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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 Saturday, 24, 2007.
Saturday, 24 March 2007
The Sun on the subject of 15 sailors kidnapped by mullahs
The Currant Bun, probably because it is read by a lot of servicemen and ex-servicemen (and women) is taking the seizure of 15 British sailors and Marines very seriously. According to today’s edition one of them is a Wren. There is also an interview with a Marine who spent days in Iranian hands 3 years ago.
THE fifteen Britons dramatically kidnapped in the Gulf were being held captive last night by members of Iran’s extremist Revolutionary Guard.
The elite troops — loyal only to the nation’s ayatollahs — surrounded the Royal Navy group in six powerful gunboats yesterday after the British seamen boarded a small Arab craft they suspected of smuggling cars in Iraqi waters.
The eight sailors, including a Wren, and seven Royal Marines from HMS Cornwall swiftly realised any resistance against the armoured vessels mounted with heavy machine guns would have been pointless, defence sources said.
Instead they were “arrested” and taken to a nearby Iranian base.
Yesterday afternoon, PM Tony Blair chaired an emergency meeting of COBRA — the government’s crisis management team.
Top brass, senior diplomats and MI6 bosses updated him on where they thought the team was being held.  Any immediate military response or rescue operation was ruled out to allow diplomatic negotiations to continue.
Mrs Beckett earlier confirmed the Brits had been in Iraqi waters and NOT Iranian territory. They were operating under a UN mandate to bust smugglers in Iraqi territorial waters that have long been disputed by Iran. The group were patrolling in the Shatt-al-Arab waterway near Basra — the Iraqi base for our forces.
Margaret Beckett’s response as detailed in The Telegraph tickled me, or would have were the situation not so serious.
"He (Iranian ambassador in London, Rasoul Movahedian) was left in no doubt that we want them back," said Margaret Beckett, the Foreign Secretary, referring to the missing servicemen. 
It had to be pointed out that she was referring to British servicemen and women; she could be referring to some tool she had lent a neighbour at the holiday caravan site, “I want those back please, but you can keep the pegs - I have plenty of spares,” is the tone.
Please pray for their safety, and for their families, and that our government will do the right thing.
Posted on 03/24/2007 3:04 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 24 March 2007
My cheap camera just doesn't get the job done
Posted on 03/24/2007 5:46 AM by Robert Bove
Saturday, 24 March 2007
NY Times Cultural Commissar Comes Clean

New Duranty Times managing editor Jill Abramson sets the record straight, as reported in Page Six:

Listen, it is not our obligation to like or care about the theater. It's our obligation to arbitrate it. We are the central arbiter of taste and culture in the city of New York.

Posted on 03/24/2007 6:11 AM by Robert Bove
Saturday, 24 March 2007
Polygamy in NYC

The city's "don't ask, don't tell" policy concerning this abhorent practice must end and the men involved should be prosecuted. The people's laws should be enforced. Is this so much to ask? Here is a story from the New Duranty Times with thanks to Maureen Mullarkey:

...No one knows how prevalent polygamy is in New York. Those who practice it have cause to keep it secret: under immigration law, polygamy is grounds for exclusion from the United States.

Under state law, bigamy can be punished by up to four years in prison,

No agency is known to collect data on polygamous unions, which typically take shape over time and under the radar, often with religious ceremonies overseas and a visitor’s visa for the wife, arranged by other relatives. Some men have one wife in the United States and others abroad...

And the picture that emerges from dozens of interviews with African immigrants, officials and scholars of polygamy is of a clandestine practice that probably involves thousands of New Yorkers.

“It’s difficult, but one accepts it because it’s our religion,” said Doussou Traoré, 52, president of an association of Malian women in New York, who married an older man with two other wives who remain in Mali. “Our mothers accepted it. Our grandmothers accepted it. Why not us?”

Other women spoke bitterly of polygamy. They said their participation was dictated by an African culture of female subjugation and linked polygamy to female genital cutting and domestic violence. That view is echoed by most research on plural marriages, including studies of West African immigrants in France, where the government estimates that 120,000 people live in 20,000 polygamous families...

[A woman in a polygamous situation] recalled terrible fights during the three months they all lived together. The conflicts continued after she paid for the first wife to move to another apartment. For eight months, the husband shuttled between the two, but he became abusive, she said. And when Ms. D was five months pregnant, he stopped showing up.

Like many West African women, Ms. D. had been subjected to genital cutting as a child, making sex painful. The other wife had not been cut.

“It’s not life, your man sharing a bed with another woman,” Ms. D. said. “You’re always thinking in your head, ‘does he love me?’ ”

Posted on 03/24/2007 7:28 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 24 March 2007
Jeffrey's Judas

That someone wishes to rehabilitate Judas Iscariot should come as no surprise. Rehabilitating villains, like debunking heroes, is commonplace in this age of moral relativism. Nor is it surprising that Jeffrey Archer feels himself equal to the task; his boundless self-confidence ensures that he feels himself equal - first among equals - to any task. What is surprising is that Francis Moloney, a biblical scholar, is his partner in crime.

I haven't read The Gospel According to Judas, but I have read this review of it by Dot Wordsworth, which tells me all I want to know.

