Friday, December 24, 2004

A Christmas Present For The Whole World

On this, Yeshua's (Jesus real Hebrew name) birthday, let us celebrate one of the most signifigant things that has happened in the past year; the Democratization of Afghanistan. From Little Green Footballs:

Amazing strides forward, in a country that was very much in the Dark Ages before September 11: Karzai appoints three women to Afghan cabinet. (Hat tip: NY Nana.)

Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai has announced a new cabinet that excludes leading warlords and drug traffickers and includes three women for the first time in the Islamic country’s history.

After 10 weeks of bargaining and hard politicking that followed his victory in the country’s first democratic election, Mr Karzai retained many familiar faces but brought in technocrats to run ministries involved in rehabilitating the economy.

Analysts regard his cabinet list as the real test of whether he can bring in a new era of stability after a quarter-century of conflict.

United States, Nato and government forces continue to fight an insurgency inspired by Taliban militants and al-Qa’eda remnants, following the invasion in the wake of the September 11 attacks, while opium production is booming.

The warlord and former defence minister Gen Mohammed Fahim was dropped in favour of the American-trained Gen Abdul Rahim Wardak. The only former warlord accommodated in the cabinet, as minister for energy, is Ismael Khan.

One of three women appointed in the list of 25 was Massouda Jalal, who was the only female candidate among 17 to oppose Mr Karzai in the elections. She was made minister for women’s affairs.

God Bless America.

U.N. Peacekeepers Raped Young Girls

From Little Green Footballs. Charles comments:

Seven months after we first reported it (lgf: UN Troops Exploit Rape Victims), mainstream media finally awakens to the repulsive actions of United Nations “peacekeepers” in the Democratic Republic of Congo: Sex scandal in Congo threatens to engulf UN’s peacekeepers.

Here's an excerpt from the article from London Times:

HOME-MADE pornographic videos shot by a United Nations logistics expert in the Democratic Republic of Congo have sparked a sex scandal that threatens to become the UN’s Abu Ghraib.
The expert was a Frenchman who worked at Goma airport as part of the UN’s $700 million-a-year effort to rebuild the war-shattered country. When police raided his home they discovered that he had turned his bedroom into a studio for videotaping and photographing sex sessions with young girls.

The bed was surrounded by large mirrors on three sides, according to a senior Congolese police officer. On the fourth side was a camera that he could operate from the bed with a remote control.

When the police arrived the man was allegedly about to rape a 12-year-old girl sent to him in a sting operation. Three home-made porn videos and more than 50 photographs were found.
The case has highlighted the apparently rampant sexual exploitation of Congolese girls and women by the UN’s 11,000 peacekeepers and 1,000 civilians at a time when the UN is facing many problems, including the Iraqi “oil-for-food” scandal and accusations of sexual harassment by senior UN staff in Geneva and New York.

The prospect of the pornographic videos and photographs — now on sale in Congo — becoming public worries senior UN officials, who fear a UN version of the scandal at the American-run Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq. “It would be a pretty big problem for the UN if these pictures come out,” one senior official said.

And then, once again, Charles' comment"

Notice: the photos and videos of this horrendous abuse are on sale in Congo, yet mainstream media doesn’t seem motivated enough to find them. Compare and contrast with the months-long feeding frenzy around the Abu Ghraib photos—in which children were not raped.

I am glad that Charles never tires of calling the media to account for their anti-American and anti-Semitic prejudices. Sometimes I read these articles and I just think, "Oh, why bother? Yeah, so the U.N. hired a bunch of sick people. Everybody makes mistakes."

But, you know the U.N. does have to be held accountable for their actions. And the fact that the media says little about U.N. atrocities, while going on for months on end about bad behavior on the part of U.S. soldiers does say a lot about which side the media is on in the current war.

Iranian TV Show Portrays Israeli President
As Being Kept Alive By Organs Harvested From Palestinians

From Rip n' Read:

A truly disgusting, almost unbelievably sick antisemitic blood libel from Iranian television, broadcast throughout the Arab world: Iranian TV Drama Series about Israeli Government Stealing Palestinian Children’s Eyes.

Iran's Sahar 1 TV station is currently airing a weekly series titled For You, Palestine, or Zahra's Blue Eyes. The series premiered on December 13, and is set in Israel and the West Bank. It broadcasts every Monday, and was filmed in Persian but subsequently dubbed into Arabic.

The story follows an Israeli candidate for Prime Minister, Yitzhak Cohen, who is also the military commander of the West Bank. The opening sequence of the show contains graphic scenes of surgery, and images of a Palestinian girl in a hospital whose eyes have been removed, with bandages covering the sockets.

In Episode 1, Yitzhak Cohen lectures at a medical conference on the advances being made by Israeli medicine regarding organ transplants. Later in the episode, Israelis disguised as UN workers visit a Palestinian school, ostensibly to examine the children's eyes for diseases, but in reality to select which children's eyes to steal to be used for transplants.

In Episode 2, the audience learns that the Israeli president is being kept alive by organs stolen from Palestinian children, and an Israeli military commander is seen kidnapping UN employees and Palestinians.

Sorry to hit you with something like this on Christmas Eve, but you know the world just goes on, doesn't it?

A Soldier Wishes Us A Merry Christmas

Kermit, a soldier of the United States Army, wishes us a Merry Christmas from Iraq. As you read this, just imagine that this was your life. We are blessed to have such men doing our work for us:

Hey everyone..... I'm not sure how much access I will have to the internet for a while after this, so I want to tell everyone Merry Christmas. Thank you all so much for the support you have given us over here.Of course I can't talk about anything up-coming because of OPSEC (operations security), but I can say that this may be my last post for a good while.... possibly the last one before we pack up to head home..... as long as a couple months. We have a lot of work to do, and it looks like I will be going to help the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit a bit.

That said.... just in case this is my last post, I want to thank everyone, and let you know that you have all been in my thoughts over there. Thanks to that whole news story thing that Channel 11 did, I have been in contact with people I haven't spoken to in years! It's been very neat. We have accomplished alot of things over here, though, I am afraid that it''s still far from being done over here.

The 1st Cavalry Division Band was playing in our chow hall the other day, or I should say some of the soldiers from the band were.... they had a wind quartet, and a brass quintet there playing Christmas music. I think CBS was there recording it. It was pretty cool.... made me wish I had stayed in the band when I was in school..... I would have loved to have been able to help everyones spirits here like that. Anyway, I need to go.

Pass my love on to everyone please. Luke and Brooke... I love and miss you so much. Daddy will be home as soon as possible. I promise.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

George Bush Works In Mysterious Ways
Somehow He Is Able To Use His Stupidity
To Make Miracles Happen

From a David Brooks article in the New York Times:

It was a series of unfortunate events.

How did we get to this sudden moment of cautious optimism in the Middle East? How did we get to this moment when Egypt is signing free trade agreements with Israel, when Hosni Mubarak is touring Arab nations and urging them to open relations with the Jewish state?

How did we get to this moment of democratic opportunity in the Palestinian territories, with three major elections taking place in the next several months, and with the leading candidate in the presidential election declaring that violence is counterproductive?

How did we get to this moment of odd unity in Israel, with Labor joining Likud to push a withdrawal from Gaza and some northern territories? How did we get to this moment when Ariel Sharon has record approval ratings, when it is common to run across Israelis who once reviled Sharon as a bully but who now find themselves supporting him as an agent of peace?

It was a series of unfortunate events.

It was unfortunate that Ariel Sharon, whom tout le monde demonized as a warmonger, was elected prime minister of Israel. After all, as Henry Siegman of the Council on Foreign Relations reasoned in The New York Review of Books, "The war Sharon is waging is not aimed at the defeat of Palestinian terrorism but at the defeat of the Palestinian people and their aspirations for national self-determination."

It was unfortunate that George W. Bush was elected and then re-elected as president of the United States. After all, here is a man who staffed his administration with what Juan Cole of the University of Michigan called "pro-Likud intellectuals" who went off "fighting elective wars on behalf of Tel Aviv." Under Bush, the diplomats agreed, the U.S. had inflamed the Arab world and had forfeited its role as an honest broker.

It was unfortunate that Bush gave that speech on June 24, 2002, dismissing Yasir Arafat as a man who would never make peace. After all, the Europeans protested, while Arafat might be flawed, he was the embodiment of the Palestinian cause.

It was a mistake to build the security fence, which the International Court of Justice called a violation of international law. Never mind that the fence cut terror attacks by 90 percent. It was the moral equivalent of apartheid, the U.N. orators declared.

