Saturday, June 25, 2005

Do You, Pastorius, Take These ...?

What the ...? From World Net Daily:

The president of the American Civil Liberties Union says polygamy is among the "fundamental rights" that her organization will continue to defend.

During a question-and-answer session after a speech at Yale University, ACLU president Nadine Strossen stated that her organization has "defended the right of individuals to engage in polygamy," reported AgapePress, noting that the comments cited by the Yale Daily News received little attention.

The student paper said Strossen was responding to a "student's question about gay marriage, bigamy, and polygamy."

The ACLU chief said her organization defends "the freedom of choice for mature, consenting individuals," making it "the guardian of liberty ... defend[ing] the fundamental rights of all people."

National Review correspondent Ramesh Ponnuru says the ACLU might be defending a right for people to establish households in this way without necessarily fighting for governmental recognition of polygamous marriages.

"Even if so," Ponnuru concludes, "it is hard to see how the ACLU, on its own principles, could stop short of demanding a change to the marriage laws to allow for polygamy."

The Left are looking more and more like the Islamofascists everyday. Amnesty International says Gitmo is a Gulag. Durbin says our troops are like Nazis. And now, the ACLU wants polygamy.

Admittedly, it's people on the right who would be more likely to want to stone gays, but at least we don't hear any credible sources calling for such action.

What Does a "Free Palestine" Mean?

Ladies and Gentleman, when Hamas or the Palestinian Authority say they want Palestine to be free, this is what they mean:

A Hamas leader has urged supporters to redouble efforts to "liberate" Palestine because diplomacy has failed, an Israeli newspaper's Web site, Ynet, says.

"All of Palestine, from the river to the sea, will be liberated by the mujahedin (martyrs) and their rifles, not by pointless diplomatic meetings," the leader, Nizar Rian, said Thursday in Gaza.

"All of Palestine, from the river to the sea" means Palestine replaces Israel. In other words "Free Palestine" means Jews out.

This should not be a surprise because the official charters of both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority call for the destruction of Israel.

These people have no intention of negotiating for peace. That's why Arafat turned down 97% of the territory he was asking for without a counteroffer.

And, if you ever have a doubt that these organizations represent the will of the Palestinian people remember that both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority were elected, and polls show the Palestinian people support the terror campaign.

Top Al Qaeda Management
Under House Arrest In Iran?
Including ...?

From Jihad Watch:

Somewhere north of Tehran, living perhaps in villas near the town of Chalous on the Caspian Sea coast, are between 20 and 25 of al-Qaida’s former leaders, along with two of Osama bin Laden’s sons.

Men such as Saif al-Adel, the former military commander of al-Qaida, and Suleiman Abu Ghaith, the bespectacled bin Laden spokesman, are not in hiding but rather in the care — or custody — of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.

“They are under virtual house arrest,” not able to do much of anything, said one senior U.S. intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

How they got there and what will happen to them is one of the more intriguing stories of the war on terror, one that is filled with secret movements, stolen communications and a failed attempt at a prisoner exchange involving Iranian dissidents.

“We believe that they're holding members of al-Qaida's management council,” Fran Townsend, President Bush’s counterterrorism czar, said of Iran.

In an interview with Tom Brokaw two weeks ago, she added: “And we have encouraged and suggested that they ought to try them, they ought to admit freely that they're there — which they have not done — that they're holding them. Or they ought to return them to their countries of origin, which they've also been unwilling to do.”

I wonder if that has anything to do with this enigmatic announcement earlier this week from Porter Goss:

NEW YORK (AP) -- The director of the CIA says he has an ''excellent idea'' where Osama bin Laden is hiding, but that the United States' respect for sovereign nations makes it more difficult to capture the al-Qaida chief.

In an interview with Time for the magazine's June 27 issue, Porter Goss was asked about the progress of the hunt for bin Laden.

''When you go to the question of dealing with sanctuaries in sovereign states, you're dealing with a problem of our sense of international obligation, fair play,'' Goss said. ''We have to find a way to work in a conventional world in unconventional ways.''

Asked whether that meant he knew where bin Laden is, Goss responded: ''I have an excellent idea where he is. What's the next question?''

Female Statue Prepares To
Sexually Assault John Ashcroft

From Reuters:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The cover-up is over at the U.S. Justice Department.
After more than three years of being blocked by large blue drapes, two Art Deco aluminum statues of semi-nude figures in the building's Great Hall can be seen again.

The "Spirit of Justice" and the "Majesty of Justice," which loom over the stage in the Great Hall, were blocked from view by curtains installed by the department in January 2002, when former Attorney General John Ashcroft was in office.

The curtains were quietly removed on Friday after a decision by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Justice Department spokesman Kevin Madden said.

At one end of the stage is a 1930s-era female statue representing the "Spirit of Justice."
Although she wears a toga-style garment, one breast is exposed. At the other end of the stage, a male statue represents the "Majesty of Justice," and has a cloth draped by his waist.

When they were covered up, officials working for Ashcroft -- a devout Christian -- said the move to spend about $8,000 for curtains to cover the figures were made for "TV aesthetics."

Posted by Hello

Lifespan Increasing
You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet

From the LA Times:

Marion Higgins is very good at remembering. She remembers writing her first book 10 years ago. She remembers moving into Seal Beach's Leisure World in 1989. She remembers the history of furniture acquired at long-ago garage sales and celebrating the end of the World War — both II and I. She remembers hearing the Titanic had just sunk, and the long railroad ride to her family's homestead in a new state called Idaho. And she remembers hating sunbonnets.
That would have been in the '90s — the 1890s.
Mrs. Higgins turns 112 on Sunday.
According to the Gerontology Research Group at UCLA, the average life expectancy for Americans born today is 77.6 years (80.1 for women and 74.8 for men). The 2000 census found some 50,000 Americans who claimed to have reached 100.

The research group, accepted as a global authority on the super-elderly by Guinness World Records, among others, doesn't care about those who've merely crossed the 100-year mark. These scientists become interested after someone reaches 110 -- a super-centenarian -- which only about 500 Americans of those 50,000 will.

Then, the group's network of clever gerontology detectives like Robert Young seeks proof and insights.
Super-centenarians remain rare, but their numbers are growing. In 1999, the gerontology group, a loose band of doctors, demographers and part-time researchers, counted 45 people verified as 110 or older. Today, its website ( lists 66. Over the years, it's documented 835 super-centenarians, including 16 who reached 115.

"The entire globe has been explored and mapped," Young says. "Now, we can start discovering the geography of the human life span."

You ain't seen nothing yet.

FX Network To Run Puff-Piece On Islam
In The Guise of a Documentary

From Debbie Schlussel in the Wall Street Journal:

Morgan Spurlock got famous from his Oscar-nominated documentary "Super Size Me." He ingested big McDonald's meals three times a day for 30 days, then blamed McDonald's for his bloated body and dodgy health. Now he's using his 30-day premise to get Americans to ingest his version of radical Islam on cable's FX Network.

Last year, I received a request to appear on Mr. Spurlock's new reality show, "30 Days." The episode for which I was being recruited, "Inside an American Muslim Family," airs next Wednesday. It features Mr. Spurlock's childhood friend from West Virginia, David Stacy, spending 30 days "living as a Muslim" in the Detroit area.

