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Recent Publications by New English Review Authors
The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
by Ibn Warraq
An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide
by Richard L. Rubenstein
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky

These are all the Blogs posted on Wednesday, 21, 2007.
Wednesday, 21 March 2007
Death penalty for fanatic who killed female Pakistani minister over veil
An Islamic extremist who shot dead a female minister because she was not wearing the veil has been sentenced to death by a Pakistani court after being convicted of her murder.
Zilla Huma Usman, the minister for social welfare in Punjab province and an ally of President Pervez Musharraf, was killed by Mohammed Sarwar, a fundamentalist who singled out the prominent women’s rights activist in the belief that women should not be involved in politics.
Mrs Usman, a married mother of two sons, was gunned down a month ago as she prepared to address a public gathering in the town of Gujranwala, where her office was based and which lies 70km (43 miles) north of the provincial capital, Lahore. She was wearing the shalwar kameez outfit adopted by many professional women in Pakistan, but was not fully covering her head.  As party members threw rose petals at her, the gunman pulled out a pistol and fired a single shot at close range, hitting her in the head.
The killing caused an outcry even in a country noted for its high levels of violence against women, fuelling fears about the rise of militant Islam in Pakistan.
Police said that Sarwar, who pleaded not guilty in court, had previously confessed to the shooting, telling investigators that he had been targeting “fashionable” women he believed were “spreading obscenity” in Pakistani society.
A former stone mason, he is not thought to belong to any radical group but is known for his fanatical views, telling officers it was against the teachings of Allah for women to hold positions of leadership. He was previously investigated in connection with six other murders, including the killing and mutilation of four prostitutes, but was never convicted due to lack of evidence.
Ms Usman, 35 . . . April 2005, she encouraged the holding of a mini-marathon involving female competitors in Gujranwala – an event which led to riots after police intervened to stop armed Islamic fundamentalists disrupting the race.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in a recent report said that violence against women had increased alarmingly, with some of the incidents incited by Mullahs opposed to women’s emancipation. . . About two-thirds of the nations women remain illiterate.
Posted on 03/21/2007 2:37 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 21 March 2007
Festival celebrates Lynn mariner
From The Eastern Daily Press the east Anglian newspaper.
He is among the elite of British seafarers.
But Kings Lynn-born Captain George Vancouver - the man who gave his name to the Canadian city - has been largely overshadowed by Norfolk's most famous sailor, Lord Nelson, with his achievements largely unsung. Now a weekend of celebrations to mark the 250th anniversary of his birth is set to change that.
The arrival of the tall ship, the Earl of Pembroke, on Thursday, June 21 will herald the start of the Captain Vancouver Festival, a packed programme of music, dance, street entertainment, talks, exhibitions and children's activities.
Born into a well-to-do Lynn family on June 22, 1757, Vancouver went to sea as a Royal Navy midshipman with Captain Cook when he was 14. He had a flair for navigation and sailed the world on Cook's second and third voyages, witnessing Cook's death in Hawaii in 1779. He was later chosen for a mission to the north-west American coast, to negotiate with the Spanish for the return of disputed territory and to chart the dangerous and complicated shoreline, to facilitate trade.
From 1791 to 1795, Vancouver took his two ships, The Discovery and The Chatham, through danger, sickness and deprivation - but notably losing few men - to complete a chart used until the recent era of electronic mapping. Vancouver in British Columbia was named after him. Around 150 other American and Canadian place names, many reflecting his home county, were chosen by Vancouver and are still in use to today.
Posted on 03/21/2007 3:11 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 21 March 2007
Liberalism a luxury in this time of war
I was searching The Australian website looking for the report refered to in this BBC story (Islamic clerics in Australia are being encouraged to volunteer as firemen and lifeguards, to improve the image of the Muslim community.  The request came from Tom Zreika, president of the influential Lebanese Muslim Association, in a report set to be discussed by clerics this weekend.) when I came across this article by Janet Albrechsen,
The post-Cold War peace has given rise to a comfortable and complacent liberalism, a liberalism that caused what the 9/11 commission report called a "failure of imagination" in understanding Islamist terrorism.
Whichever way you cut it, the civil libertarians do the bidding of terrorists when they cling to the halcyon days of peace without threats. Close down Guantanamo Bay? Excellent news for the infidel killers. Junk the military commission? Even better. Overturn anti-terrorism laws? Great news for those in our suburbs plotting our destruction. Claiming the high moral ground, the Law Council of Australia and its confreres say it's all done in the name of individual liberty and justice, of course.
The problem is that using perfect justice - a Rolls-Royce legal system beloved of the legal lobby - for terrorists means treating them like ordinary criminals.
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is proof why that can no longer apply. His confessions last week suggest he is the Mr Big of terrorism. . . Now, maybe KSM is just an Islamist braggart who figures if you're going to meet your maker and a bevy of blessed virgins, better to beef up your CV. But boasting aside, KSM is evil.
Yet sure enough, out came the claims that the guy confessed under duress because he has been detained for years, most recently at Guantanamo Bay.  As one American pundit told ABC radio, Gitmo is the problem. (Right about now, we're due to see a photo of KSM as an angelic nine-year-old.) Actually, Gitmo is part of the solution of keeping enemy combatants off the battlefield.
We don't know what happened to KSM during his detention. In his evidence to the Combatant Status Review Tribunal, he claimed mistreatment. But he also said his confession to that tribunal was not coerced. If you still think the confession is bollocks, (this lady doesn’t mince her words! Ew) go to the evidence amassed by US authorities, as outlined in paragraphs (a) to (v) of the unclassified transcript of the tribunal's proceedings released last week.
And so, fortunately, Guantanamo Bay is home for this enemy combatant for some time to come. Just as it has been for David Hicks. Those who continually cry "Too long" have missed the problem here. There is a war on. Peacetime justice does not work in a time of war.
US ambassador Robert McCallum has revealed that of the 335 detainees released from Gitmo to date, about a dozen have been recaptured or killed after they resumed playing Jihad Joe on the battlefields in Afghanistan or Iraq.
It's a dangerous mistake. These guys don't reform like your run-of-the-mill peacetime criminal.  Terrorists are not ad hoc robbers planning a bank heist. Their aim is to kill us. Lots of us. Taking them at their word means adjusting our liberalism. Failing that, our liberalism will be our downfall.
Posted on 03/21/2007 3:46 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 21 March 2007
Israel singled out

