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These are all the Blogs posted on Tuesday, 10, 2007.
Tuesday, 10 April 2007
Laughing and Grief

"I doubt la Fallaci would have laughed at the Iraq situation, as you suggest. IMO, she'd be very angry."-- from a reader commenting on this post

You are referring to this phrase in the text: "Knowing Islam, knowing Muslims, she would have laughed at the naiveté of Bush and his 'democracy' project."

Laughed mordantly. Or to give it an Arthurian-legendary twist, mordauntly. Laughed bitterly. And then wept. And laughed. And wept again.

The way everyone of sense does, intermittently, as they read or hear the latest news, and as they contemplate the hallucinatory Bush, the hallucinatory Cheney, and the equally-mad people who absolutely positively hate them and their Iraq policy for all the wrong, and never the right, reasons, and think Islam is peachy-keen and all's right, more or less, with the world, save for what the vast Right-Wing Conspiracy has in store for all of us.

Laughing and grief, Lewis Carroll called those important subjects to be taught. Contrary to rumors at bureaucratic-prosed, poker-faced think-tanks and solemn centers of "International Relations" and "Public Policy" (can you imagine Churchill clutching his Woodrow-Wilson or Kennedy School degree, before heading off to Washington or the E.U. or the U.N.?) Laughing and Grief are not dead languages.

Don't trust someone who hasn't studied Laughing and Grief.

Posted on 04/10/2007 6:58 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 10 April 2007
More on Why We Should Welcome Iraq's Civil War

"I already explained how it will not weaken the camp of islam. I have yet to read why it will. Talking points, repeated Ad nauseam, do not make for a convincing argument, or any argument at all. I know this is your own personal crusade on jihadwatch, but it seems it stems more from emotion than an observance of the ugly reality.

And the ugly reality is that regardless of how expensive the war in Iraq has become, regardless of how much better such monies could be allocated, regardless of how insufferable and misguided this crusade may be, it does not change the salient point made that civil war in Iraq does not weaken either the resolve, or the ability, of muslims, from around the world, to set off bombs, to destroy airliners, to behead hostages, or a litany of other violent expressions of their faith, and it certainly does not impede their demographic conquest of the West. The fast jihad continues, the slow jihad continues. Civil war in Iraq, or Darfur, or anywhere else, is a mere sideshow." -- from a reader

You admit that "the war in Iraq has become" one where "monies could be allocated" much better, that it is an "insufferable and misguided crusade," and then you later admit that the war in Iraq is what you describe as a "sideshow" to the main menace of Islam. We agree. Why then do you think that a "civil war in Iraq" would not at the very least use up Muslim energies, and money, and matériel, and cause all kinds of Shi'a and Sunni to enter the theatre of Iraq to protect their co-religionists? Have you forgotten that during the Iran-Iraq War those two unpleasant regimes had little ability to cause mischief elsewhere? Have you forgotten that during the Iran-Iraq War not only did Iraq use up all of its oil money, but it "borrowed" (never to repay) $60 billion (in 1982 dollars) from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the U.A.E.? Is not the "money weapon" the most important weapon the Muslims have world-wide, and should we not welcome any chance to use up some of that discretionary income and piled-up wealth that otherwise goes, with a certainty, to the Muslim missionaries of Tablighi Jamaat and other groups, pays for mosques and madrasas all over the world, pays for Muslim "civil rights" groups (from what foreign lands do you think CAIR and a hundred other groups like CAIR get large donations? From Italy? From Costa Rica? From Iceland?).

Do you not realize that the Sunni Arabs simply cannot permit the "Raphidite dogs" or Shi'a of Iraq to control Mesopotamia (as we redolently like to call it -- see what Jacques Barzun noted of that word, as pleasing as the word "ratiocination")

Are you aware that as almost as soon as the Iran-Iraq War ended in 1988, having time on his hands, Saddam Hussein began to mass-murder the Kurds in his Anfal Operation (named after a Sura). In late 1990 he invaded and occupied Kuwait. In 1991, having been defeated in the Gulf War, with his forces retreating from Kuwait, he soon turned his attention (never a dull moment) to smashing the restless Shi’a in the south, and for the rest of his reign continued to kill Shi’a, send financial support to the “Palestinians,” and do whatever he could to cause trouble.

The same was true of Iran. Khomeini came to power in late 1979. He had a short period of happily condemning to death leaders of the Bahai and Jewish communities along with members of the ancient regime, but then the war came, and the energies of the Islamic Republic, all its hatred and aggression were devoted to fighting Iraq. It was only afterwards, that the full malevolence of the regime could be turned to doing what it has been doing ever since, with accelerating success, both within Iran, and without.

You appear to believe that because the OPEC revenues are vast, there is no point in trying to make them less vast. You are wrong: it would be wonderful to use up a hundred billion here, a hundred billion there, in a Sunni-Shi’a conflict within Iraq, and one which would or could have effects elsewhere. For example, imagine if Saudi Arabia were sufficiently worried about a spillover effect among the Shi’a of that country, almost all of whom live in the Eastern Province, that is oil-bearing Hasa Province, enough so that they start building huge walls along the border with Iraq, or forcibly removing the Shi’a. And what if such unrest were to inspire non-Shi’a, such as the quasi-Yemenis in ‘Asir (which was taken over, like much of the rest of what is now southern Saudi Arabia, only in 1934, and has been neglected, relative to the rest of Saudi Arabia, ever since)? What if the “King” of Bahrain (he keeps giving himself a promotion) finds that his scheme to offer citizenship to Iraqi Sunnis, in order to prevent the Shi’a over whom he rules, and who constitute 75% of the population, is opposed by them? What if the Shi’a in Lebanon send Hezbollah volunteers to help out in Iraq, or at the very least, are inspired to make their move in Lebanon. Or what if the reverse happens, and the Sunni Arabs in Lebanon, viewing the attacks by Shi’a on the outnumbered Sunnis in Iraq, decide to attack the Shi’a of Hezbollah? And what will Sipah-e-Sahaba, a Sunni terrorist group that has for years been attacking Shi’a, do when it sees Shi’a attacking Sunnis in Iraq? Or for that matter, what will the Sunnis of the Taliban do when they hear of what is going on? Remember what they did to the Shi’a Hazaras last time they were in power (see Rory Stewart’s “The Places In Between” for more on that).

You would have us believe that it doesn’t matter if the Sunnis and Shi’a go at it. You admit, in your first sentence, that Iraq has been a waste, with the wrong goals, and wrongly executed methods to obtain those wrong goals. But you still, for some reason, just cannot accept the presentation of the evidence, and of the knowledge of Islam, its tenets and the attitudes and atmospherics of societies and peoples suffused with Islam, that give those who make policy a reasonable chance to make sense not only of past and present events, but to be able to make reasonable guesses as to the future.

