Tuesday, May 31, 2005

A Question of Loyalty

In last night’s post, a comment by loyal reader truepeers invited such a long response that it has become a separate post.

* * * * * * * * * *
Truepeers — I think you may be missing the point.
     I don’t think we have to accept our enemies’ terms of engagement. Why should we define our fight in terms of their lunacy? Our enemy should be defined as anyone who would use or support violence against us…
I am in agreement with you. But it is extremely important not to look the other way and say, “Oh, no, we’re not at war with Islam, we’re at war with terrorists” if, in fact, Islam has decided that it is at war with us. It’s not yet clear that this has happened, but we should always be on the alert for it, because it may yet happen. If people who devoutly hold the Islamic faith decide that, according to their own religious precepts, they have to support the jihadis against the West, then we will be at war with Islam, whether we will it or not.

It’s not yet clear because the average devout Muslim, heretofore peaceful, has not declared himself clearly on the topic. With luck it may never come to that.
     Beyond this, I don’t think we have to declare a war against Islam…
I am not talking about our declaring war. I am talking about who declares war on us.
     When you write, “According to Auster, because the scripturally-based tenets of their religion require them to have no loyalty except to Islam, and to wage jihad against the infidel whenever circumstances permit, serious Moslems are not capable of being loyal Americans, or, indeed, loyal citizens of any nation except the Caliphate of the True Faith”, I just shudder because this is what many have wrongly said and still say about Jews, Japanese-Americans, etc.
You’re right, which is why it is so hard to look at the possibility. But it is extremely important to consider it — if it is, indeed, impossible for a devoutly observant Muslim to be loyal to any polity save the Caliphate, then it would be foolish for the West not to observe this fact and take it into consideration.
     Islam does pose a problem of loyalties, no doubt about it. So does Judaism in the Christian context. But we cannot know the solution for one and all. When discussing a religion, there is no objective truth. We must locate the religious in the (etic/emic) terms of an interaction between our own religious perspective - our own understanding of what religion is - interacting with those of others. We must attend to what Muslims in America think their religion is about, not only what we or Islamicists think.
With all due respect, we do not have to do this. We only have to determine whether they consider us their enemy, and act accordingly. But determining this is difficult, and it may not become clear for a long while yet.
     A big part of the problem, let us remember, is our own liberal elites who need a reality check and we can’t expect Muslims living in the west to share in that reality check until it comes perfectly ok, for example, for security personnel to engage in religious or “racial” profiling. When we make clear the terms of the fight - and they must be our terms - we can then truly ask are you with us or against us, and then respond accordingly. We cannot start the fight by making blanket statements about a war against Islam. Not simply because we might not win or because it would be unfair to many Moslems. It is not for us to decide what is inherent in or essential to that faith. Despite its anti-historicism (the eternal and uncreated Koran), it and its members have a right to live in history with the rest of humanity. We can only respond to unacceptable violence, wherever it comes from, and we might start with our own loony western foes of the marketplace.
We are in agreement here. But, if we are to fight this war effectively, and prevent the deaths of thousands or millions of additional innocents, we must anticipate unacceptable violence as well as respond to it. If we are only reactive, we will sustain more casualties and fight for a much longer time.

In order to be proactive, we will have to destroy the politically correct shibboleths which hobble us so severely. One of them, a companion to the “religion of peace” meme, is that “we are not at war with Islam”.

I submit that we do not yet know whether we are at war with Islam. And until we do know for certain, it would be extraordinarily foolhardy to foreclose the possibility.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Not a Foe of Our Choosing

Orson Scott Card has written an excellent and timely essay, The Riots of the Faithful. In it he presents the current political crisis — exemplified by the Koran-flushing debacle at Newsweek — as a struggle between the “Smartland” and the “Heartland”, that is, between the academic/media elite and average commonsensical Americans.

One is hesitant to take issue with anyone as illustrious and cogent as Mr. Card, but the following passage is disturbing:
    Our country is at war. And it's a war in which victory absolutely depends on the Muslim world perceiving it as a war between the U.S and its allies on one side, and fanatical murderous terrorists on the other.
If it is ever perceived as a war against Islam, then we have lost. The world has lost.
It is the contention of Gates of Vienna that the nature of our enemy is not ours to choose. Whether we fight a subset of Islam, or Islam itself, is entirely up to Islam. After all, if it had been our choice, we would have fought no Muslims at all. But, on day the Twin Towers fell, the choice was removed from us.

If, in fact, there are “moderate Muslims” (as opposed to secular, lapsed, or non-observant Muslims), then it may be that we will indeed not be warring against them. But during the past four years the moderate Muslim has kept a notably low profile.

It may be that the peace-loving Muslims are intimidated by the brutal zealots who act in their name, and so are reluctant to step forward and declare their loyalty to America and liberal democracy. It may be that the deadly fanatics are a tiny minority, and that the reasonable and moderate Muslims far outnumber them.

But the Taliban were a hated minority in Afghanistan, and yet managed to rule their countrymen. The Bolsheviks were but a tiny sliver of Russian society, and yet put the entire empire under their boot while exterminating millions of their countrymen.

It is not necessary for vicious autocrats to be representative of their culture in order to control it.

And the idea that Muslims in general can be co-opted, or at least neutralized, is questionable. Consider the followers of Islam that Lawrence Auster, in How to Defeat Jihad in America, refers to as “serious Moslems”, that is, those who practice their faith diligently. According to Auster, because the scripturally-based tenets of their religion require them to have no loyalty except to Islam, and to wage jihad against the infidel whenever circumstances permit, serious Moslems are not capable of being loyal Americans, or, indeed, loyal citizens of any nation except the Caliphate of the True Faith.

If Islam chooses us as its enemy we have no choice except to fight it or submit. And when I say “we”, I do not mean Christendom; I mean Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Mormons, Sikhs, Jains, Bahá'ís, Shintos, Taoists, Zoroastrians, Hare Krishnas, Scientologists, Moonies, Theosophists, Druids, Wiccans, and atheists. This is who we are; we are infidels. And they are certain that we are their enemy.

Consider a thought experiment: Suppose that aliens from the Andromeda Nebula, for their own inscrutable reasons, used their matter transporters to remove all Muslims from the Earth and relocate them to another planet.

How much religious discord would be left on Earth? From that time forward, how many people would be killed because of their religious beliefs?

Consider another thought experiment. Imagine that every “moderate Muslim” were confronted with the stark choice: join the jihadists, or defend Western Civilization. How would he choose? And if he chose the latter, would it be for principled or pragmatic reasons?

Our enemy has defined his enemy. Until that fact becomes clear to us we fight this war blindfolded.

Still In The Thick Of It

Far left: Charles Lewis, Sergeant, USMC (Air Forces)

In the summers of 2000 and 2001, the last years before the Baron’s Boy obtained his driver’s license, Dymphna spent those long, warm afternoons driving the future Baron around the county where we live, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge. The Baron’s Boy, whose name is Will (though back then it was “Willie”) had decided finally on his Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project.

As most readers of this blog probably know, no boy can attain the rank of Eagle unless he creates a project, completes it, and appears before a Board of Review to discuss and defend his work. It is always a service project, one that must benefit the boy’s community — church, school, individuals, etc. The boy serves as leader of the project but he must include others in the work. He learns to lead and to co-operate.

Will had — and has — a deep love of military history, strategy and tactics. In middle school he’d written several papers within this field, including an overview of the strategic use of airplanes in the European theater in World War II. So when it came time to create his service project, what better thing to do than interview the remaining World War II veterans in our small county? Gradually, over several months, he drew up a list of questions for the vets: things he wanted to know, but also things he thought would be of interest to readers years from now, when the grandchildren of these men were grandparents themselves.

Armed with his questions and a list of veterans a school teacher had drawn up previously (she used to invite the veterans in to talk to her classes), Will made his appointments with the vets and set off onto the back roads of Buckingham County, excited to be able to talk to the men he so admired. In the meantime, he’d acquired a video camera. Being able now to capture the whole experience on tape made the project even more rewarding.

It’s going on five years now since that first day on the road. The project, “Right in the Thick of It”, is long finished, printed and bound and distributed. All the extra copies of the book were donated to Historic Buckingham, with the proceeds of their sale going toward the historical society’s other projects. Meanwhile, a number of the veterans interviewed have since died — some of them even before the project was completed. Always, there was a sense of urgency, a need to record these men and their thoughts before they were gone.

Every man and woman in this book is special. Each holds a place of admiration in Will’s heart. One soldier in particular, Dick Miles, was the grandfather of Will’s friend and a member of the church where Will played the organ; he was particularly beloved. When he died in February, 2003, Will’s final salute was to play the organ at Dick’s funeral. During the service, one of his sons got up to say that during his whole life, he never remembered his father saying an unkind word about anyone. To Will, and to all of us, it was the final word on a life that Ralph Waldo Emerson would have admired:

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have made some difference that you have lived and lived well.