From Harry's Place:

Number of resolutions criticizing Israel (pdf) for its treatment of Palestinian women approved by the UN Commission on the Status of Women at its 51st session: 1

Number of resolutions criticizing the Palestinian Authority for the situation of Palestinian women: 0

Number of resolutions criticizing Iran for beating and imprisoning women's rights demonstrators or approving the stoning to death of alleged female adulterers: 0

Number of resolutions criticizing Saudi Arabia for prohibiting women from driving, traveling unaccompanied by male relatives or voting in municipal elections: 0

Number of resolutions criticizing Sudan for supporting the Janjaweed militia, which engages in mass rape of women in Darfur: 0

Number of resolutions criticizing any country other than Israel for anything: 0

Number of countries with worse women's rights records than Israel: Substantially >0

The resolution singling out Israel was approved by a vote of 40 to 2. The US and Canada opposed it.

Good for them. The UK should have opposed it too, and should oppose any resolution that mentions Israel, even in passing. I think the UN is a waste of space in any case. Islamic countries and China do not belong in the same club as democracies.

Posted on 03/21/2007 5:05 AM by Mary Jackson
Wednesday, 21 March 2007
Seething Email to Leeds VC is Worth a See, Despite Being Worth Less for Spelling
A regular reader, Alan has pointed us to the blog of Civitas, the Institute for the Study of Civil Society, wherein is reproduced one of the e-mails sent to the Vice Chancellor of the University of Leeds.
Leeds University recently cancelled at the last minute an advertised public lecture organised by its German department on how the Nazis fostered anti-Semitism in the Middle East.
The University vehemently denied cancelling the lecture in response to complaints from its Muslim students.
Below is the text of an email to the University’s Vice-Chancellor sent in advance of the cancellation of the lecture by an engineering student there who, apart from his name, signed himself former head of its ‘Palestinian Solidarity Group’.
The text of the email, complete with original misspellings,(!) was published last Friday in the Jewish Chronicle, a weekly newspaper catering for Britain’s 300,000-strong Jewish community.
‘To the Vice-Chancellor of Leeds University…
‘I have noticed the following on our University Website: Lecture: Wednesday March 14, Hitler’s Legacy: Islamic Antisemitism in the Middle East.
‘As a Muslim student and Arab, this has came across to me as a great shock. I already live with the rise of Islamophobia that this country creats [sic], and the lies passed here and there, but never thought it would get to an extent that an Academic Institution would bluntly advertise such a Talk.
‘ It is Absolutely disgracefull [sic] from the University of Leeds German School of Modern Languages and Cultures, to proide [sic] such a talk or at least such a title to students. The only intention that you have from doing this is to increase hatred, as I clearly regarded as an open racis [sic] attack. “Islamic Antisemitism in the Middle East!!??” Excuse me, but the middle east consists of Arab States, around 300 million Muslim Arabs, whomyou [sic] are accusing collectively buy [sic] such a title.
‘ I wonder what makes you speak of this? What would have happened if you were to speak about Hitler’s Legacy and the Israeli Zionist Anti-Palestinians? Would this not sound much better? Would it not be more logical?
‘The term Anti Semite is defined as Anti any descendant of Sam [see ocford dictionary], so how dare you speak of Islamic Antisemitism if Muslims and Arabs are Semites whether you wish or not.
‘I hope that this matter is looked into in the appropriate manner, for as an educational academic department, it is of total noncense [sic] to provide talks built on no Academic founded arguments. What difference are you to any illetrate [sic!!!] in the streets?
‘I know I sound harsh in the Approach, yet I feel I have not said anything compared to what I should say, knowing that you are attacking me and my race bluntly’.
Much of the website of The Jewish Chronicle is only available to members so I cannot supply you with a link to the original article. However:-
The Chief Executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews was also quoted by the newspaper as saying:
“We hear so much about what has to be tolerated to uphold the principles of free academic discourse. The decision taken by Leeds University strikes at the heart of this issue, with the administration now engaged in censorship of their own lecturers and running scared of those they fear offending -- all at the expense of those they have calculated they can ignore”
Islam is not a race. If you cannot spell, then use the "ocford" dictionary you apparently possess. If you will not take pride in your work then what are you doing at university?
Posted on 03/21/2007 5:37 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 21 March 2007
Women's liberation - the Hamas way