The unbeatable duo of Judas Iscariot and Jeffrey Archer have teamed up to bring the world The Gospel According to Judas, published this week at a mere £9.99. The scholastic midwife to this monstrous birth is a previously respectable biblical professor called Francis J. Moloney. He must have copied out the bits from the gospels which provide the narrative links holding this novella together. They are printed in red type. Lord Archer is credited with the bits in black. He has chosen a strange register of English in which to work. I am glad it was not an elevated pseudo-Jacobean style. Instead it is a sort of Woman’s Realm novelese.

You know how on television news bulletins deaths are always dignified with the adjective tragic? Well, so they are here. The phrase ‘tragic death of Jesus’ occurs on page 1 and on page 2. For Christians, of course, the whole point about Jesus’s death is that it was not tragic. At first I took the phrase as an indication of the fictive Judas’s character. Since no character emerged in the subsequent 88 pages, this initial guess must have been mistaken.

Then, just as in advertorial travel pieces, the colourful people at the destination are referred to as ‘local’ or ‘locals’, so are the people of Palestine that Judas encounters. We find ‘corrupt local officials’ on page 6; ‘local fishermen’ on the same page; ‘local Jews’ on page 23 and ‘local people’ in Jericho on page 52.

Judas’s belief, whatever his later behaviour might indicate, is ‘passionate’ on page 2. Jesus ‘inspired confidence and passion’ on page 7. There is a reminder that Judas’s faith is ‘passionate’ on page 14; by page 70, Peter is responding ‘with even more passion’.

Motive is not notably varied. On page 17 ‘several of the Elders walked out of the Synagogue in disgust’; on page 18 ‘Judas walked away in disgust’.  

Among curiosities of language are chastise in the sense of ‘denounce’ on page 22, and a nicely misattached participle on page 16: ‘vast crowds gathered around him, despite having told his followers not to talk about his good deeds’.

Never afraid to cast the first cliché, Lord Archer writes of a Sadducee’s ‘most cherished beliefs’ (page 68). Like a puzzled executive on a management-course, ‘Judas could not understand why Jesus was challenging them in this manner; had they not proven their commitment?’

Posted on 03/24/2007 7:54 AM by Mary Jackson
Saturday, 24 March 2007
Gates & Condi Wanted to Shut Down Gitmo

Read it and weep, from today's NYT.

Note that the statutes congress has enacted since 2005 to deal with enemy combatants — and to constrain the authority of the United States courts to interfere and construct an alternative system for judicial supervision of wartime military detentions — expressly assume that the combatants will continue to be held outside the United States (i.e., outside the jurisdiction of the U.S. courts) in Gitmo.  If the combatants are brought here, all bets are off.

If this story is true, it is simply stunning that cabinet officers running this war would urge bringing the combatants into the territorial United States without any procedure on the books prescribing how their detention and trials would be handled — leaving it to the courts to make it up as they go along.

I've urged the creation by congress of a national security court with carefully drawn procedures so we no longer have to worry that the rights of alien enemy combatants in the war on terror are determined by something as arbitrary as whether they are held in Gitmo, or Afghanistan, or Pittsburgh.  If the administration doesn't want to push for something like that, fine.  But how could we even think of bringing these people here without a good idea of what that would portend as a matter of law?  And why?  To impress whom?

Do Gates and Rice know the state of the evidence against each of these guys?  Do they know whether, with respect to each one, we have sufficient evidence we can use in American civilian courts if the U.S. courts end up holding that, because the combatants are within their jurisdiction, proceedings against them must accord with the evidentiary rules that apply in our civilian courts?

How could we possibly think about bringing these guys here without knowing such things?

Given how much we have bashed AG Gonzales over the last couple of weeks, it is worth noting that the report indicates that he, in conjunction with Vice President Cheney, beat back this foolish idea.  Good for them.

Posted on 03/24/2007 8:02 AM by Andy McCarthy
Saturday, 24 March 2007
Nice Spectator cartoon

Modern family values neatly encapsulated here:

"Could you ring back later, I’m having supper with the family..."

Posted on 03/24/2007 8:08 AM by Mary Jackson
Saturday, 24 March 2007
House OKs Timetable for Troops in Iraq
WASHINGTON (AP) - A sharply divided House voted Friday to order President Bush to bring combat troops home from Iraq next year, a victory for Democrats in an epic war-powers struggle and Congress' boldest challenge yet to the administration's policy.

Ignoring a White House veto threat, lawmakers voted 218-212, mostly along party lines, for a binding war spending bill requiring that combat operations cease before September 2008, or earlier if the Iraqi government does not meet certain requirements. Democrats said it was time to heed the mandate of their election sweep last November, which gave them control of Congress.

"The American people have lost faith in the president's conduct of this war," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. "The American people see the reality of the war, the president does not." ...

Republicans were almost completely unified in their fight against the bill, which they said was tantamount to admitting failure in Iraq...

"What we're trying to do in this legislation is force the Iraqis to fight their own war," said Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., who had helped write the bill...

