These are all the Blogs posted on Thursday, 7, 2006.
Thursday, 7 December 2006
Origins of the Rus
Though the identification of the "Rusiyyah" with Slavic-speakers is controversial. They may have been Varangians, a species of Viking, speaking some dialect of Norse. Whoever they were, they were undoubtedly one component of the ancestry of modern Russians. From Derb, here.
According to my copy of Lionel Kochan The Making of Modern Russian - 1962 in Chap 1 The rise and fall of Kiev Rus The lands of the Slavs were known as Rus to the Norsemen.
Else Roesdahl, in her book The Vikings 1987 says that Rus was the name that Arabs and people of Byzantium gave to the Scandinavians. Sometimes it was used by different people to describe others. Both agree that the name associates with Riurik said to be the ancestor of the old Russian Royal dynasty.
Ibn Fadhlan wrote rather a lot about the Vikings who he dealt with up and down the Volga river and beyond. Including a description of a rather gory funeral ritual which features in virtually every book about Vikings. His activities were one of the inspirations for the fantasy horror film The 13th Warrior starring Antonio Bandaras (as the Arab 13th man) and a cast of shaggy men and described on Amazon UK as the "best Vikings v Cannibals movie ever made." The gory funeral ritual is made much of, as one would expect. There is a lot of Beowulf legend in it as well for good measure. My husband has watched it twice but says it does not compare with the Kirk Douglas film The Vikings" which is a family favourite.
Posted on 12/07/2006 4:17 AM by Esmerelda WEatherwax
Thursday, 7 December 2006
"....Army Captain Brooke Allen at Hicham Field [Pearl Harbor] stood in his bathrobe shaking his fist at the storming Zeroes: 'I knew
it! I knew
the little sons of bitches would do it on a Sunday! I knew
(Don't Tread on Me
, p. 288)
Churchill, a few days later: "As for the Japanese, they would be ground to powder....I went to bed and slept the sleep of the saved and thankful." (p. 289)
U.S. Naval Jack, revived 31 May 2002
(My father, who worked in a job that protected him from the draft, nevertheless volunteered for the U.S. Marine Corps a few weeks after Pearl. In the Fall of 1945, after having fought at Okinawa among other battlefields, he patrolled the streets of Tokyo as part of the U.S. occupation force.)
Posted on 12/07/2006 5:47 AM by Robert Bove
Thursday, 7 December 2006
Tancredo, Miami and Jeb Bush
Here's a story I missed while working on the new issue of NER. In Palm Beach at the David Horowitz gathering, Rep. Tancredo made this statement to WND:
"Look at what happened to Miami,” Tancredo said in an interview, according to the WorldNetDaily Web site.
"It has become a Third World country. You just pick it up and take it and move it someplace. You would never know you’re in the United States of America. You would certainly say you’re in a Third World country.”
Having recently flown into the Miami airport, I can attest this is true. Third World is exactly the right characterization. Then there was a testy exchange of letters between the Congressman and the Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush:
Bush, who plans to move to Miami after vacating the governor's office, wrote a letter to Tancredo on Tuesday saying, "Miami is a wonderful city filled with diversity and heritage that we choose to celebrate, not insult."
Late Tuesday night, Tancredo responded with a letter of his own to the governor:
"I certainly understand and appreciate your need and desire to try and create the illusion of Miami as a multiethnic 'All American' city. Indeed sir, one of us is naive," the letter said.
Tancredo said a growing number of Miami residents don't speak English, one of the few things that he said hold Americans together.
Bush said he was disheartened by the congressman's "disparaging comments" and touted the city's diversity as a reason Florida leads the nation in job growth and continues to have a bustling economy.
So long as we have "job growth" and a "bustling economy" who needs culture? Homo economicus is doing just fine. Tancredo had more to say here:
Tancredo, talking to 7NEWS Tuesday afternoon, defended his comments, which he made while at a conference in Florida.
"We were talking about, among other things, the fact that massive immigration into the country is changing the culture. And I said, 'Look at Miami, which is just south of us here, and you'll see a third-world country.' I believe that my statement is accurate in the context I was making it," Tancredo said.
"Miami is a good example of a situation where massive immigration -- both legal and illegal -- of people who don't necessarily want to be Americans. And then they come into a city that tells them that they don't have to be (Americans) and that creates an interesting and, I think, sometimes unpleasant situation. It's also the truth that you've got an incredible amount of violence. It's the murder capital of the world," he said.
In response to people calling him racist, Tancredo said, "This issue has got nothing to do with race. Do we have a culture? Is there something we can identify as the American culture? It's not based on race, as far as I can tell, certainly. And there have been plenty of people who have come into this country over the years from a wide variety of countries and a variety of races. They have come here, they have become Americans. They have assimilated. That's all I am asking for. That's all I want to see happen."
"What I am talking about is a willingness to assimilate into an American culture. What is so ugly about that? What is so racist about that? Millions upon millions of people have done it. Being black, brown or any hue in between, they have been able to do it. Why is it now that we're finding it so difficult, where we don't ask them to? We don't want them to learn English. We teach them in a language other than English in our schools. We actually try to put up barriers to assimilation," Tancredo added.
Posted on 12/07/2006 6:25 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 7 December 2006
Here's to Bipartisan Consensus!
Memo to the Iraq Solipsism Group:
Let's say 10 sages get together and are asked, "What is 2 + 2?" If half of them say 4 and the other half say 2, it is not admirable that, in order to achieve consensus, they unanimously agree to tell everyone that the answer is 3. It is, to the contrary, moronic — and, if the said consensus error is to be the foundation of national security policy, it is perilous.
I just don't get how the media and the solons themselves are willing to celebrate error as triumph, in a life-and-death matter, simply because everyone is willing to be wrong together. I'm trying to figure out whether that is more craven or dumb — I'll be back to you once I've reached consensus.
Posted on 12/07/2006 7:32 AM by Andy McCarthy
Thursday, 7 December 2006
Want something else to worry about? Read Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in this morning's Telegraph
This caught my eye: "8,000 unregulated hedge funds with $1.3 trillion at hand, and derivative contracts now worth $370 trillion."
370 trillion? I guess pretty soon the word "quadrillion" will be a vocabulary item in the daily work of financial journalists.
(Though that number should be taken with a big pinch of salt. I spent a fair chunk of my time on Wall St arguing about the correct way to price exotic derivatives for reporting purposes. The arguments usually ended with an MD saying: "Oh, just come up with some damn number the auditors will accept.")
Posted on 12/07/2006 7:35 AM by John Derbyshire
Thursday, 7 December 2006
Posted on 12/07/2006 7:41 AM by John Derbyshire
Thursday, 7 December 2006
Immigration -- The Way Forward
I have just got around to reading Tamar Jacoby's article "Immigration Nation" in the Nov/Dec (i.e. pre-election) issue of Foreign Affairs. The thrust of the piece is that the nation is pretty much, and increasingly, united on a "sensible" approach to "immigration reform" (trans. open borders and amnesty). The only thing holding off the blessed day is the opposition of a tiny segment of the public that, for misguided reasons, House Republicans insisted on deferring to.