Now Sergeant Miles lies buried in the church graveyard, in property his family donated to the Episcopal Church, just as they donated the property on which the volunteer firehouse stands.

As a Memorial Day tribute, here is the transcript of Dick Miles' interview. As you will see, it was he who gave the title to the book.

    Name: Lauren L. “Dick” Miles
Rank: Staff Sergeant
Branch of Service: U. S. Army, Engineers
How old were you when you joined the service?
23 years old.
Did you volunteer or were you drafted?
I volunteered.
What year?
I really can’t remember… probably 1943, somewhere around there.
How long were you in? Did you continue after the war?
I went to Fort Belvoir Virginia — I was in 5th Engineers — and pulled three years. I was discharged, and I joined the reserves. They hadn’t bombed Pearl Harbor yet. I got me a real good job — I never made any money — got me a job paying good money, and one day, they called me back. And I went to Camp Lee and stayed there two weeks. Then I was sent to Camp Gordon, Georgia.
What was training like?
Well… training, it was tough. You had to train to be a good soldier to protect yourself and protect others if there was a possible chance of doing it.
And engineering was difficult because you had to know how to build bridges in the middle of combat and so forth.
Right. We built bridges, we done all kinds of things. I was right in the thick of it.
You were in the Battle of the Bulge, right?
I was in five battles. There were only five battles in the whole war. I was in the Battle of the Bulge — that was the last battle. We were in a little village called Abbel-Fontaine, Belgium for rest. We’d been out in the snow, freezing weather… and we moved into this little town of Abbel-Fontaine, Belgium for a rest, on the 17th of December. We were going to be there for Christmas Day, and have a big Christmas dinner. Well, the Germans broke through about five miles from where we were. They broke through where a brand new division was in the line, all brand-new, young boys, eighteen, nineteen years old… oldest people there were the noncoms, sergeants and so on. They broke through, and we had to get the hell out of there right quick, and we did. And we didn’t get our Christmas dinner. We were out there in the snow, in foxholes, dodging bullets, 88’s [88mm AA-guns], the whole daggone works. But I remember that village real well… when we moved in there, we unloaded the equipment from the vehicles and put camouflage netting over them so the Germans couldn’t see them from the air… and our all tractor-trailers were camouflaged so the Germans couldn’t see them… We had to move out right quick, move out on the line. I was a demolitions man, and I had to use TNT, nitro-glycerin to blow trees, blow holes, all that stuff. We had to get this line all shut up, in case the Germans tried to come our way. So we tried to slow them down with trees crisscrossing the road, and with holes, so when a tank came along he’d hit one of the holes and down he’d go. They attacked us, but it wasn’t so bad.
What was your rank at the end of the war?
Staff Sergeant.
So you were a platoon leader?
I was a platoon leader, anywhere from fifty to fifty-five men. At that time, I must have been around twenty-six, twenty-seven years old.
Where did you see action? I know you were in the European theater, but which campaigns did you take part in?
I was in all the battles. Sometimes, certain outfits would be right in the thick of it. We were bridge builders, blow holes, check for mines with mine detectors, all that stuff.
Where did you first see action?
Well, I was in England. We didn’t come across at D-Day; we came over on D+3[June 9th]. They shelled us and there was bullets coming at us but it wasn’t as bad as when the fellows came across on D-Day, D+1[June 7th]. Because they [the Germans] was all up on the line then, trying to kill every last one of those men.
Were you wounded at all?
No, no, I never was wounded. I had a lot of close calls, but they never got me.
What was your impression of what we were fighting for?
Well, Nazi Germany was actually hoping to win the world. They weren’t just aiming to take the United States, but the world. If they could have taken England, they would have… you see, to cross the English Channel, you had to have the very best of equipment to do it with. That’s about twenty-three miles from England to France, and you had to have the best equipment and men to continue from the beaches of Normandy on up into Germany. That’s the whole situation… when we came in on D+3, they were shelling, everything to try to stop us. There were mines, machine-gun nests… and we was engineers. If they ordered us to take a machine gun nest and we couldn’t get close to it, we had a long pipe, TNT or whatever, that we tried to slide down into it to blow it up with.
What was your most memorable experience of the war?
I think it was landing on the beaches of Normandy. You know, it was something exciting… we were in England, training for this, about six to eight months. We moved to Winchester, England, and they just told us to be ready. Didn’t give a time or date or anything, just told us to be ready. There was a cathedral nearby, and we could go in and say a prayer if we wanted to. I can’t remember if I did or not to tell you the truth. Didn’t worry me, I wasn’t scared; what did I have to be scared of? If I got hurt or killed, it was just another thing that happened. We had fine young men, Italians, Polacks, the whole daggone works.
Thank you, Mr. Miles. I appreciate you letting me interview you.
All right. You’re welcome.
So Dick Miles, veteran of World War II, came back to Buckingham, married Hazel Ragland, and opened a country store. Back before the advent of supermarkets, he ran a “pretty good grocery” where people could charge their purchases till payday. As they came up, all the children took their turn at working in the store. When retirement came, Dick sold the store and walked home. He and Hazel lived another twenty years in retirement, in a house always full of grandchildren. When Dick died in 2003, everyone wondered how Hazel would manage on her own. She wasn’t well and despite a constitutional cheerfulness, old age is always a series of obstacles to outmaneuver. But no matter how old you are, life is still full of grace and surprises.

Yesterday, our small county had its Memorial Day celebration and here is what it was: Hazel Miles, Dick Miles’ widow, married old “Doc” Woods. The bride and groom sat in chairs at the top of the large porch while we gathered below to witness the occasion. Hazel carried flowers gathered by the children. The Reverend Canon Bruce Weatherly, also a World War II vet (and Korean War Marine Corps chaplain) officiated at their marriage. No doubt Dick Miles was somewhere close by, beaming at the dozens of relatives and friends gathered on his lawn to pay tribute to the endurance of grace and of hope.

Rest in peace, Sergeant Miles.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Appeasement Reprised, Part II

With Friends Like These…

Reports of the death of King Fahd highlight the nature of appeasement in the 21st century, reminding us that the House of Saud has been one of the primary beneficiaries of Western appeasement for the last fifty years.

The party line goes something like this: “Saudi Arabia is a friend of the United States in the War on Terror.” No amount of evidence to the contrary can shake this story; America and Saudi Arabia are like a middle-aged couple in a loveless marriage staying together “for the sake of the children."

During the classical period of appeasement in the 1930s, Britain and France at least had the good sense to appease their enemies.

What in the world are we doing, appeasing our “friends”?

My previous post on this topic concluded that the memory of the Great War fueled the appeasement of the dictators between the Wars. To some extent, it still provides fuel for appeasement; deep in the collective unconscious of the West the trenches and No-Man’s-Land of 1914-18 cry out to us: “Don’t ever let this happen again!”

But there is a more proximate trauma that drives our policies. It is actually a combination of two traumas: the first is the War in Vietnam; the second is the struggle for civil rights. These are the defining issues of the 1960s. Vietnam left America shell-shocked, driven by media-generated defeat to an inordinate fear of war, particularly asymmetrical warfare against guerilla-type insurgencies. The fight for civil rights generated a lasting cultural insecurity which came to define all conflicts with non-whites and non-Westerners as “racist”, and thus immoral.

These two unresolved traumas form a lethal combination when applied indiscriminately by the MSM to the war against the Islamists. To The Annointed this is but a reprise of Vietnam: a fight against an underdog, one who hides among civilians and strikes without warning, humiliating his mighty foe. It is a racist war, against “brown” people of a different religion, perpetrated by the White Man, the source of all evil.

Like a malaria plasmodium, the Vietnam/racism organism is always present in the bloodstream of the body politic, erupting occasionally under the stress of circumstances into the full-blown fever of appeasement. President Clinton repeatedly acted upon his compulsion to grovel before the “brown” people of the world and apologize for the misdeeds of his ancestors. Our current President is less susceptible to this affliction, but the Bush administration is not immune. Hence the “Religion of Peace” mantra, and Secretary Rice’s statements affirming the sacred status of the Koran.

So, as Chamberlain had Ypres in the back of his mind, Bush and Clinton have Tet and Selma. The former gave us Anschluss, Abyssinia, and, finally, Munich; the latter gave us the first attack on the World Trade Center, Khobar Towers, and the attack on the Cole. In 1935 Pierre Laval looked on while the Germans reoccupied the Rhineland; today Jacques Chirac looks on while the Iranian mullahs acquire nuclear weapons.

