These are all the Blogs posted on Thursday, 15, 2009.
Thursday, 15 October 2009
God will be furious if women become governors: Iran cleric
From Asia One
TEHRAN, IRAN - A top hardline Iranian cleric said on Thursday that "God's fury" would be unleashed if Iran appoints women as governors of some provinces, as was raised as a possibility by a minister last week.
"If some people want to change the principles and values of the revolution without considering the views of clerics, they will face the fury of God and of the people," Grand Ayatollah Lotfollah Safi Golpayghani said on his website.
Golpayghani was reacting to remarks by interior minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar in the holy city of Qom last week, who when asked whether Iran would appoint women as governors of provinces, replied: "Yes. It is possible."
Golpayghani said the appointment of women in such top jobs was against sharia (Islamic) law.
"They come to Qom, the centre of Shiite Islam, and announce that they will appoint women as governors of some provinces. Do you want to fight with the Koran and the Prophet with such talks that go against sharia?" he asked. "Who are you against? God's rule or the definite rules of religion?"
In recent years Iranian women have outnumbered men in universities but they still account for only around 15 percent of the official work force.
Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, women have been banned from becoming judges and suffer from legal inequalities with men in marriage, divorce and inheritance. That's Sharia!
THE Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which President Obama plans to sign soon, is named after two men who were murdered in 1998. Shepard, a gay college student, was beaten to death in Wyoming. Byrd, a black hitchhiker, was dragged to death behind a pickup truck in Texas. Bigotry seemed to play a role in both crimes.
Here is something else Matthew Shepard and James Byrd have in common: Their killers were arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced to life in prison or death -- all without the benefit of hate-crime laws, state or federal.
Hence it is very strange to slap their names onto a piece of legislation based on the premise that such crimes might go unpunished without a federal law aimed at bias-motivated violence.
In more than a decade of lobbying for this law, its supporters have never shown that state officials are letting people get away with murder, or lesser crimes of violence, when the victims belong to historically oppressed groups.
Instead, they have presented the legislation as a litmus test of antipathy toward violent bigots and sympathy for their victims. Given this framing, it's surprising the law's opponents managed to resist it for so long, when all they had on their side was the Constitution and basic principles of justice.
The idea, as then-Attorney General Janet Reno explained when the law was first proposed, is to "give people the opportunity to have a forum in which justice can be done if it is not done in the state court."
Although such serial prosecutions are permitted under the doctrine of "dual sovereignty," they look an awful lot like double jeopardy, prohibited by the Fifth Amendment.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi nevertheless claims the federal hate-crime law upholds "the ideals of our Founding Fathers" -- who evidently were big on punishing people for their beliefs, retrying defendants after they're acquitted and letting Congress make a federal case out of anything that attracts its attention.
KABUL – He's a heavyweight in al-Qaida but little known outside jihadi and intelligence circles even though he runs the terrorist movement's operations in a key front — Afghanistan — and may be linked to a plot in New York.
Mustafa al-Yazid makes no secret of his contempt for the United States, once calling it "the evil empire leading crusades against the Muslims."
"We have reached the point where we see no difference between the state and the American people," al-Yazid told Pakistan's Geo TV in a June 2008 interview. "The United States is a non-Muslim state bent on the destruction of Muslims."
Al-Yazid may also have links to Afghan immigrant Najibullah Zazi, whom U.S. authorities have arrested in an alleged plot to use homemade backpack bombs, perhaps on New York City's mass transit system.
Two U.S. intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because the case remains under investigation, told The Associated Press that the bespectacled, Egyptian-born al-Yazid used a middleman to contact Zazi, indicating that the al-Qaida leadership took a keen interest in what U.S. officials call one of the most serious terrorism threats crafted on U.S. soil since the 9/11 attacks.
Despite his relative obscurity in the West, the shadowy, 55-year-old al-Yazid, who barely stands 5-foot-5 inches tall, has been involved with Islamic extremist movements for nearly 30 years since he joined radical student groups led by fellow Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahri, now the No. 2 figure in al-Qaida after Osama bin Laden.
In the early 1980s, al-Yazid served three years in an Egyptian prison for purported links to the group responsible for the 1981 assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. After his release, al-Yazid, also known as Sheik Said and Abu Saeed al-Masri, turned up in Afghanistan, where, according to al-Qaida's propaganda wing Al-Sabah, he became a founding member of the terrorist group.
He later followed bin Laden to Sudan and back to Afghanistan, where he served as al-Qaida's chief financial officer, managing secret bank accounts in the Persian Gulf that were used to help finance the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York and Washington.
After the U.S. and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001, al-Yazid went into hiding for years. He surfaced in May 2007 during a 45-minute interview posted on the Web by Al-Sabah, in which he was introduced as the "official in charge" of the terrorist movement's operations in Afghanistan.
Some security analysts believe the choice of al-Yazid as the Afghan chief may have signaled a new approach for al-Qaida in the country where it once reigned supreme.
Michael Scheuer, former head of the CIA unit that tracked bin Laden, believes that bin Laden and al-Zawahri wanted a trusted figure to handle Afghanistan "while they turn to other aspects of the jihad outside" the country.
