8.31.2002

Charles Krauthammer writes that we didn't change, though we thought we would, in Year One.
Victor Davis Hanson reminds us that we've heard it all before.
Mark Steyn knows the media is going to try it, but let's not Dianafy 9/11.
Been traveling…I’m in Baltimore at the moment, and computer time has been rare, but I just managed to find a laptop (with a cable modem!) and I’ll be trying to catch up tonight.

8.29.2002

The New York Times is reporting that the French, who can clearly smell what we're cooking over here in the States, have decided to "stop opposing" the U.S.'s war plans. Have they had a change of heart? Have they come to their senses? Yeah right.

The move may also help protect France's national interests in Iraq, including its oil trade, should the United States wage war and win, the officials said.

That sentence also explain why they were against the war in the first place.
The World Tribune (not the most reliable site in the world, but not that bad either) says we are going into Iraq in November. They quote 'Israeli military sources' who say they were warned by the U.S.
Ralph Peters agrees with Michael Ruben (see my previous post) that while there may be reasons not to go to Iraq, taking down Saddam won't be a problem.
Michael Rubin, who spent 9 months in northern Iraq, has some news for the skeptics; war with Iraq will be easy.

For one thing, the United States can't bog down in protracted warfare in Baghdad unless a significant number of Iraqi troops are willing to fight us there. And as the Ba'adre incident suggests, they may not be. In 1991, it's worth remembering, the Iraqi military collapsed and fled a mere 100 hours into the ground war. In May 2001, after Iraqi forces struck at Kifri, another Kurdish-held town, they were repelled by lightly armed Kurdish militiamen-who reportedly killed at least 30 of Saddam's men. Iraqi military morale is extremely low. In April 1995 Saddam dismissed his army chief of staff after a mass defection of soldiers to the Iraqi opposition; some army units saw defection rates of 30 percent. Last summer, after Saddam ordered compulsory military training for boys between ages twelve and 17, many Iraqi families tried to hide their sons. Just last month opposition sources reported that Saddam's older son, Uday, has launched a campaign to hunt down deserters-who reportedly constitute up to 10 percent of Iraqi conscripts, according to military police statistics, despite the fact that the penalty for desertion can be death.

Some U.S. commentators worry that when American invaders show up in their capital, even anti-Saddam Iraqis will rally around the dictator. But that likely underestimates the depth of hatred most Iraqis feel toward their leader. Close to one in every five Iraqis, after all, lives in exile-having fled Saddam's regime-and more than 700,000 have perished in wars or government purges since Saddam formally assumed Iraq's presidency in 1979. That means most Iraqi families have a murdered or exiled family member or friend. And the victims are not merely Kurds and Shia. Roughly 400,000 Iraqis have taken refuge across the border in Jordan, the vast majority of them Sunni Arabs like Saddam himself. And last week's attack on the Iraqi embassy in Berlin was the work of Sunni Arabs as well.

But what about the Republican Guard?

...the Republican Guard's loyalty is far from assured. In June 1996 Iraqi security uncovered a coup plot among both Republican Guard and Special Guard troops. The Republican Guard may be Iraq's military elite, but, unlike the fanatical soldiers of Al Qaeda, they are basically mercenaries-Saddam's Baathism having long ago become the ideological equivalent of 1980s-era Soviet communism. The Republican Guard serves Saddam because of fear and money. When the United States attacks, that fear will surely be counterbalanced by the prospect of facing America's much more fearsome army if they resist.

It never hurts to prepare for the worst, but the evidence shows that the Iraqi people want us to go after Saddam, and that probably includes their soldiers.

My favorite eighteen-year-old columnist, Ben Shapiro, says we should eradicate the State Department. Anyone who starts a column with "President Bush said that people were either with us or with the terrorists. The people in the State Department are with the terrorists. Let's go after them." deserves to be read.

8.28.2002

Central Connecticut State University is giving out maps without Israel on them, and "fact sheets" stating that Israel's official language is Yiddish, not Hebrew. Judith Weiss of Kesher Talk has the story.
The debate rages, but the fighting in Iraq continues...
I read this a couple of weeks back but I don't think I ever posted it. I should have. It seems to have gotten some new life today, so here it is... Why Arab Armies Lose Wars by Norvell "Tex" de Atkine ... and no, it's not just because they tend to fight Israelis.
Ken Adelman Writes in today's WSJ that terrorist states are more dangerous than terrorist networks:

Unlike bin Laden, who slithered around Afghani caves, Saddam slithers around a state capital. He has his hands on billions of dollars in state oil receipts, hundreds of thousands of troops, scores of scientific laboratories and myriad manufacturing plants cranking out weapons of mass destruction.

Our moral imperative for ousting Saddam is powerful. With a whole nation of victims, he oppresses more people on a daily basis than bin Laden will in the course of his lifetime. We just need to get this idea through to Europeans, with their history of realpolitik.

This has nothing to do with politics, or any of the other subjects this site usually covers, but I just read a fascinating article on the human brain and artificial intelligence. David Gelernter writes that I Hallucinate, Therefore I Am.
(I forgot where I found this, so to whomever I owe a credit to , Thanks)
Charles Krauthammer talks of The Terrible Logic of Nukes.

...today we cannot allow bad guys like Saddam to get their hands on nukes: not merely because a crazed Saddam might actually use them on us but also because a rational Saddam, one not interested in committing suicide by attacking us out of the blue with nukes, could nonetheless use them as accessories to aggression.

How? Imagine that Israel had not destroyed the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981. What would have happened when Iraq invaded Kuwait? With a nuclear arsenal at Saddam's disposal, would the U.S. have attacked? As it was, war against a nonnuclear Iraq was authorized by the U.S. Senate by a mere five votes. Had Saddam had nukes in 1991, he would probably today be king of all Arabia.




The scandal at the University of North Carolina keeps getting misrepresented in the press. What is ridiculous about their policy is not simply that they are being made to read the Koran, but that they are being made to read the Koran because, and this is their stated policy, it will "help students understand 9-11." On top of that, the edition they will use is not a standard Koran, but a book about the Koran with all references to war, fighting infidels, or Jihad edited out. Dennis Prager has a column today that outlines why this is so absurd:

So, the intent of the University of North Carolina assigned summer reading is not at all what it purports to be. It was not chosen to help students understand 9-11; it was chosen to help students not to understand 9-11 by deflecting their attention from the contemporary Arab Islamic reality and onto selected ancient Islamic texts that bear no connection to that reality.

It would be as if after Hitler and Nazism rose to power and began subjugating countries and slaughtering Jews, some American university assigned readings from Goethe and required listening to Bach so that their students could better understand Nazi Germany. To understand Nazi terror, you study the hate-filled texts of Nazism, not the beautiful novels of German writers or Bach's cello suites. To understand Islamic terror, you study the hate-filled texts that are published daily throughout the Arab world; you assign the hate-filled sermons that are preached every week in the Muslim mosques in the Middle East and Iran.

The University would be doing its students a great service, of course, if it was to actually give the students the tools they need to understand 9-11(An Autumn of War, perhaps?), but that will definitely never happen.

Thomas Friedman also has a column on the subject, and he argues the other side.

As a recent letter to The Times observed, the problem with the world today is not that American students are being asked to read the Koran, it is that students in Saudi Arabia and many other Muslim lands are still not being asked to read the sacred texts of other civilizations — let alone the foundational texts of American democracy, like the Bill of Rights, the Constitution or the Federalist Papers.

The fact that they ignore such diverse texts is the source of their weakness, and the fact that we embrace them is the source of our strength. What we should be doing is driving that point home, not copying their obscurantism.

He misses the point entirely, of course, as keeping certain things from the students is exactly what everyone is so upset about in the first place. Or at least that's what they should be upset about.
According to the Times of London,the Arabs are revolting.

8.27.2002

David Warren heard Cheney's speech yesterday, and he knows who it was really aimed at.

To read the papers from either side of the Atlantic, you would think the purpose of Mr. Cheney's speech and the others was to draw "a line in the sand" -- not against Saddam Hussein, but against Brent Scowcroft and other "doves" who are presumed to be flying between the "hawk" and his mouse. To state it thus is to show what is wrong with this view: it will not be Gen. Scowcroft standing in the road to Baghdad. But these are very sophisticated analysts, and the fact they are always wrong should not deter us from recognizing their role in shaping public and diplomatic opinion.

The light is instead being shone into the eyes, chiefly of the dictator of Iraq. (Do you think the Bush administration was unaware that he'd be watching?) He is being told, unambiguously, that sooner or later the Americans will arrive; and probably sooner. All parties to the dispute within the region -- in Cairo, Riyadh, the Gulf States, and elsewhere -- are being similarly advised, that there is no debate. They are being told to get ready (and who knows what besides, by the President entertaining Saudi visitors at his ranch in Crawford, Texas yesterday).

