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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
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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
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by J. E. G. Dixon
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by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
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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 Friday, 28, 2007.
Friday, 28 September 2007
No,

Peter Brookes Cartoon Wont.

Shant.

Not no how.

Posted on 09/28/2007 1:24 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 28 September 2007
Damien Hirst's art springs a leak

From The Telegraph:

Damien Hirst has established a permanent place in the annals of art history. But some of his work is proving to be less long-lasting.

One of his bisected and pickled cows has sprung a leak and is undergoing emergency repairs amid growing worries about the integrity of the work produced by modern artists, The Art Newspaper revealed yesterday.

Staff at Oslo’s Museum of Modern Art were alarmed when formaldehyde started dripping out of one of the four glass tanks containing parts of sliced cow and calf that make up one of his most famous works, Mother and Child Divided (1993), a piece that helped him win the Turner Prize.

All four glass cases have had to be returned to Hirst’s studio in this country and Oslo, which says that Mother and Child Divided is its most popular work with visitors, does not expect repairs to be complete until next year.

Last year Hirst’s famous preserved shark - which goes under the title The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living - was found to be rotting soon after it was bought by the billionaire American hedge fund investor Steve Cohen from Charles Saatchi for a reported £6.5 million.

Perhaps such accidents are an occupational hazard for conceptual artists. Unlike paint or clay, your material can turn against you: a light can stay off in a power cut; a well-intentioned cleaner can make the bed; or a tank can leak. But do not despair, Damien - simply make the leak part of the art. The leaky tank and rotting meat can conceptualise man's failure to conceptualise within his own conceptual framework. You can charge double for it.

News just in: someone threw up all over Jackson Pollock's "drip" picture, which was bought for $140 million last year. It's now worth $280 million.

Posted on 09/28/2007 5:10 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 28 September 2007
Kagan, Still Spinning

Frederick Kagan's latest effort to convince Americans that his strategy, the "surge," is not only working for now, but should be continued indefinitely is in the WSJ this morning:

...Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the consensus of American strategists has been that the best way to fight a cellular terrorist organization like al Qaeda is through a combination of targeted strikes against key leaders and efforts to discredit al Qaeda's takfiri ideology in the Muslim community. Precision-guided munitions and special forces have been touted as the ideal weapons against this sort of group, because they require a minimal presence on the ground and therefore do not create the image of American invasion or occupation of a Muslim country...

This strategy failed in Iraq for four years--skilled U.S. special-forces teams killed a succession of al Qaeda in Iraq leaders, but the organization was able to replace them faster than we could kill them. A counterterrorism strategy that did not secure the population from terrorist attacks led to consistent increases in terrorist violence and exposed Sunni leaders disenchanted with the terrorists to brutal death whenever they tried to resist. It emerged that "winning the hearts and minds" of the local population is not enough when the terrorists are able to torture and kill anyone who tries to stand up against them...

What lessons does this example hold for future fights in the War on Terror? First, defeating al Qaeda in Iraq requires continuing an effective counterinsurgency strategy that involves American conventional forces helping Iraqi Security Forces to protect the population in conjunction with targeted strikes. Reverting to a strategy relying only on targeted raids will allow al Qaeda to re-establish itself in Iraq and begin once again to gain strength. In the longer term, we must fundamentally re-evaluate the consensus strategy for fighting the war on terror. Success against al Qaeda in Iraq obviously does not show that the solution to problems in Waziristan, Baluchistan or elsewhere lies in an American-led invasion. Each situation is unique, each al-Qaeda franchise is unique, and responses must be tailored appropriately.

But one thing is clear from the Iraqi experience. It is not enough to persuade a Muslim population to reject al Qaeda's ideology and practice. Someone must also be willing and able to protect that population against the terrorists they had been harboring, something that special forces and long-range missiles alone can't do.

"not enough to persuade a Muslim population to reject al Qaeda's ideology and practice"? So Kagan is telling us the ideological end of the war is already won. Islam is under control. Now all we need to do now is to protect these people from themselves and each other...forever.

Posted on 09/28/2007 6:31 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 28 September 2007
Dallas Oil Company Makes Deal With Iraqi Kurdistan

New Duranty: BAGHDAD, Sept. 27 — A senior State Department official in Baghdad acknowledged Thursday that the first American oil contract in Iraq, that of the Hunt Oil Company of Dallas with the Kurdistan Regional Government, was at cross purposes with the stated United States foreign policy of strengthening the country’s central government.

