These are all the Blogs posted on Sunday, 3, 2007.
Sunday, 3 June 2007
Killing America … Twice
War is about breaking the enemy’s will. Having laid bare the sorry state of our brains and our guts, jihadists are now zeroing in on the will’s final piece: our hearts.
That is the central lesson to be gleaned from Saturday’s news that four Muslim men have been charged with plotting to blow up John F. Kennedy International Airport, and with it much of Queens.
We now learn that for radical Islamists, lovers of death, the heart is the jihad’s most coveted prize. Tear it out, and you get to kill not once but twice. So says 63-year-old ringleader, Russell Defreitas, whose nom de guerre
is, of course, Mohammed.
Any time you hit Kennedy, it is the most hurtful thing to do to the United States. To hit John F. Kennedy, wow!... They love John F. Kennedy like he’s the man…. If you hit that, this whole country will be in mourning. It’s like you can kill the man twice.
Defreitas, er, Mohammed is a naturalized United States citizen. He is another splash in that gorgeous mosaic of American Islam — the one over whose purportedly seamless assimilation the mainstream media was cooing just a few days ago, putting smiley-face spin on an alarming Rasmussen poll.
Alas, Defreitas/Mohammed turns out to be the part of the story the press dutifully buried in paragraph 19: He is that nettlesome one of every four American Muslim males who thinks mass-homicide strikes against civilians, like the one he and his cell were scheming, are a perfectly sensible way to settle grievances...
The rest is here
Posted on 06/03/2007 7:34 AM by Andy McCarthy
Sunday, 3 June 2007
War and Collective Punishment
In war punishment is inflicted on a collective enemy. Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan both contained populations of people mostly sympathetic to the war aims of the Nazis and of Kodo militarists, but even those who were not sympathetic were made to suffer in the general infliction of ruination on both countries. And when the tolerant and advanced state of Czechoslovakia under Edouard Benes and Jan Masaryk instituted the "Benes Decrees," including the most important of them by which, in 1946, 3 million ethnic Germans were permanently expelled from Czechoslovakia in order to safeguard, for the future, that state from German aggression and agents within the country who identified with Deutschtum, one understood.
The enemy here is a doctrine, and those who adhere to that doctrine of Jihad and support violence as the best instrument. But even those who support other means, or who continue to identify themselves in a way that makes clear that despite everything they will think of themselves in the end as adherents of Islam, are no more immune to retribution than were inhabitants of Tokyo, or Dresden, or other cities, during World War II.
The Israeli method of pin-point targetting is not, in the long run, effective, and certainly is not a model of what the American government should do, or should think it is limited to doing. Its aim is to protect its people, their legal and political institutions, their physical security. All naive beliefs about how We All Want the Same Thing and so on are just variants on the bomfoggery that has its place, no doubt, in Christian preaching, but won't do as a guide to ensuring the survival of the less primitive -- made less primitive, no doubt, because of many factors including the beliefs that animate, or once animated, their ancestors -- when menaced by the more primitive.
Posted on 06/03/2007 8:57 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 3 June 2007
The Economic Damage We Are Incurring
Insufficient attention has been made to the many statements by Bin Laden about the cost to the American economy of the 9/11/2001 attacks, and about the need to further damage that economy. Think of the tens of billions spent annually on Homeland Security, on guarding churches and synagogues, government office buildings, symbols of the United States such as the Statue of Liberty and a hundred other places, airports and airplanes, train stations and trains, bus stations and busses, schools of every kind. Think of the vast sums spent on surveillance cameras, on police, on the lawyers and judges and prison guards all involved in terrorism cases -- those that succeed, those that do not.
Now think of the greatest expense of all so far -- the $880 billion spent in Iraq, as if Iraq were a major theatre of the world-wide war of self-defense against those who participate, directly or indirectly, in promoting Jihad against the Infidels. $880 billion is more than the total cost of all the wars, excepting World War II, ever fought by the United States.
Doesn't this do damage? Isn't this kind of expense preventing other much more effective measures from being taken? What would $880 billion or $440 billion, or $220 billion, or $110 billion, accomplish if plowed into solar and wind and nuclear energy projects, subsidies to mass transit, energy-saving programs of every kind, that would be useful here, and useful if advances made were to be shared with other oil-consuming nations. What would that do to the Money Weapon of the Jihad?