This is brinkmanship of a very high order -- over the heads of the media. And here is the $64 million question, they have not thought to ask: What does Mr. Bush expect Saddam to do?

I can't answer that, without knowing everything Mr. Bush knows, or seeing inside Saddam. I can speculate, however, and do so in the belief that Mr. Bush has already deployed, scattered over as many regional bases as were available, a very potent force, sufficient to make fairly short work of the unspeakable Saddamite regime. (And he has done this without publicity, and not because he wanted to keep it out of the Western media, but because he had to minimize the political pressure on each of his several regional hosts.)

My speculation is that Mr. Bush would prefer that Saddam strike first; that the pain of gaining a formal consensus to invade "out of the blue" could be forgone by this method. (Shades, if you will, of Lincoln's reinforcement, leading to the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter.)

Warren is writing some of the best foreign policy commentary out there, though it seems to go unnoticed (outside of the blogosphere, of course).


Mark Steyn thinks stability is the last thing the Middle East needs.

I think an explosion is long overdue and turning the whole region into a cauldron is a necessary step toward taming and then reforming it. It's the non-explosive non-cauldron Middle East that's caused so many of our present woes...

That's why Henry Kissinger's contribution is the most important. Despite the best efforts of The New York Times, the good doctor is not opposed to war with Iraq. He states explicitly that there's an "imperative for preemptive action" and sooner rather than later. Not only does Kissinger not break ranks with Bush, but, more remarkably, he breaks ranks with himself, acknowledging that Kissingerian "realism" is no longer sufficient in an age of enemies unsusceptible to concepts like "deterrence." If his support for war seems hedged with qualifications, that's more to do with the philosophical argument he's having with himself over the magnitude of what Bush is proposing. To Kissinger, the President's "pre-emption" doctrine is a repudiation of international relations as understood since the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia. But in a world where enemies with no negotiable demands can strike without warning, the Treaty of Westphalia no longer seems inviolable. Kissinger wants a "comprehensive strategy" drawn up for this new world, but at least he recognizes he's in one.

Can the CIA protect us? Claire Berlinski says not a chance. Bill Gertz is also on the case, with a three-part series for the Washington Times outlining some of his new book "Breakdown" (see cover at left). Part I: Military analyst's terror warning fell on deaf ears and Part II: Legal concerns make the CIA 'risk averse' have been pretty good (I'll update with the third piece when it comes out.)
Durban Redux?
The "Earth Summit" where delegates are trying to End world hunger (while dining on lobsters, caviar and brandy), has turned into a forum for attacking Israel. Who would have thought?
There is something rotten in Denmark. Daniel Pipes & Lars Hedegaard with the story.
More evidence that we are already fighting in Iraq.

Turkish jets escorted helicopters which carried Turkish commandos to seize the airport at Bamerni in northern Iraq, about 50 miles north of Mosul. On August 8, according to reports in the Turkish press, US, British and US special forces accompanied the Turkish force, which seized the airport after a short battle in which the Iraqi defenders were slaughtered. The occupation of Bamerni gives the US-Turkish forces the ability to strike at will at the Syrian-Iraqi railroad, a key supply link for Baghdad.

(found at GlennFrazier.com)

8.26.2002

This Story Is just Too Horrible: An attempted "honor killing" in Pakistan. It's not for the squeamish (there is a picture). I'm not sure if you can chalk this stuff up to Islam, or if it is the tribal mentalities in these areas. Either way, It is a terrible shame that things like this still go on.

(as seen on LGF, In Context)

Well, For all those who were waiting for the Administration to "make the case" for war, here it is. Cheney, speaking in Nashville, TN laid it out, A to Z.
For those of you who were too lazy to read John Fonte's Article on Transnational Progressivism all the way through (or at all), James C. Bennett sums it up nicely, and does it in less than two pages.
Some of you may remember that shortly after Lee Harris's "Fantasy Ideology" article came out, someone wrote me to ask: Doesn't the "Fantasy" analysis damn all religion? I posted an answer then, but I since have been able to get the question to Harris himself. Here's His answer:

The answer to the question about religion is an emphatic NOOOOO! I would argue that certain religions are in fact enormously useful in combating fantasy ideologies. In fact, in order for either Judaism or Christianity to survive it was absolutely critical to control the tendency of the communities to go off in pursuit of the fantasy of either the First Coming (the Messiah) or the Second Coming (the return of Christ.)

Think about this--if at any point either religion had devoted itself whole-heartedly to the fantasy that the Messiah was really come, or that Christ had really returned, this would ipso facto been the end of these religions--at least, in the form that they had been known to us. For the consummation of such a fantasy would require someone to claim the authority of the Messiah/Returned Christ, and, in doing so, a mere human agency would have usurped the position that only the true Messiah/Christ can occupy in the community. This meant that false Messianism was the greatest single threat to the survival of either religions--if at any point they had all succumbed to such false Messianism, the subsequent failure of the false Messiah (and how could he not fail?) would have been the kiss of death to the religions.

The exceptions, I think, prove this rule. In Judaism, one of the worst blows to European Jewry came about in the apostasy of Shabbetai Zevi (whom you will know of course!)--which, despite the best exegetical efforts of Nathan of Gaza, made one a bit more cautious about the claims of other would be Messiahs.

This ever present threat both to Judaism and Christianity required that the institutions that embodied these religion was forced to develop systems by which such dangerous claims could be safely and effectively handled. For example, you could analyze the Catholic Church as a machine for keeping Christianity from turning dangerously millennialist--indeed, the first great threat to it in this direction was the Montanist heresy--which I just happened to be writing about to another correspondent when I got your email.

In fact, all organizations that have survived for any length of time must have developed systems for eliminating and diverting dangerous collective delusions, and that is why, historically, they seem to erupt most when there is a loss of a sense of legitimate institutional authority--for example, at the time of the reformation. And, yes, this is an argument for institutional conservatism--but it just happens to turn out that way! Believe me, I absolutely never try to get an argument to match a pre-determined conclusion.

Just a brief sketch of my ideas. My ideas on and about religion, however, would require a book or two. But I would absolutely love to write them if someone would permit me!

Your very grateful friend,

Lee

Thanks to Rev. Brian Chapin Of American Realpolitik for getting the question to Harris.

8.25.2002

James A. Baker III has an editiorial in today's New York Times full of suggestions and cautions for the Bush administration. He calls on them to among other things, ask the U.N. for a resolution regarding Iraq.

The United States should advocate the adoption by the United Nations Security Council of a simple and straightforward resolution requiring that Iraq submit to intrusive inspections anytime, anywhere, with no exceptions, and authorizing all necessary means to enforce it. Although it is technically true that the United Nations already has sufficient legal authority to deal with Iraq, the failure to act when Saddam Hussein ejected the inspectors has weakened that authority. Seeking new authorization now is necessary, politically and practically, and will help build international support.

Some will argue, as was done in 1990, that going for United Nations authority and not getting it will weaken our case. I disagree. By proposing to proceed in such a way, we will be doing the right thing, both politically and substantively. We will occupy the moral high ground and put the burden of supporting an outlaw regime and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction on any countries that vote no. History will be an unkind judge for those who prefer to do business rather than to do the right thing. And even if the administration fails in the Security Council, it is still free — citing Iraq's flouting of the international community's resolutions and perhaps Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, which guarantees a nation's right to self-defense — to weigh the costs versus the benefit of going forward alone.

Others will argue that this approach would give Saddam Hussein a way out because he might agree and then begin the "cheat-and-retreat" tactics he used during the first inspection regime. And so we must not be deterred. The first time he resorts to these tactics, we should apply whatever means are necessary to change the regime. And the international community must know during the Security Council debate that this will be our policy.

One thing to remember when reading this stuff, is that there is absolutely no way that Baker would write anything that Bush would not want him to. It appears that Bush is playing a sort of rope-a-dope, as the worst thing that could happen to the Bush war plans would be for Saddam to agree to some sort of watered-down inspections.

David Warren explains what he means when he describes Bush as Lincolnesque. It all boils down to his vision for the world, remarkably similar to what Harris described as "Neo-Sovereignty"
Iran Update: A mainstream paper covers the situation in Iran, with an actual reporter on the ground in Tehran. That's pretty good news, now all we need are some TV cameras.
American Realpolitik has gotten a hold of an excellent essay by Lee Harris entitled A Sheep Amongst Wolves- the fine art of being stupid. It outlines the Bush worldview of "Neo-Sovereignty." Though I'm not convinced, as Harris seems to be, that either of the Bushes are geniuses, I do think they both have been committed to the strategy he outlines.