That Esdrujula Explanation that I have set out here (much to the annoyance of some who find it jejune, as compared to their brilliant grasp of greater matters, while I find the Esdrujula Explanation both correct and mnemonically useful. Let’s see, which shall it be: Timidity, Rigidity, Cupidity...?

None of the above.

But there is one more.

Posted on 04/10/2007 7:26 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 10 April 2007
Minister accused of dereliction of duty

The hostages fiasco rumbles on with the Ministry of Defence now looking as if it didn't know what it was doing. It would be worse, however, if it did. First it says the freed captives can sell their story, then, once the horse has bolted, it locks the stable door. From the Evening Standard, though strangely absent from the BBC:

Defence Secretary Des Browne will be hauled before MPs for questioning over the decision to allow the Iranian hostages to sell their stories.  

The Conservatives are planning to ask the Commons Speaker to order an emergency statement unless the minister volunteers himself.

Mr Browne has been accused of "dereliction of duty" over the hostages fiasco.

As former Bosnia commander General Sir Michael Rose and Air Marshal Sir John Walker, the former chief of Defence Intelligence, joined a chorus of attacks on the minister, the Conservatives decided to force an emergency Commons statement.

The anger was sparked after the highly unusual decision to let mother Faye Turney, 25, sell her story of her time in Iranian captivity for £80,000 to the Sun as well as a TV interview.

Far be it from me to be cynical about journalists, but I suspect some of the condemnation of this on the part of other newspapers was sour grapes at not getting the deal themselves. However, it was correct.

While I thought Faye Turney's behaviour under capture was sensible - not cowardly, clearly not heroic, but sensible - her profiting in any way from what is essentially a cock up, is quite wrong. I don't want to know how she, or any of the others, felt, as if they were on Trisha. This incident is embarrassing to say the least, and the best the sailors and marines could do right now is shut up and get back to work. That, to be fair, is what thirteen out of the fifteen are doing, despite encouragement from the MoD to blab. 

Perhaps the Government - and I think this is coming from Number 10 - wanted to counter the Iranian propaganda with propaganda of their own. I also feel strongly, and perhaps one day we will know, that they want to create a smokescreen. By focusing on a "human interest" story attention is drawn away from some of the more important questions that need to be asked:

  1. Where was the helicopter?
  2. Why have those further up the RN chain of command got off scot free?
  3. Why has our navy been pared to the bone?
  4. What on earth are we doing protecting Iraqis, in many cases giving our lives for this cause?
  5. Why do we bother with the EU and the UN, who don't give a damn unless it's about Israel?
  6. Last but not least, why is the Iranian embassy in London still open for business?
Posted on 04/10/2007 7:46 AM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 10 April 2007
Korporate Ken

Red Ken, hard left voice of the people, is coming across like a Chief Executive of a FTSE 100 PLC these days, as The Times reports:

Conversation is conspicuously light on left-wing ideology, but littered with capitalist preoccupations such as productivity levels, global competitiveness and light-touch regulation. “London has gone from being in the second tier of financial centres to being up there with New York,” he says. “We are the only place in Europe that matches American levels of productivity and competitiveness.”

 

It is strange to hear a man who once seemed such a doctrinaire socialist, sounding such a pragmatic capitalist. Not that he has cast off all his old socialist affections: he is probably the only “chief executive” in the City who has on his desk a Hugo Chavez doll; one that, at a button push, delivers a speech in Spanish on the theme of the international Bolivarian revolution.

 

The Times leader is rather scathing.

 

Ken Livingstone is a much misunderstood man. Many readers will be under the impression that the Mayor of London is somehow left-wing. Wrong. Mr Livingstone is — don’t whisper it, but shout it out over the Tannoy on the Docklands Light Railway — a card-carrying capitalist, a main-chance man.

His interview with The Times today shows that he is, down to his fetching braces, a City boy: a friend of the Square Mile, a devotee of light-touch regulation, a babbler of flip chart management-speak. Let’s all raise a glass of Petrus (on company expenses, naturally) to him. But you cry: “What about his cosying up to that Hugo Chávez fellow? That’s all a bit socialist, isn’t it?” No, the mayor screwed a £16 million oil discount out of a developing country in return for “advice” and information on street-cleaning (haven’t the Venezuelans heard of Google?). So all hail, this natural-born, hard-nosed wheeler-dealer.

He’s done a little ideological arbitrage in his day, but we are now long on Livingstone, the capital’s capitalist.

 

I am shocked to hear that a man of the left could care about money, or be in any way hypocritical. You’ll be telling me next that the authors of Affluenza and No Logo got rich on the proceeds, that Diane Abbot, Labour MP for Hackney, sends her child to a private school, that hard-left MP Michael Meacher owns nine houses, that far-left Tony Benn owns a £5 million house and that John Prescott has two Jaguars.

 

Wash my mouth out with Wright’s Coal Tar Soap.

Posted on 04/10/2007 8:29 AM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 10 April 2007
Brouhaha Over Paul Wolfowitz's Arab Girlfriend

New Duranty: WASHINGTON, April 9 — Paul D. Wolfowitz, president of the World Bank, sought on Monday to quell a spreading debate among bank employees over accusations of favoritism, saying he had arranged for a job at the State Department for a woman friend only after consulting the bank’s executive board on how to handle her reassignment...

Last week, the staff association of the World Bank charged that Mr. Wolfowitz had violated bank rules by arranging for the reassignment of Ms. [Shaha Ali] Riza, a former communications officer in the Middle East division, to the State Department, where she is still on the bank payroll while directing a program promoting democracy in the Middle East.

The association also charged that Ms. Riza had gotten a substantial raise. The Government Accountability Project, an independent watchdog group, says her salary is $193,590, more than the $183,500 drawn by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other cabinet members. Bank officials would not confirm Ms. Riza’s salary, saying that such matters were confidential...