Al-Yazid had little background in leading combat operations. But terrorism experts say his advantage was that he was close to Taliban leader Mullah Omar. As a fluent Pashto speaker known for impeccable manners, al-Yazid enjoyed better relations with the Afghans than many of the al-Qaida Arabs, whom the Afghans found arrogant and abrasive.
That suggested a conscious decision by al-Qaida to embed within the Taliban organization, helping the Afghan allies with expertise and training while at the same time putting an Afghan face on the war.
Al-Yazid himself alluded to such an approach in an interview this year with Al-Jazeera television's Islamabad correspondent Ahmad Zaidan. Al-Yazid said al-Qaida fighters were involved at every level with the Taliban.
"We participate with our brothers in the Islamic Emirate in all fields," al-Yazid said. "This had a big positive effect on the (Taliban) self-esteem in Afghanistan."
A September 2007 al-Qaida video sought to promote the notion of close Taliban-al-Qaida ties at a time when the Afghan insurgents were launching their comeback six years after their ouster from power in Kabul.
The video showed al-Yazid sitting with a senior Taliban commander in a field surrounded by trees as a jihad anthem played — rather than in a bleak desert hideout. The Taliban commander vowed to "target the infidels in Afghanistan and outside Afghanistan" and to "focus our attacks, Allah willing, on the coalition forces in Afghanistan."
There is also evidence that al-Yazid has promoted ties with Islamic extremist groups in Central Asia and Pakistan, where other top al-Qaida figures are believed to be hiding.
"He definitely seems to have significant influence among the Pakistani Taliban and the Central Asian groups," terrorism expert Evan Kohlman said. "They regularly post and share his videos on the Web, just as they would with bin Laden or al-Zawahri."
In August 2008, Pakistani military officials claimed al-Yazid had been killed in fighting in the Bajaur tribal area along the Afghan border. However, he turned up in subsequent al-Qaida videos, all of which had clearly been made after the Bajaur fighting.
Al-Yazid appeared on an al-Qaida video posted this month, vowing to avenge the death of Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, who was killed in a CIA missile strike Aug, 6.
"I say to the Islamic nation that even if we have lost Baitullah Mehsud, there are thousands of tribesmen who are like him and who will take revenge on the Americans and their allies," al-Yazid said.
A Telegraph exclusive
British prosecutors were told more than two years ago that they had sufficient evidence to charge two Libyans over the killing of WPc Yvonne Fletcher, according to a leaked report.
A senior lawyer carried out an independent review of the case on behalf of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), in which he said Matouk Mohammed Matouk and Abdulgader Mohammed Baghdadi could be charged with conspiracy to cause death.
Both men played instrumental roles in organising the shooting at the Libyan embassy in St James’s Square, central London, in 1984, the report said.
The secret report, which was commissioned by the CPS on behalf of the Metropolitan Police, was completed in April 2007, just six weeks before Tony Blair, the prime minister at the time, held a controversial meeting with Colonel Gaddafi in Libya. The meeting formally opened trade links between Britain and the north African country.
The CPS said last night that two years on, the police had still not provided them with the final case against the men. It added that the investigation into the killing of WPc Fletcher, who was 25, was ongoing.
The report, seen by The Daily Telegraph, was written by a senior prosecutor from a Commonwealth country and was addressed to Sue Hemming, the head of counter-terrorism at the CPS
The 150-page report also named the man identified by a witness to have fired the fatal shot, but it said there was not enough evidence to charge anyone with murder.
The document also disclosed:
Matouk and Baghdadi allegedly played key roles in orchestrating the premeditated shooting, which had been agreed with Tripoli in advance.
Neither of the men had diplomatic immunity, paving the way for a criminal prosecution in Britain.
Both are thought to have slipped out of the embassy by the back door minutes before the building was surrounded by police at the start of an 11-day siege.
Yvonne Fletcher was left in harm’s way despite five separate warnings given in Tripoli and in London that mentioned possible violence and guns.
British police made at least three trips to Libya to interview suspects and witnesses who were inside the embassy. So far, all their attempts to bring those responsible to justice have been frustrated.
Until now, the investigation into WPc Fletcher’s death has concentrated on finding the gunman or gunmen. But the confidential report, which was written by a lawyer who the Telegraph has chosen not to identify, makes clear that the killers were acting on orders from a revolutionary committee of Col Gaddafi loyalists, which ran the embassy and which had formed a “pre-arranged plan to cause death or grievous bodily harm to the demonstrators”.
Baghdadi and Matouk allegedly “assumed leadership roles” inside the embassy, and Baghdadi, in particular, “advised the students that the demonstrators would be fired upon, directed their positioning outside the bureau and gave instructions as to what they were to do when the firing stopped”, the report said.
Crucially, neither Baghdadi nor Matouk were registered as diplomats, which meant they did not have immunity from prosecution.
The report concluded: “Each is therefore capable of being prosecuted in the UK as a member of a conspiracy to cause death, or grievous bodily harm to the demonstrators, which culminated in injuries to 10 demonstrators and the death of WPc Fletcher. Such a prosecution does not require, as a condition precedent, proof of the identity of the gunmen.”