Of whom does that obstructionist segment consist? Ms. Jacoby explains:
"The high-stakes midterm elections in November put an unusual premium on the opinions of the 20-25 percent of voters who depart from the emerging national consensus. Mostly male, white, and lacking college degrees, these naysayers believe immigrants are bad for the economy; they want to build a wall along the southern border and adamantly oppose allowing illegal immigrants to become citizens."
The way to clearing this regrettable obstacle to immigration reform is surely plain: We should disenfranchise people who do not have college degrees, most especially those who are white and male. Those people are just a drag on the economy, anyway—insisting on absurdly high wages for grubby work that those nice complaisant Mexican immigrants will do for half as much. In any case, people without college degrees are so stupid and easily manipulated, they are bound to vote the wrong way. Why on earth are they permitted to vote at all?
Posted on 12/07/2006 8:18 AM by John Derbyshire
Thursday, 7 December 2006
"It is true that genuine believers are scarce (there's not one prostitute or a thug in Moscow who doesn't wear a religious adornment on her/his neck) but who do exist tend to be rabidly anti-Western, anti-American, and anti-Catholic, as the Russian Orthodox Church is the source of the paranoia and hatred of liberal Western values."
Roman: I think you missed out one "anti-" there...
Posted on 12/07/2006 8:54 AM by John Derbyshire
Thursday, 7 December 2006
Not in front of the Children!
Few things irritate me more than the MSM-wide assumption that there are things we, the reading/viewing public, should not be told, for fear we will go berserk, run out of our houses, and cut the throats of passing strangers. To the MSM we are children, in front of whom certain things must not be said.
Case in point: Here is a news story in this morning's New York Post, about a youth gang rumble in the city, in which a young man was stabbed to death. One can deduce from the story that the rumble was between students from two nearby high schools, Washington Irving and Science Skills Center.
But what was the occasion of the rumble? Just school pride? We are given only the faintest hints. The murdered young man was named Taishawn Bellevue, of the Science Skills school. He has a cousin named Levar Moore. A friend and classmate of Taishawn's named Glennwood Nobles was also stabbed. Nobles father in named Troy Woodfin. The only Washington Irving student mentioned in this report was one Carlos Tejada, who was smashed on the head with a brick.
"Tejada's cousin Jefferson Cuevas said the violence stemmed from a 'beef' between students from Science Skills and Washington Irving on Irving Place, a few blocks from the scene."
But what was the nature of that beef? The New York Post does not tell us.
I looked up the two schools on the GreatSchools website. The student breakdowns by ethnicity, white-black-hispanic-other, are as follows.
Science Skills HS: 4-81-10-5
Washington Irving HS: 3-31-61-5
Oh, I see. So it was a black-Hispanic rumble.
Shhh! Not in front of the children!
Posted on 12/07/2006 8:58 AM by John Derbyshire
Thursday, 7 December 2006
Thoughts on the ISG
"I think America did right going into Iraq. Iraq must be used as a foothold into the Islamic world, but it will not come without great cost. In the meantime, Islamists invade the West, but the free world will control the land that counts the most to them: Arabia." -- from a reader
If the stated goal -- to enter and destroy major weaponry -- was the real and only goal, then it at least was rational and defensible. However, if that stated goal was not the real goal, and the one that quickly replaced it, that of bringing "democracy" and thereby "transforming the Middle East," was all along the real goal, and not something disastrously concocted after the invasion, then the original invasion itself was not justified, was irrational, would end in failure.
Clearly the real goal was never to do what would always have been justified: to enter Iraq, seize or destroy major weaponry, topple the regime, a disguised Sunni despotism, of Saddam Hussein, and then leave, with the power struggle within Iraq to continue for a very long time, and inevitably given the natural aggressiveness and winner-take-all (there is the victor, there are the vanquished) attitude that comes naturally to peoples suffused with Islam.
That would have been not only defensible, but admirable.
But that, clearly, was not the goal. Those who made policy really were just as naive, and many remain so today, as they were then. They still prate, as one Dan Barrett did on NPR last night, about the "President's plan" and how it was working, how "democracy was spreading all over the Middle East" in such places as "Lebanon" (where true "democracy" would doom the Christians, so thank god the 1932 census is still the basis of the non-democratic power-sharing that Lebanon remains, despite those "democrats" the followers of Nasrallah) and the "Palestinian territories" (where elections brought Hamas to power, that is the Fast Jihadists replaced the Slow Jihadists) as well as in "Iraq" (what "democracy" there? the winner-take-all democrats, enforcing the purple-thumbed nonsense, the Shi'a militias?). And others, including a great many "conservative" columnists, continue to support the effort, or to support it in part, because they remain Bush loyalists, but more than that, it is too disturbing for them to admit how wrong they have been all along. They would lose face. They would not recover. Start with My Weekly Standard, and go from there, even unto Krauthammer and Victor Davis Hanson, the pets of so many.
They have all refused to identify Islam as the source of the menace, as the menace itself. And failing to do that, they have failed to describe the proper goal in Iraq, as elsewhere, as one of weakening the Camp of Islam. In Iraq, that possibility presents itself on a platter. Of the three main divisions within Islam, sectarian, ethnic, and economic, that is between Sunni and Shi'a (the Ibadiya cannot conceivably count), the Arab and non-Arab Muslims, and the oil-rich and the Muslims without oil (which means without much at all, save in the case of the two states that hold Islam in check, Turkey and Tunisia, and that have therefore managed to overcome the inshallah-fatalism of Islam, and have also been welcoming to Infidel tourists who still, as yet, feel safe), two are present: the sectarian and the ethnic.
It is criminal not to see this, and not to exploit those divisions, by pulling out.
Oh, an "exit strategy" is needed? Why? The "exit strategy" is that the Exit itself is a Strategy, the very best Strategy of all. No need to apologize. We did not create, we did not exacerbate, the sectarian divisions and the mistreatment of non-Muslims (the Kurds in this case) that are as old as Islam. For the Sunni-Shi'a divide goes back to the first century of Islam, and Sunnis have been persecuting and killing Shi'a ever since (see what happened to the Hazara in Afghanistan under the Taliban; see what Sipaha-e-Sahaba has been doing to Shi'a mosques and professionals for the last decade or more, see how Shi'a are treated in Saudi Arabia, in Al-Hasa province, see how Shi'a and Sunnis get along in Lebanon, in Yemen, in Bahrain, in Kuwait). As for the Arab mistreatment of the Kurds, where have the Arabs ever treated non-Arab Muslims as their equals (see the Berbers of the Kabyle, see the black Muslims of Darfur) given the many ways in which Islam is a vehicle for Arab supremacism. The Muslim must read the Qur'an in Arabic, and even if he does not understand a word, ideally memorize, as so many madrasa students do, that book in Arabic. He usually takes an Arab name. He prays five times a day toward Arabia. He takes as his model of everything a seventh-century Arab and, for some things, looks as well at what that seventh-century Arab's Arab companions did. He often, in some cases, pretends to a lineage that makes him a descendant of the Prophet -- my god, a third of Pakistanis seem to be "Sayeeds" which would imply quite a polyphiloprogentivie Prophet indeed, and that is not what the Qur'an says.