Some infidels, probably Freemasons or members of Rotary Clubs, have been putting it about that women are treated badly under Islam. The Hamas Charter says otherwise. From Tim at Harry's Place:

The Role of the Moslem Woman:
Article Seventeen:
The Moslem woman has a role no less important than that of the moslem man in the battle of liberation. She is the maker of men. Her role in guiding and educating the new generations is great. The enemies have realised the importance of her role. They consider that if they are able to direct and bring her up they way they wish, far from Islam, they would have won the battle. That is why you find them giving these attempts constant attention through information campaigns, films, and the school curriculum, using for that purpose their lackeys who are infiltrated through Zionist organizations under various names and shapes, such as Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, espionage groups and others, which are all nothing more than cells of subversion and saboteurs. These organizations have ample resources that enable them to play their role in societies for the purpose of achieving the Zionist targets and to deepen the concepts that would serve the enemy. These organizations operate in the absence of Islam and its estrangement among its people. The Islamic peoples should perform their role in confronting the conspiracies of these saboteurs. The day Islam is in control of guiding the affairs of life, these organizations, hostile to humanity and Islam, will be obliterated.
Article Eighteen:
Woman in the home of the fighting family, whether she is a mother or a sister, plays the most important role in looking after the family, rearing the children and embuing them with moral values and thoughts derived from Islam. She has to teach them to perform the religious duties in preparation for the role of fighting awaiting them. That is why it is necessary to pay great attention to schools and the curriculum followed in educating Moslem girls, so that they would grow up to be good mothers, aware of their role in the battle of liberation.
She has to be of sufficient knowledge and understanding where the performance of housekeeping matters are concerned, because economy and avoidance of waste of the family budget, is one of the requirements for the ability to continue moving forward in the difficult conditions surrounding us. She should put before her eyes the fact that the money available to her is just like blood which should never flow except through the veins so that both children and grown-ups could continue to live.

Posted on 03/21/2007 6:00 AM by Mary Jackson
Wednesday, 21 March 2007
The rest is

I'd say the film Die Grosse Stille sounds interesting—except that it's a nearly silent film.  Now playing in one location in New York City, Into Great Silence (English title) is drawing huge lines.  Why was it a hit in Europe?

Here's a synopsis:

In this contemplative documentary from filmmaker Philip Gröning, the Grande Chartreuse monastery opens its doors to the public for the first time since being founded by St. Bruno in 1084 to offer an intimate look at a lifestyle rarely experienced by those outside of the brotherhood. Located in the remote regions of the French Alps, near the Dauphiné Alps, the Grande Chartreuse is the top monastery of the Carthusian order. In this documentary, the lives of the pious monks of Grande Chartreuse are captured on film as director Groening adapts to their ascetic lifestyle for six months and captures their daily life without the intrusion of voice-over, musical score, interviews, or archival footage. ~ Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide

Finding silence and/or solitude in NYC is a challenge.  Perhaps this explains the lines.  I know I'll be queuing up at the Film Forum sometime soon.  (h/t: On the Square)

Posted on 03/21/2007 5:56 AM by Robert Bove
Wednesday, 21 March 2007
Lighten up

Much has been written about the process of growing up and growing older, but one aspect has received little, if any, publicity: as you get older, you acquire more keys and more light bulbs.


Keys first. When you’re very small, you don’t have any keys at all. Then you may have one key – to the lock on your bicycle. Later you may have a key to a small strongbox where you keep your diary and other things you don’t want your parents to see. Later still you get the key to your parents’ house, then to your college room or bedsit, then your car, then your flat (three or four keys in all) and to the drawer in your office, then possibly keys to the neighbours’ flats in case they forget them.


Keys are less trouble than light bulbs. Hardly a day goes by when I don’t change a light bulb. Esmerelda, I know, changes them for a living. It’s no joke, whatever they may say at this site. It wasn’t always so. As a child I had no light bulbs to call my own. For ages I just had one: a central ceiling light. Now, what with complicated light fittings and reading lamps, I have twenty-seven – in a two-bedroom flat. That sounds like a lot, but I’m talking about bulbs, not just lights. Reader, think about how many light bulbs you have in your home. It’s a lot, isn’t it? And the chances are that one of them will go at least once a week. They go more frequently in the enclosed light fittings, which are more fiddly to change.


