Saturday, February 12, 2005

The Rise Of The Blogs


I used to subscribe to Newsweek Magazine, the New Yorker, and the LA Times. Since 1998, I have also gotten news from Yahoo, Drudge and CNN, as well as talk radio. When the war started, I started to read World Net Daily, which I didn't agree with for the most part, but I found news there that I found no where else.

Gradually I expanded outward from there, reading Townhall, Front Page and National Review, along with the previously mentioned news sources. Then one day in mid-2002, I was listening to Dennis Prager, and he had a guest on named Charles Johnson, from the now famous Little Green Footballs. Over the past three years, I have one by one canceled all my subscriptions (except the LA Times, which I keep for the sports page), and stopped watching television news altogether.

I now get all my news from blogs. I read some twenty to thirty blogs per day. I do still read Drudge about once a day, but he's a sort of blogger himself, isn't he?

Now, why the switch?

Because of the fact that the only news I get on the MSM is of the "Suicide Bomber Kills 12" or "Rumsfeld Says We Will Stay the Course" variety. I consider this to be "No Duh" news. We are in a war. Why would I be surprised when the enemy attacks us? Why would I be surprised when our leaders make a statement of continued determination?

What I want from the news is to know, is there progress towards democracy in Iraq? What big fish have we caught? What is the larger vision for the war?

I find that the MSM doesn't give me these things. Instead, I feel they deluge me with a downpour of irrelavancies and minutiae. Don't get me wrong. I don't want to be lied to. When an Abu Ghraib-type incident occurs, I want to know about it. I want to know why we haven't found WMD's. I want our leaders to have to answer to these things.

However, I don't want such stories to overwhelm the more important issue at hand, which is our progress towards victory in this war.

If we don't win this war, the whole world loses. The MSM doesn't seem to understand that fact. They, like John Kerry, seem to think we could merely go back to the way things were previously.

I would venture to guess that those who, like me, have switched over to the blogs for their news, are people who believe the world changed on 9/11.

The blogs speak of the import and nobility of America's path in this war. The MSM does not. The blogs believe that the world fundamentally changed on 9/11. The MSM does not.

In short, we seem to live on different planets. Now, why would I want to leave the Earth to get my news?

Friday, February 11, 2005

Democracy


Victor David Hanson tells us whyAmerica's policy of deporting democracy is something to celebrate:


1. It is widely said that democracies rarely attack other democracies. Thus the more that exist in the world — and at no time in history have there been more such governments than today — the less likely is war itself. That cliché proves, in fact, mostly true. There are gray areas of course in such blanket generalizations: The Confederates, British, Boers, and Prussians all had parliaments of sorts, but were clearly not as democratic as their adversaries in 1861, 1812, 1899, and 1914. Thus should Iraq become a true constitutional government, it is less likely to invade a Kuwait, pay subsidies to suicide murderers, send missiles into Israel and Saudi Arabia, or gas its own people.

2. More often than not, democracies arise through violence — either by threat of force or after war with all the incumbent detritus of humiliation, impoverishment, and revolution. The shame of the Falklands debacle brought down the Argentine dictatorship in the same manner that Portugal's imperial disasters in Africa steered it from fascism to republicanism. Japan, Germany, and Italy arose from the ashes of war, as did South Korea and in a sense Taiwan as well.
Most likely Ronald Reagan's arms build-up of the 1980s bankrupted the Soviet Empire and freed both its "republics" and the enslaved states of Eastern Europe. So the birth pangs of democracy are often violent, and we should pay little attention to critics who clamor that the United States cannot prompt reform through regime change.

3. Democracies are more likely to be internally stable, inasmuch as they allow people to take credit and accept blame for their own predicaments. They keep their word, or as Woodrow Wilson once put it, "A steadfast concert for peace can never be maintained except by a partnership of democratic nations."

A Hitler, Mussolini, shah, or Pinochet can hijack for a time weak democracies, but they offered no real improvement and only led the people to disaster. Some in desperation talk of the need for a "good" Saddam-like strongman to knock a few heads in the Sunni Triangle — but that vestigial idea from the Cold War would only bring a few months or years of stability at the price of decades of unrest.

4. The democratic idea is contagious. We once worried about the negative Communist domino theory, but the real chain reaction has always been the positive explosion of democracy. When Portugal and Spain flipped, it had an enormous positive effect on moving change forward in the Spanish-speaking world of Latin America — as liberty spread, once-right-wing Chile and left-wing Nicaragua were freed. The Soviet republics and Eastern European satellites without much warning imploded in succession — more quickly even than the Russians had once enslaved them in the late 1940s.

It is not a neocon pipedream, but historically plausible that a democratic Israel, Palestine, Turkey, Afghanistan, and Iraq can create momentum that Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and eventually even a Syria or Iran would find hard to resist. Saudi Arabia's ballyhooed liberalization, Mubarak's unease about his successor, Libya's strange antics, Pakistan's revelation about nuclear commerce, and the Gulf States' talk of parliaments did not happen in a vacuum, but are rumblings that follow from fears of voters in Afghanistan and Iraq — and a Mullah Omar dethroned and Saddam's clan either dead or in chains.

5. In the case of the Muslim world, there is nothing inherently incompatible between Islam and democracy. Witness millions in India, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Turkey who vote. Such liberal venting may well explain why those who blow up Americans are rarely Indian or Turkish Muslims, but more likely Saudis or Egyptians. The trick is now to show that Arab Muslims can establish democracy, and thus the Palestine and Iraq experiments are critical to the entire region.

6. Democracy brings moral clarity and cures deluded populaces of their false grievances and exaggerated hurts. The problem in the Middle East is the depressing relationship between autocracies and Islamists: Illiberal governments fault the Americans and Jews for their own failure. Thus in lieu of reform, strongmen deflect popular frustration by allowing the Wahhabis, al Qaedists, and other terrorists to use their state-controlled media likewise to blame us rather than a Mubarak, Saudi Royal Family, or Saddam Hussein. Yet just as crowded Germans today do not talk of the need for lebensraum and resource-less Japanese have dropped dreams of a Greater Co-Prosperity Sphere, so too a democratic Middle East will more likely look inward at tribalism, patriarchy, fundamentalism, religious intolerance, and polygamy rather than automatically at Israel and the United States when their airliners crash or a car bomb goes off.

7. We fret rightly about the spread of weapons of mass destruction. But the truth is that we worry mainly about nukes in the hands of autocracies like China, Iran, or North Korea. No American loses sleep that the UK or France has deadly missiles. A Russia that used to paralyze American foreign policy by virtue of it atomic arsenal poses little threat as long as President Putin can be persuaded not to destroy his consensual government.

8. The promotion of democracy abroad by democracy at home is internally consistent and empowers rather than embarrasses a sponsoring consensual society. All sensible Europeans and Americans eventually ask themselves why freedom is fine for us but not for others. And if the novel orthodoxy of the post-Cold War era demanded that democracies must cease their support for rightist thugs, the subsequent wisdom is that they should be even more muscular, actively supporting democratic change rather than postfacto politely clapping after its establishment.

9. By promoting democracies, Americans can at last come to a reckoning with the Cold War. If it was wrong then to back a shah or Saudi Royal family ("keep the oil flowing and the Commies out") or to abandon Afghanistan after repelling the Soviets, it is surely right now not to repeat the error of realpolitik — especially when there is no longer the understandable excuse of having thousands of Soviet nuclear weapons pointing at the heart of America.

10. Like it or not, a growing consensus has emerged that consumer capitalism and democracy are the only ways to organize society. We are not at the end of history yet — wars and revolutions may well plague us for decades. But if we cannot achieve universal democracy, we can at least get near enough to envision it. I doubt whether George Bush's vision of ending tyranny in our lifetime is possible, but he is to be congratulated for grasping that in our lifetime most of the world agrees that it should be.

Why The "Charm Offensive"?