The maximum sentence for conspiracy to cause death in Britain is life imprisonment.
The Fletcher case has remained open ever since, and officers from the Metropolitan Police have made several attempts to question suspects in Libya. They have, however, been frustrated recently in their attempts to get back into the country.
Paul McKeever, the chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales who was serving officer in the Metropolitan Police at the same time as WPc Fletcher, said: “It is astonishing that this has only just come to light now. Why have people been sitting on it.”
When The Daily Telegraph tried to approach Matouk Matouk in Libya, an armed guard prevented our reporter approaching his house. Abdulgader Baghdadi was unavailable for comment.
Muslim parents angry with Yorkshire school headmistress
From The Telegraph and Argus
The head of a majority Muslim school in Bradford, who sparked parents’ anger after sending out what they say is an “insulting” letter, says she stands by her comments.
Joan Law, principal at Laisterdyke Business and Enterprise College (LBEC) in Thornbury Road, Bradford, has defended the letter, which called on support from parents and the wider Muslim community to help their children “achieve their potential”.
It was sent to parents in response to claims that the school was discriminating against Muslim pupils and failing to provide them with adequate education – claims that the school vehemently denies.
In the letter, Mrs Law said: “Sadly…some former pupils of local schools seem to have spent their late teenage years dodging police, driving around the streets in stolen cars and dealing in drugs. I am sure that you do not want that career for your child.” It continues: “Please help us to tidy up some of the appalling behaviour in BD3. I currently feel that a lot of the work we do is wasted since it is not in some cases (too many) followed up at home with strong parenting.”
But the head teacher came under fire from some parents and local councillors at a meeting attended by about 100 parents, who claimed young Muslim girls had been told to remove their headscarves for PE lessons.
They voiced concern over mixed classes for years seven and eight (that is age 11-13) and teachers encouraging “sexually provocative” dance routines.
There were also complaints that no prayer room is provided at the school, which is 90 per cent Muslim, and that case studies had been used in RE classes to teach children about contraception and sexual relationships.
However, Mrs Law, strongly defended the accusations made against the co-educational school.
She described as “rubbish” the claims children had been “forced” to remove headscarves, adding: “The girls are told, ‘take it off if you wish, if not, fold it around your neck.’ I think parents have misinterpreted that.”
Mrs Law said information about contraception was used in RE classes and there were mixed PE classes but that they were designed to help boys and girls interact with each other and develop socially.
Her point was to explain to parents that, while many former students go on to university and careers, almost as many become involved in car crime and drug running, Mrs Law said.
She said parents needed to work with the school to put an end to problems in the area.
"Wilders challenged the Brits on their ban and won!" wrote Pamela Geller. "Taking on evil is all in a day's work for the man." I am every bit as delighted as Pamela about the overturning of the absurd ban on Wilders, but it is fair to say that, in her delight, Pamela is playing fast and loose with her phrases.
One aspect of the overturning of the ban that has been overlooked, perhaps because it is so obvious, is that the overturning took place in a British court, namely the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal. The then Home Secretary and always preposterous Jacqui Smith, and the Home Office decision, were overruled by that most precious of institutions, an independent judiciary.
Sometimes an independent judiciary feels like a mixed blessing. UK courts rigidly and strictly apply absurdities such as the European Convention on Human Rights, making it impossible for us to deport suspected terrorists to Jordan or Libya because they might be tortured. But a few, or even many, apparently perverse decisions do not negate the principle. If the judiciary is separate from Parliament and Government, there is a chance that, between them, they will get things right most of the time. This is a very imperfect system, but the perfect should not be the enemy of the good.
If the black flag of Islam were to fly over Downing Street, and there are plenty of British Muslims who would like to see that, how long would the courts remain independent? To answer the question, try to imagine Mohammed accepting an independent judiciary, and consider how so many British Muslims do not accept any law but Sharia. The UK has an imperfect system, acknowledged to be imperfect, which is why no one institution has absolute power. Sharia, by contrast, professes to be a perfect system, and all the power was given to Mohammed, and in turn to the despots who followed him as rulers of Muslim countries.
To Muslims, Britain's "change of mind" must look like weakness. First they said no to Wilders, now they say yes. But in fact it is a strength that the Kingdom is not United and that the cowardly, totalitarian decision of a preposterous and venal Home Secretary can be thrown out by some of her fellow countrymen.
I don't quite see the appeal of Bob Dylan, but plenty do. Even Lawrence Auster, austere and censorious, has moments of soppy hippydom over His Bobness. Hugh Fitzgerald, in a surprisingly modern musical interlude, quoted him approvingly. People, even on Radio 4's Today programme, have been asking why such a sage is doing a Christmas album. Could it be for the money? Pete Paphides in The Times:
While there’s nothing on here as downright terrifying as the bit on Neil Diamond’s 1994 Christmas album where he gets a little too overheated on the line “Bring me some figgy pudding”, Dylan’s own festive turns run him close at times.