“We believe these contracts have needlessly elevated tensions between the K.R.G. and the national government of Iraq,” the official said, referring to the Kurdistan Regional Government. The official was not authorized to speak for attribution on the oil contract.

The tensions between Kurdistan and the central government go well beyond the oil law. Already a semiautonomous region for more than 15 years, Kurdistan in many respects functions as independent state and wants as much latitude as possible to run its region. Recently, the Kurdistan government has pushed to extend its borders to include nearby areas that have sizable Kurdish populations.

Hunt Oil, a closely held company, signed a production-sharing agreement with the Kurdistan Regional Government this month. The company’s chief executive and president, Ray L. Hunt, is a close political ally of President Bush and serves on the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board...

Putting aside the question of why a Dallas oil executive is on the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, this seems to be an indication the administration may be bowing to the inevitable and will allow Iraq to break up.

Posted on 09/28/2007 7:35 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 28 September 2007
A Fissiparous Iraq, A Fissiparous Iran

Iraq is one thing. The misunderstanding of Islam and of Iraq, the dreamy belief in the possibility, and benefit to Infidels, of bringing "freedom" and "democracy" to "ordinary moms and dads," the inability to recognize that Iraq is only one, and hardly the very important, theatre in the counter-Jihad (Western Europe is far more important, and the instruments are the Money Weapon, Da'wa, and demographic conquest, and seldom terrorism), and to work toward a result that weakens the Camp of Islam, the timidity and sentimentalism that prevents policy-makers even from hinting that such a result is best achieved through withdrawal because Sunnis will never acquiesce in their new diminished role and Shi'a never give the Sunnis quite what they demand, and this continued, possibly low-level battle, will affect Sunni-Shi'a relations in Pakistan, Lebanon, Yemen, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia, and that whatever further squandering of men, money, and matériel takes place inside Iraq, it will be not that of America but of various Muslim neighbors.

But Iran is quite another. The experience in Iraq has insured, thank god, that there will not be any more "bringing of democracy" to a Muslim state (but it could be brought to Myanmar, it could be brought to the southern Sudan). No land invasion is needed. There are ways to inflict great damage on Iran's nuclear project from on high.

And such an attack is best achieved during a Time of Troubles in Iraq, not a period of calm, when Iran will have its hands full worrying about spillover effects, in Khuzistan (where the Arabs can get restless, or have their restlessness increased), in the Kurdish areas of northern Iraq, and among the Baluchis and even Azeris.

Observing the fissiparousness next door, these non-Persians, who constitute half the population of present-day Iran, could permanently unsettle the Islamic Republic. The constant threat of dimidiation, in population and land area, followed by demise, may be enough to cause Iranians to view the nuclear project not as a source of national pride but a grave danger to the continued existence of their country, especially if the Arabs of Khuzistan (containing most of Iran's oil), Baluchis, Kurds, and even Azeris start to ActUp, start to MoveOn.

Posted on 09/28/2007 7:47 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 28 September 2007
The Political Minefields Of Islam

RICHMOND, Va. - A member of the state's Commission of Immigration resigned Thursday, a few hours after Gov. Timothy M. Kaine was told about online videos showing the appointee condemning Israel and advocating "the jihad way."

Kaine learned of the videos from a caller to his live monthly radio program and accepted the resignation of Dr. Esam S. Omeish about three hours later. --from this news article

One small step for mankind.

But the moral of the tale is this: in order to avoid a misstep that will come to haunt you, if you are a political figure, that will undoubtedly be used, at this point -- and with full justification -- by your political opponents as an example of your naiveté, or failure to exercise due diligence, do not meet with, do not have smiling photographs taken with, do not endorse in any way, and certainly do not appoint to any office, someone who believes in Jihad as a central duty, Jihad through whatever means. That includes almost every Believer. And do not accept, ever, either someone's claim to be a "moderate" or someone else's description of someone -- especially if that someone is in the hopelessly naive Interfaith Dialogue racket -- as a "great guy, no problem, he's really on our side."

Use your head. Enough running from all those in positions of political or academic or other power running around like candidates for Jay Leno's Jaywalkers.

