Saturday, March 19, 2005

Who Is This Man? Posted by Hello

I have my suspicions.

If Bush Was Right, Then Who Was Wrong?
The State of Euro Politics In the Light Of American Victories

From the British daily, the International Herald Tribune, via No Pasaran:

"Middle East on the Move, Is Bush to Thank?", a newspaper's banner headline quite fairly asked Europeans last week. What a terrifying premise.
Perhaps not for scores of millions of Arabs. But if George Bush is proven right on Iraq, and more than a bit responsible for the Arab Spring of shaky political advances now shimmering from Egypt to Saudi Arabia, then it's a frightening development and delegitimizing situation for European politicians from Spain to Germany.

They are pols like Gerhard Schröder and José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero who essentially won election by running against Bush and the Iraq war. Leaving the talk of freedom or jihadist terrorism to the yahoos, they have linked their futures to what they supposed would be the eternal vote-cornucopia of resistance to Bush's vision for the Middle East.

Adding France and Belgium, the group widens to include governments that hoped to leverage their stance on Bush and the war into a genesis myth for a Europe redefining itself as America's counterweight.

Until the elections in Iraq, in this view, Europe's wishful identity as both moral superpower and tower of wisdom had been demonstrated to the world through Bush's headfirst dive into the hopeless Middle East.

Now, things are happening that suggest the start of a change in European mind-set in the zone where the Bush administration usually was called dumb and dangerous.

… Could this be European revisionism on Bush? In any event, when it comes to movement in the Middle East, Laurent Murawiec, a French security affairs expert, wrote that progress certainly wasn't the work of the Holy Ghost or "the very French strategy based for so long on not 'isolating' terrorist killers" like Hezbollah.
The newspaper Le Monde, whose headline asked if Bush was to thank for the flicker of hopefulness in the Arab world, published a reply from official but unnamed French voices. Naturally, they said, France couldn't deny the power of American influence and military presence in the region, but instead they insisted the winds of change did not emanate from the war in Iraq, where little was yet resolved.

In this version, the advances in the Israel-Palestinian conflict yielded no credit to Bush for his refusal to deal with Yasser Arafat; or, indeed, introspection about the years of diligent French support for him. Rather, Bush's essential Middle East contribution had been pressuring Israel to enter talks with the Palestinians again.

Such is the region through French theoretical eyes. In fact, events have made France something of an American ward on the Lebanon-Syria issue, a situation that tacitly gives Bush his due more meaningfully than anything France could say.

When the Syrians pushed Jacques Chirac's intimate friend, Rafik Hariri, out of power in Lebanon, the gesture signified to the Middle East that French protection or practical leverage there meant little or nothing. To respond to this affront, and to jab at its former friends in Syria, France enlisted the Bush administration last fall to produce a joint Security Council resolution calling for the immediate withdrawal of Syrian forces from Lebanon.

Then came Hariri's assassination a month ago. Because it refocused Arab attention on the incapacity of France to act alone in any material fashion in the region, the French hewed to the Bush line on the specifics of a Syrian pullout and supporting Lebanese democracy. On Iran's nuclear arms program, if the Americans have endorsed the European negotiating plan for now, it has come at the cost to France of a public promise to the Bush administration to help it in bringing Iran before the Security Council if the talks fail.

Unlike Schröder, Chirac has the personal luxury of staying away from immediate grief arising from the new facts. Schröder must go to the polls next year in German circumstances of disastrous unemployment and the weakest growth prospects in Europe.

Alongside that lost economic strength and the appearance of Bush-led change in the Middle East, add an increasingly ludicrous Schröder campaign boast of Germany re-emerging as a political force in the world on the basis of his opposition to the Iraq war.

Still, given a year to maneuver and Arab democratization more time to crystallize into reality, Schröder, as Europe's most facile political chameleon, might find a way to persuade his electorate that his steadfastness turned Bush into a peacemaker.

This revisionist reach is virtually impossible for Zapatero. In Spain's schoolyard of hand-on-throat politics, Zapatero seems required to inflict defeat every day on the conservative allies of his predecessor, José María Aznar, a vibrant supporter of Bush.

Saying that Bush may have gotten something right — Zapatero invited George Soros, Gary Hart and Tariq Ramadan, the Islamist political battler banned in the United States, to a conference here last week to insist that Bush hadn't — would mean the end of a domestic war Zapatero wants to continue roaring.

And that's not to mention disdain for looking at the world as it is.

Congress Steps In On Terri Schiavo
The Case Will Go To Federal Court

From Associated Press:

WASHINGTON - Congress leaders announced agreement Saturday on legislation they said would allow a severely brain-damaged woman to resume being fed while a federal court decides the right-to-die battle between her parents and her husband.

We think we have found a solution" to the Terri Schiavo case, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, said at a Capitol Hills news conference. "All sides agree that this is the best way to proceed."

Final approval was expected Sunday when the House planned to meet in a special session, he said. The Senate planned to pass a resolution Saturday evening that would let House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., call the House into session on Sunday.

DeLay said President Bush (news - web sites) would sign the bill as soon as it got to him.
A White House spokesman, Jeanie Mamo, said the president, who was at his Texas ranch "was supportive of the efforts by congressional leaders. We remain in contact with Congress and the president is being kept apprised."

The compromise was similar to a Senate bill passed Thursday that would let a federal court have jurisdiction in the Schiavo case. House Republicans had favored broader legislation that applied similar cases that questioned the legality of withholding food or medical treatment from people who are incapacitated.

What Is Freedom?

There a great discussion/argument going on over at The Kafir Consititutionalist between the Kafir himself, and sometimes CUANAS commenter TVD, regarding the meaning of freedom. Highlights:

TVD responded the First Lesson of Pooklekufr Constitutionalism:

The flaw in Madden's thinking is that he does not allow us the freedom to enter into any social contracts we wish.
This is not Madden's error. Madden argues that the only purpose of government is to protect the right of humans to form voluntary associations so long as they bring no harm to others.Think about it this way: your mother's freedom exists only in the restriction on every other human from initiating physical force against her. Do you believe that the prohibition from robbing, raping, murdering, or defrauding your mother is a serious restriction on your "freedom"?There is no such thing as "freedom to." Freedom only has meaning when it refers to the absence of force.

The only free man is the hermit.
You are falling into the "Salurian Fallacy." Freedom is not the ability to do whatever one wishes.
Freedom is the absence of coercion.
Once man joins the City (Plato here), he is no longer "free" in the way Madden contemplates it. I expect my wife not to sleep with others, and promise not to either. Of course we are "free" to do so, but our City of two will crumble if we do, and it won't be pretty. What Madden imagines is anarchy, and anarchy is no more freedom than statism is. In the end, they are both tyrannies---rule by the strongest.
What do you mean? Do you mean that your requirement not to be coerced in any significant way limits me? That I am not "free" because I cannot rob or murder you? Do you mean that my requirement not to be coerced by you in any significant way limits you? That you are not "free" because you cannot rob or murder me? Do you mean that a society ordered on the principle that law exists only to ensure that no man initiates physical force against any other man, is "anarchy"? Do you mean that my claim to freedom is a tyrannical imposition to your claim to freedom, and vice versa? Please leave me another comment and explain why you think anyone should feel constricted by another person's liberty.
It goes on like that, over several different posts. Very thought-provoking and worthwhile.