Lighting is perversely inefficient. The sensible thing, say, in my living room, would be to have what I had when I first moved in – one bare 100 watt bulb. But this looked harsh and ugly. So I got a fitting with five globes, which actually gives off less light, and supplemented it with two reading lamps and a standard lamp. At some point I will change to low energy light bulbs, but they are usually the wrong size.


In a few years time I will have no choice. The BBC reports that conventional light bulbs are to be phased out in favour of energy-saving bulbs. This is sensible, but a bit of a shame:


Asked to reflect on the recent backlash against Thomas Edison's pioneering "invention", his great-great-grand nephew strikes a positive note: "It's served us well for over 100 years", says Robert KL Wheeler.


Edison's patented bulb, left, from 1880, and a more modern incarnation

The light bulb, says Brian Bowers, former curator of electric engineering at the Science Museum, ushered in the electrical age in the home. 

Today, no one pays a second thought to electric lighting, at least in the West. Our ability to banish darkness at the flick of a switch has upturned our lives, says Professor Roger Ekirch.

"It has transformed nearly a half of every day in terms of how we divide our time," says Prof Ekirch, author of At Day's Close: A History of Night-time. Before artificial light, night time was a time of "real and imagined fear".

The near-absolute anonymity of darkness accommodated horrific violence, says Prof Ekirch, as policing was largely impossible. The murder rate was five to 10 times higher in Britain, than today. Darkness was also the attendant of superstition and it's no coincidence that the intellectual enlightenment of the 19th Century accompanied the more tangible enlightenment.

At Day’s Close is a fascinating book, well worth a read, perhaps by candlelight to get into the spirit of it.

Posted on 03/21/2007 7:09 AM by Mary Jackson
Wednesday, 21 March 2007
In 18 years as a prosecutor I served under six different U.S. attorneys.  The cases are investigated and prosecuted by the assistant U.S. attorneys.  In all the changes of administrations I experienced, I can't remember a single time when the transition resulted in a major investigation — especially a corruption investigation — being shut down.  Certainly different U.S. attorneys had different priorities, but (as I've noted many times) law enforcement, when it is done properly, is not ideological or political, and corruption is piggy no matter who is engaged in it.  When I ran the satellite U.S. Attorney's Office in White Plains, we prosecuted a top Republican in Dutchess Country and a top Democrat in Rockland; my prosecutors were conservatives and liberals ... didn't make a damn bit of difference.  Felonies look the same no matter who's committing them, and law enforcement professionals go about their business professionally no matter what their political views may be.

New U.S. attorneys just don't come in an knock over all the furniture — not as a rule.  What I think is most regrettable about this controversy is that the political nature of U.S. attorney appointments (which are virtually always political) is being conflated with the day-to-day work of U.S. attorneys' offices (which is virtually never politcal).  Democrats should take heed.  They are surely entitled to score political points given the clumsiness with which this situation has been handled.  But they should bear in mind that they, too, have a stake in the well-deserved good reputation of the Justice Department.  They shouldn't make this worse than it is or gratuitously undermine people's confidence in the basic rectitude of the system.

Posted on 03/21/2007 7:32 AM by Andy McCarthy
Wednesday, 21 March 2007
White Cliffs of Dover
Posted on 03/21/2007 7:36 AM by John Derbyshire
Wednesday, 21 March 2007
A great lady indeed.

I don't have as high an opinion of Margaret Thatcher as some of my colleagues here at the NER but I wholeheartedly share with Derb in wishing Dame Vera Lynn a Happy 90th Birthday for yesterday.

This is her singing for an audience of RAF personel in 1942. I wish entertainers of comparable status today could do something similar for the men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Posted on 03/21/2007 7:47 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 21 March 2007
Lawyers Offer Pro Bono Legal Help To John Does In Flying Imam Case

Washington Times: Lawyers and a Muslim group say they will defend at no cost airline passengers caught up in a lawsuit between a group of imams and U.S. Airways if the passengers are named as "John Does" and sued for reporting suspicious behavior that got the Muslim clerics booted from a November flight.
    The six imams are suing the airline, Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Airports Commission, and the unnamed "John Does" to be named later, for discrimination, saying they were removed from the flight for praying in the airport.
    Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, a Phoenix-area physician and director of American Islamic Forum for Democracy -- a group founded in 2003 to promote moderate Muslim ideas through its Web site ( -- told The Washington Times his group will raise money for legal fees for passengers if they are sued by the imams. ...