It was a mistake to assassinate the leaders of Hamas, which took credit for the murders of hundreds of Israelis. France, among many other nations, condemned these attacks and foretold catastrophic consequences.

It was unfortunate that President Bush never sent a special envoy to open talks, discuss modalities and fine-tune the road map. As Milton Viorst wrote in The Washington Quarterly, this left "slim prospects" for any progress toward peace.

It was unfortunate that Bush sided openly with Sharon during their April meetings in Washington, causing the European Union to condemn U.S. policy. It was unfortunate that Bush kept pushing his democracy agenda. After all, as some Israelis said, it is naïve to export democracy to Arab soil.

Yes, these were a series of unfortunate events. And yet here we are in this hopeful moment. It almost makes you think that all those bemoaners and condemners don't know what they are talking about. Nothing they have said over the past three years accounts for what is happening now.

It almost makes you think that Bush understands the situation better than the lot of them. His judgments now look correct. Bush deduced that Sharon could grasp the demographic reality and lead Israel toward a two-state solution; that Arafat would never make peace, but was a retardant to peace; that Israel has a right to fight terrorism; and that Sharon would never feel safe enough to take risks unless the U.S. supported him when he fought back.

Bush concluded that peace would never come as long as Palestine was an undemocratic tyranny, and that the Palestinians needed to see their intifada would never bring triumph.

We are a long way from peace. But as Robert Satloff observes in The Weekly Standard, Israel's coming disengagements "will constitute a huge leap - both in psychology and in strategy - rivaling the original Oslo accords in historic importance." And the U.S. is already raising millions to help build a decent Palestinian polity.

We owe this cautiously hopeful moment to a series of unfortunate events - and to a president who disregarded the received wisdom.

My prediction is, George Bush is so dumb he will leave the left utterly speechless before this is all through.

The End Of Free Speech In Australia?

Robert Spencer, from Jihad Watch discusses the "religious incitement" conviction of two Australian Pastors for daring to question Islam:

Two Christian pastors in Australia have been found guilty of religious vilification of Muslims. The decision threatens us all.

One of the pastors, Daniel Scot, is Pakistani. He fled his native land seventeen years ago when he ran afoul of the notorious Section 295(c) of the Penal Code — which mandates death or life in prison for anyone who blasphemes “the sacred name of the holy Prophet Muhammad.” It’s a treacherously elastic statute that has been and is often used to snare Christians: cornered and made to state that they don’t believe Muhammad was a prophet, they then find themselves charged with blasphemy.

Scot went to Australia, only to run afoul of that nation’s new religious vilification laws. Last Friday, Judge Michael Higgins of The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal found him guilty of vilifying Islam in a seminar hosted by his group, Catch the Fire Ministries. The judge noted that during the seminar, Scot stated that “the Quran promotes violence, killing and looting.” In light of Qur’anic passages such as 9:5, 2:191, 9:29, 47:4, 5:33 and many others, this cannot seriously be a matter of dispute. Muslims have pointed to verses in the Bible that they would have us believe are equivalent in violence and offensiveness, or have claimed that the great majority of Muslims don’t take such verses literally; but it takes a peculiarly strong resistance to reality not only to deny that such verses are there, but to charge one who pointed them out with religious vilification.

Yet Higgins wasn’t finished. He also scored Scot for contending that the Qur’an “treats women badly; they are to be treated like a field to plough, ‘use her as you wish,’” and that in it, “domestic violence in general is encouraged.’” He charged Scot with saying that the Qur’an directs that “a thief’s hand is cut off for stealing.” Yet the idea of the field and “use her as you wish” are from Sura 2:223 of the Qur’an. Husbands are told to beat their disobedient wives in 4:34. Amputation for theft is prescribed in 5:38. What Qur’an is Higgins reading?

There are some hints that the outcome of the case was virtually predetermined. When during the trial Scot began to read Qur’anic verses that discriminate against women, a lawyer for the Islamic Council of Victoria, the organization that brought the suit, stopped him: reading the verses aloud, she said, would in itself be religious vilification. Dismayed, Scot replied: “How can it be vilifying to Muslims in the room when I am just reading from the Qur’an?”

With religious vilification laws now coming to Britain and no doubt soon also elsewhere in the West, Scot’s question rings out with global implications, and must be answered. If it is inciting hatred for Muslims simply when non-Muslims explore what Islam and the Qur’an actually teach, then there will be a chill on reasonable public discussion of Islam — a public discussion that is crucial to hold in this age of global jihad terrorism. Such laws actually make Muslims a protected class, beyond criticism, precisely at the moment when the Western republics need to examine the implications of having admitted into their countries people with greater allegiance to Islamic law than to the pluralist societies in which they’ve settled.

To criticize is not to incite. The courageous ex-Muslim Ibn Warraq calls upon Muslims to “admit the role of the Qur’an in the propagation of violence.” If they do not do this, what end can there possibly be to the jihad terrorism that is inspired, according to the terrorists themselves, by the Qur’an? What will keep jihadists from continuing to use the Qur’an to recruit more terrorists, right under the noses of fatuous Westerners like Judge Higgins who would prefer to pretend that what they use in the book isn’t really in there?

When Judge Higgins signed the guilty verdict on Daniel Scot, he may have been signing the death warrant for free Australia — and maybe even the entire Western world.

I'll Have To Read Dorothy Sayers

Jaymarie, over at Pond Ripple discusses and compares C.S. Lewis and Dorothy Sayers. Here's a quote she provided from Sayers:

"The education that we have so far succeeded in giving to the bulk of our citizens has produced a generation of mental slatterns. They are literate in the merely formal sense--that is, they are capable of putting the symbols C, A, T together to produce the word CAT. But they are not literate in the sense of deriving from those letters any clear mental concept of the animal.

Literacy in the formal sense is dangerous, since it lays the mind open to receive any mischievous nonsense about cats that an irresponsible writer may choose to print--nonsense which could never have entered the heads of plain illiterates who were familiar with an actual cat, even if unable to spell its name. And particularly in the matter of Christian doctrine, a great part of the nation subsists in an ignorance more barbarous than that of the dark age, owing to this slatternly habit of illiterate reading. Words are understood in a wholly mistaken sense, statements of fact and opinion are misread and distorted in repetition, arguments founded in misapprehension are accepted without examination, expressions of individual preference are construed as oecumenical doctrine, disciplinary regulations founded on consent are confused with claims to interpret universal law, and vice versa; with the result that the logical and historical structure of Christian philosophy is transformed in the popular mind to a confused jumble of mythological and pathological absurdity."

True. True.

The Level Of The People We're Dealing With
Saudi Government Accuses U.S. Military Of
Harvesting The Organs Of Dead Iraqi's


In the Saudi government daily Al-Watan, an article from Brussels written by Fakhriya Ahmad charges that, based on alleged secret European military reports, the U.S. military in Iraq is harvesting and selling human organs. The following day, the story was also published in the Iranian daily Jomhouri-ye Islami,(1) as well as the Syrian daily Teshreen.(2) The following are excerpts from the article:(3)

"Secret European military intelligence reports indicate the transformation of the American humanitarian mission in Iraq into a profitable trade in the American markets through the practice of American physicians extracting human organs from the dead and wounded, before they are put to death, for sale to medical centers in America. A secret team of American physicians follow the troops during their attacks on Iraqi armed men to ensure quick [medical] operations for extracting some organs and transferring them to private operations rooms before they are transferred to America for sale. "

The reports confirm the finding of tens of mutilated cadavers or cadavers missing parts. Some were found without a head. The American military command could not offer reasons to explain the bewilderment about the missing parts, suggesting that this may have been caused by the penetration of bullets to the [missing] parts. But these excuses cannot be medically accepted.

The reports also confirmed that the burning of bodies was deliberate in order to conceal the crime of organ extraction. [The reports] further indicate that American medical teams have [made] active and suspicious moves in Iraq to recruit some Iraqis to guide them to dead and critically injured individuals to engage in the extraction of organs. These teams offer $40 for every usable kidney and $25 for an eye. The reports confirm the finding of mutilated bodies in Fallujah. The reports indicate that the cadavers are immunized inside special cars to prevent the spread of the plague until the bodies are buried by their relatives. "

The reports have indicated that a number of those killed in 'Abu Ghraib' and other prisons were subjected to operations for extracting their organs. Following their mutilations, the bodies were discarded far from the prisons to conceal the facts. The reports revealed that that the American forces restricted the media by force to prevent them from getting near the scenes and recording the events. But the relatives of the Iraqis are aware of these facts.

