim population. Unlike Norway, Sweden is in full PC denial about any potential dangers from this population. There is no more anti-American nation in Europe than Sweden, except perhaps France, Germany, and Belgium. The Swedish are particularly sympathetic to the so-called Palestinian cause (Palestine is actually a province of the Roman Empire). Osama made excellent use of this wedge issue in the statement.
Osama has several goals. Yes, he would like to see George Bush defeated in the upcoming elections. Nothing would rally his followers more than a defeat of President Bush. But more importantly he wants to justify European hatred for the United States. As I said, most people are unaware of the real Osama due to media negligence. The media focuses on his phony political goals for the most part. His religous motivations are covered up so as not to offend CAIR. By reinventing himself, like Madonna, Osama hopes to gain European support, especially non-Arab recruits into his cause. Osama may be the modern master of divide and conquer. He knows how to manipulate the media, the Left, and Europe. Islamists everywhere, take note. Al Zarqawi is just a little amateur compared to the reigning champion, Osama.
So what are his chances? Actually, they are quite good. Decades of anti-American propaganda in the European state-controlled media should propel Osama right up there with Che, Lenin, Michael Moore, and Chomsky.
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
The French are in such a desperate situation with their Islamic population it could be likened to 1940. But the invaders are already in their cities, controlling over 800 "no-go zones" in France itself. Too bad the French never read the 'holy' book of the population they chose to embrace. Instead they consume themselves with guilt over the Crusades. Which, by the way, happened over 900 years ago.
"Allah" uses terror as a major tool of 'persuasion' and suggests its use by his foolowers (sic). I've left out many other references to terror in the Koran.
3.151 - YUSUFALI: Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority: their abode will be the Fire: And evil is the home of the wrong-doers!
7.004 - PICKTHAL: How many a township have We destroyed! As a raid by night, or while they slept at noon, Our terror came unto them.
8.012 - YUSUFALI: Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): "I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instil terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them."
8.060 - YUSUFALI: Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies, of Allah and your enemies, and others besides, whom ye may not know, but whom Allah doth know. Whatever ye shall spend in the cause of Allah, shall be repaid unto you, and ye shall not be treated unjustly.
16.112 - YUSUFALI: Allah sets forth a Parable: a city enjoying security and quiet, abundantly supplied with sustenance from every place: Yet was it ungrateful for the favours of Allah: so Allah made it taste of hunger and terror (in extremes) (closing in on it) like a garment (from every side), because of the (evil) which (its people) wrought.
17.059 - YUSUFALI: And We refrain from sending the signs, only because the men of former generations treated them as false: We sent the she-camel to the Thamud to open their eyes, but they treated her wrongfully: We only send the Signs by way of terror (and warning from evil).
33.026 - YUSUFALI: And those of the People of the Book who aided them - Allah did take them down from their strongholds and cast terror into their hearts. (So that) some ye slew, and some ye made prisoners.
59.002 - YUSUFALI: It is He Who got out the Unbelievers among the People of the Book from their homes at the first gathering (of the forces). Little did ye think that they would get out: And they thought that their fortresses would defend them from Allah! But the (Wrath of) Allah came to them from quarters from which they little expected (it), and cast terror into their hearts, so that they destroyed their dwellings by their own hands and the hands of the Believers, take warning, then, O ye with eyes (to see)!
59.013 - YUSUFALI: Of a truth ye are stronger (than they) because of the terror in their hearts, (sent) by Allah. This is because they are men devoid of understanding.
Monday, October 25, 2004
Kerry the "ferocious fighter" is one of the least goofy claims in this article.
"He did it all simply because he is a fighter, and a ferocious one. I am quite certain that if Kerry had been president on September 11 he would have reacted more violently than Bush, sending bombers into Afghanistan, not just Special Forces scouts, and demanding immediate co-operation - or else - from Saudi Arabia, not just Pakistan. European anti-militarists have really picked the wrong guy as their hero."
Um, dude, we did use bombers in Afghanistan, lots of bombers. The SF scouts were actually Air Force commandos there to laser-designate targets for the bombers.
Ten Commandments going to Supreme Court. I think one problem is where you put the display, and who does it. A giant Ten Commandments rock placed in front of the courtroom of a federal judge, by that judge, is probably unfair to Hindus who might have to appear.
Saddam the "secular leader" takes a bashing in Slate, of all places. This is yet another leftist catechism which never made any sense. But if it's repeated enough, people will believe it.
The French have a way with fighting anti-Semitism. Put a Jewish slur on a picture of Jesus. Yeah, that's the ticket. At least the French get tough with schoolgirls. The French deal with Saddam and Hezbollah, but crack down on little girls. That must be the "third way".
Europe from Venus? Just wait until they start fighting over imported cheap goods from the new EU members. Economic sanctions will not work on global terrorism which has no respect for borders. Neither will giving every terrorist a lawyer.