Gerry Nolting, whose Minnesota law firm Faegre & Benson LLP is offering to represent passengers for free, says the judicial system is being "used for intimidation purposes" and that it is "just flat wrong and needs to be strongly, strongly discouraged."
    "As a matter of public policy, the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] presently tells traveling passengers to report suspicious behavior as part of its homeland security program," Mr. Nolting said. "This has nothing to do with race or ethnicity, but trying to intimidate and discourage reporting of suspicious behavior and [also discourage] the promotion of safe travel."
    Tom Malone, another Minnesota lawyer offering his services pro bono, says the lawsuit is "a very overt attempt to intimidate people" and "coerce them into silence."
    Appearing yesterday on Fox News, Dr. Jasser told Neil Cavuto, "Americans are going to be more afraid of Arabs and the Muslim community for fear of being sued. Why spend money on litigation when we should be spending it on fighting terrorism?"
    Passengers and the flight crew say the imams were disruptive, did not take assigned seats, asked for seat-belt extensions they didn't need, loudly criticized the war in Iraq and President Bush, and shouted about al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. The men were escorted off Flight 300 to Phoenix, handcuffed briefly, searched and questioned for several hours by airport police and members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Posted on 03/21/2007 7:59 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 21 March 2007
Some are celebrating their birthday today chanting

Speaking of monks, denizens of the Monestery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia are celebrating its 62nd birthday today.  Though Trappists, they produce no ale, contenting themselves with production of killer fudge and suprisingly good fruitcake.  

We love the abbey, occupying one of the last large bucolic tracts not swallowed by them greedy reveneurs out of Greater Atlanta.

Posted on 03/21/2007 8:02 AM by Robert Bove
Wednesday, 21 March 2007
Who Is Issuing Those Passports and Visas?

A few questions on Emerelda's post yesterday. Are Muslims anywhere in the West now working in the passport-issuing services? Are they working in the immigration and naturalization services? Are they privy to plans for investigating fraud that might allow fellow Muslims to remain in this or other Western countries, or allow them to bring in plural wives, or in other ways fiddle the system?

Muslims are taught that the world is divided between Believer and Infidel. They are taught that they have a duty to participate, always collectively but sometimes, as well, individually, in the Jihad, the struggle, to remove all the obstacles of Islam that remain anywhere, and ultimately, to ensure that the entire world comes under Islamic rule (even if some non-Muslims are left alive, subject to the Shari'a or Holy Law of Islam, which provides the legal framework for the treatment of non-Muslims under Muslim rule). It is not a choice that Muslims can take or leave. The duty of Jihad is so central to Islam that it has been called the Sixth Pillar of Islam. If it is not always and everywhere apparent, that is because many people are naive and assume that the only form that Jihad takes is that of the bomb and the gun.

Not at all. Jihad includes use of the "wealth weapon." It includes the use of "pen, tongue" -- that is speech, that is propaganda, and by propaganda one means propaganda on behalf of Islam to spread it among others, or to defend it from those who would too critically, and in too well-informed a manner, examine its doctrines and its practice. It includes, therefore, the well-financed campaigns of Da'wa all over the West. It includes the well-financed campaigns to build mosques and madrasas and other Muslim institutions, including such organizations as CAIR and concolorous groups designed to put up obstacles to every attempt by Infidel peoples and governments, however haphazardly and mildly (and to date all efforts have been most mild, most haphazard) to defend themselves against a very clever, and tireless, and creative enemy, that will never stop, and cannot possibly stop -- because Islam directs Muslims never to stop, until they have achieved the final goal: a world under Islam, a world where, everywhere, Islam "is to dominate and is not to be dominated."

A failure of imagination, based on an underlying failure of intelligence and knowledge, explains much of the Western world's helplessness and seeming hopelessness. And the damage to morale of the West, done by measures undertaken that are the wrong measures, directed at the wrong goals, and squandering enormous resources and damaging morale, not least among the subset of the population (the people who go into the Army, the Reserves, the National Guard) and their families, in what is clearly an effort based on the naive notion that

1) this is a "war on terror" not a war against all the instruments of Jihad
2) that Islam is essentially okay, and most Muslims just fine, and it is only "extremists" who have "hijacked" or otherwise "misused" a "great religion" that are the problem, and that therefore the only thing to worry about is the absence of "freedom" in the Muslim countries.
3) that we need not concern ourselves with demographic changes or campaigns of Daw'a because, you see, Islam is essentially just one more "religion," and all "religions," as Bush can tell you, deserve our respect.

At this time, in the history of the West, we have such people as Bush and Rice and Karen Hughes among us. It is they who are making policy. It is their understanding of, their knowledge of, Islam that is causing American troops to be sent, repeatedly, to Iraq, and for the costs of that war to rise -- in present and incurred costs (see the studies, even now out--of-date, of Joseph Stiglitz and Bilmes in this country, and Keith Hartley in Great Britain), and even if macroeconomic costs are discounted, the minimum now is estimated, reasonably, at one trillion dollars.

What could have been done to fight the Jihad, with propaganda, with energy projects, with educating Infidels everywhere, with one trillion dollars?