From National Review, Denis Boyles (who lives in France) analyzes Condi Rice's "charm offensive" tour through Europe and how it stands in contrast to the reality of current European politics:


Remember Face-Off, the John Travolta-Nicolas Cage thriller about two guys whose mugs get switched by mad science? I was thinking about the movie as Condoleezza Rice, the Iron Lady of the first Bush term, timidly served up crème brulée to a crowd of jaded French pinheads in Paris last week. Wouldn't it be cool, I thought, if she turned aside for a moment, peeled off her face, and when she turned back to the audience she had become Richard Perle? That would soil a few carpets, mes amigos.
But no such luck. Voice shaking slightly, lips quivering — unless that was the French TV camera shaking — she stood in the front of a crowded amphi filled with more than 500 leftwing Frenchies at Sciences Po and, as Le Monde chirpily reported, made nice.

Granted, nice is not terribly difficult when you're shilling a foreign policy based on a lofty platitude like "democracy cures all," especially in front of a crowd that will fawn lovingly on the sentiment of the idea and thoughtfully explore its airier philosophical implications ...
Like Rice, Bush grew in popularity during his first term because of his apparent willingness to ditch the shuck and jive of political cynicism and say and do the things that needed to be said and done. If Bush does a Condi-style sweetness tour when he arrives week after next and starts mush-mouthing garbage about writing "new chapters" with "traditional allies," it'll make words like "To the Iranian people, I say tonight: As you stand for your own liberty, America stands with you" sound like Hawaiian noises ...

The European Left caricatures Americans as naïve yahoos who just want to be liked and are too stupid to know when they're being shafted. No wonder to the European press, the Rice visit was seen as a success. After all, the French foreign minister, Michel Barnier, welcomed the new chapter stuff, explaining to Le Monde, that France wanted its relationship with America to be based on multipolarity — an "alliance" but, he added, certainly not one that included "allegiance."

To Reuters, to the European and American dailies — and even to Matt Drudge — Barnier's drivel was a sign that France wanted to turn over a "new leaf" in its relationship with the US. Maybe it should be noted that "allegiance" means "loyalty" so the French-style "alliance" Barnier has in mind is not only allegiance-free but also seeks to undermine U.S. power in order to give more power to France. That's what we call turning over an old leaf. When it comes to chapter writing, France is sticking with what it knows.

The European press liked the fact that Rice seemed well-behaved and respectful, and even though she didn't quite apologize for the U.S. war in Iraq, her Paris appearance was seen as properly contrite. In the Guardian, Timothy Garton Ash explained that Rice's "conciliatory speech" was Muzak to European ears. "There's no doubt," he wrote, "that the new US secretary of state has conducted an impressive charm offensive during her lightning tour of Europe. She has presented a more elegant face, spoken a more nuanced language and played a sweeter mood music than those whom most Europeans have come to associate with the Bush administration over the past four years."

That's fine, but as Rice was doing her lullaby gig — followed by even more wussified obsequiousness from Rumsfeld, reported in the EU Observer — the rest of the world was being uncooperative.

The EU, which has taken the responsibility of solving the Iranian nuclear-arms issue with its elegant, nuanced, delightfully musical diplomacy, announced it was going to ignore U.S. policy and lift the arms embargo hated by the French and Germans and start shipping arms to China.
For a while, the U.S. stridently opposed this, pointing to China's threats against Taiwan and its abysmal human-rights record, including the widespread cases of genuine torture of Christians, such as some of those itemized here by China Aid. Now arms for China appears to be an issue on which Rice seems willing to surrender, according to a report in the International Herald Tribune. The crazy thing about selling weapons to China is that, despite U.S. protests, China is selling weapons to — where else? — Iran.

Meanwhile in Germany, according to a round-up in Davids Medienkritik anti-Americanism has reached such a feverish pitch that the leader of the opposition is portrayed on a carnival float in Mainz, which will host Bush when he visits Germany, showing her enjoying Bush's "opening" to Germany by climbing into his butt. Actually, click on that link and check out the whole story. German anti-Americanism is hatred in a style only the Germans can fully master.

In France, according to a poll reported in Le Monde, nearly nine out of ten French citizens dislike U.S. policies — about the same amount of non-support the U.S. gets from Germans. Americans who bother to think about it seem a little better disposed toward the Europeans, but really most of us just don't give a damn.

In Pyongyang, the North Koreans announced they have nukes and are willing to use them. Rice's response, as Hadelsblatt reported, was to issue a warning. That's where international diplomacy got us in Asia.

It's exactly where it'll get us in Iran as well, since the Europeans have no intention of playing hardball with the mullahs. And why should they? The French can't even be made to play it tough with the Sudan, for pity's sake, because their oil deals are more important to them than genocide or near-genocide or quasi-genocide or whatever fecal euphemism the U.N. is using this week. (The BBC reports that the U.N. now thinks what's happening in Darfur is something that has "genocidal intent.") If they did, we'd already have a U.N. Security Council resolution with sharp dentures built-in to get the Muslims in the northern part of the country to please stop slaughtering the natives in Darfur.

The mess in Darfur, like the charade in Iran, is the result of letting those who are defenseless and frightened play at diplomacy while leaving the hard business of enforcement up to the global adult. To the European press, and to the EU governments, the world is somebody else's problem, as this report in Le Monde suggests. Nukes in North Korea? Not our concern, monsieur. The job of the Europeans is to quibble and kibbitz, obstruct and exploit.


Denis Boyles is being foolish if he really thinks that Rice's "charm offensive" is anything more than a sophisticated power play. A quote from The Godfather Part III:

"Power is a gun. Politics is knowing when to pull the trigger."

If I were Europe, I would be very worried. Denis Boyles called the United States the "global adult". All children know that they are never in so much trouble as when their parents speak in excessively calm and measured tones. I look forward to the next few months with much fear and trembling. Bush may very well have some very big plans on the agenda.

"Settler Nation" Saves The World


Let it be known at the outset that the title is kind of a joke. Anyway, here is an excert from a Mark Steyn column, published in the London Telegraph. Mark discusses how Europe lives in an anti-American fantasy world, while great changes are being made in the real world:


... in the Guardian, Martin Jacques has moved on to penning orgasmic fantasies of the mid-century when China will bestride the world and America will be consigned to the garbage heap of history.

Jacques's reasoning - the Chinese are an "ancient civilisation" whereas America is a mere "settler society" - is merely a modish gloss on the traditional argument made by the Germans for the better part of two centuries, that they're an ancient volk while the Americans are an artificial uncultured mongrel "half-degenerated sub-race" (Kant in 1775).

Cornelius de Pauw, court philosopher to Frederick II, was peddling the Jacques line in 1768: Americans were "stunted" and their colonies "degenerate or monstrous"; and "in a fight, the weakest European could crush them with ease". Granted the general retro vibe that hangs over Europe these days, it smacks of desperation to have modified de Pauw's line only insofar as claims to crush America's stunted degenerates with ease are no longer made on your own behalf, but that of Johnny Chinaman 50 years hence.

The obsession of the anti-Americans misses the point: it's not about America. Surely even Fisk and the other "experts" aren't so obtuse that they can't see that the one undeniable fact of the election is that there are millions of Iraqis who want change. That doesn't mean they want to turn Basra and Kirkuk into Cleveland and Buffalo, only that they want something other than the opposing cul-de-sacs of secular pan-Arabist dictatorship and death-cult Islamism, which dead-end alternatives are all the region's had to offer for decades.

For want of a better expression, they'd like a "Third Way": so, just as America has New Democrats and Britain has New Labour, here come the New Shia. Ayatollah Sistani isn't like Khomeini and the other old-school mullahs, and the emergence of a moderate pluralist Shia-led federation in Iraq will be as devastating to the Teheran regime's long-term prospects as any Israeli-American strike on their nuke facilities. As the Arab networks' election-day coverage instinctively grasped, the American angle to this story will be increasingly peripheral.