All of these shameful events involve caving in to dictators in order to postpone problems a little while longer; all the democratically elected leaders involved have found appeasement to be an absolute political necessity. The time thus gained is bought dearly, and when the bill comes due in a later administration (or a later generation), the payment exacted is always devastating.

If a mushroom cloud rises over Rome or Tel Aviv or Chicago one day, the same media that drive the current appeasement dynamic will cry for the heads of those who failed us. And historians will look back to our time, as we do to the 1930s, and ask, “Why didn’t they do something about it when they could have, back in 2003 or 2005?” And it will be a good question.

But there remains the other question: Why are we appeasing our “friends”?

I submit that we are not appeasing our friends, we are once again appeasing our enemies, and simply refusing to call them that. We are buying a little time with the foolhardy practice of paying off the sheiks to attain “oil stability”, even as their cronies and cousins finance and foment jihad against us the world over.

I submit that we have not yet seen our version of 1939. When we do, it will make 9-11 pale by comparison.

Defund Animosity International

Animosity International needs to be replaced. It doesn’t need an equal and opposite number that would somehow be ‘fair and balanced.’ It simply needs to fold its moldy, filth-ridden tents and leave the public scene. Pronto.

Here’s the report of a recent armed post office robbery in Dublin, along with the predictable response of the local Animosity branch:

The fallout from yesterday's shootout in Lusk, County Dublin, is continuing. Two raiders were shot dead by gardaí when they attempted to rob a post office. One of the men was armed with a semi-automatic handgun, with which he threatened the gardaí ; the other was unarmed. Colm Griffin (33) and Eric Hopkins (24) were known Dublin criminals; four others have been arrested. The gardaí have set up an internal investigation, while Amnesty International has called for an independent investigation. Taoiseach Bertie Ahern defended the actions of the gardaí yesterday, saying that people are constantly telling him that crime is a problem needed more resources and effort: "When the gardaí respond I hope people don't get weak-kneed". This was the fifth armed raid on a post office this month.
Animosity International is wrong. Again. What needs to be established is a way of protecting Irish post-offices from armed robbery. These criminals use the proceeds to fund drug buying, which further funds Irish terrorism.

This is just one example of the nexus of armed propaganda* and Animosity International.

We need to figure out where AI gets its funding. How much of it comes from terrorist connections? Not to mention their mass mailings. Do you get their begging letters in the mail?

It’s well past time to respond.

*that's a good working definition of terrorism: armed propaganda.

hat tip: Eamonn Fitzgerald's Rainy Day. Especially see this, from whence comes the new name for AI:

What does Amnesty understand by the word "Gulag"? A detention centre for terrorists or the vast network of Soviet slave labour camps in which millions died? This tendentious inflation of language by the Amnesty report writers suggests either ignorance or animosity. Which is it? If a "human rights group" cannot tell the difference between detention and mass murder, what are we supposed to think? The report writers live in world where they know this kind of exaggeration ends up being used as Bin Ladenist propaganda. Newsweek errs and people die; Amnesty inflames in Ireland and around the world and then sits back to see what the results will be. Yes, it's animosity.

Concerning Belmont Club

As many readers have noticed, the Belmont Club site is down again.

Wretchard says: "The Belmont Club is now totally unavailable. I am attempting to get Blogger to resolve the issues but there is no online support and the only replies I receive are canned email replies. Any ideas, anyone?"

In the meantime, he has begun yet another blog, Backup Belmont Club, at http://fallbackbelmont.blogspot.com/.

If he stays there long enough, I'll change the URL for him on our blogroll.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Fair and Balanced Blithering Idiots

Fair and balanced? Here’s fair and balanced in the MSM…

Can you believe this is even news? Here it is, almost Memorial Day, and the blithering, trifling Andrew Sullivan has taken exception to some soldiers in Iraq christening — pardon me, naming — their tank “New Testament.” According to the Gospel by Sullivan, quoted in The Washington Times, this is offensive.

"When our own military seems to be advertizing an explicitly Christian identity in Iraq, then it's time [President Bush] took action. Whoever in the marines allowed this tank to be defaced in this way needs to be removed from his post. It's an outrage -- to both the New Testament and to our mission in Iraq," Andrew Sullivan, senior editor at the New Republic, wrote Tuesday at his own Web site (www.andrewsullivan.com).

An outrage? Says you and who else? Oh, of course, that other great warrior, veteran of so many tank engagements, ‘weighs’ in on his website:

Filmmaker Michael Moore cited the story, posting the photo online (www.michaelmoore.com) with the Marine directive, "This image has been cleared for release."

When you two boys sashay into battle, you can name your weaponry anything you want. But meanwhile, to those serving in Iraq, here’s a suggestion for your next tank or Humvee — make sure it’s in big letters:

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I shall fear no evil for I am the meanest S.O.B. in the valley.

Those trifling pundits with more time and money than wit need to learn the Biblical value of silence.

hat tip Daily Pundit

This Week's Winners

Watcher's Council

The Council winner this week is Gates of Vienna. While I am pleased to win, I must admit it was a hastily assembled post. I was so sure the MSM was going to pick up Barcepundit’s story and start digging for facts that I threw it together. And…nothing. Nada. Zip.

How could any journalist with a shred of integrity simply regurgitate the Koran in a toilet bowl story for days, while studiously ignoring a very important editorial in a leading Madrid newspaper?

Karma is a heavy load sometimes. A week later I hear they’re laying off people at the NYT. Maybe they’ll become bloggers?

Close behind Gates was Little Red Blog’s post fisking the remarks of the president of the Newspaper Guild. Ms. Foley’s version of non-retraction of her claim that the military targets journalists brought to mind the slithery “it depends on what is ‘is’” of Clinton days of yore. First rate.

The winning non-council post by Indepundit received an overwhelming first place vote. It is both moving and chilling.

Check them all out at Watcher of Weasels, especially this week. I can’t remember a better group of posts. It was difficult to choose — in fact, I’ll bet other members of the council were later than usual, too, just trying to decide.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Fisking Amnesty International