Posted on 03/24/2007 8:20 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 24 March 2007
Telling Friend From False Friend From Foe

According to a U.S. Army report out of Iraq obtained by U.S. News, American troops, acting as advisers for Iraqi border guards, were recently surrounded and attacked by a larger unit of Iranian soldiers, well within the border of Iraq. --from this news item

Can the American soldiers trust the Iraqi soldiers with them not to be agents of Iran, or to change sides once surrounded by Iranians? How likely is it that Iraqis who are Shi'a feel they have more in common with the non-Muslim Americans than with those they have so much in common with, and with whom they may have walked side by side on a pilgrimage to Karbala, a year or five years before?

The bomb that exploded in the "private mosque" of the Sunni Vice-President, Mr. Zubaie, which also killed his brother, five of his own security guards, and the imam, was apparently set off by one of the security guards who had turned, or perhaps never was to be trusted.

Now ask this: if a Sunni, living in Iraq, cannot tell whom he can trust, cannot be sure of his own security guards and is almost killed by the bomb set off by one of them, how can the Americans conceivably tell friend from false friend from foe? How?

It can't be done.

It is cruel, it is wrong, to expect American soldiers to be able to do this. Anyone can come up with a "mission" and then assign that "mission" and then talk about how that "mission" is to be completed. But there is a reality: the reality of Islam, the reality of deception, the reality of impossible weapons dumps to guard (that weren't guarded) the reality of trying to pacify several different groups that lack any sense of compromise and will not, cannot, come to some understanding that non-Muslim peoples might be able to, the reality of the "war is deception" that is ingrained and practiced, above all, against those kindly, naive, incredibly innocent and ignorant American officers and men, still trying to complete an impossible "mission" put on them by Bush and his advisers who, at home, prate about the wonderfulness of Islam, and at Eid al-fitr, tell us - Bush and Karen Hughes have told us -- about how splendidly the three "abrahamic" faiths get along, and always have, and always will.

This is intolerable.

Posted on 03/24/2007 8:31 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 24 March 2007
Third Time Lucky?

Two weeks ago the American Enterprise Institute, with all kinds of its associated panjandrums -- members, friends, supporters, admirers -- present, gave the "Irving Kristol Prize" to Bernard Lewis.

In the audience was Vice President Cheney, who is reputed to be, if not an acolyte of Lewis, at least someone who thinks of him as the last word on Islam and how to deal with Islam. He apparently reveres Lewis' acuity, and all that "greatest-living-scholar-of-Islam" stuff (god, how it rankles, and god how untrue, and god, how silly, up there with the description of colleges as "world-class" and the usual inflation and exaggeration that has crept into everything).

Lewis crept up on, but never quite got to, various topics. He alluded quickly, in his scattered, a batons rompus discussion, this or that topic, then skittered away or went on to something else. Nothing was concluded, nothing was said that told you where Lewis stood about matters today. He didn't praise the "war on terror" and he didn't attack the "war on terror." He never said that the phrase "the war on terror" is a misleading thing.

Instead, he pretended to be ony an historian deliberately au-dessus de la melee, who would provide an historian's perspective. He mentioned how, centuries ago, Muslim jurists in Morocco were asked if it was licit for Muslims to continue to live in the Iberian peninsula, but under non-Muslim rule, and they were told that they were not. And then, the audience waited to hear what he might say about Muslims living in Europe today, and how they manage to reconcile the idea of refusing to live under rule by non-Muslims with, for example, their new strength in numbers and money and easy links, through technology (telephone, Internet, airplanes) to Dar al-Islam, that make them able to remain in Europe, but not be of Europe, and not have their Islam weakened by distance but often strengthened.

He said nothing about this, quickly going on to something else.

And then he did something that was truly astonishing. He had mentioned the two Muslim assaults on Europe: the Arab one that ended in the West, near Poitiers with the victory of Charles Martel in 732. And the one that started in the East, with the Turks, which was marked by the two assaults on Vienna, the second one in 1683, the high-water mark of Ottoman power in Europe.

And so, just toward the end, was this unremarked but remarkable sentence:

"Third time lucky?"

And that was how Bernard Lewis, sage of the age, the man whom so many in the Pentagon took as the last word because, you see, compared to Esposito and MESA Nostra he may appear to be that last word, dealt with the most terrifying danger to the survival of the West ever -- that of the Muslims now settled deep within that West, and playing not only on the two pre-existing mental pathologies of antisemitism and anti-Americanism, but also on the sentimental weaknesses of the entire Western world, that has forgotten its own achievements, the legacy that needs to be protected, and its own superiority to Islam and everything about Islam. Indeed, such words as "superiority" and "primitivism" are no longer used, are regarded as somehow smacking not of all of those in the past -- and that was everyone -- who might have used them (including William James, including Jacques Barzun) -- but necessarily of "race superiority" or assumptions about those living in what is wrongly called "the Third World." Such words need, however, to be brought back, if the Western peoples are to visit their museums and libraries, and law courts, and newspapers, and the deliberations of their parliaments (however unseemly their current leaders or those "taking a leadership role") and realize that yes, the civilization they inherited is indeed not only different from, but could never for a minute have been produced by, the world of Islam. And they need to realize also that the whole thing can go under, not through "terrorism" (though that has its place) but through Da'wa and demographic conquest, if not now opposed, halted, and reversed.