What do you think? Do you think that more has been accomplished, in checking the instruments of the world-wide Jihad, by this attempt to bring "democracy" (in the form that it has been understood by Bush and Rice -- i.e. mere head-counting, without any of those guarantees for individual rights, and legal equality for everyone, including women and religious and ethnic minorities, that are the distinguishing features of advanced western democracies?) to the "ordinary moms and dads" in the "Middle East"? Can you explain to yourself that if Iraq were to remain a single country, and even were it to be lavished with still more tens or hundreds of billions of dollars in American taxpayers' money (though Iraq sits on the second-largest reserves of oil in the world, and might borrow against future revenues) that this will somehow have an effect on the Muslims killing Buddhists in southern Thailand, or imposing the Sharia' in certain states of northern Nigeria, or continuing to oppress Christians in the southern Sudan? How will a unified (why? why should it remain unified?on what theory?) Iraq lessen the campaigns of Da'wa in London and Bradford, in Paris and Marseilles, in Newark and Detroit and Los Angeles? How? What is the relation between the stated goals, or confusedly stated goals, of the Administration in Iraq, and winning, not merely that "war on terror," but any part of the war, anywhere, against all of the other instruments of Jihad?

All the Administration has to go on at this point is its own obstinacy, and its own ability to rally the unthinking supporters, who are to be whipped up with phrases such as "we can't accept failure" (what failure? what failure results from leaving Iraq, and letting ethnic and sectarian fissures divide the Camp of Islam?) or until "we've accomplished the mission" (what mission is that, pray tell?) and then there is the usual flogging of the usual suspects, the "cut-and-runners" (here insert any names of any political idiots on the left you choose: Cindy Sheehan, or Jane Fonda, or Noam Chomsky. There, feel better? Feel as though that is a suitable defense for the war in Iraq, and that explains, or explains away, the idiocy of the policy, and the one trillion dollar expense? Merely by invoking "Cindy Sheehan" and such phrases as "moonbats" -- that does it for you? My, if so, you are easily pleased).

The colossal mess of Tarbaby Iraq has become, at this point, the greatest failure in American history. The sheer size and scope and monumentality and variousness of this catastrophic squandering of resources, based on the almost willful ignorance of Islam not only of the major figures in this Administration, but of those in all the previous Administrations, including those gray figures who keep appearing, James Baker, or Brent Scowcroft, not to mention the pious and evil simpletons like Carter. These are Yesterday's Men. They haven't a clue about Islam. For all I know, they really do think Saudi Arabia is our "ally" if they may have by now concluded it is no longer our "staunch ally." None of these people did a thing to undo, or at least recapture oligopolistic rents, from OPEC by having us tax ourselves. None of them has gotten away from the idea that the Arab-Israeli "problem" must be "solved" because none of them understands that there is no "solution" short of the total disappearance of Israel as a Jewish state that will ever satisfy any of the Arab Muslims - and the Slow Jihadists of Fatah and the Fast Jihadists of Hamas do not differ the slightest on their ultimate goals, but only on their timetables and their tactics.

Muslims in this country are not all working tirelessly for the Jihad. Some are indifferent. Some are indifferent now, but can become far less indifferent -- and often for reasons having nothing to do with politics, but rather with hard-or-impossible-to-discern personal problems, or even depression, and then they have, ready-made, not only the solace of Islam, but the mental and emotional grid that causes them to see Infidels as the reason, Infidels as the cause of all that is wrong, in the world as in their lives, and to act accordingly -- as "Mike" Hawash did, or that would-be killer at Chapel Hill, or so many others, who seemed "moderate."

The expensive farce of Tarbaby Iraq makes it more, not less, difficult, to summon up public support for the kind of intelligent measures (not machiavellian, not ruthless -- merely the same kind of intelligent measures that, say, the Americans or British would and did undertake during World War II in regard to suspected sympathizers with the enemy). If one understands the teachings of Islam, and the psychology of Muslims - and don't ask me, or Robert, if you don't trust us, but ask instead Ibn Warraq, and Ali Sina, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and all of the "defectors" from the Army of Islam who did not suddenly forget their entire life histories, as Muslims, when they left that army -- and are here to report the truth about it to the Western world, if only that world were intelligent enough, and paying attention enough, to listen.

What about those passport-issuing offices? What about that INS? And who, in the Muslim lands, is working in our embassies and consulates, and interviewing smiling locals (the girls carefully taking off their burkas and even hijabs, and affixing lipstick and putting on high heels, just around the corner from the embassy or consulate, before they enter for their interview -- but they needn't worry overmuch, because the American State Department, in its infinite wisdom, is entrusting these vetting interviews, in so many cases -- for example in Egypt and Syria -- to locals named Mohammad and Osama and Jihad.

Posted on 03/21/2007 8:12 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 21 March 2007
Political Goals For Religious Reasons

"You can't have agreements while this kind of hatred is inculcated in the children," Knesset Education Committee Chairman Michael Melchior (Labor-Meimad) said on Tuesday after seeing new 12th-grade textbooks published by the Palestinian Authority late last year.

"I intend to demand from Prime Minister [Ehud Olmert] that he present the findings [of a new report on the textbooks] to Abu Mazen [PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas] at their next meeting," Melchior said.