Amnesty International ought to have a stone tied to its neck and be hurled into the sea. This organization is not only harmful, in the longer term it is lethal to the cause of human liberty and safety. Here's a sample from their latest report, with editorial comment from Gates of Vienna. Judge for yourself:
    Our report presents a damning picture of failed leadership and broken promises. But of all the promises made by governments, none was as hollow as the promise to make the world a safer place from terrorist attacks.
No one "promised" to make the world safer in the next fifteen minutes. It will take years to undo our inattention and mistaken policies which have contributed to the current chaos and disorder.
    Attacks by armed groups pose a major threat to human rights in today's world. Over the past year we have seen unimaginable brutality and barbarity by armed groups in Iraq, Beslan and Madrid.
Yet, the US government and its allies who lead the "War on Terror" continue to persist with politically convenient but ineffective strategies, which undermine human rights.
This bloviating would be amusing were it not so wrong-headedly harmful. The War on Terror is anything by "politically convenient." The convenience lay in looking the other way, which we did for decades -- if there was ever an ineffective strategy it was the "don't ask, don't tell" attitude that passed for foreign policy in the US. It will take decades to undo the policies that date all the way back to Yalta.
    There can be no sustainable security strategy without justice and respect for human rights.
"Security strategy" begins with making things secure. Ask the Iraqis if they respect the human rights of the thugs who murder them daily on the streets, thugs who admit they did it not for religion but for money. Respect is built on mutuality. The disingenuous call for one-sided respect for "human rights" is naïve at best.
    The continued violence in Israel and the Occupied Territories. Despite the building of the Wall – in defiance of international law, the most stringent restrictions on freedom of movement of Palestinians, and the biggest demolition of houses in recent years, the security situation remains precarious.
"International law" is a bureaucratic, utopian and socialist construct that takes second place to national security. If the international bodies of law demand that you participate in your own destruction, then these bodies ought to be dismantled for the good of the rest of all of us. The wall of PC opinion being erected against Israel is far more lethal than anything it has done. In fact, such pontificating drives the Israeli defenses.
    In 2004, far from any sign of principled leadership, we saw a new and dangerous agenda in the making, rewriting the rules of human rights, discrediting the institutions of international cooperation and usurping the language of justice and freedom to promote policies that create fear and insecurity.
International "cooperation" involves going along to get along, including massive corruption and death-dealing to those who interfere with the socialist-driven agenda of envy and greed. It is the "international cooperation" that left Saddam Hussein in power and allowed fat cats in the EU to draw down billions in payoffs. For heaven's sake, grow up.
    The US is leading this agenda, with the UK, European states, Australia and other states following.
Under this agenda, accountability is being set aside in favour of impunity; a prime example being the refusal of the US Administration or US Congress to conduct a full and independent investigation of the use of torture and ill treatment by US officials, despite the public outrage over Abu Ghraib and despite the evidence, collected by AI and other, of similar practices in Bagram, Guantanamo and other detention centres under US control.
The "public outrage" is a media-driven myth. AI obviously believes the magazines it reads. A little field work in places other than Manhattan and San Francisco might yield a different conclusion about public opinion. "Outrage" is building over the unabated stream of illegal aliens who are destroying the social infrastructure of the states they invade.
    The US refuses to apply the Geneva Convention for detainees in Afghanistan.
As well it should. The Geneva Convention is designed for conventional combatants in a conventional war. Here, once more, the AI reveals its sloppy thinking in making a mistake of category. Someone ought to take up a fund to send these people to a Philosophy 101 course.
    But nothing shows the disregard of international law as clearly as the attempts by the US, UK and some European countries to set aside the absolute prohibition of torture and ill treatment by re-definition and "rendering" – or the transfer prisoners to regimes that are known to use torture. In effect sub-contracting torture, yet keeping their own hands and conscience clean.
And nothing shows the dangerous subversion of the rule of law and human decency than the AI's demand that rapists, murderers of children, beheaders of bystanding civilians, exploders of school children be treated as POWs. They are not. Another categorical elision.
    Under this dangerous agenda, justice is not only denied, it is also distorted.
It was distorted beyond recognition before we even got there. The justice being applied is justice, not mercy. They ought to be shown the same mercy they applied while they were at liberty to act.
    In the US, almost a year after the Supreme Court decided that detainees in Guantanamo should have access to judicial review, not one single case from among the 500 or so detained has reached the courts because of stonewalling by the Administration.
One way to help people to stop murdering your citizens is to incarcerate those you believe have some responsibility for the actions which led to the death of your countrymen. With 3,000 slaughtered on 9/11 the US is being generous.
    Guantanamo has become the gulag our times, entrenching the notion that people can be detained without any recourse to the law.
Anyone who has survived the gulags laughs at this poseur performance. How many gulag survivors were consulted for this report?
    By peddling the politics of fear and division, this new agenda has also encouraged intolerance, racism, and xenophobia.
This is not a new agenda. It is a return to a robust Jacksonian approach to American defense. Part of the problem is the limp "tolerance" and calls for diversity and rule by international law. A recipe for civil disaster proposed by those ignorant of history and anxious to repeat each of its mistakes.
    Furthermore, the US, as the unrivalled political, military and economic Super Power, sets the tone of governmental behaviour world-wide. By thumbing its nose at the rule of law and human rights, what message does the US send to repressive regimes who have little regard for the rule of law anyway?
This is mere opinion driven by political motivation. America remains the world's best option and the world knows it. We are finally in the process of figuring out who can be trusted and who can't.

Amnesty International is neither to be trusted nor believed. Like trolls in the blogosphere, or like the MSM, which is one of the vectors for the spread of their infection, they are best ignored for the moment.

Meanwhile, whoever comes up with an effective method for curing this disease will win the hearts and minds of those left who can still love and think.


UPDATE: Jamie, a commenter at Belmont Club has supplied the correct word for Ms. Khan's remarks: she is TRIVIAL.


Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Perfect Platform in Search of a Candidate

In the comments section on Belmont, NahnCee outlined the perfect plan for a winning domestic policy platform for the next Presidential election cycle:
    ...as an American taxpayer, I am *REALLY* not interested in supporting the United Nations any further either financially or emotionally, PR disaster or not. To me, this will be an election issue in our next Presidential campaign, if it has not been resolved by then.
If the Democrats had had it together in the last campaign, they could have tilted the election by focusing on immigration, sealing our borders, and the United Nations -- all issues that Mr. Bush was ignoring but that are becoming ever greater issues to many many people.
Just because America may be seen as imperial overseas or someone's little Security Council toes may get stepped on, that is *no* reason for us to continue to house this growing cancer on our own shores. I want the US out of the UN, and the UN out of the US ... or Clinton and Bolton in charge and Chirac and Putin out, whichever comes first.
If the rest of the world thinks the United Nations is such a great deal and can't be touched, fine. They can support it, they can fund it, and they can house it. And whatever our President needs to do to make changing it happen, he will have my FULL and *FERVENT* support!
...immigration, sealing our borders, and the United Nations. Whoever has the courage to bring those to the table wins the whole pot.

It will be interesting to see which party has the most testicular approach to these issues. One can rightly claim that Bush has enough on his plate (though Gates of Vienna would not agree with this assertion) and thus is leaving them for the next White House tenant. Given the present cowering of the Republicans in the Senate, it's debatable whether any of them has the necessary anatomy for the task at hand.

Here's a thought: maybe the next tenant will appoint her husband to square away the mess at the UN. She certainly has taken a new shine to the military, and she's making the correct noises about the border. Could be that -- unlike her spouse -- she has the testosterone for the job. Since she lacks his character defect of needing to be loved by everyone, she won't be easily deflected from the task at hand.

Here's another thought: consider what meetings between her and Putin would be like.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

And Now a Word From Our Sponsor

It looks like Coke and Pepsi have a rival.

Mecca Cola hopes to cash in on the anti-American sentiment in the Middle East. Tawfik Mathlouthi is the French entrepreneur behind the push to make Mecca number one (Hat tip: Gavriel).
    He hopes to make Mecca Cola the soft drink of choice for Muslims everywhere and thus push out that icon of American capitalism Coca-Cola.
It is all about combating “America’s imperialism and Zionism by providing a substitute for American goods and increasing the blockade of countries boycotting American goods,” Mr Mathlouthi told BBC News Online.
There is a “blockade of countries boycotting American goods”?? Hmm…so that’s why we’re having this nation-wide economic slump. At least now we know why.

It is to be hoped that there are not imitators on the horizon. “Papal Fizz” perhaps, or “Episcopalian Elixir,” or “Saracenparilla”. Caffeine-free “Mormon Mojo”, maybe… the mind boggles.

Monday, May 23, 2005

The Jihad That Refreshes

An alert Gates of Vienna reader sent us a link to the following important message:

Beware the danger of Coca-Cola!

These are the dangers facing Muslim women today.

To coin a phrase: You can't make this stuff up.

Update -- Snopes reports:

In May 2000, the Grand Mufti Sheik Nasser Farid Wassel, Egypt’s most senior religious figure, gave his opinion on the matter. The artwork was also closely scrutinized by researchers and linguists at the Ifta’a Institute, a scholarly authority on Islamic law. All found no harm.

"The trademark does not injure Islam or Muslims directly or indirectly," the mufti ruled. In an official statement, he found that "the trademark was designed 114 years ago in the state of Georgia and was written in a foreign language, not in Arabic," and that "no one had objected until now."

(Hat tip: Slings and Arrows)

The Big Déjà Vu

Germany is sinking under its own hatred. A country whose political philosophy rests on negativity cannot long survive. Wolfgang Munchau, in this month’s Spectator, outlines the problems that Germany has created for itself. First, the old New Germany:
    Looking back at the 1960s and 1970s, when I grew up in Germany, one of the most striking things was that everyone talked about work and money. The country was infuriatingly materialistic. The old West Germany felt more like an economy than a country. It used to have a proper currency, the Deutschmark, but it lacked a proper political capital. At a time when the British believed in incomes policies, capital controls and state ownership, Germany was as laissez-faire an economy as you could find anywhere in Europe. The Germans were the Americans of Europe, as a friend remarked at the time. Everyone was brimming with confidence and the superiority that comes with the belief that you are running the world’s most superior economy. The 1970s were the heyday of Germany’s social market economy, the economic equivalent of having your cake and eating it.
Then along came re-unification and all its resultant problems.
    Unification was supposed to make Germany even stronger. The opposite happened….
When I returned to Germany in the 1990s, what surprised me most was not the poor performance of the economy — this I expected. I was most shocked by the extraordinary loss of self-confidence among the political and business elites, combined with a poisonous cocktail of the three big As: anti-Americanism, anti-Semitism and anti-capitalism.
Germany has been anti-American for some time. And it’s anti-capitalism is self-evident in its economic decisions.
    The absence of a proper market economy means that most people and politicians have no gut-level understanding of how a market economy works. Most Germans do not negotiate their wages. They are paid according to fixed-rate tariffs set in negotiations between trade unions and employers’ associations. Most people have little exposure to the financial market and its products. Among wealthy nations, Germany has one of the lowest ownership rates of private homes, shares, mutual funds and credit cards. What makes Germany even more distinct is the universal belief that the primary responsibility of companies is not to make profits but to fulfil a moral duty to their employees and their communities.
But it is the growing anti-Semitism, in Germany of all places, that chills:
    A cartoon in the latest issue of the house journal of I.G. Metall, the German engineering union, depicts what appear to be American-Jewish investors as insects with long noses sucking the lifeblood out of the German economy. It is quite shocking to see how the present generation of centre-left leaders uses symbols of racism with such carelessness, considering that their predecessors — political leaders like Konrad Adenauer, Willy Brandt and Helmut Kohl — have spent decades dispelling the ghosts of the past and helping to create the image of a mature and normal democracy.
Well, it appears to be an image only, not a reality. Nor is Germany is alone in its thinking. Spain’s now-suspect 3/11 fix, Britain’s increasingly uncivil public spaces, the anti-Semitism and cesspit of the no-go areas of suburban Paris, Italy’s loud anti-Americanism, the darkening skies in Sweden and Norway: they are all of a piece.