And all Bernard Lewis could do was allude to this, archly and quickly, thus trivializing the matter that should have been the subject of a serious lecture devoted to the matter of the islamization of Europe, and the instruments of that islamization, and the terrible waste, in every sense, of that war in Iraq for which Lewis, too, bears responsibility. He has been telling friends that that responsibility does not belong to him, his influence was really quite exaggerated, so much was done wrongly. This is a not-untypical response by Lewis, who still gets angry when forced to declare he was wrong about Oslo and has yet to tell us WHY he was wrong about the Oslo Accords, what he didn't understand. Was it Arafat only, or was it Islam and its deep effect on the minds of men, that Lewis, friend of Prince Hassan and of Ahmed Chalabi, those most unrepresentative men, just has never quite gotten? He has gotten it in books but not grasped it, the way, for example, that St. Clair Tisdall, or Snouck Hurgronje, or Arthur Jeffery, or even that bookish man Joseph Schacht, grasped it? Has Lewis been led astray by his own admirers in the Arab world and among those Turks who revere him?

Whatever it is, he had a chance to talk about the islamization of Europe and how much more important it is than trivial and hopeless Iraq. But he couldn't. He was already compromised, and being Bernard Lewis that means never having to say you're sorry before the adoring crowd at A. E. I.

And so it was left to three little words to describe the Muslim assault on Europe today:

"Third time lucky?"

Posted on 03/24/2007 8:39 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 24 March 2007
Bill To Protect Public From Flying Imam Type Lawsuits

House Republicans are pushing legislation to protect airline passengers from lawsuits for reporting suspicious behavior that might be linked to a terrorist attack. -- from this news item

There can be no conceivable reason why anyone should oppose this legislation, and expressed opposition to such a bill, designed to un-inhibit the deliberately cowed, in a matter of universal concern, should be grounds for a party refusing to endorse, at re-election time, any such Representative or Senator.

Posted on 03/24/2007 10:05 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 24 March 2007
Bernard Lewis: “Either we bring them freedom, or they will destroy us.”

Bernard Lewis is not to be compared to Karen Hughes. He's very intelligent, and she's not intelligent at all. But he's not the last word on the subject of Islam, as lazy people seem to think or want to think,, and his inability to make sense of what he knows, and his behind-the-coulisses feline attacks on Bat Ye'or, his attempt, during the Oslo Accords nonsense, to prevent others from mentioning all of the violations by the "Palestinian" side (what did he hope to achieve, Bernard Lewis, by keeping such information quiet?), his love of having access to power, and working behind-the-scenes (he takes credit for urging the American government, for example, to threaten to cut a mere $30 million from Egypt's aid in order to secure a better judicial outcome for Said Eddin Ibrahim -- but why doesn't Lewis discuss with his powerful friends the entire matter of cutting all Jizyah-aid to Egypt? Why doesn't he discuss Egypt as a world center of anti-Americanism and antisemitism?). Lewis is feted in Istanbul by Ottomanists, and one wonders if the astonishing change in his own description of the mass murder of Armenians, which a few decades ago he had no difficulty calling by its right name and then silently changed his own texts, removed those words -- how much does that have to do with an Osmanli girlfriend, or Turkish friends who finally wore him down? And his recounting of anecdotes about his own bons mots (so well received, by the way) in Amman, where he is feted by Prince Hassan in his version of big-tentism, and likes to allude , to those connections, proof that -- unlike the espositos, who are merely despised hirelings -- he, Bernard Lewis, is truly accepted in the East as in the West, and he is particularly pleased to note the translations of his books into the languages -- Farsi, Arabic, Turkish -- of the Muslim East.

Yet he has never explained about his nearly-invisible treatment of non-Muslims under Muslim rule (a total of three paragraphs, two of them exculpatory, in his 400-page "The Middle East: The Last 2000 Years." No one has asked him why, after 80 years of Kemalism, Islam is back with a vengeance in Turkey, about which he once had such high hopes, and whether the example of Turkey might not hold lessons for non-Muslims about the persistence of Islam. No one has asked him if his friendship with Ahmed Chalabi, or Prince Hassan, or others might not have confused him, led him as others have, because of the personal charms and even munificence of certain semi-potentates, to take unrepresentative men for representative men, and what is dangerous, to base not sober policy but hopes and dreams on those cheats and charmers. And one wonders what Lewis, the celebrated student of modern Turkey (who left so much out -- see Speros Vryonis, see Vahakn Dadrian, see even a few younger and braver Turkish historians in the West) now thinks are the lessons, if any (or would he say that "historians are not in the habit of drawing lessons. Historians are engaged in something quite different." Coming from Lewis, who always resented not being listened to by the Foreign Office, and for the last quarter-century has loved being listened to by the powerful, such a remark must be taken as pure blague) that non-Muslims might have to draw from the example of Turkey. No one, above all, has asked him for some practical advice for the Western world, in attempting to halt the islamization of Western Europe, advice that goes beyond the vague, and disturbing, "either we bring them freedom or they will destroy us.”