Krauthammer Hurts Philosoraptor
Pastorius Dresses The Wounds

From an article by Charles Krauthammer, via Powerline:

It is not just that the ramparts of Euro-snobbery have been breached. Iraq and, more broadly, the Bush doctrine were always more than a purely intellectual matter. The left's patronizing, quasi-colonialist view of the benighted Arabs was not just analytically incorrect. It was morally bankrupt, too.

After all, going back at least to the Spanish Civil War, the left has always prided itself on being the great international champion of freedom and human rights. And yet, when America proposed to remove the man responsible for torturing, gassing and killing tens of thousands of Iraqis, the left suddenly turned into a champion of Westphalian sovereign inviolability.

A leftist judge in Spain orders the arrest of a pathetic, near-senile Gen. Augusto Pinochet eight years after he's left office, and becomes a human rights hero -- a classic example of the left morally grandstanding in the name of victims of dictatorships long gone. Yet for the victims of contemporary monsters still actively killing and oppressing -- Khomeini and his successors, the Assads of Syria and, until yesterday, Hussein and his sons -- nothing. No sympathy. No action. Indeed, virulent hostility to America's courageous and dangerous attempt at rescue.

The international left's concern for human rights turns out to be nothing more than a useful weapon for its anti-Americanism. Jeane Kirkpatrick pointed out this selective concern for the victims of U.S. allies (such as Chile) 25 years ago. After the Cold War, the hypocrisy continues. For which Arab people do European hearts burn? The Palestinians. Why? Because that permits the vilification of Israel -- an outpost of Western democracy and, even worse, a staunch U.S. ally. Championing suffering Iraqis, Syrians and Lebanese offers no such satisfaction. Hence, silence.

Until now. Now that the real Arab street has risen to claim rights that the West takes for granted, the left takes note. It is forced to acknowledge that those brutish Americans led by their simpleton cowboy might have been right. It has no choice. It is shamed. A Lebanese, amid a sea of a million other Lebanese, raises a placard reading "Thank you, George W. Bush," and all that Euro-pretense, moral and intellectual, collapses.

The Philosoraptor doesn't appreciate Krauthammer's tone:

Shame on Krauthammer

It's hard to know what to say about Krauthammer's latest screed in the WaPo. I've actually been doing a lot of reflecting on W and his role in recent events, trying to look at it all from different angles, trying to see whether there's any rational way to grant him credit for recent developments. Irrational partisan drivel like Krauthammer's piece is not making my attempts at objectivity any easier, I've got to say.

I came back from Spring break with the intention of asking us all to consider the following: most of us seem to give credit to FDR for pulling the U.S. toward involvement in WWII against its will. Well, I do, anyway. Fighting Hitler was morally obligatory but most Americans didn't realize that. Consequently, FDR was forced to act anti-democratically, in ways designed (at least in part) to entangle us in affairs most of us had no desire to become entangled in. Although Pearl Harbor came along and decided the matter, that doesn't change anything.

So, if these actions redound to FDR's credit, then it seems that the following general principle must be true: a (in particular, democratic) leader acts rightly if he convinces his country to do the right thing, even if this requires deceiving the electorate.

But if that principle is true, then George W. Bush deserves credit for getting us to oust Saddam, even though he had to deceive us in order to do it. Considerations of consistency seem to prevent us from judging FDR one way and W another.

The difference, however, is that democratizing the Middle East was, so far as anyone can tell, never the real goal of W's invasion of Iraq. We still don't know what the real goal was, and may never know.

Does anyone smell the aroma of gears grinding just a little too hard? Well, at least the Philsoraptor's name is appropriate because, really, he appears to be living with a worldview whose time has long since passed.

And also, while I'm flinging the insults, I think I should compliment the Philosoraptor on an incredible line of unintentional satire, embedded in his piece. Let's look at it shall we?:

I came back from Spring break with the intention of asking us all to consider the following ...

For anyone who was a fan of Screaming Memes, tell me, was that a funny line, or what? I'm not even going to go into why, because if the Philosoraptor happens to technorati his blogsite, and find that I've linked to him, I'd prefer that he be left wondering just what it is about that line that would be so funny to me.

I imagine it as being like a koan that I'm giving him. You know like a little question he can turn over and over in his his mind,

"What's so funny about me coming back from spring break and posing something for us all to consider? What's so funny about that?"

until one day, he achieves enlightenment.


But now that I'm done having my fun at his expense, I will deal a bit with his content. That would be the fair way to play, wouldn't it?

Mr. Raptor... Uh, may I call you that? Ok, Mr. Raptor, you say that clearly the evidence of WMD's was cooked. Now, think back. Do you remember that, in the lead up to the war, many nations were expressing their belief that Saddam had WMD's and WMD programs? Remember?
Do you remember that among the nations that were expressing such a belief were France and Germany?

So, were France and Germany cooking the evidence?

The Philosoraptor says that Krauthammer's "irrational partisan drivel" makes it hard for him to be objective. I can understand that. It's hard to admit you are wrong.

The thing is, Mr. Raptor, when you say someone has "cooked" the evidence, you are accusing them of a perpetrating a fraud. When you accuse a person of fraud and it turns out that you are wrong, then an apology is in order.

Oh yes, and just to be clear with you, because I can see you're having a little trouble keeping things straight, that apology should be from you to Bush, not the other way around.

Got it?

Michael Schiavo Is A Piece Of Work

From Reuters:

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. (Reuters) - As a severely brain-damaged Florida woman lay dying on Saturday, the husband who has long fought for her right to die assailed Republican congressmen for their last-minute attempts to keep her alive.

Michael Schiavo spoke out against the maneuvers in Washington a day after doctors followed a court order and removed the feeding tube that has kept Terri Schiavo alive for the last 15 years.
"They should be ashamed of themselves," he said in an interview with the CBS "Early Show." "Leave my wife alone. Leave me alone."

Intervening in the highly public right-to-die case, Republican congressional leaders sought in recent days to block the court order and keep the tube in place by subpoenaing Terri Schiavo to appear before hearings and committees later in the month. The move would have granted her protection as a witness in a congressional inquiry.
But the Florida state judge in the case, Circuit Judge George Greer, rebuffed the effort and said his order for the tube to be removed on Friday should go ahead.

If Michael Schiavo gets his way with regards to Terri, in two weeks or so he will count as a murderer, according to my understanding of the definition of murder.

Why doesn't he just give over custody of Terri to her parents?

Vegetable? Posted by Hello

If This Is A Persistent Vegetative State
Then You Might As Well Murder Me
First Five Minutes of Every Morning

Please Click Here and See The "Vegetable"
They Want To Murder

Friday, March 18, 2005

Michael Moore Is A Big, Fat, Money-Grubbing,
Democracy-Hating Idiot

From the San Francisco Examiner, via No Pasaran:

First, Michael Moore threw his creative weight and his celluloid into defeating President Bush's re-election. Then he made a big push for an Oscar nomination. He lost on both counts.

Why didn't the former golden boy of Hollywood who championed the anti-war, anti-Bush, anti-America movement with his dishonest propaganda piece "Fahrenheit 9/11" garner an Oscar nod? Is the Hollywood crowd wising up to the limited appeal of extremism, or has Moore worn out his welcome?With characteristic zeal, Moore campaigned vigorously for a best picture nomination.

But the Hollywood elite turned up their surgically sculpted noses at Moore's flick. Urbanski explained that Hollywood has had it with Moore. Many blame him for provoking conservative voters and contributing to John Kerry's defeat in the presidential election. He's become the No. 1 favorite target of leftists.

