I Took This Shift Because Of Her --- Politics - Justice - And Wrestling With The Angel
Saturday, July 31, 2004
Thanks to LittleGreenFootballs for making me aware of this, from Memri.org:
Dr. Rif'at Sayyed Ahmad, director of the "Jaffa Research Center" in Cairo and columnist for Al-Liwaa Al-Islami, which is the Egypt's ruling National Democratic Party's paper, published a two-part article titled 'The Lie About The Burning of the Jews.' In his article, Ahmad stated, using the work of Western Holocaust deniers, that the burning of Jews in gas chambers during World War II was a tale made up by the Zionist movement in order to extort the West and make possible the establishment of the Zionist enterprise.
The following are excerpts from the article:
'Did this Holocaust Indeed Take Place, and what is the Truth about the Numbers?'
"The Zionist enterprise on the land of Palestine succeeded by means of lies and myths, from the myth of the 'Chosen People' and the 'Promised Land' to the lie about the burning of the Jews in the Nazi gas chambers during World War II. When these means were scientifically examined, it was proven that they were untrue, that their reasoning was weak, and that they cannot withstand the test of solid fact.
"What interests us here is that this lie [about] the burning of the Jews in the Nazi crematoria has been disseminated throughout the world until our time in order to extort the West and make it easier for the Jews of Europe to hunt [sic] Palestine and establish a state on it, in disregard of the most basic principles of international law and the right of peoples to independent life without occupation. [This lie] was raised [also] so that [the Jews] would receive financial, technological, and economic aid from the West.
"During the past 50 years, Germany alone gave a total of some $100 billion. Many European countries began to amend their laws so that they would be compatible with the Holocaust myth ... and they toughened the regulations, resolutions, and laws convicting anyone who mocks this lie or tries to [state that] the number of victims was smaller - as happened to Muslim philosopher Roger Garaudy in France. "This entire situation has turned the Holocaust - that is, Hitler's operation of burning the Jews in gas chambers - into a drawn sword at the necks of historians and serious researchers in the West, and even in the East.
Blah blah blah blah blah. I'd be laughing, if I weren't so busy puking.
These people are intelligent adults. They are responsible for the things they say and write. They choose to believe this stuff. Therefore they need to be castigated and delegitimized. They need to be laughed out of society.
We, in America and Europe, must realize that, when we are dealing with Egypt (and much of the rest of the Arab world, for that matter), we are dealing with a nation that puts out this kind of stuff in their national media. Egypt itself needs to be held accountable for this.
If you had a neigbor, coworker, or fellow member of your religious congregation who went around saying these kinds of things, wouldn't he/she be delegitimized in your mind? Wouldn't you want to make sure that that person never got their hands on the levers of power?
So, then, why do we deal with Egypt in the UN? Why do we treat Egypt as if they are a respectable nation?
Anti-Chomsky has a post today about a new book by Howard Zinn. I've read a bit of Zinn in my day, and, at the time, I was reading in a spirit of general agreement with his views. This post got me to thinking, I should pop on over to Amazon and read some reviews of Zinn's major work, A People's History Of The United States (1492 to the Present). A review by one Paul Rodriguez contains this quote:
... the account is fascinating. From the beginning, you're wretching at the accounts told of Columbus' barbarism, and soon begin to see the propaganda the American school system has taught us as just that.
With that said, I think it would be wise to view this in its context. It is not the be-all-end-all account of American history. It should be balanced with other perspectives. To come away believing America an evil empire I think would be to lose sight of the reality of our history: namely that despite the corruption and evil, the principles written down in our Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights have lived up to their true promise and continually get closer to their ideal.
An informed electorate is essential to a functioning democracy, and the facts presented here go a long way towards helping Americans confront their dark past and learn from it, rather than trying to sugar-coat it to prop us up as an honorable Christian nation with a right to arrogance. The truth is nothing to fear. Still, I recommend trying a conservative viewpoint after this, like Paul Johnson's "A History of the American People". That way you'll come away with both sides of the story, rather than an overly slanted perspective.
As in all things, don't ever fear a dissenting opinion. Fundamentalism from the right _and_ left is dangerous. Keep an open mind and weigh both side's arguments for yourself before you join a bandwagon.
To me, that is what is lacking in all the criticism of America and Israel. I write this blog as a counterbalance to what I see as one-sided criticism. This blog is a pushing back. It's not that I am unable to see other perspectives, rather I believe the other perspectives are far too dominant in the media.
Previous to 9/11 I was the kind of person who would scoff at the notion that there was much positive to say about America. I would go to bookstores and read Chomsky and Howard Zinn and I would argue for their points with friends. The Tuskeegee Incident (where military Drs. injected black men with syphillis to "research" it's effects) were magnified in my mind. I believed that if we knew of one Tuskeegee there were 1000 of which we didn't know.
To this day, I believe that the issue of race is one of America's biggest failings. A friend of mine, who is black, told me a story of how when he was in college (this would be about 15 years ago) another friend of his (who also was black) was caught by the police having sex with his white girlfriend in a car on the campus of their University. This University was located in California, within 25 miles of Los Angeles. The police arrested took the man and his girlfriend into custody.