So it may be that the lights are going out all over Europe. Again. This time, there may not be the American will to save them from themselves.

Hat tip: Barcepundit

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Karmic Fizz

Expat has an intriguing post on Pepsi. No, not the jejune anti-American remarks of Pepsico’s president. This is far more interesting than her snide smear, and who knows, it may be karmic retribution for those very remarks.

Expat translates this bit of “scientific” information emanating from an entity called The Islamic Agency for Research in Egypt. It has an important recommendation which Expat was kind enough to translate for us:
    Al-Irsyad – the Islamic Agency for Research in Egypt has now recommended that Muslims are not to consume Pepsi Cola because it is being suspected of containing material that has been made from the intestines of pigs.
Dr. Mustofa Asyak’ah an agency member has asked for the other members of the agency to gather to discuss this problem, so that the Muslim community can receive clarity as to whether the product is haram (forbidden) or not, according to the daily Egyptian Al-Arabiyah.
Dr. Mustofa explained that the manufacturer of the drink has included a special material made from the intestines of pigs in the process of the drink’s production.
“Because of this we are trying to break down of the materials used so that we might get some clarification on the issue” he said.
Yes, that’s it. The latest emergency. Pork in the Pepsi. Now before everyone falls down laughing, consider this: Pepsico makes fried pork rinds. How haram is that, I ask you? At the very least, it’s a Pepsi-pork connection. For those is in a boycotting mood, Max Black at Prariefire lists all the products in Pepsi’s cabinet. In addition he gives some names and numbers to call if you have any response to Pepsico’s Indra Nooyi’s remarks at Columbia’s MBA graduation ceremony

But wait, there are murkier depths to this than you imagined. For a long time, there was a turf war in the Middle East between Pepsi and Coke. Or rather, the Arabs wouldn’t drink whatever it was the Israelis were drinking. There were boycotts -- some leftists still have one going against Coke -- based on the Israel-Arab conflict and Coke’s supposed support of Israel. Snopes has a story on it, though you might question the particulars. However, its last paragraph is instructive:
    Today you can get either Coke or Pepsi in anywhere in the Middle East, and the days of the boycott have faded into memory. Even so, there are still those who observe the stricture of “Coke is for Jews; Pepsi is for Arabs.” Old wounds are not necessarily healed wounds.
Evidently it’s true. A few weeks ago Chrenkoff quoted from a news report that a young jihadist named Mohammed complained he’d been living on “bread and Pepsi.”

So what now? Israel supports Coke, and Pepsi has pork parts. Talk about a rock and a hard place.

Royal Crown Cola anyone? Goes good with Pepsico’s Baken-ets fried pork skins

Saturday, May 21, 2005

This Week's Winners

Watcher's Council

The winners for this week are Right Wing Nut House and Varifrank.

From the Council posts:

Please Don’t Run, Newt

This is an excellent essay on a topic I think about every time I hear Newt Gingrich intimating that he might run in the Presidential primaries in 2008. The problem for many politicians is their inability to recognize when their moment has passed. Perhaps it’s a professional hazard for anyone in the public eye.

Gingrich could do a lot of good behind the scenes, but I join Mr. Moran in his plea: Please Don’t Run.

Can someone please explain to the man how his past will kill him? I like Gingrich’s ideas but his personal life is way too full of holes to pass public scrutiny. A tall oak he may be, but presidential timber he's not.

I Got Your Desecration Right Here, Pal is the #1 non-Council pick. It’s riveting.

Written as a open letter from beyond the grave, this epistle will hold your attention to the last paragraph. Were he able to say so, you can’t help but think Mr.Quattrocchi would approve.

Hello, my name is Fabrizio Quattrocchi. I was captured by Muslim holy warriors and tortured before cameras, just for their sport. In the end, they set aside of any respect for international law common, human decency or even the restraint of their own religious doctrine and beheaded me. I shouldn’t have expected any special treatment as this is a common act that they perform even among their own people. However, you won’t see the video of my beheading because I died like a man rather than the sniveling coward they wanted me to be.
Congratulations to Varifrank, not only for a job well done but for a subject worth covering. Bookmark for sure.

Meanwhile, go see it all at Watcher of Weasels. A thank-you in his comment section wouldn't hurt either. He presents blogs we wouldn't get to see otherwise.

Friday, May 20, 2005


Barcepundit broke an incredible news story this week.

Quite by happenstance, on May 18th Gates of Vienna was tuned to Lars Larson, a talk show radio host. Larson was interviewing Frank Gaffney about his NRO essay, Spain’s Terrorgate.

Using Barcepundit’s translations of the El Mundo editorial (May 16th), Gaffney exposes a huge new story on 3/11. It is a remarkable tale, composed of a number of stranger-than-fiction elements.

How’s this for starters: ABC — yes, our good old MSM behemoth — staged pictures of the supposed unexploded backpack remaining from the bombing of the train. The police claimed not to have the “real” one available but, hey, offered to use one of the officers’ backpacks since it looked similar. Another example of good journalistic practices, right?

But it gets worse. Gaffney reports:
    El Mundo suggests that, almost immediately after the 12 bombs went off in one of the city’s busiest train stations, some in the Spanish police force fabricated evidence, then swiftly hyped it to the domestic and international press. The object seems to have been to support the oppositions’ claims that Islamists angry over the government’s support for the war in Iraq were responsible for the attacks.
As Gaffney says, one could reasonably infer that if this report is true, then Tedax, the Spanish police bomb squad was, at worst, involved in the bombing itself.

There was a real backpack. What the police did was to hide from the investigating judge an xray of its contents. “Backpack 13” could never have exploded. The cables connecting the cell phone to the explosive were never connected. An interesting lapse when you consider these terrorists were “experts.”

We’re spiraling downward here in this stranger-than-fiction recount. Carmen Toro alledgedly supplied explosives for the bombings. And in Mr. Toro’s personal phonebook was the cellphone number for the chief of Tedax (the above mentioned Spanish bomb squad). When the investigating judge called the number, it turned out that a member of the bomb squad answered the phone. Creepy, no?

Here’s the order of creepiness:

  • The Aznar (conservative) government had sent Spanish troops to Iraq.
  • The opposition (socialist) party promised to reverse that policy should it be voted in.
  • On 3/11, the bombings in Madrid assured the turnover in government.
  • The Aznar government blamed the bombing on ETA (a separatist Basque movement) because of the nature of the explosive and because of the setup with the cellphone trigger. This was denied by the opposition, who claimed the death and destruciton of Spaniards in the days before the election was due to the country’s support of the USA in Iraq.
There is no way to know what kind of explosive was used in the train bombing since the explosions eliminated any forensic evidence. All that remained was the contents of Backpack #13, curiously undetonated and waiting for conclusions to be drawn about its provenance.

The cellphones used in the attack were from a phone shop owned by a Spanish police officer… a police officer named Maussili Kalaji. Officer Kalaji was born in Syria. In addition to being a member of Al Fatah, his resume included a stint as an agent for Soviet Intelligence. Nice fellow.

Next we come to his sister. She worked for the police also, translating the wiretapped conversations among the (alledged) Madrid bombers prior to 3/11...

So: Starting with ABC’s faked photo and ending up with a suspicious translator, this is a story begging for investigation.

Calling the MSM, calling the MSM. Hello? Anyone there?

Are you all still flushing Korans in Gitmo?

Or maybe interviewing deserters from the Navy?

Anybody home?

Appeasement Reprised, Part I

Echoes of the Great War

The discussion following my recent post suggests additional material on the topic of appeasement.

To understand the origins of and impulse towards appeasement one must look to the Great War. Paul Fussell has demonstrated that the awful carnage of 1914-1918 is the central trauma of our time, one that informs the modern culture of the West, one whose consequences are still unfolding. And one of the Great War’s unwanted children was appeasement.