While Mr. Spurlock is often referred to as a journalist, and touts "30 Days" as a "documentary," the outcome of the show was decided before production began. A show summary sent to me before taping said: "This process aims to deconstruct common misconceptions and stereotypes. . . . Our character will learn firsthand about Islam and the daily issues that . . . Muslims in America face today. The viewers will witness our character emerge from the immersion situation with a deeper understanding and appreciation for the Muslim-American experience. . . . The potential is great for this program to enlighten a national television audience about the Muslim American experience and increase their compassion, understanding and support."

And indeed, The Wall Street Journal's own Dorothy Rabinowitz, writing about the show last week from a preview tape, noted that Mr. Stacy, by the end of his 30 days, "has become so enlightened that he is pronouncing, if incomprehensibly, on the meaning of Islam, his knowledge of the Quran, the real definition of jihad."

I asked the show's executive producers--all of whom worked on "The Awful Truth With Michael Moore," a cable TV show--how this could be a documentary when they had decided the outcome in advance. Wasn't it possible that Mr. Stacy would come out seeing that there isn't Islamophobia to the extent that the Muslim community claims? Might he see that there is disturbingly strong support in the Detroit-area Islamic community for terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah--a fact regularly documented even in the normally pliant Detroit media?

No, the producers told me. "Morgan wants the show to demonstrate to America that we are Islamophobic and that 9/11's biggest victims are Muslims." With this in mind, I agreed to be filmed only with final approval of my appearance, which I never gave. Thus I will not appear in Wednesday's show.

When I met David Stacy, about halfway through his 30-day experience, I was amazed at how uninformed he was. This new "expert" on Islam never heard of Wahhabism--the extremist Sunni strain of Islam that dominates Saudi Arabia and informs the terrorist-breeding madrassa schools throughout Arab and other Muslim lands. He was unfamiliar with groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. He did not believe me when I told him that Hezbollah had murdered hundreds of U.S. Marines and civilians in Beirut and elsewhere. He seemed mystified to learn that President Bush shut down American Islamic charities, like the Holy Land Foundation and Global Relief Foundation, for funding Hamas and al Qaeda.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Who Wants to Rely on the UN for International Security?

There is that old joke, "How many Frenchman does it take to defend Paris?" Answer: "No one knows they have never tried." Just insert the UN and Isreal before the Six Day war in that joke and the meaning doesn't really change that much. At least you might think so after reading this fasciniting piece over at the
Belmont Club. They have a brief but thorough recap of the Six-Day War. Not only is the history of the build up to war interesting but the tale of UN failures should give anyone pause before trusting that organization with any serious security missions:

It is important to remember that the world in 1965 was practically another planet. The United Nations was a serious player in international relations. UN flagged forces, albeit mostly American, had turned back an invasion of South Korea in 1950. And the UNEF had actually helped keep the Arabs and Israelis from engaging in open war for10 years. The United States was not nearly so dominant in 1965 as it is in 2005. The Soviet Union was still regarded as a superpower, providing the weaponry and ideology that fueled Arab nationalism. America was tied down in Vietnam with little in reserve to spare for a major commitment to the Middle East and, in the eyes of many, already in irreversible decline.

One other striking difference of that era was the confidence, perhaps even overconfidence of Arab nations in the power of their national armies. Armed with the Soviet made weaponry, numerically superior to the Israelis, the Arab street of the day had little doubt that they would drive the Jews into the sea once hostilities began. One Egyptian commander told a UN officer "I will see you for lunch at the best restaurant in Tel Aviv in a few days."

In January 1964 the Arab League officially declared its desire to achieve "the final liquidation of Israel." The problem was UNEF. For the Arab armies to triumphantly fulfill their historical mission it was necessary to get the United Nations, then a body taken seriously, out of the line of fire. (Thirty years later, neither the Serbs nor the Muslim Kosovars would show the slightest respect for the United Nations. Peacekeepers would be trussed to lamposts. UN armories would be looted.) Gamal Abdel Nasser simply decided to tell the UN to clear out.


Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Saddam: Boxers Or Briefs?

Little Green Footballs reader Haider Ajina wrote in to remind us all of the truth about Saddam Hussein. From Little Green Footballs:

Recently most of the mainstream media have been promoting a human side to Saddam. Poor old Uncle Saddam, as it were. If this goes on we will soon forget what this man has done. We must not forget the evil this man is and what he has done, lest we wish history to repeat itself.

Saddam Hussein has not a thread of humanity in him. Every act of his is cold and calculated with an end purpose in mind. That purpose being self-preservation and self-indulgence at the cost of all others and at what ever means possible. Saddam has been a thug since his teenage years. He was implicated and later convicted of attempting to assassinate Iraqi prime minister Abdel-Karim Qassem in 1958. Later he was implicated in the mysterious death of his Baathist predecessor Bakar after Baker retired.

Shortly after Saddam became president in 1979, he convened a high level Baathist meeting during which he had close allies and friends escorted out of the meeting room and shot, just for being to close to him. Saddam then proceeded to rule Iraq with an Iron fist. He gassed the Kurds, bombed the Shiites, attacked the Iranians, attacked the Kuwaitis, sponsored terrorist camps, financed terrorists, (one of his personal body guards trained in Afghanistan at an Al Qaeda camp), murdered over 1 million Iraqis, maimed, tortured and raped many more for political reasons, orphaned his grandchildren.

The list goes on and on. I ask you are the above acts those of a human being?

Saddam is evil personified: a thug, a mass murderer, a rapist, a torturer. He is not a poor old man stuck in isolation, nor does he deserve any sympathy for his current condition. We must never forget what this man and others of his ilk have done to humanity, unless we wish it to happen again and again.

Yeah, I think any reasonable person can agree with that assessment.

So then, why did the American mainstream magazine GQ write this fawning piece about Uncle Saddam:

New York, NY – June 20, 2005 – Following the announcement that former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein will soon be brought to trial on multiple charges, GQ magazine sheds new light on the man and his life since being captured and imprisoned. Hussein longs for the days when Ronald Reagan was president, says that he never dealt with Osama bin Laden, and is absolutely certain that he will return to power, according to an account of his captivity detailed for the first time in the July issue of GQ magazine.

In her story, “Tuesdays with Saddam” (on newsstands nationwide June 28), GQ correspondent Lisa DePaulo interviews five U.S. soldiers who guarded and got to know Saddam Hussein for 298 days.
“They became witnesses to history, and as part of their duties they found themselves struggling to come to terms with the older man they grew to know and the reality of his infamous past as a ruthless dictator.”

“These young men showed Hussein a respect and courtesy that made possible an unusual bond between captors and captive. And because of this, they were able to see a very different side of one of the most controversial figures in modern history.”

Among the most intriguing revelations that Hussein shared with the soldiers are:

· Hussein says that he is still president of Iraq and is absolutely certain that he will someday return to power.

· He is proud that his sons died for their country.

· While having little positive to say about either President George W. Bush or his father, George H. W. Bush, he expresses a desire to be “friends” with them.

· He also expresses a longing for the days when Ronald Reagan was still president.

· Hussein is a “clean freak,” afraid of germs, obsessively washing his hands and carefully wiping his plate and utensils before eating.

· He gave the soldiers advice on how to handle women (“You gotta find a good woman,” he told them. “Not too smart, not too dumb, not too old, not too young. In the middle.”)

· He thinks Dan Rather is “a good guy.”

· He loves Doritos chips and Raisin Bran Crunch cereal…but he won’t touch Froot Loops.

I think we already know he prefers baggy briefs to boxer shorts. I wonder, though, if he were a tree, what kind of tree would he be?