8.24.2002

The new Smarter Harper's Index is up. Check it out.

8.23.2002

Real life has been intruding on my time in the past few days....I'm not getting much reading done...don't have much for you today, but do check out today's Victor Davis Hanson piece: It’s a Vision Thing
Nissin Ratzlav-Katz decries the notion that the Palestinians are killing Jews because of any "occupation." They've been killing Jews since long before 1967, and for that matter, long before 1948. And he asks us to remember August 23, 1929.

8.22.2002

This is too cool. The Bill of Rights "Security Edition"

(as seen on Vodkapundit, Amish Tech Support, and Instapundit. Links at left.)
Update: Laurence has some suggestions.
In the WSJ yesterday, Asla Aydintasbas uncovered some more possible links between Saddam and Al Qaeda, and today, William Safire has an opinion piece in the NY Times in which he reveals even more possible ties. However, says Safire, we don't need to connect Saddam with September 11:

Let's not pretend we must "make the case" that Saddam personally directed 9/11. The need to strike at an aggressive despot before he gains the power to blackmail us with the horrific weapons he is building and hiding is apparent to most Americans, including those who will bear the brunt of the fight.

But it would make sense for him to use his new weaponry through terrorist cutouts. That is why it is worthwhile to discover and expose the likelihood of Saddam's previous and present connections to mass murder. That is why people who oppose the finishing of this fight — on strategic, self-justifying, political or pacifist grounds — should open their minds to the signs that terror's most dangerous supporter can be found in Baghdad.

Considering what they've been putting on the front page, The Times must love running that.

(Thanks to VodkaPundit for the Times link)

More on the man with rose-colored glasses:

Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed is an affable man with a benign smile and a penchant for chuckling. He uses his soft, rather feminine hands to emphasise the eminent reasonableness of his arguments and, sitting in his office, surrounded by awed supporters, munching on bags of crisps, he presents a contented, even jovial figure

That is, untill he opens his mouth...

Don't make me look like a Jew!" he barks at a photographer about to take his picture...

"People say that I am a racist because of some of the things I have said about Jews in Israel," he said. "That's nonsense. I am not against the Jews, I am simply against the state of Israel. The state of Israel, I believe, is a cancer which must be removed.

"We challenge the truth of the Holocaust but we challenge it from an academic perspective. We believe it has been certainly exaggerated to justify the occupation of Palestine. I also believe that the Israelis and the Nazis are one and the same in their refusal to accept the sanctity of life."

The Sheikh will be leading supporters of Osama bin Laden in a march through London this weekend.

Bush v. world
David Warren has another great piece on how this President finds his way through the jungle of foriegn policy decisions that make men like Brent Scowcraft turn to "realpolitik plus bedwetting."

It strikes me that out of real intellectual humility, Mr. Bush has "drifted" into the boldest, most counter-intuitive of all the possible courses of action: a project to re-align the United States explicitly with every opposition force that can be found within the Middle East, no matter how small, that aspires to democratic constitutional reform; and to gradually manoeuvring the full power of the U.S. behind them. In other words, truly digging to the root cause of terrorism: which is the intellectual and material enslavement of the Arab and Persian masses.

Warren is right, of course, and we should all be thankful that Bush (43) doesn't think at all like Bush (41), and prefers to act like Lincoln (16).
The educational establishment in this country continuously decries the idea of having to "teach the test." That, as you might well be aware, is because they would prefer to teach nothing at all. Thomas Sowell has been writing a great series of articles (Part I, Part II, Part III) on the subject. Well worth reading.
George Will joins Charles Krauthammer, and others, in knocking the NY Times' war against the war. The "factional broadsheet" (of record) has gone too far this time.

8.21.2002




Here are the killers. Here is the story. I couldn't read it. I just kept staring at their faces. When I read about suicide bombings it is hard for me, on some level, to truly hate the perpetrator. The sheer depravity of the act makes feel a little sympathy for the bomber. It might not make sense, but I can't help it. But these men leave me with no such weakness. No, for these men, I have nothing but sheer hatred. We have no earthly punishment to match their crimes. I pray there is a hell worthy of their sins.
Just a note: I have a counter that tells me how many people look at my site, and it is quite an honor to see all of you visiting, but I’m looking for more. If you read something on this page and have something to add, or just agree or disagree with the ideas expressed, click “comment” at the bottom of the particular post, and let us (and everybody) know! Thanks to all those who have added to this page by commenting in the past. (Janice that’s you!) I've switched comment systems, and as a result all past comments are no longer available. The old system, while very customizable, kept crashing and made my page unavailable far too often. The new one looks like it works pretty well, but we’ll see…
Morning In America
It's over...Cynthia Mckinney has lost the Democratic Primary in Georgia's 4th district. This country feels like a better place to live, doesn't it?

8.20.2002

The Jerusalem Report has an in-depth look at at Al-Jazeera, and it's full of good little tidbits of info. Like this one:

In February, Al-Jazeera dared to conduct an hour-long interview with Robert Hatem, a.k.a. "Cobra," the former bodyguard of Eli Hobeika, the intelligence chief of the Lebanese Phalange militia that was responsible for the massacre at Sabra and Shatilla. "Cobra" accused his ex-boss of a long list of murders, including that of his baby daughter, and spoke in detail about Hobeika's part in the September 1982 massacre. He also gave a verbatim account of the censure Hobeika received at the time from Arik Sharon. The interview sparked a huge furor in Lebanon.

They also go into what the Qatari government gets out of all this, as they cozy up to both the U.S. and some of the more fundamentalist regimes in the area.
Mark Steyn makes a connection between rape and culture, and we're the victims.

After September 11th, a friend in London said to me she couldn't stand all the America-needs-to-ask-itself stuff because she used to work at a rape crisis centre and she'd heard this blame-the-victim routine a thousand times before. America was asking for it: like those Norwegian women, it was being "provocative." My friend thought the multiculti apologists were treating America as a metaphorical rape victim.

Unfortunately, he's not just talking metaphorically. Muslim immigrants to the west are having a hard time learning that we don't have the same appreciation for a good gang-rape that they used to enjoy back home.
StratFor is reporting that the Bush administration is backing away from a near-term attack on Iraq

The White House's wavering reflects the tortuous political and military complexity of containing a war on Iraq and its aftermath. But the Bush administration, unilateralist chest-thumping aside, also realizes that it needs the assistance of many countries if it is to keep al Qaeda and its sympathizers in check.

A reversal of policy on Iraq was necessary in terms of both long-term U.S. anti-terrorism goals and short-term preparedness for new al Qaeda attacks. However, the retreat is a strategic psychological defeat for the administration, particularly in the Middle East. Washington inadvertently stumbled into exactly the trap al Qaeda hoped to set for it.

Its Iraq policy united the Muslim Middle East across border, racial and sectarian lines against the United States. And that opposition appears to have thwarted a major U.S. attack in the region. Washington will need to exercise damage control in its relations with individual Muslim countries and, despite the drawdown on Iraq, could face increased resistance in the region in the near future.

This is very troubling, especially considoring that StratFor has been pretty accurate in the past. For the U.S. to back off of an attack would be a tremendous psychological victory for our enemies, as many, including Henry Kissinger and StratFor themselves, have argued. (see this post)

(Thanks to VodkaPundit for the link. Stratfor sometimes pulls their links down from the public, but for now it's working)
UNconscionable
The U.N. really needed some leadership on human rights, especially after suffering a few scandals of their own. They have turned to the one man who truly represents the goals and ideals of the United Nations, Libyan leader Colonel Gadaffi. He is to become the Chairman of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, an international bulldog...er, watchdog, on human rights. Gadaffi's one-year term begins next March.
Who was Abu Nidal? Michael Ledeen knows the dead terrorist in Baghdad pretty well. What he knows can tell us alot about our enemies.

8.19.2002

We found out a few days ago that Arafat is a billionaire, but where did all the money come from? Turns out he was stealing it, according to Jaweed al-Ghussein, The former treasurer of the PLO. And over in Europe, they're shocked, just shocked to find out that their money was (is?) lining Arafat's pockets. Talk about egg in the face. How terrible it must be, to send money you thought was going to be used constructively to kill Jews, only to find that it was being embezzled!
Teach your children (not so) well
The NEA (National Education Association) is suggesting to teachers that they not "suggest any group is responsible" for the terrorist attacks of 9/11. That from a lesson plan available for teachers from their website. Another lesson plan does place some blame -- on America. "Discuss historical instances of American intolerance," the plan says, so that the American public avoids "repeating terrible mistakes." "Internment of Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor and the backlash against Arab Americans during the Gulf War are obvious examples...Teachers can do lessons in class, but parents can also discuss the consequences of these events and encourage their children to suggest better choices that Americans can make this time." No word yet on whether any of the lesson plans blame the attacks on the Pledge of allegiance.
David Warren has been providing some of the best analysis of the Middle East out there, and he knows just how to put things in perspective. Here he is on Saddam, his defenders in the West, and why W. is showing such patience:

To many in the West today, decency requires that we should at least wait until he is in a position to kill millions, and can level the playing field by holding us to ransom. But while the case for not waiting is so much stronger, the approach of President George W. Bush has been to get his guns loaded first...Those who argue that President Bush either should or shouldn't invade Iraq are anyway missing part of the plot. It is not only going to happen, it has already started.