Take, for example, the supposedly "tough" performance of Columbia University President Lee Bollinger, who still has yet to inform himself about Islam. Despite the tongue-lashing he inflicted on Ahmadinejad (and here fortiter in re, suaviter in modo, might have been just the ticket) he became helpless, nearly tongue-tied, when it came to answering back Ahmadinejad when he made his absurd remarks about, for example, Israel. Was it a surprise to Bollinger that that would have been raised? Was he unable to rise to the occasion, and to show up the idiocy of the claim, one so common as Bollinger should have fully anticipated it, that "the poor 'Palestinians' should not have to pay for the Holocaust." For god's sake. Someone well-informed, particularly dealing with the theme of the rights of non-Arabs -- Jews and Persians and Armenians and Copts to start with -- in the Middle East, and also who was given, on a platter, a chance to discuss Persian history and the successful Persian effort to prevent the arabization, and cultural and linguistic imperialism of the Arabs, that has been such a feature of islamization world-wide (and that would have amazed not just Ahmadinejad, but deeply shaken up Iranians back in Iran, and caused them to think). But Bollinger seems only interested in protecting himself, and no doubt preserving the loyalty of alumni. Has he lost the ability to study and think, in the heady rise to the top? Perhaps he can re-acquire that skill. It may inspire some of the undergraduates.

And now Virginia Governor Kaine has had to re-think, and so too has the man he was about to appoint, a man whom Robert Spencer has debated, has tapes of those debates, and can easily show that Esam Omeish lies (denying that death is the punishment prescribed for apostasy in Islam, with textual authority) and also has admitted that he looks forward to the extension of Shari'a across the United States. Had he been appointed, and that information come out and been widely distributed -- and it would have been -- it would have inflicted severe political damage, rightly, on Governor Kaine. There is no need for this, anymore than there was a need for Mayor Menino, without knowing a thing about Islam, a few years ago to enthusiastically support the building of that deplorable mosque, with all the behind-the-scenes below-market sale of city land and the Saudi connection and the BRA employee who, as far as is known, may still be on the BRA payroll. I know many people who have because of that permanently lost any enthusiasm they might have had for Mayor Menino.

For god's sake, did no one think to do a little googling? Or to check, say, with "The Investigative Project" or with "Jihad Watch" to see if there was anything about Mr. X that might, just might, be the kind of thing the governor or mayor or Congressman deciding whom to hire for his staff, would have liked to have known in advance? Or if not those sources, then others -- just something so that one is fully alerted to the real views, not the feigned ones that may be expressed, or the evasions of taqiyya-and-tu-quoque that by now we are all getting so used to, and that must be seen right through, and if not by the Great and Good of this earth themselves, then by members of their staffs, whose duty it is to guide and protect them from such blunders that, in the end, might prove fatal for those who commit them, in one way, and fatal, in quite another, much grimmer way, for those who those in brief (or not so brief) authority presume to instruct and protect.

Do your homework, for god's sake. Do it.

Posted on 09/28/2007 8:46 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 28 September 2007
Radio Derb
Posted on 09/28/2007 11:04 AM by John Derbyshire
Friday, 28 September 2007
Frivolous Fred Kagan

From Fred Kagan's My Weekly Standard article:

"The takfiris insist that anyone who obeys a human government is a polytheist and therefore violates the first premise of Islam, the shahada (the assertion that "There is no god but God"), even though Muslims have lived in states with temporal rulers for most of their history. The chief reason al Qaeda has limited support in the Muslim world is that the global Muslim community overwhelmingly rejects the premise that anyone obeying a temporal ruler is ipso facto an unbeliever."

A demonstration of severe mental confusion. Kagan appears to believe that Al Qaeda, because it preaches obedience to the Holy Law of Islam, argues that "anyone who obeys a human (!) government is a polytheist" -- that is, guilty of shirk. This is not what preaching against rulers deemed to be bad Muslims means. Rulers, ideally a single Caliph, who is true to Islam, heads a "human" government that can be obeyed. Indeed, the duty of a good Muslim is to obey any ruler who is himself a good Muslim, however -- to our eyes - cruel and despotic he might seem to be.

Furthermore, when Kagan writes in the same My Weekly Standard piece that "Muslims have lived in states with temporal rulers for most of their history" what should one make of it? The observation is banal. We all know that ayatollahs have not ruled over Iran, nor muftis in Egypt and Arabia. So what? The distinction between "temporal" and "spiritual" that is made in Christianity is not made in Islam. It is misleading to call the rulers of Muslim lands (and Kagan's use of the word "states" also worries, for it evokes misleading thoughts of the non-Muslim nation-state -- "lands" is better at keeping out such notions -- "temporal rulers" for it sets up a temporal-spiritual opposition that does not exist in Islam, but that Kagan apparently believes does so, and means something. It doesn't. Since the Muslim ruler of a Muslim land is always more than merely a "temporal ruler" the only requirement he must fulfill is to be a good Muslim.