And if this "Exit Strategy" business, which long faces solemnly tell us we "must have," as if it were something remarkably difficult, and as yet undiscoverable thing that no one could conceivably locate, no one had yet been able to come with -- is supposed to, in the words of the Iraq Study Group, to proceed very slowly, very cautiously, with only combat troops to be taken out by 2008 (2008!),with some remaining for "force protection" (what does that mean? how open-ended is that?) and then others remaining, presumably, in a situation of maximum peril to themselves, to "train" Iraqis by being "embedded with Iraqi units." American soldiers "embedded with Iraqi units" have already been killed (three, including a lieutenant colonel, died just last week), and one naturally imagines that this would be the most dangerous of all jobs: to entrust your life to fellow soldiers who are Muslim, who do not wish you well, and at least one or two in each unit would be just as glad to see you dead. Yet this is the task our uncomplaining soldiers are being asked to undertake, and to keep doing, apparently, long after 2008. And who will they be "training"? The non-existent "Iraqi" army and possibly, to a now-lesser extent given its performance, the so-called "Iraqi" police. How much longer will it take the Bush administration, and the Iraq Study Group people, to put aside entirely the use of this misleading adjective "Iraqi" or at least to hold it up for proper critical inspection, so that there may be some intelligent discussion of what it is that makes this adjective so misleading?
If Bush's men are still prating about "democracy," this tells us three things about them. One, they are ignoring what "democracy" means in the places where elections took place. Among the "Palestinian" Arabs this meant that the Slow Jihadists (Fatah) were replaced by the Fast Jihadists (Hamas). In Lebanon, "democracy" appears to have been interpreted to mean those "Cedar Revolution" demonstrations in Beirut, but those "Cedar Revolution" demonstrations (with those pretty Christian girls snapped sitting on the shoulders of Christian boys) were nothing compared to the Hezbollah demonstrations, and if the Shi'a now constitute 40% of the Lebanese population, and are allotted by the power-sharing arrangements established long ago for less than that (those arrangements are based on a 1932 census) real "democracy" in Lebanon, of which Bush's man Dan Barrett and Rice and Bush prate, would only mean a rise in Hezbollah's power, and certainly be the end of the Christians of Lebanon). As for "democracy" elsewhere, where is it, or what would happen if it came? In Syria, it would be the end of the Alawites. They would be massacred overnight by the Sunnis, in their villages, and the other Christians -- the Orthodox, the Maronites, and the Armenians -- would no longer enjoy the protection (my god, the Syrian government shuts at Christmas, and Good Friday processions are allowed in public, and the Muslims do not dare touch them) of the Alawite regime. If you want "democracy" in Syria, you are asking for an end to that protection of Christians.
The second way in which "democracy" has been misunderstood by the Bush Administration has been in its ignoring of the nature of Islam, the main subject, virtually the only subject, that is of significance when one discusses the Middle East, and completely absent from both the decision-making of the Bush Administration and from the banal and often stupid suggestions of the Iraq Study Group. Islam teaches its adherents that the uncreated and immutable word of God, the Qur'an, as further glossed by the Sunnah (that is the Hadith and the Sira, which together provide a guide, through the recorded words and acts of Muhammad, of what this or that Qur'anic passage must mean), is the source of all authority. Islam means "submission" and it is the duty of Muslims to "submit" to the word of God, not to question themselves, not to exercise their own powers of ratiocination or, still worse, their own moral judgment. Morality is not part of it. If Allah commands, that is it. For Allah Knows Best.
Islam is a complete system, that comprises not merely, not even mainly, what we in the West think of as religion, with rituals of worship and some posited anthropomorphic Creator of the Universe, but also extends into, and covers, every other area of life, including the political. Indeed, Islam owes its origin to the desire and felt need of conquering Arabs, who had already begun to seize the lands of non-Arab Christians and Jews who were civilizationally far more advanced, and more settled, and richer, than they, and to create or to exploit a belief-system concocted partly of bits and pieces of Christian and Judaic stories and major figures, which was appropriated in distorted fashion to become part of Islam, as well as of pagan Arab lore from the time of the Jahaliyya (Ignorance), such as the "djinn." Islam, in other words, was created both to justify, and promote, conquest by the Arabs, and it helped to have a belief-system that looked, superficially, as if it might be, as they insisted, the "true version" of something that those they conquered had a lesser, distorted edition of --- not so much a rough draft, as Jewish and Christian texts that were themselves debased versions, versions gone awry, of the True Text of Islam, which those nice conquering Arabs were offering them as part of the package of conquest.
In the belief-system of Islam, political as all other legitimacy is located in the Word of Allah, in the uncreated and immutable Text. It is not to be located in the expressed will of mere mortals, who after all have one duty: to submit to Allah. When Bush saw the elections in Iraq as some kind of wonderful confirmation of "democracy," he did not understand -- and no one around him understood-- that the election took place, as it did, because the Shi'a were happy to do as their leaders told them. Al-Sistani gave the word from on high and other Shi'a clerics followed suit: go ahead, vote, Why? Because the Shi'a were sure to win, constituting as they did 60-65% of the population. That was the only reason. And they marched off, and voted just as told, en bloc, and then held their purple thumbs up, for all the world as if they had been like New Englanders going off to vote for Town Meeting. All nonsense, but who wanted to sourly, and truthfully, explain what was going on back in January 2005, when a New Day Was Dawning in the Middle East?
The third way in which the word "democracy" has been misused by the Bush Administration is in its shallow conception of what this means. It is clear, from all the analogizing by Rice and Bush, for example, between what went on in Iraq and our own Revolution and the Framers of the Constitution, including those hideous comparisons between the Muslims of Iraq in their "constitutional" undertakings and the brilliant, unsurpassable collection of men who met in Philadelphia, that neither Bush nor Rice has an understanding of either the ideological currents that led up to, and created, the men who met in Philadelphia, nor of the nature of what they achieved, nor of much else about American history. We are now ruled, apparently, by people who do not know about Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau, about Montesquieu's "The Spirit of the Laws," about what Jefferson or James Madison or James Wilson read or what they wrote or thought about -- the dumbing down has also been a dumbing up, and the people who rule us are not like those who once did, whom one could expect to have known American history and the history of the development of the idea of freedom, a subject about which those who presume to instruct and protect us should be expected to know all about -- should now what it is they are supposed to protect. "The Idea of Freedom in Human History" is not exactly an abstruse topic. See Herbert Butterfield, see Herbert Muller. But apparently Bush, the Andover and Yale cut-up, never had much time for book-learning, and Rice was too busy being the dutiful striving graduate student in Kremlinology to learn about American history, but American history, and the history of the Western political and cultural tradition and achievements, should be a requirement for participation in government at the upper levels. If there is no understanding of what it is you are supposed to be protecting and cherishing, and if you have so little historical sense or understanding of what the Framers achieved that you dare to compare those semi-primitives in Iraq with the Framers of Philadelphia, then you do not deserve power, or proximity to power. You deserve mockery, and banishment from power.