Foreign Affairs is a pretty good magazine. But this guy is clueless. The article suggests America needs to regain legitimacy. One thing to notice: there is NO mention of the UN Oil-for-Food scandal - the largest scandal in human history. The author needs to reassess whose legitimacy is in question. Even Kofi Annan has been forced to admit the UN looks bad. Russia, France, and China never would have supported ousting their sugar daddy, Saddam.
At least we humans have an excuse for all this stupidity.
Sunday, October 24, 2004
There is one simple, obvious problem with this philosophy. Small nuclear powers cannot deter large, established nuclear powers with a technological advantage. Rather, they invite preemptive strikes on themselves by developing nuclear technology. The Israeli strike on the French Osirak reactor in Iraq is one good example.
What gives any nation the "right" to have nuclear weapons? One hears that from the Left whenever the latest dictator decides to build a nuclear weapon. Answer: nothing. That is not the correct question. The real question is: how can we reduce the danger of nuclear war? Certainly we cannot reduce the risk of nuclear war by increasing the number of nations which possess nuclear weapons. The United States, France, UK, Israel, or Russia, et al, will never get rid of nuclear weapons if every nation on Earth seeks to acquire them. Unilateral disarmament in the face of increasing nuclear nations would amount to national suicide.
There are two kinds of proliferation. John Kerry seems to be confusing them. One, vertical proliferation, is the increase or upgrade in nuclear weapons within existing nuclear powers. We see this in China, North Korea, Israel, Russia, or the United States. The second type of proliferation is called horizontal proliferation, from nation-to-nation.
Whenever nuclear deterrence is discussed the Cold War is used as an example of deterrence working. Did it? The United States and the Soviet Union fought proxy wars all over the world, from Korea and Vietnam to Grenada and Nicaragua. The United States and the Soviets had many close calls with nuclear war, from the Cuban Missile Crisis to geese flying over the Arctic Circle triggering NORAD early warning radar. The two Cold War adversaries were advanced technological nations with some time to decide what to do. The proliferation the two great powers engaged in was almost all vertical. The Soviets did attempt to put missiles in Cuba, with nerve-jarring results. The United States deployed Pershing missiles in Germany amid a huge outcry of condemnation. There are a few other examples, but the Cold War was mainly adding to existing stockpiles.
The modern archetype of potential nuclear war might be India and Pakistan. They share a border and have little time to decide what to do in the event of an attack. So far, obviously, there has been no nuclear exchange. But to extrapolate this into an general defense of nuclear deterrence is dangerous. Both sides are locked in an arms race. Which brings me back to where I started. In order for deterrence to work many factors must be in place. I'll touch on several important ones.
1) Rough parity in force capabilities.
2) Sufficient command and control to avoid accidental launches.
3) Stable government, not ruled by someone willing to take millions of casualties.
4) Security to prevent non-governmental militant groups from gaining control of nuclear weapons.
5) A long-term outlook. Apocalyptic theocrats, as in Iran, are not good candidates for nuclear weapons.
I'll discuss the first point. I've heard from leftists that the United States would not dare attack Pakistan because it is a nuclear nation. First of all, of course, I don't know why we would want to engage Pakistan in all-out war, but bear with me and pretend we do.
The United States would first decapitate the command and control of Pakistan using precision-guided weapons. We would destroy their nuclear capability in place. Rather than being a deterrent, Pakistan's nuclear capability would only determine U.S. tactics against them. Instead of deterring the U.S., Pakistan's nuclear arsenal would require a large, surprise preemptive strike.
The lesson of the Cold War should have been how dangerous it was, and how close we came to mutual destruction. It appears the 'lesson' learned by the other nation states is "we want to join the club". If that is the case, the world will only get more dangerous, spend more money on arms, and risk global catastrophe for no real deterrence.
In the history of warfare, no weapons system has been considered too powerful to be used in quantity. The bow, the machine gun, and dynamite were viewed by some very smart people as being unfair or too powerful to be used in combat. All those people turned out to be very wrong. Nuclear weapons are no exception. First strike strategies are the natural result of nations facing off with nuclear weapons. Constant paranoia, surveillance, and knife-edge readiness are the hallmarks of nuclear weapons, not deterrence.
Saturday, October 23, 2004
If there has ever been an uglier political campaign in my lifetime, I missed it.
The Telegraph (UK)
One of the criticisms thrown at George W Bush is that he is a menace because he believes that God is telling him what to do. A moral equivalence is set up, in which Osama bin Laden and Bush are presented as two sides of a fundamentalist coin. On Wednesday, a television programme tried to equate the Muslim Brotherhood, which advocates the violent destruction of all societies that do not conform to sharia law, with the American neo-conservative intellectuals who taught that people should revive their interest in Plato and the civilisation of the ancient Greeks. This is about as accurate as saying that the Nazi party and the Labour Party are the same, because both arose from the discontents of the working classes.