"In certain [Hollywood] circles he is a shutout," Urbanski said.

Why would Moore's former manager be so forthcoming in his criticism?"Michael Moore makes a substantial living going into peoples' private lives. Sneaking up on them," Urbanski said. So Urbanski feels no compunction in talking about the only client he ever fired. In fact, he fired Moore with a 10-page letter.

"A more dishonest and demented person I have never met," Urbanski wrote me in an e-mail, "and I have known a few! And he is more money obsessed than any I have known, and that's saying a lot."

Urbanski believes that Moore hates America, hates capitalism and hates any normal concept of freedom and democracy. This seems odd, considering that if it weren't for America, freedom and capitalism Moore's brand of expression and capitalistic success would be impossible, if not illegal.

Come Right Out And Say It, Why Don't Ya?

James Lileks writes about the "controversy" surrounding the nomination of Paul Wolfowitz to head the World Bank. Via LGF:

This morning I was clicking around, following some links about Wolfowitz’ nomination to the World Bank (mrghmghfm) (surpressing mad laughter) (mrghmghfm) (Sorry, mwa HAHAHAHAHA) and encountered one of those brand-name sites I don’t visit much because the proprietor has nothing to say and no particular skill at saying it. He referred to that “filthy Wolfowitz.”

Do you often come across the word “filthy” applied to many politicians? No. Can you recall which group, in the last, oh, 60 years, got tarred with that word most frequently? Just curious. If the word rings no bells for you, then I’m overreacting. Obviously rung no bells for the author. I expect he will be equally unaffected if Trent Lott refers to “that uppity Rev. Jackson.”

Bush On Free Speech and The FCC

From Free Republic:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush said parents should turn off their televisions if they feel the programs being broadcast violate their standards of decency.

In a taped interview to be aired on the public affairs channel C-SPAN on Sunday, Bush waded into the thorny debate over how far the government should go to clamp down on indecent antics on radio and TV.

"As a free-speech advocate, I often told parents who were complaining about content, you're the first line of responsibility; they put an off button (on) the TV for a reason. Turn it off," Bush told C-SPAN interviewer Brian Lamb.

Honoring Arafat On The Way To The Holocaust Museum

From Powerline:

The New York Sun's Meghan Clyne has rounded up an impressive set of quotes commenting on Kofi Annan's laying a wreath at the grave of Yasser Arafat while visiting Israel earlier this week to attend the opening of the new Holocaust museum at Yad Vashem: "Annan's bow at Arafat's grave sparks outrage in city." Perhaps the most astute of the many quotes in this piece is Rep. Jerrold Nadler's:

To Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat who represents parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn, Mr. Annan's tribute to Arafat was symptomatic of the anti-Semitism ailing his organization. "A lot of what is wrong with the U.N. is nicely summed up by the fact that Kofi Annan, who goes to Israel to participate in the dedication of a memorial museum to Jewish victims of the Holocaust, lays a wreath at the grave of someone whose career was murdering Jewish civilians," Mr. Nadler said.

Also deserving of special recognition is Jeffrey Wiesenfeld's observation:

Jeffrey Wiesenfeld - one of the members of the United Nations Development Corporation, the city-state entity overseeing the [U.N.'s planned] expansion - was also outraged by Mr. Annan's gesture. "It's certainly not in his self-interest, nor in the interest of the image of the U.N., to put a wreath at the grave of such a vehement Jew-hater," Mr. Wiesenfeld said, adding that he would be no more appalled if Mr. Annan had honored the grave of Hitler henchman Adolf Eichmann, who implemented the Nazis' "Final Solution.

"As far as Jews are concerned, the only difference between Eichmann and Arafat is that Eichmann mechanized Jewish murder, and Arafat would do it, as they say, on the installment plan. The concept is the same," Mr. Wiesenfeld, who is the son of Holocaust survivors, said.

The Transcendant in Music
The Primal In Children

I absolutely love the new post at Pond Ripple. Here's an excerpt:

... it is something special everyone (i hope) has experienced when you hear words or music that connect to your soul. Really, it is a gift. It is like seeing a counselor, or friend, or (once in a million) a lover who truly understands, who “gets” it. A moment of longing fulfilled. A second where your heart finds footing, something to grasp on to.

There is a place for the easy, fun music that just makes you want to move – even that feeds your soul, and then, there is a magical place where a portion of lyrics, a simple song, a movement from Mozart, a haunting melody – melts callouses and touches deeply, inscrutably. The finger of God that reaches to Adam on the Cappella Sistina. An electric shock. It burns, cuts to the quick, cauterizing wounds, making way for new life.

I am not jealous of this talent I have been the beneficiary of (I mean that I have received the benefit of the talent, not the talent itself), that would be like child coveting her generous father's wealth. I am just so grateful these gifted ones are compelled to share. How empty life would feel without music. It is really impossible to imagine.

Anyway – in a completely different vein: my girls crack me up. Of course.They find every opportunity they can to shed clothing, especially Eva, the 2 ½ year old. I would worry, but all the kids I have known have this built in modesty factor that kicks in around the ages of 6-8 years (yes, even European kids :) That also seems to be the magic age for potty and private things being devastatingly hilarious, “hee, hee, she FARTED. Oh, your FARTS are so stinky... etc.. etc... ad nauseam."

Anyway, If I am starting to change her clothes she says, “Mama, may I peese be naked?” and (yelling) “hey, I'm naked, yeah!!” and then automatically she begins to run around in the buff. How primal.

A couple of days ago she was naked in preparation for her bath, but as dinner was on the stove, and I was distracted, she was just running around crazy, happy. I walked into the entrance area of our home to see Eva, on our tile floor, with two glove type potholders on her feet, and not a stitch of clothing on her bod, sliding around saying, “wheee, I'm ice skating , wheeeee!”

And today – after I had asked Eva to get her grundies on, I was in the bathroom with Zoë when I heard a sound that made my heart sink to my gut. I heard the heavy dresser drawer shut, hard, and then a few seconds later, a piercing wail. So sad! I went quickly to make sure there were no lonely digits hanging out in the bottom drawer, and to try to soothe the hurt “feelers”.

When I saw Eva, naked of course, she was crying and smacking her hand on her bottom. I thought it was some kind of reactive gesture because she had hurt her hand so badly. I kept trying to get a look at it to try to find visible damage, but she kept jerking it away from me and hitting her behind. (what in the world?)

Anyway, between the sobs she chokes out that her hand didn't get hurt, but she managed to shut her tiny butt cheek in the drawer...and she has the mark to prove it.Don't ask me how, I still can't picture it!

Poor, strange child.

Great Moments In The History Of Protestantism

Who said this:

... set fire to their synagogues or schools and bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them. This is to be done in honor of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christians, and do not condone or knowingly tolerate such public lying, cursing, and blaspheming of his Son and of his Christians.

Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed. For they pursue in them the same aims as in their synagogues.

Answer here.

Thanks to Tom at The Kafir Constitutionalist for emailing this quote to me:

Judge Attempts To Slap Down United States Congress

After Tom DeLay and other members of Congress subpoenaed for Terri Schiavo to appear as a witness before Congress, now some idiot judge in Florida thinks he can tell the United States Congress who's boss.