By the way, in case anyone missed the reference, the title of Ms. DePaulo's piece "Tuesdays With Saddam," is a cute little flip of the skirt to the bestseller Tuesdays With Morrie, which was the story of a young mans time spent with the kindly, old, and dying Morrie Schwartz, and the rich wisdom he passed on.

See, because Saddam and Morrie are two, uh ... uh, there kind of, uh ...

Didn't He Also Invent The Internet,
Or Was That Somebody Else?

Kofi Annan wrote an article the other day, which was published in the Washington Post, wherein he touted his accomplisments in Iraq. He didn't mention the United States, Britain, or Australia one single time in the whole article. Amazing:

Today I am traveling to Brussels to join representatives of more than 80 governments and institutions in sending a loud and clear message of support for the political transition in Iraq.

A year ago, in Resolution 1546, the U.N. Security Council set out the timetable that Iraq, with the assistance of the United Nations and the international community, was expected to fulfill. The Brussels conference is a chance to reassure the Iraqi people that the international community stands with them in their brave efforts to rebuild their country, and that we recognize how much progress has been made in the face of daunting challenges.

Elections were held in January, on schedule. Three months later the Transitional National Assembly endorsed the transitional government. The dominant parties have begun inclusive negotiations, in which outreach to Sunni Arabs is a major theme. A large number of Sunni groups and parties are now ...
This agreement, which the United Nations helped to facilitate ...
Our response has been prompt and resolute ...
My special representative, Ashraf Qazi, is encouraging and facilitating the delicate task of political outreach ...
the United Nations is at work, both inside and outside the country, to support donor coordination, capacity-building of Iraqi ministries and civil society organizations ...

Blah, blah, blah.

What the hell does he have to do with any of it?

And then there's this comment:

In a media-hungry age, visibility is often regarded as proof of success ...

I guess that's why the head of the United Nations is spending his time writing an article for the Washing Post.

Rusty Shackleford at the Jawa Report comments:

Recall that after the horrific UN HQ bombing in August 2003, the one that killed Sergio Vieira de Mello and 21 others? The UN bugged out after that, and left the dirty work to the coalition.
They've trickled back in since then, and they've probably done some good here and there, but the notion that because they had observers at the election they are driving the democratization of Iraq is ludicrous.

There's only the faintest mention in this editorial of the violence and security problems that plague Iraq. There is no mention of the daily, dirty, dangerous efforts of Coaliton forces to stabilize the country. He might as well be writing about post-tsunami Aceh.

Hell, Halliburton's for-profit contracting has done ten times the good in Iraq that the UN has.


A woman in a white burkha stands among a group of women in black burkhas.

Posted by Hello

Which Is Stupider?

From the Anchoress:

I don’t see the need for a constitutional amendment to ban flag-burning. It seems like major surgery for what requires a compression wrap and a shot of “grow-up.”

Burning the flag is stupid. It is moronic. It is infantile. It is the sort of thing they do in places where America is hated. Some might say you can “love” America and still burn the flag in protest, but I have met a few flag-burners in my day and I never knew a one of them that wasn’t all about simply being a part of something “happening” and provocative. And a few of them regret it, now, all these years later.

Nevertheless, I cannot support this amendment. I think it too is stupid. And moronic. It is the sort of suppressive and insecure thing they do in places where - ironically - America is being asked to bring freedom. Places like Cuba, fer instance.

I’m happy to see the Anchoress and I come out on the same side on this issue.

As I said with regards to the Koran desecration issue, the flag is an object. It stands for something sacred, but it isn’t sacred itself. To try to assert that it is, is to lapse into idolatry.

I agree; flag burning is stupid. When a person burns the flag they show themselves to be stupid. Let's just leave it at that.

Honestly, I don't know which I think is stupider, burning the flag, or being so afraid someone will burn our flag that we need to amend our countries central document to make us feel safe.

Actually, I think I do know which is stupider.

The Pastorius Manshion?
Lifestyles of The Rich And Famous

Neo-Neocon says she has it on good authority that this is the manshion George W. Bush grew up in. What a life a privelege, huh? Looks like he had a silver spoon shoved down his throat.

Go here, because there are more juicy details, including this tidbit:

... when George first returned to Midland after going East to school, he lived for a while in a garage studio apartment.

What a life. Well, I used to live in a crackhouse, but that's a story for a different time.

Posted by Hello

German Diplomat Says
Gitmo Is Worse Than Gulag

From Opinion Journal. Bret Stephens describes his brunch with a "senior German diplomat:

... meeting a relatively senior German diplomat posted to the New York consulate. My wife--also German--knows his wife socially; our children use the same playground. They had invited us to their home for Sunday brunch.

I should say here that I speak almost no German, and it quickly became apparent that the diplomat's wife spoke almost no English. So it was perhaps natural that, soon after we arrived, she and my wife took to one corner of the spacious apartment while the diplomat ushered me into his study. Less natural was the conversation that followed. I made the normal chitchat of first encounters: praise for the unobstructed (and million-dollar) views of the Hudson River; a query about what he did at the consulate.

But the diplomat had no patience for my small talk. Apropos of nothing, he said he had recently made a study of U.S. tax laws and concluded that practices here were inferior to those in Germany. Given recent rates of German economic growth, I found this comment odd. But I offered no rejoinder. I was, after all, a guest in his home.

The diplomat, however, was just getting started. Bad as U.S. economic policy was, it was as nothing next to our human-rights record. Had I read the recent Amnesty International report on Guantanamo? "You mean the one that compared it to the Soviet gulag?" Yes, that one. My host disagreed with it: The gulag was better than Gitmo, since at least the Stalinist system offered its victims a trial of sorts.

Nor was that all. Civil rights in the U.S., he said, were on a par with those of North Korea and rather behind what they had been in Europe in the Middle Ages. When I offered that, as a journalist, I had encountered no restrictions on press freedom, he cut me off. "That's because The Wall Street Journal takes its orders from the government."

By then we had sat down at the formal dining table, with our backs to Ground Zero a half-mile away and our eyes on the boats on the river below us. My wife and I made abortive attempts at ordinary conversation. We were met with non sequiturs: "The only people who appreciate American foreign policy are poodles." After further bizarre pronouncements, including a lecture on the illegality of the Holocaust under Nazi law, my wife said that she felt unwell. We gathered our things and left.

When so many senior officials in the governments of Western nations are saying such outlandish things, it's hard not to worry that our civilizations is losing it's collective mind.

One thing to note here is he is absolutely wrong about Gitmo inmates having no trial. Read this.


Can't Get No Peace
The Ill Logic Of Palestinian Terrorism

Back in February, the Palestinian Authority and Israel had agreed upon a truce, so that they could work make progress on the Road Map to Peace, and on Israel's offer to withdraw from Gaza. Melanie Phillips brings us some statistics which demonstrate that the Palestinians agreement to the truce is a sham:

If Israel broke the ‘truce’ with the Palestinians by one unprovoked act of aggression, the media would be heaving with righteous denunciations. Yet Israel is currently enduring a spate of murderous attacks following the easing of restrictions and the removal of checkpoints by the Israeli army after international pressure --with virtual silence from the media. WorldNet Daily reports:

‘A series of Palestinian attacks and attempted attacks over the past 48 hours have left two dead and several injured, as the violence here continues to reach the highest levels yet since the signing in February of a cease-fire agreement between Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

‘The continued violence comes in spite of a cease-fire agreement announced in Egypt Feb. 8 by Sharon and Abbas. A list of Palestinian attacks and attempts just the past two weeks, obtained by WND, includes: 56 rockets and mortar shells fired at Jewish communities in Gaza, 48 shooting attacks at Israeli civilians and soldiers in the West Bank and Gaza, 26 Molotov cocktails thrown at Israelis, the arrests of five terrorists who planned suicide attacks in Jerusalem, and two attempted infiltrations and attacks against Gaza Jewish settlements.