Now I take the point that "democracy" - as in elections - isn't every thing. In the development of successful nations, the universal franchise is usually the last piece of the puzzle, as it was in Britain. Anyone can hold an election: Mugabe did; so did Charles Taylor, the recently retired Psycho-for-Life of Liberia. The world's thugocracies have got rather skilled at being just democratic enough to pass muster with Jimmy Carter and the international observers: they kill a ton of people, put it on hold for six weeks and then, when the UN monitors have moved on, pick up their machetes and resume business as usual.

I prefer to speak of "liberty" or, as Bush says, "freedom", or, as neither of us is quite bold enough to put it, capitalism - free market, property rights, law of contract, etc. That's why Hong Kong is freer than Liberia, if less "democratic". If I had six or seven centuries to work on things, I wouldn't do it this way in Iraq or Afghanistan. But the "war on terror" is more accurately a race against time - to unwreck the Middle East before its toxins wreck South Asia, West Africa, and eventually Europe. The doom-mongers can mock Bush all they want. But they're spending so much time doing so, they've left themselves woefully uninformed on some of the fascinating subtleties of Iraqi and Afghan politics that his Administration turns out to have been rather canny about.



The thing is, if the Europeans didn't have their anti-American fantasies to occupy them, what would they have? The answer is unemployment problems, a social security crisis exacerbated by declining birth rates, immigrants who have no interest in assimilating, and an almost complete lack of physical power in a world where physical power seems to matter more and more everyday.

I love that settler nation thing. That's freakin funny with it's campy Hitlerian connotations. I mean, who talks like that? The only time I hear language like that in this country, it's coming out of the mouth of some poor loser skinhead on one of the daytime talk shows. But such ideas are considered sophisticated analysis in the esteemed Guardian newspaper.

And comparing the United States negatively to China? Yeah, that makes sense. Millions of people are just clamoring at the doors of China trying to get in for a lifetime of that lifestyle, huh? Just think of the day that China will rule the globe. That will be a brave new world.

But, the most important point here in Mr. Steyn's article is that the War on Terror is a race against time before the Islamofascists toxins wreck Southeast Asia, West Africa and Europe. Yeah, that's true, but he left out the United States. We're not spending billions of dollars to save Southeast Asia. We're doing it because we believe we are legitimately threatened by regimes such as the former Iraq, and the current Iran, Syria, and North Korea.

Of course Mark Steyn knows this. He was just trying to make the point that the whole world has a horse in this race against time. That is true, but it would serve America well to be honest with the world. To not try to dress our war up in the finery of nobility. Democracy is only a tool in this war. We believe that, by installing Democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan, we will create a world that will be safer for us. Likewise with saving the world. Western Civilization has been perfectly willing to allow the world to languish as long as it does not threaten us. So, yes, we will beat back the Islamofascism that threatens all those places mentioned, but we do it because we live in the world, and we are dependant on all those nations

But, while I think we need to be honest about our less than altruistic intentions, I absolutely think we ought to celebrate the good that comes out of this war. The burgeoning democracies of Iraq and Afghanistan are causes for great joy and hope. And there is there is a glory to these victories. And we ought to be allowed to bask in our glory for a time.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Sometimes You Just Gotta
Love Your Enemies


From Front Page Magazine:


Ayatollah 'Ali Khamenei is the 'Supreme Leader' of Iran and commands the Iranian military. He is on the forefront of supporting Jihad against America. Many of Khamenei's sermons are broadcast live on Iranian state-controlled television and can be viewed on MEMRI's TV Monitor Project (www.memritv.org).

The Supreme Leader frequently threatens the U.S. against interfering with Iran's nuclear program. On July 5, 2004, he stated to a crowd chanting "Death to America": "We will cut off the hand that is sent to invade and work against our people's interests… If the enemy has the audacity to harm and invade, our blows against it will not be limited to the borders of our country…"

This past summer Khamenei gave a speech broadcast on the Iranian channel Jaam-E-Jam 2 about the same subject: "The enemies of Iran – led by the most despicable of all, the U.S. government … opened their filthy mouths… We have no need for a nuclear bomb… The Iranian people has been defeating America for the past 25 years. The world of Islam has been mobilized against America for the past 25 years. The people call 'death to America!'"

In response to President Bush's State of the Union message on February 3, 2005, Khamenei called the U.S. "one of the lands of a Seven Headed Dragon." As a main propagator of anti-Americanism, the Supreme Leader often compares President Bush to Adolf Hitler and the U.S. to Nazi Germany. An article was devoted to this subject in the Persian daily Jomhour-e Eslami, paraphrasing comments made the week of August 30, 2002 by Khamenei: "The language of the U.S. president resembles the language of Hitler… If Hitler had to show the face of a bloodthirsty dictator, he would have had to adopt [the face of] George W. Bush."

The article continued, describing Khamenei's philosophy that the U.S. is the modern incarnate of Nazi Germany: "There is a great resemblance between the behavior of today's Americans and the behavior of the Nazis… The Americans are infected today with satanic pride and arrogant egotism… Bush is heading towards a dead end on the same path on which the dictators who caused the two world wars."

In a sermon Khamenei gave on April 5, 2002, he declared: "The world has already seen these Hitlers. Earlier [in world history] Hitler intended to do the same. Anyone wishing to challenge the nations' will and power … will be crushed and annihilated… This will be America's bitter end."

Khamenei is confident that the U.S. will soon collapse. He was quoted in Jomhour-e Eslami on May 20, 2004, stating that "the end of the U.S. will begin in Iraq. As the Imam [Khomeini] said, 'One day the U.S. too will be history.' In light of what happened in Iraq, we can see now that he is right, because such events move the U.S. down the slope, and they will taste the bitterness of sure defeat."

One of the Supreme Leader's weapons to be used to defeat the U.S. is Jihad by Iranian students who are willing to become martyrs. Speaking to a group of students in the first week of 2005, the Iranian paper Sharq quoted Khamenei calling on them to embrace Jihad: "The enemies of Iran tried to humiliate and diminish the value of martyrdom [shahada] and the culture of Jihad in the eyes of the youth, particularly students… This [ideal] is the same wondrous element that gives those fighting Jihad for the path of truth the strength to overcome any scheme of the front of hostility."

On January 20, 2005, urging students to continue to promote the culture of Jihad and martyrdom amongst themselves, he stated: "When we encounter the name of a student who committed martyrdom we are confident that the acceptance of martyrdom and of the Jihad that led to this martyrdom stemmed from [the martyr's] self-awareness… This intensifies the value of the act. Sanctify and praise your exalted martyrs…"

In an address broadcast on Iranian TV on October 22, 2004, Khanemei explained: "Jihad means to strive for the lofty values… Whoever fights for these values … Allah's angels point to him in heaven.


You gotta love your enemies when they tell the truth. Here the Supreme Leader of the nation of Iran is encouraging his people to forge a clandestine war on the United States. Well, that is a declaration of war every way but name.

But, of course, when we do finally attack Iran, we will be accused of having made up the threat.

Right.

Anti-Semitic Attacks
Reach Alarming Level In Britain


From Reuters, via Little Green Footballs:


LONDON (Reuters) - Violent anti-Semitic attacks in Britain have reached "alarming" record levels, according to a report released, prompting calls by Jewish leaders for more to be done to protect their community.

The Community Security Trust (CST), which represents Britain's 290,000-strong Jewish community on security matters, said on Thursday there had been 532 "anti-Semitic incidents" -- defined as malicious acts toward Jews -- in 2004, including a record 83 assaults.

The total, which included abuse and threats, was a rise of 42 percent from the CST's 2003 figure, and well above the previous record high of 405 in 2000.

"This increase is extremely alarming. The transfer of tensions in the Middle East to the streets of Britain has resulted in an unprecedented level of anti-Semitic incidents," said Michael Whine, director of communications for the CST.