The overwhelming feeling among political leaders after the war was: This must be prevented from happening again, at all costs. Even if an elected official in the Western democracies did not reach this conclusion for humane reasons, the instructive example of the Bolshevik revolution was always before him. Another war like that, and the red flag might fly over Big Ben or the Eiffel Tower.

The primary impulse towards war was thought to be the emergent force of nationalism. After all, it was Serbian nationalism in the person of Gavrilo Princip that shot down the archduke in Sarajevo and began the whole calamity. The recognition of nationalism -- the impulse of a people of distinct language and culture to acquire its own sovereign polity -- drove the terms of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 and helped redraw the map of Europe.

The Allies constructed the League of Nations to institutionalize the prevention of another Great War and enforce the terms of Versailles. But by the time the crises of the 1930s arrived, the paradoxical problem at the heart of the League was exposed: in order to prevent war, the League had to be ready to make war. To stop a nationalist tyrant like Hitler might require blood and iron, and the awful spectre of the Western Front loomed in public opinion to close off that option. War to stop the dictators became politically impossible in the Western democracies, and they appeased the tyrants instead.

By the time Chamberlain inked his deal with Hitler in Munich in 1938 and sealed forever the meaning of “appeasement” in the judgment of history, it was already clear that appeasement was no longer preventing war, it was simply postponing it. Wiser heads in the councils of the Allies knew the war was coming, and wanted time to prepare, since Hitler had a big lead on them in modern armament.

But the war was bound to come. If not over Poland, then over Finland, or Romania, or Norway, or the Ukraine. The war was coming, and the great appeasement of 1938 just bought a little more time.

But the earlier appeasements leading up to 1938 made the war the massive cataclysm that resulted. Each time the can was kicked down the road, it got bigger and deadlier.

My next post will address the direct parallels between the appeasement of the 1930s and our current appeasement of the Great Islamic Jihad.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Being Falstaff

The boys in Saudi Arabia have been eager to join the fight in Iraq. When you think about it, what is there to do in Riyadh anyway?

So. If you’re bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and bored and you want to fight, here’s the drill: you tell Mom and Dad and off you go, ready for Fallujah. Meanwhile, your family waits for the phone call to tell them that either (a) you’ve gone to war, or (b) you’re already a martyr.

Things are changing, though. Take this tale of the two brothers who left home to fight the infidel:
    … their enthusiasm being inflamed by the conflict in Falluja… they decided to go to Iraq. Their relatives intervened to persuade them against doing what they had decided upon, until they [the boys] convinced everyone that they had changed their minds.
Instead, the clever brothers “sneaked nimbly into Iraq” and it wasn’t long before they connected up with the terrorist network. Eventually, the boys made their way to the leader. Upon meeting him, they requested to be sent to Fallujah.

No such luck. The leader told them it was far away and too dangerous. However, he did have another possible job opening. They could become suicide bombers.
    “We have a group of automobiles ready to perform suicide operations.” The young men almost lost consciousness from the terror of the shock. And they said to him: how our coming to Iraq has come to this end in a suicide operation with such ease! He answered them indifferently: this is what we have now, and if you want you may look elsewhere! At that moment they decided to return to their country, and completely changed their minds about participating in what they thought was resistance in Iraq…
So much for that warrior quest. We never do find out what kind of reception they got at home.

Meanwhile, the Saudi clerics have declared, like Falstaff, that discretion is the better part of valor.
    …[T]he Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia in an open meeting refuted the claims that what is happening now in Iraq is really jihad. He has said: ‘Indeed, jihad in the cause of God is a great thing, no one doubts in its bounty or in its greatness, but the situation in Iraq differs. For our brothers in Iraq know the condition of their country and its circumstances and overall environment, and they work with their reality as they see fit… he does ‘not encourage young men of that (going to Iraq), and does not support the action, because what is happening in Iraq involves the shedding of blood wrongfully, and the blood of Muslims is precious, and so it is not allowed for us to tolerate this and throw our young men into places they are not familiar with, and in which they don’t know what is happening. We wish for our Iraqi brothers success and that God with gather all of them.’
In some circles, the Grand Mufti’s words would be known as a kiss-off. No wonder Hotspur Zarqawi grows weary. The Wahabbis are un-jihading his mighty endeavor. They’re even telling the boys to stay home.

How cynical is that?

Hat tip: The Glittering Eye

Monday, May 16, 2005

Appeasement in Our Time

In the comments on Belmont Club yesterday, Wretchard said:
    It is supremely ironic that the outcome of political correctness may ultimately be a consociational world; a world divided into mutually hostile ethnno-religious groups restrained only by mutual fear. The world as Lebanon and the Balkans. The logical outcome of Muslim “rage” at any real and imagined slight is that every Hindu, Sikh, Jew, Orthodox Christian and just plain old Christian has the right to take the same offense. Historically, political correctness hasn’t been ‘understanding’ but its reverse -- the process of feeding little bits of unresisting ethno-religious groups to the most aggressive ones -- though it has pretended to be otherwise. It is, in a word, the ultimate form of political cowardice, though it has gone by many names at the expense of Cambodians, Poles, the dark races of the world and most of all the Jews.
But at the limits, this kind of appeasement at the expense of others eventually generates its own backlash. That’s why the Balkans and Lebanon are what they area, a place where everyone has retreated to their final line. So if Newsweek was hoping for yet another abject and groveling apology for an incident that wasn’t even true they may get it this time; and maybe even next time. But one day they won’t get it at all. On that day they will have scuttled their own vision of a one world; scuttled it by their own hand and they will not have the wit to know that they themselves had done it.
The current political meaning of the word “appeasement” did not emerge until the period between the First and Second World Wars, when it was applied to the catastrophic behavior of the Allies towards the emerging Axis dictatorships. Prior to that time appeasement would have been a strategic decision from weakness against a stronger enemy: Give him what he wants to buy us time until we can escape or grow strong enough to defeat him.

Until 1939, Germany was manifestly not stronger than the Allies, and Italy never was. But all through that ghastly decade the Allies appeased the two strutting thugs: German rearmament, the reoccupation of the Rhineland, the invasion of Abyssinia, Anschluss, the atrocities in Spain, and then the climactic moment in 1938 when Chamberlain stood on the airport tarmac waving a piece of paper and declared “Peace in our time!” after selling the Czechs to the Nazis.

There are two factors that make modern appeasement distinctive:

1. The appeasing power faces a foe acting out of vigorous ideological and political zeal, while lacking that characteristic itself.
2. The appeasing power abases itself before a weaker opponent.

These conditions have characterized the behavior of the West not only towards the Fascist dictatorships, but also at times towards the Communist empire in the later stages of the Cold War, and now towards the Islamist thugs in their various guises.

An examination of each factor may prove instructive.

1. The appeasing power faces a foe acting out of vigorous ideological and political zeal, while lacking that characteristic itself.

In our confrontation with the Great Islamic Jihad this condition becomes apparent. Reverse the cultures and imagine what would happen if a group of jihadis in Mosul threw a copy of the Talmud into the sump. Would Hasidim across the globe take to the streets in sidelocks and yarmulke, overturning cars and burning buildings?

One has one’s doubts.

Or, if a herdsman in Waziristan fed an Urdu Bible to his goats, would Christians rise up as one in outrage from Brisbane to Baltimore?

I wouldn’t bet on it.

But Islam, ah… that’s different.

Islam demands from the West, and often receives, a special status not accorded any other religion in the world. A performance artist who defecates on a picture of Christ or covers a menorah with condoms can not only expect no condemnation, but is likely to receive funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. But someone who so much as dog-ears a page of the Koran can expect the full wrath of the Ummah to descend on him, and will likely have to go underground and live under an assumed name. Just ask Salman Rushdie.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice implicitly accepted the special status of Islam when she said, “Disrespect for the Holy Koran is not now, nor has it ever been, nor will it ever be tolerated by the United States.” Why? Since the United States tolerates disrespect for the Bible and the Talmud, why is the Koran different?

No wonder the Islamists think they’ve got us whupped.

2. The appeasing power abases itself before a weaker opponent.

This one is hard to figure out: what makes a stronger power kowtow to a weaker one? Is it out of a feeling of guilt, that we are somehow responsible for the degraded state of our foes? Or is it maybe a sense of “fair play”, that somehow we are obliged to level the playing field and create circumstances in which our enemies can confront us on approximately equal terms?

In any case, the result is to blindfold and shackle ourselves in preparation for a struggle against those who would kill us without compunction.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Why do appeasers appease? What are their goals?