The issue of Wolfowitz's relationship with this woman has been mentioned before by Hugh Fitzgerald:

"...the United States insists on remaining to bring "democracy" to Iraq. This folly was never adequately examined. "Democracy" is something, of course, that the better representatives of the Arab and Muslim world, including the woman whose pillow talk apparently helps to educate Paul Wolfowitz (so wrongly described as "hard-headed" and "tough" when he is, in fact, an idealist, a naive weapons-system analyst who knows little about Islam, and is content to believe those remarkably sympathetic representatives of that world who, while quick to tell the truth about, for example, the full horror of Saudi Arabia, or of Saddam Hussein, or to bewail Arab hysteria and mythmaking (the "dream palace" business of Ajami, now down to a science), stop short at the little matter of Islam. That is the third-rail for them; they will not, they can not (and that includes Wolfowitz's special friend) identify the underlying problem as Islam, both for the Infidel world (which is the world that Wolfowitz should care about) and for the Arab and Islamic world. He apparently is one of the prime movers of this moronic "Light Unto the Muslim Nations Project." This reflects the narrowness of his education (in the empyrean heights which he inhabits, there is no time to study Islam, to really study it -- prepared memos will have to do the trick) and, it now appears, the influence of a great and good female friend."  - Hugh Fitzgerald  Aug 10, 2004

"Wolfowitz's companion, Shaha Ali Riza (described in the Aug. 1 2004 Sunday Telegraph, somewhat mysteriously, as "an Arab woman who is an expert in the process of democracy." (Hmmm. What makes one an "expert in the process of democracy"? Anyone have any ideas?), no doubt cannot stand the treatment of women in Islamic societies. And no doubt, like Ajami and Kanan Makiya (who is much more interested in the fate of Iraq, and quite defensive about Islam when it is attacked), not one of these people is in the brave line of Ibn Warraq. They either do not see, or cannot allow themselves to see, that the real problem of the Muslim world is -- mirabile dictu -- Islam itself. They simply can't." - Hugh Fitzgerald Aug. 18th 2004

Posted on 04/10/2007 8:33 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 10 April 2007
Wright's Coal Tar Soap

In my earlier post about rich socialists, I mentioned Wright's Coal Tar Soap. This is something a champagne socialist might use in the belief that it makes him a bit like a miner,

If you click on the picture, you can buy it, along with Aero and a number of other "typically English" products, from a company based in North Carolina.

Some customers may be disappointed to read the following warning:

"This product does NOT actually contain coal tar. No refunds or returns if this notice is ignored."

I'm pretty sure Wright's Coal Tar Soap is mentioned in Nabokov's Speak, Memory. It may have been Pears. It certainly wasn't Imperial Leather or Camay.

Update: at the site linked, Shop England Online, you can get Bird's Instant Custard Powder. This is mentioned by Nabokov in an earlier draft of the chapter of Speak, Memory that talks about Wright's Coal Tar Soap. He decided the soap was less naff. I think he was Wright. Other rejected product placement ideas included Timotei Shampoo, Dandelion and Burdock, Twiglets, and Curly Wurly chocolate bars.

Posted on 04/10/2007 8:44 AM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 10 April 2007
Yes, Yes, Yes.

"Did the Iraq-Iran war weaken the camp of islam then [from 1980-1988]? Did it hinder the spread of islam? Did it slow the jihad?"-- from a reader

Yes.
Yes.
Yes.

Posted on 04/10/2007 9:16 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 10 April 2007
The Pottery Barn Argument Is Nonsense

"Then we will have created what the media will deem a 'humanitarian crisis' on the scale of Rwanda, which will then mean untold billions flowing in to "the refugees" whom the US will feel pressure to help, because well, 'they broke it, they bought it.,'" -- from a reader

Nonsense. After more than four years, during which everything conceivable was done to help the "Iraqis" establish some kind of democracy, every attempt made to help them to make compromises with each other -- attempts that failed because the hopelessness of the task was not understood, the meretriciousness of the "Iraqis" and their inability to think beyond helping themselves, their family, or their extended family of the tribe (so much so that soldiers who served in Iraq have told me, with amazement, of how some Iraqis would refuse help in their part of a city or village if that help would also go to others whom they did not wish to share in American-supplied benefits), after $880 billion spent, Americans will not be buffaloed into believing that absurd "we broke it, we own it" argument that was worthy of Tom Friedman, and which he apparently was the first to bruit about.

Few, if any, in America now think we owe the "Iraqis" anything. Certainly not those who have relatives who have served in Iraq, and that is by now a great many people. Certainly not those who are clamoring for withdrawal, and who are disgusted with the whole mess. Certainly not those who know that the Sunnis and Shi'a have been hostile to one another since the first century of Islam, and who are perfectly aware that in recent decades, in Pakistan and Yemen and Bahrain and in Hasa Province of Saudi Arabia, and in Lebanon too, and Afghanistan, there have been not only hostility, but also attacks, even murderous ones, by Sunnis and Shi'a, and the reverse, less frequently, as well.

By repeating this "you broke it, you own it" argument it almost appears as if you take such a Norton seriously, instead of mocking it at every opportunity. Everyone knows that the history of modern Iraq has been the history of massacres, starting with that of the Assyrians in 1933, and of coups and counter-coups (see "Nuri es-Said"), a history that Elie Kedourie has limned as one of unending violence and aggression. More people know this now than did four years ago -- far more. And they will not stand for the idea of letting still more Muslim, from Iraq or anywhere else,  into this country. They have learned that much. And they will take out their fury, a fury that will not abate,  on any political leaders who, out of desperation and ignorance and an inability to think things through,  hopes to buy Muslim goodwill with the coin of visas and green cards, thus further endangering American Infidels in their own land.

We did not "break it" and we didn't "buy it." If there are people leaving Iraq, they can find places in the rest of the Arabic-speaking world. They have no claim on us.

Posted on 04/10/2007 9:19 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 10 April 2007
Churchill on Islam

Adrian Morgan writes in Family Security Matters (with thanks to Alan):

...[Winston Churchill] wrote of his experiences in the borderlands with Afghanistan in a book titled The Story of the Malakand Field Force. This book detailed not only the conflict of the region, but also its cultural and military history, with notes on natural history. When his mother informed him in late 1897 that Longmans had agreed to publish this tome, he noted: that "the publication of this book will certainly be the most noteworthy act of my life. Up to date (of course). By its reception I shall measure the chances of my possible success in the world." The book appeared the following year.  

 In this book, when describing a local imam, Churchill coined the term "Mad Mullah". Speaking of the Pathan and Beluchi tribesmen of the border regions, he noted with some sarcasm that "the Mullah will raise his voice and remind them of other days when the sons of the prophet drove the infidel from the plains of India, and ruled at Delhi, as wide an Empire as the Kafir holds to-day: when the true religion strode proudly through the earth and scorned to lie hidden and neglected among the hills: when mighty princes ruled in Bagdad, and all men knew that there was one God, and Mahomet was His prophet. And the young men hearing these things will grip their Martinis, and pray to Allah, that one day He will bring some Sahib (prince) - best prize of all - across their line of sight at seven hundred yards so that, at least, they may strike a blow for insulted and threatened Islam."
 
 Churchill wrote: "Indeed it is evident that Christianity, however degraded and distorted by cruelty and intolerance, must always exert a modifying influence on men's passions, and protect them from the more violent forms of fanatical fever, as we are protected from smallpox by vaccination. But the Mahommedan religion increases, instead of lessening, the fury of intolerance. It was originally propagated by the sword, and ever since, its votaries have been subject, above the people of all other creeds, to this form of madness."
 