What a remark. An astounding admission, that second part – “they will destroy us” coupled to a completely unhinged remark – [unless] “we bring them freedom.” That simply will not do.

Here is what Lewis must tell us, rather than simply assume that he, Bernard Lewis, can get away with offering up such a statement, and it is for the rest of us, having heard the oracle, to make sense of it, to fill in the mere details. No, that will not do, and the fact that Lewis is rich in years (90) and the recipient of honors should cut no ice, not in this case. Automatic respect for age is one of those “respects’ – like that which some accord any belief-system called a “religion” or that kind of automatic loyalty too many are too eager to offer this or that object of loyalty, even when it is not, or no longer, deserved.

He has to tell us what he means by “either we bring them freedom or they will destroy us.” How does that phrase adequately meet the case of the islamization of Western Europe? What guide to policy is that? And what does it mean to “bring them freedom”? Bring them freedom with “boots on the ground” that will ensure head-counting elections, or is there some other kind of “freedom” that Lewis has in mind? Is he willing to concede, at all, that the “freedom” or, in this case, the “democracy” which is brought by the West is inimical to the spirit and letter of Islam, or will he -- like Bush muttering darkly that those who would :”deny” that “Arabs” are not capable of democracy are “racists” (a misleading way to characterize those who point out the unremarkable and obvious truth that the belief-system of Islam emphasizes the collective and not the individual, has no place for individual rights and has no place for the rights to free speech, freedom of conscience, and free exercise, and equality for non-Muslims and women. But Lewis wants to have us all play a game of Let’s-Pretend so that somehow, in some way, we will manage to get through – and meanwhile the Muslim population of the Netherlands climbs from 15,000 to one million in little more than thirty years, and the Muslim colonies deep within the Lands of the Infidels expand relentlessly, as do the demands from those colonies for changes in the legal and political and social institutions of the Infidels.

And how do we “bring them freedom”? Apparently Lewis thinks that the way to “bring them freedom” is the same way it was brought in Iraq – by invasion, by boots on the ground. Does he still? Does he still think that Ahmed Chalabi, his friend, is “representative” of much more than…Ahmad Chalabi? How “representative” is Kanan Makiya? Or Rend al-Rahim? What about that good man, Mithal al-Alusi? Could Lewis possibly have confused his admiration and friendship for certain people, westernized, secularized, the members of a very special elite (whether Shi’a or Sunni) with the real Iraq, of the tens of millions? Could he? And could he have confused Prince Hassan (who isn’t all that great) with the real views of the people in Jordan, and the malevolent mischief that Abdullah as before him his father the “plucky little king” Hussein, are able to cause by confusing Western governments into thinking that these seemingly rational or at least semi-sensible people in any way “represent” Jordan, or “represent” the Arabs?

Lewis tells us “either we bring them freedom, or they will destroy us.”

And then he falls silent, briefly, and goes briskly on, to the next big topic given a few bright paragraphs, in his fatally flippant tour d’horizon.

That speech – read it, please, yourself – demands another one from Lewis -- one in which he will sum things up, tell us where and why he went wrong on the Oslo Accords, and where and why he was no naively enthusiastic ("the liberation of Baghdad will make the liberation of Kabul look like a funeral procession") about Iraq, and all those other things that he thought might actually be accepted (the most ludicrous being his promotion of Prince Hassan of Jordan, unnamed but obviously meant, as a Sunni "monarch" for Iraq that, Lewis appeared to believe, the Shi'a might accept -- that tells you something about how, when it comes to dour policy, Lewis has nothing in common with Kedourie or Kelly).

A while back I wrote here that Lewis was "chipping away at his own monument." With the rediscovery of the texts by specialists on Jews under Islamic rule, even his treatment of that subject, one which it was assumed Lewis certainly must know all about, must have read and taken intelligently into account everything, will be shown to have been completely insufficient and misguided.

He has been, for some, taken as the final authority, the "greatest living scholar" blah blah blah. Well, if "final authority" at all -- then in brief final authority. His writ no longer runs quite as it once did -- as the only apparent alternative to the espositos and mesanostrans. There are others, to be found in the library, and elsewhere -- such as the largely unheralded but acute Bat Ye'or -- who are there, not to take his place as "world's greatest authority" but to do something even better -- to offer studies, and advice, that is neither flippant, nor unduly influenced by considerations of personal vanity.

And not a moment too soon.

Posted on 03/24/2007 11:00 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 24 March 2007
Pied Palfrey

"Godefroi"-- nom de poste of a poster at JW

A little seeming digression or otstuplenie:

Frederic Godefroy is the author of the "Lexique de l'Ancien Français." And "Godefroy" or "Godefroi" rhymes with "palefroi" as in that rhymed fabliau about the not-quite-star-crossed young lovers, No. 8 in the somber grey series of Les Classiques Français du Moyen Age, founded by Mario Roques in 1910, published by Droz, of medieval French and Provencal texts, the one that is known as "Le Vair Palefroi" by "Huon le Roi" (that is, Huon de Cambrai). The title "vair palefoi" might be englished as "pied palfrey" so let's call the text, for English eyes, "The Pied Palfrey," which, that title will very soon go to show that the supposedly "archaic" word "pied" is in perfectly good current usage.