Kagan needs to spend six months reading. But he doesn't have time. He's too busy advising Senator McCain and writing his articles for My Weekly Standard and The Wall Street Journal, on why and how America, if it only stays the course, is surely "winning in Iraq." That he never feels the obligation -- never -- to describe exactly what constitutes "winning in Iraq" and how it would help with efforts to stem the world-wide Jihad, and its many instruments, shows the frivolousness and ignorance  to be so widespread as to serve as a universal protection against the appearance of the kind of criticism that matters -- the kind that appears here, and at Jihad Watch, and very few other places.

It's disheartening. And frightening. As if Jay Leno's Jaywalkers had all acquired Ph.D.s and were installed in think-tanks all over Washington. Which has, indeed, happened.

Posted on 09/28/2007 11:07 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 28 September 2007
Timur Kuran On Islamic Economics

From an interview with Professor Timur Kuran, who despite sitting, for a year, in the "King Faisal Chair"  at USC has done his own work on Islam and Economics, and without paying attention to the desires of his funders, quite unlike so many other recipients of the same Saudi or Arab largesse:

AE: One of your recent publications is “Islam and Mammon.” What is it about?

TK: This is a book on the subject that got me into the study of economics and religion. It offers a critique of the modern doctrine of “Islamic economics” and evaluates its practical achievements. Its most visible practical achievement has been the establishment of Islamic banks meant to avoid interest. Islamic economics has also promoted Islamic norms of economic behavior and founded redistribution systems modeled after early Islamic fiscal practices. I argue that the doctrine of Islamic economics is simplistic, incoherent and largely irrelevant to present economic challenges. Few Muslims take it seriously, and its practical applications have had no discernible effects on efficiency, growth or poverty reduction. You might wonder, if this is so, why Islamic economics has enjoyed any appeal at all. The real purpose of Islamic economics has not been economic improvement but cultivation of a distinct Islamic identity to resist cultural globalization. It has served the cause of global Islamism, known also as “Islamic fundamentalism,” by fueling the illusion that Muslim societies have lived, or can live, by distinct economic rules.
___________________________________

Nota Bene:

The real purpose of Islamic economics has not been economic improvement but cultivation of a distinct Islamic identity to resist cultural globalization. It has served the cause of global Islamism, known also as “Islamic fundamentalism,”

Posted on 09/28/2007 11:37 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 28 September 2007
Queer Eye for the Iranian Guy

Scott Ott writes: (2007-09-25) — Producers of the new BravoTV series “Queer Eye for the Iranian Guy” said they’re close to inking a deal with Islamic Republic President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to appear in the season opener.

While it’s a well-known fact that there are no homosexuals in Iran, the network plans to import them to Tehran from the United States in order to give Mr. Ahmadinejad “a radical, extremist makeover.”

During the course of the show, the Iranian leader will be “fundamentally transformed head-to-toe” by a group of homosexual men known as the Fab Five — an interior designer, a fashion stylist, a chef, a beauty guru and a ‘concierge of cool’....

Posted on 09/28/2007 11:58 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 28 September 2007
But Is It Art. Or, Those Deadly Hospital Corners

Yes, two can play this game.

A determined secret group, with nothing to lose should now engage in its own version of performance art, as a way of wreaking vengeance on the well-paid con men of this age and those magnates who fall for the con, because they have been told This Is Art. Really Really Great "Art."  Not only Leonardo and Vermeer, but Balthus and Whistler and Morandi will turn over, quite contentedly, in their graves, upon hearing that  at long last something is being done. And there will be many silent supporters among those who, right now, continue, with as much serenity as they can muster (it can't be easy, it sometimes must madden, to hear of the sums raked in by the unworthy, of all the Tracey Emins and Damien Hirsts, and the "performance artists" and the "video artists" and all the rest of those carefully avoiding, because incapable of producing, the artifact in pencil or paint, or carved from wood or sculpted from stone) but given prizes and earning millions that they do not deserve.

At least, a century ago, one could be sure that the rich were a bit more willing to take tuition, and seek advise, from those who had cultivated tastes. If Berenson overvalued Sassetta, at least he did not advise his rich (whether nouveau or vieux) clients and friends to throw millions into whatever then was the equivalent of Hirst's dimidiated cow, and the same gawkers who make it " the most popular" item in the museum in which it is now proudly displayed (by madmen) are descendants of those country bumpkins who would go to the local fair to gawk at the spectacle of a two-headed calf, also preserved in the same kind of formaldehyde.