When he rasps “How’d you like to spend Christmas on Christmas Island?” (Christmas Island) not even the spry Hawaiian instrumentation can stop it sounding like a veiled threat.
On the demonically jaunty Here Comes Santa Claus, the lines “Hang your stockings/ Say your prayers” are intoned with a grizzled finality that would hasten even the most overexcited child to bed on Christmas Eve.
This album will surely tax the resources of the Dylanologists spread across sundry glossy music magazines and countless blogs who spend every available hour attempting to infer some deeper poetic motive into their hero’s every move.
They’ll have their work cut out here, not least on the deranged Tex-Mex blowout of Must Be Santa. In 2009, the voice that once so splenetically bellowed, “How does it feeeel/ To be on your own?” is now pursuing a more gentle line of inquiry: “Who’s got a big red cherry nose? (Santa’s got a big red cherry nose)/ Who laughs this way, ho ho ho (Santa laughs this way, ho ho ho).”
At moments like this, there’s very little for any of us, Bobsessive or otherwise, to deconstruct.
We have been thrust into one of those rare musical moments that sit well beyond the perimeter of critical discourse. Bob Dylan is singing about Santa’s big red cherry nose on his Christmas album.
Only a curmudgeon of Scrooge-like proportions wouldn’t want in.
French troops were killed after Italy hushed up ‘bribes’ to Taleban
From The Times
When ten French soldiers were killed last year in an ambush by Afghan insurgents in what had seemed a relatively peaceful area, the French public were horrified.
Their revulsion increased with the news that many of the dead soldiers had been mutilated — and with the publication of photographs showing the militants triumphantly sporting their victims’ flak jackets and weapons. The French had been in charge of the Sarobi area, east of Kabul, for only a month, taking over from the Italians; it was one of the biggest single losses of life by Nato forces in Afghanistan.
What the grieving nation did not know was that in the months before the French soldiers arrived in mid-2008, the Italian secret service had been paying tens of thousands of dollars to Taleban commanders and local warlords to keep the area quiet, The Times has learnt. The clandestine payments, whose existence was hidden from the incoming French forces, were disclosed by Western military officials.
US intelligence officials were flabbergasted when they found out through intercepted telephone conversations that the Italians had also been buying off militants, notably in Herat province in the far west.
However, a number of high-ranking officers in Nato have told The Times that payments were subsequently discovered to have been made in the Sarobi area as well.
Western officials say that because the French knew nothing of the payments they made a catastrophically incorrect threat assessment.
“One cannot be too doctrinaire about these things,” a senior Nato officer in Kabul said. “It might well make sense to buy off local groups and use non-violence to keep violence down. But it is madness to do so and not inform your allies.”
On August 18, a month after the Italian force departed, a lightly armed French patrol moved into the mountains north of Sarobi town, in the district of the same name, 65km (40 miles) east of Kabul. They had little reason to suspect that they were walking into the costliest battle for the French in a quarter of a century.
Operating in an arc of territory north and east of the Afghan capital, the French apparently believed that they were serving in a relatively benign district. The Italians they had replaced in July had suffered only one combat death in the previous year. For months the Nato headquarters in Kabul had praised Italian reconstruction projects under way around Sarobi. When an estimated 170 insurgents ambushed the force in the Uzbin Valley the upshot was a disaster. “They took us by surprise,” one French troop commander said after the attack.
The force was trapped until airstrikes forced the insurgents to retreat the next morning. By then ten French soldiers were dead and 21 injured.
The French public were appalled when it emerged that many of the dead had been mutilated by the insurgents— a mixed force including Taleban members and fighters from Hizb e-Islami.
A few weeks later French journalists photographed insurgents carrying French assault rifles and wearing French army flak jackets, helmets and, in one case, a dead soldier’s watch.
Two Western military officials in Kabul confirmed that intelligence briefings after the ambush said that the French troops had believed they were moving through a benign area — one which the Italian military had been keen to show off to the media as a successful example of a “hearts and minds” operation.
Another Nato source confirmed the allegations of Italian money going to insurgents. “The Italian intelligence service made the payments, it wasn’t the Italian Army,” he said. “It was payments of tens of thousands of dollars regularly to individual insurgent commanders. It was to stop Italian casualties that would cause political difficulties at home.”
Haji Abdul Rahman, a tribal elder from Sarobi, recalled how a benign environment became hostile overnight. “There were no attacks against the Italians. People said the Italians and Taleban had good relations between them.
“When the country [nationality of the forces] changed and the French came there was a big attack on them. We knew the Taleban came to the city and we knew that they didn’t carry out attacks on the Italian troops but we didn’t know why.”
The claims are not without precedent. In October 2007 two Italian agents were kidnapped in western Afghanistan; one was killed in a rescue by British special forces. It was later alleged in the Italian press that they had been kidnapped while making payments to the Taleban.
through London, past Parliament and Downing Street to Trafalgar Square. Elsewhere on their website they unveil plans for Trafalgar Square after Sharia law is implimented. HT/Daily Express. Thanks Alan.