General Petraeus, and all the other generals occupied or preoccupied with Iraq, are not permitted to step back, to consider not the immediate situation, but the larger war, and how that declared "mission" in Iraq does or does not promote American and Infidel interests. They are concerned with war-making, not with the economic damage that that war-making causes to the United States. One more reason why the war in Iraq must be seen not by those actually fighting that war day-to-day, but by those who have the leisure and distance to question the very nature of that mission in Iraq, its attainability and its sense, and to recognize that the damage now being inflicted, is being inflicted because our rulers are obstinately wedded to, no doubt horribly embarrassed by, their own miscomprehension and exaggeration and confusion over what can, and what cannot, be done to weaken the Camp of Islam in Iraq.
Economic warfare is not being made on the enemy. Brains are not being wracked night and day to figure out how to diminish Arab and Muslim revenues, and to use up, or seize, more of those Muslim oil and gas revenues, and to force the rich Arabs to cease to support Da'wa and sinister anti-Infidel propaganda throughout the Western world (see the Freedom House study of the Saudi-financed hate literature that investigators found in American mosques).
Posted on 06/03/2007 9:03 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 3 June 2007
Here is an interesting article by Peter Hitchens on his brother Christopher's new book, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything:
Christopher describes how at the age of nine he concluded that his teacher’s claim that the world must be designed was wrong. "I simply knew, almost as if I had privileged access to a higher authority, that my teacher had managed to get everything wrong."
At the time of this revelation, he knew nothing of the vast, unending argument between those who maintain that the shape of the world is evidence of design, and those who say the same world is evidence of random, undirected natural selection.
It’s my view that he still doesn’t know all that much about this interesting dispute. Yet at the age of nine, he "simply knew" who had won one of the oldest debates in the history of mankind...
As the serpent promises: "Ye shall be as gods." These may be the most important words in the whole Bible.
Take the enticing satanic advice, and you arrive, quite quickly, at revolutionary terror, at the invention of the atom bomb, at the torture chamber and the building of concentration camps for those unteachable morons who do not share your vision of a just world.
And also you arrive at the idea, embraced by Christopher, that by invading Iraq, you can make the world a better place...
Posted on 06/03/2007 9:09 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 3 June 2007
Damian Thompson in the Sunday Telegraph
has some interesting points to raise in his blog today.
This week, Tony Blair and David Cameron will meet Muslim leaders including the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Sheikh Ali Gomaa, at an inter-faith dialogue at Cambridge University. I wonder if they will “dialogue” about the question of wife-beating, on which Gomaa apparently has some interesting views.
“Women in some cultures are not averse to beatings,” he has been quoted as saying in a television interview in 2006. Indeed, “Allah permits it”.
Was the Sheikh being taken out of context? Have his words been mistranslated or misunderstood? Well, there’s one easy way to find out. Tony and Dave – which of you is going to ask him?
Posted on 06/03/2007 9:17 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 3 June 2007
"The immediate goal is to create the breathing room necessary to allow reform and reconciliation to go forward..."-- from Secretary Gates's statement here
Iraq is a society almost all of whose members have been formed by Islam. They were born into it, they were suffused with it. They have not learned the art of political compromise. They have learned that in their Belief-System, warfare and aggression are natural, and the natural outcome of warfare is one of two possibilities: being the Victor, or being the Vanquished. The ideas of compromise, sweet reason, tolerance for each other, a nice sharing of power -- this has nothing to do with Islam.
There is no chance, none, that the Sunni Arabs inside or outside Iraq will ever acquiesce in the takeover of Baghdad, and of most of Iraq, by the Shi'a, those "Persians," those "Rafidite dogs," those meretricious "Infidels" who, some say, betrayed Baghdad to Hulegu and the Mongols.
And there is no chance, none, that the Shi'a Arabs, the ones who have had such fun in Basra scaring off, or killing off, both Christians and Sunnis, and been determinedly inflicting as much pain, in their revenge death-squad killings, on Sunnis in Baghdad, that the population of that city, once 40% Sunni, now is down to 15%. And that will not change.