Security sources also report the continued smuggling of heavy weaponry from Egypt into Gaza's Rafah region. Since February, there have been approximately 30 incidents of Palestinian smuggling from Egypt's Sinai region, with weapons transported including approximately 1,000 rifles, dozens of RPG launchers, about 150 handguns, five anti-aircraft shoulder missiles and tens of thousands of bullets. A senior Israeli security source told WND: "The cease-fire is over. Officials are afraid to announce it, but look around, it's obvious."'

With such an endless stream of attacks directed at it's citizens, Israel has decided to hit back. From Reuters:

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel said on Wednesday it had resumed an assassination policy against some Palestinian militants and could mount air strikes with the risk of civilian casualties to ensure its Gaza pullout does not come under fire.

Think about that sentence. Israel is voluntarily pulling out of the Gaza Strip, but they have to use military measures to do so. Why is that? Does the Palestinian Authority want them to stay? I think we safely assume that is not the case.

Well, then why would they continue to attack Israel?

It seems the disengagement from Gaza is not enough. The Palestinian Authority, apparently, wants Israel to retreat from the Gaza Strip, and keep going.

To where?

It seems to be a perplexing question, until one takes into account the fact that the Palestinian Authority Charter calls for the destruction of the state of Israel.

With that helpful piece of information, Palestinian behavior comes into focus and makes absolute logical sense.

They don't give Israel any peace, even when Israel is doing what they want, because THEY DON'T WANT PEACE WITH ISRAEL.

In fact, it seems the Palestinians will do anything they can to ensure that peace does not break out:

The threat, prompted by a flare-up of Islamic Jihad attacks on Jewish settlers in Gaza, reflected the deterioration of a four-month-old truce after a frosty Israeli-Palestinian summit.

An Israeli aircraft fired missiles at four Islamic Jihad men in the north Gaza village of Beit Lahiya as they launched rockets into Israel, militants sources said. No one was hurt but a rocket was destroyed. The army had no immediate comment.

Israel shelved "targeted killings" of militants in February as part of a truce deal. But resurgent violence has raised the specter of disruption to Israel's planned August withdrawal from Gaza and dimmed hopes for "road map" peace talks afterwards.

Word that the assassination policy had been dusted off came with Israeli confirmation of a missile strike on Tuesday while Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas were holding tense talks in Jerusalem.

That's right. The Palestinians attacked Israel with rockets while their leader was holding talks with Ariel Sharon about how to work out the peace. So, Sharon decides to return to the policy of assasinating the leaders of the terrorist organizations. And what is Islamic Jihad's response to this news?

Khaled al-Batsh, a senior Islamic Jihad leader, warned of "terrible consequences" if Israel carried out assassinations. "The calm would thereby end." he told Reuters in Gaza.

What calm?

EU And US Work Together To Help Iraq

From Reuters:

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The United States and the European Union rallied world help for Iraq on Wednesday and urged Baghdad to ensure minority Sunnis help shape its future.

Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari asked for assistance to fight the Sunni-led insurgency and rebuild the country.

More than 1,000 Iraqis and 120 U.S. troops have been killed since Jaafari's cabinet took office in April, with fresh rebel attacks this week despite a U.S.-Iraqi security crackdown.

"We want to achieve economic and political independence and raise the competence of our security forces without turning into a security state," the Shi'ite Muslim politician told delegates from about 80 nations meeting in Brussels.

"The new Iraqi government must continue to improve security, liberalize its economy and open political space for all members of Iraqi society who reject violence," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told the conference.

The joint EU-U.S. event is a product of President Bush's trip to Europe in February to mend ties after transatlantic rifts in 2003 over the U.S.-led war on Iraq.

Heavy on displays of support for Iraq and unity of purpose between Washington and Brussels, the meeting is exploring practical ways the world can help Iraq, but will leave decisions on aid flows to a donors' meeting in Amman, Jordan, next month.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Virus, Common In Humans, Kills Cancer
But Little Else

From Reuters:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A common virus that is harmless to people can destroy cancerous cells in the body and might be developed into a new cancer therapy, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday.

The virus, called adeno-associated virus type 2, or AAV-2, infects an estimated 80 percent of the population.

"Our results suggest that adeno-associated virus type 2, which infects the majority of the population but has no known ill effects, kills multiple types of cancer cells yet has no effect on healthy cells," said Craig Meyers, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the Penn State College of Medicine in Pennsylvania.

"We believe that AAV-2 recognizes that the cancer cells are abnormal and destroys them. This suggests that AAV-2 has great potential to be developed as an anti-cancer agent," Meyers said in a statement.

If You Only Read One CUANAS Post This Month
This Should Be It

And it's not even from me. Go to Mystery Achievement and read this you have to.

It's the story of a Palestinian female who wanted to repay the hospital which had treated her, when she had been burned in a fire, by becoming a suicide bomber and blowing up as many hospital staff and patients as she could. The story culminates in this line:

She said she wanted to kill up to 40 or 50 people, including as many youngsters as possible.

Here are the lessons to learn from her story. From Honest Reporting:

Yesterday (June 20), a Palestinian woman took advantage of a humanitarian medical clearance to attempt a suicide bombing of an Israeli hospital. Israeli security caught Wafa al-Bas at a Gaza checkpoint and safely detonated the explosives that had been tied to her undergarments.

View AP news video of capture.

This episode highlights three important points that remain largely ignored or misrepresented in media coverage of the Mideast conflict:


Al-Bas explained to reporters why she carried out the act:

I love Allah, I love the land of Palestine and I am a member of Al-Aksa Brigades... my dream was to be a martyr. I believe in death...

Though media outlets often rationalize Palestinian suicide terror as a 'desperate' response to Israeli wrongdoing, al-Bas' statement is the latest indication that the main motivation for the heinous crime is a twisted, lifelong aspiration to achieve 'greatness' via mass murder.

A primary source of this problem is incitement in Palestinian media and culture. On Sunday (June 19) PA President Mahmoud Abbas told Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and western reporters that official Palestinian media 'no longer incites against Israel'.
But very little has actually changed. As documented by Palestinian Media Watch, imagery promoting violence against 'illegitimate' Israelis and 'conspiratorial' Jews remains prominent in official Palestinian TV and newspapers.
This is a direct violation of the PA's roadmap commitment for 'all official Palestinian institutions [to] end incitement against Israel', and it continues to fuel the ideology behind acts such as al-Bas'.


The latest Amnesty International report accused Israel of 'crimes against humanity and war crimes' that included 'obstruction of medical assistance'. Such reports invariably receive broad, uncritical media coverage that lacks appropriate context.

Al-Bas' act, however, clearly demonstrates the need for strict Israeli administration of checkpoints and medical permits. She is the latest in a long string of Palestinian terrorists who cynically used their status as medical patients or modest women to perpetrate terror attacks.
An important condemnation of al-Bas was carried only in the
LA Times:
According to a Haaretz report, Israeli security received a tip on al-Bas' imminent attack, and gave the PA and Abbas detailed information regarding it, but the PA did not act.

The PA continues to do very little to fulfill its roadmap obligation to uproot terror groups, choosing instead to incorporate terrorist operatives into its political and security leadership.