The statue of Nelson, the adulterous fornicator, could be replaced with an Islamic clock. The lions, also ofensive as representations of living things could be replaced with urns for the collection of jizya. All other statues (the temporary installation of the work Alison Lapper pregnant seems to have caused particular outrage as 'pornographic'. I thought it was just an ugly piece of work on what could have been inspiring subject matter, but as I said at the time it takes all sorts) to be removed and the stone recycled. The fountains to be adapted as a wudhu (ritual sluice - not what I would call a proper wash, in the absence of hot water, soap and a scrubbing brush!) area. The frequent gatherings for celebration and or demonstration to be replaced by continuous dawa.
These are their pictures. They say anyone can use these as there is no copyright in Islam. Coming soon - how Football stadia, pubs and Buckingham Palace will be reformed under sharia.
Unfortunately I will be in the West Country for half term that week and cannot attend but I hope there will be a presence to counterbalance their demands. As the Sharia regime they promote will restrict the lives of all women and non-Muslims and will be a positive danger to gays I submit that this is an ideal opportunity for the members of Unite Against Facism to come on to the streets in another show of freedom and equality.
I call upon the "lady" from the UAF, the one with the megaphone who shouted 'Nazi scum off our streets' all through the 2 minutes silence to respect fallen servicemen and women held by the English Defence League during their Manchester rally on Saturday, to do the same during a quiet moment of the Islam 4 the UK event.
A woman has been identified by someone who believes her to be the person responsible; some of the people who have contacted her to remonstrate with her about her disgraceful behaviour have overstepped the line into threats and abuse, such is their anger and distaste. I assume she is telling the truth.
However angry one might be, and this clip made me rather angry, descending to the level of the UAF in threats of violence is not acceptable, or helpful. This woman denies that she was responsible for the lack of respect. She insists that she is a member only of Searchlight (the anti BNP organisation) not the UAF and that at the time of the two minutes silence she had slipped away from the protest to have her lunch in a sushi bar. It could be a case of mistaken identity, in which case her comradesse will step forward and apologise and thus save her further embarrassment.
The EDL and SIOE have both been accused of goading Muslims into violence in Harrow and Birmingham. I don't think Islam 4 the UK need any prompting.
I have observed before that the word “plight” has become devalued by its association with the “Palestinians”. Their “plight” consists in not suffering the consequences of their own actions and of Islam, cushioned as they are by Western largesse. A piece today at Pajamasmedia has the tagline: “The plight of the Uighurs is beginning to inflame Muslim populations”. That does it for me and “plight” – it is but another tool in the arsenal of combustible Muslims.
“Plight”, it has been nice knowing you, but I will never use you again, at least not as a noun. But there is another use: as a verb in the formula “plight one’s troth”. This raises the question – it certainly doesn’t beg it – of whether you can plight anything other than a troth. If any readers have plighted other things, please let me know.
The plighting of troths, and the absence of other known plightables, came up in The Times recently. It is what Sally Baker and others call a single context word, and it is not the only one. For example, is anything ever “in kilter”, or must things always be out of it?
“Can one gird anything other than one’s loins?" asks a reader. "Indeed, can one do anything with one’s loins except gird them?” A fair, unbeggable question. Another thing - can shrift be anything other than short? And can you have a bit of truck with someone, or is truck something you must always have none of?
Here are some more, from another column in The Times by the same author.
The Feedback campaign to save our single-context words from English extinction (new readers, start here: to hull strawberries, to shuck oysters) has taken off so magnificently that I’m thinking of buying a campaign bus to take round Britain and rally more support, although I’m not sure if it’s OK to put a whole bus on expenses.
First, a few items from last week. Victoria Solt Dennis (among others) confirms that to don and doff (clothing) are indeed related to on and off: “They are elisions of ‘do on’ and ‘do off’. We also used to dout (do out, ie, put out) candles, and dup (do up, ie, lift) door latches. Talking of candles, can you snuff anything else (except it, of course)?”
Several of you also referred to the textile industry, including Ian Calderbank: “In the early 1970s I went on a date with a young lady and the conversation turned to our respective employments. In response to ‘And what do you do?’ she replied ‘I doff’, and went on to explain that she took the full bobbins off and put empty ones on. She was a doffer. As our last textile businesses close, I guess there aren’t many doffers left.”
I disagree – you can doff your hat. Remember this from the inimitable Two Ronnies?
As Bold Sir John walked on afar,
He spied a maiden fair;
"I beg you sir don't come too near,
For I've seen many a maiden here;
Get lost amongst the new mown hay,
So doff your hat I pray".
Get lost! Get lost! Get lost! Get lost!
Get lost amongst the new mown hay.
Sod off! Sod off! Sod off! Sod off!
So doff your hat I pray.
Baker concludes with what she describes as “the most singular single-context word”:
“Taghairm: (in the Scottish Highlands) divination, especially inspiration sought by lying in a bullock’s hide behind a waterfall.” Oh, come on, Anne, there must be lots of words for that.
It is looking less likely that the Obama Administration will make any drastic reductions in the number of troops in Afghanistan, and the only question now is how many new troops will be added. The V.F.W. is now stating that to even have a discussion over troop levels is to "embolden" the enemy. From Reuters:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. veterans criticized President Barack Obama's lengthy review of Afghan war strategy, saying on Thursday the drawn-out debate in Washington was a direct threat to troops and the nation's defense.