Meanwhile, all the Galula-like notions, the building of a walls around neighborhoods, such as the Sunni Adhamiya, have come to naught, or at least to a semi-halt, because the "Iraqis" themselves oppose them. So what if those walls would make the American task of keeping both sides from each other's throats easier, or at least possible? So what if more American soldiers have to die to fulfill that impossible task? Why should "the Iraqis," Sunni or Shi'a, care about how difficult things are for the Americans? Do they? Are they saddened, in any way, by American losses? Do they give a damn? Do they not, rather, see the Americans as useful, now to one side, over in this province, now to the other side or subset of that side, in that province, and of course we want those American billions, tens of billions, hundreds of billions, whatever we can get -- the Americans can afford it. And we Iraqis can't spare a thing, for we only have those future assured revenues with the second largest, or perhaps largest, oil reserves in the world. What -- borrow against future earnings? Why should we, when the Americans again got all of our Western Infidel creditors, but none of our Arab creditors, to completely wipe out our debts.
And there is all that weaponry, those Humvees and tanks, and night-vision goggles, and all the stuff that should be in National Guard armories in Kansas and Louisiana and around the United States but right now is sitting in Iraq -- oh, we will inherit so much of it. We'll let the Americans build up what they call "Iraqi forces" for a bit longer, we'll string them along, and then, when they do leave, think of all the loot they will leave, willingly or in their haste unwillingly, behind.
And the Shi'a know that they will inherit Iraq. And Al Qaeda knows that it will inherit Iraq. And the local ex-Ba'athist Sunnis know that they will inherit Iraq. And Moqtada al-Sadr knows that he will inherit Iraq. And everyone knows with a certainty that he, or he, or he, will inherit Iraq.
Let them at it. The "chaos" and "catastrophe," Ali Allawi thinks, will not follow. Perhaps he is right, in which case the result desired by this Administration will be achieved. Perhaps he is wrong, and the hostilities, not all-out war but low-level but constant attacks, slowly but steadily draining both sides, and their co-religionists giving them aid, will continue.
Either result is acceptable. But the Bush-Cheney warnings about a "failed state" (a phrase no one quite defines, no one quite explains), and their claimed certainty that "Al Qaeda" will take over - Al Qaeda in Iraq, consisting of Sunni Arabs hostile to the Shi'a and to the dreams of the non-Arab Kurds, and having a few thousand members, in a population of 27 million, at least 80% of those 27 million being non-Sunni or non-Arab.
So just how is Al Qaeda going to do this? And the agents of Iran have no ability to stop them? And even the government of Saudi Arabia, completely indifferent to, or supportive of, what Al Qaeda does to Infidels in Europe or North America or Russia, will have to pour in aid and "volunteers" to help the non-Al Qaeda Sunnis, for Al Qaeda next door is a threat to the family-and-friends rule of the Al Saud.
Posted on 06/03/2007 9:26 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 3 June 2007
Pakistan is at a highly dangerous crossroads
I admire his faith that Islam could reform from within by rejecting the cruel verses of the Koran in favour of the peaceful ones although I fear that he is mistaken.
I fully support his condemnation of the persecution of other religions, (including but not solely Christianity) and the draconian Hudud ordinance.
The comments are also worth reading, particularly the descriptions of the tribulations of Muslim converts to Christianity.
Posted on 06/03/2007 9:38 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 3 June 2007
Re: Damian Thompson
Damian Thompson, editor of the Catholic Herald, is shaping up to be a member of the League of Good Chaps.
On the subject of Islam and wife-beating, which he correctly raises as a bone of contention - and Thompson's bones are nothing if not contentious - in the upcoming "interfaith dialogue" at Cambridge, I have often wondered, and have asked at JW without receiving an answer, whether any man, Muslim or otherwise, has ever beaten a woman with a toothbrush. Or is it a toothpick?
This sounds like a silly question, but it isn't. The argument that the beating is light and merely nominal, is used by Islamic apologists time and time again. I bet this toothbrush/toothpick beating has never happened. Not even once.