For it has been used, correctly, this very minute.

Now, to quote an old poet, "otstupnika prosti."

Posted on 03/24/2007 12:55 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 24 March 2007
Apology to Secretaries Gates and Rice

I owe an apology to Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for the inaccuracies and the strident tone of this morning's post regarding their reported support for the closure of Guantanamo Bay's detention facility for alien enemy combatants.  I leapt to a conclusion based on quick and shoddy research.  I still think there are very good reasons not to close Gitmo, but I was off-base in my legal argument and in the inference drawn from it that they were acting rashly.  For that, I am truly sorry.  I should have known better, particularly since I personally know and admire some of the very solid people giving them legal advice.

The bottom line is that, thanks to the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA), there is every reason to be confident that the legal rights of the detainees would not be expanded by the happenstance of their being held inside, rather than outside, the United States (which is to say, inside rather than outside the territorial jurisdiction of the federal courts).

So why did I screw this up and think otherwise?  Well, as I suggested this morning, law enacted by Congress with respect to the detainees does expressly assume they will be held at Gitmo.  That, however, is true only of the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, not the MCA.  The MCA basically reaffirmed the DTA in several respects (after the Supreme Court's 2006 Hamdan decision).  The shoddy mistake I made was in assuming, rather than taking the time to confirm, that the DTA definition of unlawful alien enemy combatants was carried over into the MCA.  In fact, the MCA makes an important, beneficial change.

To wit, the DTA had referred expressly to an "application for a writ of habeas corpus [or any other detention-based action against the U.S.] filed by or on behalf of an alien detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba."  (Emphasis added.)  The MCA, however, dropped this limiting reference to Gitmo.  Instead, it emphatically amended the federal habeas corpus statute (28 USC 2241) so that it now says the following:

Except as provided for in this subsection, and notwithstanding any other law, no court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider any claim or cause of action, including an application for a writ of habeas corpus, pending on or filed after the date of enactment of this Act, against the United States or its agents, brought by or on behalf of any alien detained by the United States as an unlawful enemy combatant, relating to any aspect of the alien’s detention, transfer, treatment, or conditions of confinement.

(Emphasis added.)  As the subsection (the new Section 2241(e)) goes on to prescribe, judicial review is limited, as it was in the DTA, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which can only hear challenges to the military's Combatant Status Review Tribunals and military commission trials after those matters have gone through the military justice system's process.

Consequently, from the standpoint of the jurisdiction of the United States courts, it should not matter whether the combatants are held in Cuba, the continental United States, or anyplace else.  If they are detained based on a determination by the Defense Department that they are unlawful enemy combatants, they get military proceedings and then limited civilian judicial review in the D.C. Circuit.  They do not get to ask the federal district courts to freelance.  Secretary Gates and Secretary Rice thus have every reason to be confident that bringing the combatants into the United States would not open a Pandora's Box of litigation.  Obviously, the combatants and their lawyers would try to get the courts to overturn the MCA, but they shouldn't prevail.

Finally, the issue currently percolating up to the Supreme Court, based on the D.C. Circuit's recent 2-1 decision in the Boumediene case, is whether the combatants have habeas corpus rights under the Constitution, as opposed to under the federal habeas statute.  I do worry that closing Gitmo and bringing the combatants into the United States would strengthen the combatants' claim to constitutional rights.  (The courts have held that even illegal aliens have constitutional rights in some contexts — being physically present in the United States can make a difference in a court's assessment of an alien's fundamental rights under our law.)  So I believe it would be tactically unwise to bring the combatants into the United States before the Supreme Court weighs in on their constitutional status.  Certainly, there would have been good reason for the Defense and State Departments to conclude that it shouldn't make a legal difference to the Supreme Court; but that hardly means it wouldn't make a difference.

In any event, I deeply regret the legal error and the tone of the post.  One can certainly disagree with the reported stance of Secretary Gates and Secretary Rice; but that stance is a respectable one, and it was wrong for me to have suggested otherwise.

Posted on 03/24/2007 1:25 PM by Andy McCarthy
Saturday, 24 March 2007
New Gonzales Revelations
Congress should not issue subpoenas to Karl Rove and Harriet Miers because the main point there is to inquire into whether the White House "meddled" politically in the firings of the U.S. attorneys.  Since the decision to nominate or fire a U.S. attorney is, in fact, an inherently political judgment that can only be made by the president, this is a silly inquiry.

To the contrary, congressional oversight of the Justice Department in general, and representations by Justice Department officials to Congress in particular, are a very big deal.  Indeed, the credibility of all lawyers attached to the Justice Department is of enormous importance.  Thus, there is not even a peep of protest — and there shouldn't be — about the two Judiciary Committees' demand for testimony from top Justice Department officials.  You can argue about whether Congress here is motivated by politics or bonafide good-governance concerns; but you can't credibly contend that Congress is not within its rights to inquire into how the Justice Department is being run and to expect adequate preparation and candor from any DOJ officials who testify or otherwise provide information.