The Trust said 100 incidents were reported in March 2004 alone. In the worst incident, a Jewish teenager had his jaw shattered in the English south coast city of Southampton.

Last month London police said they were hunting a group of black and Asian men said to be behind a string of racist attacks on orthodox Jewish men in the capital.

A few days earlier, vandals daubed swastikas and other Nazi symbols on 10 gravestones in a Jewish cemetery in Aldershot, southern England, the second time it had been targeted.

Britain's Chief Rabbi, Dr Jonathan Sacks, said the figures were a cause for concern. "The single most important thing is for our community to enlist others to join in the protest against the attacks," he said in a statement.

"Jews must not be left to fight anti-Semitism alone."



I've been the victim of hate crime in my lifetime. I have been beat up for being a "white boy". I don't want to make too big a deal out of it. I was only fourteen at the time, and so were my attackers. I didn't get beat up badly. But, the reason I bring it up is because when you have been attacked because of your race, or you know that people around you are being attacked because of their race, you begin to worry that you are a target, wherever you go. You wonder to yourself, "If I go down this street, or walk into this bathroom, or park my car here, am I going to be attacked?"

I don't really have any sense of the scope of these numbers. I am not familiar enough with Britain to know if the numbers are outlandish. Certainly, the fact that they are a record levels, and the 42% increase, indicate that things are going in the wrong direction. And given the way things are in the media, and among Muslim immigrants in Britain, this is not surprising.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Peace In Out Time?


From Joel Rosenberg at National Review:


Are we really in the last days of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or is this all another Middle East mirage? There are many here in Washington and in Israel who remain understandably skeptical that Abbas is a true peacemaker at heart. But inside the White House and the upper echelons of the State Department there is a real and growing sense that Abbas may, in fact, be the moderate, pragmatic leader for which they have been waiting so long.

Last week I ran into a senior political adviser to President Bush at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington. We chatted for a few moments about the president's powerful State of the Union speech and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's whirlwind tour through Europe and the Middle East. I asked him about the administration's remarkable warmth towards a man who was for years Arafat's chief deputy. "Abu Mazen appears to be the real deal," he told me. "We think we can do business with him, and if we can, we're about to make history."
Consider these recent developments:

Abbas has deployed Palestinian security forces to stop suicide bombers and those trying to launch rocket attacks against Israel — the first time a Palestinian leader has taken such concrete steps to crack down on violence.

Abbas is also threatening to arrest militants if they persist in fomenting violence. As one Associated Press report put it, "Palestinian security forces on Saturday briefly detained three top members of a faction that claimed an attack that wounded two Israelis, officials said, marking the first such move since Mahmoud Abbas was elected leader last month."

Abbas has ordered Palestinian television and radio stations to stop glorifying the Islamic radicals in general and suicide bombers in particular, and to allow the free exchange of ideas on their airwaves. "[Abbas] does not want a screen full of blood," Radwan Abu Ayash, head of the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation, told the London Sunday Telegraph (cited the other day by the Washington Times). "We must avoid bloody things, which are not a good image for our people. He also said that he does not want songs praising him or for us to report on all his activities — only if there is some news value. He wanted a 'free screen' and said that all sides should have the right to talk. These are big changes."
It is early, to be sure. Abbas still has much to do to prove his seriousness about reducing violence. Hamas has already announced it does not consider itself bound by Abbas's ceasefire pledge. And the more Abbas positions himself as a Palestinian Anwar Sadat, the more he risks Sadat's fate — assassination at the hands of extremists.

But there is evidence that even the first few steps by Abbas and his team are already beginning to bear fruit. Since Arafat's death, for example, Palestinian violence against Israel is down 75 percent. And this is why Sharon agreed to a summit with Abbas without direct U.S. participation. It is why President Bush sent Secretary Rice to the region on her first foreign trip. It is why the president has invited Sharon and Abbas to visit him in Washington later this spring, after refusing even to meet with Arafat for the first four years of his administration. It is also why the president decided to elevate the Middle East peace process to top priority status during his recent State of the Union address — because he believes real progress is suddenly possible.

"The beginnings of reform and democracy in the Palestinian territories are showing the power of freedom to break old patterns of violence and failure," President Bush told the nation. "To promote this democracy, I will ask Congress for 350 million dollars to support Palestinian political, economic, and security reforms. The goal of two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace is within reach — and America will help them achieve that goal."
It is without question among the president's most ambitious goals. But with the Saddam Hussein, Yasser Arafat, and the Taliban out of the picture and al Qaeda on the run, it suddenly seems within reach for the first time since the Jewish state was reborn in 1948.


I hope so. It is always wise to keep in mind the fact that Abbas' dissertation claimed that the Jews conspired with the Nazi's to create the Holocaust in order to generate sympathy for a Zionist state. That is a particularly hateful libel. But, ultimately it doesn't matter if your neighbor hates you, it only matters that he doesn't try to hurt you. So, if Abbas turns out to be a practical man who understands that violence will not get his people anywhere, then I say great. It will take a lot of effort to make the Palestinian ship turn around, but I truly hope it happens.

Melanie Phillips has her doubts though:


... what the world finds so hard to acknowledge -- and what we must never lose sight of -- is that the source of this terrible conflict is not Israel’s behaviour. It is not the settlements, the road blocks, the prisoners. It is not, despite the near-universal assumption, the absence of a Palestinian state. The source is the Arab world-backed Palestinian terror war against Israel’s existence.

The onus is therefore squarely on Abbas to end that war by dismantling the entire infrastructure of Palestinian terror. It is possible — and we must all pray that this is so — that he will turn out to be capable of the statesmanship necessary to end this 100-years war of ethnic cleansing against the Jews of Israel, and to give his own community an identity other than the impulse to destroy another people. But the signs are not auspicious.

Abbas, whose own doctoral thesis comprised a piece of Holocaust-denial, has repeatedly said he will not forcibly disarm Hamas, Islamic jihad et al because he will never cause a civil war among the Palestinians.
The uncomfortable reality is that, while it is possible that Abbas will turn out to be a world-class statesman, what looks rather more likely is that he is instead a world-class tactician, who will be able to pose with ostensibly clean hands — and the approval of the gullible, Israel-hating west — disclaiming the murderous terrorism that Hamas and co will continue to inflict upon Israel, thus forcing Israel to react and casting it even more decisively as the regional bully. If this is so, then Israel is in even more danger now than it was in before — the danger of being trapped inside a far shrewder and more sophisticated dance of death.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Does Fox News Count
As Mainstream Media?


Earlier today, I heard a conversation, about the Eason Jordan story, on the Hugh Hewitt show (I think the PowerLine guys were hosting) where Kathryn Lopez of NRO was saying that what will be needed for the Davos Summit people to release the videos of their conference would be for an MSM outlet to start covering the story.

I just heard a great conversation on the Hannity and Colmes Show with Brent Bozell of Media Research Center and Danny Schechter of Weapons of Mass Deception. Bozell and Hannity were demand that Jordan give evidence for his charges. Colmes and Schechter were both trying to deny that Jordan meant the "targeting" was intentional.

I'm glad to see a MSM network is dealing with the story. Hopefully, we'll all get to the bottom of this.

Hey Europe
Submit To The Jizya


As I posted about last week, the Rotterdam Film Festival in Holland canceled the showing of Theo Van Gogh's movie Submission, which was about the abuse of women under Islam, and for which Mr. Van Gogh was murdered in gruesome fashion. The "authorities" were concerned it's showing might incite anger within the Islamic community. Well, guess what. They had no problem with showing Islamist propaganda films. Hmm. From Little Green Footballs:


ROTTERDAM, February 7 (IslamOnline.net) — Two European films shown at the 34th Rotterdam international film festival caused quite a stir among cinema critics and the audience.