Posted on 06/03/2007 9:33 AM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 3 June 2007
Iran and Tarbaby Iraq
The countdown to Israel's destruction has begun, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a speech commemorating the death of Iranian revolution leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini on Sunday. --from this news item
If the Administration lets Iran get away with this, if it does nothing to stop the nuclear project, this will be one more element, the final element, the never-to-be-surpassed element, in the fiasco of the mess in Tarbaby Iraq, a mess that could, if both Islam and Iraq were seen aright, be a "victory" in what is not a "long war" but rather a war without end, and a war in which sentimentality about Muslims and about Islam, the kind that is reflected in such remarks as "winning hearts and minds" should have no place. That sentimentality, that inability to study, calmly, Islam and its tenets, attitudes, and atmospherics, prevents many people who would never accept their own ignorance in other areas, including those presumably "tough-minded" (but also ignorant, also sentimental) generals who still believe in the damned "mission" of the Administration in Iraq, to stand back from the crisis of the moment, to cease these bright-idea cockamamie notions of applying "generally-accepted counterinsurgency principles" as if it were an accounting matter applicable across the board, push the misleading phrase "war on terrorism" from their minds, see the folly of the Light-Unto-the-Muslim-Nations Project, and instead think only of this: how do we make the colossal investment in Iraq further our, not Iraqi or other Muslim interests. And the way to do that is not to work to hold Iraq together and make Sunni lions lie down with Shia also-lions, but to leave them to their own, permanently hostile devices, and hope that co-religionists on both sides pour in their men, their money, their weaponry, and above all focus their attention, into Iraq.
And if Iraq is a mess, it will then be a mess that will preoccupy and worry Iran. And meanwhile, there is plenty to be done within Iran, to stir up Iranian Kurds inspired by Kurdish autonomy in Iraq or even independence, and plenty to stir up the Arabs of Khuzistan put upon by the Iranians (and that is where the oil of Iran is located), and the Baluchis, who are Sunnis and persecuted by the Shi'a of the Islamic Republic, and finally even the Azeris. There is plenty to do -- but to do it right now, not wait, not be mired, in the Tarbaby, rapidly becoming the La Brea Tar Pit, of Iraq.
Petraeus, if he comes to his senses, has the power to return, and to say we must get out, and Bush at this point has no power to stop him. Bush has no power at all to keep his mad train madly going, if the generals still in Iraq (not the ones who left, who were asked to leave, or who like Major-General Batiste had simply quit, not because they were "cut-and-runners," but because they had come to understand, some clearly, some less so, what folly and confusion and squandering for America the Iraq venture had become), clearly state the desirability of withdrawal in order to further real American interests in the region.
Posted on 06/03/2007 9:37 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 3 June 2007
Cutting Minarets Down To Size
Members of the right-wing Swiss People's Party currently the largest party in the Swiss parliament, have launched a campaign to have the building of minarets banned. -- from this article in the Brunei Times
"right-wing" party....yes, of course, the Homeric epithet, meant to form our opinions in advance, and meant, as well, to sour us on them.
Minarets have always been bristling signs of power, towering over the buildings of those conquered, and from which the muezzin's wail drowns out all other sounds. It is a symbol of dominance and everyone knows it: "the minarets are our missiles" is what Erdogan famously said. And Saddam Hussein embodied that figurative understanding in literal stone: shaping minarets to look like missiles, in his Mother of All Mosques, the big one -- is it still there? -- he was building, as his own religio-political ozymandias wizard-of-oz monument, in Baghdad.
Posted on 06/03/2007 9:50 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 3 June 2007
All The News That's Fit To Print
The Grey Lady finally gets to the JFK plot today ... on page 37. Page One, meanwhile, features such cutting-edge news as: "In a New India, An Old Industry Buoys Peasants" (about brick making), "After Sanctions, Doctors Get Drug Company Pay," and, of course, "Fingers That Keep the Most Treasured Violins Fit." Good to see the Upper West Side still has its finger on America's pulse.