Rather than have to admit to her parents that she was screwing a black man on a regular basis, the girl decided to cry rape.
The man was convicted and went to jail.
Incidents like those have made me very angry with America.
On 9/11 I sat watching TV, or listening to the radio, most of the day, thinking to myself, these people want to destroy America. They want to take America away from us.
My wife is an immigrant (from a third world country) and her comment was, "They want to take America away from the world." Her perspective is that America is a place of hope for all those in third world countries. To her and her whole family, America is the shining city on the hill of which Reagan spoke. Without America and Europe, she says, people from countries such as her native land would not have hope.
To her, it is not just the prospect of being able to leave, for some in her family have returned. It is the also the example of education, achievement and possibilty that we model.
Now, of course, for the most part, we take these things for granted.
On 9/11, when the towers fell, I ceased taking America for granted.
I remember watching the towers burning on TV with my 2 year old daughter at my side demanding to watch a Disney video, and I started to cry, thinking to myself, "I brought her into this world. What have I done?" And immediately, something stopped me saying, "You didn't bring her into this world to watch Disney videos. You didn't bring her into this world to be a child. You brought her into this world to grow into an adult and, hopefully, to become a good and great human being."
I stopped crying and realized that I, we all, needed to suck it up and do the best we can for America.
I considered signing up for the military, but being in my 40's, I am too old to start a military career. So, I thought, what can I do? I can write. And so I did. It took awhile to get started, but I have written and I have defended what I believe to be the best in Western civilization because I believe it would be a tragedy for the whole human race to lose these things.
So, the next question would then be, "Why anti-Semitism?"
The answer to that is that while my realization of what I could do was almost instantaneous, because of the typical personal concerns (making a living, taking care of the kids) my motivation did not instantaneously push me to follow through. It did, however, push me to read. And read I did. I quickly became tired of the mainstream media and it's Terrorist apologetics. So, I learned to navigate the internet and pull information from sources around the world.
What I found shocked me even more than 9/11.
I found that we live, and have lived for several years now, in a world, where it is once more ok to say murderous things about the Jews. Not about Israel, but about the Jews. Cornelio Summaruge, the head of the International Red Cross, a European man, refused to have Israel participate in serving his organization saying, "If I were to have the Star Of David I might as well have the schwastika."
That is targeted at the Jews, not at Israeli behavior.
It's like saying to a black man, "If I were to have you over to my house, I might as well invite a nigger."
In Arab state-sponsored media, it is common for columnists and heads of state to call for the death of the Jews. Read here to see what I mean.
I came to believe that the Jews are the proverbial canary in the coalmine of Western Civilization. They are the first to be threatened and the first to start dying.
Look at the rhetoric of Bin Laden and theIslamists. Who do they hate first and foremost? It is not America. It is the Jews. We are second.
This is why I started CUANAS. Initially, it was to establish a voice in the Christian community that would say along with the Jews, "Never again."
But, ever more so as time passes, along with saying "Never again," I am also saying "Not even once," for America.
When I hear about the terrorists in Iraq bombing a police station or military installation I think to myself, "Well, I can understand that. I don't agree with it, but I understand. The terrorists are trying to take out the power base." But, here's a story, from Associated Press, about terrorists killing the head of a Iraqi state-run teachers institute:
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Gunmen killed the head of a state-run teacher's institute as he left a mosque after prayers, police said Saturday, an attack in apparent retribution for his refusal to stop working for Iraqi authorities.
Militants had previously warned Ismail al-Kilabi, the head of the Mahmoudiyah Teachers Institute, 20 miles south of Baghdad, to quit his job after the transfer of power from U.S. occupation forces to the interim government, police Lt. Ala'a Hussein said.
That doesn't really make sense, does it? Unless, do you think, maybe, the "gunmen" don't want the Iraqi people to learn?
Friday, July 30, 2004
FrontPageMag.com posted an article an interview with Professor Khaleel Mohammed from San Diego State University. Professor Mohammed teaches that the Koran says that land of Israel belongs to the Jews. As you will notice, I never use scripture to back up political arguments. I've seen that practice abused so many times that it has become completely meaningless.
However, in this case, I will show you, briefly what Professor Mohammed believes, why he believes it and what the result is. In other words, I am not supporting his political or religious opinion - although full disclosure requires me to state the obvious, that while I don't adhere to the Koran, I do agree with his opinion on interpretation - instead, I just want to show you where someone with his beliefs fits in within his own tribe:
Front Page: You are yourself a Muslim and yet, quite unconventionally amongst Islamic clerics and scholars, you teach that the Koran says Israel belongs to the Jews. Can you educate us on this Islamic teaching?
Mohammed: The Qur'an adumbrates several principles that hover around a common theme: God does not love injustice and will assist those who are wrongly treated. And it focuses so much on this that the person most mentioned in the Qur'an is Moses -- who is presented as God's revolutionary, and who leads a people despised and tormented for no other reason than that they worshipped God, out of the land of bondage to the Promised Holy Land.