Thursday, October 21, 2004
Reader Jonathan Wilson offers a preview of Kerry's French-looking alert system:
Level 1: Ennui
Level 2: Comme ci, comme ça
Level 3: Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose
Level 4: Regardez!
Level 5: Zut alors!
She is apparently very upset George W. Bush prays. That is, after all, the only religious 'crime' he admitted to during the debates. He prays for strength, wisdom, and for others. He never claimed a divine mandate for doing what he does, but that hasn't stopped the Catholic Dowd from assaulting his 'heretical' views.
By the way, John Kerry has been excommunicated and faces heresy charges in a Catholic court. Perhaps Mz. Dowd should clean out her own back yard first?
A nun would tape up a picture of a snow-covered mountain peak on the blackboard and say that the first child to discern the face of Christ in the melting snow was the holiest. I was soon smugly showing the rest of the class the "miraculous" outline of that soulful, bearded face.
At least it is clear Dowd has lost her marbles. Her case against Bush, however, is based on Pat Robertson. The very same Pat Robertson Dowd would never quote for any purpose save a Bush smear.
UPDATE: White House denies the statement. Perhaps Dowd should do some research into the various oddball statements Pat Robertson has made in his career as a vessel of God's word, in his head. To a woman who found Jesus in melting snow, Robertson's antics may not seem strange. Given Dowd's religious education, I can see why she might associate all faith with insanity.
Monday, October 18, 2004
I just saw a fat, sweaty, unhealthy looking, Al Gore giving an impassioned (read: borderline psychotic) speech at Georgetown University (on Fox News Channel). Gore claims the Bin Laden memo was significant and the nation should have gone on full alert.
I agree. The nation should have gone on alert in 1998.
Obviously the media does not want you to know that Clinton ignored an overt declaration of war.
(Perhaps the links to the Islamic faith are just too obvious to maintain the "religion of peace" facade? I can only guess. But this was available three years before George W. Bush took office, that is a certainty. Note the quote at the bottom. CAIR has stated that only an anti-Muslim bigot would claim a Muslim loves death more than life. CAIR had never read the Koran, or Osama's 1998 fatwah? I suggest CAIR is a pack of liars.)
On that basis, and in compliance with God's order, we issue the following fatwa to all Muslims
The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies--civilians and military--is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy mosque from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim. This is in accordance with the words of Almighty God, "and fight the pagans all together as they fight you all together," and "fight them until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in God."
This is in addition to the words of Almighty God "And why should ye not fight in the cause of God and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated and oppressed--women and children, whose cry is 'Our Lord, rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from thee one who will help!'"
We -- with God's help -- call on every Muslim who believes in God and wishes to be rewarded to comply with God's order to kill the Americans and plunder their money wherever and whenever they find it. We also call on Muslim ulema, leaders, youths, and soldiers to launch the raid on Satan's U.S. troops and the devil's supporters allying with them, and to displace those who are behind them so that they may learn a lesson.
Almighty God said "O ye who believe, give your response to God and His Apostle, when He calleth you to that which will give you life. And know that God cometh between a man and his heart, and that it is He to whom ye shall all be gathered."
Almighty God also says "O ye who believe, what is the matter with you, that when ye are asked to go forth in the cause of God, ye cling so heavily to the earth! Do ye prefer the life of this world to the hereafter? But little is the comfort of this life, as compared with the hereafter. Unless ye go forth, He will punish you with a grievous penalty, and put others in your place; but Him ye would not harm in the least. For God hath power over all things."
Sunday, October 17, 2004
"One regular procedure that was described by people who worked at Camp Delta, the main prison facility at the naval base in Cuba, was making uncooperative prisoners strip to their underwear, having them sit in a chair while shackled hand and foot to a bolt in the floor, and forcing them to endure strobe lights and screamingly loud rock and rap music played through two close loudspeakers, while the air-conditioning was turned up to maximum levels, said one military official who witnessed the procedure. The official said that was intended to make the detainees uncomfortable, as they were accustomed to high temperatures both in their native countries and their cells."
No wonder my grades were shit. I also had to deal with drunk assholes, firecrackers, and general pandemonium while trying to study. My human rights were violated in college! I declare a jihad against those who brutalized me with loud music!
Saturday, October 16, 2004
The obvious conclusion, though the BBC would never reach it, is that any Muslim is a potential terrorist. But don't take my word for it. There are numerous beheading, bomb, RPG, machine gun, and mortar videos available with the screeching soundtrack of "Allahu Akbar" if you have the stomach. The history of "cleansing" religious movements need not be discussed. Any student of history could name 10 mass killings in seconds. What a choice of words, "cleansing". As in ethnic?