There are many indications that U.S. special forces have been crawling around Iraq, from bases mostly in the northern Kurdish, but also in the southern Shia region, both of which are already under U.S. and British air protection within the old U.N. "no fly" zones. And I believe that the necessary conventional air, sea and ground forces for a sudden and effective "regime-changer" are now fully deployed in Iraq's vicinity, at bases dispersed through the region, and in three aircraft carrier groups. Mr. Bush is, after months of unpublicized preparations, in a position to spring. He could give an order now, and there would be U.S. commandos dropping into Baghdad before breakfast tomorrow.

He finishes with 7 good reasons why Bush is waiting it out. Check it out.

Larry Miller of the Weekly Standard is out with his second piece about his first trip to Israel. In it he recounts what he saw in the hospitols he visited, and how they differ from the ones we're used to. Though he is a humorist by trade, some things just aren't that funny. He ends with this heart-stomping passage:

Downstairs, before we left, the head of the hospital, an Israeli named Audrey, was showing me the children's waiting room. I couldn't help but notice, all around, an Arab woman with her son, an Arab family over there checking in, Arab children playing with the toys while waiting. The doctor saw the look on my face and laughed. "Oh, yes, we treat everyone." I guess I was astonished. She just shrugged. "We're Jews. This is how we live. It's also for the future. They're not going anywhere, and we're not going anywhere. There will eventually be peace. There has to be." When? A month? A year? A hundred years? More? She didn't know. I had to say it. You're incredible. You take everyone, you treat everyone, no one goes first, no one goes last, you just go in order of who needs help. That's, like, Mother Teresa stuff. "We're not saints, we're just doing our jobs. It's not easy, I admit. And it gets hard when they cheer when the bodies are brought in." I looked at her. What did you say? She sighed. "Yes, it gets hard when they cheer." This was one of the times during my trip when I held up my hands and said, "Stop. Wait." I turned and walked away to breathe deeply for a minute. I wonder if they've restocked that mini-bar. Yeah, probably. It's a good hotel.

I didn't meet one Jew the whole trip who didn't think there would be peace, not one. "We can work it out. We have to. They're not going anywhere. Neither are we."

Of course, it gets hard when they cheer.

I guess it does.



Charles Krauthammer thinks the NY times has gone a little too far in their anti-war zealotry. Using the front page to argue against the war was one thing, but claiming Henry Kissinger (who's statements show him decidedly for pre-emption, and as soon as possible) as evidence of "Top republicans" who are "breaking with Bush" is simply, as Krauthammer puts it so eloquently, stupid.

8.18.2002

A Paean To The Suicide Bomber (May He Live And Be Well)
The Washington Post writes what by my reading seems to be a beautiful tribute to the successes of Palestinian suicide bombing. The tagline of the article should have been a warning ("Suicide bombers help Palestinians level the battlefield") but I foolishly read on anyway and got sick to my stomach. American journalism at its best. P.S. Note the overriding theme of the article that the Palestinians truly have no other recourse. After all, the Israelis have all the really good weapons.

8.16.2002

Seems like all this war talk is moot. The Asia Times says we are already fighting in Iraq.
Brent Scowcroft made waves with his recent column in the Wall Street Journal warning against an attack on Iraq. Much hay was made over the fact that Scowcroft was a member of Poppa Bush's Foriegn Policy team. But a look at his record shows that Scowcraft has been arguing against the use of force for ten years now. Here's what the Washington Post said (back in October) about his position on Afghanistan:

Though in 1990 Scowcroft advocated a strong military response to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, today he counsels patience. He believes that overthrowing Saddam Hussein is not feasible. His reluctance to engage in regime change extends to Afghanistan, where he says it would be simpler diplomatically to send U.S. forces in to snatch bin Laden. Scowcroft also favors building a strong coalition of Arab nations, even if that means applying more pressure on Israel to exert restraint in its conflict with the Palestinians. And he believes the United States should make every effort to reestablish a constructive relationship with Iran, arguing that the United States should not be simultaneously at odds with the two most populous Persian Gulf states

In August 1992, Scowcroft advised President Bush not to help Yeltsin, but make the first steps towards conciliation with the communists behind the coup attempt. So, Brent has been on the wrong side of everything since the Gulf War, but that's unfair. Here's Jay Nordlinger on why he's wrong this time. Daniel Pipes & Jonathan Schanzer chime in too.

Update: The NY Sun sums up all this stuff and adds some more too, in their editorial. Who is Brent Scowcraft?
There has been much ado about the University of North Carolina's decision to make all incoming freshmen students read the Koran. Part of the uproar was about the version of the Koran they are using, which has, among other things, all the "violant passages" edited out. W. F. Buckley has an idea; maybe we could get the Muslims to read it.
Victor Davis Hanson writes that when it comes to Iraq, the Administration has been been doing just fine:

In fact, so far the United States has accomplished a great deal since the September attacks, without yet committing a major blunder. Silly ideas of last autumn — a proposed Islamic peace force in Afghanistan, a coalition government of reformed Taliban, a bombing hiatus during Ramadan, or direct presidential talks with Arafat were all quickly and wisely ignored. In our first year, there has been no Wake Island or surprise at the Yalu River that marked our initial months of fighting in past wars. The terrorists abroad are on the run, and at home either jailed or in hiding. Afghanistan is liberated; we talk over sporadic incidents of random killings and corruption there, not government-sponsored beheading or thousands planning the murder of Americans with impunity in the countryside. The present deliberation about war with Iraq is neither a sign of brinkmanship nor timidity, but a necessary pause to air domestic doubts and vent foreign worries...So far in this war, the United States has acted both rationally and forcefully, and consequently the cards are now all in its hand. Saddam is on a higher state of alert than we are; his pathetic overtures are seen as either disingenuous or signs of desperation and weakness, precipitated only by threats of American action — raising the questions why he has not done all this and more years earlier, and why the specter of force works when the surety of talk fails.

What is ahead? At some point, of course, promises of "regime change" will appear empty without action. When that day of reckoning will arrive is unknown and will depend on the degree of cynical concessions made by Saddam Hussein, the building of an American consensus, and the intervening events on the world scene. But one thing is clear; the greatest danger facing the United States is neither the charge of timidity by holding off for a time from Iraq nor bellicosity by right now attacking Saddam. The peril is instead invading without sufficient force or will to complete the task — which is not about the liberation of land or the fulfillment of U.N. resolutions, but the very head of Saddam Hussein. Critics will hate us whether we use a battalion or 20 divisions; and complain more that Saddam Hussein has survived our efforts than lament that he and his clique were liquidated.

If there is one thing The Bush administration has proved, it is that they are determined to get these things right, and not make the mistakes of their predecessors.

8.15.2002

Saudi Arabia Prepares To File For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection
Some 600 family members of Sept. 11 victims filed a trillion-dollar federal lawsuit Thursday against Saudi officials, banks and charities, charging they financed Osama bin Laden's network and the attacks on New York and Washington. One trillion dollars?!? That does seem a bit high. If the family members win, I really do hope a reasonable court will take the facts and equity into account and reduce the award on appeal to no more than 999 billion dollars. In any case, maybe Arafat would be able to help the Saudis pay off the judgment.
The Jeruselam Post reported yesterday that the year 2001 saw a 25 percent increase in the number of Israelis receiving patents in the United States. Blogger Kieran Lyons noticed the article and has done some interesting additional research.
A liberal arts college in Colorado, Colorado College, has selected PLO propagandist Hanan Ashrawi as the keynote speaker for a conference about September 11: One Year Later. This story comes from Jason Rubenstein at Tonecluster who also has posted a letter from John Andrews, Minority Leader of the Colorodo Senate, and the college's response.
John Derbyshire has finally found something to smile about, Donald Rumsfeld's statement about the Arab-Israeli conflict has put the smile on his face, and he thinks it might be a new way to deal with the Arabs:

I have mooted before in these columns my suspicion that the Arabs are suffering from a mass psychosis, with the corollary that our — the civilized world's — best course of action is to: "Do what you do when you find yourself in a roomful of glittering-eyed lunatics down at the local funny farm. Keep smiling, talk softly, don't make any sudden moves, keep nodding and smiling, and keep a tight hand on the stun-gun in your pocket."