Media outlets continue to ignore this violation of the signed agreement, describing it as a mere 'Israeli demand', as in this UPI report on yesterday's Palestinian violence:

"These seemed to be "perfect" examples for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon who Tuesday afternoon is to host Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in his official residence in central Jerusalem... Sharon never seems to tire demanding a complete cessation of terrorism, violence and incitement, dismantling terrorist organizations and collecting their weapons."

UPI's jab at Sharon is both an unprofessional editorial comment inserted in a news article, and a complete misrepresentation of the PA's own commitment to the world community to uproot terrorism from its midst.

Girl Abducted And Beaten Found Safe
Guarded By Three Lions

From the Anchoress:

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) -- A 12-year-old girl who was abducted and beaten by men trying to force her into a marriage was found being guarded by three lions who apparently had chased off her captors, a policeman said Tuesday.

The girl, missing for a week, had been taken by seven men who wanted to force her to marry one of them, said Sgt. Wondimu Wedajo, speaking by telephone from the provincial capital of Bita Genet, about 350 miles southwest of Addis Ababa.

She was beaten repeatedly before she was found June 9 by police and relatives on the outskirts of Bita Genet, Wondimu said. She had been guarded by the lions for about half a day, he said.

"They stood guard until we found her and then they just left her like a gift and went back into the forest," Wondimu said.

"If the lions had not come to her rescue, then it could have been much worse. Often these young girls are raped and severely beaten to force them to accept the marriage," he said.

Tilahun Kassa, a local government official who corroborated Wondimu's version of the events, said one of the men had wanted to marry the girl against her wishes.

"Everyone thinks this is some kind of miracle, because normally the lions would attack people," Wondimu said.

Kidnapping young girls has long been part of the marriage custom in Ethiopia. The United Nations estimates that more than 70 percent of marriages in Ethiopia are by abduction, practiced in rural areas where most of the country's 71 million people live.

I'm not a big miracle guy, but it's hard to call this anything else.

I wonder what those lions names were.

Stop Crying, You America-Hater

From AP:

WASHINGTON - Under fire from Republicans and some fellow Democrats, Sen. Dick Durbin apologized Tuesday for comparing American interrogators at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp to Nazis and other historically infamous figures.
"Some may believe that my remarks crossed the line," the Illinois Democrat said. "To them I extend my heartfelt apologies."

His voice quaking and tears welling in his eyes, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate also apologized to any soldiers who felt insulted by his remarks.

"They're the best. I never, ever intended any disrespect for them," he said.

They can't be the "best" and be "like Nazis." The two are mutually exclusive.

More from Durbin:

Durbin said in his apology: "I made reference to Nazis, to Soviets, and other repressive regimes. Mr. President, I've come to understand that's a very poor choice of words."

That's not really an apology, is it? Tears, no matter how plentiful and blubbery, do not an apology make.

Is It Permissable For A Muslim To Lie
In The Court Of The Infidel?

From Dhimmi Watch:

GREENSBORO -- All Syidah Mateen wanted was to give Muslim witnesses the chance to be sworn in on the Quran before testifying in Guilford County courtrooms.

But an attempt by the Greensboro Islamic center to donate copies of the Muslim holy text last week sparked a legal debate that has left state court officials scrambling to decide whether to allow the practice.

Officials with the Administrative Office of the Courts in Raleigh are trying to come up with a statewide policy on the issue before news of the controversy sparks a large outcry, spokesman Dick Ellis said....

An AOC lawyer's preliminary opinion last week said that state law allows people to be sworn in using a Quran rather than a Bible, Ellis said. But that conflicts with the view of top Guilford County judges, who told officials with the Islamic center Friday that they won't allow the practice in their courtrooms.

"An oath on the Quran is not a lawful oath under our law," Guilford Senior Resident Superior Court Judge W. Douglas Albright said earlier in the week. He sets policy for the county's nine Superior Court courtrooms.

That's an interesting observation. America is a Judeo-Christian nation, and our Constitution was written with that idea. However, we did establish separation of Church and State with the first admendment. (I recognize that my fellow CUANAS writer, Publius, might disagree with me on this). In our society, a person is supposed to be free to practice his own religion. If he or she then chooses to be a Muslim, then it is silly to have them swear on a Bible, when they don't even believe in it.


But, Robert Spencer makes an interesting point, when he quotes from the Koran:

"Any one who, after accepting faith in Allah, utters Unbelief - except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in Faith - but such as open their breast to Unbelief, on them is Wrath from Allah, and theirs will be a dreadful Penalty." (16:106)

And then adds:

... what if they are uttering unbelief under what they consider to be compulsion, in line with the verse above? This is just one element of a much larger problem: in relations with unbelievers, the Qur'an simply doesn't teach the values of the Judeo-Christian tradition. It is, as we see from the above verse, permissible to lie to unbelievers. Other values come in for a similar treatment: for believers, they are upheld, but for believers alone.

That is a very good point. But, the problem is not going to be fixed by having Muslims swear on the Bible, which is not, to them, the final word of God. If they agree with the above-cited verse from the Koran, then it doesn't matter if they are swearing on the Bible, the Koran, or on the Satanic Verses, they aren't going to tell the truth if it doesn't help their cause.

So, what are we going to do about it?

A Hospital Is A Profoundly Unnatural Creation

From Dennis Prager:

It is almost impossible to overstate how radically different Old Testament thought was from the thought of the rest of its contemporary world. And it continues to be, given how few societies affirm Judeo-Christian values and how much opposition to them exists in American society, the society that has most incorporated these values. Among the most radical of these differences was the incredible declaration that God is outside of nature and is its creator.

In every society on earth, people venerated nature and worshipped nature gods. There were gods of thunder and gods of rain. Mountains were worshipped, as were rivers, animals and every natural force known to man.

Then came Genesis, which announced that a supernatural God, i.e., a god who existed outside of nature, created nature. Nothing about nature was divine.

Professor Nahum Sarna, the author of what I consider one of the two most important commentaries on Genesis and Exodus, puts it this way: "The revolutionary Israelite concept of God entails His being wholly separate from the world of His creation and wholly other than what the human mind can conceive or the human imagination depict."

This was extremely difficult for men to assimilate then. And as society drifts from Judeo-Christian values, it is becoming difficult to assimilate again today. Major elements in secular Western society are returning to a form of nature worship. Animals are elevated to equality with people, and the natural environment is increasingly regarded as sacred.

The most extreme expressions of nature worship actually view human beings as essentially blights on nature.

Even among some who consider themselves religious, and especially among those who consider themselves "spiritual" rather than religious, nature is regarded as divine, and God is deemed as dwelling within it.

It is quite understandable that people who rely on feelings more than reason to form their spiritual beliefs would deify nature. What is puzzling is that many people who claim to rely more on reason would do so. Nature is unworthy of worship. Nature, after all, is always amoral and usually cruel. Nature has no moral laws, only the amoral law of survival of the fittest.

Why would people who value compassion, kindness or justice venerate nature? The notions of justice and caring for the weak are unique to humanity. In the rest of nature, the weak are to be killed. The individual means nothing in nature; the individual is everything to humans.

A hospital, for example, is a profoundly unnatural, indeed antinatural, creation; to expend precious resources on keeping the most frail alive is simply against nature.