The head of Veterans of Foreign Wars, a group representing 1.5 million former soldiers, issued a tersely worded statement urging Obama to follow the advice of his military commanders, who want more troops for the eight-year war.
"The extremists are sensing weakness and indecision within the U.S. government, which plays into their hands," said Thomas J. Tradewell Sr., a Vietnam veteran and head of VFW.
This was "evidenced by the increased attacks in Afghanistan as well as Pakistan," he said.
"I fear that an emboldened enemy will now intensify their efforts to kill more U.S. soldiers," Tradewell added.
Obama addressed the group in August when he called the conflict in Afghanistan "a war of necessity" and said the United States remained committed to stabilizing the country.
U.S. combat deaths have risen since Obama ordered a troop buildup in March to confront a resurgent Taliban and opinion polls this month have shown softening public support for the campaign.
Many of Obama's fellow Democrats in Congress oppose sending more troops, as recommended by General Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan. Officials say he has recommended deploying an additional 40,000 soldiers, beyond the 68,000 due to be in place by the end of this year.
"I urge the president to heed the assessment and advice of his military leaders," Tradewell said, adding Obama needed to be "decisive during this critical juncture."
The comments by war veterans is likely to further embolden Obama's Republican critics, who support a buildup and have urged the president -- known for his careful, deliberative style -- to quickly make up his mind.
The White House has defended the review, saying there must be a workable strategy before more troops are put in harm's way.
I remember a quote from one of the early astronauts, possibly James Lovell or Neil Armstrong. When asked if there was a sudden decompression and he knew there was only 10 seconds of air remaining, what would he do? His answer was, think for 9 seconds, and act in 1 second.
We have time to think this through. It's worth the time to get it right. The decision that Obama makes in the next few weeks will set the policy for the next several years. This is one of the most important decisions he'll make, both in terms of the potential for lost lives, and the financial impact.
The jihadis might be embolded by our pause while we debate. But if the right decision came out of the debate, their state of mind would quickly become irrelevant. The key to their defeat is within our grasp, if we will just slow down and think about what we're doing.
It's not a tactical question of 10,000 versus 40,000 additional troops. It's a strategic question of what is motivating our enemy. It's a matter of a basic analysis of what is contained in the Qur'an and the ahadith, and even the most superficial reading of Islamic history. It's a matter of defining what our goals are in Afghanistan, and what we hope to accomplish with our involvement there, and who will benefit from it.
Wilders Event at Temple University attacked by Muslim Student Association
No sooner was the announcement made about Dutch Politician Geert Wilders appearance at Temple University in Philadelphia next Tuesday, October 20th than the local Muslim Student Association (MSA) chapter fired a bow shot that came up short. In a release issued yesterday, Monira Gamal-Eldin, President of Temple MSA , requested a meeting with University authorities to scuttle the event. Here’s what the Temple MSA release said:
Geert Wilders is a far-right Dutch MP who is infamous for his anti-Islamic rhetoric and extreme hatred towards Muslims. A person who has been tried in the Netherlands Supreme Court for his hate speech concerning Islam, banned from the United Kingdom due to the threat he poses to community harmony, and is concurrently being charged for violating anti-hate laws in the European Union, should not be allowed to address the Temple community.
Temple MSA speaks for the many Muslims and socially conscious students and faculty on campus when we say that the presence of Geert Wilders on our campus is a breach of Temple University’s pledge to ensure the wellbeing and safety of all students and faculty on campus. The Muslim population at Temple feels attacked, threatened, and ultimately unsafe that Mr. Wilders has been invited to voice his hate-driven opinions. The fact alone that backpacks are prohibited for entry to this event reinforces our argument that this creates an unsafe atmosphere where prejudiced, racist and vehemently hateful words will be disguised under the veil of academia.
Temple MSA deplores the decision made by Temple College Republicans, The David Horowitz Freedom Center, Temple University Purpose, Temple Student Activities, and Temple University as an institution of higher learning, for welcoming Geert Wilders when so many have found his speech to be repugnant to society as a whole.
We condemn Temple University for being the first university in the United States to allow Mr. Wilders to address their population and hope that the administration realizes the reputation and ideologies they are fostering not only to the Temple community, but to the world. The decision to allow Mr. Wilders to share his viewpoints is a danger not only for the public safety of Muslims and the honor of the core principles of Islam, but also for academic integrity and objectivity on campus.
We strongly urge that his invitation be rescinded immediately in order to foster appreciation of free speech that is not based on hatred and discrimination.