After Rummy's little outburst of honesty, I'm not so sure about this. Perhaps we should try yelling in their ears. Perhaps that might be more effective, by way of opening their eyes to plain reality. "YOU LOST FOUR WARS! GET OVER IT!" Though we should still, of course, keep a tight hand on the stun gun.


The Israeli policy of knocking down the houses of the families of suicide bombers seems to be working, in at least in two recent cases. One man in Tulkarem turned his son over to the police, while another man in Nablus shot his son in the leg. Both fathers were trying to prevent their sons from becoming suicide bombers. It's truly amazing. The Palestinians seemed perfectly willing to sacrifice their children for the cause, but their houses seem to be a different story.
Cynthia McKinney may soon lose her seat in congress, but she's already lost "Cynthia McKinney Parkway." Ironically, the highway is being renamed Memorial Drive in honor of the victims of September 11th.
Iran update:

Riots are rocking, for the third consecutive day, the southern suburbs of Tehran, where, the regime forces are avoiding to come into action by fear of creating a general riot in the Iranian Capital. This morning, hundreds of residents of Eslam Shahr attacked the governmental food stocks and distributed quantities of food and materials among the residents. The regime forces have created a security perimeter in order to avoid the spread of the riots to reach more further north, where, already the situation has reported as very tense. Hundreds of Eslam Shahris attacked the governmental forces, 3 days ago, by destroying their vehicles and injuring several of them despite the heavy shout out made by the militiamen who had to escape from the scene.

Via SMCCDI.
Peace Be Upon You
A peace loving Muslim in the Western World shares his life-affirming religious worldview in the blogosphere. In all fairness, it's just a moral lesson from one of his Scholarly Islamic mentors. They are so frickin' enamored of violence. Islam for beginners:

The life of the Ummah is connected to the ink of the scholars and the blood of the martyrs. What is more beautiful than to write the history of the Ummah with both the ink of the scholar and his blood, such that the map of Islamic history becomes coloured with two lines: one of them black, and that is what the scholar writes with the ink of his pen; and the second red, and that is what the martyr writes with his blood. And more beautiful than this is when the blood is one and the pen is one, so that the hand of the scholar, which expends the ink and moves the pen, is the same hand that expends his blood and moves the nations. The extent to which the number of martyred scholars increases, is the extent to which nations are delivered from their slumber, rescued from their decline and awoken from their sleep. So history does not write its lines except with blood. Glory does not build its lofty edifice except with skulls. Honour and respect cannot be established except on a foundation of cripples and corpses. Empires, noble persons, states and societies, cannot be established except with examples.
This philosophy (radical? Islam) is a cancer. It must be delegitimized. It must be mocked and humiliated and left to rot in the dustbin of history. Dare we consider the alternative to fighting them?

8.14.2002

Mackubin Thomas Owens lays out a stratagy for a war with Iraq, and looks at why we have this problem in the first place. In his mind, the villian is, surprisingly, Colin Powell:

By law, the military leadership is obligated to provide the civil authorities with the best possible military advice. The record indicates that Gen. Powell, who was responsible for providing this military advice to President Bush, recommended an end to hostilities based not on military considerations, but on public relations ones — concern about how the world perceived what was turning into a one-sided rout by American forces.

It seems clear that to have fulfilled his statutory obligations, Gen. Powell should have asked his field commanders if the military objective of the war had been achieved, i.e. had the Republican Guard been destroyed? Receiving a negative reply, he should have recommended that the ground war continue. Had the president rejected his advice, Powell still would have done his duty while reflecting the view of his field commanders closest to the action.

But the field commanders who could have told the chairman and the president that the Republican Guard had not been destroyed were not consulted. Instead, they were presented with a fait accompli. Given the deterioration of the U.S. position in the Gulf since the war, Gen. Powell's failure to render his best military advice ranks as a failure of major proportions.



Preaching to the Muslims
Franklin Graham, evangelist preacher and son of Billy Graham, had a few words to say about the Muslim world on a Charlotte, North Carolina radio show today. The reaction was swift and predictable. Dr. Masood Khan, chairman of the Charlotte Islamic School board, said local Muslims were outraged by Graham's statements. ``What surprised us is that he's a leader of such stature. But instead of respecting other faiths, he's spreading hate,'' Khan said. Okay, so what did Rev. Graham say already to elicit such a reaction from the local Muslim Community? Let's take a little peek at the good reverend's hate speech:

I'm certainly not preaching against Muslim people. I am concerned about our nation, and on Sept. 11 last year, we were attacked by followers of Islam, claiming to do this in the name of Islam. The silence of the clerics around the world is frightening to me. How come they haven't come to this country, how come they haven't apologized to the American people, how come they haven't reassured the American people that this is not true Islam and that these people are not acting in the name of Allah, they're not acting in the name of Islam?''

These are reasonable questions that Franklin Graham asks. Many of us have been asking these same questions since September 11th. The silence of the the majority of the Muslim world is deafening and, frankly, those in the Islamic community who have spoken out aren't exactly reassuring us as to the peaceful nature and intentions of Islam. If Reverend Graham's sentiments are hateful, then I don't wanna love.






The Washington Times is reporting that there has been asome recent activity at an Iraqi germ plant

A convoy of about 60 trucks was photographed by a U.S. spy satellite at a known biological weapons facility near Taji last week, according to U.S. intelligence officials. The trucks were seen at a site identified as a biological weapons facility once called the Taji Single Cell Protein Plant, located about six miles northwest of Baghdad. The plant, which was converted by the Iraqis into a biological-weapons production facility, was bombed during the 1991 Persian Gulf war."They're moving stuff in or out," said an official familiar with the report. Intelligence information about Iraq's weapons program is limited, the official said.

I guess it's not too hard to figure out why someone would want to leak that.
Humorist Larry Miller just came back from his first trip to Israel, and is writing about it in the Weekly Standard.
Daniel Doron writes of the continuing story of Palestinian Lies & Western Complicity.
What do they say about rose-colored glasses? Well, they don't seem to work for this guy. He is Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammad, a preacher from north London, and he is threatening the United States and Britain that an attack on Iraq would unleash a terrorist onslaught akin to the September 11 attacks. He said he and other radicals would issue a fatwa, telling Muslims how to respond to the "evil" of an attack
Tony Blankley writes an editorial in the Washington times that says if even Henry Kissinger is on board, than we're going to Iraq very soon. He outlines an interesting part of Kissenger's position:

In perhaps his most incisive assertion, he justifies "bringing matters to a head with Iraq" for what he calls a "generally unstated reason" — "While long-range American strategy must try to overcome legitimate causes of [Islamic] resentments, immediate policy must demonstrate that a terrorist challenge . . . produces catastrophic consequences for the perpetrators, as well as their supporters, tacit or explicit." In other words, we must break the will and pride of all those in the Islamic world who would dare terrorize us and the international system.
It is noteworthy that the Texas-based Strategic Forecasting Co. (Stratfor.com) published on the same day a report that concluded "the Bush administration is not abandoning its strategy [of war with Iraq] because it sees a successful campaign against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein as a prime way to shatter the psychological advantage within the Islamist movement and demonstrates U.S. power."
The usually well-sourced Stratfor explains that from the 1973 oil embargo, through the defeat of the Russians in Afghanistan, Saddam's 1991 survival, the U.S. defeat in Somalia to September 11, the centuries-old Islamic sense of impotence has been reversed. In explaining the Bush war aims, they elaborate, Mr. Bush intends to defeat the Islamist sense of their inevitable triumph — to defeat their psychology of manifest destiny.