Education in art, as in so much else, is a mess, with less Shearman and more Nochlin. And so too, therefore, is the education of taste, especially the taste of those who will go on to form collections.  The rich can no longer be assured of attending certain select universities, and even in those universities, no can be sure what they will be getting into. The head of Visual Studies at Harvard, for example, is a Shakespeare "scholar" who was written books on real estate, dogs, and, oh yes, cross-dressing in Shakespeare. The most recent hire has been of somone given a professorship, and tenure, whose special field is Hip Hop Studies.

And sudden-wealth-syndrome , on an unprecedented scale, means that there must be many collectors of "art" who, not possessing even the unjustified self-assurance of those who have attended so-called good schools, and who are not about to take time to study the history of art or visit museums, but want not My Last Duchess hanging on the wall, but intallation art, with lots of lovely blood or urine or dirty underswear, and lights flashing, and rube-goldberg movements, which is exactly what Lorenzo de' Medici, doncha know, would be buying and puttin' up in the palace if he were alive today. So the advsisers today, those "art consultants," far outnumber the few who might recognizably descend from the line of Berenson, Duveen, or Eugene Thaw, for that matter, the kind of people who still exist, here and there, in the nooks and endangered crannies of what is called, deplorably,  "The Art World."

The time for talk, in The New Criterion or elsewhere, is over. Time to take to the streets, to the museums, to the private collections of those hedge-fund operators and real-estate, computer, advertising magnates.

Tracy Emin can be done in by hospital corners. Others will require something more drastic.

Posted on 09/28/2007 12:05 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 28 September 2007
Concerning Iran’s Revolutionary Guards

WASHINGTON — The US Senate has called for Iran’s Revolutionary Guards to be officially designated a “foreign terrorist organisation,” a day after the House of Representatives passed a similar measure.

The Senate on Wednesday voted 76-22 for the non-binding amendment sponsored by Republican Jon Kyl and independent Joseph Lieberman to place the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, or Pasdaran, on the US terrorist blacklist. --from this news article

The rationale apparently given for voting against this resolution does not withstand scrutiny. Unless it can be shown that the Pasdaran is not as described, is not a "terrorist group," then it should be labelled as such. That may permit the government to take measures against the group, and its supporters in this country, that it can not take without such a declaration. It is not, that is, a merely symbolic act, but has useful consequences.

Those who say that this "is one step toward attacking Iran" have not made, but merely asserted, their case. If such a measure makes it easier to go after the sources of financial and other support of the Pasdaran, and thereby more effectively put pressure on the Islamic Republic, this might lessen the likelihood of a military attack if the nuclear program can be stopped through other, less violent, means.

Posted on 09/28/2007 5:39 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 28 September 2007
(Pushing) Omeish To Catatonia

"smear campaign...."
-- from Esam Omeish's description of the charges made against him

Please list the "smears" in this "smear campaign" which, you charge, is being conducted against you. Tell us exactly who charged what, and when, and where, and why such a charge is untrue, and therefore constitutes a "smear."

Start with Robert Spencer's description of you, on a show hosted by Laura Ingraham, claiming that there is no capital punishment for apostasy in Islam. Then explain why, in a second appearance with Spencer on the same show, you claimed that Shari'a in the United States would be a Good Thing.

[Far more damning than the video on YouTube are the two recorded encounters with Robert Spencer on the Laura Ingraham show. On the first, Omeish practices taqiyya -- that is "lying" to non-Muslims -- when he asserts that apostasy in Islam is not punishable by death. On the second, he says he looks forward to the imposition of Shari'a in the United States. If what that means is clearly understood, he wishes that you and I and even Governor Kaine, and all the non-Muslim members of that Commission on Immigration to which he was almost appointed, and all the non-Muslim doctors and nurses and orderlies in the hospital he works at, and all the non-Muslim patients he sees, to be relegated to the status of dhimmis, a status that for 1350 years has clearly meant, for those non-Muslims under Muslim rule, humiliation, degradation, and physical insecurity.

What could Omeish have possibly meant, when he said he favored Shari'a in America? How was he taken "out of context"? What else would a sensible and well-informed Infidel be expected to make of that remark?

Forget the video. Listen to the tapes.

Please explain, Mr. Omeish. Take as much time as you need. But remember: those programs have been taped. They can be played over the Internet.

Posted on 09/28/2007 6:03 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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