More proof is available in New Zealand prisons [via EvilPundit at LGF]. They join Islam because they admire Osama bin Laden. "They think it's all about fighting Europeans."
The only thing worse than fighting an organized structure with a chain of command is trying to fight a religious movement where enemies can spring up from any mosque or Islamic center. But don't tell the BBC. We don't want to spoil the surprise.
In 2000, the gap between the winner and the loser in five states was less than one-half of 1 percent of the votes cast. Florida was determined by 537 votes.
But New Mexico's result was even closer – just 366 votes. Iowa was decided by 4,144, Wisconsin by 5,708 and Oregon by 6,765.
I'm sure I'm not the only one who noticed Florida was the state which had the legal problems because we have the most electoral votes, right?
When I was young, my father told me about the orderly transfer of executive and legislative power in the United States. He suggested that this was a great achievement, rarely recorded in human history.
Everything old is new again.
Friday, October 15, 2004
Thursday, October 14, 2004
Which party in the United States is already planning to subvert the orderly democracy we have had for two centuries with lawsuits?
Which party takes to the streets and calls for violent revolution?
Which party celebrates 'art' which suggests killing the president?
Which party talks about "regime change"?
Which party shoots at their opponents' offices? (See link below)
Which party has vandalized their opponents' offices? (See link below)
What a fantastic title for an editorial, from the Washington Times: "Hate speech and goon squads"
Answer to all of the above: the Democrats.
Never forget, Nazis were just anti-Semitic socialists. Feel free to look around the IAC website I posted above, ANSWER, or Counterpunch. No wonder the Left always refers to Bush as a Nazi, it's called Freudian projection.
Iran's mullahs have found it 'necessary' to put bloggers in solitary confinement.
Even the mainstream media must put their detailed articles, charts, or documents on the Internet. It is simply the best, fastest, and most accessible means of moving information ever devised. We live in the Internet Age.
Front Page Magazine shows the Iraq - Hitler connections.
As it turns out, this is no isolated example. The Nazi roots to the modern Islamic jihad go deep and branch out.
I often heard that classic logical fallacy used by leftists before the war. If you can't topple all the dictatorships in the world with horrific human rights records at the same time, just do nothing. That's the 'logic'. What it masks is the underlying opposition to anything the United States does in the world. If you turn the question around - which dictatorship did you support toppling instead? - you will not get a straight answer. Another good question which will go unanswered, which dictators killed more people than Saddam in modern history? The best answer is North Korea's Kim Jong Il (or is it Kim Jong Il's North Korea?), not coincidentally another "Axis of Evil" member. But the Stalinist state is so closed nobody really knows the death toll in North Korea.
Confusion about numbers is similar to the situation before the Iraq war. I used Saddam's brutality as a justification for war, but I didn't know the exact figures (for the same reason as North Korea, dictators don't usually advertise mass killings). I would argue for war based on the brutality. In response, I'd hear the standard "he's just another bad guy". Now that we actually know the numbers, we know Saddam was no ordinary bad guy. He was one of the worst in modern history.
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Hersh thinks he is being very clever. The mainstream media pushed the Abu Ghraib story beyond any sense of proportion. The New York Times ran front page stories, above the fold, for weeks. Now that the Islamists have adopted the story as the main justification for beheadings, along with Gitmo, the media is trying to come to grips with what they have done. What they have done is provided the Islamic jihadists with their most powerful weapon, propaganda.
In the above quotation, Hersh begins by telling the truth, starts to fabricate, and culminates in a huge lie:
"Be ready to handle some very rough stuff."
In fact, the al Qaeda training manual gives NO instructions for handling actual torture or "rough stuff" as he calls it. What the manuals do is instruct the "brothers" to CLAIM torture, whatever the actual circumstances.
Hersh knows that in all liklihood many of the stories breathlessly run as fact in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Guardian, Mirror, etc., are manufactured lies. These lies could have been exposed if mainstream media had bothered to do one Google search, as I will demonstrate shortly. Hersh is attempting to use a bit of fact to conceal the mainstream media's primary role in recruiting more Muslims into the global jihad.
Google: "al Qaeda training manual"
I originally read this at thesmokinggun.com. This contains the critical excerpts, courtesy of PBS Frontline.
PRISONS AND DETENTION CENTERS:
1. At the beginning of the trial, once more the brothers must insist on proving that torture was inflicted on them by State Security [investigators] before the judge.
2. Complain [to the court] of mistreatment while in prison.
4. The brother has to do his best to know the names of the state security officers, who participated in his torture and mention their names to the judge. [These names may be obtained from brothers who had to deal with those officers in previous cases.]
6. During the trial, the court has to be notified of any mistreatment of the brothers inside the prison.
Trying to lie in the Internet Age can be dicey, Seymour.