Palestinian Authority Communications Minister Imad Falouji let some anti-Semitic remarks slip out last week. In an appearence On official PA television Falouji said "Israel does not recognize the basis of the negotiations, That is because Jewish nature is in control of that state and does not sanction peace or stability... The Jewish nation, it is known, from the dawn of history, from the time Allah created them, lives by scheme and deceit"
The World tribune is reporting that 4,000 American troops are landing in Jordan, for what is being called a " routine two-week exercise." Debka reported this a few days ago and claimed that the 4,000 are joining another 4,000 already in the country.
One more thing about Al Qaeda’s Fantasy Ideology…. When I originally summarized the article I said that there no policy differences between this new view of Al Qaeda and the view of those who believe that they are in a total (and Clausewitzien) war with the west. There are subtle differences though. In understanding that we are at war with their fantasy I think there are more implications than simply treating it like a disease, as Harris suggests. I think, simply put, it explains one of the reasons why we need to attack Iraq. Here’s the argument. We have a group whose fantasy causes them to believe that their religion will ultimately rule the world (for a more detailed account of their “Fantasy Ideology”, read the article or my summary), and we wish to destroy that fantasy. One way of destroying that belief is to show the Islamists that there are no limits to American power. America’s past behavior, in running from Somalia and Lebanon, not finishing the last Iraq war, and doing nothing after the Cole and Embassy bombings, has certainly failed to send that message. Afghanistan has definitely changed that a little, but because Al Qaeda mostly retreated, it was far more effective in killing the terrorists themselves than killing their ideology. And showing America’s might is hard to do against a global terror network that scatters when attacked. Saddam is different. He can’t run. Though many have made the case that Saddam has ties to Al Qaeda, this may or may not be the case. But in the “Fantasy Ideology” view, whether Saddam has ties to Al Qaeda is irrelevant. Knocking him off sends the message either way. If we say he supports terror, and go after him, it makes no difference that he might not. In this view it is imperative that we destroy somebody, and Saddam is simply the best candidate. Those who think that a war with Saddam would be immoral would certainly be in disagreement, but for many in the Anti-war camp who believe in the end, but are afraid of the means, it should make all the difference.

8.13.2002

Richard Perle argues that The West must strike first against Saddam:

The decision to use force is most difficult when democratic societies are challenged to act preemptively. That is why the continental powers waited until Hitler invaded Poland in 1939 and America waited until after September 11 to go after Osama bin Laden. Hitler's self-declared ambitions and military build-up, like bin Laden's demented agenda, were under constant scrutiny long before the acts of aggression to which a response became unavoidable. Both could have been stopped by a relatively modest well-timed preemption.

The judgment involved in a decision to give armed support to Saddam's opponents, including air and possibly ground forces, entails a balancing of risks. What risk do we run if Saddam remains in power and continues to build his arsenal of chemical and biological weapons? What dangers would follow his acquisition of nuclear weapons?

We know that he harbors terrorists, about which more evidence will emerge in due course. Will he share his most lethal weapons with them, knowing his perfidy would be unprovable? Those who are confident that Saddam will remain "contained"--that he will be deterred from action we know he is capable of taking--come down on one side of the balance. Those who fear we may wait too long, who worry that a nuclear-armed Iraq run by a man who has killed thousands of unarmed civilians with chemical weapons could do terrible things, come down on the other.


Daniel Pipes recently wrote an article called The Evil isn't Islam but today he's bactracking a little. See, the Evil is Islam, but hopefully it will change someday.
There is a new Washington Post-ABC poll on the subject of an attack on Iraq. A few of the results: 69% favor such an attack. 57% favor it even if our allies oppose it. 79% think that Iraq is a threat to the US. Though Scottsdale, Arizona is I'm sure, underrepresented, the poll shows that despite all the opponents of the war who have come out of the woodwork in congress and elsewhere, the public is still with the administration on this one.
A letter from the President of Hebrew University in Jerusalem:

The forces of evil have struck yet again. For them, the entire State of Israel, its citizens, and its institutions are legitimate targets - this time, however, the target was chosen with much care. The attack required planning and determination in order to overcome the many layers of security and strike at the very heart of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. This was not just an attack on our institution; it was an attack on a symbol of the rebirth of Israel in its own land, on a modern state that is rooted in tradition but embraces openess.

This attack was perpetrated against a university founded upon the principles of pluralism and tolerance, a university that seeks to understand the world in which we live and that - despite the wave of terror and murder we are experiencing - aspires to promote peace and understanding with its neighbors in this region. The aim of the terrorists responsible for the horrific scene that I witnessed several minutes after the explosion was to bring an end to those values that the Hebrew University embraces and embodies - understanding, tolerance, and the quest for peace.

The victims include many members of the University community - students, teachers, employees, and visitors from all parts of the world. They are Jews and Arabs, and citizens of the US, Korea, France, Italy, and other countries. This attack is a crime not only against Israel or the Jewish people; it is a crime against the free and enlightened world. As I stood facing the destruction, the pools of blood and the wounded, I was forced to ask myself how we can continue in our research, teaching and other vibrant activity while we mourn for the victims. The answer is clear and it is expressed by the Hebrew word davka, 'despite everything'. The perpetrators of such heinous acts may kill those dear to us, but they cannot destroy our vision and our determination to continue to create a society that is based on reason and mutual understanding, and to work as a community of researchers and students which welcomes Israelis of all backgrounds and guests from all over the world. Above all, we will not let them kill our aspirations for peace.

Professor Menachem Magidor
President, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The Headline reads: Palestinian factions reject call to end attacks on civilians, but if you read the article, or actually, if you’ve ever heard of “Palestinians” you know there was never a call to do anything but kill more Israelis.

Palestinian political factions attending a unity meeting in Gaza City have given in to militant groups, scrapping a call for an end to attacks on Israeli civilians and endorsing their two-year-old uprising instead. "We stress the legitimacy of our resistance against the (Israeli) aggression and the occupation, and the Israeli settlements," according to the latest draft of a joint statement. The draft manifesto also cites "political work as a means to reach our national goals." The document did not specifically call for an end to attacks inside Israel, something that Hamas and the militant Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) made clear they would not accept. "The manifesto stresses the legitimacy of all sorts of resistance. It does not exclude anything," PFLP leader Jamil Majdalawi said.

Did you catch that? Scrapping a call. Mind-boggling. This is the second time in as many weeks I've read about how the Palestinians were about to renounce terrorism. I can almost tolerate it from the New York Times. But from an Israeli Paper?

8.12.2002

The Telegraph says that this time, if Israel is attacked, they will retaliate:

Officials said the prime minister, Ariel Sharon, had told to President Bush that there was no question of Israel staying on the sidelines as it did in the past. The Americans are understood to be sympathetic to Israel's desire to demonstrate its deterrent capability, although they are pressing for any response to be "symbolic" if there are no casualties. But there is little likelihood of the Israelis showing such restraint. "Israel paid a price in terms of its deterrent posture by not responding in the past to Iraqi attacks," said Dore Gold, an adviser to the prime minister.

According to the Times of London, the retaliation might not be conventional.

8.11.2002

I just found this Video of Dennis Ross and Charles Krauthammer speaking to the ABA on Friday about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. These are two of the smartest commentators out there, and it's great stuff. Make sure you stick around for the Q & A.
( I found this on In Context)
Newscientist.com highlights some of the cool new weapons that U.S. has at its disposal.

8.10.2002

A few thoughts on Al Qeada's Fantasy Ideology (see my post below). A reader writes in:

The only troubling thing about the al-Qaeda Fantasy article is the fact that the author's psychological analysis of the basis for religion applies to all religions, not just the fanatical Muslims. He equates religion with man's attempt to find a reason for the scientifically unexplainable -- the only difference to him is that some religions or beliefs crossover the boundaries and become divorced from the secular reality in which we and others live.

I agree, but Harris does not make the claim that all religions or beliefs are dangerous. He fully allows that human beings cannot exist without "A large set of beliefs that cannot be demonstrated logically and scientifically." His problem with the Islamist seems to be that it is a personal fantasy that views the outside world as simply props to their fantasy. The Judeo-Christian beliefs are, in his view, just man's way of understanding the realities he is presented with, which readily seeks to incorporate whatever logical or scientific realities it is confronted with (certainly not the case historically, but true of most of us now). The Islamist would reject the evidence and choose his fantasy. Harris labors hard to make the distinction, but the scenario he ends up with does damn all religion. His argument is mainly that the Islamist labors under a dangerous form of something that we all might suffer from to some extent.

This idea is not that troubling to me, I choose to believe knowing full well that I may be wrong. That has always been the difference, in any system, between religion and Fundamentalism. After all, many of us in the Judeo-Christian realm choose to believe things that conflict with others. Jesus was, or was not, the son of God. (Interesting note- Microsoft Word insists that I capitalize son). In either view, to believe the other is to suffer from fantasy. The difference in my mind, (and it seems, yours too), is that firstly, our religions do not force their world-views on outsiders (any longer), and secondly, and maybe it's the same point, our religious beliefs are internal. We rely on our contacts with others of different, or non-existent, religions, for clues as to which parts of our fantasies we can impose on the world at large, and which ones to keep to ourselves. Any part of our fantasies that conflict with secular reality, we leave to God. The Islamist fantasy is that he is the central figure in the play. If the Islamist stubbornly refuses to leave to God what is God's, then Caesar better watch his back.

8.09.2002

The WSJ has a piece today that seeks to understand that oft-hunted but rarely-seen creature: The moderate Muslim. Robert Asgher was such a creature, until his beliefs led him to become a moderate something-else. So, he asks, Can Islam be a Religion of Peace?