The reports have [also] indicated that the military forces of the European allies have noticed the absence of organs from the cadavers that were dealt with by the Americans and have reported to their high command, which instructed them to maintain silence and to avoid the discussion of the subject due to its gravity, while the military and intelligence high command have written secret reports about was observed by their forces and sent them to the European ministries of defense for their information."

Do you think, maybe, the Euro's really did tell the Saudi's we're doing this?

You know what? Maybe all the "Progressives" and "Liberals" who keep saying this war isn't worth it (that the Arabs and Muslims don't want to be free), maybe, all those people are right.

Maybe we should just pack it up and bring the troops home.

Or, maybe, we should just kill everybody who is stupid enough to pass this story around as if it were credible. Including this guy.

How's that for a Christian idea on the eve of Christmas Eve?

P.S. They did get one thing right in that story. We Americans are so brilliant that we have actually already learned how to do "Human Brain Transplants." That's why we cut their heads off; to harvest the brains of the intelligent Islamofascists.

Mary, Mother Of God

From Joe Carter at Evangelical Outpost:

Earlier this year, The Passion of the Christ sparked a great deal of controversy, shocking even believers with its realistic scenes of torture. But one of the most stunning scenes of the movie was one of the least violent. As Jesus stumbles and falls while carrying the cross, an inconsolable Mary watches and reflects on a similar memory from his childhood.

Being a parent myself I empathized with her sense of helplessness and discovered that I had never really thought of her in this way. I was struck by the realization that Jesus wasn’t just the son of God; he was Mary’s son too.

I also realized that I suffer from a mild case of Maryphobia – the fear that any appreciation of Mary will be viewed as a sign that I'm a closet Catholic. Like many evangelicals, my renunciation of Marian theology causes me to downplay the importance of Mary herself. Oddly, while we are quick to defend the virgin birth, we are often hesitant to praise the virgin mother. Even during Christmas we often pay more attention to the magi than we do to the woman who gave birth to our Savior.

How is this possible? Consider for a moment what it must have been like for this Jewish virgin. At home in Nazareth, planning her wedding to a stout young carpenter, dreaming of the children they will have and the home they will make and then…the angel Gabriel appears in order to tell her she's been chosen to give birth to the Son of God.

And everything changes.

She dreams about the honor it will be to bring this child into the world…and then gives birth to him in a stable, surrounded by mules and visited by smelly shepherds.
She waits patiently for the day that he will change the world…and watches as he suffers and dies, hanging on a cross in Golgotha.

She thinks back to the visit by the angel and wonders how everything could go so wrong…and then he comes back, alive and unbroken.

She thanks God for her son’s return…and watches as He goes home to be with His Father.
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,”
said Mary, “for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.”

Indeed we should. As Gabriel told her, she had found favor with God. She should find favor with us evangelicals as well.

In his article, Joe Carter also says that we should be in "awe" of Mary for having carried God in her womb. I don't know about that. We should admire her for the tenacity of her faith. But, I believe we should save our awe for God Himself.

Progressivism Has Made Us Blind

From Front Page Magazine:

If one were to rely on the mainstream Western media, one would assume that the situation in Iraq represents nothing more than a disaster and a horrible error by the United States. This media spin, which is more pronounced and strident than any in recent memory, is based on two critical flaws in the way Western media work.

The first is the most obvious and is known to millions: the bias of Western reporters, and nearly all the experts and other sources on which they depend, against the Bush administration's policy of democratization in the Middle East. For such commentators, the failure of the Bush intervention in Iraq was a foregone conclusion. In many cases, including those of Arabist and ethnic Arab academic experts, opposition to democratization is based on breathtakingly prejudicial stereotypes.

Few American intellectuals would ever, in the 1950s, have predicted that the time would come when the very concept of "democracy" would be the object of so much polemical contempt in the democracies themselves. And fewer still would have predicted that Arab adherents, as so many now do, would one day reject altogether the appropriateness of democracy in their countries. When Arab academic and media figures declare that their people are unprepared for democracy, and cannot go beyond limited and culture-bound reforms, one wonders if they realize how arrogant and cruel they sound. In the past, we all seemed to agree that democracy was a universal and benevolent value, for which all peoples, at least outside the palaces, strove.

The second serious defect in the methodology of Western media, when dealing with Iraq, is their lack of knowledge about Islam. Reporters seem to continue to base their dispatches on off-the-street quotes and Iraqi official handouts. Much more homework needs to be done, especially considering that American lives have been sacrificed for the future of Iraq. Western reporters seldom study Islam or seek out authoritative representatives of the Islamic leaderships; and when, almost as if by accident, they encounter such figures, they seem never to know what questions to ask them.

Terrorism continues in Iraq and monopolizes headlines. But there is much more to be said about the situation in that country, and it has to do with much more than the restoration of public services and infrastructure. Perhaps the biggest story left unreported in the West is the extraordinary exuberance about the Iraqi election, set for January 30, among Iraqi Shias.

I know about this because I spend a great deal of time talking to Iraqi Shia religious leaders, some of whom commute back and forth between Iraq and the U.S. The effervescence among them must be experienced to be believed. One prominent Shia in the U.S. told me, "I call the president Imam Bush." (In Shia Islam, the imams are the chief religious guides throughout the history of the sect.) "He is a believer in God, he is just, and I believe he will keep his promise to hold a fair election on January 30," my interlocutor said. "He liberated Kerbala and Najaf [the Shia holy cities]. He has done more for Shias than anybody else in history."

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The Geneva Convention As Part Of
The War Strategy Of Islamofascists

Wretchard, at the Belmont Club, on a terrorist attack against medical caregivers outside of a hospital in Mosul:

... it is safe to say that the attack demonstrates assymetrical warfare in action. The enemy chose the weakest point he could find to attack; exploited the known limitations of the American response; and understood that he was to all intents and purposes exempted from the condemnation attendant to attacking the wounded and medical personnel.

The chaplain and the medical personnel knew this and did not mill around expecting the Geneva Convention to protect them from those who have never heard of it, except as it applies to their own convenience. They knew the true face of the enemy; a face which bore no resemblance to the heroic countenance often presented by the media to the world.

Losing It
And Admitting It
To Gain The Kingdom Of Life, And Of Heaven

The Anchoress has written another on of her beautiful meditations, which put life into perspective. I excerpt it here, but if you start in on it, and appreciate it, I suggest you click and read the whole thing at her transcendant site:

... as sometimes happens in life, everything came to a head yesterday afternoon. After a so-so day at work, during which I made arrangements with my pediatrician to get a second cardiologist opinion on a situation with Buster (my brother is not long for this world, and my 15 year old is routinely clutching at his chest and turning purple - can we say stress overload?) I took a look at my schedule for the day. It included many errand-y, Christmas-themed type things, ending with the hour's drive to see my brother at hospice, later in the evening.

At a red light, I suddenly thought: oh...supper...what am I going to make for supper...and the thing that once in a while happens to every busy woman happened to me. At the thought of having to figure out a supper menu, my entire interior software collapsed. In my head I heard the sort of beeping siren you hear in cheap sci-fi movies about this or that doomsday scenario. Files corrupted! 404 FILE NOT FOUND!!! Three minutes to critical mass! Eject, Eject, Eject!

I sat at the three minute red light, paralyzed, helpless ...

I put in a call to the husband and was lucky enough to actually reach him at his desk. Babbled. Hyperventilation and gasping words ...S!!...Buster!!...don't know what to make for supper...and I gotta go to the POST OFFICE! Whaaaaaaaa!

"Order Chinese food," he cooed. "Don't worry about it. Get Pudgy's. I love Pudgy's!"This only made me feel worse. The man was raised without fast he actually has fast food he loves! He can give you comparisons on different fast food establishments! I feel a detestible failure. I serve my family food other people prepare. Often.

I am loathesome. My dog shuns me.

Loaded down with self-recrimination, and ignoring my to-do list, I realized Buster would soon be getting out of Jazz Band, and decided to scoot over and give him a ride home. Actually, what was going through my head was: I need to see Buster! I had to see my kid!

Is this something parents do? Suddenly find they need to see one or both of their children, simply to get ahold of themselves? It seemed odd to me, but there it was. I need to see Buster!

Buster walked out of school and beamed when he saw the ride, because it was awfully cold out, to walk. He loaded the horn into the car, got in said, "hiya, Ma, what's going on?"

Bad question. Ma immediately dissolved into another bath of tears, much of it involving my frustrations with the pediatrician, my fears for his health, and of course, my brother's deterioration. "I want to see him tonight, but I'm just so tired...and I'm really sorry to be falling apart like this, in front of you!"

Buster handled it well, though. He handles everything well. He patted my hand and offered to keep me company while I drove around on my errands.

It was all I needed.