Reason? Presenting anti-western attacks by extremists as a retaliation for the mounting hate and persecution campaigns targeting Muslims in the West in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

An Arab film critic hailed the two movies as “a way more effective than bullets to expose the unjust practices” perpetrated by some Western governments against their Muslim communities.


As Charles at LGF notes, this is an excellent example of European Dhimmitude:


... one book published in Saudi Arabia argues:

In a country ruled by Muslim authorities, a non-Muslim is guaranteed his freedom of faith.... Muslims are forbidden from obliging a non-Muslim to embrace Islam, but he should pay the tribute to Muslims readily and submissively, surrender to Islamic laws, and should not practice his polytheistic rituals openly.
Each of the following were forbidden to dhimmis at some point somewhere in the world:

Holding public office. This was very rarely enforced: in reality, many non-Muslims held high positions in Muslim states, including Samuel Ha-Nagid in Spain, as well as others in Egypt and Iraq.

Bearing weapons

Riding camels or horses. Also rarely enforced.

Building houses of worship higher than mosques

Mourning loudly

Dressing in the same way that Arabs dressed. Dress codes, such as forcing all Jews to wear a yellow badge, were sometimes -- but not always -- enforced, so that dhimmis would be visibly distinct from Muslims.


Oh yes, and Europe, you'd better be prepared to submit to the jizya:


Jizyah was applied to every free male member of the People of the Book, non-Muslim communities living in lands under Muslim rule. The collection of the tax was often the duty of the elders of those community, mainly Bishops or Priests.

In return, those who pay such a tax are not required to serve in the military, and are considered under the protection of the Muslim state, with certain rights and responsibilities.


Protection money, huh? Wow, Europe. Sounds like they're offering you a great deal Europe. I advise you to take it, quick, before they change their mind.


The Limits Of Deterrence


Wretchard from the Belmont Club:


Steve Coll of the Washington Post (hat tip: Little Green Footballs) was at a conference on the future of nuclear terrorism at Los Alamos and asked the 60 weapons scientists in attendance to indicate, by show of hands, who thought a Hiroshima-class attack on the US was less than 5%. About four did. That doesn't tell us about the distribution of the degrees of belief of the rest. But Coll's point is made: the possibility of a nuclear attack on the US can't be dismissed.

Although Coll admits that Al Qaeda itself is much reduced, he argues that the sheer proliferation of knowledge has reached the point where a small band of Islamic professionals, inflamed by the idea of Jihad can plot and carry out an attack on their own.

Today al Qaeda is no longer much of an organization, if it can be called one at all. Its headquarters have been destroyed, its leadership is scattered or dead or in jail. Osama bin Laden remains the chairman of the board, increasingly a Donald Trump-like figure -- highly visible, very talkative, preoccupied by multiple wives, but not very effective at running things day-to-day. ...

[But] Imagine the faculty lounge in the theoretical physics, metallurgy and advanced chemistry departments of an underfunded university in Islamabad or Rabat or Riyadh or Jakarta. The year is 2015. Into the room walk a group of colleagues -- seven or eight talented scientists, some religiously devout, all increasingly angry about events abroad. At night, between sporadic electricity outages, they watch satellite television and chat in cyberspace, absorbing an increasingly radical, even murderous outlook toward the United States. By day, as they sip coffee and smoke furtively in each other's company, these scientists spontaneously form a bond, and from that bond emerges a resolve to act -- by launching a nuclear or biological attack on American soil.

Unlike states, which so far have proved deterrable by the threat of retaliation even when led by madmen, this faculty cell may be utterly indifferent to and beyond the reach of the traditional mechanisms of nuclear deterrence.

It is debateable whether al Qaeda was ever deterrable and the hypothetical Islamic faculty cell would be no different. What the GWOT did was deter the states which may have considered supplying al Qaeda-like organizations with the material for building nuclear weapons with the threat of collective responsibility. Deterrence has always, from its inception, been based on this immoral principle and it isn't necessary to approve to recognize it was the case.
For most of the Cold War, opposing nations held each other's civilian populations hostage. Early delivery systems were too inaccurate to target the threatening military assets themselves. With the so-called "counterforce" strategy unavailable, only "countervalue" was available. That meant, in effect, that America was prepared to incinerate every man, woman and child in the Soviet Union in response to a nuclear attack. In most Cold War-game scenarios enemy leaders buried deep in bunkers or circling in command aircraft would be the last to die. Some believed they should not be targeted at all in order to preserve a command structure with which one could negotiate a post-holocaust peace.

To the question 'who might America retaliate against if a shadowy group detonated nukes in Manhattan' the probable answer is 'against everyone who might have stood to gain'. The real strategic effect of the GWOT was been to convince many states that this would indeed happen to them. That the decline in Al Qaeda is possibly due to the implicit threat of collective punishment on the Islamic world is a sad commentary on human nature. But there it is.
Yet 'Islamic faculty cell' example of Coll suggests a day when even the threat of collective punishment will not be enough to obviate the WMD threat. With the proliferation of knowledge and the increasing sophistication of commercially available devices a time will eventually come when small groups can build nuclear or biological devices without state assistance. When private and personal WMD attacks become possible deterrence will lose effectiveness entirely.

But the situation will be even more dangerous than Coll suggests. Long before a faculty lounge in Islamabad or Riyadh realizes it can build a bomb alone and secretly, the same thought will have occurred to individuals in Tel Aviv, New Delhi or Palo Alto. Any Islamic group that believes it can attack New York deniably should convince itself that no similar group can nuke Mecca at the height of the pilgrim season. In fact, the whole problem that Coll describes should be generalized. The only thing worse than discovering that New York has been destroyed by persons unknown is to find that Islamabad has been vaporized by a group we've never heard of.

Perhaps in the long view of history it will be President Bush's commitment to "return humans to the moon by 2020 and mount a subsequent human expedition to Mars" that will prove prescient.


Wow, Wretchard is in a bad mood. He might need to start eating more fiber. Unfortunately, I think he's right. What's to stop us from destroying ourselves? Maybe we had better start looking more seriously into those Peace Studies courses.

;-)

The only thing we can do is the best thing we can think of to do right now. So far, that has gotten us through our problems. The best thing right now is deterrence. Perhaps some technology will become available which will allow the detection of all radioactive materials, and their relative concentration, across the face of the entire glove. A kind of Lojac system for nuclear weapons. Every country would then be notified of all points of radiation within their borders, and would thereby be made accountable. In such a case, deterrence would still be effective.

But, that's just speculation. I'm not very old. I'll probably still be here in 2020. Let's see.

The Road To Joy


File this under, "Gee! Who woulda thunk it?" From Marlowe's Shade:


A very interesting report has come out recently from the Commission on Children at Risk. The commission is made up of a team put together by Dartmouth Medical School, the YMCA and the Institute for American Values.
It paints a bleak picture of children and teams growing up in the modern world:
The commission was convened because of a growing sense that children and teens today are facing a widespread and deepening crisis. "In the midst of unprecedented material affluence, large and growing numbers of U.S. children and adolescents are failing to flourish," the commission said.
Mental and emotional difficulties seem to have afflicted our youth at staggering rates, including depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorder, conduct disorders, and thoughts of suicide – and a wide variety of physical ailments that have their roots in emotional troubles, such as heart disease, irritable bowel syndrome and ulcers.
The report said: "Despite increased ability to treat depression, the current generation of young people is more likely to be depressed and anxious than was its parent’s generation. According to one study, by the 1980s, U.S. children as a group were reporting more anxiety than did children who were psychiatric patients in the 1950s." (Emphasis in original.)
The report compares this profile of youth at risk with that of young people brought up with a strong moral and religious upbringing.
Morality was also one of the things emphasized by the commission’s report. In fact, Hardwired stressed even more than morality – it stressed religion. The commission said a significant body of scientific evidence is beginning to demonstrate that "we are hard-wired for meaning, born with a built-in capacity and drive to search for purpose and reflect on life’s ultimate ends."
The report stated that the human brain appears to have a built-in capacity for religious experience. Using brain imaging, for example, scientists have discovered that such spiritual activities as prayer or meditation actually increase the activity in specific areas of the brain.
Many scientists still don’t delve into those kinds of issues, but some are beginning to see the importance of religion. Psychologist Lisa Miller of Columbia University said, "A search for spiritual relationship with the Creator may be an inherent developmental process in adolescence."
While such science appears to be in the early stages, it does give some added weight to the theory that adolescents who are involved in religion are not simply responding to the way they were raised. As the commission put it: "[T]he need in young people to connect to ultimate meaning and to the transcendent is not merely the result of social conditioning, but is instead an intrinsic aspect of the human experience."
The report suggests that the emphasis on the spiritual makes for healthier, more resilient kids:"
Compared to their less religious peers, religious teenagers are safer drivers and are more likely to wear seatbelts. They are less likely to become either juvenile delinquents or adult criminals. They are less prone to substance abuse. In general, these young people are less likely to endorse engaging in high-risk conduct or to endorse the idea of enjoying danger," the report said.
It added that "religiously committed teenagers are more likely to volunteer in the community. They are more likely to participate in sports and in student government. More generally, these young people appear to have higher self-esteem and more positive attitudes about life."
The key to this is identified by the report as a family and social environment that they term an "authoritative community""
Authoritative communities are groups that live out the types of connectedness that our children increasingly lack," the report said. "They are groups of people who are committed to one another over time and who model and pass on at least part of what it means to be a good person and live a good life."
Among the characteristics that define an authoritative community: It is a social institution that is warm and nurturing; establishes clear limits and expectations; is multigenerational; has a long-term focus; reflects and transmits a shared understanding of what it means to be a good person; encourages spiritual and religious development; and is philosophically oriented to the equal dignity of all persons and to the principle of love of neighbor.
The commission stated: "We believe that building and strengthening authoritative communities is likely to be our society’s best strategy for ameliorating the current crisis of childhood and improving the lives of U.S. children and adolescents."
This is a fascinating concept. From a marketing perspective the name might be a little loaded, I guarantee that if Bush were to use it in a speech tomorrow, the liberals and leftists would go nuts. From a parenting standpoint it makes perfect sense. From my own experience I would describe it like this: The high-road that a child travels on has two curbs on either side. One is Discipline [or Justice] and the other is Love [or Mercy]. If either is lacking the child will go astray. And if we were in the habit of naming roads after their destinations, we would call it Joy.


Well said.

Beasts Imbued With Divine Spirit
Which Way Shall We Go?



My man bls, over at the Topmost Apple chimes in with this important post, wherein he quotes from Saltblog and then has some comments of his own:


From Salt Blog:

For reasserters the the category of sexuality seems to be explained by Gagnon's thesis that homosexuality is essentially a problem of differentiation. This argument assumes that homosexuals are, fundamentally, disordered or defective and should either be celibate or marry someone of the opposite sex. This is called, I gather, a sacral architecture theology, that God created maleness and femaleness.
The second implicit assumption is that this understanding is essential to being a Christian [one is a Christian WOMAN or a Christian MAN]. Interesting to consider, but one worth rejecting. You don't need to be a Christian to recognize that men and women procreate, have children, and this is, numerically, most human beings. But the story, is, fundamentally, a myth - one that explains something about our world, but has little ethical content. It is still an important story to tell.
Surely differentiation is a part of Judeo-Christian culture, but it is not an essential part of Christian theology. The hermeutical challenge is to differentiate between the parts of scripture that are merely cultural; and those that are properly part of Jesus' reign. This is hard work because God speaks through words, which are always culturally laden. If words did not have cultural cues or connotations, they would be incomprehensible.
The problem with Robert Gagnon's argument, and others like it, is that it reduces human beings to their biology, tout court. But all animals reproduce, and some in seemingly quite violent ways. The "unitive" aspect of sexual relations is nowhere in evidence in the animal world, although we recognize that it's an important part of human sexual relations.
In any case, the rules about "marriage" have changed quite a bit since the days of the Hebrew Scriptures. According to Leviticus, a virgin who was raped was required to marry her own rapist. Women could not own property in many cases; in fact, as far as I can tell, women were property in many cases. Adultery was the prohibition against sexual relations with another man's wife; there was no penalty if a married man had relations with a single woman. Men were allowed to visit prostitutes, for instance. In fact, "one man and one woman" is not remotely Biblical; a short list of polygamists in Scripture includes Abraham, Jacob, Esau, Gideon, Moses, Aaron, Davd, Saul, Simeon, and Solomon. 700 wives and 200 concubines, in the latter case!
So haven't we actually improved marriage over the years - particularly where women are concerned? Isn't it "love" and "relationship" that separates human beings from the rest of the animals? And isn't it ironic that the "reasserters" have to end up scoffing at love itself, and at relationship, in order to make their "sacral architecture" theory hold together? Human beings are not defined as their bodies. Our bodies are part of us, of course, and an important part, but what makes human beings human beings are our minds and our hearts. Our minds are what enabled the species to rise out of the ooze and begin civilizing: planning, designing, building, maintaining. Our hearts are what enable us to live together and to help one another. What we actually do is fight together against Nature, because we have no survival tools except for these two.
We are beasts imbued with divine spirit. And so: which of these, then, is the critical aspect of our natures?
We live in a new era in many ways; we're all living longer, many times using artificial means to prolong life. We conquer disability and disease every day in the laboratory. Women worldwide are having fewer children, because they do not have to bear ten and twelve children in order to raise two any longer - and they don't want to, either. Don't we, therefore, perhaps need to have a discussion about "sexuality" in general - not "homosexuality" in particular - and come to some sort of new understanding?


Good stuff, my friend. I'd love to hear more of the arguments on this one. I've never paid attention to the intricacies of theological arguments on the subject of homosexuality.

What I do know is that when I was a kid and my parents weren't taking care of me, it was a lesbian couple who fed me when I was hungry, and gave me water to drink when I was thirsty, and dried my tears when I cried. They did the work of Christ in my life, in a season when my parents were unable to bring themselves to take care of me.

The Derbyshire Derby


I must admit, sometimes, I have such a hard time understanding how a person can arrive at a certain viewpoint that I find myself unable to think that the viewpoint is anything other than immoral. That's the way I feel about this piece by John Derbyshire from National Review. I'm going to give my opinion, but I am asking for help here. Can anyone help me be more fair?

Well, here goes:


I supported the Iraq war as a punitive exercise. After 9/11 it seemed to me that we were in great danger from terrorists getting a nuclear weapon and deleting a couple of our cities. There were, I figured, two things to do about this.

The first was of course to chase down and kill as many terrorists as we could find. This, however, would be like trying to get rid of roaches in a New York City apartment. No matter how many you kill, there are always more; but at least you can keep them on the run, their numbers down at a decent level.

The second thing was to act against terrorist-friendly states. Making nuclear weapons is hi-tech work, needing a large industrial infrastructure. Barring some horrible breakthrough in physics, no terrorist group is going to be able to do it in caves and rooming-house basements. They need help from substantial nations with suitable infrastructure, nations that are inclined to help them. The appropriate action is therefore to either trash those nations' infrastructure, or make them no longer inclined to give help to terrorists. The trashing requires military action, either overt, covert, or delegated; the attitude adjustment might be accomplished by intimidation through example — "killing a chicken to scare the monkey." The Iraq war filled the bill, and I thought it was beautifully done.


Ok, so far, so good.




At what point it turned into an exercise in saving the world, I am not sure.


Wait a minute here. Who's saving the world? What's the moral alternative to helping the Iraqi's rebuild their nation? And what would be the advantage of letting the power vacuum just suck up another dictator and propel him into power?