Most Muslims are in fact both moderate and cowardly, but perhaps understandably so; they are buffeted by bullying forces unlike anything we know. American agnostics who dislike saying the Pledge of Allegiance, like spoiled princesses who feel a pea under a stack of mattresses, have no idea how good they have it. The bullying limits opposition to nothing more than snide mutterings among progressives cowering at dinner parties in Pakistan, Palestine or Saudi Arabia. Far be it from them to challenge extremism publicly, however--it's not worth the fight or the trouble, in their minds. But now their very civilization is at stake--and so is that of the West. It's time to put one's money where one's prayers are. The rest of the world is looking on with puzzlement and fear, wondering where the heart of Islam lies. In all likelihood, the outcry against Islam will grow deafening in coming months and years. This will polarize moderate Muslims: Either they will feel under attack and align themselves fully with their fundamentalist cousins, or they will become radical moderates, fighting for the honor of Islam against these backward cousins. The former scenario would be a disaster for the planet.

It's a good article, but I disagree with him on that last point. If all Muslims threw their hats in with the radicals, it would solve a few things for the West. Like where to send the nukes, for one. The only problem with terrorists, is that they hide among civilians. Take that away and they would cease to be a problem, or, I should say, they would cease to be.
Iran Update: It may not be news when the Iranian government attempts to kill a dissident, except when they do it in Paris.
What's with all the hubbub about Iraq? Just last week it seemed set in stone, but now we have different war plans, opponents who are coming out of the woodwork, and an administration that looks divided and confused. Could it be that Bush has read his Sun Tzu?

Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him...Hence that general is skillful in attack whose opponent does not know what to defend.

(As seen on Winds of Change)
The Jeruselam Post is reporting that Israel is extending its anti-missile systems. I hope they work this time, because the alternatives are unthinkable. The Times of London is thinking just that, and they have concluded that this time around, it just may go nuclear.
Another Reason to Go to War
Mudhafar Amin writes in The Guardian that an attack on Iraq would "set in stone the beginning of the end of UN authority and the concept of international law." That alone would make it a Just War. Oddly, the rest of the article argues against an attack.
Bat Yeor takes up her favorite subject once again, it's dhimmitutude, and we better listen up, 'cause according to some, (see Glenn's last post), that's where we're all headed.
Victor Davis Hanson believes the world is failing the moral test of our times, and after reading the article, so do I.
Charles Krauthammer is fed up with all the Cheney bashing going on, especially since the entire argument seems to be, "Hey, wasn't Dick Cheney a CEO?"
London Town Is Falling Down (on the Job)
MEMRI has a new piece on their website entitled "Islamist Leaders in London Interviewed." You can imagine, my fellow infidels, the type of Islamofascist claptrap these leaders spew forth. (Hallal food goes in their mouths but what comes out of their mouths is an entirely different matter: Hallal Cow Disease -- it infects the brain and makes its sufferers believe and say the darndest things. A Tourette Syndrome of the soul.) In any case, after reading the interviews, I am left to wonder what in the name of Winston Churchill are these individuals allowed to sit (or kneel) in cozy London and attempt to infect young Muslims and others with a seditous, malignant ideology (Radical Islam) that seeks to bring Western Civilization to its knees (i.e. to convert or kill us ALL). Would the Britain of the early 1940's have allowed Goebbels to set up a School for Fascism in London and grant interviews to Western Journalists? Well, the London of the 21st Century is filled with radical Islamists that are allowed to roam free, spread their noxious worldview, recruit for the cause and plot against the very country in which they reside. Multiculturalism run amok. BRITAIN - YOU ARE AT WAR! Whether you know it or not. Act like it before it is too late.

8.08.2002

Mark Steyn says it's about time we destabilize the Middle East.
Lee Harris has written a fascinating paper in Policy Review about Al Qaeda’s Fantasy Ideology. It’s an in-depth look inside the mind of the Islamist, and the conclusions he reaches are not those that you might think. I suggest you skip this summary and read it yourself, but here goes..

The reaction of most Americans after Sept.11 was that we had been attacked in an unprovoked act of war. This view was represented by the views of Victor Davis Hanson and others – that it didn’t matter why we were attacked only that we were attacked and that we must fight back. On the other side were Noam Chomsky and those who blamed American policies for the attack and advocated appeasing those who had been “forced” to attack us. Harris points out that both these views share a common assumption - that 9.11 was an act of war in the Clausewitzian sense.

…Clausewitz and his famous definition of war as politics carried out by other means. The whole point of war, on this reading, is to get other people to do what we want them to do: It is an effort to make others adopt our policies and/or to further our interests. Clausewitzian war, in short, is rational and instrumental. It is the attempt to bring about a new state of affairs through the artful combination of violence and the promise to cease violence if certain political objectives are met. Of course, this does not mean that wars may not backfire on those who undertake them, or that a particular application of military force may not prove to be counterproductive to one’s particular political purpose. But this does not change the fact that the final criterion of military success is always pragmatic: Does it work? Does it in fact bring us closer to realizing our political objectives?

But, Harris asks, is this the right model for understanding 9.11? Are we imposing our values on something we don’t understand? Harris feels the best way to understand Al Qaeda is through the lens of their own fantasy.

the purpose of 9-11 was not to create terror in the minds of the American people but to prove to the Arabs that Islamic purity, as interpreted by radical Islam, could triumph. The terror, which to us seems the central fact, is in the eyes of al Qaeda a by-product. Likewise, what al Qaeda and its followers see as central to the holy pageant of 9-11 — namely, the heroic martyrdom of the 19 hijackers — is interpreted by us quite differently. For us the hijackings, like the Palestinian “suicide” bombings, are viewed merely as a modus operandi, a technique that is incidental to a larger strategic purpose, a makeshift device, a low-tech stopgap. In short, Clausewitzian war carried out by other means — in this case by suicide. But in the fantasy ideology of radical Islam, suicide is not a means to an end but an end in itself. Seen through the distorting prism of radical Islam, the act of suicide is transformed into that of martyrdom — martyrdom in all its transcendent glory and accompanied by the panoply of magical powers that religious tradition has always assigned to martyrdom. In short, it is a mistake to try to fit such behavior into the mold created by our own categories and expectations. Nowhere is this more tellingly illustrated than on the videotape of Osama bin Laden discussing the attack. The tape makes clear that the final collapse of the World Trade Center was not part of the original terrorist scheme, which apparently assumed that the twin towers would not lose their structural integrity. But this fact gave to the event — in terms of al Qaeda’s fantasy ideology — an even greater poignancy: Precisely because it had not been part of the original calculation, it was therefore to be understood as a manifestation of divine intervention. The 19 hijackers did not bring down the towers — God did…

So what then, are we to do?

The fact that we are involved with an enemy who is not engaged in Clausewitzian warfare has serious repercussions on our policy. For we are fighting an enemy who has no strategic purpose in anything he does — whose actions have significance only in terms of his own fantasy ideology. It means, in a strange sense, that while we are at war with them, they are not at war with us — and, indeed, it would be an enormous improvement if they were. If they were at war with us, they would be compelled to start thinking realistically, in terms of objective factors such as overall strategic goals, war aims, and so forth. They would have to make a realistic, and not a fantasy-induced, assessment of the relative strength of us versus them. But because they are operating in terms of their fantasy ideology, such a realistic assessment is impossible for them. It matters not how much stronger or more powerful we are than they — what matters is that God will bring them victory.

Ultimately the policy outcomes are nearly the same as with the Hansonian view, but Harris has a point, and while it's right on the money, it isn't a new one: We are not in a “War on Terror”, we are fighting an ideology:

So perhaps it is time to retire the war metaphor and to deploy one that is more fitting: the struggle to eradicate disease. The fantasy ideologies of the twentieth century, after all, spread like a virus in susceptible populations: Their propagation was not that suggested by John Stuart Mill’s marketplace of ideas — fantasy ideologies were not debated and examined, weighed and measured, evaluated and compared. They grew and spread like a cancer in the body politic. For the people who accepted them did not accept them as tentative or provisional. They were unalterable and absolute. And finally, after driving out all other competing ideas and ideologies, they literally turned their host organism into the instrument of their own poisonous and deadly will. The same thing is happening today — and that is our true enemy. The poison of the radical Islamic fantasy ideology is being spread all over the Muslim world through schools and through the media, through mosques and through the demagoguery of the Arab street. In fact, there is no better way to grasp the full horror of the poison than to listen as a Palestinian mother offers her four-year-old son up to be yet another victim of this ghastly fantasy.