I drove around from stop to stop, to post office, to Penneys - to this store, to that - and Buster (who remained in the car between stops, reading Stephen King's The Stand and listening to his eclectic music collection) simply, cheerfully kept me company.

I thought it was one of the most generous things anyone had ever done for me. My sons are intuitive, kind and compassionate people, bless them. Buster was willing to walk a mile with me. He was willing to enter into a little of the mess my life had become - however temporarily - and that willingness made all the difference.

It's what we're called to, not merely as Christians, but as human beings. To be willing to ENTER INTO the pain, or the fear, or the tumult and whirlwind of another person's life and say, "ssssshhhh, it's alright, I'll keep you company for a little while."

It is humanity at its finest.

And while it is, as I say, neither the exclusive calling or the exclusive virtue of the Christian (in fact in too many Christians it is all-to-lacking), I cannot help - in these final days of Advent - to think about what God did, in a lonely cave on the outskirts of Bethlehem, when He condescended to enter into the pain and fear, the tumult and whirlwind of the world...when he "set his tent among us," not merely "dwelling" among us as lofty king, but literally "with" us, with hunger, the capacity for injury and doubt...

God entered in, not with a cacophany of noise and a display of raw power, but as the humblest and most dependent of creatures: a baby, lying in a manger, a place for the feeding of animals. He, who became Food for the World, entered with silence, as though he had put his finger to the quivering mouth of a troubled, sobbing world and said..." is alright, I'll keep you company..."

It will be alright.

The Palestinian Terror Organizations
Are The Palestinian Army
An Answer To "Behind The Scenes"

I posted the results of a poll, from Maariv International, the other day, which stated that over 70% of Palestinian's oppose the dismantlement of the terror organizations in their midst. I titled the post "Seventy Percent Of Palestinians Want The Terror Campaign To Continue."

A very thoughtful regular commenter here at CUANAS, named "Behind the Scenes" posted this comment, challenging me on my logic:

"Seventy Percent Of Palestinians "/"70% object, at this stage, to the dismantlement of terror groups." It's not very clear.

Do these %70 object to the dismantlement or do they object to ceasing terrorist activities? What question were they given?

If %30 are interested in dismantling the terrorist organisations then it implies these organisations have lost a great deal of support! For example, many countries have no interest in sending their armies to war but still don't wish to dimantle the army.

Here's my answer to Mr. the Scenes:

Dear Behind the Scenes, :)
Your point is well taken. And I hate to sound like a know it all, but I did think of that before.

But, since you pointed it out, I feel that if I don't answer, then I'm doing myself a disservice, so I'm going to tell you the strategy I am using.

Here's the thing, if the terrorist groups are the Palestinian version of an army, then that means the Palestinian people are waging a WAR against Israel, not a "struggle."

If they are not an army then they must be dismantled because they are criminals engaging in criminal activity.

Maybe the mistake we make, as a world, is that we call for the "dismantling" of the terror groups, when we should call for their "destruction through the rule of law."

And, the truth is, if it is to be done by "rule of law," then it is incumbent upon the Palestinian's themselves to apply the law. It is not incumbent upon Israel to "dismantle" the terror groups. Because how is Israel supposed to do it?

As the terror groups treat any movement of Israeli forces into PA territory as a battle, and as the media implies that movements are a battle, by calling it an "incursion", then, the only choice Israel has is to treat the resultant attacks as a battle, which they invariably do.

But, then the media, and the world, do something fundamentally unfair. They castigate Israel for treating the "incursion" as a battle, and they pretend that the terror groups don't represent the will of the Palestinian people. In other words, it wasn't a battle.

Is that right? Come on. Let's get real.

This is why, ultimately, I support the terror fence, and the unilateral disengagement of Israel. Such a move by Israel will have two benefits:

1) It effectively gives the Palestinians a state. It may not be exactly the state they want, but certainly they can negotiate from there. But negotiating will have to be done by talking, not with guns and bombs. Because that's how negotiating is done. Right?

2) By establising a real border, it will make it apparent, that, as is true anywhere in the world, any attack by one side against the other across the border is an act of War.

In other words, it will put an end to the excuses that the Palestinians give that they can't control the terror groups. And, it will put an end to the excuses the world gives the Palestinians.

I hope you will read this and answer, because I would love to have further refinement of the idea, if there is any flaw in my reasoning.

Thank you,
S. Memes/Pastorius

Dallas Morning News Says
Khomeini Tribute Was A Disgrace

From the Dallas Morning News, via LGF:

Most Americans remember the Ayatollah Khomeini. He was one of the great villains of the 20th century, who bequeathed his patrimony of fanaticism and hatred to the 21st.

Khomeini led the 1979 Iranian revolution that overthrew the corrupt shah and replaced the government with a brutal Islamic theocracy that today is locked in battle with reformers seeking to end a quarter century of repression. Khomeini preached worldwide violent Islamic revolution, thundering that “those who study Islamic Holy War will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world.”

“Why do you only read the Quranic verses of mercy and do not read the verses of killing?” Khomeini challenged fellow clerics in a 1981 speech. “Qu’ran says: kill, imprison! Why are you only clinging to the part that talks about mercy? Mercy is against God.” The tyrant also exhorted his followers to “kill all the unbelievers just as they would kill you all.”

That’s some vision. Yet a Muslim group based in Irving hosted a seminar earlier this month paying “tribute to the great Islamic visionary.” It’s chilling to think that any local Muslim would be willing to honor such a man, especially with the United States under the threat of attack by Islamic terrorists.

Dismayingly, the list of speakers at the Irving event included some of North Texas’ best-known mainstream Islamic figures, including Dr. Yusuf Kavakci of Dallas Central Mosque, widely considered a moderate. He and other leaders shared the roster with Mohammed Asi, a radical Washington imam whom, according to The Washington Post, U.S. officials suspect to be an Iranian agent.

Dr. Kavakci declined two invitations to tell us why he attended the conference. We tried to obtain a tape of the conference, but we’re told none is available. Another attendee, Mohamed Elibiary, president and CEO of the Plano-based Freedom and Justice Foundation, shares his reasons for attending on the opposite page. Still, we are hard-pressed to understand what good could possibly come from attending — let alone hosting — such a forum.

Event organizer Imam Shamshad Haider told us that Khomeini has been unjustly portrayed in the Western media. He complained in a television interview last week that Khomeini had been unfairly judged on only one aspect of his personality.

Imam Haider insists that the theme of the conference was Muslim unity. Other area Muslim leaders who spoke at the event support this contention, saying they agreed to speak to foster cohesion between Sunni and Shia Muslims, not necessarily to endorse Khomeini.

That may be true on one level. But no amount of good Khomeini might have done can possibly balance his blood-soaked legacy. Unity is a poor excuse for legitimizing the views of Khomeini admirers by appearing at this event ...

If Muslim leaders want to be perceived by the broader community as men of good will and moderation, they need to make clear what they consider radical and extreme and treat it accordingly.

As former FBI counterterrorism chief and Rowlett resident Oliver “Buck” Revell tells us, “If we continue to be deaf, dumb and blind to what’s plainly in front of us, we have no one to blame but ourselves.”

Q: Why Do We Fight?
A: To Win

"Nice" people (people who want things to be "nice") often have a hard time remembering why we fight the War on Islamofascism. They can't remember because they are so focused on things being "nice" that they forget that the Islamofascist terrorists aim is to kill as many of us as they possible can. Here's evidence, from the London Times:

NEW evidence of Osama Bin Laden’s attempts to acquire radioactive material for a “dirty bomb” has been revealed by an aide to the Al-Qaeda leader.

In a book to be published shortly, the insider shows that Bin Laden bowed to pressure from hawks within the terror group’s leadership to buy the material through supporters in Chechnya. He had initially been cautious about such a dramatic increase in its armoury. It is the first time that such a senior Al-Qaeda figure has revealed the internal tensions and debates within the group, and shows it was far less unified than had been thought.

During the American bombardment of Tora Bora in Afghanistan where the leadership had fled in 2001, the book says, Al-Qaeda was hopelessly split and faith in Bin Laden declined. Bin Laden had also fallen out with Mullah Omar, the Taliban leader.

Excerpts from the book appeared last week in a London-based Arabic newspaper and are believed to have been written by Abu Walid al-Misri, an Egyptian who spent years in Afghanistan where his son was killed fighting the Russians.

Misri, who was with Bin Laden in Tora Bora, is thought to be one of Al-Qaeda’s leading theorists. When they fled Afghanistan, his book records, the organisation had been devastated by the death of Mohammed Atef, its military commander, killed by American bombing near Kandahar....