This was pure taqiyya (religiously sanctioned dissimilitude) by the Temple MSA leaders. A major problem was that their information was behind the times given the news of a U.K. Immigration Tribunal lifting the ban on Wilders travel to Britain. The travel entry ban was caused by an order issued by now disgraced former Home Secretary Jacquie Smith last January that caused Wilders, an EU parliamentarian, to be ejected upon arrival at Heathrow Airport. In the wake of this Immigration Tribunal decision, Wilders will go on Friday to Britain for a victory lap for this doughty rising Dutch political star. Even, the left wing Guardian UK in an article, “Geert Wilders, the 'pre-criminal “ headlined “Home Office attempts to deny UK entry to extremists are both authoritarian and inept. Pre-emptive gagging is a bad precedent.” The article noted:
Almost exactly a year ago, it announced the introduction of new measures including creating a "presumption in favor of exclusion" from the UK in respect of all those who had "engaged in spreading hate". The Home Office's actions had all the hallmarks of an ill-thought-out PR exercise designed to make it look as if it was being tough on extremists.
After all, the presumption in favor of exclusion meant that it would now be up to the individual concerned to prove they would not "stir up tension" after arrival in the UK. As Brian Whitaker observed on Cif: "Why not a presumption in favor of free speech?"
It is almost always a very bad idea to allow governments these kinds of arbitrary powers to ban visitors – whether it is Geert Wilders, or the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan or the Islamic scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi – especially when we have legislation on the statute books to deal with the very situations they claim to be trying to protect us against.
One of the recipients of the Temple MSA release was the David Horowitz Freedom Center. Horowitz personally staked out a position in rebuttal addressing the muzzling of free speech explicit in the request to have the University shut down the Wilders program, as well as the questionable bona fides of the MSA. He posted the release on the FrontPageMagazine and sent it out to media across America as a thundering jeremiad.
It is not surprising that the MSA would seek to shut down the free speech of Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders who has been an outspoken critic of Islamic terrorists and Islamic attacks on Jews and other religions. Assaults on the First Amendment and efforts to censor critics of radical Islam are, in fact, typical of the tactics used by the MSA, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim American Society. These groups support the jihad against the west and are part of the network created by the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the parent organization of the terrorist groups al-Qaeda and Hamas. The faculty advisor for Temple MSA is presently a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Temple MSA refers to the fact that security will be necessary at the event as proof that Geert Wilders is dangerous. This is the perfect Orwellian mindset of supporters of the jihad. The threat to the Wilders event making security measures necessary comes from Muslim radicals who have already assassinated two prominent Dutch critics of Islamic terrorism – Pym Fortun and Theo Van Gogh (who not incidentally both happened to be gay).
In point of fact Wilders has not been tried by any Dutch court, and was recently exonerated by a British court which declared the ban on his entry illegal.
The Temple community should reject the call by the MSA to censor free speech on the Temple campus, and should recognize it for what it is – an assault on the right of all Americans to have a democracy that is inclusive, tolerant and respectful of the rights of others.
Temple U administrators had the courage of their convictions when they rejected an endowed chair on Islamic studies for faculty member Mahmoud Mustafa Ayoub.
A Campus Watcharticle discussed his peculiar views of Danish Mohammed cartoons.
Mahmoud Mustafa Ayoub, a professor of Islamic studies at Temple University is exercised about the content of one or more of the cartoons, in which "Muhammad was portrayed as a terrorist." But he also raised a deeper issue: "It has a lot to do with the difference in belief about freedom…The essential difference is how freedom is understood. I believe that my freedom ends where the dignity and respect for all the prophets begins." Deciding where freedom of expression ends and abstractions such as dignity and respect for literary figures called "prophets" begins is a tricky business, and Ayoub offers no guidance.
But does the MSA come with clean hands in this flawed attempt to throttle the free speech of Geert Wilders? Not according to Patrick Poole, who reveals in a Pajamas media article, “Ohio State Student Groups hosts Hamas Fundraiser,” that an MSA chapter at Ohio State sponsored an event for British MP George Galloway raising funds for terrorist group Hamas.
he MSA at the Ohio State University — a sister organization to the UC-Irvine group — also held a luncheon fundraiser on April 4 featuring Galloway, just three weeks after his televised appearance in Gaza with Hamas leaders. A flier for the event states that “all proceeds go to Gaza.” According to the flier, the event was co-sponsored by a prominent mosque in the Columbus area, the Noor Islamic Cultural Center, which has recently been in the news concerning its terrorist ties and its connection to the Rifqa Bary case.
As I’ve written elsewhere, the OSU MSA has a very troubled history. Before the 9/11 attacks, the group operated the MSANews email distribution service that served as the primary English-language outlet for virtually every Islamic terrorist group in the world, including al-Qaeda. As the Associated Press reported in December 2001, the OSUMSA was under investigation by federal authorities for openly promoting terrorist videos and extremist Islamic groups in the U.S.
In the midst of this war of words over free speech another voice of reason , Jerusalem Post Journalist Khaled Abu Toameh is in Philadelphia speaking at Drexel University and University of Pennsylvania about Middle East matters. He discussed in a Hudson Institute post, “On Campus: The Pro-Palestinians' Real Agenda “ about the conceit of radical students on America’s campuses fomenting attacks against Constitutional guarantees of free speech. His remarks were in the context of campus visits during which student groups espoused support for Palestinian terrorist group Hamas and endeavored to deny his views. But the same could apply to this Temple U. MSA attack on the Wilders campus event:
The bad news is that these groups of hard-line activists/thugs are trying to intimidate anyone who dares to say something that they don’t like to hear.