 After 9/11, George W. Bush famously described Islam as a "religion of peace". Churchill entertained no such fancy notions. In his history of the Malakand Field Force, Churchill wrote that "civilisation is confronted with militant Mahommedanism. The forces of progress clash with those of reaction. The religion of blood and war is face to face with that of peace. Luckily the religion of peace is usually the better armed." ...
Posted on 04/10/2007 11:52 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 10 April 2007
Pseudsday Tuesday

In the bad old days, women who struggled to gain equal rights with men said things like:

I love my man as my fellow; but his sceptre, real, or usurped, extends not to me, unless the reason of an individual demands my homage; and even then the submission is to reason, and not to man.

 

How very old fashioned. Mary Wollstonecraft didn’t know about the liberation of Islam, with its “portable seclusion” and “culturally variable meanings of personhood.” Worse than that, she uses words we can all understand. She could never have written Quantum Feminist Mnemotechnics: the Archival Text, Digital Narrative and the Limits of Memory.

 

I have posted before on the subject of nontrivial neotextuality as postmodern meta-mytheme. So I was delighted to come across this  mnemotechnics malarkey. It is the subject of a doctoral dissertation by “radical cyber-feminist” Carolyn G. Guertin, discussed in another excellent article by David Thompson, Peddling Stupidity. Ms – for surely it is Ms – Guertin believes that "as technology becomes more pervasive in every aspect of our lives, everything is becoming digital and our feminisms grow still larger". I imagine her tumescent feminisms could knock Lacan’s penis into a cocked hat. And I can feel my fingers becoming digital as I type this.

Here are some choice extracts from Thompson’s very funny and perceptive article:

On visiting Guertin’s website, I discovered that the author is a Senior McLuhan Fellow in the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology and a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto. As a “scholar of women’s art and literature and new media arts,” Dr Guertin also shapes young minds at the Universities of Athabasca and Guelph, Canada, and is a frequent guest speaker at conferences and events across Europe. Her works, I learned, have been published “in print, online and in real space.”

Space crops up quite a bit in Guertin’s dissertation, as do various mathematical, quantum mechanical and geometric terms, the bulk of which are misused in a series of strained and incoherent metaphors. In keeping with many purveyors of postmodern theorising, Guertin has been careful to appropriate fragments of scientific terminology that sound fashionable and exciting, and uses them with no apparent regard for their meaning or relevance.

We’re presented with what amounts to a collage of grandiose jargon, habitual non sequitur and unrelated subject matter – including feminism, web browsing and space-time curvature - bolted together by little more than chutzpah:

“Within quantum mechanics, the science of the body in motion, the intricacies of the interiorities of mnemonic time - no longer an arrow - are being realized in the (traditionally) feminized shape of the body of the matrix.”

And,

“Where women have usually been objects to be looked at, hypermedia systems replace the gaze with the empowered look of the embodied browser in motion in archival space. Always in flux, the shape of time's transformation is a Möbius strip unfolding time into the dynamic space of the postmodern text, into the ‘unfold.’”

Instead of making any attempt to focus her thoughts, such as they are, or to clarify her aims, whatever they may be, Guertin veers from vacuous pseudo-argument to vacuous pseudo-poetry, and resorts to listing a series of words – again, in no perceptible order:

“Agency, noise, flow, différance , interface, objects, events, duration, intervallic space, topology, complexity, ecstasy, incorporation, inscription, translation, heterotopic space, hierophanies, hysteria, hybridity…”

This goes on for some time:

“…chora, translation, transformance, interference, entanglement, chaos, Hilbert space, speed, resonance, rupture, rapture, wanderlust, subjectivities...”

And so on.

It’s important to understand that nonsense of this kind is rarely arrived at by accident. It’s highly unlikely that mere clumsiness and mental dullness would produce such determined vacuity. It’s less probable still that so many academics and students would, by chance and dullness alone, produce vacuity with such eerie uniformity. To produce ‘work’ of the generic emptiness shown above - or seen here, or here, or here or here - requires practice and dedication, and no small dishonesty. One might forgive genuine stupidity and a lack of mental wherewithal, but when people who aren’t entirely stupid are determined to peddle stupidity as the height of intellectual sophistication, well, that’s harder to excuse. In a saner world, Guertin and her peers would be laughed out of every room they entered. And a gentle pelting with soft fruit wouldn’t go amiss.

I suggest Yoko Ono’s apple. Determined vacuity is just right.

Posted on 04/10/2007 12:41 PM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 10 April 2007
Women Forced to Wear Headscarves in Iraq

More evidence of Islam's ever tightening grip over Iraq from the Washington Times:

BAGHDAD -- For two years, Faiza Abdal-Majeed has carried a head scarf in her purse for emergencies.
    For a woman in the Iraqi capital four years after the fall of dictator Saddam Hussein, these emergencies can include passing unlawful checkpoints manned by armed militiamen, impromptu forays through neighborhoods controlled by religious zealots and taxi drivers who refuse her fare unless she covers her hair.
    In addition, Mrs. Abdal-Majeed's job with Iraq's women's affairs ministry frequently brings her into contact with government officials, police officers and Muslim clergymen who insist that she cover up before they speak with her.
    "Some clerics and politicians are forcing religion into our lives," said Mrs. Abdal-Majeed, 45. "We're being pushed back 1,000 years in time."
    Baghdad once was considered a secular, cosmopolitan metropolis where Islamic customs seldom collided with women's fashion. Today, however, religious ideology has strengthened its grip and forced half the population to submit to traditional Islamic dress...

"The government differs on all issues except women's rights," said Yanar Mohammed, the president of the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq. "They're using the new constitution to impose Islamic law and reduce women's rights."

And why not? No law can contradict Islam according to Iraq's new America-blessed Constitution, which makes Islam supreme. The ignorance of our policy makers when it comes to Islam never ceases to amaze.  

Posted on 04/10/2007 1:21 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 10 April 2007
No Laughing Matter

The comical aspect here, with the hint of future conceivable bobbitt-bitings, should not be allowed to turn the item into merely something for the checkout-counter magazines: "Perils of Polygamy:

"Wives Bite Husband's Nose, But What Really Scares Him Is What's Next."

The whole matter of polygamy, and the way in which it is presented by Muslim apologists as a "solution" to all the problems that ail Western marriages, and the boredom and idiocy of life as a one of those plural wives one sees herded along London streets behind their dishdashaed but seldom dashing or sleek sheik, as he makes a visit to his bank, or they go out on their well-chaperoned spending sprees (we all know how "spiritual" and how "non-materialistic" Islam is compared to other faiths -- why, just ask Tariq Ramadan or so many others (Carl Ernst, Michael Sells, John Esposito, Dinesh D'Souza) to give you a little talk on how Islam Will Help Save the West From All Its Spiritual Ills and Ailments.