Misri also criticises the growth in Al-Qaeda training camps, saying many of them were compromised by spies and that they lacked discipline. “The last months in the life of Al-Qaeda (in Afghanistan) were a tragic example of an Islamic movement being run in a terrible way,” he says.

So, they want to use a dirty bomb on us. Is it really reasonable to doubt they would use a nuclear weapon if they could?

No, it's not reasonable. So, we fight. And, ultimately, why do we fight? To win. Here's evidence that we are winning:

An interesting theory from Peter Brookes in the New York Post (thanks to Nicolei):

December 20, 2004 -- WHATEVER you do, don't dismiss Osama bin Laden's newest audio message. Sure, it's just the latest of 17 cameos by the terrorist thug since 9/11. But it may be his scariest yet.

Why? Because Osama's latest appearance shows he's changing tactics, and he's onto something that just might work this time.

Everyone — most of all Osama — knows that his al Qaeda movement is losing steam. Today, major al Qaeda terrorism is confined to Iraq, where Abu Musab al Zarqawi, not bin Laden, holds center stage.

Cowering in a cold, dank cave for the last three years is causing Osama's stock to fall precipitously among the terrorist faithful. His campaign of global death, destruction and despair isn't leading al Qaeda to world domination as he had promised.

In fact, by terrorizing Muslims and Muslim governments, he's actually signing al Qaeda's death warrant. Realizing that he's no longer the king of the terrorist universe, Osama has embarked on a new campaign — a terrorist makeover of sorts.

Now, instead of calling exclusively for the violent overthrow of governments on historically Muslim lands, he's downsized his global ambitions to a chunk of Middle Eastern sand — and tempered his message. Masquerading as a terrorist statesman of sorts, he's pushing for a peaceful revolution (yes, peaceful change) in Saudi Arabia as a parallel path to a violent overthrow.

Osama has decided that world Muslim domination just isn't in the cards for al Qaeda at the moment. But getting a fundamentalist foothold in the holiest Islamic land (anyway he can) just might be the key to overthrowing neighboring Muslim governments.

Think of it as al Qaeda's domino theory. First, Saudi Arabia falls, then Yemen, Oman, the Gulf States and so on.

So why should we be alarmed by this? Because Osama's new strategy, announced on the same day as planned anti-regime protests in Saudi Arabia, smacks of the plot that successfully brought down the Shah of Iran 25 years ago at the hands of Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Exiled for opposing the Shah's reforms in 1963, Khomeini settled in the southern Iraqi Shi'ite holy city of Najaf, where he called for religious rule in Iran.

Under pressure from the Shah, Saddam Hussein expelled Khomeini in '78. Moving to Paris, he called for the Shah's overthrow, communicating through radio broadcasts, written statements and taped sermons that were smuggled into Iran.

Unhappiness with the Shah's repressive policies and Khomeini's mythical stature (supported by local clerics) instigated widespread riots in Iran in late 1978. Reading the handwriting on the wall, the Shah left the country in January 1979 on a "vacation" and never returned.

Without firing a single shot, Khomeini, now a veritable Muslim rock star, returned to Iran, establishing the first Islamic fundamentalist state. The aftermath of Khomeini's "peaceful revolution" was anything but peaceful.

Twenty-five years later, revolutionary Iran stands as:

a) the world's most active state sponsor of terrorism;

b) a highly repressive regime, and

c) a near nuclear weapons state.

Could this happen in Saudi Arabia? Sure.

So, there are two messages there; first, that we are winning, so far. Second, that we could lose if, say, Paris decided to give the "new peaceful Bin Laden" exile. I don't think we're going to let that happen, do you?

A Return To Medieval Times In Australia

There has been a law proposed in Britain against "religious incitement." This legislation is primarily supported by British Muslims who want to ban "defamation of the character of the prophet Mohammed." I have posted about it here.

Now, Melanie Phillips writes about what has happened in Australia where such a law already has been passed, and is being applied:

Anyone in Britain who wants to know what is likely to happen as a result of the proposed law against incitement to religious hatred should look at the first verdict handed down in Australia last week under a very similar law. Two Christian pastors from the Catch the Fires ministry, Daniel Scot and Danny Nalliah, were found to have committed religious vilification against Islam. Their crime? Quoting the Koran in a way that got "a response from the audience at various times in the form of laughter".

The judge, Michael Higgins, said they had 'made fun of Muslim beliefs and conduct'. Ridicule in Australia is thus now a crime. And as Andrew Bolt observes in the Herald Sun, the pastors have been convicted essentially for telling the truth:

'The judge gave 13 examples, starting like this:

"Pastor Scot, during the course of the seminar, made statements --

"(1) that the (Koran) promotes violence, killing and looting

"(2) that it treats women badly ...

"(5) that Allah is not merciful and a thief's hand is cut off for stealing ...

"(12) Muslim people have to fight Christians and Jews, humiliate them and fight them until they accept true religion (sic)..."

'Indeed, at least eight of the accusations arose from Scot quoting the Koran at the seminar, and -- it seems to me -- for the most part accurately. The Koran indeed tells Muslims to "kill disbelievers where you find them" in defending Islam, to "fight those who believe not in God ... until they pay the jizya (a penalty tax for non-Muslims)", and to share loot after a war. It also instructs men how to punish "ill-conduct" in their wives -- "admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds (and last) beat them (lightly)".

Thieves must indeed have hands lopped off, and so on. So what did Scot, in those 13 examples the judge gave, say that was actually false? Higgins in his summary does not say -- other than that he used wrong immigration statistics and failed to cite a verse of the Koran that claimed Allah was indeed merciful. But he ruled that in quoting the Koran Scot "failed to differentiate between Muslims throughout the world, (and) that he preached a literal translation of the Koran and of Muslims' religious practices which was not mainstream ..." '

Bolt points out that when the law was introduced, the government gave assurances that it would only be used against 'the most noxious forms of conduct", and would 'promote racial and religious tolerance'. Yet now two pastors have been convicted for, at worst, poking fun at the Koran -- while, Bolt charges:

'the Islamic Council... voted to install as Australia's Mufti Sheik Taj El-din El-Hilali, who has praised suicide bombers as "heroes", accused Jews of using "sex and abominable acts of buggery, espionage, treason and economic hoarding to control the world" and called September 11 "God's work against oppressors" -- as well as "the work of 100 per cent American gangs". '
In Australia, this law has already incited inter-religious strife and community tension, criminalised truth-telling and restricted legitimate speech. Far from producing greater tolerance, it has attacked a cardinal tenet of a tolerant and just society. The Australian experience should be a chilling warning.

The effect of this law is to destroy freedom of speech on the subject of religion. As Melanie notes, what the Pastor said was all true.

Ultimately, how will judges know whether a particular sermon, or article, or speech is "incitment"? If you think about it, the answer is that Judge's will take under advisement the words of religious authorities on the subject. This means that, for the first time since Medieval times, the West will be subjecting the will of the state to the will of the religious authorities.

It is a rather subtle subjugation at the moment. But clearly, this is headed in the wrong direction.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Joel Beinin and The Insane Roots Of Anti-Americanism

From Alyssa Lappen at Front Page Magazine:

If one individual can showcase all the flaws of Middle East Studies in academia, Joel Beinin is that man. A former president of the Middle East Studies Association, Beinin teaches Middle East history at Stanford University. This professor’s politics color his work.

Beinin’s specializes in Egyptian history. Here, too, his work bears an anti-Zionist tone and frequent contradicts the facts of history. In opposition to “the Zionist project,”[25] he instead favors “Levantinism,” an Israel-replacement ideology that calls for revitalizing the “fruitful compromise” of cultures he believes existed in the past.[26] Scholars and Jewish refugees from Muslim lands both maintain that such idyllic harmony never existed,[27] but Beinin romanticizes and politicizes their history.[28] He also dismisses bona fide work on Arab and Muslim attitudes toward Jews by such writers as Yehoshafat Harkabi and Bat Ye’or, calling this perspective a “neo-lachrymose interpretation”[29] that inexcusably has “distracted attention from Palestinian claims.”[30]

It appears that Beinin delves into history only to support his own preconceived theories. He ignores facts that contradict his ideas, sweeping certain events aside as if they never occurred. In his 1998 book on the fate of the Egyptian Jewish community, The Dispersion of Egyptian Jewry, Beinin ignores the 1730s riots that destroyed Cairo’s Jewish quarter, killing 5,000 to 10,000, at least half its population.[31] He makes no mention of the 1901 blood libel leveled at a Cairo Jewish woman.[32] He condescendingly informs a former Jewish resident that the harat al-yahud was “not a ghetto,”[33] when in fact it was. He minimizes Egypt’s 1929 Nationality Law,[34] which blocked citizenship for Jews and many Christians, making some 40,000 Jews apatrides—stateless.[35] He downplays the 1947 Company Law that made it nearly impossible for minorities to work in Egypt.[36] He insultingly twists Egypt’s Jews into “Arabized” nationalists who would have been happier without Israel’s existence.[37]

Beinin even neglects Egypt’s state-sponsored publication of hateful tracts like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, an edition of which was issued by Gamal Abdel Nasser’s brother Shawki.[38] He denies the inherently anti-Semitic nature of arrests of Egyptian Jews during the 1940s and 1950s on trumped-up charges.[39] He asserts that Nazi officials in Egypt’s government[40] cannot be traced – and anyway, that they had no political influence – ignoring a well-documented record of Nazis having moved to Nasser’s Egypt and their significant impact there.[41]

In 1956 and during 1967-70, Jewish males over 19 were imprisoned in the Abu Za’bal and Tura camps.[42] They were tortured, forced to walk barefoot on broken glass and recite “I am a coward Jew. I am a Jewish donkey.”[43] Beinin makes no mention of these camps.