Melchior's statements at the Knesset followed a Palestinian Media Watch presentation showing Palestinian 12th grade textbooks teaching children in the PA that pursuing Israel's destruction was a religious duty. --from this news item

By the way, isn't it a religious duty? Aren't Muslims required to spread Islam until it everywhere dominates? And isn't any nation under Infidel control illegitimate? And isn't it true that this is a matter of highest priority in the case of lands that were once under Muslim rule, no matter how long or short that rule may have been?

Why not admit the following:

1) Yes, the destruction of Israel, or rather the goal of replacing a Jewish state with a state where "Islam dominates and Muslims rule" is a religious duty.

2) Yes, it is also a religious duty to do the same with Sicily, and Spain and Portugal, and Greece, and the Balkans (Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia), and it is also the case with Rumania, and Bulgaria, and much of Hungary, and much of southern Russia even outside the Caucasus. Yes, indeed.

3) Yes, it is also a religious duty of Muslims to recontrol all of Kashmir, and almost all of India.

4)Yes, t is a religious duty of Muslims to throw off Infidel rule wherever it may be imposed on Muslims, as in the lands of southern Thailand (an illegitimate, because Infidel, nation), in the Moro islands of the southern Philippines, and in many other places, including Ethiopia (where Muslims are quickly outbreeding the Christians).

5) Yes, it is a religious duty for Muslims to work tirelessly to convert Infidels -- to cause them to "revert" -- to Islam, and to use whatever it takes, whatever wiles and smiles and misinformation may be necessary, to get them to utter the Shehada and so be in, like Flynn, but never ever out, like anybody.

6) Yes, it is a religious duty for Muslims to work not only through campaigns of Da'wa, not only through deliberately overbreeding, in the Dar al-Islam (and then sending excess population to what are still the Lands of the Infidels, and thereby over time, to swamp them), and also in the Dar al-Harb.

7) Yes, it is a religious duty to ensure that in the end the whole world faces the same fate as Israel has been facing in its own attempts to defend itself, for the entire history of its tiny existence, that is a situation where Muslims will try, and try again, to overcome all resistance to the demands and claims of Islam.

8) Because, you see, it is only right, it is only just, it is the way that has been set by Allah. And Allah knows best: "Islam is to dominate and is not to be dominated."

Don't you dare question Allah, and don't you dare question Muslims, and don't you dare question Islam.

What was always there, what was never absent, what was only very thinly disguised, is apparently now out in the open so that only those who are desperate not to see it, that is only the governments of virtually every Western European nation, beginning with Norway, as well as the great majority of countries represented in the General Assembly, and of course such journalists as Robert Fisk, or for that matter Nicholas Kristof (a recent entry, who for a while in his heart-on-his-sleeve anguish over Darfur gave promise of possibly beginning to figure out Arab Islam, but he's retreated into quite a flurry of consistent Carter-worship-and-Israel-bashing), could ever have thought otherwise.

When "PMW director Itamar Marcus told the Education Committee it was the first time the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been depicted in Palestinian schoolbooks as a religious, rather than a territorial, conflict" surely he knew that this territorial/religious conflict distinction makes no sense. The "religion" or, better, belief-system of Islam, is, when it comes to the duty of Jihad toward Infidels, a central and not tangential duty that is owed by every Believer, the "territorial" is "religious" for that "religion" is all about land, all about all the lands in this world that belongs to Allah, and where, in every land, "Islam is to dominate and is not to be dominated."

I am sure that Itamar Marcus knows that. But perhaps he was playing slightly dumb just to get others to see what he, of course, must know perfectly.

Posted on 03/21/2007 9:46 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 21 March 2007
Vera Lynn and Dr. Strangelove
19. Dr. Strangelove: ' We'll Meet Again' - Vera Lynn Listen Listen
Posted on 03/21/2007 10:54 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 21 March 2007
The problem with Vera Lynn

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with the name Vera. Perhaps to Americans it sounds quite classy. This side of the Atlantic, however, rather than Vera Lynn, most of us are likely to think first of Vera Duckworth, a loud-mouthed, peroxide, Bingo-playing pensioner from the soap opera Coronation Street, who liked to pop into the corner shop and say: "Eeeh, gerrus a barm cake for us dinners."

Vera, in her sixties, is of an age to have been named after Vera Lynn. As I said here some time ago:

Nothing dates a person - I should say a woman, because female names are subject to the whims of fashion - more than bearing the name of a celebrity. How many Veras are under sixty? Or Marilyns under fifty? There will be two waves of Kylies, down-market Kylies from Ms Minogue's  "I should be so lucky" days and classier Kylies from her more sophisticated comeback years.

Unsurprisingly, I think it best to have a name that is neither fashionable nor unfashionable, and one which gives nothing away. Examples are Mary, Elizabeth, Ann, Julia, Susan, Katherine/Katy/Kate or  Christine/Christina. Any character or profession is compatible with these names, whereas if you are called Peaches or Fifi Trixibelle your chances of becoming Governor of the Bank of England are slim.

One more thing - where have all the Avrils gone?