The UPI checks the Saudi papers for their response to the article in the Washington Post that claimed the Department of Defense recieved a breifing that depicted the Saudis as our enemies. The consensus? The Jews did it. (What? You expected some introspection?) The UPI staff writers even try out a little Taranto-like deadpan at the end of the article. Here's the last part:

The English-language Riyadh Daily asserted that U.S.-Saudi relations remain strong and well established despite the briefing. "Those who are seeking to drive a wedge into those relations will not be able to sow dispute between the two friendly countries," the paper said in an allusion to the pro-Israeli lobby in the United States. Okaz called the U.S. reactions to Sept.11 harsh and said "emotional political decisions went beyond reason, international principles and law by interfering in other countries' politics and imposing changes in line with U.S. understanding." "Accusing Muslim countries of supporting and financing terrorism and fundamentalist groups were all extreme reactions by the Americans who countered terrorism with terrorism," a reference to the United States response to the Islamist terrorist attacks on New York and Washington last Sept.11.

Of 19 men believed to have carried out the attacks, 15 have been identified as Saudi

James Taranto compiles WSJ's Best of the Web.
U.N. stands for Unconscionable

Patients at United Nations mental institutions in Kosovo have been raped and physically attacked under the eyes of UN staff, held in "filthy and degrading" conditions, and threatened with punishment if they report the abuses, according to a damning investigation published in New York yesterday.
In one case, a woman patient was raped after UN employees locked her in a room with a male patient because they wanted to "calm her down", while employees who observed another rape in a hallway said they did not intervene because the victim "must have asked for it", according to the independent campaigning group Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI), which produced the report.

"This is a pervasive pattern of serious abuses. The rule of law simply does not apply within these psychiatric facilities," Dr Eric Rosenthal, MDRI's founder, said yesterday. "We found extreme, inhuman and degrading treatment, arbitrary detention and the physical and sexual assault of women, and we received a blanket denial from the authorities."

Hmm...if we could just find some sort of "large international organization" to make sure things like this don't happen...
Image: Iraqi soldiers and Saddam portraitIraqi Militiamen have high aspirations: They hope to one day rise to the level of their Palestinian brothers and blow themselves to bits, taking out an American soldier or two. The yellow turtlenecks go very nicely with the bomb belts, don't you think?
Jonah Goldberg comes out swinging at the critics who accused him, and others, of advocating a war that they will have no part in. I, for one, have always hated the argument that unless you have experienced something, you can't have an opinion on it.
Ann Coulter has noticed that the New York Times is countering actual poll data with their own sneaky little "poll," that "found" Americans decidedly against war with Iraq:

Americans have been repeatedly polled on the question of using military force to depose Saddam Hussein. Within the last six months, the ABC News/Washington Post Poll showed 72 percent supporting a U.S. invasion of Iraq. The FOX News/Opinion Dynamics Poll also has 72 percent supporting it. The Newsweek poll shows 68 percent in favor. The least support for an attack comes from an NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll showing only 57 percent in favor of attacking Iraq.

Yet the Times' man-on-the-street article — in Arizona, no less — did not manage to ferret out a single American supporting an attack on Iraq. Instead, the Times stumbled upon eight citizens, manifestly not at random, every single one of them opposed to war with Iraq. This allowed the Times to run an aggressively dishonest headline describing Americans as backing Bush — "but not into Iraq."

I wrote about this on on Sunday, you can find my post here.
Daniel Pipes and Khalid DurĂ¡n try to understand the many Faces of American Islam in an in-depth essay in Policy Review.

8.07.2002

Hail to the Chiefs
Well, this might not go over well in Scottsdale, Arizona (see Moe's post here), but it appears that some citizens of this country are in favor of eliminating the threat to the West and Israel that is festering in Bagdad (Ed: Can a threat fester?). The Fox News Website tells us today that the chief citizens in support of smiting Iraq with the mighty American staff aren't exactly your average joint smoking isolationists but, rather, they are none other than the Joint Chiefs of Staff. That's right, the Joint Chiefs of Staff are unanimously behind a U.S.-led military mission to oust Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, reports revealed Wednesday. Finally, some clear thinking from the masses.

If Israel is going to strip Israeli Arabs who cooperate with terrorism of their citizenship (see Glenn's last post), they need to give this guy a medal. Issam Dahdal, 30, of Upper Nazareth, who works as a guard at a city hotel, may well have prevented the Palestinian terrorist from blowing himself up in a crowded spot in Afula. Here is what Issam's father had to say.

My son did what he should have done. We have to defend our country, our people and our soldiers.The ones who come to blow themselves up are not interested about children or anybody, only killing whoever is there. My son did what he should have and that brings honor to us and the family. We are against terror and especially suicide bombers...My son was in the army and served for three years in the Border Police...



Jed Babbin, deputy undersecretary of defense in the first Bush administration, knows what we can do to turn Iran around.

Reza Pahlavi, the late Shah's son, told me that this new round of demonstrations is a bit different from those before. "What is intriguing about this particular demonstration is that it comes around the anniversary of the constitutional revolution of 1906. The Iranian people have the same aspirations now as they did then." ... Pahlavi firmly believes the Iranian people are "completely at odds with the regime" of the mullahs. He said that the "game plan" was to make these demonstrations continuous, and keep building the pressure on the mullahs. That is very good news...

It is tempting, but unwise, to think how we might help to overthrow the mullahs forcibly. Ledeen and Pahlavi both counseled against that. Ledeen told me he was unaware of anyone who was arguing for direct intervention. Pahlavi said that Iran is a "ticking time bomb" that may explode in the mullahs' faces, but all that Iran needs now is for President Bush to "stay on message." He credits Bush with being the first American president to distinguish between the mullahs' regime and the people of Iran. He believes the people of Iran are "getting fed up" and may soon rid themselves of the mullahs.

So just what should we do? Ledeen rightly believes that we should be acting more vigorously by helping fund the Iranian opposition. We can, and should, also fund the opposition television and radio broadcasts. As Pahlavi noted, Mr. Bush is the first American president since 1979 to distinguish between the mullahs, who are our enemy, and the Iranian people, who are our friends. The president should be saying that loudly, and often. We should broadcast the news into Iran, and send money and communications equipment -- and other equipment they may need -- to the opposition groups. We should make it clear to the Iranians that we remember them as friends, and invite them to rejoin us. Right now, only Turkey stands as an example of individual freedom in the Islamic world. If Iran were to join it, we'd find ourselves well along the road to victory in the war on terror.


Saddam gave an order in 1994 to Cut Off the Ears of Defecting Soldiers and Officers. An Iraqi physician says, in a recent interview, that these orders were actually carried out, and the doctors were forced to go along.

I was told later that he [the hospital director] forced all the specialists, with no exception, to perform the mutilating surgery. It seemed to me at the time that this was one way to spread the responsibility among all the surgeons... and [to try] to alleviate the burdens of the crime from the shoulders of those who performed it..."


Dennis Prager says that every generation is tested by great evil, and we appear to be failing.
The Times of London has some news for The NY Times and anyone else who is argueing against Taking out Saddam: And then what? is not a good enough argument for doing nothing.
Iran Update: Aug. 6th was the 96th anniversary of the Constitutional revolution in Iran. There were demonstrations planned throughout the country. Though the news is sketchy as to what happened (all international phone service was cut off), The regime has apparrently used their "foriegn" police force to put them down violently and more than 1,000 people were arrested. Several were apparently killed. Michael Ladeen asks why he is the only one who noticed.
Michal Oren, author of the fabulous book Six Days of War has something to say about the Palestinians who cheer after innocents get murdered.

Readers of Richard Rhodes's recently published book, "Masters of Death," learn that, after a day of shooting thousands of Jews, members of the SS Einsatzgruppen often repaired for a celebratory drink and banquet. The Nazis' behavior is readily identified as barbaric and insane. Surely those same adjectives apply, then, to Palestinians who rejoice not only when great numbers of Jewish civilians are butchered, but when their own children are blown up in the process.

For all the kudos discretely given SS killers by the regime, Nazi Germany never publicly lionized them, never plastered their pictures on the streets, or openly encouraged children to emulate them. That kind of adoration for mass murderers can only be found, in abundance, among the Palestinians.

The majority of Israelis, myself included, are willing to make far-reaching sacrifices for peace and to embark on a process of genuine reconciliation with the Palestinians. Yet that same majority will have immense difficulty forgetting the horrific scenes of carnage and the spectacle of Palestinians extolling them. For us, the issue is no longer merely borders and topography nor even the terms of a cease-fire, but whether a fundamentally sound society can trust one that has lost its mental and moral bearings.

Oren, it should be noted, would not be considored right wing normally, though many on the Israeli left are singing a different tune recently.