Conspiracy Theories In The Arab World

From Front Page Magazine:

The Iraq War is replacing the attacks of September 11, 2001, as fodder for conspiracy theories emanating from the Middle East - in particular, questions surrounding Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi. Does he exist? Where is he hiding? Is he actually an American or Jordanian agent? Is he dead?
Print and television reports in the Arab and Iranian press regularly question Mr. al-Zarqawi's existence. A member of the former Iraqi Governing Council, Fadhl al-Rube'i, was interviewed on the Lebanese channel New TV, on May 16, 2004. He called Mr. al-Zarqawi mythical and a creation of the Pentagon's "disinformation" center.

The spokesman for radical Iraqi Shi'ite leader Muqtada al-Sadr, Sheikh Abd al-Hadi al-Daraji, likewise stated in an April 4 interview with the Israeli-Arab weekly Kul Al-Arab that Mr. al-Zarqawi was an "ambiguous, imaginary, and made-up figure," created to justify American operations in Iraq. According to a report in the Baghdad newspaper Al-Mu'tamar, on October 28, 2004, fliers distributed by Sunni clerics in Fallujah maintained, "there is no Zarqawi in existence and that such person was an American creation."

An international relations expert at Egypt's Al-Ahram Institute, Said al-Lawindi, appeared on Egyptian channel 1, on November 16, 2004, and alleged that Mr. al-Zarqawi was a fabrication: "Where is this al-Zarqawi? I have read even in the French press, in Le Monde, that anyone can show a photograph of someone who died decades ago and claim that it is al-Zarqawi. This is an attempt by the U.S. to emphasize ... you can't go on forever talking about bin Laden, who has also become a myth."

An article titled, "Zarqawi the Terror Monster: But Does He Really Exist?" appeared in the Saudi daily Arab News, on October 26, 2004, and stated, "Zarqawi has been built up into an almost legendary figure ... Zarqawi is suspected of direct involvement in the kidnap and beheading of several foreigners in Iraq ... But many question his very existence." The article also discussed the battle in Falluja: "The people of Falluja, however, insist that they have never seen the man or heard about him except through the media. So, where is Zarqawi or, indeed, does he exist?"

Over the past few years the Iranian press has blamed America and Israel for most of the terrorist attacks in Iraq, especially the ones that Mr. al-Zarqawi was believed to have masterminded.

Why would we blowup innocent Iranians standing in line to get jobs? Because we want to further destabilize Iraq, so that we can prolong the war, and further enrich the military industrial complex, of which Dick Cheney is the CEO, Chimpy McSmirk is the figurehead, and Ariel Sharon is the Chairman of the Board.

By the way, I own stock in the Military Industrial Complex. If I were you, and I am, I would also invest you money in the MIC. This war is going to go on for a long time. Mo' money. Mo' money. Mo' money.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Dutch Mosques Show Film
Claiming Israeli's Harvest Organs
From Islamic Children

From Dhimmi Watch:

In certain Turkish mosques in Rotterdam, The Hague and Amsterdam an anti-Semitic film is sold. The TV program Nova showed it on Dutch TV. The movie is also shown too children. The movie was made in Iran and translated into Turkish.

The movie is called ‘Zahra's Blue Eyes’; it is about a Palestine girl that is kidnapped and mutilated by a Israëli soldier. Her eyes are transplanted into a blind Jewish boy so he can see again.

I posted about this movie several months back when it was being shown on Iranian TV. Here is a link to a transcript and video.

Democratic Party Says
Israel Controls America Foreign Policy

From The American Thinker, via LGF:

It is important that support for Israel in the US Congress is bipartisan. Israel, the only functioning democracy in the Middle East, has no real friend in the world other than America. The stability of that friendship, demonstrated by support in the Congress (and among the American people) over many decades, has been vitally important to help Israel withstand over 50 years of attacks by terrorists or Arab nations. Israel's foes ultimately do not want compromise with it, they have the goal of destroying the nation militarily, or de-legitimizing it politically ...
At different times in Israel's short recent history, one or the other party has been in control of the Congress, but the support for Israel has not depended on which party was ascendant. Regrettably, this bipartisan support appears to be slipping away.
... what are we to make of Thursday's mock Judiciary Committee hearing designed to impeach President Bush, conducted by Michigan Congressman John Conyers? The meeting was attended by about 30 Democratic members of Congress. Among them were Jewish members, such as Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank, New York Congressman Jerry Nadler, New York Congresswoman Nita Lowey, and Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowski. As reported in the Washington Post but (surprise, surprise!) not in the New York Times,

The session took an awkward turn when witness Ray McGovern, a former intelligence analyst, declared that the United States went to war in Iraq for oil, Israel and military bases craved by administration "neocons" so "the United States and Israel could dominate that part of the world." He said that Israel should not be considered an ally and that Bush was doing the bidding of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

"Israel is not allowed to be brought up in polite conversation," McGovern said. 'The last time I did this, the previous director of Central Intelligence called me anti-Semitic."

Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.), who prompted the question by wondering whether the true war motive was Iraq's threat to Israel, thanked McGovern for his "candid answer."

At Democratic headquarters, where an overflow crowd watched the hearing on television, activists handed out documents repeating two accusations -- that an Israeli company had warning of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and that there was an "insider trading scam" on 9/11 -- that previously has been used to suggest Israel was behind the attacks.

So the Democrats in Congress are now giving voice and credibility to the view that Israel was responsible for the Iraq war. And other Democrats, watching the hearing at the DNC, are hosting anti-Semites who argue that Israel had advance warning of the 9/11 attacks and is therefore responsible for allowing the attacks to occur. And even deeper into familiar anti-Semitic tropes: that Israelis withheld the information so as to benefit financially.

This sounds exactly like classic anti-Semitism. These messages were not being conveyed on anti-Semitic web sites, or on Palestinian TV and radio on Thursday, but at a Democratic function from a meeting room in Congress, with more than 10% of the Democrats in Congress in attendance, and at Democratic National Headquarters. . In all likelihood, these outrageous charges are now being communicated and rebroadcast throughout the Arab and Muslim world, with the imprimatur and legitimacy of the Democratic National Committee, and the US Congress as the reliable source.

Until late Friday, no Democratic Party official or Congressman, had expressed any discomfort with what happened. Now, we have a statement by Congressman Barney Frank, saying he was out of the conference room when the bad stuff happened in the mock impeachment trial, and that he thinks McGovern's view are noxious. So too, DNC Chairman Howard Dean released a statement saying the DNC rejects the hate literature that was being distributed in its own office.
In fact, the activist groups that watched the meeting at the DNC, and handed out the moonbat conspiracy literature blaming Israel for 9/11, were there as guests of the DNC. No one at the DNC can claim that they were surprised that the "hearing" in Congress or the advocacy in their office took on an anti-Semitic slant. McGovern's views are well known (that is why he was invited by Conyers, presumably), and the activists were handing out their anti-Semitic literature openly to everyone in sight in the DNC office. Except for the fact that Dana Milbank, the Washington Post reporter, (and no friend of the Bush administration for that matter), described what actually went on in his Washington Post article, this story never would have surfaced and in all likelihood, no apologies would have been offered. That is, I think, because for an increasing share of the activist members of the Democratic Party, no offense to any of this would have been taken.