Sunday, October 10, 2004
Lauren Weiner (quoted in Part I) comes to grips with the conflict within those who are conditioned to oppose so-called conservatives or Christians, by pointing out the obvious hypocrisy in continuing to do so where the fight against Islamism is concerned. Islam and Women, again, is worth a read. If the dynamics of the basic faith (anti-Christian and anti-American beliefs) within so-called liberals do not change, they will continue to find themselves fighting for ancient and primitive bigotry against women. Weiner concludes:
Yet for all that, American women would do well to negotiate the tensions now being felt between the Judeo-Christian West and the Muslim East with a moral compass aligned more closely with Fallaci and Friedan than with the multiculturalist or the grievance specialist. September 11 has clarified matters for many. Left-liberal intellectuals are — or at least some of them are — groping their way toward a defense of the West that puts them alongside, if not fervently with, the Bush administration. This is happening even as conservatives make the case that the fight against terrorism is a fight against people who would mistreat women and stone homosexuals. The women writing in the American Prospect, Polakow-Suransky and Chamedes, registered the conservatives’ arguments and were not amused. It bothered them when “male politicians . . . suddenly began invoking women’s emancipation” as if they cared about it. The warning they issued to feminists and homosexual activists was that “their causes have been effectively adopted and appropriated by those who have claimed the mantle of defending [European] tolerance in the face of intolerant Islam.”
It’s a rather petty warning to issue. Why not let anyone who is willing — Westerners and those struggling in the Muslim world to emulate the pluralism and democracy we enjoy — converge on the need to bring about a decent life for women (and men), who deserve to have their fundamental rights respected? This is, in fact, what the woman question brings out especially well: the rights of human beings that are manifest not in any penumbra of any constitution but in the full light of day. As one of the supporters of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, a woman from Denmark, put it: “Once in a while you can have your doubts about whether you are a feminist or not. But you cannot, even for a second, doubt that you are an Afghan feminist.”
When considering the Islamic world, even the most fundamentalist Christian might be considered a feminist. When a feminist thought is suggesting a "Woman wants to be beaten only once a week" (Ali Sina, faithfreedom.org) the dichotomy between the West and Islam comes into sharp focus. Ali Sina condenses Islamic thought about women in the following paragraphs.
In this comic/tragic drama lie two very sad realities that affect all Muslim women irrespective of their nationalities. The first is that Muslim women are raised to accept abuse as normal. Since childhood they are treated differently. In Islamic countries boys are preferred to girls. Girls are the source of disappointment to their fathers and an embarrassment to their mothers. If a woman gives birth to a boy she is lauded but if the child is a girl, she is snubbed. Little girls learn from infancy on that they are unwanted. At the table their brothers eat first and take the lion’s share. In poorer families, the female members cook and serve the males, then wait until these have had their fill. Thereafter the women scavenge the leftovers.
Boys get the first opportunity to go to school and get ahead in life. Girls are often denied this chance for there seems to be no need for them to become educated, since here are few work opportunities for women in Islamic societies. All to which a girl can aspire is to get married to a man who will take care of her. She inherits half of what her brothers inherit and has fewer rights. The rationale is that she would not need it because it is up to her husband to maintain her.
Daughters are liabilities to their families and they are “given away” in marriage as soon as possible. That could be as young as 9 years of age. All this conditioning happens with the blessing of “the best and the most perfect religion” of Islam. After all it was Muhammad who said women are “deficient in intelligence”. It was he who said men have a “degree of advantage over women”. It was he who said women who disobey their husband “should be beaten”. If Islam is the most perfect religion, then how can one dispute its teachings?
Thus Muslim women grow up knowing only one reality and that is they are inferior to men and must please them if they want to survive. The brainwashing is so complete that many Muslim women actually fight to preserve their lower status. Many of them insist on wearing veil and pride themselves in their servitude and lesser status.
I will conclude this entry with an example of what I've discussed. A 16 year old Iranian girl was hung for "Activities Against Public Morality."
"Peykeiran: After the public execution of a 16 year old girl by the name of Atefeh, in the city of Nekah in Mazandaran province, who was charged with ‘Activities Against Public Morality’, many other truths have been revealed about this cruel act that further enrage one.
Since Atefeh's family was very poor and she suffered from mental illness, she was very susceptible to sexual exploitation, although in the Islamic Republic this type of sexual exploitation is commonplace and routine. With prior knowledge of her vulnerable circumstances, several of the regime's militia were regularly taking advantage of her through friendly and immoral physical contacts.
As I discussed in Part I, the Islamic courts place all the blame on the mentally ill minor, not the men in power.
-- Charlotte Rampling.