PINELLAS PARK, Fla. - The presiding judge in the case of Terri Schiavo ruled Friday that the feeding tube keeping the brain-damaged woman alive must be removed, despite efforts by congressional Republicans to block the move by seeking her appearance at hearings.

Pinellas Circuit Judge George Greer refused a request from U.S. House attorneys to delay the removal, which he had previously ordered to take place at 1 p.m. EST. Greer determined that it should go forward about an hour after another judge issued a temporary delay blocking the tube's removal.

"I have had no cogent reason why the (congressional) committee should intervene," Greer told attorneys in a conference call, adding that last-minute action by Congress does not invalidate years of court rulings.

Now, that's arrogance.

Uh, judge Greer. Did you know that the United States is a Democratic Republic, not an Oligarchy of judges? In a Democratic Republic the People's Representatives ought to trump you, you puny little piece of ...

I think we need to start thinking about this situation in terms of it being the last straw. The judicial system is completely out of control.

How long, oh Lord?

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Iranian Democracy Demonstrators Proclaim
"Europe Is Finished" and Then Burn French Flag

From LGF:

According to received reports from various cities in Iran, today which marks the first celebration of the Iranian New Year’s Festival of Fire was met with celebrations as well as huge protests and demonstrations against the Islamic regime of Iran. The protestors chanted: “We need no Sheikh or Mullah, we curse YOU - RUHOLLAH!”

A report from Tehran: Young celebrants today set scarecrows in the likeness of various Mullahs, such as Khamenei, Rafsanjani, Khatami, Sharoudi, Jannati, etc. on fire in the streets. They cried out slogans such as: “Referendum, referendum, this is the people’s dictum.”

In various parts of the capitol, celebrations and parties rage on. As a part of this celebration which is held on the very last Tuesday night of the year, dry bundles of bramble and shrubbery are set on fire and people jump over them. This is in order to purge their spirits of all the sins and tribulations of the passing year, in order to start the new year, with a pure heart. This is an ancient Persian (Zoroastrian) tradition, one that the Mullahs have done their best to eradicate since their takeover in 1979.

An eyewitness reported that despite severe crackdowns by the Revolutionary Guards and storm troopers, people bravely came out of their homes to celebrate. The sound of bursting firecrackers (which is a part of the celebrations), fireworks, toy rockets, confetti and various other celebratory trajectiles can be heard all over Tehran and smoke has filled the streets.

In one of the grassy knolls, in a suburban area of Tehran, large bonfires were lit and people danced around it and continued chanting the various slogans in defiance of the Mullahs and their henchmen. It is reported that the local Mullahs in various areas of several areas have locked themselves in their mosques fearing the crowds who continually and collectively shout out their slogans.

In several other parts of Tehran, revolutionary guards who have blocked off roads in order to stop cars carrying passengers of various groups from joining others. However people have begun parking their cars and have joined their fellow celebrants on foot. The guards however have become frightened by the force of the people. In this specific area several non-Iranian journalists were also present with their film crews, reporting.

In another area of the city people took to setting the French flag on fire while chanting: “Europe is finished and so are their Mullahs.” OR “Bush, Bush, where is Bush?” (In Persian this rhymes: Bush, Bush, kush, kush!).

Meanwhile the French are desparately trying to convince themselves that Bush has nothing to do with the move towards Democracy in the Middle East:

The newspaper Le Monde, whose headline asked if Bush was to thank for the flicker of hopefulness in the Arab world, published a reply from official but unnamed French voices. Naturally, they said, France couldn't deny the power of American influence and military presence in the region, but instead they insisted the winds of change did not emanate from the war in Iraq, where little was yet resolved.

In this version, the advances in the Israel-Palestinian conflict yielded no credit to Bush for his refusal to deal with Yasser Arafat; or, indeed, introspection about the years of diligent French support for him. Rather, Bush's essential Middle East contribution had been pressuring Israel to enter talks with the Palestinians again.

Such is the region through French theoretical eyes.

America: The Judeo-Christian Nation

From Town Hall:

Some Jews and Christians object to the term “Judeo-Christian.” How can there be Judeo-Christian values, they argue, when Judaism and Christianity differ? In a previous column, I explained that one should not confuse theology with values. Theological differences are not the same as value differences.

Nevertheless there are some value differences between the religions.

But that is precisely the greatness of Judeo-Christian values: They are greater than the sum of their parts. That is why in this series of essays I have been making the case for Judeo-Christian values, not for all Christian values and not for all Jewish values.

The combination of Jewish Scripture (the Old Testament) and Christian thought and activism – as worked out mostly in America and mostly by Judeo-based Christians – has forged something larger and more universally applicable than either Judaism or Christianity alone.

Let me give two examples of specifically Jewish and Christian values that are not Judeo-Christian values. As Judaism developed, it developed a legal system (Halakha) that increasingly aimed to separate Jews from non-Jews. One purpose was to keep Jews from incorporating pagan practices and values into the one monotheistic religion. Over time, however, it was also a result of the constant decimation of the Jewish people by antisemites. Jews, for good reason, feared disappearing. Thus survival – in part through avoiding social contact with non-Jews – became the primary concern of Jewish life, not influencing the world. Whatever the reasons, Judaism retreated from the world. Judeo-Christian values bring Jewish values back into the world.

An example of a Christian value that is not Judeo-Christian is Christianity’s traditional emphasis on faith above works and on an exclusive credo. Many Christians, including those who forcefully advocate Judeo-Christian values, believe that one must profess faith in Christ in order to be saved, that no amount of good deeds a person may perform, even if that person also has a deep belief in God (the Father), suffices in God’s eyes. And though Catholicism has emphasized works along with faith, for most of Church history, the importance of works was restricted to Catholics. Non-Catholics, no matter how good, were often denied salvation and frequently persecuted solely for their different faith (e.g., Huguenots and Jews).

Until the twentieth century, European Christianity, as embodied in the Church, de-emphasized its Jewish roots, and it usually persecuted Jews (though never ordered, indeed opposed, their physical annihilation – annihilation required a secular ideology, Nazism). No Christian state referred to itself as “Judeo-Christian.” That identity arose with the Christians of America, who from the outset were at least as deeply immersed in the Old Testament as in the New. The American Christian identified with the Jews rather than saw himself as simply superseding them.

These American Christians chose a Torah verse – “Proclaim liberty throughout the land” – for their Liberty Bell; learned and taught Hebrew; adopted the Jewish notion of being chosen to be a light unto the nations; saw their leaving Europe as a second exodus; had every one of its presidents take the oath of office on an Old and New Testament Bible – and while every president mentioned God in his inaugural address, not one mentioned Jesus.

Of course, most Protestant Christians who hold Judeo-Christian values continue to believe that there is no salvation outside of faith in Christ. But precisely because they do hold Judeo-Christian values, they work hand in hand with others whose faith they deem insufficient or incorrect (e.g., Jews and Mormons). So while they theologically reject other faiths, evangelical Christians are the single strongest advocates of Judeo-Christian values.

They are what can be called “Judeo-Christians.” Since they founded America, such Christians have recognized the critical significance of the Jewish text – the Old Testament – which forms the foundation of Judeo-Christian values. It provided the God of Christianity, their supra-natural Creator, the notions of divine moral judgment and divine love, the God-based universal morality they advocate and try to live by, the Ten Commandments, the holy, the sanctity of human life, the belief in a God of history and that history has meaning, and moral progress. All these and more came from the Jews and their texts.