We commend the courage of the Temple U. students for sponsoring the Wilders appearance there. Their mettle will be challenged by this assault on free speech. We trust that Temple U. administrators will let Wilders speak.
In less than 24 hours, Congress acted overwhelmingly to answer rejections by both Russia and China of tough sanctions against Nuclear Iran. Secretary of State Clinton came back from her trip to Moscow empty handed after vainly trying to push for Russian support of sanctions. China announced opposition to US led demands for sanctions against Iran by signing up for an expansion of energy projects with Tehran. This effort by Clinton was a penultimate attempt by the Obama Administration to gather international support to encircle the Islamic Republic of Iran with a battery of sanctions. Sanctions that might strangle the Iranian economy thus raising the ire of an oppressed restive population against the despotic Mullahs and Mahdist President Ahmadinejad. Those under consideration by Congress include tough gasoline and diesel fuel sanctions. They have languished for over three years, since they were first introduced by Illinois Congressman Mark Kirk (R-10th Dist) and a number of Democratic co-sponsors.
Yesterday, the House passed by a vote of 414-6 the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act (H.R. 1327). The bipartisan bill, introduced by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) and Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) authorizes state and local governments to divest the assets of their pension funds from foreign companies investing more than $20 million in Iran’s energy sector. How much of an effect that will have is moot.
The more significant Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act, co-sponsored by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman and Rep. Kirk and over 327 Members of Congress goes into mark-up. According to Berman his Committee will take up the measureOctober 28, that might provide the Obama Administration with the tools to address the "looming nuclear threat from Iran."
Meanwhile on Thursday the Senate passed an amendment to federal Energy Spending legislation penalizing foreign companies that sell gasoline to Iranand also hold contracts with the U.S. Energy Department to supply the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
Will any of this bi-partisan effort at furthering gasoline sanctions work? Iran currently imports more than two-fifths of its refined gasoline and diesel fuel needs from offshore refiners in Europe, the Gulf States, and India among others. China is building a second domestic Iranian refinery, which may mitigate the effect of the unilateral gasoline sanctions. However, Iran has already found the means of evading such bars against deliveries of refined products.
Our colleague Jon Schanzer of the Jewish Policy Center had these comments on the flurry of sanction legislative activity this week, that followed in the wake of the resounding “Nyet” that Secretary Clinton received in Moscow.
Clinton's most urgent action item was obtaining support for international sanctions on Iran, as a means to thwart Tehran's nuclear ambitions. President Dmitri Medvedev said last month that, "sometimes sanctions are inevitable," which was seen by some observers as support for a tougher stance on Iran. But, during Mrs. Clinton's trip, she found no further support of this position from either Prime Minister Vladimir Putin or Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. In fact, Lavrov now says that sanctions during the current standoff would be "counterproductive."
That Mrs. Clinton is returning stateside without exacting any significant concessions from the Russians – particularly on Iran sanctions – should come as no surprise. When Obama announced in September that he would unilaterally scrap plans for a long-planned missile defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic, he coughed up Washington's only bargaining chip.
In short, the Kremlin got what it wanted. There's nothing left to negotiate.
Schanzer wasn’t so sanguine that President Obama would sign Congressional sanction legislation when it hits his desk in the Oval office. Note these comments:
Congress rolled out the initiative back in April that mirrored candidate Obama's call for gasoline sanctions during the 2008 presidential campaign. Fast forward six months, and it's still stuck on the Hill, despite the fact that it has an astounding 327 co-sponsors in the House (HR 2475) and 75 co-sponsors in the Senate (S 908). That's more than three-quarters of Congress.
While that should easily be enough to get IRPSA into law, the administration has signaled to lawmakers that it needs more time. At a recent hearing of the Senate Banking Committee, Treasury Undersecretary Stuart Levey testified that he was still working on a "comprehensive" plan that "takes into account Iran's potential vulnerabilities and those activities that have the greatest influence on Iran's decision makers."
Levey has worked tirelessly on Iran since assuming his post in 2004. He knows exactly what the sanctions package would look like. The problem, according to congressional staffers and think tankers who have been following the legislation, is that Obama appears ambivalent – caught somewhere between his call for dialogue and insisting that an Iranian nuclear weapon is "unacceptable."
The reason for the president's ambivalence is clear. Gasoline sanctions only have the potential to cause a spike in Iran's gasoline imports, and possibly weaken the regime. Even if IRPSA hits Iran in the pocketbook, as former Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton notes, the Mullahs are not likely to change course. If he's right, the enforcement and subsequent failure of sanctions would only reinforce the notion that military intervention may be the only viable option left.
Obama seems eager to postpone reaching this excruciating conclusion.
The problem is that the Israelis would have only one course of action left while Obama and the World dithers in the face of Iran developing its first workable bomb. That is to strike Iran’s strategic nuclear and missile development sites and in the process disrupt and disable the Revolutionary Guards command and control network. That daunting scenario dominates the daily activities of IDF war planners in Tel Aviv.