At AllLearn, a joint online venture of Oxford, Stanford and Yale universities,[49] Beinin teaches a course on “Palestine, Zionism and the Arab-Israeli Conflict,” and his lessons are fraught with conspiracy theories.[50] The “Zionist lobby” in Washington, he informs students, has the power to induce Washington to adopt an “uncritically pro-Israel foreign policy.”[51] For “serious” reading, he recommends Egypt’s state-run Al-Ahram,[52] a newspaper that routinely features anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and Holocaust denial, likens Israeli leaders to Nazis,[53] and praises suicide bombings.[54] Al-Ahram’s editor Ibrahim Nafie was actually sued in France for a piece claiming that Jewish rituals require the use of Christian children’s blood.[55] Jonathan Leffell, a student of Beinin’s online class, informed AllLearn that the course was a “miserable hate fest.”[56]

So, we can see, then, that Joel Beinin is perfectly willing to put up with vicious anti-Semitism. This makes him an anti-Semite himself. A reasonable person would be apalled and revolted, for instance, by a newspaper which spreads the lie that Jews use Christian children's blood to bake Passover Matzoh. How does such content get in the paper if it is not deemed credible by it's editors? But, that doesn't matter to Joel Beinen because he doesn't like Jews either. A man with such tolerance for anti-Semitism is sick, and his ideas should be considered insane.

So, what does a sick man like Joel Beinin this think about Israel?

Beinin’s antagonism toward Israel pervades his commentary concerning the Jewish state. He maintains that exodus of Jews from Arab lands after 1948 resulted not from their forced expulsion by Arab governments but from “provocative actions by Israeli agents.”[15] Despite the fact that Israel offered Jews a haven from mass murder in Europe, and atrocities and mass expulsion from Muslim lands,[16] Beinin holds that “Modern Zionism is a revolution against traditional Judaism, not its fulfillment.”[17] (He shares this view, ironically, with a tiny minority of anti-Zionist ultra-Orthodox Jews.)

The violence of the first intifada (1988-92) was, in Beinin’s view, actually a “strike for peace.” With Hamas-like rhetoric, he has praised “the first martyr of the uprising,” and excused the “small number of violent incidents” against Israelis[18] (overlooking that they led to 160 murders).[19]

After September 11, 2001, Beinin ignored Osama bin Laden’s explicit calls for jihad; instead, he pointed to “Israel’s disproportionate use of force” against Palestinians.[20] This ignores the obvious fact that Al-Qaeda opposes Israel’s very existence, rendering irrelevant the level of force it deploys.

In spite of overwhelming evidence, Beinin refuses to acknowledge the threat that Islamic terrorism poses to civilians. In March 2002, a Hamas terrorist entered a hotel in Netanya, Israel, and killed 30 civilians, including children, as they celebrated the Passover holiday.[21] The following day, Beinin addressed an anti-Israel demonstration and did not even mention this atrocity.[22] Instead, he insouciantly denied that Palestinian terrorism “posed an existential threat to Israel.”[23]

As for American involvement in the Arab-Israeli conflict, despite staggering diplomatic efforts and vast sums of money given to the Palestinian Authority, Beinin can see only a “consistent [U.S.] denial of independence and self-determination” for the Palestinians.[24]

Beinin’s specializes in Egyptian history. Here, too, his work bears an anti-Zionist tone and frequent contradicts the facts of history. In opposition to “the Zionist project,”[25] he instead favors “Levantinism,” an Israel-replacement ideology that calls for revitalizing the “fruitful compromise” of cultures he believes existed in the past.[26] Scholars and Jewish refugees from Muslim lands both maintain that such idyllic harmony never existed,[27] but Beinin romanticizes and politicizes their history.[28] He also dismisses bona fide work on Arab and Muslim attitudes toward Jews by such writers as Yehoshafat Harkabi and Bat Ye’or, calling this perspective a “neo-lachrymose interpretation”[29] that inexcusably has “distracted attention from Palestinian claims.”[30]

And what does a sick man like Joel Beinin think of America, and the War On Terrorism?

Beinin blames the United States for major problems facing the Middle East, and he attributes U.S. actions to aggression and ill will. Just a few examples of his most outrageous actions include:

Before the 2003 Iraq war, Beinin appeared on Al-Jazeera to condemn U.S. “imperial” policy in the Arab world. President Bush, he informed his Middle Eastern audience, planned to establish “a puppet regime” in Baghdad to benefit U.S. oil interests and force what he called “Israeli dictates” on the Palestinians.[9]

After the war began, Beinin accused Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and other U.S. policymakers of collusion with “Israel’s Likud Party”[10] and asserted that the U.S. and Israel had collaborated with Arab regimes to block “democracy and economic development in the Arab world.”[11] Beinin insisted that the U.S. was bent on showing “the overwhelming military power of the US…to make and unmake regimes and guarantee access to oil.”[12] American conservatives, in his opinion, wanted to ensure that “Islamist forces would forsake legal political action and engage in armed struggle.”[13]

Beinin rejects critical thought regarding terror, and with it any opportunity to sensibly evaluate the current U.S. war. He mocks this effort as “terrorology.” A year after 9/11, he actually congratulated fellow MESA academics for their “great wisdom” in refusing to examine terrorism, much less address what nearly all agree is the gravest national security threat to the United States.[14]

I believe there is a great moral sickness in the world today. This sickness is evidenced by the fact that the Peace/Pacifist/Anti-War movement has been hijacked by men like Joel Beinin. There are many people involved in the Peace movement who are legitimately Pacifists themselves. Pacifists are people who truly do not believe in War. But a man like Joel Beinin is not a Pacifist, because he accepts all manner of hatred leveled at Jews. And he is perfectly willing to accept the Palestinian terror campaign against the Jews, which is, itself, a war. A true Pacifist would work to delegitimize, and ostracize, the Islamofascist movement which openly calls for the killing of Jews.

Men like Joel Beinin seem more to dislike what they call "Western Power" or "Western Hegomony." They seem to dislike Western Civilization, itself. But, ultimately, what do the people of the world have to fear from the West? Western Civilization ain't a bad thing, is it? Women are allowed to educate themselves (indeed in America 56% of college degrees are awarded to women), our science and medicine has prolonged the life span, our culture has produced great works of literature, music, and art. The whole world gradually comes to benefit from these initiatives.

And for the last sixty years Western Civilization has been intent on learning how to integrate the many cultures of the world into it's own culture. This is a huge undertaking. Never before in the history of this planet have so many people's lived together, so peacefully, as they do in America and Europe. And yet, Western Civilization is stridently castigated, by those who preach tolerance, for it's lack of tolerance.

Considering how illegitimate, racist, and insane his positions are with regards to Jews, I would say Mr. Beinin does not deserve to be listened to by a decent society. And yet, if you really look, it is almost without fail that it is people, with just such ideas (think Noam Chomsky, for instance), that produce the critiques of "American Hegemony" and "Imperialism" which go so far to attempt to deligitimize every American undertaking.

The truth is, America's undertakings have proven profoundly helpful in most cases. Nazi Germany is gone. South Koreans are free. The Soviet Union is gone. Milosevic is out of power in Bosnia. Afghani's have established the first democracy in their region ever. All of these things have happened largely because America stepped up to the plate. And, in each instance, if you read history, America was loudly criticized for it's actions.