I don't see the point in saving the world if the world doesn't want to be saved,


Hmm. What is that supposed to mean? Really. Can anyone help me here. I know what I think it means. I think it means that the Iraqi people aren't like us. They don't want to be free. Those little monkeys. They may drive cars, and read books, and build stuff, but they're still monkeys. Just let them go on, and live in the squalor of the country that we wrecked in the interest of our freedom.




... and I can't see that world-saving is anyway essential for our national security.


Derbyshire can't see the ample proof that democracies don't make war on each other? No, I'm guessing Derbyshire is aware of that fact. So, once again, we are back to that he just doesn't care about those monkeys.




Would we, the U.S. of A., be more secure if all the countries of the world were like Denmark? Surely.


No, actually, Mr. Derbyshire, we wouldn't be more secure if all countries were like Denmark. That's the problem. No one else has been doing anything about the Islamofascists. So, we have to step up. Countries like Denmark are too busy giving up the ghost to help out much.




Do we actually have a clue how to bring this happy state of affairs about? I doubt it.


I honestly don't know, my friend. But, I do know that nothing gets done if you don't try. America has gotten where it is by fighting against seemingly insurmountable odds, and pulling out victory, over and over again. I start to wonder if you've actually paid attention to the things you have read in History classes.




But don't all people, everywhere, want to live in freedom? No, they don't. I once spent a year living and working in Communist China. I met many people who yearned for freedom. My rather strong impression, though, was that the majority couldn't have cared less.


Is that because the Chinese are monkeys too, Mr. Derbyshire? No, I don't think any human beings are fundamentally different. We Americans don't deserve to be free any more than any of the other peoples of the world.

Now, here's my opinion. Get ready, this is very politically incorrect. The problem in China is the problem everywhere where freedom does not flourish. The problem is bad ideas.

In China, the particular bad ideas come predominantly from Buddhism, Confucianism, and the paganistic "Chinese Religion" with it's ancestor worship. Buddhism and Confucianism both have very beautiful qualities as religion.

I have read quite a few books on Buddhism. I am a fan of Thich Nat Hanh, for instance. I practice meditation. I have actually been able to heal myself of digestive problems, which plagued me throughout my life, through the practice of meditation. So, I am very aware of the good points of Buddhism. In fact, since I believe that I am proof that meditation works, one could say that I am a believer, in some form, of the tenets of Buddhism.

But, Buddhism's main idea is that of acceptance. The central problem of life, as far as the Buddha was concerned, is suffering (dukkha). The cause of suffering in desire (tanha). The way to eliminate suffering is to overcome desire. The way to overcome desire is to learn to accept. To understand that the world is as it is. To accept the world as it is.

Confucianism, similarly, emphasizes acceptance, in the form of adherence to tradition.

Now, what happens when an entire nation of people are trained that acceptance and adherence to tradition are the central tenets of life? What happens when they are trained that way for thousands of years?

The answer is they become slaves to the tradition. Those who are slaves to tradition are going to have a very hard time trying to motivate anyone to rebel against the government. I do not accept the idea that this means the Chinese people do not want to be free deep down. No, I believe that Chinese people are the same as us. To believe that they are different seems racist to me. Am I wrong here? Help me out.

I could, to some degree, understand making a Nietzchean power-based argument to the effect of "The Iraqi's and Chinese are weak because they won't stand up for themselves. And, if we make it our business to save the weak, then all that does is propagate weakness, and then the weak will gain power through procreation."

I can understand such an argument. But, few people are willing to say such things in public. Maybe this is what Derbyshire thinks.

I wouldn't make such an argument myself for two reasons.

1) because I am a follower of Christ, and as such, I believe we are supposed to feed the hundry and clothe the needy.

2) because the history of America has not born out the Nietzchean argument. What was the American Revolution if not the empowering of the weak, the masses, the rabble, the bungled and the botched, to use Nietzche's phrase?

The empowering of the weak has only shown the endless resources of the human spirit when it is given a chance to flourish. It is true that there are many people, maybe even most, who squander their freedom for a life of addiction and slavery of various kinds. But, the question then becomes, would you sacrifice everything America has given the world because of those who squander their freedom?

The answer should, be "No", Mr. Derbyshire, if you're sitting there scratching youself with a quizzical look on your face.

To his, uh, credit, Derbyshire does go on to admit that he just doesn't care about the Iraqi people. They can descend into chaos, for all he cares. As long as they don't have a infrastructure with which to build nuclear weapons. What a vision. That'll be something to ponder when you're on your death bed, Mr. Derbyshire. My contribution to the world was the, "Let them descend into chaos" Plan for Geopolitical Affairs.

Wow.

Monday, February 07, 2005

The Fanatics Have Fewer and Fewer Answers


From Christopher Hitchens, participating in a symposium, in Front Page Magazine, on the inevitabity of Democracy:


Christopher Hitchens: Since the overdue removal of Saddam Hussein, and the extraordinary elections in Afghanistan, there have been unmistakeable signs of democratic and modernising tendencies in Syria, in Lebanon and in Iran. One cannot therefore capitulate to fatalism and say that Islamic societies are immune to the common human wish for a civilized, law-governed, open society. To that extent, Mr. Sharansky is quite right, and it is very moving to see that the ideas of Academician Sakharov can be promulgated and re-transmitted in this way. Sharansky was also quite correct in pointing out the authoritarian subtext of the so-called "Oslo accords", and would no doubt agree that Arab Palestinian members of the Knesset were demonstrating the virtues of democracy, often against considerable odds, even when many of them were Communists.

Many of those Palestinian leftists and democrats were and are Christian, which brings me to another point. The Muslim world, especially under Turkish rule, was often exemplary in its attitude to minorities. But the contemporary Arab world is not. The Berbers, the Copts, the Jews, the Kurds, the Maronites....it's an awful record, which we do nothing to improve when we unconsciously accept the claim that Iraq, say, is an Arab and Muslim state when it is, in reality, no more so than America is a white and Christian one.

The critical argument concerns the possibility, to put it no higher, of a "Reformation" within Islam. In one sense, this is unlikely, because - rather to its credit - Islam has no Papacy or clergy which can simply ordain a change of doctrine or a revision of faith. However, from Indonesia to Western Europe, there is a struggle over the interpretation of the religion and its book, and the adaptation of both to other cultures and to modernity in general. The "fit" between this and democratization is not by any means an exact one, because it very often happens that the "reformers", like our Puritan forebears, are more exacting in their religious zeal than some of the Islamic regimes that they seek to challenge.
However, the process has at least begun, and the fanatics have fewer and fewer answers, which is why they employ ever-crueller and more stupid tactics. We must be ready at all times and in all ways to lend a hand in forwarding and encouraging this debate, which is why the nonsensically-named "war on terror" is actually a struggle, as an earlier Russian hero put it, "for your freedom - and ours".


Clearly, there is a tendency in human beings to see their enemies as monolithic, unchanging, and all-powerful. Being that our enemies are human beings, constrained by the same forces of humanity and nature as we, this is never the case. Hitchens here makes a great point that as we provide more and more positive answers for the Muslim world, the Islamofascists reasoning will come to look increasingly inhuman and barbaric to the peoples of the Arab World.


Ward Churchill
Anti-American, Anti-Semite


Wretchard, from Belmont Club, discusses Paul Campos' editorial stating that Ward Churchill is a fascist:

The most interesting part of Professor Campos' article lies in his description of fascism, all the elements of which, he argues, are present in Churchill's work.

As a political inclination and an aesthetic style, fascism is marked by, among other things, the following characteristics:

The worship of violence as a purifying social force.

A hyper-nationalistic ideology, that casts history into a drama featuring an inevitably violent struggle between Good and Evil, and that obsesses on questions of racial and ethnic identity.
The dehumanization and scapegoating of opponents ... demands that the evil in our midst be eradicated "by any means necessary," up to and including the mass extermination of entire nations and peoples.