Now comes another kind of folly: the Iraq Study Group. It states the obvious, that "we are losing in Iraq" by which it means, given the definition of "winning" which apparently the Iraq Study Group is too unimaginative to question, we "are losing." And this is considered a great achievement. But it is merely a statement of the obvious. And along with that statement of the obvious comes so much else, that is even more stupid and potentially dangerous than what the Bush Administration it criticizes now offers, that one is left feeling colossally depressed.
There is, for example, the suggestion that Iran and Syria be "talked to." On the face of it, who can object to "talking to" anyone? But in the Middle East, "talking to" lends legitimacy, gives support to, those regimes one wishes to isolate or at least to cause to feel isolated. It is not as if there the views of these regimes are not fully known already. They are not hermeitically sealed off, like the military regime in Burma. We already know what the regime in Syria wants: it wants as much protection from its enemies, as much power and money, as it can get. It wants to continue to dominate Lebanon. It wants to continue the Alawite dictatorship by doing the simultaneous bidding of both the Shi'a in Iran (who have declared the Alawites to be "true Muslims" which is not what the Sunnis think, and Sunni Muslims constitute 70% of the Syrian population) and the Sunnis, by allowing the latter free entry to leave Syria and go to fight (and, the Alawites hope, die) in Iraq.
As for "talking to Iran," the American government already knows perfectly well what Iran wants. It wants precisely to "talk, talk, talk" with everyone under the sun, in order to keep any attack from actually taking place that would stop its headlong rush toward obtaining nuclear weapons. Only a fool would think otherwise. And only fools would think that formal "talks" would add to the American store of knowledge, of finding out what "Iran really wants" when we know perfectly well what Iran really wants: it wants that weaponry, and the power, and the threat, that go with it. And the current regime, we have every reason to believe, is certainly prepared to use such weapons against Israel, in a final chiliastic frenzy. The suggestion that the American government "talk to" Syria and Iran sounds perfectly harmless, perfectly fine, unless one thinks clearly about what such "talks" would mean.
Of course, there are "talks" that could be brief, and could go something like this:
To the Syrian regime, the Americans could say: Alawites are not true Muslims. We know this, and the Sunnis know this, despite your attempts to hide behind that single fatwa from Iran claiming otherwise. The Saudis are prepared to use their money to broadcast through the Arab press, in the Middle East, and in London, ably assisted by the Jordanians and the Egyptians, that the Alawites, those non-Muslims, must go. You think you can continue to rule, despite being 12% of the population. You think we will not support a Sunni Muslim effort to depose you. At this point, your behavior is such that we regard you as disposable. But it is not we who will do the disposing. It will be the Ikhwan within Syria. We will publicize your permitting Shi'a missionaries to come from Iran. We will have the Saudis and others display pictures of Mary in every Alawite village. Your Alawite generals will get more and more nervous. They do not all wish to be slaughtered -- which is what the real Muslims will do to you. You have a choice. Leave Lebanon alone. Stop helping Iran. Forget about the Golan Heights; you will never get it back. We will give you a free hand in Syria. But that is it. That is more than enough. That, or a Sunni uprising that will not end in a mere palace coup, but in the mass murder of Alawites everywhere. Your choice.
That would be the way to have "talks" with Syria.
And the "talks" with Iran? Something along the same friendly lines. Something like this: Fifty percent of your population is not Persian. There are Kurds. There are Azeris. There are Baluchis. There are Arabs in Khuzistan, where all your oil is located. We are prepared to arm, through Kurdistan, those Kurds. The mere existence of an independent and American-backed Kurdistan will inspire, not only those Kurds, but also those Baluchis and those Arabs and, if we can make a deal with Azerbaijan, possibly even those Azeris as well. The Ottoman Empire dissolved after World War I. What remains of the Persian Empire -- that is, modern Iran -- can dissolve, or be shrunk still further. Could you put down simultaneous revolts among the Kurds, Baluchis, Azeris, and Arabs? You don't think we dare do it? Why not? What do we have to lose? What could you do now that is still worse than what you are already doing? Let's be clear: we are not out to overturn the regime, but we can inflict such damage on your country that others, within, will overturn your regime. And kill the Mullahs in their luxurious homes. Do you want that? Do you want to lose the oil of Khuzistan to the Arabs? We wouldn't dare, you say? Why wouldn't we? Why should we care - we buy oil from wherever, and we pay the market price to you or to them. What reason do we have for keeping Iran together? Instability should worry us? Why? Why should it?
Something like that, to both Syria and Iran, would be the only kind of talks worth having.
As for the sinister business in the Iraq Study Group about Israel, in which not only all the clichés about a "two-state solution" but, courtesy no doubt of such operators as that virtual agent of the Arabs, Raymond Close (why has his participation, and his shadowy background, not been made the subject of discussion?), but also of Robert Malley, that full-time and tireless promoter of the "Palestinians," who was the behind-the-scenes organizer (the front man was Gareth Evans) of the International Crisis Group's little effort (one of those "signed by World Leaders" things) to demand renewed pressure for Israeli surrender, an effort one of whose World Leaders" was none other than Lee Hamilton, famously unsympathetic -- always has been, always will be -- to Israel, though not perhaps for the same reasons as Texas fixer and Saudi-connected ("Our friends in the Gulf") James Baker.
Oh, there's a good deal more to say about the Iraq Study Group, none of it good. The only good thing is that, along with much vicious nonsense, and of course without a hint of comprehension of the nature or scope or instruments of Jihad (these are all Yesterday's Men and Women, and far too famous and busy to have the time to learn, at this point, about Islam), that it managed to state the obvious: that the Bush policy, on its own terms, is not "winning" in Iraq.
The more intelligent criticism, the one that requires examination of what should constitute "winning" for the United States in Iraq, was beyond that committee's capacity. After all, that would take real thought. That would take study, and reading, and time. That is not something to be asked of such busy busy people as James Baker, and Lee Hamilton, and all the rest. They had their "experts" -- such people as Raymond Close and Shibley Telhami. What did you expect?