But while the Jews provided the text, the Christians brought the text and its values into the world at large and applied them to a society composed of Jews, Christians, atheists, and members of other religions.

Those Judeo-Christian values have made America the greatest experiment in human progress and liberty and the greatest force for good in history.

And they are exportable. In fact, they are humanity’s only hope.

Can I get an Amen!?!

Iraq And It's WMD Factory
Organized Looting or Carefully Planned Military Operation

The other day the New York Times ran an article which revealed that Saddam had WMD capabilities. Liberal British writer, Christopher Hitchens, comments. Via Little Green Footballs:

My first question is this: How can it be that, on every page of every other edition for months now, the New York Times has been stating categorically that Iraq harbored no weapons of mass destruction? And there can hardly be a comedy-club third-rater or activist in the entire country who hasn’t stated with sarcastic certainty that the whole WMD fuss was a way of lying the American people into war. So now what? Maybe we should have taken Saddam’s propaganda seriously, when his newspaper proudly described Iraq’s physicists as “our nuclear mujahideen.”

My second question is: What’s all this about “looting”? The word is used throughout the long report, but here’s what it’s used to describe. “In four weeks from mid-April to mid-May of 2003 ... teams with flatbed trucks and other heavy equipment moved systematically from site to site. ... ‘The first wave came for the machines,’ Dr Araji said. ‘The second wave, cables and cranes.’ ” Perhaps hedging the bet, the Times authors at this point refer to “organized looting.”

But obviously, what we are reading about is a carefully planned military operation. The participants were not panicked or greedy civilians helping themselves—which is the customary definition of a “looter,” especially in wartime. They were mechanized and mobile and under orders, and acting in a concerted fashion. Thus, if the story is factually correct—which we have no reason at all to doubt—then Saddam’s Iraq was a fairly highly-evolved WMD state, with a contingency plan for further concealment and distribution of the weaponry in case of attack or discovery.

Well, gee, who woulda thunk it? How about France, Germany, Poland, Britain, Italy, Spain, the United States, Israel, Russia, all the other Middle Eastern countries, and, uh, Australia. I'm sure I've forgotten some. All these countries were convinced that Saddam had WMD's before the war, and most were willing to put their money and, indeed, their lives on the line to back up their belief.

This means that in addition to the questions posed here by Mr. Hitchens, another reasonable question is, why is it that George Bush has been left to take all the blame when all these nations were saying the same thing?

The Political Aspirations Of Islamism
And Why They Are Incompatible With Democracy

In followup to the previous post wherein TVD made the point about Al Qaeda's recruting points, it is also important to understand that terrorist organizations have larger political objectives. From Front Page Magazine:

Terrorist organizations are not just independent actors whose sole goals are to create terror and chaos—they do have political objectives. This is sometimes overlooked and easy to forget, especially when the media constantly bombards us with images and endless columns that portray Islamist terrorism as a type of phantom menace without political infrastructure.

... Islamist politics is not some kind of nebulous, unquantifiable structure; it has emerged as a major force in the Middle East and South East Asia. In this respect, while Islamist terrorist groups clearly have political objectives, it is essential to understand that they also have powerful, political backing. A minority in the Islamic world may perpetrate the violent tactics of terror, but terrorism itself enjoys widespread support from individuals and nations alike.

The reality here is that these Islamist groups are waging a civilizational battle to transform the Middle East and do so with help from legitimate political figures and nations. One such group is the Jamaat-i-Islami, a renowned fundamentalist group with ties to terrorism that was formed through the leadership and teaching of Maulana Abul Al Maududi and is prominent in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Another group allied to the fundamentalist cause is the Muslim Brotherhood, which was formed by Hassan Al-Banna. The Brotherhood is mainly prominent in Arab countries; however, the Islamist movements frequently share ideas and use each other’s works to consolidate their ideology. The first Jihad in Afghanistan, for instance, was a major factor in the blending and co-operation of Islamist designs.

The JI and the Muslim Brotherhood have been vocal in spreading Shari’a law and in their rejection of all western ideologies and institutions. They have stated that they want to defeat western liberalism and secularization, which they see as the greatest threat to the Muslim world. But every time these groups have managed to gain power in countries like Afghanistan and Sudan, their anti-Americanism is accompanied with the abuse of human rights and the promotion of hatred and intolerance.

Negotiating with terrorist groups or labeling militants “reformers” only serves to legitimize the Islamist movement and give it a stronger political infrastructure. Islamic scholars and Middle Eastern experts have scoffed at this type of thinking as simplistic, but in this, they only protect Islamism’s ideology of hate and totalitarianism and nurture its growth.

The political objectives of the Islamist movement cannot be allowed to progress-violent or non-violent. Islamists believe that the laws of society must be made from the passages of the Quran. In democracies, we believe that laws are progressive-they change. We believe elected representatives should implement and write laws. Islamists, on the other hand, believe this should be done by unelected religious clerics, which by the very nature of Shari’ a law makes them fundamentalist. They want a theocracy with no separation of church and state.

When Islamists speak of democracy, they don’t mean they want to have a government and political systems with wide-ranging views and opinions. Islamist parties just want one or two elections, which will get them into positions of power. Saudi Arabia’s free elections, for instance, meant anti-western Islamist clerics gained wide support, and some cynics say the Saudis knew that this was going to be the outcome, and this is why they had the elections. Whatever the case, we must recognize that democratic reform must be accompanied by clearly defined strategies to combat the very ideology of Islamism.

Promoting freedom of speech and basic human rights are paramount in tackling the stagnation and tension in the Muslim world, but we must be carefully that our promotion of democracy be accompanied with effective strategies to combat Islamism in all its many forms. Otherwise, democratic reform could become yet another shield behind which Jihadi groups hide to plot their murderous designs.

So, in other words, the anti-Americanism of Islamism is inherent, but it is not the objective. The anti-American resentment is a good recruiting tool, and a good way to foster unity among the followers of Islamism, but the larger goal is the setting up of a Sharia state, which is incompatible with Democracy.

How The War On Terror
Took Al Qaeda's Primary Recruting Points Away

I was reading a post from Philosraptor the other day and sometimes CUANAS commenter TVD made some good points in an ongoing discussion over there. The subject of the post was "The Iraq War Helps To Recruit Terrorists." TVD disagrees and makes some very cogent points:

If you examine their documents from before 9-11 and the Iraq War, Al-Qaeda's 2 strongest recruiting points were the US military presence in "The Land of Two Holy Places (Mecca and Medina)," Saudi Arabia, which were needed there to keep an eye on Saddam, and in a larger sense, the hopelessness offered by the Western-supported tyrannical governments of the Muslim world.

Al-Qaeda offered itself as a remedy to both, and could not be engaged only with force because they were essentially correct about those things. Removing Saddam and the subsequent "democracy initiative" answered both. US troops are out of Saudi and freedom is on the march.

Al-Qaeda has been transformed from being "the base" (its literal translation from Arabic) of a worldwide liberation movement to just another would-be tyranny among many.

Tom's point is so obvious, and yet I've never heard anyone point that out before. I suppose there are those who are motivated to hatred of America by the War On Terror. However, even al-Zarqawi admitted the other day that he's having trouble finding martyrs.

Boo hoo.


The other day I was reading Tom's thoughts, over at The Kafir Constitutionalist, and I was impressed with a particular idea he presented. Here it is:

All of Pooklekufr Constitutionalism is derived from one simple lesson: humans require the freedom to think and act without coercion.