When the conflict erupted between theocratic, medieval, misogynist Islam - known as the war on terror - I quickly surmised that western women, feminists, and Islamic women had the most to lose (or gain in the case of Islamic women). If one is so inclined, there are many 'advantages' for men in Islam. Polygamy, pedophilia, near instant divorce, unequal favorable treatment under sharia, to being able to leave the house by oneself wearing the clothes you choose, these are available to men under Islam. Not so for women, and I intend to prove that shortly.
As I noted below in a previous entry, for some feminists the enemy remains President George W. Bush. In the hopeful belief this has something to do with uninformed factual opinion, not merely irrational, self-defeating, visceral hatred, I've decided to write a few posts on this subject.
There are several defenses I discovered while researching this post. One, Muslims claim that Islam allowed women rights they did not have in the West. The problem with this argument is that it focuses on history from hundreds of years ago. Second, many Muslims find the rights of women in the West to be horribly excessive. Muslims claim that women in bikinis on billboards, abortion, or birth control, prove corruption in the entire western approach to women. Some feminists, and Pat Buchanan (see blog entries below), would agree. Muslims often view depictions of women as intolerable. But this behavior is contracted freely by women who are not compelled to sell their likeness. This is one small aspect of western culture, despite Muslims choosing to judge us based on some billboards, movies, ads, or magazines. For brevity, and to avoid another morass, I'll leave abortion and birth control for someone else.
For a scholarly overview of Islam and Women (Lauren Weiner, Policy Review) generally, this article is excellent. There are differences from nation-to-nation, one historical period to another, within various branches of Islam, or from imam-to-imam, but this article is a wonderful overview.
In the first paragraph Weiner emphasizes the critical importance of this issue which summarizes my rationale for focusing on it also.
Near the very heart of a question Americans have been asking themselves since September 11, 2001 "Why do they hate us?" lies the question of how different societies treat their women. Americans by now seem bored and faintly embarrassed when feminist stories make the headlines. Who wants to hear about chauvinism at a stodgy American golf course when most of the meaningful barriers to female achievement in the United States have already been scaled? Yet as routine as the self-assertion of women is here, in other parts of the world it may be the most contentious issue of all.
It would be best to read the entire article, as Weiner's next point about Islamist women shows that many women vehemently defend their right to be considered inferior. In other words, there are many Islamic women who would fight against their liberation as hard as their male oppressors. The article is simply too long to summarize the whole thing. Again, please read it. But the following really struck me.
When the mullahs suddenly revived concubinage in Iran, Wahhabi religious authorities in Saudi Arabia raised objections, saying that it contravened the Koran. But in general, Saudi fundamentalists, no less than Iranian, put the 1950s hall monitors in the shade when it comes to being moralists with sex on the brain. According to Soraya Altorki, a sociologist who has studied women, marriage, and the family in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, the Arabic word fitnah denotes the disorderly behavior of men who have been sexually tempted by women; the word also means femme fatale, a woman who can drive men to distraction and destruction. This linguistic conflation of cause and effect is one more reason to conclude that Islamism does not remove licentiousness from society but simply wraps it in layers of misogyny.
This is fundamental (no pun intended). Islamic leaders often allow men to get away with rape, beatings, 'improper' sexual activity, or murder, literally, then place the blame on their female victims.
Efforts to reform the Islamic view of women run into roadblocks in basic docrine which can be ignored, but not overcome without changing the history of Islamc thought (perhaps with a memory hole).
Several American feminists have put forward a feminist reading of the Koran, which in itself seems a very healthy development. One of the more prominent efforts in this line is Qu’ran and Woman: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman’s Perspective (Oxford University Press, 1999) by Amina Wadud, an African-American convert to Islam. Inasmuch as it is a linguist’s highly detailed study of the Arabic text of the Koran, I am not able to judge whether sound reasoning has been used to reach the conclusion that the words of the Prophet Muhammad offer justice to women as well as to men. Certainly Wadud is at one with the Islamic feminists I have been discussing in saying that domineering male interpreters of the text, not the text itself, are responsible for misogynistic practices under the aegis of Islam. Nor do readers of Wadud find a breezy multicultural endorsement of polygyny; she roundly condemns it.
The trouble comes when she announces that two of the three “commentators whose exegetical works were consulted” for Qu’ran and Woman were Sayyid Qutb and Syed Abdul Ala Maulana Maudoodi, the two principal Sunni theoreticians of Islamism. The political project of Qutb — inciter of the destruction of infidels and the coercion of nonfundamentalist Muslims — was to cure the Muslim world of the “hideous schizophrenia” caused by separating church and state. Yet to hear Wadud tell it, Qutb, in his writings on the Koran, “discusses the shared benefits and responsibility between men and women in the Islamic social system of justice” and is generally something of a feminist. This is not easy to reconcile with his rabid reaction against the social mixing of the sexes, mentioned above. True, one could argue that Qutb stood for a sexual politics of “separate (very separate) but equal.” But Wadud does not so argue. Neither Qutb nor Maudoodi (the foremost jihadi ideologue of the Indian subcontinent) is presented in political context. Filling in that context would have meant defending Qutb’s and Maudoodi’s fundamentalism or else trying to deny it. In any case, exercises in mainstreaming these ideologists of holy war do not serve the cause of women.