The Qur'an in Chapter 5: 20-21 states quite clearly: Moses said to his people: O my people! Remember the bounty of God upon you when He bestowed prophets upon you , and made you kings and gave you that which had not been given to anyone before you amongst the nations. O my people! Enter the Holy Land which God has written for you, and do not turn tail, otherwise you will be losers."
The Quran goes on to say why the Israelites were not allowed to enter the land for forty years...but the thrust of my analysis is where Moses says that the Holy Land is that which God has "written" for the Israelites. In both Jewish and Islamic understandings of the term "written", there is the meaning of finality, decisiveness and immutability. And so we have the Written Torah (unchangeable) and the Oral Torah (which represents change to suit times). And in the Qur'an we have "Written upon you is the fast"--to show that this is something that is decreed, and which none can change. So the simple fact is then, from a faith-based point of view: If God has "written" Israel for the people of Moses, who can change this?
I also draw your attention to the fact that the medieval exegetes of Qur'an--without any exception known to me--recognized Israel as belonging to the Jews, their birthright given to them. Indeed, two of Islam's most famous exegetes explained "written" from Quran 5:21 thus:
Ibn Kathir (d. 774/1373) said: “That which God has written for you” i.e. That which God has promised to you by the words of your father Israel that it is the inheritance of those among you who believe” . Muhammad al-Shawkani (d. 1250/1834) interprets Kataba to mean “that which God has allotted and predestined for you in His primordial knowledge, deeming it as a place of residence for you” (1992, 2:41).
The idea that Israel does not belong to the Jews is a modern one, probably based on the Mideast rejection of European colonialism etc, but certainly not having anything to do with the Qur'an.
Ok, so that's what he believes. Now, look at what he says about the current state of Islam:
FP: You lecture at universities exposing these politically incorrect facts. As a result, you have been frequently denounced by Muslim groups. Tell us about their criticism/harassment of you.
Mohammed: The criticism of my work is that I am out of line with the geo-political movement towards fundamentalism. What your readers must understand is that fundamentalism is rapidly becoming mainstream. Moderation is not. A perfect example is in Akbar AHmed's "Islam Under Siege," where he points out that the Taliban are no longer a fringe group in Pakistan; many Pakistanis are finding themselves drawn to their teachings.
Many Muslims stand against me for no other reason than I say that Israel has a right to exist.Overall, the criticism of me follows a strange pattern: they are upset that I should give any legitimacy to Israel, assuming that in doing so, I am denying the rights of Palestinians. My answer that I in no way deny that Palestinians have rights. But this is generally not considered by those that criticize my position: because for them, it is either all or nothing.
In Montreal, I was accused of being racist when I said that 95% of contemporary Muslims are exposed to anti-Semitic teachings. My answer, which the Montreal Gazette refused to print, was that every Muslim had to answer a simple question. Honestly. What is the interpretation of the final two verses of the first chapter of the Quran? "Guide us to the straight path--the path of those upon whom you have bestowed your bounty, not those who have incurred your wrath, nor those who are astray."
This verse has nothing about Jews or Christians...yet, almost every person learns that those who have incurred divine wrath are the Jews, and those who are astray are Christians. What is more problematic is that the average person learns this chapter and its interpretation between the ages of 5-8. And we know that things learned at this stage of life become ingrained, almost to the point of being in one's DNA, if I may put it that way.
I felt that my answer was self-evident. Do you know what the result was? Some of my closest colleagues DENIED that they had been taught this. This was more painful to me than the rejection of some Muslim leaders--for I always ask that if we deny things publicly, at least in private we admit the truth. And when in privacy, my fellow Muslims could not bring themselves to admit that which was obvious to anyone, that was in itself testimony as to how low we have sunk.
Denial is not just a river in Egypt. It seems to be the preferred method of dealing with reality for much of the Islamic world. For instance, throughout the Islamic world Muslims refuse to refer to Israel by name, but instead call Israel "the Zionist Entity."
The New Yorker magazine published a lengthy article about how when Egypt Air 800 was brought down by it's pilot, an Arab Muslim bent on suicide, the Egyptian government could not bring itself to acknowledge that a Muslim would commit suicide, and thus denied the facts of the case.
And, of course, many in the Islamic world blame their social and economic problems on Israel and the Western world, when the fact is that many of the countries where these problems exist in the extreme have been flush with oil cash for years.
There's a great symposium over at FrontPageMag this morning. Jamie Glazov interviews Thomas Haidon (American Lawyer, Islam convert, raised Catholic), Nonie Darwish (American Writer, Christian convert, raise Muslim in Egypt), and Walid Shoebat (former PLO terrorist, Christian convert, now lives in America). The subject is generally why are Americans who convert to Islam so often attracted to the more radical Islamist wing of the Islam rather than a more moderate Islam.
Here are some excerpts:
Thomas Haidon: My path to Islam began in 1996 with my first trip to Cairo, Egypt for an Arab League conference. During this trip I had some extensive exposure and meetings with moderate Muslims, and this developed my interest in studying Islam further from a comparative perspective.
In May of 2001, I returned to Cairo to study Islamic jurisprudence. After several years of study, I felt I was ready to take "shahada" (the testification of faith). It was a new beginning for me. I remained in Cairo for the remainder of the summer, and had a very close group of moderate Muslim friends. Nonetheless, it was not before long, before I began to notice political influence placed on me by other Muslims, to adopt rather Islamist views.