In the past few weeks, the obsessive hatred of President Bush by the left has led to some extraordinarily stupid and vicious comments by Illinois Senator Richard Durbin and DNC Chairman Howard Dean, among others. Dean claimed that Republicans do not need to work (62 million trust fund loafers apparently voted for President Bush in November), and that Republicans are evil. Durbin's comments were worse: that the treatment of a few detainees in Guantanamo was so abhorrent, that it brought back memories of the Nazis in the concentration camps, or Pol Pot's murderous Cambodian killers. Trivializing the holocaust is a mainstay theme of the left, from PETA's ad campaign comparing the holocaust to Americans eating chicken for dinner to the constant attempt by university professors to argue that Israel is behaving like the Nazis. Now Dick Durbin has joined this slanderous troop.

Democrats, to judge by recent events, appear to be losing their collective minds in some form of shriek therapy. Being out of power may do that to a party used to having its way for many decades in Congress. But there is one other possible explanation for the apparent insanity. With so much money concentrated in the hands of some hard left advocates (think George Soros, Hollywood, trial lawyers, internet millionaires and some union bosses), the Democrats may feel the need to feed the beast - to protect and cater to their hardcore base, so as to keep the money flowing into the political coffers for future campaigns. So the strategy is for Democrats to be completely over the top in their attacks - trashing Bush, America, our military, Republicans, and Israel, all of whom are targets of the activists, to keep the and Dailykos crowds happy.

Jews voted almost 3 to 1 for John Kerry over George Bush in the 2004 election. That is fine, so long as the Democratic Party and its candidates were at least supportive of Israel, and critical of anti-Semitism.

But when the Democratic Party sponsors what amounts to a festival full of anti-Semitic hysteria and Israel bashing at its own headquarters, and invites anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists in to address members of their Congressional delegation, then I think that the line of basic support for Israel has been crossed.

Democrats, who still have their heads screwed on straight, and retain some sense of decency, like Joe Lieberman, and Steny Hoyer, need to take a long look in the mirror at the unraveling of their Party, and begin to do something about it. John Conyers should be asked to explain why a known anti-Semite like McGovern was invited to the panel's discussions. Why did no member of Congress attending the Conyers hearing challenge McGovern when he went off on his loopy theories?

The Israel haters, and anti-Semites believe they have found a comfortable home in the Democratic Party. If American Jews continue to vote overwhelmingly for the Democrats, then they will be casting their votes for a Party which is becoming indifferent to Israel bashing and anti-Semitism, and in the case of Conyers inviting McGovern to speak, even promoting these toxic views.

I started CUANAS a few years ago when I noticed the rise in anti-Semitism in Europe and the Arab world. Shortly thereafter I became aware of the anti-Semitism spread by professors on college campuses in America. Tolerance for anti-Semitism is prevalent in the American media. But, I didn't expect to see traditional anti-Semitic ideas being spouted by those in the mainstream of the Democratic Party.

Obviously, the Democrats are not calling for the destruction of the state of Israel, nor is their anti-Semitism of the murderous variety. But, their anti-Semitic slanders will give strength to the more dangerous Jew-hatred which is being spread around our planet.

Now, all the anti-Semites in the European media can point to the Conyers hearing and say, "Look, even the United States Congress agrees, Israel controls Bush Administratio policy." And then the Neo-Nazis can say, "Yeah, see. We told you." And the Islamofascists can say, "This is why we have to destroy Israel." And the European leaders can say, "Well, we don't need to destroy Israel. We can just compromise by creating a bi-national state."

At least we've found something all those disparate groups can agree upon, huh?

Maybe the truth is that the neo-Nazi's control the Democratic Party. Because, you know, it's almost as if the Democrats were reading Neo-Nazi talking points.

Lebanese Elections
Anti-Syrian Forces Win Majority

From Reuters:

TRIPOLI, Lebanon (Reuters) - A Lebanese opposition alliance won the final phase of a parliamentary election in a landslide on Sunday, which gave it a clear mandate to steer Lebanon out of Syria's shadow.

An unofficial count for north Lebanon showed an alliance led by Saad al-Hariri sweeping all remaining 28 seats.
The ballot, staggered by region over four weekends, is the first for three decades with no Syrian military presence, after Damascus pulled its troops out in April.

"Final results show that we are ahead and show that the people have voted for change," Hariri, son of slain ex-premier Rafik al-Hariri who is backing the opposition slate, said.

"It was not possible that after the martyrdom of Rafik al-Hariri, the withdrawal of Syria that nothing would change."

The victory means the 128-seat assembly has an anti-Syrian majority for the first time since the 1975-1990 civil war.

Pro-Syrian Christian former minister Suleiman Franjieh conceded he and his candidates were heading for defeat in the mainly Sunni Muslim north, though they had done well in Christian areas.

"What we feared is happening. I think the north has been divided along sectarian lines," Franjieh told LBC television station. "We have arrived at what we used to warn against."

The anti-Syrian list, backed by Sunni Hariri, squared off against an unlikely alliance of pro-Syrians and Damascus' erstwhile foe, former general Michel Aoun, a Maronite Christian.

Aoun's victory in the Christian heartland of Mount Lebanon in last week's round stunned the disparate movement whose street protests following Hariri's assassination on February 14 forced Syria to bow to global pressure and pull out of Lebanon.

Hariri's bloc has now won 72 seats, an absolute majority, but still a far cry from the two-thirds the anti-Syrian front had predicted.

Aoun and allies have 21 seats while a pro-Syrian Shi'ite Muslim alliance between Hizbollah and Amal have 35 seats.

Sunday's win makes Hariri, 35, a leading candidate to be named prime minister. He refused to speculate whether he would take up the post.

"I voted for Hariri's list because Saad al-Hariri represents the Sunnis. His list represents moderation in Lebanon," Abdul Majid Basheer said in mainly Sunni Muslim Tripoli.

Security was tight around polling stations where pictures of the candidates were plastered on walls, billboards and hung on electricity and telephone poles. Rival candidates accused each other of vote-buying and intimidation.

The Interior Ministry said 49 percent of the 690,000 eligible voters cast their ballots. Final official results are expected on Monday.

European Union monitors observing the May 29-June 19 election are expected to issue a verdict on Monday. It was the first time international observers monitored Lebanese polls.

Unlikely alliances that characterised the election are likely to crumble once the results are out.

They are expected to realign into three main blocs -- the anti-Syrian faction, the pro-Syrian group dominated by Amal and Hizbollah, and Aoun's followers.

They will jostle for a say on divisive issues such as the fate of Syria's close ally President Emile Lahoud and international calls for Hizbollah guerrillas to disarm.

The new administration also has to address demands for political reforms and devise a plan to handle a delicate economic situation and a debt of $35 billion, or 185 percent of gross domestic product.

Sounds like Lebanon's politics are byzantine. The Maronite Christian bloc would was pro-Syria. Syria's government is a Baathist dictatorship, similar to, but not as extreme as that of Saddam's Iraq.

Why Christians would support such a government is a mystery to me.

It seems that every positive step towards Democracy in the Middle East has been a tentative and small one. It will be years before we are able to tell if this is really going to work. But, I don't think America has ever lost when it is bet on Freedom.

We'll see.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Geldoff Says Bush Has Done More For Africa
Than Any American President

From Drudge Report:


LIVE 8 founder Bob Geldof is determined to see his international concerts stay focused on the plight of Africa's poor -- and not fall into cliched Bush bashing and global warming rhetoric!

Geldof has ordered show organizers and producers to redouble all efforts to keep LIVE 8 performers "on message" during the July 2 event, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

"Please remember, absolutely no ranting and raving about Bush or Blair and the Iraq war, this is not why you have been invited to appear," Geldoff said to the manager of a top recording artist, who asked not to be identified. "We want to bring Mr. Bush in, not run him away."