Posted on 06/03/2007 10:13 AM by Andy McCarthy
Sunday, 3 June 2007
Unconventional Director Sets Shakespeare Play In Time, Place Shakespeare Intended
The Onion has more:
MORRISTOWN, NJ—In an innovative, tradition-defying rethinking of one of the greatest comedies in the English language, Morristown Community Players director Kevin Hiles announced Monday his bold intention to set his theater's production of William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice in 16th-century Venice.
"I know when most people hear The Merchant Of Venice, they think 1960s Las Vegas, a high-powered Manhattan stock brokerage, or an 18th-century Georgia slave plantation, but I think it's high time to shake things up a bit," Hiles said. "The great thing about Shakespeare is that the themes in his plays are so universal that they can be adapted to just about any time and place."
According to Hiles, everything in the production will be adapted to the unconventional setting. Swords will replace guns, ducats will be used instead of the American dollar or Japanese yen, and costumes, such as Shylock's customary pinstripe suit, general's uniform, or nudity, will be replaced by garb of the kind worn by Jewish moneylenders of the Italian Renaissance.
"Audiences may be taken aback initially by the lack of Creole accents," Hiles said. "But I think if they pay close enough attention, they'll recognize that all the metaphors, similes, and puns remain firmly intact, maybe even more so, in the Elizabethan dialect."
Added Hiles: "After all, a pound of flesh is a pound of flesh, whether you're trying to woo a lady in 16th-century Europe, or you're a high school senior trying to impress your girlfriend with a limo ride to the prom, like in the last Merchant production MCP did in '95."
Though Hiles, 48, is a veteran regional- theater director with extensive Shakespeare experience, he said he has never taken such an unconventional departure. The Community Players' 1999 production of Othello was set during the first Gulf War, 2001's The Tempest took place on a canoe near the Bermuda Triangle, and last year's "stripped- down," post-apocalyptic version of Hamlet presented the tragedy in the year 3057.
Hiles said he became drawn to the prospect of setting the play in such an unorthodox locale while casually rereading the play early last year. He noticed that Venice was mentioned several times in the text, not only in character dialogue, but also in italics just before the first character speaks. After doing some additional research, Hiles also learned that 16th-century Europe was a troubled and tumultuous region plagued by a great intolerance toward Jews, historical context which could serve as the social backdrop for the play's central conflict...
Some of Hiles' actors, however, have reacted negatively to his decision. Some are worried Hiles lacks the knowledge and talent to pull off the radical revisionist interpretation, while others characterized it as "self-indulgent."
"I guess it's the director's dramatic license to put his own personal spin on the play he is directing, but this is a little over-the-top," said Stacey Silverman, who played Nurse Brutus in Hiles' 2003 all-female version of Julius Caesar. "I just think Portia not being an aviatrix does a tremendous disservice to the playwright." ...
Posted on 06/03/2007 10:27 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 3 June 2007
New York and London
Harry Mount, former Daily Telegraph correspondent in New York, writes in The Spectator about what he calls "the enormous gulf between the Americans and the British, or more precisely between New York and London". I am pleased that he decides, mid-sentence, to be "more precise", as I suspect that the gulf between New Yorkers and other Americans may often be wider than the gulf between New Yorkers and Londoners. Here's what he had to say:
There’s been a lot of this sort of comparing of New York and London going on recently, particularly now that the dollar-pound exchange rate has hit an even two to one. They’re selling so much Kendal Mint Cake in Greenwich Village that they want to call the place Little Britain..
Kendal Mint Cake? I'm gobsmacked. For some reason I find it very hard to believe that Americans like things from the north of England. What next? Uncle Joe's Mintballs? Dandelion and Burdock? Coronation Street? George Formby?
But ultimately the British impact on New York is minimal.
Yes, you get Tina Browns and Anna Wintours — and their embryonic versions — all over Manhattan. But they really succeed only by being American in outlook. By being immensely hard-working, power-dressed and businesslike. Despite what everyone says about Americans and our accent, Britishness doesn’t get you very far in New York.
Whatever you might think of as distinctly British attributes — satire, self-mockery, irony, take your pick — are already catered for by geniuses like Jon Stewart on The Daily Show, Larry David of Curb Your Enthusiasm, or the endless cast list of American greatest hits from the past. Think Woody Allen, John Belushi, Laurel and Hardy ...