Not only Congress but the federal courts rightfully expect that the Justice Department will be rigorously honest in its dealings with the other branches, the defense bar, and the public.  They expect the Justice Department to argue its positions zealously, but to be completely candid about the facts being argued about ... no matter how unflattering they may be.  So, for example, the Justice Department has a constitutional and ethical responsibility in criminal cases to disclose exculpatory information to the defense.  Naturally, the courts and the defense lawyers do not know what may be in confidential government investigative files.  The whole system depends on the trust of all the participants that the Justice Department will undertake to locate and reveal relevant information — even if the disclosure will cast the case or the Department itself in a poor light.

That is why I've always thought representing the United States as a lawyer is the greatest job on the planet.  No one gives you a medal for having integrity; it is assumed you have it or you wouldn't be there.  It is a standard to which the Justice Department and United States Attorneys Offices have held themselves throughout the years, no matter who was in charge.  When people fall short of that standard, they tend not to last very long.

Posted on 03/24/2007 1:30 PM by Andy McCarthy
Saturday, 24 March 2007
England v Italy Under 21.
We just got back from Wembley and it was very good.
We hadn’t even got on the train and we saw other families in England shirts on their way. By the time we pulled out of Neasden on the Jubilee Line the carriage was full of us. The buildings to the left cleared and someone called “There it is” and the whole carriage, even the lone Italian supporter turned, looked out of the window and gasped.
From the entrance of Wembley Station it looked even better. I thought that the twin towers should have been retained, but they wouldn’t have looked right with the new design, and the new design is very beautiful in its own right.
We crossed the road under the Bobby Moore Bridge (just too low for the mounted police to ride sitting up straight) and walked up what I still think of as Empire Way.
Inside the stadium everything seemed to be working very well. The stewards were friendly and there was a lovely family atmosphere, little girls in curly red and white wigs with their brothers wearing the Flag of St George as a cloak.
Apparently Wembley Stadium has more ladies toilets for its capacity than any other venue in the UK. There were still queues at half time but at the end of the match they had held up well due to the constant attendance of the housekeeping staff. You may think I dwell on this too much but 30 years ago in some of our sports and music venues things were not to standard.
The food was expensive – after the match we got a full meal each in a cafe in Wembley High Street for half what I paid for snacks all round. I didn’t get a programme because the queues were too long. But that was my only gripe.
Our view in the family section was beautiful. I don’t think there can be a poor seat in the whole stadium.  I could see everything, which to someone of 5’ tall who spent much of her youth on tiptoe on the terraces is a joy.
The flags came out, the players and mascots, the officials. A young music student called Katherine Zales sang the national anthems. I liked the Italian anthem, it sounded like opera, proper music.
I almost wanted it to rain so that I could see the moveable roof move into place.
The match kicked off.
Many years ago I read a description of the match between the Arsenal and Spartak Moscow in 1954, played in such thick fog that it was said that the Russians, who won 2-1 were so desperate to win that they put 12 men on the field and the referee didn’t notice. The writer said that “Then in the fog 1000 matches flared to light 1000 cigarettes.”
These days it was 1000 cameras flashed to take 1000 photos of the first kick. During which few seconds Gianpaolo Pazzini scored for Italy.
It was a good match which you will know ended in a 3-3 draw.  Pazzini went on to score a hat trick before being substituted. Blackburn Rover’s David Bentley scored a good first goal and Leroy Lita was impressive, yellow boots notwithstanding.
We performed the first Mexican Wave of the new Wembley.
For a professional sport’s reporters opinion of the match click here.
As I write we are listening to the radio commentary of the Senior team against Israel. I think we saw the better match.

 Above the view from Wembley way, below inside the stadium as the national flags are paraded.

Posted on 03/24/2007 2:54 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 24 March 2007
Matthias Kuntzel invited to speak at Oxford

Thanks to Pub Philosopher for this link to Matthias Küntzel 's website, wherein he gives his view of the cancellation of his lecture on “Hitler’s Legacy: Islamic Antisemitism and the Middle East” at the University of Leeds, AND the good news that he has been invited by the President of the Oxford Union to speak there later in the year.

Today, Alex Just, president of the Oxford Union, invited me to speak there. “This invitation,” he writes, “will not be retracted… It is in light of this example of what some might see as academic censorship that we are particularly keen to host you as a speaker.”

Posted on 03/24/2007 3:50 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 24 March 2007
Our Only Hope?

"Freedom." "Our best hope." "Perhaps even our only hope."

That's it? That's how Bernard Lewis reinforces Vice President Cheney's deep belief in the rightness of Tarbaby Iraq, because he, Lewis, cannot think of any other way?

What about truth-telling by those whose task it is to protect and instruct us?

What about mass education of Infidels, so that they will no longer be fooled, in the hundred ways that they can be fooled?

What about, once a sufficient number of Infidels have been instructed, swelling the calls for, and selling the cause of, a complete halt to Muslim migration to the Lands of the Infidels, on the theory that we cannot tell who is, or who will remain, or unto what generation they will remain, so-called "moderate" Muslims, and that in any case a "moderate" Muslim is merely a Muslim who chooses to ignore a good deal of what is inculcated by the texts and teachings of Islam -- that is, is a "bad" Muslim. And we cannot tell who is a "good" Muslim and who a "bad" one, and it is better for them, on the same theory by which anything is kept out or quarantined when it poses a certain risk -- and the risk that out of 100 Muslims ten or twenty or thirty or forty will be a very great risk indeed, and that the remainder, or some of them, might also turn out be such risks, and in any case whatever their disagreements over means, their ends -- to spread Islam until it "everywhere dominates" is inimical to the survival of the Western, superior civilization that is our legacy and that deserves to be preserved, protected, defended.