Posted on 12/07/2006 9:18 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 7 December 2006
Re: Tancredo, Miami and Jeb Bush
Prescott Bush was sympathetic to the Nazis during the 1930s, or at least willing to deal. George Bush Senior had no idea, has none now, about much of anything: an acceptable debased face of the former ruling class, a complete nothing. Greedy, yet full of sentiment withal, both as he picks up his million-dollar check from the Kuwaitis for services rendered (services rendered by American soldiers and taxpayers, but check made out to "George Bush") and yet dissolving so often into tears, tears always about the wonderfulness of his own family (why, he did so just the other day, when talking to the Florida legislature about how wonderful his, George Bush's, son Jeb is). Now there is Jeb Bush, telling the truth-telling Tancredo to go to hell. There is that famous line by Oliver Wendell Holmes in Buck v. Bell (1928):
"Three generations of imbeciles are enough."
Of course, compared to Carter, the Bushes are Giants in the Earth. His moral imbecility, all by itself, outweighs by far whatever three generations of Bushes have managed to put on their side of the scale. His side kicks the beam, every time. That has to be noted, just to be fair.
Posted on 12/07/2006 10:23 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 7 December 2006
"The whole system was undoubtedly structured as a religion — the cult of Lenin and his gang, the Inquisition, the commissars in the army, and consistent extermination of nonbelievers and doubters (committed to mental institutions or expelled from the Motherland during the more vegetarian periods)."
I'm really the last person who should be pointing this out, Roman, but not all religions are like that.
Posted on 12/07/2006 10:32 AM by John Derbyshire
Thursday, 7 December 2006
Re: Compelle Intrare
And there is one particular Belief System, commonly called a Religion, that has both Compelle Intrare and Compelle Remanere. And has ways.
Posted on 12/07/2006 12:28 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 7 December 2006
Baker's Senate Testimony
Baker testified before the Senate today. I heard, in the one-minute NPR report, only idiocies on both sides. First. Lieberman expressed to Baker his skepticism on the subject of Iran. Why, asked Lieberman, should one think that the Iranian government would wish to help the Americans, to ease any problems in Iraq? It was a perfectly sensible question. Baker replied: well, Senator, Iran has showed it is willing to collaborate with us. It showed it was willing in Afghanistan. At this point, Lieberman -- without that necessary and complete grasp of matters that is the only way to prevent the Bakers of this world from getting away with their plausible nonsense --said nothing. What he should have said, to Baker and to the cameras, is this: But surely you know exactly why Iran "collaborated" to the extent it did in Afghanistan. It regarded the Taliban regime as its enemy, because the uber-Sunni Taliban were massacring every last Hazara man, woman, and child they could get their hands on -- that is, every last Shi'a in Afghanistan they could get their hands on. In Iraq, per contra, the Shi'a stand to inherit the country's political and economic power and the Iranians have no objection, have no reason to help the Americans force the now-ruling Shi'a to make compromises with the Sunnis.
That was the answer Lieberman should have given, showing Baker up for what he is - someone who cannot grasp the essential, Islam, nor any of the further aspects -- such as the play between Sunni and Shi'a, in Afghanistan as in Iraq, or for that matter in many other places in the Muslim world -- of Islam without which no discussion of Iraq, nor of the larger menace to Infidels, makes sense. Lieberman just wasn't up to it.
Then there was nice Senator McCain. His comment was both sensible and silly. The sensible part was about the extreme danger to any American soldiers asked to remain behind "embedded" as trainers, and how it made no sense to withdraw most American forces leaving those "trainers" behind to be picked up, betrayed, stabbed or shot in the back by those they were training -- as the American military well knows, this has already been happening. That made sense.
But then Senator McCain, who is a good man and so has nothing in common with James Baker, spoke of how bad for the American military "defeat" in Iraq would be. In other words, Senator McCain cannot possibly convince himself, cannot possibly begin to get a dim glimmer of what should be shiningly obvious: the American military won the only victory that it could possibly have won, the victory of deposing a regime which, by being ended, now set in motion forces that would, that are, that will inevitably lead to sectarian and ethnic divisions in Iraq being brought to the surface, acted upon with violence, and in the end, happily, having an effect on Sunni-Shi'a relations outside Iraq. The "victory" was won. The failure is that of the civilian leadership to recognize, because it cannot permit itself to properly define that victory.
So let's repeat one more time. Victory in Iraq consists in weakening the Camp of Islam. The way to weaken the Camp of Islam, in Iraq, using the pre-existing conditions (just as, in Europe, Muslim operatives and apologists and propagandists play on the pre-existing mental pathologies of anti-Americanism and antisemitism) of Kurdish resentment of the Arabs, and Shi'a resentment of the Sunnis. These resentments, and what caused them, predate by centuries, by a thousand years, the very founding of the American Republic. Only a fool would overlook them or fail to want to exploit them. We have allowed those who rule over us to be fools. They must stop.
The Exit Strategy stands right before us: Exit. Period. End of story. Sit back, and where you need to adjust things, here and there, say in Kurdistan, with an arms drop or ten, or a hundred, do so. Otherwise, just watch. The "defeat" will be seen, soon enough, as what it always was: a victory. It will be seen, by some, quite incorrectly, as having been carefully and cunningly planned by those Americans all along. It never was. But it should have been.
Posted on 12/07/2006 12:33 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 7 December 2006
Ellison and his Qur'an
In Congress, newly elected representatives do not put their left hands on any book. They raise their right hands, and are sworn in together as the speaker of the House administers the oath of office. Some do carry a book, according to House historians, and some choose to photograph a private swearing-in afterward with their hand on the Bible. One senator is known to have carried an expanded Bible that included the Book of Mormon. -- from this news item
Even if Ellison is not sworn in with a Qur'an, his insistence on carrying it about is all the excuse one needs -- if one is needed at all -- to use this as the point of departure for discussion of what is in the Qur'an, and what Ellison makes of those passages in it about Infidels.
Let a hundred articles be written about what is in the Qur'an, using the Ellison story as the justification and reason. Anything to get those contents out. And don't stop there. Go into the Hadith, and what they tell us about Muhammad's attitudes toward Infidels. And don't stop there: inform everyone about the role of Muhammad as the Perfect Man, always and everywhere to be emulated, uswa hasana, al-insan al-kamil, and then, once you have made that point, tell your readers and listeners all about the Banu Qurayza, the Khaybar Oasis, Asma bint Marwan and Abu Akaf, little Aisha, the Treaty of Al-Hudaibiyya, "war is deception" and all the rest of it -- all the stuff that Karen Armstrong, for some reason, forgot to include in her hagiographical fantasy.
The excuse exists. Take full advantage.
Posted on 12/07/2006 12:46 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 7 December 2006
That Mr. Peters sho' know his Gospel
Countdown to metaphorical ecstasy in Ralph Peters' latest NY Post column
THE difference between the child-killers in the Middle East 2,000 years ago and those today is that Herod's men rode into Bethlehem to preserve a threatened political system, while the terrorists we face in Iraq seek to destroy a government in their god's name.