And whatever you might think of as British vices — laziness disguised as diffidence, drunkenness disguised as unconventionality, rudeness disguised as honesty — don’t go down at all well in New York...The Englishman who wants to get on in New York must behave like a New Yorker, not like Hugh Grant.
Fatuous as it sounds to state the bleeding obvious, New York and London are very good at doing different things because they are so different. The moment they try to imitate each other is the moment they fail.
It would be bloody stupid to go to New York for, say, its green spaces — Central Park is only extraordinary because it is the only proper park on Manhattan and even then it is only 843 acres. Richmond Park alone is 2,500 acres.
You’d be pretty stupid too to go to New York to look at pre-19th century architecture, to drink heavily and be appreciated for it, or to expect any praise for heroic failure.
And it would be just as silly to go to London to make your name as a dog therapist, admit openly to being ambitious, or make a large circle of friends as a transsexual.
Go to New York and do all these New York things, particularly if you’ve got New Yorky qualities. Ditto London. But don’t go thinking that by being all Londony you can take Manhattan.
Oh, all right then, I won't. But what exactly does "all Londony" mean? And this business about "heroic failure" and being self-deprecating is misleading. The distinction I have observed is not between the productive and the idle but between those who look busy and those who actually get things done. I am a great believer in the saying: "More haste, less speed." Those people who rush around looking important and busy are putting effort into image that should actually go into working. Those who do not, who appear more languid - self-mocking too, if you like - are actually working harder and need mockery as a safety valve. And this applies on both sides of the Atlantic, indeed all over the world.
Posted on 06/03/2007 10:28 AM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 3 June 2007
Ahmadinejad: Countdown to Israel's Destruction Has Begun
From Ynet News (h/t Robert Spencer at Jihad Watch):
The countdown to Israel's destruction has begun, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a speech commemorating the death of Iranian revolution leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini on Sunday.
"The arrogant superpowers and the Zionist regime invested all their efforts during the 33-day war, but after 60 years, their pride has been trampled and the countdown to the destruction of this regime has been started by Hizbullah fighters," the president was quoted as saying by Iranian news agency Mehr.
Ahmadinejad added that "with the help of all the Lebanese and Palestinian fighters, we will witness the destruction of this regime in the near future… Anyone who works for God and believes in the power of the people will prevail."
The imminent destruction of Israel, of course, would require weapons of mass destruction. Which brings us to holy-grail diplomatic settlement to Iran's "peaceful" nuclear program that the Bush administration is banking on. On that subject, the Islamic Republic's president invoked his mentor: "Khomeini believed that when a nation reaches a point where it makes a decision, no power can tackle it and this is the road Iran is taking." So there.
The futile nuclear talks are a multilateral affair, but the "let's talk directly to the mullahs" project urged by Democrats, the State Department, and the Iraq Study Group is also taking a beating on the bilateral front.
As we saw last week, the Iranians were so impressed by whatever the U.S. contingent told them in the much anticipated direct negotiations that, the very next day, they announced the indictments of three detained Iranian Americans on spying charges for which they could receive the death penalty. Now, Ynet elaborates, Secretary Rice's counterpart, Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki, has "urged Hamas and the Islamic Jihad to carry on with their armed struggle against Israel during meetings with leaders of the Palestinian groups in Damascus Saturday." Mottaki explained: "The Palestinian people are a mighty people and there is a need to continue with the resistance[.]"
There may be a global war on terror, but only one side is fighting it that way ... and it ain't us.
Posted on 06/03/2007 11:43 AM by Andy McCarthy
Sunday, 3 June 2007
Taking recycling to extremes
"the minarets are our missiles" is what Erdogan famously said. Quoted by Hugh in this post.
Posted on 06/03/2007 12:11 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 3 June 2007
Turned on the radio. One professor (older) being introduced to a lecture audience by another professor (younger).
Younger Professor: Professor So-and-So has been a "mentor." And he's been a "role model."
Older Professor: "Extraordinarily honored" by Younger Professor's introductory remarks. Hoping to get some "tough-minded comments and questions" from the audience at the end.
Life is short.
Posted on 06/03/2007 8:49 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald