Holocaust Denier Promises To
The headline and first paragraph of this Associated Press release are devastating: Palestinian Leader to Shield Militants.
How can any thinking person see this “Palestinian election” as anything other than a blatant sham?
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said Saturday that he wants to shield Palestinian militants from Israel and indicated he has no plans to crack down on gunmen after upcoming presidential elections.
Meet the new boss, etc.
Hey, Robert Spencer
Suck It Up
The other day Robert Spencer at Jihad Watch ran the following excerpt
of a story from the New York Times:
CRAWFORD, Tex., Dec. 29 - President Bush took the unusual step on Wednesday of responding to one of Osama bin Laden's taunting tape recordings, declaring that Mr. bin Laden's recent call for Iraqis to boycott the elections in January "make the stakes of this pretty clear to me."
"His vision of the world is where people don't participate in democracy," Mr. Bush said of Mr. bin Laden, Al Qaeda's leader, who has eluded capture for more than three years. "His vision of the world is one in which there is no freedom of expression, freedom of religion and/or freedom of conscience. And that vision stands in stark contrast to the vision of, by far, the vast majority of Iraqis."
Robert Spencer's comment on this was as follows:
Interesting. I hope he's right, but the clear evidence that many Iraqis are attached to the Sharia is an indication that many are not as interested in freedom of conscience as Bush may wish them to be.
So what, Mr. Spencer? The German people seemed to like their Nazi goverment. The Japanese were willing to die for Emperor/God Hirohito. So, should we not have put an end to those regimes and tried to foster democracy in their place? What is your point exactly, Mr. Spencer?
People who disagree with me often argue with me by saying that Iraqi's aren't interested in freedom, so why should we bother to help them. I have several objections to this line of argument. The first being that it is only an objection. It's just a big, blind "No". So, what's the alternative? That we continue to allow nations enslave their people? Because that's what it is when, as is the case for women in certain Islamic states, they don't have choice in what to wear, whether to educate themselves, when, or even if, they can go out of the house, whom to marry, etc.
The other thing I disagree with about this argument against trying to foster democracy is that, I believe, it is, at it's root, based in racism or, at the very least, a belief in some sort of hermetically sealed culturism. As if one culture could be so different from another that it would produce human beings of a completely different basic nature than another culture.
Was Robert Spencer just having a grumpy day when he wrote this?
When a team of people have an enormous task set out in front of them, only impertinent whiners will give time to talking about how hard it will be to accomplish the task.
Robert Spencer is an important voice in the anti-Jihad (anti-Islamofascist) movement. He's got to stop whining. It doesn't do any good, and it makes him look like a fool. Suck it up, bro.
Our Progress In 2004
From American Future
In the Wall Street Journal's opinion, "This was the year when the civilized world's romance with terrorists ended."
In the U.S. and Australia, George W. Bush and John Howard decisively won contests framed as referendums on their handling of the war on terror. In Britain, Tony Blair survived every effort by the antiwar lobby to bring him down and looks set to win a third term in 2005. In France, the most popular politician today is Nicolas Sarkozy, who is outspokenly pro-American and pro-Israel. Only Spain proved an exception, and that now looks like the result of clumsy post-attack news management by the former conservative government, which might otherwise have held on to power.
Positive developments in the Middle East:
Arab commentators began this year to ask some previously taboo questions. "It is a certain fact that not all Muslims are terrorists, but it is equally certain, and exceptionally painful, that almost all terrorists are Muslims," Abdel Rahman al-Rashed, the manager of the Al-Arabiya news channel, wrote last summer. "Does all this tell us something about ourselves, our societies and our culture?"
There is another way in which 2004 witnessed the fading of the romance, and this has to do with the myth of terrorist invincibility. In March, Israel killed Hamas spiritual leader Ahmed Yassin, a measure immediately condemned as certain to incite Palestinians to new heights of retributive fury. Instead, Israel experienced the first sustained lull in suicide attacks since the intifada began, demonstrating that countries that take tough action against terrorism get results.
Now the lesson is being relearned by the Bush Administration as it fights battles from which it flinched in April for fear of provoking a wider Sunni uprising. In fact, the Administration's most provocative act in 2004 was in not taking action then, creating a perception of American irresolution that emboldened Sunni and Shia insurgents throughout the summer. Notably, when Fallujah was finally retaken in November, the only voice to be heard from the proverbial Arab street was that of Zarqawi himself. "You have let us down in the darkest circumstances," he berated Muslim clerics for their failure to raise an army to his cause. Both their failure and his remonstrance are a good indication that, in Iraq, things are gradually turning America's way.
A.Q. Khan's nuclear-proliferation network was rolled up. In Afghanistan, the Taliban is disbanding itself as democracy takes root. There will be more genuinely democratic elections in the Arab world next month than there have been in the past 40 years. Even the U.N. managed to propose (if not yet adopt) a commonsense definition of terrorism. The main worry is Iran, which continues to bankroll Hezbollah and harbor al Qaeda while moving toward a nuclear bomb. Here the Administration's failure to announce, much less conduct, a coherent policy is leading toward crisis.
Iran is a make or break situation for the United States. I do not share this Washington Post columnists view that Bush lacks a coherent policy on Iran's nuclear weapons program. In an interview
with Bill O' Reily shortly before the election, George Bush categorically stated that his position is that Iran will not acquire nuclear weapons:
BILL O’REILLY Is it conceivable that you would allow them (Iran) to develop a nuclear weapon?
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH Uh, no, we’ve made it clear, our position is that they won’t have a nuclear weapon.
I don't know how you could get more "coherent" than that. Furthermore, if you read the interview, you will find that Bush said, when asked how he would stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, that "all options are on the table"
Thus far, George Bush has proven to be the kind of President who follows through on what he says he will do. He says Iran will not have nuclear weapons. That means they won't.
Mahmoud Abbas Services His Terrorist Constituency
Little Green Footballs points out
that Mahmoud Abbas has some interesting friends in low places.
On Belief In God
I'm having fun reading my new favorite blogger Rand Simberg over at Terrestrial Musings. Here
he weighs in on the idea of a belief in God:
I wasn't very old before I realized that the God thing just didn't make much sense to me (but on the other hand, making sense is beside the point, isn't it?). I just don't get it. I feel (which to say, using a different meaning of the word, "sense") no presence of a deity in the universe, though I find that universe awesome, whether gazing at distant images through a telescope, or viewing a plain from atop a mountain, or contemplating the peace of a grove of redwoods.
But from talking to people who do believe, it's clear to me that their belief, and sense of a God's presence, is very real, and I think that it foolish and presumptious to deny it for them. They have their reality, and I mine. And of course, my inability to believe troubles me not at all. I not only have no sense of God, I also have no sense of a need for one.
I think that there is a spectrum of levels of belief (just as there's one for degrees of homosexuality). At one end are the clear unbelievers (such as me), and at the other end are the clear believers, and there are many in the middle whose belief is affected mostly by life circumstances.
Logic would dictate, of course, that we aren't all correct--either there's a God or there isn't, but then, logic only applies if one's belief system thinks that a requirement. Which is why it's impossible to prove something to someone whose means of attaining knowledge isn't logic driven, and who uses a different set of axioms.
It's entirely plausible to me that for those who feel His presence, God is as real as anything else in this existence. But not for me.
The other day, I did a post
on the renowned atheist Anthony Flew's announcement that he now believes in God. In that post I made the statement that I don't believe it when people say that they are atheists. I realize now that that would seem to be a very ignorant statement, and that it needs some clarification.
I think of an atheist as a person who is convinced that there is no God. To me a person who does not believe in God would, if he were logical, admit that there could be a God. In that case, they are not an atheist but, instead, they are agnostic. Anthony Flew, on the other hand, made a living out of writing on the subject of why there is no God. The denial of the existence of God has been his enduring life's work. There are many "atheists" who, like Flew, go beyond merely stating that they don't believe in God and, instead, simply deny God's existence. As I stated in the previous post, it is illogical to deny the existence of God, since it is impossible to prove a negative.
However, Rand Simberg's position, as stated in this post, makes perfect sense to me. The fact that he has no ax to grind with people who do believe in God is demonstrative of the fact that he truly doesn't believe in God. After all, if one truly does not believe in God, why would they care if another does?
Atheists who do have an ax to grind with believers, especially atheists who go so far as to try to convince believers that there is no God, demonstrate that their issue isn't with the possibility of God's existence, but is, instead, some sort of psychological aversion they have towards God.
US and Aussies Are Doing The Work
UN Takes Credit
I wanted to stay out of the bickering going on over aid and relief to the victims of the tsunami, but I guess I can't. The thing is, now, not only are U.N. officials, and the media criticizing the U.S. (for lack of support, for setting up an alternate body to deal with the problem), but they are now beginning to claim work that we are doing to be their doing. Oh my god.
Anyway, I agree with every word of this Anchoress post, so I'm just going to plagiarize it here
The Folks at Powerline have got the skinny on what's going down in those tsunami-stricken regions. They link to Diplomad who has this to say:
Well, we're heading into Day 7 of the Asian quake/tsunami crisis. And the UN relief effort? Nowhere to be seen except at some meetings and on CNN and BBC as talking heads. In this corner of the Far Abroad, it's Yanks and Aussies doing the hard, sweaty work of saving lives.
Check out this interview (on the UN's official website) with SecGen Annan and Under SecGen Egeland shows,
Mr. Egeland: Our main problems now are in northern Sumatra and Aceh.<...> In Aceh, today 50 trucks of relief supplies are arriving. <...> Tomorrow, we will have eight full airplanes arriving. I discussed today with Washington whether we can draw on some assets on their side, after consultations with the Indonesian Government, to set up what we call an “air-freight handling centre” in Aceh.
Tomorrow, we will have to set up a camp for relief workers – 90 of them – which is fully self-contained, with kitchen, food, lodging, everything, because they have nowhere to stay and we don't want them to be an additional burden on the people there.
I provided this to some USAID colleagues working in Indonesia and their heads nearly exploded. The first paragraph is quite simply a lie. The UN is taking credit for things that hard-working, street savvy USAID folks have done. It was USAID working with their amazing network of local contacts who scrounged up trucks, drivers, and fuel; organized the convoy and sent it off to deliver critical supplies. A UN “air-freight handling centre” in Aceh? Bull! It's the Aussies and the Yanks who are running the air ops into Aceh. We have people working and sleeping on the tarmac in Aceh, surrounded by bugs, mud, stench and death, who every day bring in the US and Aussie C-130s and the US choppers; unload, load, send them off. We have no fancy aid workers' retreat -- notice the priorities of the UN? People are dying and what's the first thing the UN wants to do? Set up "a camp for relief workers" one that would be "fully self-contained, with kitchen, food, lodging, everything."
I'm sorry for the highlighting and big letters, but it's got to be read, and seen...and put out there.
The Diplomad concludes: "The UN is a sham."
The Diplomad is way too diplomatic. The UN is a corrupt and ineffective travesty, a facade of compassion wrapped around a stinking cesspool of anti-semitism, graft, bribery, demagoguery, ineptitude, theft and plain FAKERY. This former Democrat is happy as hell that the President is operating around, rather than through this useless body of guttersnipes and phoneys. I used to laugh at conservatives who chanted "US out of the UN." Now I agree. And I ad: UN out of US.
If I have any Jewish readers who know the Torah and the Talmud well, could you inform me what the penalty is for doing nothing and then taking credit for the good works of others?
UPDATE: Wretchard delves deeper
into the subject. Same conclusion, though.
Happy New Year, Everybody
I've always had a hard time understanding New Years celebrations, because it seems like such an arbitrary dividing line in time. Not celebrating anything, really, just some calendar decision that was made by someone, for no reason that I can fathom, a long time ago.
But, on the other hand, I do believe it is significant and important that we recognize and mark the passage of time with signposts. So, Happy New Years everybody. 2004 was eventful, kind of frightening but, I believe in the course of history, will prove to have been a very good year for humanity.
I'm guessing the next year will prove to be even more so; more frightening, and more important for the progress of humanity. I believe it's going to be quite a roller coaster. So, I resolve to prepare, to strengthen my mind, my heart, my soul, to devote more time to think upon those things which are good and worthy.
God bless us, everyone.
The Editors At Haaretz Are Soviet Style Propagandists
Against Their Own People
A couple of days ago I posted a piece
about the Israeli paper, Haaretz, and how they published notes from a meeting of Palestinian officials. The article featured Mahmoud Abbas claiming that Bush told him that God had ordered him to make war upon Iraq and Afghanistan.
This enrages me, to tell you the truth. It is my opinion that even if Haaretz does not ordinarily editorialize within their news articles, they should have made an exception in this case. Considering the fact that many people in Europe, the Middle East, and even some in the U.S. are living under the delusion that Bush does say things of that nature (which he doesn't), I believe it was incumbent upon Haaretz to correct Abbas' slander. As they didn't, then I say they committed slander themselves.
Of course, it is nothing new for the media to slander the President of the United States. It's a hallowed tradition.
The problem with Haaretz refusing to put Abbas' statement into the context of reality is, history begins to be written in the present. Future historians will cite sources in the media for whatever revisionist assertion they want to make. I can guarantee you that in the future, there will be historians around the world citing that Haaretz article to give their work authority.
Haaretz, by publishing that slander, has granted authority to people who will publish future "histories" which will then be used by tyrants to accomplish more evil in the world. Haaretz with it's slander has set the wheels in motion for more death and destruction. The words of such "histories" are a gun at the head of oppressed and beleaguered peoples. The old saying "the pen is mightier than the sword" may sound almost trite by now, but it remains true.
So, the editors at Haaretz should sit back here tonight, kick their feet up and hear the screams of the people who will be tortured and killed in their name in the future.
I am going so ballistic on Haaretz because I believe they know better. I don't believe they live in a state of round-the-clock psychosis like the Arab world's media do. To those to whom much is given, much will be expected. And, it is not much to expect that a major newspaper, in a country supported so strongly by the United States, should not knowingly slander the leader of the our country.
A big American "Screw You" to Haaretz then. Have a happy freakin' 2005 you liars.
In the spirit of Haaretz' slander then, I will bring you the truth about them. From Front Page Magazine
A Haaretz story from Monday, December 27 informs us:
“ . . an Israel Defense Forces tank opened fire and killed two Hamas activists early Sunday morning near the fence along the Green Line. . . . The two were seen crawling some 200 meters from the fence, and the IDF believes they were planning to set an explosive charge. Hamas confirmed the two were members of its organization.”