Posted on 03/21/2007 10:59 AM by Mary Jackson
Wednesday, 21 March 2007
Sunni Jihad Groups Rise Up Against Al-Qaeda in Iraq

So much jihad, so little time... D. Hazan has the lowdown on the latest of what should be welcome news about the Sunni on Sunni fighting in Iraq. It's Al-Qaeda versus Kata'ib Thawrat Al-'Ishrin and Al-Jaysh Al-Islami among others.

Posted on 03/21/2007 11:09 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 21 March 2007
Hazleton Under Fire
In case you haven't heard, the town of Hazleton Pennsylvania is in court fighting the ACLU and others over their right to restrict the flow of illegal aliens into their town. This precedent setting case is being blogged daily here. It all started with "the murder of a man by illegal aliens and a 14-year-old illegal alien shooting a gun at a playground. People in the city are complaining that they're afraid to walk the streets in this old coal town with the massive influx of illegal aliens and crime."
Posted on 03/21/2007 11:50 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 21 March 2007
Gates' Definition of 'A Good Thing'

Proving the point that one can be a genius at some one thing and still be an idiot about everything else, Bill Gates speaking in Mexico said, "I'm a big believer that as much as possible, and there's obviously political limitations, freedom of migration is a good thing."

Posted on 03/21/2007 12:01 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 21 March 2007
The Origins of Morality

We have, of course, been arguing about that since Plato.  Writing in yesterday's NY Times, science editor Nicholas Wade profiles the ideas of Emory University primatologist Frans de Waal, who is carrying the banner of Humeian naturalism into the 21st century.

One of the fathers of modern American conservatism—Kirk, I think—said that you can't be a conservative unless you believe in a transcendent moral order.  Now, these findings about moral behavior in animals don't logically contradict the hypothesis of a transcendent moral order.  There might be one, and Dr. de Waal's chimps might be tapping into it, just a lot less efficiently than we do. 

Even to allow that, though, is to push the notion of human exceptionalism a few more millimeters towards the edge of the table.  "Look!—these animals are doing what we do, just not very well."  And naturalistic inquiries don't need to (and probably can't) offer ironclad logical refutation of supernaturalism.  They need only offer a sufficiently consistent and compelling alternative explanation from Nature.  Then more and more people will favor that explanation over the supernaturalist one. 

If Kirk was right (which I don't myself believe), there will then be correspondingly fewer conservatives.

Here is my NRO review of Wade's excellent 2006 book Before the Dawn.

Posted on 03/21/2007 12:19 PM by John Derbyshire
Wednesday, 21 March 2007
Yes, Civil War Was Predictable: See Islam, History Of

The problem with the analyses of so many people, from the time leading up to the Iraq invasion to the present, was, and is, their heavy reliance on the cold-war model of dictatorship (see Natan Sharansky) and either their gross ignorance of Islam or their refusal to include Islamic-based motivation in their analyses. Christopher Hitchens remains obstinate.

Question: Was a civil war not predictable?

Christopher Hitchens' non-answer: Only to the extent that there was pre-existing unease and mistrust between the different population groups in Iraq. Since it was the policy of Saddam Hussein to govern by divide-and-rule and precisely to exacerbate these differences, it is unlikely that civil peace would have been the result of prolonging his regime. Indeed, so ghastly was his system in this respect that one-fifth of Iraq's inhabitants—the Kurds—had already left Iraq and were living under Western protection.

Posted on 03/21/2007 12:37 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 21 March 2007
The Solution to Biotech Worries Is....

...a big, fat, new, expensive bureaucracy, says Francis Fukuyama.

Presumably this new authority will have the power to prevent me from going to Shanghai for my biotech procedure.

Posted on 03/21/2007 12:58 PM by John Derbyshire
Wednesday, 21 March 2007
A Demonstration of Will

AFP: Insurgents in Iraq detonated an explosives-rigged vehicle with two children in the back seat after US soldiers let it through a Baghdad checkpoint over the weekend, a senior US military official said Tuesday.

The vehicle was stopped at the checkpoint but was allowed through when soldiers saw the children in the back, said Major General Michael Barbero of the Pentagon's Joint Staff.

"Children in the back seat lowered suspicion. We let it move through. They parked the vehicle, and the adults ran out and detonated it with the children in the back," Barbero said.

Posted on 03/21/2007 1:07 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 21 March 2007
There is some sanity remaining after all
WND: After months of pressure, San Francisco State University has decided not to punish College Republicans it charged with desecrating the name of Allah by stepping on makeshift Hezbollah and Hamas flags at an anti-terrorism rally.

Led by the non-profit advocacy group Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, the public and some media outlets had called on the school to "uphold the students' constitutionally guaranteed right to free expression.

"We are relieved that SFSU has come to its senses and recognized that it cannot punish students for constitutionally protected expression," FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said. "But the fact remains that the university should never have investigated or tried them in the first place. This was a protected act of political protest, and it is impossible to believe the university did not know that from the start."

Posted on 03/21/2007 1:20 PM by Rebecca Bynum
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