In Chamberlain’s case, it was a desire that life return to normal, that things might continue as they had been. The gentlemen of England could continue their activities in Parliament and the City, enjoying the matches at Wimbledon and Lords, retiring to Hertfordshire for extended weekends of pheasant shooting, and not thinking overmuch about what was happening to people in the Sudetenland. And, as Wretchard has pointed out, not dwelling overmuch on what might happen to the Jews.

The case can be made that Chamberlain knew that the return to normalcy would not last long, that he was buying time to modernize Britain’s armaments and prepare for the inevitable conflict with the Third Reich. But in September of 1938, for public consumption, it was “peace in our time”. It is understandable that Hitler thought the Czechoslovakia of 1938 would be reprised in Poland in 1939.

If we are in the GWOT equivalent of September 1938, what will be our equivalent of September 1939?

And why are we appeasing Muslims now?

Presumably we want things to continue as they have been; we want to return to our jobs and our televisions and not think too much about Christians in Indonesia or women in Saudi Arabia. With a little more time, we can figure out a way to stave off the Jihad Apocalypse, and maybe avoid the moment when Islamic zealots acquire nuclear or biological weapons and use them.

With a little more time we can finesse the bomb away from the mullahs in Iran. We can keep the Musharraf regime in Pakistan intact. We can look the other way while thousands or millions of people are slaughtered in Darfur and the Congo and Uzbekistan and Syria and…

We can return to normal. If we have to give the Palestinians Gaza or the West Bank or the Right of Return, well, that’s a small price to pay, isn’t it? After all, peace in our time is worth a few million Jews.

A Letter to the Editor of Newsweek

251 W. 57th St.
New York, NY 10019-1894

Dear Sir,

If it bleeds it leads, right? So there you are, Newsweek. You have a great story to pursue. Don’t let the fact that you also have the blood of many lives on your hands get in your way. In your moral universe, that’s a small price to pay for the story. Especially if it’s a story that makes your country look bad. Just make sure you spell the names correctly:


The ‘Islamic tactic’ you used in this case is called taqiyya. More than a millennium old, taqiyya is lying for the sake of your cause. It’s a useful tool in the quest for making America look bad, one that has been employed successfully by your fellow “journalists” Eason Jordan and Dan Rather. Not to mention the declarations of the “Afghan quagmire” crowd, or the endless lamentations of the New York Times over Abu Ghraib. You are in esteemed company. And how many people died as a result of all these machinations? Do you care?

Vietnam is over. Unfortunately, you and your ilk don’t appear to grasp this. You are stuck in a time-warp quagmire of your own making, the one you helped create back then to turn the hearts and minds of your fellow citizens against your own soldiers. But your fellow citizens aren’t virgins anymore. Having been lied to, led on, fed half-truths and canned dissembling, having been assured that gossip and rumor is fact-checked truth with a big “T”, we no longer believe anything you have to say.

And for that, for your slanted, morally obtuse search for muck and for what-might-be-so-let’s-pretend-it-is, you have made us all into fact-checkers. After all the lies and misleading, if you claimed it was raining outside, we’d still go to the window to check.

New motto for dealing with the MSM: distrust and then dig for the truth. It might not be in your version of the story; it’s surely in the steaming pile you made nearby.

Sincerely yours,
Gates of Vienna

(hat tip: Ledger at Belmont Club)

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Newsweek Lied! People Died!

It appears that not only Islamists approve the use of taqiyya. So does Newsweek.

As regular readers of Gates are aware, taqiyya and kitman are two types of dissembling used by Muslims when dealing with their enemies.
Photo courtesy CI-CE-CT
    taqiyya (pronounced tark-e-ya): precautionary dissimulation or deception and keeping one's convictions secret and a synonymous term, kitman: mental reservation and dissimulation or concealment of malevolent intentions...
These rules, considered by Westerners to be dishonorable and under some circumstances punishable as perjury, are par for the course when Muslims deal with "outsiders." In fact, when they deal with one another, such tactics are considered to have Mohammed's approval also.
    … 'holy hypocrisy' has been diffused throughout Arabic culture for over fourteen hundred years since it was developed by Shiites as a means of defence and concealment of beliefs against Sunni unbelievers. As the Prophet said: 'he who keeps secrets shall soon attain his objectives.'
It was such a useful, flexible tool that the Sunnis soon adopted it, too. The US forces are quite aware of this mindset and know that anything Muslim terrorists say is open to question.
    The theory and practice of counter terrorism would be counter productive, indeed pointless, and even harmful, without reference to taqiyya and kitman and the crucial role of deception ranging from Islamic jurisprudence to Al Qaeda training manuals, which carry detailed instructions on the use of deception by terrorists in Western target countries.
Like many Islamic concepts taqiyya and kitman were formed within the context of the Arab-Islamic matrix of tribalism, expansionary warfare and conflict. Taqiyya has been used by Muslims since the 7th century to confuse and split 'the enemy'. A favored tactic was 'deceptive triangulation'; to persuade the enemy that jihad was not aimed at them but at another enemy. Another tactic was to deny that there was jihad at all. The fate for such faulty assessments by the target was death.
Thus, whatever the detainees have to say about the desecration of the Koran is for home consumption. That any news organization would take it seriously --without the most meticulous and thorough investigation -- speaks volumes about motive and intention. They are ignorant at best, mendacious at worst. But above all, they are not to be believed.

The MSM has been absorbed by the enemy within. Those who hate us move through the moral universe using the same compass as the terrorists: whatever it takes to bring us down.
    According to Christian ethics lying is a sin; In Islamic jurisprudence and theology, the use of taqiyya against the unbelievers is regarded as a virtue and a religious duty.
The only difference between Islamic jurisprudence and the underlying principles by which the MSM operates is this: the MSM claims to have no slant.

Guess what? The Islamists are more credible.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Leatherneck With a Clerical Collar

“Gates of Vienna” worships at a little Episcopal church in the countryside of central Virginia. The Rev. Bruce Weatherly is an occasional supply priest there, and he recently brought his photo album to church and told us an inspirational story.

Iwo Jima memorialFr. Weatherly was in the Marines in World War Two and was discharged in 1946. By the time the Korean War came along, he had been to seminary and was an ordained priest. He wanted to do his part for his country, and volunteered for another stint in the service, this time as a Marine Corps chaplain.

He comes from a military Episcopal family: his father was in the military and was an Episcopal priest, and the same goes for his son John.

In June of last year, John arranged for a surprise ceremony for his father. The Weatherly family met in Arlington under the pretense of a visit to the Iwo Jima memorial, and Fr. Weatherly was presented with an American flag after it had been raised and then lowered by a Marine captain at the memorial.

Presentation ceremony

Fr. Weatherly was greatly moved, and was barely able to retain his composure. He reports the unnatural and surreal experience, as a lowly sergeant, of being saluted by a captain.

Here’s the email about the event that Fr. Weatherly’s son Mark sent to the family afterwards:
    From: Mark A. Weatherly
Sent: Thursday, June 03, 2004 10:31 AM
Subject: Re: the Greatest Generation
I just gotta say John pulled off one of the best surprises ever seen, for a fine and deserving member of the Greatest Generation. My hat is off to you bro; it was a real class act.
I'm sure the story will be told and re-told, but the image I have is Dad, Mom, Melissa, John and Bev striding across the large green lawn surrounding the Iwo Jima/Marine Corps Memorial on a breezy, beautiful early summer day. The Memorial's figures are huge, moving and far more impressive when viewed up close. The Marine Corps captain on duty in fatigues greets Dad (“Sargeant Weatherly”) and guides him subtlely over to the center of the Memorial walk as a couple Marines climb the memorial. A group of what appear to be Marine boot camp survivors on their first weekend out materialize and line up in two rows behind Dad and the captain. The Marines lower the huge flag while everyone salutes, attach a smaller, new flag and run it smartly up the flagpole, then lower it slowly, carefully fold it, and descend from the memorial. One Marine marches it over to the Captain, then turns on his heel and faces Dad, and presents him with the flag. The Captain then reads a citation to Dad and presents that to him as well.
Dad momentarily appears in shock, but salutes smartly from somewhere deep in his subconscious.
And one of the best, amazing aspects to me was the number of young recruits who then came up to Dad to shake his hand, or embrace him, thank him for his service, and have their picture taken with him (when Marines take pictures they don't say “cheese”, they say “Semper Fi!”). A great, great moment, for damn sure.
Awfully glad I got to witness this, and thanks for the ride back to the office, guys. It was an event to cherish. Huge kudos and many thanks to John for arranging it.
with love,
While the photo album was being passed around, Fr. Weatherly talked a little bit about his time in the Marines. He said, “I was no hero. I was just a Marine.”