The emergence of extremist converts to Islam should be of a paramount concern to non-Muslims and moderate Muslims alike. I firmly believe that the foundation for the reform and secularization of Islam could and should come from American/Western converts, who theoretically are a bridge of understanding between Islam and the West.
I think the initial attraction to Islam for individuals such as Walker, Padilla, Reid and Anderson is the sense of fraternity and escape militant Islam can offer to individuals like these ...
...let’s first face the facts: many converts to Islam in the West are usually extremely unstable and estranged people looking for some kind of anti-Western cause or rigid discipline. Almost every time you hear one of them explaining why they converted, you hear things like, “Christianity didn’t do it for me. You only have to go to Church once a week and you are ok. In Islam, you have to pray five times a day and it gives you a structure for the entire day, I was told exactly when and how to eat, when to wash my hands and how to wash them. . . ”
Nonie Darwish: Mr. Haidon's mentors encouraged him to challenge Islam. However, these same "moderate" mentors would not permit any native-born Muslim the same privilege. For a person born in it to challenge Islam is to invite persecution or even death. The so-called ”moderate” Muslims do not defend such “apostates.”.
Bin Laden is thought of as savior of Islam by majority Muslims who did not criticize him or Islamic teachings after 9/11/2001.
Western converts who will attempt to reform Islam to end the violence will be accused of being CIA infiltrators or Zionist conspirators. Islam has to reform from within.
Shoebat: I agree with Ms. Darwish ...
Just like Nazis, Islamists feed the westerners who have no experience regarding the true face of Islamic history by selling them a one-sided view on Islam which usually are half truths.
Haidon: I would first comment that while I certainly recognise the travails faced by Ms. Darwish and Mr. Shoebat, and wholeheartedly reject the general Islamically-sanctioned treatment of people who leave Islam. It is reprehensible, and again indicative of the general problems facing Islam today. In this symposium we can certainly be critical of contemporary Muslims and Islam, however I do not believe it is constructive to attempt to delegitimize Islam as a faith, and if that is the case, I cannot enter into such dialogue.
I think in the context of this symposium we should agree that there are also converts to Islam who do not adhere to anti-Semitism or anti-Americanism. But generally, as Ms. Darwish points out, converts are generally associated with these beliefs (even perhaps) prior to their conversion, particularly anti-Semitism, because of the high level of extremism in American/Western Islamic communities.
This dialogue I believe should focus on solutions on the problem, instead of deligitmizing Islam. The promotion of a moderate, peaceful Islam which I believe can exist, contrary to what Ms. Darwish and Mr. Shoebat may believe. (However, I certainly understand their hostility and mistrust) there are individuals and groups such as the Free Muslim Coalition Against Terrorism that are working toward change.
Darwish: No matter how much I may agree or disagree with Mr. Haidon's choice, I respect it. In Islamic countries, there is no choice or respect for individual rights and I think that Mr. Haidon should be a bit worried when he sees his brethren in Islam killed if they speak out for reformation.
I am not against Islam the book, since any book can be reformed. What we have to deal with is Islam as an existential reality in modern society. We have to deal with the preaching of hate, violence, terrorism, polygamy, inferior status of women, oppression, anti-Semitism, authoritarian governments and human rights abuses.
Islam is becoming frightening to many because of the behavior of many and the silence of the majority. Mr. Haidon agrees with us that the majority of Imams and Sheikhs in the US are Wahabi educated.
The USA should take off the gloves and demand equal rights in the cultural and religious relations between countries, similar to its demands for a "trade balance." America should not allow Saudi Arabia to preach Islam and build mosques on US soil with 15 of its citizens committing 9/11 unless Saudis accept religious freedom and the building of Churches and synagogues inside Saudi Arabia. Saudis can't have it both ways and America should protect its culture better.
Shoebat: I have several comments regarding Mr. Haidon's statements:"I do not believe it is constructive to attempt to delegitimize Islam as a faith, and if that is the case, I cannot enter into such dialogue."Why not? Muslims (both moderates and fundamentalists) who call for Da'wah (proseletization), do delegitimize Christianity in many ways. Everyone is entitled to deny anyone else’s faith - totally.That's why we have dialogue.
First of all, we don't change Islam, but make new laws to prevent it from becoming a system. Islamic fundamentalism needs to be treated just as we treated communism - it needs to be fought with laws in place.
Now, don't get me wrong, people should have the right to be Muslim, but there should be no rights to anyone who promotes an Islamic system or an Islamist agenda. Immigration laws also should be in place to minimize immigrants from Muslim countries that have a high level of Islamist agenda - Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia...
laws need to be in place just as we did during Nazi Germany. In other words Islamism = Nazism and must be illegal.
Front Page: Mr. Haidon, what do you think of Mr. Shoebat’s suggests in terms of tougher laws in terms of immigration and illegalizing Islamism etc.?
Haidon: I agree with the constructive comments of Mr. Shoebat. There are a number of measures that can be taken by governments to address the issue. The American and Western governments should take strong measures to prevent the influx of radical Islamists.