Meanwhile, the wary male may for now forego certain activities with his wives. But don't feel sorry for him. There are always the Filipino, the Thai, the Indian slave-maids to fulfill his every need, and they are as disposable, in the world of rich Saudis, as kleenex.

Posted on 04/10/2007 1:38 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 10 April 2007
Golden Opportunity

The producer of a tax-financed documentary on Islamic extremism claims his film has been dropped for political reasons from a television series that airs next week on more than 300 PBS stations nationwide...

Subtitled Voices From the Muslim Center, Burke says his film "attempts to answer the question: 'Where are the moderate Muslims?' The answer is, 'Wherever they are, they are reviled and sometimes attacked' " by extremists...--from this news item

Any candidate for President, whether Democratic or Republican, who makes this an issue, who demands that NPR back down from its censorship, can only win support.

If Hilary Clinton or Barack Obama do this, it will give them a great boost among those who are not their unswervable supporters. And Gore or Webb or Edwards could do the same. But will they?

If Fred Thompson, or Tom Tancredo, does it first, that will put them on first. And the same goes for Romney, Giuliani, and the rest.

We are waiting for a sign. We are waiting for someone to signal that they are right on the matter of Jihad and Dhimmitude and Islam.

They are fools not to take this opportunity.

Posted on 04/10/2007 1:48 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 10 April 2007
Comment vas-tuyau de pipe?

“…différance..." [among the nouns breathlessly and approvingly listed by Caroline G. Guertin, the  lady feminist discussed here]

So let me get this straight.

Madame or Madamoiselle Guertin is  telling us "Vive la...différance"?

Yes, that is exactly what she is saying. But note her subtlety. By deliberately mispelling the French word as "différance" -- for no one as learned as she is could possibly spell it that way except on purpose -- she manages to draw our attention to the unstated but clearly present word "difference" [or "différence] and then with this bold defi or refusal to use this word made famous in that male-gazing  phrase “Vive la difference,” manages to  subversively undermine the whole project of Wehrmacht-helmeted phallic hegemony,

I know what you are going to say next. You are going to object that she was not misspelling at all, that she was referring to the Derridean “différance” and not to the Laroussian “différence.” You’ll insist that  I missed the whole point, because apparently I don’t know that the word “difference” does exist, that if you give it a whirl on the devilish dervish of Google, 624,000 hits pop up. The word, we are told (and that’s what I’m supposed not to know about.

But you’d be wrong. I can wing or wikipedia it with the best, but there is no need for that here. I wrote the book on  "difference” years before  Derrida had ceased to be a scruffy pied-noir, and if only I hadn’t left the manuscript hidden in a bottle on the subway whilst distracted by eyes and a smile, and a well-curved thighbone connected to a kneebone which was in turn connected to an ankle-bone, I might have published it, and not Derrida but I would have been world famous and heard the word of the Lord.

In any case, turning to comfortable old semi-reliable at times Wikipedia, here is what I have found:

Différance is a French neologism, homophonous with the word "différence," used in the context of deconstruction. The French word différer simultaneously means "to defer or postpone" and "to differ." In his essay of the same name, Jacques Derrida, indicates that différance gestures at a number of heterogenoues features which govern the production of textual meaning. The first (relating to the deferral) is the notion that words and signs can never fully summon forth what they mean, but can only be defined through synonymy, through the appeal to additional words. Thus, meaning is forever "deferred" or postponed through an endless chain of signifiers. The second (relating to difference, sometimes referred to as espacement or "spacing") concerns the force which differentiates elements from one another and, in so doing, engenders binary oppositions and hierarchies which underpin meaning itself.

Derrida first articulated différance in his discussion on Edmund Husserl in Speech and Phenomena, but elaborated in it in various other works, most notably in his essay "Differance" and in various interviews collected in Positions. [1]

And also this:

 According to Derrida, Différance itself, is "neither a word, nor a concept,"[2] nor a thing. Words and concepts/theories are themselves different from other words or concepts and this difference gives their meaning. Despite the transcendental overtones of this statement as indicating a condition of possibility of meaning, différance is not transcendental. It is, as Derrida has remarked in Glas, a "quasi-transcendental"[3] concept, as insofar as the difference between words both engender meaning and forever defer meaning, différance serves as both the condition of possiblity of impossibilty of meaning.

And this:

For example, the word "house" derives its meaning more as a function of how it differs from "shed", "mansion", "hotel", "building", "hovel", "hours", "hows", "horse", etc. etc., than how the word "house" may be tied to a certain image of a traditional house (i.e. the relationship between signifier and signified). Not only are the differences between the words relevant here, but the differentials between the images signifieds are also covered by différance. Deferral also comes into play, as the words that occur following "house" in any expression will revise the meaning of that word, sometimes dramatically so.

Thus, complete meaning is always postponed in language; there is never a moment when meaning is complete and total. A simple example would consists of looking up a given word in a dictionary, then proceeding to lookup up the words found in that word's definition, and so on, such a process would never end.

 

And let’s not forget this: 

The 'a' of différance is a deliberate "misspelling", though it sounds the same when enunciated. This highlights the fact that its written form is not heard completely, and serves to further subvert the traditonal privileging of speech over writing, see (archi-writing), as well as the dictinction between the sensible and the intelligible. The difference articulated by the a in différance is not apparent to the senses via sound, "but neither cannot it belong to intelligibility, to the ideality which is not fortuitously associated with the objectibity of thorein or understanding."[4] This is because the language of understanding is already caught up in sensible metaphors ("theory," for instance, in Greek, means "to see").

Derrida introduced this portmanteau in the course of an argument against the phenomenology of Husserl, who sought a rigorous analysis of the role of memory and perception in our understanding of sequential items such as music or language. Derrida's différance argued that because the perceiver's mental state was constantly in a state of flux, and differed from one re-reading to the next, a general theory describing this phenomenon was unachievable.

 

Nor  this:

We reside, to some extent, in a web of language, or at least one of interpretation, that has been laid down by tradition and which shifts each time we hear or read an utterance- even if it is the same utterance. Différance and deconstruction are attempts to understand this web of language, to search, in Derrida's words, for the "other of language"[5] . This "other of language" is close to what Anglophone Philosophy calls the Reference of a word. There is a deferment of meaning with each act of re-reading. There is a difference of readings with each re-reading. In Derrida's words, "there is nothing outside the [con]text" of a word's use and its place in the lexicon. Text, in Derrida's parlance, refers to context and includes all about the "real-life" situation of the speech/text, cf., speech act theory.