Activists? What were they, campaigners against whale farming, or for a higher minimum wage, or a shorter school day? “Activist” is a strange term for people who were seeking to commit mass murder, and who belong to an organization whose charter states:
“Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it. . . . There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. . . . Jihad is [our] path and death for the sake of Allah is the loftiest of [our] wishes. . . . ”
When Haaretz isn’t referring to terrorists of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, or the various PLO offshoots as “activists,” it calls them “militants”—a word that connotes, or used to connote, hard-boiled labor leaders and the like. And what, exactly, would Haaretz have called people in Germany in the 1930s who called for the destruction of the Jews and incited and perpetrated attacks against them—militants? Activists?
Haaretz’s use of delicate terminology for today’s Nazis is ... an offense against truth, against the memory of what Jews have suffered.
Bloggers Eat Media For Lunch
Thanks to The Anchoress
for making me aware of this brilliant satirical piece
(making fun of the addled Mainstream Media) from Transterrestrial Musings:
For some, a lucky few, catatonia is a blessed escape. One poor wretch named Ted just sits up in his bed all day. His brow is furrowed, and his eyes are unfocused, or focused on some distant unreality, unseeable by the rest of us.
Old newsroom veterans call it the "thousand-word stare." They've all seen it--that look you get as you gaze intently at a blank computer screen, in a futile attempt to conjure up some words that will somehow spin an obvious and just victory into humiliating and immoral failure.
He had been leading a frontal assault on common sense, when he was cut down in a withering fire of logic and irony by a brigade of blogger sharpshooters and fact checkers. The hits were effective, but not always clean. He lived, but his syntax was badly mangled, and his credibility was shattered beyond any hope of salvaging it.
For some, though, perhaps death would be kinder. One man, by the name of Robert, had to have so many false assumptions, invalid premises, and logical fallacies removed that there was little left. They couldn't excise the last vestiges of self loathing--to do so would have left him with nothing at all. Now, he just wanders the halls with a bandage on his head, like a post-post-modernist zombie. As he staggers along, he mutters under his breath, "I'm a Western oppressor. Beat me...stone me. Ooooohhhh, I'm such a naughty little tool of the phallocentric oligarchy. Spank me...spank me until my tender little bum is a rosy red..."
An orderly brushes past him, wearing nose plugs. He is carrying, at arms' length, a slop-bucket full of stale cliches, failed paradigms and illogical conclusions, in search of some place to dump them where they won't contaminate the local educational system.
Even for those who will eventually recover, the road to becoming productive may be long and painful. Many have experienced nothing their entire lives except misreporting war and politics, and are untrained and unfit for anything else. Without some way of transitioning them back into civil society, they will remain a dangerous source of social instability.
Sometimes satire is truer than truth.
Northwestern University Professor
Is A Traitor
And An Anti-Semite To Boot
Yesterday, I ran the post about the Northwester University professor who wrote an article which stated that the 9/11 highjackers were just like the Freedom Fighter's of the American Revolution. Well, an LGF reader who was apalled by his traitorous rhetoric fired off an email to the professor. Here's the email the LGF reader sent, from Little Green Footballs
You are a disgrace to your position. How dare you state the those people killed that their people “might live, free and in dignity”? Where is your sense of justice and pride in the country that allows real freedom? You tell me what freedom and dignity the women in Afghanistan lived with! I await your reply.
I am a South African living in the US and I witnessed the transition from a one party dictatorship to a free democracy in SA and no children and civilians were slaughtered like bugs to do it. The South African people had nothing to lose yet they lived and died for freedom with real honour and dignity. There is no justifications for terrorism and by doing so, you make yourself complicit in murder. Learn from South African history that one need not use terrorist tactics to achieve goals and then educate yourself professor that one need not justify murder.
Here's the response from the Northwestern University professor:
Why is it that the only hateful mail I have received is signed by Levitt, Hoch or Freedman?
Northwestern University Professor
Champions 9/11 Terrorists
Northwestern University professor Shahid Alam wrote an article championing the 9/11 terrorists as freedom fighters in the tradition of the American Revolution. From Little Green Footballs
On April 19, 1775, 700 British troops reached Concord, Massachusetts, to disarm the American colonists who were preparing to start an insurrection. When the British ordered them to disperse, the colonists fired back at the British soldiers. This “shot heard ‘round the world” heralded the start of an insurrection against Britain, the greatest Western power of its time. And when it ended, victorious, in 1783, the colonists had gained their objective. They had established a sovereign but slave-holding republic, the United States of America.
The colonists broke away because this was economically advantageous to their commercial and landed classes. As colonists, they were ruled by a parliament in which they were not represented, and which did not represent their interests. The colonies were not free to protect and develop their own commerce and industries. Their bid for independence was made all the more attractive because it was pressed under the banner of liberty. The colonial elites had imbibed well the lessons of the Enlightenment, and here in the new world, they had an opportunity to harness liberty in the service of their economic interests. Backed by the self interest of their landed and commercial elites, and inspired by revolutionary ideas, the colonists had a dream worth pursuing. They were prepared to die for this dream - and to kill. They did: and they won.
On September 11, 2001, nineteen Arab hijackers too demonstrated their willingness to die - and to kill - for their dream. They died so that their people might live, free and in dignity. The manner of their death - and the destruction it wreaked - is not merely a testament to the vulnerabilities that modern technology has created to clandestine attacks. After all, skyscrapers and airplanes have co-existed peacefully for many decades. The attacks of 9-11 were in many ways a work of daring and imagination too; if one can think objectively of such horrors. They were a cataclysmic summation of the history of Western depredations in the Middle East: the history of a unity dismembered, of societies manipulated by surrogates, of development derailed and disrupted, of a people dispossessed. The explosion of 9-11 was indeed a “shot heard ‘round the world.”
This guy has to be removed from his job. He is traitorous in his rhetoric. Diversity of opinion does not include encouraging violence against Americans.
The Golden Age Of Islam
The History of Jihad In Europe
Important information on what Muslims were up to back in the "golden age of Islam". You know, that time when we all "peacefully coexisted", and Islamic "science" was one of the wonders of the world. From Front Page Magazine
... the Islamic jihad conquest and rule of the Iberian peninsula was not a pacific process which created a model ecumenical society of Muslims, Christians, and Jews. From the two greatest modern historians of Muslim Spain, Evariste Levi-Provencal 6 and Dufourcq 7, we learn the following, all of which occurred before (and thus in addition to) the well-known 12th century Muslim Almohad persecutions: The Iberian peninsula was conquered in 710-716 C.E. by Arab tribes originating from northern, central and southern Arabia. Massive Berber and Arab immigration, and the colonization of the Iberian peninsula, followed the conquest. Most churches were converted into mosques.
Although the conquest had been planned and conducted jointly with a faction of Iberian Christian dissidents, including a bishop, it proceeded as a classical jihad with massive pillages, enslavements, deportations and killings.
Toledo, which had first submitted to the Arabs in 711 or 712, revolted in 713. The town was punished by pillage and all the notables had their throats cut. In 730, the Cerdagne (in Septimania, near Barcelona) was ravaged and a bishop burned alive. In the regions under stable Islamic control, subjugated non-Muslim dhimmis -Jews and Christians- like elsewhere in other Islamic lands – were prohibited from building new churches or synagogues, or restoring the old ones. Segregated in special quarters, they had to wear discriminatory clothing.