And what about using the pre-existing divisions within Islam -- ethnic and sectarian -- to weaken the Camp of Islam? Instead of thinking mainly of nation-states ("Iraq" or "Iran") think of the overall Camp of Islam, and how to divide and demoralize within.

And what about having lightning intrusions, as in the southern Sudan, where the American and other Western military can be sure of a good response, either because the people it is rescuing from the depredations of Arab Muslims are non-Muslim, as in southern Sudan, or non-Arab, and thus subject to the Arab supremacism for which Islam is a vehicle?

And what about taxes on gasoline, and on oil, to deprive Muslims of the "money weapon"?

What about a thousand things that might be done?

Oh, it's just too much for Bernard Lewis.

He prefers to warn us that Europe will be islamized before the end of the century (with that date getting closer and closer, the more he predicts), and that "our best hope" and "perhaps even our only hope" is to bring them "freedom."


Posted on 03/24/2007 4:28 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 24 March 2007
Pope: Europe Could Take Its Leave From History
VATICAN CITY (AP) - Europe appears to be losing faith in its own future, Pope Benedict XVI said Saturday, warning against "dangerous individualism" on a continent where many people are having fewer children.

"One must unfortunately note that Europe seems to be going down a road which could lead it to take its leave from history," the pontiff told bishops in Rome for ceremonies to mark the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome, a major step toward the creation of today's European Union.

Benedict said he was concerned about Europe's "demographic profile"—though he did not describe the trends that have alarmed the continent for decades...

Benedict expressed concern that Europe's population trends, "besides putting economic growth at risk, can also cause enormous difficulties for social cohesion, and, above all, favor dangerous individualism, careless about the consequences for the future."

"You could almost think that the European continent is in fact losing faith in its own future," Benedict said...

Posted on 03/24/2007 4:46 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 24 March 2007
Chipping Away

Pre-lectures tribute to Bernard Lewis included one by Reuel Gerecht, who was briefly his student, and the tribute is telling, but not in the way that Gerecht imagines it to be. For he, Gerecht, has been one of the promoters and stout loyalists of this whole Iraq fiasco, and one wonders if, at this point, Lewis if asked again whether he thinks the Bush policy of staying put makes sense, no matter what it has cost or is now costing in men, money (about one trillion dollars), matériel, morale (look at the military morale, look at how the officers and men who have served in Iraq think of that "mission" -- if they return, some of them, willingly, it is out of a sense of duty to fellow soldiers, not out of a devout faith in the Iraqis or in the "mission"), and in distracting this country, and what should be its allies in Western Europe, from the larger problem of Islam. That problem will not go away. And it will not be ameliorated, much less solved (the words "solved" and "solution" have no place here), by what happens in Iraq -- unless what happens in Iraq proves in the end to use up the men, money, matériel, morale of Muslims of various kinds.

What an idea. Could it be an idea whose time has finally, three years and three months late, come? Not according to Reuel Gerecht or other cheerleaders at My Weekly Standard. And not, one assumes, even privately, according to Bernard Lewis, chipping away at that rapidly-disappearing monument.

Chip. Chip. Chip. Chip. Chip.

Posted on 03/24/2007 4:49 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 24 March 2007
“Reaching out a hand for Islam”

A Norwegian pop singer named Åge Aleksandersen has gone over the edge as his latest lyrics posted by the Baron at Gates of Vienna indicate:

"You stone your mothers

Flog your sisters

Mutilate your daughters

Behind their veils

But I want to be your friend"

Posted on 03/24/2007 5:07 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 24 March 2007
The Old "They Were Spies" Story
INA: Deputy Commander in Chief of Armed Forces General Staff by confirming arrest of 15 British sailors by Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) naval forces in Iran's territorial waters on Friday March 23, 2007, said the sailors were under interrogation and have confessed violating Iranian territorial waters.

According to Armed Forces Media Department report on Saturday, General Ali-Reza Afshar said," the arrest shows our forces' readiness to defend the country at all times."

Deputy in Cultural Affairs and Defence Advertisement said repeated threats of enemies have caused promotion and growth of country's defence abilities adding the US and its allies know if they make a mistake in their calculations over the issue of invasion of Iran, they would not be able to control the dimensions of that miscalculation.

He pointed out the US was hopeful to end imposed war against Iran (by Iraq) in six days, but it took 8 years and Iraq was finally defeated too.

The way I remember it was a draw and in fact was never really resolved...

Posted on 03/24/2007 6:33 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 24 March 2007
"But What Can We Do?"

A note from our intellectual co-sponsor:

"When people accept futility and the absurd as normal, the culture is decadent. The term is not a slur; it is a technical label."

Jacques Barzun

Posted on 03/24/2007 7:43 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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