To repeat: humans require for life, that they do not have guns held to their heads, electrodes held to their genitals, chains on their feet, or pliers held to their teeth. In other words, I am free if and only if you are not "free" to initiate force against me, and vice versa.

I wrote to Tom that, in my opinion, he's on to something very important. The idea that Freedom is about being able to act without coercion is well established. The idea that we need to be able to think without coercion, while recognized by some, is not truly an established idea as of yet.

I believe this will be one of the great human rights battlegrounds of the 21st century.

It is pretty clear to everyone that our world has fundamentally changed. However, I still hear people bandying about the term "Postmodern" on an almost constant basis. I don't think we live in a Postmodern age anymore. I remember for a short period of time, just after 9/11, there were people calling it the "End of Irony." I thought that was somewhat apt, but limited.

I don't think our change in ages began with September 11th. It began earlier than that, although a precise date would be impossible to pin down. (September 11th is more a symptom of the change in ages, than it is the cause.) The fall of the Berlin Wall is a tempting event to name as the changing point, but others can argue it out. I'm not up to it right now.

I would call our current age, the Age of Pre-Futurism. Here's my thinking: The time we are living in is laden with decisions about our future which will fundamentally effect what it means to be human. These decisions are impossible to ignore, yet it is almost impossible to comprehend their magnitude.

Sixty years ago we aquired a sort of omnipotence with the creation of the atomic bomb. We now have the ability to destroy all of human civilization in the blink of an eye. But, that was only the beginning. In the near future, it has become apparent to those who are doing the work, we will aquire a sort of omniscience as well. As the speed of computing inevitably increases, and combines with camera technology, biotechnology, and other technologies, our capacity for surveillance will increase so as to become all-pervasive. I believe it is inevitable that human beings themselves, their output, input, thoughts, and inquiries, will be "connected" to the internet, as an aid and/or impedence to thought.

In the early days, such human connection to the internet will be basic. We would be able to use our thoughts to make "Google" type inquiries for information. But, I believe that, as biotechnological implants become more sophisticated, the human brain itself will meld with the internet.

I'm sure this would seem like a preposterous idea to some, but I'm going to roll with it here in the interest of philosophical inquiry in preparation for decision-making about our future.

If the human brain does indeed meld with the internet in order to increase the capacity and speed with which individuals can think, then all of our thoughts will become susceptible to interfence by outside sources, including the government. Such interference, in such a world of thought, would become the equivalent of physical force. In that sense, interference with human thought would be the proverbial "gun against the head." It would be the electrodes held to genitals, chains on the feet, and pliers held to teeth.

Privacy is set to become the major human rights front of the 21st century, just as Free Speech was the human rights front of the 20th century.

Conservatives opposed to abortion are fond of pointing out that the American Constitution does not guarantee a right to Privacy. But, in what I see as the inevitable future coming our way, violations of Privacy will be the equivalent of the Abortion of Thought and thus Freedom in it's fetal stage. It will become necessary to amend the Constitution to include a right to Privacy.

We need to start taking the right to Privacy, and the concept of a Zone of Privacy, extremely seriously. A Zone of Privacy is required for Freedom of Thought. (I agree, by the way, with our Declaration of Indepence when it says that these rights were endowed to us by our Creator and that's why I am capitalizing the words). I am very disappointed in the American Christian Church because of it's lack of understanding of the importance of a Zone of Privacy to the Freedom of mankind.

Clearly, no Christian would deny that Prayer is necessary for people to come to follow Christ. If they can understand that, then, on a spiritual level, they ought to be able to understand that a kind of prayer, in other words thought, is required for all human decision-making. No Christian would deny the importance of silence, contemplation, or in the modern parlance, "alone time with God," as a requirement for Prayer, but Christians are many times the first to jump on the bandwagon of the limitation of information which ought to be distributed in the public arena. Such a limitation of information in the public arena, in a world where peoples thoughts are connected to the internet, would truly be a violation of the Freedom to Think, and therefore, the Freedom to Create.

It is not hard to see how a violation of the Freedom to Think leads to the impedence of thought in the lives of Humans. Already, as we drive the streets of our major cities, we can see that cameras mounted on traffic lights, in the interest of "safety," cause people to hesitate and make bad choices as they approach intersections. Rear end collisions have risen as people, afraid of being sent a ticket, slam on the brakes. This is a perfect metaphor for what the violation of our individual Zone of Privacy does to our ability to be Creative and Free human beings.

Enough said about Privacy, for now.

There is one other area in which humans face a decision about our inevitable future. This decision is also brought to us by advances in biotechnology. We face the very real possibility, and many biotechnologists would say inevitability, of being able to prolong the span of human life indefinately. The question posed by such an inevitability is, how will human beings, who are already so bored and angry with only 70 years at their disposal, deal with the choice and possibilities presented to them by 700 years?

My guess is that many would not deal with it well.

Already we see the toll that corruption takes on many of us over the course of our short lives. In the future, as we learn to eliminate the physical toll that corruption plays upon our bodies, will we be able to also learn to erase the mental toll of corruption? No, I don't think so. In fact, our capacity for corruption will increase as the speed and scope of our thought is increased by being connected to the internet.

It almost goes without saying that this increase in our capacity for corruption will inevitably lead to an increase in our capacity for doing evil. We will invent new ways to hurt ourselves and others, and we will do so with greater speed, and more power.

Of course, that is the story of human history, but the difference is that we are approaching an age where individual human beings will have a capacity beyond that of entire armies in past generations.

To sum up, we are living in an age defined by the inevitability of our future capacities. The future is so inevitable as to be present already, in the sense that we must begin to make decisions about how to handles it's effects right now, in our present time. In this way, our future is palpable, and with us, almost like another being staring us in the face. This is why I call it Pre-Futurism.

The spectre of a humanity with 1) omnipotence, 2) omniscience, and 3) a life-creating and sustaining ability, on the level of the individual human being is frightening. But it is not necessarily apocalyptic. We humans were made by our Creator with just such possibilities in mind. The Bible says that we were created in the image of God. More and more we are coming to find out exactly what that means.

Humans seem to have an infinite capacity, limited only by time, and the law that one can not get something for nothing. People from the 19th century would have said there was no way humans could create the things we created in the 20th century. Similarly, many people will say that the technologies of which I am speaking are impossible. But, there are serious scientists, all over the world, currently at work on just such possibilities. History seems to demonstrate that, over time, humans can achieve whatever they can conceive.

Fear for man, but do not doubt him. Not even his ability to solve the problems presented by the works of his hands.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Mainstreaming Hizballah?

From an article by Tony Bankley from the Washington Times, via Powerline:

... Hezbollah exists to oppose Israel's right to exist ... they (do not) support secular democratic government for Muslims. Moreover, it is very likely they have established sleeper terrorist cells in the United States.

They may well participate in democratic politics for the purpose of gaining power. They certainly provide food, shelter and education to poor Lebanese.

So also, Al Capone set up soup kitchens during the Depression. And the Nazis provided social services to poor and starving Germans in the 1920s and early '30s. But they both kept killing until, respectively, the FBI and the Allies put them both out of business.

Hezbollah is certainly a ruthless band of cutthroats, but there is no evidence that they are insincere in their beliefs, or that they are open to changing their minds and joining the Women's League of Voters. If, at their heart, they oppose our objectives, then either they have to be defeated or we do.