[Geldof tells next week's TIME magazine how Bush "has actually done more than any American President for Africa."]

"Bob wants no attention on global warming, or the war," the manager warns, "He is very determined, he does not want to lose control of the message... But we have the most unpopular American president since Nixon, soldiers are dying... you are going to see some righteous anger on stage."

LIVE 8 will be a series of free international concerts with unprecedented star power. Will Smith is host of a hip-hop-heavy show in Philly with 50 Cent and P Diddy headlining; Pink Floyd and the Sex Pistols will reunite in London on the same bill as U2, Coldplay, Keane, Madonna, Elton John, Mariah Carey, Sting and Paul McCartney. Concerts will also be held in Paris, Berlin and Rome.

BBC and AOL plan live broadcast and streaming worldwide.

Sounds like a lot of potential for righteous anger. You know, because rock stars are so righteous, and all.

"The Principles Of Jihadist Philosophy"

Americans soldiers came across a torture house in battle in Iraq yesterday. From The New York Times:

KARABILA, Iraq, Sunday, June 19 - Marines on an operation to eliminate insurgents that began Friday broke through the outside wall of a building in this small rural village to find a torture center equipped with electric wires, a noose, handcuffs, a 574-page jihad manual - and four beaten and shackled Iraqis.

The American military has found torture houses after invading towns heavily populated by insurgents - like Falluja, where the anti-insurgent assault last fall uncovered almost 20 such sites. But rarely have they come across victims who have lived to tell the tale.

The men said they told the marines, from Company K, Third Marines, Second Division, that they had been tortured with shocks and flogged with a strip of rubber for more than two weeks, unseen behind the windows of black glass. One of them, Ahmed Isa Fathil, 19, a former member of the new Iraqi Army, said he had been held and tortured there for 22 days. All the while, he said, his face was almost entirely taped over and his hands were cuffed.

In an interview with an embedded reporter just hours after he was freed, he said he had never seen the faces of his captors, who occasionally whispered at him, "We will kill you." He said they did not question him, and he did not know what they wanted. Nor did he ever expect to be released.

"They kill somebody every day," said Mr. Fathil, whose hands were so swollen he could not open a can of Coke offered to him by a marine. "They've killed a lot of people."

U.S. Marines found a book in the torture house:

The manual recovered - a fat, well-thumbed Arabic paperback - listed itself as the 2005 First Edition of "The Principles of Jihadist Philosophy," by Abdel Rahman al-Ali.
Its chapters included "How to Select the Best Hostage," and "The Legitimacy of Cutting the Infidels' Heads."

Even Eichman Had A Trial

From The Astute Blogger:

McCain was on MTP (Meet The Press) today. As usual, McCain said some good things and some bad things.

A good thing he said: the prisoners on Gitmo are NOT being mistreated and Durbin MUST apologize.

A bad thing he said: that (paraphrasing) "all the prisoners on Gitmo should have their cases adjudicated - even Adolph Eichmann had a trial."

Well, Senator: Eichmann's trial - and the trial of ALL the other NAZIS came AFTER THE WAR WAS OVER.

SO MAY IT BE FOR THE DETAINEES AT GITMO: they can be legally held until after the war is over, and they SHOULD BE, TOO!

Until the enemy has capitulated and ceased all hostilities the detainees are potentially future adversaries THE MOMENT they are released.

As for "adjudication": they are enemy combatants, not defendants; the GWOT is a REAL WAR which will last a generation OR MORE; the war must be won by KILLING AND OTHERWISE DESTROYING THE ENEMY AND THEIR WILL TO FIGHT, and it will not be won by sending in the FBI and arresting a few terrorists and having a few trials. CLINTON DID THAT AND IT FAILED!

Downing Street Memo?

I don't know where to come down on the Downing Street Memo. It seems to me it tells us nothting we didn't already know. We knew there were factions within the Bush Administration who thought we didn't need to prove our case in order to invade Iraq. Remember? The media would talk about how the hawk-wing of the Bush Administration, led by Cheney, was opposed to the Colin Powell-wing which wanted to go to the UN. Well, if there were those factions, then why does it surprise anyone that the memo reveals that Bush had his mind made up to go to war?

My fellow "conservatives" can't decide whether to criticize the memos because they are fake, or whether, as Michael Medved tried to make a case for, the word "fixed" means something different in English than it does in American. (Note to self; move Medved down on the credibility chart). It seems to me that's working awful hard.

Wherever one comes down, it seems to me that we must acknowledge that, if Bush attempted to fix evidence there is a problem. If there is possibly something wrong, then the memos need to be analyzed fairly.

Graham Lester, has attempted to look at the memos without the usual partisan apologetics:

Here are some key excerpts from the Downing Street Memo of July 23, 2002:

C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.

It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force. Link.

Is it a smoking gun? I think it comes pretty close, but the two crucial passages are both ambiguous.

“The intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy” seems to say that the evidence was being massaged to fit the conclusion, but it could also simply mean that the evidence was going to be presented in such a manner that its relation to the conclusion would be made clearer – a rather subtle distinction, but not one without a difference. The memo does not say that evidence or facts were going to be fabricated.

“We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.” This seems to indicate that the whole point of the ultimatum was that Saddam would reject it, but in fact Saddam agreed to allow the inspectors back in. He ended up getting invaded anyway because his record of brutality and aggression was so bad that there was widespread agreement (PDF link) that he must have weapons of mass destruction hidden somewhere. Since “Bush had made up his mind to take military action,” and Saddam could not surrender weapon stockpiles that he did not possess, it seems that the latter could not have avoided war except by fleeing the country.

Graham is a supporter of the War on Terror, but he thinks the memo comes close to being a smoking gun. I have to agree with Graham, although I do so with no passion, or conviction. So, I asked Graham a series of questions:

Hey Graham,
I appreciate your attempt at an honest assessment of that memo. I have some questions:

1) Why, in your opinion, did George Bush invade Iraq?

2) Should we have invaded Iraq and why?

3) Does Iraq fit into a larger unarticulated strategy in the War on Terror?

4) If Saddam was directing his military to shoot at our air force, and I believe that he was, why was that not used as the justification for invasion instead of WMD's?

5) You say the Downing Street Memo is not a smoking gun, but do you believe Congress ought to have hearings on the subject?

6) Do you believe Bush ought to be impeached and, if so, why?

Read Graham's answer here.

But, maybe Michael Medved is right in a way about the definition of the word "fix." Maybe the word "fix" meant to affix. As in, they were building a case by affixing the intelligence around policy. Or maybe the man who wrote the memo was opposed to war in Iraq no matter what, and so, when he wrote the memo, he gave it his negative slant. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.

As I said, I completley lack conviction on this subject, but it seems to me that Bush may truly be in some hot water.

On the other hand, the memo may really be a fake:

The eight memos — all labeled “secret” or “confidential” — were first obtained by British reporter Michael Smith, who has written about them in The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Times.

Smith told AP he protected the identity of the source he had obtained the documents from by typing copies of them on plain paper and destroying the originals.

Unless they can produce the originals, Bush's opponents are going to lose on this. You can't impeach the President of the United States without hard evidence.

The fact remains that the intelligence services of many of the major countries in Europe believed that Saddam still had WMD. Al Gore, Bill Clinton, and John Kerry believed Iraq had WMD. So, the question is, why? There must have been credible evidence. You know, the kind that didn't need to be fixed.

UPDATE: Ed Morrisey at Captain's Quarters is convinced the Memo itself was "fixed."