Fr. Weatherly, I submit to you that those two words are synonymous.
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Right in the Thick of It

On a related note, Will May is the organist at our church and now attends the College of William and Mary. Several years ago, for his Eagle Scout project he videotaped and interviewed ten World War Two veterans living in our area. He wrote up his account and then published and sold it as a small book, with the proceeds going to charity. The online version of the book, Right in the Thick of It, is worth a look.

L-R: The Rev. John A. Weatherly, Margaret H. Weatherly, Melissa Weatherly, The Rev. Canon Bruce A. Weatherly, Mark A. Weatherly

Group photo, left to right:
The Rev. John A. Weatherly (Rector, St. Mark’s Church, Alexandria, VA, and Chaplain [Major] 29th Infantry Virginia National Guard, son of Bruce)
Margaret H. (Mrs. Bruce) Weatherly
Melissa Weatherly (daughter of Bruce)
The Rev. Canon Bruce A. Weatherly (Sgt., USMCR 1942 – 1946, Lt. [Sr. Gr.] USMCR Chaplain Corps)
Mark A. Weatherly (son of Bruce)

Thanks to the Weatherly family for all the materials.

History Lessons

Watcher's CouncilThis week's council winner is Right Wing Nut House. The post, A Solitary Voice for Remembrance, is incisive:
    An orgy of remembrance took place all across Europe this last weekend as the continent's increasingly passive and pacific countries celebrated the very war-like achievements of their grandfathers in tossing the regime of Adolph Hitler and all it stood for on the ash heap of history.
The whole post is an excellent history lesson on the events leading to WWII and the perfidy of the West later. His fisking of Bush's speech in Latvia -- what Bush failed to mention, as well as what he eloquently addressed -- provides better coverage than I'd seen elsewhere.

Mr. Moran also brings to our attention the sins of omission of the press. After noting Bush's public gratitude to Latvia, he observes
    Curiously, this acknowledgment went unnoticed in the press who instead played up Bush's "apology" for US inaction after Yalta to halt the spread of communism across eastern Europe.
Good post. Made even livelier by his skewering of France.

Non Council Winner

The American Thinker sets the pc record straight re jihad and the Crusades. This post couldn't be more apropros given the publicity for the new movie "Kingdom of Heaven" (which is not linked here. It can be found on the winning post, but Gates will not facilitate any spread of this noxious anti-historical Hollywood entertainment).
    Inundated by such disingenuous apologetics Westerners have remained largely ignorant of jihad-the Islamic war of conquest. Thus the chattering classes, confused all too easily by superficial similarities, equate jihad with the Crusades. In fact, there are many fundamental differences between the uniquely Islamic institution of jihad, and the Crusades, as they derive from widely divergent religions and civilizations.
For Gates of Vienna, this is the money quote:
    Jihad, as a nascent ideology, originated from the putative military activities of Muhammad himself, described in the Muslim sacred texts. September 622 C.E. marks a defining event in Islam- the hijra
Read this not only for American Thinker's exposition of history, but also his excellent links. If nothing else, it will disincline you to watch that execrable movie.

All the posts which received votes are here. Enjoy.

Fishing and Smithing

As I have noted before, I am a philo-semite. I respect and admire the Jews both for their intellectual and ethical contributions to Western civilization, and for their dogged determination in the face of overwhelming odds.

Several nights ago I had a dream in which I was being given a tour of a museum of Judaism by Dymphna’s Jewish cousins. A young boy led me from case to case and translated the inscriptions for me, which were entirely in Hebrew.

After I repeatedly expressed my admiration for all things Jewish, the boy’s father asked me, “Since you like the Jews so much, why don’t you convert?”

I replied, “I have a friend who is an accomplished fisherman. I go with him to the river; I watch him fish; I help him clean and eat the fish he catches; I acknowledge and proclaim his skill to others; but I don’t have to fish with him.

“I am a blacksmith, and blacksmiths don’t fish.”
* * * * * * * * * *

Make of it what you will. I'm not very good at interpreting dreams.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Dialogue with the Deluded

The Toronto Star (free registration) reports a sad incident from the marching morons.
    What began as an attempt to heal the wounds of Canada's Muslims and Jews has ended by inflaming them.
At an evening of dialogue for Muslim-Jewish understanding, remarks by Israel's consul general have prompted the Muslim Canadian Congress to call for an apology, and it has asked Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew to investigate the statements and seek an explanation.
Consul General Ya'acov Brosh merely stated the obvious, that "the majority of terrorists today were Muslims, although the majority of Muslims are not themselves terrorists." However, in doing so, he brought down the wrath of the correct thinkers upon his head.
    Muslims who attended the speech said they were hurt and shocked by his words.
"I have been president of Muslims Against Terrorism, and I found his implication very hurtful," said Farzana Hassan-Shahid, an inter-faith activist. "It was that all Muslims are lumped together. We think he should apologize for that."
So… the Muslim Canadian Congress is demanding an apology. It wants the Foreign Affairs Minister "to investigate the statements and seek an explanation."

These people need IQ tests. Immediately. Followed by a mandatory Logic 101 course.

Oy vey. What the situation needs is now is several hundred sympathy cards to the Israeli consul general. Whatever they pay him, it can't be enough.

Hat tip: The Last Amazon: as long as groups like the Muslim Canadian Congress demand apologies and attempt to persecute others for stating the painful facts on the ground, I consciously disconnect from the desire to even attempt a dialogue with the deluded.

Wanted: a Millstone

Roger Simon will be all over this one like white on rice, but since we're on Eastern Time, we get to go first. The Scotsman reports:
    Anti-war MP George Galloway was today facing allegations that a children's leukaemia charity he set up was used to secretly transfer millions of barrels of Iraqi oil.
A US Senate committee said it had uncovered fresh evidence which suggested the former Labour MP received vouchers for millions of barrels of oil from Saddam Hussein.
The recently re-elected MP today furiously denied the accusations, describing the committee members as "lickspittle Repubicans" who he claimed were acting for President George Bush.
Chairman Norm Coleman also said the committee found evidence suggesting the Mariam Appeal, which Mr Galloway set up to help a four-year-old Iraqi girl suffering from leukaemia, was used to hide the transfer of 3 million barrels of oil.
The inquiry into the UN's oil-for-food programme also heard claims that Mr Galloway and former French interior minister Charles Pasqua accepted oil allocations under the scheme.
What will it take to lay to rest the idea that the "Old Europeans" have any credibility or legitimacy in what they say about our actions in Iraq? George Galloway is still in Parliament, for crying out loud. And if John Kerry were president today, he'd be having earnest discussions (in French, of course) with the likes of Charles Pasqua.

In the Arab world little girls are abused by their fathers and husbands, while George Galloway is busy abusing them from our end. It would be better for him if he were cast into the sea with a millstone around his neck.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Hammorabi’s View

Do you ever wonder why the suicide bombing continues in Iraq? How are people motivated to kill themselves -- beyond the usual seventy-two virgins (or raisins, depending on whose Koran you’re reading)? Given the fact that it appears to be a losing cause, how does someone get into the car and drive into the middle of a crowd?

Here’s Hammorabi’s opinion
    The latest information indicates that some of the fucking suicidal thugs are not aware of the nature of the operation. The big filthy boars told them that they are going to give them a car to go to meet some one or similar thing. When they arrive into the point that the filthiest cockroaches decided they blow it up either by remote control or by a mobile telephone call to the driver. The driver usually had given some thing to eat or to drink to make him feel happy or depressed.
Sowara is one of the cities with Shiite majority of more than 95%.
Hammorabi is making two points here:
  • One, that the bombers don’t necessarily know they’re going to die. Their handlers are the ones who detonate them.
  • Two, that the terrorists are specifically targeting Shiites.
(He doesn’t provide any documentation. If anyone has information, it would be helpful)

Hammorabi goes on to relate another story, this one to underline his belief that Sunnis -- both the imported ones and the domestic kind -- are behind the mayhem in Iraq:
    The Iraqi Student Unions today issued a statement determined to follow the terrorists where ever they go to send them to exterminate them. The statement comes after one Student in the College of Pharmacology in Baghdad (Masar Sarhan) found dead few days ago. He organized a party of celebration to his colleagues about the newly elected government.
He was then found beheaded outside his accommodation next day. The students who where with him claimed to have been hearing the Dean threatened him directly because he mastermind the celebration party. The dean was among the members of the Bathist regime according to the students.
If prosperity truly comes to the average Iraqi, a prosperity he or she earns by personal initiative and creative productivity, the Shiites will stop being the underdog. In America, when people become prosperous they become owners and their sense of what is possible changes.

Our task in Iraq is not just liberty, it is also ensuring that prosperity under the rule of law is possible for the individual who strives. Iraq may have to wrest both from the Sunnis who remember when they controlled it all.