In this regard the West has failed. Shiekh Qaradawi, and Sheik Al Sodaissy are regular welcome visitors to the United Kingdom and throughout Europe. They both have legitimised the killing of Jews, and non-Muslims to varying degrees. These men have an enormous influence on Muslims worldwide, and to many converts these men are treated with particular reverence.
There's much more where that came from. Go read it.
Who Created The Monster Saddam Hussein?
Who Sold Weaponry To Iraq 1973-1990?
Here's a chart to show you.
Add that chart to the fact that, as everyone knows, France, Russia and Germany illegally negotiated oil contracts with Iraq (violating the U.N. Peace Agreement which ended the Gulf War). We know the real reason they opposed the Iraq War (circa 2003) was because they knew that once Hussein was no longer in power their contracts would be rendered invalid.
Put those two pieces of knowledge together and ask yourself the question, which countries war decisions were motivated more by self-interest and money
Or France, Russia, and Germany?
(Cue stereotypical French Guy): "Stupid American. Your thinking betrays a frightening simplisme. It is so typical of l'Americaine to believe the cliche "follow the money" because that is what Americans do. This is not the way we do reason in Europe. There is no nuance to your thinking,"
Etc. etc. etc.
Thursday, July 29, 2004
Capitalism Never Solved Anything But Homelessness And Joblessness
Interesting quote from the Economist via LFG (circa Sept. 2001):
America defends its interests, sometimes skilfully, sometimes clumsily, just as other countries do. Since power, like nature, abhors a vacuum, it steps into places where disorder reigns. On the whole, it should do so more, not less, often.
Of all the great powers in history, it is probably the least territorial, the most idealistic. Muslims in particular should note that the armed interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo, both led by America, were attacks on Christian regimes in support of Muslim victims. In neither did the United States stand to make any material gain; in neither were its vital interests, conventionally defined, at stake. Those who criticise America's leadership of the world's capitalist system—a far from perfect affair—should remember that it has brought more wealth and better living standards to more people than any other in history.
And those who regret America's triumph in the cold war should stop to think how the world would look if the Soviet Union had won. America's policies may have earned it enemies. But in truth, it is difficult to find plausible explanations for the virulence of last week's attacks, except in the envy, hatred and moral confusion of those who plotted and perpetrated them.
If Kerry wants to win the Presidency I think it would be relatively easy for him to do so. His weakest position, according to the polls is his iffey stance on the War On Islamist Terrorists. So, here's what he needs to do. He needs to step up on the podium tonight and look directly into the camera and address those who adhere to the Islamists ideology, saying something along the order of:
"I am telling you now, there is no room in this world for your ideology. There is no room for a government like the Taliban, or any other like it, which subjects women to a life of slavery, which provides no human rights to homosexuals, no freedom of expression for it's citizens, there is no room for a government that educates it's children with anti-Semitic propoganda, there is no room for a government in this world that does not allow it's people the choices necessary to become fully-realized human beings.
These are my principals. These are the rights we Americans hold to be self-evident, the rights we hold dear, the rights we cherish.
And we want to do what we can to ensure that the whole human race is given an opprotunity to choose these rights for themselves as well.
So, I John Kerry am telling you Islamists now that, if I am elected President of the United States of America, I will not back down on you. I will come after you hard. I will pursue you mercilessly. I will hunt you down and unwrap your fingers from every lever of power that you hold in the world. I will rid the world of you and your ideology, and in your place we will establish, as we are attempting to establish in Iraq and Afghanistan, freedom of Choice for the people you are enslaving. We will establish Democracy.
I guarantee John Kerry would be elected if he made that speech.
Update: Apparently John Edwards already did something like this in his speech last night. I saw Maureen Dowd being interviewed by, I think it was Tom Brokaw, tonight (I don't know, I'm exhausted) and she said Edwards said something like, "We're coming after you." But, she said he looked like an altar boy saying.
That's something I hadn't thought about. Maybe Kerry wouldn't have the conviction and charisma to pull off such a statement. Don't count on it. I have a feeling he's going to surprise a lot of people tonight.
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
Thanks to Anti-Chomsky for making me aware of this quote. Who do you think said this?:
[M]oney has become a world power, and the practical Jewish spirit has become the practical spirit of Christian nations. The Jews have liberated themselves in so far as Christians have become Jews...The Jew who exists as a particular member of bourgeois society is only the particular expression of the Judaism of bourgeois society...Out of its own entrails bourgeois society continually creates Jews.
Well, let's see. Who could it be? Oh, I don't know. Could it be Satan?
Someone remarked to me the other day that, in my post about Clinton's great legacy, I had made the assertion that Bush stood among the best Presidents of the 20th century; Roosevelt and Reagan. My response was, "I didn't say that. I said that if he accomlishes what he has set out to accomplish, eliminating dictatorships in Afghanistan and Iraq and replacing them with Democracies, then he would stand with Roosevelt and Reagan."
Well, it turns out I did not make the qualification. Sorry about that. However, I did mean to. I think I just got carried away with what I was writing. My point had been that I thought Clinton was a great President because as Reagan had restored confidence in America by the tone he set, that Clinton likewise had healed most of the countries racial wounds by the tone he set. I think that is a huge accomplishment.