Today's butchers are far more merciless, indiscriminate and dangerous. For Herod's henchmen, killing was a job. For today's faith-fueled fanatics, slaughtering the innocents is doing Allah's will. Our modern magis' negotiations won't fix Iraq, no matter what gifts they bring.
To stay with that Christmas metaphor just a bit longer, the Flight into Egypt has been replaced with the destructive folly of recommending a flight back to Palestine. Of all the many retro proposals scattered throughout the report, the notion that the road to peace in Baghdad runs through the West Bank just may be the worst.
Those who were looking for a strategic messiah to redeem our geopolitical sins this holiday season are getting heresy instead - a stealth betrayal of our country's fundamental values in favor of the Middle East's Herods, the strongmen Baker's generation loved.
In the end, the biblical figure who best reflects Jim Baker doesn't come from the Nativity sequence, but from the end of the Gospels: Baker resembles Pontius Pilate in wanting those bedeviling local problems to go away and in imagining that, by caving in to unjust local powerbrokers, he can safeguard the empire's interests.
The difference is that Pilate just wanted to wash his hands of an annoyance, while Baker would wash his hands in the blood of our troops.
At least the man knows he's trading in metaphor, however confusing the result.
Posted on 12/07/2006 1:01 PM by Robert Bove
Thursday, 7 December 2006
"Longtime Aide Parts With Dhimmi Carter Over Book "- title of article posted by Robert Spencer at JW
Not dhimmi. Antisemite. An obvious case. Not even close.
Posted on 12/07/2006 12:57 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 7 December 2006
The Christian population of the areas under the control of the Palestinian Authority (PA) has sharply declined in recent decades, as tens of thousands have abandoned their holy sites and ancestral properties to live abroad. Those who remain comprise a beleaguered and dwindling minority. In sharp contrast, Israel's Christian community has prospered and grown by at least 270 percent since the founding of the state. -- from this report
Some of those "Palestinian" Arabs -- a great many -- harbored even abroad what may be called islamochristian sentiments. That is, having internalized in the Middle East, as insecure dhimmis, the Islamic view of things, having believed that their shared ethnic identity (as they saw it) of "Arabness" or "Uruba" required their acceptance, and even promotion, of Islamic views, for "Arabness" and "Islam" were regarded as nearly identical, and attacks on "Islam" might be regarded as attacks on "Arabness," those Arabic-speaking but Christian "Palestinians" settled in all kinds of places. One wonders how many of them have managed to begin to recognize that they would never have lasted under the Muslim regimes that would inevitably replace Israel, have begun to see, as the Maronites did quite clearly in 1948 (see the statements of Yoakim Moubarac, Bishop of Beirut), and as some Copts have managed to do, that the Christians need a strong Israel to help shore up the position of other non-Muslims in the Middle East. One wonders, that is, how many of the seemingly incurable anti-Israel "Palestinians" who for so long identified with that cause, continuing to tell themselves, as no doubt Hanan Ashrawi and Naim Ateek do (in the latter case, one wonders if he is a real Christian at all, or merely one in name only, with the Islam in his "islamochristianity" dominating), that Israel and the Zionists remain the enemy, even as Muslim attacks on "Palestinian" Christians become ever bolder and more vicious.
Perhaps some of them will, far from the Middle East, in Belize or Brazil, in Chile or even in New Jersey or Michigan, begin to think things through for themselves, and begin to think that just maybe Islam, Arab Islam, is their enemy, and that weakening Israel was not, and is not, a sensible thing for any Christians, even or especially Arab-speaking or even "Palestinian" Christians,to support. For what would the position of the remaining Arab Christians, and what would the Holy Land, be like, were Israel to be crushed, and Muslims to then take control of the area, as they certainly would, and with that control of all the Christian Holy Places, and with a feeling of triumphalism over the world's Christians that would be impossible to contain?
Posted on 12/07/2006 1:14 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 7 December 2006
The Jewish Maiden
Document.no, Norway's largest independent weblog, reports that in Norwegian kindergartens, pigs in traditional fairy tales are now quietly being replaced with other animals. A person who visits kindergartens to read fairy tales experienced that in stories by Asbjørnsen and Moe, the Norwegian equivalent of the Brothers Grimm, the word pig had been replaced with fox. When she discovered the same thing happening in another kindergarten, she wondered whether this was a new policy.
Not only a particular animal, but entire stories will have to go, if those Scandinavian Muslims are not to be offended. For example, the story "The Jewish Girl" by Hans Christian Andersen, which in a better world was once read in order to discourage the cruelty of antisemitism, but now, one knows, will be eliminated altogether because Muslims will not tolerate a story in which good things are said, or even implied, about someone who is Jewish.
So, making what is perhaps one of its final public appearances, is
The Jewish Maiden
Hans Christian Andersen
In a charity school, among the children, sat a little Jewish girl. She was a good, intelligent child, and very quick at her lessons; but the Scripture-lesson class she was not allowed to join, for this was a Christian school. During the hour of this lesson, the Jewish girl was allowed to learn her geography, or to work her sum for the next day; and when her geography lesson was perfect, the book remained open before her, but she read not another word, for she sat silently listening to the words of the Christian teacher. He soon became aware that the little one was paying more attention to what he said than most of the other children. “Read your book, Sarah,” he said to her gently.
But again and again he saw her dark, beaming eyes fixed upon him; and once, when he asked her a question, she could answer him even better than the other children. She had not only heard, but understood his words, and pondered them in her heart. Her father, a poor but honest man, had placed his daughter at the school on the conditions that she should not be instructed in the Christian faith. But it might have caused confusion, or raised discontent in the minds of the other children if she had been sent out of the room, so she remained; and now it was evident this could not go on. The teacher went to her father, and advised him to remove his daughter from the school, or to allow her to become a Christian. “I cannot any longer be an idle spectator of those beaming eyes, which express such a deep and earnest longing for the words of the gospel,” said he.
Then the father burst into tears. “I know very little of the law of my fathers,” said he; “but Sarah’s mother was firm in her belief as a daughter of Israel, and I vowed to her on her deathbed that our child should never be baptized. I must keep my vow: it is to me even as a covenant with God Himself.” And so the little Jewish girl left the Christian school.