Subjected to heavy taxes, the Christian peasantry formed a servile class exploited by the dominant Arab ruling elites; many abandoned their land and fled to the towns. Harsh reprisals with mutilations and crucifixions would sanction the Mozarab (Christian dhimmis) calls for help from the Christian kings. Moreover, if one dhimmi harmed a Muslim, the whole community would lose its status of protection, leaving it open to pillage, enslavement and arbitrary killing.
Oh wait, there's more:
Many thousands of non-Muslim captives were deported to slavery in Andalusia, where the caliph kept a militia of tens of thousand of Christian slaves, brought from all parts of Christian Europe (the Saqaliba), and a harem filled with captured Christian women. Society was sharply divided along ethnic and religious lines, with the Arab tribes at the top of the hierarchy, followed by the Berbers who were never recognized as equals, despite their Islamization; lower in the scale came the mullawadun converts and, at the very bottom, the dhimmi Christians and Jews.
And what the treatment of the Jews?
In Granada, the Jewish viziers Samuel Ibn Naghrela, and his son Joseph, who protected the Jewish community, were both assassinated between 1056 to 1066, followed by the annihilation of the Jewish population by the local Muslims. It is estimated that up to five thousand Jews perished in the pogrom by Muslims that accompanied the 1066 assassination. This figure equals or exceeds the number of Jews reportedly killed by the Crusaders during their pillage of the Rhineland, some thirty years later, at the outset of the First Crusade. The Granada pogrom was likely to have been incited, in part, by the bitter anti-Jewish ode of Abu Ishaq a well known Muslim jurist and poet of the times, who wrote:
Bring them down to their place and Return them to the most abject station. They used to roam around us in tatters Covered with contempt, humiliation, and scorn. They used to rummage amongst the dungheaps for a bit of a filthy rag To serve as a shroud for a man to be buried in...Do not consider that killing them is treachery. Nay, it would be treachery to leave them scoffing.”
Rabbi, Who Is My Neighbor?
Yesterday, I posted a comment
on Ross Douthat's comment that we shouldn't help Middle-Eastern countries establish democracy because they aren't "our people". Today, the original object of Douthat's derision, Michael Ledeen, wrote his response
The rejection of an American embrace of freedom-seeking people seems to me distinctly un-American, a snooty rejection of the essence of our national mission, which, as Tocqueville observed more than a century and a half ago, is to support freedom and democracy. I think that the Germans and the Japanese and the Italians became "our people" when they became democratic. When they were tyrannical they were our enemies, as tyrants always are. That’s why Tocqueville was able to predict our inevitable conflict with tyrannical Russia.
Douthat is pretty confident that he knows a lot about the Iranians, but he doesn’t seem to know that, in the mass anti-regime demonstrations that have regularly taken place over the past few years, the demonstrators commonly brandish banners and signs that say "don’t talk to us about the Palestinians, talk about US." If there were an Iranian revolution, I think that aid to Hamas, Hizbollah and Islamic Jihad would end, and I also think we’d see a lot of members of al Qaeda scrambling for a new place to work.
Finally, he rejects the idea that vigorous American political and limited material support for pro-democracy forces in Iran could possibly bring down the mullahs. Well, virtually the entire American and European intellectual establishment thought Ronald Reagan was nuts to believe he could do that to the Soviet Communists, and they ridiculed his "evil empire" speech as at best fatuous and at worst provocative. I always thought that was an odd position for intellectuals, who claim to believe in the value of ideas and the power of words.
When Galileo was criticized for his theories, he remarked "eppur, si muove," and yet, it moves. Look at the world today. Look at the world in 1980. Is it not moving? Are we not in the age of the second democratic revolution?
I hope so. As with any war, we shall not know the outcome until it's over.
WARNING: FANATIC ALERT! MAN YOUR BATTLE STATIONS!
And now, I am going to do what I almost never do. I am going to quote scripture to justify my political opinion. From the book of Luke Chapter 10, verses 25-37:
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27 He answered: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[a]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.
31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.
32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.
34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him.
35 The next day he took out two silver coins[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
And It Gets Stronger
From Mark Steyn at the Chicago Sun Times, via Little Green Footballs
The seasonally litigious rest their fanatical devotion to the de-Christification of Christmas on the separation of church and state. America’s founders were certainly opposed to the “establishment” of religion, whose meaning is clear enough to any Englishman: The new republic did not want President George Washington serving simultaneously as supreme governor of the Church of America, as the queen today is simultaneously head of the Church of England, or the bishop of Virginia sitting in the U.S. Senate, as today the archbishop of York sits in the House of Lords. Two centuries on, these possibilities are so remote to Americans that the “separation” of church and state has dwindled down to threats of legal action over red and green party napkins.
But every time some sensitive flower pulls off a legal victory over the school board, who really wins? For the answer to that, look no further than last month’s election results. Forty years of ACLU efforts to eliminate God from the public square have led to a resurgent, evangelical and politicized Christianity in America. By “politicized,” I don’t mean that anyone who feels his kid should be allowed to sing “Silent Night” if he wants to is perforce a Republican, but only that year in, year out, it becomes harder for such folks to support a secular Democratic Party closely allied with the anti-Christmas militants. American liberals need to rethink their priorities: What’s more important? Winning a victory over the New Jersey kindergarten teacher’s holiday concert, or winning back Congress and the White House?
In Britain and Europe, by contrast, the formal and informal symbols of religious faith remained in place in national life and there were no local equivalent to America’s militant litigants, and the result is the total collapse of Christianity: Across the continent, the churches are empty. In attempting to sue God out of public life, American liberals demonstrate yet again that they’re great on tactics, lousy on long-term strategy.
Guess they better start leaving us Christians the hell alone.
Now, Even The Rocks And Trees
Hate The Jews
From Palestinian Media Watch, via Robert Spencer
For years, the PA religious establishment has repeatedly portrayed the killing of Jews as a religious necessity. Today, PA TV chose to rebroadcast this same call to genocide as a historical necessity -- this time from a senior PA academic rather than from a religious leader. Dr. Hassan Khater, founder of the Al Quds Encyclopedia and a TV lecturer, cited the identical Hadith - Islamic tradition attributed to Mohammed - that the religious leaders have used to demand this genocide. This was part of a lecture focusing on what he described as the war of the Jews against Palestinian trees.
These were his words quoting the Hadith:"Mohammed said in his Hadith: 'The Hour [Day of Resurrection] will not arrive until you fight the Jews, [until a Jew will hide behind a rock or tree] and the rock and the tree will say: Oh Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him!'" PA TV Dec. 27, 2004 [Rebroadcast from July 13, 2003]
The continued teaching that this Hadith applies today could well be a dominant factor driving terror against Israeli civilians. By depicting redemption as dependent on Muslims' killing of Jews, the PA world view presents this genocide as a religious obligation and historical necessity -- not related to the conflict over borders, but as something inherent to Allah's world.
Yep, the Palestinian Authority is all grown up and ready to take over a state of their own.
Really, is there room for this in a sane world?
Haaretz International Slanders George Bush
From Haaretz International
Abbas said that at Aqaba, Bush promised to speak with Sharon about the siege on Arafat. He said nobody can speak to or pressure Sharon except the Americans.
According to Abbas, immediately thereafter Bush said: "God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them."
Why would Haaretz International publish such a ludicrous statement from Mahmoud Abbas without any qualification? This is incendiary. George Bush has never said anything of the like. And yet, in much of the world, people believe that he does go around saying things like this all the time.
If he were to have said anything like this, he would not have been elected President of the United States. End of story. Now, I understand, though, why people think we Americans are such fanatics. It's because foreign papers, including papers in Israel are, apparently, willing to print slanderous statements about the President we elected.
Does Haaretz do this kind of thing often? What is going on here? I don't get it.
Ok, Someone Has Finally
Come Right Out And Said It
Ross Douthat wrote in to comment on a Michael Ledeen argument applauding America for supporting the Ukranian "Orange" Revolution. Ledeen cites this success as an example of what we can do on behalf of Democracy. Douthat doesn't agree that we can draw paralells between the Ukraine and the Middle East. His reason? Well, just hold on to your sears, cuz here it comes:
Finally, and not to get too old-fashioned-realist here, but . . . the Iranians are not "our people." Neither are the Syrians, the Saudis, the Chinese, or the North Koreans. And they do not become "our people" just by believing in democracy, or even by establishing democratic self-government. An Iranian democracy would be a good thing in countless ways -- but it would also probably be just as hell-bent as the current regime on acquiring nuclear weapons, flexing its muscles in Iraq, and perhaps even sponsoring anti-Israeli terrorism. As such, it would be our strategic rival, not our brother nation, even were its constitution copied word-for-word from ours.
I have always suspected that blind racism is the reason that so many insist that Democracy can't work in the Middle East. Douthat is, apparently, a Conservative because he writes for National Review. But, I believe that this "reasoning" is the motivation of the left as well. They've certainly proven themselves handy enough with the racist stereotypes when it comes to the Jews, so why not the A-Rabs, huh?
Hat tip: Roger Simon
"Democracy Is An Atheist That Idolizes Human Beings"
From MSNBC, via Jihad Watch
BAGHDAD, Iraq - The Ansar al-Sunnah Army has emerged from its roots as a little known militant group operating in northern Iraq to become the country’s deadliest terror network, capable of carrying out spectacular strikes like last week’s suicide bombing at a U.S. base and virtually eclipsing al-Qaida’s cell in the war-torn nation.
Unlike al-Qaida, Ansar al-Sunnah is believed to be made up mainly of Iraqis, and its apparent strategy of targeting only Americans and those viewed as collaborating with them — Iraqi security forces and Kurds — may have increased its support, in contrast to other groups that have hit more clearly Iraqi civilian targets.
Nearly five months after the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime in April 2003, Ansar al-Sunnah’s first statement surfaced on the Internet, pronouncing itself “a group of jihadists, scholars, and political and military experts” dedicated to creating an Islamic state in Iraq.
The statement was signed by the group’s “emir,” or leader, the previously unknown Abu Abdullah al-Hassan Ibn Mahmoud.
Since then, it has carried out numerous bombings and attacks, the slaying in August of 12 kidnapped Nepalese construction workers, releasing video showing their deaths. In Ansar al-Sunnah claimed responsibility for Feb. 1 suicide bombings against two Kurdish political parties in Irbil, killing 109 people.
In the Irbil attack, the group slipped bombers into the Kurdish party offices during celebrations to set off their explosives. Tuesday’s attack on U.S. forces at Mosul showed even greater sophistication and planning: a bomber — possibly in an Iraqi military uniform — entered a dining tent on the heavily guarded American base and detonated the blast during lunch, killing 22 people, mostly American soldiers and civilians.
Now the group is warning Iraqis not to participate in crucial Jan. 30 elections, promising to attack polling stations.
But who exactly is behind Ansar al-Sunnah and how it was formed remains a mystery. Some experts believe the group splintered from Ansar al-Islam, an al-Qaida-linked group established in September 2001.
Ansar al-Islam was founded by Mullah Krekar, who has been living as a refugee in Norway since 1991. The group vowed to set up a conservative Islamic state in northern Iraq, and its members have trained in Afghanistan and provided safe haven to al-Qaida members fleeing the U.S. invasion there.
The offshoot group may have changed its name to Ansar al-Sunnah — Arabic for “supporters of the sunnah,” of the traditions of Prophet Muhammad — as an attempt to appeal to Iraq’s minority Sunni Arabs, experts suggest.
They chose the name Ansar al-Sunnah to distinguish the Sunni group from Shiite militias, Salah said.
The group seeks an Islamic government and Islamic law in Iraq, stressing its opposition to democracy, which it says replaces God’s rightful rule with that of man.
“We believe democracy is an atheist call that idolizes human beings,” says a manifesto detailing Ansar al-Sunnah’s ideology.
Robert Spencer, at Jihad Watch, points out that this is a quote from Sayid Qutb. Wikipedia has a section on Qutb
, calling him "the central theorist of twentieth-century Islamism
," and saying that he was "the most persuasive publicist of the Muslim Brotherhood
." Qutb believed that "the unity of God and His sovereignty meant that human rule – government legislates its own behavior – is illegitimate. Muslims must answer to God alone."
Sounds great, right?
And it's also important to note that Ansar al-Islam is the Al-Qaeda splinter group that Colin Powell was criticized for citing as implying that Hussein had connections to Bin Laden.
Well, I guess Mr. Powell has been vindicated.
Democracy Marches Forward
New York Post columnist, and retired U.S. Military General Ralph Peters, says Democracy experienced a "vintage year" in 2004. Events in Afghanistan, the Ukraine, Australia, Mozambique, as well as the U.S. have demonstrated the good that comes when people are given the right to vote. From Powerline
Terrorists will do all they can to disrupt the balloting. Iraqis will die for the crime of casting a vote. There'll be local corruption, religious influence, ethnic division, tribal bullying and polling boycotts. After all of our sacrifices, those Iraqis who manage to vote may favor parties whose agendas frustrate us.
But the Iraqis will vote. Not all of them. But millions. Despite the ferocious efforts of the terrorists and insurgents, the Arab world is about to see the first truly free election between the Nile and the Euphrates.
Global pundits will find endless flaws, and many a Washington apparatchik may be troubled by the election's outcome. But the Iraqi elections will be a milestone that no demagogues, America-haters or instant revisionists will be able to wish away.
Democracy works. It doesn't work all of the time, and it doesn't work everywhere instantly. Sometimes the largest tribe wins and believes it has a mandate to oppress minorities. Sometimes the people choose the hater, not the man of hope. Sometimes the thugs get away with stealing the election.
But consider where this world of ours stood 50 years ago. Or 15 years ago. Or even in 2003. Democracy's march is long, hard and painful. But humankind stepped forward in 2004.
U.S. Military Provides Foreign Aid
Anne Malone of the Palm Tree Pundit emails us from Kailua, Hawaii regarding Rocket Man's post below on Tom Friedman:
I laughed out loud at Tom Friedman's complaints about the size of the defense budget and wanting us to give more foreign aid. He must not be aware that our military often provides foreign aid -- right out of that huge defense budget!
Example: My husband (a LCDR in the Navy) was just called in to work this afternoon because of the earthquake and tsunamis. Hell be working on determining needs and providing ships, planes, etc. We'll send help, just like we do whenever there is a hurricane, typhoon, etc. This comes out of the defense budget. It seems all Mr. Friedman wants to see is big numbers on budget items that he likes. It'd sure be nice if he knew what he was talking about, though.
In addition, much of what we are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan is foreign aid. Ask women in Afghanistan if the U.S. Military has aided them. Ask the Shia, and the Kurds, in Iraq.
The United States might need to be doing more to win the propaganda war, because there are too many people who support the war, but seem reticent to make the case for the idea that, ultimately, the war itself is foreign aid.
It does seem Orwellian, I must admit, to carelessly say War is Altruism. And, maybe for that reason, it is a dangerous idea to put forth. Obviously, there are people being killed and displaced from their homes.
I guess I don't know where to come down on this. I'd love to hear comments on this subject.
Is it dangerous to call the War On Terror a kind of foreign aid?
Is A Danger To The World
From Euro/Brazilian blogger Nelson Ascher
As you may all know one of the most widespread memes in the planet nowadays is that religious (Christian) fundamentalism is an exponentially growing phenomenon in the US. According to the spreaders of this meme, fundamentalists have conquered the White House, all red states are basically fundamentalist etc. "Fundamentalist" here means religious fanatic and/or bigot.
Now, though I know Americans are on average more religious than the Europeans, I have seen no real trace of any kind of widespread fanaticism or intolerance in America. The reaction of the so-called tolerant Dutch to a single Islamist murder was, to say the least, much more vehement than the American popular reaction to 3.000 similar deaths.
I've not heard, for instance, of Mosques or of Synagogues being burnt down in the US in the same rhytm they are, for instance, in France or Belgium. Nor of desecrated cemeteries etc.
This is very obvious to any American who really thinks about it. After Sept. 11th there was one attack on an Islamic person in the Southern California and one on a Sikh in Phoenix Arizona. That was it. But, of course, this is not the message spread by the media. We stupid cowboy Americans are the fanatics.
Atheist Stops Believing In
What Is Logically Impossible
To Believe In
I am fascinated with the case of Anthony Flew, the renowned spokesman for atheism who has recently announced that he now believes in the existence of God. The reason I am so fascinated is because I have never believed it when people say they are atheists. I don't believe it because it is impossible to prove a negative. That is a fact of logic
Therefore, there is less reason to believe that God does not exist, than there is to believe the converse. In fact, it requires quite a "leap of faith" to believe without a doubt that there is no God.
This leads me to believe that atheism is a psychological phenomena rather than an act of reason.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Christian apologist Gary Habermas had just finished debating noted British atheist Antony Flew about the existence of God and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The two friends rode an elevator together as they left the Californian university where the debate was held in January 2002. As Habermas exited the elevator, he extended his hand through the open door. "Tony," he said, "this is it for now. I enjoyed talking with you. When you become a Christian, I want to be the first one to know."
Flew laughed and responded, "I think you deserve that right."
The doors closed.
Most observers of the debate never thought that Flew would take steps toward Christianity. The former professor at Oxford, Aberdeen, Keele and Reading universities in Britain had argued against the existence of God for more than 50 years, publishing such books as "Atheistic Humanism" and "Darwinian Evolution."
But in December 2004 the unexpected happened when Flew took a step toward Christianity, announcing that scientific evidence led him to a belief in God.
Habermas was among the first people he told.
Habermas, chairman of the department of philosophy and theology at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., had known that Flew was reconsidering his position since the fall of 2000 when Flew sent Habermas a letter in which the atheist acknowledged the strength of arguments for theism and Christianity."
In September 2000, that's about the earliest indication that I had that he was changing," Habermas said in an interview with Baptist Press. "He wrote me a long letter, quite an incredible letter, where at several points he conceded the evidence for [theism and Christianity]."
When Habermas received the letter, he knew something was happening in Flew's life."
I distinctly remember reading that letter when it came in the mail and thinking, 'Wow, something huge is happening with this guy,'" Habermas said.
Over a period of three years the two scholars corresponded about God. By January 2003 Flew began considering arguments from the "intelligent design" movement and was on the verge of belief in God.
Intelligent design is a theory arguing that some features of the natural world are best explained as the products of an intelligent cause rather than naturalistic evolution."
He told me he was really rethinking theism and had corresponded with [naturalistic scientist Richard] Dawkins and was putting the ID arguments up against what Dawkins was saying and trying to compare the arguments," Habermas said. "And he was going back and forth as to whether he should be a theist or not."
By early 2004, Flew completed his transition to theism and indicated his change of mind to Habermas in a telephone conversation.
When media reports revealed Flew's belief in God in December 2004, some skeptics argued that the former atheist had changed his mind suddenly. But Habermas said such allegations are clearly incorrect in light of the four-year dialogue he had with Flew."
The implications that he's just recently arrived at theism ... and that he hasn't had time to think through this aren't correct," Habermas said. "The first sign that I've seen of him changing goes back to the fall of 2000. So he's been thinking about these things for four years."
Flew currently holds a position known as deism -- the belief that God created the universe but is not actively involved in people's lives today, Habermas said. Because deism is traditionally a "tenuous" position, Flew could move closer to traditional Christianity in the days ahead, he said."
Deism is a very tenuous position, and deistic belief is a short-lived movement in the history of philosophy over the last few centuries," Habermas said. "One reason deism is a troubled position is that it usually moves one way or the other."
Flew could revert back to atheism, Habermas noted. "Still, he has made a number of statements to me indicating that he is open, even to revelation," Habermas said."
Three weeks ago I received a letter from him where he said that he was rereading my arguments for the resurrection and was very impressed with them,'" he said.
Despite his interest in the resurrection, however, Flew remains far from belief in Christianity, Habermas said."
He's told me on many occasions that he was impressed with the arguments for the resurrection ... and he says it's the best miracle claim in the history of religions," Habermas recounted. "So he's impressed with them. Enough to believe? I don't think so, certainly not right now."
The dialogue with Flew highlights the need for Christians to engage non-believers in meaningful, caring friendships, Habermas said. Christian scholars in particular should bear in mind the need to build relationships with non-believing scholars, he said.
There are "benefits of carrying on a genuine friendship with people who do not agree with you on things," Habermas said. "I mean a genuine friendship where you're there for them in season and out of season. You're there for them when they're having bad days. You can tell them things that are on your mind. ... It's not connected to whether the people convert or not."
Christians should rejoice that Flew has adopted a belief in God but remember that mere belief in God falls short of the belief in Jesus Christ that Scripture requires for eternal life, Habermas said."
His deism provides no relief for dying because he doesn't believe in life after death," he said. "It's not ... an 81-year-old who is embracing God so that he can come out on the good side when he dies. If you said that to him, he would say, 'I'm just going where the evidence leads.'"
An interview conducted by Habermas exploring Flew's conversion to belief in God will be published in the winter 2004 issue of Philosophia Christi, the journal of the Evangelical Philosophical Society.
I know what all my non-believing readers are saying out there. You're saying, "Isn't "Evangelical Philosophy" an oxymoron?"
Let me just say, you would be very justified in your little joke, if you did think that.
Islamofascists Kill Imam For Saying Peace Prayers
In India, Islamofascists killed an Imam for saying peace prayers
. Robert Spencer at Jihad Watch says this is supported by the Koran, and that the Koran specifially warns against those "who would keep the other observances of Islam but dare to remove fighting from it":
Hast thou not seen those unto whom it was said: Withhold your hands, establish worship and pay the poordue, but when fighting was prescribed for them behold! a party of them fear mankind even as their fear of Allah or with greater fear, and say: Our Lord! Why hast Thou ordained fighting for us? If only Thou wouldst give us respite yet a while! Say (unto them, O Muhammad): The comfort of this world is scant; the Hereafter will be better for him who wardeth off (evil); and ye will not be wronged the down upon a date-stone. (4:77)
America's Belligerance Feeds The Jihad
SPIEGEL ONLINE is showing its true colors this Christmas season. Instead of interviewing American conservatives in an attempt to promote transatlantic dialogue and understanding, the online publication is once again scraping the bottom of the journalistic barrel. How? By publishing an article on the opinions of an Iraqi kidnapper. Why? You guessed it: George W. Bush is presented in a negative light.
Here is some of what the kidnapper, who until recently held two French journalists hostage, had to say:
“The US attacks on the Taliban regime in Afghanistan after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 have allowed Islamic extremism <>"
According to SPON, that is a major reason the kidnapper “hoped for a Bush victory.”
Well, this just proves it! America should have negotiated with the Islamic terrorists! They should have voted Kerry! The terrorists would have stayed in Afghanistan if it hadn’t been for Bush! The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are to blame for Islamic terrorism!
Can’t we just go back to the good old days before George W. Bush provoked the <> of Islamic terror with his crusades?
Holland Rethinks Multiculturalism
From Little Green Footballs
The murder of one Dutch filmmaker 911 days after the assassination of Fortuyn is described by people in Holland as having had the same effect on their country as the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 in the World Trade Center towers. Dutch people have the sense that, for the first time in centuries, the thread that connects them to the world of Geert Mak’s father, and that world to the world of Erasmus and Spinoza and Rembrandt and William the Silent, is in danger of being snipped. Part of it is the size and the speed of the recent non-European immigration. The Netherlands, with a population of 16 million, has about 2 million foreign-born. By some estimates, a quarter of them do not speak Dutch.
What’s more, the public has been told for two decades now that they ain’t seen nothing yet, that this is only the first wave of a long era of immigration, which they’d better learn to love. The immigrants the country now hosts have been difficult to manage. Part of the problem is the interaction of high immigration and what was for years a generous, no-questions-asked welfare state: As many as 60 percent of Moroccans and Turks above the age of 40—obviously first-generation immigrants—are unemployed, in the only major economy in Europe that has consistently had unemployment at or below American rates.
Most of these immigrants are Muslims. Muslim immigrants had begun to scare people long before Pim Fortuyn, the charismatic populist, turned himself into the country’s most popular politician in the space of a few weeks in 2002, by arguing that the country was already overloaded with newcomers. (Fortuyn was assassinated by an animal-rights activist in May of that year.) Already in the 1990s, there were reports of American-style shootouts in schools, one involving two Turkish students in the town of Veghel. This past October, newspaper readers were riveted by the running saga of a quiet married couple who had been hounded out of the previously livable Amsterdam neighborhood of Diamantbuurt by gangs of Muslim youths.
There were incidents of wild rejoicing across Holland in the wake of the September 11 attacks, notably in the eastern city of Ede. The weekly magazine Contrast took a poll showing that just under half the Muslims in the Netherlands were in “complete sympathy” with the September 11 attacks. At least some wish to turn to terrorism. In the wake of the van Gogh murder, Pakistani, Kurdish, and Moroccan terrorist cells were discovered. The Hague-based “Capital Network,” out of which van Gogh’s killer Mohammed Bouyeri came, had contact with terrorists who carried out bombings in Casablanca in 2003. Perhaps the most alarming revelation was that an Islamist mole was working as a translator in the AIVD, the national investigative service, and tipping off local radicals to impending operations.
The question naturally arises: If immigrants behave this way now, what will happen when they are far more numerous, as all authorities have long promised they will be?
I truly hope that we all can find a way to deal with this problem without burning down mosques and Islamic schools, as has happened in Holland. If the goverments of Europe don't listen to the wishes of their people, and slow the tide of immigration, then I fear a return to fanatic racism in Europe. I could be very wrong. However, the evidence presented by the violence against immigrants in Holland and France, indicates that Europe is vascillating between blind adherence to an outmoded creed of multiculturalist "tolerance" and sheer racist violence.
Associated Press - Just Helping The Terrorists
Tell Their Story
And Broadcast Their Murders
From Poynter Online ("Everything You Need To Be A Better Journalist"), via Little Green Footballs
From JACK STOKES, director of media relations, Associated Press: [This is a solicited letter regarding Salon’s “The Associated Press ‘insurgency.’”] Several brave Iraqi photographers work for The Associated Press in places that only Iraqis can cover. Many are covering the communities they live in where family and tribal relations give them access that would not be available to Western photographers, or even Iraqi photographers who are not from the area.
Insurgents want their stories told as much as other people and some are willing to let Iraqi photographers take their pictures. It’s important to note, though, that the photographers are not “embedded” with the insurgents. They do not have to swear allegiance or otherwise join up philosophically with them just to take their pictures.
In light of this, it is probably important to consider Wretchard's thoughts and questions from his post, Haifa Street
The execution of Iraqi election workers on Baghdad's Haifa street was probably not, properly speaking, a murder. It was a political act. While most killers seek to hide their faces and plan their attacks so no one can see them, these killers scorned masks and chose a busy street in Baghdad to carry out their work because they wanted to send a message. According to Abdul Hussein Al-Obedi of the Associated Press:'
During morning rush hour, about 30 armed insurgents, hurling hand grenades and firing guns, swarmed onto Haifa Street, the scene of repeated clashes between U.S. forces and insurgents. They stopped a car carrying five employees of the Iraqi Electoral Commission and killed three of them. The other two escaped. The commission condemned the attack as a "terrorist ambush."
Two or three dozen people, at the most, would normally have witnessed these events. But due to the great good fortune of the killers, a photographer from the Associated Press was present and pictures of the execution were carried on newspapers throughout the globe, sending the executioner's message not merely to a handful of bystanders to hundreds of millions of readers throughout the world.
A source at the Associated Press knowledgeable about the events covered in Baghdad on Sunday told Salon that accusations that the photographer was aware of the militants' plans are "ridiculous." The photographer, whose identity the AP is withholding due to safety concerns, was likely "tipped off to a demonstration that was supposed to take place on Haifa Street," said the AP source, who was not at liberty to comment by name. But the photographer "definitely would not have had foreknowledge" of a violent event like an execution, the source said.
Here was where the killers really lucked out. The AP photographer, though caught at unawares, who definitely had no "foreknowledge" of what was going down and at the worst expected a street demonstration, did not take cover, even as soldiers and Marines are trained to do when shooting starts. He was made of sterner stuff and held his ground, taking pictures of people he did not know killing individuals he did not recognize for reasons he would not have known about. This -- in the midst of "30 armed insurgents, hurling hand grenades and firing guns" -- as the Associated Press report says. And he continued to take photographs for a fairly long period of time, capturing not just a single photograph, but a sequence of them.
And then, as Wretchard mentions in another post
on the same subject:
The photo itself raises more questions than any conservative blogger ever could. It shows traffic backed up behind the killers, afraid to proceed further. The attack, according to the Associated Press's own account was carried out by "about 30 armed insurgents, hurling hand grenades and firing guns", but the photograph itself is taken from a fairly elevated position, as from a standing person.
The Egyptian blogger Big Pharoah comments
The blogoshere is currently discussing the issue of how an Associated Press photographer managed to stand in the middle of one of Iraq's (and probably the world's) most dangerous roads and shot a picture after another of a ruthless murder in the middle of the day. ... The case at hand has to do with the brutal killing of 2 Iraqi heroes whose only mistake was trying to organize an election in their country. This is a moral case and we, the friends of Iraq and of the troops serving there, should not let this incident pass unnoticed.
Forces For Sharia (Islamic Law)
In The United States
In light of the previous post regarding the imposition of Sharia law in civil cases in Canada, it is important to understand that there are powerful forces at work, trying to accomplish the same thing here in America. CAIR (The Council on American-Islamic Relations), commonly called a "moderate Muslim organization" by our wise and paternal media, has a history of it's leaders calling for Sharia here in America. From Front Page Magazine
“Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith but to become dominant. The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.”
This was the sentiment of Omar M. Ahmad, the Chairman of the Board of the Council on American-Islamic Relations or CAIR, as told at an Islamic conference held in Freemont, California, in July of 1998.
If a recent event taking place in Irving, Texas, is any indication, CAIR also hopes for an American jihad.
The event took place on Saturday, December 11, 2004. The theme was “The Unity of Muslim Ummah around the globe.” [Ummah = universal knowledge of Islam.] The affair was titled “A TRIBUTE TO THE GREAT ISLAMIC VISIONARY.” That “visionary” was none other than Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
On the flier for the event were the words “Neither east nor west,” alluding to Khomeini’s feeling of how the Soviet Union (“Lesser Satan”) in his mind was ultimately just as evil as the United States. It states, “‘Neither east nor west’ is the principal [sic.] slogan of an Islamic revolution....”
The venue was the Metroplex of Organizations of Muslims in North-Texas (MOMIN), certainly a far distance from where someone would think something like this would normally take place.
However, this actually does turn out to be the perfect location for this event, as the website of MOMIN contains: 1. photos depicting Khomeini; 2. a poem that states, “[Hollywood] films are Satanic”; 3. a link to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), which describes (on its website) the Iranian Revolution and overthrow of the Shah as a “triumph”; and 4. a link to a website featuring an entire page dedicated to Khomeini and deifying him, saying he masterminded a “divine uprising.”
In addition, the spiritual leader of MOMIN, Maulana Shamshad Haider Murtazawi, in May of 2004, had the following published in islamicdigest.net, a website that contains anti-Christian, anti-Jewish, and anti-American images and advertisements and propaganda for the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist organization.
Murtazawi wrote, “There are elements within the Shia community who have a certain dislike for the Islamic revolution, Imam Khomeini or Islamic government in Iran. Such people are usually supported by the western governments to win the hearts of the liberals within the Shia Muslim community in the West. If such elements are not flushed out, they will become a menace for our community that will mislead many more. Allah (swt) is the Guardian of the believers.”
The declarations of Omar Ahmad and Murtazawi are not unlike those made in the late 70’s, when an upsurge of anti-American, anti-Western sentiment was beginning to take hold within Iran. Led by an exiled Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the uprising, or “revolution,” was largely a violent fundamentalist response to the secular monarchy of Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlavi (a.k.a. The Shah).
As chaos broke out in the streets of Tehran, Khomeini shouted from afar “Death to America” and referred to the U.S. as the “Great Satan.” Soon the Shah, said to be an American collaborator, would be overthrown, in favor of an Islamic Republic with Khomeini as its leader.
As it turns out, people did attend this dreadful event. And one of the featured speakers was a representative from CAIR, Iyas Maleh, the President of CAIR’s Dallas-Fort Worth chapter. Maleh said of the June handover of sovereignty to Iraq: “Two years from now we’ll be saying, ‘What have we done? We’ve installed a government that the Islamic people do not see as a legitimate government.’”
…confirming that Omar M. Ahmad’s dream is still alive and well, at least within the confines of CAIR.
Sharia (Islamic Law) In Canada?
Canada has opened the way for special "Sharia Courts" for Muslims to deal with personal manners of business and family law. From the liberal Montreal Gazette (via Little Green Footballs
) comes an editorial which clearly stands against the creeping encroachment of Sharia in Canada:
The idea that Sharia law should be allowed a foothold in Quebec is floating around this month with talk of a proposed meeting between Montreal Muslim Council president Salam Elmenyawi and Justice Minister Jacques Dupuis. Sharia in Canada is a thoroughly bad idea that should be rejected promptly and permanently - along with any other impulse to tailor Canada’s justice system to individual cultures.
The cornerstone of a modern, multicultural nation such as Canada is an impartial legal code that governs everyone equally, no matter what their ethnic origin, religion, sex, race or age. Aside from immigration law, our statutes and regulations apply equally to aboriginals, United Empire Loyalists and the newest refugee claimants.
This equal treatment under the law is at the heart of what it is to be a Canadian. Religious-based laws - Christian, Muslim, Jewish or any other - have no place in our system. The state is the font of justice, and strives mightily, if sometimes imperfectly, to make that justice - from criminal sentencing to child support - uniform. Equality under the law cannot be sub-contracted to religious, or any other, organizations.
Stupid Cowboy America
From No Pasaran
Criticism of America often turns into an irrational hate, based on flagrant double standards, arrogance and misperception writes Cathy Young as she recounts a scene that happened to her in Europe in the Boston Globe.
SCENE: An elevator in a hotel in a small town in Germany, about a week ago.
Dramatis personae: Your humble columnist, your humble columnist's mother, a German gentleman in his 60s.
My mother and I exchanged a few words in our native Russian, whereupon the German gentleman inquired amicably, "Russisch?" I explained that we did, in fact, come from Russia originally, but had lived in the United States for nearly 25 years and were now American.
The man's demeanor changed visibly. After a glum silence, he remarked sourly as we were leaving the elevator, "America is always starting wars everywhere in the world. It's not good for people."
I was so shocked that the most obvious comeback did not occur to me until a couple of minutes later, when he was out of sight: "You mean, like World War II?"
I'd heard the stories before — tourists in Europe being subjected to anti-American verbal outbursts. But there's nothing like running into it personally.
…People have every right to be critical of US policies. The problem is that criticism of America often turns into an irrational hate, based on flagrant double standards, arrogance and misperception.
Take my German encounter. First: Sorry to bring up an unpleasant past, but it takes some nerve for Germans to lecture anyone on starting wars. (I don't believe in collective guilt — but if American tourists can be harangued about US policies, it's only fair to remind their accusers of their own country's recent history.)
No less remarkable is the fact that the gentleman was quite friendly when he thought my mother and I were from Russia — a country which doesn't have a stellar record with regard to military aggression. (Hungary, anyone? Czechoslovakia? Afghanistan? Chechnya?) Germans have every reason to love the Russians, I suppose; the Russians built them such a nice wall across Berlin, and free of charge too.
Such double standards abound. For instance: An indignant European chorus that includes France has excoriated the United States for denying judicial protections to suspected terrorists held prisoner in Guantanamo Bay. Yet France's own antiterrorism policies dating back to the late 1980s give police and prosecutors broad powers of preemptive detention and drastically limit the rights of suspects.
To some extent, European-American tensions are nothing new. Many commentators now say that during the Cold War, a common enemy — communism — brought the United States and Europe together in a way that the terrorist threat has not. But they may be overstating the old unity. In the 1980s, the deployment of US missiles in Europe sparked furious opposition. America, led by the "cowboy" Ronald Reagan, was often seen as a greater threat to peace than the Soviet Union. …
That's true. I lived through it. Reagan was constantly portrayed in the media as a stupid cowboy. Sound familiar? When Reagan chose to deploy the Pershing Missiles in Germany there were huge demonstrations of hundreds of thousands of people in the streets of major cities across Europe.
I guess, when taken in the context of history, we should be proud to be called "Stupid Cowboys" by the Euros.