So, if I was going to call Clinton an accomplished President I didn't want to leave Bush out because I believe he is an even better President. However, if Bush's Presidency fails to accomplish the thing it has set out to do, then he will be seen as an ineffective, arrogant man who became a failure as President.
Anyway, simply if Bush accomplishes his goals he will be judged among histories best Presidents.
And guess what? He might be well along the way to doing it. From Andrew Sullivan and the comes this:
GOOD NEWS IN THE WAR: From rising star, Ryan Sager, we get the following information about an independent poll in Afghanistan:
With the situation in Iraq seen by many as a mess,
Afghanistan has a constitution, is registering voters and is moving toward holding a presidential election in October.
And the survey of 804 randomly selected male and female Afghan citizens, commissioned by the Asia Foundation notes that:
* 64 percent say the country is heading in the right direction.
* 81 percent say that they plan to vote in the October election.
* 77 percent say they believe the elections will "make a difference."
* 64 percent say they rarely or never worry about their personal safety, while under the Taliban only 36 percent felt that way.
* 62 percent rate President Hamid Karzai's performance as either good or excellent.
This is Bush and Blair's legacy. And they deserve every credit for it.
Then in Iraq, in the New York Times, we read the following about preparations for a new assembly:
The biggest problem so far, organizers say, is that among the groups that want to take part, there has been an almost unmanageable number of candidates. In Kut, a Shiite city south of Baghdad, 1,248 people competed for 22 seats. In Najaf, a city considered sacred by Shiites because of its shrines, there were 920 candidates for 20 seats, prompting complaints from Mr. Sadr's group and other leaders that the process was not inclusive or democratic enough.
The Arab world not ready for democracy? When candidates outnumber seats by four to one? This is a deeply encouraging sign - and it is Bush's and Blair's achievement as well.
It remains to be seen if this is really going to work in the long haul. I'm pulling for it to work. Wouldn't it be great if the Islamic world had true Democracy, true Freedom of the press, if their women were not slaves to Sharia law, if homosexuals did not have to live in fear of stoning, if as a result of the processes of Democracy Islam could shake off the shackles of it's more radical elements?
I pray for this to happen.
People can not be themselves, unless they can choose who they will be. They can not be good, unless they can choose to be good.
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
From Haaretz Daily comes this:
NEW YORK - Arab states at the United Nations are trying to foil a proposal to raise a vote condemning anti-Semitism in the General Assembly this September.
At a closed meeting held recently in New York, UN ambassadors from Arab and EU countries met and the Arabs made clear that they do not accept the initiative for the UN General Assembly to condemn anti-Semitism.
The blunt language used by the Arabs describing their opposition, and their plans to use diplomatic means to prevent the resolution from reaching a vote, shocked the Europeans, said a UN source.
According to UN sources, the Arab delegates were also critical of a UN seminar on anti-Semitism held last month. A senior Western diplomat said that among the Arabs who spoke with the Europeans was PLO observer Nasser al Kidwe, and he was particularly outspoken in his objections to a UN General Assembly resolution on anti-Semitism.
The source said Kidwe attacked the content of UN Secretary general Koffi Anan's speech to the seminar last month, particularly Annan's pride in the cancelation of the 1975 Zionism equals racism resolution. "The Europeans were depressed when they left the meeting," said the source.
Jordanian Ambassador to the UN Prince Ziad Hussein argued that the resolution would reinforce the tendency to call any criticism of Israel, anti-Semitic. Moroccan Ambassador Mohammed Banone, said that the seminar against anti-Semitism was a terrible idea and a decision would only divide the world body.
Arab League Ambassador Mahamas Hani warned that a UN resolution condemning anti-Semitism would have a negative impact on the Middle East.
The proposed resolution would issue a general condemnation of all forms of anti-Semitism and acts of intolerance, incitement and harassment. The decision would also call on member countries to take steps to block anti-Semitism.
Major countries have already committed to voting in favor. Last year, an Israeli initiative for a similar resolution failed.
You know it would be so easy for the Arabs to just say, "Alright, alright already. Anti-Semitism, anti-Schmemitism. Whatever it is, we condemn it. Where do we sign?"
After all, it's just a few words.
You know, you just gotta love your enemies when they tell the truth. I mean in this case the Arabs are going out of their way to tell the Euros the truth. And the Euros are appropriately shocked. After all, what else would the appropriate response be?
But, I'll bet you if you asked those same Euros,
"Well, do you think those guys are anti-Semites? Do you think maybe we should condemn them for their anti-Semitism?" T
the Euros would respond,
"No, no, there will be no need for that. After all, that's just the way these people communicate. They don't really mean anything by it. It's all just bluster.
Hitler tried hard to tell the Euros what his intentions were also. But, the Euros just weren't buying that either.
Churchill had to scream til his face turned a purplish-red hue, and the Euros still wouldn't listen. Only Roosevelt would listen.
Same thing today.
Escuse me. I've got to go now. The World Zionist Organization is on the phone to give me my directive. I'll get back to you when I know what to say next.
Oh, and by the way, that was blatant American sarcasm. Yes, yes, it's what passes for wit in our stupid country.