 

And especially not this:

It may seem contradictory to suggest that Différance is neither a word nor a concept. However, it is obvious that the difference itself between words cannot only be another word. Since it is of another order, the same applies to concepts. For example, one might say the difference between a "house" and a "home" is that one is a building, and the other a family or social unit. The problem is however, that these differences, "building"/"family" are themselves given meaning by further differences.

And for god’s sake please don’t overlook this:

 

A clear example of this effect occurred in England during the Renaissance period, when oranges first began to be imported from the Mediterranean. Yellow and red came to be differentiated from a new colour term -- "orange". What was the meaning of these words before 1600? What is their meaning afterwards? Such effects go on all the time in our use of language and frequently, in fact, this effect forms the very basis of language/meaning. Such changes of meaning are also often centres of political violence, as is apparent in the differences invested in male/female, master/slave, citizen/foreigner etc. Derrida seeks to modulate and question these "violent hierarchies" through deconstruction.

Perhaps it is a misconception that différance seeks contradictory meanings. It does not necessarily do so. It can, but what it usually describes is the re-experience, the re-arrival of the moment of reading. Roland Barthes once remarked that those who never reread anything are obliged to read the same text everywhere -- this wry comment summarizes the phenomenon of different experience for each iteration.

 

We are, keep in mind, discussing just one text -- every text. No distinction is necessarily made between texts in this very "basic" level. The difference/deferral can be between one text and itself, or between two texts; this is the crucial distinction between traditional perspectives and deconstruction.  

I don’t think Derrida or his epigones and worshippers have gone far enough, have been subtle or supple enough. It is not merely that difference subverts mere difference. Rather, it is that each – Reality and the Derridean view of Reality – each subvert the other. For nothing subverts the Derridean project of establishing or locating or teasing-out or above all constructing “Différance” which is neither a word nor a concept but something transcendental, or more exactly a "quasi-transcendental" concept, as insofar as the difference between words both engender meaning and forever defer meaning, différance serves as both the condition of possiblity of impossibilty of meaning” as much as does that  non-quasi-transcendental, non-transcendental, concept and word,  rooted so firmly in reality that some people can hardly stand it, the concept of “difference.”

 

And so I think we should agree to split the diffrence, or offer a choice, just as one is offered a choice in a Chinese restaurant, where you can choose one from Column A or one from Column B. A more ample portmanteau needs to be provided, and the clothes repacked (can you fit in the Dopp kit, on top of all of that?).

 

Here’s my suggestion. “Difference” is for the stick-in-the-muds, such as Jacques Barzun, or before him all those who lived and died without any apparent need for the language provided by Jacques Derrida. ““Différance” on the other hand, is a word that so many tenured teachers of so-called literature,  in the mass-academies of the present age, apparently cannot do withoutt, cannot conceivably read and make sense, or teach their charges to read and make sense, of books without that word “Différance.” And they too, given the critical task – the transmission of high culture – they have so thanklessly taken upon themselves, deserve whatever lexical help they think they need, don’t they?

 

So let’s give everyone a choice, in the age in which the Higher Typology – as the Old Testament prefigures the New, or so we have bveen told – is expressed through the ease of the computer-generated Higher Typography, and we can then, in any typeface we prefer, construct or deconstruct or possibly reconstruct the words “difference” and “différance” by packing them in the same portmanteau. To wit: “Differ{e,a}nce.”

 

Yes, on first glance, with those rebarbative brackets, the word repels.  There were those who felt  that way when they first read the prose of Jacques Derrida, or Michel Foucault. But look how easily the world’s university professors have adjusted, and how their students have been made to adjust.

“Differ{e,a}nce.” Cometh the hour, cometh the word.

 

Now  the Derrideans can be happy. But in the universities, at long last, so can the rest of us, as we go out singing:

 

Vive, vive, vive l'Amour.

Vive la vie, vive la France.

Vive, vive, vive l'Amour.

Vive  la “Differ{e,a}nce.”

 

Again:

 

Vive, vive, vive l'Amour.

Vive la vie, vive la France.

Vive, vive, vive l'Amour.

Vive  la “Differ{e,a}nce.”

 

And just one more time:

 

Vive, vive, vive l'Amour.

Vive la vie, vive la France.

Vive, vive, vive l'Amour.

Vive  la “Differ{e,a}nce.”

 

Posted on 04/10/2007 2:19 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 10 April 2007
Pakistani minister won't quit over hug
A PAKISTANI woman minister defied Islamist radicals' calls for her dismissal for hugging her para-jumping instructor, saying she would not hesitate to jump again for a good cause.
"We don't need to be intimidated by these people," Minister of Tourism Nilofar Bakhtiar said.
The chief cleric of Islamabad's Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, issued a fatwa, or religious edict, calling on the government to sack Ms Bakhtiar last week after a newspaper published a photo of her hugging the instructor following a jump in France.
Newspapers said Ms Bakhtiar did the jump from an aircraft to raise funds for survivors of an earthquake in Pakistan in October 2005.
"I have no regrets," said Ms Bakhtiar. "I would do it again happily if it helps the people of Pakistan."
Posted on 04/10/2007 2:25 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 10 April 2007
The Truth About Islam

"...by signing a peace treaty with Israel and officially recognizing the Jewish State, Jordan has indeed accepted infidels ruling Israel proper - and even for the time being, the West Bank."-- from a reader

The reader apparently takes very seriously treaties between Muslim states and non-Muslim states. On what evidence? Whenever and wherever a Muslim Arab state has been in a position to violate, to breach in every important respect, its agreements with Israel, it has done so. The Armistice Agreements of 1949 were violated by Israel's neighbors, and terrorist attacks from both Jordan (formerly the Emirate of Transjordan) continued until Unit 101 under Ariel Sharon inflicted such damage in response as to force Jordan to change its ways. With Egypt, from which there were thousands of separate fedayeen attacks, mostly shootings of Israeli farmers, from 1949 to 1956, the rapid seizure of the Sinai in the Suez campaign was the only thing that convinced Nasser to put a stop to them, and his own guarantees to get Israel to withdraw from the Sinai were abandoned, some right away -- within 48 hours of Israel's withdrawal, despite his solemn promises, Egyptian troops were again in the Sinai, and the Suez Canal was never made available to Israel's ships -- and some not until May, 1967, when he blockaded Israel's shipping through the Straits of Tiran, and moved up hundreds of thousands of troops and told hysterical Cairene crowds that this would be the end of Israel.

The same goes for all of the interim agreements, under Rogers and Kissinger and the rest of them. And of course every single commitment made to end "hostile propaganda" and to encourage "friendly relations" that Egypt committed itself to under the Camp David Accords were violated by the Egyptian side, more blatantly of course after Israel had scrupulously fulfilled its side of the bargain, and given up, in three slices, the entire Sinai, together with three major airfields Israel had built, and the oilfields it had discovered, and the tourist site of Sharm el Sheikh, and the roads and other infrastructure - worth tens of billions of dollars, and given up uncomplainingly for nothing at all.