And, it seems, that whenever the world really gets into trouble, men like Joel Beinin crawl out of the woodwork, and attempt to explain to us how the "Jews" control the powers of the world. Yes, it can all be explained by the Jewish influence in the White House, the media, the intelligentsia, etc. Yes, the "Neocons" are behind America's dubious behavior.

We as a civilization will destroy ourselves if we allow this kind of hatred to fester within us. Joel Beinin is another person who needs to be delegitimized and ostracized. He certainly should not be teaching at Stanford University.

Go read the whole of Alyssa Lappen's article. It is heavily footnoted.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Justice And Chivalry in Iran
Executing a Mentally Retarded
Teenage Girl For "Crimes Against Chastity"

From Eursoc:

Iran's supreme court is considering whether or not to execute a teenage girl with a mental age of nine for prostitution.

The girl, known as Leyla M, is being held in prison while the court decides whether she is guilty of "crimes contrary to chastity:" One of the most serious offenses on Iran's admittedly insane rulebook. Leyla was convicted and sentenced to death in November by a lower court in her city of Arak.

Under Iran's laws, girls as young as nine can be executed; for boys, the legal age is fifteen. In Leyla's case, the court ordered that she be flogged before she is executed. She received 100 lashes aged 14 when she was convicted of falling pregnant.

The prisoner claims to have been forced into prostitution by her mother as an eight year old. She was, she says, repeatedly raped and bore a child at nine. Iran's press reports counter that she ran a brothel, had sex with relatives and had an illegitimate child.

Some defenders of Iran's theocracy claim that these trials rarely result in executions, and that under Iran's version of Islamic law, condemned prisoners can save their skins by pleading "repentance" three times.

However, as the Independent reports, this did not save 17 year old Atefeh Rajabi, who was still crying "repentance" as judge Hajj Rezai pulled the noose over her head and sent her to the gallows in August this year.

According to Amnesty, three child offenders have been executed in Iran this year. This figure does not include a 14 year old boy who died while being flogged: He had been sentenced to 85 lashes for eating in public during Ramadan.

Seventy Percent Of Palestinians
Want The Terror Campaign To Continue

Thanks to Little Green Footballs for this from Maariv International:

A new poll conducted in the Palestinian Authority has revealed that a large majority of Palestinians fear the continued state of lawlessness on the streets, but at the same time nearly 70% object, at this stage, to the dismantlement of terror groups.

The above figures are a cause for concern for PLO Chairman and leading candidate in the January 9 Palestinian elections, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), who last week came out against the use of arms in the intifada.

In addition, 51% said Fatah could bring about an improvement in their situation, in comparison with only 25% who named Hamas.

This is yet more evidence that it is the will of the Palestinian people that they are at war with Israel. Therefore, it is incumbent upon Israel to fight and win that was, for the sake of it's own people

The Battle Of The Bulge

From Medienkritik:

Imagine if America's losses in Iraq were far higher. To date, just over 1,000 US soldiers have paid the ultimate price in the struggle for Iraq. But how would the American public react if those losses were over a dozen times higher? What would the consequences be if, say, the United States had lost 19,000 dead in the Iraq war to this point? Would the hysteria in the media be 19 times more intense? Would a war with those sorts of losses be 19 times the quagmire, debacle and disaster that many in the media and among the Angry Left see in Iraq today?

You may be scratching your head at this point and asking, why 19,000...why does that matter?

Well, six decades ago, Germany and America were locked in a life and death struggle on the European continent. World War II was raging to its violent conclusion. Hitler had launched one final, desperate offensive on the Western front, hoping against all odds to turn the war around and repeat the Ardennes breakthrough of 1940. A ferocious fight ensued which left 19,000 American soldiers dead and 81,000 wounded. Around 100,000 Germans were killed, wounded or captured.

The Battle of the Bulge, which began sixty years ago this week, was a decisive victory that paved the way to final victory in World War II for Allied forces. 19,000 American soldiers were killed in this single battle which lasted little more than a month. Was it a disaster? Was it a debacle? Was it a quagmire? Was it a mistake?

Of course it wasn't. It was an historic victory for freedom and democracy over Fascism.

Yet, let us pose the question again: How would today's media react if the United States lost 19,000 in a single battle against Islamo-fascists? What would be the consequences be?

As we all know, Germany is a democracy and not a Nazi dictatorship thanks in large part to the hundreds of thousands of Americans who died fighting in World War II. Their sacrifice sixty years ago was not in vain. And equally so, the sacrifices of those who have fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan will not be in vain if America stays the course in its war on terror. Every now and then we need to collectively remind ourselves that freedom and democracy require enormous sacrifice and eternal vigilance.

Davids Medienkritik would like to thank those American veterans of the Battle of the Bulge still around today on this 60th anniversary. Germany is a better place today because of you.
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank those fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both nations will be better places today and tomorrow because of you.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

We Must, As A Society, Provide For Those
Who Prove Incapable Of Providing For Themselves

The Anchoress linked to this article written by Joseph Marshall, a frequent commenter on her site. The Anchoress had wondered where Joseph had disappeared to recently. This article provided the answer:

The Reality of Mental Illness and the War against the Poor

I am mentally ill. The particular condition I have is a bipolar disorder, what used to be known as manic-depression. Over the past month, noted in passing with alarm by the Anchoress, one of my mutual commentors, I have been adjusting to a new medication cycle and not posting.

I try to be as open as possible about my disorder. The lingering stigma associated with a mental health condition in our culture is merely fed and made stronger by trying to conceal it from others. What so few really understand is that there is a gradient of what we in the mental health system (I also now work in the system on a consumer-staffed phone line) call both "disorder" and "recovery".

I personally think that my disorder has been with me from childhood, present but undiagnosed, and it did not prevent me from stable participation in society for half a century, until now. It is important to understand such things, and not to respond to mental disorder in oneself or in others with irrational fear.

For the last two years I have been struggling with the fact that my condition has become more troublesome and, finally, openly diagnosed. Three things made this happen, I lost a job in the recession at an age (50) when it is hard to find another, lost my health insurance in consequence, and two other latent medical conditions which both mimic and reinforce mental disorder, Type II diabetes and hypothyroidism, caught up with me in these same two years as a result of advancing age.

The inner experience of the disorder is, for me, the key evidence that the condition has always been latent. I have an iron and unshakable intellect, zoned in the direction of order and organization, a mind that functions in permanent outline form, constantly separating the world into topics and subtopics, major and minor items in a hierarchy. Obsessively so, in fact. And I have noted over the years both that this particular form of intellect is not very common and that most very intelligent people whom I know have minds that do not usually function precisely in this way. Nothing ever disturbs this "outlining" process. It is like some nautical instrument aboard a sailing vessel, a barometer or a GPS, which functions independently of whether the seas are choppy or still, recording data impartially in a calm or in a gale.

My childhood and youth was full of uncontrollable emotional storms, and I think that my intellect developed as it did to compensate for and manage this fact. The evidence is clear and unequivocal, these days, that such uncontrollable emotional affects, far beyond the incidents which elicit them, are due to biochemical imbalances in the brain. And my inner experience of bipolar disorder is one of a rock solid intellect trying to sail my brain and body in an unrelenting emotional gale.

The medicines help, but even these, as they wax and wane in the body, and as their power to damp down the biochemical imbalances expands or contracts, create independent interior changes of mood for which my intellect is constantly compensating. Medicated, I experience my brain and body like someone who drives different company cars every day, with each change of make, model, and year altering the acceleration, the speeds at which the gears change, and the precise location of many of the peripheral controls.

It's a good thing my intellect is stable. I really need it. As an unemployed and/or underemployed mental health client I have had to fight a constant guerilla war with the social service agencies in my town and my state. I am a paradigm case of how the frilling away of the social service safety net under 25 years of mostly Republican rule has been an undeclared war on the old, the sick, and the poor.

I subsisted these past two years, with a serious mental health condition, unable to see a medical psychiatrist who could properly diagnose and prescribe for it. I started out with health insurance, the kind called COBRA where, on unemployment (which is HALF your former salary in my generous Republican state) I had to pay the ENTIRE cost of the insurance which my employer carried. That's right, on COBRA both my premiums AND my employer's contribution suddenly became my sole responsibility on half of what I had been making.

How did I manage to carry it? By running up thousands of dollars in debt on my credit cards, as well as using the left over money from a home improvement second mortgage, while I was searching for work until (having been completely unsuccessful, probably in part due to my undiagnosed and worsening mental condition) the unemployment ran out and I defaulted on both the cards and the mortgage.

Did having health insurance help me? Not a bit. Every private psychiatrist in my town stopped taking private insurance long ago. They now do strictly a cash-and-carry business at $125.00 a session. My entire weekly unemployment check was about $125.00. And then I lost it.