(to be continued)
Wel, but don't come in, China.
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
This topic has always fascinated me, as the title of my blog should suggest.
Perhaps the greatest philosophical rule ever written is the Golden Rule. The rule can be summarized, "Treat others only in ways that you're willing to be treated in the same exact situation." Thinking like a lawyer, the obvious flaw in this rule is dishonesty in determining how you are willing to be treated. Once this premise has been perverted, back to doing whatever you wish to do.
Perhaps the greatest bit of 'religious' philosophy dealing with this problem comes from Shakespeare, to thine own self be true. As the first comment suggests, "sounds like a bunch of platitudes".
Maybe platitudes are the best we humans can do. If you are waiting for the divine hand to come down and force you to do the right thing, seek professional help. Other options include becoming one who deludes one's self, a socialist, totalitarian, statist, Communist, fascist, or theocrat.
Until then, it's all guess work. Freedom of thought and action are not ends to themselves. Freedom of thought and action merely allow us to make the effort to better ourselves, or the opposite.
Friday, September 17, 2004
"Many of us in this room have worked for many, many years in different situations and in different countries," said Brigalia Bam, one of the observers who also chairs South Africa's Independent Electoral Commission at a press conference at the National Press Club Thursday. "It is that experience that has brought us to the United States." She said all elections should be assessed by the degree to which they are "responsive, transparent, and fair."
Other observers, with similar qualifications, hail from Argentina, Australia, England, Canada, Chile, Ghana, India, Ireland, Mexico, Nicaragua, Philippines, Thailand, Wales and Zambia."
From a strict legal constructionist's point of view this is more offensive than it likely is in reality. A strict constructionist set on the integrity of the nation-state, unwilling to cede any authority, should not like the symbolism, or the reality, of having foreigners influencing a national election. But the symbolic nature of an event does not mean there has been any dramatic change in the electoral process.
There are several reasons why this proposal cannot do irreparable harm in the short term. It's not a binding panel, participation in any report or findings is voluntary. The U.S. Constitution and applicable statutes are still in effect. The panel is not dictatorship-loaded. It could be a lot worse. The criteria or three principles match nicely with our electoral laws.
The left wing of the Democratic Party, seemingly all of it sometimes, wants to appeal to the internationalist-Kerry base which believes "Bush was select... He lied! Peopl..." You know the rest.
That the United Nations is dirty from the oil-for-food scandal is charitible to the organization. However, many people, especially citizens of the world not the United States, still think the UN provides real legitimacy. In the case of this panel there is some truth to that. None of the nations are the biggest players in UN corruption.
From a practical political standpoint, the observers will provide some controversy for the Democrats and the media. In addition, the observers might be called as witnesses should there be (when there is) litigation. The electoral system has many flaws, but should withstand any international scrutiny from these nations unless their most hostile representatives are sent, many or all the state elections are very close, or the system breaks down in a number of unusual ways in many places. After the Carter Center suggested the Venezuelan elections were fair, I'd think we have some leeway.
Dream panel: China, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, Cuba, Venezuala, East Timor, Tibet, Egypt, and Zimbabwe. Bad dream panel.
There were some discrepancies 2000 election which I would like to see addressed. John R. Lott, Jr. in National Review:
Earlier this year I published an article in the Journal of Legal Studies analyzing the USA Today data, and it shows that African-American Republicans who voted were 54 to 66 times more likely than the average African American to cast a non-voted ballot (either by not marking that race or voting for too many candidates). To put it another way: For every two additional black Republicans in the average precinct, there was one additional non-voted ballot. By comparison, it took an additional 125 African Americans (of any party affiliation) in the average precinct to produce the same result.
Some readers may be surprised that black Republicans even exist in Florida, but, in fact, there are 22,270 such registered voters — or about one for every 20 registered black Democrats. This is a large number when you consider that the election in the state was decided by fewer than 1,000 votes. Since these Republicans were more than 50 times more likely to suffer non-voted ballots than other African Americans, the reasonable conclusion is that George W. Bush was penalized more by the losses of African-American votes than Al Gore.
A voter might vote for too many candidates, or someone might write in a candidate later. When there are many people handling ballots over a long period of time, it is not impossible to imagine someone adding a write-in to spoil the ballot or to create a controversy over the ballot in the event of a hand recount.