Any political party — be it Sinn Fein, Hezbollah, Hamas or the Nazis — that has its own private army is inherently not a democratic institution. Nor is it likely to evolve into one if it holds undemocratic ideas.

A friend of mine wrote to me, just the other day, on this very subject:

It seems to me that relying on terrorist tactics, for whatever cause,"poisons the souls" of the people involved in thatcause, however noble, even if it wins. And this is the *real* reason to oppose terrorism.
Here's what I mean by that and why I started thinking in this direction. As you know, a lot of folks on the left are resistant to the idea of a widespread condemnation of terrorism. They'll say one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. Or,they'll point to the fact that forbidding terrorism seems to be arbitrary and sets up terms that favor organized military (which is true, but I'm not surethat it's bad).
But usually most persuasive is that they can point to numerous independence/national movements whose results most people consider "good" and yet which relied to at least some extent on terror.
... they can point to, for example, South Africa. And, of course, Israel. (The more ignorant ones claim thatthe U.S. is another case, but honestly I don't knowwhat the hell they're talking about, they always seemto be just makin' stuff up.)
But anyway, the left kinda-sorta wants to say that we can't simply declare all terrorism "bad". This is what underlies much of their obstructionism.
Meanwhile, I want to say that we can. But I have a hard time disputing their point that some "good"independence/national movements have relied on terror. Here's how I resolve it. And maybe it's simple:
I think the problem with relying significantly on terrorism in your movement, however noble your goals might be, is that, *if you win*, your new leaders will be *terrorists*. They will be inured to violence and dehumanization. As well, inevitably, some of the vanguard will have been in it mostly for the rush, for the "thrill-kills", for the power, for raw bigotry, etc.
Similarly, the "underground" nature of the thing will have linked you in all sorts of unholy ways to the underworld/mafia, and to terror groups in othernations (or foreign dictators). So even if you "win", you'll be stuck with some # of corrupt, secretive, interdependent monsters and cold blooded killers on top.
Even if it was Evil Imperialism you fought against, is your new independent republic with terrorists on top going to make for a better situation than before? Will the revolutionaries all magically transform back into statesmen? It seems doubtful. And meanwhile, you'll have set the ugly precedent that terror is a great way to get what you want. Your children will betaught to love and honor the terrorists who built your country.
There seems to be no way out, how do you say "ok from now on the way we do things is through politics, in a civil society", when all your past examples of heroism and success relied on bombing cafes?
This is what I mean by "poisoned souls". By using terror, you make a deal with the devil, and even if you "win", you lose.
At the very least, if your movement's been using terror, what you ought to try to do is a *purge* of the terrorists within your midst, as soon as you're done. "Ok, thanks, terrorists, now go home." If you somehow can pull this off then maybe you have a shot at developing into a decent nation. I've read that something like this is what happened at the beginning of Israel (Ben-Gurion disarming Irgun). On the other hand, I don't think Algeria did it successfully - and(not coincidentally?) they've had messy infighting andcivil war and never ending troubles with Islamist terror groups in the decades since.

I think this is what George Bush is saying when he says he can envision Hizballah joining Lebanon's mainstream. Obviously, he made it clear that the first step is to disarm. The Euros, of course, don't think that's necessary, because they support terrorism against Israel.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

News Flash: Peace And Democracy
Were Brought To Europe
By The Sword Of American Good and Evil

From the German magazine Der Spiegel, via Medienkritik:

Terminator? Demokrator!
By Claus Christian Malzahn

Iraq, the Palestinian territories, Lebanon: The virus of democracy is running rampant in the Middle East. German foreign policy must finally react to this joyous turnaround and look the fact in the eye that, in fact, freedom and democracy sometimes are brought with fire and sword.

Berlin – George W. Bush – the man knows what he is talking about – once compared Germany’s abstinence from the Iraq war with the behavior of a dry alcoholic: For them a glass of beer is already one glass too many. War as a political means became taboo for the German Federal Republic after the Wehrmacht and SS left Europe in rubble and ash, murdered nearly all European Jews and struck a swath of death through the Soviet Union. At the moment, Germany is virtually sinking in a flood of memories of the Second World War; Almost every day 60 years ago is relived once again through the media. No other nation in Europe is so obsessed with history as the Germans. The fascination with “downfall” is nearly boundless.
But this flood of pictures and avalanche of history bury some important realizations that still possess validity even today. The Nazi rule was also not ended by sit-ins in front of the Führer headquarters. Hitler’s total war machine was fought to defeat at the greatest military and civilian sacrifice on the part of the Russians, Americans and British. We Germans were brought democracy carried into our land by bombs and grenades. It would not have worked otherwise, because the Germans did not want it otherwise. Many believed in their Führer to the very end, and the first steps of re-education back then were not motivated by social workers, but instead ordered by the US Army.

Peace and democracy were brought to Europe with the sword. George W. Bush began a war two years ago against Iraq out of false reasons. Good reasons existed to protest against him. Now it seems that from this wrong war, real freedom of opinion and democracy are emerging. Then there would be equally good reasons to celebrate.
The weapons of mass destruction that allegedly threatened the world have never been found – but instead mass graves have been found. In January, the Iraqis voted against the terror. It has not yet been stopped. The followers of the top terrorist Zarqawi are following a dark, religiously-fired promise of happiness. For them, death is the climax of life. Only death will stop them. However, the Iraqi voters have achieved something else: The virus of democracy that Zarqawi and his consorts so fear is raging in the Middle East. In Saudi Arabia there were local elections in February – in the eyes of the West a ridiculous event, but for the residents a meaningful exercise in relaxing things related to freedom of opinion. Until now only men were allowed to vote – but the Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud promised just now in an interview with Time Magazine that this will soon change: Women are more sensible voters than men anyway. Entirely new tones from Riyadh.

Wake-Up Call for the Lebanese People

What is happening in Lebanon is just as amazing. Millions of people are gaining political self-confidence – despite occupation and fresh reminders of a bloody civil war. Whoever was behind the terror attack on the former Minister President – he barely could have had a wake-up call for the Lebanese people in mind. It is still to early to compare these developments with the “orange revolution” in the Ukraine. But a sign of hope are the young people, who with flags waving want to take possession of their land once and for all.
Where the journey in Lebanon is headed is anyone’s guess. The Syrians will have to leave the oppressed country – now or later. Perhaps then the virus of democracy and freedom of opinion will reach over from Beirut to Damascus, perhaps it will soon cover Amman and Tehran. We Europeans should have no fear of this process, but instead should support it with our given strength. For far too long the essence of German foreign policy consisted of leaving everything as it was. “Critical dialogue” with Tehran sounded great – and didn’t harm anyone. Blood for oil in the Iraq war? Granted. Let us leave the USA out of the game for a moment and take a look at the volume of exports of the Federal Republic of Germany into the land of the mullahs: 2.7 billion Euros (more than $3.5 billion) per year. What we call peace is characterized by others as the cold silence of the grave “kalte Grabesstille.” We negotiate with people who like to force their people into the corset of the Koran. And for those for whom it is too narrow, there is prison, torture, exile – or death.
There are legitimate, serious objections against Bush’s cannon boat democratization: Abu Ghraib! Guantanamo! How does a country that tolerated torture and created zones without justice stand for democracy and human rights? It is appalling that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is still in office and Secretary of State Colin Powell had to make way. But the acts of torture have not remained without atonement ... The reality in the Middle East is additionally more complicated than a pair of terrible photos from the dungeons of the US Army would hope to prove.