The treatment of moral responsibility as a fundamentally collective matter.

Campos argues that these propositions would probably have been intolerable if uttered by a white man but were possibly countenanced because they emanated from an oppressed Native American who may happen to be -- oops -- a white man. But despite its potential for comedy, Professor Campos finds nothing funny in the matter. He asks how such a ridiculous situation could have arisen in the first place.

The question of whether a serious research university ought to hire someone like Churchill is laughable on its face. What's not so funny is the question of exactly how someone like him got hired in the first place, and then tenured and named the head of a department.

That, in the end, is a more important question than what will or ought to happen to Churchill now. Churchill is a pathetic buffoon, but the University of Colorado is far from alone in having allowed itself to toss intellectual integrity and human decency overboard in the pursuit of worthy goals. ...

That through whatever combination of negligence, cowardice and complicity we have allowed Ward Churchill to besmirch those ideals by invoking them in the defense of his contemptible rantings is now our burden and our shame.

While the University of Colorado is casting the Churchill controversy as a freedom of speech issue (that's simplifying it a little. See Eugene Volokh for a real lawyer's take) some thought ought to be given to University's obligation to provide a reasonable standard of instruction to students. Students attend a university to receive a sound education and a credential. There is an implicit contract between the student and university that a reasonable education will be provided in exchange for the time, effort and money spent studying. It is hard to see how the University's end of the bargain will be kept if it allows it students to be instructed in ethnic studies by a fake Indian teaching fascism. One might be forgiven for wondering whether the students aren't being shortchanged.

So, what are Ward Churchill's credentials? Edward Alexandre, at Front Page Magazine, provides some insight:


Prior to this incident, Churchill's scholarly reputation was based mainly on a squalid tract called A Little Matter of Genocide (1997), in which he argues that the murder of European Jews was not at all a "fixed policy objective of the Nazis," and accuses Jews of seeking to monopolize for themselves all that beautiful Holocaust suffering that other groups would very much like, ex post facto, to share.

He also argues that Jewish "exclusivism" had nearly erased from history the victims of other genocidal campaigns, and that Jewish scholars stressed the Holocaust in order to "construct a conceptual screen behind which to hide the realities of Israel's ongoing genocide against the Palestinian population."

He not only likened Jewish scholars who have argued for the unique character of the Holocaust to neo-Nazi Holocaust deniers; he said that the Jews are worse than the latter-day Nazis because "those who deny the Holocaust, after all, focus their distortion upon one target. Those [Jewish scholars] who deny all holocausts other than that of the Jews have the same effect upon many."

Given the current academic atmosphere, it is a safe bet that what might delicately be called Churchill's shortage of sympathy in the Jewish direction made him a strong candidate to head Colorado's Ethnic Studies program. Such "academic" extremism is the order of the day on campus, and Churchill’s ideology of hatred is just one small example of an all too prevalent phenomenon on campus.

In the aftermath of 9/11, a professor at University of New Mexico effervescently declaimed: "Anyone who can blow up the Pentagon gets my vote." An academician at University of Massachusetts told his students that "The American flag is a symbol of terrorism and death and fear and destruction and oppression."

At Columbia University, Professor Nicholas DeGenova vaulted to national renown when he declared, at an anti-war rally in March 2003, that "U.S. patriotism is inseparable from...white supremacy" and then expressed the "wish for a million Mogadishus in Iraq." (This was a reference to the 1993 incident in Somalia when eighteen U. S. troops were killed.)

In June 2002, Trent University philosophy professor Michael Neumann declared (in Alexander Cockburn's online publication Counterpunch) that "if an effective strategy [for promoting the Palestinian cause] means encouraging vicious, racist anti-Semitism or the destruction of the state of Israel, I still don't care." And Noam Chomsky, the godfather of anti-Americanism (and the person whom historian Arthur Schlesinger long ago (1969) called the consummate "intellectual crook") pontificated: "Let me repeat: the U.S. has demanded that Pakistan kill possibly millions of people..." And so on ad nauseam.

These professorial fulminations all follow an anti-American, anti-Semitic, tenacious attachment to the motto: "the other country, right or wrong." And this uniformity of opinion often has a comic element to it, for these extremist professors nearly always present themselves as brave dissenters confronted by a mob of thick-skinned louts; in fact, they belong, more than any other segment of American society, to a community of CONSENT, in which "diversity" means that people look different but think exactly alike.
But what is more disturbing than the opinions uniformly expressed is the hysteria, bordering on mental imbalance, which characterizes them. People we used to think of as harmless drudges pursuing moldy futilities are now revealing to us the explosive power of boredom, a power that may well frighten us.

God, it gets old, me pointing all these anti-Semitic, anti-American people from around the world. It almost seems like I'll just call anybody these names, for almost any reason. But, come on, I mean how could you call Ward Churchill anything else. Campos' declaration that Churchill is a buffoon is accurate, but, as Edward Alexandre points out here in the Front Page article the level of hysteria is disturbing and, even, frightening.

People like Churchill may not live in the real world, but their words impede on the real world and have an effect. We need to start taking them very seriously.

Eason Jordan
The New Benedict Arnold?
Malkin Talks To Senator Frank
About Eason Jordan


I have ignored the Eason Jordan story on this blog til now merely because I have been overwhelmed and I don't think I have anything to add to the great work of Hugh Hewitt, Captain's Quarters, LGF, Powerline, or Michelle Malkin. But, here's a news scoop I can't help but post. Michelle Malkin talked to Senator Barney Frank and he confirmed the story that Jordan did, in fact, claim, at the Davos Conference, that the American Military has "targeted" journalists:



Just got off the phone with Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who spoke with me about Easongate. Rep. Frank was on the panel at Davos.

Rep. Frank said Eason Jordan did assert that there was deliberate targeting of journalists by the U.S. military. After Jordan made the statement, Rep. Frank said he immediately "expressed deep skepticism." Jordan backed off (slightly), Rep. Frank said, "explaining that he wasn't saying it was the policy of the American military to target journalists, but that there may have been individual cases where they were targeted by younger personnel who were not properly disciplined."

Rep. Frank said he didn't pay attention to the audience reaction at the time of the panel, but recalled that Sen. Dodd was "somewhat disturbed" and "somewhat exercised" and that moderator David Gergen also said Jordan's assertions were "disturbing if true." I have a call in to Sen. Dodd's office and sent an e-mail inquiry to Gergen.

I asked Rep. Frank again if his recollection was that Jordan initially maintained that the military had a deliberate policy of targeting journalists. Rep. Frank affirmed that, noting that Jordan subsequently backed away orally and in e-mail that it was official policy, but "left open the question" of whether there were individual cases in which American troops targeted journalists.

After the panel was over and he returned to the U.S., Rep. Frank said he called Jordan and expressed willingness to pursue specific cases if there was any credible evidence that any American troops targeted journalists. "Give me specifics," Rep. Frank said he told Jordan.
Rep. Frank has not yet heard back yet from Jordan.

***
Jay Rosen interviewed BBC director Richard Sambrook, who was also on the panel, and has significantly different recollections of what Jordan said.
(Pastorius note: Here's why you shouldn't believe Richard Sambrook):

Captain Ed, intrepid Eason-watcher, reacts to the Sambrook statement with proper skepticism and once again puts Jordan/CNN's stake in proper perspective.

***

Bill Roggio of Easongate.com will be on the radio at 1:20pm EST today to discuss the latest developments.

And Jim Geraghty asks: Is this about right and left? Or right or wrong?

Jordan's claims are either true (which I seriously doubt) or they veer very close to the treasonous. My opinion is that if it is proven that Jordan is lying, then we have a new bar set for traitorous behavior. Eason Jordan appears to be the new Benedict Arnold. He should not only lose his job, but he should be ostracized from American society altogether. Let him move to France. They'll love his lies there.

I love how the BBC's Sambrook is covering for Jordan. What a load.