"But your most disgraceful case was in Somalia; where- after vigorous propaganda about the power of the USA and its post cold war leadership of the new world order- you moved tens of thousands of international force, including twenty eight thousands American solders into Somalia. However, when tens of your solders were killed in minor battles and one American Pilot was dragged in the streets of Mogadishu you left the area carrying disappointment, humiliation, defeat and your dead with you. Clinton appeared in front of the whole world threatening and promising revenge , but these threats were merely a preparation for withdrawal. You have been disgraced by Allah and you withdrew; the extent of your impotence and weaknesses became very clear. It was a pleasure for the "heart" of every Muslim and a remedy to the "chests" of believing nations to see you defeated in the three Islamic cities of Beirut , Aden and Mogadishu."
Emboldened by President Clinton's law enforcement approach to terrorism, Osama issued the 1998 fatwa with little fear of repercussions. The following quote is based in part on Sura 9.5 which I cite in an earlier post. This is an overt declaration of war. The WTC towers came down three years later.
"On that basis, and in compliance with God's order, we issue the following fatwa to all Muslims
The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies--civilians and military--is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy mosque from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim. This is in accordance with the words of Almighty God, "and fight the pagans all together as they fight you all together," and "fight them until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in God."
Notice that the call goes out to "all Muslims." There is no nation-state involved. This is asymmetric warfare. But the disadvantage falls on the nation-state trying to fight against the Islamists. The western model is not structured to deal with threats coming from a 'religion'.
This is Osama's terror manual. Please read lesson eighteen. If any terrorist is caught, the first step is to claim torture. This is repeated several times in the lesson. As we have seen, the mainstream media is more than willing to embrace these allegations without a shred of proof other than statements by the terrorists themselves.
In the western media, these three essential bits of information have been mostly ignored. To fight the enemy, you must first know the enemy.
Thursday, September 16, 2004
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
[see photo below: the real explanation for the power of the blogosphere]
"I think the public, even decent people who may be well-disposed toward President Bush, understand that powerful and extremely well-financed forces are concentrating on questions about the documents because they can’t deny the fundamental truth of the story," he said.
Monday, September 13, 2004
"If it turns out that the Killian memos are indeed forgeries, the Internet will have played an invaluable role in exposing the fraud much faster than the 18 months Mr. Camacho had to twist in the wind. Free Republic, a Web bulletin board, raised early warning signals about the memos within hours of last Wednesday's "60 Minutes" broadcast. Powerlineblog.com, a site run by three lawyers, reposted those comments, which were amplified by indcjournal.com. Then design expert Charles Johnson, who blogs at littlegreenfootballs.com, retyped one of the memos using Microsoft Word and showed them to be a perfect typographic match."
Pat Buchanan favors Iranian theocracy over American democracy. But don't take my word for it:
"If conservatives reject the “equality” preached by Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, NARAL and the National Organization for Women, why seek to impose it on the Islamic world? Why not stand beside Islam, and against Hollywood and Hillary?
In June 2002 at West Point, President Bush said, “Moral truth is the same in every culture, in every time and in every place.”
But even John Kerry does not agree with George Bush on the morality of homosexual unions and stem cell research. On such issues, conservative Americans have more in common with devout Muslims than with liberal Democrats.
The president notwithstanding, Americans no longer agree on what is moral truth. For as someone said a few years back, there is a cultural war going on in this country, a religious war. It is about who we are, what we believe and what we stand for as a people.
What some of us view as the moral descent of a great and Godly republic into imperial decadence, neocons see as their big chance to rule the world. In Georgia recently, the president declared to great applause: “I can’t tell you how proud I am of our commitment to values. ... That commitment to values is going to be an integral part of our foreign policy as we move forward. These aren’t American values, these are universal values. Values that speak universal truths.”
But what universal values is he talking about? If he intends to impose the values of MTV America on the Muslim world in the name of a “world democratic revolution,” he will provoke and incite a war of civilizations America cannot win because Americans do not want to fight it. This may be the neocons’ war. It is not our war.
When Bush speaks of freedom as God’s gift to humanity, does he mean the First Amendment freedom of Larry Flynt to produce pornography and of Salman Rushdie to publish The Satanic Verses, a book considered blasphemous to the Islamic faith? If the Islamic world rejects this notion of freedom, why is it our duty to change their thinking? Why are they wrong? When the president speaks of freedom, does he mean the First Amendment prohibition against our children reading the Bible and being taught the Ten Commandments in school?
If the president wishes to fight a moral crusade, he should know the enemy is inside the gates. The great moral and cultural threats to our civilization come not from outside America, but from within. We have met the enemy, and he is us. The war for the soul of America is not going to be lost or won in Fallujah. Unfortunately, Pagan America of 2004 has far less to offer the world in cultural fare than did Christian America of 1954. Many of the movies, books, magazines, TV shows, videos and much of the music we export to the world are as poisonous as the narcotics the Royal Navy forced on the Chinese people in the Opium Wars."