Oh, but Egypt made "peace" with Israel, you say? That "peace" is enforced the same way a "peace" with Syria or Saudi Arabia is kept: by the fear of what the Israelis can do in response. That, and only that, is what keeps the "peace" between Israel and its Muslim neighbors.

As for Jordan, the same goes for it and that so-called "Peace Treaty" which the plucky little king, Abdullah's father, signed, and which despite its provisions has not led to the Jordanian government discouraging or inhibiting in any way the virulence of anti-Israel hatred, and is not a real peace but a paper peace, to be observed by Jordan only because, for now, like Egypt, it does not want to endanger its receipt of Jizya from the Americans, and most of all, because it knows that it has much more to lose in an encounter with Israel.

But Abdullah the kinglet should not think his mediagenic wife and of course everyone's favorite, Queen Noor, with her own meretricious mythmaking in that "Act of Faith" book, or his attempts to civilize Jordan with a Deerfield-in-Amman, will save his bacon in the West. No longer. The jig is up because too many people are learning about Islam, and the sweetness-and-light charade just won't do. Not now. Not ever again.

[Digression about that Deerfield-in-Amman plan: The elites in the Muslim lands get their high school and sometimes pre-high school education from Western non-Muslim schools, whether it is Chalabi and Allawi and others going to Jesuit-run Baghdad College, or Edward Said at Anglican-run Victoria College, and then they follow this with the American University in Beirut, or the American University in Cairo, or at Roberts College, or at Catholic schools in Pakistan (why, even "Baroness" Khan received her westernized gloss early on from a Catholic school in Karachi). Some go on to Radcliffe (Pinky Bhutto) or other schools.]

Amazingly, however, they never think to ask themselves: why is it we went to Infidel schools, non-Muslim schools, and want the same for our children. And why do we want them to be able to live in the West? And why do we get our medical care in the West? And why can we breathe freely only in the West? Could it be, could it conceivably be, that the problem with our own societies and countries is that one thing that we keep defending and yet, by our own behavior, we show that we try to avoid or evade -- and that one thing is Islam?

We want everything the West has to offer, but we refuse to recognize that what the West has to offer, its education, its art, its science, its human freedoms, are not available in the world of Islam because of...Islam.

Only when the abdullahs and abdulletts of this world are forced to recognize this truth, will there be progress and the possibility of some kind of "dialogue." Until then, such "dialogue" will continue to consist of apologetic nonsense and lies, and nothing but.

Posted on 04/10/2007 3:43 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 10 April 2007
Forced to Play Ping-Pong
Toby Harnden wraps up (I think) his splendid commentary on the horrible Brit sailor fiasco, with an eloquence & forthrightness I cannot hope to match, let alone improve upon. Watch the video clips Toby links toif you have a strong enough stomach.

There has been an unmistakable change in public opinion on this incident.  When I started commenting , I got masses of outraged emails telling me what a horrible person I was to criticize L/S Turney and AB Summers, that I had no right to comment until I had walked a mile in their shoes, that I was a pathetic chickenhawk, etc., etc. That gradually died down, especially after the captives showed their cheery demeanor on departing from Iran.  It stopped completely when the news came out that the hostages were selling their stories for big bucksjust as four British servicemen were killed in Basra by a (probably) Iranian-made and smuggled IED. It's been a while since the word "chickenhawk" showed up in my mail. Thoughtful commentary is now mostly Derbish, or at least Derbishly inclined; and if the sniffers-out of chickenhawkry have anything to say, they ain't saying it to me.

Some things you can't deny. This incident was a sensational and unmistakable display of the rottenness of modern Britain, and of the corrosive effects on the human spirit of hedonism, welfarism, and multiculturalism. There has always been a certain proportion of slime at the top of the British class system, but the common people could always be depended on for courage and patriotism. No longer.

And America, beware!  It is often the case with large cultural and political developments that we follow the Brits. They got Lloyd George's welfare state, then we got FDR's; they got Maggie Thatcher, then we got Ronnie Reagan, and so on. Don't think it couldn't happen here. Watching those Brits giggling and joshing in Tehran, it reminded me of nothing so much as an episode of "Friends"an immensely popular show with the under-40s whose appeal was (in my experience) utterly lost on the over-50s. The Dianafication of Britain? Watch out for the Friendsification of America. You heard it here first.

Posted on 04/10/2007 4:15 PM by John Derbyshire
Tuesday, 10 April 2007
Going To The Mattresses, or, Et Toi Le Matelas?

"Why that title?" Rebecca asks me by e-mail.

Good Question.

Comment vas-tuyau de pipe” is a variant on the better-known “comment vas-tuyau de poêle.” “Pipe” was inserted for the obvious Tel-Quelish reason: to enhance the reader’s or writer’s plaisir du texte or what, using the Higher Typography, might better be called “la jouissance du {s,t}ex(t)e” where the brackets offer a choice beween “s” and “t,” whereas the subsequent parentheses offer you a choice between “t” present and “t” absent, and leaving rather than taking it may put you in a better frame of mind, in the same way as the false privative of “de” turns “lire” into “délire.”

 

This was to make things more interesting, especially for readers akin to the hard-to-please customer who, upon leaving a certain maison de tolérance on the rue Chabanais, complained that “ceci n’était pas une pipe” and asked for his money back. 

Posted on 04/10/2007 4:20 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 10 April 2007
The Saudi Lobby

This hallucination about the All-Powerful Saudis --"the U.S. could not stand one day in Iraq if the Saudi rulers called for jihad there" has been encouraged, of course, by the craven behavior of successive American (and other Western) governments, that persist in showing such deference to Saudi Arabia, and in their own misunderstanding of the oil-market and oil-pricing, continue to believe that Saudi Arabia must be done favors. But there is no need to do any favors, and what's more, there never was, for Saudi Arabia.