Years rolled by. In one of the smallest provincial towns, in a humble household, lived a poor maiden of the Jewish faith, as a servant. Her hair was black as ebony, her eye dark as night, yet full of light and brilliancy so peculiar to the daughters of the east. It was Sarah. The expression in the face of the grown-up maiden was still the same as when, a child, she sat on the schoolroom form listening with thoughtful eyes to the words of the Christian teacher. Every Sunday there sounded forth from a church close by the tones of an organ and the singing of the congregation. The Jewish girl heard them in the house where, industrious and faithful in all things, she performed her household duties. “Thou shalt keep the Sabbath holy,” said the voice of the law in her heart; but her Sabbath was a working day among the Christians, which was a great trouble to her. And then as the thought arose in her mind, “Does God reckon by days and hours?” her conscience felt satisfied on this question, and she found it a comfort to her, that on the Christian Sabbath she could have an hour for her own prayers undisturbed. The music and singing of the congregation sounded in her ears while at work in her kitchen, till the place itself became sacred to her. Then she would read in the Old Testament, that treasure and comfort to her people, and it was indeed the only Scriptures she could read. Faithfully in her inmost thoughts had she kept the words of her father to her teacher when she left the school, and the vow he had made to her dying mother that she should never receive Christian baptism. The New Testament must remain to her a sealed book, and yet she knew a great deal of its teaching, and the sound of the gospel truths still lingered among the recollections of her childhood.
One evening she was sitting in a corner of the dining-room, while her master read aloud. It was not the gospel he read, but an old story-book; therefore she might stay and listen to him. The story related that a Hungarian knight, who had been taken prisoner by a Turkish pasha, was most cruelly treated by him. He caused him to be yoked with his oxen to the plough, and driven with blows from the whip till the blood flowed, and he almost sunk with exhaustion and pain. The faithful wife of the knight at home gave up all her jewels, mortgaged her castle and land, and his friends raised large sums to make up the ransom demanded for his release, which was most enormously high. It was collected at last, and the knight released from slavery and misery. Sick and exhausted, he reached home.
Ere long came another summons to a struggle with the foes of Christianity. The still living knight heard the sound; he could endure no more, he had neither peace nor rest. He caused himself to be lifted on his war-horse; the color came into his cheeks, and his strength returned to him again as he went forth to battle and to victory. The very same pasha who had yoked him to the plough, became his prisoner, and was dragged to a dungeon in the castle. But an hour had scarcely passed, when the knight stood before the captive pasha, and inquired, “What do you suppose awaiteth thee?”
“I know,” replied the pasha; “retribution.”
“Yes, the retribution of a Christian,” replied the knight. “The teaching of Christ, the Teacher, commands us to forgive our enemies, to love our neighbors; for God is love. Depart in peace: return to thy home. I give thee back to thy loved ones. But in future be mild and humane to all who are in trouble.”
Then the prisoner burst into tears, and exclaimed, “Oh how could I imagine such mercy and forgiveness! I expected pain and torment. It seemed to me so sure that I took poison, which I secretly carried about me; and in a few hours its effects will destroy me. I must die! Nothing can save me! But before I die, explain to me the teaching which is so full of love and mercy, so great and God-like. Oh, that I may hear his teaching, and die a Christian!” And his prayer was granted.
This was the legend which the master read out of the old story-book. Every one in the house who was present listened, and shared the pleasure; but Sarah, the Jewish girl, sitting so still in a corner, felt her heart burn with excitement. Great tears came into her shining dark eyes; and with the same gentle piety with which she had once listened to the gospel while sitting on the form at school, she felt its grandeur now, and the tears rolled down her cheeks. Then the last words of her dying mother rose before her, “Let not my child become a Christian;” and with them sounded in her heart the words of the law, “Honor thy father and thy mother.”
“I am not admitted among the Christians,” she said; “they mock me as a Jewish girl; the neighbors’ boys did so last Sunday when I stood looking in through the open church door at the candles burning on the altar, and listening to the singing. Ever since I sat on the school-bench I have felt the power of Christianity; a power which, like a sunbeam, streams into my heart, however closely I may close my eyes against it. But I will not grieve thee, my mother, in thy grave. I will not be unfaithful to my father’s vow. I will not read the Bible of the Christian. I have the God of my fathers, and in Him I will trust.”
And again years passed by. Sarah’s master died, and his widow found herself in such reduced circumstances that she wished to dismiss her servant maid; but Sarah refused to leave the house, and she became a true support in time of trouble, and kept the household together by working till late at night, with her busy hands, to earn their daily bread. Not a relative came forward to assist them, and the widow was confined to a sick bed for months and grew weaker from day to day. Sarah worked hard, but contrived to spare time to amuse her and watch by the sick bed. She was gentle and pious, an angel of blessing in that house of poverty.
“My Bible lies on the table yonder,” said the sick woman one day to Sarah. “Read me something from it; the night appears so long, and my spirit thirsts to hear the word of God.”
And Sarah bowed her head. She took the book, and folded her hand over the Bible of the Christians, and at last opened it, and read to the sick woman. Tears stood in her eyes as she read, and they shone with brightness, for in her heart it was light.
“Mother,” she murmured, “thy child may not receive Christian baptism, nor be admitted into the congregation of Christian people. Thou hast so willed it, and I will respect thy command. We are therefore still united here on earth; but in the next world there will be a higher union, even with God Himself, who leads and guides His people till death. He came down from heaven to earth to suffer for us, that we should bring forth the fruits of repentance. I understand it now. I know not how I learnt this truth, unless it is through the name of Christ.” Yet she trembled as she pronounced the holy name. She struggled against these convictions of the truth of Christianity for some days, till one evening while watching her mistress she was suddenly taken very ill; her limbs tottered under her, and she sank fainting by the bedside of the sick woman.
“Poor Sarah,” said the neighbors; “she is overcome with hard work and night watching.” And then they carried her to the hospital for the sick poor. There she died; and they bore her to her resting-place in the earth, but not to the churchyard of the Christians. There was no place for the Jewish girl; but they dug a grave for her outside the wall. And God’s sun, which shines upon the graves of the churchyard of the Christians, also throws its beams on the grave of the Jewish maiden beyond the wall. And when the psalms of the Christians sound across the churchyard, their echo reaches her lonely resting-place; and she who sleeps there will be counted worthy at the resurrection, through the name of Christ the Lord, who said to His disciples, “John baptized you with water, but I will baptize you with the Holy Ghost.”
Let's see how long that story lasts in the expurgated versions of Andersen that will be permitted in Danish schools. But possibly it will not happen. Possibly the Danes will keep, or come, to their senses, as they did over the cartoons at Jyllands-Posten. Possibly, as they have before, they will offer the rest of Scandinavia a stout lesson in moral sense. Let's hope.
Posted on 12/07/2006 1:24 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 7 December 2006
Roman Hands, Russian Fingers
Draws faces with a pen.
He stops by at the liquor store
Before starting a caricature.
Posted on 12/07/2006 3:00 PM by John Derbyshire
Thursday, 7 December 2006
Peace in Kashmir?
Of course this offer by the government of Pakistan was not new, and was always deceptive. That offer, to "drop Pakistani claims to Kashimir" as long as the "Kashimiris themselves" could have independence, means only the following:
1) We are not at this point strong enough to fight with India, and America is now, alas, clearly on India's side.