Oh, and by the way, do you detect a note of bitterness in my post? Not very Christian of me, is it?
People have been trying for years to encapsulate the labyrinthine Middle-East crisis into a few simple paragraphs. Dennis Prager, in his new column from Townhall.com, may have finally done it:
Number of times Jerusalem is mentioned in the Old Testament: over 700
Number of times Jerusalem is mentioned in the Koran: 0
Number of Arab leaders who visited Jerusalem when it was under Arab rule (1948 to 1967): 1
Number of Arab refugees who fled the land that became Israel: approximately 600,000
Number of Jewish refugees who fled Arab countries: approximately 600,000
Number of U.N. agencies that deal only with Palestinian refugees: 1
Number of U.N. agencies that deal with all the other refugees in the world: 1
Number of Jewish states that have existed on the land called Palestine: 3
Number of Arab or Muslim states that have existed on the land called Palestine: 0
Number of terrorist attacks by Israelis or Jews since 1967: 1
Number of terrorist attacks by Arabs or Muslims since 1967: thousands
Percentage of Jews who have praised the Jewish terrorist: approximately .1
Percentage of Palestinians who have praised Islamic terrorists: approximately 90
Number of Jewish countries: 1
Number of Jewish democracies: 1
Number of Arab countries: 19
Number of Arab democracies: 0
Number of Christian or Jewish prayer services allowed in Saudi Arabia: 0
Number of Muslim prayer services allowed in Israel: unlimited
Number of Arabs Israel allows to live in Arab settlements in Israel: 1,250,000
Number of Jews Palestinian Authority allows to live in Jewish settlements in Palestinian Authority: 0
Percentage of U.N. Commission on Human Rights resolutions condemning an Arab country for human rights violations: 0
Percentage of U.N. Commission on Human Rights resolutions condemning Israel for human rights violations: 26
Number of U.N. Security Council resolutions on the Middle East between 1948 and 1991: 175
Number of these resolutions against Israel: 97
Number of these resolutions against an Arab state: 4
Number of Arab countries that have been members of the U.N. Security Council: 16
Number of times Israel has been a member of the U.N. Security Council: 0
Number of U.N. General Assembly resolutions condemning Israel: 322
Number of U.N. General Assembly resolutions condemning an Arab country: 0
Percentage of U.N. votes in which Arab countries voted with the United States in 2002: 16.6
Percentage of U.N. votes in which Israel voted with the United States in 2002: 92.6
Percentage of Middle East Studies professors who defend Zionism and Israel: approximately 1.
Percentage of Middle East Studies professors who believe in diversity on college campuses: 100
Percentage of people who argue that the Jewish state has no right to exist who also believe some other country has no right to exist: 0
Percentage of people who argue that of all the countries in the world, only the Jewish state has no right to exist and yet deny they are anti-Jewish: approximately 100
Number of Muslims in the world: more than 1 billion
Number of Muslim demonstrations against Islamic terror: approximately 2
All of these assertions are true, to the best of my knowledge. On some of the points it might be helpful to have qualification, such as:
Number of Muslim demonstrations against Islamic Terror, documented by lexis/nexis.
or something like that, because it isn't true beyond a shadow of a doubt. There may have been more. But, to the best of my knowledge, that is true.
Another thing that might be helpful, is to provide a reference, or link to, sources that are, by general consensus, deemed credible - such as New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine - for each assertion made in this article.
I'll see what I can dig up this weekend. It will take hours.
... But Also On America
From No Pasaran:
After French State TV reporting that Lance Armstrong is hated in France because he is American (post race show on Sunday), the newspaper Libération PropagandaStaffel runs a letter from a reader with a title across an entire page (a bit extragavant for simple reader mail) 'These Americans that destroyed the Tour' which is a three quarters of a page diatribe against American participation in the Tour de France.
In an article on Saturday, Libération PropagandaStaffel took out their big guns (big for the French that is) by systematically insulting Lance Armstrong:
... he has a natural inclination towards being a despot
His self esteem has been transformed into a need for absolute domination
He is carried away by a cruel imbecility and humiliates other participants
Someone of legend does not behave in such a childish way
Does he need to prove his superority? That's all he knows how to do.
A natural inclination towards being a despot? Just because he wins? Jeez.
Hey, do you think maybe the reason France is against us in the War On Islamist Terror is because, since we always win at everything we do, they feel humiliated by us?
By the way, I want to note that many of our American athletes do have very childish, obnoxious and unsportmanlike qualities. But, other than leaving his wife for Sheryl Crowe, I've never seen, or heard, of Lance Armstrong doing anything unsportmanlike.
Really, what gives?
It's important to note, the 9/11 Commission Report said the following:
"The enemy is not just 'terrorism.' It is the threat posed specifically by Islamist terrorism, by bin Laden and others who draw on a long tradition of intolerance . . . that does not distinguish politics from religion."
Amir Taheri explains the ideology of the Islamist movement (from a New York Post opinion piece):
This enemy does not want to give and take, to compromise, or to triangulate. He wants you to obey him in every detail or he will kill you.
Once you assume some guilt on your own part, the whole thing could go like this: Well, you know, our wealth and power is bound to cause jealousy and humiliation among the poor and powerless; we also have a military presence in all but three of the Arab states, and don't we support Israel whose destruction is the dream of every Arab worth his salt?
The aims of the "enemy" in question, however, are not solely political.
He will not be happy even if, in the spirit of liberal generosity, you gave him half of your power and wealth. Nor would he settle for a total American withdrawal from the world. Nor would he be satisfied if you helped wipe Israel off the map.
This enemy's conflict with the United States, and alongside it other democracies, not to mention those Muslims who also aspire after democracy, is not political but existential.
He wants to rule you because he thinks he is the holder of a "the highest form of truth."
This enemy wants you, the whole world in fact, to convert to Islam because he believes the advent of Islam abrogated all other religions. Anyone who is not a Muslim is not a full human being.
"Our struggle is not about land or water," the late Ayatollah Ruhallah Khomeini said in 1980. "It is about bringing, by force if necessary, the whole of mankind onto the right path."
That's our enemy. Talk amongst yourselves.
FrontPageMag.com posted an article this morning by Bat Ye'or called "How Europe Became Eurabia. In previous articles, Bat Ye'or, to my mind, seemed to make wild claims about some nebulous Euro-Arabian conspiracy to triangulate America out of power and do away with the West, or some such nonesense. My friend Jack, over at Jack Of Clubs, and I had discussed her articles and agreed that they seemed to come from the realm of "conspiracy theory."
Her new article is different, for one very important reason. I am able to find her sources on Google, and they are credible. Hmm. What to do? Must I reassess Bat Ye'or?
With this in mind, this morning I sent the following email to my friend Jack over at Jack of Clubs:
As you will recall, you and I had an email exchange about how it would seem that Bat Ye'or is not able to back up her claims.
Well, I've fact checked her article on FrontPageMag this morning and it actually checks out, as far as I've taken it. Both, the Venice Declaration and the Agreement Between Peoples to which she refers do actually exist and are to be found here:
The first document, initiated at the behest of Romano Prodi in 2003, contains this quote,
"... the enlarged Europe will move beyond the traditional relationship between Western Judeo-Christian Culture and Islam by incorporating people of Orthodox religion and culture: in addition to strengthening the role of Orthodoxy within the EU and beyond, this incorporation will transform the dialogue into a "trialogue". Futhermore, Orthodoxy sometimes leads to behavior which is surprisingly similar with that of Islam - particularly in relation to secularisation - which will have a major impact on, even radically change, the relationship between the enlarged Union and the Arab-Muslim world..."
Now Jack, I believe you are a fan of Orthodoxy. And, while I don't know much about it, Orthodoxy seems to be a fine branch of Christianity, more formal and grounded in liturgy than American Protestant Christianity (which I like), however, at the same time, more likely to substitute ritual and tradition for an emphasis on a relationship with God. But, what do you think of this idea?
It doesn't seem workable to me. What are they going to do, run government-funded commercials on European television promoting the benefits of orthodoxy?
And what do they mean by saying Orthodoxy leads to behavior similar to that of Islam? Man that's a loaded statement. Do they mean that Orthodoxy leads to a Jihad mentality? To seeing the world, like the Taliban, in terms of black and white, so that anything which is not of Allah, be it art, architecture, or Western products, should be destroyed?
Do they mean that Orthodoxy might help Europeans swallow such behavior as Saudi Arabia posting, on their official state website, that "Jews" are not allowed to enter Saudi Arabia?
I am inclined to believe that for the European bureaucrats on the delegation that drafted this paper, their statement does not mean anything of the like. Because they do not, in the least, consider any of those frightening developments to be the consequences of Islamic culture. I'm guessing they buy the common panacea that Jihad is not "true Islam", that Jihad means merely to struggle within oneself.
Instead, I am inclined to believe that, once again, for Europe, it's all about the fashion. I'll bet they look at those Orthodox women and see that they are inclined to dress in black, and that they often wear head coverings, and they think to themselves, "Ahem, now is that a Muslim women, or an Orthodox women? All those primitive religious people look the same to me."
What do you think?
In addition, I sent a followup email to Jack asking what he might think the paper means by "similar to Islam, particularly in relation to secularlization..."
I don't get that quote.
Monday, July 26, 2004
This is from the Americans For A Safe Israel website:
As Israeli economist Steven Plaut points out, all the foreign news teams have agreements with the PLO not to embarrass it. Italian TV broke the rules when its film crew filmed shots of the Palestinian mob gouging out the eyes, murdering and mutilating the two IDF reservists and then dipping hands in the blood of the murdered men and waving their bloody hands in triumph.
(Click here for photo)
The PLO was furious when the film went round the world.
Richard Cristiano, the representative of Italian state television, accordingly wrote a letter of apology to the Palestinian Authority (his letter was published on Oct. 16 in Al Hayat al Jedida). He said he worked under the PA's rules for journalists, blames his competitors in the Italian media for broadcasting the pictures and promises never again to film events liable to cast a negative light on the PA. To underscore the point, Italian TV put large ads in all the West Bank papers apologizing for inadvertently putting the PA in a bad light.