Its vicious textbooks, suddenly discovered two or three years ago, were always there to be discovered, but were merely overlooked. The inability of the Saudis to do without Western wage-slaves, technical help at every level and especially in the production of oil, was always there. Saudi Arabia makes nothing. Saudi Arabia has no economy. Saudi Arabia is ruled by a corrupt, vicious, and primitive family, who in order to retain power allow the bargain with the Wahhabi establishment to stand, and what's more, find their own decadence, as long as it is kept hidden from the people in Arabia over whom they rule, to be perfectly compatible with their deep devotion to spreading Islam, through the spending of nearly $100 billion over the past few decades, to pay for mosques, madrasas, Da'wa campaigns, and of course armies of Western hirelings, who among other things have helped to prevent the American government from coming to grips with energy matters (indeed, in last week's meeting on global climate change, the most sinister opposition to the wording of the final document came from two countries -- China, and Saudi Arabia). The Saudi Arabian role in trying to block efforts to deal with the role of fossil fuels is the biggest untold story of the decade. We've heard all about the so-called "Israel Lobby" from the likes of Walt and Mearsheimer, but it is not the "Israel Lobby" that has been blocking energy policies, including taxes on gasoline, that make sense, but those who have over the past few decades whispering siren songs about "trusting our staunch allies the Saudis" when "it comes to oil prices and other energy matters" and who have nothing to show for it -- or rather, they have swollen bank accounts to show for it, while our country and the rest of the world has possible disaster to show for the rise and dominance, in Washington and elsewhere, of that Saudi lobby.

Just as the Alawite regime should be made aware that we realize, at long last, that as Alawites they are most vulnerable, and that we have ways to point out their non-Muslimness, to emphasize it, to bring it to everyone's attention (but we won't if they cease to support Hezbollah, and cease to curry favor with both Sunni Muslims and Shi'a Muslims -- no, we'll let their Alawite despotism remain otherwise in place, as long as they know that they have to limit their ambitions to holding onto power in Syria alone, and give up the cash cow of Lebanon), so should Saudi Arabia be dealt with.

What should we tell them? We should tell them that the Shi'a in the Eastern Province could get restless. We should tell them that the "Yemenis" in 'Asir and Najran could get restless again, and suppose the more numerous Yemenis in Yemen itself were to eye that real estate in southern Saudi Arabia which, after all, was seized by the Al-Saud only in 1934? We should tell them that we've been thinking of arming the Shammar tribe, their historic enemy, defeated in 1920, and that possibly, even, it would be a good thing to see if the non-Wahhabi Hashemites -- perhaps Bernard Lewis would like to propose his host and patron Prince Hassan for the post -- could be put back in charge, by popular demand of Muslims alarmed by the bad image the "Wahhabis" give to Islam, with the world's non-Wahhabi Muslims allowing themselves to believe that if only the Wahhabis can be pushed out of the way, or out of the limelight, then possibly the Infidels can continue to be fooled, on a mass scale, a while longer, about the tenets, attitudes, atmospherics of Islam.

We can tell them that in World War II the property of those deemed enemy aliens was seized and kept. We can tell them that there are going to be law suits, by victims of terror attacks, and that no longer will the government of the United States attempt to hinder such suits -- whether against the Islamic Republic of Iran for seizing people in the Embassy, or against the assorted "Palestinians" for their assorted terror groups and attacks, or against Mr. Big himself, Saudi Arabia.

We can tell the Saudis that they are helplessly dependent on Western doctors, teachers, engineers, experts of every kind, that they themselves use the West as a combination fun fair and department store and brothel, and that can be brought to an end. We can tell the Saudis that if they wish to buy American or other Western technology, they will be charged special prices, just for them, reflecting the oligopolistic rents that the Saudis have been receiving because of Saudi, or OPEC, manipulation of the market.

We can tell them that their agents in the West -- that is, those who receive directly or indirectly Saudi funds-- will be hauled before Congress, be the subject of intense investigation, beginning with the sums they have received, and what they have done to merit such money. Beginning with a list of ex-diplomats (ambassadors and even lower level officials) and former intelligence agents, with their "international business consultancies" and their editing of Saudi-themed magazines sent free to libraries, and their tireless work on behalf of the "national interest" which somehow always comes out looking very much like the "national interest" of Saudi Arabia.

There's a lot that can be done to change that sneer of cold command that the House of Al-Saud appears to have trademarked.

It takes will. It takes a determination to break with the timidity and miscomprehension of the past.

But it can be done.

Posted on 04/10/2007 4:19 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 10 April 2007
Merrie Olde England

"David Pidcock, leader of the Islamic Party of Britain..."  (Jonah Goldberg)

"...a leading Anglican figure, the Right Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester..."  (Daily Telegraph)  

Who else have they got over there? Firebrand Ulster Protestant leader Shlomo Bernstein? Falun Gong spokesman Padraig O'Flaherty? Chief Rabbi Zhang Xiaolong?

Michael Wharton, thou should'st be living at this hour.

Posted on 04/10/2007 4:29 PM by John Derbyshire
Tuesday, 10 April 2007
Immigration Odds
I feel like such a dolt on this issue because I always think I must be missing something obvious.  What is the moral, political or economic case for why Americans should want an effort made to give legal status to illegal aliens? 

If someone voluntarily chooses to come into or remain in the United States illegally, why are the disadvantages (to him) of having to live as an outlaw — i.e., why are the easily foreseeable consequences of his decision — my problem?  I didn't ask him to come, I'm not asking him to stay.  Neither am I asking that the feds round up everyone — I am content if the slim enforcement resources are targeted at felons and employers, which would address, respectively, the worst offenders and the incentive for illegal immigration.

Congress and the president have a lot of problems that need addressing.  How does this one keep getting to the top of the pile?  Why should I care that someone who immigrates illegally has to live as an illegal immigrant?  I can easily understand why I should care that his bad behavior not be rewarded; but I don't see how it's at all in my interest to see his status legitimized. Until the comprehensive reform crowd has a good answer to that question, I don't see how the public ever supports what the political class, for some strange reason, seems hell-bent on trying to do.

Posted on 04/10/2007 4:38 PM by Andy McCarthy
Tuesday, 10 April 2007
Lookalikes

I hate to steal an idea from Private Eye. (See here.) But I’m sure they will understand.

 

Has anybody noticed the remarkable similarity between Orla Guerin, BBC African correspondent and sometime Israel-basher-in-chief, and Caroline Guertin, mnemotechnician extraordinaire?

 

You never see them together.

 

Physically they don’t look at all alike, save for a dour, humourless scowl. But their names – why, Guertin is Guerin to a T.

Posted on 04/10/2007 5:24 PM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 10 April 2007
So. Farewell then, Mr. Humphries

Mary, of course you are right that Guerin and Guertin are the same person.

But getting to more important matters: Your Thribb verse should begin not with the line  

"So farewell then, Mr. Humphries "

But instead with

"So. Farewell then, Mr. Humphries"

I call this the Cambridge Period, in honor of both the transatlantic and cisatlantic (depending on your point of view, and on which side your bread is buttered, or your butty is breaded) -- town-and-gown conurbations of the same name.

Your prompt acceptance of my suggestion will indeed put a period to our past and possibly present intermittent contretemps.  I hate to think what might happen otherwise. 

Quaere: Is "contretemps" in the previous sentence meant to be in the singular, or in the plural ?

Posted on 04/10/2007 7:23 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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