The people in Iraq simply set their hopes against this iconography, emphasized sometimes more in the West than in the Middle East. This double-edged sword of war crimes and liberation has existed in the past. When US General George Patton landed on Sicily with the 7th US Army in July 1943, 150 Italian and 50 German soldiers who had already surrendered were murdered: A war crime also at that time.

In April 1945, Patton’s soldiers liberated the Buchenwald concentration camp. What they saw on the Ettersberg near Weimar knocked the breath out of them: Piles of bodies, living skeletons, the dying didn’t stop for weeks after the liberation. Even the birds had fled from the crimes of the Nazis. They finally came back when the crematorium no longer pumped its sweet clouds of death into the sky.

“Shock-and-awe” Pedagogy

In the next days, George Patton obliged a thousand Weimarer to the clean-up work in the concentration camp. From every household someone had to make the hike up to the Ettersberg to bear witness to the atrocities of the Nazis. The action was called “viewing the atrocities” – necessary “shock and awe” pedagogy on a nation that to the end believed in the Führer, the wonder weapons and Santa Claus. “Viewing the atrocities” was one of the first measures of re-education of the Germans – ordered by a general who brutally violated the Geneva Conventions on Sicily.
Patton’s 7th Army later went in part into the V Corps, that unit of the US Army that two years ago carried the main weight of the attack on Baghdad. Among the 42,000 soldiers is also the 205 Brigade of the Military Secret Service, some of the men and women of this troupe carried out their service in Abu Ghraib. Other soldiers of the V Corps are currently building schools, on patrol, the 130th Engineering Brigade built bridges or renovated streets. Without the protection of the V Corps, one could not have voted in Iraq.

It would be better for Iraq if the US Army stayed a bit longer – and would not disappear again as quickly as back then in Weimar: So that the virus of democracy can continue to spread unhindered as long as possible.

Medienkritik comments:

Certainly, the abuses at Abu Ghraib represent a moral setback for the United States. Some critics of the Iraq war have even called Abu Ghraib a moral "catastrophe." What these very critics fail to see is that their own decades-long indifference to the plight of the oppressed peoples of the Middle East, borne of a convenient mix of knee-jerk pacifism and deep-seated economic interests, represents a true moral catastrophe. European foreign ministers and leaders comfortably sipping tea and brokering multi-billion dollar business deals with dictators in expensive palaces and then criticizing the US for its dealings in the Middle East is hypocrisy of the highest degree.

Killing Jews Is A Topic Of Significant Public Interest

From Little Green Footballs:

Canada’s “hate crime” laws do not apply to Muslims who advocate terrorism against Israelis: Saying Israelis are ‘legitimate targets’ not a hate crime.

Police have decided not to charge a controversial Muslim leader under Canada’s hate-crime laws for suggesting on a television talk show last fall that all adult Israelis are “legitimate targets” for Palestinian terrorists.

Investigators with Halton Region police said that while the comments by Dr. Mohamed Elmasry “were described by many as [a] hate crime,” they did not meet the legal definition.

“Although the comments would be considered distasteful to many, in this context they do not constitute a criminal offence,” police said in a news release. “The comments were made during a free-flowing discussion between subject-matter experts who were encouraged to express their opinions openly on a topic of significant public interest.”

They said it, not me.

Monday, March 14, 2005

It's All About The Ladies
Afghanistan Opens It's First Health Club For Women

Via Jack of Clubs:

The country's first fitness club for women started 2 months ago with the participation of a dozen women. It has already logged some success. Women from different ages exercise at this club, especially those women who have difficulty with mobility because of their weight. Most women are happy for the positive changes in their bodies in two months.
Nima, the head of the club, who also carried the Afghanistan flag at the Athen's Olympics, said in an interview "I am keen to solve the problems of the women". During her tours abroad as an athlete she collected various sports and exercise equipment now in use at the club.Women can now exercise in a safe place wearing blouse pants and sports shoes.
The club administration said due to demand she would establish clubs in other areas of the capital if she can find suitable premises.
Welcome to the civilized world.
(Via Waheed, who is evidently Afghanistan's first blogger.)

The other day I had another post called "It's All About The Ladies", and reader Saije commented:

I agree. How a society treats women is directly related to its success in all other areas.

Yes, that's true. But, it's not just that. Civilization begins with the protection of women. The freer women are, the better a society is. So yeah, success is great but, to me, it's mostly about the morality.

Lebanese Demonstrate For Democracy
Crowd Estimated at 800,000

From OC Chronicle:

Things are changing. Stop a moment and appreciate it. Something big is happening. I remember when the Berlin Wall was coming down and the communist states in Eastern Europe fell so quickly fifteen years ago. I noticed it, but I didn't truly appreciate the historical significance of the events at the time.

We should all now stop and begin to really look at what is happening in Beirut today. Look at the photo above. There will be plenty of time in the coming months to debate the cause and to truly explain the significance of the Bush Administrations Middle East Democracy policies.

Right now look at what is happening and understand that our world will never be the same.

Do you see the joy in this photo? Do you see the massive number of people? Do you see women and men side-by-side as equals demanding a better life? This is the picture of hope. This is the picture of life. This is what all humans, created in God's image, yearn for.

Never again should we be lured by intellectual midgets pontificating about how some people are not ready for democracy, not ready for freedom. Let no man be another man's slave. Free Beirut!

Posted by Hello

Sometimes You Just Gotta Love Your Enemies

From Atlas Shrugged:

Canadian Jews Have ´Israel´ Deleted From ´Jerusalem´ Passports
Jewish World

Canadian Jews born in Jerusalem are having their passports recalled in order to erase the word “Israel” from beside the name of the Jewish State’s capital.
The government's move follows an application to Canada's Supreme Court by B’nai Brith of Canada against the government’s new policy regarding its passports and Jerusalem. Canada's new position is that "Israel" not be specificed as the country of birth for its citizens who were born in Jerusalem.
The court suit was filed on behalf of a 17-year-old Torontonian, who objected to the ban against noting Israel as his country of birth on his passport. The boy's lawyer argued that the new policy discriminated against his client, as many other citizens had received passports with such a classification.
The latest development is that scores of Canadian Jews have been told by Canadian Passport Office officials that they must surrender their passports showing "Jerusalem, Israel" as their birthplace.
In a similar move last September, a US court found that American consular offices need not register the birthplace of a Jerusalem-born American citizen as "Jerusalem, Israel," but merely as "Jerusalem."

As longtime readers of my blog (and that's a very exclusive club) would know, the title "Sometime You Just Gotta Love Your Enemies" is a piece of running sarcasm that I direct at Islamofascists who come right out and confess their murderous hatred of Jews.

I'm going to break the tradition, in this case, and direct it at the Canadians.

I mean, the Canadians really have to hate Israel to go so far out of their way on such a trivial issue as a country of origin on a Passport. It's not like changing that is going to clarify anything for anyone in the Customs Dept.

Any person, organization, or state that hates Israel this much is an enemy of mine.

As far as I understand it, the goal of the "Peace Process" has always been to divide Jerusalem up in some way, so that both Israel and Palestine can claim it in part. Canada appears to have decided to unilaterally make a ruling, on the status of Jerusalem, that even that paragon of anti-Semitism, the United Nations, has not yet put in writing.

So, now we know where you stand Canada. You just gotta love your enemies, when they tell the truth.