That left me with the social service agencies in the public mental health system. And also the social service agencies that deal with the fact that you can't pay your utilities and you can't afford to buy food while your house in forclosure and you can't afford a lawyer to fight for it.

If I had tried to commit suicide, or lost my wits and started taking my clothes off in a public street and howling at the moon, I could have, finally, seen a shrink--after having been incarcerated for some time, and then booted out on the street fully medicated, but a homeless wreck, whose meds would shortly run out. Then back to crisis center for more incarceration, another round of medication, and another bout on the streets.

I am not exaggerating. On my phone line work I deal with such cases routinely.

By clinging as much as I could to my intellect, I have managed to avoid this. My home is gone, I rent from the man I sold it to, and I have managed to obtain part-time work while I hide from my other creditors (I still don't have enough cash flow to even bankrupt cleanly.) And by persistently demanding care, over and over, I finally managed to get it.

I had to lose one counselor to funding cutoffs, change care agencies, and pull every social service bureaucrat I met into the fight. And I had to cope with the fact that my feelings and my body from day to day, and sometimes from hour to hour, would be an unceasing roller coaster ride from utter exhaustion and suicidal despair to manic motor-mouth wittiness with a high as complete as anything on crack cocaine or crystal meth. But it has finally happened.

I write this blog because it helps relieve the pressure of constant emotional pitch-and-toss in my private life. And I write on politics because I KNOW from personal experience that my political adversaries, whether they admit it or not, are part of a deliberate and calculated war on folks such as I. A war which they cannot win, but which I and my fellow targets can completely lose.

And a war which, in the end, will turn this country into a spiritually bankrupt desert.

That is very hard to read, and very convicting. I have mentioned many times on this blog that I never voted for a Republican, for President, in my life, until George Bush 2004. I voted for Bush because I think the War on Islamofascism is World War IV. I think the war needs to be fought and won, or we are in big trouble.

It seems to me that the Democratic Party should be capable of understanding this. However, they ran a candidate who showed no committment for, or against the War and, therefore, there was no way I could vote for him.

I like Bush for many reasons, but there are things I do not like about him. One thing I need to say is I think the notion that the George Bush Administration is conducting a "war against the poor" is laughable. That is inflamed rhetoric, and it is the result of the bipolar disorder the Democratic Party seems to have been seized by in the recent past. Mr. Marshall, I think you could describe it better than that. Why don't you give it another try?

The thing is, everything else Mr. Marshall says in this article is true. I know it. And, it is the reason I have been a Democrat all my life. Personally, I am a guy who has completely pulled myself up by my own bootstraps all my life. I have never worked a job where I subsisted on my salary. Instead, I have chosen jobs where there was a negotiated bonus structure dependant upon my performance. If I made the company money, I got paid good money and, as I have always excelled at what I do, I have made good money. If I had not succeeded, I would have lost my home. So, I am a risk-taker.

Most people like me look at people who can't get it together and think, "loser." I don't. I think, "There but by the Grace of God go I." I have had some unique experiences in my life which have made me aware of how fragile people are, and of how many people really do not have the inner strength to "pull themselves up by their bootstraps." I have family members who are mentally ill. You can't imagine, unless you are around it, what the experience of mental illness is for the people who struggle with it. It can be described as a nightmare from which one can not awake. Imagine that, my friends. Living a waking nightmare.

Imagine being normal for days, weeks, or months on end, and functioning at a high level, and chalking up the self-esteem that goes with accomplishment, only to be assailed with thoughts and fears which seem to come at you from out of nowhere, and seize you and debilitate you. Imagine having a recurring flu of the mind, complete with metaphorical vomiting and diarrhea.

Imagine what it would do to even the strongest human being to repeatedly find that they have destroyed what they had worked so hard to build; credibilty, accomplishment, friendships.

I have also watched other family members who never quite understood how the world worked. If you think about it, you probably know some people like this yourself. If you don't, then think about, maybe, the waitress who serves you at the little cafe down the road, or the "janitor" in your office. Think about how they complain to you about petty little grievances. Think about how they sometimes seem to feel that the deck is stacked against them by unseen forces. These people are not merely making excuses for themselves. Sometimes it is the lack of sufficient intelligence required to put simple ideas together. Maybe there mind doesn't work quick enough to function in an arena bigger than where they are. It's not laziness. Sometimes, maybe, they are emotionally damaged by physical, sexual, or emotional abuse as they were growing up. You can not believe the stories you will hear if you simply ask, which I do.

Suffice it to say, that the stories you hear on Oprah and all the other daytime TV talk shows are very common. Those are the stories of the people walking around you everyday. I have gotten very good at picking out such people. I could take you for a walk down the street and point the people out and tell you that person has trauma. That person does not trust a soul. That person is fighting back voices which are telling her she is a truly worthless human being.

We could sit in a book store and I could pick someone out and strike up a conversation and within fifteen minutes you would see what I mean.

I'm not claiming that I have any special powers of discernment. The reason I can do this is because I am extremely curious about people and their feelings, and I am shameless about asking people personal and inappropriate questions. And, for whatever reaons (maybe because truly inappropriate questions are so disarming) people will answer me. And so, after having heard the stories so many times, I have put them together with the looks on peoples faces, and the ways they hold themselves, and I can recognize where people are coming from many times now, without even asking.

So, I believe that there are many people out there who are not capable of "helping themselves" in the same way as others. The problem becomes, then, what is to be done when these people reach a crisis point? Anchoress comments:

I don't know if, again, I can agree with his conclusions. Clearly, the status quo is not the answer, and putting the government in charge of more things they do badly seems wrong. By the same token, doing less is not an option, unless the private sector or the churches step up to the plate. I surely don't have the answer, but the discussion must take place.

Anchoress knows that her answer is insufficient. With all due respect (because I find The Anchoress to be an extraordinary person, and one who is herself full of compassion), I would almost venture to say it might have been better that she hadn't commented at all, if that is her answer. Obviously, religious institutions have proven unable to "step up to the plate" to take care of all the mentally ill, incapable, and homeless people thus far. So, why would anyone posit that that is a solution for the future?

I also object to the idea of simply saying the government does it "badly." There are hundreds of thousands of people in this country who are recieving free health care and shelter (at least partially funded by the government) every day. As a Christian I say, "Thank God for that."

But, it is true that, for instance, in Los Angeles, many trauma centers, hospitals, and health care facilities are shutting down because funds are drying up. The reasons for this state of affairs are multi-faceted. Rising health care costs are part of the problem. An increased illegal alien population is also part of the problem. And finally, (and I only have this on anecdotal evidence, but I tend to believe it to be true) people who are incapable of paying for Dr. visits, many times simply go to the emergency room (where they will not be turned away) instead. My anecdotal evidnece suggests that this is particularly true of people who live here, but do not speak english.

As Joseph Marshall says himself, if he would have tried killing himself, or had a public breakdown of some sort, he would have been given treatment. The truth is there are thousands of people out there who do "play the system" by faking it. Mr. Marshall seems too honorable to do that.

There is a Jewish law which says that, if you set money out in a place where it can be easily seen by a servant, and the servant steals it from you, you are partially culpable in his crime. I agree with that law. Therefore, I believe that we are culpable in the "crimes" the poor commit in "playing the system." Maybe part of the solution is to set up a system of minimal and accesible "cheap" healthcare that makes sense. Advil and cold towels are very, very expensive, when administered to a four-year old child, with a 104 degree temparature, when his illegal immigrant parents have brought him to the Emergency Room to be treated. I am not disparaging Illegal Immigrants here. Once again, clearly we are culpable in their "crimes." In fact the truth is, if I were in their shoes, I would probably do exactly as they do.

Instead, I am simply saying that the system we have set up is being "played" in ways that make it exhorbitantly expensive to maintain. So, I do not agree with The Ancoress that government is not the solution, and I don't think the answer is necessarily that more money be thrown at the government. Instead, I think the current system needs to be reformed.

I believe that we need to be aware of the fact that there are many people who can't take care of themselves. I believe that we need to, as a society, be compassionate towards these people, and set up a system which administers care and "a hand up" for them, when they are in crisis. And I believe that the government is the institution which should administer this care. Ultimately religious institutions are only accountable to God. And many are not living up to their commitments. The government is accountable to the people, or theoretically so. This would indicate that the government be better than the church at consistently providing help for those in crisis.

I don't understand why anyone would object to this idea. We don't object to the idea that the government should build our roads, or provide for our defense. Maybe we should start seeing that providing "a hand up" to our less fortunate brothers and sisters is the building of roads into our future, and it is providing for the defense of our society's immune system.