2) We know that Muslims in Kashmir are clearly in the majority. They always were, and of course are so even more now that we have helped to drive 400,000 Kashimir pandits out of Kashmir and into India proper.
3) An "independent Kashmir" would still become a Kashmir ruled of, by, and for Muslims, and that means it would be part of Dar al-Islam. It need not be made part of Pakistan for this great triumph of Islam to be achieved.
4) Finally, that "independent Kashmir" can always, at a later date (in un secondo momento, as Sonia Maino Gandhi might say in her native tongue) become one with Pakistan -- and thus the original goal be achieved in any case.
That's what the "brand-new Pakistani offer" really means. It means nothing at all. It means: Dar al-Islam will expand, and we'll see about the aggrandizing of Muslim Pakistan later.
"War is deception" said Muhammad. Right.
Posted on 12/07/2006 3:01 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 7 December 2006
"NO opting out of the globaljihad war being waged against us..."-- from a reader
But let it not be a war fought by the stolidly unimaginative who believe war is only a matter of bombs, tanks and guns (though those are often necessary), and where there is little place for intelligence and indeed ruthless intelligence. Let it be a war which seeks always to exploit pre-existing weaknesses in the enemy, to make sure that that enemy remains as divided as possible, on ethnic, sectarian, and economic lines, possesses as little major weaponry as possible, has to spend its own money and never can rely on the disguised Jizyah of foreign aid extracted from Infidels (as that $450 million now being planned at the U.N. for the "Palestinians" who should be allowed, of course, to get any damn money they please -- but only from fellow Muslims, not a cent from Infidels, and the same goes for Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, and all other Muslim states and peoples who forgot to be born with oil reserves).
And let Demonstration Projects, of Muslim violence and aggression, be allowed to be put on, by Muslims themselves, for the benefit of Infidels still unclear as to what Islam is all about.
Finally, let Infidels and Muslims alike be forced to make the connection between the political, economic, social, moral, and intellectual failures of Muslim states and societies suffused with Islam, and Islam itself. Let inshallah-fatalism explain the failure, despite the ten trillion dollars since 1973 in OPEC oil money, of Muslim states to establish modern economies. Let the Muslim despotisms be properly attributed to the belief, in Islam, that a ruler's legitimacy comes only from his being a Muslim, enforcing or following the strictures of Allah as set down in the Qur'an and glossed by the hadith, and not from any supposed grant of authority from the people, who after all do not count, for they are merely slaves, submissive to the will of Allah. Let the Muslim social failures, in the mistreatment of women and non-Muslims, be shown up, and the Muslim intellectual failures ("Whenever I listen to Mozart I feel I am betraying Islam" as one Arab intellectual wrote) that have led to such mental impoverishment, and such constraints on the free and skeptical inquiry necessary for science, and on so many different means of artistic expression (sculpture, all depictions of living creatures in painting, most music) that make "Islamic civilization" such a wretched thing. Let this be made clear, so that Muslims themselves will have to figure out where to put the blame, and some of them, at least, will have to, in fact, put it.
That is the outline of a war strategy.
The rest is filling in the details.
Posted on 12/07/2006 3:08 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 7 December 2006
Mr. Tancredo, meet Mr. Coleridge
"The youthful enthusiasts who, flattered by the morning rainbows of the French Revolution, had made a boast of expatriating their hopes and fears, now disciplined by the succeeding storms, and sobered by increase of years, had been taught to prize and honor the spirit of nationality as the best safeguard of national independence, and this again as the absolute pre-requisite and necessary basis for popular rights.
...If then unanimity grounded in moral feelings has been among the least equivocal sources of our national glory, that man deserves the esteem of his countrymen, even as patriots, who devotes his life and the utmost of his intellect to the preservation and continuance of that unanimity by the disclosure and establishment of principles." - - Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Biographia Literaria,1815, Everyman's Library No.11, page 104.
Posted on 12/07/2006 3:12 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 7 December 2006
The Daily Mail has no doubt that he died a Muslim and had a Muslim funeral. The BBC news showed the cortege stop at the Mosque "for prayers" and mentioned reports of a conversion in the last days of his illness but said that the reports were denied by his family. Whatever the Mail report makes interesting reading.
Radioactive spy's coffin barred from mosque - The final tragedy for poisoned Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko unravelled today as his family were denied the Muslim funeral he had wished for. . .
A senior source at the mosque said: "The normal custom for an Islamic funeral involves the closed coffin being brought in and the senior Imam saying a prayer for the soul of the deceased. Sadly, the family have not been able to get authorisation for this and the mosque has been informed by the police that the body is contaminated and, for public safety, we could not hold the correct funeral."
Mr Litvinenko's father Walter and younger brother Maxim were among the mourners. Also attending was Muslim communityleader Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui and Akhmed Zakayev, a former Chechen commander and former associate of Mr Litvinenko. . .After the prayers at the mosque, Mr Litvinenko's body, encased in an air-tight, radiation-proof coffin, was taken to a secret burial site, accompanied by security guards. So secret that the BBC carried film of an ordinary looking hearse and the coffin carried by pall bearers into the famous Highgate Cemetery. He is in good company there, Karl Marx, Rod Stewart's dad (whose headstone is decorated to look like tartan) and my Uncle Charlie. The comments are pertinent. That a proper Islamic funeral should take place within 24 hours, and why were the Mosque authoroties so frightened when the hospital staff did their duty without hesitation? The Times confirms that Litvinenko’s dark-stained coffin was driven around the perimeter of the cemetery before being laid to rest at the burial site in a non-denominational service. The Health Protection Agency has been consulted on the necessary safety precautions for his coffin because his body remains radioactive.
Earlier, Walter Litvinenko joined mourners at the Central London mosque in Regent’s Park for a Muslim service dedicated to the former spy. His father says he converted to Islam shortly before his death, although some of his friends say he was simply sympathetic to the cause of Muslim Chechens. Meanwhile a business who met him at the Millenium Hotel is said to now be seriously ill and in a coma in Moscow, and several employees of the hotel have tested positive for polonium in their systems, which is not good news. There is something about this that really does not add up.
Posted on 12/07/2006 3:08 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 7 December 2006
Happy, happy, is gnarled McFate
Discrimination against women is holding back economic and social development across the Arab World, a report by the UN's development agency says...
Islam is not to blame for the problem, the report says, but rather political inflexibility, male domination and war. --from this news item
Your women are a tilth for you (to cultivate) so go to your tilth as ye will" (2:223).
"Happy, happy, is gnarled McFate,
Touring the states with his child wife.
Plowing his Molly in every state
Among the protected wild life."
Excerpt from Humbert Humbert's poem in "Lolita." Or rather one of Humbert's poems. Not the Eliot parody "Because you took advantage/because you took advantage of my disadvantage." Not that one. The other one.
Posted on 12/07/2006 3:37 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald